Monthly Archives: September 2014

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Protein Truffles

I’d like to dedicate this post to my beloved hand blender, who passed during the final stages of this recipe. RIP dude, you did me well.

Rather than sitting through the odious task of watching my 3 year old eat her porridge one oat at a time, over a period of fourteen hours (well, seems like fourteen hours), I decided to go make a new protein snack. All hail, a new, luxurious snack king is born.

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Protein Truffles

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Protein Truffles

These sticky, chocolatey, gooey, spiced protein truffles are packed with good things and awesome taste. I’m actually not a fan of Christmas pudding, but I’d eat a bowl of these!

Makes 10 delicious, sticky truffles:

Ingredients:

  • 2tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup unflavoured whey protein (or use vanilla & omit the vanilla drops listed below)
  • 2tbsp coconut flour
  • 2tbsp chopped mixed nuts
  • 1tsp instant coffee powder
  • 1tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 pitted medjool dates
  • 2tbsp apple juice
  • 2tbsp no added sugar morello cherry jam/conserve (I used Meridien)
  • 12 drops vanilla flavouring drops
  • 1scant tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp ground ginger
  • 2 cloves, ground
  • 1tsp light agave syrup (if needed)
  • 2tsp ground almonds (for coating)

Method:

  1. Chuck all the ingredients (minus the syrup & ground almonds) in a bowl.
  2. Blend with a stick blender.
  3. Taste for sweetness, add syrup, if required.
  4. Using 2 teaspoons, divide in to 10 truffles and pop on a non-stick paper lined baking sheet.
  5. Pop the ground almonds on a plate and gently roll the truffles around to coat & shape in to little balls. There should be *just* enough ground almonds to give them enough of a coat to stop them sticking to you, the paper, the tray, the atmosphere!
  6. Bung them back on the lined tray & in to the fridge for an hour or so, or until they are set, or until you cannot wait any longer to eat them!

Nutritional Data (approx.) – per truffle:

kcals: 86, fat: 3.2g, sat fat: 1.6g, carbs: 10.9g, fiber: 1.5g, protein: 3.6g

Store these delicious truffles in the fridge and either eat them when they are firm-ish and cold, or allow to warm at room temp for 10-15mins first, if you don’t like cold chocolate.

These will keep, covered, in the fridge for 2-3days, but if they last longer than 5mins, then you are pretty well disciplined! 😉

Try them out, see what you think & lemme know!

P.S. A Chocolate Christmas Pudding Protein Truffle is for life, not just for Christmas! 🙂

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Prosecco Apple Butter – The Recipe

I made a pretty bloomin’ good apple butter the other day (even if I may say so myself…!) Anywho, if you are in to apples, or prosecco, or jam making, or happen to have a truck-load of apples kicking about, then this, my friends, is for you!

photo 3We have an ancient apple tree in the garden, it chucks out fruit by the barrow-load every year. So, each year, I know that I’ll need to think up some new ideas for apples – and here it is:

Prosecco. Apple. Butter.

photo 1 (5)

Ingredients:

  • Approx. 1.5kg Peeled, cored, chopped apples (I used cooking apples as they are what grow in the garden, but also, they cook down really well)
  • 1 x 75cl bottle of prosecco – no, you can’t have a glass!
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon (or ginger would be awesome too!)
  • Sugar (you’ll work out how much you’ll need later)
  • 500ml water

Method:

  1. Put all the apple chunks in to a biiiiiiig saucepan, bung in the prosecco & also, about 500ml water.
  2. Bring gently to the boil & allow to simmer until the apples are soft, mushy & starting to break up.
  3. Mash the apple mix (or use a stick blender) until you have a smooth consistency.
  4. Grab a measuring jug & pour the apple mix in to it. Now work out how much sugar you think you’ll need – approx 350g sugar for every 600ml of apple-y mix, give or take…
  5. chuck all the apple mix back in to your very big pan & add in the sugar & cinnamon (or ginger).
  6. Bring up to the boil, keep stirring to dissolve the sugar. Boil the mix quite fast until it starts to change colour, thicken & get glossy – any where between 20mins & an hour. Give it a stir every few minutes to stop the apple butter sticking to the bottom of the pan & burning.
  7. When you think it is ready, drop a bit on a plate & check it for set after a few minutes (also the perfect opportunity to give it a taste!)
  8. When you are happy with the taste & texture, get that delicious stuff dropped in to sterilised jars & seal up straight away – you can see how i sterilise my jars here.
  9. Allow to cool, label & stash away until Christmas.

This apple butter, whilst super delicious, will only keep for around 9-12months. Once you’ve cracked the seal on a jar, keep it in the fridge & use as fast as is socially acceptable to do so (no eating it from the fridge, with your hands!)

Use this golden yum yum on toast, crispbreads, crackers, scones & croissants. Serve alongside a face-meltingly mature cheddar. Fill cakes, pastries & tarts with it. Dollop it on top of hot porridge or rice pudding. Or, grab a spoon & just eat it! 😉 I suppose, if you really like your friends, you could give them a jar for Christmas, but, you know, make sure you really like them first!

Enjoy!

 

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September, Time for a Change…?!

I literally cannot believe that September is here already. I’m sure that Summer has really only just begun, but, thinking about it, Summer has been (mostly) full of long & wonderful days.

September still, as it always has, marks a new start for me, a time for change. Thanks to my brief career in teaching, I am functional only through an academic calendar. I still feel the ‘fear’ that I know all teachers around the country are feeling this week. I STILL get the nightmares about forgetting to have planned a lesson, forgotten resources, waiting to teach the class that you really can’t stand… I don’t think I’ll ever be able to use a ‘real’ calendar. And, anyway, what’s wrong with that? I love the feel of a new beginning along with the browning of the leaves, the chill in the air and the all important run up to Christmas.

This September, in particular, feels most important to me. It suddenly struck me, this morning, that my little girl will be heading off to big girl school next September. That’s only one year left. Big deal, I hear you say, well, it is a big deal to me. Don’t get me wrong, she has great fun at nursery and will be starting her new preschool class there this week. She’s very excited (& actually, I’m excited too, to get some time back to work). But there it is… work…

I’m tired of work, of being self-employed, of having an entire business on my shoulders. Tired of dealing with emails, deadlines, schedules, accounts, marketing, making, complaints, mistakes, listings, photographs. Tired of sitting up late in to the night trying to get orders finished or sitting with my bastard of a kiln, who, really is actually quite good, but in desperate need of a service and new elements, so again, my fault really, because that’s another thing that I’m in charge of. I’m tired of balancing all of that with looking after a small person, who, over the summer has had very limited time away from me. So we’re walking, playing, making stuff, cooking, building, searching, hunting, painting. I’m tired of also having to balance all the other, normal day to day stuff too, the laundry (how the hell do we ALWAYS have a whole laundry box, with just 3 of us?), the cooking, the cleaning, the shopping, the gardening, the tidying, the fixing that needs doing, the bill sorting, the endless list of paperwork that is always in need of sorting. Did I mention that I also have another job too? This one doesn’t even pay as it’s a voluntary position, burning the candle from all ends, maybe?! Yet, by not having a ‘real’ 9-5job, I’m apparently not doing anything… *insert anger face*

One thing I’m not at all tired of though, is my new life. My new ability to be able to eat well, keep fit and ENJOY it. Really, since January (when I first started to change my life), everything has got better. I feel as though I’ve found something that I am meant to enjoy. After recently joining a local gym, I’m even more excited about keeping fit. Firstly, I am amazed that I am able to walk in to a gym. These places have scared the bejeezus out of me, always. Now, it is like my church. It is the one place I can go & do whatever I want to do, for however long I want to do it and I don’t have to worry about/think about anything else. I can be totally, 100% selfish about my time there & it is great. I’m learning new techniques, using new equipment & it feels awesome. Don’t get me wrong, I still feel weird walking in there & I totally don’t know what I’m doing most of the time, but I figure I’ll get there, right?!

Anyway, so September is a month of change, a month of possibilities and the mark of the beginning. I know that I have just one year left to make some massive, huge and scary decisions. Decisions like, WHAT do I actually want to DO with my life?! I reckon my free-pass expires when P starts school, so I’ve got 52weeks to figure out what I’ll do with myself come next September. I can’t return to teaching, it was never my job soulmate. In all honestly, I can’t keep plugging at my business, whilst it has brought in a miniscule (more or less none) bit of money over the last few years, it is too taxing, it is too 24/7 and, 5 and a half years of working long hours for nothing takes it’s toll. I suspect that fish is dead in the water, but it’s hard to actually let go, to admit defeat, to call it a failure.

I’ve made a decision to cool it this year with my business. I worked tirelessly last Christmas, pulling 18hour days, 7 days a week, for 2 months up to Christmas. I sure didn’t make a fortune from that, but it did mean that by the time Christmas day rolled around, I was finished. Christmas last year made me realise that I was missing all of the good bits, missing watching my little girl get excited about Christmas. I missed ME getting excited about Christmas. For the first time in EVER, we took our decorations down before the end of the year – I was so sick of it all!

I’ve become too used to working from home, so a ‘real job’ scares me. I’ve got too used to working for myself, so the thought of having to answer to someone makes me, well, a bit cross. I’ve got too used to being my own boss, how do I adjust to not randomly making jam inbetween orders? But, you know, the bills don’t pay themselves, right? So I have to do something. I’m not sure that I’ve got the strength or the energy to set up or run another business, or even a franchise of a business, in order to continue working from home. Boy, this is tricky… I’ve also got more crazy decisions to make regarding schooling for P – that’s a whole other blog post right there.

So, I’ve made a decision. I’ve decided that this year, 2014-15 is for me. I am going to take some time to find out what I want to do, I’m going to look in to new jobs and training courses, I’m going to take lots of time to figure out what (if anything) I’m good at and what I enjoy. I’m going to take this time to spend more rewarding time with my girl. Rather than juggling orders and emails whilst telling her to sit down and watch Frozen for the 100th time, we’re going to go out, explore & enjoy her last year before she embarks on a whole lifetime of learning and new experiences. I might even find a rekindled love for my business after a decent break! So, yes, I “won’t be doing anything” as I still won’t have that 9-5 job for a while, but you know what, I’m OK with that & if anyone else isn’t, then it doesn’t matter, because that’s not my problem!

 

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