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Posts Tagged ‘baking with children’

If you have grown your own pumpkins this year now is the time to put them to good use and turn them into fantastic Halloween Lanterns, don’t throw away the lovely orange flesh, use it to make some delicious Mini Halloween Pumpkin Cakes.

Mini Halloween Pumpkin Cakes

  • 250g Pumpkin Flesh (peeled weight)
  • 150g Self-Raising Flour
  • 150g Light Brown Sugar
  • 100g Butter/Margarine
  • 90g Sultanas
  • 1 teaspoon Orange Juice
  • zest of ½ Orange
  • 2 Eggs beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Mixed Spice
  • 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Line a 12 hole cake tin with paper cases.
  3. Grate the pumpkin flesh.
  4. Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together.
  5. Melt the butter/margarine in the microwave and then beat in the eggs.
  6. Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix together.
  7. Add the orange juice, orange zest, sultanas and the grated pumpkin and stir well.
  8. Spoon the mixture into the bun cases.
  9. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and springy. 

The Topping

  • 75g (3oz) Butter/Margarine, softened
  • 2 tbsp Milk
  • 225g (8oz) Icing Sugar, sifted
  • Few drops of food colouring red/green

Beat together the butter, milk, food colouring and half the sugar to combine, then add the remaining sugar and beat until fluffy.

  1. When the cakes are cool, generously spread them with the topping.
  2. For ‘Snake Stew Cakes’ keep the topping messy and press jelly snakes into it or for
  3. ‘Spooky Spider Cakes’ smooth the topping and add 2 round sweets for eyes and Liquorice Strips or Strawberry Laces for legs.

These cakes make an unusual alternative to sweets for your visiting trick or treaters.

Let’s hope that we have a moonlit, dry and crisp Halloween night, as being a soggy ghost, witch or skeleton isn’t much fun.

Happy Halloween.

Gill

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If you are lucky enough to have a glut of tomatoes one of the best ways to use them is in some delicious Tomato Soup, I make some every year, if I have had a good crop, and freeze it to enjoy in the winter months, just one spoonful brings back that summer feeling, Thomas says it tastes better than the tinned alternative, a great compliment.

This recipe can be doubled or trebled depending on the availability of tomatoes and the size of your pan and freezer! I would recommend large fleshy tomatoes which have less seeds and juice, plum tomatoes give a good flavour too, I usually make my soup with the tomatoes that are ready often using a few different varieties. All quantities are approximate and can be adjusted to suit your own taste.

Thomas’s Favourite Tomato Soup

  • 3 lb ripe Tomatoes
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 Large Carrot
  • 2 tablespoons Tomato Puree
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic Puree
  • 2 pinches dried mixed herbs or fresh if available
  • 3/4 pint Vegetable Stock or Chicken Stock
  • Knob of Butter/Margarine
  1. Chop the onion and carrot and add to the pan with a knob of butter/margarine and cook until soft without browning.
  2. Wash and roughly chop your tomatoes and add to the pan with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Simmer for 30 – 45 minutes stirring regularly.
  4. Leave to cool slightly and then blend until smooth.
  5. Taste and add seasoning if required, if it tastes a bit tart you can add a little bit of sugar.
  6. It is at this stage that I sieve the soup which removes the skin and the seeds but if you don’t mind these your soup is ready to eat or leave to cool and then freeze.
  7. I freeze my soup in margarine tubs, a 500g tub holds about the same as a standard size tin of soup.
  8. It will keep in the freezer for 6 months.

This soup is delicious served with crusty bread or our favourite Home made Garlic Bread.

Enjoy

Gill

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Would you believe it the summer holidays are nearly at an end, where have six weeks gone?

These delicious biscuits will make a nice treat in school lunchboxes when the children go back after the holidays and they are perfect for little fingers and thumbs to make.

Home made Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam Drop Cookies

  • 125g Butter or Margarine
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 190g Self Raising Flour
  • 1oog Caster Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • Strawberry Jam
  1. Preheat oven to 180C.
  2. Beat together the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy.
  3. Mix in the egg yolk and the vanilla extract.
  4. Gradually add the flour and mix in slowly to form a smooth dough.
  5. Roll generous teaspoons of dough into balls and space out on baking trays lined with greaseproof paper.
  6. Flatten each ball slightly and press your finger or thumb into the middle to make a well, take care not to press too hard.
  7. Fill the hole with approx ½ teaspoon jam.
  8. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden.
  9. Cool on wire racks.

You can of course use any flavour of jam that you like. 

Enjoy,

Gill

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If you are having a Birthday Party, Garden Party, BBQ or a family get together this Summer why not personalise your cakes or deserts with flowers from your own garden, they will look stunning and at this time of year there are plenty to choose from.

This is a lovely fun Summer holiday family activity, from selecting and picking the flowers to painting on the egg white and sprinkling on the sugar, you may need a bit of patience but the results are worth it. The flowers can also be made in advance.

Select flowers that you know are edible, pick a few at a time, when they are dry, and only choose those that are in perfect condition, make sure that they have not been treated with pesticides or chemicals.

Perfect purple pansies

Ingredients for Crystallised Flowers

Edible flower heads (Borage Flowers, Rose Petals, Pansies, and Violets are suitable)
Edible leaves (Mint, Lemon Balm)
2 egg whites
100g caster sugar

How to make Crystallised Flowers

  1. Take the egg whites in a large bowl and add a spoonful of water, whisk with a fork until a few bubbles appear in the mixture.
  2. Dip the paintbrush in the egg white and brush each flower and leaf with egg white making sure that you cover all the surface.
  3. Hold over the bowl of Caster Sugar and then sprinke on the sugar until fully covered on both sides.
  4. Allow the sugar to absorb and then cover lightly with a second sprinkling if required, take care not to over apply.
  5. Place the finished leaves and flowers on some kitchen paper, and position the flowers to best effect (once they are dry you will not be able to move them), allow to dry at room temperature for around 24 hours.  They are then ready to use.

    Flowers ready for crystallising

Your crystallised flowers can be carefully stored in an airtight container between layers of greaseproof paper at room temperature for up to two weeks.

It is worth remembering that all plants have a certain amount of toxicity which not everyone can tolerate, if in doubt don’t eat them, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Have fun

Gill

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Be a smash hit this Wimbledon, take advantage of our abundant summer fruits and make an ace Strawberry Smoothie which everyone will love – a winner every time.

This recipe couldn’t be simpler, is quick and easy to make and a great way to use up very ripe or frozen fruit.

Perfect fruit for a smoothie

Wimbledon Strawberry Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 8 Strawberries (Hulled) approx.
  • 110ml (4floz) Milk
  • 120g (4oz) Plain Yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons Caster Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of Vanilla Extract
  • Strawberry or Vanilla Ice Cream

Method

  1. Combine all the ingredients together except for the Ice Cream and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour into glasses.
  3. Serve with a spoonful of Ice Cream on top.

Serves 2.

Enjoy!

Gill

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To celebrate National Jam Week next week, 18-24 June 2012, why not make some delicious Strawberry Jam. Strawberries are one of the first fruits to come into season but they all seem to ripen at once and do not have a very long ‘shelf life’ once picked, so why not turn your crop into a delicious treat that you can enjoy well into the winter months. This is a great way to preserve your crop if you have a glut or if you want to take advantage of the plentiful supply in the supermarkets.

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients

  • 1500g strawberries
  • Juice of a lemon
  • 1250g Sugar

Method

  1. Wash your strawberries; remove the green tops as well as any soft/bruised spots and cut any large fruits into smaller pieces.
  2. Put the strawberries into a large heavy based saucepan.
  3. Simmer gently until hot, and then add the sugar and lemon juice.
  4. Stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  5. Raise the heat and boil rapidly stirring occasionally until setting point is reached (To check for setting point chill a plate in the fridge and put a small teaspoon of jam onto it and allow to cool. Push your finger through the jam, if setting point has been reached the skin on the jam should wrinkle up when pushed and the jam either side should remain separate).
  6. Remove any scum off the top of the jam.
  7. Spoon the jam into hot, sterilised jars and seal down.
  8. Leave to cool, label and store in a cool place.

This recipe will make approx. 4 x 500g jars.

Jam is a delicious topping on ice cream, rice pudding, croissants, scones, jam tarts, pancakes, waffles as well as on toast and of course in Britains favourite and our children’s favourite ‘jam butties’.

Yum, Yum!

 Gill

P.S. Have a look at The Recycleworks website under Summer Harvest for more great ways to Press, Preserve and Dry your fruit crops.

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Preparations are well underway all over the country for the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations in June. Bunting is being made, entertainers are being booked and street parties are being organized, if you are having your own Party, Street Party or BBQ why not make some of our delicious Red (Strawberries), White (Mascarpone/Cream) and Blue (Blueberries) Jubilee treats.

Fruity Jubilee Cheesecake

  •  400g (approx) Strawberries and Blueberries
  • 250g Digestive Biscuits
  • 100g Melted Butter
  • 600g Soft Cheese
  • 284ml Double Cream
  • 100g  Icing Sugar
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  1. Put the biscuits into a plastic food bag, seal and crush with a rolling pin until they become crumbs.
  2. Gently melt the butter in a pan and add the biscuit crumbs mixing thoroughly.
  3. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 23cm loose bottomed cake tin in an even layer and place in the fridge to chill for an hour.
  4. Mix the Soft Cheese with the Icing Sugar gradually adding the cream and the vanilla extract and beating until smooth.
  5. Spoon the cream mixture onto the biscuit base and smooth down removing any air pockets.
  6. Place in a fridge overnight to set.
  7. 30 minutes before serving remove the Cheesecake from the fridge.
  8. Place the cake tin on a can or a cup and slowly pull the sides of the tin down then carefully slide the Cheesecake off the base onto a serving plate (if you can).
  9. Wash your Blueberries and Strawberries (slice in half if large) arrange on top and decorate with sprigs of mint.

 

Fruity Jubilee Pavlova

  • 4 Large Egg Whites
  • 225g Caster Sugar
  • 2tsp Cornflour
  • 1 tsp White Wine Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 300 ml Double Cream
  • 400g (approx) Strawberries and Blueberries
  1. Preheat oven to 150C, Fan 130C, Gas 2.
  2. Line a baking tray with Greaseproof Paper.
  3. In a clean, dry bowl beat or whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks then add a few spoonfuls of sugar at a time and continue whisking until glossy and smooth, fold in the cornflour and vinegar.
  4. Spoon the mixture onto the greaseproof paper in a circle about 22cm in diameter making a slight dip in the centre.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce temperature to 120C, fan 100C, Gas ½ and bake for 1 hour.
  6. Turn the oven off and leave the pavlova to cool in the oven.
  7. Just before serving whip the cream to soft peaks and spoon on top of your pavlova.
  8. Wash your Blueberries and Strawberries (slice in half if large) arrange on top and decorate with sprigs of mint.

Both these recipes can be made the day before and finished off just before serving.

Whatever you are doing have a great time and let’s hope the sun shines.

Gill

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Who can refuse a slice of delicious, warm, buttery, garlicky bread definitely not me my mouth is watering now. Garlic bread makes a great starter, side dish or anytime snack. It is simple to prepare with few ingredients and a great favourite with children who will love to help you make it. The taste is so much better if you use your own home grown Garlic.

Ingredients

  • 3 large cloves of garlic
  • 100g softened butter
  • 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley finely chopped
  • 1 ciabatta bread or baguette (not too thin)

Method

  1. Heat oven to 400F/200C/Gas mark 6
  2. Peel and crush garlic
  3. Cream butter and garlic together
  4. Finely chop the flat-leaf parsley and stir into the butter
  5. Get your bread and make slits about 3cm apart along the top making sure not to cut right through
  6. Generously spread the garlic butter between the slices
  7. Place the bread on a piece of foil and wrap loosely
  8. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for about 10 minutes, if you want a crusty top open the foil and bake for another 5 minutes

The smell and taste is absolutely gorgeous. Enjoy!

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This year Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday is on 21st February and is the day before Ash Wednesday (the first day of Lent). Pancakes are associated with this day because they were a way to use up rich foodstuffs such as eggs, milk and sugar before the fasting season of the 40 days of Lent

On Pancake Day, pancake races are held in villages and towns across the Country. Participants race through the streets carrying a frying pan and flipping and catching a pancake in it whilst they run. The tradition is said to have originated when a housewife from Olney was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time until she heard the church bells ringing for the service. She raced out of the house to church still carrying her frying pan and pancake.

Pancake Day is a fun day which you can share with friends and family.

Why not have a go at making pancakes, this is the recipe that I use which was given to me by my mum.

Ingredients

  • 1 pint full-fat milk
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 6 oz self raising flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 level teaspoon ground ginger
  • Generous shake of ground nutmeg
  • 1 oz caster sugar
  • Butter to cook the pancakes

Method

  1. Pour the milk into a jug, add the eggs and beat well
  2. Sieve the flour into a bowl with the nutmeg and ginger, stir in the salt and sugar and make a hollow in the centre
  3. Gradually pour the egg and milk mixture into the centre of the flour, whisking just in the centre as you pour
  4. Keep whisking so you gradually draw in the flour from the outside of the bowl – this will hopefully keep your mixture lump free!
  5. When the flour is fully mixed in, cover the bowl and put in the fridge to rest for half an hour or a few minutes if you are short of time!
  6. Heat a frying pan on a medium heat
  7. Add a small amount of butter and let it melt to cover the base of the pan
  8. Give the batter mix a quick whisk
  9. Ladle some batter into the pan, and tilt the pan so the batter mix covers the base
  10. Put the pan back onto the heat and leave to cook for 1–2 minutes
  11. Flip the pancake when the underside is golden brown
  12. Remove the pancake from the heat when both sides are golden brown
  13. Add your favourite toppings and enjoy

Pancakes are traditionally served with caster sugar and lemon juice. Why not be adventurous and experiment with some delicious toppings:

Add some fresh fruit e.g. pineapple, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or use tinned fruit

Serve with cream, ice cream, crème fraiche, Greek style yoghurt

Drizzle with chocolate sauce, raspberry sauce, honey, maple syrup or golden syrup

Sprinkle with nuts, chocolate or honeycomb pieces

The variations are endless, yum, yum!

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To celebrate our British treasure the Bramley Apple and Bramley Apple Week 5th February – 12th February why not make a delicious, warming

Bramley Apple Crumble.

Ingredients

  • 1kg/2lb 3½oz Bramley apples
  • Granulated sugar to taste
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 100g/3½oz plain flour
  • 175g/6oz butter
  • 50g/2oz rolled oats
  • 100g/3½oz demerara sugar
  • Generous pinch of ground cinnamon and/or nutmeg

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  2. Peel, core and dice the apples, put them in a pan with a tablespoon of water and granulated sugar to taste and cook over a medium heat for about five minutes, until the apples start to soften.
  3. Transfer the apple mixture to a shallow ovenproof dish.
  4. Rub the flour and butter together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  5. Stir in the oats, demerara sugar and the cinnamon/nutmeg and sprinkle evenly over the cooked apples in the pie dish.
  6. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until crisp and golden brown on top.
  7. Enjoy hot or cold with Ice Cream, Cream or Custard.
  8. Serves 4.

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