Salted Chocolate Easter Nests


 
Because our oven’s on the blink (again!), my Easter treat options were a little limited this year. I was so eager to featured these chicks though I thought I’d make a batch of easy chocolate nests – y’know, the kind you remember making as a kid? Yep, not exactly Cordon Bleu cooking but tasty none-the-less… I just can’t stop nibbling away at them. To give them a more adult-appealing edge, I’ve added some Cornish sea salt – I am officially obsessed with salt and dark chocolate, so couldn’t resist including a pinch or two here. Happy Easter everyone!
 


 

what you’ll need

 

2 x 100g good quality dark chocolate

1 250g box of cornflakes

1/4 tsp sea salt

1 tbsp golden syrup

fluffy chicks (optional but cute)

 

what you’ll do

 

bring a small pan of water to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. place a shallow plate on top and slowly melt the chocolate, syrup and salt together.

 

empty the cornflakes into a large bowl and pour over the melted chocolate. mix thoroughly until all the flakes are completely covered, and spoon into the muffin cases.

 

refrigerate until hard. makes 16.

 

 

 

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Seeing Spots


 
Take a good look at this little loft location because it’s probably the last time you’re going to see it. Two weeks from now we will hopefully be settling into our uh-mazing new pad, which is practically on the seafront with masses of snorkelling potential… not to mention the double whammy outside space it boasts that will be perfect for sunbathing and bbq’s. Yeah baby! With so much going on in our lives at the moment, I’ve been resorting to simple uniformic outfits like this one – jeans, shirt, sandals, go. I actually wore this to bowling last night because it’s so damn comfortable – and it may have helped my usually awful game because I ended up getting not one, but TWO STRIKES! *insert victory dance here*
 

what i wore…  spotty shirt/ new look … skinny jeans/h&m … sandals/asos (new look) … bag/nica … sunnies/wild pony vintage

 

 

Badly applied lippy and unbrushed hair is also de rigueur these days in my world… I’m a habitual lip licker and my mop is badly in need of a trim but due to deadlines, it’s been the least of my priorities. Speaking of deadlines, I got a sneak peek of my completed book yesterday and I am so delighted with how it’s turned out – seriously cannot wait to show you guys!
 
To top it all off, Cornwall is currently basking in some serious sunshine right now, so it’s gonna be a great Easter break – it’s like the county is slowly waking up before the summer droves head down for their holidays. Oh, and on a slight side note, I celebrated my 33rd birthday this week. As a treat I got my toes summer ready by taking myself to the rather lovely Watergate Bay Hotel for a relaxing pedicure before my friend treated me to a gorgeous vegan lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen (which just happens to be perched on the cliff overlooking the bay – er, dream location). Last but not least, the Hubby (spot him in ma sunnies!) and I are five years married today – not that either of us actually remembered, mind… ah well, here’s to the next five, eh?!
 

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Russian Kale & Roasted Squash Noodles


 
Change is afoot folks. Not only have we officially welcomed in British Summertime but it looks like we’ll be spending those impending sunny months in what is quite possibly the prettiest village in the UK, let alone Cornwall… Dylan Thomas thought so too so who am I to argue?! Tucked away at the far end of the county with some narrow coastal roads as its only access you will find Mousehole (pronounced ‘Mowzel’) – a quaint miniature town that is as picture postcard as you’ll get. It’s not a done deal just yet but fingers crossed by the beginning of May we will be setting up shop in the most adorable house with a terrace, balcony and sea views from the master bedroom. Pinch me ’cause I think I might be dreaming.

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Whilst there are dozens of reasons why I’m excited to be headed back to the Penzance area, one of the main draws (apart from being nearer friends and family) will be the light. It might be a tad extreme to say I’m suffering from SAD but the distinct lack of light in our current abode has really gotten to me these past few months – probably exasperated by the fact I know virtually no-one here but I think a lot of it is definitely down to these cramped quarters we are living in too. We are so tucked away and surrounded by other buildings at present, it can be difficult to read the weather even when we’re looking out the window.

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Of course, this lack of light has really impacted my food photos too, and although I have tried to embrace the moody style they seem to be exuding, it is so frustrating being limited in this way. Annoyingly, there is one very small area which is suitable for snaps and trust me, I have tried every other inch of our living space to see if somewhere else might work and it just doesn’t, ugh. So, not only is the light (of lack thereof) situation affecting my happiness it is also kinda cramping my blogging style too. I’m all about bright, open spaces with tons of natural light flooding in and instead we’ve ended up with a darkened cell that is overlooked from every angle – not a good look and quite frankly depressing as hell.

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Luckily for us, our new place has HUGE windows with tons of natural light but still manages to remain very private – I’m already planning the BBQ’s. Okay, so I’m probably viewing it with some mega Jackie O-esque rose tinted glasses at present but allow me these initial weeks of delight (squee!) before something inevitably happens to rain on our parade. Glass half full girl? Moi? Never.

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what you’ll need

 

1/3 medium butternut squash

large handful of Russian kale (or other greens)

1/2 leek

1 garlic clove

1 thumbsized piece of ginger

2 portions udon noodles

soy sauce

sushi vinegar

sesame oil

sunflower oil

salt

gomasio

 

what you’ll do

 

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit. Bring a large pan of water to the boil.

 

Cube the squash and bake in the oven with a little sunflower and salt for 30mins or until soft.

 

Halve the leek and finely slice. Heat a little sunflower oil in a pan and lightly fry the leek until soft.

 

Mince the garlic and ginger together and add to pan. Fry for a few minutes before adding the kale.

 

Wash and slice the kale, disposing of any hard stalks, and add to pan. Season with a pinch of gomasio, splash of sesame oil, soy sauce and sushi vinegar. Cook until it begins to wilt.

 

Cook the noodles according to the packet, reserve a little liquid, drain (and rinse if desired) and add to pan along with the cooked butternut squash. Gently combine, adding some reserved cooking liquid if necessary.

 

Season with soya sauce and serve. Finish with a final sprinkling of gomasio – I am currently obsessed with this stuff.

 

 

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Hokey Pokey

 
I’ve been thinking a lot about bake sales recently – just because I don’t have any children doesn’t mean I can’t imagine what I might send them to school with in the case of such emergencies. If you’re a fan of Nigella (I am, in case you’re wondering) you’ll already know she likes to whip up a batch of brownies in such instances but I think there’s an easier option that is much more fun to make, and perhaps even more gleefully naughty to eat.

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Hokey Pokey (as it’s known here in Cornwall) is basically that childhood teeth breaking style candy that looks very similar to honeycomb. It’s satisfyingly crunchy with a bit of a chew, which, when slathered in dark chocolate (my preference) becomes a temptation too far… so much so I packed them off with my Husband this morning because I knew I would end up snacking on them all day if they remained in near reach. That’s not to say I didn’t sample the goods (or keep the crumbs for ice-cream topping, ahem) but the majority had to leave the premises lest I succumb to a hokey pokey eating mess on the sofa. It happens.

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These golden shards are so flamin’ delicious they really do make me want to break into a ridiculous impromtu dance – perhaps even the Hokey Pokey itself. See what I did there?! Altogether now…

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You put your right hand in,
You put your right hand out,
You put your right hand in,
And you shake it all about,

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You do the hokey pokey
and you turn yourself around
That what it’s all about.

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What you’ll need

1 scant cup caster sugar

4 tbsp golden syrup

1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

60g dark chocolate

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What you’ll do

Line a large chopping board with baking parchment.

Mix the sugar and syrup until combined.

Heat until it begins to bubble and simmer for a further 3-5minutes until golden and smooth – do not stir!

Take off the heat and whisk in the bicarb quickly. Turn out immediately onto the parchment and allow it to cool completely.

Break into pieces using a hammer or very sharp knife.

Melt the chocolate in a double broiler. Dip the larger pieces in the chocolate (I prefer to just dip the tops) and generously drizzle over the rest.

Set aside until the chocolate hardens. Store in a container for up to a week.

 

 

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Pineapple Head


 
Guys, it’s no secret I have a thing for glasses… prescription and sun. It’s actually kind of a problem (one that my Husband tolerates thankfully) and often means I turn a bit magpie-like whenever I spy a new style – I honestly think I have a sixth sense when it comes to spectacles, it’s kind of impressive. Living in Cornwall seems to have exasperated this unfortunate affliction because people wear glasses here all year round – fine by me! When it comes to shape, I often switch it up and don’t affiliate myself with one particular era – in fact my own collection contains the big-ass 80′s sunnies I’m sporting in these pics, as well as the typical hipsterish roundies that take their lead from those 60′s Beatnik babes we all adore so much. As far as brands go though I do have a penchant for the wonderful Warby Parker (and I know I’m not the only one!), so when I spied their latest ‘Spectrum’ collection my magpie tendencies went into overload – they’re like a better version of the vintage ones I already have, especially with the gradient lenses…. er, love! From the painfully pretty ‘Hall’ Cherry Blossom style to (my personal fav) the ‘Minnie’ in Eucalyptus (obvs!) – ack, but I also love the super cute ‘Downing’ frames too, what’s a girl to do? No, seriously, I need help on this one, which pair would you opt for?
 

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what i’m wearing… original breton top & handmade necklace/wild pony vintage… sunglasses/vintage… pineapple/the supermarket

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Messy House, Messy Head

 

I’m definitely one of those people that can’t think straight when the space around me is cluttered and messy. Too bad then that our house is somewhat coming down around us at the minute as I hurry to finish my cookbook and begin to qualm the all too predictable nerves that accompany the release of such a thing… what will people think, say and (let’s face it) criticise? Yep, I already know there will be a few ‘haters’ (as the tinternets like to call them) but I hope there’ll also be more than few ‘lovers’ too (is this an internet term, and if not, why not?). All this worrying coupled with a recent facebook request asking what our favourite book is brought my rapidly depleting memory capcity back to an old classic I use to love – namely, the hilarious ‘Lucky Jim’ (written by the wickedly witty writer Kingsley Amis). Along with the title we were also encouraged to leave a quote from said book and this is where the planets suddenly aligned in my brain as I (bingo!) realised the world really hasn’t changed all that much in the 60 yrs since it was first published… in essence, we are still dealing with same s**t we always have been and probably always will. And in case you are wondering what the hell I am wittering on about, here is that exact (light bulb alert!) quote I am referring to…

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“Haven’t you noticed how we all specialise in what we hate most?”

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In addition to this little epiphany and discovering a site that seems to specialise in slagging off successful bloggers (I have made a vow not to read it again – too much hate makes me ill), I’ve come to the conclusion that there will always be people pointing out your flaws or trying to tear down your achievements. I’m not saying I don’t have negative thoughts now and then but I always try and focus my energy on the good in others and what they do -and anyway, doesn’t it make people unhappy being so critical all the time? So yeah, I’m not perfect, and what I do may not appeal to everyone but at least I know I’ve given my all, my everything, my best, and really, what more can I do?

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What I will say is ‘the more you give, the more you get’ so I’m determined to put out as much positivity as I can muster and hope that I can spread a little joy (as well as getting some back, ahem) in the process… c’mon, don’t lie, we all want to be loved and accepted! I’m pretty sure these chaotic mind bender moments really aren’t being helped by the stack of dishes in the sink, ramshackle bookshelves and unpacked suitcases – maybe the moral of the story is to keep the place tidy lest you (meaning me) risk falling into a pit of darkness and despair. If you’ll excuse me then, I’m off to sort my house and head out – and perhaps do a spot of really bad crocheting too. Yep, feel free to laugh yourself silly at that top pic because a knitter I am most definitely am not but as they say…  ’God Loves a Trier’. Peace out x

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Spring Uniform

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Well I definitely got my Vitamin D quota today that’s for sure… and much needed too seeing as I’ve holed myself up this past week trying to complete the last of my recipes, which are due on Monday, eek! Deadlines aside, I was in a pretty relaxed mood – probably aided by the first throes of Spring that have sprung up around us much to everyone’s delight. Whilst I was tempted to don a skirt or even a pair of shorts (I have some newly acquired vintage culottes I am dying to wear) I thought I would ease myself into the warmer weather by simply switching up my jacket for something a little lighter and this pink 60′s one was just the job.

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Practicality wins out every time for me (as you may have gathered by now) so the lace up trainers were a no-brainer… long walks equal sensible footwear for me and I steadfastly refuse to compromise comfort for fashion. The headscarf was also a necessary outfit addition (there’s still a breeze and my hair is in desperate need of a trim) and the stripes ‘n’ jeans combo are just an obvious uniform choice that I (and many, many others) rely on way too frequently. Fine by me because as far as I’m concerned you really can’t have too many Breton tops.

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I’m sure we’re in for a bit more bad weather here (it is Britain after all) but for now we’re happy lapping up these gloriously clear skies – Cornwall truly is different beast when the sun’s out. Not long now before we’ll be spending our evenings languishing on the beach. Might be time to invest in some more Spring-appropriate attire but that means I finally must get around to selling my bulging bag of vintage cast offs on etsy… that to-do list just keeps getting bigger and bigger but I suppose once my looming deadline is dealt with Ima gonna have a lot more free time to fill so watch this space. How exactly did I get from deadlines to closet clear-outs? What can I say, spring will do that to a girl.

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what i wore… breton top/h&m… ‘mum’ jeans/topshop… pink 60′s jacket/mondo trasho vintage… trainers/coolway… satchel/nica… sunglass/wildpony vintage… scarf/vintage… iphone cover/c/o iconemesis

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Power Smoothie

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It honestly feels like things are spinning out of control right now. To add to the constant chaos poor Hubby has come down with a serious case of man-flu, which has hit him like a ton of bricks and left him pretty much bed-ridden and unable to go to work… this is a worry when you’re freelance. I’ve pretty much dropped everything to look after him while he recovers, which includes making lots of health filled foods to get him ship shape again (Lord knows what the little blighter would do without me) and the one thing that he’s been craving is smoothies… the greener the better I’ve been told and this one definitely fits that bill and then some. It may seem like a lot of ingredients for one drink but once that fruit and veg gets blended down it renders about two decent-sized portions (or one very large smoothie) that can be enjoyed morning, noon and night – and believe me when I tell you we have. Hopefully Hubby will be properly mended by Monday because my own deadline is drawing ever closer and that pressure-induced writers panic is slowly starting to set in. I suppose I knew writing a book wouldn’t exactly be easy (and I realise half the problem is the impossible standards I set myself) but when you’re desperate to create something that you’ll be proud of it’s difficult to have a laid back attitude about it all. And whilst I’m deciding whether that’s a good thing or not why not make yourself a power smoothie and ponder it out with me…

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what you’ll need

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handful of kale

handful of spinach

1 celery stick

juice of 1 lime

2 apples

1 banana

1 heaped tsp chlorella

1 heaped tsp hemp powder

4 large dates (stones removed!)

3/4 cup coconut water

several ice-cubes

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what you’ll do

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Wash the kale and spinach and remove any hard stalks. Put everything in the blender and blitz until smooth – you may need to scrape down the sides with a spatula every now and then, and/or add a little more coconut water.

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Serve in a tall glass (with or without ice… your call) and a fancy straw (optional but nice)

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Keeping it Real

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what i wore… organic cotton dotty blouse/jackpot clothing… sweater/vintage… beret and jeans/h&m… raincoat and wellies/seasalt cornwall… vegan satchel/nica… socks/tabio

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Could it be? Are we about to experience what is commonly known as the first blooms of Spring? After all this horrendous weather we’ve been enduring I can tell you it is more than a little welcome… and from the crowds in Cornwall today it would seem we weren’t the only ones languishing in the unexpected rays. People were out in their droves, lapping up every second of unbridled sunshine that brought the entire county to life again – sand bags and gales begone, we officially have had enough. This, my friends, is just a tiny glimpse of why we moved here – even though it may have taken until now for us to fully appreciate it. It was enough for me to put my LFW woes to the one side and embrace our ‘not quite new but still getting used to it’ lifestyle with full force.

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Talking of fashion week(s), I’ve been loosely following the shenanigans on and off the catwalk, and whilst there are always a few designers that catch my attention, a lot of it has happily passed me by this season. Margaret Howell, Orla Kiely and Hunter were all fabulously practical, which shows you exactly where my head is at right now in the style stakes. I’m all for embracing our topsy turvy British weather and that definitely means macs, knitwear and wellies… let’s get real here, most of us live less (ha, if ever!) in Louboutins and more in jeans and tees than we care to admit. As a blogger I’m sure I’m not alone in saying we feel under pressure to dress in a certain way for our so-called ‘outfit’ posts – although I’m not even sure if many of mine even fall under that category. I mean, here I am in the same wellies and raincoat you’ve seen before and will probably see again. That’s. Real. Life.

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I want my blog to be more of a reflection of what’s going on in my world than a contrived dressing-up exercise that is neither honest nor ‘me’. I never want to dress myself with the intention of blogging about it – what you see is what I wore that day and occasionally I like to take a photograph (or ten) of said ensemble, even if a few of the items have already made an appearance. Call it lazy, call it predictable but when I like something I have a habit of wearing it to death… just like these wellies and raincoat. That’s. Real. Life.

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Gluten-free (and Vegan) Cranberry & Chocolate Muffins

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HAPPY VALENTINES!

These are my attempt at contributing to the Valentines mayhem that is about to explode all over the internet from tomorrow onwards (chocolate and pink muffin cases qualify, right?), although really it’s just a recipe I’ve been working on getting right for a while now. This batch are, so far (no doubt I will continue to try and better it), the best gluten-free gram flour muffin mix I’ve personally created although I’m sure there are many more out there that match it and more – I say that because I’m not exactly an expert in the ways of gluten-free baking, and I basically just make it up as I go. Just so you know. They did get the Husband seal of approval, however, which totally made my day because that boy is not easy pleased when it comes to anything of the baked variety… and he ain’t afraid to say so either.

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PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

This kind of leads me on to the issue(s) of baking. You see (and I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before) I’m not the world’s most accomplished baker.  I can bake but it’s definitely not second nature. If you need a savoury dish rustling up, I’m your woman but when it comes to measurements and the ability to restrain oneself from throwing this, that and the other in, well, let’s just say this is where we (I) run into problems. And truthfully that’s pretty much why I prefer ‘cooking’ over ‘baking’ – sod the skill and let me loose with my palette and greed alone!

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Because of that I’ve made a point of practicing (something I continue to dread since my violin playing days) the ‘art of baking’. That is, sticking to the science whilst satisfying my need to ‘add stuff’ by trying out varying different filling combos whether it be in breads, muffins, cookies or cake. My confidence isn’t fully there yet but I do now have an armoury of sweets up my sleeve that I can whip up at a moments notice and know that the results will be consistently good. I will continue to stray off the beaten track from time to time, of course, which is exactly when things like gluten free muffins will duly appear on the blog. What about you, are you a ‘cook’ or a ‘baker’… or (curse you) brilliant at both?

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 3/4 cup gram/chickpea flour

1/2 cup ground almonds

1/4 desiccated coconut

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 banana mashed

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 cup frozen cranberries

1/2 cup dark chocolate drops

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Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius/350 fahrenheit.

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Lightly mix the gram flour, ground almonds, coconut, bicarb and baking powder.

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Mash the banana until it’s a smooth puree before whisking in the almond milk, vanilla extract and syrup.

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Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the almond milk mix. Fold gently until combined – be careful not to overwork the batter.

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Finally fold through the cranberries and chocolate drops, and carefully spoon into your prepared muffin tin. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely before eating.

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tip! I was also tempted to added a drop of orange essence, orange zest and a little juice to the mix… will probably try that next time.

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