This Week’s Bakes

This Week’s Bakes

green granny smith applesraisins in a bowlingredients in a bowl

I don’t need much of an excuse to mess about in the kitchen and this cold weather over the weekend had me pretty much setting up camp inbetween the kettle and the oven.

This recipe for Chewy Sultana Cookies by Deliciously Ella caught my eye and I had to try it out… no flour, no refined sugar and full of delicious fruits and filling oats. Plus, one massive bonus, is that the recipe doesn’t require any food processing. I had a majorly sad moment yesterday when I came to use my processor to find a massive crack in the bowl. I think the regular making of nut butters has taken its toll on my machine. As an aside, if anyone has a great recommendation for a pretty heavy-duty food processor, please leave me a comment. My current one is a KitchenAid and although I love it, I don’t think it’s up to the job. 

Each cookie has a healthy amount of grated apple (I substituted red apples for green), oats, sultanas (I used raisins), mashed bananas, cinnamon and honey. Once baked, these cookies have a lovely crunch to the outside and then a soft centre, which gave a nice hit of banana flavour.  We enjoyed them that afternoon and were happy in the knowledge that they were packed full of goodness.

Today, I’m going to indulge Mr D-F by making his all-time-favourite raspberry and pistachio brownies from the book Ready Steady Glow by Madeleine Shaw. All I can say is, if you can get your hands on the recipe – try them – you really will thank me! (…and Madeleine of course, who created them)!

I’ll post some photos on Instagram once I’ve made the brownies and if I can get to them in time before they’re eaten!

Have a great day x

 

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Plan Your Way To Healthier Meals ~ Free Downloadable Meal Planner

Plan Your Way To Healthier Meals ~ Free Downloadable Meal Planner

Many of you know that I’ve been trialling different menus and foods over the last year. We have embarked upon a primarily, whole-food based diet for two main reasons; enjoying experimenting being one of them and Mr D-F’s gluten and dairy intolerance being another.  We have also cut out all refined sugar – a big initial challenge but so worth while in the end.

Oh my goodness what a difference this shift has made to us both. More energy throughout the day and less cravings for snacks – I have always been a major grazer, no intolerance related effects for Mr D-F and the most amazing thing is that our meals are full of different flavours, packed full of nutrients and are in no way meagre! I must insert a link here to the first book that helped us to make this transition; Madeleine Shaw’s Get The Glow.

So this has all been great so far but what it has meant is that we’ve had to be mega-organised when it comes to shopping and meal prep, especially when we initially started out on this new food fun.  Most of our weekly menus up until this point have been scribbled on the back of a bit of paper, which would be totally fine, except that we’ve started to accidentally mis-read the menu meaning that some foods haven’t made it to the shopping list or ended up on there twice!

To solve this problem, I’ve created two menu planners, which are completely free for you to download and print as many times as you like. They have a space for each day of the week, so that you can plan out your breakfast, lunch, snack and supper. There’s also a space for the date, which I designed mainly for me, as I keep all of our old menus ensuring that if there was a particularly amazing week, we could recycle the ideas without re-writing!

I’ve made a Monday – Sunday version but the one I use the most is the Saturday – Friday version as we do our weekly shop on a Saturday and that’s when our menu for the week begins. You’ll find the links for the downloads below the photos.

 

Dorset Finca Meal Planner

Dorset Finca Meal Planner with favourite books

Click the gold link here for the Monday – Sunday planner: meal planner

Click the gold link here for the planner that starts on a Saturday: meal planner starting saturday

I hope you find these useful and if you want to keep updated with the various happenings on The Dorset Finca blog, please subscribe using the button on the right. x

This post contains an Amazon affiliate link.

Amit’s Amazing Guacamole Recipe ~ A Wild Home Post

Amit’s Amazing Guacamole Recipe ~ A Wild Home Post

Hi! Good morning! How are you doing?

I know that this blog is centred around the Dorset happenings on the Finca, but I get so excited about what is going on with our Wild Home family that I love to share it with you on here too. I thought you would especially love this post (mainly because it involves cooking and eating – what’s not to love, right?)

If you’ve been following us on Instagram, you may have seen that we’ve been having a bit of jolly time with the monkeys in the Wild Home garden. Currently, their favourite game is to knock down the avocados off of the enormous avocado tree. One morning, our Kenyan team woke up to find hundreds of avocados scattered over the ground as a result of the monkeys’ high jinks from the previous evening.

Instead of being too dismayed, the team gave the avos out to everyone they met and kept some back to make a large batch of guacamole! Wild Homie Amit’s recipe for guacamole is particularly delicious and I thought that this would be a great opportunity to share it with you.

guacamole_with_spinach_bread_1024x1024

You will need:

1 large, ripe avocado or 2 smaller ones

1 clove of crushed garlic

juice of 1/2 a lime

a sprinkle of chopped coriander

salt and pepper to taste

3 drops of Tabasco Sauce

Method:

Either by mashing with a fork or by using a small blender, blend the avocado, garlic, lime juice, coriander and Tabasco together until it is smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste before giving it one more quick blend.

There are so many incredible ways to serve guacamole.  My current favourites are either by having it spread on crispy toast or dolloped on freshly made spinach bread.

Yum!

guacamole_on_spinach_bread_1024x1024

…and as for the monkeys? Currently we have some bananas hanging from the trees to try and entice them to spend their time up there more productively! I’ll let you know how they get on!

Adventure Comfort Food

Picture the scene:

You’re out on an adventure.  You might be on a long family walk or a boat trip or camping.  It’s fun and you’re really enjoying being outside, but it’s a bit windy and damp.  Your mind starts to think about the snacks that you have brought with you…

…this is usually our scene. Before we have even parked the car and begun the journey, the cry for ‘I hope you brought snacks‘ is let loose and somehow, it’s my fault if I’ve forgotten, or the snack choice (a slightly browning banana) is not up to par.  I’ve also been in that awful situation where you think you’ve been ever-so-well prepared and you whip out your thermos with a flourish only to find that the tea you made earlier tastes of plastic and something you can’t quite put a name to.

This Autumn, this situation is all going to change my friends. This time, I will come prepared. This is the year of the adventure comfort food.

cheese straws detail shot

… cheese straws – the perfect first step …

This first round of adventure comfort food was inspired by cheese.  I was kind enough to be sent some cheese from Wyke Farms to try.  When I took a sniff of their mature cheddar, soft, melty cheese straws came flooding into my mind. I am pretty certain that if a tub of cheese straws was produced at just the right moment during an outside excursion, the exclamations of joy from all around would be enormous. (Why don’t you try – let’s see who can get the loudest whoops)?

I used an easy recipe from BBC Good Food, but I left out the mustard powder and substituted it with a little black pepper.

wyke farm extra mature… Wyke Farm Extra Mature Cheddar …

cheese straws

… this snack will surely keep you out of jeopardy during extreme outdoorsing …

So next time I have to pack some sustenance for some serious outside activity, these are going to be the first thing that I prepare and take.  I wonder if there is a good dip or sauce that goes well with cheese straws?

I now need to think about what else to bring.  What are the best uses for a thermos, for example, as tea definitely doesn’t seem to suit one?! I’d love to hear your ideas…

Speak soon x

An Odd Collection of Happenings

This post might seem a little disjointed but my week followed a similarly randomised pattern. Although, looking at my feeds on Instagram and Facebook, recent events still surround my favourite themes: the outdoors, food and crochet. Funny that!

maize fields dorset

… a rapidly growing maize crop with a great view …

As we’ve been so lucky to have all of this deliciously warm weather, we have been getting out for our daily walk a little earlier than usual.  With our various routes all quiet, dewy and with the promise of spotting a deer or two it has been one of the best parts of my day.  We finish up with breakfast, cups of tea outside and a quick read of a book before the day’s jobs start properly.

pissaladiere monegasque

… Pissaladiere …

I tried my hand at making Mr D-F’s favourite – Pissaladiere.  Well, actually this is how it went down; my mother-in-law kindly sent us a recipe book of traditional Monegasque recipes and that very same day Mr D-F said that he would like me to make some of this delicacy.

For his lunch.

“Yes please, here are the onions you need,” he said.

Right then.

So, to avoid the sad look of disappointment on his face, which is the worst thing to behold ever. I had a go. I was a little dubious about parts of the recipe, but sure enough, it allowed me to make a pretty authentic attempt.

…and the verdict? “This is the best, thank you so much,” he declared.

Air-fist-pump to me!

“But you can just tell it’s not the same as the real sort. It’s the English tomatoes,” he continued.

…hmmm….

If you want to have a go at the Nice version, there is an easy recipe on BBC Good Food here.

Enjoy x

 

A Truly Foolproof Recipe | Marble Cake

I must start by apologising for this quick and rather brief post.  Things at the Finca have become a little, um… hectic in the last few days.  I’ll explain at a later date – promise!

However, this saviour of a baking book needs no apologies as it truly lives up to its name of ‘Foolproof Cakes.’

Mary Berry, of TGBBO fame wrote this book quite a while ago and it still remains one of the favourites in our kitchen.  Easy peasy recipes and pretty much guaranteed results. Perfect if you are a little nervous when it comes to cooking or baking.

Mary Berry Foolproof Cakes

Mary Berry’s Foolproof Cakes

The other day, we had friends coming round for cake in the morning and I had approximately an hour and a half to whip something up to serve and look all housewifely.

I knew this book would come to my rescue and I chose to make the Chocolate and Vanilla Marble Cake.  The pictures were enticing and the ingredients list didn’t have me running for the nearest shop, luckily I had everything in the pantry that I needed.

chocolate and vanilla marble cake

I did use slightly less sugar and butter than the recipe and the cake needed the full hour in the oven, but it came out well and looked great.

The best bit was when we sliced it up…

chocolate and vanilla marble cake slice

I couldn’t believe how the two mixtures stayed separate during baking – doesn’t it look cool (yes, this was my first time making a marble cake, can you tell)?

…and boy did it taste good?!

Have a great Sunday x

The Perfect Present For Your Pup | Fishy Treats

Before Brinks was born we did a lot of reading about motivating puppies to learn.

The general message of my research was… ‘Some dogs will be food motivated, others will work hard for toys or even praise.’ 

Well Brinkley is definitely in the food category. He likes to be told he’s doing a good job and he adores the games that we play with his favourite toy, but when training requires him to use his thinking brain, he figures things out awfully quickly if there is food reward involved.

He already woofs down his meals, which we get delivered from Lily’s Kitchen and in our last food box, we also received a recipe for Fishy Treats.  They were bound to be a hit, so I made up a batch straight away…

sniffing out treats

Here is the recipe…

You will need:

1 x 200g tin of tuna or salmon in oil

1 egg, beaten

100g flour

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 180 C and lightly grease a baking sheet.

Empty the fish and its oil into a bowl and flake with a fork. Add the beaten egg and stir well to combine.

Add the flour and mix together so that you have a lumpy dough. I cut out my dough into little bite-size squares.

Place the squares onto the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until golden.

Once they are cooled, you can keep them in a container, in the fridge, for up to 2 weeks.

fishy dog treats

They were so easy and quick to make. I love the fact that I know exactly what has gone into them and that Brinks will be getting one or two healthy snacks as part of his training.

I think I will also be making up batches to give to my friends who have dogs in their families.  They might catch on as the new hostess gift. Forget a bunch of flowers or a bottle of wine – nothing softens people’s hearts up more than gifts for their bestest buddies!

gift wrapped fishy dog treats

Might you give them a go?

Have a lovely weekend x