Saturday 30 July 2011

Baking with Bob - a yummy treat

Daughter No1 mentioned the other day when she was picking the children up she fancied some "mush", this was the name we gave years ago to a healthy (ish!!) treat I use to make for my children when they were young, and believe me it went down well with all the neighbourhood kids.
So here is the recipe for anybody who fancies something a bit different.It is also a nice easy no cook recipe.

Carob Mush

1oz poppy seeds
1oz sesame seeds
1oz sunflower seeds
1oz pumpkin seeds
1oz sultanas
1oz cranberries

2oz pure sunflower spread
2 tablespoon molases
150g carob

Put pumpkin and sunflower seeds into a liquidiser and mush, add raisins and cranberries and mix again to break down the dried fruit slightly. Place into a bowl and stir in poppy seeds and sesame seeds.

all mushed together (hence the name)

In a separate bowl place the  carob broken into squares, add sunflower spread and molases and melt in the microwave for 2-4 mins until soft and stir together, stir in dried ingredients until well mixed.

carob melted

Place into a baking tin lined with clingfilm ( makes it easier to remove) and cut into 1 inch squares, leave to cool then break into squares. This makes approx 30 squares.
ready to cool

This is difficult to eat in large quantities as it is very heavy. It is healthy as it is full of iron, magnesium, calcium, copper, potassium, omega 3's etc. I use to like giving this to food allergy children as they often lack some of these essential vitamins due to the restrictions placed on them.

finished squares

Hint - make a larger quantity of the mushy mix and store in an air tight tin until you need it again.

Friday 29 July 2011

allotment update - end July

The allotment is coming along, quite quite slowly, but I see a difference from my report at the end of last month. Things are beginning to grow, and we may yet get a harvest worth having. Talking to jack with the garden over th back and he is saying how poor all his stuff is doing as well. We feed and water regularly, use appropriate pest control, so doing all we can to help things a long. Even the weeds are doing miserably, last year we were pulling thick chic weed out every week just about, this year it is taking a month to grow the same, not that I am complaining.

The potatoes are not doing brilliant, some have died back but produced very little in return
 The lettuce are doing great
 as is his purple pal
 The row of original  lettuce
 The sweetcorn that went it just 2 weeks ago, standing about 8 inches tall, last year at this time they were at 3ft.
 Kale coming along nicely, these are replacements
 cauliflowers are big enough to uncover now and are doing fine, these are the replacements
 the original carrots are standing tall and proud
 beetroots getting big and bushy, these are the original ones
 the beans are at last starting to twist up the canes
 as are the dwarf beans
 look, look a courgette, these not faired well, only 2 of the 6 left and the other one not doing much at all
 the rocket is getting nice and bushy and has flowered
 the replacement carrots are coming along fine
as are the replacement lettuce

Baking with Bob - apple and strawberry pies and savoury mince pie

Decided for tea last night as I had some apples left from Monday and I had taken a portion of cooked mince out the freezer ready for tea I would be creative with them.

So I decided to further my pastry experimentation and make two different types of pies using two different types of pastry, as last weeks apple pies were edible but the pastry defiantly needed refining.

So for the savoury I made a pastry using atora suet, not something I normally use, normally use the vegetable one but it is a higher percentage gluten flour,  but bought some to try.  It is not gluten free as it contains normal flour, but this can be sieved out and just the suet used. So I took 100g suet (sieved weight), 200g doves farm flour and a teaspoon of xanthan gum added salt and pepper and some chopped herbs from the garden, mixed with approx 80ml water to a useable dough, you might need to adjust your water depending on you flour, rolled it out and popped it on top of the mince that I had put into a baking tin. It did break when I attempted to lift it but I wasnt very might want to be.
Popped it into the oven, took approx 20mins at 180c to cook.
It was edible enough when cooked, rather fatty for my liking, not the sort of thing I would usually make. Light enough and not solid and bitter like the last time.

Next I decide on apple ppies as I had apple left from Monday and for all we ate Mondays pies they were not the best once cooled or the next day. Now most recipes I have found for gluten free pastry use either mashed potato, carrot or sweet potato, but I decided I would use a conventional pastry recipe and see how it turned out,

I sieved 200g doves farm flour into a bowl along with 1 teaspoon xanthan gum, I then added 125g of pure dairy free soya spread,50 g of brown sugar  (100g is normal but I found this wrong on Monday), rubbed till it resembed breadcrumbs and mixed with approx 80ml water.

rolled out in between 2 sheets of cling film and cut out my circles, placed in the tin and added apple and a strawberry to each one, popped on the lids, brushed with soya milk, sprinkled on a little sugar...dropped the rest of the tub on the floor.... and cooked. for approx 15 mins at 180c.

These were much more pleasant than Mondays, the pastry was light and airy, nice texture and structure and even cold they are soft and pliable.

getting ready for the oven

cooked and looking lovely.

Im not the worlds neatest baker, and they look a bit messy in the tin, but your not eating the tin so why worry.
Maybe it was the xanthan gum as a gluten substitute that made these more pleasant than Mondays which didnt have that added.

I know when my bakig is normal tasting as oh will eat it, well he went back 4 times last night for a they are well worth your making.

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Baking with Bob - a bit posher for a birthday party

Had the kids over night last night when we made apple pies and Bob has a birthday party this afternoon so I decided we would make him some cakes that looked a bit posher than the norm.

We used an easy recipe as the kids are more comfortable with this.

So we added 6oz olive oil for a change from sunflower oil to a bowl and stirred in 6oz doves farm flour, 5 oz brown sugar and 2 egg replacer eggs. Whilst Bob and I were preparing this Fifi was happily cutting up half a bar of carob to add into them, so this was all mixed together and we added a bit of oatly chocolate milk to get a good consistency.
into the bowl

chopped up carob

stir it all together

We then oiled our Giles & Posner cup cake maker and cooked them up.

 We then melted a bar of Kinnerton chocolate, dipped the cakes in and then into some sprinkles.

We were  going to put butter icing on them...but the icing sugar I have "may contain traces of egg" so its no use for Bob, will need to check other makes when Im in the supermarket shopping next time.

and voilĂ !  the finished items

Yes. some of them have the chocolate on the bottom cos that was the way Bob did them, but why worry.

The items used in this post were supplied by Giles & Posner and Healthy Supplies.

Monday 25 July 2011

Baking with Bob - Tuna cakes and apple pies

This is a sponsored post using items I received from Healthy supplies

Decided we would teach Bob savoury things and decided we would try out pastry, so I made two different types on Friday and put half of each in the freezer to keep it fresh to use with the kids today.

Now I do realise these again are sweet items, but my experiement was the pastry, so decided to make sweet stuff as it is easier than savoury to try my little guinea pig colleagues  at work as there is no viable means of heating savoury for testing, sweet things are easier for this.

Will need to invest in a Pie maker at some stage so we can make small experiments the same as we did with our Giles and Posner cup cake maker that they kindly gave me in return for recipes.  

Anyway if you read the post you will see these didn't go down to well with the girls at work but again the grandchildren loved them.

So tonight we made apple pies with the pastry, had the apples cooked in the freezer from earlier in the year, so this morning before I went out for a cycle ride I took the pastry and the apples out the freezer ( how well organised am I ...)

we rolled
we cut ( sorry SD card a bit dodgy sometimes)
popped them in trays

and filled them

Bob popped some sultanas in his

finished and cooked

The kids ate these for supper with some oatly chocolate custard that we made, with chocolate milk and birds custard powder.

Then I let them play with the spare pastry and here are their creations;

Fifi made Rapunzel who is 18

Bob spelt his name and top left is a cat

Whilst the kids were playing I cooked potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots together, mashed them up, stirred in 2 tins tuna some fresh chives and curly parsley from the garden. Plan had been they could make shapes with this as well for tea but they decided they wanted to go back out and play so I just popped in into a tray and stuck it in the oven to keep it warm till we were ready for it. A quick easy to make meal that is Bob friendly.

Tasted yummier than it looks.

and to prove Im not totally addicted to free from cooking here is a cake made with normal flour, dairy free marge, and proper eggs for me and oh - save him feeling left out. Even put dairy free butter icing on it and decorated the top.

butter icing was a tad soft in the heat

Saturday 23 July 2011

I treated myself ( for a change) and a linked competition

Something I don't do very often, like a lot of other people, is spend money on myself. But I found a website and I just loved the name...pretties... selling bath bombs and smelly soaps and such like, and I just had a notion to splash out, so I did. Some of the items look good enough to eat, like they came right out of Thorntons, but I wouldn't recommend you try right enough

 I  bought the honey and bran soap, nice soap, leaves your skin feeling soft, no adverse effects at all for me, as an eczema suffer I have to be careful what I use. Plenty of bran bits in it, therefore this soap if not best suited to the soap bag else you would loose the effects of the bran.After the first two or three washes as you get down to the bran bits you certainly feel the exfoliating effect of this.

Whilst browsing the site I also found this handy little soap bag which fits the soaps nicely. It is quite a rough little bag so it also exfoliates as well. I had actually bought it hoping the holes might be small enough I could use it as an oats holder and use it to wash the grandson with, but the oats would just fall out the holes, shame really as it would have been handy. But then that was not what it was sold for and it certainly does what it is suppose to.

sorry! used some before I took picture.

Bought myself a total detox bath potion, as I like to have a bath rather than a shower at the weekends time I have been on my feet at work all day pounding concrete floors and this was a nice idea to help the aches and pains. I came out of my bath feeling more relaxed and less sore, but there again maybe a hot bath would do that anyway. But this did smell lovely, was nice to relax in and makes for a bit of pleasurable "me time" for any bust person.

Next I chose a chamomile and honey bath fizzer, this comes in 2 halves, so it does 2 baths. I tried this last week when I got it after a day at work, and it was lovely. It certainly fizzed up lovely and the bathroom smelt gorgeous, and it softened my skin really well, one word of warning - make sure you clean your bath after use as it leaves the bath very slippery for the next unsuspecting person to get into.

The Raspberry blower was to die for. It looks and smells like something you should be keeping in the freezer and sneaking out and eating when there is nobody around. This has the texture of playdoh, it is not runny or liquidy and a very little goes a long way. I scooped probably less than a teaspoon full out of the tub with my bath scrunchie, and it lathered really really well and the smell was divine. My skin felt beautiful and softy and I did not feel the need for moisturiser on afterwards.

The site has an offer on at the moment, if you spend certain amounts you can get a freebie, another reason why I put in an order.

  • If you spend over £2.50, you will receive a free Aromatherapy Soap! (worth £1.25)
  • If you spend over £10, you will receive a free Aromatherapy Soap and a Botanical Soap (worth £2.50)
  • If you spend over £15, you will receive a free Aromatherapy Soap, A Botanical Soap AND a Salad Bar Soap! (worth £4)
I chose my first freebie as the carrot and calendula soap , because it says it is gentle on sensitive skin, and I agree it has been alright with mine, and my second freebie as Energise Aromatherapy soap as I love lemongrass.

Now as I was impressed with this stuff, I thought it would be nice of me to treat somebody else to some, so that you can try it as well. This is not a sponsored post I am doing this just because I wont to.

So I am going to allow you to try and win £10 of stuff for yourself, plus of course your two free soaps  ( a lot of people forgetting to mention the soaps) - So to enter my competition I want you to go across to Pretties shop and leave a comment below to tell me what you want to win, remember what you pick is what I will have sent to you if you do win. 

Remember anybody can leave a comment, just leave your comment and then click "comment as", go down to name/url and just put your name in. 

Please make sure you leave a way for me to contact you if you win.

For extra entries 1) follow my blog with GFC and leave a comment to tell me you have
and 2) follow me on twitter (@pooohbear2811) and tweet this comp using the twitter button at the bottom of this post and leave me a separate comment to say you have done it.

and thats it folks. 

Competition closes on Saturday 20th August at 8pm. good luck everybody.

Baking with Bob - jam and fruit tarts

Decided I need to start teaching Bob savoury things as well as yummy treats and puddings, so I found/adapted recipes for pastries that we could try making.

As anything new I like to try it out before the kids turn up so they are not too disappointed. So I made some pastry, now my guinea pigs....sorry lovely colleagues... at work need to test these out as then I can get other opinions for my blog that will allow you, Mr Joe Public to decide if you want to try out my recipe for yourself. So bearing this in  mind I decided to make sweet pastries for the girls to try before we go on to making savoury for Bob.

I made two different types of pastry, carrot and sweet potato, these both work well in carrot cake or sweet potato pie so I thought they were worth a try.
rolling between 2 sheets clingfilm

Carrot Pastry

This is adapted from a recipe I found on the Pure website. their method of making says to liquidise carrot and egg together but they dont have egg listed in their ingredients, I did email and say to them and they are going to correct it. I made double the quantity as it should  freeze and keep, but the kids and I  will use it up on Monday, should be fine in the fridge till then.


100g Pure spread
100g rice flour
125g potato flour
75g carrot, grated
½ tsp salt


1. Set aside 1 tbsp of the beaten egg for use as a pastry glaze, liquidize the remainder with the carrot. Sieve the flours and salt into a bowl, rub in the Pure spread to form breadcrumbs. Add the carrot puree to the flours, mix to form a dough.

2. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out between 2 pieces of floured cling film.

3. Bake all pastry in a hot oven 220°C/Gas Mark 7.
cutting out

I used the same ingredients as them but used egg replacer instead of an egg.

I then found one for using sweet potato that Im sure also used icing sugar and thought I had book marked it but no luck cant find it again, so I sort of cobbled this together from various others and hoped for the best.

carrot pastry ready to go

carrot pastry cooked
Sweet potato pastry

350 g flour, I used 1/3 brown rice. 1/3 potato, and 1/3 tapioca flour.I went for 3 light flours hoping for a light result.
150g dairy free spread (vitalite in my case)
150g cooked, mashed and cooled sweet potatoes
75g icing sugar (lighter than normal sugar)
1 banana mashed (to act as an egg)

I am hoping if these recipes work that by omitting the sugar and adding seasoning/herbs next time we can try savoury.

left both pastries in the fridge overnight.

I rolled out the pastry between 2 layers of cling film dusted with brown rice flour,to save it sticking to the board or the rolling pin. I then cut out circles and put them into tins. I found the pastry quite delicate, and hard to handle in small sizes like I was using for the samples for work but was ok in the larger sizes that I put into a normal bun tin.

The small ones I just baked empty so that I could add fruit and quick jel, and a dozen of the large ones I made for us had fruit and quick gel in and the other dozen (6 of each) were made into jam tarts.

sweet potato pastry ready to cook

jam tarts with lids
My verdict - think the pastry could have done with a minute less in the oven, they were a wee bit crisper than normal pastry, will maybe try a slightly higher fat content next time.  They were pleasant enough and the fruit and jelly softened them a wee bit enough and that they were certainly very edible.

They also looked very pretty, the small ones would be great at a buffet or a party, you might even want to put a squirt of cream on top ( the kind that comes in an aerosol), and again they are something normal looking that other people would eat without feeling like they were missing out.

finished tarts

Friday 22 July 2011

How much responsibility is too much?

I willingly have my grandchildren to stay every week, I love having, love doing things with them, and most of all love the love that I get back from their hugs, their cuddles, their snotty kisses and the little things they say and do.

But for any parent handing over to any grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend, etc that you entrust to look after the most precious thing you have in your life you are also handing over a huge amount of trust, responsibility and accountability that you will get your precious children back in the same way as you hand them over, alive safe and well.

How my heart went out this week to the whole family of the 6 yr old boy killed at Seton Sands whilst on holiday with his grandmother. I have to wonder how do you come to terms with that? How must that poor grandmother feel, that for a split second you take your eye off the child and that was the outcome? How do the parents feel? The amount of "what ifs" and" if onlys" going through their heads, their discussions, their anguish.

I would never forgive myself, and I doubt she will either. Would the parents ever forgive you? would it tear a family apart? I know it was a genuine accident but such is the responsibilty that is handed over with your child.

But do we not all take that risk when you take a friends child to playgroup for her, or pick your neighbours child up from school?

I as a mother only ever handed daughter No2 to one outside person to look after, I would not have given anybody else the huge task of looking after her, she took anything up to 25 epileptic fits a day, as well as having idiopathic apnoea, where she would stop breathing for no apparent reason, day or night, awake or asleep. You could not take your eyes off her for more than a second. How would I have felt had a neighbour had her and something happened.? I would never know had I been there whether I could have done something, it was also unfair to expect others to shoulder that sort of issue.

But my grandson is in a similar position, he has the food allergies that can literally kill him at any time, he has been brought back more than once in the back of an ambulance, and I have also unwittingly fed him something many years ago that caused this to happen about 6 hrs after I fed him. He has also started taking idiopathic anaphylaxis especially in an evening and over night when he is asleep.

My daughter still trusts me with him,( I never left my daughter with my mother), and hands him over with his sister every week. I take them out  in a car, I drive them around, I take them to parks, down the beach, we cross roads, and this week it has really brought home to me how easy it is for it to end in tragedy.

Don't get me wrong my own children had accidents in the park, one knocked down by a car, have had broken bones and split heads, concussion and who all knows what. The staff in our A&E knew me by name we were in and out that often. But they were my children, they had accidents, and it was never anybodys'  fault but they were with me, or out on their own, or in the care of the school.

Really does make you stop and think. How would I cope if something happened to either of these precious little bundles?

Cant even bear to think about it.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Baking with Bob - chocolate pancakes

Last night the kids were a bit disappointed not to do some baking but there was just not feasibly enough time to do any with them and they were both in bed and sleeping by 7pm last night.

Then I realised this morning that I had no suitable cereals for Bob so decided to make them what they wanted to try...... Chocolate pancakes, not so sure I fancied them but then this isn't about me.

Decided as last weeks recipe for yummy pancakes were exactly that we decided to adapt it.

I worked with the same basic recipe but change the yoghurt for home made chocolate yoghurt and the milk to Chocolate Oatly milk, but nothing else was any different.

cooking the first side

They cooked up fine, not as many bubbles on top as last weeks ones.

Well Bob told me they were " scrummy yummy in my tummy" and Fifi says they were "fandabidosie".

I did enjoy them, and I would make them again,  but didn't feel they were as light as last weeks ones.