DIY Porg Meringues

Its not May the 4th, and its not any time around a film being released, but I figured I actually didn’t need an excuse to share what I feel like is one of the cutest baking posts I’ve done in a long time. Well, it is actually the first time in ages that I’ve done a baking post, and its my first time baking in my new house, so ok, there’s the excuse!

Like them or loathe them (but seriously, who doesn’t like them?!), Porgs sorta stole the show in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Fun fact: the porgs were actually created as the island that the scenes were filmed on was populated with a whole load of puffins, and it was easier to CGI the porgs over all the puffins than it was to remove the puffins from the shots, so porgs are basically just space puffins. But I digress..

I’ve had the idea for these cute little sweet treats in my head for a little while now, and here they are – they’re a super simple bake and only 4 ingredients too! I always use the BBC Good Food Ultimate Meringue recipe for meringues, as below, but if you have your own go-to meringue recipe you can use that!

You will need:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 115g caster sugar
  • 115g icing sugar
  • 100g milk or dark chocolate

Preheat your oven to 100C, and line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper. On the back of my greaseproof paper I drew a porg template ready for piping later, but you don’t have to do this.

Whisk your egg whites using a hand or stand mixer until they form stiff peaks, then up the speed a little and add the caster sugar one tablespoon at a time, waiting a few seconds between each spoonful. Once the caster sugar has all been added, your mix should look nice and shiny! Sift the icing sugar into the egg mix  one third at a time, and fold in gently using a metal spoon until smooth.

Now how you shape your porg is totally up to you, I used a piping bag but I imagine you could do it no problem using a spoon. Pipe/spoon your porg shapes onto the greaseproof paper leaving a little bit of space between each one – don’t worry about them being too peak-y or being all the same shape, it gives them character! Bake for 1 hour 30 mins, and then leave them to cool on a cooling rack.

To give yourself a nice flat canvas to work on, flip your meringues so that the flat side is the front of your porg, and now you’ve got yourself an army of little meringue porgs, you’re gonna want to melt down your chocolate. As you’re gonna be dipping, I suggest doing this in a fairly small bowl so that you’ve got some depth.

Take a porg, and working from wing to wing, dip and turn your meringue to create a chocolate border around your porg, then place them onto greaseproof paper to dry. You can then use either a piping bag or toothpick dipped in chocolate to add facial features. Pop your porgs in the fridge to allow the chocolate to harden, and you’re all done!

The meringues can be stored in a sealed container for about a week, if they last that long..

Thoughts I Had During Rogue One

Rogue One Spoiler Free

Once again, the movie gods saved all the major films to the end of the year, and in my eyes, the whole of 2016 has been leading up to the moment that I got to see ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away..’ on the big screen once more.

Not seen it yet? Don’t worry, there are no spoilers here!

DUNNNN DUN DUN.. What?!

So I decided that I liked the opening how it was, but I kinda really wanted that theme tune blaring out..

I am loving all these new places

Its so nice to not see the same planets cropping up all the time, and also to see the diversity of climate on different planets and moons

Is this Poe’s Mexican cousin?

Do I like him though?

That is one sassypants droid

K-2SO makes this film!

What’s this, another desert-ish planet?

Surprise surprise, there’s sand again..

This blind guy is BADASS

Yes the force is with you, you crazy awesome dude

I’m gonna need to watch this a second time to work out everyone’s names

There are a lot of names flying around, and I’m not entirely sure who’s is who right now..

Ok, I like him now

Poe’s Mexican cousin has redeemed himself in my eyes

I AM LOVING THIS

Its Star Wars, but not Star Wars and I can’t keep my eyes off the screen and I already want to see it again and its not even over

Were R2 and C-3PO really necessary?

I love a cameo, but I don’t know if that added anything

Scarif looks like a pretty place for a holiday

If I was the Emperor, I’d build a base there too just for those beaches

I’m not crying, you’re crying

I am one with the force, the force is with me. I am one with the force, the force is with me..

THAT ENDING THOUGH

AHHHHHHHHH

I loved it, I really did. I’m so glad I didn’t watch any of the trailers for it as I wanted to go in with a totally open mind, and I think that was for the best. I’m also really happy that they didn’t keep it too Star Wars – the soundtrack was perfect and the casting was spot on as always, just with its own little unique quirks.

I think if I could say one bad thing about the movie, its that I don’t really think its suitable for children as much as the other Star Wars films, which is a shame as a new generation of Star Wars lovers was created last year, and I imagine a lot of children would be wanting to see this film as a result, but without spoiling it, I’d probably advise that parents see it first before taking small children!

Have you seen it yet?

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What is there for Star Wars fans in the Disney parks?

We’ve all heard the news: Disney is going to be taking us to a galaxy far, far away with the announcement of two Star Wars lands, one in WDW and one in Disneyland. Now all we’ve got to do is wait another who knows how long for them to be completed. Ugh.

The problem is, with the recent release of Episode VII, Disney has just created a whole new generation of Star Wars fans eagerly awaiting the next installment, and of course these spectacular new areas of the parks, and, clever little people that they are, they have made sure that these fans are not disappointed! So what have they got going?

Star Tours

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Star Tours is a travel company offering destination holidays to everyone in the galaxy, but unfortunately due to some issues on Flight 1401, your trip turns into a bit of a mission, uh-oh! Its a 3D simulator, and the rides have been in the parks for a few years now, but those wonderful Imagineers have given them a little tweak!

Now including scenes from Jakku, and a message from Finn and BB-8, the ride actually has 50 different variations; there are slight differences in the opening scene, ending scene, and a few differences in the middle, and there’s no telling which one you’re going to get! In January, we had about 4 different experiences, I wonder how many times you’d have to ride before you saw them all!

You can ride Star Tours in Hollywood Studios in WDW or Tomorrowland in Disneyland.

Star Wars Launch Bay

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The Launch Bay is one of the newest Star Wars additions to the Disney parks. Inside you can see memorabilia from the movies, such as Rey’s speeder, collections of lightsabers and models of your favourite spacecraft, as well as being able to meet some of your favourite characters.. Was that a wookiee I heard?!

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As well as Chewbacca and Darth Vader, you might also run into a bounty hunter or have an encounter with a trading Jawa, and you never know, Kylo Ren might make an appearance!

The Launch Bays can be found in both Hollywood Studios and Tomorrowland in Disneyland

Jedi Training Academy

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If your little ones dream of joining the lightside, you can sign them up to take part in the Jedi Training Academy shows which happen throughout the day at both Hollywood Studios and Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. Its adorable; first each little Jedi gets given a robe and a lightsaber and are walked out to the stage area in a big procession. Once on stage, they’re taught a fight routine which they’ll suddenly have to use against Darth Vader or The Seventh Sister, and the moral of the story is to stand up to your fears.

Each show has limited spaces, so sign up early in the day to avoid disappointment. Your child must be present when you sign them up, and its open to all between the ages of 4-12.

Path of the Jedi

Path of the Jedi is a short film essentially telling an abridged version of the initial six Star Wars films, and a series of non-spoiler clips from Episode VII, summing up the history of the Jedi, and what the future may hold!

Hyperspace Mountain – Disneyland

Disneyland’s Space Mountain has been influenced by the force with a little revamp, and a lot more adventure! Its the same ride as before, but the addition of lights and projections within the ride have transformed this in-the-dark rollercoaster into a rebel mission against the galactic empire, and watch out for those tie-fighters!

Don’t forget to grab a Fastpass early in the day to shorten your wait time!

Force-filled Food

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Disneyland is ahead of the game with their Star Wars inspired food, dedicating a whole restaurant, Galactic Grill, to it. The menu includes First Order burgers and Darth by Chocolate dessert, and you can even have your meal served in a Han Solo in Carbonite bucket!

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Hollywood Studios has a good range of Star Wars cupcakes, but that’s about it for the moment!

Merchandise

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As expected, Star Wars merchandise is everywhere throughout all the parks, everything from clothing and accessories to comic books and annuals, you can even buy a 4ft tall Stormtrooper! As well as being in most shops, there are dedicated stores such as Watto’s Grotto and Tatooine Traders in Hollywood Studios and Mickey’s Star Traders in Disneyland.

Are excited for the new Star Wars lands?

Disneyland Day 4 – Star Wars Half!

Wow..

All of our races are over; a year of training and it all came down to today. Last race, last half marathon, completion of Rebel Challenge and Coast to Coast.

How did it go? Unbelievable. No longer subject to that nasty chest infection that held me back last week, we smashed it out of the park, starting and maintaining an astonishing pace – about 6:40/km. The course started very similarly to yesterday’s 10k through the parks, then after after about 4.5 miles we took to the streets of Anaheim, which was a lot of nice and flat, straight roads lined with high school cheerleaders, marching bands and some major Star Wars fans and cosplayers. It was electric! As for our time, would you believe we set a PB?! We crossed in about 2:39 (still waiting on chip time though), beating our previous PB by about a minute, insane!

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We also got the fun of not only collecting our half medals, but our Rebel Challenge and Coast to Coast, both of which are awesome, so we now have a total of 6 medals from this trip! Pooped, it was back to the hotel to eat, bath and generally recover.

After a solid amount of rest time, we headed into Disneyland via the Downtown Disney monorail, which drops off in Tomorrowland, and in serious need of energy, grabbed Cheese-3PO burgers from Galacitc Grill, and yes, Cheese-3PO. All the burgers were Star Wars inspired and it was cool.

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Next up, I dragged Dad over to Fantasyland and we stood in line for probably too long, but I finally had the character meet of my dreams: Rapunzel and Flynn together. The girls in front of us in the line were totally crazy, screaming and throwing themselves at Flynn, and Punzie was having none of it which was pretty funny, but when it came to my turn we had a good talk about running and my medals so that was basically magical. Next? Well if I told you we went to see a show you can probably guess it was Mickey and the Magical Map, right? I’m kinda obsessed, and was pretty upset I couldn’t video it because I don’t have the right memory card for Dad’s camera, but oh well.

The park was super busy today; I’m pretty sure everything except the Winnie the Pooh ride had a 40+ minute wait. We passed Big Thunder, Pirates of the Caribbean and got all the way to Splash Mountain before realising this though, so we grabbed a Fastpass for Splash because the time slot wasn’t too far away so we just chilled out on a bench nearby for a bit, thinking of our poor achey legs.

From Critter Country we walked back through the park to Tomorrowland, and to the Star Wars Launch Bay, but didn’t really fancy the 45 minute wait for a Chewbacca meet, so we sat and watched a bit of a film about the making of the new and upcoming movies, then made our way back to Fantasyland, this time the Royal Theatre, for the Tangled show at Fantasy Faire, which was just as funny, if not better than the Frozen version.

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Saying goodbye to the Disneyland Park, we moved over to California Adventure. I’d made plans to meet up with my friend Nancy from Le Ears before we had dinner at Ariel’s Grotto. The food was great, and we were sat right on the water’s edge at Paradise Pier, soaking up all the atmosphere while we ate. The reservation was actually part of the World of Color dining package, which meant we were given preferred seating for the showing later that night. After dinner we went back to Cars Land (yes again, I can’t get over it) to see it all lit up, then cut through Bugs Land to Turtle Talk with Crush at the Animation Academy building – we love that guy!

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Exhausted, but still on our feet, we took a slow walk around the shops on our way back to Paradise Pier for World of Color; our preferred seating area opened at 8.45, and we got there about 9pm, which meant sitting down for a bit, and getting pretty photos of Mickey’s Fun Wheel.

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Now when we were last in Disneyland, which was in 2010, we saw World of Color which was relatively new then, and I remembered it to be crazy impressive. The current performance running, World of Color Celebrate was created for the 60th anniversary and is presented by Neil Patrick Harris, and did not fail to impress me just as much as the original! If you’ve never seen WoC before, go YouTube it right now, and thank me later.

The show took us past park closing, and we’ve officially been awake for over 18 hours now (and throw in a half marathon) so all that’s left is for me to say goodnight before I wipe out!

Today was our last day in the parks, and the last full day of our trip, and what a trip it’s been! Our flight is tomorrow (Monday) at about 5pm west coast time, and arriving back in the UK at midday Tuesday – please tell me it will be nice and warm? Coming home means normal blogging will be resuming, and I’ve got lots more about this trip to write about so be sure to stay tuned!

Disney, I’ll see ya real soon!

Disneyland Day 3 – Star Wars 10K!

Well what a day!

Being a race day, I was up just before 4am; because Disneyland is so compact, we could just walk to the start line from our hotel, no need to wait for buses etc, which meant we could afford that extra half an hours sleep. Today was the 10k, and we were in corral B, but it was very noticeable how fewer people were taking part in this race compared to last weeks.

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We got off about 7 minutes after the first group, and it was a really good race! The first mile and a half was done on the perimeter of the Disneyland park, before we weaved in and out of backstage, then across to California Adventure after about 3 miles. Everything was still lit up as it was just before sunrise – which was when we hit about 4-5 miles – and the characters were awesome: BB-8, Stormtroopers and Jango Fett to name a few! We finished in 1:15, which isn’t our fastest (1:03) but considering stopping for photos etc it’s pretty damn close!

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Medals and snack boxes acquired, we walked back to the hotel for a quick recover, then into California Adventure via the Grand Californian Hotel to beat the crowds, and straight to Toy Story Midway Mania. The park had only just opened so we only waited about 15 minutes, and afterwards we did Mickey’s Fun Wheel and Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, both of which had less than a 5 minute wait. In need of energy, we took another walk down Radiator Springs, and grabbed food at the Cozy Cone Motel; I had a bacon mac’n’cheese bread cone (YES) and Dad had a pretzel twist, then we sat at Flo’s V8 Cafe and watched the world – and the cars! – go by for a little while. We were taking things easy today after all!

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Onwards, and we slowly walked around the park we had been running through a few hours earlier, before deciding to head back to the RunDisney expo for a last look around, then caught the monorail from Downtown Disney into the Disneyland park. First up was another performance of Mickey and the Magical Map, then back across to Royal Theatre to catch the Tangled show, but the times had been changed and the showing we had hoped to see wasn’t on, so once again we postponed seeing it, and feeling a little drained, decided to go back to the hotel for a swim and chill session. The Paradise Pier Hotel has a rooftop pool and hot tub – ok it’s only on the roof of the third floor but that still counts right? – and it was just what we needed for our achey legs.

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After suitable recovery time, we once again set off for California Adventure, first of all hoping to get another ride on Radiator Springs Racers, but it was having some technical issues, so it was California Screamin’ instead! Finally hoping to catch the Pixar Play Parade, we set up camp on the parade route across from Paradise Pier nice and early so that we could sit and rest our legs for a while. I know I’ve said this about basically every show and parade we’ve watched this trip, but once again I was blown away! There were bugs, toys, cars, bubbles.. It was so much fun!

After the parade it was carb-loading time, so spaghetti and meatballs at Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta hit the spot just right. Now dark out, we were really excited to go back over to Cars Land to see it all properly lit up in all its neon glory before heading back to the hotel for an early night of good solid rest.

Tomorrow is our last race, eeek!

WDW Day 8!

Today was our last full day in the parks, can someone tell me where that time has gone?!

The plan was to have a little bit of a lie-in, then get to the Magic Kingdom for the rope drop. Well, we missed the rope drop, but we did get to do Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder and Space Mountain all within the first hour of park time, so that was pretty impressive in any case! Fast rides out of the way, we stopped at Sleepy Hollow for breakfast: fresh fruit waffle sandwiches in the sunshine, right next to the castle as the first Dream Along with Mickey show was on – kinda perfect, am I right?

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After our late breakfast, we caught the monorail to Polynesian Village; the lobby was under construction on our last visit, so we were curious to see the changes for ourselves, and it made the perfect stop to hop across to Hollywood Studios for the afternoon. First on the agenda was Star Wars Launch Bay to hang out with Chewie and Darth, and we even got to see a rogue Jawa hanging around! After another Great Movie Ride (gangster this time, in case you were wondering), we finally caved and bought ourselves a BB-8 sipper cup each as well as some popcorn to see Beauty and the Beast live on stage.

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After the show, we headed across to Star Tours, but as we were a little early for our Fastpass slot, we decided to watch the Jedi Training Academy show, which was pretty adorable. You might have caught my tweet about how it’s been updated to include some TFA stuff, but we asked a CM today and it turns out there are 50 different variations of the simulation, crazy!

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Next up some Muppet Vision 3D, followed by late lunch at Studio Catering Co, then One Mans Dream (all the feels!) before out Tower of Terror Fastpass. You may have heard me talk about my love/hate relationship with this ride before, and it’s pretty simple: I hate waiting for the first drop, after that I’m totally cool, and it works fine because I know that it doesn’t drop until you reach the top and look out over the park. Nope, not this time! The first drop was done totally in the dark; I felt betrayed, but at least it was over. After that we made our way to Fantasmic nice and early because of our Fastpasses, and to avoid the mad rush that happens so often. It was magical as per, when Mickey comes out on the boat as Steamboat Willie..

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After the show, we made our way to our favourite spot to watch Symphony of the Stars for our last time this trip. It was no less magical the second time; you can physically feel the bangs pass through you!

Tomorrow is our last day here (waa!), but I’m getting so excited to return to Disneyland!

WDW Day 6!

I slept a solid almost 11 hours last night, and it was so good!

This morning our first port of call was a Disney Vacation Club viewing; we had been talked into going by a representative in Epcot a few days ago, and were mainly in it for the free food, Fastpasses and $50 Disney gift card! Don’t get me wrong though, it was interesting to look at!

From there, we headed outlet shopping at Orlando Premier Outlets, about a 10 minute taxi ride away, and snagged some mega bargains, including new Asics trainers and some Vinylmation from Disney’s Character Warehouse. After dropping our haul back at the resort, we caught the boat to Disney Springs for lunch and the Cool Down Party.

The Cool Down Party is basically a bunch of the stores and restaurants in Disney Springs doing discounts and special offers for anyone who ran this weekend, so long as you wear your medal! This meant we got 10% off lunch at T-REX, and I also got 15% off some goodies from Basin, yay!

Still with plenty of the afternoon ahead, we decided to catch a bus to the Walt Disney World Swan hotel, then the boat from there to Hollywood Studios, as we’ve never done that before, and we had no idea how quick a ride it was! Straight away we headed to Rock’n’Roller Coaster, and passed the hour wait using our DVC Fastpasses, then we managed to catch the last showing of Indiana Jones Stunt Show Spectacular, getting to see some of the scenes we had missed the other day.

After that we did another Star Tours, and as luck would have it, the wait time for Toy Story Midway Mania was only 25 minutes, so obviously we were all over that, and in fact, we only waited maybe 5. With a little bit of time until the fireworks, we went back to the Star Wars Launch Bay to watch the film showing we had skipped before, then headed out to get a good view of the Symphony in the Stars fireworks.

Wow. I might go as far as saying it was the best firework display Disney has ever imagineered. Just phenomenal, the way they synced the fireworks to the music and how each rocket represented something.. I could go on but I won’t!

Instead I’m going to bed, goodnight!

PS. No photos from today, too busy seeing through my own two eyes!