28 March 2012



Big Owlet used to love baking. When it was just us two at home all day, she was always my little sous chef. She had her own apron and wooden spoon and most days we baked. Then something happened when Little Owlet came long. She seemed to lose interest, or I did... I'm not sure what happened. But when Big Owlet went off to kindergarten, Little owlet took her place by my side in the kitchen and although she helps occasionally, the enthusiasm just hasn't been there.


The other day I suggested that she and I bake some bread together. "Ok, but I have to bake my own bread, just for me", she said. Big Owlet is all about making and doing things for herself at the moment. She's showing her independence and that she's capable of looking after herself. I get that. But gosh it can be counterproductive in a family where you need to share resources and do things for the group. So I asked her to take the reigns and step up to head chef for the day. And she did gladly. She baked joyfully and independently while I sat in the kitchen window and watched, Tiny Owlet on my knee. Little Owlet baked alongside her, sous chef as usual. Big Owlet was so proud when she presented the final product and we all sat down to eat it warm. With butter and jam and big cups of tea.


It was such an important thing for her to do, and through it we can all see that she's ready for more. That she's wanting to help and contribute and be responsible for more. And that she does enjoy doing things for the family after all, and sharing the results of her efforts. She's starting to understand what cooking is all about and today she took her place beside me as sous chef again.

Chocolate, pear and walnut #muffin #baking #chocolate #seasonal #yum

We baked muffins. Chocolate, pear and walnut, with neighbourhood grown pears, our own walnuts, harvested this morning, and an egg, borrowed from next door. She went back next door to share a freshly baked muffin with the neighbour when we were done, proudly presenting her own efforts... Learning, growing, baking, loving... It's what makes this unschooling life so special and so worthwhile.

Chocolate, Pear and Walnut Muffins

120g self-raising flour
30g cocoa
pinch of salt
1/2 cup caster sugar (I imagine you could use rapadura, but we were out)
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
50g melted butter
1 pear, peeled, cored and diced
small handful of chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 180ÂșC
Line 6 - 8 1/2 cup muffin pans with paper cases
Mix flour, salt and sugar together. Add vanilla, egg, milk and butter and beat until smooth. Fold through pear and walnuts. Spoon into prepared muffin tins and bake for 15-20 mins. Cool and serve with or without cream. 


  1. Thanks Lauren I was hoping you would share this recipe. I bought some pears at the market today and was wondering what to do with them, besides just eating them.
    My middle was always my sous chef now he is at school I am training up the youngest to take his place. Weekends are great though because I have all my 'helpers' around me!
    I can see how homeschooling would facilitate a love of cooking and baking as well as many other things.
    Jen xx


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