Scouts' Honour

When I was a little girl I used to dream of being a brownie. Sadly that never came true, and anyway, being a boy I was sent to The Scouts.  I hated it and thought it a complete waste of an evening. That may have been down to the fact that every time I tried to contort my fingers into the three-fingered salute I looked like my arthritic and ancient aunt. So, I gave it and all hopes of a woggle in the woods a two-fingered salute, never to return.So now, all grown up, I find myself in the kitchen (not wearing a fetching brown dress or green jumper) melting chocolate to make these delicious and fudgy brownies. A whole tray of them may well be too much to eat in one sitting, but when I put them down on the table yesterday, they pretty much vanished.

Called to the bar

IMG_5588No matter how worthy your diet, how well one can live on hemp and lentils, even hippies want a sweet snack every now and then.We've got a few 'nakd' bars in the cupboard for snacks but of late these have been relegated to the back for emergency use only. I've started to make my own in the Nutribullet and they're easy as well as being customisable to whatever ingredients, shape and size you can reasonably buy and make.These are quite addictive and it's easy to demolish the whole thing in one go, but while they're pure and healthy, it's probably not a good idea to do so. I have no idea what that many dates will do to your system in one go.If you don't have a Nutribullet, use a food processor or blender. Failing that, chop everything by hand. It's probably better to use a knife though.Ingredients (for one large bar)Equal amounts of:whole skin-on almondspitted datesraisinsapricots (the dark, sun-dried type, not the bright orange ones if possible)2tbsp raw cacao nibs1tbsp sunflower seeds1tbsp supergreens powder (I use Bioglan)1tbsp bee pollenA handful of dessicated coconutMethodBlitz half the almonds to a powder then add half of the remaining ingredients and pulse until well combined. You may need to stop and shake it up a bit.Empty the container into a large bowl and repeat with the remaining ingredients.Tip this into the same bowl and mix everything well by hand. Shape into one or two bars, squares or balls as you prefer and wrap well in clingfilm or put in an airtight container.Put in the fridge to firm. I keep them in there anyway, I like them better slightly chilled.You can vary the ingredients as you like, cashew nuts work well as does adding orange zest, vanilla seeds, fennel seeds for suprise and even chilli flakes. I'm tempted by the thought of covering them in melted chocolate, but that will have to wait a while.

Breakfast ice lollies

 lollies As a supposed grown-up, I feel I can eat whatever I want, whenever. Cold pizza for breakfast and such.While I try and promote a healthy diet to the children, that doesn't mean we can't have fun. And while I wouldn't really condone ice-cream for breakfast, I don’t see the harm in it every now and then. Say once a year.This recipe, however, is the best of both worlds. Healthy fruit and yoghurt, but disguised as a seemingly illicit ice-lolly. It’s a great way to get some fruit into the children if they’re not that keen, and it’s something they can enjoy making with you. Of course, you don’t have to serve them at breakfast, but they’re pretty exciting to wake up to when you’re five years old…Ingredients4 ice-lolly moulds and sticks4 tbsp ‘Coyo’ coconut yoghurtA handful of: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, blackcurrants and redcurrants (feel free to add or replace as you like)1 kiwi, peeled and slicedWater to fill the moulds (you can add a little fruit juice if you like, but I prefer to avoid it)MethodLine up your moulds and distribute the berries between them. Slide a few kiwi slices down the side of each and half fill with water. Use the end of a spoon to slightly squidge some of the berries to release a little juice.Mix the coconut yoghurt with a little water to loosen it and top up the moulds. You can just top them up with water if preferred. Stand them securely upright in the freezer and after an hour or so, push in the sticks so they’re nice and central. Freeze for another 3-4 hours, or overnight because I imagine you wouldn’t be getting up at 3am to make these… 

Delicious homemade doughnuts


The first time I had fresh doughnuts straight from the fryer was a revelation. There was a small stall between Covent Garden tube station and the market, basically a fryer on wheels. When some friends and I used to come up to London for whatever reason and found ourselves there, we would stuff our faces. They were hot and soft, sugary and delicious and felt like such a treat. Completely unlike the stodgy, cold shop-bought ones. Now, whenever possible I make my own.Cooking with the children is always good fun and baking is a really easy way to involve them. Rather than starting off with complicated savoury dishes, things like biscuits, cakes and doughnuts are great hands on recipes.Makes: 12 Preparation time: 20 minutes Cooking time: 5-6 minutesIngredients7g dry yeast5tbsp golden caster sugar230g plain flour160ml milk65g melted butter1 egg, beatenPinch of salt500ml rapeseed oil for fryingFillings of your choiceGolden caster sugar to coatMethod1. Warm the milk and add the yeast and a pinch of sugar. Leave to stand for about ten minutes until slightly foamy.2. Add the flour and sugar to a large bowl or food mixer and add the milk mixture and remaining sugar along with themelted butter and egg.3. Knead for about five minutes then cover the bowl and leave to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size.4. Knead again for a couple of minutes then on a floured surface shape into balls and doughnuts and leave to rise for another twenty minutes or so.5. Heat the oil to 175c in a deep pan or preferably a deep-fat fryer and gently cook the doughnuts in small batches for a couple of minutes or so on each side. Don’t let the oil get too hot or they will remain uncooked on the inside and burn on the outside.6. Drain on kitchen paper and roll in sugar. When cool enough to handle, fill the centre of the balls using a pipette with your choice of filling. I think you can’t beat raspberry jam, but you could also use caramel or Nutella or whatever you fancy. I also like to drizzle them with caramel or melted chocolate and chopped hazlenuts.doughnut montage