I could not wait to get my (cake batter) sticky fingers on Kate Doran aka The Little Loaf’s first cookbook, Homemade Memories released last week. I spent the entire evening it arrived pouring over page after page of delicious recipes with a large mug of steaming hot tea. I don’t think I have ever had a cookbook before that I have wanted to make every single thing from it (homemade nutella – yes please! colin the caterpillar cake – may be the only birthday cake I will ever make again!). The photography, by Helen Cathcart is absolutely stunning, she has managed to capture every oozing ounce of sauce, fat dollop of cream and fragile crumb, each picture almost leaps off the page.
I thought that the first recipe I would make from the book would be something a little morecomplicated (homemade doughnuts) or saccharine (brown butter chocolate chip cookies). But in keeping with this gorgeous book I settled on something that fitted into life right now, that will become part of a whole, a larger memory remembered in years to come (partially) through baking.
In 11 days Dan will be taking part in the 40th London to Brighton bike ride. Having grown up on his father’s stories of the years he participated, it has been something Dan has spoken about wanting to do our entire relationship. I am so proud of him for finally doing it, he has been cycling nearly everyday to train and is looking in the best shape of his life. If anyone is interested in donating (he’s raising money for the British Heart Foundation – such a great cause!) his donation page is here. Instead of haribo or fluorescent blue sports gels for him to take on his rides, I made a big batch of Kate’s Apricot Peanut and Sesame Flapjacks packed full of energy fueling nuts, seeds, dried fruit and oats. Cycling through the beautiful English countryside and the challenge of Ditchling Beacon will forever be intertwined with the sweet sticky flavour of brown sugar, honey and apricots with the light crunch of oats.
The smells wafting from my oven this morning were absolutely heavenly, comforting and sugary. It took a lot of self control not to break chunks off as I took it out of the oven. I managed to wait less than half an hour, until it set a little more before snapping a few quick shots and scarfing the largest slice with a big cup of tea. The recipe offers two baking options for the flapjack, longer and hotter for a chewy biscuity flapjack, or my personal preference shorter and cooler for a fudgier texture. By far my favourite addition to the recipe was the hint of citrus adding a bright note to the honeyed mix from zest of a small orange. What’s left of little wholefood treats are now sitting, individually wrapped in my freezer ready to be grabbed before each training session and eventually the big ride.
First of many many bakes from @thelittleloafblog beautiful book Homemade Memories. Apricot, Peanut and Sesame Flapjacks (oh 54) for Dan's London to Brighton ride in just over a week. I'm so proud of him, he's been training almost every day! If anyone is interested he's raising lonely for the British Heart Foundation and I've included the link to his page in my profile (22/66 of my cookbook challenge)
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recipe by Kate Doran from Homemade Memories
100g smooth or chunky peanut butter (I used this one which is my favourite brand and is 100% peanuts)
100g light muscavado sugar
4 tbsp honey
150g roughly chopped dried apricots
135g rolled oats
90g jumbo rolled oats
3 tbsp sesame seeds
zest of one small orange
- Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, line a 20cm by 20cm tin with greaseproof paper (unbleached is better). I used a
- In a medium saucepan combine the butter, peanut butter, sugar and honey over a low heat stirring until the butter has melted and all the ingredients are well combined.
- Add the chopped apricots to the pan and heat gently for 1-2 minutes to help soften the dried fruit slightly.
- Pour in the rest of the ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until all the dried ingredients are equally covered with the warm buttery syrup.
- Carefully tip into your prepared tray and using the back of a spoon or a silicone spatula press firmly to create an even layer.
- Place in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes for a softer bake, or 10C higher for 30-35 minutes for a biscuity finish. When ready the flapjack should be golden around the edges and firm in the middle.
- Allow to cool to room temperature before cutting.