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.
Family time together just so special as our boys get older – they are more independent and dare I say a little ‘feral’ this year? We’ve had the best of times and made new friends, made memories, and given us something to look forward to next summer too – why? what? how? you ask? Well, a week at Fforest gather, that’s what!
Over to Spike age 15:
If you’ve not heard about Fforest gather – you’re clearly not following @incredibusy on the instagram – or @coldatnight, which you should remedy forthwith – follow us here and here… It’s through instagram that Mum, and it transpires on chatting to fellow campers at Fforest gather, many others, have ‘met’ Sian and fallen in love with what she and husband James have been doing in Cardigan, Wales for the last couple of years…
A small intimate ‘festival’, not really a festival, but that explains the basis of the event – week long holiday with accommodation (optional, you can also bring your own tent/camper van) and daily workshops you won’t want to miss… a new kind of holiday in fact! Two family friendly weeks of adventures in nature, music, culture, creativity and simple pleasures.
We stayed in one of the ‘group tents‘ – our family in one end, in two bedrooms, and our friends and their three small children in the facing ‘tent’. We brought our own sleeping bags and pillows, and the shared bathrooms a short walk away were positive luxury compared to some campsites we’ve stayed in! The group tents have a communal cooking, and eating area in the centre – and an amazing view across the fields. However, after trying the first catered meal in the canteen, we decided that we’d ditch the camp cooking, and eat with the majority of the other campers – the breakfast and evening meals were just amazing – and the dining area was super conducive to socialising too.
The beauty of the Fforest gather is that the workshops, talks, walks, performances and activities are all included in the ticket price. Two sessions a day, one at a very civilised 10am, and the afternoon sessions start at 2pm – Between our two families, we tried Screenprinting, Nature illustration; natural dyeing, canoeing, Tamsin with her pencil and puppet making, Bees make honey with the honey farm, making bacon, smoking fish, making cheese, cooking with fire; axe & knife craft; yoga and wellness; drumming; beer cocktail classes; bird illustrations, silver ring making; forest school sessions; den building; tree climbing; wild swimming and learnt about foraging with Jade and coppicing with Bruce – woah, all in one week?!
The evenings were equally entertaining, with, Music from Eyre Llew, and DJs and chatting, and Fforest Island discs, and beer drinking at the adorable little ‘Bwthyn pub‘. Candle lit, and roaring fire – this little pub is located at the heart of the Fforest camp.
A brief selection of our favourite workshops: Natural dyeing with Hazel Stark – Indigo Shibori (a Japanese pattern technique) – we were so blessed with the weather, so a day spent outside in the Fforest vegetable gardens, patiently folding, pegging and dipping our canvas tote bags was well spent.
Bird drawing with Matt Sewell, such a delight; as was the glasses onto inanimate objects with Finn Thomson making faces and giving objects sight – such a fun workshop! Seeing objects – using wire, paper, glue, and a LOT of imagination, in the project barn.
Seriously, this is an event/holiday/week long party I would recommend – such a lovely way to spend time with your family.
We went with good friends, and came away with even more…
Time to plan for 2018… 23 JULY – 5 AUGUST 2018 www.fforestgather.co.uk
A new kind of holiday.
Two family friendly weeks of adventures in nature, music, culture, creativity, making, growing & simple pleasures.
500 acres of bliss. Only 300 tickets available each week.
Week 1 – Monday 23rd – Sunday 29th of july
Week 2 – Monday 30th july – Sunday 5th of august
If delicious food, finding out about other cultures, and a love of peace sound like your perfect evening’s entertainment, book your place at Conflict Café, in the atmospheric tunnels underneath London’s Waterloo Station.
Here chefs including Imad Ghossain (pictured) from Lebanon and Ruby Kughanathan (pictured) from Sri Lanka will delight diners with food from their home countries, helping to show how much we can get to know about others and their countries simply by breaking bread with them and sharing a meal.
Both Imad and Ruby became passionate about food by watching their mothers at their stoves at home as they cooked for the family, and then joining in. They left their countries of origin for a safer life and believe very much in the power of food to help transform attitudes, hence their support for Conflict Café.
This pop-up restaurant is being run by peacebuilding charity International Alert for the third year running from 22
September – 2 October 2016.
Conflict Café was inspired by a tradition that is common to many cultures around the world: coming together and reconciling differences by preparing and sharing meals. Diners will sit at communal tables and enjoy traditional dishes while finding out more about issues facing countries affected by conflict. It’s hoped that strangers will be inspired to talk together and start conversations about building peace through food.
Rebecca Crozier, International Alert’s Head of Emerging Programmes, explains the reasons behind the idea: “Across different cultures and continents, food has the power to bring people together and encourage the act of sharing. In some Middle Eastern countries, it is custom for the perpetrator of a crime to cook a meal for the victim and their family as a way of fixing broken bonds. In Europe, too, we find ways of using food to calm domestic storms, to unite communities and bring neighbourhoods together. She adds: “We hope that Conflict Café will give diners a glimpse into the diverse cuisines and complex histories of some of the countries where we work, highlighting the positive role that food can play in peacebuilding.”
The organisers say that eating a meal may not obviously be changing the world but, if a diner is giving a thought to Lebanon or Sri Lanka in their hurried life, they believe that they are already ahead. The event changes – or creates – that person’s perception of that country. People will not often take three hours to read everything about world events. But if they go out for a great meal and hear someone from that country talk, they will be experiencing human detail from that country. They may tell their friends about it or write on social media and that’s how change can take place.
The initiative kicks off with Conflict Café: Lebanon, a country which ended its civil war just 10 years ago and is now hosting more than one million refugees displaced by the conflict in Syria.
The focus will then shift to the delicious flavours of Sri Lanka where, after nearly 30 years of conflict, more than a generation of Sri Lankans have grown up with no real experience of peace.
Conflict Café is part of the Talking Peace Festival organised by International Alert, a charity established by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other visionaries 30 years ago in a bid to secure an end to some of the world’s most bitter disputes. Once you’ve eaten you can take a look round the other tunnels in the House of Vans complex. These are housing other parts of the festival including the Create Syria multimedia exhibition.
This shows footage of exiled Syrian artists and cultural figures running workshops in Lebanon with refugee children and young people to help them to overcome their experiences of war.
The whole event is at the House of VANS, Arches 228 – 232 Station Approach Road, London SE1 8SW
We do like a quick pizza on a Friday, or a playdate night at our house!
When we make our pizza base mixture in the bread maker, we always make double quantity and freeze them in small balled portions…
Perfect – so this morning, I took four of these portions out of the freezer, popped some flour onto a plate and place each of the frozen balls onto the plate to defrost for the afternoon.
Both boys like a different pizza topping, this is 11yo’s as he’s not so keen on cheese and tomato (what?!) – you’ll see he’s moved the mozzarella into one slice size just for me!
Ingredients (for two)
2 pizza bases (either buy them ready made, use flatbreads, or follow the instructions for the pizza setting on your breadmaker)
Slosh of olive oil
2 large garlic cloves
2 tins of beans – we used chick peas, although very nice with cannellini beans
Couple of sprigs of rosemary
1 ball of mozzarella
Handful of olives and capers
Salt and pepper
Directions for this quick pizza
Heat oven to 240ºC.
Chop the garlic, and fry gently for about a minute in the olive oil, adding the white beans, and the water, turning up the heat and simmering. Pour the beans, garlic and water into a small blender and whizz up, leaving some beans (or chick peas in this case) partially whole. Add a little water, and stir, seasoning this puree with salt and pepper and spread.
Spread the puree over both pizza bases, chop up the olives in half, and sprinkle them with the capers over the pizzas (not too many, as they are both super salty).
Rip up the mozzarella and drop onto the pizza bases (not essential, tastes good without if you’re not fond of cheese!)
Drizzle over the olive oil, and scatter the torn rosemary and pop in the hot oven for 10 minutes. Enjoy your ‘quick pizza’… 🙂
This was another quick ‘rustle’ tonight by the 9 and 11yo boys, as we had a big bag of spinach and no coriander in the house to make a spinach dahl!… The fresh pasta sheets were in the freezer, so we defrosted those and got busy with the Spinach and Mushroom Lasagne. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Ingredients for 4 people:
1 tbsp olive oil
300g bag spinach
2 garlic cloves, crushed
250g pack mushrooms, sliced
2 tsp thyme leaves, chopped
Cheese sauce (see below)
400g tin of puy lentils
1 tsp bouillon stock
300g fresh pasta sheets
For the Cheese Sauce
Big knob of butter
Grated Cheese to taste
1) Heat the oil. Crush the garlic, and gently fry in a large frying pan for one minute in the oil.
2) Add the sliced mushrooms and the chopped thyme and stir
3) Meanwhile start the cheese sauce, by melting a bit knob of butter in another pan, and adding a tablespoon of flour, to make a roux – add milk, and keep stirring, the secret is to use a hand whisk which gets the lumps out, add water if it starts to thicken.
4) Add the spinach a handful at a time to the mushrooms and garlic in the frying pan. Sprinkle and stir in a tsp of bouillon low salt stock.
5) Add the grated cheese to the white sauce and keep stirring.
6) Add the remaining spinach and a tin of drained and rinsed puy lentils and stir.
7) Start to layer up the pie dish (we use a glass dish, as the kids like to see the layers) – starting with the spinach and lentils mix, then add two sheets of lasagne side by side to cover, and a dollop of the cheese sauce, and so on until you have used up the lasage, finish by pouring the remaining cheese sauce over the Spinach and Mushroom Lasagne dish.
8) Grate over another handful of cheese and crumble on some breadcrumbs. And place in the hot oven for 35 minutes. I find that covering the dish with tin foil after twenty minutes stops the cheesy breadcrumb crust from over cooking.
Another favourite for 11yo is his Salmon with mushrooms and pak choi, click here to read more.
Tasty leeks with chickpeas recipe with grilled halloumi cheese
This was a quick ‘rustle’ last night, as we had a big bag of leeks, and all I could think of was Leeks in Cheese Sauce… not very original, 11yo doesn’t like cheese (unless it’s grilled halloumi!), and he wanted to make something that looked ‘restauranty’!
Ingredients for 4 people:
6 large leeks 500ml low salt vegetable stock 2 tins 400g tin chickpeas, drained Packet of Halloumi cheese, sliced
For the dressing
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 tsp runny honey Juice and zest of 2 lemons 2 garlic cloves, crushed A pinch of salt flakes
1) Chop the leeks in half, and then slice into quarters length ways, to create ribbons.
2) Break up a stock cube into a large deep frying pan, and pour in the 500ml boiling water, add the leeks and simmer for five minutes.
3) Mix up the dressing of olive oil, honey, and the juice and zest of the lemons with the crushed garlic and salt flakes
4) As the leeks soften add the chickpeas to the pan and stir through to heat them.
5) Meanwhile using a ridged frying pan, grill the halloumi (we like the grill stripes!) and start plating up the leeks and chickpeas, spoon over the dressing, and then top with the halloumi cheese – very ‘restauranty’ don’t you think?!
Serve with honey and garlic roasted carrots and parsnips – delicious!
Another favourite for 11yo is his Salmon with mushrooms and pak choi, click here to read more.
Our lovely friends Bear Nibbles sent us some Alphabites to try.
It was 4pm, so we couldn’t wait for their breakfast the next morning, as the post-school-tummy-rumbles forced us to open the box – what a GOOD plan that was, we all tucked in, and meanwhile 11yo had the great idea to grab some chalk! Our game of Noughts and Crosses made for a photogenic Instagram opportunity, (I can’t help myself…) and the boys had great fun spelling out words on the slate table mat!
There are two recipes to choose from, Multigrain and Cocoa Multigrain, we’re saving the Cocoa for the weekend as we have some good friends coming to stay at the weekend, and the boys wanted to share them with them (awwww!)
What are Alphabites?
Crunchy cereal letters made from tasty wholegrains, with no added nonsense. They are tasty, and naturally sweetened, Alphabites do have natural coconut blossom nectar sugar in them – in fact, the lowest sugar levels of any cereal made for kids. A bowl of Alphabites with milk has 11g of sugar and more than half of those sugars come from the milk. Milk is an important healthy ingredient for growing bones and the fact they don’t add salt to their cereal helps to that end too.
So many cereals contain salt, which, did you know, causes calcium to be lost from the bones at an age. Also, coconut blossom nectar itself contains calcium, which you do not find in refined sugar.
If your kids fancy a change from porridge (my boys’ all time favourite, and it’s a win-win as we’ve sprinkled some of the Alphabites on top of our porridge this morning!) or you’d like to try an alternative to the salty/sugary cereals currently aimed at kids, we have two packs of Bear Nibbles Alphabites to give away…
So what are you waiting for? Why not enter and see how if you’re the lucky winner!
WIN A box of each of Bear Nibbles Alphabites cereals
THIS PRIZE DRAW HAS NOW CLOSED – AND THE WINNER IS EMMA FROM STOKE ON TRENT!!
I used to LOVE Toffee Apples as a kid, well, I SAY that, I do seem to remember just eating the toffee, and discarding the bit with the vitamins… My boys on the other hand, food-swots that they are, love getting through the toffee to the yummy healthy apple centre! So I thought I’d share the recipe we use with you, just in time for Halloween and a few fireworks for Bonfire Night here in the UK!
you will need:
6 medium sized apples
200g golden caster sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
half tsp vinegar
1) Pop the apples into a bowl of boiling water to remove the waxy finish, rub them dry with a tea towel, this allows the toffee to adhere to the apples. Push a wooden lolly stick into each apple.
2) Lay a sheet of greaseproof paper onto a plate beside the stove, and space the apples on this so they do not touch each other. I sprinkled some ‘hundreds and thousands’ onto the paper first, you don’t NEED to do this… looks pretty though 🙂
3) Pour the sugar into a pan along with 50ml water and set over a medium heat for five mins until the sugar dissolves, then stir in the vinegar and syrup. If you have a sugar thermometer (I don’t), pop it in the pan and boil to 140C or ‘hard crack’ stage. I find after about ten mins, you can test the toffee by pouring a little into a bowl of cold water. It should harden instantly and, when removed, be brittle and easy to break. If you can still squash the toffee, boil it for a tiny bit longer…
4) Next bit – act fast! Dunk the first apple into the pan, swill the toffee around so it’s fully coated, allow excess to drip back into the pan, and then place the apple back into its spot on the greaseproof paper, careful not to bump it into the other apples…
Obviously let them cool down well before eating, as the toffee is SUPER hot, and if you have any toffee left over, poor onto another sheet of greaseproof paper (with a lip so it doesn’t run) and the kids can have fun cracking it with a rolling pin when it’s cooled and set!