Bring the cosmos to the Christmas table this year with Katharine’s star-filled wreath cake
Credit: Katharine Kilgour
Katharine Kilgour likes to combine her love of astronomy with her love of cooking, making tasty treats to feed herself, her friends and her family Astro-boy (aged 13), Astro-girl (aged 17) and Astro-dad.
As a family, we love visiting space museums and observatories.
We have been fortunate to visit many, from Herstmonceaux in the south of England, through to the Royal Greenwich Observatory and the London Science museum, heading north to Jodrell Bank, Kielder Observatory, the Scottish Dark Sky Observatory, Glasgow Science Museum and Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.
We have put our hands in astronaut gloves and failed to pick anything up, sent paper rockets at least half way across the room, and jumped on sensors to see how high we might be able to leap on Mars.
Each place is unique and has taught us new things about space; whether that’s been glimpsing the Soyuz capsule that brought Tim Peake back to Earth, seeing stars through a spectrometer, learning about the Russian space programme or being amazed as several billion years’ of star movements pass in front of our eyes in a planetarium.
We’ve met people who are passionate about what they do, offering inspiration and great advice.
Of course no museum visit is complete without a trip through the gift shop!
Over the years we have accumulated enough space debris in our house to rival everything floating round planet Earth.
Constellation mugs, 3D planet coasters, a nebula-decorated rucksack, several model spacecraft, notepads and more pens and pencils than we can ever use.
Obviously I resist the temptation myself (shhh! star shaped cutters don’t count!)
This month’s recipe is inspired by the wonderful people who bring space to life in museums and observatories, and the many things I may or may not have bought in their shops!
- 1 egg per person, plus 1 egg for the pancakes
- 100g self-raising flour
- 1 tablespoon icing sugar
- 75ml milk
- Pinch of salt
- Bacon, fruit and vegetables to serve
To make the pancakes: whisk together the flour, icing sugar, salt, egg and milk to make a thick batter.
Set it aside to ‘rest’ for half an hour
A star is born
Lightly oil and heat your frying pan and metal star shaped cutters, plastic ones will melt!
You could also buy special silicone space shapes for both this and the eggs.
When the pan is hot, pour or spoon the batter mixture into the shapes.
It will rise slightly as it cooks.
Use a spatula to make sure the mixture doesn’t stick.
When the base is cooked, turn the stars over with the cutters attached.
Finish and repeat
Ease the cutters off and allow the pancakes to continue cooking until they are lightly brown and cooked through.
Repeat the process using up all the batter.
You will need to wipe and re-oil the cutters between each batch to prevent sticking.
The pancakes can be kept warm in the oven on a low heat, or reheated when ready to serve.
To make the egg rockets, take a piece of silver baking foil and a piece of baking parchment and fold them together to make a stiff flat strip.
Make sure the base fold is very straight to prevent egg leakage later!
Bend the strip into a rocket shape, slotting one end inside the other and pressing together firmly.
Frying through the air
Use some oil on the foil and lightly oil your frying pan.
Heat the pan and rocket shape.
Don’t forget the window
Once hot, break your egg into the rocket shape, placing the yolk in position for the window.
The final countdown
Once the egg is cooked through, carefully remove it from the pan and remove the foil mould.
Serve with the pancakes and trimmings.
Use bacon, pepper slices, apple or strawberries for your fuel flares.
Baby tomatoes or grapes can be cut into stars.
Banana slices make good planets.
Your imagination and the family’s eating habits are the limit when filling the plate!