Every year, when the seasons shift, I get all excited. Don’t get me wrong, I love the summer, I love the heat, I love long, light evenings in the garden. But dang, I do love autumn. The temperature fell a few degrees this last week. Sunny, chilly mornings greeted me. Crisp, fresh air, chilling my hands. Time to pull out my winter coat and big snuggly scarf. The days are shorter, which I do find a struggle, and it’s harder to get up in the mornings with this new darkness, but these orange-y hues and red leaves paint the landscapes so well, it makes it worth it. Nature giving it one last hurrah before they shed their years bounty. Autumn, it’s good to see you.
My heart is full today, bursting in fact. Bursting with love and happiness and all the good things that come with it. There is something so magical about spending a day, watching two people you love, make promises to love each other forever. I managed to hold back the tears, but watching my best childhood friend walk down the aisle to marry her guy was beautiful. I got the honour of walking down in front of her, in awe of how beautiful she looked. I also got to make their wedding cake, weeks of stressing was instantly forgotten as soon as I saw their faces light up when they saw it. It’s been a magical weekend and my heart is happy.
Charlie and I have done our fair share of road tripping. His parents live 5 hours away, a journey that is long without traffic, but is notoriously busy and has, on some occasions, taken us over 8 hours. We’ve travelled all over the UK and Ireland, for many summers, for our festival work. From Scotland, to the Isle of Wight and back to Scotland, in the space of a few weeks. Long car journeys to the Alps in the winters. Quicker trips to the hills to get out and explore nature. Yeah, we’ve covered some miles together. I hope we’ll cover many more in future years. In all instances we prep snacks like a boss. A journey is not a journey without snacks. Energy bars, date and nut balls, cakes, savoury treats, but mostly and always, cookies. Without these snacks we would crack under the strain of long journeys. I am the worst passenger, but I am the best road-trip-snack-planner.
This last week was a different kind of journey, but one that needed cookies to calm our souls. A house plan fell through (again) and we are back to square one on the house hunt. We sighed and swore but told ourselves something even better is out there. But this weekend, we needed those cookies.
These beauts are packed full of goodness, with lots of oats to keep those stomach grumbles at bay for a while. To distract you from the long hours, or tired levels of a journey. I hope yours is always a happy one.
This recipe is measured in cups, as my scales are broken!
Cranberry Oat Cookies (v)
1 ½ cup spelt flour
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup oats
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice / or cinnamon
½ cup coconut oil (soft but not melted)
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 tbsp date syrup
1 chia ‘egg’ (1 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water) leave for 5 mins
1/3 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons chia seed protein powder (any protein powder would do)
Preheat your oven to Gas 5 / 190 C
In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, cranberries, oats, baking powder and mixed spice. Give it a stir.
In a separate bowl, cream the soft coconut oil, with the sugar, date syrup and chia paste. Give it a really good stir so it starts to cream together.
Add the dry mix to your creamed oil mix, fold it all together so theres no dry bits. If you need to, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil to help it come together.
Press into circles, about 1cm thick, in your hands, and place cookies on a lined baking tray.
Bake in the oven for 10 mins, until lightly brown.
While you read this, I will be in the South of France, relaxing by the pool (highly likely) with a beer in my hand (definitely). After 10 years of not joining my parents on their bi-annual trip to the South West of France, I decided it was high time I tagged along. I think they regretted this as soon as they saw my pile of
luggage bag/bike/surfboard/kayak lined up in the drive. But hey, everyone loves a good game of Tetris-car-boot-packing.
Anyways, let’s get to it. I’ve gotta admit, when ‘Overnight Oats’ started to become more popular, I didn’t get the hype. It was basically cold porridge right? WRONG. This tasty, time-saving, morning lifesaver of a breakfast is now a weekday staple in our humble floating kitchen. Whip up a quick batch, cover, and all you gotta do in the morning is add a few nuts/seeds/fruit and voila, breakfast perfection. So I’m sorry oats, for doubting this version of yourselves as a highly commendable breakfast. All hail the overnight oats.
Overnight Oats with Apricot Puree (V) (GF)
Makes 1-2 servings
2 x large handful / cups of organic rolled oats (certified GF)
250ml almond milk (you could sub 125ml of milk for water if you wish)
2 tablespoons coconut yoghurt (dairy free – I like Coyo)
1 large punnet of apricots
Approx 200ml cold water
Toppings of choice – blueberries, pumpkin seeds, almonds etc
Start my making the puree – half the apricots, removing their stones. Add the apricots into a pan, adding enough water to avoid them sticking to the pan, but not so much that they are submerged.
Bring the pan to a gentle boil, for 10 mins, or until the apricots are soft and some of the water has evaporated. Leave to cool for 5 mins.
Place the apricots into a blender, and blend into a puree. Store in an airtight container – it will last about 3-5 days in a fridge.
Pour your oats into a bowl or large jar. Add the milk (or milk/water combo), coconut yoghurt and stir well. Leave oats covered, in the fridge, overnight.
In the morning, remove your oats, add extra milk if desired. Add puree and your toppings of choice.
I have been pretty horizontal for the past couple of days. My feet, undeniably ‘put up’ – on the sofa, on the bed, or the grass. Rest is such an undervalued pleasure. We constantly push ourselves to make the most of the hours left in the day. Making sure we get as much as possible done. Why is it more of an achievement to hurtle through life, wearing ourselves down? I feel I’m winning when I rest. Rest is good for the soul. Rest does not make you weak, it empowers you to live a longer, stronger life. So yeah, I’ve done ziddly squat these last couple of days, and it feels fantastic!
I did however, let my much-needed-rest-time be interrupted by a little walk. Charlie had given me the heads up that there was a blackberry bush near the boat, overflowing with juicy fruits. I took my tub and off I trotted to find this berry oasis. And oh boy, he wasn’t wrong. Hundreds and hundreds of fat, plump blackberries, dangling from their thorns, waiting to be plucked. I was there for a good 45 minutes, scrambling around and under their bushes. Trying not to get spiked to death or end up with 100 thorn splinters. One such thorn took a good 10 minutes to dig out of my thumb, much to the amusement of the nearby railway workers. Who’s laughing now guys?!
I now have more blackberries than I honestly know what to do with, and am currently compiling a list of possible blackberry recipes. But I am happy, a big purple smile of happy. Plus, free food is the best food.
Blackberry and Oat Muffins
Makes 6-8 muffins
250g organic spelt flour
70g rolled oats
65g coconut sugar
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1.5 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda
200ml almond milk
2 organic free range eggs
Large handful of wild blackberries (washed) – if you don’t have any blackberry bushes nearby, source them from a local farmers market
Sprinkle of oats & coconut sugar for the topping
Preheat over to Gas Mark 6 / 200 C
Line a muffin tray with 8 muffin cases.
In a bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.
In a separate bowl, whisk milk and eggs together, then fold them into the dry mix.
Gently fold in the blackberries.
Divide the mixture evenly between your cases, making sure you fill them right up – this will create nice big muffins.
Sprinkle the additional oats and coconut sugar over the top of your muffins.
Bake for 15 mins, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Here’s some other blackberry recipes that I recommend testing out:
The boat is currently moored in a nice secluded woody area, surrounded by humungous trees and fields of horses. It also appears to be a bit of a black hole, connection wise. No internet, no phone signal. Just me and my mind. It’s been both good and bad. I don’t like feeling disconnected. But I also know that this current world is full of too much information. My brain feels like a matrix of words and news sometimes, forever buzzing and processing all the information we have access to. Social media has made switching off and being present much harder. Anxiety levels are on the rise in everybody, because life has turned into one big popularity contest.
It scares me a lot, how much this world now relies on constant sources of information and technology. We’ve forgotten how to appreciate the simple things in life, like the birds singing their songs, fresh from their migration back to the UK, fields of yellow popping up as the warmer weather arrives, the crisp morning air. We need to revel in the marvel that is this beautiful planet. Put down that screen and look outside, and around you. Breathe life.
These bars are a great energy source, a vital addition to any lunchbox and a great snack for that afternoon stroll through the countryside. They’re also free of all the rubbish that you get in store bought bars.
Ever so slightly adapted from this fantastic one
Banana and Blueberry Granola Bars (v) (gf)
Makes 8-10 bars
2 very ripe bananas
3 tablespoons almond butter (homemade or you can use pre-bought, I love this one)
80ml date syrup
Large handful blueberries
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon hemp protein powder (I used this one)
200g gluten free rolled oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut
Handful cacao nibs
Handful pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180 C
Line a baking tray with baking paper, and then grease it with coconut oil / EVOO
In a food processor, combine bananas, almond butter, coconut oil, date syrup, half of the blueberries, cinnamon and nutmeg. Mix until completely combined and you have a thick paste mixture.
In a frying pan, gently toast the nuts and seeds for 3-5 minutes, until slightly brown. Leave to cool. Once cooled, roughly chop the nuts.
In a large bowl, mix the oats, hemp powder, chia seeds, coconut, cacao nibs, the rest of the blueberries and toasted nut/seeds.
Stir the banana paste mix into the oat mix and combine.
Pour mix into your lined tray. Push down with a spatula to ensure mixture is evenly packed.
Bake for 30-40 mins, until lightly golden. These bars are quite soft, if you wish for them to be slightly crunchier, then bake for 10-15 more mins, but keep an eye on them so they don’t burn!
Leave to cool for 10 mins, then tip onto wire rack and let cool completely.
These will keep (in a sealed tub) for around a week.
Like these granola bars? Try these ones too:
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.
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
250g organic oats (I used certified gluten-free)
200g cooked quinoa
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.
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.
OK, So I’m kicking off the blog with something nice and simple, but delicious nonetheless!
I’m a big fan of anything Oat-y, but especially porridge. I love that warm fuzzy feeling you get as it works it way from your mouth to your stomach. And the way it can heat your body from the inside out. I love it!
Autumn has come around all too quickly, as it always seems to. However this does mean one thing, WILD BLACKBERRIES! They are everywhere along the canal, I sit at the back deck with a tuppawear and snag them off as we drive past, collecting big hoards of them in no time. There’s something a little smug about picking your own wild fruits and vegetables.
This recipe is a simple, but a greatly enjoyable way to make sure you start your day off with a bang!
Wild Blackberry Oats with Toasted Almonds
Large handful of oats (Certified gluten free if you can get them)
250ml Almond milk (any nut milk works well with this)
15 Large Wild Blackberries
Scattering of toasted almonds
First off, lightly toast your almonds in a dry frying pan for a few minutes, shaking occasionally to avoid burning them.
Mix the oats and blackberries together in a non-stick saucepan. Add in the almond milk (You could soak the oats overnight if your prefer) Turn on the hob to a low heat, and stir the milk into the oat mixture. Stir often as to break the blackberries up slightly, this will release their juice and turn your porridge a lovely pink colour.
Cook for 6-9 mins (depending on how gooey you like your porridge), add more milk if necessary.
Once oats have absorbed the milk and plumped up, pour into a bowl and scatter with your toasted almonds, and sprinkle with flax seeds. Enjoy!
PS Apologies for the basic photo, I only had my phone to hand at the time!