Tuesday, 26 November 2013

stirring it up on sunday

good evening everyone! guess what? it's a month until Christmas! i must admit to being one of those people who do actually still get excited about this time of year, even though i'm 26. cynicism has not taken over yet, and i still believe that this time of year is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, enjoying time with family (however much driving is involved) and showing love by giving gifts.

in line with the fact that Stir Up Sunday was last weekend, the lovely people at Yeo Valley asked me if I'd like them to send me the ingredients to make a traditional Christmas pud. of course, being the blogger that i am, i leapt at the chance, and fortunately received this beautiful package on my front door a few days later...

i actually wasn't planning on a pud this year - i'd never done it before, and given that i can't really eat it, it had not really crossed my mind. however, i love making new traditions, and even though i won't be able to have a slice, everyone else can! and i'll probably still have a little taste with a smidgen of hot custard.

so whilst visiting my grandparents, we popped on ClassicFM and got all the ingredients out... 

they not only sent me the ingredients & a recipe, but also a beautiful blue and white Cornishware pudding bowl to put it in. i shall treasure it forever. and if this goes well, perhaps make my Christmas pud in it each year!

there's no real way to make this much healthier if you want to store it until Christmas. my only switch was to add in wholemeal breadcrumbs instead of white. but i did keep in the same amounts of fruit, sugar and black treacle...

then all you have to do is stir it up...

and make sure as many family members have had a chance to stir it up too!! here goes my husband and my grandmother...

and my grandfather...

and then pop it in a pan to steam for 3 1/2 hours... after having made a fantastic contraption out of string for getting it in and out.

once you've steamed it, you'll need to take it out, let it cool and then store it in a cool, dark place until Christmas! i popped mine in a Christmas-y tin and then popped it with the bowls, where it will wait patiently...

so there you go, my first Christmas pud! if you'd like to make one too, there's still time! (essentially they just get better with time, but you can make them at any point from now until Christmas.) here's the Christmas pudding recipe for you - i'm sure you'll have fun making it!

thank you for reading - check back soon for more lunchboxes and foodie inspiration...

currently listening to: cool yule by louis armstrong & the commanders (arguably the best Christmas song ever?!)

Monday, 18 November 2013

autumn rhubarb flapjack

is there anything more comforting than a rectangle of flapjack?

perhaps it's because my grandmother always used to make it. her kitchen would smell of hot golden syrup, and there was always a tin full of crunchy flapjacks on the side. we would sit and enjoy it by the coal fire after cold walks in the Dorset countryside.

today's very delicious recipe is a variation on the prune flapjack recipe that appears on p107 of my breakfast cookbook, but is perhaps more perfect for this time of year, and will certainly be appearing in the second edition of the book! it's much healthier than my nanna's original as there's no refined sugar...

rhubarb flapjack
makes 12 pieces

1 cup (220g) stewed rhubarb
1.5 cups (175g) porridge oats
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp molasses
100g butter
pinch salt

1. preheat the oven to 180c. grease and line a small baking tray.
2. melt together the honey, molasses and butter on a low heat.
3. add in the salt, oats and stewed rhubarb, mixing well.
4. place the mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing over with a spatula or the back of a spoon to ensure even baking.
5. bake for about 30 minutes, until crisp at the edges.
6. leave to cool in the tray for 30 minutes, then use a knife to cut the flapjack into rectangles, and leave in the tray to cool completely. remove from the tin and store in an airtight container in the fridge, or wrap individually in parchment ready for travel.

cook's notes:

  • i stewed a big bag of frozen chopped rhubarb with the seeds from half a vanilla pod for my sauce. you could also substitute other fruit pulps to change the flavour.
  • i used my own porridge mix instead of just oats, which includes dessicated coconut, oatbran, quinoa flakes, buckwheat flakes, oat flakes and spelt flakes.
  • if you're dairy free, substitute in the same amount of coconut oil, about 2Tbsp.
  • you could add in other flavours to spice it up a little, but i love the taste of the rhubarb in this.

the perfect thing to eat when you're doing a little stitching...

this would go so perfectly with a cup of coconut milk dark hot chocolate with a dash of cinnamon. warming and divine. or a hot mug of vanilla rooibos tea...

thanks for reading! i hope you enjoy making these.

currently listening to: merry go 'round by kacey musgraves