Christmas tree biscuits for a rainy day

christmas tree biscuits

Here is a festive little activity to do with the kids (or not!) All you need are some basic ingredients, Christmassy spices (ground ginger and cinnamon) and a Christmas tree biscuit cutter. We didn’t have anything to decorate the trees with but the possibilities are endless (those squirty icing pens, little edible balls or stars). Kids (including toddlers) can enjoy mixing the ingredients, rolling the dough out and then cutting the shapes and transferring them to the baking tray.  Allow 20 minutes for the dough to harden in the fridge before rolling.

The biscuits should keep for a few days.  For an alternative biscuit recipe that can be hung on the Christmas tree click here:

https://katielovescooking.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/im-back-with-reindeer-cookies-to-make-with-kids-and-to-decorate-the-christmas-tree/

christmas tree biscuits

christmas tree biscuits

Don’t worry if the biscuits don’t look perfect – some of ours weren’t even recognisable!

Christmas tree biscuits (makes approx 12)

225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp each of ground cinnamon and ground ginger (or 3/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ground all spice)
115g light muscovado sugar/caster sugar
115g unsalted butter
1 medium egg, beaten

Start by preheating the oven to 180°C/ gas mark 4.
Mix the flour, spices and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter, if necessary rubbing it in using your fingers. Add the beaten egg and mix into a stiff dough. Make a big ball and put it in the fridge for 20 minutes to harden a bit.  Knead lightly and roll out on a floured surface until it’s approx 1/4 inch thick.  Cut into Christmassy shapes and place onto non-stick baking trays.  Pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes, swapping the trays around halfway through, until golden brown.
Leave the biscuits to cool then decorate with whatever you fancy.

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My first www.katielovescooking.com magazine article!

I am very excited to announce that I recently had my first http://www.katielovescooking.com feature in Waltham Forest Is London magazine, which was delivered to every home in Waltham Forest.  I am really pleased with it.  For the full online article, including more about how I got in to cooking, my work in the local community and a recipe using locally sourced ingredients, click here!

http://www.walthamforestlondon.co.uk/news/katie-loves-cooking-katielovescooking-com/

My fella’s low-calorie roast sweet potato, broccoli and prawn salad (40 mins prep)

If you read my blog regularly you will know that my fella normally only gets excited over Rustlers burgers and biscuits.  Not so anymore.  He has been on a low-calorie health kick and – shock horror! – might actually be getting his five (veg and fruit) a day.  In his quest to eat delicious and filling low-calorie meals, he discovered that you can eat loads of veg and prawns without racking up many calories (in this case we reckon about 300 per portion).

sweet potato broccoli prawn low calorie salad

This salad is a one-tray meal so it saves on washing up. We both agree that roasting sweet potato, broccoli, asparagus, prawns, garlic and chilli flakes in olive oil then squeezing over fresh lemon juice is really tasty and satisfyingly filling.  In my fella’s words ‘it’s so nice I can literally eat it’.  I’m quite annoyed that one of our most regularly eaten dishes was invented by him and not me…

There are lots of alternative ingredient options for this dish – cauliflower, carrots, parsnips and onions are also delicious roasted; soya beans could be heated separately and added at the end; you could top the salad with seeds, spring onions or herbs; and if you don’t eat prawns you could scatter on shaved parmesan or crumbled feta before serving.

To offset this superfood meal, I am collaborating with a cafe to bring you an Algerian omelette recipe – naughty, unique and definitely NOT low in calories.  Watch this space!

My fella’s low-calorie roast sweet potato, broccoli and prawn salad (serves 2)

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in to small chunks
Head of broccoli, roughly cut in to florets
6 asparagus tips, chopped in to 1 inch pieces
180g cooked prawns (any kind), drained
Optional – handful pine nuts, toasted (you can do this yourself by heating in a hot, dry non-stick pan for 1-2 mins, shaking regularly until lightly browned)
2 garlic cloves, crushed

Small sprinkle chilli flakes

Juice of 1 lemon
Large glug olive oil

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190 degrees.  Put the sweet potato chunks in a non-stick roasting/baking tray, coat in a large glug of olive oil and mix. Put in the oven for approx 30 mins, turning every 5-10 minutes to avoid burning. Once tender, add the broccoli, asparagus, prawns, garlic and chilli flakes and roast for a further 10-15 mins, turning regularly. Add a little olive oil if necessary. Once everything is cooked through and slightly browned, take out of the oven and add the lemon juice.  Mix.

Serve in bowls topped with the pine nuts.

Kids’ favourite – 7 minute noodles in a cup!

7 minute noodles cup kids meal

This is hardly a ground breaking dish.  But it is quick, tasty, healthy and, most importantly, has the novelty of being served in a cup!  Kids like this.  Mine really enjoyed the ‘oodles of noodles’ and even ‘drank’ the last bits out.  It has a good splash of soy sauce to give it flavour and a bit of saltiness, which also tends to appeal to kids. The possibilities to vary what you put with the noodles are plenty – instead of peas and sweetcorn you could try pepper, spring onions, carrots, broccoli or cauliflower.  Instead of marinated tofu (from a pack – delicious) you could use prawns, flaked smoked mackerel, pre-cooked sausages or chicken.

7 minute noodles cup kids meal

Be prepared for a bit of mess due to all those long, wriggly noodles.  In my opinion this is half the fun but you could always cut them up if you want!

7 minute noodles in a cup (serves approx 4 people depending on appetites)

160g medium egg noodles

100g peas

Small tin sweetcorn

250g Cauldron marinated tofu pieces (or cooked prawns, flaked smoked mackerel, chopped cooked sausages or chicken)

Big dash soy sauce

Boil the noodles and peas together in a pan for 5 minutes, making sure you separate the noodles with a fork while they cook so they don’t stick.  Drain and add the sweetcorn and marinated tofu.  Mix up and add a good glug of soy sauce, to taste (be careful not to overdo it!)  Carefully load in to cups and serve.