The Crazy Kitchen: February 2012

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Friday 24 February 2012

Cooking With Your Toddler - Butternut Squash Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Butternut squash cake does sound a bit odd but root vegetables lend themselves very nicely in cakes....beetroot worked really well in my chocolate cupcakes, keeping them lovely and moist. I spotted this recipe and pinned it until this week when myself and Jack made it with a few variations as below.

Butternut Squash Cake

440g Butternut squash, steamed & mashed
250ml vegetable oil
4 eggs
250g caster sugar
250g sultanas
250g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

  • Beat the squash, oil and eggs together
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

  • Stir all the dry ingredients together
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry 
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

  • Mix well

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

  • Pour into a large (lined) baking tin
  • Bake in a 180 degree (C) oven for approx 40 minutes - make sure it's cooked in the middle by inserting a skewer
  • Allow to cool in the tin - I then removed from the tin, took the baking paper off & then replaced into the tin ready for frosting

I forgot to get cream cheese so I improvised with cottage cheese - shhhh don't tell my kids!

200g cottage cheese, blended until smooth
110g butter, softened
150g icing sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
grated zest of 1/2 orange

  • Beat all the ingredients together until smooth
  • Spread over the cooled cake and allow to set in the fridge


The cake was so moist and tasty that it didn't last long - next time I'm going to make it without the frosting so the kids can take it to school in their lunchboxes. It would be really nice with walnuts in but the kids wouldn't eat it then & I'd have to eat it all on my own....I'm sure I could manage it but my waistline wouldn't be too impressed.

Recipes that I've seen for root vegetable cakes use it grated but I think it's much easier to steam and then saves your knuckles!

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Sunday 19 February 2012

Sweetcorn Bites


Sweetcorn bites are a handy pack of 8 kid sized pieces of fresh sweetcorn that have been grown on a working British Farm in the South of England. They are completely natural and don't contain any artificial ingredients, making them a completely healthy snack for kids.

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Jack couldn't get enough of them, first of all having some for an afternoon snack and then asking for more with his dinner - and not a kernel was left on his discarded stalks.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

They're really easy to prepare, either by steaming, boiling or microwaving, with full instructions on each pack. I chose to microwave by adding a tablespoon of water to the bag and microwaving for 4 - 4.5 minutes. I checked after 3.5 and they were cooked perfectly.

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The sweetcorn bites are currently available in selected stores of Tesco (in the South of England), Co-op and online at Ocado, retailing around £1.99 per pack of 8 bites.

I found them online at Ocado currently selling for £2.49 or 2 packs for £3

Sunday 12 February 2012

Lemon and Raisin Pancakes

On Friday I posted a recipe for American style banana pancakes. This morning we made lemon & raisin pancakes from the Baking Mad website, and they were lovely....very similar in texture to the banana ones I made but with a lovely lemony flavour and juiciness of the raisins (well I used sultanas)

You will need

  • grated zest of half a lemon
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 125ml milk
  • 50g raisins or sultanas

Mix the lemon zest, flour and sugar in a bowl
Stir in the egg and milk until well combined
Pour the batter into a jug
Preheat a pan and grease lightly with oil or butter (I use a large flat cast iron griddle pan)
Pour batter until it spreads approx 2-3 inches across, sprinkle a few raisins onto the batter.
When the pancakes bubble up flip them over & cook on the other side


Serve with lemon and syrup.....or spread with butter or chocolate spread - delicious hot or cold

Have a look on the Baking Mad website where they have lots of different pancake recipes to try out this Pancake Day.

Friday 10 February 2012

Cooking With Your Toddler - American Style Banana Pancakes

Whilst on a holiday to the US a few years ago my eldest two children became a bit partial to American style pancakes. They were quite happy to eat them with just a drizzle of maple syrup but loved them even more with a full American breakfast of eggs, bacon and sausage with the lot smothered in maple syrup...much to my husband's disgust. During our holiday we stayed on a working farm for a few nights where the breakfast each morning consisted of pancakes and some kind of egg dish.

2007 - pancakes on the farm
I've used the recipe for these pancakes ever since and for a while, until weekend sports took over, I would make pancakes and eggs every Saturday or Sunday morning.

Earlier in the week I received an OXO good grips hand held mixer to review so I thought it would be a great opportunity to use it and get Jack involved in making pancakes, ready for Shrove Tuesday.

Banana Pancakes

1 cup plain flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
2 tbsp oil
1 banana, mashed

  • Mix all the ingredients together until well combined, but do not over beat/whisk.
  • Spoon or pour batter (I find it easier to pour from a jug) into a greased non-stick frying pan around 3 inches in diameter
  • When the pancakes are dry around the edges flip them over & fry on the other side until browned

I like to add a teaspoon of cinnamon and sultanas. You could also try blueberries or fruit puree.



The OXO good grips handheld mixer is great for children to use in the kitchen, a good (& safe) alternative to using an electric hand mixer. It's easy to turn the handle (as you can see from Jack's demonstration). The beaters are elevated so that they can still turn even when the whisk is resting on the bottom of the bowl, and there is a release button so that the beaters can be taken off for easy cleaning - or licking!


I was sent the hand mixer to review.

Thursday 9 February 2012

Valentine Gingerbread House

Before Christmas I made a gingerbread house. It was relatively easy to be honest & the kids loved it...on New Years day they ripped it apart and ate it and I hope that it will be our new Christmas/New Year tradition. Whilst chatting to Susan Mann on Twitter at the beginning of January she mentioned that she would like to give a gingerbread house a go, so we (half joking) said that we should do one for every event during the year...starting with Valentines Day, and then by Christmas we would have the houses down to a fine art.

I mistakenly thought that as the last one was straightforward this one would be too....I was wrong! Firstly, even though I had a tonne of sweets to decorate the house, I had forgotten to get the boiled sweets for the windows so they would have to stay glass-less. In hindsight it is probably a good thing as they would've ended up smashed to pieces anyway. I used the same recipe for my gingerbread as last time but I was rushing a bit as I'd left it a bit late in the day & was racing against the clock before school pick up. The dough was a bit drier than last time which made it a bit more difficult to roll out neatly...I then rushed cutting it which resulted in uneven edges when it was baked. I then messed up cutting a heart in my door & cut another door too small....

When it came to sticking the walls & roof together I made up the royal icing and added some pink food colouring to it. That tiny bit of extra liquid seemed to make the icing a bit too runny meaning that the walls didn't stick as quickly as last time and needed to be held in place & propped up with cans of tomatoes & jars of peanut butter....and then one of the walls fell down, breaking into 3 pieces! A bit of patience, some extra icing and some more tin cans it was eventually all built and ready to be decorated.

I used a variety of sweets including Haribo heart throbs, Asda rainbow buttons, raspberry mushrooms and strawberry mallows, pink Smarties, mini candy canes, pink & red dragees, Asda cake sprinkles and Swizzels Matlow Love Hearts, all stuck on with more pink coloured Silver Spoon Royal Icing.

After the initial falling apart of the walls I really enjoyed decorating it, with some help from Hanna, who I suspect was more after stray sweets rather than wanting to help!

Roll on the next event which I think is going to be Jack's birthday next I brave enough to attempt a Peppa Pig house!


Friday 3 February 2012

Cooking With Your Toddler - Fruity Crumble Pizza

A couple of weeks ago we made a baked bean and fish finger pizza inspired by Jenny at Mummy Mishaps. We then went on to have a conversation about various pizza toppings that we could try out and I recalled the time that I went for a lunchtime buffet in Pizza Hut in America where they didn't just have savoury pizzas they also had dessert ones too. Myself and Jack have attempted to recreate these sweet pizzas here using a regular pizza base that I have previously posted here.

Strawberry & Blueberry Crumble Pizza

Pizza base
Fresh or frozen sliced strawberries & blueberries
Crumble topping - I used this recipe, alternatively you can used a store bought crumble topping

  • Make the pizza base and roll out onto a floured surface to the desired size, as thinly as possible
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

  • Bake in a 180 degree (C) oven until lightly baked, but not browned
  • Cover the base with the fruit 
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  • Sprinkle over the crumble topping
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  • Bake in the oven for a further 20-30 minutes until the crumble is lightly browned

  • Serve warm with custard

I also made an apple version using cooked Bramley apples with sultanas, a dash of cinnamon and golden syrup.

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