Saturday was a wash-out, wasn't it? And as for Sunday .... even worse. So we stayed in. And had a bit of a baking bonanza.
We baked two dozen or so biscuit bears using an Annabel Karmel cookie recipe, and took our decorative inspiration from Mini Grey's wonderful story, Biscuit Bear. In the past I have chosen the healthy-option for decoration; chopped apricots, raisins, cranberries and fruit-puree 'glue', but this time we went sugar-tastic, it was simply too rainy to be healthy. So our bears were dressed with sugar-strands, silver balls and icing of many colours, just like in the story.
Our biscuits were a little crumbly (melt-in-the-mouth, let's say) and I'm afraid some bears did not make it through this decorating stage. Yes, briefly a few severed bear-heads and limbs lay scattered on the kitchen table. My two children destroyed the evidence of this in a few crafty nibbles, so it never quite resembled the scene of devastation after Bongo the dog shows up in Biscuit Bear - he 'liked biscuits (but not in a way that is necessarily good for the biscuits).'
And so to our banana cake (recipe found a while back in a Guardian freebie booklet called Cooking for Kids) which I had to hastily photograph today before its fruity wonders were polished off. A firm favourite in our family; it makes the house smell divine and convinces us there's wholesome farmhouse goodness in our kitchen for as long as there's an available slice.
We've made it so many times now we've changed its recipe to suit us perfectly. For example, we always add extra banana, apricots and raisins and we reduce the amount of oil by 20ml or so - it's still wonderfully moist. It takes longer to cook than the suggested 45 minutes though - we bake it for at least an hour but turn the oven's temperature to 170C after 45 minutes to prevent the top from scorching.
So, on rainy days (or Mondays), if we're hanging around with nothing to do but frown, we often end up in our oven-warmed kitchen, with Classic FM and some favourite baking recipes to chase away the blues. It works almost every time.