For my last post of the week, I thought I’d share the recipe for one of our all-time favourite granola treats. It’s chocolatey and crunchy and oh so yummy. It tastes decadent and a little bit naughty but it’s actually super healthy. Don’t you just love those kind of treats
But before we get to the recipe, I’d love to share a few pics from last weekend. You see, it was the birthday of a very special friend of mine. We’ve decided that we’re not going to bother with the numbers from now on as we don’t relate to them in any shape or form. Numbers don’t matter. However, what IS important is the fact that we’re feeling fabulous, full of life, energetic, young at heart … and we don’t scrub up too badly either
On Saturday night, she had a fabulous dinner party at her house. To save her from spending hours preparing, cooking and washing up, she ordered the main meals from ‘Cook’, which is an independent foodie business that cooks all the meals from their kitchen in Kent, freezes them, then supplies them to customers throughout the country.
The food was outstanding! I had a Moroccan veggie & chickpea tagine, while M got to try the Indonesian vegetable curry. The food tasted so fresh. I couldn’t believe that it had actually come out of the freezer! Big thumbs up for Cook!
There was an amazing array of desserts on offer, all home-made by my friend, her girls and the dinner party guests, which included banoffee pie, chocolate mousse, chocolate brownies, meringues, lemon meringue pie and cupcakes. She’d also bought some raspberry sorbet for me, which was totally lush!
At about 9.30pm, I’d assumed that Lil’ L had gone to bed but no, I found him hiding under the table! Look what he was doing…
Yep, totally engrossed in another one of his birthday books.
I’m not sure if I should recommend this book because, knowing David Walliams, it’s probably a bit naughty
One of the biggest highlights of the evening was the ‘revealing’ of the big birthday present which had been bought for N by a group of her local friends. I had no idea what it was going to be….
So you can imagine my utter delight, when she pulled off the paper to reveal this beautiful object
You probably can’t get a sense of size from this picture, but this Buddha is HUGE!
N was absolutely delighted with it! Her friends obviously know her very well as this was the perfect gift for her
And what did I give the birthday girl? Well, M and I thought we’d treat her to an original piece of art from Tolerance, whose one of our current favourite urban artists. My friend loves his ‘Ghost Girl’ series and this picture goes perfectly her kitchen/diner/lounge which has lilac and purple accents.
And talking of chocolate….
It’s about time I gave you that recipe I was promising for the Chocolate Clusters of yumminess.
Lil’ L was the inspiration behind this recipe. He loves home-made granola (far more than the shop-bought ones which he finds ‘too sugary’) but he asked me a while ago whether I could make the oats stick together in clusters. He loves the texture and crunch of clusters, plus they’re easier to eat right out of the hand.
No problem I said. Next time I made the granola, rather than spreading it out loosely on the tray, I simply spread it thinly and pressed down hard (like I was making a very thin granola bar). Once cooked, I let it cool completely then crumbled it into clusters.
It’s delicious served with milk or yoghurt for breakfast, or as a parfait for dessert …
… and equally scrumptious eaten straight out of your hand. Lil’ L loves taking it to school for his play-time snack.
It’s really simple to make. Here’s how we do it…
Chocolate Clusters (free of refined sugar and processed oil; can be GF)
Makes 5 cups
Hands on time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes
300 g / 10½ oz / 3 cups jumbo or regular rolled oats (I use Flahavans Organic Jumbo Oats. Use GF oats if needed)
100 g / 3½ oz / ½ cup buckwheat*
30 g / 1 oz / ¼ cup cocoa powder
3 tbsp coconut palm sugar (or other natural, unrefined sugar)
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp sea salt
118 ml ml / 5½ oz / ½ cup maple syrup (I use Clarks Original maple syrup, which is a mix of maple and carob syrup (and far cheaper than pure maple syrup. Agave syrup would work too)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp virgin coconut oil, liquefied (to liquefy the oil I place it in a heat proof bowl in the oven while it is warming up)
* I use buckwheat groats in my granola as they’re a complete source of protein and also add great texture. I buy them from the wholefoods section of Tesco. You can omit if you like, or use an alternative grain.
- Preheat the oven to 150C (130C fan) / 300F / Gas 2. Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
- In large bowl, mix together the oats, buckwheat, cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir until well mixed.
- Mix the maple syrup and vanilla extract together, then stir it into the dry ingredients. Add the coconut oil and stir until the grains are thoroughly coated.
- Spread the granola out evenly on the prepared baking tray. Press down with a spatula or the back of a spoon so that the mixture sticks together (as if you were making a thin granola bar). Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool (the granola will become crunchy when it’s cool). When completely cool, gently break up the granola into clusters.
- Mix in your favourite nuts, seeds and fruits for added nutrition and yumminess.
- Store the clusters in an airtight container for up to six weeks (but I doubt it will last that long!)
By the way, I have got an AMAZING GIVEAWAY coming next week for my UK readers. I’m really excited about this one!! Apologies in advance to my overseas readers but don’t worry, I promise I”ll make it up to you in December!
Have a great weekend everyone! xx