Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Birdies and Barbies

A little Birdie told me....
Aren't those words always ready to stir the pot of curiosity?
So who is this Birdie? What did the Birdie say? Why did the Birdie say what the Birdie said?
Well, a little Birdie told me that my blog has a new fan and that it would bode well to write a new post. So for the this Birdie's sake who happens to be a real pain in the ass, here is a little something that I've been meaning to write for a long time...

I know this is a recurring theme in my blog but sisters all over the world will understand the nuances of reminiscing about the good 'ol times when their brother behaved liked a giant jackass.

Year: Sometime during the late 90's
Location: A toy store in a mall in our hometown in Chennai, India
Situation: Mother taking the brother and me Diwali shopping

The excitement of buying ourselves a fancy toy is buzzing in the air and Lil Kartoo and I scan the store excitedly. Lil Kartoo sets his sights on a train that chugs along on a set of tracks bellowing out smoke that is created by pouring a little oil into the set. Cool right! He's happy and smug and his face is beaming bright like Master Yoda's smile. I look around and wonder what I should get. I was never really a doll kinda girl. Something more fun like a board game, a puzzle or something (If you are thinking it, let me clarify, NO I AM NOT A GEEK). Suddenly, Kartoo comes bouncing out of nowhere, glee in his eyes and steers me toward...wait for it...THE BARBIE DOLL SECTION.
He points his finger at a big box and says, "I think you should get this."
So, what was the 'THIS' in question you ask?
Barbie's Glamour Bath Set!
It came with a doll and a big bath with steps leading up to it that could be covered by walls of plastic glass so Barbie could lie in a cloud of bubbles and think about all things pink. And of course it had a mechanism where water could be pumped in and flow through tiny pink faucets and a shower head.

Lil Kartoo: "Megha! Megha! You must buy this. Look it's so cool. Water squirts when you turn the shower on and it's pink and everything!"
Megha: "Uhhh. Hmmmph. Krrrr. I'll think about it."
I wandered away to the board game section. Now imagine those cartoon shows where a character suddenly springs out upside down on the top corner of the screen.
Incoming: Lil Kartoo
"We have so many board games at home don't you think."
Puzzle Section.
Incoming: Lil Kartoo
"Puzzles! They are for 4 year olds!"
Book section.
Incoming: Lil Kartoo
"Yes. Do get yourself another book by all means geekazoid."

Megha: "Okay. I'll just get the bath set."
Lil Kartoo: Yoda face turns to a Guy Fawkes smile.


Anyway, like all boys who take a fancy to silly things and then realize that they were being stupid idiots, he played with it for a day and went back to his boyishness and his train.

Mull on that with a Gingerbread Man cookie from The Hummingbird Bakery!

For the cookies:
·      400g plain flour
     ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
          2tsp ground ginger
     2tsp ground cinnamon
     ½ tsp ground allspice
     ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
     ½ tsp salt
    180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
       125g soft dark brown sugar
·         1 egg
·         125g black treacle
For the royal icing:
·         1 egg white
·         ½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
·         310g icing sugar, sifted
·         food colouring, optional
·         gingerbread biscuit cutters
·         a baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper
      Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

·         Put the butter and sugars in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and cream on slow speed until light and fluffy. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat in the egg and treacle, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

·         Turn the mixer back down to slow speed and slowly add the flour mixture a couple of tablespoons at a time, stopping often to scrape any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Once an even dough has formed, take it out of the mixer, divide into 3 and wrap each piece in clingfilm.
·         Leave to rest overnight in the fridge.

·         When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) Gas 3.
·         Take the dough out of the fridge and leave to soften for about 10 minutes. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough to a thickness of about 4 mm with a rolling pin. Cut out shapes with the biscuit cutters. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking trays and bake in the preheated oven for about 10–15 minutes.

·        Leave the cookies to cool slightly on the trays before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

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