This is a cake baked by our son. The photograph is old and he is considerably more grown up now, but he baked this cake of his own volition and completely unaided when he was fourteen. What I love about these pictures, apart from the fact that the cake looks delicious, is that they remind me of his delight at being able to bake what he wanted and produce such an excellent result. You can clearly see his joy in the photograph.

I love that about having children.

I am not a push over mum, but neither would I say I was strict and I love to give my children freedom to express themselves as much as can be reasonably accommodated, within the confines of running a family that is not entirely chaotic. One way I do this, is by giving them the opportunity to cook and bake as often as possible and at as much short notice to myself as I can manage without having a hernia!

How this works out in practice makes for interesting viewing. More often than not, someone usually has to dash out to the supermarket or to Grandma’s for more eggs, flour, cocoa powder, etc… or some obscure ingredient that I probably have, but which has dried up (gelatin leaves), turned rancid (suet) or just generally given up the ghost (arrowroot, essence of rose water). In this instance, I’m pretty sure that we had everything my son needed to proceed enthusiastically, so the whole exercise was low stress.

Nowadays, our son still makes cakes on a regular basis, but you are more likely to see him cooking a huge plate of bacon and eggs or whizzing up a protein rich smoothie in the Nutribullet, Whatever he or any of his siblings are cooking, it’s great to see them so relaxed and adept at the stove. And…bearing in mind that it is no small job feeding a family of eight, if they are able to prepare themselves (and others!) a delicious, filling & nutritious meal, that goes a considerable way towards helping me too.