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Shrewsbury Biscuits

shrewsbury-biscuitsA Shrewsbury cake, often called a Shrewsbury biscuit, is a traditional English dessert that bears a strong resemblance to shortbread. It draws its name from the English town of Shrewsbury, where it is believed to have originated during the Middle Ages.


125g butter or block margarine

125g caster sugar

1 egg, beaten

225g plain flour

Grated rind of 1 lemon or orange


1.         Grease two large baking sheets.

2.         Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Add ½ of the beaten egg and mix well.

3.         Stir in the flour and grated lemon rind and mix to a fairly firm dough with a round bladed knife.  Add more egg if needed – you need a firm dough which will roll out, but is not too sticky.

4.         Turn out on to a lightly floured surface and knead lightly.

5.         Roll out to about 5mm thick.  Cut into rounds with a 6cm fluted cutter and place on baking sheets.

6.         Bake in the oven at 180oC Gas Mark 4 for about 15 minutes, until firm and a very light brown colour.


Variation:  Add 50g chopped dried fruit to the mixture with the flour.

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Leverkusen Bracknell Youth Exchange October 2013

At Monday morning the 21 October we started our journey to Bracknell the twin city of Leverkusen. Twelve boys and girls and two youth workers started their way to the ferry in Calais. After some traffic jams we hit the ferry in the last second and we all were very happy to get in time to Bracknell.

After 10 hours driving we finally reached our accommodation at 05:00 p.m. We had a great welcome from our English hosts with an original English Tea Time.

The next day we did some great activities at our accommodation. Together with the English youngsters we proofed our archery and climbing skills. After the Lunch we did caving a very special activity witch no one of us did before. We tried our best in climbing through the artificial caves. The cave was full of spiders so we had big fun in scaring Julia, one of our youth workers.

In the evening we did a big campfire and we get teached from the English youngsters to melt marshmallows the right way. They were very delicious. But a big thunderstorm interrupted the very nice campfire evening. So we had to escape and went back to our accommodation and then we all played together some funny English and German group games.

On Wednesday we visited London all of us were very excited. Sightseeing and shopping that were our big plans for the day in the British capital.

We visited London by air and water. We did a ride on the London Eye and a riverboat trip on the river Thames. So we had a great experience from the whole city for the short time we had been there.

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In the afternoon we discovered the Oxford Street for all of us it was the shopping paradise, especially when we found out where Primark was. One girl of our group bought herself a pig onesie. It’s very funny the English youngsters are wearing them all the time. In Germany we see stuff like this only at carnival.

After our shopping trip we took a look at the Buckingham Palace and hoped to see a member of the royal family. But afterwards we found out all of them stayed in Windsor at the baptism of Prince George.

We found out that the beautiful red English phone boxes having Wi-Fi access. That was quit new for us, because in Germany we do have just a few phone boxes in public.

After that we returned to Waterloo Station to get our train back to Bracknell. After this great day in London with so many great experiences everyone was very tired and satisfied and everyone fell into their beds.

On the next day we continued our sightseeing tour in the wonderful city of Windsor. On a Bus-trip around Windsor we enjoyed the nice landscape, the castle of Windsor and the Eton College. The weather was fantastic, blue sky and sunshine.

After this we had lunch in a pub and everyone tried Fish and Chips. In the afternoon we came to see the Ice skating ring in Bracknell. English youngsters and us had much fun in testing our ice skating skills.

Directly after the ice skating adventure everyone was hungry and we had the chance to get coffee and cake at an English Youth club.

The Youth club was very nice and all of us agreed that the best was the free WI –Fi they are having.

After the dinner we met some other English youngsters. Especially our girls were very happy that many British boys came to see us. We all get along together very good and many friendships began to start this evening.

Although the Mayor of Bracknell visited us and we told them about our stay and the great Programme during the week.

After this we returned to our accommodation because on the next day we had to go back to Germany and we had to pack our luggage together.

On the next morning the goodbye was very sad for everyone. We had a great time during the week and get to know a great hospitality from the English youngsters and youth workers.

We got to know many new people and all of us are hoping that we can welcome them in 2014 in Leverkusen.


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My Bracknell Forest Art Exhibition

Earlier this year, our schools were invited to take part in an art competition to reflect life and living in Bracknell Forest.  Nineteen schools and the Youth Service submitted art work to the summer exhibition at South Hill Park on the theme of ‘My Bracknell Forest’.  The exhibition showed children and young people’s artwork from the ages of 4 to 18.  The schools and youth centres chose their best individual and group entries which were displayed in South Hill Park’s Mansion Galleries as part of an exhibition of 120 pictures exploring what Bracknell Forest means to young people.

Young people were encouraged to research their local area to inspire a piece of artwork to show where they live.  The inspiration came from many subjects including important historical buildings, such as South Hill Park, to areas of geographical or environmental interest like Swinley Forest.

Encouraging young people to be creative and imaginative is important and the My Bracknell Forest art competition provided a great way for young people to express themselves.  A selection of the art work has been photographed and put into a commemorative book.  A copy was presented to the Deputy Major when visiting the exhibition with a party from Leverkusen.

We also saw the art work created by a school from Leverkusen.

EP-Bracknell-Forest-Stag800 My-BF-art-comp-2_800 My-BF-art-comp-winners800 My-BF-art-comp800 Ranelagh-The-Elderflower-Picker800 St-Josephs-Untitled800 Uplands-It-is-always-a-nice-day-in-Sandhurst800 Wildmoor-Heath-Love-is-all-around800 Wildmoor-Heath-Wellington-College800


A Visit in British Primary Schools

Stofftier-kaufenLast Wednesday I visited with Sue Pike, an advisory teacher for the council, two primary schools in Bracknell. This was a very exciting experience for me, because I’ve never been to a school in England.

Sue explained to me that the children in England start school at the age of 4 or 5 and that they stay in primary school for 6 years until they’re 11 years old.

This is a really big difference to the German school system. In Germany the children start school at the age of 6 or 7 years and leave school at the age of 10 or 11 after having 4 years stayed in primary schools. After which the parents and teachers decide which school would be the best for each child.

In the schools Sue and I were playing some games with the youngest children in order to see how they move and if they are able to write their names and draw nice pictures. Sue told me that she will do the same tests with the children in a few weeks again to see how they developed. At one point we divided the children into three groups and each one having a different challenge to complete. One group had to show what they can do with hoops, another had to collect as many bean bags as possible and another group had to pass a balloon around. While playing with the children, you could see how they behaved in a group or how they could move themselves, e.g. in the group with the hoops. It was nice to see the difference between the schools and children. To sum it up, it was a really good experience and a very nice but an exhausting day.

by Vanessa

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Halloween in Germany

Pumpkin from Jealotts Hill

Halloween isn’t as famous in Germany as it is in many other countries around the world. However, most families decorate their houses with carved pumpkins placed in front of their windows or front doors.

To hollow out the pumpkins is for all members of the family much fun, because the children can decide how their pumpkin should be carved.

Furthermore, the children in primary schools do handicrafts like big spiders, pumpkins or ghosts, in order to decorate their classrooms.

On 31st October only some children knock on neighbour’s doors in order to ask for sweets or cakes.

More popular is a holiday a few weeks later, called St. Martin, where a majority of people walk through the streets with hand lanterns, singing songs about the lantern or the holy St. Martin.

by Vanessa Muth



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Rhein Rock Open Air Festival

Rhein Rock is a foundation which promotes newcomer bands. Rhein Rock is not a usual festival, it’s a festival organized by a lot of young volunteers who spend a lot of hours to organize it. They all collect donations. Rhein Rock is a festival for Punk Rock, Pop Punk, Alternative, Metal, Funk, Punk, Indie and Emo bands.

This year the festival took place on the 13/7/2013 and it was the 6th Rhein Rock open air festival. It’s always on the Bürgerwiese in Baumberg, a city next to Leverkusen. There were about 500 bands who applied for the festival but only ten of these were chosen.

There were about 1000 listeners.

I visited Rhein Rock with some friends and it was amazing. There were awesome bands and they presented awesome gigs. Some bands just covered other famous bands and some bands presented their own songs. My favourite bands were Blessed by Rhenus and Emergency Gate.

Tobias Schneider and Fabian Kobelt, Käthe Kollwitz Gesamtschule Leverkusen


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An English Art Exhibition involving Leverkusen?

Members of a group of visitors from Bracknell’s German twin town, Leverkusen, discovered the answer to this question on 20th July 2013. They were invited to view an exhibition of school’s art work entitled “My Bracknell Forest” at South Hill Park Arts Centre.

In the Spring of 2013, Dr. Janette Karklins, Director Children, Young People & Learning at Bracknell Forest Council, set a challenge for young people to represent their locality through their artistic vision. Leverkusen was also involved as twin town – of course with the appropriate theme “My Leverkusen.” And the GGS School, Leverkusen, Heinrich Lübke-Str. submitted entries to the competition.

More than 130 entries to the art competition were on display. The impressive paintings, collages, watercolours, drawings and sculpture demonstrated the variety and sophistication awakened by the theme. Works with individual topics eg., “Child with Pet at Home” hung alongside others that reflected nature. Others highlighted environmental problems and possible solutions. A huge area of forest around Bracknell had been devastated by fire two years previously.

The contribution of our Leverkusen school – a map with inlaid land-marks and leisure places in the interpretation of Class 3 – was projected on a large monitor in the foyer of this dignified old building. As the mayor handed over the original work to the Bracknell representatives, there was much applause and praise. It will remain on display in Bracknell until the end of September, before it returns to Leverkusen.

Perhaps it would be worth Herr Adomat (Departmental head of children’s services in Leverkusen) considering a similar event for visitors from Bracknell next year. There are plenty of appropriate spaces in our city.

Incidentally; the project is documented in the Internet newspaper of Bracknell / Leverkusen A book has been published and a DVD of images is in production.

Leverkusen visitors to South Hill Park, Bracknell, July 2013



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Last Week before Summer Vacation at KKS

In the last week before our summer vacations, we only have two normal schooldays. On Monday our lessons are shorter than normally. Our lessons are only 30 minutes long – 15 minutes shorter.

Usually on Mondays school finishes at 4 p.m., but on this Monday we only have school until 1.50 p.m. The reason is the high temperature here at the moment. Tuesday is like every Tuesday this year. On Wednesday we are having our Sports Festival. On this day we only do sports and no regular lessons. On Thursday we will enjoy a day out, which is a so-called “Wandertag”:  every class will be on a trip. Some will visit a museum, another city, or a fun park like “Phantasialand”. On Friday we will only have two regular lessons, before it’s time for our school reports, and then our summer vacations will start.

July 2013 : Celine D. (14), Käthe-Kollwitz Gesamtschule Leverkusen

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Hot Cross Buns

Hot cross buns
Hot Cross Buns

By Alyssa, Yousuf, Mitchell, Aaron and Alfie

The thing most associated with Easter is Easter Eggs – but there are lots of other things associated with Easter such as hot cross buns. Easter is a joyful time for lots of kids who celebrate Easter. Although most of the real meaning is forgotten because of the chocolate and sweets and holidays. The teachers are even jollier and they give more fun lessons.

Why Hot Cross Buns?

The reason for hot cross buns is that Jesus died on the cross and the buns have crosses on them. They are usually served on Good Friday. They are a rich, spiced tea cake.


A Hot Cross Bun is always in any list of Easter recipes as it is customary to eat the buns on Good Friday. This Hot Cross Bun recipe is a quicker, lighter recipe than the Traditional Hot Cross Bun which requires a starer dough and a slow rising. Though the recipe is made more quickly, the taste is not compromised in any way: the sweet, spicy buns taste just as good as the traditional ones.

Originally eaten by the Saxons to honor their goddess Eostre the buns are marked with a cross as it is believed the bun represented the moon and the cross the moon’s quarters. To Christians, the cross symbolizes the crucifixion.

Preparation Time: 3 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours, 50 minutes

Makes: 12 hot Cross Buns


For the Buns

500g strong, white bread flour

55g Muscovado sugar

1 tsp salt

2 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

55g cold butter cut into small pieces

100g mixed dried fruits

25g candied mixed peel

7g dried yeast

300 ml warm (not hot) milk

For the Crosses

75g  all purpose plain flour

35g cold butter, cut into small pieces


1.5 tbsp apricot jam, warmed


Mix together the flour with the sugar, salt and spices. Add the butter pieces and rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse sand. Add the dried fruits and mixed peel, stir. Sprinkle over the yeast and finally, pour in the warm milk and mix using a spatula until a soft sticky dough is formed.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for no less than 10 minutes or until a silky smooth dough is formed. Place in a large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm (not hot)place until doubled in size, this should take about 2 hours.

Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface, knock all the air from the dough and knead again for 2 mins. Divide the dough into 12 and roll each into a bun shape. Place the buns on a lightly oiled baking sheet. With a sharp knife cut a shallow cross, the width of the into the top of the bun. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise again for approx 45 mins or until well risen.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas 7

Make the crosses by rubbing the butter into the flour, add a little cold water (0.5 tbsp) and stir to make a thick dough. If too dry add a little more water. Roll the dough into a ball, cut in half, then each half into 6. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The balls will go hard and be easier to roll.

Roll each small dough ball into a long thin sausage, cut in half and firmly press each ‘sausage’ half into the cross of the buns without knocking the air out.

Bake in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until the buns are well risen and golden brown. Remove from the oven and brush the buns with the jam. Lift the buns onto a wire rack and leave to cool.



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Easter Visitors Bring the Story to Life

EasterBy St. Michael’s Easthampstead

One morning this week our Junior classes had the Easter characters visit their classrooms. The story was explained to the children from different points of view: Palm Sunday, the Last Supper, Gethsemane, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. To help them remember, the children were given reminders at each story session, Palm Crosses, matzos, chocolate silver coins, hot cross buns and Easter eggs.

“We all thought this was exciting as we walked from one classroom to the next. None of us knew what to expect and some of the characters were really angry and upset!”

Easter DSCF0202 Easter