Friday, 28 December 2012

Another year over....

And what a year it's been!  One thing I cannot say about my life is that it's boring!  Far from it!  2012 may have been a year of austerity in our house, but we've survived it and had a lot of fun along the way!  2013 isn't looking any more promising as far as the coffers are concerned and there are no pennies left over from Christmas so I am still on a Strict New Stash Crash Diet until I find a way of funding it!  However, when I was having my essential massive pre-Christmas clean-up, I did find myself looking at all those Dies and Embossing Folders and asking myself "Do I really need all these?"  And the resounding reply in my head was NO!  So e-bay had better watch out, I'm about to go mad!

I haven't had a moment to myself for what seems like a lifetime.  My pens and pencils have gathered a layer of dust thick enough to write your name in!  I have learned a very important lesson too.  Up to September, I was a 1:1 TA working with Special Needs children, but now I am a Whole Class TA, and what a difference!  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I think I have the best job in the world but Autumn II has been exhausting!  I completely underestimated how busy it could get, and then along came the Christmas Production!  Well, that is a book in itself!  Next year I will have to be better prepared and probably completely write off the weeks from November to Christmas! 

Christmas 2012 has brought new treats though.  My Secret Santa at work very kindly gave me the silicone Cake Pops mould that I longed for and I couldn't wait to have a go.  These are what I created last Friday:
I was soooo pleased with how they came out.  As they were meant to be a trial version, I decided to cover them in fondant icing rather than more expensive chocolate, and do you know what, I think that my next batch will be covered in fondant too because they went down an absolute treat!  Left overnight, the fondant hardened but the cake remained soft - they were just delish!!  Each colour is flavoured with a different taste too.  There's chocolate, lemon, pepperming, rose and strawberry.  The strawberry one's whizzed out!  (note to self.....!)

Then on Christmas morning I opened up a box of delicious soft Amaretti biscuits - a gift from a lovely young man in my class!  Heaven!  I have never had the soft biscuits before, only the rock hard crunchy ones, but I was immediately smitten.  So much so that I found myself scouring the internet for a recipe.  Now, all the ones I looked at looked soooo fussy and time-consuming.  One recipe even suggested I leave the batter overnight!  Oh my.... Life's too short!  Then I found one that not only looked super-simple, but uber-quick too!  So I decided to have a go, and look what I produced in less than half an hour:
They are absolutely YUM!!!  Quick tut here if you want to have a go.  Whisk one egg white until doubled in size, add to that 75g caster sugar and whisk again, FOLD in 85g ground almonds and half tsp of almond extract.  Line a baking tray with parchment and coat your hands with icing sugar.  Taking a dessert spoon of the batter, carefully roll it in your hands to make a ball and place on baking tray.  Continue until all the batter has gone - it will produce about a dozen.  Set them apart on the baking tray so that they have room to drop slightly, dust them with icing sugar then place in pre-heated oven (200dC ??F) for exactly 10 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Astonished that they came out so well, I had to have another go - this time I doubled the ingredients and made 20 biscuits, slightly larger.  No problem at all - they were perfect!  Friends watch out, I think I have found my gift to give for 2013!!

Well, I have a 50th celebration to start planning now - my dear ol' Tezza is about to reach his half-century and I want to throw a party!

I hope that all my lovely buddies, old and new, have had a wonderful Christmas and I would like to wish every single one of you a very, very happy, successful and prosperous 2013 and I look forward to seeing you all 'on the other side'!

Happy New Year to each and every one of you XXX