Easy Chocolate Brownies

Brownies | June 13, 2016 | By

Easy Chocolate brownies with cranberries and hazelnuts 

Easy Chocolate Brownies

I’ve got a thing about eating chocolate and nuts together. Last year I posted my new and improved ‘Just Beet It‘ brownies that had walnuts and more recently, for Easter, I posted a Creme Egg Double Chocolate Muffins recipe with pistachios. This time round it’s the turn of hazelnuts to make an appearance. Chocolate and hazelnuts have long had a happy relationship. Nutella instantly springs to mind, and so does fellow blogger Danni Martin’s Healthier Chocolate Spread

Easy Chocolate Brownies

Brownies are my favourite to make when you want something chocolatey that’s simple and cause a minimum of fuss. I made these in celebration of my blog turning 2 years old on 30th May. I’ve been so busy of late that I completely forgot all about it! I’m so happy to still be blogging and feel like I’ve really come a long way since I started. Unlike the Just Beet It brownies which were more compact, these easy chocolate brownies are more spongey and light. I used a mix of whole hazelnuts and chopped, just to play around with the texture.

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Creme Egg Double Chocolate Muffins

Muffins | March 14, 2016 | By

A yummy Easter treat: Creme Egg Double Chocolate Muffins.

Creme Egg Double Chocolate Muffins

Last week Neil and I went to Scotland for a couple of days to visit my Sister and Brother-in-law. It was the first time in years that we got to go over, so we were very excited to see their new house and celebrate my Brother-in-law’s special birthday. Walking around Glasgow, the streets appeared familiar yet different; new shops had opened and some places we liked are sadly now closed. This story is a bit like the Cadbury’s Creme Egg; the recipe has changed, but somehow it’s still the same old familiar egg we recognise from past Easters as kids. Back then, I had a super sweet tooth like most kids, and had quite the collection of Disney stickers stuck on my school books from trips to the Dentist!

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Chocolate Hazelnut Spread From Hungry Healthy Happy By Dannii Martin

A healthier version of Nutella: Chocolate Hazelnut Spread

Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
There are certain words and terms that are quite simply irksome to my ears: “on a diet”; “detoxing”; and “clean eating” are at the top when it comes to eating behaviours. My philosophy has always been to eat in moderation without cutting out the food you love, to keep active and essentially you should be just fine.

ChocolateSpreadHHH

It’s astounding the amount of recipe books that are thrust in our faces using these types of trendy marketing terms.“Souping” is the latest to target those trying to change their lifestyles. Just like these trends yo-yo in and out of fashion, you’ll find your weight also yo-yo’s as you try to find the right balance. Following a 7 day juicing course is one thing, but how do you maintain the weight loss once you start to eat normally again?

I don’t like these diet trends and never have; they aren’t healthy and they will leave you out of pocket and miserable. Denying yourself the food you love only sets you up for failure, as you will inevitably cave in and binge more than before you started. That is why I’m excited to share my thoughts on a refreshing recipe book called Hungry Healthy Happy: How to nourish your body without giving up the food you love.

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Hello Autumn! Time for Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

Drinks | September 2, 2015 | By

I know I know, we’re only just in September and it’s not quite Winter yet but now is the perfect time to make a batch of homemade hot chocolate mix for the colder months ahead.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix
 

I love Autumn so much, it’s cold but not depressingly so. I love walking through the parks in a warm buttoned up coat and seeing the leaves change colours. I love coming in from the cold and having a hot drink ready. The heat of the cup warming up your hands and in my case, steaming up my glasses too! Then of course there’s the joy of watching out for squirrels dashing about the garden looking for food. (When is the last time you saw a red one)?

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Chocolate And Almond Butter Overnight Oats

 
If it’s not chocolate, it’s not breakfast

– Laini Taylor

Chocolate And Almond Butter Overnight Oats
 

Why did I choose the only Fleetwood Mac song I like as my alarm tone? Albatross begins to play, snooze button gets hit. Albatross starts again, snooze button gets bashed and a grunt from the other side of the bed can be heard. Albatross again…phone gets thrown onto the floor (another battle scar).

You’ve probably guessed by now that we aren’t morning people, and if you aren’t either, then you know what it’s like. Get up, get washed, and dash out the door without time for much else.

And that’s one of the many reasons why I love overnight oats. Prepared the night before and left to soak up all the flavours in your liquid of choice; come the morning you can just grab your breakfast from the fridge and enjoy with minimal fuss.

Chocolate And Almond Butter Overnight Oats

As I’d been using pretty much the same base but changing the toppings, I thought I would spruce things up a touch to make mornings that little bit nicer. The first ingredient that came into my head was chocolate. Do I need to explain? IT’S CHOCOLATE!! Paired with the second love of my life (almond butter) and this Chocolate And Almond Butter Overnight Oats recipe came forth into the world!

Enjoy it cold or heat it in the microwave (if you can spare a couple of minutes). Add any toppings you like. For this I used sliced banana, desiccated coconut, pumpkin seeds and goji berries.

As this is full of cocoa goodness, I’m entering this recipe into We Should Cocoa, a monthly linky created by Choclette of Tin and Thyme. This months theme is ‘anything goes’. Do check it out for more chocolate goodies.  

Chocolate And Almond Butter Overnight Oats
Serves 1
Filling breakfast for those always on the go. 
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Ingredients
  1. 40g plain oats
  2. 1 tbsp chia seeds
  3. 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  4. 200ml unsweetened almond milk
  5. 1-2 tbsp golden syrup (or honey)
  6. 1 tbsp smooth almond butter
  7. a smidgen of ground ginger
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients into a bowl or mason jar, give it a good mix and leave overnight
  2. Serve in the morning warm or cold and add your toppings of choice.
From Plate to Pen http://www.fromplatetopen.com/
 

Other reasons why I love overnight oats:

1. It’s never boring, change up your toppings and you have a different breakfast.
2. It’s healthy. Well, it can be depending on what ingredients you use!
3. Keeps you full until lunch time.
4. Knowing you’ll wake up to something nice that’s ready!

Looking for more overnight oats recipes? Check out fellow food blogger Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen Banana Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

Chocolate And Orange Cupcakes With Fennel Seeds

Cupcakes | July 29, 2015 | By

Fennel, which is the spice for Wednesdays…smelling of changes to come  

– Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

 
Chocolate And Orange Cupcakes With Fennel Seeds 
Did you ever eat Blackjacks ’til your tongue turned black when you were a kid? Tearing open that familiar wrapper, you could always smell the aniseed/liquorice flavour before tasting it. And that flavour made it nearly impossible to have just one, right? Well these days I don’t eat too many sweets, but if I want that distinct aniseed taste, then fennel is what I’d reach for. Until recently, I’d quite forgotten about this vegetable until I read 10 Wonderful Ways With Fennel on the Reader’s Digest. The orange ice cream combo was what stood out to me, with it being Summer and that (apparently). Orange and fennel is a really nice combo, as is chocolate and orange (Terry’s chocolate springs to mind). So what about chocolate, orange and fennel?

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How to make Nice Cream + Chocolate Nice Cream Recipe

Breakfast | June 22, 2015 | By

Saturday morning was perfect for two reasons: 1) getting up after a well needed lie-in, pulling back the blinds and seeing that the sun was splitting the rocks! And 2) when I opened the freezer to move things around, I spotted hidden at the bottom, lonely and unloved…frozen bananas! Sunny day + frozen bananas means one thing in my house – na na nana nice-cream!

Making nice cream is incredibly easy and you don’t need an ice-cream maker, just a food processor. A blender will do the job as well, it just might take longer depending on how powerful your blender is.

All you need are frozen over-ripe bananas and a splash of whatever milk you prefer. That’s the blueprint for nice-cream. Anything you add after that, is up to you. That’s how easy it is. And you can have as much fun as you like experimenting with your own flavours. The recipe I’m sharing is one of my favourite ways to eat nice cream – half is plain and half is chocolate, topped with coconut and fresh strawberries.

chocolate nice cream, nana ice-cream, vegan ice cream

The Blueprint for Nice Cream
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Ingredients
  1. 2 large over-ripe frozen bananas, chopped.
  2. A good generous splash of milk of your choice.
  3. 1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  4. 1 tbsp nut butter (optional)
Instructions
  1. Put the frozen bananas into a food processor, add a splash of milk of your choice and blend until there are no lumps left in the bananas. Add more milk if needs be. Remember to scrape down any mixture that gets stuck on the sides. You can add vanilla extract for some extra flavouring and nut butter will make it that little bit more creamy.
  2. Serve immediately.
Notes
  1. This serves 1 person, double recipe for each additional person.
From Plate to Pen http://www.fromplatetopen.com/

 

 
vegan ice-cream
 
 
 
 
Half and Half - Plain Nice cream and Chocolate Nice Cream
Yields 1
Creamy delicious nice cream served half and half - 1 side plain, 1 side chocolate and topped with desiccated coconut and fresh strawberries.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 large over-ripe frozen bananas, chopped
  2. a splash of unsweetened almond milk
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 1-2 tbsp cacao powder
  5. 1 tsp honey (optional)
Instructions
  1. Put 1 chopped frozen banana into food processor with a splash of milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Blend until creamy. Remove and place on one half of your bowl.
  2. Add the 2nd frozen banana into the food processor with a splash of milk, 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1-2 tbsp of cacao powder. Blend until creamy and add to the other half of your bowl. If it isn't sweet enough for your taste, add 1 tsp honey (or agave/maple syrup) and blend.
  3. Serve with toppings of choice (I used coconut and fresh strawberries).
Notes
  1. Yield: 1 bowl
From Plate to Pen http://www.fromplatetopen.com/

P.S. Check out my recipe for plain nice cream with homemade granola.

Have you tried nice cream before? Wha’s your favourite combos?

Really Easy Chocolate and Vanilla fudge

Tray Bakes | June 10, 2015 | By

If there’s ever a market in town that happens to have a stall selling fudge, then you can bet you’ll find me there. To say I’m a big fan of fudge is an understatement! I love browsing all the different flavours and taking a big mixed bag of the stuff home with me. Among my favourites are: rum and raisin; rocky road; classic vanilla; and of course, chocolate!

 

Fudge is one of the recipes I remember learning in school, and maybe that’s where my love for it first developed. It’s really easy to make, as it requires few ingredients. It’s a good thing too, because I for one was not in the mood for abandoning my PJ’s and getting dressed to go out shopping! 
 
If you read Monday’s post about my tips on reducing food waste then you’ll be glad to know that these fudge goodies came about after I spotted the double cream in my fridge was near its use by date, and there wasn’t that much left of it either. I didn’t want to throw it out…so a chocolate fudge delight was born!
 
Mine aren’t exactly the smoothest sugar shots in town, but they taste really good – not dry, not hard, and certainly don’t have a grainy texture – just gorgeous chocolate and vanilla flavours coming through!
 

 

Chocolate and Vanilla fudge
Yields 28
Little bite sized pieces of chocolate and vanilla fudge.
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Ingredients
  1. 250g dark chocolate (70%)
  2. 1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened.
  3. 4 tbsp double cream
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. A pinch of salt
  6. 200g icing sugar
Instructions
  1. Line a loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. Break the chocolate up in pieces and put it in a heatproof bowl along with the butter, double cream, vanilla extract and salt. Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and keep stirring until the chocolate has completely melted and all the ingredients are well combined.
  3. Remove from the heat and slowly sift in the icing sugar, beating with a wooden spoon.
  4. Put the mixture into the loaf tin, smoothing it down and place in the fridge to chill until firm.
  5. Once chilled, remove from the loaf tin and using a knife slice the fudge into little squares.
Notes
  1. Yield: 28 pieces
From Plate to Pen http://www.fromplatetopen.com/
 
 
 
What’s your favourite fudge combination? 

 

Recipe (Improved): Just Beet it Brownies

Brownies | February 25, 2015 | By

I have seen a lot of brownie recipes pop up recently and it made me think about my healthier version I made with beetroot and how I wanted to revise it. I did like the original but I wanted them to be more decadent because that’s how brownies should be, right?

beetroot brownies

I added more chocolate, so they aren’t as healthy, but they’re brownies so who cares, right? They’re  more moist than my originals and you’ll still get that earthy beetroot taste coming through, which goes so well with the chocolate. 

These would make the perfect gift for your loved one at Valentine’s Day especially if they’re a fan of beetroot. 

(Improved) Just Beet It Brownies
Yields 12
Delicious brownies with beetroot.
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Total Time
35 min
Total Time
35 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 eggs
  2. 100g golden syrup
  3. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  4. 60g plain flour
  5. 30g raw cacao powder
  6. 1 tsp baking powder
  7. pinch of sea salt
  8. 200g unsalted butter
  9. 200g dark chocolate, chopped
  10. 300g cooked beetroot
  11. 50g walnuts, chopped
Instructions
  1. Whisk the eggs, golden syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl.
  2. Sieve the flour, cacao powder, baking powder and pinch of sea salt in a bowl and mix well together and then add it to the egg mixture.
  3. Melt the unsalted butter and chopped dark chocolate in a bowl by placing it into a saucepan of hot water, once ready add it to the egg mixture.
  4. Puree the cooked beetroot and fold into the mixture along with the chopped walnuts.
  5. Pour into a lined baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes at 180c.
  6. Let it cool and then cut into squares.
  7. Enjoy on its own or with ice-cream
Adapted from Devil Chocolate Brownies
From Plate to Pen http://www.fromplatetopen.com/
beetroot brownies

Moo Free Rice Chocolate Treats

Product Reviews | January 25, 2015 | By

 
 
With January being a typically gloomy and cold month, what better way to cheer yourself up than with a little chocolate treat? 
 
 
vegan chocolate

 
 
Crunchy Banana Chips, Organic Drops Vegan Chocolate
 

 

 
Moo Free rice milk chocolates are perfect for kids, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let your inner child enjoy these treats too. They are dairy free, gluten free and suitable for vegans. They have a good range of products including: a selection box; advent calendar; easter eggs; chocolate drops; and chocolate bars. The chocolate bars come in two sizes, standard (112g) and individual bite size (20g). The standard bars come in four different flavours: Original Organic Chocolate; Crunchy Banana Chips; Caramelised Hazelnut; lastly Organic Cranberry and Hazelnuts. The bite sized bars also come in four different flavours: Original Organic Chocolate; Orange; Mint; and ‘Bunnycomb’.
I love the eye-catching packaging with different animal characters printed on the front and the bright colours really make it stand out amongst all the other brands. You can see how kids would love these based on the packaging alone. But it’s not just the packaging that shines, Moo Free have won quite a few awards too including Best Vegan Chocolate, Best Vegan Easter Egg and Best Free From Children’s Award (voted by children). 

 

I picked up four from their range.
 

Original Organic Bar:

 

I tried this one first as I wanted to see what the rice milk chocolate was like with no extras. Good care has been taken when making this bar. The colour is the same throughout, the mould is clear with nice smooth edges. It has a distinct smell, intense like dark chocolate (though it doesn’t share the taste). This quickly melts in your mouth and tastes mild and sweet, so if you are a fan of dark chocolate this may not be to your liking, but anyone with a sweet tooth should enjoy it. Apart from tasting, my favourite part in a chocolate bar is the sound of the snap when you break a piece off, and this has a good sharp snap, which indicates high quality chocolate has been used. Admittedly,  there is a bit of a lingering aftertaste, which high quality chocolate shouldn’t possess. However, this is probably more due to the fact that essential oils/extracts have been used. After all, it is an alternative to dairy! This didn’t distract me too much from enjoying the chocolate and I would recommend it to anyone as a scrumptious alternative to dairy milk. 

 

 

The Bunnycomb Bar:

 

Think Cadbury’s Crunchie and this comes close. Made with vegan-friendly honeycomb toffee, this bar has a lovely crisp bite to it with plenty of Bunnycomb! Heaven.

 

 

The Crunchy Banana Chip Bar:

 
This is my favourite out of the ones I tried. I love chocolate with banana and they don’t skimp, big chunks of banana chips are placed throughout the bar. Again the chocolate melts in your mouth, leaving only the crunchy banana chips to chew on. The only problem is that you will want to eat it all in one go! Well, that’s how I felt anyway! 
 

Original Organic Drops:

 
The chocolate drops are tiny, perfect for kids and small enough to fit in a lunchbox. These are handy if you have a sweet craving and only want to nibble on something small. I left these on a plate in the house and they weren’t long being gobbled up. I could see these being used in place of chocolate chips for baking as well. 

 

 
If you have kids with certain intolerances i.e. lactose/gluten these chocolates are a great purchase so they don’t miss out on a chocolatey treat. Or if you are vegan yourself, let that inner child run free and grab a bar! You can get them in health food shops, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and on Amazon. 
Remember! Everyone deserves a chocolate treat now and again! 
 
Have you tried Moo Free before? 
 
PS: Check out their ‘About us’ page on their website. Each character has its own story – great for the kids.