The Crazy Kitchen: January 2012

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Friday, 27 January 2012

Cooking With Your Toddler - Rock Cakes

Rock cakes is a good old fashioned recipe that can be found in most kids recipe books but when I was looking for an easy recipe to make with Jack I came across quite a few variations. Some use self raising flour some use plain flour with baking powder, some cream the butter and sugar together whereas some rub the butter into the flour before adding the sugar and wet ingredients.

I combined a couple of recipes and came up with the following that seemed to work out really well. I couldn't remember what consistency it was supposed to be but I think I got it right - not quite as runny as a cake batter but looser than a dough.

You will need:

100g Butter
200g Self Raising Flour
75g Caster Sugar
tsp cinnamon
150g Sultanas
1 egg
3-4 tbsp Milk

  • Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs (or whizz up in a food processor or food mixer)



  • Mix in the sugar, cinnamon, sultanas and beaten egg


  • Add enough of (or all) the milk to make a stiff (but not dry) mixture
  • Spoon onto a greased or lined baking sheet (I use silicone mats on mine) and bake in a 200 degree(C) oven for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned

  • Allow to cool on a wire rack


If you're wondering what the red creature is, that's 'Red', he came home from Pre-school for the weekend as Jack was 'Super Special Helper' this week and his reward is a certificate and chance to spend the weekend having fun with Red.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Time for Elevenses - Bananaberry Muffins


Whatever happened to Elevenses? When I was a kid we always had elevenses, be it a biscuit or a cake, muffin or a crumpet we had something.

Here's what Wikipedia have to say about Elevenses :
In the United KingdomIreland and some Commonwealth realmselevenses is a snack that is similar to afternoon tea, but eaten in the morning. It is generally less savoury than brunch, and might consist of some cake or biscuits with a cup of coffee or tea. The name refers to the time of day that it is taken: around 11 am.
Winnie the Pooh had Elevenses :
For elevenses, Winnie-the-Pooh preferred honey on bread with condensed milk 

and so did Paddington :
Paddington Bear often took elevenses at the antique shop on Portobello Road run by his friend Mr. Gruber
To be honest I'm lucky if I get breakfast by 11 o'clock usually, I tend to put it off and have a brunch instead, but the kids are different, they usually have breakfast before 8 o'clock so by 11 they're more than ready for a snack.
As Anchor are campaigning to Bring Back Elevenses Jack and I thought we'd use this as an excuse to make some fruity muffins to enjoy as a mid morning snack. Muffins are great to make with kids as they're very quick to make and require very little mixing, unlike cakes.

Bananaberry Muffins

1 egg
120ml milk
50g butter, melted
tsp vanilla extract
2 medium bananas, mashed
100g caster sugar
200g plain flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
60g dried cranberries
tsp cinnamon

  • Beat the banana, egg, milk, melted butter, sugar and vanilla together

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  • Add the flour, baking powder, cranberries and cinnamon and stir until combined

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  • Spoon into muffin cases and bake in a 200 degree (C) oven for 20-25 minutes

  • Cool on a wire rack


    Monday, 23 January 2012

    Roasted Vegetable Pasta Bake

    I have this Aunt, I've mentioned her before on here. She occasionally helps me out with a spot of cooking when I'm in a hurry. This Christmas she helped me out with the sprouts and swede & carrot mash as she knows that I prefer to be drinking fizz enjoying time with the children on Christmas morning rather than peeling and mashing. From time to time she also makes us a lovely lemon meringue pie.

    Today my dear Aunt Bessie made a lovely Roasted Vegetable stuffing, which I decided to use in an easy peasy pasta bake. The kids (except Jack) loved it, Sam asked for seconds & wants it again tomorrow. 

    You will need:

    Aunt Bessies Roasted Vegetable Stuffing Mix
    tbsp olive oil
    Chopped onions - did you know you can buy these ready chopped & frozen..genius idea!
    Sliced Mushrooms - ready sliced & frozen too!
    tin of chopped tomatoes
    2 tbsp tomato puree
    100ml water from the cooked pasta
    grated cheese

    • Make the stuffing up as per directions on the box

    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

    • Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions & mushrooms gently

    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
    • Add the stuffing and cook for 1 minute

    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App
    • Add the tinned tomatoes, water and tomato puree, stir until combined

    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

    • Mix with the cooked pasta and pour into a large baking dish and cover with grated cheese
    • Bake in a 190 degree (C) oven for 15-20 minutes until browned

    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

    Sunday, 22 January 2012

    I love Cake - Double Chocolate Eclairs

    I don't think I've missed any of Jenny's I Love Cake challenges, well I love a challenge and after all it's cake, so it has to be done.

    This month after receiving a new Cake Pop maker for Christmas Jenny decided to go with the theme of 'new'. One of the new cookbooks I received for Christmas (I had three) was bought by my Step-daughter as she knows how much I like baking.

    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

    '1001 Cupcakes, Cookies & other tempting treats' is a hardback book that is rammed full of delicious recipes...and the best part...every main recipe has a photo. I say 'main' recipe as some of them have one or two variations. The recipe that I chose to make is number 857 Double Choc Eclairs...a slight variation on the main Chocolate Eclairs recipe. The filling is not that of the traditional whipped cream, instead it's a pastry cream which I've never made before, but as most of the family aren't keen on too much cream filling I thought it was a more suitable alternative.

    You will need :

    Choux Pastry
    70g butter
    150ml water
    100g plain flour, sifted
    2 eggs

    Chocolate Pastry Cream
    2 eggs
    4 tbsp caster sugar
    2 tbsp cornflour
    300ml milk
    85g chopped milk or dark chocolate (I used Terrys Chocolate orange)

    25g butter
    1 tbsp milk
    1 tbsp cocoa powder
    55g icing sugar

    • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (C)
    • Place the butter and water into a saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted, bring to the boil.
    • Remove from heat and stir the flour quickly in and beat well until the mixture leaves the sides of the saucepan and forms a ball

    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

    • Leave to cool slightly then gradually beat in the eggs
    • Spoon into a piping bad with 1cm plain nozzle and pipe onto a greased baking sheet, spaced well apart
    • Bake for 30-35 minutes until crisp & golden
    • Remove from the oven & make a slit in the side of each, cool on a wire rack

    Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

    • For the filling, beat the eggs & sugar together until thick & creamy, fold in the cornflour
    • Heat the milk in a pan until almost boiling, add the chocolate & stir until melted
    • Pour chocolate milk into egg mixture & beat well, transfer to the pan & heat gently, stirring until thick.
    • Cover & leave to cool
    • To make the icing, melt the butter & milk in a saucepan
    • Remove from heat and stir in cocoa & icing sugar
    • Pipe the chocolate cream into the eclairs and spread the chocolate on the top

    I made the mistake of not allowing the pastry cream to cool fully making it a bit too runny for piping so I spooned it in.

    They may not be 'The Great British Bake Off' standard but the kids practically inhaled them!

    I Love Cake

    Friday, 20 January 2012

    Friday Funny

    Whilst out today with Jack and his little friend we called in to M&S for a coffee and babyccino for the boys. When we got up to leave I helped Jack with his coat, but his friend didn't need any assistance as he had learnt 'Magic Coat' at nursery. I was so impressed I asked him to do it again so I could video it

    I'm definitely going to be teaching Jack this one!

    The boys also had lots of fits of giggling whilst we were in Toys R Us - one of the moments was when they found Dance Star Mickey

    It appears that Raa Raa & Noddy beat Mickey in the end...

    Friday Funny

    Wot So Funee?

    Pizza the Mummy Mishaps way

    When I heard Jenny from Mummy Mishaps talk about her fish finger pizza I was a bit unsure whether it would be something I would be making...

    Then I saw the photos and it did look good so I decided to give it a go. I was going to make a pizza base that I've used before, using yeast, but I didn't have enough time as the dough takes 1.5 hours in the breadmaker so I went with the quick pizza base recipe that Jenny used, and doubled it as I knew it wouldn't be enough to go around this hungry family.

    I did put my own little spin on Jenny's pizza and instead of using tomato ketchup on the base I used baked beans. I also made an additional pizza with peppers, onion and hot chillies on, and served with homemade chunky coleslaw and healthy oven baked chips.

    For the base you will need :
    1 cup of self raising flour
    1/2 cup of milk
    1 tbsp oil

    For the topping you will need :

    Can of baked beans
    Cooked fish fingers
    Grated Cheese

    Spicy Pizza topping
    Tomato ketchup
    grated cheese
    sliced red onion
    sliced chillies (I used pickled red chillies)
    Sliced Roasted Red peppers
    dried mixed herbs

    • Mix the flour, milk & oil in a bowl until it comes together to form a dough - I added more flour as I suspect I was a bit heavy handed with the milk.
    • Roll out on a floured surface until the size of your baking sheet/pizza stone
    • Spread the beans over the base, add the cut up fish fingers and cover with grated cheese
    • Bake in a 180 degree (C) oven for 10-15 minutes

    For the spicy pizza

    • Spread the tomato ketchup over the base, cover with grated cheese, chillies, onion & peppers
    • Sprinkle with mixed herbs & bake in a 180 degree (C) oven for 10-15 minutes

    To make the chips I sliced the potatoes (skins on), rinsed them in cold water & spread them out in a large roasting pan pre-heated with 2 tbsp of oil - I usually use olive oil but this time I used Flora Cuisine. Toss them in the oil and shake some malt vinegar over the top. Roast them in a hot oven for around 35-45 minutes, turning occasionally and giving them an extra sprinkle of vinegar - this gives them a real 'chip shop' like taste.

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    I baked the pizzas in my Mermaid Companion Trio pans - perfect when you want to make small pizzas with different toppings as all 3 trays are designed to fit on a standard oven shelf - you can WIN a set of these next week in one of my Blogaversary competitions.

    Cooking With Your Toddler - Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Cookies

    I first saw a similar recipe to this posted by The Moiderer- Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies, and I was amazed that cookies could be made from so few ingredients, and no flour. I came across it again on Utterly Scrummy which prompted me to give them a go.

    You will need

    250g Crunchy Peanut Butter
    150g Caster Sugar
    1 egg, beaten
    100g chocolate chips (optional)

    • Beat the peanut butter, sugar & egg together.
    • Stir in the chocolate chips if using
    • Roll into balls and place on a baking tray, and flatten down gently.
    • Bake in a 180 degree (C) oven for approx 10 minutes

    We preferred the thinner cookies that were a bit browner so next time I think we'll try them without the chocolate chips and roll them thinner - I'm still amazed how something without any flour in can come out so 'biscuity'

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    If you want to share any of your cooking posts that you have done with your children please feel free to add them to the Linkys below - there are separate ones for cakes & cookies, no bake recipes & savoury dishes

    cakes & cookies

    no bake recipes

    savoury dishes

    Friday, 13 January 2012

    Cooking With Your Toddler - Cheese & Marmite Straws

    Now that Christmas and New Year are far behind us it's time for 'Cooking with your Toddler' to make an appearance again.

    I've still got the Linky here, where you can look at the recipes that fellow bloggers have linked up as well as seeing a full list of recipes that we've cooked. I've separated the linky's into 3 categories so it's easier to find recipes that you may want to try out - savoury recipes, cakes & cookies and no bake recipes.

    This week, after my pastry and pie making success I decided to have a go at cheese straws, and came across this delicious recipe here, which I adapted slightly with marmite.

    You will need : 

    150g cold lard (I used Trex)
    150g cold butter
    450g plain flour
    150g parmesan, finely grated
    ½ tsp paprika
    1 tbsp marmite mixed with 1 tbsp boiling water
    1 egg, beaten

    • Mix the flour with the parmesan and paprika
    • Rub the lard and butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs (I used my Kitchen Aid for this part)
    • At this point you should need to add 2-4 tbsp of cold water - I didn't need to as my dough had already started to come together - I suspect because the Trex is not as hard as lard. Add the water until the dough starts to come together
    • Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to approx 1cm thick
    • Brush the marmite/water over the pastry and then fold over and roll again
    • Slice fingers from the pastry
    • Brush with beaten egg
    • Bake in a 180 degree oven for approx 15-20 minutes until lightly browned
    • Cool on a wire rack

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    Jack did really well at slicing his cheese straws....and then squashed them into balls whilst I sliced up the rest. He had great fun rolling and squashing and then left his cheese balls ready to be baked.


    He developed a great slicing technique too.


    I have also linked this recipe up in a competition to win £100 Amazon vouchers on Red Ted Art, sponsored by Appliances Online

    The Crazy Kitchen

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