Category Archives: Recipes


I’m participating in the Best Of 2009 Blog Challenge.  Every day this month, I write something different about what’s happened this year.

See this little boy here?  He doesn’t sit still, like, ever.

This is often a problem.  We still live in a small flat; it’s winter, so we can’t use the garden; David’s bedroom is David-safe, but everywhere else he has to be either strapped down or closely supervised.  The weather is horrible at this time of year, and he’s only just walking, so trips to the park happen once in a blue moon.  This is why we spend most afternoons in the best place in the world, ever: a soft-play centre a half-hour drive down the road.

I know I come across as slightly obsessed, but most of the pictures of David at the Daily Photo are taken there.  They have the biggest baby and toddler area in the country, with lots of lovely sensory things for babies.  It’s incredibly well thought-out, and David adores it.  His absolute favourite are the fish in the bubble tube.

I love it too, of course.  It’s very reasonable to get in.  The food is good: standard soft play centre fare, but just really, really nice.  (There’s a nice balance of healthy and unhealthy: David has started asking for chocolate buttons when we go there.).  The most wonderful thing is that he can run, well, high-speed crawl around in complete safety, and tire himself out nicely.

I’m going to let the pictures do the talking.


Filed under Car, Recipes, trips, Uncategorized

Herb Damper

Just a quick recipe for tonight.  I made a loaf of this at lunchtime to go with soup, and it was gorgeous. David loved it: I think he ate more than I did!

Damper is an Australian bread, traditionally cooked over an open fire.  The quantities I use make a small loaf, just right for the three of us. I reduced salt because David was eating it, and we very rarely add salt to anything now. It’s edible cold, but it’s best almost straight from the oven, in buttery chunks.

2 cups self-raising flour
pinch salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp room-temperature butter
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
chopped chives/ dried mixed herbs to taste (I used about a tablespoon)


Sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl.
Add the butter and rub between fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Mix in chives and herbs.
Make a well in the flour mixture, and add the milk and the water. Mix together until a dough is formed.
Turn the dough out onto a floury surface, and knead until silky.
Form into a round loaf and cut a deep cross in the top.
Bake for 20 minutes at 200C, then reduce oven temperature to 180C and bake for another 10-15 minutes until done.

How do you tell it’s done? Pick it up (with oven gloves on!) and tap the bottom. If it’s cooked it’ll make a hollow sound.

Serve warm with butter.

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Filed under baby led weaning, Recipes

Cherry and Cinnamon Cookies

I’ve been on a bit of a cookie drive the last few weeks, but I fancied something a little different from the standard choc-chip cookie.  I started off by making white chocolate cherry cookies to this recipe, a couple of times and with a few variations.  I then moved onto banana oat cookies, as we had bananas that needed using.  Now, I’m back on the cherry side of things.

You’ll need:

2 tablespoons butter, softened.

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp golden syrup

2 cups plain flour

1 tsp bicarb of soda

1 tbsp cinnamon (you can use mixed spice if you prefer)

1 cup glace cherries (I used multicoloured ones, this is experimental Christmas cooking!)


Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

Cream the butter and the sugar together.  Add the egg, vanilla extract, and golden syrup, and blend well.  Add the dry ingredients, and stir with a wooden spoon.  Fold in the cherries.

Bake on a greased baking tray for ten minutes.

Take cookies out, allow to cool until set on tray.  Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely.  (Don’t do what I did and eat one off the baking tray, you’ll burn your tongue on the hot glace cherry!)

Makes 24 medium-sized cookies.

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Chocolate Cakes

I make these on a regular basis, but they never seem to last very long!  The recipe produces a lovely moist cake that isn’t too rich.

Makes approximately 24 little cakes, or two sandwich tins.


  • 1 3/4 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 4oz margarine
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda


Combine dry ingredients, and mix them together.  Beat in the eggs, milk and margarine.

Put into muffin cases, and bake in medium-heat oven for 30-45 minutes, until a fork can be inserted and come out clean.

Leave to cool.  Try not to eat them all!


I usually cheat and use ready-rolled royal icing, and just cut it to fit the cakes.  It’s easier to decorate it that way, and the decorating is the fun part!

These were decorated with writing icing, silver balls, and sugar flowers.  Use whatever you fancy!

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Scone Dough Pizzas with Homemade Pizza Sauce

This is quick-ish, easy, and really great for kids to do with some help.  The sauce recipe makes 2-3 portions, so have some containers ready to freeze the rest!

To make the sauce, you’ll need:

  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • tablespoon oil (for frying)
  • 1tsp paprika (optional)
  • 1tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • few drops hot sauce (optional)Pizza Sauce

For the dough, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup (8floz) self-raising flour
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 dessertspoons oil

Pizza Dough

For the finished pizzas, you’ll need

  • cheese for grating: tonight I’m using grated half-fat cheddar and cubes of Swedish holey cheese.
  • whichever pizza toppings you fancy: I use whatever’s in the fridge, but tonight I’m using chorizo, sausage, and IKEA’s reindeer salami.  One combination (nicknamed the Scandinavian Meat Feast) involves Danish smoked bacon, Swedish reindeer salami, and Swedish holey cheese.Pizza Toppings

It doesn’t really matter which order you do this in, but I find it helps to make the sauce first: it means it can cool before it’s spread on the pizza bases.


  • Chop the onion and the garlic and fry in a little oil until soft.  It doesn’t matter how finely it’s chopped: the sauce is getting pureed at the end.  
  • Add the paprika and chilli powder, if used, to the frying onion.  Coat the onion in the spices.  
  • Add an undrained tin of chopped tomatoes and the mixed herbs and oregano.  Add the hot sauce at this point, if you’re using it, and leave to simmer for about ten minutes.
  • Leave mixture to cool, then puree to pizza sauce texture.  DSC01481


  • Sift flour into a bowl and add the oil.
  • Slowly mix the milk in, a drop at a time, until the mixture takes a doughey texture.  It’s far easier to add more milk if the dough is too dry than to add extra flour if the dough is too wet!
  • Once the dough has formed, knead it lightly on a floury surface.
  • Roll the dough out until it’s thin, and cut with pastry cutters.  I’ve used novelty cutters and normal ones: hearts seem to work well.
  • Put it on a baking tray, ready for adding the toppings.  Pizza Bases

Making the pizzas:

  • Spread the sauce on the pizza bases.
  • Add a layer of cheese, then the meat toppings, then top off with more cheese.
  • Bake in a hot oven for ten minutes, until the cheese has melted and the dough is crispy.Pizzas with Sauce and Toppings
    Finished Pizzas



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Filed under freecycle, Recipes

Cooking Thursday- Spicy Burger Relish

1/2 large onion

2 cloves garlic

few drops tabasco sauce (optional)

1tsp coriander leaves

1tsp dried mixed herbs

1/2 red pepper

1 tin chopped tomatoes


Finely chop the onion and garlic, and fry in a little oil.

Add coriander and mixed herbs, and tabasco sauce if used.

Coarsely chop the red pepper, add to mixture.  Cook until softened and slightly orange.

Drain the tinned tomatoes well, and add to mixture.

Simmer until reduced and relish-texture.  


Not only is this good on burgers for the barbeque season, but it’ll go with pretty much anything else and makes a decent base for a pasta bake.  I barbequed some chicken breast, sliced it in half, added the relish and some Edam, sandwiched it, and put it back on the barbeque ’til the cheese melted.  It went down really rather well.  

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