Valentine’s day is a day to put teenage gloom or adult cynicism on hold and celebrate LOVE! Actually, it is always essential to stop and celebrate LIFE, LOVE and the here and now… When I was younger, I despised the whole idea and pretended not to care for cards… I hardly thought an annual day for love was on anybody’s agenda but the chocolate makers.
But maybe, just maybe, Valentine’s day is not so corny after all : Is it not just about WHAT and WHO makes us happy? Is celebrating happiness not a serious and important matter?! So I’ll give a short vacation to my sense of taste and my sense of ridicule, and I’ll embrace the day as a small romantic window to enjoy. I have booked lunch at a very plush starred restaurant and I’ll be giving an edible card to my Valentine. Never neglect to celebrate the good bits, will be my new motto. I might even throw in a heart themed breakfast with the lovely edible flowers I bought at Borough market on saturday…
So here is my “Idea of the month”, none less.
- Self-raising flour 425g- I used chesnut flour for one third and the result was light and spicy but I had to add 1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda.
- Pinch of salt
- All spices (or 4 Spices) 1 Tbsp
- Cinnamon 1 tsp
- Mace 1 tsp
- Ginger 1 tsp
- Cardamom, 2 pods crushed
- Honey 170 g
- Soft brown sugar 375 g
- Butter 115 g
- lemon zest, 1
- 1 egg plus one yolk – keep the white for the royal icing later!
- 1 Tbsp of treacle- optional but nice
Heat the oven to 150°.
Mix all the dry ingredients into a big pot.
Melt the butter, honey, sugar and treacle on low heat. Let it cool first, then mix it in the dry mix and add the eggs and lemon zest. Beat well until you get a creamy base.
Reserve in the fridge for half hour. Don’t forget to line the baking trays. I use a reusable Silpat sheet on mine.
Spread the dough on your working surface and roll it down to 1 cm. Then with a sharp knife or shape cutters, cut out the heart or teddies shapes and transfer them onto your tray.
Bake for 30 minutes at 150°. The pieces will raise a little and take a nice brown colour. Don’t worry if they get a bit out of shape, you can always trim later.
Take some coloured or white edible paper and cut out similar shapes, then write little kind messages (or saucy ones) with an edible ink pen or a bit of food colouring on a thin paint brush. Either scatter them in an envelope of handmade paper as I did in the first picture or stick them with a bit of sugar paste at the back of you gingerbread hearts and teddies and then decorate the other side with sweets and icing! More is more- on this occasion.