grain and cane free brownies

I’ve been putting more and more time into creating dishes that are grain and cane sugar free. There are a few reasons for this – obviously the health benefits, but equally because of the challenge and the notion of a hobby that comes with it. And – the thought of being able to eat a sweet treat and not feel so guilty always appeals, agreed? I’ve made some revolting things in the last 9 months (coconut flour is heinous) but these brownies were really something to write home about…

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In a food processor, I added: 150ml of agave nectar (I’ve seen this in Aldi and in health shops), 1 egg, vanilla essence, 1 table spoon of cocoa powder (adjust if you like it stronger), 1 jar of cashew nut butter as pictured (almond would probably work too), a handful of chopped hazelnuts and a teaspoon of baking powder. Whizz that bad boy up and transfer to a lined oven/baking tray.

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I cooked them for about 30 minutes on 150c. Adjust accordingly for how good (or rubbish!) your oven is!
Here are a few of the items I used to look out for:

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Enjoy – and don’t fall into the trap of thinking agave nectar is sugar free and eating the entire batch in one sitting… It’s still packed with sugar! 🙂

purple coconut soup

Bit quiet round here, isn’t it. That’s a rhetorical question. Anyway, soup season is upon us, so without further ado…

Chop up a large onion, a large sweet potato and of course, half a purple cabbage. Sauté for a few minutes and then add a litre of vegetable stock. Simmer until soft and then blend in a can of coconut milk (I do this in food processor and then it back to the pan).

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Return to heat the coconut milk until you see those creamy bubbles forming on the surface. Serve with plenty of pepper, or without!

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Enjoy!

happy belated easter, oh and new year

I’d hate for you to think this blog was normal, conventional, adhered to blog etiquette, was updated regularly, that sort of thing. Thanks to a lack of creativity born most likely out of inclement weather and being on a computer all day at work, we haven’t logged in for a while. Hopefully this post is the start of some more regular blogging – it is sometimes a hurdle to keep thinking of blog content.
First things first – happy belated easter.

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Lately, we’ve had a change of diet which I would like to share. We aren’t 100% on board, we can’t be and never will be but during the week and weekends at home we try to be as primal as possible in our diets. We try to eat fruit, veg, meat, eggs, nuts and seeds, and dairy (full fat produce where possible). You can be as primal as you wish, we aren’t mega strict – many wouldn’t dream of eating dairy! And the results: weight loss, increased energy levels mid afternoon, a more expensive food bill and the satisfaction that we are giving ourselves the best foods available. Essentially, we don’t bulk out our diets with cheap carbs.

So what do we eat now?
Cod baked in flaked almonds and parmesan

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Goats cheesed stuffed mushrooms

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Salads with various meat or fish

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Rhubarb and honey crumble (flaked almonds, coconut flour, desiccated coconut and butter for topping)

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And things we’ve tried that are vile: kelp chips

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Basically folks, lose the sugar and grains during the week, and processed foods at all times and you’ll reap the benefits. It hasn’t been much of a battle but does require you to plan ahead – convenience foods are a no go! More tried and tested recipes coming soon… Bye for now!

Post by Lizzi

furniture makeover that I cannot take credit for

well, I can take credit for the colour schemes…

When we moved into our flat earlier this year, we gained a good sized kitchen diner – and I say good sized because it is for a one bed flat and most certainly an improvement on our last flat. I refer to a 1970s galley kitchen which had been reduced in size to allow for a bathroom at the time of conversion – we all start somewhere. This was very exciting as interior design and decoration is important to us, something we do on a minuscule budget as I’ve just graduated and boyfriend is still a student. This brings me to our DIY furniture project, a huge success and I love both pieces just as much, nearly a year later.

Firstly, our landlord was about to take the old shelf (below) previously found in the bathroom to the dump having fitted a new bathroom. I swiftly requested he left it as we always need storage and I thought it would be easy to spruce up. Secondly, my Mum asked if we wanted a table and benches and by that she meant the set my parents bought in 1973 when they bought their first house. Consequently, our family of 6 sat round it right up until the mid 1990s when it went into hiding for a while and came back out for my sister and her ever growing family around 2004. Needless to say we were thrilled and immediately saw the potential of the set and accepted right away.

Attempting some colour and familiarity on our first day in the flat, shelves in original condition still.

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Table, benches and first meal in flat.

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First coat for the shelves using Dulux Acrylic Eggshell.

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Adding some ‘worn’ touches by scraping the paint with our finger nails.

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The finished article! Love it!

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The table with legs painted in the same acrylic eggshell, with oilcloth stapled to the underside of the table. (N.b. if you are feeling rich then by all means, skip off to Cath Kidston and purchase your oilcloth but we opted for a polka dot imitation from our local haberdashery shop!)

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Waiting for the benches to catch up.

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We had some oil cloth left over which we used to cover our old stained Cath Kidston place mats.

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And relax! Quite nice for a cheap project don’t you think?

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And my favourite…. If you hate floral, look away now.

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I now need to stress that the hands on element of this job was totally boyfriend’s work and he did a fantastic job. Finally, I would add, if you want something like this then you will pay an arm and a leg if you buy it already refurbished/modified, so go and source some tatty furniture, paint and oilcloth!

Post by Lizzi

that week between christmas and new year

…is a week of finding new homes for all the gifts received (thank you everyone!), rubbing your expanded waistline and wondering why you thought it was ok to gorge yourself from the 24th – 26th of December and of course start (mentally) deciding what you want to achieve in the coming year either by introducing or omitting certain factors from your life.

Therefore, I’m currently sat browsing various foodie blogs looking for new recipes to try – sweet potato breakfast casserole, anyone? (It look delicious, seriously!) Then I shall throw out some clothes, take the (many, many) empty glass bottles to the bottle bank, and think about taking that beloved tree down.

That tree:

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Those bottles, from that party:

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I need to source a sewing machine in 2013 too, to keep me occupied as boyfriend writes his dissertation, which should hopefully give me some more blogging material for the new year. Thank you for all taking time to read our blog. We have had 501 views which I cannot believe… I hoped for 50!!

Happy new year!

Post by Lizzi

a made christmas

This is my first christmas in my own home when I haven’t been weighed down with university work. The result has been thus far, prompt posting of christmas cards, several batches of mince pies, fruity vodka (see previous post), and some handmade decorations. It’s a bit of a standing joke, or maybe even a total pain in our family that I love Christmas and probably start talking about it in October. I am however, totally unashamed and would like to share a few visions of Christmas from around our flat.

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Paper trees made out of a copy of ‘A Christmas Carol’

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Attached to some thread…

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…to make some festive bunting

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Oranges + …

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Cloves + …

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Patience = …

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Some fantastic smelling table decorations.

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Only 12 sleeps to go! Have fun decorating, all!

Post by Lizzi

a christmas weekend, the first of many

Some weeks ago, Ali and I decided that the first weekend in December should combine many of our favourite things: our four year old niece, christmas music, christmas markets and baking.

Young Josephine and I hopped on a train to Taunton and had a wonderful weekend with Ali. It looked a little like this:

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The food at Exeter Christmas Market was something else…. We settled on potatoes and bacon in Brie and double cream, roast potatoes and stuffing in gravy and an assortment of cakes and Turkish delight.

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(Aforementioned potato dish, extra dress size on a plate)

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There will be several chunks of this fudge under the tree for Dad….
It was bitterly cold on Saturday and whilst this did add to the winter charm, some smaller members of the team were glad of a warm teashop stop and a fruit smoothie.

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It was the perfect opportunity to meet my dear friend Amy – Josie thinks you very cool Ams.

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Once home, we made an orange and clove Christmas decoration, baked some squirrel biscuits, decked the house with these babies from the 1980s (the lights!) and listened to some Christmas music.

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On Sunday morning, we (em)braced (!!) the frost and walked to The Cosy Club for breakfast. It was a beautiful morning and the perfect end to a wonderful weekend.

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Bunny was too exhausted to join us for the walk!

Post by Lizzi