Friday, 29 July 2011

Hemp seed breakfast bars

I recently visited Hemp in Avalon, a shop in Glastonbury specialising in hemp products. They had some hemp seed chocolates and savoury treats on the counter for taste testing.
I've consumed hemp oil before, but never the seed so I tried some of the chocolates with curiosity. I have admit, they were some of the nicest chocolates I've ever tasted! The hemp seeds gave them a lovely texture and added a deep earthy flavour to the raw cocoa.
So I bought two 500g bags of seeds to experiment with in the kitchen and took an info sheet all about the nutritional benefits of hemp.

So here's my first creation using hemp seeds - breakfast bars. I've recently been stuck in a rut of toast and Marmite for breakfast as my daughter loves 'Ma-mite' (as she calls it!) and I really don't think it's the healthiest choice to have day in, day out. Therefore, I decided to make these bars as a healthier, filling and easy breakfast alternative.

They came out lovely and golden, moist and tasty. Not too sweet, but the honey and fruit provides just enough sugar to satisfy a sweet tooth like me :)

Here's the recipe:

10oz apple sauce (I made this myself by simmering some chopped up apple in a little water and a pinch of cinnamon until soft)
2oz dried apricots
2oz prunes
4oz raisins
2oz sunflower seeds
1oz sesame seeds
1oz hemp seeds
3oz rolled oats
3oz self raising flour
2oz desiccated coconut
1 dessert spoon honey
2 eggs

Pre-heat the oven at 200c

Mix all together in a bowl and place in an 8in lined and greased square tin and bake for 25 mins.

So simple!

Friday, 3 June 2011

I'm back! Elderflower Champagne and Hawthorne Brandy Reviews

Well, it's been a year since I last posted and what a year it's been.
My soap making enterprise took off brilliantly so most of my attention was on that (see my other blog and my daughter flourished into a toddler with boundless energy!
I'm also expecting my 2nd child in October, so I've slowed things down on the soap making front, which has resulted in more time for me to cook and experiment in the kitchen. So look out for some interesting posts coming up.

Now, you may remember my last post was all about making Hawthorne brandy and elderflower champagne.
Then, you'll be pleased to hear that both drinks turned out to be complete successes.

Let's start with the elderflower.
We honestly couldn't believe how lovely it was, considering how easy it was to make. And it packed a lot of fizz too!
Here's a photo of the finished product, garnished with a Borage flower and sprig of mint. Such a summery, fun drink.

Needless to say, we are making more (much more!) this year, but have decided to tone down the sugar content to 1kg per batch due to the almost overpowering sweetness of last years. But that's just a personal preference.

Now for a completely different beast: the Hawthorne brandy.
This we had to keep for 3 months and then strained off the flowers just before Yule. We tried a bit then, but it tasted distinctively 'hedgy' and potent! Not unpleasant, but not nice either!
So we left it to mature for a bit longer and tried it again on May Day.
I'm very pleased to say that it had vastly improved, was smooth and more 'blossomy' rather than 'hedgy'! Not much is needed though, it's very strong!
Obviously I can't drink right now due to my pregnancy, but I do believe that this Hawthorne brandy would go really well with ginger ale. Maybe something to try after the new baby arrives? ...