Sunday, 6 April 2014

Grapefruit granola bars.

I was thinking recently about "seasonal foods".  Nowadays we can get most things whenever we want but I remember when I was younger my mum always wanted us to buy "seasonal fruit and veg".  I didn't really understand at the time, I assumed it was something to do with fair-trade? I think really it was about supporting Bristish produce.  Eating what we had grown.  I think that's why we grew our own fruit and veg, that and the fact it was essential free food (for the squirrels…).

Anyway I thought it might be nice to see when fruits were seasonal and see if I could come up with some recipes.  My original plan was to come up with a new recipe a week but we all know that's never going to happen!

What foods are seasonal in April I hear you ask? Well, lots.  Is the simple answer.  I decided to focus on fruits because I prefer baking as opposed to cooking and I picked two.

April = grapefruit and pomegranate.

Two of my favourite fruits (although pomegranate is a bitch to eat).

So my first recipe is Grapefruit granola bars, perfect for breakfasts on the go (or if you are like me and would rather sleep for an extra 10 minutes than have breakfast).  I was going to blog about granola bars a while ago but I burned them and then I couldn't be bothered to try again but here we go.

You may think grapefruit and granola don't mix but I think it adds a refreshing twist to the sweetness of the honey and maple syrup in the granola.  Why don't you see for yourself?

Grapefruit Granola Bars

To start with you need to make the granola (if you are a lazy arse/don't have time you could buy this).  I have altered this recipe from Elizabeth Rider, a slightly annoying healthy American lady (

Before I start, you need to know 3 things about granola:

1. It's not as healthy as you think
2. It tastes gross if you burn it.
3. You can use any nuts, fruit and seeds that you have in your cupboard.  Seriously just shove 'em all in.
4. It is advisable to get the most expensive ingredients (but unless you're Gwenyth Paltrow, Sainsbury's own brand will be just fine)


For the granola (makes 550g):

2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup nuts
1/4 cup seeds
1/2 cup dried fruit
2-3 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil (any healthy looking oil will do)

For the breakfast bars:

550g granola (see above)
110g butter
31/2 tbsp honey
110 light muscovado sugar
Zest of one grapefruit
2 tbsp grapefruit juice

For the topping

5 tbsp greek/natural yogurt
3 tbsp grapefruit


Preheat oven to 145°C

1. Put all granola ingredients in a bowl and mix well (with your hands ideally)
2. Spread out on a baking tray (the bigger the tray the better, you want it all spread out flat) and put in oven for 8-10 minutes (DO NOT LEAVE THE KITCHEN - YOU WILL FORGET ABOUT IT AND IT WILL BURN)
3. Place in a bowl and leave to cool.

Turn oven up to 180°C

4. Melt the butter, honey and sugar in a saucepan in a saucepan
5. Add in the zest and juice of grapefruit.
6. Add to the granola and mix together.
7.  Put into a lined maller baking tray and push down.
8. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes
9. To make the topping mix the juice and yogurt together and artfully (or not) spread over the top.
8. When cool cut into small bars and wrap individual bars in foil or greaseproof paper (the latter looks nicer but is less practical). If you put yogurt on them, don't forget to store them in the fridge - I did an almost ate mould this morning. Yum!

Enjoy! Here's so pictures of when I made them:

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The Invisible City

In 2007 my brother and his then girlfriend (they are now married, don't worry!) decided that with some help from their friends they would build tree houses in Regent's Park, known as the Treehouse Gallery.  Now we all love tree houses don't we?  These ones were big enough to hold events inside, music art, recitals and workshops.  They were there for three months and it really felt like they had created a community within nature.

It was such a unique, awesome event and the great news is... they are bringing it back and this time, they need your help!  As you can see from the pictures, they sourced all of their materials for free and they created larger versions of what you and I would find in the garden but with the Invisible City they have gone further.  A lot further.  Together with an architect (who worked on the Eden Project btw) they have created some incredible structures that unfortunately cost money.

(Ed Shuster and Claudia Moseley)

The reason these structures look so great is because they are expensive.  They don't have the kind of money needed but collectively with you and me, they will.  They have set up a crowd funding page on kick-starter so that the money can be raised.  In return for giving them money, you can use their structures for a period of time (cool eh?).  So...

I need you to go on the kick-starter website and give as much as you can.  You can help the Invisible City become a reality.

How much do you want to be in one of them for real?  How much do you want to see Bjork performing in the arena (oh yes!)? Enough to give them some of your money?

Don't forget to share this with all your friends and follow them on Facebook (Invisible City) and Twitter (@InvisibleCityUK) to see who else is going to be involved!

AND don't take my word for it, check out some articles from the Evening Standard and more:

Katie (a very proud sister)

Monday, 10 February 2014

The best *ahem* Rocky Road recipe

I'm not actually a huge fan of rocky road or the similar chocolate fridge cake.  Mainly because a) I don't  really like marshmallows so that rules out rocky road and b) I don't like raisins/currants and most people  put those in chocolate fridge cake.  The answer would be to make it myself and omit the marshmallow and raisins but for some reason it has never occurred to me to do that!

Anyway, anyway, anyway I was looking through Mammasaurus' blog and I saw some Rocky Road that looked so delicious I just had to make it.  Luckily I was going to visit my cousins so it was the perfect treat to take them (well it would have been if I hadn't eaten most it before I got there!).

I didn't have most of the ingredients from Mammasaurus' blog so I looked through some old cookbooks to find a suitable 'base' recipe that I could alter (mainly take out the marshmallows and raisins!). Anyway I found a recipe in the Good Housekeeping recipe which I adapted a bit, which is below.

I haven't told you the best bit about my rocky road though.  I've said that I don't like marshmallows and I wasn't lying but what I didn't tell you was that I do like melted marshmallows. In particular gooey roasted marshmallows on a stick over the fire.  I wanted to get those type of marshmallows in my Rocky Road and I did with a little of help of "Fluff".  For those of you that don't know, Fluff is marshmallow spread that has been brought over from America. It's marshmallow that is permanently melted.  IT IS HEAVEN IN A JAR. It was so hard not to eat it straight from the jar but I held off long enough to get some in the Rocky Road's.  You can buy it from most supermarkets and it's not too expensive (for a little spoonful of heaven no less!).

Anyway, anyway, here is the recipe, you should have most of the ingredients in your house already and it is a great recipe to do with the kids. I forgot to take pictures as I went along but I did make one of those instagram movie things (a really bad one mind), which you can watch at the bottom.  It' very informative (it's not).

I really hope you enjoy these as much as I did.


ps. I dare you to only be able to have one - it's really not possible!


125g plain chocolate
1tbsp golden syrup
125g butter/margarine
125g (chocolate) digestive biscuits
3 tbsp fluff
100g extra choclate for decorating


1. Place the chocolate, golden syrup and butter in a bowl over some boiling water. Make sure the bowl does not touch the water. 
2. Heat until the chocolate and butter has melted.
3. Place the biscuits in a freezer bag, tie/seal securely and bash to pieces (a rolling pin is useful here)
4. Add the digestive biscuits to the melted chocolate mixture and stir until incorporated.
5. Pour into a lined baking tray (roughly 20x30 but whatever you've got) and push into the corners.
6. Dollop on around 3 tablespoons of fluff over the top and stir in roughly.
7. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
8. Melt the remaining chocolate in a bowl over some water.
9. Once the rocky road has chilled for 30 minutes spread the melted chocolate thinly over the top.
10. Chill for at least 30 more minutes, cut up in small pieces and eat to your hearts content.

Here's the video: Instagram Why don't you follow me on Instagram too (katieshuster)?

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Water photography

I have a weird obsession with water and sun.  I think together they can make some great photographs.  What with all the flooding at the moment, there is an abundance of water and as I was driving today to do some dreaded shopping with the sun glaring in my eye I noticed a river running alongside the road. I decided I had enough time so I pulled over and took some photos. I makes me really want to have a proper camera but until then my iPhone will have to do.  Maybe I can get one for my birthday!

Here are my favourites. I love the reflections and the symmetry of trees:

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Guess the age...

How old do you think I am in the "About me" section of my blog

Guesses in the comments please!

Tuesday, 4 February 2014


You really can't go wrong with waffles and they are so, so, so yummy.  If you are a waffle fan, then I definitely recommend that you buy a waffle iron.  It will be worth the small investment.

Anyway, I want to show you how simple they are to make.  Through doing a little bit of research I realised that the batter is the same as scotch pancake/drop scone batter (because scotch pancakes are the english equivalent of american pancakes/waffles)

I used Mary Berry's recipe (it makes 4 waffles):

100g flour
25g caster sugar
1 egg
150ml milk


1. Place the flour and sugar in a bowl and make a well in the centre.

2.  Add the egg into the well and a little of the milk

3.  Whisk from the middle until the mixture is smooth, adding a little bit of milk if it too think to mix at all (but the less milk the better)

4. Once smooth, add the milk a little at a time.  Whisking each time.

5. Using a non-flammable pastry brush, brush on some oil onto the waffle irons.  Making sure to get into the crevices. 

6. Using a ladle, place some mixture onto the irons, making sure you can't see any visible iron.

7.  Cook the waffles for 2 mins (although it will vary depending on the iron)

8.  Cover in maple syrup (I suppose other options may work as well) and enjoy!

Katie :)

Friday, 24 January 2014

Inspiration - the lonely sheep

Inspiration can come from anywhere.  I haven't been able to compose my words for sometime now but a simple walk was all it took.  A walk on my own, just me and my head.  I'm not sure I liked what I found but if I've found my muse again, who cares?  It was that lightbulb moment and I just had to write, so I scoured the high street for a notepad and pen, picked up my pace and strode off to find a nice spot to write on.

I wonder how much to share on this blog.  Life can seem pretty messed up at the time but when you look back you realise it was just a tiny misspelling in a book.  I don't want to document these misspellings on the internet because I know I will regret it.  Some however might help others or the process of writing them might bring about the realisation of their insignificance.  Either way I'm going to share some of mine with you along the way.

That day I was contemplating why when breathing and moving and living are so difficult we keep doing it.  Why do we bother?  Sometimes being alone, even for just a few hours can render life pointless.  I was sat watching some sheep and I contemplated being alone.

This is a poem for those moments when you feel the most alone. When you're surrounded by people but you've never felt more alone.

The lonely sheep

I’m standing here alone.
I can see my friends,
Meandering past.
They’re trying to find the greenest grass.
They’re trying to get away from me.
There’s Debbie and Burt,
Patrick and Sarah,
All wondering around,
Two by two,
With nothing to do.

I’m standing here alone.
The traffic is deafening.
The air is chilling.
I can see my friends wandering around,
Two by two.
I like my patch, don’t get me wrong.
My grass is good, not tough or strong.
I try to share it, with one or two,
With those I can see with nothing to do.

I’m standing here alone.
Why am I alone?
I breathe and eat just like my friends.
Like those who walk two by two.
There are others alone.
Eating their grass with nothing to do.
There’s Bobby, Scott, Tallulah and Mary.
Those are my friends with nothing to do.

I’m standing here alone.
“You’re a sheep, what need d’you have”.
A sheep needs love.
A sheep needs wanting.
A sheep needs holding.
A sheep needs you.
Why am I alone, with nothing to do?

I’m standing here alone.
I see my friends,
Trotting around two by two,
With nothing to do.
They look like me,
Wool, four legs, can’t you see?
So, why am I alone?
Why am I alone?

I’m standing here alone.
I’m in this field, just like my friends.
I want to walk two by two.
Like Debbie and Burt,
With nothing to do.

I’m standing here alone.
Why am I alone?