In line with government recommendations, I'm trying to shop as infrequently as possible. Where I live, supermarket shopping is the least safe activity - I have plenty of open spaces and wide pavements when I go out for exercise, but I can't avoid needing food.
I'm fit and healthy, and don't yet fit any of the categories of people who should be taking extra precautions, so haven't tried to get any supermarket delivery slots, preferring to leave those for the more vulnerable members of the community. It's taken a while, but I've now figured out the quietest times to shop, so I take a list and shop as quickly as possible.
This is a big change for me, as I loved to browse the shelves, looking for bargains, new products or just what looked good that day. I used to go out almost every day and just buy a few bits and pieces, as I needed them. As I don't drive and have to carry my shopping a mile back home, what it also means is that, for the moment, I'm only buying the basic essentials, as fruit and vegetables and other necessary fresh foods are quite heavy when you're buying everything at once instead of spreading it out over several trips.
This is starting to impact on my baking (even though I'm not baking very frequently) - aside from what seems like a permanent lack of flour, there aren't always eggs or sugar available, and I'm running low on things like dried fruits and nuts. So wanting to bake means looking through the cupboard and seeing what's there before making decisions.
This time I found some 'out of date' prunes which still tasted OK and the scrapings from a jar of malt extract which could replace golden syrup if I made flapjacks. I'd been looking at malt loaf recipes but didn't have enough malt extract, so the idea of something malt-flavoured was still niggling away at me.
I followed my usual recipe, just substituting 50g of the golden syrup with malt extract, although I'd hoped to have enough malt extract to replace all the golden syrup.
First, melt together 160g butter, 50g malt extract, 20g golden syrup, and 100g caster sugar. This can be done in a saucepan, or in a large bowl in the microwave. Try not to let the mixture boil - it just needs to melt the butter completely. Then stir in 240g of porridge oats, 50g sultanas, 70g soft prunes (cut into pieces the same size as the sultanas) and 1 teaspoon of mixed spice. Mix thoroughly.
Tip this mixture into a 20cm square cake tin, lined with baking parchment. Level the mixture and press down firmly, then bake at 180C for 25 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes then mark into squares or bars while still hot. Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin.
I like flapjacks to be chewy, and these were gloriously chewy! More so than when I make the recipe with golden syrup. Additionally, the slight bitter edge to the malt extract cuts the sweetness a bit - you're not reducing the sugar you consume, but it tastes as if you are! The prunes worked well here too - they have a strong enough flavour to be tasted over the maltiness.