I was invited to a fabulous festive fiesta the other week by Neff (those of the ovens with the slidey-hidey doors you may have coveted on Great British Bake Off) and Currys PC World (you’ll know who they are assuming you don’t live under a rock, tempting as that may be in current political times) We were lured into London with the promise of gingerbread and wine. This sounds like the start of a fairy tale doesn’t it, only with slightly squiffy bloggers rather than child eating witches.
After a glass of wine for courage we were split into three teams and presented with some ready chilled and rolled out gingerbread to cut up using templates. I decided to take charge of putting our gingerbread into the Slidey-Hidey-Door(TM) Neff oven and keep an eye on it. The other eye was on another glass of wine and checking out the efforts of (and possibly gossiping with) my friend on the opposition team. Our gingerbread came out rather puffy and bubbly-bottomed, but we were able to trim it up and leave it to cool while we whipped up all the icing for decorating our house.
When it came to assembly, it was decided that I looked like I had the steadiest hand (also I am a control freak) so I grabbed the piping bag and set to with icing the edges to stick them together. It should be noted at this point that my friend decided to come and heckle my piping skills. I was unaffected by this blatant gamesmanship, and I am somewhat smug to report that HER gingerbread house collapsed in a big heap. Karma? As you can see – steady as a rock.
I can tell you, the pressure of assembling a gingerbread house in a competitive situation is intense! Our team worked very well together, with some of us happily whipping up canapes (using our somewhat, err, interesting gingerbread ‘biscuits’
that looked like cat plops) whilst one person made the most beautiful little succulents out of jelly sweets, which I’m supposing is an antipodean Christmas tradition because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Christmas cactus before, and I think she was Australian.
We decorated our house with lovely icing stained glass windows, little fly tape doors made of swizzlers, garlands of chews and lots of milk and white chocolate buttons to make the roof tiles. Putting the roof on was the scariest point of the evening, but it was a success (possibly in no small part due to my competitive streak inspiring me to hold the damned thing on for 10 minutes while the icing set)
After all our hard work and sweating and small amounts of swears we were utterly delighted and not AT ALL gloaty to be announced the winners of the Great Slidey-Hidey-Door Neff and Currys PC World Gingerbread House Bake Off (try saying that after five glasses of prosecco). Our house was definitely starting to slump a bit in the roof area during the judging, but we made it! Hurrah!
I mean, just look at it! Gingerbread soil made from the remaining
cat plop scrappy biscuits that may or may not have spent a tad too long in the oven and therefore changed from stars and hearts into terrifying blobs, cute little sweetie cacti and look at the doormat! It was glorious and we totally deserved our crowns.