‘Five a Day Hill’ Soup

‘Five a Day Hill’ is where Gertie Garlic, Sally Strawberry, Mandy Melon, Pedro Pear and Monty Mushroom live!  They are a healthy gang hence the name!  I wrote this set of stories during a series of workshops presented on the Sunday Challenge programmes. The aim was to motivate children to create and illustrate their own stories. The workshops can be found on the Jumble Fun channel.  

                                  The Jumble Fun Channel
                   Click below to hear their stories narrated

             Five a Day Hill story playlist of narrated stories on YouTube

Now for the recipe! 

Five a Day Soup is also a very healthy soup containing guess what!  Yes. Five vegetables. 

It’s also what I call a ‘stock cupboard’ Soup. You should be able to make it from  things in your cupboard but, if you wish, you can substitute fresh veg for the tinned and make your own chicken stock. It’s very quick too. From start to finish about 30 minutes. 


One large tin of tiny peas 

One large onion and one clove of garlic 

A large tin of carrots or 3/4 fresh ones.

About three quarters of a pint (3 coffee mugs) of stock or a chicken stock cube

One tin/jar of chick peas but if you don’t like these substute a tin of cannelloni beans. 


Chop any fresh ingredients and drain the tinned ones.

Put everything into a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently with a lid on for about fifteen minutes. 


Pour into blender and blend till smooth adding about two mugs  of milk or sufficient to give it a creamy soup consistency,

Taste and season. 

Serve sprinkled with parmeasan or a dollop of Creme Fraiche 

Moody Moulds

Moulds are plants but not green plants.  They don’t have the green pigment chlorophyll and so cannot produce their own food.  They belong to a very large group of plants called FUNGI. The same group that our mushrooms and toadstools belong to. But Moulds are very, very tiny and their bodies are made up of thin white  threads like cotton. 

They reproduce in the same way as mushrooms and toadstools by producing black spores. When these land on a suitable food source they put out hyphae which grow into the food. These spores are in the air everywhere and we can’t get away from them.  Even when you seal food in a plastic bag or an airtight container there will already be spores on the food so it will go bad. How quickly depends on the temperature.  That’s something you can investigate! 

They get their food by secreting enzymes that break down whatever they are growing on which is often our food ! Then the digested food is absorbed by the hyphae. 

So. We know that Moulds make food go bad and that is very annoying! Do Moulds have any uses? 
Well yes!  We would  be in a mess without them! Literally ! 

Like all Fungi, Moulds help to break down (decompose ) dead animals and plants and any odd bits of food that careless people have left lying around. They are very active in compost heaps. While breaking down the dead plants and animals they release nitrogen carbon and oxygen back into the atmosphere. 

There is also one very important mould from which we obtain the antibiotic Penicillin. To learn more about this click on this link: 

Do you like cheese?  Well, we wouldn’t have that if it wasn’t for Moulds !!  Check that out here: 

Things for you to do: 
Please remember that you must always check with an adult before doing any investigations and before looking anything up on the Internet. Mould spores are a risk to health so never smell Moulds! The Mould garden should be disposed of without removing the lid. 

1. Grow a mould garden :  see the JUMBLES DOING THIS HERE: 


2. Find out how temperature affects the growth of mould. 

To do this you will need  4 plastic bags . The type that seal with little zips are best. Four similar items of food, for example four  slices of bread from the same loaf. 

All you need to do is sprinkle each slice of bread with just a tiny bit of water. Half a teaspoon is sufficient. Then seal in the bags. Put one in the freezer. One in the fridge and one should be left out in a cool room. He last one should be placed somewhere warm like on a sunny window ledge. 

First predict what you think will happen. 

Then check very couple of days and record your results. 

At the end draw your conclusions.  What happened ? Why do you think this happened? 

3. If you would like to see a speeded up video of Moulds growing and reproducing click on this link: 



Yesterday Geirgie and Alfie went picking figs.
They enjoyed eating the rugs fresh  from the tree but picked so many that they needed to find a way to keep them. To preserve them.

Maisie suggested cooking them in pear juice and Marsala wine.

Thet decided to do this but wanted to make it a bit different. To experiment.

Georgie really likes walnuts so they added a handful and Alfie likes hot spiced  so they added a sprinkle of Peperoncino which is like chilli pepper.

Then into a very big pan went a small wine glass of Marsala wine, an individual small carton of pear juice, a sprinkle of chilli pepper and a small handful of chopped walnuts.

Then the figs were added and everything was simmered for fifteen minutes and left to cool.

Once the Figs  had cooled down they bottled them and put them in the fridge.

The Jumbles are going to eat the figs with Mascapone or ice cream.


For more recipes visit our channel and the Cook with Maisie playlist,

Cook with Maisie

How much sugar is in your fruit juice?

A fun but quite tricky investigation for older kids.

You do need to ask an adult before carrying out this investigation.

Do you know how much sugar is in your fruit juice?


Lizzie Witch wants you to find out!

Look at the picture below. Lizzie has a glass which contains two different fruit juices.

The bottom layer is pear juice

On top is fruits of the forest.

They stay separate because they have different densities. Different sugar contents.

We tend to think that fruit juice is really good for us but actually it does contain a lot of sugar. Some juices contain more than others and this investigation will show you which juices have the least sugar.,


Your challenge is to make a drink with four fruit juice layers ! It's more fun if you can also make your drink multi coloured.

The trick is to pour each layer over the back of a teaspoon so it sits on top of the one below without mixing BUT there are a few things you need to remember :

  • The more sugar there is in a juice the denser and heavier it becomes so start with putting the one you think is the heaviest at the bottom. The one that contains the most sugar . It helps to look at the sugar content on the container.
  • If you try to layer two juices which have the same density they will mix together.
  • You do need to use pure fruit juices and not fruit drinks.
  • Don't be wasteful. Try just an inch of the juices to see if it works.
  • Make sure your parents or carers are happy for you to do this investigation.




Swamp Monster soup

Parental supervision is recommended for all cooking activities.

Join Maisie at Jumble House for another Fun cooking session.  This time she is making a delicious vegetable soup which Alfie has named after his ‘Swamp Monster’!

Click on this link:  Swamp Monster Soup

Yummy, Yummy, Good for your Tummy Bread!

My very popular recipe. It can be made in a breadmaker if you must …….. but WHY? ?

After all, who can resist the feel of all that sticky gunge between the fingers and a kitchen transformed into a floury winter wonderland!

But with a little kneading that sticky gunge is miraculously transformed into a silky, elastic dough that is just heaven to squeeze and stretch into interesting creations.

Apart from the actual baking there's not much a child can't do when making bread. Use your own discretion. You know your child better than anyone.

Let them be creative. Let them adapt the recipe. Be prepared for a few strange outcomes …. it's better that they experiment … they will learn from failures. Just make sure that they see a failure as something positive and the start of a new product and not the end. This will probably be more difficult for you than them when faced with a floury kitchen! But then, that's important too. They need to learn how to clean up even if it takes twice as long!


Strong Flour. 500grams A mixture of wholemeal and Granary is good. The coarser the better. I like to add a little black Rye flour too.

Fresh yeast …. much more fun than the dried stuff in packets! (That doesn't erupt!)

One medium fresh juicy carrot. ( Definitely NOT a limp bendy one! )

Nuts! A small handful of walnut pieces or crushed hazlenuts or cashews or go mad and mix lots.

One teaspoon of runny honey or sugar.

Liquid … half and half water and milk.300 mls

VERY important …. 3 tablespoons of Virgin olive oil

2 level teaspoons of salt.


Measure out the liquid . It should be tepid. Warm but not hot.

Crumble a cube or yeast into a mug. Add honey or sugar and cream together with a teaspoon.

Then pour on half the liquid. Stir then watch in fascination for about 15 mins. while bubbles began to surface.

If you can tear yourself away from the bubbly volcano this is the time to measure everything else into the largest bowl possible. (less mess).

At the point when the yeast threatens to spill over the top of the coffee mug pour it and the remaining liquid into the bowl.

Gunge lovers can then stick their (clean) hands straight in and get mixing. The more squeamish (adults) are allowed if necessary to initially draw the ingredients together with a spoon. Shame on you!!

Then turn out onto floury board or baking paper and knead and knead and knead till it's a soft and smooth as a baby's bottom!

Put back in the bowl. Cover with cling film and leave till double in size. About 60 – 90 minutes depending on how warm your kitchen is.

Then out it comes again for another good battering.

Then …. well the rest depends on imagination. Will it be a round cob or a pirate ship? A loaf or a teddy bear!

Whatever … place on a greased baking sheet and leave to rise again for about half an hour till its springy to the touch. At this point the oven needs to be turned on and preheated ( check own oven instructions for this and baking times).

The smell will be divine even if the outcome is not what was expected !