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A sunny Sunday in the garden



Our lives are busy, too busy at times if I'm honest. I work 4 days and Tom works 5 days plus all the extra bits that come with being a teacher - evenings spent lesson planning, parent's evenings, weekends marking coursework. Add all of that on top of life with a 1 year old, fitting in time to blog, creating recipes, making and editing videos for my YouTube channel, endless DIY while we try to convert our house in to a home and making time for each other as a family and a couple.... it often feels like there are not enough hours in the day.

Last Sunday was the Bank Holiday weekend and we were fortunate to wake up to the sun shining. Over the past 6 weeks Tom has worked hard to clear all of the rubbish from the garden (thanks to the previous owners), he's ripped down the old shed, built a new one and sorted out the bedraggled lawn.

The gardens in our past two rented houses haven't been great so to finally have a decent outdoor space is amazing. Ethan now has somewhere to play, we have somewhere to enjoy as a family and I can actually hang washing out!




With the sun shining we decided to get out in to the garden and make the most of the nice weather while it lasted. We lit a disposable barbecue, cooked a few burgers and sausages (that we then had to transfer to a camping stove as the barbecue was useless) and enjoyed time together as a family.

As it was Half Term the following week we were able to make the most of the weather without the lingering need to plan lessons for the week ahead. Tom could truly relax while I sat back and watched my boys together.

Our garden isn't large but it's the perfect size for us. We treated ourselves to a new dining set as we can't afford a summer holiday this year with the hope that we can enjoy plenty of time in our little outdoor space.

It was a simple Sunday but one that I'll remember for a long time. We put up Ethan's tent and tunnel, brought his slide out of the shed and laid a blanket on the grass. I lost count of how many times he had us pushing his toy aeroplane down the slide whilst he burst into laughter every time it hit the grass.

He played among the new gravel stones passing them back and forth to us while I watched him like a hawk, paranoid that he would try and eat them. When it was nap time we popped him in the pram and took a walk to the petrol station to pick up a few beers as we live in a tiny village and the only other shop is closed on a Sunday. While Ethan snoozed Tom got busy with the barbecue and I relished 10 minutes peace in the sunshine.






It was a quiet yet lovely day. We both relaxed and enjoyed our time together as a family. The household jobs were forgotten in favour of time spent outside and I'm so glad we did. Tom even said it was the best Sunday he's had in ages.

It felt like the first glimpse of summer and I'm really hoping we have lots more of these days to come. Lazy days in the garden - is there anything better?



Meal Planning Monday

Just a quick check in with this week's meal plan!

Did you all have a good week? I did plan to type this up last night but then I watched the One Love Manchester concert instead. I still can't believe the events of the past fortnight - two terror attacks in the space of two weeks is the stuff of nightmares but unfortunately it's a reality.

I just can't get my head around the whole thing and I know statistically we have a higher chance of being in a car accident but it doesn't stop me feeling nervous about the future. I want to travel, to see the world but what if something happens again? It doesn't bear thinking about.

When the news hit on Saturday night I immediately thought of my brother. He's at university in London and lives about 10 minutes away from where the attack happened. Thankfully he's fine but unfortunately there was once again a list of fatalities. 

It's horrible, it's wrong and it's so unfair but all we can do is show them that they can't win. Life will carry on, they will not break us. Those that lost their lives will not die in vain. Even though I want to hide away from all of this heartbreak we need to keep living and moving forward.

So meal plan! This week we will be having:

Monday - Cottage Pie
Tuesday - Lamb and Spinach Curry
Wednesday - Spaghetti Bolognese
Thursday - Freezer Dive as we will be going to vote after work
Friday - King Prawn Linguine

I haven't yet planned the weekend, maybe another Barbecue if it's nice.

Hope you all have a great week whatever you are up to.


The Me and Mine Project - May 2017

Goodness me but where has May gone? I'm like a broken record these past few months but this year is flying by. I can't believe I've been back at work for 5 months, it's gone by in a blink.

May for us has been a lovely month involving more DIY getting the garden more Ethan friendly. Tom built a new shed over the Easter holidays but he's spent the past few weeks digging up weeds and disposing of rubbish left by the previous owners. Honestly, we can't believe the state they left the garden in but that's a rant for another day.

This month has also been an expensive one on the house front as our boiler packed in. It was almost 30 years old so we knew it was on borrowed time but we were hoping that it would last another couple of years when we could afford to put a new kitchen in and move the position of it. £1700 later and we finally have hot water. The only blessing is that it happened in summer, I wouldn't have fancied 2 weeks with no hot water or heating in the middle of winter!

Bye bye any chance of a summer holiday though, maybe next year eh?

In other happier news Ethan is now fully walking. He takes the odd tumble landing flat on his bottom but for the most part he barely crawls and has even started running. I remember thinking he was quick at crawling but oh my, he's even faster now that he can walk. It's so exciting to see him reach his milestones but bittersweet too; he's not my little baby any more - he's turning in to a fully fledged toddler.

This month....

Tom is loving: 
Having a garden to sit in
His new barbecue
All the coursework has been submitted for his exam classes

Clare is loving:
Baking - I managed 3 separate bakes this month woop!
Feeling the warmth of the sun on my face
The new series of Britain's Got Talent

Ethan is loving:
Walking, walking, walking
Giving cuddles and saying "ahhhh..."
Exploring the garden

This month's photos were snapped on a sunny Sunday in the garden. We both look knackered (thanks to a little boy who thinks sleep is for wimps) and my roots really need touching up but they are honest and true and a real reflection of us. Some months we both look so rough in these photos but they are the ones I cherish the most. I know in years to come I'll look back on these with fond memories, the sleepless nights will be a distant memory and I'll be longing for the baby days again.

 



Make sure to check out Lucy's blog over at Dear Beautiful where you can see all of the other wonderful families taking part in the Me and Mine posts.

John Lewis Meets The Clandestine Cake Club

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend a very special Clandestine Cake Club event at John Lewis in Leeds. Located in their Place to Eat cafe, this was very different to any CCC's that I had been to in the past.

The theme was "Never Knowingly Underbaked" and as the event was due to take place at 5pm on a Monday I decided to treat myself to an afternoon off work as I knew there was no chance I would get from Bradford to Leeds in time. Thankfully Tom didn't have any after work commitments so he could do the nursery run and bedtime. With the date in the diary I asked my bestie Rhianne, if she wanted to come along too.

I haven't spent an evening with Rhianne where I wasn't "mum" in so long, before I had Ethan in fact. As he was breastfed it was more hassle than it was worth to try and be away during bedtime so to have an afternoon off work where I got to browse around the shops and catch up with my bestie was a real treat.

The reason why this event was so special was due to the hard work of our CCC founder Lynn and one of the Leeds members, Duanne (who works for John Lewis). Between them and thanks to John Lewis they had organised fantastic goody bags for all of us bursting with treats from Nordicware, Mac and Lancome to name a few. The lovely staff from Clarins were also there offering free mini treatments - Rhianne had a hand massage while I opted for the shoulder massage and oh my, that was much needed. The beauty therapist actually commented that my back was full of knots, I guess having a one year old will do that to you!

I had such a lovely evening catching up with old and new friends (and my bestie of course) but the best bit of all was marveling at all of the delicious cakes that every member had produced. I think I managed a slice of all of them, they were divine! People often ask me are we judged at events but I remind them time and time again that CCC is not a competition, it's quite simply, a group of home bakers sharing their love of cake. 

I'll let the photos do the talking as let's face it, pictures of cakes are more appealing than my rambles! I've also vlogged the event too - I do hope you like it. Thanks to Lynn and Duanne for organising this and an extra special thanks to John Lewis for such a wonderful event.












A Super Indulgent Chocolate Cake


Gosh it's hot today but I will not complain as it will be grey and miserable again before we know it.

The sunshine really is good for the soul and following on from this week's horrific events, it's nice to see clear blue skies and smiles on faces as everyone makes the most of this warm spell.

I had planned on sharing this recipe with you earlier in the week but with everything that went on I didn't feel like it was appropriate to bang on about chocolate cake.

I still can't believe what has happened but it is so heartwarming to see how the public are pulling together to help the victims and their families. One victim was from Otley and it's been amazing to see the outpouring of love and support on our local Facebook group with people wanting to help in whatever way they can.

I made this chocolate cake for a very special Clandestine Cake Club event that I went to at John Lewis in Leeds last week (I shall publish a separate post on that event soon). The theme was Never Knowingly Underbaked and if I'm honest I was totally stumped on what to make. I knew I wanted to make something chocolatey and a different type of cake from my usual recipe but I was clueless on what to actually bake.

When I'm lacking in inspiration I often have a flick through Mary Berry's Baking Bible. I've loads of cookery books but for some reason it's always the one that I like to go back to as I know the recipes work. I've yet to make something by Bezza that hasn't turned out well.

Thankfully the Baking Bible has a whole chapter dedicated to chocolate cake (a woman after my own heart) and the recipe for Death By Chocolate Cake looked perfect. There was no need to take some butter out of the fridge to soften and I was able to get it whipped up, in to the oven and baked during Ethan's morning nap. I opted for a ganache instead of the chocolate frosting that Mary suggests purely because I adore ganache and when time is off the essence it's so quick and easy to pull together.

To decorate I dipped some strawberries in melted chocolate and scattered crushed white chocolate minstrels around the edge (they aren't actually white chocolate minstrels, just Aldi's version). You can really tell I was winging it with this cake!


A Super Indulgent Chocolate Cake
275g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1.5 tsp baking powder
215g caster sugar
3 tbsp golden syrup
3 large eggs, beaten
225ml sunflower oil
225ml milk

Ganache
300ml double cream
300g dark chocolate

To Decorate
Handful of Strawberries
50g melted white and dark chocolate
Handful of crushed white chocolate minstrels

Preheat the oven to 160C (fan)
Grease and line two 20cm cake tins
Stir the dry ingredients together
Make a well in the middle and whisk in the wet ingredients
Once combined pour into the tins and place in the oven
Bake for 30-35 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean
Tip on a wire rack to cool

To make the Ganache heat the milk until warm but not boiling
Stir in the chocolate until melted and smooth
Place in the fridge to firm up for a couple of hours

Dip the strawberries in the melted dark chocolate, drizzle over the white chocolate and set aside to cool
Spread any remaining melted chocolate over some greaseproof paper and pop in the fridge to chill
Once firm break into "shards"
Crush the minstrels with the back of a knife

To Decorate
Once the cakes are cool, level off the tops and sandwich together with some ganache
Coat the rest of the cake in the remaining ganache
Using a ribbed scraper, pull around the edge of the cake to give a ribbed effect
Scatter over the strawberries and crush chocolate
Gently push the shards in to the cake

Enjoy!



Love not War

I was going to share a delicious chocolate cake recipe with you today but I can't switch my brain off from the recent terror attack in Manchester. I just can't fathom how someone can intentionally target an event full of children and young people. They had their whole lives in front of them yet due to the actions of those monsters  they will never see the sun rise again, never feel loving arms around them and never experience life to it's fullest.

I grew up in Belfast during the Troubles and I saw first hand what terrorism can do. Yes, I understand that people are fighting for what they believe in but to do it in such a callous way that targets the innocent, well that is inexcusable. 

How dare they decide that they will plant a bomb that will ruin lives and break the heart of the nation. 

I sat at work yesterday and struggled to focus. Manchester is an hour away from Leeds - we have been there for concerts, for days out and to fly to far flung destinations. It's a running joke amongst Yorkshire people that those in Lancashire are from the wrong side of the Pennines but in reality it couldn't be further from the truth. Two cosmopolitan cities standing side by side with a glorious mountain range running in between. It's the north of England, slightly colder than the rest of the country but a place that you will be welcomed warmly with a hot brew.

As I scrolled through social media there were heartbroken pleas from families searching for their loved ones. One picture in particular caught my eye and it was that of Saffie Russos A few hours later it was announced that she was one of the victims. I was sat at my desk in work and it took all of my strength not to break down there and then.

She's 8 years old! She's a child who probably begged her parents for concert tickets. A little girl who was excited for a big trip in to the city to see her favourite singer but due to the act of a complete psychopath, her life was taken away from her on that fateful night.

There have been so many terror attacks over the past couple of years - London, Nice, Paris, Berlin and they are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. So many innocent lives lost or left with lasting mental and physical scars due to these extremists and their twisted views on reality.

I spent most of yesterday longing for it to be 4:30pm so I could finish work, pick Ethan up from nursery and cuddle him close. I want to protect him from the evil in this world but I can't. Instead all I can do is teach him love not war just like my parents did for my brothers and I growing up. We were distinctly aware that there were people who automatically disliked someone because of their faith but my parents always taught us to like people for who they are not what they are.

Last night Ethan woke at 9:30 unsettled and crying. I scooped him up, cuddled him close and lay in bed with him for an hour drinking in his features and thinking about all of those families in Manchester who will never get to see their loved ones again.  

How can the world be so cruel? I know people always say that good will win over evil and it was heartwarming to see the people of Manchester rally together but it shouldn't have to be like this. No one should have to experience a terror attack whether they be a victim, a distraught mother looking for her child or the emergency services frantically trying to save as many lives as possible.

We can't let them win, we have to stop future attacks and if that means troops on streets then so be it. I would much rather see armed police and soldiers on patrol that have to see more heartbreak splashed across our media.

I saw this quote yesterday and it moved me. They may try to bring us down, but we will always help each other get back up again.



To those who lost a loved one in the Manchester attack or have been left seriously injured, I am truly sorry. May you find the strength to get through this.


Meal Planning Monday

Another Monday and another meal plan - have you had a good weekend?

Ours was fairly chilled out, nothing exciting to report I'm afraid. We have found out though that we need a new boiler which is just a tad expensive (£1700, ahem!) so money is now very tight. Bye bye any chance of a summer holiday but at least we will have hot water and heating when winter hits.

This is definitely one of the negatives of owning your own home but oh my, the positives are there in abundance.

We were out in the garden for a bit yesterday enjoying the sunshine and while Tom did a bit of gardening I needed eyes in the back of my head to stop Ethan going exploring behind the shed and trying to eat every little stone he could find.

I'm also having to embrace mud and dirt, I guess it comes with the territory when you have a little boy. He fell a few times and as the grass was damp from the previous day's rain it wasn't long before he had muddy knees and hands. He did have the best of fun which I guess makes it worthwhile but I on the other hand had him stripped off and wiped down before he got anywhere near the new sofa.

Gosh, once again I'm on one of my rambles instead of sharing this week's meal plan! Last week was National Vegetarian Week and every evening meal was veggie buy oh my, by the time it came to Sunday we wanted steak. Honestly I could never be vegetarian, I totally respect people's choices on it but I love meat too much to give it up - we are such carnivores in our house!

This week I dusted down the cookery books and picked a few recipes from Jamie's 15 Minute Meals and Mary Berry Cooks the Perfect... which I'm looking forward to trying out.

This week we are having:

Saturday - Pie and Mash
Sunday - Cajun Steak with Smoked Beans
Monday - Spaghetti Carabonara
Tuesday - Lemon Chicken Risotto
Wednesday - Spanish Paprika Chicken
Thursday - Golden Chicken with Greens and Gratin
Friday - King Prawn Linguine

I'm also really enjoying vlogging our food shop - make sure you check it out and if you haven't already please can you subscribe to my channel? Pretty please xxx







Safety in the Kitchen

I used to be a total disaster in the kitchen. I mean, seriously, I could barely boil an egg until I went away to university and then I was thrust in at the deep end with learning how to cook. After a term of living off ready meals I was determined to learn how to cook once I came back to uni after the Christmas holidays.

I remember phoning mum and asking her how to cook mushrooms then another time cooking sirloin steak in a casserole which resulted in the steak disintegrating in to nothing - note to self, use a tougher cut of beef in future.

A lot of it was trial and error but as Tom often reminded me, we only learn from our mistakes, not from what we get right - he had his teacher hat on with that comment!

One kitchen error I did learn from very quickly was the importance of using a timer and keeping an eye on what you are cooking. 

For my 13th birthday my parents agreed that I could have a sleepover with some friends. I was so excited as at that age sleepovers were the highlight of a weekend. We had a great time staying up and obsessing over our love of boybands (Westlife for the win!). The following morning the good host that I am offered to make everyone breakfast. I popped some bread in the toaster and in the excitement of having my friends over I went to join them in the lounge closing the kitchen door behind me. It must have only been 10 minutes that had passed when one of my friends asked where the toast was. I realised I had totally forgotten about it and went straight to the kitchen. I opened the door to be greeted to a room full of smoke. Thankfully there was no fire and after opening the windows and doors the room soon cleared but it did make me realise how easily things can go wrong.

The popping bit on the toaster didn't work so the bread carried on toasting and thus started smoking. We were so lucky that I went in to the kitchen when I did otherwise the outcome may have been quite different. It was an event though that has stuck with me and made me more careful in when cooking especially now that I have my own house and have a young child that I will need to teach kitchen safety to in the future.

It's so easy to forget about something cooking if you are distracted by and it's even worse if the electrical item you are using is at fault. Back then I didn't know that the toaster would play up but I now try to be quite observant around the home and tell Tom as soon as something isn't right.

Shortly after we moved in to our new house I was in the kitchen one day and heard a clicking noise. I mentioned it to Tom and he shut the power off and did some investigating. He discovered the previous owners (who were useless at DIY but that's a story for another day) had incorrectly fitted a plug socket and water had got in to it over the years causing it to crumble inside. It really was an accident waiting to happen. Thankfully we got it sorted but it just goes to show that something can go wrong very easily.

The UK Charity, Electrical Safety First have shared this video and their top fire safety tips showing the importance of fire safety in the home. Make sure you test your smoke alarms and if you are in doubt about the reliability of your appliances then get them checked out.



***This is a collaborative post, all words are my own***

Cookie Dough Brownies


Regular readers of this blog will know that I love brownies - that combination of chocolate, sugar, butter, flour and eggs creates something magical that can only be described as rib stickingly good.

A few weeks ago, I came across this recipe by Brown EyedBaker for Cookie Dough Brownies and I just knew I had to make them. Two of my favourite things in a bake - this was a match made in heaven!

I decided to stick with my brownie recipe as I know it works but I used Brown Eyed Baker's recipe for the cookie dough and oh my, this is heaven on a plate. Tom reckoned they were too sweet and rich for him so he could only manage half a slice at a time but I like to think of myself as a seasoned brownie eater therefore I may have eaten 1 or 2 that weekend (totally didn't eat a few a day haha).

The cookie dough does take these brownies to the next level and it's already got me thinking about the possibility of using different flavours of cookie dough alongside the consistent chocolate base of the brownie. I'm thinking a white chocolate version would be great for the summer 

Cookie Dough Brownies
250g dark chocolate
100g milk chocolate
200g unsalted butter
250g soft dark brown sugar
3 eggs
50g plain flour

Preheat the oven to 170C (fan)

Grease and line a 20cm square cake tin

Melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water

In a separate bowl whisk the eggs and sugar until doubled in volume

Once the butter and chocolate have melted, whisk in the egg/sugar mixture

Whisk in the flour

Pour into the tin and bake for 30 minutes

Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin

Cookie Dough
225g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g light brown sugar
100g granulated sugar
60 ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
210g plain flour
200g chocolate chips

Whisk the butter and both sugars together on a high speed until pale and fluffy

Add the cream, vanilla and salt and mix until combined

Whisk in the flour and chocolate chips

Spread the cookie dough over the cooled brownies and chill in the fridge for 1 hour

Cut up into small squares and enjoy!





Meal Planning Monday

I feel like it's been an age since I wrote a Meal Planning Monday post or even a blog post (two weeks in fact!) but lately time hasn't been on our side. We had a few rough nights of Ethan not wanting to settle so bedtime took forever and by the time he did eventually succumb to sleep I was dashing around like a madwoman trying to get jobs done around the house before I went to bed. Matters also weren't helped by the fact that this time of year is really really chaotic for Mr T. It's coursework deadlines for his GCSE and A-Level students so the past few weekends I have ended up solo parenting while he was locked away upstairs marking endless pieces of coursework.

Thankfully it's all done now and the marks have been submitted so I'm hoping the pressure will ease a little bit for him and we can start to enjoy some family time again during the weekend.

So... meal plan! This week is National Vegetarian Week so two of my dear friends have challenged me, the carnivore, to create a meal plan that is veggie friendly. Now, I really struggled with this as meat is very central to our diet and the only meat-free meals we tend to eat are our breakfasts during the week. I'm not a great lover of veg, I'll eat it as it's good for me but given the choice I would much prefer some fillet steak over a bowl of leafy greens.

I know that as a family we do eat far too much meat but it's difficult to cut back on it when it tastes so good! I also found it hard to come up with vegetarian meals that would be filling unless I upped the carbs or fat content. As much as I'm not looking forward to our dinners this week I am intrigued to see how we fare and if we actually miss it.

This week we will be eating:
Monday - I have cake club so it's a freezer dive for Tom
Tuesday - Paneer Curry
Wednesday - Curried Rice with Poached Eggs
Thursday - Baked Ravioli
Friday - Vegetable Tarts with sweet potato fries and veg

I haven't planned our weekend yet - will we stick with vegetarian meals or will we cave and faceplant the nearest steak? Whichever way, it will be interesting to see if our attitudes to vegetarianism change after this week.

Have a good one!

Ps. You can check out our grocery haul for the week ahead here:


Meal Planning Monday

Just a quick post here before Monday is well and truly over.

I hope you all had a lovely bank holiday. Ours was fairly quiet due to Tom being snowed under with marking (it's that time of year) and poor Ethan has come down with a rotten cold. 

I am planning on doing a separate weekend post later this week but for now here is what we will be having this week. 

Monday - Oven baked risotto
Tuesday - Lamb ragu (I'm using up frozen lamb in the freezer)
Wednesday - It's Tom's birthday and as I've a meeting down in Sheffield and won't be back til after 7pm we are having the posh Asda Two Can Dine meal
Thursday - Lamb Casserole
Friday - Tuna Pasta Bake

I've also filmed a grocery haul for my YouTube channel. Please do let me know what you think of it and if you would like to see more of this sort of thing in the future.

Have a great week!


The Me and Mine Project - April 2017


I know I say it every month but where has the time gone? Not only has April gone in a blink but so has the first half of this year. I truly cannot believe we are about to enter May with summer within touching distance.

I'll be honest though, I'm totally muddled with the days and I only realised it was the end of the month when I logged in to Bloglovin' earlier and saw all of the other Me and Mine project posts - oops!

Thankfully though I was organised with this month's photos and made sure to get a few family photos taken when we were back in Belfast at the start of the month and my friend also snapped a lovely photo of us at the farm when we caught up with them over the Easter holidays.

April has been a special month for us as it's the month that Ethan took his first steps and we bought his first pair of shoes. He's still wobbly on it but every day he gets better and better. This weekend has seen him barely crawling and trying to walk and climb everywhere! Honestly I though it was bad when he started rolling but each new stage means I need to grow another set of eyes as he gets himself in to all sorts of scrapes.

Anyway, I digress... our monthly photos! I'm hastily typing this post at 9:45pm on Sunday evening as if I don't do it now it will be midweek before I get round to it. I've tried typing posts when Ethan is around but as soon as he see's the laptop he's straight over bashing it so it's better leaving it until he's in bed.

April, you've been a great month. We have had first steps and first shoes, a trip to Belfast, a trip to the farm, lazy weekends at home, a jaunt to IKEA, a quiet Easter, cheeky Costa dates, out for two currys, plenty of playdates and I've even managed a shopping trip alone! May will see Tom's birthday, a special cake club event, half term and hopefully lots of adventures whether they be quiet days at home or off out exploring.




Have Your Cake and Eat It?


Usually I'm not a fan of the whole healthy baking trend. Low fat or low sugar, they just never taste right and to me they take away the enjoyment of tucking into that delicious and ever so naughty baked goodie. 

Last month I was sent a copy of Mich Turner's new book, Have Your Cake and Eat It and to be honest I was pretty sceptical on the whole concept of the book. Curiosity though got the better of me and I decided to try out a recipe to see if for once I could have a bit more success with healthy baking.  

The book makes for quite an interesting read as not only is it divided up into your typical chapters of Muffins/Biscuits/Cakes etc but it has a whole chapter devoted to ingredients explaining the myths behind good and bad fats, different types of sugar and even what goes in to the chocolate that we eat. Did you know the lower the cocoa content the greater the sugar and added fat will be a lessened nutritional benefit, i.e. dark chocolate is best and white chocolate (which I adore) is the worst type of chocolate you can eat.

When I was flicking through the book there were loads of delicious recipes but one downside I found was that many of them contained nuts. Now I absolutely hate nuts, the smell alone makes me want to heave and peanuts in particular are the spawn of the devil - ick!!

One recipe though that did catch my eye was this chocolate coconut shortbread (is a coconut an actual nut though?) so I decided to give it a go.

I'll be honest here, when I saw the recipe had wholemeal flour in it I wasn't holding out hope for it to be a success and when I first took it out of the oven I was convinced it was for the bin but in actual fact it tasted great. You couldn't tell it had wholemeal flour in it at all and I found myself going back for a second slice. I got Tom and my bestie to try them and they both really liked them. Tom enjoyed them so much he took the rest of them in to work the following day for a departmental meeting.

Chocolate Coconut Shortbread
300g unsalted butter
40g cocoa
300g wholemeal flour
210g soft light brown sugar
3 tsp baking powder
150g desiccated coconut
175lm double cream
150g dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180C (fan)

Grease and line a 30 x 20cm cake tin

Melt the butter and stir in the cocoa

Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar, flour, baking powder and coconut. The mixture gets quite stiff at this point but keep stirring and it will eventually come together.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until it is coming away from the tin.

To make the ganache heat the cream until warm not hot and stir in the chocolate until melted. 

Once the shortbread is baked set it on a wire rack to cool then pour over the ganache and pop in the fridge to cool.

Once the ganache has set, cut up and enjoy!