The Breakfast Club: creamy blueberry overnight oats

One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to get into a better morning routine.  I really wanted to make my mornings a more mindful, fulfilling time of preparation for the day, rather than – to use the technical term – a mad rush.  If you’d like to have a morning in which breakfast is not one of the things you have to think overly hard about, then these oats are going to be your best friends.

You prepare them the night before by mixing a few things together, and then in the morning you just need to give them a stir and you’re ready to go.  They’re also ridiculously healthy, and vegan to boot. I’ve tinkered around with differing amounts of milk and oats to find what I like, so please feel free to do the same. And the beauty of a recipe like this is that once you find a base that works, you can add almost anything on top to make it even more delicious.

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Serves one for a yummy breakfast

Ingredients

1/2 cup porridge oats

1/2 cup almond milk (or any milk you like)

1 tablespoon cashew or almond butter

A handful frozen blueberries

A generous squeeze of honey (optional)

Directions

  • Take a tupperware (perfectly acceptable) or Kilner jar (Pinterest-worthy but slightly pretentious) and scoop in your oats.  Add the milk, nut butter and honey and give it a really good stir.  Now add your blueberries, and stir those in too.
  • Put on the lid and place in the fridge overnight.  In the morning I like to let mine warm up a little closer to room temperature if I remember – I just lift it out on my way to the shower and around half an hour later it’s perfect.

Tip: Use a decent container and on your less than zen mornings you can throw your oats into your handbag and eat them at work. I’d say just now I do this roughly 50 per cent of the time. Hey! I’m getting better!

Listening to Love Myself by Hailee Steinfeld, Cake by the Ocean by DNCE and Stitches by Shawn Mendes.

© Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2016.

Foodie Adventures: Bunty’s Tea Room, Lincoln

The first thing you need to know about this cafe is that it’s on a very steep hill called Steep Hill.  I just really enjoy that. I spied Bunty’s as we toiled up the hill into Lincoln city centre, and a couple of hours later when the inevitable murmurs of an urgent need for afternoon tea began, I steered us deftly back and in we went.

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There was a warm welcome, friendly service and yummy cake. We went for the Battenberg cake, the peanut butter and chocolate cake, and a fruit scone with jam and cream. All were delicious and presented on gloriously mismatched china.

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The teapots and decor were also really cool – a medley of vintage that was cosy and not overdone.  It just makes afternoon tea so much more interesting when it’d served in a variety of pretty bits and pieces. Oh, and they had a lovely sign made out of Scrabble letters. What’s not to love?

If you find yourself in Lincoln then I highly recommend that you check out this lovely little tea shop. You can find their website here.

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Everything is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2016.

Jam and cream and all things nice: Victoria sponge

This was the first cake I ever made; for a long time, it was the only cake I ever made. It’s perfect for a beginner: pretty much foolproof and reliably delicious despite its simplicity. My boyfriend requested it for his birthday this year, and it’s my Dad’s favourite too. If you’ve never had it, you need to make it soon!

There are of course many similar recipes out there, but this cake goes back to first principles in that it’s the same weight of everything (except the vanilla essence, but that’s optional anyway), and mum uses a method designed to account for differing weights/sizes of eggs. At home we had a pair of those old fashioned scales which use tiny weights on one side and a removable metal dish on the other; this method was devised with that in mind, but the same principles apply with any other type of scale.

In the ‘old fashioned’ way, you put your eggs (I used three this time, but you can use two depending on how big you want your cake to be) on the part where the weights would go, and then use their weight to measure all of the other ingredients. If you’ve got any other type of scale, weigh your eggs and then measure out the same amount of everything else. In my case, three large eggs weighed 200g, so I used 200g of the other main ingredients too.

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Ingredients

For the cake

Sugar

Butter or margarine

Eggs (2 or 3, see above)

Self raising flour

A splash of vanilla essence

A little icing sugar (for dusting)

For the filling

Double cream (as much as you like)

Jam (any kind, I used strawberry)

– Preheat the oven to 180c (160c fan), then grease two 20cm sandwich tins and set aside

– Cream together the butter and the sugar using a wooden spoon, or an electric whisk if you’re feeling fancy

– Add the eggs one at a time, with a tablespoon of flour each time, mixing after each addition

– Splash in the vanilla essence

– Sieve in the rest of the flour and fold in until the mixture is smooth

– Divide the mixture between the two tins and spread into a fairly even layer.

– Bake for 20- 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean (with a few moist crumbs)

– Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

– Meanwhile, beat the double cream until stiff – when the cakes are cool, spread the underside of one with the cream, and the underside of the other with a generous helping of jam.

-Sandwich together and dust the top with icing sugar – the easiest way is to put a few spoonfuls of icing sugar into a sieve, hold it about 10cm from the top of the cake and gently tap the side until you have a light layer of powdery goodness.

– Slice generously and serve.

Because it contains fresh cream, you need to keep this in the fridge unless you live somewhere really cold! It’s not ideal as it can make the sponge really hard, so each time you want some more try to remember to lift the cake out about half an hour  before to allow it to return to room temperature. Because of this, the cake is really best devoured as soon as possible – I don’t think you’ll have too many problems persuading people to eat this rapidly though.

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Listening to Beat me Daddy (Eight to the Bar) by The Andrews Sisters, New York, New York Medley by Mel Torme, That Old Black Magic by Ella Fitzgerald, Night Club by Mose Allison — I’m going through a serious jazz phase… It’s genetic.

This recipe is one I learned from my mum – it’s one that’s been around forever, seemingly. All other content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.

An accidental hiatus, 101 followers and a little bit of hope

Well hello there. It’s been a while — oops. I promise I have a good excuse.

Okay — not really. But I have been busy. And, to put the icing on the sheepish cake, I logged back into WordPress yesterday after a period of good intentions paving the way to absolutely no blog posts whatsoever to find I’d missed a bit of an exciting milestone. One hundred and one people are now following ohtogoawandering which, I’ll admit, makes me beam with pride. In some ways, I never set out to write this blog for anybody but myself, but equally it’s nice to know that people enjoy what I create here in my tiny corner of the internet.

And I wanted to mark the occasion somehow: it feels like a watershed in many ways — a new beginning. A moment to look to the next one hundred, and the next few years. And it happens to coincide with other lines in the sand.

I’ve gone from a period in my life where I was really struggling a lot, felt as though I had lost my way and was very unhappy, to a period where I feel like the way ahead is clear, bright and full of promise. Where I feel appreciated, where my hard work seems to pay off, and where I look forward to getting up each morning.

Alongside that, we woke up in the UK yesterday to a new government: a less positive change. The fragile hopes of the left wing in Britain were dashed as we welcomed in five years of a conservative majority government. An administration that rode to power fuelled primarily by people’s fear and anger. The leaders of the two main liberal parties in Britain resigned, taking full responsibility for their party’s crushing defeats– their resignation speeches are not easy to watch. It isn’t easy to watch people give their all for a cause you believe in, and then to watch them lose, no matter how graceful their exits.

Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, gave a particularly emotional speech after watching his party lose seat after seat. But tinged as it was with personal sadness and defeat, his message was ultimately one of hope for the future. It struck a chord among a huge number of people: even if Clegg’s political record is far from flawless, he spoke to hope, generosity and liberalism in a dark moment for those who fear another five years of a party whose primary concern is the rich and powerful. And it reminded us that before we turn to the easy refuges of cynicism and anger, the most powerful weapon we have is our hope that things will get better.

It’s that little voice that has always got me through the rubbish times, and it’s that which will preserve left wing idealism. And no matter what your political feelings or your situation, hope is not something to be sniggered at or denigrated in favour of ‘realism’: anybody who has ever changed anything started with a belief that things could change. And they can.

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A bit of an emotional one this time, but it’s something I needed to write. Thanks to each and every one of my one hundred and one followers — I hope you continue to enjoy my blog! 

Listening to: Girl Crush by Little Big Town, I Feel the Earth Move by Carole King, Woman (Oh Mama) by Joy Williams, Word Up! by Little Mix.

The Walt Whitman image is from Pinterest, where it sadly becomes almost impossible to find the original creator. All other content is © Rebecca Daley and ohtogoawandering, 2015.