So far, January is looking pretty juicy, don’t you think? I do! We’re over a week into 2017 so far, David Attenborough is still alive and so are we. Not bad ey? So far 2017 is strutting its stuff. It’s a good month for us too as we are off to Whistler in 3 days time. Excited doesn’t even cut it. OHMYGODIAMBEYONDECSTATIC is a little closer. Read more
Hey there friends. How is it April already?! It’s been a while. I know things have been a little very quiet around here lately, so I’m sorry for that. I needed to take a little time out, a step back from the laptop, my camera and even cooking for a while.
The truth is, I just wasn’t feeling it. The flame inside me that is my passion for food just wasn’t burning very bright. In fact, I felt pretty burnt out. I can’t really put my finger on what it was, but I knew I didn’t want to force recipes, and force false words on this little space of mine. I just needed to step back for a bit and let my mind have a bit of a break. Trying to juggle work, blogging and social time has proven trickier than I thought (props to every single person who creates a blog or just generally excels at life!)
Last week I was feeling it a bit more, back in a creative mode, with a long weekend ahead I set about planning some cooking, some for here, and some just for the love of food, no pressure to plate it up nicely, take the perfect shot. Some food just purely for eating (imagine that!!)
A few weeks back we went to this incredible little deli-café place in Kendal called Baba Ganoush. A small little oasis of gorgeous salads, soups and cakes. Hungry after a morning of climbing, we hid from the torrential rain and grabbed ourselves a veggie box from the counter.
This beetroot and orange salad is a twist on something I tried there. Deep earthy tones from the beetroot are perfectly matched with some sweet, tangy oranges. Drizzled with this creamy mint dressing which I am loving so much right now, I want it on everything! Using cashew butter for the creaminess means added protein too. Win win!
- 3 – 5 large beetroots (peeled)
- 2 large oranges
- For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons cashew butter
- 50ml water
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Juice ½ lemon
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- Handful fresh mint leaves
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Preheat your oven to Gas 5 / 190 C
- Chop the peeled beetroot into 1cm cubes.
- Place on a baking tray with a drizzle of oil and roast for 35-45 mins, until soft. (they won’t go super soft, but retain a little bite which is what we want here)
- Peel the oranges (I use a shard knife to do this as it helps remove extra pith). Chop the orange into cubes and then into a large mixing bowl.
- Once the beetroot is done, add it into the bowl with the oranges. Give it a good mix.
- To make the dressing – add all ingredients into a jug, use a stick blender to blend it up. Add a little more water if it’s too thick.
- Serve on a plate and drizzle with dressing.
Something about spring gets me all excited inside. Butterflies in my belly at the first signs of daffodils. Giddy when I see the new bunnies and lambs in the fields. Snowdrops twinkling along the canal brings a warmth to my heart. All these signs that we are getting out of our long, wet winter, and soon, we will be basking in the great British sunshine. Even the wild garlic is making an appearance.
This week, we had an unusually mild, spring evening. I was cycling home and heard a pop. I’d hit a sharp stone and my tyre had punctured. I was 3 miles from the boat and cursed myself for not having a spare. So I walked back, dragging the bike along, taking in the mild evening and the pink skies. I cycle this route every day, but my head is down and I’m focussed on the pedalling. Walking a route brings you the time to take in the surroundings and truly experience the nature and the joys of Spring.
Markets are now brimming with their spring produce, which gets me jumping for joy, especially when I see those juicy Sicilian Oranges (blood oranges to you and me). Bursting with juices and flavours, these beauties are packed full of Vitamin C, fibre and potassium, woop! Another of my favourite fruits to get me excited for summer is grapefruits. Growing up, I watched my mum eat her way through a lot of these sharp, strange fruits, vowing that I would never like them. Fast forward 10 years and I can’t get enough of them.
By the time I eventually got home on this mild evening, I was in need of something to drink, involving alcohol and to celebrate the appearance of Spring. A long day at work with an even longer commute makes for one thirsty Sus! I headed over to thebar.com to gather some inspiration. thebar.com is a fab website full of tasty cocktails and drinks, whether you like something simple and classy, or something with a bit of fizz, thebar.com has it all. You just type what ingredients or spirits you’ve got into the site, and they’ll find you a drink to match, perfect! There’s some amazing Easter themed ones on there, like this decadent Baileys Egg Nog and I especially like this Marmalade Collins. I mixed this Spring Sunshine Cocktail together and sat on the roof of the boat, enjoying the last few moments of daylight.
Spring Sunshine Cocktail (v) (gf)
25-50ml gin (I like Tanqueray)
Juice of 4 blood oranges
Juice of 2 pink grapefruits
A couple of sprigs of thyme
2-4 tablespoons coconut or maple sugar (to frost the glasses)
For the Thyme Syrup
125g coconut sugar
1 bunch thyme
The day before; In a pan, dissolve the sugar into the water. Bring it to a bubble and add the thyme. Leave it to steep overnight.
Strain the thyme mix through a sieve, into a jar and pop into the fridge. This will keep for a while.
Zest all the fruit, and add it to a bowl with some coconut sugar. Set to one side.
Slice all the fruit in half, and squeeze out the juice into a jug. I do this through a sieve to catch the seeds.
Get your cocktail glasses, dip the rips into water, and then dip them into the sugar/zest mix to garnish the rim.
Pour the gin into the glasses, then 25ml of the thyme syrup, followed by the fresh juice. Give it a good stir. Sit back, relax. Happy Spring.
This post was sponsored by thebar.com – Many thanks to them for their sponsorship which enables Rough Measures to keep going! All opinions are my own. Please drink responsibly.
Here’s some other fab cocktails from my foodie friends;
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.