If there are two types of foods that I love in life (other than desserts obviously)… the first is breakfast foods, cereals, anything toasted, muffins, oats, you name it. The second is snack foods, the thing’s on which you can nibble to tide you over until your next meal, something on which to pick at throughout the day or simply for the sheer joy of eating alone.
This doesn’t always work wonders for my diet as my love for a biscuit (or 5) with a cup of tea is simply a recipe for disaster when you consider that I drink around 7-9 cups a day. Luckily, I hold a severe dislike for crisps & wouldn’t dare reach out for a chocolate bar to cure my post-dinner, afternoon slump. Instead I prefer the comfort of
rich teas fruit, seeds or nuts. There are times though when I’m in need of something more substantial, this is when I’ll opt for a slice of banana bread, a low-fat muffin or an oaty flapjack.
The older I get, the more health-conscious I’ve found myself becoming. Having used to be a little on the large side growing up, I worked extremely hard to break those habbits & lose a lot of weight several years ago so I’m determined to remain in my happy & healthy medium now. Unfortunately, the ever closer I loom to the big 3-0, I find myself padding out a little & feeling all together a lot more wobbly than I used to.
So with a holiday to Italy coming up in a few months, I’m using this as a goal, an opportunity to begin to take my diet a little more seriously & add in some routine exercise in a last bid to shape up & feel like my former 22-year-old self. As an enthusiastic baker (two past-times that don’t often go in hand), this isn’t going to be easy. Worry not though, there’s always room for cake, what would life be without it (a world in which I would not wish to live)!
That just means that there’s been a whole lot of banana bread being produced in my kitchen of late & generally becoming a little more creative with my recipes. When this fails, I tend to simply feed others (Burrito boy hasn’t had any objections yet).
One staple recipe that I can almost convince myself is healthy (in moderation of course), is a chewy, oaty, comfort that will stave off any hunger pangs, coincidentally it accompanies a cup of tea rather well too… the humble flapjack. Such an adaptable treat that is open to experimentation & personal preferences. I’ve made these multiple times with such varying combinations that it keeps the recipe fresh, a different treat every time but with the same minimal effort (& washing up, win-win!). Simply stick with the base recipe & play to your heart’s content, depending on where the mood takes you.
Flapjacks are just one of life’s satisfying treats that are good for the soul, a great pick-me-up. I’ve listed a few variations of my own within the recipe, my personal favourite being simply dried fruit & mixed seeds but chocolate is always a winner when nothing but a cocoa hit will do. Fantastic for breakfast, in packed lunches, as a snack or at this time of year, a great addition to any picnic… I do however recommend at the very least some wicker & gingham, otherwise I’m not entirely sure that it is qualifies.
(makes 8 large or 16 smaller)
- 250g butter
- 180g light soft brown sugar
- 100g golden syrup
- 375g porridge oats
- 50g jumbo oats or desiccated coconut
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- Optional: 70g nuts
- Optional: 100g chocolate chunks
- Optional: 40g sunflower, pumpkin or sesame seeds
- Optional: 130g raisins, sultanas, cranberries or a mix
- Optional: 100g crystallised ginger & 50g dark chocolate
- Grease & line a 28 x 8 cm rectangular cake tin with baking parchment
- In a large saucepan melt together the butter, sugar & golden syrup
- Add all of the dry ingredients to the pan & mix well
- Add any flavourings, fruit, nuts, seeds etc. & mix until evenly distributed
- Tip the mixture into the cake tin & use the back of a spoon to press it into the tin
- Bake at 160C for 40 minutes, until golden brown
- Leave the flapjacks to cool completely in their tin before slicing into squares or rectangles