Patchwork strawberry & gooseberry pie

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When we moved into our house (nearly 8 years ago now – how time flies!) we were lucky to not only inherit some very fruitful raspberry canes but a gooseberry bush as well. We’ve not always had the best of luck with it due to some pesky caterpillars but this year seems to have given us a bumper crop. My little ladies have enjoyed helping to pick them (and there are still more to come) so I thought it was time to make something with them before they sat in the fridge for much longer. I’ve made a couple of gooseberry based bakes before such as a gooseberry crumble cake and a Victoria sponge with gooseberry compote but this time I decided to try something a little different. I remembered spotting this recipe for a strawberry and gooseberry pie in a BBC Good Food magazine many years ago and decided now was the time to try it out. We had hoped to pop down to our local pick your own farm to pick some local strawberries to use in it but unfortunately the weather has not been on our side this weekend. Fingers crossed it will brighten up soon and start to feel a bit more like summer.
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Baking with children – Rocky Road

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So the end of lockdown is now in sight (thank goodness!) However, we are still in need of lockdown activities to entertain us in the Little Birdie household so this week I turned to the crowd pleasing (and tasting) activity of baking. Inspired by some leftover mini marshmallows and rich tea biscuits we had, I decided that rocky road would be an easy afternoon bake for us. I’ve made rocky road for the blog before but this was in June 2013 so nearly 8 years ago now (how time flies!) This time I used this BBC Good Food recipe. The great thing about rocky road is that there’s such a variety of ingredients that you can use so you don’t need to be constrained by certain ingredients.
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Piñata drip birthday cake

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So this week my babies turned 4. How time flies when you’re running around after 2 Disney princess-obsessed little ladies. For months the request had been for a yellow, sprinkle cake (very similar to last year’s cake) but then suddenly last week, with 3 days to go this changed to a blue Cinderella cake. After a mad panic, and scouring eBay I found a Cinderella cake topper that would work with what I already had planned (and luckily the blue-ness was quickly forgotten). I decided I wanted to make a few changes to last year’s cake so I thought it might be fun to make it a piñata cake with some sweets in the middle and to also add a drip topping as this is something I had tried a few months ago and felt confident to try again. Luckily the finished article was deemed a success by my harshest critics and the inclusion of Cinderella brought squeals of delight.
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Mince Pie Brownies

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Well here we are post Christmas in Lockdown 3. January has felt like 474 days rather than 31 days and the weather seems to be doing its best to add to the dull and dreary mood. So this week I decided a little motivational baking was needed to cheer up both me and my colleagues at school this week (as contrary to popular belief schools are not closed and teaching at the moment is pretty exhausting.) Shockingly we still had some mince pies in the cupboard (I’m putting this down to a lack of clotted cream to accompany them) so I decided to make Holly Bell’s mince pie brownies. I have made these for the last 3 years for various Christmas gatherings and for our neighbours but have never actually got round to writing them up as a blog post so I decided now was the time to put that right.
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Irish Apple Crumble Cake

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It’s definitely been a very autumnal weekend here in Hampshire with wind, rain and a definite drop in the temperature. We were in need of some afternoon entertainment yesterday so I decided it was a good opportunity to get in the kitchen, use up some Bramley apples and make something comforting and warming. I’ve been pouring over apple cake recipes for a few weeks now and had contemplated making a Dorset Apple Cake but then found this Donal Skehan recipe I’d saved to my Pinterest account.
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1-hour chocolate birthday cake

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It was Mr Birdie’s birthday today so of course myself and my little helpers had to make him a cake. I spotted this Tesco recipe a few weeks ago on my Pinterest feed and saved it thinking it might come in useful. I’m not sure if it truly takes only an hour (especially as I had my little helpers assisting me) but it definitely is a quick and easy recipe that results in a pretty impressive cake.
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Blackberry and peanut butter swirl brownies

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By some kind of miracle I’ve managed 2 bakes in the last week – mostly inspired by the stash of blackberries we’ve gathered on quite a few walks around our local area over the last few weeks. They’ve mostly come to an end now and I’m glad to have stashed some in the freezer but on Tuesday afternoon when I had 2 toddlers to entertain I was glad of the ones that were lurking in the fridge. I decided we’d give this Sainsbury’s Magazine recipe a go. Peanut butter and blackberry is not a combination that I’d initially think of but they do actually work and make a nice alternative to your usual apple and blackberry based autumnal bakes.
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Bramley & blackberry pie

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Well autumn has very definitely arrived which means it’s definitely blackberry and apple pie weather. My little ladies started preschool a few weeks ago and their weekly learning theme for last week was apples. As parents we were actively encouraged to enjoy some apple based activities so I decided it was a good opportunity to make a blackberry and apple pie so we could look at some Bramley apples and enjoy some baking together. Now I’m normally a crumble rather than a pie girl as pastry scares me however I have to say I was pretty pleased with how this turned out. This is a BBC Good Food recipe.
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Raspberry ripple blondies

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When we moved into our house, we were very lucky to inherit some raspberry canes which touch wood have given us an amazing crop every year. We always seem to be a bit overwhelmed with far too many to eat so I decided some baking was in order. I’ve made these chocolate raspberry brownies before but decided after the success of my rhubarb and custard blondies that I would try some blondies instead. I had a few recipes saved to my Pinterest page but I decided to try this Sainsbury’s Magazine recipe. I was a little worried after reading some of the reviews but actually I was pleasantly surprised with how well they turned out and they were well received by everyone who tried them.
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Rhubarb & custard blondies

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And so the lockdown baking continues. What week of lockdown are we in now? The days and weeks have definitely blurred into one. Work provides some kind of routine and I decided a little Friday treat was needed for myself and my colleagues. Mr Birdie had bought some rhubarb and I had been wanting to try making these BBC Good Food rhubarb and custard blondies for a while so I decided to give them a go. I was definitely not disappointed!
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