Chocolate comfort …

It’s been literally freezing here for several days, we’re not used to temperatures of -7°C, especially during the day. I arrived home from work with my boys and despite the heating being on, the house felt so cold. Clearly I needed to prepare some seriously comforting and warming food for tea tonight. Toad in the Hole hit the spot for dinner, not only did it fill the house with warm, slightly caramelised sausage-y smells, having the oven helped warm the kitchen too. Pudding was going to be trickier to decide on, having worked all week, the cupboards looked pretty bare. I turned to my totally reliable “Ultimate Cake Book’ by Mary Berry and turned to the biscuit section (I knew there wouldn’t be enough time for me to make a cake). My eyes fell upon the recipe for ‘Chocolate Fork Biscuits’. They required few ingredients and were very quick and easy to make. A couple of these after our Toad-in-the Hole would be perfect:



Here’s the recipe:


200g soft margarine

100g caster sugar

240g self-raising flour

30g cocoa

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and line 3 baking trays. Mix the margarine and the sugar then stir in the flour and cocoa powder until the ingredients form a dough. Take a rounded teaspoon of the mixture, roll it into a ball and place on the prepared baking tray. Press the dough balls down with a fork. Bake the biscuits for 15-20 minutes.

Carefully remove the biscuits from the tray with a palette knife and cool on a cooling rack.



Sunset on a scrap of paper…

Yesterday, I was at work (I teach in a local primary school), and my colleague and I were planning the work for the afternoon. The children had been working really hard on their topic of ‘slavery’ – a heavy topic for 10/11 year olds, but they have responded to it really thoughtfully Anyway, we thought we would give them a ‘lighter’ afternoon by  enabling them to create some ‘African skies’  inspired art. I was able to pass on some of my limited knowledge about using watercolour paints and mixing the colours. I even managed to have a quick go myself on a scrap of paper:


As well as concentrating on the colours used in the wash, the children had to think of natural shapes that they could use to create silhouettes that they could then stick on their pictures. Many of them chose elephants, some chose monkeys, the most stunning were intertwined giraffes and a roaring lion. It was quite humbling to witness the children’s imagination roam free.