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Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

This lovely slice is very more-ish, so make half quantities if you have no will power. It does keep well in an air-tight container, but doesn’t freeze well.

The recipe is in cups which works really well and makes it easy for the kids to make. They will need help getting the hot tin out of the oven though.

Base

  • 1½ cups of self-raising flour
  • ½ cup of coconut
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 125g melted butter

Filling

  • 30g hard vegetable fat (palm fat) melted
  • 1¾ cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon peppermint essence

Topping

  • 125g dark chocolate, chopped (I use milk chocolate if making this for a kids tea party)
  • 30g butter

First, lightly grease a 20cm x 30cm  lamington pan and line with greaseproof paper.

For the base, combine the flour, coconut and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and stir until combined. Spread the mixture over the base of the pan, pressing the mixture down really firmly. Then bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes.

For the filling, melt the vegetable fat and stir in the sifted icing sugar, milk, and essence. Spread gently over the base whilst still hot, and then leave to cool.

For the topping, melt the butter and chocolate over a low heat until smooth. Spread over the peppermint mixture and refrigerate until set.

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Parsnip Cake

It is always a rush in the morning, getting the kids ready for school and sorting out the days work.

This recipe is great if the morning is just too rushed and there’s nothing left in the cupboard to make a decent breakfast, and it also goes well in packed lunches or picnics.

The cake  has no taste of parsnip, just a sweet and moist texture. So if there are some in the family who don’t like the vegetable, just keep it to yourself. 

Alternatively, you could use carrots, beetroot, or a mixture of the three if you prefer.

Oaty Parsnip Cake

  • 200g butter, warmed (you can substitute with half vegetable oil, half fat)
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup, warmed
  • 1 tbsp molasses, warmed
  • 100g runny honey, warmed
  • 175g rolled oats
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g peeled and grated raw parsnips
  • 100g chopped dates or apricots
  • 1 tsp ginger (optional)
  • ½tsp mixed spice

Put the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix everything together really well.

Pour into a large loaf tin and bake in a moderate oven (gas mark 4) for 25 to 30  minutes.

This cake needs a day to mature, but stores well in an air-tight container, or frozen.

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Homemade presents always go down very well and with Lee’s birthday on Friday a box of homemade chocolates is the perfect gift.

You have probably already guessed that we are confirmed foodies and we may well have a sweet tooth, but nothing can beat a box bulging with homemade truffles, chocolate coated candied peel, and peppermint creams.

I have two very willing helpers at hand (Billy and George) and another in the wings. The “other” is a lovely German girl we have staying with us at the moment. Sarah is here to primarily help on the farm planting strawberries, rasps, and help with the lambing (due to start any minute).

Living in means you can opt into all the other family activities if you like. With Lee’s big birthday at the end of the week the children and I have converted the house kitchen into a chocolate factory, and Sarah is just as keen to get cooking.

These homemade sweet are really easy to make with the kids, they do however lose interest when you get to the clearing up stage. Unless it means licking out the bowls!

Peppermint Creams

  • 225g sifted organic icing sugar
  • 1 large organic egg white, beaten until frothy but not stiff
  • 4 to 5 drops of peppermint oil
  • 150g dark organic chocolate

Combine the sugar, peppermint oil, and egg white into a smooth paste. You can add a few drops of green colouring at this stage (which appeals to the kids) if you like green peppermints.

Dust a surface with icing sugar and knead the paste until really smooth. Divide the paste into about 30 balls, flatten these with the back of a fork. Place the peppermints onto grease proof paper and allow to dry for a few hours before dipping half way into melted chocolate (melt the chocolate in a microwaveable bowl very slowly in the microwave, being extra careful not to burn it!).

Place back on the greaseproof and leave to set, before storing in an air tight container away from children!

Old chocolate or cheese boxes recovered in brown or pretty paper make lovely presentation boxes for your home-made gifts.

Very Easy Chocolate Truffles

  • 150g dark organic chocolate
  • 150g organic double cream
  • 2 tablespoons of brandy or rum
  • 1 tablespoon organic cocoa powder

Break the chocolate up into pieces. In a small sauce pan bring the cream to simmering point. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate pieces and rum or brandy. Stir until you have a smooth mixture. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool, before covering with cling film and putting in the fridge overnight.

The next day take the mixture out of the fridge and roll into little  balls.

We normally roll some of the chocolates in the cocoa powder, some in chopped nuts, and dip some in melted chocolate, before arranging them all in the decorated boxes.

You can store in the fridge for about ten days.

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The end of the school holiday week is nearly here, and I am just about running out of steam. Or on my knees to be completely truthful. What a week!

The children and I have been busy, busy, busy.

Everything you can think of:

  • We built a castle out of cardboard boxes, with lots of masking tape – I couldn’t find the sellotape quite quickly enough.
  • We made potato stampers for printing, remember those?
  • Painted pictures in multiple colours.
  • Walked along the coast to see ruined castles.
  • Built a tent out of sheets in the bedroom
  • Stuffed ourselves on pancakes
  • And read chapters of the current bedtime book, to mention but a few.

I will leave out the squabbling…

“Help me, you been helping him”

“His pancake is bigger than mine”

“He’s had more than me”

“Blah blah blah”

There are sometimes when I can see why people have TV. If just for a few minutes with the children zoned out in front of the box, a cup of tea in my hands, rocking myself backwards and forwards. 

We made a decision a few years ago to get rid of the TV, and most of the time I wouldn’t go back… just sometimes. We do have a movie night every now and again, and it’s a lovely treat to curl up together on the sofa, fire on, and watch a good film together. You do have to draw straws to pick the film, or have a choice rotor, nothing’s perfect! 

  • Domestic goddess-wise this week is not so good.
  • Number of hours spent hoovering = nil
  • Number of times cleaning toilets = I’ve lost count!
  • Washing machine has broken down, two months out of warranty (Zanussi), so trudging to friends and Mother’s with bags of laundry, innumerable!
  • Chocolate eaten = I don’t want to talk about it, OK!

However Lee and I did spend a lovely evening with friends, at home, Turkey-tasting. We have decided to raise some heritage breeds of turkey this year on the farm, so a tasting supper was called for and very tasty it was too!

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Charades

I always remember playing charades as a child and now I do it with my kids.

We keep a little box on the dresser in the living room (the one with the ugly but efficient fire, only warm room in the house). The box contains squares of card with films, books and TV programs written on them. Anything from Sleeping Beauty to Blue Peter, try acting that one out!

When the cards get a little dog-eared you can through them out. The kids remember the titles and love to cheat. You always know, it’s the innocent look they give you when one child re-enacts an Umpa Lumpa and the other looks into the middle distance.

” Could it possibly be Charlie and the chocolate factory”

So out with the offending card, as you referee the “he’s cheating, it’s not fair” scuffle.

I make the cards in the build up to the holidays using old stored card from various boxes I have saved in my recycling pile. Cut out the cards all the same size and write the programs on them, it’s that simple. The kids can join in adding their favourites and it doesn’t matter if you have a few repeats.

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