Little Cooks – Dora The Explorer Review And Competition

Yesterday I shared a Banana muffin recipe from the Little Cooks Collection and today I have the opportunity to share more about it with  my readers, and offer one of you the opportunity to win a subscription of your own!

The Little Cooks Collection is based on Dora the Explorer. While Ameli has never seen an episode of the TV Show, she has thoroughly enjoyed the magazine.

You can see for yourself what each magazine holds, but I’ll walk you through it anyway.

Each copy comes with a freebie, and in the end you’ll have this whole collection of usable kitchen goodies – I say usable as they’re not just toys, they can actually be used in real cooking. dora1

The mag starts with fun activities around what you’re cooking with, so in the first issue you bake Banana muffins and have a page of ‘circle the banana’, colour this and get your goodies ready activities.

Next up you have the recipe pages. Nicely illustrated, and easy to follow, the recipe – at least in the first issue – is really simple and quick to do, with minimal clean-up. (Often children’s recipes seem to require masses of bowls and mixing and preparation – this didn’t at all!)


While your muffins are baking in the oven, there are plenty activity pages for you and your child to do together. There are fun facts, more snack ideas – banana ice cream, simple smoothie, banana breakfast and a banana lolly-  drawing activities, cutting and sticking activities and once you’ve had enough of all that, you can eat your muffins and read the story together.

Overall there’s a good few hours of activity in each book and you can add to and take away from it as you wish.

I didn’t really expect much from the goodies that come along with the magazine, but have been really impressed. The plate is dishwasher safe (I think, since it survived the dishwasher!) and the silicone cups are totally fabulous. They fit in our muffin pans, although that’s not essential – the hold themselves up, as compared to the paper cups that tend to flop about a bit. Once out the oven they cool pretty quickly, and they they peel off the muffins without taking chunks of muffin with it. The result is a beautifully smooth finish on your banana muffins, without fishing bits of paper out your mouth either! The silicone cases have really impressed me so much, I’m on the lookout for these in the shops so we can buy another set (the first book only costs 99p).

For subscription information, check out the website. (Issue 1 is 99p, Issue 2 is £2.99 and thereafter they’re £4.99 every two weeks.) You can pick these up at your local supermarkets and so on, but if you subscribe you also get a whole bunch of free goodies.

I Can Cook’s Spiced Fun Buns Recipe (Adapted)

Ameli loves BBC’s I Can Cook. In fact she actually giggles with glee when we put it on TV for her, and she sits, absolutely mesmerised by Katie, the host. I decided to capitalise on that, since we do a lot of cooking together, and actually use it as a foundation for an afternoon’s activities.

That specific day the recipe had been Spiced Fun Buns and since then it’s been a quick breakfast or regular snack in our house, specially since it only makes about 8 – 10 ‘buns’.   I particularly like the recipes on I Can Cook because they are child sized portions – although you can obviously double it, which is useful in this recipe so you use the whole egg. I also like the fact that they’re more or less healthy, with a few exceptions – this recipe, for example only has 2 tablespoons sugar.

We’ve been playing around with the recipe too, so for the original you can head over to BBC website, but here’s our version.


  • 4 tablespoons chopped dried fruit, fruit peel, currants or coconut
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar (although we tend to use brown sugar)
  • 110g (4oz) self-raising flour
  • Large pinch of mixed spice
  • 60g (2.5oz) soft butter
  • ½ an egg
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  2. Combine the flour with the mixed spice and butter, rubbing the mixture till it looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Gently mix in the sugar and fruit mix using a fork.
  4. Break the egg in a separate cup and pour half of it into the mixture. It should be firm but not dry and not too wet either. You should be able to shape it. Add more egg if needed.
  5. Divide the mixture into chunks and place on a buttered tray for 10 – 15 minutes.

Serve with butter, cream and fresh fruit. Personally I can’t wait for Dandelions to be back in season so we can make some Dandelion Jam again. I think it’ll go really well together.

We made these together in the week, and put together a little video of our exploits. For how to make Spiced Fun Buns in 1.27mins, watch our clip 😉


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