NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION IS DOWNLOADING

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National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is Downloading
24 December 2015

I’ve got my once a year bottle of Baileys in the fridge and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation downloading, so it’s gotta be Christmas.

This year is a little different for me, as it will be my first without my kids, but I’ve still got Bing blaring and I’m still working out when is the earliest appropriate time to have my first glass of icy Irish cream.

Christmas is such a beautiful time of year, but sadly for some people it can be a heartbreaking day, a hard day, or not even a day at all. I want to send some love to those of you who are finding it hard this year, big, big hugs to you.

For the rest of us lucky ones, who are currently whipping up a storm in the kitchen, finishing up the last day of work all buzzy with excitement to get home and start being all Christmassesy, running around like mad people in the shops looking for the perfect gift for the one person who is a pain in the butt to buy for (I am that person, and I am so sorry!), I wish you the happiest of days with your family and your kids, which is what it’s all about really.

And THANK YOU ALL for being such amazing supporters of Lunch Lady. It has been a huge year, with our first issue sitting pretty on the shelves. Thank you for buying her, thank you for buying her for a friend, your mum, yourself!!

Lots of love to all of you, you’re all unreal.

Kate x

MAKE THE HOUSE SMELL LIKE CHRISTMAS GINGERBREAD

RECIPE BY THE GORGEOUS CARLA GRBAC

It is better if you make this dough the day before you plan on using it so it has had time to rest but if pressed, 2 hours will do.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 400g / 14.1oz plain flour
  • 1½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 180g / 6.35oz unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 125g / 4.4oz soft dark brown sugar or regular brown sugar if you don’t have any of the dark stuff
  • 1 egg
  • 125g / 4.4oz unsulfured blackstrap molasses (or black treacle)
  • 1-2 tbs candied ginger finely chopped (if you have some hanging out in the cupboard)

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO

  1. Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove and salt in a large bowl and set aside for later.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar in a mixer with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy.
  3. Beat in the egg and molasses, scraping the bottom of the bowl and sides for any unmixed ingredients. You can put the mixer bowl straight on top of my scales and press zero, so the molasses doesn’t end up on every work surface and left behind in another bowl.
  4. Turn the mixer down to its slowest speed and add the flour mixture, one heaped tablespoon at a time. You might need to scrape the sides of the bowl a number of times to ensure an even mix.
  5. Add your finely chopped candied ginger, if using.
  6. Get your plastic wrap ready, you’re going to need two pieces.
  7. Divide the dough into two, flatten them into a disk and wrap tightly. Leave to rest overnight (or at least 2 hours).
  8. Preheat your oven to 160°C / 320°F .
  9. Take the dough out of the fridge and leave to soften for about 10 minutes.
  10. Lightly dust your work surface, rolling pin and the top of your dough and roll it out to about 4mm.
  11. Dust your dough as you go if you find it sticking, carefully turning the circle of dough as you go to prevent sticking. If you find any cracks appearing all you need to do is push the dough back together. Slowly rolling out will stop this from happening.
  12. Scrounge around home for anything interesting, which you may be able to use to create patterns for your biscuits. Go for the utensils drawer, I found a chop stick, some forks, a glass tube, a cut crystal glass with patterned bottom and lots of different cookie cutters. Cover the surface of the dough with all sorts of patterns, then using your cookie cutters cut out the dough and pierce a hole, 1cm in from the edge.
  13. Place on a baking try with some space between the cookies and bake for 10-15 mins. Be mindful of how hot your oven is and adjust the cooking time accordingly. You want them to be just golden on the underside.
  14. Allow to cool on a wire rack.

 

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