children

Magic chocolate mug cake!

This comes from the slightly odd source of the latest issue of ben and holly magazine! But it’s a fun little project to do with a child/ toddler and is a decent version of what it is, ie. a microwave cake. This took panther and I about 10 mins so it’s good for filling in time, or preparing a quick pudding. I’m not saying this is the tastiest cake ever, but we enjoyed it! These ingredients make one mug cake, and you need to use a small microwaveable mug. You do all the mixing in the mug so it’s very easy on the washing up! We were quite strict on amounts with it being so small, as I thought it would be easier to ruin, so I used a proper tbs/ tsp measurement.

3 tbs plain flour
2 1/2 tbs caster sugar
2 tbs cocoa
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tbs oil
3 tbs milk

Sir the dry ingredients together in the mug
Add the wet ingredients and stir until the lumps have gone
Microwave on high for 2 mins

The magazine suggests adding chopped nuts or chocolate chips after the second stage, which we might try next time. It also suggests serving with ice cream which I would definitely do if we were having it for pudding, which is actually what we will probably do next time.

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Rocky Road

This is a great recipe for making with a young child, because it just involves tipping ingredients in and gentle mixing. Plus they’ll totally love it! Only problem is its not the healthiest so best to make it for other people and not keep it in the house- way too tempting.
Essentially you fill it up with anything you want, but its handy to have the amounts of chocolate and biscuits as a baseline.

Ingredients
200 g dark chocolate (could use milk I imagine but when you add the butter etc its not too bitter at all anyway
135g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
200g digestives (could use another biscuit for part of this if you wanted to- saw Oreos suggested which sounds nice!)
Any other ingredients. I used:
Mini marshmallows
Dried cranberries
White chocolate buttons

Method
Melt the chocolate, syrup and butter in a pan
Crumble e biscuits (we did it by hand then used a rolling pin to crush them further
Pour all the other dry ingredients into the bowl with the biscuits
Pour in the chocolate and mix
Pour into a greased and lined tin. Next time I might try making half the amounts as this would be aut the right amount to fill a 2lb loaf tin. As it is, use a tray bake tin
Put in the fridge for a bit (it seemed ready in about an hour although the recipe said 2-3. Hence some people call it refrigerator cake.)

The original recipe is a user recipe on good food website, here and there are some interesting comments on what people added. You should play around with this, and just use the amounts as a baseline so you know how to make the chocolate the right consistency and approximately the amount of dry ingredients to add.

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Oatie squares

I’ve been looking for a while for a recipe for flapjack that was a little less sugary and calorific! I used to think of flapjack as a super-healthy cake until the diabetes and then diet made me reconsider my ways, and I realised that despite the high oat content, the sugar/ syrup combo was probably not totally ideal. Anyway, I have been reminded of a recipe I cooked a while back when flicking through old magazines. I am going to make it in a minute if panther goes to sleep. Unfortunately right now this is looking unlikely which will make tonight’s meal out very interesting! The only downside to this recipe is good food reckons it can’t be frozen. No idea why, but it is a shame. As I say, I plan to play around with this to make some healthy oatie bars, so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Ingredients
140g butter, melted
100g sr flour
175g sugar (I will probably Try to reduce this)
175g porridge oats
1 egg, beaten
100g glacé cherries (I plan to use dried cranberries)
50g dark chocolate (this is for drizzling at the end. I’m probably not going to do this but might out some chocolate chips in the mix)

Method
Butter and line a 22cm square cake tin
Mix flour, sugar and oats
Add egg, melted butter and cherries
Mix well
Spread evenly into tin
Bake for 20-25 mins and cool for 10
Mark out 16 squares and cut
Drizzle chocolate before cutting if required

The magazine reckons 208 calories and 9g fat per square which Is pretty good!

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Cut out biscuits

This is a fab recipe! It comes from nigella’s feast, which is the same book I got the recipe for my custard birthday cake from. The reason it’s such a good one is that the biscuits are soft and biteable, whereas often homemade biscuits are too hard. It is dead quick. I whipped up the dough in 5 mins just now because I want to make a batch with Samantha tomorrow. This is also the biscuit we made for our wedding! We wanted something for people to eat with the reception drinks, because I always start to feel start and its such a long time until you get your meal. We made 10 batches of these between us, and froze them, and then put them out on plates on the day, it was very popular!

Ingredients
90g butter stuff
100g castor sugar (I normally use granulated, but had castor in so used it)
1 large egg (or medium)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I only use this if I have it)
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients
Cream the butter and sugar
Beat n the egg and vanilla
Add the dry ingredients and combine into a dough. If it seems too sticky add a little more flour but be careful!
Put in the fridge for a least an hour. I’m leaving mine overnight
Roll out and cut into your chosen shapes- should be about 1/2 cm thick
Place on a greased tray (I use spray oil and put baking paper on the tray to make it quicker)
Bake for 8-12 mins, depending on shape and size. Mine tend to be in for longer

These freeze well so you can put them in the freezer and get them out as required. Winner!

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Chicken, sweet potato and coconut curry

This is a lovely simple recipe. It’s ideal for introducing children to curry, but I started cooking it before we had a child, and Samantha has tried lots of hotter curries. It’s a lovely korma- style curry, containing 3 different veg plus protein and super- easy to cook. The only annoying bit is chopping the sweet potato. Genuinely, that’s the hardest bit. We served it with Chris’s Indian rice, which I’m trying to convince him to blog, and a weightwatchers naan.

Ingredients
Oil to cook (I do use actual oil, to spray oil)
2 tsp mild curry paste (I prefer korma but used tikka masala today and it was nice)
2 chicken breasts
2 medium sweet potatoes
4 tbsp red lentils (could use more)
300 ml chicken stock
400g can coconut milk (I used a carton of coconut cream and some milk to save money. Be careful of low fat coconut milk. It’s essentially just watered down so you’re better to mix it with water/skimmed milk and use the cans in 2 halves)
175g frozen peas (I just pour in what I think)

Method
Chop the chicken and potato into bite sized pieces (don’t start frying until you’ve done this, it takes longer than you think!)
Heat the oil and fry the curry paste
Add the chicken, sweets potatoes and lentils and mix with paste
Pour all the liquid in, bring to boil and simmer for 15 mins
Add the frozen peas and simmer for 4-5 more minutes

And that’s it! Yum yum!

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Baked apples

I love baked apples. I have made them a few times recently, and they are delicious, easy and low calorie, winner! Today’s version was probably my best ever effort because I’d read on the Internet the suggestion that its a good recipe for Young children, so I altered the recipe slightly and got Samantha, age 2, involved. The results were fab. She managed to take part In three stages of the very quick preparation. She wouldn’t eat the finished product, but I think the main thing is I need to take it out of the oven earlier and let it cool for her, as if the first bite of something puts her off she often gives up. Here is today’s recipe, along with my tips and the bits she did.

Core the apple with an apple corer.
Get child to brush melted butter on the tray and over each apple after you have cored it.
Get child to fill each apple with filling. Today I used blueberries, but this wouldn’t be practical in autumn or winter. I find raisins, which are often suggested, blow up and go hard so berries are better. Have also used marzipan which was quite good too.
Mix up some oats, sugar and cinnamon
Get child to sprinkle this over each apple. The butter you spread on them should make it stick
Bake in oven for 20-30 mins

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