Amongst the piles of wonderful and thoughtful presents Poppy received for her birthday this year was ‘Bake Me a Story’ by Nadiya Hussain. It’s a brand new cookbook by the Great British Bakeoff winner which features 15 kid-friendly-recipes – each accompanied by a story which features the main-ingredient/bake.
Three reasons I loved this book from the off:
- I’m an avid cookbook reader/collector so this present is kind of for me.
- Poppy loves cooking and baking with me, so this gives us new special recipes to try together.
- Poppy loves stories and books.
This book, seemingly, had it all. [suspense…can you feel it?]
So off we went to test it out. We’ve tried three recipes so far:
- Carrot and Nutmeg Cookies (Rapunzel’s Enchanted Carrots)
- Goat’s Cheese and Caramelised Onion tart (The Billy Goats and the Cheese and Onion Tart)
- Blueberry and Orange Soda Bread (Little Red Hen and her Bread Friends)
The Carrot and Nutmeg Cookies drew me in first because it’s Fall (Autumn) now and I start hankering for spicy bakes around this time of year. It also appealed because I’m trying to seek out bakes for Poppy and I that have less refined sugars and more good stuff (i.e. fruits, vegetables, oats, seeds, etc) and this recipe ticked that box.
We had a blast making them together – she particularly enjoyed watching me struggle as I grated the carrot… They were easy to make and the yield was small, which I liked because I’m forever left with too much leftover cake because my family is still a bit small to keep up with the quantity of baking I do.
The result? Cookies were nice in flavour – albeit a bit doughy. I baked them longer than directed as well. I think if I made these again I might make 12 small cookies rather than 6 large ones and have a bit of a better result. But Poppy liked them and I managed to scoff a few as well.
Next was the Goat’s Cheese and Caramelised Onion Tart.
I’ll save you a long description here because none is needed. This was super simple to put together and crazy delicious. I was looking through my photos from this week and completely forgot this recipe was from this book – it’s just so nice, pretty sophisticated…so hard to believe I made it from a kids cooking book. I had some fresh figs in the fridge too so added these to the top and they made a really nice addition.
Poppy helped to make it and it seemed as though she’d have no issues eating this dinner. Alas, the planets were not aligned (no matter how much dinner can be the right colour, flavour, texture, etc, etc, there are just some nights when nothing will fly). She didn’t eat it but Hywel and I had no problem finishing the whole thing off. Really really yummy. We’ll be making this again. And bonus, I found the recipe online here so you can make it too!
Last thing we made was the Blueberry and Orange Soda Bread. It was super simple to make and fun to do with Poppy . The result was nice, but I suspect it’s at its peak about 15 minutes after coming out of the oven (fresh, warm with lots of butter on top). I’ve got about half of it left in a tin in the kitchen and it’s just not as good now.
And as for the stories? Poppy and I only actually read one of them while the food was in the oven. I think it’s more because of how little she is (she loses interest about 10 minutes into baking and moves onto the next thing). So keeping her involved through the bake and for a related story afterwards was a challenge. Also she’d probably prefer a few more pictures in the book (again, she’s only 3) – but I suspect this book is pitched more at the 5+ age bracket.
In the balance I really do like this book. And to nicely bookend this post, I’ll list the reasons why:
- Ease of choice. Imagine you go into a restaurant with 50 things on the menu – do you get stressed? I do: too much choice! Whereas you go into a restaurant with 12 things on the menu and it takes about 1 minute to choose and you’re sure you’ve selected the best thing for you. It’s the same here. I could scan through the book in about 10 minutes and know exactly which recipes I wanted to make really easily. And even now that I’ve made 3, I know which one I’m making next. Simple.
- Value for money. Despite having not bought the book myself, I can tell you it’s worth the price tag…even though it’s a cookbook with only 15 recipes. Here’s why: most new kids books these days will cost you £7. A small cookbook? Maybe £10-£15. This book is £15 (but only £5!! on Amazon right now). You get several stories, original illustrations, kid-friendly recipes all-in-one.
- Balance. There’s a really nice mix in here between treats (Cookie Mallows, Zebra Cake), dinners (Goats Cheese and Caramelised Onion Tart, Pea and Mint Risotto) and relatively healthy bakes (Carrot and Nutmeg Cookies, Pumpkin and Spice Flapjacks). It’s a good amount of choice amongst so few recipes.
- Simplicity. All of the recipes are simple in terms of ingredients and instructions. So, great for kids. But what I like about that as an adult is that it means the recipes are easy to alter to your tastes. Adding some nice extras to the Tart, or changing the yield of the Cookies is simple and only makes the recipes more suitable for your family.
I think this will definitely be a book we revisit from time-to-time. Especially as Poppy gets bigger and wants to do more and more in the kitchen. And I know I’ll be visiting it again soon…the Vanilla Baked Custards sound just to good to pass up!