Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Loaf Cake

This is a quick & easy cake you can whip up if you have guests coming - I made one yesterday, and as ever, it goes down very well.  I got this recipe from my step-mum and it's one of the kids favourite cakes.

Pain d'Epice (Spice Bread) or Loaf Cake as I like to call it...

125g plain flour
150g icing sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
2 tsp baking powder
175g unsalted butter (room temp)
4 eggs

This couldn't be easier - put everything into a food processor and mix together until well blended.  

Pour into a loaf tin and bake for 45mins at 170C fan / 190C / 375F / Gas 5.  

Serve warm with optional fruit conserve, although I personally don't think it needs it.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Painting at Grayshott Pottery

Yesterday, we visited Grayshott Pottery to have a go at their Half Term painting.  

It was very reasonably priced at £2.50 per child and after payment, the kids got to choose the shape they wanted to paint from a choice of star, butterfly, rabbit, egg, heart or flower.   The shapes are pre-cut and glazed with a hole for hanging so all we needed to do was don our aprons and get painting!

We happened to arrive at the same time as two other families (something to do with the sudden downpour I suspect!) so had to wait 5 minutes for a place but that was no problem.

There were a choice of paint colours set out in trays on the table, which seated around 8 children, for the children to use as well as little bottles of a slightly more "puffy" paint which they could add detail with.  When their shapes were decorated, we handed them over for drying and were advised to return the next day for collection.

We probably weren't there for more than half an hour so whilst it's not an extensive time filler, it was a fun activity to break up our morning for very little cost.  Its on for the rest of this week between 10-1 and 2-4 daily, and operates on a drop-in system so no need to pre-book.  

Just watch your little one's arms swinging by their sides as you make your way out through the shop in case they knock something off the shelf and break it...ahem...

Monday, 17 February 2014

Easy Chocolate Brownies

I've always been put off making brownies as I thought they were a bit fiddly but this easy recipe only took me 10 minutes.  OK, so there is a long baking time (the kids were patrolling the kitchen so they could hear when the timer went off!) but they are worth the wait.

50g dark chocolate
25g butter
3 eggs
1 tbsp clear honey
225g soft light brown sugar
75g self-raising flour
100g walnut pieces
25g white chocolate

Turn the oven on to 160 / 225 / Gas Mark 3.  Grease a square tin - it needs to be quite deep.  I use the type that has a removable bottom you can slide out, as it makes it so much easier.

Put the dark chocolate and butter into a small heatproof bowl and place it over a saucepan of shallow simmering water to melt, stirring occasionally.  (Don't let the bowl actually touch the water or it will burn the chocolate mixture and taste awful.)  Remove the bowl from the pan and set aside to cool briefly.

In a bowl (or I used a deep measuring jug) beat the eggs, honey and brown sugar together, then gradually add in the melted chocolate mixture.  Stir in the flour a little at a time then add the walnut & white chocolate pieces and stir well.  Pour the mixture into your greased tin.

Bake for around 30 minutes then cover with foil and bake for a further 45 minutes.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for a while.

Cut into squares and devour with a cup of tea.  

I was having people to lunch the day after making these and served them warm with vanilla ice-cream too!  

Doodles wasn't keen on the walnut pieces but you could easily leave these out or, as they tend to sink to the bottom, just cut the bottom part off to serve to a child who doesn't like nuts.