Sunday, 15 May 2016

A Sprouting Jar for £2!

Since our old sprouter- the kind with trays that stack up- broke, we have been using jars with muslin on top secured with an elastic band. Not only does this look messy, but the damp fabric tends to drip everywhere and the elastic bands perish from time to time. After a look online, I decided that it wasn't worth paying £10 or more for something I could probably make myself for a fraction of the cost. We think a sprouting jar should be quick and easy to use, easy to clean, and look neat on your kitchen windowsill. Glass is best, too; you can give it a good scrub between batches without scratching the jar. Yesterday in Poundland, two things caught my eye, I bought them and it all worked out brilliantly! If you would like to do the same, take a look:

1: Glass storage jar with nice wide top, plastic lid and separate rim (also in purple or pink). Plastic mesh sieve. Both cost £1 each.

2: The clear plastic part of the lid was really easy to punch out with closed scissors.

3: The mesh is easily cut from the sieve with ordinary scissors.

4: I put the mesh on top of the jar, secured it by screwing the rim on lightly and trimmed off the excess mesh.

5: Ta-dah! Happy sunflower sprouts nestling in their new home in less than 5 minutes.

Do you have any kitchen tips to save money? We'd love to hear via the comments.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Chocolate Brazil Flapjacks

Maybe it's because they both come from Soutth America, but Brazil nuts and chocolate do taste really good together. A long time ago, back in the early 90s, I used to buy flapjacks from a local whole food bakery, Ceres, which were covered in carob and also contained Brazil nuts. They were my favourite treat! This is an updated version, using coconut oil and of course fairtrade 70 % vegan chocolate. Judging by the rate at which they disappeared, they are set to be a favourite treat around here, too.

Gour is my sweetener of choice when it comes to flapjacks. It's raw cane sugar with minimal processing (just that the cane juice has been boiled down to produce a solid lump) which retains  some minerals, and it melts to a perfect texture for sticking the oats together rather than using a syrup. 
500g organic porridge oats
125-150g vegan dark chocolate ( we used a 70% cocoa brand)
250g gour
200g coconut oil
150g Brazil nuts, coarsely chopped
  • Melt the oil and gour together. It won't mix completely, so don't worry about that; just make sure you don't overheat it.
  • Press into a shallow, rectangular tin which has been oiled. We use a standard Swiss roll tin.
  • Stir in the oats and Brazil nuts.
  • Bake at 180C for 20-30 minutes, depending on your oven. I used the middle shelf and checked from time to time to make sure they weren't overbrowned.
  • Remove from the oven. While they are still hot break  the chocolate and scatter it evenly over them. The heat from the flapjacks will melt it and all you have to do is gently spread it. 
  • Mark into 16 pieces before it's cooled completely so that it cuts cleanly.
  • Store in an airtight container. Perfect to take to work or school for a snack, or to enjoy at home with a hot drink.

Spring is well and truly here; the first daisies are on the lawn!