present ideas

Making biscotti

Biscotti make a wonderful home-made gift. We have made them for Christmas presents and the apprentice also made them for her teachers this year. They are incredibly simple to make and, with an adult there to supervise hot ovens and sharp knives, are definitely doable by a child.

Making biscotti

You will need:

8oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
6oz caster sugar
2 medium eggs beaten
3oz each whole hazlenuts, pistachios and chocolate chunks (or your own combination of flavourings)

Preheat oven to 180C Gas 4

Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar and eggs until they form a smooth dough

How to make biscotti

Add nuts and chocolate and mix thoroughly

Making biscotti

On a floured surface divide dough into 4 and roll out into sausages. Don’t be scared to use enough flour at this stage – the mix can get pretty sticky and you need enough flour to be able to handle it. Place on greaseproof paper on a baking tray

Homemade biscotti

Bake for 20 – 30 mins until lightly golden, then cool for 10 mins on a wire rack. The sausages “spread out” somewhat during cooking. If they have spread out enough to join up with each other, you can break them apart easily by folding the pieces away from each other whilst still on the sheet. Reduce oven to 140C Gas 1

How to make biscotti

Cut diagonally into 1/2 inch slices.

Making biscotti

Bake again for 15 mins until dry and golden. Sometimes 15 mins isn’t enough in which case, turn the biscotti over on the tray and return to the oven until done.

How to make biscotti

Cool on a wire rack and eat and enjoy. It will keep for up to a month in an airtight tin.


We don’t get snow! Or at least we occasionally get an inch or so that lasts for around a day. But we don’t get a “proper” fall of snow. In 45 years, I think I have had about 4 really decent snow years.

Needless to say, the local children (the apprentice included) start praying and hoping for snow in about November and don’t give up until March. They have dreams of building snowmen and having snowball battles…….not to mention a few days off school!

2013 jan 5th misc 001

So the apprentice made these snowmen to give to her friends at school on the last day of term. They were great fun, very easy and were very well received by the other kids.

You need:

Giant chocolate buttons (if you can’t buy these you can make them out of melted chocolate)
Mini marshmallows
Some chocolate for melting.
“Something” for the arms – Matchmakers or Mikado chocolate covered sticks work well, and can also be used to hold the body together.
Melted chocolate or chopped up sweets for the eyes, nose and buttons
Some wide sweet bands for the scarves – we used “Wham rip roll” cut in half.

Thread 2 marshmallows onto a matchmaker or Mikado, break it off flush with the top and bottom of the marshmallows. Wrap a length of scarf around the gap between them and tie it like a scarf.

Melt some chocolate and use it to stick the Giant chocolate buttons on the head, with the mini marshmallow on top to make his top-hat.

We used orange jelly tots cut in quarters for his nose – attach them with a little spot of melted chocolate. Make him some eyes and buttons using little spots of melted chocolate or using some more sweets.

Finish the snowman off with some arms made with the Matchmakers or Mikado. Dust with icing sugar

Eat and enjoy – or give to your friends as presents.