1.30 hours of Ashtanga yoga at a barn in the countryside.

1.30 hours of Ashtanga yoga at a barn in the countryside.

St Albans has lots of interesting walks

St Albans has lots of interesting walks

I do love Sundays. Me and the rest of the country. We are all looking for the perfect Sunday, so that can sometimes make it a nightmare. Pubs are so full that we tend to avoid them. However, the urge for a good Sunday roast and a long walk was too strong so I booked a 5pm lunch ( only time I could get at short notice) at  http://www.brunningandprice.co.uk/praewoodarms/ The Prae Wood Arms, in St Albans.  Firstly, I needed to do some Yoga. I go every Sunday to a barn in Hertfordshire where they teach Ashtanga Yoga. I go with my friend ( who also runs baby and mother classes ) Jeri,  http://www.mybabybrain.com/contact/

After Yoga and feeling very Zen, Nathan and I decided to do a two hour walk to try and burn off some of the calories we were about to consume. We parked in the Prae Wood Arms car park and set off.

The Prae Wood Arms

The Prae Wood Arms

It was actually quite hot but the public footpath ( we took the river walk) was beautiful.

Nathan in a field

Nathan in a field

 

St Albans has lots of interesting walks

St Albans has lots of interesting walks

The Old Mill. What a treat to find!

The Old Mill. What a treat to find!

I love bread and cake. No, really, I do… So this was a thrill to find. Also, I was ready for some sugar at this point. All this lovely fresh bread, made with flour from the mill.

Bread found at the mill.

Bread found at the mill.

You can walk around the mill. You get an information sheets and it gives you a bit of background. It's really interesting

You can walk around the mill. You get an information sheets and it gives you a bit of background. It’s really interesting

As they only accepted cash we went for a bit of bread pudding. 50p! Yes, 50p!! and so delicious

Delicious Bread Pudding and only 50p

Delicious Bread Pudding and only 50p

So, I would say if you are near St Albans, please do visit! http://www.redbournburymill.co.uk

We took a stroll back to the pub and had a fantastic Sunday Lunch. Yes, it was very busy but they have quite a few dining areas. The staff are supper friendly. Service was a bit slow but everything, when it arrived was worth the wait. Good prices for such lovely surroundings. It has fresh ales and a good wine list. I would go back.

A hearty roast beef dinner ( well, lunch)

A hearty roast beef dinner ( well, lunch)

 

My starter was a winner, simple but really good. Asparagus and crispy egg.

My starter was quite delicious

My starter was quite delicious

A waffle with toffee sauce ( we shared this, honest )

A waffle with toffee sauce
( we shared this, honest )

All in all a lovely Sunday.


OREO CUPCAKES 2 THE COCOA BOXOREO CUPCAKE THE COCOA BOX

 

These Oreo cupcakes are a real Sunday afternoon treat. They go really well with a cup of tea!

 

Pre heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

Line a muffin tray with 10 cupcake cases

Ingredients:

150g soft salted butter

150g self raising flour

150g caster sugar

2 large eggs

Tablespoon of golden syrup

Vanilla Pod  – scrape out the seeds

Cream the butter and sugar until pale, light and fluffy. Slowly add in the eggs. Mix in the golden syrup and vanilla seeds. Sift the flour and add the milk to create a dropping consistency.

Spoon into muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

 

Oreo Buttercream
1 block of un salted butter – very, very soft

300g of icing sugar

8 crushed Oreo cookies – very fine and

4 Broken Oreo cookies – to decorate

5 table spoons of Milk or cream

In a stand mixer or with an electric whisk whisk just the butter for at least five minutes. Add in the icing sugar a Oreo mix. Sprinkle over 3 tbsp of room temperature whole milk. Start mixing slowly and gradually increase to full speed.

TIP – Use a WIDE nozzel or spatular the mixture on the cooled cakes as the cookie pieces will get stuck in the nozzel.

Decorate with broken Oreo Cookies

 

OREO CUPCAKE THE COCOA BOX


One of my demos at the Foodies Festival

One of my demos at the Foodies Festival

The fantastic Malaysian chef Norman Musa
The fantastic Malaysian chef Norman Musa

It was a busy day at the Chefs Theatre, Foodies Festival
It was a busy day at the Chefs Theatre, Foodies Festival

Tatton Park Foodies Festival

Tatton Park Foodies Festival

 

 

 

I have had the most wonderful three days t the beautiful Tatton Park in Cheshire. The Foodies Festivals run around the country in the Summer months.   Foodies Festivals

I met some talented and inspirational chefs including Norman Musa. The UK’s leading Malaysian food expert. Chef Norman Musa   I am very inspired by his recipes, charm and work ethic. In fact I will be making his chicken satay today!

For vegetarian delights I was also impressed with Master Chef contestant founder of  The Hungry Gecko Jackie Kearney.  Jackie showed us how to make the street food Momo dumplings. So fresh and packed with flavour. I will be trying my own prawn version of these very soon and I will make sure I document the results before they are eaten!

Meeting Glynn Purnell, Chef, author, restaurant owner and regular TV personality was a highlight. He is very entertaining and great fun. His food is a delight and if you are ever in Birmingham I can recommend his restaurant. Gylnn Purnell

Food and entertainment!

Food and entertainment!

Other Chefs demoing in the Chef Theatre included winner of ITV’s  Food Glorious Food Rahalia Hussain.  Rahalia’s winning Korma recipe I can vouch that the dish is worthy of an award!

Ex Corrie star and now award wining Cheese maker Seam Williamson was the compare when I was demeaning my Harrisa Chicken, flat bread and chilli hummus recipes. The cheese he produces is stunning and what a lovely chap he is! Sean Wilsons award winning cheese

 

The delightful and award winning cheese maker Sean Wilson

delightful and award winning cheese maker Sean Wilson

Other hightails for me were watching these chefs create wonderful dishes

Impressive Andrew Parker,  Head chef at Georges bar and grill

Brilliantly talented Ross Bootland from @RossBootland De Vere hotel Head Chef Ross Bootland

 

Seabass cooked to perfection

Seabass cooked to perfection

 

Foe super healthy nutrient packed food. Gina is the perfect cook. Health by Gina

 


Delicious and very good for you

Delicious and very good for you

 

I love Muffins but they are usually pretty sugar laden and have a high fat content. These little beauties however are packed with goodness. Guilt free and from my ‘Saint’ recipes ( I will also post the ‘Sinner’ version, they are chocalicious)

So easy to make, great to get the kids involved.

Ingredients:

40Ml Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – if you haven’t used this before you are in for a treat. It is one of my favourite things to work with

1 tsp vanilla extract

5 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar

100g spelt flour

100g Rye flour

4 tablespoons of bran

4 tablespoons of ground almond

4 chopped dates

4 Baby Green Walnuts – If you haven’t used these before then I can highly recommend them. They are soft but still have a great texture. They are also sweet so you don’t need to add refined sugar. I found mine at http://www.veritavita.com

5 tablespoon of mixed nuts and seeds ( I toasted walnuts, pumpkin, sunflower and pine nuts)

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1 teaspoon of bicarb

1 teaspoon of baking powder

I avocado mashed

2 tablespoons of water to loosed the mixture

Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ( thats how easy it is) and mix together. Do not over mix! 

Spoon into muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through. I baked on 160. Depending on the strength of your oven you may need to go higher. However, it is OK to bake them on a lower heat for longer.

 

Enjoy!

 

If you toast the nuts and seed it releases the oils and brings out the flavour

If you toast the nuts and seed it releases the oils and brings out the flavour

 

 

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

 

 

Baby Green Walnuts

Baby Green Walnuts

 

 

So amazing. Whole baby green walnuts. A real treat.

So amazing. Whole baby green walnuts. A real treat.

 

 


Most precious Olive Oils in the world

This gallery contains 6 photos.

Masia El Altet EVOO Classed as one of the Best and most Precious Olive oils in the World   It’s so exciting discovering new produce. Especially when it’s this good. I truly believe what you eat can effect your whole life. It effects the way you feel, look, act and think. So when I was introduced

 

 

 

 

It’s chocolate week and WE LOVE CHOCOLATE!

 

To celebrate we are offering an exclusive 2 for 1 on our 2 hour chocolate making workshops.

 

We are also running some delicious packages for Christmas parties and corporate events.

 

Let The Cocoa Box be your sweet host!

 

Please email info@thecocoabox.co.uk
pipe trufflesChocolate whiskget creative

 

theobroma cacoa tree tobago [Desktop Resolution]

Fun at one of our Team building corporate events Fun at one of our Team building corporate events

hand made truffles

 

 

 

CHOCOLATE MAKING 2

 

 

Handmade chocolate

 

 


Chocolate cupcakes using Dr.Oetker chocolate from the Fine cooks range

Chocolate cupcakes using Dr.Oetker chocolate from the Fine cooks range

White chocolate buttercream coloured with Dr.Oetker Food colour gel and flavoured with caramel.

White chocolate buttercream coloured with Dr.Oetker Food colour gel and flavoured with caramel.

Chocolate shards made with Dr.Oetker chocolate front he Fine Cooks range. Buttercream made with Dr.Oetker chocolate.

Chocolate shards made with Dr.Oetker chocolate front he Fine Cooks range. Buttercream made with Dr.Oetker chocolate.

Amazing neon sprinkles and goodies from the Dr.Oetker range

Amazing neon sprinkles and goodies from the Dr.Oetker range

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am thrilled to be woking with Dr.Oetker. I love the products and have been using them for many many years. I’m sure we all have Dr.Oetker products in our kitchen.

Dr.Oetker have a new range of chocolate that I have have been using in my baking. As someone who works with chocolate ALOT I have really enjoyed working with the chocolate. As I am a big fan of dark chocolate I love the 72% extra dark chocolate from the Fine Cooks range.

Whats even more exciting ia Dr.Oetker are running a fantastic competition and the prize is a trip to NEW YORK. All you need to do is bake a chocolate cupcake, take a photo and upload it to the Dr/Oetker Facebook page

Enter HERE: The Great Chocolate Bake

https://www.facebook.com/DrOetkerBaking

 

Here are some films to give you a bit of inspiration!

 

 

 

Dr.Oetker video

 

 

 

 

 


 

Ingredients:

150g Gluten/wheat free flour

75g coconut oil

150g unrefined organic coconut sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

40g cocoa powder

2 tablespoon of apple puree

 

Pre heat your oven and line a muffin tray with cupcake cases.

Mix and combine the wet ingredients.

Sift in all the dry ingredients and combine

Spoon into the cases – half way of just over. You will probably get 8 – 10 out of the mixture.

Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until the sponge springs back when gently touched.

Dairy free Ganache

150g dark chocolate ( 58% or above)

100g almond milk or dairy free cream.

In a pan heat the liquid until just about to boil. Take of the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Allow to stand for a few minutes then gently stir.

Allow to cool.

 

Chocolate Vegan cupcaks

Chocolate Vegan cupcaks


EASY CHOCOLATE CUPCAKES

Yummy chocolate cupcakes

Yummy chocolate cupcakes


These chocolate cupcakes are a real winner and so easy to make.

Pre heat your oven to 180 or 160 Fan, Gas 4.
Please note all ovens vary and the best way to know the optimum temperature of your oven is to bake and get to know your oven.

Ingredients
150g Margarine
150g caster sugar
120g self raising flour
30g organic fair trade cocoa powder
2 eggs
Three to four tablespoons of whole milk or cream

Cream the sugar and margarine together with a wooden spoon/hand whisk or mixer. It should be pale and fluffy.
Sift in half the flour
add the eggs – add slowly to avoid curdling
slowly mix gradually getting faster – tip – if your mixture always curdles try adding half the flour first as this really helps.
sift in the remaining flour and cocoa powder and gently mix until combined.
Add the room temperature whole milk until you achieve ‘dropping’ consistency
Spoon or pipe into a lined cupcake/muffin tray. Fill just over half way.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until the sponge springs back when gently touched.

CHOCOLATE BUTTERFROSTING

Rule number one – ALWAYS use soft butter. So soft it leaves an imprint of your finger if you touched it.

1 block unsalted butter
1 bar (250g) chocolate – Divine, Green and Blacks etc. This should be melted down in a bowl over boiling water. Once melted put a side to cool but not set
300g icing sugar
Whole milk/cream – optional – always at room temperature

Cream the butter and icing sugar and one table spoon of milk together. If you are doing this with a hand whisk please note it takes a long time. If the mixture is really dense add more of your chosen liquid.
When you are happy with the consistency gently stir in the melted chocolate then whisk again until completely combined. If the mixture feels ‘heavy’ and ‘dense’ keep adding your chosen liquid until it become light and fluffy.