Eat | Baked Banana Oatmeal

Baked Banana Oatmeal

Baked Banana Oatmeal

 

Happy New Year everyone! Wow, it’s been awhile since I’ve hung around here and written a blog post.  After I got back from India at the end of November, I tried to prioritise everything that needed doing on my to-do list, so blogging got pushed to the side for a bit!  Anyway, here I am, I’m back!  I hope you all had a lovely time over the festive season, and toasted 2017 with a glass of champagne on New Years Eve.  I’m glad to see the page turn over to 2018, and I’m determined to make this a year of bravery, continuing to feel the fear and go for my goals, and to create a happy chapter of my life.

Baked Banana Oatmeal

We’re in the depths of winter here in the UK, though I really haven’t found it all that miserable.  Working from home the majority of the time can be a lonely set up, especially when the days are short and dark over these next few months, and the only person you talk to all day is yourself.  But I’ve been getting out every afternoon, grabbing my longboard – I’m literally obsessed – and skating down the road to grab a coffee whilst working on my laptop.

The other thing that gets me through these colder months is really delicious food.  I find myself reaching for my cookbooks more, flicking through the pages, and finding recipes that look tasty and belly warming.  This Baked Banana Oatmeal recipe is exactly that, super delicious and a warm breakfast treat that I like to top with coconut yoghurt.  I used gluten free oats, so it’s adaptable for both gluten and non-gluten eaters, and I sliced up the leftovers, wrapping each piece separately in cling film and freezing it.

I hope you enjoy making and eating this as much as I did! Happy eating! x

Baked Banana Oatmeal

Eat | Baked Banana Oatmeal
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • 200g rolled oats
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 1 grated apple with skin on (I used bramley or granny smith)
  • 310ml coconut cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g light brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 ripe bananas cut into thin slices
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Generously grease an oven proof dish.
  3. Mix all the ingredients, except for the banana, together in a large bowl.
  4. Pour in half the mixture, top with half of the sliced bananas, and then add the remaining batter, again topping that with the remaining banana.
  5. Sprinkle over a teaspoon of sugar.
  6. Bake for 45 minutes until golden on top.
  7. Leave to cool for around 15 minutes before serving.

 

Baked Banana Oatmeal

Eat | Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts Recipe

Gluten free apple cider donuts

Gluten free apple cider donuts

 

Gluten free apple cider donuts

 

Hooray for Autumn!  The cosy nights in, soft blankets to pull up around you, whilst you sip warm cider and binge watch Netflix.  But wait there’s something missing.  You’ve got the cider, but you’re missing the Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts!

These donuts are suuuuuper easy to make, they’re fall apart soft, with just a hint of apple cider, and that delicious combo of cinnamon and sugar.  I made a batch, and put the remaining donuts in the freezer, where I constantly find myself reaching into, grabbing one and warming it up, to have as a snack. I recommend using the flour blend I use, to ensure they actually rise, and don’t taste like cardboard (which is the case for so many gluten free bakes!).  You can find the link to the flour blend I use here.

Us gluten free lot get used to missing out on delicious cakes and bakes, but I was determined not to miss out on Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts!  And you shouldn’t too.  AND the gluten eating lot will never be able to tell the difference, I promise!

Happy baking, and Happy Autumn!

Annmaree x

Gluten free apple cider donuts

Eat | Gluten Free Apple Cider Donuts Recipe
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-15 donuts
 
Ingredients
  • 210g gluten free flour (I recommend using the flour blend I make at home)
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum (leave it out if your flour blend already contains it)
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 84g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs at room temperature, beaten
  • 178ml apple cider
  • extra cinnamon & sugar to roll the doughnuts in
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 163°C.
  2. Grease a donut pan and set it aside.
  3. Mix the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, cream of tartar, nutmeg and sugar in a large bowl.
  4. Add the butter, eggs and cider, and mix to combine.
  5. Spoon the donut batter into the donut pan until they are each around ⅔ of the way full.
  6. Place the pan in the centre of the oven and bake for around 8 minutes, until the tops of the doughnuts spring back when pressed.
  7. Allow the donuts to cool for a few minutes,
  8. Make some cinnamon sugar by mixing the two together in a bowl, then dipping the donuts in to cover both sides.
  9. Keep in a sealed container. They're also suitable for freezing.

 

Gluten free apple cider donuts

 

Gluten free apple cider donuts

Eat | A London Sunday with Brunch Beirut

Brunch Beirut

I don’t know about you guys, but Sunday for me generally revolves around food.  Anything from a Sunday roast, to coffee and cake, or a really good brunch.  It will therefore come as no surprise that when the opportunity came my way to join the first ever Brunch Beirut event, I didn’t have to think twice.

Ribale (the creator and chef) and her husband Malek (the host) opened the doors of their home in North London to 12 strangers on a Sunday afternoon, ready to welcome us and take us on a Lebanese culinary journey.

From the moment I arrived and I had a little nosey around the long dining table, it was obvious no detail had been forgotten.  From the personalised name cards, to the printed menus, background music and arrival drinks, everything about Brunch Beirut felt promising.

After meeting other guests, which is always a fun part of a supper club, as everyone starts out as strangers, we were invited to take our seats and prepare for what I can only describe as a never ending feast of food!  It was that same feeling you get at Christmas, where dish after dish is laid out before you and you want to eat EVERYTHING, so you do, and then more dishes arrive and you find a second stomach for that food too.   No one goes hungry at Brunch Beirut, that I know for sure!

We were offered so many amazing dishes, that it’s impossible to say which were my favourites.  Everything from the halloumi, topped with mint and pomegranate molasses, to the fire roasted aubergine, mashed with tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil were all mouth watering experiences.  And just when you swear to your other guests there is absolutely no way you could take another bite of anything, dessert is placed in front of you.  A milk and rice pudding infused with mastic and rose water, garnished with a pistachio and rose petals crumble, that you decide is worth risking spontaneous human combustion over, and you find yourself spooning the delicious dessert into your mouth like you’ve not eaten for weeks.

It is such a fab way to spend a Sunday, chatting and eating, amongst the most beautiful setting of Ribale and Malek’s home (plant lovers you will love their place!!).  I can confirm there were no Sunday blues going on at Brunch Beirut.

If this sounds like something you want to sign up for, the good news is the next Brunch Beirut event is coming up on November 12th, so jump on over to the Grubclub website to secure your place, there’s only a few seats left!

Happy eating!

Annmaree x

The Midnight Hour With My New ADEXE Watch

Adexe Watch London

Adexe Watch London

Aaah Sunday morning you beautiful thing you, a whole day ahead to enjoy before the working week starts once again.  I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend so far?  I spent Saturday with a girlfriend, starting with brunch at Ozone Coffee Roasters near Old Street, followed by plenty of window shopping around Brick Lane and Spitalfields Market, admiring everything from scented candles to Halloween accessories. (Who’s dressing up for Halloween?!).

I’ve also been admiring my latest accessory, a gorgeous watch from ADEXE Watches London, based in Shoreditch, where we wandered the streets yesterday.   I haven’t worn a watch in years, and I don’t know why really.  As a child my parents bought me a tiny black watch for my birthday one year, with a regular clock face as opposed to it being digital, to help me learn to read the time.  I wore that watch for years, until I outgrew it and I think the strap snapped.  After that, apart from a moment with a Baby G watch I was obsessed with (remember those!?), I haven’t placed another on my wrist. Until now.

Adexe Watch London

My new ADEXE Sistine Petite Black and Rose Gold Watch reminds me of my childhood watch so much.  Simple, black, and petite, which is perfect for my wrists which happen to be ultra small, meaning bracelets and watches usually slip right off.  Accessories need to be simple for me to want to wear them, and my ADEXE watch fits in perfectly with my rose gold jewellery that I never take off.

Adexe Watch London

I’m hoping that wearing a watch means I might become accustomed to checking the time on it again, rather than pulling out my iPhone to look at the clock, which usually leads to me then unlocking my phone and losing ten minutes of my life on social media!  I’m trying to reduce my social media usage, which as we all know, is not easy, but I’m taking baby steps, and my ADEXE watch will hopefully help me with that!

If you’re in the market for a new watch, then I can help you out with that!  ADEXE Watches London are offering 15% off on their web shop as part of their #midnighthour campaign.  Just enter MIDNIGHTHOUR15 at the check out to receive the discount.

Let me know if you end up the proud owner of an ADEXE watch, I’d love to know which one you choose!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Annmaree x

Adexe Watch London

Detour | Down at the Pumpkin Patch

pumpkin patch

Garsons Esher

Hello everyone, I hope you’ve been having a good week?  I can’t believe it’s Thursday already, this week has flown by!  It’s almost the weekend again, and I’m trying to decide which Autumnal activities to tick off my list.

This is my second favourite time of the year (December’s festive season is my number one!), and I love to visit London’s parks whilst the trees are full of red and gold leaves, make belly warming meals at home, and browse through the Halloween section at stores, admiring all their creepy decorations.

The other must-have for me during this time of year, is visiting a pumpkin patch.  I find it sooo much fun!  Growing up in New Zealand, Halloween was a huge deal.  We spent weeks planning our outfits, and what our ‘trick’ would be if the person standing at the door didn’t offer a treat.  Trick or treating around my neighbourhood was the best, and such a highlight in my memories of childhood.  The one thing we never did however, was carve pumpkins.  Things may have changed now in New Zealand, but we never celebrated Halloween in that way when I was a kid.  Pumpkins were just for eating on a Sunday with a roast dinner.

I love visiting the pumpkin patch at Garsons in Surrey each year, wandering through the huge field, picking out the perfect pumpkins. I firstly use them to decorate our sitting room with and later carve faces into, placing tea lights inside and leaving them at our front entrance on October 31st, to let all the trick or treaters in the neighbourhood know they are welcome to knock on our door.  (Boo to all the grumpy people that give nothing to these little kids!  I really did not like those people as a kid, they are the grinch’s of Halloween!).

We’ve got three big pumpkins currently sitting in our fireplace from our pumpkin patch visit, and I’m now busy on Google finding scary pumpkin face templates so I can get busy with carving this weekend!

I also recommend pumpkin patch picking in these super comfy Lucy and Yak corduroy dungarees.  I’m so in love, they are so soft and cosy, and perfect for being ‘down on the farm’ at Garsons ;o)

Happy October and Happy Pumpkin Patch Picking!

Annmaree x







Lucy and Yak

Eat | Brick & Liquor Tooting

brick & liquor tooting

brick & liquor tooting

brick & liquor tooting

Hooray for Saturday! This week seems to have flown by, which probably has something to do with it being an extremely busy one, full of work commitments and travel planning.  But yay, it’s Saturday again, the sun is shining, and I’m planning on heading into Covent Garden soon to pick up a few bits and pieces for my trip to India.  After that?  Who knows.  I’ll see where the evening takes me, which may well just be down the road to Tooting for a drink at Brick & Liquor.

I’ve been living in Tooting for nearly 8 months.  A big change from Fulham, my previous neighbourhood of 14 years.  But you know what?  As beautiful as Fulham is, I really enjoy living in Tooting.  It was just voted one of the 10th coolest neighbourhoods in the world!  There are so many new businesses popping up around here, every time I walk down the street there’s a new bar, restaurant or cafe.  Good thing food and drinks are a major priority in my life!

Last weekend we enjoyed a few early evening cocktails at Brick & Liquor, a gorgeous, dimly lit, cosy cocktail bar in Tooting.  We sat by the window, sipping the most amazing cocktails and watching the world go by.  I started with a salted caramel espresso martini, which along with the presentation being exquisite, the taste also matched, sweet, salty and dangerously delicious, consisting of Absolut vodka, espresso, cafe liquor, vanilla, salted caramel and a hint of orange.  Greg chose the Ninety9, an alcoholic take on UK’s famous 99 ice cream cone, made up of Absolut vodka, apple, vanilla liqueur, & vanilla foam and yes it literally tasted like childhood – with the alcohol as an exception obvs!

Drinks sunk, we moved on to round two, Greg going for an Eton’s Mess, the alcoholic version of a very British dessert, made with Absolut vodka, Crème De Cassis, lemon, raspberry & topped with toasted meringue.  I took the advice of our fabulous bar host, and settled on a Deconstruct Reconstruct consisting of Beefeater gin, lemon, sugar, egg white and Crème de Mure.  They were so pretty, I took like a million photos before we even had a sip, but when we finally did, we were seriously impressed.

The food menu was placed in front of us, and we thought why not, ordering perfectly cooked sweet potato fries (gluten free!), teriyaki steak skewers (also gluten free!) and chorizo and mozzarella arancini (not gluten free, but Greg enjoyed them!).  To be honest, my hopes weren’t super high for the food, I mean it’s a cocktail bar after all.  I couldn’t have been more wrong, the food was so soooo good!

As night fell, and Tooting’s Mitcham Road filled up with night revellers and street lights, we made our way home, whilst in deep discussion about future plans to take friends to Brick & Liquor Tooting for a night out.  We highly recommend!

Happy Saturday everyone x

Eat | Dinner at Chicama, Chelsea

Chicama London

One of my favourite restaurants to visit for a delicious weekend brunch is Pachamama in Marylebone.  I’ve written about their gluten free waffles here.  So it was a no-brainer when the opportunity arose to visit Chicama, the Chelsea based restaurant from the founders of Pachamama.

Arriving on a slightly chilly evening, I soon warmed up inside, sitting down by the window, then let my nosiness get the better off me, and walked around the restaurant to admire the pretty interior.  My waiter appeared soon after to introduce himself and chat cocktails with me.  I took his lead, and ordered his recommendation, a good choice, one that definitely warmed the toes!

Chicama specialises in seafood, and I was lucky enough to visit on an evening when there was a guest chef, so I had not one, but two menus to choose from.  Again, I took the advice of the staff, who by the way were fantastic in dealing with my ‘I’m sorry but I’m gluten intolerant’ apologetic face.  They made suggestions, it all sounded delicious, so I said yes to everything and soon enough I had a table full of a-maz-ing looking food to try.

I devoured everything from smoked aubergine with artichoke, bonito and goats cheese, to baked scallops with green chilli butter and crushed purple potatoes.  And of course, there was my second stomach, ready and waiting for dessert.  When it was suggested I try two desserts, I said ‘yes’ without a seconds hesitation.  Placed in front of me was a sweet potato creme brûlée, which was sooo creamy and sooo good I could’ve eaten three in one sitting, and strawberry sorbet with frozen marshmallow, almond sponge and huacatay (Peruvian black mint).  I left a spoonful of that in my bowl, not because I didn’t like it, I was just trying to pretend like I actually possessed some self control ;o)

The evening sky became dark, and rain clouds threatened to make my trip home a very wet one, so I called it a night and left the buzz and chatter of a full house in Chicama, heading out into the cool, crisp air and walking off some of my dinner as I wandered along the Kings Road.

If the thought of Peruvian food and a glass of Pisco sounds good to you, then trust me, make a reservation at Chicama, it’s a guaranteed good time!

(Whilst I was a guest of Chicama, all opinions are my own).

Detour | Florence in a Day

 

 

Our final day on our summer trip to Italy was spent in Florence.  We were flying out from there early morning, so it made sense to spend a day in the city exploring.

Now I know I likely won’t be too popular saying this.  It was my second trip to Florence,  the first time it didn’t make my heart beat, and on this second trip I was beginning to feel the same.  I think if you’re an art and history buff, you’d be in your element, but being that I’m neither of those things, I guess the city is lost on me a little.

We arrived early morning and made our way into the city centre, sitting down for iced coffee right next to Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, which really is an amazing sight to see.  Wandering through the tiny streets, we stopped for gelato and strolled towards the famous Ponte Vecchio bridge to peek in shops and people watch.

It was sometime in the afternoon where we both looked at each and felt a bit like ‘Well? What should we do now?’.  I jumped on Google, and a few minutes later we walked in the direction of San Lorenzo, and discovered the coolest vintage clothing store, Desii Vintage, amongst some other lovely boutiques.  It’s amazing how a bit of retail therapy can perk you up right?  A little further down the street we stopped for a drink in the gorgeous Konnubio restaurant, who’s interior is so, so amazing!  We definitely felt more optimistic about the rest of the afternoon from here on in!

Heading once again over Ponte Vecchio Bridge, we decided to explore the neighbourhood of Oltrarno, and it was here that we found ourselves standing in the most beautiful mens bespoke shoe store, chatting to the owner and shoe mastermind Mario Bemer, about his amazing creations and the fact he makes them for Daniel Day Lewis!  The rest of the afternoon, we strolled through streets and alleys, looking at delicious food markets, shops and street art.

As we found a place for dinner a little later, I sat there convinced that Florence has many wonderful places to discover, if you know where you’re going.  And I’d definitely not done enough homework on the city.  We ended our day on a high, a sugar high actually, eating the biggest gelato we’d consumed throughout our vacation.  It was gluttonous and I loved every bite.

Darkness fell, and we wandered back in the direction of our hotel, another Italian vacation ticked off, and a bunch of memories to treasure.

Detour | My Favourite Tuscany Towns and Villages

Tuscany Towns and Villages
Tuscany Towns and VillagesTuscany Towns and Villages

When you think of Tuscany, you likely conjure up images of never-ending vineyards, medieval towns, wine tastings and endless sunshine.  And you’d be right about all of those things.  Tuscany is one of those dreamy destinations where reality matches your imagination.

This was my third trip to Tuscany, and I was looking forward to revisiting some of my favourite Tuscany towns and villages as well as discovering new ones.  From exploring narrow, cobbled streets that wind through hilltop towns to tasting all sorts of gelato flavours at every stop we made.  And then there’s the local wine of course.

Below I’ve shared all the Tuscany Towns and Villages we visited on this particular trip….

Pisa

Everyone has heard of Pisa, the Tuscan city made famous by the Leaning Tower.   Pisa has often been one of those fly in or fly out points when I’ve been travelling around Italy, and therefore I’ve somehow managed to end up there three times.  Is it a destination place?  In my opinion, no.  However, if you find yourself passing through, it’s worth spending a day, or one night (no more) and ticking the Leaning Tower of Pisa off your bucket list.  It’s a very walkable city, with plenty of bars and restaurants dotted around, and if you love gelato, then I recommend trying the Meringue flavour at La Bottega del Gelato.

Certaldo

Certaldo is the cutest medieval walled town, that feels like a movie set when you walk around.  It’s hard to believe something so charming is a real life, working town.  We accessed the town via a gondola and spent a couple of hours walking around, taking in every inch of how sweet this hilltop spot is.   I’d recommending staying for lunch or dinner as there are plenty of gorgeous restaurants and cafes dotted around.

San Gimingano

San Gimignano is a must-see on nearly every Tuscan tourist’s list.  It therefore makes it almost impossible to find a parking space during the day!  Because of this very reason, we paid two evening visits to San Gimignano for their famous gelato.  It is a magical town, full of buzzing piazza’s, medieval towers, and narrow stone streets.  You’ll be spoilt for choice with restaurants there, but as I already mentioned, it’s the gelato everyone talks about.  Gelateria Dondoli is world famous due to its many awards, and therefore is a necessity to try right?  A highlight there was the gorgonzola gelato, who knew blue cheese ice cream could actually taste good!

Monteriggioni

Monteriggioni, is one of my favourite spots.  A completely walled medieval village located on top of a hill, it is tiny, and a lovely place to visit.  With a large piazza in the centre, the village is filled with cute coffee shops, lovely home decor stores, and restaurants.  The city walls and its 14 towers are still intact, you can even take a walk alongside them on a walkway.  The saying ‘good things come in small packages’ rings true for Monteriggioni.

Volterra

Volterra is a larger town, now made famous by the Twilight novels and movies.  I’ve been pre and post Twilight, and it was good to see that nothing had changed.  High up on a hilltop, you’ll find yourself wandering down alleyways and discovering piazzas at the end of them.  There are basilica’s, delicious deli’s, pretty shops, and plenty to see.  You can easily spend a day in Volterra walking inside the medieval walls.

Happy travels,

Annmaree x

Detour | Relaxing in Tuscany, Our Farmhouse Stay

Croce di Bibbiano

On my recent trip to Italy, the majority of the time was spent relaxing at a farmhouse in Tuscany.  We stayed in a gorgeous place, Croce di Bibbiano, in the Chianti region and it was every bit as dreamy as it sounds.

Choosing a place to stay wasn’t so dreamy.  There are so many options, from super cheap to ridiculously expensive, then you’ve got to decide which region of Tuscany you want to stay in, do you want your room to have a kitchen or not, is it close enough to some of the towns and villages you want to visit, etc etc.  The search began a couple of months before departure, and I would spend hours trawling the internet, only to find somewhere, enquire and then receive a reply that they were fully booked.  STRESSFUL FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.  By a fantastic stroke of luck, Greg aka The Boy Next Door, came across Croce di Bibbiano on one of his searches, we enquired, and thankfully they had space, our farmhouse in Tuscany was finally booked.

As soon as we pulled into the long cyprus tree lined driveway leading down to the farmhouse, we knew this place was going to be great.  And we were absolutely right.  We were greeted with a warm welcome from the coolest of couples, Esther and Federico, who run the farmhouse.  They showed us to our room, and it was gorgeous!  Our room was very large, with a rustic, farmhouse feel, complete with a bed, sofa, desk, and wardrobe, and a good sized bathroom too.  It was everything we had hoped for and more.

Dropping our bags and wandering around Croce di Bibbiano, we knew we were in for a week of relaxation.  It’s located on a hilltop that looks over the vineyards and out towards San Gimignano, one of my favourite Tuscan towns.  The large pool is lined with plenty of sun loungers, and we often sat poolside to watch the sun go down in the evening, whilst sipping on local wine.

The restaurant is gorgeous.  We dined al fresco, and for the gluten intolerant and coeliac’s amongst us, I cannot sing Croce di Bibbiano’s praises enough.  They go to extreme lengths to make sure you are able to enjoy a lovely gluten free dinner.  The same happens at breakfast each morning, where Esther would bring me my very own plate of meats and cheeses, yoghurts and gluten free cakes.  I love Italy for this, there is no country in the world that caters to us gluten intolerant lot more!

We were lucky to be staying in one evening when Esther and Federico hosted a tomato festival, inviting guests and locals to enjoy everything from bloody mary’s, to tomato salad to tomato sorbet (surprisingly good!), outside on the lawn.  All for ten euro’s.  It was amazing, with everyone milling about, enjoying wine and the never-ending tomato themed buffet.

Our time at this amazing Tuscan farmhouse ended all too soon, but we enjoyed every single minute of our stay there and cannot recommend this place enough.  If you’re looking for pure relaxation, and a location that is in close proximity to some of Tuscany’s bests towns and villages, Croce di Bibbiano is the perfect spot.  I cannot wait to return here for another vacation!

Thank you Esther and Federico for making our vacation so wonderful.  We enjoyed everything from breakfast, to the pool, to our conversations with you both!  You are wonderful hosts.

Annmaree x