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January 2013

Baking Cooking Kitty Motherhood

Licky scrapers

My Kitty loves Minnie Mouse.  I’m not quite sure how that happened as I wasn’t brought up at all Disney, and even H’s family who allowed a little more mouse shaped magic were fairly firmly on the Winnie the Pooh spectrum.
But Kit found Minnie, loved her, cuddled her and, in a beautiful demonstration of the power of small daughters over beloved fathers, persuaded H to let her bring a little soft fluffy incarnation into our lives when we were in London last summer.
As obsessions go, there are worse and I’ll admit to indulging her a little bit by way of a Minnie cartoon on my phone when I need a few minutes of sitting still so that I can nurse her little sister.  Her absolute favourite (this week) has Minnie repeatedly try to deliver a freshly baked apple pie to an oblivious Daisy, and Kitty’s taken to answering her play phone (and any real one she can get her hands on) with:
“‘ello! Minnie! I makey apple pie!”
So I did what any other mother with a surfeit of apples in the fridge would do; I made an apple pie for pudding.
Snowflake apple pie!

And her response:

“No apple piiiiiiiiiiie!”
Of course.  The indefatigable logic of toddlers strikes again.
But when we pulled out the end of a tub of ice cream to go with it; well that was a different story.  If Kitty likes Minnie Mouse, she loves ice-cream.  Right down to the very last tiny morsel off the scoop.








Family Kitty Motherhood Photography

Tempus erat quo prima quies mortalibus aegris incipit

It was morning.  Early morning.  The time of morning usually heralded by the thick blanketing quiet of a family at rest.  H was asleep.  Elma was asleep.
Kitty was not.
We’d read stories, played cooking and exhausted all of the sartorial possibilities of “so beautiful dress” afforded by Kitty’s extensive wardrobe, and the remaining options were only united by their common noisiness guaranteed to wake the rest of the village if not the whole county.
So, with the camera propped up on a pile of quilts and some stray plastic bits and bobs pulled out of the toy bucket, I handed over my remote trigger.







Result: toddler bliss; can you say “cleek”.

Baking Cooking

95 to go


This absolutely, definitely, categorically does not mean that I’ve accepted any sort of challenge at all.  Maybe.

I’m just enjoying my Christmas presents and knocking up a few loaves of bread along the way.  Nothing to see, moving along.

Well, actually there are some loaves of bread. All courtesy of 100 Great Breads.

#3 Farl (page 31)


Gorgeous to look at, gorgeous to eat.  This one was a definite hit.  I cooked to the recipe more or less, only substituting dried yeast for the fresh stuff. 
The original recipe was for 20g of fresh yeast so I used 14g of dried as Mr Hollywood suggests reducing the amount by a quarter if you don’t have fresh yeast but that’s still double what I’d usually put in a 1lb loaf so I’m quite tempted to try again with half and a longer proving time.  There certainly wouldn’t be any complaints from the family for a repeat, it made a good base for scrambley eggs on toast and excellent ham sandwiches thus fulfilling all imaginable bread requirements, at least as far as we’re concerned.

#4 Guinness and Treacle Bread (page 28)


I had treacle, I bought Guinness, I completely forgot to check the cupboard for wholemeal flour until I’d started baking.  I really thought I had some but it turned out to be self-raising and whilst it’s possible to fudge plain flour to be self-raising with a bit of baking powder and bicarb, I’ve yet to hear of any method of un-self-raising the self-raising (if you know, please to shout out in the comments).
What I did unearth at the back of the flour shelf was half a packet of wholemeal spelt flour, and in it went, topped up with a little strong white bread flour to make up the weight.  This is accordingly a mere approximation of the intended loaf.
It tasted, to quote H, “a little like Christmas”.  We’re not quite sure why, possibly the treacle gives a hint of gingerbread, but it is good hearty bread, full to the brim of girders and railings and other things that are full of iron.

Perhaps I should just tell you that this picture


was supposed to be of a nicely buttered slice with the loaf in the background, but as you can see, a little hand got there first.

#5 Irish Soda Bread (page 24 – yes I do seem to be working backwards)

Much as I like pummelling the day’s stresses into a ball of dough, there is something incredibly satisfying about a loaf that you make by shoving the ingredients in a bowl, stirring, shaping roughly and then baking. 
One word of caution on this particular recipe; do use the metric measurements for the liquids, the translation to imperial has gone a little awry as two measurements of 1/4 pint are not the same as one of 200ml and one of 150ml and it’s a little dry if you only add 1/2 pint of fluid.
This soda bread tastes slightly scone-like and was perfect with a big bowl of soup.  I’ve just got one question, why is it a soda bread when there isn’t a smidgen of bicarb anywhere to be seen?

Baking Cooking Family Kitty

Brown paper packages tied up with string

There are few things as guaranteed to add a little sparkle to the day as unexpected post.  Nice post that is; unexpected letters from the Inland Revenue tend not to be of the sparkly variety (and for that matter the same can be said about letters from the bank or the mortgage company).  But as Kitty doesn’t have a mortgage, doesn’t get letters from HMRC and her bank doesn’t tend to send her parcels, we knew it had to be good when a little brown envelope addressed just to her turned up on our doormat.
And it was good.  Her lovely Awesome-Aunt (none of her aunts are old enough to be great-aunts; and there’s not a hint of the Amazon pirates being forced to recite Casabianca about any of them) sent her the sweetest gift. Literally.

Fairy cake making planned this afternoon after a wonderful surprise parcel arrived for Kitty, paper cases and sugar butterflies!
What you may struggle to see clutched in those overexcited hands are a set of pink, blue and flowery fairy cake cases, and some sugar butterflies to decorate.  Kitty was beyond thrilled; her immediate response was, “Mama shall we ope? Shall we ope?”
So we did. It’s a perk of the stay at home days that we don’t have any fixed plans and I’ve almost always got cake ingredients in the cupboards.


Kitty’s role is to lay out the paper cases while I whizz up a lemon sponge mix in the food processor and then I spoon it into whichever cases she points too and then Little Miss Quality Control checks that we’ve got just the right amount in each one, usually by spooning off any perceived excess into a nearby small mouth.


But of course, fairy cakes are really just a vehicle for icing and butterflies; I iced and Kitty decorated.  Or should I say ‘decorated’.  Each of the twelve buns initially got one small butterfly and it took a decent amount of persuasion to convince her that not all of the butterflies should be eaten straight away, and that we could perhaps put some of the pink ones on the cakes instead of sending them straight to her tummy.


And then came the taste test.  Truth be told, when I’m cooking with Kit I’m not so obsessed with getting the perfect bake or the ideal flavouring, for me the success is in the smiles of my big baby girl, the squeaks and chatting as we cook, and the pleasure of spending time fully focused on her while Elma naps.


Although for the record – they tasted good!