Learning to cook Italian – with Bookings for you & Giovannini Enterprises

I love Italy.  The people, the scenery, the culture and also, the food!

If I was asked to choose one type of cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, without a doubt, Italian is what I would choose.

Sadly I’ve only been to Italy twice. Once to Sicily (Zak our middle one was 1.5 years old at the time and he screamed for the ENTIRE time we were queuing at for our flight at the airport. It was hideous. People looked like they wanted to exterminate us and we haven’t managed to get back on an aeroplane with him since) and once to Venice when I took Mr Knutts for his ‘milestone’ birthday. (Note to husband – when it is my ‘milestone birthday’, I would quite like to go back. Hint, hint). It’s such an enormous country, varied in landscape and cuisine as you travel, and there is so much to explore but, as yet, it is a country relatively unexplored for me which I definitely need to remedy over the coming years.

Before Christmas, I was approached by the truly lovely Jo Mackay, owner of Bookings for You. Jo asked if I would like to attend an Italian cooking masterclass which would be hosted by herself and led by the Giovannini family who hail from Volterra, Italy. I couldn’t say yes quick enough. The thought of gorging myself on pasta and cheese all day was as exciting as being told the news that Tom Hardy was to be reading CBeebies bedtime stories (such a hardship having to watch that with Ben…ahem). I digress. In summary, I was very excited.

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About Bookings for You

Bookings for You was started in 2011 by Jo Mackay. Not only is Jo a savvy superstar business woman, and she is honestly lovely with it, she is also a mum. I’m in awe of what Jo has achieved with her company in a short space of time whilst juggling being a parent. After studying History at the University of Edinburgh, Jo Mackay joined the sales and marketing team at Procter & Gamble. In 2006, Jo and her family purchased a holiday home on Lake Maggiore in Italy. Jo quickly developed a passion for all things Italian and a few years later, Bookings For You was founded. The company initially focused on offering holiday villas and apartments in the Italian Lakes but Bookings For You quickly spread their travel wings and in 2011 expanded their portfolio to include villas and apartments in Tuscany and Umbria. Further expansion followed soon after, with villas now available to rent in Lazio, Florence, Le Marche and Puglia. In 2017, the company crossed the border and launched a range of villas to rent in France and Monaco.

Bookings For You now have over 300 holiday villas and apartments for guests to choose from, catering for a variety of budgets, tastes and party size. The Bookings For You team have personally visited every property on the site and can advise you on everything, from travel arrangements to where to eat in the evening.
Bookings For You is not a typical ‘9 to 5’ business. Recognising that planning a holiday doesn’t fit within normal office hours, Jo personally aims to be contactable every day of the week, both during the day and in the evening. She will do her best to answer any question you might have about any aspect of your holiday. If she doesn’t know the answer, rest assured she will do the research to find it out!
If you have time to have a peek on the Bookings for You website, I defy anyone to not want to immediately book a holiday there and then.  The properties are utterly stunning…
 Villa Le Capanne, Volterra. Image from Giovannini Enterprises.


About Giovannini Enterprises and Villa le Capanne

Giovannini Enterprises is a family run business based in Volterra, Italy.  Founded by Giancarlo and his wife, Fabiola, and now run by his son Dario and daughter in law, Vera. This family have a real passion for Italy, their village of Volterra, tradition and authenticity.

Italian cooking

Giancarlo started out in the industry by working in the family pastry shop, Dolceria Del Corso. Many years later, the Giovannini family have expanded from these humble beginnings to what they are today, a successful and busy Enterprise business. They still own the pastry shop which you can visit should you be lucky enough to visit Volterra, and they also have a holiday complex, Villa del Corso, which is used for holidays and weddings. Finally, they also have a catering company. The Giovannini family really were entrepreneurs from the off.

The pastry shop, and Giancarlo himself, are famous for their signature Italian Cake, Millefoglie. Their customers say it is unique, fragrant, crisp and delicate in flavour. For weddings, the cake itself is created and brought to life on scene, directly in front of the guests. They get to see first hand, how the cake is assembled, watching the mastermind Giancarlo create a cake unique to the beautiful couple. The biggest wow factor is the cake itself, unlike anything you have tried before, it is truly melt in your mouth delicious. Honestly, I got to sample this cake and I can honestly tell you it’s like nothing I’ve had before. Ever. I just wish I lived closer so I could have some every week…

Giancarlo at work at a wedding. Image from Giovianni Enterprises.


I set off for the Italian cooking masterclass, on a crisp winters morning, to Haslemere, deep in the Surrey Countryside. It’s a beautiful part of the country – full of sleepy little villages and rolling hills.

Upon arriving at the most incredible house I’ve ever set foot in, I was greeted by Jo from Bookings for You (have I mentioned how lovely she is?) and offered coffee and cake. Yep, cake for breakfast – from that point onwards I knew it was going to be a good day. I have to just mention, the cakes were baked by Miranda Gore-Browne who was a finalist in the first ever series of the Great British Bake Off – she was also at the Masterclass for the day. I’m really not ashamed to say I was a little starstruck and I left at the end of the day very cross with myself that I didn’t get a cheeky little selfie with her. She was so lovely, bubbly and really down to earth – it made an already wonderful day even more wonderful! If you’re interested, Miranda has a kitchen school and does seasonal cooking classes as well as other workshops. You can find out more about this by visiting her website, here.

The Giovannini family were already busy prepping for the workshop and the smells coming from the kitchen were already amazing. Fresh herbs and garlic. Utterly delicious.

The menu for the day was;

Tomato and Basil Bruschetta

Chicken liver Crostini

Slow roasted Wild Boar with black olives

Homemade Ravioli with spinach and ricotta filling and a homemade cherry tomato sauce

(Vegetarian option was Aubergine with Mozzarella and Tomatoes)

Pici pasta with herbs and pecorino

Tiramisu

…and finally…

The show-stopping Millefoglie cake by Giancarlo himself.

Wow. What a menu!

Each dish was prepared whilst we watched and I truly wish computers could portray smell because it really did smell incredible.

Here are some interesting tips and points I took away from the day…

When making Tomato Brushetta, brush the toasted ciabatta with a cut garlic clove. Just a couple of strokes downwards to flavour the bread. It really makes so much difference.

When slow roasting a tough piece of meat, Wild Boar leg is one of these cuts of meat, pierce holes in it and stuff lard into the cuts. The lard melts when cooking and it helps tenderise the meat.

When Giancarlo was making the Wild Boar, he chopped all the fresh herbs and garlic by hand (you can use a processor but he prefers to do it by hand). Once they were finely chopped he seasoned them all REALLY well. Lots of salt and lots of black pepper. I was quite shocked at how much he put on them but when I tasted the roast boar at the end, it was to die for. I can’t describe it to you but trust me, it was amazing. The herb/garlic mixture was mixed with pork fat and then pushed into the cuts made in the meat. This is what helped give it it’s flavour.

The Giovannini family’s Tiramisu contained, shock horror, no alcohol, but it tasted divine. They just quickly dipped the lady finger sponges in espresso and layered them up. No Tia Maria in sight.

Fresh herbs will always taste better than dried ones. Fact. Fresh anything for that matter. The Giovannini family are passionate believers in having fresh, authentic ingredients. Each dish was really simple to make and there weren’t any complicated processes to follow. You really can recreate them in your own home (if you can find Wild Boar that is).

When making the cherry tomato sauce, leave the tomatoes to cook down and don’t blitz the sauce until it resembles Dolmio (I’m pretty sure the Giovannini family would consider Dolmio a swear word). All that was put in the pan to make this sauce was a load of cherry tomatoes, garlic, Basil, salt and pepper. That’s it. That said, the family bought their own tomatoes over from Italy with them and I have to agree that their taste superior to British grown ones. I should hazard a guess the lack of sunshine in good old Blighty is to blame for that one.

Food made with love and passion and care, always tastes delicious. I will remind my children of this when they are telling me what I’ve given them for dinner is disgusting…

I can’t tell you how much fun I had at the Masterclass. I met some lovely people and bloggers, I ate myself into a food coma and I learnt some really useful skills and tips to take away with me.

If you’re looking for a bit of sun and a holiday to remember, do check out Bookings for You. Jo is truly a lovely lady who cares so much about her customers and her business. You will get a service that is second to none and a holiday to remember for all the right reasons.

Thanks again Jo, I had a wonderful time.

Ciao.x

Disclosure: I was offered a place at an Italian Cooking masterclass in return for this review. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.



Get your Bake On: Meat Ragu Arancini

I cannot tell you all how much I love Arancini.

Literally, I am pretty certain that if there was only one food I was allowed to eat for the rest of my life, it would be these. Yep, even over chocolate. Shocking, I know.

I don’t know what it is about these delicious fried risotto balls that I love so much, anything fried is normally a winner in my book, and if they are on a menu when we go to eat out, it’s a no brainer and I will choose to have them.

Making them at home is a labour of love I have to admit, there are lots of component parts to them which can take a while to make, such as the risotto and the meat ragu, but I promise you all they are worth it! What’s even better is if you have some leftover risotto or bolognese from dinner the night before, these little babies are way less stressful to make because you already have half the prep done! No food waste either!

open meat ragu arancini

So, what are Arancini and where do they come from?

Arancini are the ancient street food of Sicily. You and me grab a sandwich, in Sicily they grab an Arancini. Lucky guys eh?!

I was lucky enough to visit this magical little island, with it’s ominous and temperamental volcano, 6 years ago with my family and sample some authentic Sicilian Arancini. They didn’t let me down!

The origin of this typical Sicilian food isn’t actually well-known. People from Catania argue the origin belongs to them (they think arancini were created to help poor people through history to eat something healthy during emigrations) whilst those from Palermo state that the origin is in fact very ancient. They claim they were created by the Arabs and they called it “arancina” (translation; little orange) because its shape and colour once fried is similar to that of an orange. I’m inclined to agree with the folks from Palermo. Please don’t send a horse head my way for saying that…

Arancini are either round in shape (Palermo) or Conical (Catania) but because I am a novice, I can only make round ones!

They are essentially balls of cooked risotto, filled with whatever takes your fancy (normally meat ragu or ham and cheese) and then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. An entire meal in one little ball.

I hope you have a go at making these at home. I know it might look/sound daunting to start with but honestly, if I can make them, anyone can! Buon Appetito!


Meat Ragu Arancini recipe


 Arancini ingredients

Arancini before breadcrumbing

Cooked Arancini balls




Food and Wine holidays with Bookings for You

Did someone say food?

And wine?

And holiday?

In the same sentence?

Yes indeed I did.

If those three things sound as appealing to you as they did to me, have a read of this article for some inspiration!

bookings for you holiday company logo

A few weeks ago I was contacted to see if I would like to attend an Italian cookery class courtesy of Bookings for You. I replied with much excitement and said I would love to, arranged for my lovely mum to have the mini monster for me and counted down the days to the event like a child waiting for Christmas Day. I’m very much a home cook (various different dishes with mince, rice and pasta) so the prospect of learning from a pro how to cook authentic italian cuisine was a really exciting, for me and my poor family!

Sadly however, a few days before the event, a very close friend of my parents unexpectedly passed away and the funeral ended up being on the same day as my cookery course. The husband was, as always, very busy with work and he couldn’t get the day off so I ended up having no childcare for the mini monster that day and I had to cancel attending. I was sad to let people down, but I was even more sad for my parents who had lost their lovely friend. Grab life by the horns and enjoy it folks.

Despite not being able to attend, I still wanted to share with you all some info on Bookings for You and to show you what they can offer so, here you go!


Bookings For You offer more than 300 holiday rental villas and apartments in the Italian lakes, Tuscany, Umbria, Le Marche, Puglia, the Amalfi Coast and Lazio, and are starting to expand further into France and Croatia. The company’s founder, owner and mum of 2, Jo Mackay – yes, Jo is literally Superwoman – is justifiably very proud of the excellent customer service provided by Bookings For You and because of this, the company has won several awards,. A real testament to her hard work. Sadly I didn’t get to meet Jo, but she was been beyond lovely about me having to cancel my attendance at the cookery school just a week before it was due to happen and from chatting to her via email, I can tell she is really passionate about what she does. As a busy mum-of -two, Jo completely understands what families want from a holiday and whether you are travelling as a large group of adults, or (luckily for you) just as a couple, she can find the perfect property and help take the stress out of potential nightmare that is holiday planning.

One of the newset additions to the many properties offered by Bookings For You is; 

Palazzo Tronconi

Image courtesy of Palazzo Tronconi

Palazzo Tronconi, is set in a picture postcard, medieval italian village called Arce in the Lazio region of Italy (I might have giggled at the village name because of my terrible knowledge of the beautiful italian language – I’m truly very childish – but it is pronounced Ar-che if you were wondering). Palazzo Tronconi is just over an hour’s drive from beautiful Rome and it boasts ten double rooms on a Bed and Breakfast basis. The owner, Marco Marrocco, is really passionate about food and wine and he shares his passion for local culture and produce with his guests by running cookery lessons, wine tastings, wine tours, and cultural and culinary day trips during their stay. Trips and experiences are tailored to the guests’ requirements, and cooking classes are available for children as well as adults which I think is wonderful. What a great way to get the kids involved in learning about how their food is made, where it comes from and to get them to try new things.

Palazzo Tronconi makes it’s very own wine and olive oil. The wine they produce is ‘biodynamic wine’ (called Fregallae) which is completely chemical free and sets it apart from most other wine producers. You can go on a wine tasting tour as part of your stay at Palazzo Tronconi and you can buy their wine here.

The cookery school event was hosted at Jo’s beautiful home in the Surrey countryside and the chef’s from Palazzo Tronconi (as well as Marco the owner) came over from Italy with suitcases full of produce to cook up an authentic Italian storm for the day.

The menu for the day at the cookery school was;

Creamed cod fishcakes with Avezzano potatoes, dusted with Pontecorvo peppers

A classic carbonara of rigatoni with Caserta black pig and anconetana eggs

Black pig stew from Caserta cooked in Zitore wine

Kaiser pears cooked in Mocevò wine with a scent of organic Italian lemons

Doesn’t that all sound delicious?!

From what I have seen online, everyone had a great time and they all look like they cooked up a storm. It made me hungry just looking at the photos!

Image courtesy of Jo Mackay

I was truly very upset that I couldn’t attend Jo’s cookery school event (carbonara just so happens to be my favourite italian pasta dish) but I was really grateful that she posted me a goodie bag with some lovely italian produce in it, as well as a bottle of Palazzo Tronconi Olive Oil so I didn’t completely miss out. I will be sure to serve the olive oil with some good bread as a special treat when we have friends over for dinner in the near future, I can’t wait to try it!

Package holidays to Palazzo Tronconi include transfers from Rome airport and are incredibly reasonably priced from €700 per person for three nights. For full details, and to see the other properties available, visit the Bookings For You website

Thanks once again to Jo for being so understanding and for including me in the fun, even though I couldn’t attend.

I’m off to scour the Bookings for You website and bombard the husband with links to some of the villas that have caught my eye.

#hopeful


Follow Bookings for You on Social Media

www.facebook.com/bookingsforyou
www.twitter.com/bookingsforyou
www.instagram.com/bookings_for_you
https://uk.pinterest.com/bookingsforyou_/ 

 Disclosure: I was offered the chance to attend a cookery event with Bookings for You in return for this post. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.



Cooking up a Storm! (with Thaikhun Cookery School)

I love food. Sadly for my waistline and ‘shapely’ butt.

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There isn’t much I don’t like food wise to be honest (except offal, oysters, mussels, black pudding, haggis…ok, there is a fair bit I don’t like) but one of my most favourite cuisines has to be Thai.

I love Chinese food but there is something really special about Thai food, the fragrant curry’s, the unusual herbs and spices they use, that I really like. That said, I am useless at cooking anything Thai. I don’t know what it is, I think that possibly I’m a bit daunted by all the ingredients and it can sometimes look a bit fiddly or time consuming. More often than not I have just had a long day of chasing a toddler about, as well as dealing with my older two, and I am too tired to even think about cooking something new and exciting. I try my best but sometimes, when you come downstairs at 8pm after putting your kids to bed you really don’t feel like slaving over the stove for ages.

Because of feeling uninspired in the kitchen, I was over the moon to hear from the lovely folks at Thaikhun, Guildford to see if I wanted to go and take part in a new cooking school they have started. I was a bit nervous about it but I put on my big girl pants and said yes. It helped that I could take a friend and I immediately knew who that would be. No, not my husband! Hahaha! You guys. No, my best friend, Chloe. A girls night out accompanied by Thai food. Win!

Chloe is a foodie if ever I saw one.  Seriously, this woman knows her stuff. She enjoys food, loves cooking, likes discovering new things and is literally one of the best cooks I know. Very different to myself. Sorry kids. Thankfully she jumped at the chance to come along with me so we got booked on and waited for the day to arrive.

Just before the event, we were told what we would be cooking to whet our appetites. Starter would be Vegetable spring rolls and Main was Thai Green Curry, which is Chloe’s favourite. I am also a fan but only if it isn’t too hot with chili! I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to spice.

The day arrived and we got to the venue 15 minutes before it was due to start so we could sign a disclaimer. I can’t recall what was on it particularly now but I think the jist was that they wouldn’t be held responsible if we were completely inept with a knife and hacked one of our fingers off whilst chopping a carrot nor sue them if you made yourself sick by not cooking your food properly. Both things were entirely feasible with me there!

We were in a group of 9 people and everyone was really lovely. We were all eager to get started and hungry too!

Upon signing our disclaimers, we were bought a welcome drink which was a non-alcoholic mocktail. It was served in a noodle pot with a chili on the side which was different but funky and it tasted very nice. We both enjoyed it. They also bought us over some prawn crackers to chomp on – nom, nom, nom.

ThaikhunMocktail

After a few minutes, it was time to get cooking!

We had to don an apron and a fantastically flattering white paper chefs hat to turn us into master Thai chefs. I honestly looked so classy folks. The main issue was I had tied my hair up because we were cooking and the ponytail was impeding the hat from staying on my sodding head. It kept popping off and I was having visions of it flying off onto the hob, setting alight and then me being responsible for a mammoth fire. I will tell you all I ‘lost it’ after the starters were made. I still have no idea where it went… (*Bin*ahem*)

Thaikhun Cookery schooll

We headed over to the demo table to watch the pro chef make his veggie spring rolls and then, after a watch (I literally gazed on in amazement at how quickly the chef could chop veg and roll these things!) and a taste, it was time to get cooking. It was a bit like the Generation Game! My memory is as bad as Dory’s from Finding Nemo so thankfully Chloe had taken it all in and I happily became comme chef. Chloe is a ninja with a knife so she did the chopping and I did the grating/frying. I am an expert with a deep fat fryer. Deep fried Mars Bar anyone?!

 Thaikhun cookery school

I made the first spring roll and it was a little on the small side shall we say. I should have gone bigger but I was being cautious. Chloe made one next and hers was far larger than mine so I decided to make my next one the same size as hers. It was spring roll wars. Being the div I am, my next one was even bigger than Chloe’s! By the end of making 5 of the things, we had 5 very un-uniform (thanks to me) spring rolls. Bigger is better folks. Bigger is better. Paul Hollywood would have given 0 for uniformity put it that way.

Vegetab;e spring rolls Thaikhun

The recipe was really simple and we were stunned by how good just a few simple ingredients (veg at that!) could taste. Frying does make most things taste amazing though doesn’t it. After cooking our 5 spring rolls, we were allowed to sit down and scoff them. We thoroughly enjoyed this part!

Vegetable spring roll filling Thaikhun

We then went back to the demo table to learn how to make the Thai Green Curry. This was more complex because they showed us how to make a green curry paste from scratch which was really interesting.  However, the best bit is…even they use ready made paste in their currys! Woo hoo! I loved that. So, if you buy your green curry paste ready to go, this dish literally takes about 25 minutes from start to finish. Super quick and easy.

Thai green curry thaikhun cooking school

Once it was our turn to have a go, we went back to our work station (it was a large table set up with the ingredients, camping stoves and chopping boards for each couple which worked well). Chloe was once again on chopping duty and I stood and watched, sorry, learnt. I also had a chuckle to myself at the rubber gloves that were put out for us because they were called, Feelers ‘Food mates’. Don’t know why I found that funny, but I did. Simple things, eh?!

Feelers rubber gloves

The curry was made in no time at all and a real revelation to us both was not to fry the chicken before putting it in the curry. It goes in raw and almost poaches in the curry sauce which makes it really tender and juicy. It was so scrummy.

Thai green curry we made

Luckily for me it was spicy but not too much so I scoffed my bowl full, as did Chloe. Any leftover ingredients that we hadn’t cooked (like veg for the spring rolls) were boxed up in takeaway boxes so we could bring them home rather than them go to waste.

At the end of the session, we were asked to fill in a feedback form and we were all given a lovely goodie bag so we could recreate the dishes at home. It was a really great touch at the end of a smashing evening. With full goodie bags, full tummies and a new found confidence to cook Thai food more at home from scratch, we went on our way and I got home to bend my husbands ear regarding how good it was. I think he was a bit jealous so he pretended to not be too interested until the next day when I made Green Curry for dinner. Then he perked up. The way to a man’s heart and all that…


Myself and Chloe would honestly recommend Thaikhun cooking school to anyone. We learnt a lot, had fun, came away inspired and decided it would be a wonderful thing to do as a Hen-do or birthday party for adults. I know we would happily both go back.

Thaikhun cooking schools are available at various locations across the country. Prices (at the time of writing) are £50 per person which includes all ingredients, sitting down to eat your food, a welcome drink and a goodie bag. Pretty good value for a lifetime of cooking knowledge.

You can book on to a local Thaikhun thai cooking school session by clicking here.

Thank you for inviting us Thaikhun, Guildford. We shall be back!

Sa-wùt dee kà




Get your Bake On: Ice Lolly Biscuits

Get your Bake On: Ice Lolly Biscuits

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It’s currently piddling with rain outside, it is the 1st July and there is still no sign of summer appearing anytime soon.

It’s all thoroughly depressing.

It is also the school Summer Fair at my boys primary school tomorrow. Ain’t that typical?! Fingers crossed the rain disappears and we get a bit of good luck for it weather wise!

The school fair organisers always ask for cake and biscuit donations so that they can sell them at the fair and I thought I would have a go at something a bit different this year, Ice Lolly Biscuits. Who doesn’t love food on a stick?!

They’re dead easy to make, so easy I managed to make them, and I am pretty sure the kids will love the idea of them. I know my boys did when they had a test taste of them last night for me. The poor mites having to taste my stuff! 😉

So, without further ado, here is the recipe!


 Ingredients

250g butter, softened

140g caster sugar

1 egg yolk

2 tsp vanilla extract

300g plain flour

250g Royal Icing Sugar

Pink Food Colouring (or whatever colour you wish to use)

2 tablespoon of Strawberry or Raspberry Flavouring/syrup (I used Tate & Lyle Raspberry Syrup)

A tub of sprinkles of your choice

*You will also need some Lolly Sticks (I got mine from Hobbycraft) and some Grease proof Paper.


 Method

Pre-heat oven to 160’c (Fan) and line 2 Baking Trays with Grease proof Paper.

Mix 250g softened butter and 140g caster sugar in a large bowl with a wooden spoon, or in a stand mixer.

Add 1 egg yolk and 2 tsp vanilla extract and briefly beat to combine.

Sift over 300g plain flour and stir/mix until the mixture is well combined – you might need to get your hands in at the end to give everything a really good mix and press the dough together/scrape down the mixture from the sides of the bowl.

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a thickness of 0.5cm.

Using a cookie cutter in the desired shape of your choice, you can use any shape but I went for the traditional ‘lolly shape’, cut out the biscuits.

Take a lolly stick and lie it on your baking tray, then place a cut out biscuit on top of the stick (the stick should be almost to the top of your biscuit to ensure it sticks in properly once baked) and push it down a little to ensure it has become embedded in the biscuit.

Continue to place your biscuits on top of the lolly sticks on your baking trays, leaving a gap of at last 4cm between each biscuit for expansion/spreading in the oven.

Bake for 10 minutes at 160’c. The biscuits will still be pale when they come out of the oven, and ever so slightly brown at the edge.

Leave the biscuits to cool for a while on the tray, and harden up, before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Repeat this process for the rest of the biscuit dough. You should get approximately 25 biscuits from this dough mix, depending on the size of your cutter.

Once cooled, make the royal icing.

In one bowl, add 250g of Royal Icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of your chosen flavouring.

Begin mixing and add your water, as per the box instructions, VERY GRADUALLY. You will use this bowl of icing to make your border for the biscuit icing. This will be thicker than the next bowl of icing you make, it acts as a barrier to stop the flood icing from, well, flooding out!

Now add your food colouring to get the desired colour. Gel food colourings work better with this type of icing as they don’t water it down.

You can watch this helpful  video below to get an idea of the consistency you require:

Once you have the correct consistency for your border icing, place it into a piping bag and pipe a border around the edge of your biscuits with it. Leave to set for at least 15 minutes.

Now repeat the process for your next bowl of icing, but this time add a little more water so that the icing makes ribbons when dropped from a height which disappear after 5 seconds. This is called flood icing. Again, watch the above video for help with this.

Once ready, place this icing in a piping bag and drizzle into the middle of each biscuit. Using a toothpick to spread the icing out to the edges of the biscuit so it joins up with the border icing. As you can see, I’m a home cook so mine aren’t as neat and tidy as the ladies in the video!!! The Rustic look is endearing, right?! 😉

Once you have piped all the biscuits, decorate the tops with sprinkles and then leave to set completely.

And there you have it! Iced Lolly inspired biscuits, fit for a summer fair (even in the rain…)

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 If you have a go at this recipe, do let me know and share your photos on my facebook page, or tag me over on instagram @lifeisknutts.

Gems.x