The furry helpers in the Alphabet Soup kitchen are just counting down the days till the new Paddington movie premieres in the U.S. on Christmas Day, which just happens to be Paddington’s winter birthday (he also celebrates June 25).
Though we’re disappointed Colin Firth decided to leave the project, and that the bear in the first movie trailer didn’t quite feel like the same character from the books, we’re still very pleased that Paddington will likely win over millions of new fans.
HarperCollins is re-releasing some of the Paddington novels and picture books, Michael Bond has written a new novel, Love From Paddington (hitting shelves in December), and there’s the wonderful Paddington Trail with 50 bear statues scattered around London. And what about all the coolio movie tie-in merchandise? Yes, please!
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🍗 PADDINGTON’S COOKERY BOOK 🍗
Needless to say, the resident Paddingtons are beside themselves with excitement. You can work up quite an appetite dancing in your wellies and tossing your brown suitcase in the air every five minutes.
Thank goodness for Paddington’s Cookery Book! Did you know Paddington took cooking lessons from Mrs. Bird, and that she lent him one of her aprons and found a wooden box for him to stand on so he could reach the stove?
This beary yummy collection of 40+ recipes features lots of adorable illustrations by R.W. Alley, a color photo of every recipe, and is divided into 8 sections:
- Portobello Road
- Aunt Lucy’s Corner
- Lunch and Dinner Dishes
- Summer Holidays
- Paddington’s Christmas Birthday Party
Of course there’s a recipe for marmalade — as well as Marmalade Chicken Drumsticks, Bread and Butter Pudding with Marmalade (P’s fave), and Sticky Marmalade Sausages.
But there’s also Real Hot Chocolate and Iced Buns, just like Paddington has with Mr. Gruber in the antique shop, several recipes which speak to the ethnic diversity of London (Chicken Paprika, Falafels), and a nod to Paddington’s native Peru (Aunt Lucy sent him recipes for Sweet Potato Mash, Frozen Limonada, Molten Hot Chocolate Sauce). Did you know Peru is the original home of potatoes?
I love Paddington’s running commentary that finds its way into section intros, recipe headers and tips. And I do think official Paddington illustrator R.W. Alley has outdone himself with P’s facial expressions and body language: kids will LOVE seeing Paddington peeling cucumbers, mixing batters, flipping pancakes, mashing potatoes and struggling to use chopsticks. Never was a bear so determined to cook or so happy to eat!
The only problem is, how to decide which recipe to try first? Oh, and the recipe photos look so real the bears keep trying to eat the pages.
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🍎 APPLE TARTS 🍎
It’s Fall, it’s apple season, making these tarts made perfect sense. I confess this might be only the second or third time I’ve used frozen puff pastry and I love it.
Basically you roll out the thawed dough and cut four 5″ diameter circles with a sharp knife or pizza cutter. Prick the dough so it won’t puff up (it seemed funny to de-puff the puff pastry). 🙂
Ask your leprechaun sous chef to core and thinly slice four apples (we used two golden delicious, two honey crisp), then fan out the slices so they overlap a little on each dough circle. Brush with butter, sprinkle with sugar, then bake (the recipe said 10-15 minutes but mine took almost 20 minutes).
Once it’s out of the oven, just brush with melted apricot jam + lemon juice. The recipe called for “half a jar of apricot jam” — this could vary widely depending on the size of the jar, obviously — I used about 1/4 jar of Bonne Maman.
Simple to make and so yummy — that slightly crisp edge of the buttery puff pastry, its delicate chewiness married to the I-love-you-autumn fresh apples, a thin coating of jam. Mmmmm! And how cute to have a little apple tart all your own. Perfect for the small paws of your hungry-as-a-bear munchkins.
This recipe makes 4 tarts:
- 9 oz. good quality ready-made puff pastry
- flour, for rolling out
- 4 eating apples (Braeburn, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious)
- 3/4 oz. unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1/2 jar apricot jam
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease the baking tray or line with parchment paper.
2. On a floured surface, roll out the pastry thinly, to about 1/8 inch.
3. Cut round a 5″ diameter plate (or saucer) to make 4 pastry circles.
4. Put the circles on the baking tray and prick them all over with a fork.
5. Peel, core and quarter the apples. Cut them into thin slices and arrange on top of the pastry circles so they overlap. Finish off with 2 slices in the middle of each tart.
6. Melt the butter in a pan and brush all over the tarts. Cover each one with a fine sprinkling of caster sugar.
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the pastry is cooked. Any unused pastry can be wrapped in cling film and kept in the fridge for future use.
8. Melt the apricot jam gently in the saucepan, stirring with the wooden spoon (if it’s very chunky, sieve it first). Add the lemon juice and stir well. While it’s still warm, brush the melted jam over the surface of the tarts.
9. Serve warm — ideally with vanilla ice cream.
~ Adapted from Paddington’s Cookery Book by Michael Bond, Lesley Young and R.W. Alley (HarperCollins, 2011).
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Though this will be the first time Paddington hits the big screen, he’s quite a veteran of television. Just for old time’s sake, watch these two shorts from his 1975 FilmFair TV series (Paddington is a stop-motion animated puppet with narration by Michael Hordern). In “Something Nasty in the Kitchen,” Paddington makes dumplings, and the second one shows him dancing to “Singing in the Rain.” So charming!
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❤ Don’t worry, Paddington will be back at Alphabet Soup soon!
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This post is being linked to Beth Fish Read’s Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Brush your fur, clean your paws and come join the fun!
* Illustrations from Paddington’s Cookery Book copyright © 2011 R.W. Alley. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.