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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Lovely extra nutty granola (Valentine's edition).

There must be something about blue skies that inspires granola making for me, my last granola post was a sunny one. This is a variation. It's easy, therapeutic in the sense of using up oddments of nuts and slowly mixing it all up, packed with good energy and the perfect gift for family, friends and Valentine's. 
This batch was extra nutty. It works well as a light breakfast with yoghurt and fruit, simply in handfuls as a pick me up snack or made into flapjacks for a sweet treat.



You will need:

500g porridge oats (I keep the amounts of oats and seeds equal but vary it if you fancy)
500g nuts and seeds (here I used cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, poppy seeds, hazelnuts, coconut, pecans, pine kernals, sesame seeds)
5 tbsp sunflower oil (1 for every hundred grams)
5 tbsp set honey (1 for every hundred grams - using a heather or floral honey adds a new dimension)
200g dark brown sugar
100g light brown sugar (it's not essential to use two types of sugar it's just what I had)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180 C. Liberally oil a baking tray (I used a brownie tray or roasting dish) otherwise it's impossible to remove. Mix together the oats and seeds, add the oil, honey and sugar. Stir happily or bash if the mood takes you, until the mixture is a sticky, glossy, coated one. Arrange on a baking tray (or two). Toast in the oven for around 20 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on it and stir every ten or so minutes as some nuts burn easily. Remove the soft mix from the oven. Do an obligatory taste test.  It will harden as it cools. Leave it to cool and then break into small pieces and store in an airtight jar or jars if you're planning on giving some away.



Going nuts with nuts. 




Stocked up.


Gifts for my Valentine...


 ... and friends.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Love Sweet Love

At long last, after a year of neglect, it's time to get some love back and some regular posts on this blog.


If you’re still reading, then a sincere thank you and if you’re new here, thanks for stopping by. 2013 was a year when our energies were mainly focussed on welcoming our second beautiful daughter to our family and this world and trying to find some balance with Chris's main job involving a lot of time away. We also started a new chapter of our food adventure creating premium ready meals for your convenience (more on that soon) and big things are on the horizon for 2014, so stick with us. Please, please leave a comment below too as it's always great to know you're there and far more personal and pleasing than looking at google stats!

It's not exactly the beginning of the new year anymore but there's still time to committ to something new for the year ahead and one of the things I added to my personal to do list was to contine to bake regualrly with E. So far we've made post-Christmas gingerbread and these Valentine's Sugar Cookies.

You can find the original recipe here. They're very sweet and delicious. If you're baking with a toddler, I'd recommend pre-baking a batch as E wasn't keen to wait for the dough to chill (30 minutes is enough) or for the baked biscuits to cool pre-icing. Thankfully baking takes just 6-8 minutes and I managed to hold her attention for that. Phew. And, A slept just long enough for us to scoff a cookie or two gleefully...

You will need:

450g flour
225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla paste
1 tsp baking powder
A splash of water
A pinch of salt

Then follow this easy step by step:








Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

 



Add the egg, water...

 

...and vanilla.

 

Mix until combined.

 

Add the flour, baking powder and salt.


Combine to a dough. Divide into two batches, wrap each in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes- 1 hour. 30 minutes is enough (with or without an impatient toddler). Pre heat the oven to 190'C while the dough chills. Grease baking trays and gather your cutters. Flour a work surface.


Roll out dough to about 5mm thick or as desired. Cut into hearts and bake for 6-8 minutes until the edges are just beginning to brown.




Allow cookies to cool for at least five minutes (while your toddler attempts to eat as many cookies as possible as you are slightly disabled mixing food colouring into icing sugar). Make a simple icing and decorate.






Sprinkle randomly.



 



Eat hurriedly with a smile.


I hope this is the only kind of broken heart she ever knows. Happy Valentine's Day!