I’m sure it comes as no surprise when I say “I love to bake”. But I really really do. There’s just something so soothing and relaxing about it. It’s my “chill out time”. Last Sunday was no different, I was desperate to bake but also feeling pretty “yuck” from a takeaway the night before so wanted to make something a little healthier. I had the idea of making some Healthy Oat Bars, meaning I wouldn’t feel guilty for a Sunday morning snack. AND I could make enough for guilt free snacks for the rest of the week. These Healthy Oat Bars will keep for up to a week in the fridge; I find they keep better individually wrapped in cling film.

I chose to put Pistachios, Coconut and Goji Berries in mine but you can put any dried fruit of your choice. I’ve also made them with dried apricots but haven’t tried them with any other ingredients YET.

Healthy Oat Bars - Pistachio, Coconut and Goji Berry

Ingredients: 

Makes 8-10 bars

120g rolled oats

50g coconut oil

2 tbsp peanut butter

2 tbsp honey (or vegan alternative)

40g desiccated coconut

2tbsp goji berries

2 tbsp pistachios

Method: 

Preparation – 35 minutes | Cooling – 1-2 hours

1. Preheat the oven to 200°c (180°c fan) and line a baking tray with baking paper. Spread the rolled oats thinly over the tray and bake for 20-25 minutes until the oats are golden. This makes your bars a little more crispy.

2. Melt the butter and coconut oil in a saucepan then add the honey and peanut better and stir until combined. Then stir in the baked oats, pistachios, desiccated coconut and goji berries and stir until well coated.

3. Pour the mixture baking onto your baking sheet and press down firmly using the back of a wooden spoon. Place in the fridge to set for 1-2 hours then cut into bars.

Enjoy…

I’d love to hear what you think if you have a go at making these Healthy Oat Bars.

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!

Scones, scones, scones, I’ve been addicted recently. I used to only have them as a “holiday treat” when I was travelling around Devon and Cornwall. But then I realised they were sold in supermarkets, and the addiction began. Of course I knew that already, but I’d just never thought of having Cream Tea anywhere but the cute cafés along the coast. It was a Sunday morning and I told Sam I was going to get my weekly [daily] scone from the Lidl Bakery when he suggested making my own. Well I’d never thought of that either.

I had a scroll through my recipe books for a basic scone recipe and came across Mary Berry’s Devonshire Scones in her Simple Cakes recipe book. I love Mary Berry’s recipes as they’re always so simple, her Victoria Sponge recipe is one of my go-tos. As well as her Lemon Drizzle which is absolutely divine. I stuck with this recipe but added some Glacé Cherries as I had some left over from making my Muffins the other week. You can also add raisins, or other dried fruits.

Cherry Scones

Cherry Scones Ingredients:

Makes around 20

450g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

75g butter

50g caster sugar

2 eggs

225ml milk

150g glacé cherries

Method:

1. Grease two baking trays and preheat oven to 220°c (200°c fan). Put the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar.

2. Beat the eggs in a measuring jug then add the milk to make it up to 300ml. Put a little of this aside for glazing then gradually add the rest to the dry ingredients until you have a soft dough.

3. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out to a thickness of 1.5-2cm. Using a 5cm cutter, cut into around 20 circles.

4. Arrange the scones onto your prepared baking trays and brush the tops with the milk and egg mixture you put aside. Bake for 10-15 minutes until well risen and golden.

Enjoy…

Will you be having a go at making these simple Cherry Scones? What have you baked recently?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!

Last week was the annual street BBQ on the communal green outside of our house. I was really looking forward to it as was a lovely chance to get to meet the neighbours, many of which we were yet to speak to. It’s such a nice idea to bring the community together. There was a bouncy castle, games such as football and rounders, even apple bobbing and an “eat a doughnut without licking your lips” challenge. This year was our first time attending as we’ve recently moved to the area so I wanted to make a good first impression and share my love of baking. I stuck with an easy muffin recipe then added mixture of fillings as I wasn’t sure what everyone would enjoy. The fillings I chose were blueberry, cherry, white chocolate and milk chocolate and hazelnut.

Easy Muffin Recipe - Blueberry, Cherry, White Chocoalte, Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut

Muffin Ingredients:

Makes 12

270g plain flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

80g caster sugar

2 eggs

100g butter (melted)

220ml milk

2.5ml vanilla extract

Your choice of filling (around 250g)

Method:

Preparation – 10 minutes | Baking – 25 minutes

1. Line a muffin tin with muffin cases and preheat oven to 200°c/180°c fan.

2. Mix the flour, sugar and baking powder together in a bowl.

3. In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, melted butter, vanilla extract and milk, then add to the dry ingredients and combine. Lightly stir in the filling of your choice.

4. Spoon into your prepared muffin cases, filling almost to the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen, golden and firm to the touch.

Enjoy…

Will you be having a go at this easy muffin recipe? What is your favourite filling?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!

As you walk towards the busy Bristol Waterfront, opposite the fountains and the Bristol Hippodrome you will find Aluna. A Bar and Restaurant priding themselves on providing a truly unique experience. We headed to the Bar Entrance and were met with a thriving yet relaxed atmosphere. It seemed the perfect place to let off steam from a manic week.

We were shown through to our cosy table, tucked away in the corner of the restaurant. I honestly couldn’t get over the gorgeous, unusual design of Aluna. I was definitely taking tips for my own interiors. The velvet seats were so comfortable and the lighting was perfect, giving it that much needed relaxed atmosphere. The walls are filled with copper/golden mirrors and old-fashioned prints. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before so it’s hard to describe. You’ll just have to go and see for yourself.

Aluna Bristol Review

Aluna Bristol Review

Aluna Bristol Review

After reading through the extensive menu we settled on our first drinks. Sam had the Lava Lamp, an orange based cocktail and I went for the Raspberry Sling from the Mocktail menu. The mixologists really live up to their name of ‘Social Scientists’. Sam’s Lava Lamp cocktail arrived bubbling away, like its name would suggest, and stayed that way for a good 15 minutes. Absolutely fascinating to someone like me that doesn’t have a clue how these things work. My Raspberry Sling was divine, it was a sweet, but mildly bitter homemade lemonade.

Whilst we were enjoying our cocktails, we browsed the menu and decided on our food. There was a vast menu, with things from pasta dishes, to burgers, to Thai curry and Lobster to choose from. There was plenty of choice on the Asian and European inspired menu. Even for a fussy vegetarian like myself. I chose the Bruschetta Pomadoro to start and Sam had Nachos topped with chicken. Although I was tempted to ask for a vegetarian version of the Nachos which I’m sure they would have done but I always get Nachos so I thought I’d try something different. I was pleased I did, the Bruschetta was lovely, a perfect combination of flavours with the tomatoes, rocket and olive oil. But I must say the couple of Nachos I stole from Sam’s plate were pretty good too.

Aluna Bristol Review

Aluna Bristol Review

For our mains, I had a tough choice between the Thai Vegetable Curry and the Jerk Vegetable Wrap. I chose the latter but swapped my chips for sweet potato fries [of course]. Sam had the Aluna Burger but was tempted by the Lobster. My wrap was thoroughly enjoyable considering some of the fillings were those that I wouldn’t usually go for, such as courgettes and olives. The only thing I would say is that it wasn’t very spicy, which is ideal if you’re not too keen on spicy foods. But I would have liked a bit more of a kick to mine. The sweet potato fries were divine, they made the meal for me.

Aluna Bristol Review

Aluna Bristol Review

We were both absolutely stuffed, but in true us style, we couldn’t resist dessert. Especially where chocolate brownies and cheesecake are concerned. Sam and I are almost identical with our dessert choices which is strange considering we’re polar opposites when it comes to most other foods. Both cheesecake and chocolate brownie are our favourites so we just had to order both and go halves on each. And oh my they were gorgeous.  My mouth is watering thinking of that chocolate brownie, absolutely delicious, melt in the mouth, rich chocolate. But if I thought that was dreamy, the cheesecake was even better. A perfect creamy cheesecake, with the perfect crunchy base and a bittersweet mango topping.

It was time for one last cocktail before heading home. Sam wanted to try the Aluna Secret Concoction as he was told this one was set on fire. I had the Mixed Berry Mojito, again from the Mocktails menu. Honestly who needs alcohol when the mocktails taste this divine? The Aluna Secret Concoction lived up to expectations and filled the restaurant with fire as it was bought over to our table. I tried to get a photo but it all happened so quickly. This one smelt of roasted marshmallows and tasted like strawberry milkshake apparently. Different to any cocktail Sam had ever had before, he was really fond of this one.

One of the main things worth noting about Aluna is the price. Aluna has the looks and feels of quite a luxury restaurant. The atmosphere is wonderful – despite it being Saturday night, their busiest time of the week, we were really able to sit back and relax. And the staff were second to none. All of this considered, I was more than impressed with the prices at Aluna. My wrap was only £9.95 and Sam’s burger was £11.95. Desserts started from £4.95 and starters the same. They even have a 2-course lunch menu for just £9.95 so I’ll definitely be going back to try some of the other things on the menu.

Have you eaten at Aluna before? Would you pick any of the foods/drinks we tried?

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!

Collaborative post. As always, opinions are 100% my own. Please see my disclaimer for more information.

And we’re on to part two of my Vegetarian Meal Ideas series. I’m literally [hate myself for using that word] going to take photos of everything I make and try to get all the recipes live for you. As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’m cooking so much more recently and really starting to enjoy it. Vegetarian Chilli is something I regularly order when I go out to eat, it’s one of my favourites. I thought I’d attempt my own version, and my gosh, as much as I don’t want to blow my own trumpet, it was the best one I’d ever had. I posted the photo on Twitter and so many of you asked for the recipe I though I just had to post it. Although I’m my own worst critic and hate this photo of it. I’m sure I’ll come back and change it soon enough.

Vegetarian Chilli Vegetarian Meal Ideas

Ingredients:

Serves 4

1 yellow pepper [diced]

1 large red onion [diced]

1 clove garlic [finely diced]

1 tin mixed bean salad [I buy this at Tesco]

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 red chilli [finely chopped]

1 green chilli [finely chopped]

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp soy sauce

1 tsp cumin

Chilli powder to taste

Rice/grains to serve

Method:

Preparation: 10 minutes | Cooking: 

1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan. Add the diced pepper and onion and simmer on a low heat for around 10 minutes until starting to soften.

2. Prepare and start to cook your rice/grains before continuing with the chilli. I accompanied my chilli with Tricolour Quinoa on this occasion.

3. Add the tinned tomatoes, beans, chilli, garlic, spices and everything else to the pan with the peppers and onions. Cook on a low heat for around 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce starts to thicken. You may need to add a little boiling water at this point if the sauce thickens too quickly.

4. Add any more spices/flavours/salt/pepper to taste. You may want to add chilli powder or extra herbs such as coriander.

Enjoy…

There really isn’t much to this recipe at all. I know cooking from scratch can seem a little daunting at first but it’s really a case of putting everything in a pan and hoping for the best. And a bit of trial and error of course. I’ve been told that dried/fresh coriander is a nice addition to this dish but I personally couldn’t think of anything worse. But it’s all down to personal preference. Depending on the strength of your chillies, this dish is already quite hot, but there’s the option of adding chilli powder if necessary. I usually add mine to my personal portion as I like a lot of spice. The paprika gives this a lovely smokey flavour, the cinnamon makes it sweet and chilli makes it hot, such a perfect combination. In my opinion anyway.

Please send me photos if you have a go at making this Vegetarian Chilli, I’d love to see them.

Until next time,

Ami Rose Blog Bristol Blogger Signature

Be sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date with my latest posts!