Saturday, 23 February 2013

half term bake off

so my boy often asks if he can "make a mix" - it is one of his favourite things to do. it involves putting various ingredients in a bowl and mixing them together with spoons and beaters. if he has his way it would involve flour, every spice in the cupboard, some eggs, lots of grated cheese, sugar, maybe even some washing up liquid. it all eventually goes in the bin and is rather a waste of food - an expensive hobby!
it got so stressful recently when both kids ascended into my counter space and spontaneously decided to make mixes with everything in the kitchen while i was trying to cook dinner. in that heated moment i decided i hated cooking with the kids or even having them in the kitchen and never wanted to do it again. i lost my temper with every grab, spill or mess and sent them both out of the kitchen.
the next day i felt really bad about my stress and impatience and putting such a dampner on Z's enthusiasm for mixing and making! so i took a new approach. i covered the dining table and got out two big bowls, two loaf tins and all the measuring, mixing, pouring, sieving and stirring utensils. i then let the kids say what ingredients they wanted me to get out. i did a lot of "how about some...? would you like to put in some...?" so that it would turn out edible. it is a really fun way to make a cake... very liberating to have no concerns about spills, mess or measurements. it helped to have them both at the table rather than teetering on stools/countertops in a small kitchen.

this is (roughly) what we included:
300ml milk (poured through a colander!:)
2 eggs (whisked, of course)
800g self-raising flour (sieved)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
1 tsp cinnamon (or half a pot in one of the cakes!)
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 a courgette (grated)
1/4 of a carrot (grated) - or as much as a little one can grate
8 chopped dates (my 4 year old loves using a sharp-ish knife!)
1 tbsp melted butter
a handful of chocolate chips

this seemed to satisfy all of their measuring, pouring, sifting, chopping, grating, whisking & stirring desires.
putting some chocolate chips on top.... and plenty in our mouths
the finished product!
it was SO delicious. i ate a thick slice of this every day this week - toasted with lots of butter.
i'm already looking forward to doing it again - maybe with a sweeter, more chocolatey, sprinkly version so it is a really exciting treat for the kids, rather than a pretty yummy cake that keeps mummy happy all week - though those are important too!


  1. What a good way for kids to learn the basics of baking, cooking, ingredients, and having FUN with cooking!

    1. yes we had a lot of fun. i was in the right frame of mind so we all really enjoyed it :)

  2. They look so pleased with their final result! A fab idea - and I love that the milk had to be poured through the colander!

    1. i think they were really pleased - much more so than when we have followed a recipe. it was exciting for them that it was their own made-up creation.

  3. This is so creative and I love how you were reflective on what made you cross the first day and made a decision to do it all again in a way that worked for you. That's creative and thoughtful parenting! Well done.


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