Pumpkin Spice Balls

We are well into October, but here in Bristol, we are being spoiled by beautiful weather this weekend. Walking around was so perfect and it certainly doesn’t feel like winter will be here soon. Taking advantage of the nice weather, I went to Zero Green in Bedminster, one of Bristol’s many plastic free shops. You bring your own containers, weigh, fill, then weigh again. The oats, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, date/raisins, and pulp are from this shop. They also feature almond, cashew, and oat mylk in glass bottles from a lovely company called O!Mylk. They often leave leftover nut pulp for customers to take for free! So I took about a cups worth and decided to make these Pumpkin Spice Balls. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup almond pulp (or desiccated almonds if you don’t have pulp)
  • 1/4 cup porridge oats
  • 1/4 cup raisins and/or chopped dates
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 5-6 tablespoons puréed pumpkin
  • Pumpkin seeds to coat

Place the pulp, oats, dates & raisins, chia seeds, and pumpkin spice in a bowl. The pulp is moist, so I found it best to mix together with a fork, working all the ingredients together as much as possible.

Once mixed, it should look a bit crumbly, as seen above.

Next, add the honey, nut butter, and pumpkin. Really stir it through so that all dry ingredients are well incorporated. If the mixture is too dry and not holding, you can add a bit more pumpkin. If it’s turned out too wet, just sprinkle on a bit more oats.

After rolling into a ball, I squished pumpkin seeds onto the outside. You really have to press them in as they don’t stick easily. Alternatively, you can drizzle the balls in chocolate or icing, then put the seeds on.

And there you have it, Pumpkin Spice Balls! They were super easy to make and would be a fun activity for little ones. There are also a lot of ways to adapt this recipe to your liking. You can always use maple syrup or golden syrup instead of honey. And if you like them sweeter, add more honey and slightly less pumpkin to bind. I think toasted pecans or chocolate chips would work really well in these treats. However you make them, this is a great way to create a healthy snack without producing much waste.

Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

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Upside Down Plum Cake

The Bristol Half Marathon is tomorrow and I thought I’d bake up some pre-race fuel to use up some ripe plums. Not sure how the weather will turn out, but when all else fails, at least there’s cake. Here is what you’ll need:

For the plum topping:

  • 8-10 ripe plums
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

For the cake batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or any you like)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 beaten eggs

First, wash and cut the plums as you like.

Next, mix the brown sugar and butter, spreading it on the bottom of your cake tin.

Then, neatly arrange the plums on top of the butter and brown sugar.

In a bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, almond milk, and almond extract. Stir it a bit, then do the eggs.

Last, beat the eggs separately before adding them to the batter. If you have a mixer, use it! If not, just use a whisk to get a good batter. For the record, I don’t have a mixer, but the cakes still turn out alright.

Once mixed, pour the batter evenly into the tin, making sure it covers the fruit.

Heat your oven to 180 C / 350 F, and bake for 35 minutes.

And there you have it, Upside Down Plum Cake! This cake is good, like real good! Gooey, sticky, sweet, and part of your 5 a day? Heck yeah!

This is the perfect way to use up your ripe plums. The recipe also works well with damsons, peaches, and nectarines. And who doesn’t like a serving of fruit? Hopefully a slice of this cake will propel me to the finish line. And at the very least, lots of leftovers, yeah! If you happen to be near the Half Marathon route, come out and cheer us on – with the weather we’re expecting, we’ll need it! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Easy Blackberry Jam

The weather is starting to turn, but we’re still having lots of sunny afternoons with cool breezes. And, there are still blackberries to be harvested. So, I thought I’d make some easy Blackberry jam with my last haul. It makes a small batch, which is approximately one jar. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Juice from 1 lemon

After washing your blackberries very well, place in a small sauce pan with the sugar.

Next, grab a masher and spend several minutes smashing the heck out of those berries. You really want to get the juice flowing so that the berries become a liquid purée like mash up.

There will still be bits of berry, but as you can see above, it should have lots of juice. Place on the stove and set on high. I used mark 5.

Bring the berry mash to a boil, stirring it the entire time. By constantly stirring, you’ll ensure it does not burn. Once it boils for about 5 minutes, put on medium low and simmer until it thickens. You’ll know it’s ready when it coats the spoon.

Juice the lemon, and stir in the liquid while the berry mixture is still hot.

Make sure your jar is already prepared. It needs to be thoroughly cleaned and boiled to sterilise. While the liquid is still hot, spoon jam into the jar. It will firm up as it cools.

And there you have it, one batch of Easy Blackberry Jam! This is the perfect way to preserve the last of the summer fruit to enjoy into the cold winter months. Stir it in porridge, put it in yogurt, or enjoy on some toast! However you slice it, this jam is just too easy to pass up. Give it a try before the berries disappear. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Wild Fruit Crumble

This cooler weather has been so nice and comfortable. It’s the perfect temperature for running and cycling, and for foraging wild fruit on the way.

I loaded up on these berries and apples during a bike ride, and the most obvious thing to make was a warm and filling crumble. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 3 small apples
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup raisins or sultanas
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

First wash the fruit very well, then peel and chop the apples into chunks. Put all the fruit into your baking dish.

Pour the sugar and flour over the fruit, and mix it around trying to coat the chunks as much as possible.

Next you will prepare the topping, which is essentially a bowl of porridge. Put the oats, cinnamon, almonds, raisins, and almond milk together. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so the oats absorb as much of the liquid as possible.

Spread the topping over the fruit. Make sure it’s as even as possible.

Place in the oven at 180 C / 350 F for 35 – 40 minutes, depending on your oven. It’s done when the fruit is soft and the topping is golden brown.

And there, you have it, Wild Fruit Crumble! You can pretty much use any fruit you want. Damson, blueberries, and red plums work well too! And the topping is on the healthy side compared to traditional crumble which often has a lot of butter and sugar. As I’m training for the Bristol Half Marathon, this is definitely a dessert I can get behind! And you can even have it for breakfast! It is part of your five a day and a lovely way to fuel your morning workout. Give this recipe a try and you can start by picking some wild fruit. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Apple Cider Caramel Cake

I know I’ve been a bit lax on the posts lately… I blame that on the cold and snow. So I decided to make a cake for Easter this past weekend using some cider I bought at The Cider Shop here in Bristol. It’s a bit time intensive, but well worth it in the end. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup any kind of milk (I used almond)
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond essence

In a large bowl, combine your dry ingredients- almond flour, coconut flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, mash a ripe banana very well, until it becomes paste like.

In the wet ingredients bowl, add 4 beaten eggs, the almond milk, melted coconut oil and almond essence.

Combine the wet and dry ingredients, mixing very well. Go ahead and pour the batter into a lined round baking tin and bake for 35 minutes at 350 F /180 C.

Once baked, take the cake out of the tin and while it is cooling, you can make the caramel topping. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of sweet apple cider
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup salted butter
  • Sliced almonds to top cake at the end

I picked up a bottle of Woodredding medium sweet cider at The Cider Shop while I was exploring the Wapping Wharf cargo shops the other week. This was lightly sparkling and not too dry, so very enjoyable to drink on its own. It’s also a sweet variety which is great to reduce when baking.

On a medium high heat, combine the butter, cider, and sugar. Melt everything down and stir, stir, stir. You really want to make sure to keep an eye on it, constantly stirring at this heat, and having the patience not to raise the temperature too much.

As the liquid and alcohol evaporate away, the mixture will thicken. I cooked it a little too long, but next time, I will stick to 20 minutes then reduce the heat for another 5 – 10.

Let the caramel cool only slightly, then pour over the cake, smoothing it evenly over the surface.

I was aiming for a caramel that wasn’t as thick so it would drip down the sides, but, you can’t have it all, eh? Top with sliced almonds and eat vigorously.

And there you have it, Apple Cider Caramel Cake! It may take some time to make, but is sooo worth it in the end! And although my kitchen smells like a pub from the evaporated cider alcohol, my tummy is very satisfied.

This is a great treat to make for garden parties or just to enjoy on your own as the weather gets warmer. It’s also a great way to showcase some of the wonderful cider the West Country has to offer. Pick your favourite sweet cider and have a go! Hope you all had a relaxing long weekend, and fear not, Spring is (probably) on the way! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Parsnip and Carrot Soup

So, Christmas is officially over, and if you’re like me, you may still be in a food hangover. Also, you may have lots of leftover root veg. We went to Aldi on Christmas Eve and found that they had their super 6 veg on sale for 9 p! So, of course I got a few bags of parsnips and carrots. When I woke up this morning, I realized we had to do some cooking! So, my husband is guest chef today and is preparing a lovely parsnip and carrot soup. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 5 parsnips
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • 1/2 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds (garnish)

First, peel your root veg after giving them a good cleaning.

Next, you will chop the root veg, onions, and garlic. When chopping the parsnips, cut out the fibrous, woody core. This makes a sweeter, less bitter flavour.

Sauté the onions and garlic with the olive oil. Once softened, add the garam masala.

You will then add the parsnips and carrots, mixing it around in the fragrant sautéed bits.

Lastly, add a liter of chicken stock. You can used prepared stock, or you can quickly make it with stock cubes. You can easily make it vegan by adding veggie stock.

Cover, and let it simmer for an hour, or until the root veggies are softened.

Turn off the heat, remembering to add the chopped ginger at the very end. Once it cools for a few minutes, use a hand blender to blend until very smooth.

Garnish with pumpkin seeds, and there you have it, Parsnip and Carrot Soup! This was the perfect thing to make on a lazy Boxing Day, and full of nutrients for you hungover peeps. You can even add chunks of leftover turkey or ham for an even heartier soup.

I really love the mild spice the garam masala and ginger adds. Very warming, without being too intense. You can easily make it in a slow cooker for a filling midweek meal. I really liked the way it turned out and this may be on a regular rotation in my household. Enjoy the last days of 2017 and here’s to baking and cooking wonderful things in 2018! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

The Royal Three Counties Show

I had quite a day at the Royal Three Counties show yesterday and barely know where to begin.  Despite a rainy start, the grounds were packed with people buying, selling, showing, and shearing!

Showing some cattle
Showing some cattle
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One of the many sheep
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A bit of show jumping
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More horses hanging out

First off, the grounds covered lots of yardage with areas reserved for the horses, cattle, sheep, with pens to showcase each.  The main arena at the very north of the grounds featured the dressage, horse and carriage showings. The area adjacent to the south entrance featured a lot of the sheep and cattle showings, along with the sheep shearing competitions which was a highlight for this city girl! Seriously, shearing that wool is tough work, but these guys made it seem almost effortless as they worked on 8 sheep during the early stages of the competition. Can you imagine shearing a hundred or more in a day?

Sheep shearing semi- finals!
Sheep shearing semi- finals!

Anyhow, onto the food and drink, which were the things I was looking forward to the most.  However, I was so in the zone, that I forgot to capture and record some of the food I had eaten.  Halfway through my first scotch egg ever, I realized I should probably take some photos and write some things down.  So, today’s post will go over a few of the things I ate hot and ready.  A lot of the suppliers have an online presence, so if you see something you like, check them out and tell ‘em  you found them here, on Bristol is Home.

OK, so that scotch egg.  I love eggs and sausage and all things fried. However, since my first visit to England in the summer of 2002, which included exploring Scotland, can you believe I’ve never tried a scotch egg? Yeah, me neither. So when I saw The Handmade Scotch Egg Co Ltd  display, I had toIMG_0930 try one. The toughest part was choosing as they had tons of variations of the classics, some with spicy tones, and even one with whisky.  However, I decided to try the “Monty” which featured dry cured ham wrapped around the egg, which was then surround with free range pork.  Sorry if the pic isn’t too photo worthy; I was almost too busy devouring it before I realized I was supposed to be reporting on it too!  The Handmade Scotch Egg Co. can be found at two places: Egg’cetra (the first ever Scotch egg shop), 14 Friar St, Worcester, and The Nest (their headquarters), Hereford Rd, Ledbury.  You can also shop online at: handmadescotcheggs.co.uk, and check out their facebook page here.

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What I ate next isn’t English, per se.  However, when you consider the diverse multicultural fabric that comprises the UK, and that I went to school in Indiana where pierogis were served in the dining hall, I knew I had to try one of the Old Granary’s huge pierogis.  If you like pasties, then you’ll like this traditional Polish treat too.  These handheld parcels feature savory fillings encased in a yeast dough.  I chose the chilli beef, although to be honest, I could have easily eaten each one they had on offer.  They are located in Herefordshire (Marden, 10B Walkers Green, HR1 3DN) and also have a facebook page here.

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Next was my favorite of all the savories I tried: a good ol’ sausage roll straight from Cooper’s Gourmet Sausage Rolls (link) in Shropshire.  These sausage rolls were stuffed with generous heapings of  tasty meat and were such a great price (2 pounds each at the show) that I had to try two.  The Peri Peri was spicy with the perfect level of kick, and the Hickory Smoked BBQ was so flavorful, that if you closed your eyes, you’d swear you just grabbed it off a table in Texas! They really were that good, and I’m kicking myself for not buying more to take home.  They currently deliver to tons of shops and delis, so check them out online to see if you can find some near where you are: www.coopers-sausage-rolls.co.uk and don’t forget to check out their facebook page here.

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To end today’s post, will be some chocolate I bought with the loose change I had left in my pocket.  I wanted to focus on local flavors, so the Herefordshire Gooseberry Elderflower and the Herefordshire Gwatkin Cider flavors from La Fleur de Chocolat caught my eye.  The cider truffle had a smooth filling inside that featured a hint of sharpness you might find in a good cider surrounded by good quality chocolate.

My FullSizeRender (4)favorite however, was the white chocolate truffle, as the gooseberry elderflower goodness inside was just heavenly.  It was tart, yet creamy and silky.  Infact, I would have bought a jar of just the filling if it was offered.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like these two flavors are available online (although other gorgeous flavors are), so if you see them at a show, buy some and you won’t regret it. Located in Herefordshire (HR2 9BS), they also feature chocolate making and desert classes throughout the year. Check out their website at: www.lafleurdechocolat.co.uk

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Again, this is just a small sample of what I ate.  This show was such a great day out, that I’m already planning a return for their Autumn festival later on in the year.

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I also brought these goodies home which I will be cooking with for my next few posts. Stay tuned…

Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Welcome to Bristol is Home my lover!

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Hello, hello! Welcome to my blog on all that is delicious about Bristol and the West Country! I decided to create a page that explores the local tastes that are abundant around here.  We have incredible access to fresh farm produce, flavorful meats, hand crafted goodies, and cider galore! And what better way to begin our hunt than to spend a day at the Royal Three Counties Show! (royalthreecounties.co.uk) This event occurs over thee days, June 12, 13, & 14, at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, WR13 6NW.  In addition to being England’s largest livestock and equine show, there will be lots of stalls featuring food and fare from local artisans.  It sounds like its gonna be a great day out for everyone and there may even be people jumping out of planes to say hi! Not sure what I will find, but my upcoming recipes will rely on what I come across this weekend, so stay posted and happy eating!