Feeding birds and baking with kids – handmade school holidays

Our half term was last week, but I know lots of other who are on holiday this week, and with all these grey skies and rainy days you might want some more indoor activity ideas…

Although the days are getting a little warmer, we still have lots or birds at our feeders, so we decided to make a homemade bird feeder.

We bought bird seed, and bird peanuts and the kids mixed it together in a big bowl along with some raisins and a few breadcrumbs. I melted a pack of lard in a pan and poured it into the mix then we stired it all round again.

If you have any disposable cups you can use them for the next bit – I didn’t have any so I lined normal mugs with grease proof paper instead. First put a piece of string into the cup – with a disposable cup you can put a hole on the bottom and poke the string through.In a proper mug I put one end on the outside of the greaseproof paper so it would be left hanging out. Then pour the mixture into the cup(s) and leave to set. This might take several hours – we left our overnight.

When it’s set you can take it off the cup – either cut away the disposable one or slide it out of a proper mug. You should have string sticking out of both ends which you can tie together to hang your feeder outside. We have had blue tits, robbins and starlings visiting since our feeders were hung out.
So the birds were well fed but the children were still hungry – it was time for some baking.  We made this gluten free banana cake together as it is always a winner and it fairly easy to make with lots of opportunities for little ones to measure and stir. I tend to cook it for longer than the recipe though so it might need checking a few times – just keep testing with a skewer until it comes out clean.

My daughter also wanted to do her own baking so I gave her this recipe for gluten free jam biscuits from homeonalake. All I did was to separate out the egg yolk and melt the butter but she measured and mixed the ingredients then shaped the biscuits and added the jam. They were delicious – like a jam topped shortbread.

So there you go – a handmade holiday activity day!

My (mostly) make ahead Pinterest Valentines meal

Valentines Day, and I’m at home with the kids for half term so I’ve spent the day preparing a fab three course meal to celebrate Valentines Day. As always I’ve dug around Pinterest to find my recipes.

For a starter I made these goats cheese puff pastry tarts – ready rolled pastry made them so easy, just a couple of minutes to put together then put them in the oven for about 20 mins, they can come out 5-10 mins before you serve.

For the main course I went for a beef stifado – I always love Greek food and I found this recipe, but I cooked mine in the slow cooker for 4 hours so I could get it started early and have no last minute prep. I served it with Orzo, which just takes 10mins to cook.

And to finish – a fab eton-mess style desert, I made all the bits up in the morning then just layered it together while I waited for the starter to cook.

All great recipes and not much stress in the making – time for chocolates and prosecco….

Sunday Pinterest Pancakes 

I’m a big fan of Pinterest – I could spend a whole day drifting through totally random collections of images. I find inspiration for my makes,  ideas of things to do with the kids, and I’m pretty sure I could plan 20 weddings, redecorate a thousand houses and book enough beach holidays to last a lifetime.

I hardly ever look in a cookery book now – I find tons of new recipes online and it’s easy to store them on my tasty stuff board. This weekend we’ve been trying out some pancakes from a Japanese hot cakes recipe I pinned. First version – Nutella filled pancakes.

I made the batter and put a spoonful in the pan, added a blob of chocolate spread and topped with a bit more batter, a bit fiddly  to do but turned out to be worth it. They rose really high and the Nutella melted in the middle, we loved them!

Next version? This time I substituted some of the flour for cocoa powder to make chocolate pancakes – served with blueberries and sliced bananas

Sunday morning breakfast success!