What better way to spend an afternoon than with a friend? Be it an old friend or new, whether meeting for lunch, or for coffee, or for a walk in the park, it’s the nicest way to spend some time. Fortunately for me I got to do this both yesterday and today. And two of the friends I spent this time with I met for the very first time, the first being the lovely Cherry Menlove and the second my friend Viv’s gorgeous little baby girl.
I had been so looking forward to these meetings and as I had some time this week, being off work, I thought it would be nice to bake some gifts. There’s something very special about baking for other people; happily mixing, and kneading, and rolling out dough whilst thinking of your friends makes you put extra care in and I like to think a little of the warmth and love finds its way into the baking somehow. Little packages of home-made treats are not only lovely to receive but they’re lovely to give, so it’s a very rewarding type of baking.
I had great fun making these cinnamon hearts yesterday, although I found the fondant icing a little tricky to work with at first – this was the first time I’d ever used it. I soon got the hang of it though and before long I was happily colouring it and cutting out little hearts and flowers. And not only was the baking fun, but so was carefully choosing the ribbon and making up the little packages. It was a lovely way to spend a few hours, and before I knew it, it was time to catch the train into London to meet Cherry.
Cherry and I have been talking via email for quite some time now. As many of you will know, we run the ‘In the Bag’ event, along with Scott from Real Epicurean. We’d been talking about meeting up for ages so it was really nice to finally get to do so yesterday.
Cherry is the first blogger I’ve ever met so, whilst I was excited, I was a little nervous too. But I needn’t have been, Cherry was lovely and we chatted away non-stop. We went to a bar just off of The Strand and as soon as Cherry asked ‘shall we have something white and bubbly?’ I knew she was a girl after my own heart!
Cherry’s lovely Fiancé met up with us when he finished work, by which time we were well on our way through our second bottle of Prosecco. It was a fabulous evening and worth the inevitable hangover in the morning. I laughed when I saw Cherry’s email to me this morning entitled ‘headache’ and I opened it with a sympathetic smile and a pounding head!
This afternoon was just as wonderful as Rob and I visited my very good friend Viv and her adorable new baby. Viv and I live some distance from each other so don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, which makes our get-togethers even more special. Of course this visit was very special indeed, being our first meeting since she gave birth to her little bundle of joy. It was a lovely, lovely afternoon and we hope to repeat it again very soon.
100g unsalted butter, softened
100g caster sugar
1 large egg
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
2. Beat the egg and gradually add it to the butter and sugar.
3. Mix in the flour and cinnamon, then bring together with your hands to form a dough.
4. The dough can be used straight away but is best after at least half an hour chilling in the fridge. It will be fairly sticky so you’ll need to roll it out on a floured surface and sprinkle over more flour as needed. Roll the dough out until it’s about 1/2 cm thick.
5. Cut out heart shapes using a biscuit cutter
6. Bake the biscuits at 180C for about 10 minutes, but do keep an eye on them, they may need a few minutes less or longer. They should be very lightly golden when cooked.
7. Put the biscuits onto a wire rack to cool.
8. Roll out coloured fondant icing and cut out heart shapes using the same cutter as you used for the bisuits. Brush the underside of the hearts with water and place over the biscuits, gently rubbing over the icing so it sticks.
9. Decorate the biscuits with fondant flowers stuck on using a little water.