Delicious chocolates for Mother’s Day

Round & About

mothers day

Make mum’s day with these delicious chocolates

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday so why not show her how much she means by making these sweet treats packed with healthy ingredients and love

DARK CHOCOLATE CHILLI & ORANGE FLOWERS

Sugar free and vegan

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Chilling time: 3 hours
Servings: 15 chocolates

You will need: Silicone moulds***

Ingredients:

OPTION 1 – COCONUT OIL
Coconut Oil gives a creamier texture and tends to melt more easily in warmer weather if left at room temp. Cheapest option and easy to prepare.

• 100 g coconut oil
• 25 g raw cacao powder
• 1.5 TBSP xylitol – powdered xylitol sugar alternative ground to a powder in a coffee grinder (available as Total Sweet)
• 2 tsp orange zest
• 1 pinch chilli powder

OPTION 2 – 100% DARK CHOCOLATE
100% dark chocolate is becoming more widely available in supermarkets and shops. This recipe is mid-price, of the three options, is easy to prepare and gives a nice, hard consistency for finished chocolates.

• 100 g 100% dark chocolate
• 1.5 TBSP xylitol – powdered xylitol ground to a powder in a coffee grinder
• 2 tsp orange zest
• 1 pinch chilli powder

OPTION 3 – CACAO BUTTER
Cacao Butter is more expensive and harder to source (health shop or buy online) but can be kept in the freezer and melted down as needed. Best bought in button-sized pieces for ease of using the quantity needed. Gives a harder consistency than coconut oil for the chocolates once prepared.

• 100 g cacao butter
• 25 g dark cocoa powder
• 1.5 TBSP xylitol – powdered xylitol ground to a powder in a coffee grinder
• 2 tsp orange zest
• 1 pinch chilli powder

Method:

1. For all options, begin by melting the Coconut Oil / Dark Chocolate / Cacao Butter in a bain-marie (place a bowl over the top of a pan which has two inches of water in it. Heat the water over a medium heat until the ingredients have melted, stirring continuously. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water.

2. Once the coconut oil / dark chocolate / cacao butter has melted, remove the bowl from the pan and turn off the heat. Place the bowl on a heat proof surface and stir in the raw cacao or dark cocoa powder (NB: you do not need to add chocolate to the 100% dark chocolate option).

3. Next, add the powdered xylitol and a pinch of chilli powder and stir until combined.

4. Place the chocolate silicon mould on to a moveable flat surface (a baking tray or chopping board works well).

5. Sprinkle a small amount of orange zest into each mould.

6. Now spoon the chocolate mixture on top until each mould is full.

7. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours before removing each chocolate from its mould and storing in a suitable airtight container.

8. It is best to eat these within 4 days of making them (not that they will last that long) as the chocolate can start to crystallise after then.

SUPERFOOD TRUFFLES

These little chocolate nuggets are supercharged with chlorella to energise the body. A perfect healthy treat for this Mother’s Day.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 4 hours
Makes: 16 truffles

Ingredients:

• 115g cashew nut butter or tahini
• 60g maple syrup
• 2tbsp cacao powder
• 60g melted dark chocolate
• 60g dried cranberries or cherries
• Pinch of sea salt
• 1tsp vanilla extract
• 1tsp Sun Chlorella powder
• 30g shelled hemp seeds

Method:

1. Place the cashew nut butter, maple syrup, cacao powder and melted chocolate in a food processor and combine. Add the remaining ingredients and process to form a dough. Chill in the fridge for several hours until firm enough to roll into balls.

2. When the mixture is firm use a spoon to scoop out walnut size balls. Roll into balls and place on a sheet of baking parchment. Roll the truffles in a little shredded coconut or dust with cacao powder.

Every Mum is sure to love these treats for Mother’s Day – and there’s nothing quite like a homemade gift (especially an edible one!)

See more of our recipes here

Treehouse run

Round & About

mothers day

On your marks, get set for the sixth Treehouse 10k in Cholsey on Sunday – there’s a run for everyone and how about making it a real family affair as it’s Mother’s Day? 

In addition to the 10k, there’s a 5k run and the Family Bunny Run. Both the 10k and 5k cover a course that includes a mix of quiet roads, farm tracks and footpaths around the village. 

All finishers will receive an event T-shirt and hand-made wooden medal with trophies given to each category winner. 

The Family Bunny Run is open to families/children under 16 and is just half a kilometre around the recreation ground – participants can decide how many loops they want to compete. As it’s so near to Easter why not add bunny ears or a tail to your outfit? 

Last year runners were challenged to run with a Stormtrooper, this year you’ll be turning to the “dark side” and taking on Darth Vader. 

And as it’s Mother’s Day, Round & About columnist Christine Wallace from the Great British Bake Off will be starting the 5k and 10k races before holding a cake decorating demonstration in the pavilion and answering your baking questions. Her cake will then be raffled off for a mum to enjoy. 

Online registration at a reduced rate ends at midday tomorrow (Wednesday, 27th March) but you can register on the day between 8am and 9am. 

To register and for more information for the run go to www.treehouse10k.org.uk 

Thames Valley: Glorious Gardens

Round & About

mothers day

With spring bursting into life, there can be no better time to get out and enjoy what’s on offer in some of the finest gardens you’re ever likely to see.

Stowe

(near Buckingham, MK18 5EQ)
Cyclamen and aconites abound this year in Easter shades of purple and yellow and there’s the promise of bright bluebells after 125,000 were planted in October. The bell-shaped blooms of the Snakeshead fritillary will be bowing their heads in April-May after 200,000 were planted in a swathe around the property – set to form one of the few Snakeshead fritillary meadows in the country.

 

Cliveden

(near Maidenhead, SL1 8NS)
The six-acre parterre is bursting at the seams with 21,000 spring bedding plants filling the 16 central triangular beds. Elsewhere, 11,000 polyanthus will create a carpet of colour combining with the box hedging and topiary of this unique garden. The oriental inspired water garden is awash with dusky pink of flowering blossom and creamy-white magnolias forming stunning reflections in the water.

Basildon Park

(near Reading, RG8 9NR)
Yellow is the predominant colour at Basildon with the grounds sprayed with buttercups and daffodils. Choose one of the four paths to walk and admire violets, cowslip, cherry blossom and primroses. Further on you’ll find a sea of bluebells leaving you spoilt for choice when it comes to taking photographs.

 

The Vyne

(near Basingstoke, RG24 9HL)
The wild garden is where it’s at for The Vyne this season – from bright yellow aconites under trees to boughs of soft pink cherry blossom on the trees. Pastel blue takes over next month with star-shaped blooms of camassias and of course, plenty of bluebells to charm you too.

 

Waddesdon

(near Aylesbury, HP18 0JH)
The garden is beginning to wake from its winter sleep and colour is creeping into the spring displays. Nearly 40,000 plants will be used to recreate the Victorian splendour of yesteryear. Each area has its own colour scheme – the parterre will be blue, white and pink; the avenue will be bathed in delicate shades of yellow and white, planted in the shape of a star.

 

Nuffield Place

(near Henley, RG9 5RY)
The perfect spot for a peaceful spring stroll surrounded by herbaceous borders with spring bulbs breaking through and light mauve wisteria around the house. Foxgloves are starting to appear in the woodland, attracting insects and a hard-standing path means everyone can admire the bluebells.

hughendon

(near High Wycombe, HP14 4LA)
Visitors here will be able to wander through the handkerchief-like blooms of magnolia, frost permitting, admist the purple pink hues of dog tooth violets, blue forget me knots and bright pink of the Judas tree. Later in spring expect to see grape-like hyacinth while the walled garden will be brimming with the smells of cherry, apple, redcurrants and gooseberries.

 

Greys Court

(near Henley, RG9 4PG)
The woodland floor as been cleared ready for spring with thousands of bulbs being planted to form a blue carpet along the path to Spinney Wood to admire the daffodils, cowslips and irises. Follow the nut tree walk to the maze to enjoy a patchwork of colour with bulbs planted in a quilt-like fashion. Wander around the walled garden to find hyacinths under the 130-year-old wisteria and watch cherry blossom fall on the paths.

 

Harcourt Arboretum

(Nuneham Courtenay, OX44 9PX)
The arboretum is part of the University of Oxford which has now grown to 130 acres and is part of the Botanic Garden. The oldest part, the Pinetum and Serpentine Ride is soon to be awash with the dramatic colours of rhododendrons and azaleas while a walk in the native woodland will showcase the different types of woodland in the UK and will be carpeted with bluebells in April and May.

 

Kelmscott Manor Gardens

(near Lechlade, GL7 3HJ)
The arts and crafts garden is well worth a wander round when you’re visiting the house. The front garden is laid out from the drawing of the frontispiece in a William Morris book, the original owner, while the back is dominated by a mulberry tree which is just under 100 years old. A small orchard and a large meadow are delightful places to enjoy a spring stroll.

 

Buscot Park

(near Faringdon, SN7 8BU)
The pleasure gardens here are just that – a pleasure and time should be taken to enjoy them. The red brick walls of the original kitchen garden shelter the Four Seasons garden, resplendent with spring blooms. Woodland walks lead to a fine water garden while the front of the house features a carriage drive through mature woodland.

Pictures: National Trust

Have a look at our London and Surrey gardens if you’re thinking of going further afield

London: Glorious Gardens

Round & About

mothers day

With spring bursting into life, there can be no better time to get out and enjoy what’s on offer in some of the finest gardens you’re ever likely to see.

savill gardens

(Englefield Green, TW20 0UJ)
Everything is coming to life, pay a visit to daffodil valley in The Valley Gardens and Spring Wood at the Savill Garden and marvel at the magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas. Birds are nesting so watch out for fledglings as they start to take flight. You may even be lucky enough to see young deer taking their first steps in Deer Park too.

 

Cliveden

(near Maidenhead, SL1 8NS)
The six-acre parterre is bursting at the seams with 21,000 spring bedding plants filling the 16 central triangular beds. Elsewhere, 11,000 polyanthus will create a carpet of colour combining with the box hedging and topiary of this unique garden. The oriental inspired water garden is awash with dusky pink of flowering blossom and creamy-white magnolias forming stunning reflections in the water.

Basildon Park

(near Reading, RG8 9NR)
Yellow is the predominant colour at Basildon with the grounds sprayed with buttercups and daffodils. Choose one of the four paths to walk and admire violets, cowslip, cherry blossom and primroses. Further on you’ll find a sea of bluebells leaving you spoilt for choice when it comes to taking photographs.

 

runnymede & ankerwycke

(near Old Windsor, SL4 2JL)
As nature awakens, a flush of new life spreads over the historic hills and waters of Runnymede. Riverside willows are the first to put on their springtime greenery. Blackthorn blossom helps create a sense of new life all along the riverside. Spring arrives in the form of ancient woodland flowers. Patches of bluebells, lesser celandines, dog’s mercury and wood anemones create a magical atmosphere in the protected woodland.

 

dorneywood garden

(near Burnham, SL1 8PY)
1930s-style garden, with herbaceous borders, cottage garden and lily pond. Dorneywood is traditionally the country residence of a senior member of the Government and was given to the National Trust. The house re-opens in April. Booking essential if you wish to visit. Email

 

claremont

(near Esher, KT10 9JG)
Spring offers the chance to stroll through corridors of rhododendrons, feed tiny goslings, and make the most of the longer days, spot swathes of these regal purple flowers springing up throughout the garden. Take a stroll along the lake and up past the ha-ha wall during April to witness the seasonal display of bluebells at its very best. Swathes of daffodils first herald the new season, with camellias, cherries, azaleas and rhododendrons soon following suit.

hatchlands park

(near Guildford, GU4 7RT)
From blossom to bluebells, the grounds here are coming out of their winter hibernation and as with other properties are awash with yellows and blues. The woodland hedgerows are lit up with blackthorn blossom while later in the spring expect to see the wildflower meadow in full bloom just as the bluebell wood is going over.

 

clandon park

(near Guildford, GU4 7RQ)
As the rebuilding process continues after the devastating fire in April 2015, visitors can enjoy the magnificent sight of the park in springtime with the grounds carpeted in yellow. A pictorial trail will guide you through the garden, using historic images to take you through the years comparing past and present perspectives.

 

Polesden lacey

(near Dorking, RH5 6BD)
Prepare to be greeted by delicate white snowdrops, trumpet-like daffodils in all shades of yellow, orange and cream and bluebells at Polesden Lacey and the wider estate. Enjoy walks surrounded by colour whatever the weather.

 

old waterfield

(Ascot, SL5 7LJ)
Operating as part of the National Open Garden Scheme, this house is set in four acres between Ascot Heath and Windsor Great Park. Open from 1st April to 31st October, the garden has been developed and extended over the past few years and offers herbaceous borders, meadow with specimen trees, large vegetable garden, orchard and mixed hedging. Vistors are welcome by arrangement for groups of 10 to 25. Admission £4.50 adults, children free. For more information contact the owner Catherine Stevenson at

Pictures: National Trust

Have a look at our Thames Valley and Surrey gardens if you’re thinking of going further afield

Surrey: Glorious Gardens

Round & About

mothers day

With spring bursting into life, there can be no better time to get out and enjoy what’s on offer in some of the finest gardens you’re ever likely to see.

Polesden lacey

(near Dorking, RH5 6BD)
Prepare to be greeted by delicate white snowdrops, trumpet-like daffodils in all shades of yellow, orange and cream and bluebells at Polesden Lacey and the wider estate. Enjoy walks surrounded by colour whatever the weather.

 

hatchlands park

(near Guildford, GU4 7RT)
From blossom to bluebells, the grounds here are coming out of their winter hibernation and as with other properties are awash with yellows and blues. The woodland hedgerows are lit up with blackthorn blossom while later in the spring expect to see the wildflower meadow in full bloom just as the bluebell wood is going over.

Winkworth arboretum

(Godalming, GU8 4AD)
This is a true paradise for garden lovers as the arboretum really comes to life in spring with magnolia blooms joining cherry blossom and drifts of bluebells. If you’re visiting in April, the azalea walk is a mass of colour along the path to the boathouse overlooking the lake.

 

clandon park

(near Guildford, GU4 7RQ)
As the rebuilding process continues after the devastating fire in April 2015, visitors can enjoy the magnificent sight of the park in springtime with the grounds carpeted in yellow. A pictorial trail will guide you through the garden, using historic images to take you through the years comparing past and present perspectives.

 

leith hill

(near Dorking, RH5 6LU)
Rhododendron Wood will be alight with azaleas as well as rhododendrons, expect to see bush after bush of the big showy flowers. The rare, pink flowers are a sign spring is here. Other specimens will be showing their colours from April through to June. The hour-long Rhododendron Wood walk is an easy pathway through the colourful surroundings.

 

RHS garden wisley

(Woking, GU23 6QB)
Colour builds daily at Wisley, yellow daffodils and pale pink cherry blossom are already providing the perfect backdrop for a walk in the gardens. Carpets of crocuses will brighten up even the chilliest of days and the bright pinks and reds of the banks of camellias are sure to catch your eye on the hill. The top terrace will be lit up with 15,000 tulips in pink, purple, yellow and lilac.

ramster gardens

(Chiddingfold, GU8 4SN)
Opening in spring from 16th March, you can discover more than 25 acres of woodland, lake views and hillside, filled with colour. The gardens are known for their rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias as well as many rare and unusual trees and flowering shrubs.

 

painshill

(Cobham, KT11 1JE)
All the lengthy preparation for spring has paid off and the gardens at Painshill are now waking up to swathes of snowdrops, dazzling daffodils and beautiful bluebells. As with many of the gardens featured, Painshill will be offering afternoon tea for Mother’s Day. Enjoy this in the 18th century walled garden amid seasonal colours as you tuck into finger sandwiches, mini scones, cakes and tea or Prosecco.

 

savill gardens

(Englefield Green, TW20 0UJ)
Everything is coming to life, pay a visit to daffodil valley in The Valley Gardens and Spring Wood at the Savill Garden and marvel at the magnolias, rhododendrons and azaleas. Birds are nesting so watch out for fledglings as they start to take flight. You may even be lucky enough to see young deer taking their first steps in Deer Park too.

 

petworth

(West Sussex, GU28 9LR)
In the spring meadows of the Pleasure Grounds you can expect to see snowdrops, cyclamen as well as bluebells, daffodils, and Snake Head Fritillary popping up through the next few months.Tulips will be one of the stars of the show throughout the grounds with thier distinctive bell-shaped heads popping up a variety of colours.

 

gilbert white house

(Selbourne, GU34 3JH )
Visitors to this secret Hampshire garden can marvel at the quirky features, glorious vistas and creative planting which are delightful whatever the season or weather but spring really is spectacular! Starting off with snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils in March, cherry blossom in April and a sumptuous wildflower meadow in May, they are the perfect complement to the hahas, herb garden, kitchen garden and six quarters.

Pictures: National Trust

Have a look at our London and Thames Valley gardens if you’re thinking of going further afield.

Glorious Gardens

Round & About

mothers day

With spring bursting into life, there can be no better time to get out and enjoy what’s on offer in some of the finest gardens you’re ever likely to see.

The bright patches of colour showing through after the grey of winter are a welcome sight, guaranteed to raise the spirits and none more so than those offered from the beautiful gardens in the area. Carpets of seasonal snowdrops and daffodils cover much of the grounds with swathes of blooms in all hues just beginning to break through.

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Pictures: National Trust