Dinner Lunch Puddings Tea time Uncategorized


My favourite, old fashioned pudding cake that never seems to date and is always greeted with delight. It seems that some traditions stand the test of time. Simple, sharp lemon mousse in a sandwich of unashamedly basic whisked sponge. A little bit of effort is required, but you can make it two days ahead and it freezes well, so all in all a very useful recipe to have up your sleeve.


65g caster sugar

2 large eggs, separated

1 large lemon

1 level tablespoon ground almonds

2 level tablespoons semolina

1 level tablespoons sifted plain white flour


2 large lemons, rind and juice

4 leaves gelatine

3 large eggs, separated

125g caster sugar

150ml double cream

Before you start, take an 8″ springform cake tin. Grease it and line the base and sides with baking parchment. Then grease that and dust the inside with flour and caster sugar. Shake out over the sink so it is very evenly distributed.

First make the cake. Pre-heat the oven to 180c or 170c fan.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together with the rind of the lemon until thick and pale. Fold in the ground almonds, semolina and the flour along with one tablespoon of lemon juice. Use a large metal spoon for this, it is so much better than a plastic spatula.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Stir a small spoonful of the white into the hold mixture to lighten it. Then fold in the remainder. Spoon into the cake tin and even out the top, pushing it right into the edges of the tin. Bake for about 20 – 25 mins until firm. Turn out and cool on a wire rack.

While the cake is cooling make the mousse. Put three tablespoons of lemon juice into a small saucepan. Add a tablespoon of cold water. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water making sure the leaves are all covered. Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and lemon rind until thick. Then add in the juice of the remaining lemon. You will have to carry on whisking for a while until it thickens up a bit.

Warm up the lemon juice that is set aside in the saucepan. Squeeze the gelatine out in your hands (it will now be soft). Pull the saucepan off the heat and stir the gelatine in until it has dissolved. Be very careful that the liquid is not boiling. Cool for a few minutes and then whisk into the egg yolk mixture. Whip the cream until it just holds it’s shape (the minute you see a hint of graininess stop whisking) and fold into the gelatine/egg mix. Then whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, stir a spoonful into the mix and then fold in the rest, being careful not to knock out any air.

Slice the cake into two horizontally. Re – line the cake tin with more baking parchment and put the best looking cake round into the base so that the presentation top is on the base (mine was the wrong way round in this picture, I got confused but icing sugar covers a multitude of sins).

Pour the mousse over the cake and smooth the top. Place the other cake round on top of that. The cake will probably have shrunk in from the sides, so it won’t reach right to the edge but it doesn’t matter.

Cover with a plate, or something and put into the fridge for a good few hours or overnight. Once set, take the springform sides of the tin away and peel off the paper. Then invert the cake onto your serving plate. You may need a bit of help. dust with icing sugar and decorate with edible flowers and/or berries.

Puddings Tea time Uncategorized Vegetarian


I often asked if I know a good recipe for a gluten free cake and increasingly for one that uses minimal sugar. We all seem to be more and more aware of the benefits of lowering our sugar intake. This cake certainly isn’t sugar free but uses coconut sugar instead of cane sugar. This has few real health benefits, but does retain some of the natural vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as it is unrefined. However, it cannot really be classed as much better for you than ordinary sugar. But it does have a wonderfully caramely flavour. There is a little dark brown sugar as well, just to add that extra depth of flavour but you can reduce both of these if you prefer; I am of the opinion that if you want to have cake then just have it, enjoy it and maybe don’t have it for another week or so!

A benefit of this cake is the addition of carrots, parsnips, nuts and spices. All count towards that holy grail of thirty different plant foods per week that we are told is desirable if we want to nurture our gut biome.

A traditional carrot cake has a cream cheese icing. I have used a combination of butter and soft goats cheese. The flavour is wonderful and slightly less rich. To keep the cake vegan you could use a honey and tofu icing or just serve with a dollop of coconut yoghurt. Or just plain…..this recipe is just a suggestion.


200g coarsely grated carrot and parsnip ( 160g carrot and 40g parsnip)

200ml sunflower/rapeseed oil or a combo

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarb of soda

140g coconut sugar

20g dark brown sugar

150g buckwheat flour

25g coconut flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Big pinch mixed spice

Big pinch sea salt

100g walnuts or pecans, chopped

60g sultanas/chopped apricots

2 lobes stemmed ginger in syrup, finely chopped

10ml whole milk or equivalent plant milk


150g softened butter

100g sifted icing sugar

1 tablespoon ginger syrup

125g soft French goats cheese

Rind of an orange

Walnuts to garnish

Sift dry ingredients together.  Coarsely grate the carrot and parsnip. Whisk the oil, sugar and eggs together. Beat in the dry ingredients then add the carrot, parsnip, nuts, ginger and sultanas. Loosen with milk until a soft dropping consistency. Tip into tin and smooth the top. 

Bake at 170 fan or floor of age baking oven taking care not to brown the top too much.  Add foil if necessary. 50 to 60 minutes in oven until springy on top. 

Cool in tin for ten minutes and then on a wire rack.

Beat the butter well.  Beat in the icing sugar, syrup and goats cheese. Add the orange rind (optional).  Leave in the fridge to set for a couple of hours. Split the cake in two, if you like. Sandwich the cake with the icing and spread on top. Garnish with chopped nuts.

1 8” square springform tin or a traybake pan, greased and lined.



Serves 10

Most granola recipes are laden with oil and sugar. This is a healthier version but every bit as moreish. Use whatever oil you like but I love the nutty flavour of hemp and it brings with it a power punch of nutrients.

2tbs flax seeds

50g sunflower seeds

50g pumpkin seeds

25g coconut flakes

25g flaked almonds

25g hazelnuts,

25g sesame seeds

50ml maple syrup

10g dark brown sugar

50ml hemp oil

Pinch maldon salt

Pinch cinnamon

150g organic porridge oats

Pre-heat oven to 150c

In a large bowl mix everything together well, massaging it all together. Tip into a shallow baking tray and bake for about 50 minutes, stirring well every few minutes until it is nice and golden.

Cool and store in a tin or a kilner jar.

Serve with your favourite yoghurt and some poached or fresh fruits.



A useful thing to have in the freezer, all butter puff pastry makes an excellent base for a quick pizza style tart. Top with anything you have available – pesto, tomato sauce, braised leeks, olives, cheese…..

Here I have caramelised some onions with chorizo to make a flavoursome base and topped with wilted chard. Use any cheese you have available to finish.

For Four people

One pack all butter puff pastry (jus rol) (ready rolled)

About three medium onions

Large piece of chorizo (about three inches long)

Fresh thyme if you have it

Six black olives, chopped

Jar of red pesto (optional)

About six to eight large leaves of Swiss chard, stalks removed

Chunk of feta cheese

Ball of good quality mozzarella

Basil to finish

Extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt & pepper

Pre-heat oven to 180c

Finely slice the onions and chop the chorizo into little chunks. Put both into a saucepan and cook with a little rapeseed oil so that the chorizo oil is released and the onions cook slowly until very soft and caramelised. Season well and add some thyme if you have it.

Unpack the pastry and lay in a board. Roll out a little more so it is thinner, and fills and large baking tray, approx 12″ x 16″. Score around the edge, about half a centimetre in and prick over the whole thing with a fork.

Slice the chard leaves and wilt in a little oil/water until cooked. Squeeze out any excess liquid. Season.

Spread the onions all over the tart base. Top with the chard and then dollop pesto all over in any gaps. Chop the olives and scatter over and if you have a tomato handy you could add that as well.

Bake in the oven for about half an hour, preferable on a hot base so that the underside of the pastry is perfectly crisp. If not leave a little longer.

Scatter over crumbled feta and the mozzarella. Top with shredded basil (Greek basil works well here) and drizzle with extra virgin oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Wild Garlic Pasta Dough

The appearance of wild garlic in spring brings a promise of good things to come in the kitchen. The vibrant leaf, heavy with garlic flavour is a lovely ingredient for risottos or pestos and turns a pasta dough a wonderful bright green. If used for ravioli, it is best to cook as soon as you can as these don’t last as well as ravioli made with regular pasta – they somehow soften more quickly and become less easy to handle but you could just make fettuccini or tagliatelle. These keeps well in a sealed bag, tossed with a little semolina to ensure it doesn’t clump together. It can also be frozen, or dried and stored in an airtight container.

I have used it to make ricotta stuffed ravioli and served them with a tomato sauce and some pea shoots.


This amount will make enough for four people.

40g washed wild garlic leaves, finely chopped

1 large egg and one egg yolk

200g Italian OO flour

Put the finely chopped garlic leaves and eggs into a food processor and blend until the leaves have disappeared into the eggs. Add the flour, gradually until you have a rough, breadcrumbs dough.

Turn out onto a board, knead it together and it will start to form a dough. Knead for ten minutes and then wrap in clingfilm and rest for an hour.

Roll out using a pasta machine. You may need to use a little flour to help stop it from sticking. Start on the largest setting, cutting the lengths in half if they get too long. Have semolina ready to keep the finished sheets on so they don’t stick. Make into whatever sort of pasta you like. If using for ravioli the sheets will need to be nice and thin.


150g ricotta cheese

Rind of one lemon

30g parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus more for serving

Fresh herbs (mint, tarragon, chives, parsley or basil). About 10 – 15g

Sea salt and black pepper

Mash all the ingredients together. You will need to chop the herbs finely. Use any combination you like. Season.

Use to fill the ravioli. Stamp out rounds of pasta with a biscuit cutter (about 2″) and put a little heap of ricotta mix in the centre. Dampen the edge of the pasta and top with another circle, ensuring all the air is pinched out and the edges well sealed. Keep each ravioli from sticking to each other using semolina.

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and drop the ravioli in. It will be ready within a couple of minutes when it rises to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a j cloth before serving on top of a tomato sauce and garnishing with basil, pea shoots, olive oil and more parmesan shavings.


Pear baked with Orange & Spices with Nutty pan granola

Approx 225 calories per serving, including a tablespoon of greek yoghurt.

For two people

1 large firm pear (I used conference)

Cinnamon Stick

Star Anise

4 cardamon pods

1 orange, rind and juice

15g coconut sugar

1 teaspoon maple syrup


10g oats (gluten free if necessary)

10g shelled pistachio nuts (unsalted)

10g skin on almonds (not to worry if you only have blanched)

Large pinch cinnamon

10g coconut sugar

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Greek or coconut yoghurt to serve

First pre-heat the oven to 180c fan.

Peel the pear and cut in half. Remove the core. Slice each half into a fan shape and put both into a baking dish that is just big enough to hold them. Bash the cardamon pods in a pestle and mortar and take out the seeds, discarding the outer husk. Grind up and dust the seeds over the pear. Pour over the juice of an orange and add the cinnamon stick, star anise, coconut sugar and maple syrup. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about half an hour or until the pear is tender. Baste two or three times during the cooking process. Remove the foil about five minutes before the cooking time is up so that the juices can start to reduce.

While the pear is cooking make your granola. This isn’t proper granola, of course but it makes a lovely crunchy addition to the pear and is very quick to make. Just roughly chop the nuts and put them into a non stick frying pan with the oats. Add the coconut sugar and maple syrup and a dash of vanilla extract. Melt very very gently over a low heat so that the sugars start to melt, whilst the nuts and oats toast and then are coated by the melting sugar. You want it to look glossy. You can add a pinch of cinnamon if you like as well. I find you don’t want too much cardamon as it is quite a powerful spice.

Allow the granola to cool and then serve the pears with their juices either warm or cold, with the granola alongside. Scatter some very finely grated orange rind over the whole thing. Also it is lovely to put some cinnamon and orange rind over the yoghurt, as well as some chopped mint if you have any to hand.

Puddings Tea time Uncategorized

Chocolate Brownies with Tahini & Date

These came about as I have seen more and more recipes for brownies made with tahini. I love tahini and use it all the time in dressings for salads and roasted vegetables, quite apart from the obvious hummus. A little experimenting resulted in this recipe which I think is delicious, really very foolproof and open to interpretation in that you could replace the chocolate chunks with nuts and vary the vanilla flavouring – orange rind would work well, for example.

Makes about 16. You will need a shallow 9″ square tin, lined with baking parchment.

60g dark chocolate chunks (no more than 60% cocoa solids)

175g unsalted butter

100g dark muscovado sugar

175g granulated sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons date syrup

2 tablespoons tahini paste (I use belazu)

80g cocoa powder (I use bournville)

75g ground almonds

50g plain flour (sieved)

Good pinch maldon salt

50g chopped chocolate (White and dark mix is good) or toasted nuts/chopped dates

Pre-heat the oven to about 160c (or aga baking oven)

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a large bowl. Whisk in the sugar until really well blended. Add the vanilla extract. Whisk the eggs well and then blend them into the chocolate mixture. Then whisk in the date syrup and the tahini paste.

Sieve the flour and cocoa powder together and fold into the chocolate mix along with the almonds and salt. Then stir in the chopped chocolate.

Pour the thick batter into your prepared cake tin. Bake for about 25 – 30 minutes until just set. It should be fairly soft but definitely not liquid!

Cool in the tin and then cut into square. Or serve warm with ice cream.

Dinner Soups Starters and Salads


Serves four to six

2 sweet potatoes (approx 400g in total)

1 large or 2 smaller beetroot, washed or 2 pre-cooked

2 tablespoons rapeseed or olive oil

1 large onion

1 stick celery

2 cloves garlic

2 teaspoons fennel seed

2 teaspoons cumin seed

1000ml – 1200ml fresh chicken or vegetable stock

2 tablespoons tahini paste

2 tablespooons natural yoghurt

cold water

1 orange

Hemp or extra virgin olive oil (optional)

Toasted mixed seeds (optional)

If you are using a fresh beetroot wrap it in oil and bake in the oven (about 180c) for about two hours until soft.

Finely chop the onion, celery and garlic. Gently heat the oil in a large saucepan and saute for a few minutes. Meanwhile, toast the cumin and fennel seeds until fragrant and then grind in a pestle and mortar.

Wash and scrub the sweet potato but leave the skin on. Chop into cubes. Do the same with the beetroot. Add the spices to the pan and cook for a minute or two before adding the vegetables. Stir around for a bit and then cover with stock. Season and leave to simmer, covered for about twenty minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the tahini and yoghurt together. Loosen with a little orange juice and cold water. Season. It should be like lightly whipped cream.

Once the vegetables are completely soft, blend in a liquidiser and the add a little more stock if too thick. Check seasoning and adjust accordingly.

Serve the soup with the tahini dressing dolloped on top. A drizzle of hemp oil and some mixed toasted seeds is nice to add as well.

Lunch Quick and Easy Starters Starters and Salads Uncategorized


I have been aware of this fiery paste from Calabria, intriguingly named nduja for a while but only recently took the plunge and tried it. It certainly lives up to it’s spicy reputation; those who don’t like a fierce punch of red pepper might want to approach with caution but I have really enjoyed it. I find a little does go quite a long way and this recipe is a good place to start – the nduja is tempered beautifully by the soft, mild burrata (use a good mozzarella if you prefer) and diluting it further in a dressing just slightly lessens the heat. Of course, there is nothing at all to stop you from adding as much as you like.

For four as a starter or two for a light lunch

About 300g cherry tomatoes or a mix

Sea salt

30ml olive oil (or an oil of your preference)

30ml extra virgin olive oil

1 small shallot, finely diced

20g nduja (fresh if possible)

30ml sherry or red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 burrata

Handful of fresh basil

Slice the tomatoes thinly and lay on a platter or individual plates. Season well.

Heat the olive oil in a small pan and gently fry the shallots until softened but not coloured. Remove from the heat and add the nduja, whisking it in with the vinegar and sugar.

Add the rest of the oil.

Tear the burrata over the tomatoes and then spoon over the dressing. Cover with torn basil leaves and serve.

Adapted from a recipe in Olive Magazine.

Dinner Lunch Quick and Easy Suppers Uncategorized Vegetarian


I adore a risotto. For me if is the ultimate in comfort eating and beats a bowl of pasta hands down. And I love pasta….but somehow the tiny swollen grains, infused with all the goodness of stock and aromatics; cooked until just yielding but with a little bite (we don’t want baby food here!) offers just the right amount of solace with a sophistication that is yours to add as you will. Once you have mastered the basic method the risotto world really is your oyster and as long as you always bear in mind flavour pairings you can indulge or not as you please. Vegetarians and vegans need never be left out – a good vegetable stock works just as well as chicken. Cheese can be replaced with a vegan version and no one will ever object to a final flourish of an excellent, grass green olive oil anointing the finished dish. Otherwise I find just a tablespoon of double cream can transform a risotto into something truly special. It is, after all meant to be a creamy dish – achieved by the fat grains of risotto rice bumping slowly into each other whilst being stirred over a gentle heat. Baked risotto will never achieve quite the same as the grains won’t move around if just left in the oven.

This radicchio and Gorgonzola risotto is, for me a sophisticated and thoroughly delicious partnership. I do, often, add in a coarsely grated courgette. It is just a way of keeping the calorie count down but not everyone will want or need this option. I just use a little less rice to make way for the courgette and I think here it goes well. Fennel herb is lovely if you happen to have any in the garden or have bought a particularly frondy fennel bulb but finely chopped parsley will do perfectly.

For Four people

1 tablespoon rapeseed or olive oil and small knob butter

1 onion

1 large or 2 smaller sticks celery

1 clove garlic (optional)

Fresh thyme, picked off the stalk, about 1 tablespoon

4 handfuls of risotto rice (I use carnaroli)

75ml white vermouth (approx) or white wine

One head of radicchio, shredded

750ml (you may need more) proper chicken or vegetable stock (in desperation you could use a gel cube or combine the two)

1 courgette, optional, grated coarsely

100g creamy Gorgonzola dolce

2 tablespoons double cream

Parmesan cheese

Freshly chopped fennel or parsley

Sea salt and black pepper

Heat a large shallow pan. Add the oil and the butter and then gently sauté the onion and celery over a low heat until beginning to soften. Do not let them colour. Add the finely chopped garlic and stir around for a minute or two. Add the rice and stir that so that it is coated in everything.

Have your stock simmering in a separate pan. Pour the vermouth or wine into your rice and stir, simmering until almost all has disappeared. Then add the thyme and a third of the radicchio. Stirring all the time over a gentle heat add ladles of stock. Keep bubbling very gently, it should be just rippling. Stir as much as you have time for, adding stock as soon as the last ladleful is absorbed. After ten minutes add another third of the radicchio. Keep adding stock until the rice is cooked but still with a tiny bit of bite to it. It will take 20 – 30 minutes. Near the end of the rice cooking time, add the cream and chopped Gorgonzola. Stir through with the rest of the radicchio and the herbs. Also the courgette if using. Cook until the radicchio has wilted. Adjust with a little more stock to loosen. Season well with sea salt and black pepper.

Take off the heat and stir through a couple of tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan. Serve with more parmesan offered separately.