So the summer holidays are over and I have some time to myself again. Well, I have less small people in the house looking to be entertained, but even when they are not here, everything I do is for them. Last week, was the first full week back at school and after spending the first half of the week, just tidying and getting things straight again, I decided to give myself one day to revisit some recipes.
For some reason, I went into a bit of a cooking frenzy and ended up making chocolate chip cookies, a banana cake, a cottage pie and some bolognese sauce. I guess I was just in the mood. I was also aware of the fact I had very few ‘after school’ treats for the children – so rather than go to the supermarket, I decided to be virtuous and thrifty and make them myself. Zac is no lover of the shop bought free from cakes and biscuits, so I owed it to him, myself and this blog, to get out the baking gear and get stuck in.
I am happy to report that it was all very successful. The cookies were the most popular with the children, the banana loaf was most appreciated by the grown ups (my husband, mother in law, sister and myself). The dinners were good too. Although not devoured with the usual gusto. Cottage Pie is my husbands favourite meal and one I don’t cook so much anymore – because of Zac. So I thought he would be thrilled. But he had been for a few beers after work, so was feeling a bit ‘full’.
I had also made a dairy free, gluten free portion for Zac. My first ever attempt. He turned it down flat and yelled until I gave him something else. Good job I had also made a back up bolognese with the extra packet of mince. I know Zac is always happy with a bolognese, so am regularly cooking up portions to freeze.
So despite the fact that none of my efforts were massively appreciated by the whole family, I know it wasn’t my fault. Zac is just so wary of trying new foods, that I always knew it was unlikely he would try it. I ate some of the gluten free, dairy free cottage pie and I think it was lovely. I gave Tom some of it alongside the ‘normal’ one and he didn’t notice the difference. So I am going to call that one a taste success and I will add the recipe in a separate blog post.
The same goes for the cookies, these were the Pippa Kendrick, chocolate chip cookies. My third attempt and definitely the best. The first batch was extremely crumbly and I noted in my blog post on it that she did not list xanthan gum in her ingredients, which surprised me as that usually fixes the crumb issues.
On my second attempt, I did add some gum and found that it did make a big improvement. I just over cooked them, so they were great when they first came out of the oven, but went rock hard as they cooled and Tom almost broke a tooth on the one we saved him!
So this third attempt was very pleasing and delicious. I made a bit of a mess of some of the measurements at the start, but rescued it somehow. They were also a bit thick, so I could have and probably should have made them smaller and flatter and got more out of the mixture. I would advise anyone to give it a go though, because it really is a simple recipe and all of the cookies were gone within 24 hours. I have some packets of free from shop bought cookies that have been in my cupboard for ages, so I did get a good feeling knowing that the children enjoyed mine so much more.