A cake called Herman

This recipe come with thanks to my mother in law for introducing me to a cake called Herman. To be honest its an age old German Friendship Cake, its delicious, not unlike the Easy Apple Cake I made not long ago but a cake called Herman is much more complicated.

WARNING – a cake called Herman is not for the faint hearted, it needs LOVE, time and most of all amazing patience and it requires some almighty dedication. It goes a little something like this…………………….

You begin with the STARTER – the idea is to share this starter mix with 3 friends who all in turn make their own cake, hence the Friendship cake

A Cake called Herman Sour Dough Starter Recipe

250g flour
2 cups milk
200g sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 Tbsp or 2 packets active dry yeast

Day 1: Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of the sugar over the warm water. Sprinkle yeast over this and let stand in warm place to double in size. (approx. 10 min.)

Mix milk, remaining sugar, flour and yeast mixture in a large plastic or glass container, (metal objects will HURT Herman) Stir, using only a wooden spoon or paddle. Cover loosely or place plate over top of container so Herman can breathe.

Herman doubles, even triples at times of vigorous rising.

Place Herman in a warm place.

The next day……

Day 2. Put him in a big bowl (At least 4pt capacity). Cover Herman loosely so he can breathe. A tea towel or loose lid is ideal.

Days 3 &4 : Stir Herman 2-3 times a day with a wooden spoon (do not use metal, and which you can leave in the bowl)

Day 5: Herman is hungry. Give him the following:-
200mls milk
200g self-raising flour
250g sugar

Days 6,7,8 &9: Stir Herman 2-3 times a day.

Day 10: Herman is hungry again. Give him the same ingredients you gave him on Day 5. Stir well then divide him into 5 equal parts. Give 4 baby Hermans away with a copy of this information. (or keep one back for yourself to grow and redistribute to other friends) Keep the 5th portion to bake.

Day 10: Herman is absolutely starving. He needs a holiday. He likes to go to a hot resort. The oven is his favourite. Pre-heat oven to 170ºC (150ºC fan-assisted oven) and grease a cake tin generously. Prepare him for his holiday using  the following:-

150g self-raising flour,
100g finely chopped nuts/raisins,
200mls oil,
half teaspoon of baking powder,
2 teaspoons cinnamon,
3 eggs, 2 grated apples,
Bake in loaf tin or 9” x 9“ cake tin

To Make Glaze: Combine 100g sifted confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons melted margarine, 2 tablespoons milk. Use immediately to glaze Herman

Give it a go, just to say you’ve done it! Start a craze make a cake called Herman!

My Favourite Pram!

My Favourite Pram!

I currently own 5 prams. Greedy? Well I suppose you might call it greedy but they all have their different uses and I do have a favourite pram. It has however led to me being called both a pram whore and a pushchair guru!

Mamas and Papas Ultima MPX – the most versatile travel system ever! We use this day to day with LissyLou, the car seat clicks straight onto the wheels and off you go. Now she is a bit bigger we use the carrycot on its stand as her bed. We have the toddler seat for when she is too big for her car seat.

Favourite Pram

(Just after C was born…..)






Mamas and Papas Pulse Twin – a light weight twin, umbrella fold so fits easily in even a small car boot. By far not the best twin on the market and it will never be my favourite pram, but it does the job. To be honest we really don’t use it very much. Normally I have one in the pram and either LissyLou in her carrier or C on his reins.

Favourite Pram

Quinny Zapp – my tiny buggy, folds up really small so it will fit in the footwell in the car, great for if you have either a small car or lots of luggage. Great for towns and flat places does struggle on uneven terrain and doesn’t recline so not good if C falls asleep in it!

Silver Cross Halo – bought with the Ventura car seat to use in my VW Lupo (teeny tiny car!) as nothing else fitted in the boot (pre Zapp, when C was still too small for it). I like the Halo a lot, yes its only any good for using in towns or flat places, yes the handles not very nice and the footmuff doesn’t stay on, even after it went in to Silver Cross to see if it was faulty (apparently not) but it does NOT stay on, one little kick from C even as a baby and it would be trailing on the floor. But I love the fabric, I love the way it works and its a great size even for a toddler. I used it the other day and C was really happy in it.

Which leads me to my favourite pram……

We bought the Mamas and Papas 03 Sport because we needed something sturdy and good for walks. We were not disappointed. I wish we had bought it a lot sooner, it is FANTASTIC! Yes, it’s BIG, it doesn’t fold down small, it isn’t exactly pretty  and the rain cover doesn’t fold small enough to fit in the basket – oh I’m not exactly selling it am I? Well here’s what I do like….

  • The suspension and pneumatic wheels make even the most uneven ground a smooth ride, tackling lumps and bumps with ease, it is a dream to push
  • The adjustable handle means it can work for both me (5’8) and my husband (6’0) and neither of us get backache
  • The seat is wide, it easily accommodates C, for my LissyLou it is HUGE.
  • The hood provides great sun shade, so even on the hottest day they can get shelter from the sun, also works pretty well to keep the rain off my toddler who will not have a rain cover on.
  • It has a really easy to use recline system, I can use it one handed, a real bonus when usually I either have a toddler on reins or a baby in a front carrier as well as one in the pram. It can also stop in lots of different recline positions which means you can get it just right for snoozing, or cruizing
  • It is a travel system when used with the car seat, meaning I can transfer straight from car to chair without trouble, it clips easily to the frame without adaptors making it really adaptable.
  • The legrest can be put to different levels too so you can get a really comfy set up to suit your child, I like to put it up when C is asleep
  • It has a good basket that can be zipped shut for security, I can fit loads of shopping in and you can always unzip it fully to fit more in if needs be.
Favourite Pram
Favourite Pram
I use it with a Sheepskin Liner for added comfort, makes it lovely and snuggly and is warm in winter and cool in summer – RESULT
So there you go, my prams and my favourite pram! If money was no object I do covet the following pushchairs in no particular order……
  • Mamas and Papas Mylo (in raspberry just for LissyLou)
  • The Bugaboo Donkey (double – just too beautiful)
  • The EasyWalker Duo (if I needed a small but perfectly formed double but I don’t)
  • The Bugaboo Bee in Mizzoni print (Fashionista daaaaarrrrrrrhhhhhlllllliiiiiiinnnnnnngg)
  • The Stokke Xplory (for its quirky look)
I’m sure there are many many more beautiful pushchairs/prams out there, these are just off the top of my head, now I just need to win the lottery, I’m sure its my turn soon……………………..

The wonderful world of weaning – homemade food

I LOVE making baby food – there I said it! I might be sad, I might be boring but there is something so satisfying and rewarding about a baby eating and enjoying food you have made yourself. I used to make up all sorts of recipes and C ate some amazing things and really surprised people by enjoying everything I offered him, he still eats a really varied healthy diet. I am proud that I was able to make my own food for him to enjoy!

As its about 21mths since I last entered ‘The Wonderful World of Weaning’ I felt a bit unsure as to whether I could remember what babies can have and when. As I really get stuck into weaning LissyLou I feel like I need some reminders of what to do.

So I was really pleased that the lovely Annabel Karmel has sent me her New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner  to read and review.

The blurb:

The number 1 bestseller totally revised with new recipes and lots of colour photography.

Since it was first published in 1991, this essential guide to feeding babies and young children has become established as a classic. Word of mouth recommendation – plus clean plates from the babies themselves – have ensured that the book has remained the number one bestseller for over a decade. With The New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner in your kitchen, your child is guaranteed the very best nutritious start in life.

  • Completely revised and updated edition, endorsed by Great Ormond Street Hospital covers the entire weaning to nursery school period.
  • Nutritional advice on how to give your baby the best start in life.
  • Detailed advice on when to introduce new tastes and textures.
  • Over 200 quick and easy mouth-watering recipes to suit babies, toddlers and the whole family.
  • Time-saving tips and reassuring menu charts to help you shop and plan ahead.
What I thought:   I sat down with a big cup of tea to get to know this book. I had read one of Annabel’s books when I was weaning C and found it to be easy to read and offer some great recipes for making your own food. Now the new edition of  New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner features great photos alongside the recipes, it makes it a lot easier to read and of course more interesting

The baby purees are really interesting, yes she talks about your basics like carrot, apple and banana but you’ll also find Leek, Sweet Potato and Pea and something I didn’t know babies could have Dried Apricot, Peach or Prune.

Alongside the recipes you will feed meal planners that help you know how much you should be feeding your baby and when, so for example, week one you start with all milk apart from lunch, week two you have breakfast, lunch and milk and week and increase from there. It was useful to know that you can work up to three meals pretty quickly!

The book really comes into its own from the 2nd stage of weaning as you introduce meats, fish or even tofu! There are some great recipes to try.

The book goes all the way through to food for toddlers, featuring delicious sounding recipes I must try with C like Shredded Beef with Broccoli and Annabel’s Tasty Beefburgers. Hmmm might have to give those a whirl…

Right the way through there are the meal planners so if you need ideas of how much to feed your little one you’ll find it right through to toddlerhood.

This book is great for those who have never weaned a baby before or like me have forgotten what they can have and when. I won’t be following the puree recipes myself as I prefer to come up with my own concoctions based on what I find at the supermarket or green grocers. I just mix flavours together until it looks and tastes good. But if in doubt chances are you will find a suitable puree in her book. It has given me some interesting things to make for C though and he has been very interested in seeing what looks tasty.

Good book, available on line via Annabel’s website or in large book retailers or at Amazon.co.uk