Easy As Biscuits and doing what you can

snack time biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirl

I recently hosted a particularly nasty guest, called virus.

For weeks.

Yes, (too many) weeks.

It seems half the city is currently hosting under similar circumstances and I can tell you, it hasn’t been pretty.

Walking (dragging) our feet to school and it’s like a conga line of Village of the Doomed. Cough, cough, cough, sneeze, and cough from every street corner. It’s not just any cough either. It’s a lung squeezing, lift your feet off the ground kind of cough that leaves you gasping for air and clinging on to the closest adequately secured devise around, (telegraph poles excellent, small rickety fences- not so much.)

We walk, and bleary eyes meet. A slow blink of understanding, and brief head tilt towards each other. We are understood. The healthy ones file past. Determined in their stride, they look joyously towards a hopeful horizon, they have their health, and anything is a possibility. Not us though, eyes are dark, sunken and averted in an effort not to talk to anyone that isn’t absolutely necessary.

Now once all the fluid had partially drained from my head, ears, eyes, lungs. I was left with a small urge to bake. Not a big one mind. It certainly wasn’t going to be a three course dinner extravaganza, with a conveyor belt of baked goods throughout the day in a lead up to dinner.

No. All I set out to do was bake some biscuits. Lunch box stuffing, hollow legs, hunger nags and after dinner top ups kind a biscuits, (cookies if you are in the land of stars and stripes.) They worked out, filled up bellies and I’m now counting on two hands how many times they’ve been made since.

a little snack biscuits || cityhippyfarmgirl

Now during this time of compulsory hosting, it became terrifically clear that…

1/ I was really going to have to take some time out of the kitchen while getting better.

2/ Life would continue on. It seems I need these kind of health shake ups occasionally to remember these things. Those moments of not pushing yourself, instead just doing what I can and when I can.

Yep, pretty simple really.

Easy As Biscuits

200g melted butter

100g brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

50g sunflower seeds

200g rolled oats

handful of sultanas

handful of chocolate buttons

150g wholemeal spelt flour

1 beaten egg

Add all ingredients together, mix it up and roll into balls with slightly dampened hands, (stops it sticking.) Bake at 180C for 20-25 minutes.

Store in airtight container and eat with enthusiasm, (and try not to cough.)

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a boy and some biscuits

cityhippyfarmgirl cityhippyfarmgirl cityhippyfarmgirlcityhippyfarmgirl

Mostly the small boy doesn’t like a camera pointed at him.

Mostly he runs in the opposite direction to the apparatus that is making him stay still for a full 30 seconds. He might miss out on something. Something important.

Mostly.

Then some days he just pops up. Just like that. A wriggle under the table and tahdahhh! 

What are you doing mama?…and what’s THIS?

 Oh, and I want to be in your picture.

The longing. The hunger. The puppy dog eyes.

Disappearing only once a biscuit was firmly in hand.

Back to what ever mischief was interrupted before.

****************

These truly were just slapped together, but as four out of five of our family members really enjoyed them I thought I would put them up. As they are super healthy and easy.

No butter, no eggs, no processed sugar, no nuts.

Honey Chia Biscuits

2 cups of whole rolled oats

4 tablespoons of chia

4 tablespoons of sunflower seeds

4 tablespoons of water

5 dessert spoons of honey*

Add water and chia together, (a gel type mass should appear pretty quickly- this helps it bind it together.) Add the rest of the ingredients with an extra 2 or so tablespoons of water and mix well. Put aside for ten or so minutes, letting the water soak in. Squish them into balls and squash them done flat on to a tray.

180C for about 20 minutes and then I turned the oven off, leaving them in.

Eat with enthusiasm and regularity.

*(swap to maple syrup if you want to vegan it up.)

food foraging- mulberry breakfast trifle

The last few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to find a couple of laden mulberry trees on my daily travels. The first thing to notice is lots of dark almost blue coloured stains squishing under your shoes, then I look up and… oh hello bountiful tree with your weighty branches filled with red tinged berries. What’s that? You want me to pick me you and store you in my handy empty container I just happen to have with me? Don’t mind if I do.

Most mulberry trees around these parts are usually on some one elses property and not within arms reach. Not my arms anyway. However lately I have had easy access to a couple of trees weighted down by all their fruit. Only once I have seen someone else picking the fruit, everyone else seems to walk on by not knowing what it is, or not in the slightest bit interested.

Picking mulberries is a bit of a labour of love. The juice stains your fingers and each berry has to be picked individually. Once home, you still have to pick off the little green stems before cooking with, (and I always seem to be in a white top when ever I happen to come across them). It can take a while to get a decent amount, but it’s definitely worth it.

I’m not particularly good at identifying wild food foraging options in my local area. Mulberries are easy. Loquats quite often pop up, and the tiniest mini mandarins are also near by. (Which were the tartiest fruit I have ever tasted- very funny while watching The Monkeys taste test them… evil mama, I know.)

Apart from that, my knowledge for urban foraging could use a little upgrade. In the mean time though, at least I have breakfast sorted.

Is anyone else enjoying some local free foraged food?

Mulberry Breakfast Trifle

whole oats

apple juice

natural yogurt

whole almonds

mulberries

***

Soak whole oats in some hot apple juice.

Blitz whole almonds (skins too) until you get a consistency you like (I like it chunky) or use almond meal. Mix in with the soaked oats.

Cook up mulberries in a little apple juice, then cool.

Then alternate with the layers of oats, mulberries and yogurt.

* If you like it sweeter, you can add flavoured yogurt, or a little jam to the mulberries (or sugar). No mulberries? Use any other kind of berry.

Apple and Oat Bread

I quite like the process of trying to work out what to put in a new bread every few weeks.

There are the regulars of course, like a well worn pair of slippers that I know how to just slip on. Making it is straight forward, I can easily do it with out that much thought behind it, and I know for the most part how it’s going to taste (sourdough does like to keep me on my toes a little though.) When I’m fiddling with different flavours though, I like the balancing act, the unknown factor…

It’s a bit like ordering from a menu in a foreign language. You think you get the idea of what it will taste like, and what it is that you might be ordering but there is always that element of surprise just waiting to be brought to the table.

Now in the past, I had played with using fresh apples a few times. I had cooked them beforehand, thinly sliced them, made them into chunks, grated them, but I think I’ve decided I like finely diced the most. You still get the apple-y taste, without it getting soggy and overly all apple. Grating the apple, while I like the moistness it gives to the loaf, I do find by doing this it loses the flavour a bit. So diced it was for this one, add some soaked oats, a little spice and we are away…

 Apple and Oat Bread

200g starter

100g finely diced apple

425g bakers flour

100g whole oats

50mls hot water

200mls water

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp coriander

1 tsp salt

Soak oats in the hot water until they plump up. Add all ingredients except salt. Mix well, let if it rest for about 40 minutes, add the salt mix again.

Proof for awhile, quick knead, proof, shape, proof. Bake at 240C with steam.

This post submitted to yeastspotting.

Bircher Muesli or freezer surprises

Apple something or other that was for sure. Puree, pectin, juice?…

I don’t know what it was, as I wasn’t clever enough to leave label on it in the freezer. All I know it was apple-y, it was sweet and it was mighty fine.

The Monkeys had me grinding spoonfuls of it off the frozen sides of the tub into their sweet insistent mouths.

“More! More!” They demanded like noisy, needy little baby magpies.

Alright, alright… It’s ok, Mama doesn’t really want any of this sweet frozen apple-y goodness that she found way back in the freezer…not much anyway.

Bircher Muesli is one of those tasty meals in a bowl that you know is good for you and you can cater to your own taste buds. There are so many ingredients that you substitute one for another  and still get a great tasty bowl full. Dry ingredients start with oats, then you can add…slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame, hazelnuts etc. Adding to that your wet ingredients, a grated apple, apple juice, milk, mashed banana, whatever tantilizes your taste buds. Leave it over night and then in the morning top it off with a dollop of yogurt, and some fresh or poached fruit. Imagination is your friend here.

It’s filling, low GI, and tastes like you should get a second bowl full.

Bircher Muesli

1 1/4 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup almond meal

1/4 cup linseed meal

1/4 cup pecan pieces

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup apple puree

Popped it all in together and then in to the fridge overnight for the dry ingredients to absorb the wet. Added a dollop of homemade yoghurt and a hand full of blueberries on top.