Gingerbread play dough

I love gingerbread! I discovered a awesome recipe that’s gluten free a few years ago and every year we make a gingerbread house.  Our efforts look absolutely nothing like the houses on Pinterest and Instagram but we have a whole heap of fun doing it. As today is the last day of term (hooray!) I though I would quickly share something fun (and super easy) you can do with your children in the holidays.  It would also a cute gift for little friends.  So without further waffle from me I  bring you gingerbread play dough.

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  • 150g plain flour
  • 150grams salt
  • 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tbsp cooking oil
  • 70ml of water
Put everything in a bowl and stir until you have a dough, so wonderfully simple.  Let the fun begin!
I’ve put some playdoug in a pretty jar with tiny little gingerbread man cutters and a packet of buttons as a gift but I also made a batch just for us. If you’d like to pin the recipe to make later then I’ve created an image with he recipe on for quick reference.
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Gluten Free Pumpkin Doughnuts

Those of you who follow me on social media will know pumpkins have slightly taken over my life (and my kitchen) lately.  I do think pumpkins are the most magical vegetables and I enjoy collecting them in all shapes, colours and sizes throughout October.  Come November they need eating though and this year I had quite a collection, thanks to some kind neighbours who gave us a couple of whoppers! I’ve always been fascinated by the American “pumpkin patch” and infamous pumpkin pie, a favourite at Thanksgiving.  I confess that until this year I had never eaten it and hadn’t understood that pumpkin pie was a sweet, not savoury affair. Well now that we are better acquainted pumpkin pie and I are firm friends and I’ve been experimenting with this magical vegetable and pumpkin pie spice A LOT!  So without further ramblings from me I bring you my recipe for pumpkin spiced doughnuts.  Oh, and because I’m gluten intolerant these little nuggets of gorgeousness are gluten free too, yay!

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This recipe uses my own pumpkin spice mix, which I have devised from reading various recipes online and adapted to suit my own tastes. Mix all the spices together and store in a Tupperware or jam jar and add to all your pumpkin recipes. 4tsp ground cinnamon, 2tsp ground ginger, 2tsp ground nutmeg, 1tsp ground all spice, 1/2tsp ground cloves

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For the Pumpkin Doughnuts

  • 100g Doves Farm plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2tsp of pumpkin spice mix (see above)
  • pinch of salt
  • 60g very soft butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 4tbsp sour cream
  • 9 table spoon of pumpkin puree (either make your own or buy it canned)
For the coating
  • 50g sugar
  • 2tsp pumpkin spice mix
Measure all the dry ingredients and place in a large bowl.  Add the butter, eggs, sour cream and pumpkin puree & mix until you have a smooth batter.
Lightly butter your doughnut tin (ah yes should have mentioned this before you’ll need to make a small investment in a doughnut tin to make doughnuts, but trust me worth every penny.  I have this adorable mini doughnut tin  and this recipe makes 3 dozen mini doughnuts). Using a teaspoon place the mixture into the tin, fill about two thirds full. Avoid covering the little divet so you get a nice doughnut shape. Bake at 180’C for 10mins.
Whilst your pumpkin doughnuts are cooking put the sugar and spice mix for the coating onto a plate or shallow oven dish and mix to combine.
As soon as your doughnuts are cooked, remove them from the tin and toss them in the coating.  Serve immediately.

Rose Hip Syrup Recipe

Rose Hips are packed full of vitamin C and other amazing vital-mins.  Forget Baobab berries or what ever the latest trendy fruit is rose hips have been used for centuries to help ward off colds and flu during the winter.  Around this time of year I try to make a batch and frequently give a spoonful of it to each of the children (& myself) through autumn and winter.  I have found the years where I take the time to make it we have far fewer coughs, colds and illness over the winter.  Further more its delicious and can be added to cakes, drizzled over ice cream or just taken as is – hooray!

Rose Hip Syrup

Recipe

Makes approx. 2.5 litres

  • 3 litters of water
  • 1kg rose hips
  • 450g granulated white sugar
First you will need to clean and sterilize some jars or bottles although if you plan on keeping your syrup in the freezer you don’t need to sterilize the jars.
Boil 2 litres of water in a large pan.  Remove the stalks and any dead flower heads from the rose hips and mince them in a food processor.  Add the rose hips to the boiling water, return to the boil and then take off the heat.  Leave to infuse for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes strain the mixture through a jelly bag and set aside the juice.  Return the pulp to the pan with 1 litre of boiling water.  Bring back to the boil, leave for 15 minutes and the strain through a jelly bag again. The pulp can now be discarded.

Pour the juice you have collected into a clean pan (I find a preserving pan with measures up the side very useful for this next stage.  If your preserving pan doesn’t have measures pour 1 litre of water into your pan before you begin and take note of the water mark) reduce the liquid until you have 1 litre left in the pan.  Now add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved.  Using a funnel pour your syrup into your jars or bottles and seal.  If you are storing in the freezer you may want to use Tupperware, freezer bags (in which case wait for your mixture to cool) or ice cube trays.

Elderflower Cordial

I always feel the preserving season is really underway when the elderflower come out & I make Cordial.  I use this same recipe, below, every year.  I am afraid I don’t know it’s original source as it was given to me but it is a good recipe and makes a fragrant and delectable syrup which you dilute to drink or that you can pour over ice cream for a wonderful summer treat.  It keeps for months and months as long as your bottles are well sterilised but can also be frozen.  This recipe makes about 1.5litres.
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You will need…
20 large elderflower heads
1.8kg Granulated sugar
1 Litre of water
75g Citric acid (you will need to buy this from a chemist – tell them you want it for cordial)
2 lemons
Place the elderflowers in a large bowl.  In a pan mix the sugar and water and bring to a gentle boil, stir until all the sugar is dissolved.  Pour this mixture over the elderflower and stir in the citric acid.  Grate in the zest of both lemons and then slice the lemons and add the slices to the bowl.  Cover and leave for 24 hours before straining through a double muslin.  Decant into sterilised bottles and store in a cool dark place.
You can drink this cordial almost instantly once it has been decanted however after a couple of weeks the flavour develops a little more.  I can never resist a little taste when it’s first made – it has a lovely freshness at this stage.
Please be careful Elderflower is a tree or large shrub with sprays of white flowers that later turn to deep purple berries, it has a distinctive smell.  Be certain that what you are picking is Elderflower!  Some people have mistakenly picked cow parsley as the flowers are similar but this grows up from the ground on tall stems.  Cow parsley is poisonous!  However, after a little familiarisation elderflower is very easy to identify so don’t be put off, give it a go!

Nutella ice lollies

My kids are crazy about Nutella they’d eat it for breakfast, lunch and tea if I let them.  I very much doubt they are alone in this.  I saw a recipe for grown up Nutella ice lollies using baileys and I tried making them with just milk instead of baileys but they needed a little punch.  So this is my very own tweaked (child approved) Nutella ice lollies recipe.

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Nutella ice lollies (makes 4)

  • You will need 225ml milk,
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 heaped tbsp of Nutella

Put all the ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth, pour into your lolly moulds and freeze for at least 24hours.  When you want to eat your ice lollies dip the moulds in some hot water to release the ice lollies.