Hey 2017! How ya doing? We’ve been waiting for you! Thanks for showing up, let’s make this year a cracker, yeah?! I hope everyone had a banger of a Christmas and a sparkly new year?! I spent some much-needed quality time with my family, hanging out, playing charades and eating ALL THE sprouts. I had to work between Christmas and New Year, and I’m not gonna lie, it bummed me out, but hey, I like my job and there are worse things to be doing. We had a very quiet evening on New Years Eve, curled up on the sofa under some blankets and watching films. I know everyone has been saying how sucky 2016 was, but amidst the political nightmares, the deaths and the woes, 2016 was really good to me. Continuing this blog has opened up some amazing opportunities for which I am so grateful. We bought our first (non-floating) home, settled into our new suburbs and played house. We even got 2 gorgeous cats that I have fallen head over heals in love with. Yeah, 2016 had some bumps, but it was good to me. I’m excited to see what 2017 will bring.
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 spent a few weeks dropping little hints. Mentioning the ‘V’ word now and again, slowly planting those little seeds (or so I thought). A strategic walk around the Valentines isles in our local supermarket, pointing out bouquets, drying out roses on the boat and placing them around to ‘look pretty’. I do not expect a grand gesture, just maybe a little card. One that tends to only happen if I drop enough hints. All this however seems to have fallen on deaf ears or a forgetful mind, or (what Charlie seems to be very good at) having just simply not noticed what else is going on in shops / society around us. So, I did not get a gift, or even a card. When I produced his one to him, his words were, ‘What’s this?’, when I said ‘Happy Valentines Day!’ his face said it all. This time I was not surprised, and not disappointed. I made a little mental note to drop some bigger hints for future important dates, clearly this is something that needs more strategic planning.
My valentines weekend couldn’t have been made better with a card, or a bunch of roses. It had already been made awesome enough just hanging out with my man. We’ve spent the weekend cosying up
in front next to the fire (too narrow on our boat to sit in front of anything), watching the latest Tom Hanks movie, giggling over owl books in our local book store, eating one of the best brownies ever with some coffee, drinking rum and eating some spicy-as-hell Caribbean food, testing out some pies here, yeah there’s a general food theme here. Today we went climbing at our local wall, something Charlie does often, but I have been putting off as I thought I’d suck. Chas gave me the confidence to give it a go, giving me tips and acting as my cheerleader when I got to the top (yay), making me push myself because he knew I’d feel so good once I’d done it.
Yesterday, I had one of my (sadly) regular wobbles. I was trying to get some recipes shot, but was finding the low light levels, on our dark boat, oh so trixy. Chas gave me some pointers, and we had a little photography lesson and workshop. Me cooking, him helping me with shots, and then, of course, duly consuming the goods. He inspires me to try to be the best version of myself, he doesn’t let me flap, and when I do, he sorts me out.
That’s the best
V any day present right there. Having my man support me whatever I do. Biggest kisses of all to you Chas <3.
Onto this weeks recipe!
The days here are getting longer, I can now get home before it’s too dark. It’s getting easier to get out of bed in the mornings. But it’s still got that harsh winter chill, reminding us that we’re not quite out of the woods. Days like these call for warming mugs of hot chocolate. Happy Monday lovelies.
Hemp Milk Hot Chocolate (v) (gf)
1 mug hemp milk (homemade or store-bought)
2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1 tablespoon date syrup
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Add all ingredients into a bender and blitz for 30 seconds
Pour into a saucepan and heat onto the hob until just under boiling
Pour into mugs and get cosy
Don’t forget, I’ve got a great competition to win some awesome goodies! Check it out!
Let me give you some advice. Do not try to frantically cook 3 recipes for your blog, on a Sunday afternoon, when you may or may not be nursing a sore head from one too many Somerset ciders from the night before, with only an hour of daylight left. It will result in a kitchen resembling something of a war zone, you will stress yourself out and fall over things in your hurried, rushed state. Not unless you have a strong mind and 6 arms.
However, the result is some darn tasty treats, preparing you for the week ahead. Some little bites of love, for your loved ones. I’m not one for a soppy love fest on St Valentine’s day, but hey, this is chocolate, and you’d have to be crazy to say no to that, right?!
Raw Chocolate Hearts (gf) (v)
60g raw cacao butter
50g raw cacao powder
Optional: 1 tablespoon maple syrup / 1 tablespoon raw coconut oil
Bring a pan of water to the bowl, place a bowl over the sauce pan, it should be sitting just above the boiling water, not submerged.
Add your cacao butter to the bowl and melt slowly, turning the heat down so the water is lightly simmering.
Once melted, add in the cacao powder and whisk well to combine.
If using, add coconut oil and maple syrup. You could also add in a drop of peppermint essence, or some rose water, to flavour the chocolates.
Once combined, pour the chocolate into the heart moulds.
Leave to set in the fridge for 1 hour.
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:
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!
I have a confession. It’s one I have been denying for a while now. Charlie tells me it regularly, but I have been slightly blind sighted. I shut the cupboard doors quickly, and ram in another hanger in the over-flowing wardrobe.
Yes, I am a hoarder.
I collect things I think will be important, things I am sure I will use again and again. Yes, I do need another pink wig. And a 15th pair of sunglasses. No, I can’t make my trainer collection smaller, and it is absolutely necessary to have that hula-hula skirt I found at a festival. The trouble is, when you live on a boat, you cannot be a hoarder. You have to condense your life down to the very most important things. How am I supposed to do this when EVERYTHING is important. It is a topic which often turns into a heated discussion between Charlie and I. He doesn’t like ‘stuff’, I love ‘stuff’. Here lies the problem.
Every September, we arrive back on the boat after some time in the fields, and I cry and despair because I don’t know how we are going to be able to unpack. I try to have a clear-out, but it never seems to work. All the storage space we have is full, and the boat is a mess. How could we possibly get organised, when there was no room to organise anything? I decided enough was enough. I sat myself down, gave myself a little pep talk, and got my ‘clearing out’ head on.
It took all day, copious amounts of tea, a few tears, and many cookies. I was ruthless with my clothes, anything not worn in over 2 months could go, shoes hiding at the back of the rack were out. The kitchen cupboards were organised, I know now exactly what is in them (we’re going to be eating rice until 2017), and where. Given the fact that we can only have about 3 people visiting at once, I figured we don’t need 20 dinner plates, or 25 side plates! We gave sacks and sacks of clothes to charity, blankets to people in need, and set up a stall on the towpath with a big ‘FREE – HELP YOURSELF’ sign.
There’s still more sorting to be done, but the boat is looking better. What surprised me most, is how good it actually felt. What I thought would stress me out, and the reason I’d be putting it off for so long, actually made me feel so much better. A sense of calm came over me, and it didn’t break me. Plus, now I have MORE SPACE FOR NEW THINGS! (I’m only slightly joking….)
Cleaning out one of our kitchen cupboards, I realised we had a great variety of nuts and seeds. They are great things to keep a good stock of, as we use them often. Perfect for a ‘throw-everything-in-a-bowl-granola-mix’. In my eagerness, none of this recipe was measured, apart from the syrup and coconut oil. Clear out those cupboards, chuck it in, mix it, bake it, and amp up your granola game.
Cacao Cashew Granola (v) (gf)
Rolled oats (I use certified gluten-free)
Large handful of cashews – roughly chopped
Small handful of hemp seeds
Shaking of raw cacao powder (at a guess I would say I used 3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon date syrup
2 tablespoons cold pressed coconut oil
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 2 / 160 C
Add all dry ingredients into a bowl, stir to combine.
In a saucepan, melt the coconut oil and date syrup over a low heat, whisk well.
Pour the melted mixture into the dry, making sure you give it a good stir to coat all the granola mix.
On a lined baking tray, spread out your granola mix (you may need to cook it in 2 batches)
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Be sure to stir the mix every 5-7 minutes, to stop it from catching.
Here’s some other Cacao and Cashew recipes:
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!
I’ve come to the conclusion, that at the ripe age of 26, I am a grown up. This revelation came to me when I was stood in my local whole foods store, amongst the quinoa and coconut oil. There I was, amongst this amazing array of colourful veg, beautiful nuts, and the best selection of whole-grains, and I was excited, so excited. The same kind of excitement that I used to get when I bought a new dress from Topshop, or a new pair of shoes (OK the latter still excites me). But now, going to the supermarket to stock up on supplies, this is my addiction. I love just looking around the shelves in stores, just to hunt out that new spice, or oil, to jazz up my dinner. Sometimes I’ll just walk around the isles, knowing I don’t need to buy anything, but just walking around, to take it all in. The local market man laughs at me sometimes, because some days I just go and look at his daily selection of produce, just to absorb its wonderfulness, he and I knowing that I stocked up on it all, just the day before. Yes, this is what it must feel like to be a grown up.
I caught up with some old school friends last week, who agreed with me that we must be ‘real’ grown ups now. Gone are our conversations of the latest fashion trend, or crazy tale from a wild club night. In their place now; which is the best vegetable brownie recipe? How else can we use tahini? And how the world food section in a certain supermarket is the a hidden gem and gold mine for worldwide treats.
I pretty much have food on my mind every minute I am awake. And most of my dreams are food related. As soon as I’ve finished a meal, I’m picturing my next snack or dish. It’s great. I’m one of those people who needs to eat pretty often. Snacking is pretty high up on my priority list. I get hungry super quickly, so need something healthy and energy-packed on hand at all times.
These energy balls combine some of my favourite snack foods – dates and nuts. Spirulina is packed full of vitamin B12 (good for those following a meat free diet). It’s also high in magnesium and iron, great for helping boost your immune system and keeping your nervous system in good nick.
This is a very rough recipe, throw whatever you feel like in.
Spirulina Energy Balls (v) (gf) (sf)
2 large handfuls of dates
1 tablespoon goji berries
100g cashews (any nuts will work)
1 teaspoon Spirulina powder
Raw cacao powder / desiccated coconut – to roll balls in
Place dates and goji berries in a bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 10 mins.
In a food processor, blitz the nuts until crumbly.
Drain the dates and goji berries, add to the food processor along with the Spirulina powder.
Pulse mixture for a few mins, until it forms a dough (you may need to stop and scrape mixture off sides)
Now for the
fun messy bit.
Scoop small amounts of the dough mix with your hands, and roll mixture into balls. Roll a third of the balls in cacao powder, a third in coconut, and leave the last third as they are.
Store in a container in the fridge.
Super snacking is a go!