He’s been! He’s been! The Easter bunny has come, given us all four days off work, and told us to eat chocolate for breakfast.
So how are we going to spend these fabulous few days? Well here are a few ideas!
♦ If you are more ‘violent screams than violet creams’ you can visit Miss Edmond’s ye olde poison sweet shoppe at the London Dungeons and take your chances with her suspicious treats.
♦ Alternatively and altogether more sugary sweet, you may fancy spending your Easter running around a dreamland fit for a white rabbit. Horace Walpole’s gothic wedding cake of a house Strawberry Hill is hosting a whole slew of activities over Easter weekend, including and enchanted Easter trail.
♦ This year also marks the 500th birthday of Hampton Court Palace and as such the old place is hosting a three day long celebration, culminating in a huge fireworks display.
But Do I have to go out?
It is awesome to go out and about and see what this big old world has to offer, but this weekend I am really looking forward to keeping things low key. The first three months of 2015 have been fairly hectic and so I am planning on using this time over Easter to relax, recharge and review. Here are some of my favourite home-based activities, which I will be indulging in this weekend.
I always seem to be halfway through five different books, which for a completionist like myself is mildly torturous. Usually I am waist deep in research papers and textbooks and rarely have time to read for pleasure. This weekend however, I am going to make a point to read just for the hell of it. Currently on my bedside table are:
♦ Bedlam by Catherine Arnold. A really fascinating read, particularly when I was working at IWM last year which is housed in the old Bethlem Hospital.
♦ Goth Girl and the Fete Worse than Death by Chris Riddel. I’m so in love with the illustrations. Thank you Laura Trinder for giving me this!
♦ The Lucifer Box Trilogy by Mark Gatiss – I have finished the first two and am looking forward to starting on the last. Gatiss at his naughty best. (Again, thank you Trinder and Wildgoose inc. for putting me on to this).
♦ Murder Underground by Mavis Doreil Hay. I have actually finished this but I enjoyed it so much I wanted to give it a shout out. If you like Agatha Christie, you will really enjoy this well-woven story of murder on London’s tube network. It’s also one of those fiction books with maps and floor plans included, which I am massively in favour of all day everday. Thanks to Papa Notebook for sending me this!
I will be catching up with my Netflix this weekend. Something I really enjoyed recently is Man in the High Castle, as part of the Amazon Pilots season. Obviously only the first ep. is available but this super stylish adaption of Phillip K. Dick’s novel is a really fabulous watch and I can’t wait for the rest of the series to go live.
I love cooking and baking – when I have time. When I don’t, it is simply a chore. I like to reclaim my love of the kitchen when long weekends arise and the pressure is off. One treat I make probably more than anything else (apart from tea) are raw balls, and not just because they have a silly name, but also because they are a healthy alternative to the other things my insatiable sweet tooth craves. They are super easy to make and can be adapted anyway you like to your taste:
You will need:
◊ 1 cup cashews (or any nuts really, I prefer milder tasting ones like almond or macadamias but pecan, walnuts or hazelnuts work equally well).
◊ ½ cup chopped dates – the squidgier the better. I like to use organic medjool if poss. but alternatively the harder baking variety are fine if you soak them in hot water for a little while.
◊ A handful of dried figs/ apricots/sultanas – delete as applicable, again the wetter the better so soak if necessary.
◊ Cocoa powder – I use Green and Blacks. Generally I eyeball this and use quite a lot to get a nice rich flavour, but I would start with 2 tablespoons and work upwards according to taste.
Make sure everything is finely chopped and then blitz together in a food processor (if you are lucky enough to have one otherwise, like my good self, you can just use a hand blender, but only use in short sharp bursts or the poor old motor will burn out.
If the mixture is too dry (this will depend on how much cocoa you use) add a little coconut oil, or a dash of water.
Once all of the ingredients have combined you should have a very sticky paste. Now with your hands break off small fistfuls and work into balls (about two bites-worth). Sprinkle some cocoa powder or coconut on a work surface and roll the balls around to coat them. Shake off any excess and sit them in the fridge to firm slightly (if you have the patience, if not, eat them over the sink with very messy hands.
These are great with fresh raspberries because, you know dark chocolate and raspberry is a match made in heaven. You can mix and match any of your favourite flavours and add different ingredients to taste – cinnamon, chilli, orange, vanilla, peppermint, almond butter. I have also made these without chocolate and flavoured them with lime zest and coconut and they were the best. Who need eggs anyway!?
Enjoy with your favourite book!