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Wanted: Bigger Muffin Top


No, not one of those. Believe me, I’ve got that WELL covered. We baked some lemon and poppyseed muffins and everything was perfect with the recipe, except I think they need a bigger muffin top.


Tips followed so far include:

  • not using muffin cases and baking straight into the pan.
  • filling the muffin pan right to the top.
  • baking at 200 C for the first 10 mins and then turning down the heat for the rest of the baking time.

Any other tips to increase muffin top size (of the second variety) are warmly welcomed. In the mean time I will have to keep experimenting, and hope it doesn’t cause an increase of the first variety too much!

Mummy Bear x


Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.


Baby bear has been having a love/hate relationship with blackberries – or ‘grapes’ as he insists on calling them. He is incredibly excited that he can find food on branches outside, and does not discriminate between any colour of berry at all. He will even try the odd leaf, smile at me and say ‘mmmmmmmmmm’. What he is much less keen on are the thorns, and no matter how many times he gets prickled, the expression is still the same; a sort of ‘Huh?! What the hell just happened to my hand?’ type face. But his enthusiasm combined with the beautiful field beside the Bears house, means we now have a huge glut of blackberries, and have been making blackberry jam a plenty.


Some of the jam was experimented with in Apple bear-y cakes with a blackberry jam filling and a custard buttercream frosting. Honestly, they were like Autumn in a mouthful! And gone so quickly I didn’t even get a chance to grab the camera, which I feel speaks volumes about their deliciousness!

The rest of the jam is in jars in my fridge, and has presented the perfect opportunity for some experimental bread baking. I wanted to make something which had an autumnal feel to it (Silly, I know, as this encompasses the whole genre of bread really!) but what I settled on were Wholemeal rolls with poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, golden linseed,  chopped walnuts, raisins and dried apple –  a type of Autumn muesli breakfast roll. Which as it turns out is perfect for    filling with butter and spreading with blackberry jam!

I used Allinson Premium wholemeal very strong bread flour, and followed the recipe on the back, adding in handfuls of the seeds, nuts and dried fruit once the dough had been mixed. I split the dough into five pieces, rolled each segment into a long sausage, then tied it in a knot and tucked the ends underneath. Leave it to rise for 40 minutes and then brush with an egg wash before popping in the oven et voilà, as soon as they look golden on top and have a hollow knock on the base, they’re ready to be devoured by hungry Bears!


I’ve just seen Nigel Slater make a blackberry sauce to go with roast pork, now there’s an idea for the next basketful of berries. Provided Baby Bear stops eating all the unripe red ones on the bushes first!

Mummy Bear x

We can stay up late, swapping manly stories, and in the morning, I’m making waffles!


I love my waffle iron… it’s on the list of things I’d save from my burning flat. Right after the Little Bears. I know that sounds silly, but I was bought my waffle iron 6 years ago, and it has survived moving house and flooded kitchen and being poked and prodded by Baby Bear. And it’s no longer being manufactured. Daddy Bear was very unimpressed with it, moaning about how it was another piece of junk taking up cupboard space in our tiny kitchen, along with the George foreman grill and the sandwich toaster. (I won’t mention the laptop graveyard in the living room) And he kept moaning, until I found this recipe for waffles. It’s light, crispy, easy to make and you can store the uncooked batter in the fridge for a good few days, which is perfect for us lazy Bears!

Donkey’s waffles

2 eggs

250g plain flour

415ml whole milk

120ml vegetable oil

10g granulated sugar

15g baking powder

Pre heat the waffle iron. Beat the eggs in a bowl until fluffy. Because I like the easy life (who doesn’t when Baby Bear is pulling at your legs shouting ‘Dinner!’) I blitzed them with my electric hand whisk for a minute. Add in all the the other ingredients and beat with the electric whisk until combined. Brush some more vegetable oil over your waffle iron and then ladle the mix onto the iron, and then follow the instructions on it for the cooking time.

I like my waffles with maple syrup and fresh raspberries, Daddy Bear likes his with icecream, Big Bear likes his with syrup and sprinkles and Baby Bear gets them plain. Because he likes to try and paint with his food. How do you like yours?!

Mummy Bear x


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