Date, Almond, Coconut & Chocolate Energy Balls

Energy Balls 1

 

Ask anyone who knows me well and they’ll tell you that exercise isn’t really my thing. The closest I’ve come to organised sport is a rather inappropriate Saturday job at JJB Sports whilst I was in the sixth form, not sure what I was thinking there.

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If it wasn’t for the massive amount of cake involved in writing a food blog I doubt I would ever exercise at all. As it stands, there are only 2 things that get me through a painful gym session: an old episode of Downton Abbey on my iPad (new series starts tonight!!) and one (or maybe two) of these scrumptious energy balls.

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Pop a stock of these chocolatey, coconuty, almondy balls in your fridge (or freezer) and you’ve got yourself some bite sized bursts of energy at your finger tips, just the ticket for a post-work workout. They’re also perfect for that afternoon slump, when you just can’t go on without something sweet. Just keep in mind that they’re not chocolate truffles, they’re packed full of dates, and if you get too carried away you may be spending a little more time in the smallest room of the house than you’re used to! (apologies for lowering the tone!) (continue reading…)

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Marcona Almond, Cherry & Chocolate Blondies

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Blimey these blondies are good. They’re so good that I only had time to snap a couple of incredibly dull pictures before I had to tuck in, my willpower falling to the wayside.

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The secret here, as in a lot of good things, is the almond butter. In much the same way as it adds richness to a bowl of overnight oats, here it adds an irresistible depth of flavour that blondies can sometimes lack.

Marcona almond blondies 3

Crunchy almonds, dried sour cherries and chunks of deeply dark chocolate add just the right amount of interest and variety to every bite. (Chocolate, almonds and cherries are always a fantastic combo, see also my cherry chocolate frangipane tart, ridiculously good.) (continue reading…)

Overnight Oats #3 – Roasted Strawberries

Overnight Oats and Roasted Strawberries 1

For this week’s overnight oats episode I took a note out of Tracy Shutterbean’s book and roasted some strawberries.

Roasting strawberries intensifies their flavour, adding a cheeky splash of balsamic vinegar gives them an amazing tang and maple syrup provides just the right level of stickiness.  This method is especially effective if you’ve accidentally bought a duff batch of watery flavourless strawberries, it really perks them up.

The strawberries cut through the richness of overnight oats beautifully, but I couldn’t resist adding to the richness with a little almond butter. Any excuse!

I recommend you prepare a big batch of these strawberries as there are so many uses for them, such as Tracy’s gorgeous snack idea of popping them on graham crackers topped with ricotta. Heaven!

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Overnight Oats with Roasted Strawberries
Strawberries from Shutterbean

You can find the basic overnight oats recipe here

Ingredients:
450g strawberries, hulled and sliced in half lengthways
4 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 175C / 160C Fan / 350F and line a baking tray (with sides) with parchment paper.

Mix all of the ingredients except the strawberries in a small bowl. Pop the strawberries into a larger bowl and pour over the liquid. Toss the strawberries around to coat them thoroughly.

Remove the strawberries from the liquid and spread them out over the baking sheet, then dispose of the remaining liquid. Roast them for 40-45 minutes. They should stay fresh in the fridge for about a week.

Enjoy!

 

Overnight Oats #2 – Earl Grey Raisins and Almond Butter

Overnight Oats & Raisins 1

Welcome to part 2 of my overnight oats series. Now we’ve gone though the basic recipe, it’s time to start thinking about toppings.

Although this may not look like the most exciting of accompaniments, it’s the one I go back to time and time again. For one thing you don’t need to have any fresh fruit in the house, just raisins, a tea bag and a jar of nut butter.

Secondly, it tastes amazing! Overnight, the tea turns the raisins into juicy, sweet little globes that burst wonderfully in your mouth, with just a hint of citrus and tea flavour. The almond butter adds richness to the oats and provides some marvellous essential fats. It’s the perfect combination.

Go on, give it a go.

Overnight Oats & Raisins 2

Overnight Oats with Earl Grey Raisins and Almond Butter

1 serving of basic overnight oats, for recipe click here
1 earl grey tea bag (or other tea of your choice)
1 tbsp raisins
1 tsp almond butter (or any other nut butter you fancy)

In the evening, once you’ve whipped up your overnight oats and put them in the fridge, make a cup of tea, remove the tea bag and put the raisins into the cup. Cover the cup with a saucer and leave it on the work surface over night.

In the morning remove the raisins and sprinkle them over the overnight oats. Stir through the nut butter and enjoy!

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Vegan and Gluten-Free Black Bean Brownies with Almond Butter Swirls

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When my friend Rebecca comes to stay, I pretend to be a tourist. Together we visit London zoo, art galleries and museums. We wander the streets and admire landmarks, and we also spend a lot of our time on missions to specialist shops and eateries. As Rebecca is, rather stressfully for a keen baker like me, a strict vegan.

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I’ve come to utterly love our weekends, not least because our Saturday nights are usually finished off with a cocktail or 2. So when she came to stay this weekend I felt she needed a treat, something to sustain her through our endless tourist ramblings. It was time to take on the challenge of vegan baking.

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There was only one place to go for guidance and that was the wonderful blog, Minimalist Baker. Dana features lots of vegan recipes, all tirelessly tested and tweaked, so I knew she’d see me right. And oh boy, did she! (continue reading…)