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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Coconut Ice

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Little BB is currently going through a phase known as the ‘threenage year(s)’. His tantruming has abated somewhat, to be replaced by general stroppiness and frequent monosyllabic responses to my attempts at conversations about his day, particularly if they involve (his secret life at) pre-school. It’s like living with a pint-sized version of the annoying teenage Harry Enfield character. The teenage one.

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Tottenham Cake

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Hello! I’m back. I missed you. I really and truly did. Not that in truth I ever really went away. I just took a leave of absence from blogging whilst I tried to learn to cope with two moving small people. I’m still learning.

I made this recipe for my regular Wednesday toddler group, because ever since starting pre-school in September Little BB (now almost 3.5yrs. I know! Where does the time go etc etc) has been making regular requests for pudding, though not with custard. I remember as a child loving the cake with sickly sweet pink icing and dessicated coconut (and custard to be honest) and thought I would try to re-create it. As it happens it’s an actual thing – Tottenham cake. There’s some info on the history here, and the recipe which I shamelessly cribbed. Obviously Little BB took one bite and declared it ‘too waxy mummy’ (nope, me neither), so it went in the dustbin we call Mini BB (now 1yr old and walking unaided – the horror!)

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Fruit ‘N’ Nut Brownies

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IMG_0182 I made these brownies for one of my friends who has just joined the ‘2 boy club’. She is the sixth of my ante-natal friends have had a second boy and another is due her second early next year. Truly there must be something in the Bristol water. Anyway, it has now become something of a tradition that I make brownies for new babies, and whilst making the same recipe over and over again wouldn’t I’m sure be in issue for the recipients, it would leave me with less to blog about. Hence this slight variation on the theme; essentially a chocolate bar in brownie form.

Normally I use Nigel Slater’s recipe for brownies, but I was looking for an excuse to try out the GÜ Chocolate Cookbook I bought some time ago. I have adapted it a little – the original is called Macadamia Nut Brownies – but I don’t think it suffers from the alterations. In fact, the raisins probably count as one of your five-a-day (if you ate the whole thing). And it’s super easy to make as it doesn’t require a mixer of food processor, so even someone struggling with endless feeding and sleep deprivation could potentially attempt it. Or possibly their husband.

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Total Fail Flapjacks

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I had such high hope for this post, but sadly it turns out that this recipe is a total fail for two reasons. First, because the flapjacks, which I did actually make (see photo), are so crumbly as to be pretty much un-eatable without a spoon, and second because when I came to write up said recipe, I realised that I had already blogged about it. And to add insult to injury, in that blog post I had sensibly adapted the recipe so as to overcome the crumbly issue. That said, they are lovely flapjacks, even if I am probably going to bash them about, mix them with rice crispies and cover them in melted white chocolate, thereby pretty much negating the whole healthy aspect of the recipe which is, truth be told, it’s raison d’être.

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Portuguese Custard Tarts

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We went on holiday recently. Our first trip abroad with small people, and on a plane no less. Well, I say holiday, as any parent (of in particular small children) will tell you, it wasn’t a holiday in any recognisable sense. No leisurely lie-ins, hours spent reading books, sunbathing or pottering around ancient ruins. No long, lingering lunches in the sun/shade or mornings idly devoted to wandering around markets deciding which is the most appropriate memento of the trip. Oh no. This was the military operation of our daily life at home transported several hundred miles to a place with no playdates or toddler groups, but with sun, sand (though we barely saw it) and, crucially for Little BB and therefore myself and Mr. BB, a swimming pool. Several in fact. Including one giant outdoor pool/lake in which LBB spent a good 50% of his waking hours. You’ll notice that Mini BB’s wants/desires don’t get a mention. Sadly, as a second child, this would appear to be his lot in life. For now at least, and possibly forever more (until LBB leaves home).

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Plum Traybake

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I love Autumn. I love the possibility it heralds; like January 1st only without the Christmas hangover and with crisp sunshine days and crunchy leaves. Most of all I love the opportunity to buy new stationary that each academic year brings. And I know I’m not alone in this. This year, however, I was mostly buying name-tags, seemingly hundreds of them, for Little BB has now started pre-school. It’s only 2.5 days a week, and those are short, school days, but it feels like the end of an era, which it is in a way, and I’m not ashamed to say I had a quiet little sob when I dropped him off on his first day. Not that he was in any way bothered. As soon as he saw the trikes and cars in the pre-school playground he was off without a backward glance. Which is obviously brilliant, but at the same time a little dispiriting. Even more so when I discovered at the end of the week that he didn’t want to come home!

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Old School Chocolate Birthday Cake

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How time flies when you’re having fun/raising children. Little BB turned three recently, and as well as suddenly becoming very expensive to take to pretty much any activity, the arrival of this magic number also means -according to Holly Bell, finalist in the original Great British Bake Off – that I have only a limited amount of time before I am forced to start making birthday cakes which are three parts sugar paste to one part cake; aka a superhero/cartoon cake.  As I hate sugar paste with a scarcely believable passion, this news is most depressing to me, and I fear this may be my final window of opportunity to make an actual edible cake, hence this old school chocolate cake which I have covered in sweets/chocolates in an attempt to disguise my inept icing.

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White Chocolate and Raspberry Cupcakes

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DSC_0057 We are now into week three of potty training Little BB and think it is fair to say we, or rather he, have (fingers crossed and touch wood) cracked it. Hurrah! We have even retired the jar of chocolate buttons, which were in my view an essential feature of the whole enterprise. Star charts and stickers are all very well, but they had absolutely no effect on Little BB; delayed gratification being very much a concept with which Little BB has no desire to become familiar.

Ever keen as I am to share the parenting love, for those of you yet to embark upon this most fun of activities, here are my top Potty-Training tips (remembering that every child is different, yadda yadda):

  • Wait. We waited until Little BB was almost three and would have waited longer had I not been shamed into attempting it by the fact that all of his little friends had managed it months before. Note: this is not a reason to try. As my friend sagely remarked: ‘Potty train at two, dry by three. Potty train at three, dry by three’.

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