Hooray! Finally a chance to bake something new! My tiny patch of rhubarb was ready for the picking, I had some Greek yogurt to use up and Pinterest provided me with a new recipe to try out. I even got to use my fancy cup measures as it’s an American recipe.
The recipe called for four cups of rhubarb, which I didn’t have, so a rummage in the fruit bowl produced a pear to add to the mix.
It’s a very quick make – using cup measures is super-speedy – and it makes a really thick cake mix, almost like a dough (the recipe did warn this).
I adapted the streusel topping to just cinnamon and brown sugar to try and make it a little healthier and, let’s be honest here, I was too lazy to make the streusel! The recipe said to bake the cake for 45 minutes at 350°F, so I did it for 30 minutes at 180°C which gave the end result quite a thick crust. I divided the cake into 12 ‘fingers’ – it cut well, came out of the tin just fine and kept its shape.
Next time I’d bake it for a little longer as it had quite a doughy, almost bread-like (like those tear-and-share style breads) texture, though that could have been due to the ‘wet’ fruit. I, however, quite liked the stickiness.
Drop scones are another of my go-to baby led weaning recipes – the recipe I follow makes a batch of roughly 20 drop scones (also known as scotch pancakes) which can be frozen and defrosted in minutes. I actually got the recipe from the BLW Cookbook but I have posted a link to a recipe on Pinterest that is just the same.
I always start by making up the plain mix, and then I divide it between dishes to add different sweet and savoury flavours. The first time I made drop scones I made four variations: plain, cinnamon, cheese, and cheese and spinach. It took quite a while to do this so since then I’ve always just done two batches. My most recent ones were cinnamon and ginger (good for breakfast) and cheese, red pepper and paprika (for lunches).
Drop scones are so simple to make and it is easy to adapt the recipe to vary the flavours, especially for savoury ones.
Their texture is such that I can slice them into strips for the baby to hold easily, and they retain their shape even when mushed up in her tiny hands!
I also love drop scones from a nostalgic perspective: it was always such a treat when my grandmother would make drop scones fresh for us at teatime, and whilst mine aren’t always fresh off the griddle, it makes me happy to give my baby my favourite teatime treat.
One morning, whilst trying to spoon porridge into my daughter’s mouth and having her outright refuse it, I gave up but was annoyed that I had a wasted bowl of porridge. I had a think about what I could do with it rather than it end up in the food waste bin (affectionately called the ‘slop bucket’ in our house). I recalled a recipe I once made (here) for baked oatmeal, so I bunged the porridge in an oven-proof dish and shoved it in the oven for 20 minutes. The result was a flapjack-style baked porridge, which I left to cool, cut into fingers and… the baby ate it all up!
My initial porridge was simply equal measures of porridge oats and full fat milk. I’ve since tried it out with added cinnamon, apple purée (I wasn’t going to let my frozen cubes of apple purée be wasted) and ginger.
I usually make too much porridge so that I have some to keep in the fridge for the next day, or to have in the freezer for a quick breakfast. The porridge fingers keep their shape well, so I’ve wrapped them in cling film and taken them out with us for a snack-on-the-go too.
I’ve since searched for them on Pinterest and found some good variations on flavours to try out – carrot cake, apple pie, raspberry and coconut are a few on my list for future versions.
My little girl has shown us that she’s very strong-willed and has decided that she does not like to be spoon-fed, but would rather feed herself. So somewhat reluctantly I turned to Baby Led Weaning (BLW). I read up on it and actually my opinion of it has been changed – I initially thought it was one of those ‘faddy’ things – and I wish now that we’d just started the weaning process with it, avoiding the stress of her refusing the spoon and wasted purées!
As we cook the majority of our meals from scratch, we weren’t looking to use jars or pouches of ready made food, but some of our own meals aren’t so baby-friendly at the moment – or just would be too messy for me to deal with! – so I’ve been trying out some easy recipes to vary what my daughter eats and to introduce lots of new tastes and textures.
I found this savoury flapjack recipe and it looked simple to make, so I tried it out. I added red pepper, cheese, spinach and paprika for lots of lovely flavour. The quantity of ingredients made a lot of flapjacks so I’ve frozen some for future meals.
It wasn’t an entirely mess-free meals as flapjacks do crumble up, and it was a bit ‘claggy’ as Mary Berry would say, but my little girl seemed to enjoy it… I certainly thought it was tasty so I’d try it again with some different ingredients.
My husband reminded me I had a bag of wild blackberries stashed away in the freezer, hint, use them or lose them. So I looked for a nice new recipe to try. Last year I chose a blackberry pie slice and it was lovely (and there’s an old blog post about it) but I wanted something different that I could freeze in portions for quick sweet snacks in the future.
This recipe stood out to me as I rarely make loaf cakes and it sounded tasty with the apple, orange zest and cinnamon mixed in. I used ‘Stork for Cakes’ rather than butter, which did melt a bit in the breadcrumb making stage instead of making fine, dry breadcrumbs. This didn’t seem to ruin the recipe however.
I used the blackberries straight from frozen instead of defrosting them so they wouldn’t turn to mush before mixing into the cake mix.
The recipe suggested checking the cake after 50 minutes that it wasn’t browning too much, and mine wasn’t, neither was it 15 minutes later, nor in the final 15 minutes, so all good there.
Once cooled and cut, I discovered the cake could have done with an extra five or ten minutes in the oven as it was very moist inside. This could be due to the amount of blackberries in it too, so next time, I’d bake for longer and adjust the amount of fruit I put in. Still, it’s a very tasty loaf cake.
A little-seen savoury recipe for today, rather than the usual sweet treats I try out. I had some slices of white bloomer bread left over from the weekend that had gone stale and I fancied making some croutons to go with an evening meal.
Embarrassingly I didn’t know how to make croutons properly – I thought it was a case of toasting the bread and then cutting it into cubes, which you can do but it makes for a very boring crouton. Instead I looked on Pinterest for some more exciting ideas and I found this pin for ‘easy garlic croutons’. Easy is always a key word in my Pinterest searches. And it was indeed an easy make. Cut the stale bread into cubes, sprinkle with salt, pepper, dried parsley and garlic.
The recipe suggested garlic powder but as I didn’t have any, I used crushed instead. Then drizzle oil over the bread and mix well before putting it all onto a baking tray and into the oven. I went for 190°C for 10 minutes, turning halfway.
They turned out very tasty and went well sprinkled on top of the evening’s pasta dish. I’d try the suggested garlic powder next time, or crushing the garlic more, to avoid the chunky, slightly burnt bits left on the tray. They last well in an airtight container for several days.
My faithful patch of rhubarb in my garden has produced what I think will be its last crop of the year, so I turned back to an old favourite bake of mine – muffins. However I have made rhubarb crumble muffins loads of times (see previous post) so I looked for a new recipe to try out. I chose this recipe as it didn’t call for too much rhubarb (I only have a small patch) and it used an exciting new ingredient, soured cream… It ain’t just for nachos!
Muffins are always an easy make and this was no exception, but it did create a lot of washing up, boo! The wet ingredients had to be mixed in a separate bowl to the dry; the butter had to be melted in a bowl; the rhubarb had to be chopped and kept somewhere – I chose another bowl; the lovely cup measures were used again. I’m sure I probably could have doubled up the use of some of the bowls and not made as much mess.
All in all, these are a lovely muffin and the cinnamon sugar on top is delicious, so move over rhubarb crumble muffins, these may now be my favourites.