What’s your favourite cake in your house? Ours has to be lemon drizzle cake…
we’ve have the recipe scribbled down on a piece of paper, shoved in the cake section of Delia’s cookbook, for years… Quite fortunate it’s our favourite cake really, as we sort of OVER-ORDERED the lemons on our Ocado delivery on Friday, and ended up with 12 lemons, yes, TWELVE lemons… oops!
So we wanted to share the recipe with you, and tbh, it makes it easier to find if we write it up on KidsChaos, as we just google ourselves ‘ kids chaos lemon drizzle’… 🙂
Admittedly this recipe doesn’t use all twelve lemons, however we make two lemon drizzle cakes at the same time as it disappears pretty quickly here, and we like to have it in our packed lunches in the week, in place of shop-bought snack bars (so just half the quantities if you only have a 1 litre loaf tin)
Lemon Drizzle Cake Ingredients:
350g caster sugar
350g butter, softened
4 unwaxed lemons
200g self-raising flour
150g ground almonds
A drop or two of milk
200g demerara sugar
Lemon Drizzle Cake Instructions:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Grease and line two loaf tins with greaseproof paper. Beat together the caster sugar, butter, and the finely grated zest of two lemons until light and fluffy. Add a pinch of salt and beat in the eggs, one at a time.
2. Sieve the flour and fold in, then add the ground almonds (not essential, particularly if anyone has a nut allergy!). Add a tiny amount of milk to ensure the mixture has a dropping consistency, then pour into your lined tins. Bake in the oven for about 50-55 minutes, until your knife pulls out dry when you test it. Leave it in the tin for now….
3. Mix together the lemon zest, and juice of the lemons with your demerara sugar, then prod holes all over the top of the lemon drizzle cakes and pour over the lemon drizzle, so that it runs into all of the little holes.
4. Allow the lemon drizzle cakes to cool in the loaf tins before turning out.
We have always been big ‘bird’ fans (no, not BIGBird, as in the Sesame Street character, although that has always quite amused…) – As a child we fed the birds in the garden at home, with various bird houses, structures and fat and seed balls, watching to see if the naughty squirrels had somehow managed to nab the grub before the bluetits could get to it!
So we wanted to share this easy birdfeeder with you –
you will need:
half an orange
some peanut butter
some bird seed…
string – (we love the baker’s twine!)
Scoop out the content of the orange (we have a smoothie every day, so we added the orange to that).
Spread some peanut butter into the orange skin, and add the seeds.
Pierce holes in the side of the orange skin ‘cup’ – actually do this BEFORE you add the peanut butter and seeds!
Making a Dream Catcher using natural, found objects and at the same time ticking the boxes of three STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and the Arts) practices:
The Science (making dough with salt, water and flour for the beads)
The Arts (designing and sculpting the salt dough leaves, and assembling your dream catcher)
The Maths (geometry of weaving a pattern with a single length of twine)
This is such a fun project. And one that you could do either indoors or outside in the warmer weather – we really love a craft that all ages can enjoy – and this three sides dream catcher can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to the weaving, so we will link some YouTube tutorials at the foot of this article so that you can get acquainted with the dream catcher weaving geometry at your leisure.
Before you get started, make sure you have everything you need for your beautiful natural dream catcher – go on a nature hunt, look for feathers, acorns, pine cones, and lots of sticks!
You’ll need some cotton string, or strong yarn, and we also made some colourful salt dough beads and ‘leaves’ so that everything is biodegradable – this means you can eventually hang your dream catchers outside in the garden or the woods, for them to let nature decay them – hey, that may even be a bit of a science lesson right there too!
Salt dough leaves and beads recipe
1 part salt
2 parts plain flour
half to one part water
optional – some natural food colouring (if you are feeling ambitious – you could go as far as making your own dough dye with beetroot! hey – experiment, have some fun)
We mixed the dough into three bowls, and added three colours – subtle so that they would blend well with nature – and rolled small balls, pushing a skewer through to make a bead, we dried the beads by ‘stringing’ them onto metal skewers and propping up off the baking tray to harden in the oven on a very low 100 degrees temperature, checking on the beads after about fifteen minutes, and turning them on the skewers so that they didn’t stick.
The leaves we made by rolling the dough out to about 5mm thick, and used a leaf shaped cookie cutter and a knife to score the marks on the ‘leaves’ and push a hole at the top of the leaf to allow it to be attached to the dreamcatcher. Again, we allowed these leaves to harden, baking them at the bottom of the oven, for about half an hour to an hour, using a cooling rack from the kitchen. We made these beads and salt dough leaves in advance of our dream catcher construction to allow them to harden – word of warning – don’t let them get damp, they will go soggy!
The assembly of your dream catcher
Now you have everything you need, start to pull it all together. Make a triangle from three sticks of the same length, tying them tight in each of the three corners.
Make a ‘bobbin’ with one short stick, about 4cm long, wrap the yarn around and around until it’s full of yarn – (you’ll have to experiment, but you’ll need enough yarn to create the geometrical pattern on the dream catcher ‘web’).
Using the yarn on this bobbin, start by tying a knot next to one of the three corners of the triangle frame.
Get weaving that web
As you start to ‘weave’ your web the first row can be quite loose. Evenly spaced, start to work the yarn around the triangle:
Pass the end of your yarn around a stick.
Bring the end under the straight part of the yarn.
Bring the end up and pass it through the eye of the loop you just made.
Pull it tighter to complete a half hitch.
Tie the hitch the same at each intersection of the yarn.
Continue around the triangle, to ‘row two’ in the same way, see diagram (and the video links below)
The next hitch is made at the midpoint of the first loop in the first row.
As you tie these hitches you start to pull each stitch in the web a little tighter. Continue around the web tying a hitch and pulling tighter on each row until you are down to a small centre hole in your web. Tie it off in a knot.
Now tie three strands of yarn from the ‘bottom’ of the triangle and attach the beads, feathers, leaves – And tie a hanging loop at the top of the triangle and you are ready to decorate the trees by hanging your wonderful dream catchers in the forest – or, if you REALLY want to catch those dreams in your web, hang your natural dream catcher up in your bedroom for a real conversation starter!
As a family, Plastic Free July had us thinking – what can we do more to encourage people to be more aware of their plastic use, maybe going plastic free? Can we create a cleaner world for generations to come for July and the other eleven months?!?
Firstly – let’s remind ourselves WHY we are doing this:
“Crude oil extraction causes problems like deforestation, oil spills, pollution of toxic chemicals. From the 100 million tonnes of plastic produced each year, 10 million tonnes ends up in the sea. Plastic doesn’t break down like natural materials – there’s an area of floating plastic the size of Turkey* in the North Pacific.”
*source, Greenpeace via BetterShoes.org
Our family has made several changes over the last few years, so we’ve been carrying reusable bottles, going plastic free, and also reusable cups and cutlery (we love a Spork for the name as much as anything!) for when we are out and about.
At home in the kitchen, we’ve ditched the plastic and sponge pan-scourers, and started using coconut coir crocheted cloths, we order our milk and orange juice to be delivered every other day by the ‘milkman’ – and love that he collects our used (clean) bottles (he is a ‘he’ yes before we start dissecting whether to call him a milk-delivery-operative) – , and we’ve been saving the milk bottle aluminium lids to pop in the recycling kerb side collection box too – we post them into a pop can – as they are very small!
We’ve recently been given an espresso machine, which we were loath to use because of the plastic (landfill) capsules – however, you can now buy compostable plant-based capsules so that’s a winner!
Howdens have put together this helpful guide with some simple ways that you can make more sustainable choices in your day-to-day life. With the kitchen at the heart of the home, they share top tips for creating an eco-friendly kitchen and to explore how even small changes can make a big difference. click HERE
And – we’ve even extended the plastic-free policy to the bathroom, with natural deodorant in a cardboard tube, and bars of shampoos too… it’s been an interesting experiment, but so far, we are very fragrant!
And shoes, man – so many modern shoes contain PVC (polyvinyl chloride); polyurethane plastic, TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) EVA Foam (ethylene vinyl acetate) (found this all out here: http://www.bettershoes.org/home/material-selection so we’ve even been rethinking that too – you CAN get shoes made from natural materials, like cork and organic cotton, and wool – like Po-Zu and Baabuk.
A really good read is this book, No. More. Plastic. by Martin Dorey, the fella who brought us #2minutebeachclean – it’s a really easy read, perfect for kids and teenagers and supports behaviour change and helping others habitually #choosetorefuse shopping bags, straws, takeaway containers and coffee cups – just to name a few.
This post has been written in conjunction with Howdens – although of course all thoughts and words and photographs are my own.
Sign the petition to The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP to “Make coffee cups recyclable!” HERE
Do you have bread bags, polythene, toilet roll bags, bubble wrap etc you want to recycle? post it to Polyprint. http://polyprint.co.uk/recycling/ accepts recycling from the general public. Please visit their website for details.
The carrot cake is a classic, and this carrot cake recipe’s a super-simple variation on that delicious theme. Just add grated carrots to the dry ingredients, which include both plain and wholemeal flour for extra texture.
Once you’ve beaten in free range eggs and some butter, you’re away – just pop it in the oven. The tangy lemon icing on this carrot cake recipe contrasts with the sweet, cinnamon-flavoured cake to really bring the flavours to life.
200 g (7oz) self raising flour
115 g (4oz) wholemeal flour
350 g (12oz) caster sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
250 ml (9fl oz) butter
3 Large carrots, peeled and grated
4 organic free range eggs Icing
2 unwaxed lemons, zested
225 g (8oz) Fairtrade icing sugar
Mix together all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Mix in carrot and gradually beat in Flora Cuisine and eggs. Pour into a greased and bottom lined 20cm (8-inch) square cake tin.
Bake in preheated oven 180°C, 160°C fan, gas mark 4 for 45–55 minutes. Cool on a wire cooling rack. Icing – Zest the lemons. Squeeze out the juice and add to icing sugar in a bowl with the segments. Mix gently and spread over the cake. Sprinkle with the zest.
Note – make sure your icing is not too runny – we had lots of fun scraping the icing off the board as it dripped through the cooling rack!!
With two boys, who seem to be growing bigger every week, we are doing that thing of contemplating extending the back of the house. When they were small, pre-school, it didn’t seem so crucial to have separate living and playing areas – Although, as they got to school age, establishing the sitting room as the ‘grown-up room’ gave back some tranquility and escape from the lego.
And now they are nearly as tall as me, we’ve had to buy bigger beds, with built in desk and wardrobe space, and had to rethink the downstairs living area…
As you know, we love ‘family cooking time’ where we bake and cook together as a family, yet these boys take up a LOT of room in our galley kitchen these days.
The kitchen is one area that we have not changed since moving in, and I LOVE our old Edwardian kitchen floor though, ridiculous as that sounds, these tiles make is so hard! It’s something I have been struggling to come to terms with inevitably having to say goodbye to these beautiful old tiles – unless we can find a way to incorporate them into a new layout!
So we’ve been looking at LOADS of different kitchen layout designs, to find a way to do this, perhaps with a glass box extension, to let in more light, without taking too much of our small mid terrace garden?
Or shall I just bite the bullet and go for something completely different and accept that change is as good as a rest as they say? There’s always the option of finding some new rather lovely tiles to play with! – watch this space!
It’s been a lovely colourful summer, people have been grumbling about the on-off weather, rainy, then sunny, then rainy again, but it’s meant we have a lot of green in the fields (and our back garden), picnics in the park (sometimes under umbrellas!) and the multi-coloured fruit in the hedgerows have been in abundance!
The joy of finding all of this free fruit has been a delight, it’s brought smiles to our faces and with the winter months approaching, and summer picnics a distant memory, we’re so glad our Ocean Spray cranberry cartons do much the same, adding colour through the refreshing taste and by delighting us throughout the year (the boys just love them in their school packed lunches now the Autumn term has started).
Meanwhile, we’ve really enjoyed foraging for the fresh (FREE) fruit and made copious crumbles, and cakes and we’ve frozen blackberries for morning smoothies in the winter (TOP TIPs: freeze loose on trays so that you can bag them as single loose frozen fruits, rather than a big frozen clump! We also add dried fruit to our smoothies, and have a jar FULL of Ocean Spray’s dried cranberries, they add a real tangy zing)
We’ve spent a lovely staycation weekend down in Devon too – we seem to have given up camping this year (although the tent WAS out earlier in the summer for a night under canvas with 10yo) As a family, we tried out a bit of glamping, and are totally converted – it’s the way forward, the kids loved picking the red apples in their orchard, chasing after the free range chickens, and feeding the black and white Friesian calves, and we loved waking up to such a fabulous view of the green fields, and the wispy white clouds and blue skies…aaahhhh.
So as we head towards the end of the summer holidays, we are still going for our evening stroll around our own neighbourhood and continue to be overwhelmed by the natural colours which will forevever amaze us – Planet Earth at her best….(can’t beat a good British Sunset can you?!)
I’m working with BritMums and Ocean Spray highlighting the everyday moments of colour that give each of us a little lift, just like Ocean Spray adds colour to our day and delights us all year round. I have been compensated for my time. All editorial and opinions are my own.
Camila Batmanghelidjh and Kids Company Plate Pledge
You may have previously read my Kids Company article for Britmums – and I have been lucky enough to meet Camila Batmanghelidjh on a couple of occasions – She is an amazing and awe-inspiring person.
Every week, thousands of children rely on Camila’s charity Kids Company for their main meal of the day. They come to be fed, to learn how to cook, and to find a safe place to be a child. Cooking together and meal-planning, has been a really important time for my children and I, and we often find time to bake the odd cake together even now with all of the homework they seem to have as they get older.
We were reading Jay Raynor’s article in last month’s Observer and the statistics still astound us – that today through Kids Company’s centres in north and south London, Liverpool and Bristol, they now support 36,000 children and provide 3,000 meals a week. Of those children, 85% rely on Kids Company for the main meal of the day. “We find children coming to us with quite severe issues of malnutrition,” says campaigns director Laurence Guinness. “We have toddlers with rickets, 10-year-olds who look like seven-year-olds. When you see adolescents looking skeletal you understand why they join a gang.” “There is no responsible adult caring for these children. There’s a gaping hole in the safety net. There is no allocation of resources to the lone child.”
My 10 year old son has pledged £2 today to the Plate Pledge – he asked me to type: “This is from my 10year old son – who today cooked a fish supper for our family and baked and iced a cake. He is giving £2 from his piggy bank towards a healthy tasty meal for another child tonight.”
As well as having the privilege of meeting Camila, I have also been lucky enough to work with some amazing beautifully minded brands, and I was very proud to read this little note from Camila and Kids Company last week:
“We are delighted that 1 Two Kids has decided to continue its support of Kids Company through the Sophie La Girafe Baby skincare range in the UK and Republic of Ireland. It is wonderful to have this support for our 36,000 vulnerable children, young people, adults and their families,” says Camila Batmanghelidjh CBE.
Kids Company recently launched a challenge to pledge support for a further 580,00 meals for these children – so far, with donations from as little as £2 each, equivalent to a plate of food to help make a hungry and vulnerable child happy – they have reached an amazing 549, 833 – to reach their TARGET: 580,000 visit kidscoplatepledge.org to learn how you can help too.