Festive Granola by Delme Thomas

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Now, strictly speaking, this is in fact All-Year-Round Granola. But the flavours in it really echo those festive vibes for me. The mix of cinnamon, ginger and maple just give me everything I want from my breakfast. I eat this every day  sprinkled on top of my porridge. It's also great by itself with milk of your choice (animal or plant) or with yoghurt and fruit. 

This is my adapted recipe from the original by Nigella Lawson, found in Simply Nigella.

You will need:

300g porridge oats (NOT quick-cook), 1 tsp Maldon salt flakes, 2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ginger, 150g almonds (feel free to use any nut you want), 1 x 200g bag of mixed seeds, 125ml extra virgin olive oil, 125ml maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 150°C fan/170°C. In a bowl, measure out the oats and add the salt and spices, mixing well to distribute throughout. Add the bag of seeds and 100g of the nuts. Roughly chop the other 50g and add them, giving everything another good mix. In a jug, measure out the oil and the maple syrup, and give them a good whisk together until they become one, slightly thicker liquid. Pour this into the mix and stir really well until everything is combined. Pour onto a large baking tray and bake for an hour, stirring everything half-way through.

Leave it to cool, and then put into an airtight container to enjoy. Everybody who tries this granola LOVES it. I've given it as gifts, I've made people breakfast with it, and now you can try it out yourselves. No need to thank me - you're welcome ;)

Vruffles by Delme Thomas

Vegan Truffles (Vruffles) . These. Are. DELISH. If you're looking for healthy snacks that taste naughty, these are so good! I found this recipe last year on the YouTube from Nadia's Healthy Kitchen. The link to the video is here: https://youtu.be/vst55OXB9fo

I am a big fan of making homemade nut milk, but had so much pulp leftover i wasn't sure what to do with it. I'd tried making crackers (they were terrible), I'd tried putting them in a low oven for hours and hours to dry them to make almond flour (...it was terrible) and then Nadia came and saved me! These are perfect, and means there is no waste from making nut milk which I LOVE.

Now. Yes, I know this isn't strictly baking. But I did stand next to the oven when I made them, so...y'know.

For these lovely little balls you will need:

  • 1 cup of nut pulp (I use a 200g bag of almonds to make almond milk, and use all of the pulp in this recipe, whether that is in fact a cup or not), 1 cup of medjool dates, 2 tbsp nut butter, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2 ts vanilla paste/extract, 1/4 cup nuts and 1/4 cup cacao nibs.
  • Put the pulp and dates in a food processor, and blitz until combined - Add the nut butter, salt and vanilla and blitz until sticky and mouldable - Add the nuts and cacao nibs and blitz briefly just to chop the nuts and combine everything together - Make golf-ball sized balls with the mix, and roll in the flavour of your choice: I used cinnamon (obviously), cacao nibs and chopped cashews.

Once you've rolled them, put them in an airtight container and stick them in the fridge. Wait for a few hours before eating them, as they're better firmer.

If you need a healthy, sweet kick or a boost of energy, these are the balls for you! x

My Little Lump o' Love Cake by Delme Thomas

Well we all know what event happened this week, whether that brings us fluffy feelings of joy or eye-rolling nausea. For me, Valentine's Day is all about showing appreciation for that special someone in your life, rather than suffocating them with an oversized teddy, covering them in heart-shaped objects and making them sneeze with flower pollen. So for such an occasion, what better recipe than my Little Lump o' Love cake! This is one of my own cake recipes, and is totally up for your own interpretation. As a side note, if there's three things Ina Garten has taught me it is the following: 1) Geoffrey loves roast chicken. 2) It really is as easy as that. 3) Always add coffee to your chocolate cake as it makes it more chocolatey, which is why you'll find instant espresso powder in this recipe! 

Because this is a LITTLE lump o' love, this recipe is designed for two 6" cake tins, but if you wanted to make it a Big Hunk o' Love for 8" tins just double the quantities. So many puns. So little time.

You will need:

100g softened unsalted butter, 100g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 80g self-raising flour, 20g cocoa, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1tbsp oil, 1tsp espresso powder & a handful of dark chocolate chips.
Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan - Butter and line your two cake tins - In a mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar - Add the eggs one at a time, mixing a little in between each addition - Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined - Once mixed, put in the handful of chocolate chips and stir them until well combined - Divide the mixture between two tins and cook for 20 minutes - Leave to cool in their tins for 10 minutes, then remove them to a cooling rack to fully cool.

Now you can finish the cake however you want. I decided on the classic combo of chocolate and strawberry for my cake. If you want to do as I did, for the chocolate buttercream you'll need:

60g dark chocolate broken into pieces, 1 tbsp cocoa, 2 tbsp boiling water, 90g softened unsalted butter, 8 tbsp icing sugar, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract/paste & pinch of sea salt
Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie - Dissolve the cocoa in the hot water in a mug/jug & stir into the melted chocolate - Cream the butter with the icing sugar, vanilla & salt - Add the chocolate mix and continue to beat until fully incoorporated.

I used the buttercream to sandwich the cakes together, as well as spreading some homemade strawberry jam in the middle. Feel free to decorate as you'd like - if you make this in Summer, decorate it with fresh in-season strawberries for a lovely sweet kick. I can't take any credit for the buttercream, this is a recipe from Peyton & Byrne's book, British Baking. It is THE most delicious chocolate buttercream I have ever tasted. It's almost mousse-like!

This is such a lovely, chocolatey cake. And with the addition of chocolate chips into the mix, you get the odd chunk of chocolate with each bite. DELISH!

Hope you like my little lump o' love! Let me know if you try it, and send me pictures of how you decorated/adapted yours! And I hope you all had a lovely Valentine's celebration, whether that was spoiling someone else or spoiling yourself! x