Category Archives: Cooking and Baking

Homemade Christmas Pudding – Y U M M Y !

We’re a little late with our Christmas pudding making this year but there’s still enough time to let it mature and taste extra scrummy.

We absolutely suggest making your own too. I am definitely a Christmas pudding convert in the last 10 years. Homemade is most definitely the way to Christmas pudding perfection. It’s also a family tradition to get together, make the pudding and each have a stir and make a wish.

If you fancy a try, here’s our recipe (tried, tested and very, very yummy!). It’s enough for a large pudding for 8.

Ingredients (excuse the ounces, my grandmother doesn’t do grams):

  • 8oz Moist Brown Sugar
  • 8oz Sultanas
  • 8oz Raisins
  • 8oz Currants
  • 4oz Candied Peel (personally, I can’t abide the stuff so Continue reading
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Scary, Yet Yummy, Halloween Lollies!

Children's Cooking FunIn preparation for tonight’s Halloween party we have had our baking and making hats on. We’ve created lovely posters to decorate the walls and have made these scary Halloween lollies for yummy post dinner treats.

We’ve had a little taste and as they’re so yummy we thought we’d share!

Here’s how:

  1. Firstly buy a slab of chocolate or chocolate drops
  2. Heat  and stir the chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan of hot water until it’s all melted
  3. Lay out some tin foil on a flat surface
  4. Once the chocolate cools a little, poor into ghosty shapes on the foil
  5. Lay a stick into each shape (we cut the ends off some cotton buds)
  6. Pop into the fridge to cool

Yummy! Scary! Yummy!

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Winter Warming Tomato Soup

If like us you’ve been busy growing your own over the summer and have bumper haul of tomatoes (or even if you haven’t and you go out and buy some), we thought we’d share our favourite tomato soup receipe with you, perfect for the colder Autumn months and we think it tastes better than the tinned version!

  • 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 Continue reading
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Back to Enid Blyton Innocence…Almost!

Our 6 year old is well and truly into the fantastic story books I used to love as a little girl – Enid Blyton, Dick King Smith, Naughty Little Sister. I absolutely love to share the stories with her but it is giving her all sorts of ideas of fun things to do 1950s, 60s and 70s style. It’s hard to reason with a 6 year old that times have changed which is why I’m posting about our latest outing.

The latest favourite is the Sophie stories by Dick King Smith. Our little girl has decided, just like Sophie, that she wants to be a farmer when she grows up and has, just like Sophie, started saving for a farm. I love that these stories teach her about the value of money and how you have to save and work hard for things you really want.

However, saving for a farm means the piggy bank (or several piggy banks) will need a penny or 10 adding quite often. Next step, money making ideas.

Now the down side of these innocent stories is the freedom of 1950s children. Most of the money making schemes involve 6 year olds who go off into town or off on the bus or knocking on strangers doors. Trying to explain that things don’t work quite the same way anymore is not the easiest.

The solution? Our 6 year old was desperate to sell cakes. She was desperate to sell them on the street and she was desperate to sell them to strangers. We had many discussions about selling them to family but that simply Continue reading

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Jam Rock Cakes – A Children’s Baking Special

jam rock cakes for childrenSince I was very little I have partaken in jam rock cake making with my lovely Nanny. They are my favourite cake and my “little” brother (age 28!) still has rock cakes made for him by our Nanny. If I’m honest, I’m a little jealous that I have to make my own, often inferior, version. What is it with a Nanny’s fingers that make things taste so much better?

Anyway, I thought I’d share my Nanny’s recipe. I know she didn’t invent it but unfortunately I have no idea where she got the original from so I can’t reference it, therefore I’ll give my lovely Nanny all the credit!!

It’s such a simple bake that it’s great for children’s little fingers to bake too.

Ingredients:

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Fun Feast for your 5 a day!

children's cooking funIt can sometimes be a bit of a chore hitting that 5 fruit and veg portions a day. Luckily the Dylan and Grace children can happily munch through a fruit bowl in one sitting – sometimes to the point of suggesting they eat a biscuit instead! However, it’s always good to encourage tasting new fruit to both widen their tastes and give some extra vitamin variation to their 5 a day. And it’s always great to add fun to any daily task!

We decided to add a bit of fun to our 5 a day by creating a 5 a day feast – actually it probably turned out about 7 a day! It was great fun to do and helped the Dylan and Grace children practice their knife skills. Our 5 year old very proudly used a sharp knife (extremely supervised!!) which added to her enjoyment immensely.

We did use a wide variation of fruit but you could just as easily have the same fun with an apple, a banana and an orange. We also added a bit of extra Continue reading

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Hurrah, pick your own season has begun!

strawberry picking childrenJune has arrived along with the pick you own season. We could wait no longer so decided to head straight down to the pick your own farm now summer is here.

Sadly only strawberries are in season at the moment but another few weeks and raspberries will be ready for the picking along with gooseberries followed by blackcurrants and blackberries. Then we shall be off again…

Many pick your own farms have additional entertainment to keep children amused all day. One of our local pick your own farms (Rectory Farm in Oxfordshire) has a bouncy castle, sandpit and outdoor cafe, another (Millet’s Farm in Abingdon) has a full garden centre, animals, shop and cafe/restaurant. Both also have great picnic areas.

So, why not make a day of it? Pick your own in the morning, picnic with pick your own pudding and lots of play to work it all off.

On top of everything, it’s a great way to get children eating their 5 a day all in one go! Children are much more likely to give Continue reading

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Rainy Day Fun

Well it’s raining, and doesn’t look like stopping any time soon, at Dylan and Grace we love to have fun whatever the weather so thought we’d share with you our top 5 things to do in the rain.

1) Put on your wellies and raincoat and head outside.  Jumping in puddles is sure to put a smile on your face and when you get home be sure to warm up with a lovely hot chocolate!

2)  An afternoon of creativity, Dylan and Grace have lots of craft kits to choose from but this sock dog is one our favourites.

3)  Camping doesn’t have to be just for outdoors, grab some blankets and drape over furniture to create your own indoor tent.  Furnish with lots of cushions, sleeping bags and blankets for a cosy hideaway

4) Dig out a board game and get the whole family involved in an afternoon of competitive game playing

5)  Get baking, whip up some tasty treats in the kitchen.  Here’s one of our favourite flapjack recipes for you to try;

Ingredients

110g light brown sugar

175g butter

175g porridge oats

1 tablespoon of golden syrup

Method

1)  Heat the sugar, butter and golden syrup in a large saucepan until melted.

2)  Once melted, take off the heat and mix in the porridge oats

3)  Spoon mixture into a square baking tin and bake in the oven for 40 mins on 150’c

4)  Remove from over and cool for 10 mins before cutting into slices, wait until completely cool before removing from the tin

Whatever you choose to do, have fun and let us have your ideas for things to do on a rainy day.

 

 

 

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Easter Cooking – Classic Easter Nests

easter cooking funYou just can’t get through Easter without making at least one batch of Easter nests. Not only are they a very yummy snack, they’re also perfect Easter gifts for family and friends. Just add them into a little homemade Easter box for an extra special homemade Easter gift.

I’m sure you know what to do but just in case:

  • Gently stir 225g chocolate, 50g butter and 2 tbsps golden syrup in a saucepan until all melted
  • Take the chocolate mixture off the heat and mix in some cornflakes, crushed shredded wheat or rice crispies
  • Put into cake cases, leaving a little nest shaped dent and leave to cool for a few minutes
  • Decorate with mini chocolate eggs – and little chicks if you have them

If you fancy, you could shape it into one big nest with lots of chicks and eggs inside.

Then either deliver the gift to your recipients or, if it’s a special gift to yourselves, sit down and enjoy!

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Eggcellent Easter Biscuits – Cooking Fun, Fun, Fun

easter biscuitsToday we created our second batch of Easter biscuits – probably not the last batch before Easter’s over either. Cooking is a great half term activity to cover all ages – and everyone likes to lick the bowl whatever age.

I wasn’t very convinced how they’d turn out with my varying success with making biscuits, a 2 year old and a 5 year old but I was very pleasantly pleased – enough to make a second batch today!

A quick Easter biscuit guide for you:

  • Mix 150g of soft butter and 75g of icing sugar until creamy
  • OPTIONAL – add in the rind of a lemon and a tablespoon of it’s juice for lemony biscuits Continue reading
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