Tag Archives: dates

Granola bars to fuel my winter runs

This again is adapted from the ever so plentiful blog of David Lebovitz “Living the sweet life in Paris”, of which my regular readers will know I am a fan!

At the moment I am running a fair bit and sometimes even in the rain or at dusk, so the promise of a warm drink and one of those energy packed bars is a big bonus at the end of a wet and cold run.

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Ingredients list:

  • 1 1/2 cups (150g) rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup (45g) sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup (60g) whole almonds
  • ½ cup (60g) walnuts bits
  • 1 cup (125g) pitted and diced dates
  • 1/3 cup (50g) dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup (35g) dried sour cherries or cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup (35g) sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup (65g) smooth natural peanut butter or any nut butter
  • 1/4 cup (80g) honey
  • pinch of salt

Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20cm) square pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

Spread the oats and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice while baking, until they are slightly browned. Scrape them into a large bowl. Spread the almonds on the baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely break in a pestle and add the almonds to the oats.

Add the dates, chocolate chips and cranberries to the bowl.

Heat the peanut butter, honey, and salt in a small saucepan, stirring until warm, but not boiling. Pour the peanut butter and honey over the mixture in the bowl and stir until it’s completely incorporated; using your hands is the best way to go. DO not use a sweet peanut butter, just a natural one. You do not want a sickly sweet bar!

Transfer the mixture to the pan and pat it down so it’s as flat as possible. I put a sheet of baking paper over and just pushed down with my palm until it was flat! Freeze the granola bars for 30 minutes before eating them. I keep them in a metal box in my fridge and they stay fresh for longer.

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My run along the river at dusk! Beautiful and cold.

My run along the river at dusk! Beautiful and cold.

Same run in morning light.

Same run in morning light.

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>Steamed sticky toffee pudding

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This is the sort of pudding that had me falling in love with British baking traditions: Simple, heart-warming and bursting with flavours. Perfect after a bracing walk round the Wetland Center in Barnes – where I took this reeds picture.

Ingredients list:

3 tbsp of golden syrup (or marmelade)

Self-raising flour 175g

Bicarbonate or baking powder 1 small spoonful

Butter175g

3 large eggs

Demerara sugar 175g

Treacle 1tbsp

(optional : 5 dates soaked in warm water with a drop of vanilla extract or a tbsp of ground ginger)

Sauce :

Golden syrup

Crème fraîche or double cream

Vanilla extract

Butter 1 tbsp

Prepare a pan of boiling water or an electric steamer.

Mix in the food processor: The flour, raising powder, soft butter, whole eggs, sugar and treacle. Scooping out the treacle with a hot spoon, dipped in boiling water, makes it very easy. Add the dates and vanilla or the ginger, if you choose.

Take a ceramic pudding bowl and smear generously with butter. Pour the golden syrup in the bottom. Add the mix. Level with a spoon and cover tightly with foil.

Put in your steamer or in a pan one third full of boiling water for at least two hours- not omitting to check the water level regularly!

Make the sauce by adding all the sauce ingredients to a small pan and heating through. Keep an eye on it until it achieves a nice golden toffee colour.

Take the pudding out and serve hot with a scoop of ice-cream – if you must…