Monthly Archives: March 2014

Nutella Surprise Muffins


The sun seems to have finally found its way to us, but with the ongoing rain of the last few weeks we had a few ‘kitchen’ afternoons. The kids of course always want to make cakes, but the hardest thing about baking with kids is making sure that the end product is edible quickly, as tasting their wares if half the fun of it. These cakes are very simple and very satisfying (not necessarily healthy!) and perfect for picnics as they have the sweet bit inside rather than on top so are less messy!


100g Stork margarine
100g golden caster sugar
100g self raising flour
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 dessert spoon of milk
A jar of Nutella

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius. Cream the margarine and sugar together, then slowly add the eggs, whisking after each addition. Then add the flour, baking powder, milk and vanilla essence.

Then spoon the mixture into cake cases, putting a teaspoon full of Nutella in the middle of the mixture and then adding a little more cake mixture on top. If you find the Nutella is too hard to spoon then you can put a few serving spoons in a saucepan and heat it gently until it softens.

Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes…they can be eaten as soon as they have cooled!



Fairtrade Fortnight


My daughter had some homework from nursery this weekend. Her task was to survey a local supermarket to see how well stocked they are with Fairtrade products. We then had to purchase one of the products to take in the following week, to be used for shopping games as part of Maths Week. She was very diligent in checking for every product and either ticking it off or putting a cross by it, and we seemed to generate a lot of interest from other shoppers too as we traipsed through the aisles on our search.

We discovered that certain supermarkets don’t stock a lot of Fairtrade products and I also realised how idle I have been in looking for the symbol and committing to buying these products. It’s difficult with a family to choose the more expensive options over those better priced. However, having read a little more about the different working conditions and how the Fairtrade branding helps to protect worker’s rights, I have vowed to try and buy these products as and when I can.

I tried to explain to my daughter what Fairtrade was all about, but started talking about buying prices and working conditions and she just got confused. So my husband had a go and summed it up much more succintly:

“When we buy food in the supermarket it comes from lots of different places but it is made or packaged by people who work very hard. If these people are happy in their work then it is Fairtrade, and if they are unhappy, then it’s not”

It’s perhaps a little over-simplified but certainly ample for a 4 year old’s comprehension. I’m not sure I would do it justification with a longer explanation here, but if you’d like to know more, then visit the website:
For information about fairtrade fortnight, look here:


Funky Fish Fingers


Fish fingers are often a sure-fire way to introduce some fish into your kids diet if they turn their noses up at fish that actually looks like fish! This recipe is a healthier and tastier twist on the supermarket varieties. I found the recipe in the free Tesco family food magazine, which has a special section devoted to cooking with kids. The photography is often inspiring and it has lots of ideas for easy weekday meals. The recipes are simple enough for kids to follow and are often a new take on old favourites, like this one.

The Tesco Website is also a great resource (, although the website publishes different recipes to the magazine, so it’s definitely worth picking up a copy if you are ever in the store.

Here is the basic fish finger recipe:

2 x 400g white fish fillets, skinned de-boned and cut into fish finger chunks
2 medium eggs lightly beaten
100g Panko breadcrumbs (available in most major supermarkets)
1 unwaxed lemon, zested (or 3 tsps of bottled lemon juice)
2 tbsp Parsley, finely chopped (Freeze dried worked just as well)
3 tbsp Parmesan, grated (I used a tub of dried parmesan and it worked just as well)
2 tbsp Plain flour


Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl and add the Parmesan, parsley and lemon zest (or a teaspoon of juice from a bottle). Add the beaten eggs to one bowl, flour to another and the breadcrumb mixture to a third bowl or plate. Then begin coating the fish by first dipping the fillets in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumb mixture, moving them around until fully coated. My children managed to share the process of dipping and dunking in the different bowls. It was a messy business, but seemed to work well without causing any arguments!

Finally, you can either place the fillets on a non-stick baking tray and oven bake for around 20 minutes, or fry them in Rapeseed oil. If you fry, then remove excess oil using kitchen roll after frying. Serve with potato wedges and peas.