Tahini Brownies

Today’s post is sponsored by awe. Awe at my surroundings. Awe at my loved ones. Awe at nature. But mainly awe at the human body. It is such a great and powerful thing, and I think it deserves a round of applause.

I was out running today (something I have unexpectedly become quite attached to) and this wave of emotion came over me. There I was, jogging along, without stopping, for some time. These limbs were rotating and bending a long, without complaint. The human body is an amazing thing, and what it can accomplish is even more inspiring. For possibly the first time ever, I felt proud of my body, and it’s capability. It’s willingness to keep going, keeping my legs moving, arms swinging, heart beating.

I want to do a marathon this year. Something which is pretty ambitious (super ambitious for me!) but I really want to do one. I’m starting to get into running a lot more, and would like to set myself a goal, an aim of achievement! I applied to the NY Marathon, but unfortunately didn’t get a place. My Mum on the other hand, got one. WOOHOOOO, go mumma! I encouraged her to sign up with me, so feel a little bad I won’t be running along side her. I will, however, be cheering my heart out from the sidelines. Plus, I’m not going to complain about a holiday to New York now, am I?

Tahini Brownies

These brownies are a great post-run treat. They’re gluten free, are low in sugar, and have no dairy, just some eggs for protein.  Perfect to get some fuel in you after that soul boosting run.

Tahini Brownies

INGREDIENTS:

250g organic dark chocolate (dairy free)
150g ground almonds
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3 + 2 tablespoons tahini
2 large eggs
2 heaped tablespoons organic cocoa powder
1 tablespoon date syrup (use maple if you don’t have date)
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Pinch of sea salt

Optional: Cacao nibs / dried cranberries / flaked almonds

METHOD

In a pan, melt the chocolate, tahini and coconut, stirring well to combine. Set aside

In a bowl, beat the eggs for 5 mins, until they start to become fluffy. Add in the vanilla, date syrup, cocoa powder and salt. Beat well.

Fold in melted choc mixture.

Fold in ground almonds, and if using, nibs/almonds/cranberries

Pour into a lined baking tray. Dollop the tahini around the mix, and using a knife, swirl it throughout the tray.

Bake for 20- 25 mins. Bake at 350F or 170C!

Once cooked, leave to cool and, for best results, refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Tahini Brownies

tahini brownies

Tahini Brownie

Sugar Free Blood Orange Cake

I seem to have been a little presumptuous with the weather in my last post. Winter seems to be back with a bang. There was a thick frost again this morning. All those poor little snowdrops getting all confused, they’d been so excited to see the sunlight, only for it to smack them in the face with an icy frost. My tulips that were starting to bulb seemed to have hit the pause button, teasing me with an inch of their green stalks. Hovering above the soil in their pot, waiting for definite confirmation that spring is in fact, definitely on its way, and not just being a big old tease that is the British weather sometimes.

This is the first year in 4 years that I have been in the UK for the whole winter. I was not happy at the thought of that back in September. Wishing I was on a beach or in the mountains. However it has succeeded all my expectations, and I’m pretty happy we stayed put. British winters are glorious, and remind me of all the reasons why I love my country.

Plus, having a base here meant I found time to start Rough Measures. I’m so glad I did. It’s given me some focus, a bit of purpose too. I’ve met lots of new people since starting this blog, and I love hearing feedback from people about my recipes. It’s also opened up some new doors; writing reviews for websites, and working with local businesses.

I’m a big fan of buying local. We need to support our local businesses and farmers. I’ve recently teamed up with Luke Rich from Larkhall Farm Shop, to create some seasonal recipes. You can find these on display in the shop. They are having an open day this Saturday (7th March) if you are in Bath, do come down and say hello. There will be tasty treats on offer, and plenty of exciting fruit and veg to buy!

Blood-Orange-Cake

Blood oranges (or Sicilian oranges) are only in season for a short time. So get them quickly and get creative. They are slightly more tarte than their sister fruits, adding a different depth to a recipe.

I made this cake sugar-free, as I’m trying to cut right down on refined sugar for a while. However I have added maple syrup to the recipe below, to add a hint of sweetness if you desire it.

SUGAR FREE BLOOD ORANGE CAKE (V) (SF)

INGREDIENTS:

200g wholemeal self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
80ml extra virgin olive oil
7 blood oranges (+1 for slicing)
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup – leave out if wanting completely sugar free
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C

First, zest one orange, leave the zest to one side and then boil the orange in hot water for an hour. Once cooked, leave to cool.

Grease and line a round baking tin. Thinly slice 1 orange and arrange the slices on the bottom of the tin, covering as much of the tin as possible.

Add the dry ingredients to a bowl, add in the zest of the boiled orange, plus more zest if desired. I added the zest of 3 oranges in total.

In a jug, squeeze the juice out of the oranges.

Scrape the pulp out of the cooked orange and add to the jug. Add oil and whisk wet ingredients together.

Combine the wet with the dry to form a batter. Pour into tin, over the slices.

Bake for 35 mins, or until a knife comes out clean.

Leave to cool for 10 mins, then turn cake onto a wire cooling rack.

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Good Morning Granola

Sometimes I stare at this screen for so long I think my eyes might turn into rectangular shapes. Willing words to flow into this box, but sometimes it doesn’t happen so easily. And that’s OK, sometimes just the recipe will do. So here it is.

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I love granola, however recently my teeth have been super sensitive and I find most granola is too crunchy for my soft teeth. Once in a while, I’ll treat myself and ignore the sensitivity so I can enjoy one of my favourite things. This granola has a bit of everything, just the way I like it.

Whenever I cook quinoa, I cook WAY too much, and sometimes don’t know what to use the leftovers for. This is a great recipe to use it up. Oh, don’t forget this one too.

Good Morning Granola (v) (gf)

Makes one extra – large glass jar

INGREDIENTS:

250g organic oats (I used certified gluten-free)
200g cooked quinoa
70g almonds
50g hazelnuts
60g mixed seeds (I used pumpkin, pine and sunflower)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
50g cacao nibs (optional)
30g fresh ginger (grated)
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 scant teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons coconut oil
80ml maple syrup / agave
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
*1 egg white* – I used this as I find it helps the granola clump together. If you want your granola vegan, just leave it out.

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 3 / 180 C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients, add grated ginger.

In a pan, melt the coconut oil, stir in your maple syrup/agave and vanilla. Set aside for a few minutes, then add the egg white and whisk liquid.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl and mix very well.

Spread the mixture onto your baking tray and bake in oven for approx. 45 mins, stirring often to avoid burning. You may have to bake this in batches.

Enjoy in a large bowl with a generous helping of cold almond milk.

GMGranola

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Rye and Mixed Seed Crackers

I woke up this morning with an unusual sensation. Something felt different on the boat this morning. Then I sussed it, it was warm. There was no slight chill in the air. My nose was normal body temperature, not the cold little bump that normally takes it’s place all winter. Nope, it was definitely warm. No frost outside, no frozen solid canal, just ripples across the water, ducks paddling through it once more, happy to be over their ice skating phase.

Winter seems to be moving on, albeit slowly, but he’s on his way. Part of me is sad, I love those crisp, blue skies. I love the morning frosts, followed by clear, short winter days. But with the change in weather, comes the sign of spring, snowdrops are starting to bloom, daffodil stems are popping up left, right and centre. Even my tulips are starting to poke their heads out of their potted beds. Spring is on his merry way.

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RyeSeedCrackers

You can’t go wrong with crackers. A change up from your morning toast, something lighter for lunch, or something to keep you going on the sometimes dull February afternoons. These are so easy to make, you can add whichever seeds / nuts take your fancy. Mess around with your preference of herbs and spices. Serve them with a tasty dip, like this one. Here’s my favourite pic’n’mix cracker for now.

Rye and Mixed Seed Crackers

Makes 10-15 crackers

INGREDIENTS

100g Rye flour
50g Spelt flour
3 tablespoons ground flax
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon pine nuts
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon majoram
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and pepper
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

60ml water
½ teaspoon E.V Olive oil

METHOD

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C

Line a large tray with baking paper.

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix with a spoon.

Knead with your hands to form a ball of dough.

On baking paper, or a non stick mat, roll out your dough into a rectangle shape, to the desired thickness – I rolled mine about ½ cm thick.

Using a knife, or pastry wheel, score lines into the dough to form crackers. Make as small / big as you like.

Bake for 20 mins, until the edges are just starting to darken. If you want your crackers extra crisper, bake for a couple of mins longer.

Leave to cool completely, before storing in an air tight container.

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Lemon and Rosemary Donuts

Roald Dahl once said “If you have good thoughts, they will shine out of you like sunbeams and you will always look lovely” 

I woke up the other morning feeling rather negative (something that I struggle with rather a lot) but I had a little word with myself, got up and got myself to work. I was going to try to have a positive day. Be happier, not dwell on things. I got to work and had all these good intentions, then I dropped my phone on the floor. The screen smashed into lots of tiny pieces, held together only by my ‘screen protector’. I was fuming at myself, this was going to cost a lot of money to fix, money which I don’t have. Why was I so silly to drop it. Why were my hands so slippery? Why was my phone case not more grippy? All the negativity came back like a tidal wave.

I spent the rest of the day in a huff, beating myself up about something which I could not undo. It had happened and there was nothing I could do about it. But I couldn’t get out of my negative wave.

When I left work, it was a bitterly cold evening, all I could think about was getting home to the boat, lighting the wood burner and scoffing some chocolate. I passed a homeless man on the street, and stopped to give him some change. He looked at me so gratefully and said ‘Thank you, you’re the first person that’s stopped and spoke to me in hours, people don’t like to stop when it’s cold’.

There I was grumpy because I’d broken my phone which I’m so lucky to be able to have and use, and this guy was just happy I’d given him some loose change. Kinda puts things back into perspective.

Positivity and gratefulness sometimes doesn’t come naturally to me. But I like sunbeams, and I’m gonna try a lot harder to make them shine out of me.

LemonDonut1

These donuts. Oh, these donuts. They make the sun shine out of your taste buds, of your tummy. The lemon might as well be a big round ball of sunshine. There’s no overload of sugar here. No, no. These little things are my new go to thing when I’m craving a little treat. A spreading of creamy coconut icing sets these off.

Lemon and Rosemary Donuts with Coconut Cream Icing (v)

INGREDIENTS:

150g spelt flour (any flour would work)
4 tablespoons coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
80ml almond milk
1 heaped teaspoon fresh rosemary (finely chopped)
2 tablespoons agave (or maple syrup)
Zest and juice of 1 large lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt

For the Coconut Cream Icing
1 tin coconut milk (chilled overnight)
Zest ½ lemon

 

METHOD

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 3 / 170 o C

Grease 6 non-stick donut trays very lightly with olive oil

In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Add the wet ingredients and mix into a batter.

Using a spoon or a piping bag, divide the mixture evenly between the donut trays.

Bake in the oven for 20 mins, or until a pick comes out clean. Keep a close eye on your donuts as they’re cooking, so as not to burn them.

Leave to cool for 10 mins, then tip onto a cooling rack and let them cool completely (it’s important to let them cool before you try to add the icing)

Once cool, spread coconut icing over donuts, and sprinkle over extra lemon zest.

Coconut Cream Icing

Open your tin of cooled coconut milk. scoop the thick cream off the top and into a bowl. Whisk until it forms peaks.

(Unfortunately for me, as I was whisking my cream, I ran out of power on the boat, the whisk had drained our batteries!) So mine was a bit runny, but still tasty.

 

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Beetroot and Butter Bean Hummus

WHAT A WEEK. We’ve just got back from our holiday to the alps. I am exhausted and all my muscles ache, but I am filled with gratitude, love and energy to the wonderfulness that is the mountains. They make you feel totally insignificant but powerful beyond words. Storming down slopes and open powder bowls. Hiking ridges above cliffs to access those sweet, untouched fields of the fluffy stuff. I had a permanent smile on my face. Riding with my best friends, in such a beautiful and breathtaking place. I am in awe of those mountains. The view never fails to amaze me, the great vastness of the alpine range, the views of Mont Blanc, and Lac Leman. We are blessed to be able to have spent so much time there, and that it is so accessible to us. We ate too much cheese, drank too much beer and laughed until our sides hurt.

Sometimes you just need to give yourself a break, to recharge your little mind, to laugh at your tumbles and falls, to realise that it’s gonna be alright. Whether that be from a holiday, or just a good old cuppa. Make some you time, put your feet up, give yourself a pat on the back. You’re doing good kiddo. Keep on keepin’ on.

Beetrootbeandip

A good friend of mine has been pestering me to do a beetroot recipe ever since I started Rough Measures, she has been filling my brain with all the purple related ideas. So, this one’s for you Joelle!

This dip is extremely easy, and a tasty, colourful alternative to regular hummus.

Beetroot and Butter Bean Hummus (v) (gf)

INGREDIENTS:

3 large beetroot (roasted are best, but boiled or package bought will work also)
400g butter beans (soaked and cooked or tinned)
1 garlic clove (finely diced)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt and pepper
Dash olive oil.

Coriander (fresh and seeds) – to serve

METHOD

Add cooked beetroot, butter beans, oil and garlic to a food processor. Blend for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides.

Add the lemon juice, spices and s+p. Blend until smooth.

Serve in a bowl scattered with fresh coriander and coriander seeds.

Beetrootandbeandip

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Spiced Carrot and Cashew Salad

As you read this, we will be cruising the snowy (hopefully), sunny (even more hopeful) slopes in the French Alps. We are off for a weeks snowboarding holiday, to a town we know and love well, Morzine. Having spent 3 winter seasons working there, I can’t wait to get back and smell the mountain air, catch up with old friends, and drink a nice, cold demi peche. Not to mention take in those breathtaking mountain views.

Tonight I am frantically trying to find all my old kit, trying to decide which outfits I may or may not (60’s shift dress??) need. Bursting with excitement about the week to come.

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This is a flavoursome salad, which I like so much I have re-created a number of times in a matter of weeks. It is very loosely adapted from Anna Jones’ “A Modern Way To Eat”. If you don’t own this recipe book, stop what you are doing right now and go and buy it. Now. It has so many exciting, eye watering recipes. I literally want to make every recipe in the book. Every day. 

Spiced Carrot and Cashew Salad (v) (gf)

INGREDIENTS:

3 large carrots (scrubbed)
1 tablespoon agave (or honey)
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
½ cumber (peeled into ribbons)
2-4 large vine tomatoes (chopped into chunks)
½ red onion (finely diced)
1 large red chilli (de-seeded if you want it less spicy)
2 limes
Thai basil (or coriander)
100g desiccated coconut
Olive or Coconut oil
Sea salt

For the cashews
5 kaffir lime leaves
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
½ onion
150g cashews

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5 / 180 C

Chop the carrots into chunks and put in a roasting tray. Scatter over cumin and fennel seeds, and pour over a good glug of olive/coconut oil. Roast for 35-45 minutes.

In a bowl, mix together the ribboned cucumber, tomato chunks, red onion and chopped chilli. Add the zest and juice of one lime. Add a little olive oil if desired. Set aside.

In a frying pan, heat a little oil and fry the kaffir lime leaves and turmeric. You want the leaves to start to crisp slightly, releasing their aroma. Add the onions and fry for 2 more mins. Chuck in the cashews, mix well, and fry until cashews are slightly toasted and golden in colour. Season with salt. Set to one side to cool down.

Take the carrots out of the oven and add the cucumber mix.

Serve on plates, and scatter with desiccated coconut and herbs. Squeeze over the juice of the second lime. Enjoy.

CarrotandCashewsalad

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Carrot and Celeriac Slaw

Yesterday I was feeling like a domestic goddess. I finished work early, got back to the boat before dark and had a sudden burst of energy. I decided I would sweep the chimney. A job that has needed doing for a while but we hadn’t quite found the time to do it yet.

I was up on the roof, chimney hat off, with my make shift chimney sweep (the joys of gaffa tape!), sweeping away. I felt rather proud of myself that I was doing a pretty grotty job. Practical goddess if you will. Once swept I knew I was going to have to go inside and clear out the fire before I could light it and warm myself up. It took me about 45 mins of sticking my arm up the fire and scooping out charred ash. After what seemed like forever, I was pretty certain I’d cleared it out completely.

So I lit a nice fire to get toasty. Then the problems started. Smoke started billowing out of the bottom vents, into the boat. Not the chimney as it should do. So what did I do? Well I opened the fire door didn’t I… let’s just say it took me a long while to get the fire alarm to stop going off.

By this point it was getting late and I was getting even colder. I felt like a practical-goddess-failure. I called SOS (my SOS being Charlie), put the kettle on and warmed my hands up over the hob.

Charlie, being the clever man that he is, managed to fix the chimney within 5 minutes, and soon the fire was roaring again.

Anyway, the moral of this story is, (in my case) stick to what you’re good at…

CeleriacSlaw

Celeriac is such a great vegetable, pretty ugly to look at, but great in all other aspects. It’s a nice winter vegetable, with an earthy flavour and can be used in anything from slaws to soups.

I’ve paired the veg with a vegan cashew ‘mayo’ to add extra vitamins and nutrients.

Carrot and Celeriac Slaw (V)

INGREDIENTS:

1 large carrot (scrubbed)
½ celeriac

Cashew ‘mayo’
Handful cashews (soaked for 1-3 hours)
1/2 cup cold water
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
Splash extra virgin olive oil
Pinch salt and pepper

METHOD

First, using a sharp knife, peel the celeriac.

Using a Julienne peeler, or a grater, grate up your carrot and celeriac. Add to a mixing bowl.

Drain and rinse your soaked cashews.

In a blender, add cashews, water, s+p and olive oil. Blitz until it forms a creamy, smooth consistency.

Add mustard and blitz for 20 more seconds

Scoop the cashew mix out of the blender and add to the veg.

Mix well and serve with salad, on a burger or as a side.

 

 

Special thanks to my ever so talented friend Josie, for the gorgeous handmade, lino print tea-towel. You can find more of her beautiful creations over here.

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Spelt Blueberry Chia Muffins

When I am stressed, I bake. When I am worried, I bake. When it’s all getting a bit too much, I bake. I don’t know if I necessarily find it therapeutic, but it seems to be my go to thing when I’m having a dark-grey-cloud-over-my-head kinda day.

I try to live in the present, the now, the very moment. However it isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially when you have spent 26 years of your life worrying. Baking somehow manages to change my thought process. The focussing on the ingredients and method is almost like some kind of meditation for me. It just manages to push those worries and fears aside for a while, to re-adjust my blurry head, pushing the dark cloud away.

We are blessed that we live on the water, just seeing the ripples and reflections through the windows, even on a grey day, can help push the negativity away. There is nothing better than cooking with a view, to whip up something magical whilst looking out over the canal and to the fields beyond.

These muffins are not anything new, just a good old classic recipe spruced up a little. Spelt is such a lovely grain to use, I much prefer it’s slightly nuttier flavour, and better depth of colour. You can find it in any good supermarket or health food store. It has a much lower gluten content than regular flour too, meaning it won’t make you feel all sluggish.

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Blueberry-Chia-Muffins

Spelt Blueberry Chia Muffins

Makes 4-6 muffins

INGREDIENTS:

150g (1 cup) whole grain spelt flour
2 free range eggs
1 overly ripe banana (mashed)
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons agave or maple syrup
Handful of blueberries (fresh or frozen will work)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
Handful of nuts (I used flaked almonds)

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 3 / 160 C

Line a muffin tray with 6 muffin cases

Add the eggs to the mashed banana and mix well.

Pour in melted coconut oil (let it cool slightly first) and vanilla and stir to combine all wet ingredients.

Add your dry ingredients to your wet mixture and stir with a spoon until smooth.

Chuck in the blueberries and nuts, and fold them through the mixture.

Dollop spoonfuls of the muffin mixture into each muffin case, fill almost to the top.

Place in the oven and bake for approx. 20 mins, until lightly golden and a skewer comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and place muffins on a cooling rack.

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Sweet Potato and Ginger Cookies

Life is too short to eat bad food.

I’m not one for diets, I am a firm believer in everything in moderation. I am lucky that I enjoy healthier foods, so eating a bit greener isn’t a big deal for me.

Now, I know what you’re all thinking. “Cookies?? I’m supposed to be doing [insert latest diet trend here] for January. I can’t eat cookies” – well my friends, you can.

 

Sweetpotatocookie

These cookies are loaded with soothing ginger (perfect to kick that winter cold out the door), vitamin packed sweet potato, and immune boosting coconut oil.

This recipe is quite loose. Use different flour / omit oats if you wish.

Sweet Potato and Ginger Cookies (V)

Makes 6 – 8

INGREDIENTS:

1 medium sweet potato (peeled)
220g self-raising wholemeal flour
80g jumbo oats
80g unrefined brown sugar
2 tablespoons grated ginger
3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon ground flax
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon each ground ginger / cinnamon (for roasting)
Large pinch nutmeg
Zest from 1 orange
Couple of drops of vanilla extract

 

METHOD

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 6 / 200 oC

Cut the peeled sweet potato into chunks and place on a lined baking tray. Toss in a small amount of melted coconut oil, the ground ginger and cinnamon. Roast in oven for approx. 45 mins (or until very soft).

Once cooked, remove and set to one side to cool.

Turn oven down to Gas Mark 5.

In a bowl, combine the flour, oats, bicarb, spices and grated ginger. Mix well.

In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil over a low heat and stir in the sugar. Keep stirring until the sugar starts to dissolve.

In a bowl, mix ground flax with 2 teaspoons water and leave for 5 mins.

Mash the cooled potato into a puree. Add to the sugar mix with orange zest, flax mix and vanilla. Whisk well.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix just until you get a dough type mixture.

On a lined baking tray, drop spoonfuls of the dough, evenly spread out.

Bake for 10-15 mins, until the edges start to brown.

Remove from oven, leave to cool for 5 mins before placing on a cooling rack to complete cooling.

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