Merry Christmas

Wishing you and all your loved ones a very magical and merry Christmas! May you spend the holidays in happiness and love.

Kellemes Karacsonyi Unnepeket!

Love,

Veronika

The Lavey Christmas Tree

Yes, yes, yes!! It’s up and looking pretty. Pretty full of decorations actually, but still definitely pretty. Our Christmas Tree certainly is not an Ikea Christmas Tree. Oh no. There’s all sorts of colours here Ladies and Gentlemen. Pinks with reds, greens with blues and even tinsel. Yes, I did allow Ian to put one THIN red piece of tinsel on the tree. He thinks they’re great…

We went to a local tree buying place after Max’s school finished and the four of us chose our tree. Ok, so Anabelle wasn’t really choosing. She was running around or crying because she wanted to be picked up. And Max wanted most of them. Ian had a few suggestions. Ok, so I chose! But at least both Ian and Max think they did the choosing. We’re clever like that, mummies and wives.

See the blue round thing above the train? It’s called Habkarika. It’s basically a meringue that’s made into a circle in all sorts of pastel colours, then stung up and hung on trees in Hungary. Or, in this case the UK. Kent, in fact. Yay for my gorgeous sister, who sent me a packet of them. I would have been rubbish at making perfect round shapes.

This little frog is one of my favourite decorations. I try to buy one new piece each year to add to the collection. We bought the prince last year.

I wasn’t sure if we should have a real tree or a fake tree this year. I looked it up on the net and read all sorts of pros and cons. Did you know that fake trees can have lead in them? Because of this and because you can’t recycle them and because they don’t have that lovely lovely Christmas Tree smell (and no, you can’t just spray pine smell around the house. It will smell like a loo!), we decided to go for a real tree. It’s a chopped tree, so it will have to be recycled after Christmas, but I’m now thinking we’ll invest in a larger potted one for next year. We’ll be able to reuse our own tree then.

HOLD THE PHONE!!!!! Let me see this picture again:

GOLD TINSEL!! Sneaky, sneaky Ian! Seriously you give them your little finger and they want to bite off your whole arm!

Never mind. It’s Christmas. He can have his red AND gold tinsels. If it makes him happy. (cough… cough… tacky… cough, cough)

I took photos of decorations from around the house. I’ll put them on in the next post.

The ginger-less Gingerbread Recipe aka Honey-bread Recipe

You know the recipe I promised? Here it is. And as you will see, it isn’t exactly a typical gingerbread recipe. Ok, ok, it hardly has anything to do with a typical gingerbread recipe. This is even BETTER! Seriously, your whole kitchen, in fact your whole house will smell like you’ll want to eat it!

The ginger-less gingerbread recipe

aka

Honey-bread recipe

 

You’ll need:

760g flour

340g icing sugar

2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda

1 tablespoon of cinnamon

1 tablespoon of baking cocoa

50g butter (room temperature)

4 eggs

4 tablespoons of runny honey

 

It’s very simple really.

Preheat the oven to 160C. Line your baking trays with baking paper.

Put everything in a bowl and start mixing it together with your hands. It will take a little while before it forms a firm dough. If it doesn’t want to stick together, either put another egg in the mixture or a bit more honey.

Rest it overnight.

On a lightly floured area, roll the dough out to about 3mm (any thicker and the houses won’t look too nice). This is when you’ll want to put your drawn-up or printed-out stencils on the top to cut around. Dotting around the stencils is way too fiddly. I say, go with the knife! Cut, cut, cut. Don’t forget to do the base that you’ll stick your house and extras on or the windows, the chimneys, the fence, the Christmas trees, etc, etc. or anything else you want to put around your house, or in your village.

Then make up a mixture of 1 egg yolk+1 tablespoon sour cream and with a brush thinly paint it on the top of the rolled out and cut out pieces. This will give them a nice shine.

Pop them on the tray then in the oven. They really don’t take much to bake, so take care! This is not a set time, just an estimate as everyone’s oven is different and you might roll your pieces thicker or thinner, but try about 8-9 minutes. You’ll know it’s done, when the colour is light golden brown.

By now your whole house will smell of beautiful honey. Soooo Christmassy!

So, once your timer beeped and you’re satisfied with the colour, take out the house bits and let them totally cool. If they’re not cold, they will melt your sugar-glue you’ll stick your house together with.

There are two kinds of glues we used.

Simple:

Separate an egg and to the whites, start adding icing sugar and mix continuously until the mixture doesn’t run off your wooden spoon. Put the mixture in either a plastic bag, or make one up from paper (snip the end off and close the top so the mixture can’t run out up top).

More fiddly:

In a saucepan put 4 tablespoons of white sugar. Start heating it on lowish heat, until the sugar becomes liquid, has honey-brown colouring and is completely smooth.

You’ll have to work quicker with this because it sets quicker than the simple glue. AND you’ll have to be EXTRA CAREFUL because it will be very very very hot!! Please take extra care that you don’t drip any of the liquid sugar on your skin.

This glue is ideal when making something as big as my church, because it holds much much better than the icing sugar mixture.

However! If you live in a high humidity area, skip this, because it will melt and run down on your house.

So, with your chosen glue, stick your houses together, and with the icing sugar mixture, decorate your houses. Buy a whole lot of Smarties, and chocolate buttons, etc etc to stick on and make it all pretty and colourful.

You can make all sorts of things, like the pictured jewellery box we made. Fill it with tiny honey-bread Christmas trees decorated with hundreds and thousands.

Happy baking!

Veronika and her mum Csilla (who’s recipe this actually is!)

Silent night, holy night…. lalalaaa

I feel so very Christmasy!! If you haven’t caught the ‘bug’ yet, have a look at my gorgeous gingerbread village and you’ll feel festive instantly too.

My beautiful mother made them all. She was visiting us and stayed for three weeks, much of which she spent cutting and baking and glueing and decorating.

She, my mum that is, is so very very lovely. I mentioned to her that I would love a gingerbread village and she set to it right away.

I so wish that we had space in the house that I could just keep my village as it is.

As it is, one of the houses will go to my mother-in-law’s, another will go to Max’s school. I’m KEEPING THE REST!!!

Or we could just eat on our knees on the couch until after Christmas and keep the table for the houses!! Somehow I don’t think the others would like the idea. Though I think it’s a good one!!

I wonder when we should start putting the rest of the decorations up. And the tree? Hmm… Sooner the better I think.

It’s meant to snow in the second half of the week. That’s very festive too, isn’t it? I really really don’t like driving on snow/ice, so that part I’m not looking forward to, but winter is beautiful when it’s snowy.

I’ve bought all the presents already too. Most of them are wrapped. I’m too good. I know! 😉

So, do you feel festive yet?

Worst comes to worst you could always go to a shopping centre and listen to the Christmas music in every shop!

Go on. Get your baking tray out and start making a house! I’ll write the recipe down later. I’m late for Max’s school pick up so must dash.

ps: I love my mum

Paper cutting

One of my favourite blogs to visit is Elsa Mora’s main blog. She is a very lovely and terribly inspiring woman! She has five blogs all of which I visit regularly. If you haven’t wondered over yet, I think you should. Her dolls are fantastic and her paper cutting is just beautiful. Elsita has a really unique style that reflects on all her work and her wardrobe!! 🙂

Because of her paper cutting I thought I’d attempt something myself. Obviously it was quite inspired by her work, but my little first piece is nowhere near as beautiful. But you know what? I loved making it! It’s so therapeutic and fantastically fiddly!

I’ll soon be working on another one and I’ll post about it too after xmas. It’s going to be a pressie.

xx for now.

A start on Christmas decorations

I’m really excited about Christmas this year. Maybe because both Max and Anabelle are at an age, where they’ll appreciate it all! I just can’t wait to see their little faces when they see the lit up tree for the first time and when they open their presents.

I really feel like dressing up the house NOW! Ok, ok 13th November may be a little wee bit early… When do you decorate your house? I would really love to know. And how do you celebrate?

We’ve started making paper chains for the tree and gingerbread houses for putting around the house. We’ll have a mini one, two small ones and a church.

I’ll show more photos of the finished houses. If time permits Ian’s parents will get one too and Max’s class.

There’s so much to do before December (besides an essay…!!). I think I might calm the nerves with a bit of decoration sewing… 😉