Category Allotment

Easy beetroot, goats’ cheese & walnut tart

This is a very simple tart that is great eaten either hot or cold and is, for me, tart that can be enjoyed at any time of the year. It can be assembled in minutes so that is is merely a matter of baking the tart. It is even easier using bought pastry, but if […]

Rhubarb & ginger Battenberg cake

The power of baking in evoking happy memories of childhood is one of the many reasons baking is such an addiction for me; a Battenberg cake never fails to transport me back to being a child again, when slices of Battenberg were handed out as a real teatime treat. I adore Battenberg, and while a coffee and […]

Tarte tatin

After a very inspiring run of many years, bringing so many food bloggers together, the Secret Recipe Club is sadly coming to an end. I gate-crashed this wonderful party very late in the game (just a few months ago), but it has been an exciting part of each month: I have discovered new blogs and have cooked my way through […]

Spiced pumpkin bread

For this month’s Secret Recipe Club assignment, I was allocated Amanda’s delightful Dancing Veggies blog. Amanda’s recipes are easy to make, they are quick and you don’t need tons of expensive or impossible-to-track-down ingredients to make them. I love Amanda’s frugal approach to her food: while some frugal recipes in books and online can have a tendency to […]

Garlic & rosemary fougasse bread

Fougasse is such a lovely bread, with a very crisp, shattering, crust and a soft interior. It is especially great as a tear-and-share bread, but I invariably find that once I get my hands on fougasse, sharing is a difficult option!  Rosemary and garlic are gutsy flavours that work well in fougasse. As I often do when […]

Simple fennel breadsticks – focaccia-style

These are very easy breadsticks to make. They taste wonderful and a large batch can be made at a fraction of the cost of shop-bought breadsticks! Perfect with any dip, although I have photographed these breadsticks with baba ghanoush, that wonderfully smokey aubergine dip (recipe here). I have used quite a lot of water in […]

Blowtorch baba ghanoush

Baba ghanoush is one of my favourite dips and is hands-down the best use of aubergines for me. It it great with crunchy fresh vegetables or breadsticks and the like to dip into it. I used the terrific Andrew James Chef’s Blowtorch to do the bulk of the work: the charring of the vegetables – […]

Gluten-free orange & blackberry polenta cake: Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning

This is a recipe given to me by Macmillan to try out, ahead of this year’s Macmillan’s World’s Biggest Coffee Morning. It is a very moist, light cake and it tastes wonderful. It is also very easy to bake. I would recommend making several of these orange polenta cakes for the Coffee Morning as they […]

Beef & ale Cornish pasties

Having not made pasties in a long while, I felt it time to make a batch. With this recipe I made a few tweaks to the classic pasty for personal preference: the pastry: I have gone for rough-puff pastry, but this time with the inclusion of a little lard as part of the fat content […]

The new Andrew James Chef’s blowtorch: product review

I am a huge fan of kitchen gadgets, but with any prospective gadget, I always try to weight up if it is likely to get used only a few times before being relegated to the back of a cupboard (joining the popcorn maker, milk frother and various others I have amassed over the years….!) However, […]

Roasted cauliflower, onion & potato soup: Secret Recipe Club

For this month’s assignment with the Secret Recipe Club, I was delighted to have been allocated Laura’s wonderful Mother Would Know blog from which to choose a recipe. Laura had been assigned my blog for last month’s SRC reveal, and I have delved into her blog several times in the past, but it was a particular joy […]

Spiced & minted fruit salad with raspberry sorbet

This is a very quick and easy dessert to accompany a barbeque, with all components that can be made well ahead. Ok, this is not a bake but it is nonetheless a joyful dish in its own right: simple, full of flavour and very refreshing. The sorbet can be made (it is quite easy and I have given […]

Very easy anchovy, onion & garlic focaccia

Focaccia remains up there in my top 3 breads, in terms of making and eating, and while a standard focaccia is a delight, I love experimenting with flavours. This focaccia, made with utter ease and minimal effort in a mixer, is laden with gorgeous salty anchovies and the lovely sweetness you get from roasted garlic and roasted onions. […]

The simplest asparagus & chicken tart

This is a very simple tart using what is the last of this year’s allotment asparagus, the rest of some chicken breasts I had gently poached for another dish and some general left-over bits and pieces. I always have a stash of all-butter puff pastry in the freezer for quick bakes such as these and […]

Spiced chicken & asparagus with a fresh courgette & carrot salad

These are two very simple and quick dishes that go so well together: a spicy chicken stir-fry with a refreshing, full-flavoured vegetable salad. They are also very low-fat, as well as being gluten-free. Now I love indulgent food (in moderation) and I really loathe the sort of healthier food that is in any way boring, tasteless and/or insubstantial. […]

Asparagus wrapped in phyllo dough: Secret Recipe Club

I recently joined the Secret Recipe Club – a group of food bloggers, each of whom is secretly assigned a food blog each month from another member of the group, from which you make and post about a recipe of your own choice. Nobody knows who you are assigned to and you have no idea who is perusing your blog […]

Bruschetta: when simplicity reigns!

Bruschetta is one of those things that cannot fail to put a smile on my face when I eat it. Perfect as a starter, served with barbeque food or just as a light bite at any time of the day, one slice is never enough. Bruschetta is a very quick and easy to make: as […]

Spiced prawn and crab spring rolls

This is my version of spring rolls, using some left-over filo pastry I had made for another bake and ingredients that I adore to eat. The rolls are very easy to make and a large batch can be made up and frozen until you want to cook them. The filling carries a hefty wallop of […]

Simple spiced cauliflower fritters

This is my take on cauliflower bhajis: they are great served with cold drinks or just placed on the table with a cool minty dip for people to just tuck into. Crisp, light and moreish! They are very crisp, incredibly light and are packed with flavour – as indeed they should be – with a kick […]

Sous-vide pork tenderloin on a bed of creamed leeks & chorizo

A no-carb meal (for once!) and an excuse to put the sous-vide machine through its paces with a very simple meal, highlighting the joys of the wonderfully inexpensive pork tenderloin. As it is a very lean meat, pork tenderloin is prone to drying out when it is cooking and can rapidly go from under-done to […]

Gooseberry chutney

This is my very simple recipe for gooseberry chutney made on this occasion with some frozen red gooseberries I had picked last year. It makes a great accompaniment to cold meats, cheese, smoked fish, to name just a few. It is sharp, buy with a nice level of sweetness. I also use it in my […]

Piccalilli: a prince among preserves!

Post updated August 2016: photos of new batch added Piccalilli is one of my favourite preserves and making a batch late summer is something of an annual ritual that I always look forward to. A good piccalilli should have crunchy, identifiable vegetables in a fairly thick sauce. The sauce should be almost velvety in texture […]

Sun-dried Tomato & cheese scones

This is another savoury twist on the wonderful sweet scones that are traditionally served with clotted cream and strawberry jam. The dough for these particular scones is flavoured with sun-dried tomatoes and a little mature Cheddar. These are ideal split and topped with a fresh herbed cream cheese (chopped basil is wonderful!) and home-made chutney or chilli jam. […]

Earl Grey scones with raspberry curd

In this post I have given two recipes: one for the scones and another for the raspberry curd. A little bit of Afternoon Tea in each bite, these light scones are easy to make and even easier to eat! Eaten with clotted cream and a good fruit curd these scones will, I am sure, not […]

The joys of a food dehydrator: “Andrew James” product review & tips

I was very lucky to have received an Andrew James food dehydrator that some friends bought me for Christmas: a food dehydrator is a gadget I had been thinking about owning for a while, primarily with a view to making my own fruit and vegetable powders (I will come to these in a moment!), but also to have […]

Stilton, pear & piccalilli pork pies

This one of my favourite pork pies and it goes down especially well at Christmas: pear, Stilton and piccalilli are so good for each other anyhow as part of a cheese board or light snack, and they work particularly wonderfully in a pie with a crisp, melt-in-the-mouth pastry. A pork pie confession! Growing up near […]

Blackcurrant & raspberry éclairs

It is never less than a joy to eat a crisp éclair that is filled with a well-flavoured centre and topped with a sticky icing! While chocolate éclairs should never be turned down, fruity éclairs are delightful to eat. Using fruit from the freezer, I decided to make a batch of blackcurrant and raspberry éclairs: they are filled with a […]

Spiced smoked cod & fennel tart

This is a lightly spiced tart with rich, smoky cod and the subtle aniseed flavour of fennel. It is very much a comfort-eat and makes a satisfying light meal served warm or cold. About this recipe This is a variation on my kedgeree-style tart that I was so proud to have been selected by BBC […]

Roasted onion, chorizo & Parmesan focaccia

I have posted several focaccia recipes on this blog, and while I make my roasted garlic focaccia many times more than any other flavour, I do like to play around a little. This time, I used ingredients lurking around in the fridge and the larder! Slowly roasted onions or shallots, with their delicious sweetness, salty […]

Beetroot & toasted walnut sourdough

Beetroot bread is nothing new but I like to add walnuts to the dough for added crunch and the lovely flavour they give, which is a great complement to the slight earthiness you get from the beetroot here. I gently toasted the walnuts here to really bring out the flavour. The beetroot here is not over-powering, […]

Scotch pies

While I make pork pies a fair bit, I have never made scotch pies, and I had only ever eaten them once – decades ago! However, having eaten a wonderful one very recently I decided I had missed out. My scotch pies might not be traditional in that I used some lamb gravy left over […]

chicken, tarragon & roasted onion pithivier: a feast using left-overs!

Essentially a posh “roast dinner in a pie”, this is made using left-over roast chicken flavoured with an instant tarragon sauce and filled with other extras from a roast dinner made the day before. The roasted onions add a lovely sweetness and the stuffing, with added pistachios and dried apricots, adds both flavour and texture. […]

Raspberry & dark chocolate mousse domes

Post updated April 2016: recipe tweaked, domes re-made and re-photographed One of the great joys for me when having Afternoon Tea, in addition to eating the most delectable sweet and savoury treats, is the inspiration I get. I shared one of these entremets as part of an Afternoon Tea a while ago and was blown […]

A summer wedding cake

  A wedding cake I made for two of my former colleagues and dear friends from earlier this summer. It was such an honour to have been asked to make the wedding cake for this very special day. The pictures in this post were taken were by their photographer, and also former colleague, David, who has his […]

Pimms macarons with Pimms ganache & minted cucumber jelly

A challenging bake, this is a taste of summer in each mouthful: these macarons are sandwiched together with a Pimms ganache and small pieces of a sweetened cucumber and mint jelly: you really can’t have Pimms without the cucumber! The macaron shells are flavoured with a Pimms reduction, and the fruity flavour coming through the filling gives what I think […]

Chilli Jam

This is one of the easiest preserves to make and it tastes wonderful. I always make a large batch towards late summer once the chillies are ready in the greenhouse. It is a great way to use up a glut of ripe tomatoes, but this chilli jam works very well using tinned tomatoes. A versatile […]

Bread & butter pickles: spicy, sweet cucumbers

Good preserves are terrific partners for good bakes, and these sweet, spiced cucumbers are very easy to make. And it is always exciting to pop open a new jar of preserves, especially in the winter months, with that evocative taste of the summer you immediately get. What’s in a name? Whatever you want to call these […]

Roasted cauliflower cheese tart

If you love cauliflower cheese you really must make this tart! I have been making this particular tart for well over a decade, inspired initially by a savoury crumble I ate at a restaurant. Essentially this tart is a wholemeal pastry case filled with cauliflower cheese and topped with a savoury crumble. Perhaps the topping makes this […]

Gluten-free Victoria Sandwich Cake

This is very much a quick, no-frills affair: utter simplicity and great flavour; what more is needed? The cake takes literally a couple of minutes to mix together, about 20 minutes baking and a few minutes to assemble the cooled sponges. Using xanthan gum or not This cake is softer than a cake made with traditional flour and crumbles […]

Salmon & mushroom coulibiac

A very firm nod towards the classic dish of a few decades ago, this is an easy bake to throw together and is excellent served for a special occasion. Wonderful served warm with a salad or steamed vegetables, it is also excellent served cold; I must confess, I often make this for picnics. At the […]

Strawberry & lemon sherbert sourdough cronuts

Cronuts, doughsants or whatever you want to call them, are always a delightful treat: shatteringly crisp exteriors with light layers of buttery interior……what more can you want from what is certainly one of the more indulgent things one can eat? As I mentioned in my initial post on cronuts, I used to make versions of these decades ago by deep-frying circles of my […]

Mini Gluten-free Pistachio Fraisiers using left-overs!

  Further to posting my version of a large Fraisier a few weeks ago, I decided to make another large one for this month’s Clandestine Cake Club – this time going for a gluten-free version. And with left over elements, I also went for mini Fraisiers. A gluten-free treat! As I do with several of my bakes […]

Easy orange & rhubarb Danish pastries

These very easy Danish pastries, using quick croissant dough, are an excellent approximation to Danish pastries that are made with traditional croissant dough. Although this version is something of a short-cut, with little hands-on time, they are light, flaky and taste excellent. Many shortcuts use bought puff pastry, but using an easy homemade croissant dough such as this gives […]

Pistachio & lemon Fraisier cake

This Fraisier is a slight variation on the classic recipe, using a pistachio joconde sponge, sprinkled liberally with Amaretto, and a thin layer of pistachio ganache. A fragrant crème mousseline, subtly flavoured with lemon, envelops the strawberries, and the cake is topped with a thin layer of a tangy strawberry jelly glaze. The pistachio ganache and the strawberry jelly […]

Smoked mackerel pastry rolls

This is a recipe I am very proud of: I had some food left over smoked mackerel to use up and had that “I wonder if this will work…” moment. Luckily, it does work and I cannot recommend highly enough trying out this bake! It is essentially a twist on sausage rolls, one of my all-time favourite savoury bites, […]

Fruit Punnet Madeira Cake

A spot of quick decoration of a Madeira cake: the cake was made and decorated last autumn, but I only just found this post buried among my draft posts! The “fruit punnet cake” or fruit basket cake has freshly picked fruit covering it as well as spilling over the top: whenever I pick fruit from the allotment I […]

Roasted garlic, red pepper & parmesan bread “flower”

This is my savoury version of the classic Fiore di pan brioche, this time using a standard bread dough into which roasted puréed garlic and olive oil are added prior to kneading. Packed with flavour, it is great fun to make and is excellent as a tear and share bread. I had red peppers in the freezer from […]

“Grow your own”: introducing Pumpkin Beth

Being fortunate to have an allotment has influenced many of my bakes: I am always trying to come up with different ways to use the produce, especially any gluts. Mind you, a simple fruit crumble, a roasted vegetable pie or a home-made preserve with some good cheese and bread often hits the spot. But baking with the […]

Blackcurrant & white chocolate mousse entremets

These mini dessert cakes were created as a different way to use some of the blackcurrants from the allotment, as well as any excuse to have a play in the kitchen. Update: and it was a nice surprise for these to feature during an episode of The Great British Bake Off: Extra Slice after submitting them. The layers […]

Blackcurrant marshmallow macarons (& “wagarons”!)

I am such a fan of Wagon Wheels but they have become noticeably smaller over the years so I felt I might as well jump on their band wagon(!) and go even smaller, using macarons: after all, miniature things are among the most exciting thing for me to both bake and eat. Granted, turning macarons […]

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