Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Random Recipes: Fruit, nut and honey bars

Random Recipes #5 - June

I was recently given River Cottage Handbook: Cakes by my good friend C. 

So it was a 'whoop-whoop-yeah!' as I turned to this month's brilliant Random Recipes Challengea random recipe chosen from your most recently gifted recipe book.

'River Cottage Handbook: Cakes'? Your time to shine. 

It's a lovely book, lots of hints, tips and more traditional bakes. Rhubarb Pudding Cake, Vinegar Cake, Somerset Cider Cake and Toffee Apple Cake all make an appearance. None if your fancy-pants cupcakes or cake pops here. 

I unveiled the Random Recipe Thumb Generator. 

Or in other words, flicking through the book with my thumb and with my eyes closed.

The God of Random Recipes (that'll be you, Dom off of Belleau Kitchen), can't have a terribly sweet tooth. Both last month's courgette cake and this month's chosen recipe are bloomin' healthy for cakes. But, the Thumb Generator has spoken, or thumbed. Fruit, Nut and Honey bars, coming up. 

In any case, my twisted logic reckons that the healthier the cake, the more slices you get to eat. I'm not one to complain about that. 

In the Handbook, these are described as the perfect energy bars- 'an energy dense, sustaining, mini meal' to be more precise. Do you reckon they still count as energy bars if I'm eating them lying prone on the sofa, feebly shouting 'Go Tim! Um, I mean Andy!' at the Wimbledon tennis on the television?

And finally, there is no note in the Handbook about them looking a little like the stuff you leave out in your garden in winter months for hungry birds....

Fruit, Nut and Honey Bars
(from River Cottage Handbook: Cakes)

125g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
100g light soft brown sugar
100g honey
150ml fresh orange juice
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
200g porridge oats
100g dried apricots
100g dried cranberries and goji berries
50g chopped walnuts
125g mixed seeds, e.g. pumpkin, linseed, poppy, sunflower

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/Gas Mark 4.
2. Lightly grease and line with baking parchment a 18x25cm square shallow baking tin
3. Gently heat the butter, honey, sugar, fruit juice and zest in a large saucepan, stirring from time to tome
4. Once the butter has melted and all the ingredients blended together, remove from the heat and add the oats, dried fruit, nuts and 100g of the seeds and stir well
5. Transfer to the baking tin and level the surface
6. Sprinkle the remaining seeds evenly over the top
7. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top
8. Cool before cutting into squares 

Baker's notes...

  • These will keep for up to 10 days in an airtight container
  • They are dead easy to make and you can select your own favourite berries, nuts and dried fruit. For example replace the cranberries and gojiberries with dried dates. Or replace the walnuts with almonds or hazelnuts.
  • I accidently (watching the tennis you see) left mine in the oven for about 10 minutes too long, hence the 'burnished' look!


  1. Well I thought they looked lovely until I read the thing about the bird feed and now....? I love stuff like this though. They're naughty but have that 'healthy' attitude! Thanks for taking part! X

  2. They look great.

    Definitely a health food :)

    Think of all those vitamins and minerals...

  3. I think these look lovely - as does my husband who peaked over my shoulder and wanted to know if I was planning to make some for him.

  4. Oooh they look nice - they're crying out for some chocolate chips, I say! Kudos to The Thumb. :)

  5. Healthy maybe, but they sound good to me. I nearly made them the other day (I couldn't wait to be given this book and bought it myself :-S) for a beach party but in the end made Dan L's halva flapjacks instead. Haven't yet made anything from the book, but am keeping it close to my bedside table so I get plenty of sweet dreams.

  6. Hmm, seen a couple of recipes I'd like to make from this book. I was trying to be strong and resist, but I think you've broken me!

    They look great, and I'm sure they must count as part of your 5-a-day!

  7. I missed this months challenge but I'll be back next month. These bars look lovely and I wouldn't feel too naughty eating about 10 lol. X

  8. Know what you mean about the bird feed!!

    These bars are so healthy that you could eat your fill and then have a cream bun and still feel virtious ... or is that just me!!!!!

    Love your Tim/Andy comment :-}}}}}}}}


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