Galaxy Caramel Brownies

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Regular readers of this blog may conclude that the appearance of another brownie recipe heralds the arrival of another small person among my circle of friends. And indeed this is the case. Last week my lovely friend B (is there any other kind) welcomed daughter no.2 into the world and in celebration I made these, frankly awesome brownies. Though not as awesome as daughter no.2’s name, which for reasons of proprietary I cannot reveal here. Suffice to say that there has been some furious channelling of 1980s teen movies. In a good way.

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Baked Doughnuts

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DSC_0164 Most Saturday mornings I take the mini BB’s to a lovely indoor play café, where I sit, separated from them by a 1.5m high wooden wall, drinking coffee and reading the papers; every now and then looking up to check that they haven’t killed themselves or each other. I recommend it. The likelihood of bodily injury (always high with my children) has recently been ramped up a notch by the discovery of the local bakery and resulting sugar high from the sticky buns (with sprinkles) and doughnut holes purchased therein. Naturally this development did not happen on my watch (I’m looking at you Mr. BB), but it has now become a permanent fixture in our weekend plans.

How better, then, to rain on my children’s parade, than by attempting to recreate the joy of bakery at home? Only, thanks to my mother’s life-long fear of deep-fat fryers (the cause of one fifth of all domestic fires, fact fans), and since passed down to me, without the arguably intrinsic element of a vat of boiling oil. This means that the doughnuts are more cakey than spongey; but then they also lack the artery clogging and heart-attack inducing qualities of regular doughnuts. You pays your money…

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Granola

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It may not be immediately obvious from the contents of this blog, but I have for some time being trying to reduce the amount of sugar in my diet. Yes really. The key word here is trying. Having stuffed my face with (my childrens’ ) easter eggs this past week or so, and with an impending holiday somewhere warm, I am feeling a renewed sense of purpose in the sugar-shunning department. Plus, Mr. BB has been off the white stuff in all its many and various forms since after Christmas and looks all the better for it. Annoyingly.

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Hot Cross Buns

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DSC_0145 I’ve never really been a fan of hot cross buns, but like so many things it turns out that if you bake them yourself their taste is second only to having someone else bake them for you. Also, they are surprisingly easy to make and quite forgiving; which I know from having let them prove for rather longer than the recommended time so I could take the small BB’s to the city farm for the morning to commune with nature (read: mud) and fall off things not available for falling off in our house.

I should also confess that glacé cherries do not feature in either of the recipes I cribbed from, but I still had some kicking around from a previous recipe and thought I would go a little wild and crazy. I imagine you could do the same with any random dried fruit you may have in your cupboard: raisins/sultanas instead of currants for example, and dried apple/pear pieces might go down nicely too.

Happy Easter!

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Sticky Date Pudding

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DSC_0133 I think this may be the first actual pudding I have ever made. Puddings didn’t really feature in my house growing up (a by-product of not having a fully functioning oven for much of my childhood), and I seem to have continued in this vein,  notwithstanding my own entirely functioning oven. I expect the reason is that puddings, unlike cakes and biscuits, are quite difficult to share with people not  living in your house. And as my house has, until very recently, included one diabetic and one baby, this really only left myself and Mini BB to eat anything I made. Which probably wouldn’t have been a problem, except in the obvious sense. But now that Baby BB is not really a baby anymore, and Mini BB has been exposed to the joys of puddings from Pre-School hot dinners, my resolve is weakening.

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Strawberry Fruit Leather

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DSC_0122 Do you ever find yourself believing something you know to be untrue, but you are so used to believing it that you do so anyway? The realisation that I have been brainwashed by my 3yr old hit me on the (pre)school run this morning. Two people (mothers of other small children) stopped to comment on the stuffed animal that LBB was clutching (we have a rotating menagerie of cuddly pets that get dragged along with us. The summer of 2013 will forever be the summer of Edna after the fairly enormous pink flamingo that LBB carried around everywhere).

‘What a lovely Orca’ said Person 1. ‘It’s not an Orca, it’s a dolphin’ LBB corrected rather rudely. ‘It is a dolphin,’ I confirmed with a sympathetic smile; not everyone knows their sea-mammals like LBB. ‘The Orca is at home’. We continued on our way, until met by Person 2, who similarly remarked on the ‘Killer Whale’, by now being dragged along the ground. Again, LBB corrected them, and I was about to do the same when I realised that, no, it is not a dolphin it is in fact an Orca. Only because I got sick of LBB ‘correcting’ me every time I called it a dolphin did I too come to call it dolphin, and over time to believe that it was in fact a dolphin, despite all evidence to the contrary and my own eyes. There’s a moral in there somewhere.

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Florentines

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DSC_0113 I am having a somewhat trying time as a mother at the moment, so it is perhaps fitting that I made these for mother’s day, to send to my own mother as thanks what I doubtless put her through many moons ago. Fortunately time does appear to diminish the horror of toddlerhood (though at 3 1/2 I fear Little BB is no longer a toddler but, sob, a little boy) and I don’t doubt that in sufficient years/decades I will look back on these days with syrupy wonderment. For now though, I am working my way through a book on calm parenting. Oh and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate.

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Banana and Honey Oat Cookies

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DSC_0099 For some reason I always seem to have a surfeit of bananas. For a long time this wasn’t a problem as I simply froze them when they looked like they were about to turn (so difficult to judge without actually peeling them), but then Mr. BB embarked upon a low-carb diet, which I, remembering how svelte he became last time he did this, agreed to join. Obviously it didn’t work for me (pork scratchings are very low carb, but not an aid to weight loss if you eat them by the kilo it turns out), but it did mean that bananas were off the menu. Not for the small people, naturally, but Little BB is quite the contrarian when it comes to food (and indeed life) at the moment and I had yet to trust Mini BB with an actual banana (since tried with limited success).

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Cappuccino Traybake

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DSC_0087 Another day, another trip to Children’s A&E. I jest of course. It’s not like I need a season ticket (although speedy boarding would be nice), but this is the second trip to A&E in as many years for Little BB (and the second cut to his face – sigh) and I would very much like it to be the last. As anyone who has ever met Little BB will agree, however, this seems not so much wishful thinking as an entirely lost cause. And so, as I reach for another glass of ‘mummy’s special water’, I give you this no-thought-required recipe for cappuccino cake. In truth, the flavour bore only a fleeting suggestion of the trace of the memory of coffee – homeopathic coffee cake if you will – but it went down very well at the toddler group, even amongst the toddlers, so that’s probably just as well.

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Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

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DSC_0085 This week has been, to put it mildly, exhausting. Why? Well, because it’s half-term of course. Previously this thrice yearly event meant nothing to me, but then Little BB started pre-school and suddenly I had hours and hours to myself and Baby BB each week (well 15). Bliss. But as the purpose of pre-school is apparently to induct mini BB into the world of learning and not to provide respite to weary parents and care-givers, there is no pre-school during the holidays. Nor are there any playgroups to take him to, and all the other places I usually take Little BB (the museum, the farm, the supermarket, ahem) are now packed with millions of other children running around and screaming (which of course my own children don’t do; oh no). And it’s raining. In fairness, two days have been nice so far, but the memory of the rain lashing down on the car as I drove grimly to Wales on the Monday morning to spend the day at a farm park lingers on. Like Chlamydia.

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