The Real Thing


My goodness, it’s the end of the world as I know it! Last week my two and half year old granddaughter Amelia Peggy came along clutching an iphone and told me she wanted to show me how to make a cake! She pressed several buttons in the maddeningly confident way that all kids do and opened and an app’ called Cake Doodle. Up popped lots of pictures of cakes, every shape and size – “which one shall we make grandma?” pipes up the aspiring cook, I choose a three tier chocolate confection. Ping – up comes the recipe, then the bowl, Amelia touched each ingredient on the list and whoosh they leap into the bowl, up come the eggs, Amelia taps the screen with the side of her hand to crack the eggs one after the other they leap into the bowl. Then she stirs all the ingredients around, until well mixed and turns the phone on its side to pour the mixture into the tin. Next it’s popped into the virtual oven.

Now there are more decisions to be made – what coloured icing – it has to be pink, everything in Amelia’s life has to be pink at present so she presses the shocking pink icon and then spreads the lurid icing over the three tier cake with the tip of her finger. Next we have a choice of decorations, heart shapes, stars, flowers, princesses… Amelia chooses princesses, she dotted about 15 over her cake and then at last it was ready to eat. By now Amelia was beside herself with excitement, again she tapped the virtual cake on the screen with her tiny index finger, each time putting it into her mouth as though she was eating the cake. The iphone emitted realistic sound effects throughout, pouring, swishing, egg shell cracking, mixing and finally appreciative noises. I wondered if she would have a virtual tummy ache having eaten it all in one go! Amelia and all the children love this app’ and fusty old grandma doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry! But the good news is Amelia also loves to help her mum and grandma to bake real cakes. She particularly loves to make crumpets on the cool plate of the Aga, using a flexible egg slice to flip them over. Here are several simple recipes that children will love to make and bake and share.

Raspberry Buns



As far as I can remember, these buns were the very first thing I helped my Auntie Florence to bake. My grandchildren love filling the holes with jam, just as I did.

Makes about 10

200g (7oz) self raising flour and 25g (1oz) ground rice


225g (8oz) self-raising flour

75g (3oz) caster sugar

75g (3oz) butter diced

1 organic egg

1 tablespoon full cream milk

homemade raspberry jam

egg wash

caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas mark 7.

Put the flour and ground rice, if using, into a bowl and add the caster sugar. Add in the diced butter and toss it in the flour. Then rub it into the dry ingredients with the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Whisk the egg with the milk and then use a fork to mix it with the dry ingredients until you have a softish dough.

Divide the mixture in two, roll each half into a thick rope and then divide each into five pieces. Form each piece into a round, dip your thumb in flour and make an indentation in the centre of each bun.

Drop a little spoonful of raspberry jam into the hole, then pinch the edges of dough together to cover the jam.

Transfer to a baking tray, brush the top of each raspberry bun with egg wash and bake for 10 – 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack, sprinkle with caster sugar and eat while nice and fresh.

Joshua’s Carrot, Coconut and Sultana Muffins



A lovely recipe which we have adapted from a super little book called ‘Grow It Cook It’ written by Amanda Grant published by Rhyland Peters and Small.

Makes 12

225 g (8 oz) carrots

3 eggs, preferably free range

140 g (4½ oz) pale soft brown sugar

6 tablespoons sunflower oil

150 g (5 oz) self raising flour

1 tsp mixed spice

70 g (3 oz) desiccated coconut

75 g (3 oz) mixed dried fruit eg. sultanas

A muffin tray lined with 12 paper cases

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4.

Wash, peel and grate the carrots finely. Crack the eggs into a large bowl, whisk with a whisk until lightly beaten. Add in the sugar and continue to whisk until light and creamy. Gradually add in the oil whisking all the time. Mix the flour, mixed spice, coconut, sultanas and carrots. Then stir gradually into the base mixture until it is well incorporated. Use a tablespoon to divide the mixture as evenly as you can between the muffin cases. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes or until firm and golden. Remove from the oven with oven gloves. Cool the muffins on a wire rack. They are delicious as they are but even yummier with some cream cheese icing on top

Cream Cheese Icing



3 ozs (75g) cream cheese

1 1/2 ozs (45g) icing sugar

1 1/2 ozs (45g) butter

grated rind on 1/2 orange



Mix all the ingredients together and spread over the top of the carrot muffins. Sprinkle with toasted flaked almonds or pumpkin seeds, crystallized flowers if you fancy.

India’s Candied Orange Squares


My grandchildren love to make these; they can use a palette knife to spread the icing and then get creative making patterns on top with the candied peel

Makes 24


6 ozs (175g) soft butter

6 ozs (175g) castor sugar

2 eggs, preferably free range

6 ozs (175g) self-raising flour

Orange Butter


rind of 2 oranges – finely grated

3oz (75g) butter

3 1/2 oz (100g) icing sugar

Candied Orange Peel


10 x 7 inch (25.5 x 18 cm) Swiss roll tin, well greased

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/regulo 4.

Put the butter, castor sugar, eggs and self-raising flour into a food processor. Whizz for a few seconds to amalgamate. Spread evenly in the well-buttered tin. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes approx. or until golden brown and well risen. Meanwhile make the orange butter. Cream the butter with finely grated orange rind, add the sieved icing sugar, beat until light and fluffy. When the cake is cooked, leave to cool. Spread the orange icing over the cake. Cut into squares. Decorate each one with little diamonds of candied peel.



























Amelia Peggy’s Crumpets

Amelia’s Aunty Rachel showed her how to make these delicious crumpets.

  Makes 12

110g (4ozs) self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

25g (1oz) caster sugar

pinch of salt

1 egg

110ml (4fl ozs) milk

drop of sunflower oil, for greasing

Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl, add the sugar and salt and stir to mix. Make a well in the centre, crack in the egg and whisk, gradually drawing in the flour from the edge. Add the milk gradually, whisking all the time, to form a smooth batter.

Lightly grease a frying pan and warm it over a moderate heat. Drop 3 tablespoons of the batter into the pan, keeping well apart so they don’t stick together. Cook for about 2 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface and begin to burst and the crumpets scones are golden underneath, then flip them over and cook on the other side for a minute or until golden on this side as well.

Remove from the pan and serve warm with butter and jam, apple jelly, lemon curd or if you are like my grandchildren, chocolate spread! (If you wish, wrap the crumpets in a clean tea towel to keep warm while you make the rest.)



Lucca’s Almond Macaroons

These are so simple to make and can easily keep for 4-5 days in an airtight container. Pop a peeled almond into the centre of each one, before baking for extra crunch.

Makes 12-16


110g (4ozs) ground almonds

75g (3ozs) caster sugar

1 egg white, lightly beaten


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.


Put the ground almonds, caster sugar and the egg white into a bowl and stir to combine. It should be firm, but slightly sticky. Roll small dessertspoonfuls of the mixture into balls and place on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with a wet fork. Cook for about 10 minutes or until pale golden. Cool on a wire rack.





These are also good with the grated zest of 1 lemon or orange mixed in with the coconut/almonds and sugar.


Desiccated coconut can also be used instead of ground almonds in the above recipe.



Willow’s Tropical Fruit Smoothie



My granddaughter Willow likes to use Kara coconut milk in this recipe, she gets this from Well and Good Health Food Shop in Midleton but you could try your local health food store.

2 slices of melon

I ripe banana

1 mini pineapple or ¼ of a full sized pineapple

1 big orange juiced

450 ml (16fl oz) Kara coconut milk


Peel and chop all the fruit and put it into the blender, add the coconut milk and whizz. Add honey to taste. Willow pours this into chilled glasses and shares it with her little sister India, mum and dad.


The proliferation of food festivals around the country manifests a deep craving for real local food but leaves us with a dilemma many tempting events are on the same dates.

The Midleton Food Fair is on Saturday 11th September 2010



 The main street in Midleton will be buzzing with interesting stalls, tempting you to have a taste of the best of East Cork. Midleton Farmers market will be celebrating their 10th anniversary. Visit 

for the full program. 

for the many, many interesting food events and dinners. Ludlow Food Festival in Shropshire –

10th to 12th September 2010 is the mother of all UK food festivals. Sadly clashing with the above events, nonetheless, I know several serious Irish foodies who make a pilgrimage there every year. Ludlow was Britain’s first successful food and drink festival when it started back in 1995, still the most famous and they maintained the original philosophy of highlighting only the great food and drink that’s available in the Marches. Check



– innovative West Cork artisans, Alan and Valerie Kingston have added yet another delicious product to their range. They already have a nationwide following for their thick rich cream, yogurts, cheese cakes and farmhouse butter. Their new Homemade Lemonade Cordial is unrelated to their dairy range but equally irresistible. It’s wonderfully concentrated so add lots of water and ice cubes or sparkling water to dilute to your taste. Contact 028 31179 –




About the author

Darina Allen
By Darina Allen


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