Friday, 31 October 2014

Recipe of the week - Strawberry Cake {Gluten Free & Dairy Free}

It is a well known fact in our house that there is one boy who just does not enjoy eating fruits. At a push he will eat an apple but that's about it. While we all enjoy lovely fresh berries in the summer he refuses to eat any. He won't eat dried fruit either.


However, he will eat this cake. Even if he does pick the strawberry decoration off the top of his slice!


It's such a lovely summery looking cake to make and the strawberries give the sponge a nice natural pink colour.


It is a great cake for in the summer when berries are in such abundance, but equally good just now when berries are no longer as sweet for eating on their own. And for when the clocks have gone back and you want just one more wee reminder of summer.

To make this with 'normal' non-allergy-free ingredients you don't need to adjust any of the quantities.

You will need:

for the cakes:

about 125g fresh strawberries

225g sugar

210g Doves Farm Wheat-Free Self Raising Flour
1 tsp baking powder
25g cornflour
225g dairy free margarine
4 eggs

for the butter-icing:
100g dairy free margarine
300g icing sugar
1tsp vanilla extract

~Put the strawberries in a food processor and blitz until you have quite small chunks. Not quite a smooth purée.

~Now simply add all of the other cake ingredients into a food mixer and beat well until everything is combined and it looks nice and light.

~Spoon into 3 greased and base lined 8 inch sandwich tins and bake at 180C for about 20-25 minutes.

~ To make the icing just add the icing ingredients to your mixer and beat well until you have a smooth icing. You might need to add a splash or two of your dairy free milk of choice to help it come together.

~When the cakes are cool, spread or pipe on some vanilla butter icing then decorate as you wish.

Speaking of summer memories.......


I'm a big fan of autumn and winter but this summer will be hard to beat!


Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A few more holiday snaps - courtesy of Auntie Anna

I know I've already shared a few photos of our wee holiday to Cumbria a couple of weeks ago, but these ones are some that my sister in law took, and she got a few snaps of things that I didn't.
For example, I didn't think to take one of the outside of the house, which was built in the 1700s.
Nor did I think to take one of the living room - this was before we arrived, as it's nice and tidy!
She took some photos of the boys working....


....and just chilling.
Of course there were a few hill waks that she took Calum, and sometimes David, on and I wasn't with them.
'Do you think Auntie Anna really knows the way, Calum.'






I really like this one she took of all of us on our long Sunday afternoon walk. This was at the point where myself, hubs and the younger two boys turned around to go back to the house.


The older three boys continued for an extra few miles and reached the ridge at the top.





And finally, it's always good to go out with Auntie Anna and her camera as it's a good chance to get a rare photo of us all together.
I think one of these will make the Christmas card this year.



















Monday, 27 October 2014

Make it Monday - Chunky Crochet Cowl & Hat

A few weeks ago Calum(12) asked me if I would crochet him a cowl.

He didn't mind what colours I used, but suggested that I used black in it somewhere. His new winter jacket is a mustard colour so I was kind of restricted by what might go with that.

He wasn't with me when I went to Hobbycraft to look for some yarn but he trusted me to choose something suitable!

As it happened they had their Women's Institute yarns on 3 for 2 and I was drawn to a lovely soft chunky yarn. 

Calum approved of my colour choices and I set to work making his cowl.

The chunky yarn worked up really quickly and so I was able to finish the cowl in one evening.

That was Friday night, and on Saturday Calum was heading off on another hill walk with Auntie Anna and her dog so he was keen to wear it - even though I hadn't sewn in all the ends yet! 

He's fairly clocking up the hills with Auntie Anna these days. In fact, he's started a notebook with the dates, names and heights of hills etc so that he has a log of them all.

Anyway, here he is road testing his cowl on a blustery hill.

While he was out on Saturday, in the time it took Fraser to have a little nap, I had enough yarn to rustle up a matching beanie hat for Calum too, which he was delighted with. So much so that he's hardly had either thing off since I made them!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Happy 1st Birthday Sweet Boy

Yesterday we celebrated Fraser's first birthday

The boys were so excited about it being his birthday. Alasdair (5) was especially so.

The night before, Alasdair asked me if Fraser would be much bigger on his birthday. I asked him if he was much bigger on his birthdays and he said he wasn't really. Then he thought for a bit and said that he hoped that Fraser would still have the same cute face when he was one.

Yesterday morning as I woke Alasdair I asked him what day it was.

'Um, Diluain?' he answered sleepily. He was only a day out. Diluain is the Gaelic for Monday.

I told him it was actually Dimairt (Tuesday) and asked if he remembered what special day it was.

He sat upright, so excited, and said to Fraser, 'it's your birthday today and you get an age now!'

The birthday boy enjoyed ripping the wrapping off his presents.

Fraser has never had cake before. He still doesn't like lumpy foods. I made a cake that would be suitable for him so he could try some anyway. Just in case it was the day of a breakthrough. It wasn't, but we all enjoyed the cake. There is still some left to try him again tomorrow. Just in case.

Although his brothers that have egg allergies are able to eat egg fine in cakes & biscuits, I didn't want to test out whether this was the case with Fraser on his birthday and so I made the cake wheat free, dairy free, soya free, nut free and egg free.

It was my first time adapting a cake to be egg free and I was pretty pleased with how it turned out!

James (14) was determined that we should do a cake smash for Fraser. I wasn't concerned about the mess as much as the state the eczema on Fraser's hands would be like afterwards. It doesn't matter what he gets on his hands it will make them itch. If any of his food goes on them he will start to scratch and nearly every dinner time ends with him clawing away at his hands. Fortunately by the time he gets upstairs to his bath he has forgotten about the itch.

Since he wasn't getting a cake smash, James did let Fraser stick his fingers in the icing of his cake, as he was the one in charge of looking after Fraser while dad and I were on the other side of the table taking photos! As usual his hands were sore and itchy after his little bit of fun, but as usual his bath soon stopped the scratching.

And to finish with, as I always do with a birthday post, here is the cake and the singing of Happy Birthday.

May this be the first of many happy birthdays for our delightful, sweet natured littlest boy.

Friday, 17 October 2014

A little more holiday fun.

At the end of a week of holiday exploring a new area, here are a few more of our highlights.

We didn't go out on a boat on any of the lakes but Fraser & Ally did enjoy a wee look around one of the ones that was 'parked' by our picnic site in Keswick.

Not all of our activities were outdoors ones. One day we visited the Rheged Discovery Centre, which is a place with a little bit of something for everyone. While James (14) went with his dad and grandad to watch a documentary about D-Day in 3D at the iMax cinema, I took Calum (12), David (8) and Alasdair (5), and Fraser too of course, to do some pottery painting. Meanwhile Granny and Auntie Anna visited the shops and one of the cafes.

Alasdair chose to paint a monkey as it reminded him of his favourite character 'Monkey George' (Curious George).

Another day we discovered the fun hybrid of Footgolf! It is just as it sounds - a golf course where you kick a football around instead of hitting a golf ball around.

The holes are extra large so that the football fits in!

Apart from the cold day at the Birds of Prey centre, we had such beautiful weather all week and spent our last afternoon climbing to see a waterfall beside Lake Ullswater.

This really was a much higher spot to stand than it looks on the photo! Walking down the slippery stone steps with Fraser in the sling was a little tricky!

At the end of the trail were these fun wooden shapes.

To finish with, here is a 'selfie' of this little man in his sling, where he spent many a long walk throughout the week and remained his contentedly chilled, happy little self.