Colourful Dove creates fine bone china tableware sets for children that are really fun and different. There are four designs, each featuring their own animal, in a fresh bright colour. Each set consists of a little mug, perfectly sized for a child’s hand, and a bowl and plate.
Ava owns a Colourful Dove set (the lion!), and I’m so impressed by the quality. The porcelain is beautiful and thin, but at the same time it’s incredibly strong. I also like the clean and modern graphics of the items!
Each set comes in a beautiful gift box — a good holiday present, maybe?
For this week’s The Little Things, I’m showing you how to make a super sweet, and super easy-to-make child’s apron out of a dish towel! No kidding, if you have a sewing machine (or know someone who does!), you can make this apron.
The sweet image above (drawn by Sara Musch) shows you exactly how to do it. Click here for your free download! And yes — it is really that easy. You only need to sew seven straight lines! Two for the arm holes, and five for the pockets…
Enjoy making this… (And please share the result in the comments below!)
PS This is the third post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you Maud Fontein for taking the beautiful photos, and Sara Musch for the sweet download! I used an apron and shoelaces from Hema, and Ava’s shirt is from Nils & Happy to see you.
With autumn, and being cosy and warm in our minds, Ava and her little friends Juul and Kate helped me make a delicious pumpkin soup for lunch. They cut carrots, potatoes and onions and were great little kitchen assistants! (If you would like to do this at home with your kids, just click here for your free PDF download!).
Cooking with children is a lovely activity, and they can learn so many things about eating healthily and seasonally and about fresh ingredients… and of course, cooking their own meal will motivate them to eat it as well! Juul, Kate and Ava sat down at a beautifully set table and very proudly ate their own soup… A true little lady luncheon for the three little girl friends!
PS – This is the second post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you Maud Fontein for taking such gorgeous photos, Sara Musch for the beautiful download, and Bianca from A Day With Kate for letting us use your super stylish house! Paper Straws, Wooden Cutlery and Mae Engelgeer Tea Towel are available from A Day With Kate.
I have been in France six years now and I feel that I’m now getting to grips with the country. I have figured out the school system, the tax system and the obsession with dossiers. So now, I am always thrilled when I discover something new! This weekend, it was the fact that you can walk into almost any French bakery (and there are many) and ask for baguette dough, already bashed around and risen to perfection. It costs the same as a loaf of bread and the possibilities are endless.
I made a couple of trays full of fresh pizza and some foccacia with the leftovers as we had friends over for dinner. I think it would be lovely to pick up the dough one night and then bake some little rolls for breakfast. Someone told me that you can even buy brioche dough, which you can then roll out, fill and experiment with. Voila, you learn something new every day!
I am wondering, can you do the same in other countries?
My daughter Violette is going through one of these major no-food phases. She isn’t eating anything, and mealtimes are taking a life and a day.
I know I should ignore it, but it is difficult, especially when I have gone to great lengths to cook something special. (I think she took the biscuit when she announced she did not like bread anymore: because baguette was too crusty and normal bread too soft!)
She did, however, eat her body weight in a bowl of the best Pad Thai I have ever made, so I quickly wanted to post about it, just in case anyone else has a non-eater in their midst. I left out the radish, the dried shrimp (as I did not have any), and the chilli (I added some chilli sauce for myself and Coco later). I also used spring onions instead of Chinese chives. Even this simplified version was delicious and easy to whip together.
I always forget how much children (and adults) enjoy eating with chopsticks and slurping noodles – the novelty factor never wears off!
Have you ever tried these beauties in the photo? They are called plum dumplings and I think they originate in Austria (correct me if I’m wrong). They are also very popular in Slovenia where they are made in every household. My mom made them at least once every week or so and now I carry on the tradition. It’s one of those dishes that no one leaves a bite behind.
My favorite are plum but you can also fill them with other fruits like strawberries or apricots and I use spelt flour instead of plain white one and there’s truly no difference – except for making them a tad healthier.
And the great thing about them is that if you make to much dough you can use the extra to make gnocchi! If you don’t know them either that’s an Italian pasta that goes amazing with any kind of sauce – Tila can’t get enough of them ever since she was a baby.
I have tried a few recipes by now, but this is the one my boyfriend ordered me to stick to:
250 g spelt flour (half fine and half coarse)
1 tbsp butter
20 pitted plums (or any other fruit )
For the topping:
sugar (I use coconut sugar)
Peel and boil the potatoes in a slightly salted water then drain and mash well along with one spoon of butter, a pinch of salt and nutmeg. Add the eggs and flour and shape the dough.
Now roll a quarter of the dough on a generously floured surface and cut to 5 equal pieces. Pat them flat and place one pitted plum on each, pinch together and roll in flour to shape the dumpling (there is a great demonstration by Tila on my Instagram).
Boil slowly until they pop up to the surface and then for about 15 minutes more.
Finally melt the butter in a large frying pan, stir in the breadcrumbs wait until nicely browned then roll the dumplings in the mixture until completely coated (straight from the water as the breadcrumbs stick on best this way).
Before serving sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon! Yummm I wish I has some in the freezer right now…
To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!
My family comes from the Limousin region in France, which is known for 2 reasons: for being the name sake for big, long, black cars with darkened out windows and also for being the originator of the clafoutis, one of the most delicious desserts ever made in France!
Now, I have to admit that for the last few years I had pushed clafoutis to the back of my mind, possibly because of having reached a clafoutis overload after many years of abuse. I am happy to say that clafoutis is back in my life and so far I have rolled out a cherry version, a plum and a pear version and it only has been 2 weeks!
Here is the recipe which is based on my grandmother’s original recipe:
300 ml milk
75 g of sugar
75 g of flour
40g of melted butter
vanilla extract or a pack of vanilla sugar
around 600 g of whatever fruit you fancy (traditionally cherries are used and the stones are always left in. My guess is that it means that there is less fruit juice mixing in with the batter, as the cherries are still intact, but this is only a guess…)
I usually whisk together the eggs and the milk with the butter and then add in the sugar and the flour. I then, if I possibly can, let the batter rest for 30 minutes or so, as I read somewhere this lets the flour absorb the fluid. Meanwhile I heat up the oven to about 180 degrees and butter a dish. I then place the fruit in the dish pour the batter over and bake for about 30 minutes or until it is nice and golden. Enjoy!
PS in the Clafoutis for the photo above I used Mirabelle plums, which are some of my favourites
Some kids are already back at school, others will start next week. And of course, young ones are still home or will be starting at nursery. In any case, casual summer lunches are over and set lunchtimes will soon be happening in either a home or school setting. This week we’ve rounded up ten great products to make lunchtime a more stylish, eco, and efficient affair! Check out our selection here.
It’s courgette season! A good excuse to make these delicious muffins… They are yummy — crunchy on the outside, and because of the courgette, lovely and moist inside.
Here’s the recipe:
- 225 g grated courgette
- 125 g sugar
- 1 egg
- 125 ml vegetable oil
- 200 g flour
- a pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- the grated zest and juice of one lemon
Preheat your oven to 160° C (320° F). In a mixing bowl beat eggs, sugar, oil and courgette. In a separate bowl sift flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Fold the combined dry ingredients into the courgette mixture. Add the lemon zest, juice and salt. Don’t overmix the batter! Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (You can also make a loaf — in that case, cook for about 50 minutes.)
We Dutchmen love our pancakes! We eat them for lunch or dinner, but never for breakfast. We like them savoury, with cheese or bacon, or sweet, with apple, raisins or banana and with topping like icing sugar or treacle. We even combine the salt and the sweet — we poor treacle over our bacon pancakes. Yum!
In summer, I like to serve Dutch pancakes with sugar and lemon wedges. Here’s my recipe, which I think is the best:
- 250 g flour
- 500 ml or 2 cups of milk
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 bag baking powder (or 8 grams, or 2 teaspoons)
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- a good pinch of salt
Beat the eggs. Combine flour with baking powder, sugar and salt. Add eggs to flour, combine, and add a third of the milk. Whisk to get rid of lumps, add rest of the milk in parts. Get rid of all the lumps. (You can leave the batter to stand for up to an hour to improve, but don’t bother if you’re in a hurry.) Heat up a large frying pan. Melt butter in the pan, and pour in batter (I use a ladle). Evenly cover the bottom of the pan, trying to make the pancake as thin as possible. This is easiest if you pick up the pan and swirl the batter around. Flip pancake over when golden — try to throw it in the air and flip it over that way! Cook other side as well. Stack up pancakes and serve with sugar and lemon for a yummy summer lunch! Enjoy!
PS For the stack in the photo above I doubled the ingredients.
I’ve already shared this recipe on my blog but it’s so amazing I just have to post it here as well. I’ve tested it during the hot summer days and it works like a charm. It’s natural, organic and like I said – it’s a recipe but it’s not food, in fact it’s deodorant! Yes, organic and home made from things you probably already have at home and it really, trully works. That’s something I had problems finding – a natural deodorant that actually does its job.
But if you’re skeptical you can simply try the baking soda first, since coconut oil is an ingredient that only makes it easier to apply and to help moisturize the skin and the essential oil is optional and you can easily skip it – it only makes it smell nicer.
About two empty deodorant containers or small glass jars
6 tbs coconut oil
4 tbs baking soda
4 tbs of arrowroot or cornstarch?a few drops of essential oil (if you’d like to add a little fragrance)
Melt the coconut oil on a small fire and add the rest of the ingredients, mix well, wait so it cools down a bit pour into jars or containers and wait for it to cool down completely (you can put them into a fridge).
Voilà! That is all!
Have you heard of Rachel Khoo of Little Paris Kitchen? I have to admit, I am a little obsessed by her. I love the idea of a cute English girl cooking French dishes in a tiny kitchen in Paris.
I think what won me over was her video I found on Youtube of how to make Croque Madame Muffins, (probably the best ever combination of French and English fusion cooking). Also check out the choquettes which are possibly my favourite French pastries in the world and the Madeleines with raspberries and lemon curd.
There is something very re-assuring to see someone make complex French dishes on two hot plates and a tiny oven. It makes me feel like I could do it too!
I’m one of those (unorganised) mums who doesn’t carry around a baby bag. I usually just tote around a canvas bag with my wallet, phone, snacks, toys (and various junk!) and a few spare nappies and wipes. Nothing is ordered or separated and when I need to change Marlow, I usually end up stressfully digging in my bag for that loose nappy at the bottom.
Thankfully, Helen from Messy Me just sent me one of her oilcloth clutch bags which is just the thing I needed to keep nappies and wipes in their own little designated place within my everyday tote. The bag also includes a wipe-clean oilcloth mat for changing babies on the go. Simple, but perfectly functional!
Messy Me has a great selection of oilcloth products, including bibs, tunics, highchair covers, mats, and tablecloths, perfect for messy meals and messy art projects, etc. I love the fun star designs, and how pretty is the floral design too? All the products are available to purchase on the Messy Me site.
We are big fans of the Beaba Babycook! In fact, I gave ours away a couple years ago, thinking I wasn’t going to have any more babies (whoops!) … but now that Marlow is eating solids and I’m making food for her, I just had to get a new one. It saves time, eliminates mess, and makes the whole weaning process so much easier.
The Babycook is a 4-in-1 product that steam cooks, blends, defrosts and reheats. In the initial weaning stages you can steam veggies (carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes broccoli, courgettes, etc.) and fruits (apples, pears, and anything else that needs to be steamed before blending) and then easily blend it all in the same contraption. You can also use it to make little smoothies from fruits and veggies like strawberries, blueberries, mango, banana, spinach, etc. Now that Marlow is eating fish and chicken, I’ve also been adding that to steamed veggies and blending it all up for protein meals. Easy peasy.
The Babycook is available from VUP Baby, along with other great Beaba products (I love their spoons and storage pots!) And when you’re finished weaning, it’s wise not to give it away (!!) because you can also use it as a little mini-prep for sauces, or smaller smoothies, etc.
p.s. The VUP Baby sale is now on! With up to 60% off! So definitely pop over to browse their sale section.
A superette in France is a corner shop. Now, we do pride ourselves over here on our fabulous food but, secretly, most French do like a bit of junk: biscuits, chocolate, a frozen Lasagne — it is not all croissants and oysters over here!
Now, the good thing is that all this superette food has inspired 2 girls to come up with a genius blog: La Super Superette. They try and recreate all of this crazy food in their little kitchen, thus rendering the food from junk food to home made delicacies without any preservatives. Ever tried to make your own Kinder Egg? Ever had a craving for a Tuc biscuit? The answers are all on their blog.
There is now even a cookbook, which, unfortunately, is only in French at the moment. The blog is also only in French, but is pretty easy to read with google translate.
Did you know that last week was National Picnic Week here in the UK? It’s an initiative to encourage people to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. (With this lousy weather we’re having, it’s true we all need a bit of encouragement! Blaaah!)
I love, love these little water bottles that I discovered today at the Noeuf Pop Up Shop, which happens to be just around the corner from where I work (If you happen to be in the rue des Petits Ecuries in the 10th arrondissement in Paris until the 22nd of June, do pop in!).
We use these types of water bottles a lot, as I try to keep our use of plastic bottles to a minimum. Often they are practical but not very pretty, so it is nice to see some pretty, colourful designs on something we use almost every day!
After baking it, cut it into layers and fill with your favourite filling. It was soo much fun to see the cake grow inside the tin can. And really, it was very easy. We think is a nice and different way to bake! Hope you like it!
A few days back I took a photo of the porringer I had as a baby, and which I still use daily for my children. It is just the perfect size and shape, shallow with a ridge, so it’s easy to scoop out the purees or soup. The thick stoneware ensures the food quickly cools down a little, but also keeps the food naturally lukewarm afterwards. I love that porringer, and I still remember eating from it as a child! (On Instagram, there were a few people who told me they had exactly the same porringer as a child, and many of them still have them! Do you still have yours?)
I really treasure these old relics from my childhood, and I love it when I visit friends or family from my parents’ generation, and they pull out the stoneware dishes and silverware they used as a child and still have and use for their grandchildren.
Sarah Nicholas Williams of Radish Moon recognised the beauty and practicality of those vintage dishes, and started producing a series of handmade stoneware porringers adorned with her gorgeous, whimsical watercolour illustrations. And they are absolutely beautiful! They are dishwasher and microwave safe, so practical for families, and have a similar shape and thickness to my vintage Peter Rabbit dish (which I’ve tried and tested for long enough to know it is perfect)! I have already placed my order, hoping that one day, my children can pull out a Radish Moon porringer for their grandchildren.
I had my 21st birthday (a girl can dream, right?) last month and decided to gift myself with my favorite cake – carrot cake with yoghurt icing. I wanted to come as close as possible to the one they sell in Starbucks here in Germany (it is to DIE for!!!) and I think I kind of did (next time I just need to add walnuts).
I found this amazing recipe, made a few of my own adjustments and the outcome is one easy-to-make, super delicious and one of the moistest cakes I ever had! Plus it’s much much healthier than the one from Starbucks. It goes something like this:
2 cups (300 g) whole spelt flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1?2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon (or even more if you love it as much as I do)
1 tsp. ginger
1 cup sugar
3?4 cup applesauce
1?2 cup olive oil (or any other kind)
400 g finely grated carrots
600 g cream cheese
400 g Greek yoghurt
100 white chocolate
Powdered sugar to taste (I used about 3 spoons)
Preheat the oven to 175°C. In one bowl mix all the dry ingredients minus sugar (flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger). Now in a large bowl combine the rest of the ingredients except for the carrots (eggs, sugar, apple sauce and oil). Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined. Add the grated carrots.
Bake twice – so use only half of the batter first and bake for about 13 – 15 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Let cool for a minute or two and turn onto a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with the rest of the batter.
For the frosting first melt the white chocolate and set aside. Then beat together cream cheese, yoghurt and powdered sugar. Make sure the chocolate is lukewarm and slowly mix it in. Put the frosting into a refrigerator for about 2 hours.
Layer the bottom and the side of the cake pan with parchment paper like this. Cut one cake on half horizontally and put one half into the pan, spread about 1?4 of the icing, put the other half on, spread another quarter of icing and repeat the same with the other cake. Leave in a refrigerator over night then put the cake on a cake tray and spread the rest of the icing over the top of the cake.