Budget baking with The Bobs

Jess Neale

leaf little bobEntertaining the kids on a budget is not always the easiest thing in the world to do, especially with the days getting colder and being stuck indoors… but with a little help from the neighbours’ apple tree, we just about managed it!

My gorgeous niece, as I may have mentioned, thinks she is currently running for the toddler Olympics. Either that or she just likes running away from me. She told me yesterday with her most serious face that she is as fast as Buzz Lightyear, then swiftly jumped off her chair to demonstrate. So to keep her occupied, we gathered some leaves, glue and some paper to make a collage. Hours of fun. No really, I had to drag her away!

Then there’s Big Bob. Once I had grabbed his attention away from Mario Cart we had plenty of fun making Apple Crumble together and doing some leaf rubbing. Now I’m not going to lie to you, I had it all planned out in my head about this wonderful afternoon of magnificent crafty creations and some impressive baking, but things don’t always go quite to plan, and to be honest, entertaining the kids doesn’t have to be perfect. It was just lovely to have some quality time with them and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Baking with the kids

I’m not claiming to be the next Delia, but I don’t mind a bit of cooking, and I love a cake, or dessert, or, well, anything sweet. You really don’t have to be a master chef to throw together an apple crumble, nor do you need many pennies. So with some cooking apples nabbed from our kind neighbour down the road, we got these peeled, baked and ready to be put to bed. Then it was time to make the crumble (the best bit).

A cheap and easy recipe using just flour, margarine and sugar, the method doesn’t need six hands but it helps! Big Bob spooned in the flour while Little Bob sort of prodded it through the sieve and added the margarine. Extremely technical stuff.

apple crumbleThen with sleeves rolled up and ready for action, the two Bob’s attacked it. I can’t promise there wasn’t any mess. In fact, I think Little Bob had a flour moustache for a while – well it is Movember after all! We then added the sugar, sprinkled the crumble very carefully (not) over the apples, and popped in the oven until golden. YUM.

As you may have gathered there was a bit of mess to clear up while the crumble was cooking and as much as I try not to treat the little people as my slaves, there’s no harm in getting them to help out. Not only does it save you time but it also teaches them basic life skills early on and most young children actually seem to enjoy it!

So the kids went home happy with a handful of leaves stuck to some paper and a belly full of crumble, we even had a Katy Perry sing-off in the car on the journey back… Little Bob totally beat me.