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!
It was our first Christmas in our own home this year so we were rather excited at the prospect of hosting a drinks party. I decided to make life easy and focus on small nibbles and canapes, but I wanted to create some canapes that the children might also enjoy. Strangely these two fairly luxurious choices went down well with both of my children and were also very easy for them to help assemble:
Melon bites with parma ham:
Smoked salmon blinis with philadelphia cream cheese:
I also prepared some cocktail sausages drizzled in honey and mustard, then covered in sesame seeds; mini oatmeal biscuits with a chunk of brie and cranberry sauce; olive biscuits with smoked trout pate and bruschetta.
For the dessert section I made my duo of mince pies and party meringues (see earlier posts). I did also succumb to making some sausage rolls for the kids as well and putting out a cheese plate, but it all went down well and it seems my daughter is now particularly fond of smoked salmon and parma ham. It’s good that she’s trying new things, but they won’t be on our weekday menu just yet!
If I make a batch of my mince pies, then this is the perfect recipe to pair with it as it uses up the egg whites that are left over and makes a delicious dessert. I made a huge batch of mince pies for a drinks party and made the meringues to team with them for my dessert section. They are unbelievably easy to put together, but look great on the table at a party.
Add all 3 egg whites to a bowl and whisk them until they form stiff peaks. At this stage add the caster sugar (175g per egg yolk, pre-sieved) in spoonfuls, whisking as you go. I know from previous experience that it can be done by hand, but en electric whisk makes it much easier! If you do have en electric whisk then you can whisk on high seed until the mixture becomes sticky and you can almost turn the bowl upside-down without it falling out…although don’t test that fully, just in case you’re not quite there! Then, simply use a teaspoon and transfer small amounts to baking parchment on a baking tray and place in an overn pre-heated to 170 degrees celcius. As soon as you add the meringues, turn the oven down to 160 degrees and cook for an hour.
Although My daughter would have helped with this, I usually make meringues last thing at night, as they need to cook for an hour and are better left to cool in the oven overnight. The next day you can take them out, whip some double cream, and put a spoon on top along with a raspberry. My daughter was delighted to do this job for me, although I think there was quite a lot of tasting going on at the same time!