Blackberry and Apple crumble

Blackberry and apple crumble is a timeless classic that children through the ages adore. Serve it with ice cream, custard or keep it healthier with some natural yoghurt, what ever you decide, you are onto a winner.

I am a little obsessed with blackberry picking at the moment, and we decided to expand our horizons this year with a trip to our local orchard to pick our own apples as well. It was a heavenly morning and we were luck with the weather so the children loved it. It made making the crumble that little bit more special because they had picked the apples from the trees themselves.

orchard orchard2

Crumble itself is very easy to make and there are plenty of opportunities for children to join in too. This is how we do it:


8oz plain white flour

2oz oats

5oz butter

3oz sugar

2/3 cooking apples

1 bowl of blackberries



Peel and chop the apples and cook them in a pan, with a splash of water and a pinch of sugar, until slightly soft.

Pour the apples into the crumble dish, add the blackberries and another pinch of sugar.

In another bowl combine the flour, oats, butter and roughly 2oz of sugar. Mix them into breadcrumbs using the tips of your fingers. (This is a really fun activity for the children to do.)

Pour the mixture over the blackberries and apples and pat down gently.

Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until it turns golden brown.

When I last made this the top never went golden brown, possible due to not enough sugar, so when it was cooked through, I popped it under the grill for a few minutes which did the job nicely!

(Tip: crumble can also be made with eating apples which are sweeter so require little, or no, refined sugar.)

Cheesy leek bake.

Leeks are a great vegetable to grow over winter, and are often the last man standing in an otherwise empty winter plot! The only problem with leeks is that they aren’t a common favourite with the children so here’s a recipe that might just win some over!

4 large leeks
700ml full-fat milk
50g plain flour (cornflour for ease)
1 onion
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 bay leaf
50g butter
175g mature cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp English mustard (optional)
50g Parmesan
50g coarse white breadcrumb


Cook the onion, garlic and bay then add the milk and leave to infuse.

Make the roux by melting the butter, mixing in flour and adding the milk whilst stirring constantly.When it has thickened remove from the heat and add the cheese and mustard.

Par boil (or steam) the leeks for 2 minutes and add to the mixture.

Place in a greased oven dish, sprinkle the parmesan and breadcrumbs on top and bake in a preheated oven (180°) for 20 minutes.

Pumpkin Soup

This huge and abundant vegetable has a sweet, rich and creamy taste and is so simple to cook with.

I made this soup with some homegrown onions and garlic, threw in a pinch of cinnamon and grated nutmeg, along with a spoon of bouillon and boiled it all up together.

It really is that simple. I cooled it quickly (for my very impatient 2 year old!) by adding some milk which thinned it down a bit too.

I will also add that I made this with pumpkin that had been in the freezer since last year (it can take me a while to get things done!) So dont worry if you have limited time – veggies keep in the freezer for ages so just bung them in there and get them out to make into soup when your cupboards are bare – perfect!



Carrot cakes

This isn’t a traditional carrot cake but it is one that is great fun to make with children, and tastes yummy too.

Preparation time: 5 minutes; Cooking time: 20 minutes; Temperature: 180°/350f or Gas Mark 4



Four eggs

8oz caster sugar

8oz self-raising flour

8oz butter

2 tsp of baking powder

Orange and green food colouring

(optional: 2 carrots, cinnamon, custard powder, icing sugar, mascarpone, vanilla extract)


1. Mix the flour, sugar, butter and baking powder in a large bowl and slowly add the eggs until it forms a creamy mixture. (Alternatively, put it all in a food processor and press the on button!)


Option 1: To make this a proper carrot cake, just grate a couple of carrots and stir into the mixture with a bit of cinnamon.

Option 2: For a stronger yellow colour and a delicate vanilla flavour, replace a tablespoon of flour for some custard powder.

2. Now for the fun bit.  Take two tablespoons of the mixture and place in a small bowl along with some orange food colouring. In a separate bowl add some green food colouring to another tablespoon of mixture. Mix well, adding more food colouring as required.

4 5 6

3. Using a small spoon make carrot shapes from the orange mixture on the baking tray, the thinner the better.  Then using a small spoon make the carrot tops with the green mixture.  Put in the oven for 6 minutes to cook on 180.7

4. Once cooked there is no need to wait for them to cool, just carefully spread the rest of the mixture on top. Place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until cooked (the skewer test always works for us!) Leave to cool and then remove from the tin…


And there you have it! Carrot cake normally comes with icing so for those of you who cant do without, just mix a little icing sugar with some mascarpone cheese and vanilla extract, and serve in a little bowl alongside the cakes for people to help themselves. Perfect for afternoon tea!

We had lots of fun making these and have come up with lots of other great recipes so watch this space…