Pimping up Tiffin Xmas Style!Saturday, December 17, 2011
‘Just 10 sleeps til Christmas!’ giggled Molly as I arrived, two Tiffins in hand.
Her mum, an old friend from uni days, rolled her eyes. ‘Sorry. She’s a bit excited…’ And with that and a flurry of kisses on her daughter’s bouncing curls she was gone – off for a spot of child-free Christmas shopping. And I was babysitting. At 4 o’clock in the afternoon. I had at least four hours before the effervescent Molly was going to head for bed, hence the Tiffin boxes. I’d thought we could spend a happy few hours filling them with Christmas gingerbread as a home-baked treat for her parents.
I’d also come with a heap of Sri Lankan spices – glorious ground cinnamon and some fiery dry ginger. We headed into the kitchen, and I looked for scales. ‘Mummy hasn’t got any – she doesn’t really do cooking,’ announced Molly. Guess work it was then.
We heaped tablespoons of spices into a bowl along with the flour. ‘It smells like Christmas,’ said Little M, inhaling deeply. And she was right. We added sugar, syrup, an egg – kneading it into a deliciously spicy and sticky cookie-dough.
As Molly says, her mummy doesn’t do cooking. So not only no scales but no rolling pin and no biscuit cutters either. But it was nothing a bit of ingenuity couldn’t solve. A wine bottle (quite a nice rioja, I noted approvingly) became a perfectly weighted rolling pin, and then we carefully selected the right sized cup as a cutter so that the gingerbread would fit neatly inside the Tiffins.
Once baked and cooled came the fun bit. Icing and silver sugar baubles were provided with a simple challenge – not to make any biscuit the same. Once they were finished and dry, we stacked the Tiffins full of our sparkly, Christmassy treats and stood back to admire our handiwork.
With the gingerbread carefully enclosed, it was time to pimp the Tiffins! Molly carefully wound round tinsel and silvery strings of beads – and the two shimmering Tiffins sat on the hearth, glittering in the firelight. Perfect.
And that was how it was when Molly’s mum walked through the door. ‘Mummy, mummy come and look at the Tiffins,’ demanded Molly, pulling her into the sitting room. And we opened them up to reveal the carefully decorated gingerbread jewels.
And there we sat, the three of us, munching freshly-baked gingerbread and admiring the Tiffins before Molly headed off to get one of those 10 sleeps out of the way.
Tomorrow it’s my turn to go Christmas shopping – and I know exactly what I’ll be buying Molly’s mum. A set of kitchen scales.