January 03, 2010

Christmas and Gingerbread Train

Towards the end of 2009, I usually am busy with baking for Christmas. Although we are Muslims, we always contribute to our family's Christmas lunch. For Christmas is a get together and a family reunion, I always am looking forward to it. I miss my own family back home, so I am making the most of occasions like Christmas to be amongst the loved ones.


My job was to bake macarons my sis-in-law had ordered, and also cooked new potatoes from our garden to supply 18 hungry tummies that day. We had a BIG healthy lunch. Bread-and-alcohol-free lunch had been so filling with assorted vegetables, roast lamb and lovely seasoned roast succulent chicken. We had to have a break for a game before we filled our plates with desserts and after lunch sweets.

kayaking on Christmas Day

Then, we went down to the beach to watch the children kayaking with their uncle and daddy. After all those lovely sweets, they have to burn their calorie into positive energy, I suppose. The important thing is that they enjoyed their Christmas day.

My baking job did not stop right there, as I still have a birthday be coming up. My oldest son, Ben had asked me to bake gingerbread train for his birthday. Right, I browsed some wonderful photos over the internet and found that the one of Family Fun Gingerbread Train was the right one for Ben and Sarah's size. So, we were busily baking for a day. The children cut the templates, made the dough, the templates over the dough, and baked them. Although in the end I had to finish baking them myself, at least they knew where they had started.

Ben's 7th Birthday

Ben did not want to have a sugarpasted birthday cake because no matter how pretty it is, he and Sarah cannot eat it. I don't allow them to eat too much sugar, for their own sake. Not wanting to have children with diabetes or over weight problems, I believe I do the right thing. (They don't even eat macarons, you see. They prefer to eat sweeten rice crackers rather than chocolate fish or jelly beans). So, he knows that, and he left it up to me with a message 'not too sweet, Mum. Not good for my teeth.' Right.

Just a day before the day, I baked Strawberry Layer Cake, adapted from Mbak Ine Elkaje recipe. As we, until today, are picking our own strawberries from our garden, they were plenty to use for the cake. The night before the day, I iced it with whipped cream and cream cheese, sweetened with honey and decorated with blackberries, strawberries, chocolate, and mint leaves (which I picked just before serving). He was happy, and everyone was enjoying the cake. I was happy because the cake was so moist and spongy. Although it was kept in the fridge for overnight, it did not go hard. It was just wonderful.

Children with their Chocolate Biscuits creations

We also baked chocolate biscuits which later then dipped in dark chocolate and decorated with 100s and 1000s, silver cachous, and colourful chocolate hails. I did not use much sugar in the biscuit as I knew the sprinkles will give more than the sugar they need for them. The dark chocolate was 72%, so it did not contribute much sugar as well.

Thomas the gingerbread train in the making

And so, the gingerbread train was decorated in between after lunch tea/coffee before we went through with desserts. It was pretty hard to start with the engine first thing, so I and Sue Dalbeth had helped them to hold the pieces until the royal icing went harden. I used the very fresh egg whites when making royal icing for children. Given that we are provided with free-range farm eggs, I suppose it can guarantee that one day old eggs would supply good egg whites. Don't you think?

Thomas the gingerbread train

So, here is the final Thomas the Gingerbread Train for my birthday young man. Alessandra, to answer your question, I posted this for you. Thanks so much for your attention and concern. I am well and hopefully the baby bun is, too (for it had been a busy end of December!). Now, I can have a little rest until next baking task again for KBB #15!

Have a great holiday!

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♥♥♥Ria♥♥♥ said...

Super super cute! Loved the train! HNY!! :)

Soma said...

Happy Birthday to dear Ben! that is one cute train.

Soma (www.ecurry.com)

Y said...

Your kids are adorable! I love that they're conscious about sugar consumption also. The gingerbread train is so cute. :)

Alessandra said...

I am so glad that you are well Arfi. It seem that you had a few busy and creative weeks, you are unstoppable! My compliments! And your children look lovely. The train is fantastic, the birthday cake even more so, the Xmas spread magnificent...I hope you will put your feet up a little and enjoy the rest of the summer!!!

Millions of XX


I don't know how I managed but I have also posted this comment in your old post! :-O

Arwen said...

Looks like a lovely summer break, even if the cooking kept you very busy. It's great to have homegrown strawberries for your cake!

Penny said...


The train looks great ;)

Claudia said...

I loved the sweet Gingerbread Train, and your Strawberry cake looked so awesome and delicious. You need to relax a bit now.

etjo said...

Aku selalu suka kolase fotonya.. selalu penuh cerita dan makna..

Dan ngiri dengan kebunnya woaaaaaaa

Selamat Ulang Tahun Ben..
Anakku nomor 2 gak doyan manis krn jadi kebiasaan sejak aku diet no sugar at all - hanya manis bawaan dari buah ajah...
Pdhl skg tak bolehin, tetep gak doyan.. milih minum air putih daripada segala bentuk es warna warni