During lockdown we’ve done ballet and gymnastics tutorials and Joe Wicks; we’ve done quizzes, bingo, scavenger hunts, story reading, poker and online games (Ticket to Ride is our obsession) with friends and family. We’ve even had a virtual dinner party for one friend’s birthday where we all ate the same meal and an online whisky tasting for another friend’s birthday. The other thing that’s been a big hit is the ‘Zoom bake along.’
The bake along – a beautifully simple idea
A group of us are involved with our children and take it in turns to host. The host chooses a recipe and sends everyone the ingredients list in advance. On the day, the host organises a Zoom meeting. Once we’re all online they demonstrate the method for the recipe and we have a lot of chat along the way.
The recipes are quite straightforward so that the children are able to do most of the steps. It’s a really nice social thing for the adults and children alike; we get to learn new recipes and obviously get to sample the fruits of our labour.
What we’ve baked so far
Week 1 – Grandma’s biscuits
My friend Eleanor’s old school recipe is in imperial measurements. It’s very, very simple and despite my kids’ initial reservations about oats they absolutely loved them (recipe above).
- Mix all the ingredients together (you can add some finely chopped stem ginger if you want)
- Roll mixture into a sausage shape
- Cut discs about as long and thick as a little finger (should make approximately 20)
- Squish very lightly onto a baking tray (they can look very rustic)
- Cook for a max of 15 mins at 180c
- Ice with plain icing if you want (we didn’t bother)
Week 2 – Pizzette
On our first week of hosting, the kids wanted to make one of their favourites: pizzette. These are mini puff-pastry pizzas. You’ll find the recipe in the below post.
Week 3 – Banana bread
Mary Berry’s Chocolate Chip Banana Bread recipe was used for our week three bake.
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 tbsp milk
- 50g soft butter/baking spread
- 75g plain flour
- 75g caster sugar
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 free-range egg
- 50g dark chocolate chips
This made a lovely light bread, which had a perfect level of sweetness. Click here for the method.
Week 4 – Garlic cheese scones
- 100g plain flour
- 100g wholemeal or rye flour
- 2 tsp English mustard powder (optional)
- 1/4 tsp of cayenne (optional)
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 clove of garlic finely mashed
- 50g unsalted butter
- 200g cheese cut into cm cubes (Manchego, cheddar)
- 1 large egg
- 4 tablespoons of plain yoghurt
Here’s how to make them: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/jan/26/foodanddrink.recipe1
Week 5 – Gingerbread biscuits
- 180g plain flour
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 55g unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
- 85g soft light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 beaten egg
- tubes of icing or icing sugar for dusting
- Pre-heat oven to 190c
- Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger into a bowl and rub in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs
- Gently heat the sugar and golden syrup in a small pan until melted and gooey. Pour it into the bowl and add the beaten egg
- Mix it all together with a wooden spoon (if too sticky add a bit more flour)
- Wrap dough in cling film and chill for half an hour
- Flour your work surface. Roll out dough to a depth of approximately 4mm and cut out into whatever shapes you like (re-roll the offcuts)
- Put your biscuits on a lined baking tray, bake for 12-15 mins and then allow to cool
- Decorate as you want
Week 6 – Chocolate cupcakes
- 100g plain flour
- 20g cocoa powder
- 140g caster sugar
- 1 ½ tsp baking powder
- 40g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- 120ml whole or semi-skimmed milk
- 1 egg
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
Here’s the method.
Week 7 – Pineapple upside down cake
We went 70s retro this week with a recipe that none of us had attempted before. It was very easy to follow and we unanimously had great results. We used a BBC goodfood recipe.
Week 8 – Pancetta and cheese muffins
These make for a great weekend brunch and were loved by the kids (two out of three preferring them to chocolate chip muffins!).
This makes approximately nine muffins.
- 2 x 77g of diced pancetta
- 85g of cheddar (grated)
- 170g plain flour
- 130ml of milk
- 45ml sunflower or vegetable oil
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 190c (Gas mark 5) and line a muffin tray with muffin cases (you can use cake cases)
- Fry the pancetta until brown and crisp
- Mix the oil and milk together and separately mix the flour, baking powder and salt together
- Add the milk and oil mixture to the flour and fold together (don’t mix too much)
- Fold in the pancetta and cheese but keep back some of the pancetta for sprinkling
- Put mixture into the cases and sprinkle remaining pancetta on top
- Cook until golden brown. They should spring back when pressed if they’re done (about 20-25 minutes)
Week 9 – No Bake Orange Cheesecake
This was a great one for the kids as there were plenty of enjoyable jobs for them. The favourite was probably crushing the biscuits! I should have segmented the oranges properly so it looked prettier… next time.
- 15 digestive biscuits
- 6 tbsp butter, melted
- 400g curd or cream cheese
- grated zest 3 oranges (save the segments for the decoration)
- 200g mascarpone cheese
- 100g caster sugar
- 3 tbsp milk
- 184ml (small pot) double cream
Here’s the method: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/no-bake-orange-cheesecake
Week 10 – Jumbo sausage rolls
We can’t claim these to be made from a five generation’s-old family recipe; They are completely copied from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. We cheated and used puff pastry, which worked perfectly. We also cooked for a little longer than the 35-40 minutes suggested. Fantastic picnic fare and actually easier to make than I thought they’d be.
Here’s the recipe and method: https://www.rivercottage.net/recipes/big-sausage-rolls
Week 11 – Sticky Toffee Pudding
This week was a husband takeover. The initial plan of malt loaf received a bit of a lukewarm response. However, it was fever pitch excitement for this classic British dessert, which was recently crowned the nation’s favourite.
This was Nigella decadence at its best. I think arteries were hardening with every bite of this, but it was sublime and loved by children and adults alike.
Here it is; you’re welcome: Nigella’s sticky toffee pudding
Week 12 – Brandy Snaps
One of the bake along gang happened to mention brandy snaps last week. It might be July, but we all agreed on how much we loved them and that they shouldn’t just be for Christmas.
They were actually easy to make and lovely and crunchy and light. They tasted great and were perfect for taking on a picnic.
Here’s the recipe from BBC Good Food.
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