Thursday, 30 December 2010

30th December 2010

         It's that boring time between christmas and new year, time to start gearing up for the new years resolutions. Luckily here the snow has just about gone so out and about visiting friends and relatives which adds up to a decent 10 to 15 miles a day, although not too quickly, enough to get a bit of a sweat on and slightly out of breath which is a good indication that the walking is doing you some good. You will get peckish, and low cal power bars are expensive, and also manufactured so you never know quite what they contain. I make my own, and I know a few people who have taken this recipe and use it regularly.

Flapjacks/power bars.

My cooking is better than my photography.

        I don't normally stick to recipes, I'm the sort of cook who throws what seems to be the right amount in and see what comes out, if it works, all well and good. I've made this batch yesterday and tried to figure out amounts and method. So here goes!

Time, 10 minutes preparation, 25 to 30 mins cooking time.

Porridge oats, 250g to 350g
Honey  200g
Brown sugar 150g
Butter 150g (I use the cholesterol reducing spread with the plant sterols, although any spread will do.)
Fruit. maybe a couple of bananas, apples, pears, kiwi, etc. use your imagination.
Dried fruit, mixed dried fruit, also available dried cranberries, guji berries etc. the small ones though, if you use the big ones they expand too much.
Seed mix. Sunflower, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, mixed chopped nuts. 
Dashes of olive oil.

pre-heat oven to 180 degrees or equivalent gas mark (Not off the top of my head, sorry) you need a straight sided roasting tray, mine's about 14 inches by 10 inches, and an inch deep. Line with silver foil, pop it into the oven.
Put the sugar, honey and butter/spread into a large pan, pop it on the hob, and melt and stir.. (I used to microwave them, see previous posts...)
Add half of the oats. Stir in until well mixed.
Add fruit. make sure its chopped finely and well mixed. Stir in well until mixed.
Add seed mix, keep adding handfuls and mixing until you think there's enough in.
Add dried fruit, same thing, keep adding until theres plenty in. Sorry I can't be more specific, but in my mind I just add until I think "That's enough now."
Once its stirred and well mixed, add the rest of the oats gradually, mixing as you go. A few dashes of olive oil if you want to keep it moist.
A dash of olive oil in the silver foil lined tray which should be hot now. Leave it a couple of minutes to get hot, then it's time to add the mix.
Make sure the hot oil, (or butter) is spread evenly over the bottom of the tin. Pour in the mix, and spread evenly. Once it's filling the tin evenly to about an inch deep, I usually drizzle the surface with olive oil and use a tablespoon to flatten it dow so its even and fairly compact.
Once it's ready, sprinkle some brown sugar on the surface.
In the oven, fan assisted about 25 minutes. A bit longer makes them crunchier, and you may have to turn them round halfway through to make them cook evenly. Take them out if they start to burn.
Once it's cooked, take out of the oven, and slice up. i do one lengthways and can get 7 cuts widthways to make 16 bars. once they are cut, don't try and take them out just yet. Put the whole tin in the fridge for at least 3 to 4 hours. This helps them firm up into solid (though nicely chewy) bars.  You can lift out the silver foil and break it up into bars once the whole thing has cooled down

Scored ready for the fridge.

          Similar bars in the shops go for over a quid each, so at about 3 or 4 quid all in, is good value, and as an added bonus you know what's in them. Trial and error can make them better, they keep for a couple of weeks and are easy to take in a small tupperware container whilst out walking. Simple sugars and Carbs release energy gradually, and the oats make you feel more full.

       You can add any ingredients, cinammon, grated ginger, melt chocolate on top to make them with a chocolate layer (Popular!) or add any flavouring you like. 


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