HEART-SHAPED TREATS FOR VALENTINE’S
Valentine’s Day has special meaning in our house as it’s also the birthday of my youngest child, my daughter. Ten years ago on Valentine’s Day, I turned to the clock in the delivery room and saw the time – 11:40pm – just as my daughter arrived into the world with a lusty cry. I remember thinking – a Valentine’s baby, how lovely.
This year Valentine’s Day will be particularly bittersweet. Not only does my daughter reach double figures this Sunday – 10 – a heartbreaking reminder that she is technically no longer “my baby”, but this year will also be the first time she’ll celebrate her birthday without us. In the early hours of tomorrow (3am) she’s off on a week-long skiing trip with her school.
While I try and wrap my head around both facts and stifle a little inner sob, I’ve taken solace in Pinterest for some Valentine-inspired treats, meals and snacks. Here’s a small selection to sweeten your weekend.
Clockwise from left to right: These beautiful Marbled Heart-Shaped Cookies are from food blogger Nikki of Seededatthetable.com. Nikki uses three Squeezee bottles of coloured Royal Icing and a cocktail stick to create these sweet and pretty patterns. I don’t know a child who doesn’t like to decorate cupcakes and cookies, so this is a perfect kitchen activity with the kids if you aren’t too fussed about a perfect result. The recipe is super easy too and you can find it here.
You’ll know us well enough by now to know that we’ll try anything to get the kids to eat more fruit and vegetables. So, we’re very impressed with these little Heart-Shaped Cherry Tomatoes from food blogger Jojo Krang at Eyecandy. Cut a tomato in half, make a 45º cut in each half and then pin them together with a cocktail stick. Easy peasy! For the full instructions pop on over to Jojo’s blog here.
My kids love fried eggs and toast and how about this lovely way of presenting them, courtesy of Lifestyle doyenne Martha Stewart. I’ve tried doing a version of eggs fried into toast, and let’s just say they didn’t turn out well. The secret, it seems, is to keep the cookie cutter in place and cover the pan to finish off the cooking. Use the toasted cutout heart for dipping in the yolk. Perfect! Heart Shaped Eggs and Toast recipe here.
If you need heart-shaped cookie cutters or bake pans in a hurry, Amazon has a wide range, like this Set of 5 Heart Shaped Cookie Cutters and Heart Shape Cake Pan. Both are available with expedited delivery and so should arrive before Sunday (check the website for more details).
IS IT YOGHURT? IS IT CHEESE? NO, IT’S ICELANDIC SKYR
We’re big on yoghurt in our house. The kids love it, my husband loves it, and I could eat yoghurt literally till the cows come home, are milked and are sent back out to eat grass again.
So, I was simmering with some degree of excitement when I received a sample box of traditional Icelandic Skyr (pronounced Skeer) a new product on our supermarket shelves this month, but with its footprint firmly planted in history – 1,100 years of history to be precise.
Technically classified as a fresh cheese, it’s more like a very thick, stick-to-your-spoon, creamy yoghurt, and is consumed in Iceland as such, often flavoured with fruit or berries. High in protein, and low in fat, it’s being dubbed a “superfood” by those in the know.
Not to be confused with Arla’s Icelandic-style yoghurt (Arla is a Danish brand and their Skyr is produced in Germany) original Icelandic Skyr is made in a unique way from a recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation, traditionally from mother to daughter.
Made by incubating skim milk with live active Skyr cultures, the whey (the watery liquid naturally found in milk) is then strained away to give that traditional dense texture.
Icelandic Skyr is available in three flavours: Original, Blueberry and Vanilla, and I’d be hard-pressed to say which my favourite was. My daughter loved the Vanilla, while the rest of us really loved the Blueberry. Each is very thick and creamy with a slightly tangy taste unlike any I’ve tasted in a yoghurt before.
You’ll find lots of information on the website – www.skyriceland.co.uk – including its history and health benefits as well as recipes. I tried the Berry Boost smoothie using blueberries, a banana and strawberries and it was delicious. I could see Skyr being a very versatile addition to my cooking – perfect for creamy curries and soups perhaps.
Icelandic Skyr is now available in select Waitrose stores and is currently on offer at £1 per 170g which is a very substantial pot. It is also available in WholeFoods in the US.
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