Chocolate Spread

I’m a complete and utter, total chocolate addict. I think I would eat chocolate all day every day if I had half a chance and I don’t think there are too many foods that can’t be improved upon by a little chocolate!

One of my favourite breakfast treats is toast with Nutella and banana but when I realised just how much sugar was in Nutella I had to make it a super occasional treat rather than a pretty regular thing. Thank goodness I discovered Keen Nutrition who have their own delicious hazelnut & dark chocolate spread which was able to fill in my chocolate shaped breakfast gap.

Unfortunately there are no stockists near me so when I ran out recently I had to improvise.

I’ve been planning to try making my own almond butter for ages so I thought I’d have a go and I’d add a little chocolate to it! My mum has a super duper heavy duty food processor so in return for her letting me use it I promised her some almond butter. She wanted the unadulterated version, which was just add yummy but in a different way.

I am totally blown away by how delicious the result is. I really didn’t use a lot of chocolate in the whole scheme of things and I think it will give me enough of a little chocolate hit at breakfast that I’ll be able to resist a mid morning snack. Never mind that it’s packed with delicious almonds that will keep me filled up, especially if it’s paired with wholemeal toast & banana. Yummy!

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Chocolate Almond Spread

Ingredients

400g Whole Almonds
40g Dark Chocolate (I used Lindt 70%)
Sea Salt
A little sunflower oil

Method

Spread almonds on a baking tray with a little salt and roast. I roasted my almonds at 220°C for about 5 mins but they could have done with roasting for a little longer.

When the almonds have cooled add to your food processor and pulse until the nuts have broken up in to small pieces.
Run the food processor until the nuts have been reduced to a fine powder then add a small amount of sunflower oil to try to bring it all together.

Continue to run the processor adding small amounts of sunflower oil as needed.

I really used very little oil but it seemed to be necessary to bring it all together. I had the machine running for a long time and all I had was powder. The nuts didn’t want to seem to come together properly until the oil was added. I used sunflower oil because it’s relatively tasteless and I had it to hand. (Any similar oil would do but I think next time I’m going to try using coconut oil for a little bit of interesting flavour!)

When the nuts had been reduced to a suitable paste I spilt it in half and put half in a jar for my mum.

I left my half in the processor and melted the chocolate. Then I added the melted chocolate and continued to process until it was totally combined.

I popped it in a clean jar and it’s now ready for munching. I can’t wait to get stuck in tomorrow morning!

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Making an actual jumper!

I love cosy jumpers! I think they are possibly my number one favourite item of clothing and I love it when the weather is cool enough to get all snuggled up. For years, and years, and years I’ve wanted to be able to knit myself a jumper but since my knitting skills are limited to say the least I’ve been left having to buy my cosy winter woollies. Hopefully though all that is about to change!

A good friend got me Doris Chan’s book  Everyday Crochet for Christmas and I’ve been inspired to get cracking on my very first crochet garment!

The No Sweat jumper was the one I liked best so after having a good read through all her info on yarns I decided is have a go with Stylecraft Special Aran with wool in blue heather. I’ve been eyeing up this yarn for a long time trying to work out what I wanted to make with it and I’m so excited now!

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It’s such a gorgeous colour, the photo really doesn’t do it justice. It’s a bluey reddy purple with a gorgeous sheen.

The patterns in Everyday Crochet are constructed top down so you start with the neckline and build towards the bottom in patterns of shells.  It’s definitely not a book for a beginner and it took me a long time of reading and re reading the pattern to figure out what I was supposed to do!

So far I’ve managed to construct the yoke and have started on the body. I’m hoping that I’ll get it competed within maybe another week and I can have a ta-dah! post and give a full review of the pattern.

In the mean time I’ve managed about this much and I’ll show you more when I’m done!

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A Rose by any Other Name

I love roses, they are so pretty. I don’t just love looking at them, I love everything about them, the colours, the scent, the flavour!

I have a collection of lovely things to satisfy my rosey cravings. My favourite Jo Malone Red Roses perfume; the most delicious Yankee Candle scent Fresh Cut Roses; and thanks to a spot on bit of Christmas present shopping from the lovely Laura I now have some gorgeous limited edition Lush Rose Jam shower gel!

One of the rosey things I really love but had forgotten about is my recently re-discovered stash of rose tea! A friend bought me a bag of rose petals when on holiday and I hoard them a bit since I have yet to source somewhere handy that stocks them (any local knowledge welcome!)
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Rose tea is the easiest thing in the world to make! Just some rose petals in a tea strainer, pour on boiling water and leave to brew for five minutes.

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What’s made is a deliciously rose scented brew. The perfect thing to relax with at any time of day but especially just before bed since it’s totally caffeine free!

Happy Crafty New Year!

Happy New Year to you all!  I’ve been quieter than I would have liked over the festive season but with the Boy off nursery and the big beardy one off work for the last fortnight our days have been pretty full!

I had last minute Christmas gifts to craft, and some I still have to make!  I had my first ever go at arm knitting and I was so pleased with the result I’m definitely going to have another go.

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Since it was for a Christmas present I totally forgot to take more photos than this but I’m sure I’ll get one of the finished product to show you!

I’m on a bit of a mission to get my kiddies eating less processed food in 2015 so last night they got home made fish fingers. I used this Annabel Karmel recipe although instead of frying them I baked them for about 15mins at 180°C.

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Seasoned flour, beaten egg & bashed rice crispies to coast the fish

I thought they were lovely and the babby couldn’t get enough although the boy wasn’t convinced.  Mind you we’re having a bit of a power struggle over food at the minute so he won’t eat a lot of what I put down in front of him right now! I’m hopeful that is just a phase but it is terribly discouraging to spend time making good food only to have it turned down. Ah well, I thought it was pretty tasty so it didn’t go to waste!

My next mission is home made baked beans but not today as we have my niece’s birthday party to go to this afternoon! Yesterday saw us baking some tasty biscuits for the occasion. Can’t wait to get eating them later!

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So a happy new year to you all? Are you planning to be more crafty this year? Do more cooking, make more things or learn a new skill? I’m hoping to do all of the above but I’ll have to see how I get on! Let me know your crafty resolutions!