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
I had it in my head that come my blogs second birthday I would try to create something special. I was thinking I still had a couple of weeks left but it turns out my blog turned two last month *Happy Birthday to Me!* How did I miss this? 2 years have flown by. I feel I have come a long way since my first blog post (and I cringe at that photo)! But I am currently struggling to find time to create and share with my dear readers. I read this post recently and it completely sums up my feelings about blogging. I love blogging and the opportunities it brings me, but I feel so much pressure to put all my time and energy into it if I want to make it ‘big’. Trying to juggle a full-time job and a blog is HARD, unless you want to sacrifice any leisure time you do have. I wanna hang with my friends, I wanna laze on the sofa at the weekend, I want to explore the land on these short winter days. I don’t always want to plan my day around daylight hours and how much time I have to get a photo in the perfect light. Posts will still be coming, so bear with me, some may have one image, some may have seven. I think keeping things different is the key to a long, happy life. So here’s to slow blogging, slow living and a long life.
Some things need testing, a bit of tweaking here and there, a little bit of adding and subtracting. Mixing, making, eating. Jotting down tweaks, re-doing the recipe, scribbling all over your notes. Some things take some work. Some things work the first time around, but some things don’t. This weekend was a lot of trial and error. A lot of washing up the same bowls, heating up the same gadgets. Only for it to continuously not work. I take my hats off to anyone who creates a recipe book. Here’s me, on a Saturday, practically throwing my mixing bowl through the window in frustration, all for one recipe.
I was trying to make waffles. I love waffles. If I could, I would eat everything in waffle form. Something about them just gets to me. Their perfect shape. Full of corners and squares. Their crisp shell with a fluffy inside. I’m drooling just typing about them… sorry too much information. So, here I was this weekend, trying to make these waffles work. Every single attempt resulted in me scraping them out of the waffle iron, in a thousand little pieces. The shame of it was, they tasted SO GOOD, but they looked so bad. I eventually admitted defeat, this mix and my £20 waffle iron just weren’t meant to be, not for now anyway. Instead, this mix and PANCAKES. Because whats nearly as good as waffles? You got it, PANCAKES.
So here we are, a tasty, veggie packed snack. Be it for breakfast, brunch or dinner. The flavours from the veg are subtle, and a great way to sneak in some extra goodness into your day.
Butternut Squash and Carrot Pancakes (v)
Notes; These can be made gluten-free by swapping spelt flour for buckwheat flour. I used a flax ‘egg’ to help bind the mix, don’t have ground flax? Just add one egg instead.
Makes 6 – 10 pancakes
300g (2 cups) spelt flour
250ml (1 cup) unsweetened almond milk
1 medium carrot (scrubbed and grated)
50g (1/2 cup) grated butternut squash
1 flax ‘egg’ (1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
70g coconut sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
Topping suggestions: Cacao nibs, banana, peanut butter, maple syrup, yoghurt, plums, mango, ice cream…
First off, make your flax ‘egg’. Mix the ground flax with the water in a cup, and leave to one side for 5 minutes.
Add all the ingredients, except the milk, into a bowl and give it a really good mix. Make sure the carrot and squash get evenly distributed throughout the flour.
Add the flax ‘egg’ to the bowl.
Slowly add the milk, a little at a time, until you have your desired pancake mix consistency. I like mine a bit thicker.
On the hob, heat some coconut oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, ladel some of the mixture into the pan.
Leave to fry on one side for around 3 minutes, until bubbles start to appear in the pancakes.
Flip them and cook on the other side for another couple of minutes.
Keep them warm in a low oven while you cook all your mixture.
Serve with ALL THE TOPPINGS!
Don’t forget to hashtag #roughmeasures on Instagram if you make any of my recipes!
Love adding veg into your pancake creations? Here’s some more fun recipes:
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:
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.
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)
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
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.
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.
Spelt Blueberry Chia Muffins
Makes 4-6 muffins
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)
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.