Panda Scones | Frances Quinn

I’m excited to share with you all a family friendly and fun-to-make recipe from the winner of the Great British Bake Off, Frances Quinn. These yummy Panda scones recipe has been dedicated by Frances to Tian-Tian, the panda at Edinburgh Zoo currently being encouraged to create her own little Pandas.


California Prune Panda Scones


- 100g California Prunes

- 300g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

- 100g slightly salted butter, cut into pieces

- 100g caster sugar

- 150ml whole milk

- 1tsp vanilla extract

- 300g California Prunes

- 300ml double cream



- Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.

- Sift the flour into a large bowl.

- Remove 1 tablespoon of the flour and place it into another smaller bowl. Using scissors, cut 100g of the California Prunes into the flour in small pieces. Toss the California Prunes around in the flour to fully coat them and stop them sticking to one another. Set aside.

- Rub the butter into the flour in the big bowl with your fingertips to create a fine breadcrumb mixture.

- Stir in the sugar and then stir and toss through the cut up California Prunes and remaining flour from the bowl.

- Stir the vanilla extract into the milk and make a well in the dry mix and add the liquid, saving a little back to paint the top of the scones with. Fold through with a spoon or spatula to combine. Then use your hands-lightly dusted with flour if necessary-and gently bring the mixture together into a ball, picking up any dry bits of flour from the base of the bowl. Transfer onto a lightly floured surface.

- Pat or roll out the dough with a rolling pin to no less than 3cm deep.

- Leave to sit for a few minutes while you cut out some non-stick parchment paper and line a flat baking tray.

- Take a 6cm plain circular cutter and dip in some flour, to prevent the cutter sticking to the scones. Press firmly into the rested dough, trying not to twist the cutter as you do, as this will result in a lopsided scone. Pick up and gently press the dough out on to the prepared baking sheet.

- You may need to use your scissors to trim the California Prunes from the base of the scones.

- Repeat until you have cut as many as you can and then gently press together the remaining dough and cut up bits of trimmed California Prunes if there are any. Repeat the process again, you are ideally looking for 6 full complete scones, which when cut in half will make 12 Panda faces, with any leftover dough and scraps making up smaller scone titbits to be nibbled on while decorating the California Prune Pandas later!

- Brush the top of the scones with the remaining vanilla milk and bake near the top of the pre-heated oven for approx. 10/15 minutes until risen and lightly golden brown.

- Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

- While baking and cooling, prepare the California Prunes features for the Panda’s faces.

- To create the eyes patches, carefully slice through 12 California Prunes to create 24 flat eye patches.

- For the ears cut 12 California Prunes in half and set aside with the eye patches. To make the noses and pupils, carefully cut out 12 small triangles and use the remaining scraps to cut out little bits of California Prune to make 24 pupils. Set everything aside. If you have made more than 6 scones, feel free to cut out more California Prune Panda features.

- Place the cream into a medium bowl and whip to soft peaks. Be careful not to over-beat as the cream will thicken as it’s piped. Transfer the mixture into a disposable piping bag and cut off the tip to about 1cm. Pipe the whites of the Panda’s eyes on to the California Prune Panda eye patches you have set aside. Using the tip of a knife or cocktail stick carefully place the cut-out California Prune pupils onto the piped cream within the Panda’s eye patches.

- Once the scones have cooled, carefully cut in half and cut off another section of the piping bag to approx 3cm and divide and pipe the cream onto the halved scones. Using a palette knife or rounded knife, spread the cream over their surface to create a smooth Panda face.

- Now place the California Prune Panda features on to each scone face, starting with the eyes, then ears and finally nose. You can make smaller or bigger scones as you desire. To make smaller scones, use a smaller plain cutter and use more California Prunes to make the features of the California Prune Panda’s.


Enjoy knowing you’re getting one of your 5 a day via a California Prune Panda Scone! Three dried California Prunes constitutes to one of your 5 a day and that’s exactly how many you will find within each Panda’s face.

You can also follow the step-by-step video of how to make these, by Frances, here:

Rebecca x

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Easter Crafts & Baking

I love celebrating Easter but find that other than reading about the Easter story and then having an Easter egg hunt there’s not much else to do… I have scoured the t’internet to find some cute things to do with the family at Easter time to make it more of a special event and hopefully help to remember the reason for the season.


click on the image for free printables from



Cute hand print flowers



Too cute – footprint chicks




cute and easy no bake crispy treats with mini-eggs



Or if you’re feeling a little braver, how cute are these Easter chick macarons??


Hope you have a fantastic Easter with your family – hope you enjoy the video below, it’s one of my favourite songs.

Rebecca x

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…the newest addition to Family U: Chloe Rebecca



Chloe made her way into the world on Tuesday 1st April at 10m, weighing 8lbs 12oz.

I was booked in to be induced that day (thankfully they wouldn’t let me wait the usual two weeks overdue to be induced due to a few complications) but they had left it open-ended as to what type of delivery I would be having…

Regular readers of the blog will know that I had an emergency c-section with Max so with this pregnancy I was left with the decision of vbac or an elective section. There was a point where I thought the decision would be taken out of my hands but in the end it came down to my choice for a vbac delivery. I was seeing a consultant basically every week for the last 6 weeks of pregnancy and though that was the plan, things we definitely not set in stone and the consultants couldn’t make up their mind as to what would be best.

Baby’s head was really not in the right place and things were not looking ready for labour at all. When the appointment was made for the 1st April it was put down as an induction / C-section, so still, right up until the very end, things were not clear what I would be having. It was quite exciting the night before we were due to go into hospital, I hardly slept due to the anticipation of knowing I would soon be holding my daughter. Max was with grandparents so there was time for an episode of  One Born Every Minute (yes, I know) and get the last bits of my bag packed.

Rocking up to the hospital bright and early, things were really quiet on delivery suite and we were taken straight to a room to get on with things. The consultant, as well as midwife (and student midwife and student doctor!) checked things out and again, I was told baby wasn’t looking ready for labour at all. They tried to break my waters. No joy. They said the next step would be hormones to try and induce or a C-section. My mind was racing and heart pounding – would I be having a section after all that?



It was recommended to us that C-section would be the route to go down as in their experience, if they tried to induce me in the current state, it would most likely lead to a c-section anyway, but that would be more than 24 hours later. So, C-section it was.

chloe2 chloe1

But however the method of delivery, we have our beautiful girl safely here with us. Max thinks ‘baby sister funny’ and is adamant that Chloe is not her name, it’s baby sister. He is good with her though and know they will be great friends as they grow up. So crazy we are now a family of four.



Rebecca x

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Prune and Pecan Praline Blondie

“California prunes and chocolate make a stunning combination and are often used with dark chocolate, but this time, I have decided to use real white chocolate, praline and pecans alongside the prunes to showcase their versatility, flavour, texture and colour. It’s always a privilege to use stunning ingredients – especially when the results are inspiring and so full of flavour.

“Everyone knows I’m a huge lover of prunes, especially when used as an ingredient for chocolate-making or dessert-baking, so this gave me the opportunity to create something sophisticated, easy and innovative with California prunes and white chocolate. After days of experimenting I decided to use white chocolate so that the prunes shine through and become the hero ingredient and taste.

“So the California prune and pecan praline Blondie was born, a soft, creamy and elegant cake inspired by classic dark chocolate brownies, with added hazelnut praline, toasted pecans, lashings of real white chocolate and generous amounts of California prunes for texture, sweetness and colour.”


Ingredients – for an 8” x 10” brownie tin. Makes 12-16 Blondies

 - 200g Salted butter

- ½ tsp sea salt, crushed

- 160g Unrefined golden caster sugar

- 320g White chocolate

- 3 Medium free range eggs

- 280g Plain flour

- 150g Chopped California prunes

- 50g Hazelnut praline paste or nut butter

- 65g Pecan halves chopped


To make:

- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

- Line your baking tin with greaseproof paper so that the sides are covered too.

- Melt the butter, chopped prunes, salt and sugar in a saucepan until it begins to simmer.

- Remove from the heat and add the broken up chocolate, whisking well. This mixture will look a little split but this is correct.

- Whisk the eggs and strain onto the chocolate mixture, mixing well until smooth.

- Now add all the flour and mix very well.

- Pour into your baking tin and level out.

- Spoon on the hazelnut paste, drizzling over the surface and gently mixing into the batter to marble.

- Scatter the top with pecan pieces and bake for 15 minutes, then turn the blondie and bake again for a further 10 – 15 minutes.

- The blondie is ready when it has a wobble but isn’t liquid in the centre.

- Allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight.

- Next day turn out of the tin, remove the paper and cut off the edges of the blondie as these will be too dry and over-baked.

- Cut the remaining blondie into rectangle portions using a hot wet knife.

- Enjoy at room temperature and store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week.

To find out more about California Prunes and Paul A. Young’s recipes, visit their websites: and

Rebecca x

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