Spring (well, we like to call it Summer here in the UK) has been dancing around in full force for the last few weeks. I have relished the time outdoors, exploring new places, watching the trees become green again and breathing in the crisp air. Time outdoors keeps me sane, and I often forget how important it is to me. Winter can make me cranky and irritable, Spring gives me hope again. We are lucky enough to live right next to some woods, where we often go for a quick explore. If you need me, I’ll be wandering. Read more
This weekend saw a celebration. A rather big one in fact. My big brother married the girl of his dreams in a wonderful ceremony in Surrey. I feel like we had been waiting an age for their special day to finally roll in, and all of a sudden it was over too soon. We cried, we laughed, we danced, we possibly had one too many glasses (or pints in my case) of Prosecco, and our hearts were full with happiness for this amazing couple. I had the honour of being a bridesmaid, and getting to walk down the aisle watching my brother’s face light up as he saw his bride-to-be walk in was a moment I will be sure to treasure forever.
I always feel that bundt cakes are cakes for a celebration. Something about their shape and curves is a thing of beauty. I finally got myself a bundt tin last week and knew I needed to bake something special. This honey ginger bundt cake is sweetened with natural ingredients, costcutter.co.uk‘s Independent Honey. The soft flavours of the spelt match the honey and ginger so beautifully, I knew I was onto a winner. I was all out of any sort of natural icing ingredients, so dusted it with some coconut flour, but I bet a cashew icing would set a slice of this cake of beautifully. Happy celebrating friends.
We had some new arrivals in our house this week. 2 new, smiley, cute, furry little friends. We have adopted 2 cats via Cats Protection. We met them for the first time two weeks ago and totally fell in love. We picked them up on Friday and this weekend has been full of snuggles, mouse chasing and getting to know our new additions. They’re still a bit shy and Scout is quite timid and still a bit unsure of everything, but they’re slowly getting used to their new surroundings. Arto has made it quite clear he likes lap time and purrs loudly when he wants some affection. They seem to spend their time sleeping in odd places or catapulting themselves around the house and full speed. They have also taken to straight running up my leg when I get their food. I’m excited to watch them grow and learn. I’ll be sure to post some photos soon, when they sit still for more than 10 seconds. Keep an eye on my Instagram stories to see their daily antics!
I have been laying low for a couple of weeks, glued to my laptop and job-searching sites, keeping a low profile and hiding from Mother Nature. We have been experiencing a rather wet patch this November. Miserable days of lashing rain, and howling winds. Getting cosy under a blanket, in the safety of our little steel shell. Our boat does a good job of keeping out the elements, staying solid and warm against the nasty weather. Soon, these blustery days will turn chillier, the fire will roar 24/7, and we will be counting the days until warmer times. For now, cosy afternoons with tea and swirls.
I’ve teamed up with Harriet from Harriet Emily to bring you some warming, comforting treats for these gloomy days. As we are both from the UK, we know all too well that sometimes, wet autumn days can take their toll. These recipes are designed to keep you going through these days, a little pick me up, from us to you. Harriet’s blog is filled with delicious, nutritious treats that make my mouth water every day. Head over to her site to see her gorgeous Spiced Butternut Squash Wedges.
I feel like I’m a little late to the pumpkin party. This post should have probably gone out around Halloween. I’m not a big fan of Halloween, so it’s here now. Pumpkin spiced everything hits our shelves for a couple of months of the year. It signals autumn. It also signifies the start of the festive season. The count down to mince pies and mulled wine. One of my favourite seasons. I cook with pumpkin (and squash) all year round. Autumn brings an abundance of varieties; kabocha, spaghetti, butternut, I could go on. Gimme pumpkin every day and that’ll be swell. I brought some pumpkin butter back from New York. Oh my gee it’s delicious. It’s been a breakfast staple since we got back. It’s lightly spiced and works so well in these little swirls. These are slightly dense, they remind me of eating fig rolls on the kitchen worktop after school, watching my mum make our dinner. Slightly dense, packing flavour. Perfect afternoon snack addition.
Pumpkin Swirls with Maple Tahini Drizzle (v)
125g wholemeal spelt flour
400g wholemeal bread flour
25g coconut sugar
1 pack fast action yeast
225ml nut milk (I used homemade almond)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 flax egg (3 tablespoons of water + 1 tablespoon ground flax – mix and leave to thicken for 5 mins)
½ teaspoon salt
1½ teaspoon pumpkin spice mix
3 tablespoons pumpkin butter
Maple Tahini Drizzle
3 tablespoons tahini
3 tablespoons maple syrup
Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 5 / 190 C
In a bowl, combine the flours, sugar and salt.
In a saucepan, gently heat the milk and coconut oil. Once warm, and when the coconut oil has melted, stir in the yeast. Leave to sit for 5-10 mins until the mixture starts to become frothy.
Pour the yeast mix into the bowl, and mix to form a dough. Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 5-10 mins. You want the dough to be elasticated and smooth / shiny.
Leave the dough to rise, in the bowl covered with a clean, damp tea towel, for 30 mins in a warm spot.
Once the dough has risen slightly, roll it out onto a floured surface. You want to make a loose rectangle, about ½cm thick. Keep lifting the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to your worktop.
Spread the pumpkin butter evenly all over the dough.
Roll the dough lengthways into a tight long sausage shape.
Cut the dough in half, then in half again, repeating until you have 8-12 swirl sections. Tip; I used dental floss to cut the dough, as it avoids squashing the roll. A cheese wire would also work!
Arrange buns, with the swirls facing up, on a greased baking tray. Leave them to rise for 20 mins (or longer if you require a fluffier bun, I like mine slightly dense)
Bake for 20 mins, until lightly golden.
While they are baking, make your maple tahini drizzle. Combine both ingredients in a jar, and mix well. Drizzle over hot buns.
I am currently in a mad panic of packing, cooking and general frenzy. Tomorrow we fly to New York City, for 6 days full of fun and frolics. Oh, and the small matter of the marathon, that my amazing mother is running whilst we are there!
As usual, I have left everything until the last-minute. Chucking my whole wardrobe into my small suitcase, and trying to simultaneously batch cook some food for Charlie for the week ahead. I am a slight mess, and on the verge of hysteria. Except it’s OK, because I’M TOO EXCITED TO GET STRESSED.
Back in January, I encouraged my mum to apply for the NYC Marathon. I’d applied too and thought it would be so awesome if we ran it together. Except, I didn’t get a place, but she did. It was a darn good excuse to get a little family trip organised. 10 months later, after extensive training (with me as her personal cheerleader) she is ready. We’ve become good running buddies (minus the odd tantrum (me) and ‘5 mile toe’ ache (her) ) and I’m going to be so proud, cheering her on at the sidelines. I’m a little gutted I’m not getting to run it myself, but I think my legs are more than happy to just be a bystander. She’s raising money for an amazing, local charity; Time2Share. Time2Share support young people with disabilities by offering befriending and social opportunities. Every single penny donated will be used to support these amazing young adults. You can sponsor my wonderful mother here.
I’m currently deciding just how many meals it’s acceptable to eat a day (6, 7…?), where I can get the best donut, and how many coffees I can test before I give myself a caffeine induced heart-attack.
Do you have any recommendations for eateries in The Big Apple? Any must do’s? Let me know!
I made these donuts a while back, and have been itching to share them with you. They are an adapted version of the beautiful Chocolate Coconut Donuts that Harriet Emily created. Harriet’s blog is full of beautiful, wholesome meals and treats. I’m a big fan of all her recipes (plus she’s mega sweet too!)
Chocolate Peanut Donuts (v) (gf)
Makes 6-8 donuts
70g raw cacao powder
75g buckwheat flour
30g coconut sugar (or sub unrefined cane sugar)
2 tbsp peanut flour (or peanut meal)
1 ½ tsp baking powder
200ml coconut water
100ml coconut water
3 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp cacao powder
2 tbsp peanut butter
3 tbsp coconut sugar
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C
Grease your donut pan
In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients
Add coconut water and stir to combine
Pour batter into your donut pans, about 2/3rd full
Bake for 10-15 mins, until they are firm to touch,
Remove from oven and leave them to cool on a wire rack
While the donuts are cooling, make your icing.
In a pan over a low heat, melt the coconut oil, peanut butter and coconut water.
Whisk in the cacao powder and sugar.
Leave icing to cool for 5-10 mins until it thickens slightly.
Dip donuts in icing, and sprinkle with cacao nibs and seeds.
Fancy showing me your version of these donuts? Tag #roughmeasures on Instagram – you can follow my New York escapades there too!
After the mud fest came the calm. We left Scotland on Tuesday and drove back down into England. We literally left the rain at the Scottish border. We headed to Lancaster for a few days to catch up with Charlie’s family, who we don’t get to see often enough. I have been to that area a handful of times now, and every time I go the sky is as dark as slate, fields getting soaked in the Northern downpours. I make a joke every time we drive North that way, because the sky grows darker and darker the nearer we get, that it really does always rain up North. Expectations were low on the weather front, but the closer we got to our destination, the sunnier it was getting. This, was pure luck. We enjoyed this luck exploring waterfalls and trails around the area. Catching up with his family and enjoying long, rested nights in a real bed.
Now, well rested after a lovely few days back on our beloved boat, we are getting ready for another festival filled couple of weeks. All caught up on sleep and rest. It’s funny how you don’t realise how tired you are until you stop. Your body keeps pushing on through the long ass days and keeps you going. Like the good machine that it is. I had a to-do list the size of my arm this weekend, but as soon as I plonked my butt on the sofa, I knew that it just wasn’t gonna happen. Orange is the New Black and Kardashians were all of a sudden top priority. Yup, my body was on time out mode.
I did muster up the energy to get a little baking in. Stopping off at my parents for a night I was treated to a garden overflowing with juicy goodies. Mainly raspberries, oh the raspberries. My parents were out-of-town so I figured I’d help them with the gardening and got a big tub load of those red babies to bring home with me. All in the name of recipe testing Mum! Paired with some delicious peaches from the market and this glorious galette was born.
Balsamic Peach and Raspberry Galette (V) (GF)
For the pastry:
200g buckwheat flour
3 tablespoons peanut flour – or any nut flour
1 tablespoon coconut sugar
Pinch sea salt
3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
6 tablespoons cold water
For the filling:
2 peaches – slightly firm is best
2 large handfuls raspberries
1 large handful blueberries
5 mint leaves – roughly chopped
For the balsamic glaze:
2 tablespoons date syrup
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Pinch coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
1 tablespoon almond milk
Preheat your oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C
In a bowl, mix your dry pastry ingredients. Add the coconut oil and mix with a knife to create breadcrumb-like bits. Slowly add the water and use your hands to form a dough. If too dry, add extra water to the dough.
Once you have formed your dough, cover it and let it sit in the fridge for 30 mins.
While the dough chills, make your syrup. In a saucepan over a low heat, combined all syrup ingredients and stir well. Bring to a low bubble, stirring regularly. Once the mixture has thickened, leave to once side – it will thicken up more as it cools.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Grab your dough from the fridge and roll it out into a rough circle. I did mine about half a centimetre thick.
Using a spatula or spoon, spread out an even coating of your syrup all over the dough.
Cut your peaches into segments and arrange them on the dough, leaving about 2 inches border around the edge. Scatter raspberries and blueberries over the peaches. Drizzle more syrup over the fruit.
Gently fold in your dough border. Don’t worry it the pastry is a bit delicate, you can stick it back down with your fingers easily.
Rub almond milk onto the bare bits of pastry crust.
Place in oven and cook for 30-35 mins, until the pastry starts to brown.
Serve warm with a dollop of coconut cream
“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.”
This week was spent avoiding the festival as much as possible. Most of the gigs we do are so fun and full of like-minded, friendly, happy people. There are a couple however, which aren’t as fun for us. They’re more like big funfairs with the odd bit of music. Not our bag I’m afraid. It doesn’t help when it’s pretty wet and windy and the site turns into a mud bath. Some people are happy to embrace the madness, to really get involved, but I decided to sit this one out. I’m still catching up on sleep from Glastonbury and it was a good excuse to chill. Down time was spent mostly in the caravan watching back-to-back episodes of this, and exploring, lots of exploring.
On Friday, I decided to head over to the West coast of Scotland to visit some family friends who have recently re-located from the South up here. It was such a beautiful drive through the hills over to their new home. A night away in a real bed with a hot bath was just the ticket. They have the most amazing view over the atlantic; out to the Isle of Bute and Arran. We caught up over a dinner and a glass of red. It was good to eat from a table and not my lap. The next morning we took a little tour of the village, snooping in the antiques shop (in a shipping container by the shore!) and guzzled tea in the local cafe. After lunch back at theirs, it was time for me to head back to the craziness.
Sunday was another adventure day. As soon as we woke we were plotting an escape for the day. Scouring the map for
possible endless hikes. We settled on the hills around Loch Earn. Picnics were packed, smoothies were bottled, extra layers loaded into bags and we were off. We found ourselves a nice little footpath that took us up towards this point. However, Scotland being Scotland, it started to get pretty wild the further up we got. We settled on a peak about halfway up, took in the view, then found a nice sheltered spot to re-fuel before heading back down. C is the perfect adventure companion. Egging us on to go higher and pushing me up the steep bits when I start to wobble. Plus, he brings chocolate.
We’ve made a pact to make sure we go on more adventures this autumn. To keep our hearts happy and our minds excited. No matter the weather, just pick a place and head there. With a good chocolate stash.
Scotland wasn’t exactly bathing in sunshine this week, but you don’t need sunshine for an excuse to eat ice cream. This ice cream isn’t your perfect soft scoop ideal. Think of it more as rustic blobs, overflowing with flavour. That kicks any picture-perfect soft scoop outa the park. I made this slightly too spicy the first time around, so it’s important to pick a mild chilli here.
Coconut, Chilli and Basil Ice Cream (V) (GF)
1 tin full fat coconut milk
Half a green chilli – medium spice
Handful of basil leaves
Roughly chop the chilli and basil leaves.
Add all ingredients into a high-speed blender and blend for 2 mins.
Pour mixture into a freezer-proof container and place in freezer for minimum 4 hours.
Well, we’ve landed at Worthy Farm. Home of the legendary Glastonbury Festival. The festival of all festivals. The big daddy.
The actual festival doesn’t kick off for another few days, but we got here last week, and have been busy creating our little Glamping village. The days have been long and exhausting, but are fulfilling. Seeing 30 empty plates after mealtimes certainly makes it all worth it.
I’ve managed to grab a cheeky 10 minutes to get this post sorted, so will get straight to it. Enjoy this sunshine lovelies, get outside and explore!
This recipe is an all time favourite of mine. I have been known to demolish half a tray of this tasty cups in under 30 minutes. Yeah… for real guys!
I love mixing up the flavour combinations, adding a little dried chilli works magic. I opted for 3 different fillings here; peanut butter, almond butter, and a chewy date mix.
Salted Nut Cups (gf) (v)
Makes 6-9 cups
For the chocolate cups:
300g 85% organic dark chocolate (dairy free)
3 tablespoons cold pressed coconut oil
Large pinch Himalayan pink salt
Peanut butter filling:
Large handful peanuts (toasted if you have time)
1 teaspoon EVOO
Almond Butter filling:
Large handful almonds (toasted if you have time)
1 teaspoon EVOO
Chewy Date filling:
Handful Medjool dates (pitted and soaked in boiling water for 5 mins)
30g goji berries
1 teaspoon agave syrup
Line a muffin tin with paper muffin cases.
Place chocolate, coconut oil and salt in a saucepan over a very low heat. Gently melt the mixture, stirring often. As soon as it has melted, remove it from the heat.
Pour enough melted chocolate into the muffin cases just to cover the bottom of the case. Swirl the chocolate around each case so it covers the side slightly. You should only use around a 1⁄3 of the chocolate mix.
Place tray in the fridge for 1 hour.
While the chocolate cup bases are cooling, you can make your fillings.
For the nut mixes;
Add nuts and oil to a high speed blender, blend until a butter like consistency. This may take 10 mins. Make sure to stop and scrape down the sides. Add a little more oil if necessary. The nut mix will go quite dusty at first, keep blitzing to release their oils.
Once you’ve got to the right consistency, scrape your nut butters into bowls and set to one side.
For the chewy date mix;
Drain your soaked dates. Add to a food processor along with the cashews, goji berries and agave.
Blitz for a couple of minutes, until a sticky mixture forms.
Once you cup bases have cooled and solidified, remove them from the fridge.
Take each filling and add a dollop of each into separate cases – I did 3 of each mixture.
Using the back of a spoon or your fingers, flatten the mixture over the chocolate – try to leave a couple of millimetres away from the case edge.
Get the remanding chocolate mix from the saucepan – you may need to quickly melt it again. Pour it evenly over the cups and their fillings.
Place cups back in fridge overnight, or at least 4 hours.
Let me know if you’ve made my recipes over on Instagram and tag #roughmeasures
You can also keep up to date with my summer on the road, over on twitter
This week seems to have been a pretty busy one. I’m not one for filling my diary with dinners, social events and brunches all day, every day. I don’t think I could call myself a social butterfly. I like to have at least 3 days a week, event free, just to know I can come back to the boat and relax. To come home and try out a new recipe, I like to have time to create in the kitchen and not feel rushed. Some days, I just like to flop down on our (albeit rather uncomfortable) sofa, put my feet up and CHILL. But not this week, it’s been crammed full with socialising, days to vintage markets by the seaside, and visiting friends who’ve had a new baby! It’s been great, but also exhausting. I used to hate being on my own, I feared the loneliness, the quiet. Now I embrace it.
I’m not used to this lifestyle, I’ve got an old soul and don’t like the fast-paced life. This morning I took myself out for a run in the sunshine, nice and early, before the Saturday crowds rose. Once back at the boat, I sat with my tea and completely zoned out for a good hour. It was like magic. Like readjusting that internal pendulum, to get it swinging back to your beat.
Chia seeds are so versatile, and have been getting more and more popular over the last few years. They are packed to the brim with nutrients, full of fibre and protein, and those amazing vitamins like potassium, zinc and vitamins B1, B2 and B3. What more could you want from a tiny little seed?
This Chocolate Chia seed pudding is such a great all-rounder. It’s creamy and decadent, but completely guilt free. Have it for breakfast, pudding, or keep a few pots in the fridge for a quick afternoon snack. It takes about 30 seconds to make, make it the night before and it’ll be good to go for breakfast the next day!
Chocolate Chia Pudding (v) (gf)
Makes 2-4 servings
160g (½ cup) chia seeds
650ml hazelnut milk (any milk would work)
4 tablespoons raw cacao powder
Optional toppings: Cacao nibs / goji berries / maple syrup / coconut yoghurt / chilli flakes
In a bowl, combine the seeds, milk and cacao powder. Whisk or mix really well, until fully combined.
Leave in an airtight container, in the fridge, overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Layer the banana at the bottom of a jar, pour the pudding on top and enjoy.
Don’t forget you can follow me on instagram – tag #roughmeasures so I can see all your creations!
The sun is still shining in the West Country. Parks are rammed with passed out sun worshippers. Beer gardens are brimming with smiley cider faces. I’m going to leave it on that note and join those smiley, cider drinking, sun worshippers. Enjoy this weeks recipe friends!
Cookies are always a good idea. A must have lunch box addition. The best rucksack snack. Mid morning bite. Cookies are my favourite.
I’m really into nut flours at the moment. Yes, they are slightly more expensive than regular flour. But they provide much more flavour and protein to a recipe. Plus it means these little gems are gluten free!
Peanut and Chocolate Chunk Cookies (gf) (df)
Makes 6-8 Cookies
100g peanut flour (I used Sukrin)
Handful GF rolled oats
40g unrefined Muscavado sugar (can be light or dark)
100g dairy free 80% dark chocolate (crushed into small chunks)
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon date syrup (sub with maple syrup if you don’t have date)
2 tablespoons almond milk – if needed
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C
In a bowl, mix flour, oats, baking powder, sugar and chocolate chunks.
Whisk together the eggs and the date syrup, for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.
Mix wet with dry, add a touch of milk if needed.
Chill cookie mix in fridge for 1 hour
Remove dough from fridge. Mould into balls and place on a lined baking tray, press down on the cookies to form circles about ½ inch thick.
Bake for 10-12 mins. Leave to cool fully before enjoying.
Sukrin kindly donated the flour for this recipe. Opinions are all mine.