Well my Holiday Traditions Swap has arrived safe and well, with it's recipient Tonya. I had to wait until she received it for me to 'show off'. At first I was a bit scared that I wouldn't send off a good enough parcel, and then I wondered if I'd actually get it made in time to post off to USA, for it to arrive in time for Christmas. But :: it all seemed to work out, it got there in time, and more importantly I actually like it and am quite happy with it!
I sent some handmade (machine stitched - I hand stitched the ones for our tree, and they are quite wonky, plus took me ages!) stuffed felt stars, with ribbon to hang on the tree. They are quite bright colours - lovely for after Christmas possibly in a child's bedroom.
And some Steiner-inspired dolls made from fabric scraps. This is something that we used to have when we were young. I remember making beautiful white ones with my Mum and sister, and hanging them on our little tree. Or stringing them along our roof. These are really easy to make, and something you can do with children. They can be as simple or elaborate as you like. If anyone wants a basic tutorial, let me know :: I'd love to write one for you.
The recipe that I included was for some yummy biscuits that Sam's Mum often makes. They are an Italian almond biscuit - Amaretti. I made a recipe card for it - did a little styled photo-shoot, which was really fun. (Sam did the logistics of actually 'making' the recipe card, as he's the designer with the computer programs and know-how and the amazing skills and visual eye!). Of course, the biscuits weren't perfect when we baked them the day of the 'photo-shoot', but they still looked lovely and tasted delicious. I've been wanting to make some recipe cards for a while now, so this is the start - I plan on making more in the New Year.
And then I wrote a whole bit blurb about our family traditions :: past ones and new ones I want to implement. I'll tell you a bit more about it after Christmas.
What a received from Tonya was lovely and tasty. She sent me some of her Grandma's chocolate and sultana cookies - they arrived very crumbled, but so tasty. Also a fun CD of her favourite Christmas songs - we have only listened to it once, as most music has to compete with Playschool's 'The Wobbly Walk'. The Mickey Mouse decoration looks right at home on our tree, with all our red angels and stars. She also sent us a beautiful looking (I've seen photos) wreath, but customs snatched it away due to the pine cones. They have cut these off, and are now posting the wreath to us. I have optimistically high hopes of it arriving in time for Christmas!
3 egg whites
200g / 1 cup / 7oz castor sugar
250g / 2 1/2 cups / 8oz almond meal
4 Tablespoons icing sugar
A few drops pink colouring (you can leave this out for white amaretti, or add it only half/half. This isn't in the recipe, just something that Ari + I wanted to add when we were making these).
Pre-heat oven to 160C / 325F / Gas 3
Beat egg whites in a mixer until soft peaks form. Gradually add castor sugar, until thick and glossy. Fold almond meal in, by hand and 2 tablespoons of icing sugar. Add a few drops of foor colouring, until you like the intensity. Leave half the mixture white.
Using two tablespoons, form shapes like quinelles - small round shapes, almost with a swirl on top. Place on baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Dust with remaining icing sugar and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on try, then remove from paper and store in an airtight container. Yummo!