Tag: easy

cinnamon rolls

Cinnamon rolls

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 25 minutes + 20 minutes proving + 20 minutes baking

Serves: 9


2 and ¾ cups plain flour (330g)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 packet dried fast action yeast (1 packet = 2 and ¼ teaspoons)
½ cup water (120ml)
¼ cup milk (60ml)
2 tbsp unsalted butter (30g)
1 large egg

For the filling:
¼ cup (60g)  unsalted butter, softened
2 tbsp ground cinnamon
¼ cup (60g) brown sugar

For the glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp milk or coffee

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banana and oat cookies

Banana and oat cookies



This recipe for cinnamon rolls is amazing because it uses a ‘cheats’ way of proving the dough so only takes 45 minutes! Before I tried it I wasn’t sure how well it would work, but you just need to pop the unproved cinnamon rolls in a cool (90C) oven for 20 minutes and voila they’re ready to go. It couldn’t be simpler.


Line a 9 inch square baking tray with baking paper.

Make the dough
Mix the dry ingredients

Get your children to measure out the flour (2 & ¾ cups), sugar (3 tbsp), salt (1 tsp) and yeast and mix together in a large bowl. Set aside for now.

Add the wet ingredients

Measure the water ½ cup and milk (1/4 cup) into a microwaveable bowl. Measure the butter (30g), cut into a few small pieces and add to the water/milk. Pop in the microwave for approx 45 seconds until the butter has melted. Test the mixture is warm rather than hot – I just dipped my finger in. (If it’s too hot it’ll kill the yeast).


Add the milk/butter mixture to the flour.

Get your little one to crack the egg into a small bowl. Add to your flour.

Knead your mixture for 3-4 minutes, either by hand or using the dough hook on a stand mixer. We used our mixer as it’s a bit easier and less messy. It’s ready when it’s not sticky anymore.


Pop it in a lightly oiled bowl and leave to rest for about 5 minutes.

Make the cinnamon rolls

Preheat your oven to 90C (200F) and turn off after 10 minutes or just before your put your rolls inside.
While your dough is resting, measure out filling. Make sure your butter (60g) is soft enough so spread. Mix the cinnamon (2 tbsp) and sugar (¼ cup) together in a small bowl.

Roll the dough out to a 15×9 inch rectangle.

Spread the butter all over the top. We used a rubber spatula rather than a knife as it was a bit kinder on the dough.

Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly over the top.

Get your child to roll the dough up tightly, then cut into 9 even pieces. Hannah was able to cut it if I showed her where.


Put each piece in your baking tray and lightly cover with tin foil. Pop the cinnamon rolls in the oven to rise. Make sure you remember to turn the oven off. Let it rise for 20 minutes or so.


After 20 minutes, keep the buns in the oven, remove the tin foil and turn the oven up to 190C / 180C Fan / 375F.

Bake the cinnamon rolls for 15-20 minutes. They’re ready when they have turned golden.

Make the glaze

Mix the icing sugar (1 cup), milk (1-2 tbsp) and vanilla extract (1 tsp) together until it is smooth, runny and lump free.
Drizzle the glaze over the rolls while they are still warm.



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banana and oat cookies

Banana and oat cookies

banana and oat cookies

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes plus 12 minutes baking

Serves: approx 25-30


3/4 cup salted butter (170g), softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cornstarch
3 cups old fashioned oats

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It seems to be a recurring theme that we have left over bananas in our house but once again I’ve found myself looking for something to make with a few past their best fruit.

This time rather than make banana bread or a cake (which we make all the time) I decided to try some banana and oat cookies. These ones have got a nice soft, chewy texture and you get a good strong flavour of banana coming through. And with the oats, you can almost convince yourself that they are healthy! They’re also easy to make with kids as you just have to mix everything together in one bowl. So, the next time, like us you have a load of bananas needing used why not try these for a change?!


Preheat your oven to 180C/170CFan/350F and line some baking trays with baking paper.

Mix the wet ingredients together

Get your kids to measure the butter (170g) and chop it into small pieces (if it isn’t already soft, blast it in the microwave for a few seconds to make it easier to mix). Add it to a large mixing bowl.

Measure out the brown sugar (1 cup) and caster sugar (1/2 cup) and add to your mixing bowl.


While your kids are doing that, measure the vanilla extract (1 tsp) into your bowl.

Crack the egg into a cup, and then add it to your mixing bowl. If you are feeling brave you could crack the egg straight into your mixing bowl. I prefer to let the kids do into a separate bowl first though as it’s easier to fish out any rogue shell!

Get your kids to peel and then mash the bananas (1 cup) with a fork/masher. When they are well mashed add them to your mixing bowl.


Give everything a good mix.

Add the dry ingredients

Measure the flour (1 ½ cups) out and add to your mixing bowl.
Add the cinnamon (1 ½ tsp), baking powder (2 tsp), and cornflour (2 tbsp). If your little ones have a steady hand they could do this part, but if not do it yourself.


Mix everything together.

Add the oats

Measure out the oats and add them into your bowl. Give everything one last mix.


Bake the banana and oat cookies

Spoon tablespoons of cookie dough onto your baking sheet. You kids might enjoy doing this, but you might need to neaten up the dollops a bit. You want to flatten them down a little bit into thick disks. Make sure they are spread out nicely as they’ll spread a bit when they bake.

Bake them for 10-12 minutes. They’re ready when the edges start to go golden.

Remove the banana and oat cookies from the oven and leave them to cool for a few minutes. Move them to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Banana and oat cookies


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empire biscuits

Empire biscuits

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes + 10 minutes baking

Serves: 6 biscuits


For the biscuits:

6oz (175g) butter (softened)
6oz (175g) plain flour
2oz (50g) icing sugar
2oz (50g) corn flour

To decorate:
Strawberry or raspberry jam
Icing sugar
24 glacé cherries (optional – you can use any decoration)

empire biscuits

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Empire biscuits are a traditional Scottish biscuit, although I hadn’t really heard of them until recently. You could use any shortbread type recipe for the biscuit as long as it’s not too sweet – the jam and icing sugar topping will add all the sweetness you need! The recipe we followed was one from the Hairy Bikers, ‘Mums know Best’.

They’re really easy biscuits to make and perfect for baking with kids as there are only a few ingredients which you just mix all together into a bowl with your hands. Be prepared for a bit of mess though – that’s going to be unavoidable when you’re using flour, cornflour and icing sugar in one recipe!

Classic Empire biscuits have glace cherry on top for decoration. I didn’t fancy buying any just for these as I don’t really like glace cherries so we just decorated ours with some sugar flowers we had in the house but you could use a jelly sweetie or anything else you have to hand. You might also notice that ours aren’t quite as round and perfect looking as most Empire biscuits you see, but that’s what happens when you cook with little ones  – squinty biscuits are all part of the fun!


Preheat your oven to 180C/170C fan, and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix all the ingredients together

Get your little ones to measure out the flour (175g), corn flour (50g), icing sugar (50g) and butter (175g) and pop it all in a large mixing bowl.  If your butter isn’t soft enough it can be hard to melt so we normally pop ours in the microwave for a few seconds before chopping it up and adding it to our bowl.

empire biscuits empire biscuits

empire biscuits empire biscuits

Using your hands mix everything together until it forms a nice ball of dough.

empire biscuits empire biscuits

Make the biscuits

Lightly flour your work surface (we didn’t need to because we’d made so much mess measuring everything out!)  and roll the dough out until it’s about ¼ inch or just over 1/2 cm thick. To stop the dough sticking to the rolling pin we put a sheet of baking paper over the top.


Using a round cookie cutter cut out 12 biscuits and place them on a lined baking tray. We used a 7/8mm cutter but you could use a bigger/smaller one to get more/fewer biscuits.


Bake the biscuits

Pop the baking trays in the oven for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven before they turn golden brown. Leave to cool

Decorate your Empire biscuits

Lay your biscuits out and get your little ones to help you spread jam over the top of them. Get another one and sandwich it on top.

empire biscuits

Mix some icing sugar together with a tablespoon or so of water in a small bowl.

empire biscuits

Drizzle the icing over the top of your biscuits and then decorate with a glace cherry or whatever else you are using.

empire biscuits empire biscuits


 empire biscuits 


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banana bread

Easy banana bread

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes plus 60 minutes baking

Serves: 8-10


3 or 4 bananas
250g caster sugar
125g unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs (medium)
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
120g walnut pieces


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We make a nice easy banana bread quite regularly – anytime we have bananas needing used up really. It’s a great one to make with kids, as there are lots of fun steps for them to get involved in. My two enjoy mashing (and eating) the bananas in particular!

This one was a new one for us, as I just got a new Paul Hollywood cookbook and I was surprised at how light and moist it was. It uses walnuts which are obviously optional. If you don’t want to use the nuts you could simply omit them and enjoy the delicious banana flavour, or try adding some raisins and tsp of cinnamon or ginger (similar to this recipe which might still be my favourite!)


Heat your oven to 190C and line a 1kg loaf tin with baking paper

Mix the bananas and sugar

Get your little ones to peel and mash the bananas using a fork. This job is easy enough for any eager little chef to help and one which my two really enjoy!


Weigh the sugar into a small bowl and then add to a free standing mixer if you have one or a large mixing bowl.

Mix the bananas and sugar together using your paddle attachment (or an electric hand mixer) until the mixture because light and fluffy.

Add the butter and eggs

Measure the butter and get your child to chop it into small pieces. If it’s not soft give it a blast in the microwave for 5-10 seconds to make it easier to mix.

Add it to your mixer and cream everything together until it is well combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between each addition. I normally get the kids to break them into a separate bowl first to make it easier to remove any stray egg shell.

Add the flour and walnuts

Get your toddler to measure the flour out into a small bowl. Sieve it into the large mixing bowl along with the baking powder. We didn’t use the sieve because I find it makes too much mess but if you have neater or older children you can try it to make your loaf even lighter.

Fold the flour into the mixture until it is nicely combined.

Add the walnuts and give it one last mix.


Bake your banana bread

Spoon or pour your mixture into your prepared loaf tin and spread it out evenly.

Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes. Check it after 40 minutes to make sure the top isn’t burning. You know it is ready when a sharp knife or skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. We had to put it back in a few times before it was ready but just keep doing an extra 5 minutes if you are not sure.

Remove the banana bread from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

easy banana bread

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berry pavlova

Summer berry pavlova

summer berry pavlova

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 25 minutes plus 2 hours baking

Serves: 8


4 large egg whites
225g caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
2 tsp white wine vinegar
For the topping
300ml double or whipping cream
Fresh summer berries (about 250g +) strawberries, raspberries, blueberries etc.

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Wimbledon is on, fruit picking season is in full swing, it must be time for some pudding made with strawberries and cream! First things first: A delicious summer berry Pavlova.

We’ve made a few meringues before, but this was the first big pavlova for a while. The original recipe is from Mary Berry, so we knew it was going to be good! It turned out to have the perfect mixture of soft gooey marshmallow on the inside with a delicious crunch on the outside – everything a good pavlova should be, in my opinion.


Preheat the oven to 160C / 140C Fan / gas 3 and prepare a baking tray
Line a baking tray with baking paper and mark a 23cm (approx) circle on it.

Whip the egg whites

Separate the egg whites from the yolks. I do this bit myself as it’s important you don’t get any yolks in, but Hannah enjoyed helping.


Get your toddler to pour the egg yolks into your mixing bowl or freestanding mixer. Whisk them until they are stiff and cloud like. It’ll take a few minutes.


Add the sugar

Get your child to measure the sugar out into a small bowl. Keep the mixer running and add the sugar to the eggs one teaspoonful at time until it is all added.


Add the cornflour and vinegar

Measure the cornflour and white wine vinegar out into a small dish and give them a good mix. Pour it slowly into the meringue mixture.


Bake the Pavlova

Pour the meringue out on to your baking tray and get your little one to spread it out to cover the circle. Build up the sides a bit so they are higher than the middle (to keep your fruit in place later).


Pop in your preheated oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 150C /130C Fan /Gas 2.

Bake for about an hour until it turns a pale beige colour. Turn the oven off and let the Pavlova to become cold in the oven,(we left it for another hour). If you keep the oven door closed you’ll get a more marshmallowy meringue.

Add the cream and fruit

Whip the cream until it’s stiff. Keep an eye on it and stop just before you think you need to as it’s really easy to over whisk it. If you do over whisk it (like we did) just add a little more cream or milk and mix it in.

Get your kids to help prepare the fruit if necessary -we chopped our strawberries in half.


Remove the cold Pavlova from the baking tray and baking paper and slide on to a serving plate. Top with your whipped cream and fruit.

Chill your summer berry pavlova for an hour before serving. Enjoy!

summer berry pavlova


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tear and share buttermilk scones 12

Tear and share buttermilk scones

tear and share buttermilk scones

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 30 minutes plus 15 minutes baking

Serves: 8

325g self raising flour
40g golden caster sugar
¼ tsp salt
75g butter
284ml pot buttermilk
clotted cream and/or jam to serve

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We love scones and have them quite often when we are out and about at a cafe but we don’t tend to make them very often (i’m not sure why – perhaps because we always have them when we’re out!).

The recipe for these tear and share buttermilk scones was on my wall calendar however and has been staring at me all month, so we just had to make them! We even bought the clotted cream to go with it as if you’re going to the bother of making them you might as well do it properly!

What I especially liked about making these scones was not having to roll them and cut them out. Making them tear and share takes makes it super simple and quick so I think we’ll do that again.


Pre-heat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/gas 7 and lightly grease or put baking paper on to a large baking tray

Mix the flour and butter

Get your child to measure the flour into a small bowl and then tip into a large mixing bowl. While they are doing that, add the salt.

Measure the butter, chop into little pieces and add to your mixing bowl.


Get your little chef to rub the butter and flour together between their fingers until you have a breadcrumb type texture. Don’t mix it too much and you’ll keep your scones light and fluffy.


Add the sugar

Measure the sugar into a small bowl and add to your mixing bowl and give it a mix.

Add the buttermilk

Make a well in the middle of your bowl and add the buttermilk. Stir it all together with a round bladed knife (we used a small palette knife) until it forms a soft, sticky dough. Try not to mix it too much or the scones may become tough.


Make the scones

Tip the scone mixture on to a lightly dusted work surface and knead a few times just to get rid of the cracks. Shape it into a round and put on your baking tray. It might seem quite a moist, soft dough but that’s fine.

Pat the dough gently with your hands until its about 20cm across. Your little ones could help you do this. Cut it into eight wedges and very gently prise them apart (but try to keep the round shape).

Bake for 12-15 minutes until risen and golden.

Cool on a wire rack.

It’s best served fresh on the day of baking with clotted cream and/or jam.w

tear and share buttermilk scone

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creamy garlic parmesan chicken

Creamy garlic parmesan chicken


Time:30 minutes


6 chicken thighs
3 cloves garlic, crushed
An onion
200g bacon chopped, or bacon lardons
400g mushrooms
1 cup cream OR milk (or half and half)
½ cup (120ml) chicken stock
½ cup Parmesan, grated
Chopped parsley, to garnish
Fresh shaved or grated parmesan, to garnish

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It’s easy to get stuck in a rut making the same dinners again and again so I’ve been trying to mix things up a little bit lately. Anyone with young children will know that this is a risky business so I tend to stick to safe ingredients like chicken and pasta. I found this recipe for creamy garlic parmesan chicken from Cafe Delights on Pinterest (my go to place for inspiration) and it was truly delicious. It’s always a bonus when you find something as tasty as this that the kids will eat too!


Preheat your oven to 200C / 180F / 400F
Cook the chicken

This is a step to do without the help of your little ones: Heat a tbsp of oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Brown the chicken on both sides ( a few minutes on each side).

Transfer the chicken to an oven proof dish and pop into the oven to roast until completely cooked through, about 25-30 minutes (or while you make the sauce).

Prepare the ingredients for the sauce

Get your toddler to help you peel the garlic and onion. While they are busy doing that, dice the onion.


Give your child a blunt (butter/table) knife and get them to help you chop the mushrooms. Mushrooms are a really easy vegetable to do some cutting practice with. You can always finish off any unevenly sized pieces. It was the first time Lewis had done it and he really enjoyed himself!

Make the sauce

Fry the onion and garlic over a medium heat until they are soft and fragrant, stirring frequently. This should take a minute or so.
Add the bacon and fry until it is starting to go crisp.

Add the mushrooms and cook them until they begin to soften.
If your little one is old enough and you trust them they can help you stir everything as it goes in.

Measure or get your little one to help you measure out the cream/milk and chicken stock. As we were just using a stock cube, Lewis also help unpeel and crush it.


Pour in the cream (or milk – we used half a cup of each), the chicken stock, and parmesan. Simmer in the pan until the sauce thickens slightly.

Add the chicken

Remove the chicken from the oven and add it back into the sauce. Cook for a another few minutes. Garnish with parsley and or grated parmesan (optional).

creamy garlic parmesan chicken

Serve with rice or pasta or vegetables.

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Chocolate muffins

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 25 minutes + 20 minutes baking

Serves: 12

2 cups plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
¾ cup chocolate chips
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup plain yoghurt
½ cup milk
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup chocolate chips


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Muffins are a great thing to bake with little chefs. There are loads of fun steps they can get involved with – from measuring and mixing, to spooning the mixture into the cases. The kids loved how much these rose in the oven, and we all enjoyed eating the chocolatey deliciousness of course!


Preheat your oven to 200C and prepare a muffin tin

Get your toddler to line a muffin tin with cases or grease every corner of it with oil and butter if you have no cases to make sure the muffins don’t stick.

Mix the dry ingredients together

Get your child to measure each of the dry ingredients (2 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, ¾ cup chocolate chips, ½ cup cocoa, 1 tsp baking powder) in turn and add to a large mixing bowl.


Give it a good mix.


Whisk the wet ingredients together

Add the vanilla extract (1 tsp), egg, yoghurt (1 cup), milk (1/2 cup)and vegetable oil (1/2 cup)to a separate mixing bowl.



Whisk it all together until it is well combined.

Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients

Get your child to help you add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients bowl and mix it together just enough so you can’t see any more flour. It’ll still be a little lumpy but that’s fine.


Bake the chocolate muffins

Spoon your mixture into your muffin tin/cases. If you let your kids help with this step be prepared for a bit of mess! I let the kids half fill up the cases then finished it off myself so there was an even amount in each muffin.

Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes. They’re ready when a toothpick or skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.

chocolate muffins
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing and leaving on a wire rack to cool completely.

chocolate muffins


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Berry yoghurt parfait

Berry yoghurt parfaitDifficulty: Easy

Time: 20 minutes plus 6 hours freezing

Serves: 12

2 bananas, peeled
2kg Greek-style  natural yogurt
350g Frozen raspberries partly defrosted
200g Frozen blueberries
300g Strawberries, chopped


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Summer is finally with us so I was looking to make something frozen that was a bit healthier than ice-cream (there’s plenty of that in the freezer already!) I came across this berry yoghurt parfait recipe in a copy of ASDA’s Good Living magazine which looked delicious. It’s really simple to make – basically just mix some yoghurt with berries – we added a bit of berry puree as well for a bit of colour and because the kids love using our blender!
We used blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, but you can use any fruit you like.


Line a 2lb loaf tin with clingfilm.

Prepare the strawberries

Wash, de-hull and chop the strawberries. This is a great chance for little chefs to practice their chopping skills as you can do this with a blunt knife and it doesn’t really matter whether the pieces are even or not.


Make the puree

Put a few strawberries and raspberries into a small food processor. Give it a quick whizz until you have a nice puree.
Spoon the puree into the bottom of the tin.


Mix the bananas and yoghurt

Get your kids to peel and mash the bananas in a large bowl.


Pour the yoghurt into the bananas and give it a good mix.


Add the fruit

Add two thirds of the strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries to the yoghurt. You don’t need to be too accurate, just make sure you keep some back to sprinkle on top at the end.

Gently mix everything together. If you do it very carefully with a metal spoon you will get a nice ripple effect. Getting toddlers to anything gently is tricky so if, like us, you’re not very gentle don’t worry it’ll still be tasty, just less rippley!

Pop the remaining fruit into the fridge.

Freeze the berry yoghurt parfait

Pour or spoon everything into your tin and cover with clingfilm.

Pop in the freezer for 6 hours + to set.

To serve, take the parfait out of the freezer and leave to stand for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the tin and peel off the clingfilm. Sprinkle over the remaining fruit, serve and enjoy!

berry yoghurt parfait




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Carbonara cake

Difficulty: Easy

Time: 15 minutes plus 35 minutes baking

Serves: 6


300g spaghetti, cooked
100g hard cheese, finely grated (eg parmesan, guyere, cheddar)
3 large eggs
250ml double cream
250g leftover ham (or we used bacon lardons)


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It’s not always so easy to get young children involved with making dinner for obvious reasons (knives, ovens, the cooker) but this dish is an exception. I based it on a dish from Jamie Oliver and so simple to make. It’s quick enough to be a mid week meal but a bit more special than plain pasta carbonara. You can cook the pasta and ham/bacon in advance to make it even quicker/easier. It was a first for us but we’ll certainly be making it again!


Before you start, if you don’t have left over pasta and ham, cooked the pasta and ham or bacon and add to a bowl. Allow to cool down. I did this part in advance as there wasn’t much the kids could help with.


Preheat the oven to 180C and prepare a cake tin.

Get your children to help grease a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin with oil (you can pour a little oil in and get them to brush it over all the sides.) Sprinkle a thin layer of cheese over the bottom and shake it up the sides a little.


Add everything to your bowl

Get your kids to help you add the cream and cheese to the bowl of pasta. Break the eggs into a separate bowl first to give them a quick whisk before adding to the pasta. I normally get Hannah to break the eggs and Lewis mix them so they both get a turn at doing something.

Give it a good mix so all the pasta is coated.


Bake the carbonara cake

Add the pasta to your prepared cake tin and pat down with the back of a spoon.


Pop it on a baking tray into the oven and bake for 35 minutes. It’s ready when it looks golden brown and has cooked through.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before turning out of the tin.

 carbonara cake

Serve with a lovely fresh green salad and enjoy!

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