When I was a child the only pet that I was allowed until a certain age was a goldfish. Cats were too much like a fully grown organism for my parents to handle (and therefore for us to handle as children) and my parents have never been dog people although I desperately wanted a cat or a dog. So my first pet was a goldfish. We had a rectangular fish tank that sat on the wall unit and we'd buy the goldfish in a plastic bag and bring it home. I used to find the transporting of the fish in the plastic bag the most exciting part of fish ownership. It seemed the closest I'd ever get to taking a fish for a walk.
You may know now that I am notorious for feeding people. When I cut a slice of cake for someone, it's a huge hulking slice, when I cook a meal, there's always seconds or thirds. Inside I am an Italian nonna worrying that someone might waste away. I used this thinking when feeding the fish. "A little pinch" read the directions. I of course would pinch as much fish food as I could between my small pink fingers and then add a bit extra just in case the fish were feeling particularly hungry. I figured they would just leave what they didn't want but they ate every little scrap quickly so I thought that I had given them just the right amount. Alas I'm afraid it was my overfeeding them that probably killed them. Before you call PETA on my pint sized self, I should add that our cats lived long happy lives. And yes this could have been mainly because I wasn't in charge of feeding them.
I never rekindled my desire to own fish although an albino axylotl would be the aquarium pet that I most desire. I do still like watching fish, particularly the colourful ones or the black ones with the googly eyes. The idea for these cookies came from a wonderful cookie book called "Bake Me I'm Yours...Cookie" by Lindy Smith which was loaned to me by Alison. These cookies are easy to make, the dough is the usual cookie cutter dough that I love to use as it rolls and re-rolls without any adverse effects. The icing is easy and the key tool is...a _straw _of all things! I worried about not having a scallop edged cutting tool when all I needed was a humble straw.
So tell me Dear Reader, what pet did you always want to have when you were growing up (or now?)
Makes approximately 20-25 cookies (depending on size of cookie cutter)
85 g/3ozs butter, softened
140g/5ozs white caster superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
180g/6ozs all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons jam (smooth jam preferred)
250g packet orange fondant
small amount of yellow fondant
small amount of chocolate fondant
small amount of white fondant
fish shaped cookie cutter
You will also need a straw chopped in half and a butter knife
Step 1 - In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Stir in the flour. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Step 2 - Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough between two sheets of greaseproof paper 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with a fish shaped cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 5 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.
Step 3 - Lightly brush the tops of the cookies with jam. Roll out the orange fondant using greaseproof paper or cornflour to prevent it from sticking. Brush tops of cookies with jam. Cut out fish pattern using fish shaped cutter and then place on top of the cookie. Using a butter knife, draw patterns in the tail and the fins. Using the side of a straw, draw scales on fish.
Step 4 - Make fish eyes using the straw. Punch a hole with a straw and poke a skewer through it to eject the little piece. Using the straw again punch out a small ball in the yellow fondant and then place on top of the hole and then poke the skewer through to put it into the place. Roll a tiny ball of chocolate fondant and place on top of the yellow eye.
Step 5 - Roll white fondant balls in various sizes for air bubbles.