Candied Alexander Stems

Candied Alexanders

I love Alexanders – smyrnium olusatrum. They are one of my favourite spring foragables. Driving around the countryside here on the Isle of Wight they suddenly pop up, lining the streets of parts of the Island from early March. We use the thin stems for a sautéed snack or side, the thicker stems for candying, make a syrup for drinks and cocktails, eat the florets steamed like you would broccoli, or pickled in vinegar. Later in the year we collect the seeds to use with pepper too.  I know people use the roots and leaves too, but we haven’t gone that far yet. Continue reading “Candied Alexander Stems”

Campfire Cheese with Foraged Herbs

Campfire cheese

It sounds a bit odd – making cheese on the campfire. You probably want to manage your expectations on this one – you’re not making a fine camembert, but it’s still a brilliant activity and a tasty spreading cheese to have on crackers or toast.

Campfire cheese uses a basic chemistry concept: irreversable changes. You can read more about making it into a lesson/life lesson/ conversation here. Continue reading “Campfire Cheese with Foraged Herbs”

Chia Raspberry Cacao Nib Peanut Butter Slice

Peanut Butter Slice

This peanut butter slice is adapted from the original Degustabox The Chia Co recipe. I had to make some changes to it as my kids wouldn’t eat cranberries if they were the last food on earth, and human survival depended on them. So I went for the freeze dried raspberries in the cupboard, and filled them out with some cacoa nibs for a raspberry and chocolate flavour to this ‘slice’ which could also quite easily be called a flapjack, except it has no sugar or butter and isn’t baked.Peanut Butter Slice

So, if you want a sugar free, butter free, no-bake flapjack, congratulations. You’ve found it in the form of a peanut butter slice.

I must then immediately caveat that by saying that in the 0 – 4C temperatures we’re having at the moment, these hold really well straight out the fridge. It’s likely that in hot temperatures, you could end up with a delicious peanut butter muesli. Try it and let me know?

Here’s the original recipe from Degustabox:

And here’s the adapted peanut butter slice version.

Chia Raspberry Cacao Nib Peanut Butter Slice
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: Healthy, Free From
Serves: 20 bars
  • 70g whole almonds, roasted
  • 150g oats, toasted
  • 75g raisins
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • 50g cacao nibs
  • 5g freeze dried raspberries
  • 2½ tbsp chia seeds (about 15g)
  • 105g honey
  • 100g smooth peanut butter
  1. Pre heat the oven to 160C (320F)
  2. Place the oats on a baking tray and toast for 15 - 20 minutes. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn't burn. On a separate tray, toast almonds for 10 - 12 mins, allowing to cool slowly.
  3. Add the almonds to the Thermomix®, pulse quickly twice.
  4. Add oats, raisins, coconut, cacao nibs, raspberries, chia seeds, honey and peanut butter.
  5. Mix reverse/speed 4/ 2 minutes
  6. If you're not using a pan with a removable base, line a 20cmx20cm tray or pan with baking paper, tip the mixture in and press down into the corners, flattening the mixture to make it even.
  7. Cover with cling film or plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
  8. Once it's set, remove, slice and cut into bars or bites.
  9. Store in the fridge.

These are easily adaptable and are very tasty. They make fabulous breakfast bars on the go and can hold a plethora of hidden healthy foods that might not otherwise go down well. They are very filling and they freeze well too, so  you can make a huge batch, and keep some in the fridge and some in the freezer, so they’re ready when you need them.

Bear Claws Snacks For Autumn

Bear Claws

I do love ‘happy post’ – that’s what we call mail the postman has to ring the bell for!  A few weeks ago we received this fab parcel from BEAR, containing their Halloween/Autumn themed bear claw snacks.
Bear Claws

I loved the personalised bag that comes as a perk of working with Bear, and did immediately pop the little squashes into the oven, then demolished them with slatherings of butter. And I didn’t even share! 😉

For the kids, the box contained Strawberry and Butternut BEAR Claws and Apple, Pear and Pumpkin BEAR Claws.

Each box contains 5 lunch box sized bags – convenient, since I have two kids, so they can have a two bags each and there’s a spare for me!

As with all BEAR snacks, these flavouris are 100% fruit and veg and contain no ‘added nonsense’. Bear Claws

The flavours sound rather… unusual… and I wasn’t sure what to make of them, but after playing with my food for a while, I did try them.

When you open the Strawberry and Butternut package you’re immediately met by the sweet aroma of the strawberry. Pop one in your mouth, and the overwhelming flavour is of strawberry. I struggle to identify the pumpkin flavour in these at all, but from a child’s point of view, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Apparently there’s 230g butternut in a finished (dehydrated) 100g of BEAR Claws, so if a bag is roughly 20% of that  – each bag contains roughly 45g of butternut (I’m guessing) – so it’s an ideal way to get those hidden veggies in!


The Apple, Pear and Pumpkin flavour on opening has a sweet apple aroma, and while it has distinct pear and apple flavours, you again can’t really taste the pumpkin despite the presence of over 240g of pumpkin to each 100g of finished product.  Bear Claws

While the BEAR claws are great to play with, they are also delicious to eat, and my kids love them. In fact, it’s getting them to save some for later that’s the problem!

Bear Claws are available online from Amazon and Ocado though you can pick them up in shops like Waitrose too.

We were sent this box of goodies free to review as part of the BEAR ambassador programme. Opinions and views are my own (or those of my children.) Links in the post may be affiliate links – you will not be charged for using them. 

Easy Monster Eggs

Monster Eggs

It’s almost Halloween and while the rest of the world have been having parties and trick or treating, we’ve been so busy I’ve not even thought about it too much. This evening though we did breakfast for dinner, of a sort, with sausages, eggs and potato wedges, and I decided to make them a little Halloween-ish. So here’s a quick recipe for  Monster Eggs to bring some Halloween into your day with little to no effort.Monster Eggs

Fortunately, I happened to have edible ink and edible eyes on hand (That’s normal, right?!) so it was easy to do. If you don’t have those, you could use mayonnaise and olives for the eyes, or even mayonnaise and a sprig of greenery for eye slits.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 4 peeled and boiled eggs (14 minutes in the Thermomix® internal steamer/Varoma) 
  • 50g spinach
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt to taste

Cut the eggs in half, then scoop the yolks out
eggs Combine the yolks, spinach, mayo and paprika in a food processor and blend till it’s a smooth mix (2 mins, speed 4 in the Thermomix®)

If you have edible ink, draw eyelashes on the egg whitemonster-eyes

Scoop spoonfuls back into the egg whites and top with the ‘eye balls’


Sprinkle salt to taste

These will keep for a few hours in the fridge if you’re making them for later

Follow this link for more Halloween recipes


Cheesy Straws

Cheesy Straws

These cheesy straws are a lovely snack for lunch boxes and last minute visitors. They can be prepared whenever you have time, and the pastry frozen – then just pop out a handful and bake when you need them.  I was setting an Autumn scene for some photos I had to do, so we broke up the straws to make a ‘woodpile’. I was glad when the kids walked in and said ‘Oh, look at the brooms!’  Always useful when people can tell what you’re going for!
Cheesy Straws

These cheesy straws can be made as straws, though simply baking them in rounds is okay too – I tend to freeze them as round biscuits, making them easier to use with dips. If you’re going to make brooms, I recommend that you use the stringy type of kids cheese, rather than regular blocks of cheese which crack rather than pull apart. And have more chives than you think you need as they break really easily too. Cheesy Straws

I also like to add paprika or rosemary to cheese strings – it just depends on what flavour you like, or whether you like something different from time to time! Also, you don’t have to add parmesan, it just heightens the cheese flavour. If you decide not to, just make another 50g cheddar cheese.

Cheesy Straws Recipe:

Cheesy Straws
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 60 sticks
  • 375g plain flour
  • 225g butter
  • 150g cheddar cheese
  • 50g parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp mustard (I use a grainy mustard, but powder will work too)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • pinch of salt
  • pepper to taste
Thermomix® Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients to the Thermomix® bowl
  2. Mix speed 5/30 seconds
  3. Remove and shape into a log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  4. Heat the oven to 180C
  5. Break off pieces and roll into sticks using your hands
  6. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before moving but be gentle as they are fragile
Regularly Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor
  2. Mix until everything is combined and the dough forms a ball
  3. Remove and shape into a log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  4. Heat the oven to 180C
  5. Break off pieces and roll into sticks using your hands
  6. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before moving but be gentle as they are fragile