Saturday, 23 September 2017

CHOCOLATE CRUNCH


I've been meaning to write another recipe post for the longest time and I just haven't gotten round to it. After months of reminiscing about childhood favourites, I suddenly remembered this little gem from the archives. 

"Ma, do you remember when you used to make us chocolate crunch?" 

Of course she did. She used to bake a batch for us most weeks and we'd take a little slice with us in our school lunch boxes as a Friday treat. So whenever I think about chocolate crunch, it always takes me back to my childhood. I recently asked my Mum where she even got the recipe from because, as far as I'm aware, no one has actually ever heard of it. I wondered if it was a Sussex thing but that theory was shot to pieces when some of my local followers/friends on Instagram had never come across it either. She told me that she used to eat it as a dessert when she was in primary school, and promptly asked for the recipe so she could bake it at home with my grandma. Until then I think it was a canteen secret! I would describe chocolate crunch as a sort of cross between a brownie and a biscuit, best served warm with a sprinkle of sugar on top.

So, by popular demand (okay, like two people's request), here's how to make them.

INGREDIENTS
5oz plain flour
1 heaped tablespoon of cocoa powder
3oz caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
3oz margarine

Begin by lining an 8-inch square tin with baking paper and pre-heat your oven to gas mark 4 (180ºC)
Sift the flour and cocoa powder together in a bowl.
Melt the margarine and sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat until dissolved, but do not boil. Make a well in the dry ingredients and mix in gradually. The mixture should resemble a dough so be careful not to overwork it. 
Spread the dough out into your lined baking tin, pressing down firmly with the back of a spoon. Prick with a fork to allow any steam to escape.


It should look like the above so don't worry if some of the margarine mixture seems to have separated and settled on the top! Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until it looks dry and fairly risen. 
Mark into squares or fingers in the tin and allow to cool. 
Sprinkle with caster sugar and cut.


And that's it! So simple to make, and the result should be soft and slightly gooey inside like a brownie and crunchy on the outside like a biscuit - hence the name chocolate crunch. These treats are best when they are freshly baked and still a little bit warm. We love them with a nice cup of tea! Storage-wise, they will keep in a sealed container for up to a week but keep in mind that the colder they get, the firmer they will be.

I hope you enjoyed!
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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

REVISITING LORDINGTON LAVENDER


Open week at Lordington Farm is always a popular activity in July. Due to its success in previous years the event has experienced a few changes this time around. One thing, however, never changes, and that's the beautiful purple fields of lavender. My best friend and I decided that this year we would not be completely hungover when we visited, still opting for the final open day of the week to get those snaps, and snap we did...

It's easy to see why people flock to Lordington. Though it may be smaller than other lavender fields I've seen bobbing about on Instagram, it really packs a punch. You're almost overwhelmed with the scent as you make your way down the pathways, careful not the disturb the busy bees and butterflies as your fingers dance across the tips of the blooms. It's so relaxing, despite all the children and doggos running about!

An afternoon well spent, we finished our day with pizza and cocktails in Chichester. Lovely Sunday!
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Monday, 15 May 2017

PEONY SEASON IS HERE

With spring now in full swing (unintentional rhyme there, thank-you) there's nothing I love more than seeing all the pretty plants in bloom. For as long as I can remember, my favourite flower has been the peony, especially pale pink and white varieties. I can't tell you how happy I was when my best friend handed me my bridesmaids bouquet and it was adorned with the most beautiful pink and cream peonies; we have a third-generation peony cutting in our garden that gave us several red blooms this year - hell, I'm currently in the middle of getting a half sleeve tattooed with pretty peonies - I simply love them! They are my forever flower, if you will.

The British peony season is very short. Weather permitting; you can expect to get hold of native varieties from May until late July. There is so much symbolism associated with this gorgeous flower, too. To the Chinese, the peony symbolises wealth, luck, elegance and poise; to the Greeks, healing; to the Japanese, happy marriage and virility (hence its choice in wedding bouquets!) I think there's something quite romantic about peonies. I would choose them over roses any day!

Where I live, I find it really difficult to find good quality in-season peonies. Supermarkets hardly ever stock them and local florists are few and far between, unless, of course, you want to splash out on a bouquet that lasts a week at best. Bloom & Wild are my first port-of-call when it comes to buying my flowers, both for beauty and ease of delivery (straight through your letterbox!). I don't buy them often but I find I don't need to. The last peony bouquet I purchased from them lasted over 4 weeks, which I was extremely happy about!
 Housed perfectly in this lovely handmade Dartington Crystal short Tara vase*, the Fleur bouquet from Bloom & Wild is the ideal fresh centrepiece to any home this spring. It not only contains some gorgeous ready-to-bloom Sarah Bernhardt peonies, but also is accompanied by five pale pink roses as well as lavendar scabiosa, pink september and greenbell foliage. Each of the 25 stems comes individually netted to avoid damage throughout the delivery process. I can’t wait until they bloom fully, they really do brighten up my bedroom.

Do you love peonies as much as I do? Where do you get your bouquets? I’d love to know!

The Fleur bouquet retails at £38, and is available from Bloom & Wild's website
*I was kindly gifted this item for the purpose of a blog post
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