The new series of The Great British Bake Off has started and once again the nation has gone baking mad. This year, even the Gruffalo (yes, the one from the famous picture book by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler) has got his bake on, with a new book Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes. This new recipe book is a fantastic collection of bakes and makes that you can cook along with the kids. Tempted to try Scrambled Snake, Fox Sandwiches, Owl Ice Cream, or Gruffalo Crumble? Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes has 24 recipes, straight out of the deep dark wood and is a fantastic introduction to cooking and baking for Gruffalo fans.
The recipes are arranged into four sections: Scrambled Snake and Other Breakfasts, Deep Dark Wood Dips and Other Snacks, Turned-Out Toes and Other Meals and finally, Gruffalo Crumble and other Sweet Treats.
When the lovely people at Macmillan Children’s Books asked if we wanted to give these recipes a try, we were ready for the challenge. So far we have tried four of the recipes, some more tricky than others but all of them ended with delicious, actually edible results! Want to see how we got on?
Orange Eye Pie and Woodland Salad
I haven’t made pastry – well, probably since I was my son’s age and I was a bit flabbergasted at how easy it was. These cute orange eye cheese pies were really easy to make and the recipe has tips for each of the steps that are easiest for children to get involved with. I hadn’t read the small print and so we only had cheddar in our orange eye pies, but next time we make them I will get an orange cheese, like Red Leicester. They are quick to cook too – only 15 minutes in the oven, which is great for young kids who don’t have a lot of patience waiting for the results of their labour.
We had our orange eye pies with the Woodland Salad, only I didn’t have all the ingredients (can you see a theme developing here?). The tomato toadstools and cucumber trees are so cute and actually really easy to do, you just need to imagine that they also come with salad leaves, walnuts and pretty carrot flowers. You can have the pies hot or cold, so you can make them in advance and have them cold for a Gruffalo party, or have them hot for tea and take leftovers out for lunch the next day.
Purple Prickle Pancakes
Purple Prickle Pancakes are filed under ‘breakfasts’, however, we had these little gems for dessert one evening and they were a real winner. The batter for the pancakes is so easy to make that The Wild One made it himself, then I did the cooking and we shared the eating. These were delicious drizzled with honey and Cub happily joined in with eating the purple prickle pancakes too. This was another recipe that was quick to make and quick to cook, so perfect for impatient and hungry kids.
After watching the bakers on The Great British Bake Off whipping up lemon drizzle cakes I decided to have a go at the Gruffalo Cake. The cake starts as a square chocolate cake and then you need to cut out the shape of the Gruffalo before icing and decorating. The steps in Gruffolo Crumble and Other Recipes are easy to follow and I only made one slight error as my Gruffalo’s ears fell off when I transferred him to a cake board. The chocolate buttercream is very forgiving and they were easily stuck back on! You can download a template for the Gruffalo Cake here.
The eyes are made from the centre of two jaffa cakes and I used Smarties for the purple prickles and the poisonous wart.
If I make this beast again I might cut the sponge in half and fill it with buttercream before icing and decorating it, to keep the sponge moist, but I was quite pleased with this first attempt. The kids loved the cake and did actually recognise that it was the Gruffalo, which I am taking as a win!
Finally, I couldn’t really test a recipe book called Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes, without making some Gruffalo Crumble! The blackcurrant and apple crumble has a delicious mixture of spice and sweetness, which means that I have now binned my standard crumble recipe for this scrummy version. Genuinely, it is the most delicious crumble I have ever eaten. This recipe got a huge thumbs up from everyone and I am sure that it will see us through many rainy Sunday afternoons this Winter, as The Wild One can help chop the apples, mix the crumble and add the purple prickles.
Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes is definitely staying in our kitchen. The only problem is deciding what to cook next. Will it be the Frog Muffin, Toadstool Pizza or Owl Ice Cream? If you like involving your children with cooking in the kitchen, or have a Gruffalo party coming up, this recipe book is a must.
Disclosure: the lovely people at Macmillan Children’s Books sent me a copy of Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes for the purpose of the review. The cooking and the eating is all my own work and my review is honest and fair.