Easy Blackberry Jam


Still making the most of the blackberry season and thought I’d have a go at a simple blackberry jam. Perfect for using up the end of season blackberries or those that have gone a bit squishy!

It doesn’t matter what weight of blackberries you use just ensure you use an equal weight of sugar.

You will need:

500g blackberries

500g jam or preserving sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

(Tiny knob of butter/spread – optional)

Ensure your blackberries are clean and then pop in the saucepan together with the sugar, and lemon juice.

Using a very gentle heat start to warm them up, folding the sugar in until it melts.

Bring it up to the boil gently (the key is taking your time so keep the heat low). Stir occasionally. Once it’s boiling you can turn it up a little and let it simmer for 10-12 mins.

A froth may form – if it does you can either skim it off with a spoon, or you can add a tiny bit of spread/butter to disperse the froth.

Test the jam after 10 mins or so. Put a small amount on a plate and pop it in he fridge for a couple of mins. If you can create a trail through the jam that doesn’t refill, or if the jam crinkles up when you push it, then it’s ready. If it’s still runny allow it to simmer for another couple of minutes and test again.

Pop some clean jars in the oven at about 100 C for ten mins or so. Remove the jam from the heat and pour into the jars.

Apply wax seals and cellophane if you have it (Lakeland and other places do fab little sets, but if not you can just put the lid on). Allow to cool, label and store in the fridge.

It should be ready to eat after 24hrs. If it turns out not to have set then it’s no drama, you just have a lovely

Blackberry syrup to pour over yoghurt, pancakes or ice cream instead!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

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Blackberry and Coconut Slices


I was given an extremely generous haul of blackberries from some lovely friends so it was time to whip up another blackberry-based bake! I love coconut so thought I’d combine the two!

This is really easy to make and quick to prepare, though takes a little while to cook. Perfect for school lunch boxes or mid-afternoon office snacks too, or a tasty dessert with custard! This makes 12 – 16 slices (depending how large you cut them!) at 260 – 200 cals per slice.

You will need:

250g self raising flour (any type you like)

50g oats

200g sugar (or 100g half spoon sugar)

90g desiccated coconut

200g dairy free spread (or butter)

300g blackberries

1 tsp cinnamon (if you’re a fan of cinnamon you can add more)

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Add the flour, oats, sugar and cinnamon into bowl and mix well. Add the spread and use your fingers or a fork to rub it in to the flour until you have a crumble mix.

Add the coconut and mix well. Remove a cup full of mixture and place to one side. Add the eggs to the remaining mixture and stir in to form a sticky dough. Line a small baking tray (I used a 27 x 17cm tray) and press the mixture into the tray, smoothing the top with a spoon.

Scatter the blackerries over the top and then sprinkle the mixture you set aside over the top.

Place in the oven for 60 mins or until a skewer comes out with only moist crumbs. Check regularly and about half way through cover the tray with foil before the topping starts to burn.

Leave to cool, then remove from the tin and cut into squares.

Eat as it is, or serve with more berries and yoghurt, custard or ice cream!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Summer pudding – mum’s recipe :)


As I still had a load of summer fruits left I thought I’d try one of my mum’s favourite summer recipes – Summer Pudding!

You can use any fruits you like – I had a few gooseberries and red currants left so they went in, along with blackberries, strawberries and raspberries.

You will need:

  • Approx 500 – 750g fruit (best to make more as you can always have any excess for brekkie or pud with some yoghurt etc)
  • Sugar to taste (I used none as my fruit was all really sweet but up to you)
  • A small white loaf (a day old so its slightly stale)

Put berries that have tough skins (blackcurrants,  cherries , gooseberries etc) into pan with small amount of sugar if needed and a little water.  Heat gently until berries soften and juices run.

Leave to cool for a few mins and then add soft fruit – raspberries, blackberries, strawberries etc and stir, gently.  If required you can add more sugar to taste.

Cut medium slices of white bread (one day old) and remove crusts.

Line a pudding basin with clingfilm cut larger than the basin.  Cut the bread into shape to line the basin with a disc for the base.

Drain the fruit, saving the juices in a separate bowl. Dip the bread into the juices and place the bread around the inside of the basin, plugging any holes with small pieces of bread. Pack the cooled fruit well into the basin.

Put a larger disc of bread (or several pieces cut to shape) on the top.

Overlap the cling film to cover the top of the bread.  Put a saucer or small plate on the top and weigh down with a tin or similar weight to compress the fruit.

Chill overnight, then turn out and serve with more fruit and yoghurt!

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Enjoy! Xx

Easy Freezey Fruity Greek Yoghurt


I was very excited to spot the first blackberries of the year today so I had to pick them! We also had a small haul of gooseberries and red currants from the garden, and some other berries left over from last week so I thought i’d whip up a quick summery treat with them!

You can use any fruit you like in this and you could even add nuts, seeds or desiccated coconut etc too! It makes a fab low calorie healthy summer treat! This recipe made 14 little bars for me and they came in at about 25 calories each!

You will need:

A tub of Greek yoghurt (I used the 0% one, you can also use a dairy free option)

A couple of handfuls of fruit (approx 100 – 200g but it depends on the fruit)

Optional sweetener (honey, agave, maple syrup, sugar free syrup etc)

If it needs it then chop the fruit up into small pieces, remove any stalks, pips etc. Empty the Greek yoghurt into a bowl and add some of the fruit and stir really well until well mixed.

You want the fruit to be well coated so start with a little at a time and keep adding until you the fruit is coated and there’s a bit of excess yoghurt too. If you plan to use sweetener add it in now too (I didn’t as I like the tartness of the yoghurt and the fruit added enough sweetness for me).

Line a small tray with parchment paper and then spoon the yoghurt mixture in. Smooth down to a layer approx 1 – 1.5cm thick. If you have extra you can pop it in bowls for a healthy snack, brekkie or pud!

Place a layer of cling film over the top and then pop in the freezer for a couple of hours until set! Slice and store in a tupperware box in the freezer for an easy ice cream alternative.

Then enjoy!

Xx

Guilt Free Goodies – delicious treats! – a review


It’s been nearly 18 months since I first reviewed the lovely treats from Guilt Free Goodies. Since then it’s been such a pleasure to see Natasha’s business thrive and grow. I still regularly buy treats from her and have given them as gifts too. I thought I would repost my review just in case any of you haven’t yet had a chance to check out her goodies.

The best bit is that Natasha has very kindly set up a discount code for all of you lovely lot so if you place an order you will get 5% off! Just enter this code at checkout 🙂  NANCYGFG5%OFF

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Since my review her product range has really expanded with some truly delicious new treats – including delicious cookies, raw chocolates and chocolate truffles (as well as more flavours of her other treats like bites and bars). I’ve tried quite a few and they are all delicious – I particularly like the peanutter white chocolate truffles and raw raspberry ruffle truffle! Oooh and the salted caramel almond slice! Divine!

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There are also hampers available at the moment for christmas – you’ll have to get in wuick though if you want to pre-order them! check them out here.

And most exciting of all, Natasha has released her first ebook! So you can have a go at creating some treats at home! Order yours here. It’s beautifully put together and has a really lovely range of treats. It’s well written and set out and easy to follow so I’d definitely recommend it 🙂

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Here’s my review from last year:

I had the great pleasure this week of being sent a beautiful box of treats from Guilt Free Goodies.

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This UK, home-based business is run by Natasha and her partner, who produce homemade, all natural, healthy goodies – from granolas, nut butters to delicious treats and cakes. They’re perfect for anyone looking for dairy-free treats, diabetics and those wanting refined sugar-free treats (only natural sweeteners are used) or following the “paleo” diet. They’re also great for anyone who’s just health conscious and wants to watch what they eat. They can also make most of their products (granola, bites, energy balls and butters) suitable for vegans (some products do contain egg or honey).

I was sent this delightful selection of:

Peanut butter surprise muffin

Cashew butter, coconut and blueberry energy balls

Honey and peanut granola

Salted caramel almond bites

The first thing I noticed is how lovely the packaging was – all the items are beautifully packaged with lovely little touches like the handwritten notes. They’re also really securely packaged so nothing was damaged in transit.

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As instructed I popped the almond bites in the freezer (top tip – highly recommended!) and the first item I tucked in to was the cashew, coconut and blueberry energy balls. After a busy morning teaching spin and bodypump I was famished and needed something quick to munch on. These really hit the spot – full of goodness and flavour. Really satisfying and tasty too – not too sweet but sweet enough to satisfy 🙂

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Later that afternoon I was in dire need of a boost so thought I’d try the granola next – I served it with some homemade compote from my friend Colette and a big dollop of soya yoghurt.

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It was absolutely divine – crunchy and crisp with a great mix of nut and fruit. The sweetness wasn’t overpowering either which was great. I had to eek it out as otherwise I’d have eaten it all in one go! As it’s full of good fats (from the nuts) it really sustained me for my evening classes which is exactly what I needed. This would be just as good served with a little almond milk or yoghurt for brekkie, or as a decadent treat you could serve it with some coconut yoghurt or ice cream for dessert! Yum!

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I saved the muffin for a mid-morning snack with a cuppa. This was a really nice treat. Now it’s not like a traditional muffin so don’t be surprised. It’s a lot smaller but it’s also much denser. I really like this about it – it’s moist and squishy (in a good way!) and although small it’s exactly the right amount for a snack. I loved the peanut butter in the middle of this one. The nice thing about these muffins is that they really fill you up in a way traditional muffins just don’t.

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I saved the best until last – the almond bites. I was most excited about these – they looked delicious and I’m such a sucker for anything almond-based so I had high hopes.

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I was not disappointed in the slightest. These were so good! They’re definitely best out the freezer – the base goes all crispy and the caramel stays soft. The combination of the caramel, a whole almond in the middle (!), and lovely chocolate on the top is just fab!

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So all in all I was really impressed with all these products. They certainly live up to their reputation and satisfy your cravings without ruining any of your hard work!

I just love that this is a home-run business, run by someone who clearly puts their heart and soul in to their products. I’d definitely recommend them so do go and try them. You can also buy hampers or sample boxes and they’d make great gifts for the health foodlovers in your life. I’m really looking forward to ordering some of Natasha’s other products now – especially the loaf cakes and nut butters! 🙂

You can find out more about the products and place orders from their facebook page – here: Guilt Free Goodies or their new online shop here: Guilt Free Goodies Eshop.

Do check them out! and if you do let me know what you think 🙂

 

Wild blackberry Banana N’ice cream


That time of year has come around again – wild blackberry foraging time!  We went for a lovely walk yesterday and got a huge box full so I thought I’d better start using them.

The sun was shining earlier and that obviously put me in the mood for ice cream so I whipped up a quick batch of wild blackberry n’ice cream.

Super easy as always – you just need  3 – 4 frozen bananas (peeled and chopped before freezing) and a good handful of blackberries. Pop the bananas in the blender (a high speed one) and blitz until they start to form a creamy mixture. Throw the blackberries in and blitz again. I like to leave some of the blackberries as pieces so I don’t blitz fully but it’t up to you.

Delicious as it is, or even better sprinkled with my cinnamon spiced coconut caramelised nuts (recipe here). Enjoy!

Fossil Fuel bars – a review 


As you know,  i’m always on the lookout for new healthy snacks and bars. Recently I’ve had the pleasure of trying some new energy bars – Fossil Fuel bars. These bars are paleo friendly bars made of fruit and nuts and are a fantastic on the go refuel option. Although not certified gluten free or vegan they don’t have any gluten-containing ingredients in them, or dairy or other animal products so are perfect for anyone avoiding those things.

They’re made by a small UK-based company and the creators are keen fitness fanatics so definitely on my wavelength 🙂

They have two flavours – coconut and cashew, and cocoa and macadamia.

Both are really yummy – they’re packed with dates for sweetness and nuts for valuable protein and energy. I had them as my afternoon snack before my evening classes and they both hit the spot. The cocoa and macadamia one is definitely my favourite – it’s so moreish but also really satisfying. Neither is too sweet and they are both really filling. They make a great option if you want something healthier as a snack or even a brekkie if you’re rushing out the door and need something to grab. If you’re craving chocolate I’d definitely recommend the cocoa and macadamia one!

These are most definitely worth trying if you’re looking for a healthy snack on the go. Do check them out and let me know what you think. They’re available from their website :  https://www.wearefossilfuel.co.uk