These two simple swatches are all there is to show you of my knitting at the moment. I have plenty of knitting plans and ideas, but it’ll take a while for them to transform into something bloggable. So I thought, Why not take a break? A nice, long summer break! I can certainly do with one. How about you?
Now, before you think that my blog will come to a standstill, that’s not what I mean. What I mean is that I’d like to take a break from talking about my knitting. I’d like to take us on a few outings and write about some other summery things. Mainly knitting-or-other-crafts-related, of course.
I don’t know exactly what it’s all going to look like, and I can’t guarantee that my knitting won’t sneak in here and there, but I hope that it’s going to be fun and something to look forward to every week.
To start with, I’d like to take you on an early morning walk and share a recipe.
Imagine that it’s 7 a.m. We’ve just had a quick breakfast and are still slightly groggy and grumpy, feeling like, ‘Do we really need to get up this early on our day off?’ Then, seeing the sun slanting through the trees, and breathing in the fresh air and the mixed smell of pine trees, sand and heather, all the grumpiness is gone. Aaaaah, it’s so good to be here!
In some places, the ground is carpeted with crowberries dotted with many, many small dewy spider’s webs.
Can you see them? Here is one from close up.
There will be small black berries on the plants later in the season, very bitter when eaten raw. The plants also give off a slightly bitter, but really nice and tangy smell.
And here, on a dead tree trunk, is something giving off a not-so-nice smell:
It’s fox’s spraint. (Forgive me for being so weird to photograph fox poo, but I think it’s really interesting that they deposit it in such a prominent spot.)
Oh, and look, aren’t we lucky today? There, in the distance is a roe deer mum with her kid…
… strolling and grazing along the path. I don’t think they’ve spotted us yet, but we won’t be able to get much closer without being noticed.
And here are their hoof prints, one big and one small:
Aww, that was so sweet. Now, before we head back, let’s just enjoy the peace and quiet for a while on this lovely bench with a dead branch for a footstool.
The wind is soughing softly through the pine branches above us.
The sun is rising in the sky, but our bench is in the shade of the big old pines, so we won’t get too hot. I could sit here all day, enjoying the peaceful view…
… but I shan’t, because I promised to share a recipe with you, too. It’s my recipe for Very Healthy Oat Squares. I make these every other week. They keep very well and are ideal snacks to take on walks and other days out. Why not bake a batch of these (or of something else if you have a sweeter tooth) in preparation for next week’s outing?
Here are the ingredients all set out.
Very Healthy Oat Squares
For a 27 by 27 cm baking tray, makes 16.
- 200 g thick-rolled oats (not the finer porridge oats)
- 200 g wholewheat pastry flour*
- 100 g sultana raisins
- 50 g currants
- 50 g dried cranberries
- 8 g speculaaskruiden**
- 3 g salt
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil + a little extra for greasing
- 250 ml cold water or a little less
* Wholewheat pastry flour is more finely ground than ordinary wholewheat flour and is available from most healthfood stores.
** This is a typically Dutch spice blend available online here and there. Gingerbread spice mix is not entirely the same but a good substitute.
- Preheat the oven to 180 ˚C (fan oven 160 ˚C)
- Put all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl
- Stir in 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil and grease the baking tray with the rest of the oil
- Gradually stir in the water. Try using a little less than the 250 ml at first. The mixture should just stick together and should not be soggy at all. If it is too wet, the oat squares won’t keep as well
- Knead through (by hand or using a mixer) for a minute or two
- Drop the mixture onto the baking tray and, using wet hands, distribute it evenly and flatten it
- Tidy the edges (ragged edges will become brittle and burn)
- Cut into 16 squares and bake for 35 minutes
- Remove the baking tray from the oven, transfer the squares to a wire rack and leave to cool before storing
In an airtight container, kept in a cool and dry place, the oat squares will keep up to two weeks.