Food Glorious Food · Nature · Seasons · Slow Living · The Great Outdoors

Chocolate Bites & Tea from a Flask

As much as I love the muted shades and coziness that Winter brings,  I get to the point where I’m ready to feel the sun on my face again. I’m ready for the lighter evenings & the splashes of colour popping up in the gardens & fields. It’s nice to have the pretty blooms appearing in our not so perfect garden, the ones we forgot we’d planted last year.


Getting outdoors is big on my list of things to do this spring. Longer dog walks and days away with girls. The simple things like packing a flask of tea and heading off for a windswept adventure somewhere.  Living up North doesn’t guarantee much sun, but finding a sheltered spot to sit down to a hot mug of tea & some homemade treats really is enough to shake those cobwebs away & feel refreshed again.


On those days where perhaps we don’t want to venture far we love to just potter around the house, doing a little baking or crafting. The easter holidays allowed us plenty of slower days just to catch up on all those craft boxes we have piling up or make some healthier snacks which I’m still to get my 7 year old to like…It’s an on going battle I tell you, but I won’t be defeated! One of my favourites are these chocolate bites which I keep in the fridge and head to when something sweet is calling, which at present it is doing a lot, we have so many easter eggs in our home!!

Chocolate Bites (adapted from a recipe by Madeleine Shaw)

Ingredients:

◦ 50g Almonds

◦ 50g Pistachio nuts

◦ 35g Dried Cranberries

◦ 150g Pitted Dates

◦ 50g Raw Cacao Powder

◦ 3 tbsp Coconut Oil

◦ sml Pinch Salt

Method:

In a food Processor blend the nuts to your desired size and add to a mixing bowl. Then blend the cranberries, adding to the bowl then the dates so that they become a smoothish paste. Add to the bowl with the cacao, salt & coconut oil and mix together. Its easier to use your hand at this point to blend all the ingredients together, its gets rather messy though! You could use the blender to mix everything together but I find the heat from using your hands works better! When everything is combined add the mixture to a small baking dish or plastic lunch box and place in the freezer for 30 minutes. After this time it should be easy enough to tip out onto a chopping board to cut up into bite size pieces. You may need to go around the edge with a knife to help it out. Store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks (although I doubt they’ll last that long!)

These are my go to chocolate treat when I’m trying to avoid all the sugar. It doesn’t always work but they really are delicious and worth a try if you like me are attempting a healthier lifestyle.

I think I failed on the easter crafts a bit this year, & the easter baking, we usual do a lot more but we still kept ourselves busy playing with clay and burning drawings onto wood slices. We’re fairly nature based, without trying, it seems to be our go to when drawing or creating but occasionally my daughter will pull a football out of the bag. I particularly loved her take & I must say an uncanny resemblance to Wayne Rooney. We now have him etched for eternity on a wood slice! Perhaps he’d appreciate a gift from a fan? Anyone have his address?!

Love Victoria

Food Glorious Food · Seasons · Slow Living

Hibernating & Apple Crumble

My love of Autumn stems back to childhood. Kicking fallen leaves is still one of my favourite things to do and I have been known to cross the road in the past if the other side is of better leaf kicking quality!

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It’s also the time hibernation commences. I strongly believe all humans should partake in the occasional spell of hibernation. There’s nothing like switching off technology, locking the front door and sitting by the fire with a hot drink and a big cosy jumper. Time to catch up on your favourite magazine. Read that book you’ve been meaning too or pick up that sketchbook and pen.

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For me, hibernation starts in October. The curtains are closed as soon as is justifiable. The world is shut out for the evening and pyjamas are on the same time as the kids. The candles are lit and the fire is stoked. Its the time I switch from smoothies to porridge for breakfast. A time when soup is a perfectly suitable meal most days and I crave stews and one pot dinners. Then of course, there is Crumble!

Apple crumble is my treat for that extra bit of comfort when the nights start drawing in. There are many variations of crumble recipes out there but the one I use and have found to be the most likely to have me heading back to the fridge for third helpings is this:

Apple Crumble Recipe

Serves 8, no 4, possibly 6 depending on how big your portions are!

Ingredients:

 Filling:

◦ Approx 500g of Brambley Apples, peeled cored & sliced into 1cm chunks (ish)  You can use eating apples if you’d prefer which offer a slightly healthier version as less sugar is needed. I’d use 1 tbsp of caster sugar rather than 2.

◦ 2 tbsp Caster Sugar

Crumble:

◦ 175g Plain Flour

◦ 110g Caster Sugar

◦ 110g cold butter, cubed

◦ Pinch of salt

Topping:

◦ 1tbsp Oats

◦ 1tbsp light brown sugar

Method:

Fill up a baking dish with the chopped apples. Squash down with your hand and sprinkle over the 2 tbsp’s of caster sugar.

Place the flour and 110g caster sugar in a bowl with good pinch of salt. Rub in the cold cubed butter with your fingertips to create a breadcrumb texture.

Pour the crumble mix over the apples and flatten down with the back of a fork to even it out and so it holds together when cooked. Sprinkle the light brown sugar and the oats evenly over the top.

Pop into into a pre heated oven at 170 / gas 5,  for 35 – 40 minutes until the top is golden and the apples are soft.

Try waiting 10 minutes or so before consuming as burning of the mouth can occur to the impatient kind. (Trust me I know!)

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Life of course, does go on and true hibernation is not an option but then if it were, I’d have to have some time off each week to head outdoors. To kick those leaves and to breath in those cold crisp mornings because without these I wouldn’t be reminded how wonderful it is to see & feel the seasons changing and that would be very sad indeed.

But as the clocks change, and the days get shorter, its highly likely I’m to be found in my pjs, fighting with the dog for the warm spot by the fire, bowl of crumble in one hand, spoon in the other.

Love Victoria.