Healthy Homemade Flapjacks

I have been eating too many creme eggs and Easter eggs this week. I have therefore tried to abort this unhealthy regime by making another batch of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s honey and peanut booster bars. Not only are these healthier than Creme eggs, but they are fairly packed with carbs, which is handy as I’m running a marathon next weekend and need all the carbs that I can get! Plus even my mum asked me for the recipe for them, so they must be good!

Oaty, fruity, seedy goodness!

Very easy to make and very tasty. An easy competitor to Pret a Manger’s love bars I would say. And, of course, all the better for being homemade.


125g unsalted butter
1506 soft brown sugar
125g crunchy peanut butter
75g honey
Grated zest 1 lemon
Grated zest 1 orange
200g porridge oats
150g dried fruit, such as sultanas, raisins, apricots
150g mixed seeds, such as pumpkin, sunflower, poppy, linseed

Grease and line a baking tin, about 20cm square.

Put the butter, sugar, peanut butter, honey and citrus zests into a deep saucepan over a very low heat. Leave until melted, stirring from time to time.

Stir the oats, dried fruit and most of the seeds into the melted mixture until thoroughly combined. Spread the mixture out evenly into the baking tin. Sprinkle the remaining seeds on top, plus a drizzle of honey.

Place in a preheated oven (160C/gas mark 3) for about 30 minutes, until golden in the centre and golden brown at the edges. Be careful not to leave it too long. Golden brown edges, not black.

Leave to cool completely in the tin. Be patient – it cuts much better when cold and easily falls apart when warm. Turn out and cut out into squares with a sharp knife. Eat when an energy boost is required.


Vanilla Fudge – second time lucky!

Thankfully my second attempt at fudge has been a roaring success! My first effort involved condensed milk and ended up in a sloppy, un-fudge like mess. I have now canned the condensed milk (haha) and have bought myself a sugar thermometer in order to get the temperature right – oh yes, we are in exciting times now!

So, armed with my sugar thermometer and a new fudge recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, I started on my second effort. And it was extermely straight forward. The thermometer worked perfectly so  I knew exactly when the mixture was hot enough and at the infamous ‘soft ball’ stage. And it seemed to set exactly as it was supposed to. And once cooled, it tasted suprisingly like vanilla fudge.

I’m keen to try out some more flavours now, but will have to finish this batch first. Lucky that I’m doing lots of running, as it is verrry sweet and I think is signficantly lacking in health benefits – but it tastes good anyway!

The Recipe

300g caster sugar

1 tbsp golden syrup

100g unsalted butter

100ml double cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

Using a few drops of sunflower oil on a piece of kitchen paper, lightly oil a 15x22cm baking dish.

Put the sugar, syrup, butter and cream in a saucepan, making sure it’s not more than a third full as the mixture will bubble when it boils. Heat gently, stirring all the time, until the sugar has completely dissolved – tip the pan to make sure there are no crystal still visible on the base.

Stop stirring. Put a sugar thermometer in the pan and turn up the heat. Let the mixture boil hard until it reaches 116C (soft ball stage). This may happen quite fast or could take up to 15 minutes or more, so keep a sharp eye on the thermometer. Take the pan off the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes.

Add the vanilla and beat vigorously until the mixture thickens, becomes slightly grainy and starts to come away from the base of the pan. This can take up to 10 minutes. Tip into the prepared dish, smooth and leave to cool.

Mark into squares with a sharp knife while it’s still slightly soft (I left it too late and it started crumbling). Leave for 2 to 4 hours to firm up completely and then remove from the dish.