20 April 2011

A Tea Party

Today is M.'s birthday.  He is officially 2 years old!  To celebrate this milestone, we made a cake and ate it with our morning tea.  (Yes, I defied conventional parenting rules and fed my child cake before lunch!)  We also read poetry together and sang songs.  (M. is so obsessed with poetry that it would make any English professor proud.)  I have typed his favourite poem below for your enjoyment. 

Animal Crackers
by Christopher Morley

Animal crackers and cocoa to drink,
That is the finest of suppers I think.
When I'm grown up and can do as I please
I think I will always insist upon these.

What do you choose when you're offered a treat
When mother says, "What would you like best to eat?"
Is it waffles and syrup or cinnamon toast?
It's cocoa and animal crackers that I love most.

The kitchen's the cosiest place I know;
The kettle is singing, the stove is aglow.
And there in the twilight, how jolly to see
The cocoa and animals waiting for me.

Daddy and mother dine later with Kate
Mary to cook for them, Susan in wait
But they don't have nearly as much fun as I
Who eat in the kitchen with Nurse standing by
And Daddy once said he would like to be me
Having cocoa and animals once more for tea.

The whole morning reminded me of an old fashioned and slightly eccentric tea party, something along the lines of Alice in Wonderland.  Anyhow, M. had a blast and J. slept most of the morning, which left us time to start and finish the tyropitakia.  They are now wedged snugly in the freezer and ready for Sunday.  See recipe below.  (I can't remember where I modified this recipe from...)

A few of the many different cookies we decorated.

We also decorated our Easter cookies.  That was somehow draining for me, so I'm glad it's over and done with.  Thankfully, there are enough leftovers in the fridge that I don't need to make dinner, hence the reason for all this activity in the kitchen.  Here is the recipe for the royal icing.


2 large egg whites
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
3 cups powdered sugar

Beat egg whites with lemon juice.  Add sugar and beat on low until smooth.  Add food colouring as desired.  Keep airtight when not using or the icing will harden. 

The finished cookies make perfect gifts!

500g feta cheese, crumbled
300g ricotta cheese (or 1 cup graviera)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 pkg thin phyllo pastry dough sheets
2/3 cup olive oil (or melted butter)

Defrost the phyllo dough in the fridge the day before.  Bring eggs and phyllo to room temperature (about 3 hours).  Preheat oven to 350.  Mix the cheeses, eggs and pepper in a bowl.  Cut the phyllo sheet lengthwise into strips (about 2 1/2 - 3 inches wide).  Should give you 4 strips per sheet.  Using a pastry brush, brush strip lightly with oil, place a spoonful of the cheese mixture centred 1 inch from the end.  Fold the corner closest to the cheese over in a triangle and then continue turning over the triangle to the end of the phyllo strip (like folding a flag).  Brush each triangle with a little oil and place on a lightly greased or non-stick baking sheet.  Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  Remove from oven, cool slightly and serve warm.  Makes about 50 pieces.

If desired, the tyropitakia can be stored in the freezer for future use.  Finish brushing each triangle with oil as written above, place in airtight container with wax paper between each layer and put in freezer.  To use after freezing, simply place directly in warmed oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.  Do not defrost prior to baking. 


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