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.
This recipe comes to you with a wink. A little bit naughty, a little bit indulgent. Because we’ve had 2 weeks of our new clean eating, fitness mad, alcohol quitting regimes, and now it’s time for a break. I’m an advocate of the 80/20 (sometimes 70/30) rule. Restriction only leads to failure I say! Well done, give yourself a little pat on the back, have a break, have a mocha muffin.
I love chocolate, that is a well-known fact. I used to love nothing better than digging into a big bar of Dairy Milk, easily eating the whole thing in one go, and then feeling terrible afterwards. Chocolate is my vice, but now I’m more of an 80% dark chocolate girl, those purple packets no longer tempt me, no longer do they magically appear in my shopping trolley. Cacao is chocolate in its raw form, a slightly bitter taste, but delicious and earthy. Cacao contains magnesium, calcium, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B9 and also is a great anti-oxidant.
These muffins are still full of goodness, and have a lovely nutty flavour from the buckwheat, with an added treat inside. If you’re not feeling the Baileys, you can easily leave it out. They’re low in sugar, so they won’t set you up for a rollercoaster ride of highs. They come together quickly and bake in 15 minutes. I’ve used an egg to help bind them together, which adds protein, but I think a flax egg would work well here too.
Buckwheat Baileys Mocha Muffins (gf)
Makes 6-8 muffins
120g (3/4 cup) buckwheat flour
35g (1/4 cup) raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
50g coconut sugar (unrefined brown sugar would also work)
3 tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream
50ml espresso / strong coffee
75ml nut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 organic free range egg
Preheat your oven to Gas 4 / 190 C
Get all you ingredients ready.
Line a muffin tin with approx 7 cases
In a bowl, combine the flour, cacao powder, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
In another bowl, add the melted coconut oil, sugar and coffee. Whisk well to combine. Add in the Baileys and the egg, whisk again.
Slowly fold the dry mix into the wet, adding the milk a little at a time. Make sure all the mix has combined and you have no lumps.
Divide the batter evenly between the cases, filling them about ¾ full.
Bake in the oven for 15 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Here’s some more tasty Baileys treats:
Well, she did it. My awesome Mum completed all 26.2 miles of the New York Marathon. It was emotional for all and we are so proud of her. I’m still recovering from our New York trip, trying to beat this jet lag but mostly giving into it and having a few lazy days with much tea. There will be a full NYC post up shortly, so more about it then.
For now, I’ll leave you to enjoy these fragrant scones that I knocked up a couple of weeks ago. They come together quickly and are packed full of aromatic flavours that take me back to our time in Sri Lanka. Lightly spiced, with a subtle hint of sweetness from the cardamom. Just the ticket for sleepy mealtimes. Happy Monday ya’ll.
Chilli Scones with Turmeric and Cardamom (v)
Recipe adapted from Will Frolic For Food
200g spelt flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 green chilli
¼ tsp freshly ground cardamom pods (the seeds from about 3-4 pods should be enough)
3 tbsp (¼ cup) melted coconut oil
pinch Himalayan pink rock salt
125ml hot water
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 / 175 C
Cut open the cardamom pods and grind the seeds in a pestle and mortar.
Finely chop and de-seed the chilli.
In a bowl, mix all dry ingredients and the chopped chilli.
Add in the melted coconut oil and hot water, mix to form a dough. Add more water if needed.
Roll out dough about ¾ inch thick. Using a cutter cut out circles and place them on a lined baking tray
Bake in oven for 20-25 mins, turning halfway through, until lightly golden on top
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 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)
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
The sky was so clear last night, I’ve never seen so many stars scattered across the night-time curtain of dark blue. Then, when the sun rose, there was a crisp, silver blanket spread over the city. Blades of grass turned into silver swords, puddles into mirror like circles. The mist sitting so heavily along the canal. The first frost of winter.
The condensation on the inside of our boat’s windows had frozen, and we could see our breath, it was so cold. Thankfully we have a brilliant wood burner, and it soon melted away any trace of winter.
This loaf is just what you need this time of year, run home, heat yourself up a nice mug of Chai, and cut yourself a hunky bit of this tasty loaf.
If you can resist, leave this to sit overnight, as it tastes even better the day after.
Date, Apple and Walnut Loaf
200g pitted dates
70g dried cranberries
90g unrefined light brown sugar
200g wholemeal flour
50g coconut flour
100g chopped walnuts
1 apple (peeled and cut into small cubes)
1 egg (use 1 mashed banana if you want to make this vegan friendly)
25g mixed seeds (I used sunflower and pumpkin)
3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon all spice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon sea salt
Sprinkling of sesame seeds
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 (180 C)
Grease and line a loaf tin.
Chop the dates and cranberries and add to a saucepan with the apple pieces. Add 4 tablespoons of water. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and let it simmer for 15 mins. It should form a paste. If you need to you can mash it a bit with a fork.
While the dates are cooking, melt the coconut oil in a pan. Set aside.
In a bowl, mix the flours, walnuts, seeds, baking powder, spices and salt.
Add the melted coconut oil to the date-apple paste, along with the sugar, and egg (or banana), mix well.
Mix the wet with the dry, until just combined (don’t over mix)
Spread into your loaf tin, and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Bake for approx. 50 mins (or until a knife comes out clear of mixture)
Let the loaf sit for 15 minutes then turn out onto rack and leave to cool.