If you follow me on Instagram stories you’ll see that our mad whippet, Lyra, absolutely ADORES blackberries. I’ve been out picking with her several times and she’ll actually beg for blackberries (and pick them off the lower branches herself). Still, when I’m not competing with the dog for them, I’ve actually been able to pick quite a few. These honey and blackberry flapjacks came about after I offered to make some for Mr E’s work – he’s always complaining that everyone else brings in home made cakes, etc and I never bake anything. He then went on to say, but only do flapjack if it’s ‘full ‘fat’.
So as you read this, we’re on our family cruise around the Med on Celebrity Eclipse and are currently steaming towards Portugal (squee!). During the run up, as you know, I was eating really, really healthily (with the odd treat) and exercising daily. Mr E and I have been out cycling on our bikes and I’ve been walking a few miles with the dog every day, plus – an absolute revelation: I’ve been doing free weights, kettlebells and even sit ups at home, which I really enjoy. I really feel that my arms are more toned already and my jeans feel looser too. Bonus. I know they’re not for everyone but I’ve found a couple of the fitness tracking apps really useful motivation, and I’m watching my portion sizes (always an issue when you live with three strapping fellas). I’ve been fiddling about with this recipe for a while as, while I’m definitely not eating biscuits, sometimes I really crave something crunchy and sweet, and I thought it I could create a little treat that’s going to kill the cravings, but not derail the healthy eating, I’d be pretty happy. So I had a little experiment and created these relatively healthy little oatbran flapjack cookies. And then I ruined it by smothering them in chocolate.
So recently. The Organic Trade Board challenged us to take the Thrifty Organic Challenge and switch our usual weekly shop for organic. The average grocery shopping budget for a UK family of four is £83 a week. Could I switch everything we usually buy to organic , stay on budget, and still produce yummy, healthy food for my family? Here’s how we got on.
I’m always making flapjacks. The boys are always trawling the kitchen for after-school snacks (and pre-school snacks, and ‘I’m a bit peckish’ snacks, and late-night snacks and every other kind of snacks) and I like to have a few home made treats around to stop them eating too much rubbish.
Over the years, I’ve tweaked the recipe, cutting down on the amount of butter and sugar, and substituting honey for golden syrup, until I feel it’s the healthiest it could be without ruining the recipe completely. Here’s my latest version: Read more
So, amazingly, Charlie has stuck to his rash ‘I’m not eating chocolate any more’ decision with incredibly amounts of willpower, even as we’ve been tucking into all sorts of treats we’ve been sent. He’s not even been eating his previous post-school staple of chocolate brownies. He is, however, still eating other treats, so I’m not overly worried that this is one of those mad teenage diets.
Ahhhh golden syrup. Is there a nicer smell? I wondered aloud recently (well, on Instagram) why someone had never created a perfume based on the sweet scent of it. I mean, come on! Someone’s already done a gin perfume..
Talking of gin, alcohol free January is miserable. Last year, I said never again, and yet this year here I am nursing a sad, lukewarm glass of squash every night, instead of a sparklingly refreshing glass of mother’s ruin. It’s no life, dearest reader.
Anyhoo, to keep me company on my alcohol free quest, Charlie, the Death Wish Dude has vowed to give up crap. As long as I stay off the gin, he’s promised to stay off the crisps and chocolate. A noble deed, but one which leaves him sadly lacking in snackage when he gets home from school hungry enough to look at the Ninja Cat of Death in a whole new light. So I decided to make him some healthy-ish snackage until he’s back on the Frazzles. Flapjack: gorgeous golden syrupy, crispy on the outside, soft in the middle nutty flapjack…
Nutty Golden Syrup Flapjack
So this is another one of those recipes that, as long as you stick to the basic proportions, you can fiddle with endlessly… Add nuts, sultanas, dried cranberries, chocolate chips… whatever you fancy. Don’t like golden syrup (what’s WRONG with you?) use honey. Like it plain? Covered in chocolate? That’s fine too.
For the basic recipe, you’ll need:
115g brown sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
400g rolled oats
Melt the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan on a low heat until it’s all runny and combined, then take it off the heat and stir in the oats. And that’s it. This is the time to add your extras: dried fruit/nuts/chocolate chips/whatever. I used a large handful of almonds, roughly chopped, but whatever you use, a good handful will probably be enough.
Now press the mixture into a buttered cake tin and bake at gas 4/gas 180 and bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool completely before removing from the tin or it’ll fall apart. Fab for lunchboxes, rushed breakfasts and after school snackage.
Mind you, I’m tempted just to buy him a six pack of Walker’s crisps and a Double Decker and be done with it. Gin o’clock, you say?
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