Coconut and Chocolate Macaroons

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Recipe originally found from the great Minamilist Baker and then slightly adapted.

Ingredients

265 g Desiccated coconut
1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tsp Maple Syrup
1/2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
50 g Dairy Free Dark Chocolate




Makes Approx 10-15 Macaroons

  1. Preheat oven to 175-180 degrees and line a tray with grease proof paper.
  2. Add the desiccated coconut and coconut oil to a food processor or blender (I use my nutribullet and it works just fine) and blend, scraping down sides as needed. You want the texture to feel like a dough if you squeeze it between your fingers.
  3. Next add the maple syrup and vanilla, mix again until just incorporated.
  4. Using a tablespoon, scoop out some of thee mixture and pack firmly with your hands to get an even shape, then use your finger to make them the shape of a half circle. Gently lay them on your tray and continue until all coconut is used.
  5. Bake for 8-10 minutes, cook until the edges and tops are a lovely golden brown. While the macaroons are cooling, melt the dark chocolate, I do mine in the microwave as it's just so easy.
  6. Once cooled, pick up macaroons and dip in the chocolate, allowing it to come up over the edges slightly. Be gentle with the macaroons as they can be fragile.
  7. Place macaroons on to a some parchment and repeat until all bites are coated and drizzle the tops with some chocolate, leave them to set before eating.
  8. Once set, peel away from the parchment serve, best eaten fresh - doubt they'll stick around for long!




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Seriously Good Cinnamon Buns

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Summer hasn't quite hit the ground running just yet has it? Mid July and still baring tights, jackets and grey skies. When another weekend came around and the weather was not looking all that impressive (shocker) Matt and I needed some delicious comfort food so we sought out a recipe. Matt had never had a 'cinnabon' or cinnamon swirl before and it has been over a year since I have indulged in one, I went through a phase of really loving them. So with recipe in hand, ingredients in the cupboard and a willing boyfriend he went about making some sweet treats.



Ingredients 
4 1/2 Tsp Rapid Rise Yeast (2 Sachets)
1 Cup Warm Water
1/3 Cup Melted Coconut Oil
1 Tsp Salt
2 1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup and 1 Tsp Sugar
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
2-3 Tsp Water
1/4 Tsp Vanilla Extract



Makes about 12 Cinnamon Rolls

1. Firstly you want to warm your water (it should feel like a warm bath - not too hot) Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of sugar and all of the yeast. Stir the mixture and let it sit for a few minutes to activate. After 5-10 minutes the mixture should have formed bubbles in it to show that the yeast is active.

2. Add the coconut oil, salt, 2 cups of flour and remaining sugar, then stir until the mixture all comes together. Add aditional flour in 1/2 cup measurements until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl but is still soft and slightly sticky.

3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times until you form a smooth ball. Dust your bowl with flour and put the dough back in to it, set aside while you prep the filling.

4. For the filling combine the cinnamon and brown sugar in a small bowl and mix together. Dust the counter with some more flour and turn the dough ball out onto the floured surface. Roll the dough out to a rectangle (approx 12-16 inches) Spread melted coconut oil over the rolled out dough, leaving a border of about 1 inch around the edges free of oil.

5. Sprinkle the oil topped buns with cinnamon and brown sugar mixture, using your hands to gently move it around so that it evenly coats the dough. Use your rolling pin to gently roll over it to press the sugar into the dough.

6. Starting at the long end closest to you, begin to (gently but tightly) roll the dough into a log shape. Using a sharp knife, slice off the uneven ends where there is no filling, you want to then slice rolls of about 1 1/2 inch thick and place in a greased large tray.

7. Cover the rolls with cling film and set somewhere warm to double in size for about 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 175-180 degrees. Once the rolls have puffed up and double in size, bake them for about 15 minutes. Let them cool for a 5-10 minutes before glazing and serving.

Warm, comforting and the one of my ultimate sweet treats.

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Mad Dogs and Vintage Vans

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You know those places that leave a last impression, you can't stop thinking about and you instantly want to return to? Well Mad Dogs and Vintage Vans in Ross-on-Wye was just that place for me, probably one of my favourite things I have done in 2016. Picture the scene, a summer(ish) day in June, a wild flower meadow, fields of green as far as the eye can see, this is where four beautiful vintage caravans named Elsie, Gertie, Sybil and Monty reside. Matt and I spent a Monday-Wednesday having the WHOLE site to ourselves, which just made it all the more special and romantic.





Jo the owner greeted us on arrival with her Pug called Pepper, a friendly little snorting bundle of joy. She showed us to our abode which was the delightful Elsie. Decked out in twee curtains, buntings and floral crockery - a 1950s dream.

We were lucky enough for the Monday to be sunny and mostly blue skies so we enjoyed our little campfire by Elsie, cooking up some Linda McCartney sausages, toasting buns, ratatouille. We decided to try some of the locally produced cider (recommend) in the warm sunshine whilst we enjoyed our 'rat-dogs'






After a good few hours to settle in and explore, having made a firm friend in a little 'wild' black cat who we would learn to be the most affectionate and loyal little thing who would stay with us for the two days we were there, Jo came over with some dairy free homemade scones with the most delicious raspberry jam. With a full stomach, a happy heart, the love of my life and a purring machine next to me I decided it would be rude not to indulge myself in a little nap.

In the evening we purchased some more fire wood and Matt went to making a roaring fire in the main camp area near the mess tent, toasting some marshmallows (Holland and Barrett do some great gelatin free ones) sipping on some prosecco and watching as the sun set over the incredible setting, whilst horses canted by in the field opposite, all the warm fuzzy feels.





After a restful nights sleep in a surprisingly really comfortable bed and waking up to sun streaking through the gaps in the curtains windows, hearing the birds singing, we decided it would be nice to cook up breakfast in the mess tent before heading for a little bit of an explore and walk in the woods, managing to get back to camp before the heavens opened. It was really rather lovely being tucked up inside with Matt and our little furry friend whilst the skies darkened and the rain pitter-pattered on the roof of Elsie, drinking tea and cuddling.

Before the storm really started up again in the evening we headed back to the mess tent, bringing over some beers, snacks, music, torches and our cat in tow, warming our chilly bodies by a crackling fire. Finding our way back to our base camp (ok literally only 2 minutes away but it was dark!) by torch light and seeing all the twinkling fairy lights adorning each tree outside the other caravans.

Thanks again to Jo and all the staff at Mad Dogs, who really make the experience that much greater. Leaving you to your own devices to enjoy the camp but being just a text message away incase you have any problems, fancy ordering some fresh local bread or want some more of that delicious cider.

What I loved most about the glamping experience, was being able to really appreciate all the little things, going back to nature, hearing birds chirps, stopping and looking at incredible sunsets, the sounds and smell of camp fires, being with the person I love the most and not wanting or needing for anything else.


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