Chocolate chip brioche

It’s been a very busy week of fun family days out and cleaning the house.

Continuing the theme of can I make that with sourdough this weekend we had brioche.

Not sure if it’s just that I’m getting better at reading the complicated recipes but enjoying this blog I found this recipe on as it does seem to be mostly written in plain English.

Having read around I decided to use the mixer as the dough is quite sticky and needs a lot of mixing. After the first rise, the butter has to be massaged in. This bit was pretty sticky and hard work. One of the taste team spotted the bowl of butter waiting to go in and remarked wow that’s a lot of butter! He was right, it’s not a healthy recipe it’s a yummy one though and it is the holidays.

The dough was more workable after a second rise but still quite sticky.

Having made two trays of small brioche and still having dough left I thought I’d try a bigger loaf too in the loaf tin.

The small brioche spread more than I wanted them to but they all looked good. The taste team loved them, although they did remark they aren’t quite like the brioche we buy from the supermarket. Personally, I thought they were tastier!


Happy Holidays

The house is full. So far the holidays are living up to my expectations of being harder work than term time. There’s mess everywhere and I can’t sit still for 5 seconds without someone asking me what I’m doing. Mind you they also ask me what I’m doing when I’m involved in a blindingly obvious task like loading the washing machine or stirring the batter for these cupcakes. I’m not winning at trying not to stress eat too much.

Most of the baking I’ve been doing this week has been more sourdough related products one of the taste team remarked ‘you really love sourdough don’t you’ half way through the week. Today’s rolls are my best yet. Many recipes that claim to be foolproof are lying but this one has earned its title.


So yummy I ate three in a row (they’re only small honestly). Taste team comments also very positive.

There’s no free time to enjoy baking but the kitchen assistant wanted to do cupcakes. I managed to hold it together through most of the process -have given up all hope having cleaned the surfaces 3 times in 2 hours.

I started with a recipe but I changed it so much it’s a whole new recipe now.

2 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/3 cup butter

1 cup coconut sugar

3/4 cup caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 1/4 milk

Preheat oven to 190 c 375 f gas mark 5. Place cupcake cases in a cupcake tin. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Spoon batter into cupcake cases. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

We iced with regular vanilla buttercream and sprinkles.

They taste really good. Coconut oil and coconut sugar makes them a bit healthyish -that’s the story I’m sticking to anyway.


Cheese and Chocolate Chips

You’ll be relieved to hear I’ve not mixed the two things together. Last weekend -the long weekend- we were busy, so baking didn’t happen. I realised when looking through my photos for this post I did do some more baking last week too so there are two posts ready for this week.

I’ve been thinking about how to not get completely exhausted and frustrated while doing household tasks and cleaning this week. Half term is always a time there’s so much more to be done and it can be easy to let things slide for a day and then have regret the next day. In our house, we are trying to teach our children the household tasks are the joint responsibility of the household. So the older kids have a list of chores to pick from before they go off and do their own thing each day and the youngest is beginning to learn to tidy up her own things after she finishes using them. Still, many of the household chores fall to me as does keeping a mental picture of what needs doing and how long it was since all the different tasks were last done. The most helpful thing I’ve found apart from doing little and often and listening to good podcasts or radio shows is thinking about why I am doing something, who am I really doing it for. More often than not I find I’m really doing things for myself. It’s me who doesn’t feel comfortable surrounded by dirty dishes or with piles of dog hair over the floor so really it’s me who benefits from those things being sorted out. I think it’s important to teach my kids to do the laundry and to cook and clean so they are positive members of any future household they belong to and can look after themselves when they are ready to leave home. But I find it much less stressful if I remember they aren’t there yet they’re still learning and sometimes I have the energy to teach but sometimes I don’t but I still want things done so I chose the things that matter to me and let the other things slide if I’m happy in my surroundings that’s what’s most important.

Today I was invited to a vegan cheese related event which was too good an opportunity to try something new to turn down. So I had a go at making vegan queso dip.

I used this recipe which I picked because it was comparatively quick to make. I have spotted some recipes for cashew cheese which take a while to mature but I’m definitely giving them a try soon.

Basically, this is aubergine dip flavoured with garlic, cumin, nutritional yeast and what is supposed to be chilli powder but I didn’t have any so I used paprika. I chopped too much garlic and had to remove some when I measured and I might use even less if I make it again as it was a bit garlicky for my personal taste.

The only issue I had was it didn’t thicken as much as I expected even after adding extra cornflour. But once mixed with salsa and nachos it was really yummy and cheesy and I couldn’t really tell it was vegan. Not sure if anyone else tried it so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

This afternoon we had a go at vegan gluten free chocolate chip cookies as choc-chip cookies are something super popular with my family.

Had fun cooking with my kitchen assistant except when she was disappointed she couldn’t use the oven herself.

I started with this recipe and then changed it around for ingredients I had in the cupboard.

1/3rd Cup coconut oil

1/2 cup caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons almond milk

2 cups Doves Farm Gluten Free Self Raising Flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup dark choc chips

Heat oven to Gas Mark 4 (180C 350F).

Grease cookie sheets.

Cream coconut oil and sugar, whisk in vanilla and almond milk.


Stir in flour and baking powder. Gently combine chocolate chips. 1 cup is definitely too many chocolate chips 1/2 or 3/4 would be plenty. img_20170601_190109.jpg

Make small balls and flatten slightly onto trays at a reasonable distance from each other.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before eating if you can resist that long.

These are amazing. So good that the fussiest member of the taste team ate two without realising or even minding when he found out they were gluten free and vegan. Will be making them again many times.


More gluten free woes

So I did bake this week. It was fun but pretty much a disaster.

I made gluten free cupcakes. With some adjustments based on this recipe.

I didn’t like them much. I just need to develop a taste for gluten-free maybe.

Bananas and apples for sweetness and coconut flour. I think the coconut flour was probably the main issue, my gluten free friend can’t eat oats so maybe I need to try a different type of flour.

The taste test team refused to try them because they were ‘burnt’ and then disaster struck…

We went out and left them on the kitchen worktop. The dog ate the lot.

Then he pooed all over the kitchen floor later that night. 11 muffins might be too much for one dog.

It’s been a busy week.


Pancake day special

After a disaster of an attempt to cook pancakes for breakfast, I made a positive choice to learn to make pancakes well today.

I started out blaming my tools and went to get a new pancake pan at the shop. Then I found some new recipes. A ‘proper’ pancake recipe from when Mary Berry made pancakes on The One Show.


This recipe for scotch pancakes which is also a Mary Berry recipe. And after quite a lot of searching this recipe for vegan pancakes which I made with regular flour and hazelnut milk rather than almond milk.

Other things I discovered while reading up on pancakes are that Shrove Tuesday apparently comes from an old English word shrive which means to confess your sins -all part of it being preparation for lent. Managed to hold myself back from running round the corner to confess all my sins with pancake in pan though. It also seems (based on facebook posts) a lot of mums measure their success or failure as a mum based on whether or not they can provide their children with well-cooked pancakes. News just in, if you’re even trying to make pancakes for your children you’re doing a brilliant job as a mum give yourself a gold star regardless of the prettiness of your pancakes.

Turns out all the recipes although they looked quite different in the bowls


are pretty easy to cook. Must have been right I just needed a new pan.

We had a lot of fun and despite not all looking the best they all tasted OK.

The taste test team liked the traditional English pancakes best and even insisted they had them for their main meal. The Scotch pancakes second best and they liked the vegan pancakes more than they expected to do. The Scotch pancakes were a little difficult to spread on the griddle and very filling and the vegan pancakes had a little bit of a bitter aftertaste (less baking powder would probably have solved that issue without changing the pancakes too much) and were softer than the other ones.

So now to decide whether to give up anything for lent or not. Would it be a positive choice or a step back in time?

Perfecting a recipe

So very tired this week. Having a poorly child for a week really takes it out of you. Have massive admiration for people who have to combine parenting with paid employment elsewhere. I’m so fortunate to be able to take things at the pace I need to after being team-no-sleep for a week. Having said that, being able to get out of the house and miss the drama and tears involved in convalescing may also have its benefits. Today I’ve been a let down to my daughter as I have failed to take her to the pirate swimming pool, failed to let her play in the play area (after she said she didn’t want to until 2 minutes after we passed it) , failed to allow her to eat ice cream rather than her lunch and made her wait an unacceptable amount of time before going in the hot tub (yes we have a hot tub -please don’t judge us it came with the house).

So today I was baking with the kitchen assistant in the kitchen. Fortunately, she was occupied with her own project and let me have peace for working on my apple flapjack recipe. Full story in tomorrow’s special occasion blog. But for now here’s a sneaky peak. It’s very sticky!


Right at the other end of the scale to the last lot of flapjacks this time I thought I would try to make flapjacks with no refined sugar taste as ‘normal’ as possible.

Made two lots one after the other.


50g butter or coconut oil

2 Tbsp Honey

Mix in:

150ml apple sauce (mine is homemade just by peeling coring and chopping Bramley apples and cooking with a little apple juice until soft then whizzing up in the blender)

Then mix in 200g Oats

Place in lined tin and bake for 20-30 minutes at gas mark 5 (I used 4 but my oven is extra hot)


The taste team (made to do a blind taste test) couldn’t really tell the difference between the butter ones and the coconut ones, they just thought both were very strongly apple flavoured and the butter ones even more so than the coconut.

I like them which is the main point, so far they’re not keeping me off the other item available with a lot of sugar in it but I think they have potential.



Had a weekend of peace and calm as the four-year-old went away for a weekend visiting grandparents. Was lovely in some ways, I got a lot of work done. In other ways, the teenagers made sure it wasn’t too calm by frequently having rows. Maybe sometimes you can have too much time with your thoughts. I think about the best ways to care for my kids so much and yet so often fall short of my own standards and even more often find myself left not making a decision because I’m too busy worrying it will be the wrong one.

They are all doing fine really despite everything I know this in my head but my heart is never so confident.

Lunch required egg yoke so I was left with whites which obviously must be used up as waste is something to be feared and eliminated.

If Delia says it’s easy it must

be worth a try…

Eggs whisked and sugar whisked in. Pretty easy.

On the trays and in the oven. Oven heated to mark 2 then dropped to mark 1 for half an hour then switched off and left to cool.

Some of the meringues were not quite done, switched oven back on for 10 minutes and then they were mostly perfect.

Kitchen assistant wouldn’t try them due to not liking the look but the rest of the taste team loved them.

Not doing so well on the giving up sugar front but I’m going to argue they are healthy as fat-free!

Struggling a little this week with how to make positive decisions moving forward from having made decisions in the past that I can’t go back and change. Feel too old to start again in education.

Hmm gluten free woes.

I’m not running late I’m officially moving to Mondays as I can have time to myself to bake without assistance if I want to. Most of this week I’m going to be trying to sort out the excess stuff in my house so I’ve got a clear space to clean as I have invited people over for the first time since we moved in at the end of the week and would like them to be able to sit down not on a cardboard box!

In the spirit of trying to reduce gluten and sugar and because one of the people who maybe coming to visit is gluten free thought I would give some grain free muffins a try. The recipe I was working from was just apple flavour but as I didn’t have enough applesauce I substituted some forest fruits. This may have been a mistake, keep reading…

First I managed to throw them all over while trying to put them in the blender, including on my new white dress, it’s gone in the wash, fingers crossed it comes out! I added the apples and some apple juice too and it made quite a nice smoothy at least.

The recipe was an all in one bowl type which are popular with me because easy!

At first it looked pretty, but then the whole mixture went purple and then brown. Did not look too appetising. I forgot to put the timer on and got distracted talking about sparkly carpets on whats-app but my reliable nose reminded me to check before it was too late and they came out perfectly done.


Sadly still not looking super appetising. The sweetness is great but the texture is not to my taste. Not sure how much is to do with the specific recipe and how much is to do with needing to get used to the texture of coconut flour. Also they seem a little greasy.

Have some ideas to try something similar with wheat flour as sugar-free is more important to me personally.

And now back to painting things…