Category Archives: Firsts

Happy Birthday Grandma

As promised in my post ‘Happy Birthday Grandpa’, my challenge was to make a coffee and walnut cake for Grandma’s birthday and I think with a little help from Masterchef judge Gregg Wallace and the veteran of a thousand cake sales as described by the BBC Good Food website, I did pretty well. I took the ingredients for the sponge element of the cake from the traditional coffee and walnut cake recipe (although I finely chopped the walnuts rather than halved them) and the icing, filling and decoration from Greg Wallace’s recipe. I was ably assisted by the little lady and my twin brother (who was making a special flying visit) but as you can see from the photographs they preferred to lick the whisks rather than do the hard graft!

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I want to ride my bicycle

Finally the little lady has got to grips with her ‘new’ bicycle (she has had it a year and a quarter). If you listen very closely you can hear her saying ‘I can do it Mummy!’. It’s been so long since she last wanted to ride her bicycle (and to be fair, it hasn’t really been the weather for it) that it is time to raise the seat!

 

cycling

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Pancake Day

I love Pancake Day; partly because pancake tossing is something I can actually say I’m better at than my husband and partly because it makes for an easy dinner, although clearly only the girls in this family would agree with the latter. Ava and I were perfectly satisfied to have a savoury pancake (ham and cheese) for main and a sweet pancake (banana and honey for Ava and the traditional sugar and lemon for me) for dessert. Benjamin, the youngest Popple isn’t interested in eating any sort of pancake be it sweet or savoury and as for Andy, a pancake in his view can only be served sweet, as a dessert. I must admit that the savoury pancake was a first for me and if I’m really honest I prefer ham and cheese omelettes! So perhaps this is one thing Andy and I do agree on after all.

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Happy Birthday Grandpa

These days I don’t need much excuse to don the apron, roll my sleeves up and get the baking gear out of the cupboard and last week to celebrate my Dad’s (Grandpa’s) birthday, provided the perfect excuse. Over the last few years, the children’s birthdays have given me ample opportunity to practice making Victoria sponge and Madeira cakes and I for one was ready to consume something different. Inspired by a Facebook photograph of a cake that my friend made for her husband’s birthday recently and my father’s love of chocolate, ok my love of chocolate, I decided that a chocolate sponge cake was in order. My mother reminded me that this was not in fact my first chocolate sponge cake offering. As a child, I had spent several hours throwing together a chocolate sponge cake in celebration of one of her birthdays. A recipe at the age of 8 or 9 was obviously considered a hindrance to the creative process. The fact that I refused to touch even a morsel of the finished article, speaks volumes about the success of that experiment. Anyway, this was Ava’s first chocolate sponge cake and definitely the first time that three generations of the Collins girls have baked together (for those of you who know my mother, you’ll know how rare this is!).

I have faithfully followed Delia Smith’s sponge cake recipe for some time now and naturally expected another Delia special, with a chocolate twist but when my Google search resulted in a chocolicious offering by none other than Mary Berry, of Great British Bake Off fame, I knew I was onto a winner, so here is the finished result:

Chocolate Sponge Cake Grandma & Ava

Later this month it is Grandma’s birthday and I’m reliably informed her favourite cake is a coffee walnut cake. That definitely would be a first for me. Does anyone have a recipe that they care to share?

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Sledging

First time sledging for the little man…and doesn’t he look happy!

Sledging

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