Elderflowers announce the coming of summer. You can find them growing almost everywhere. The bulk of the bush is poisonous, containing cyanide, but the flowers and the berries are perfectly safe to eat.
They complement the tartness of the gooseberry, which happens to ripen at just the same time.
- 6 elderflower heads
- 300g gooseberries
- 3 tablespoons of caster sugar
- 200ml double cream
Heat the elderflowers, gooseberries, and sugar, in a pan, with a splash of water. Simmer for 10 minutes, until the gooseberries start to break up.
Rub through a sieve into a bowl.
Whip the cream to soft peaks and fold into the gooseberry and elderflower puree.
Divide into glasses and chill for a couple of hours before serving.
This pudding is inspired by a German apple cake, replacing the milk and sugar to make a really moist honey flavoured cake.
In Autumn I pruned my neighbour’s apple tree in exchange for buckets of fresh apples and this pudding is perfect for using them up.
- 125g vegetable spread( I use stork)
- 160g honey
- 2 eggs
- 225g plain flour (sifted)
- 1 level tsp baking powder (sifted)
- ½ tsp salt
- 70 ml mead
- ½ a dessert apple, sliced into thin wedges
- 1 ½ tsp of demerara sugar
- ½ tsp of cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Beat the spread, honey and eggs together in a bowl with an electric mixer.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt & mead. Mix well.
Spoon into a 7½ inch round cake tin and arrange the apple slices in a circle on top of the cake. Mix the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the cake mix.
Wrap the tin in grease proof paper, this will help prevent the cake from burning.
Cook for 40 – 45 minutes in the centre of the oven.
Remove the paper for the last 5 minutes to allow the top to brown a little.
Drizzle with a little honey and leave to cool for 15 minutes before slicing. The cake will continue to cook during this time.
This recipe is perfect for using up those slightly sweeter, over ripe, bananas.
Makes 12 muffins
- 280g plain flour (sieved)
- 1 tsp bicarb
- Pinch of salt
- 3 large bananas (mashed)
- 125g honey
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 80ml mead
- 40ml olive oil
- 40g linseed
- Pumpkin seeds (to top)
In a large bowl mix the bananas, honey, eggs, oil & mead.
Add the flour, bicarb, and salt, and mix well. It should still be quite lumpy. Add the linseeds and stir through.
Divide the mix into cupcake cases and sprinkle a few pumpkin seeds onto each one.
Put in the centre if a pre heated oven for 20-25 minutes at 180 degrees celsius
I grew up eating this, when I could get some. Its really popular in our house, even now. My Nan used to make a big bread pudding and cut it in half for my grandad and dad but they never liked to share it; Now I make the pudding, and we share a slice, over a cup of tea.
This is great for using up stale bread. Store small amounts of bread in the freezer until you have enough for a pudding.
Traditionally the ‘liquid’ would be milk, but due to my wife’s dairy allergy, I usually use a fruity wine, but you could use almond milk. To be honest, any liquid should work. I have used beer, and have heard of people using whisky.
- 800g bread (torn into pieces)
- 1kg mixed dried fruit
- 2 tablespoons of ground mixed spice
- ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ a teaspoon of ground ginger
- 600ml liquid
- 2 large eggs
- 250g demerara sugar
- zest and juice of a lemon
- 100g vegetable spread. I use Stork (melted)
Put everything except the spread into a large bowl and scrunch it up, to completely break up the bread and mix it up well.
Add the melted spread and mix well again.
Grease and line a large baking dish and pour in the mixture. Sprinkle with a little sugar. Cover with foil or baking paper to prevent it from burning.
Place in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees Celsius for about an hour and a half until firm and golden. Remove the foil/paper for the last 15 mins to allow the top to brown a little.
These make a great healthy snack. They are rather more-ish though, so don’t last very long!
I got the idea from my sister in law, but went with my own flavourings.
- 2 cans of chickpeas
- Olive oil
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- 2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
- 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon of salt
Drain the chick peas, keeping the juice to use in cakes, instead of eggs (see my chilli chocolate brownies recipe here).
Pat the chick peas dry with a tea towel and put them into a bowl.
Drizzle with olive oil and mix well to coat all the chick peas.
Add the spices and mix well, making sure all the chick peas are well coated.
Place them onto a baking tray in a single layer and cook in a pre heated oven at 160 degrees Celsius for 35 minutes until crisp
I made these for my wife as a dairy free alternative Easter treat, to get round her allergy.
- 50g vegetable fat spread (I use Flora Freedom)
- 200g 70% dark chocolate (Green & Black’s)
- 2.5 tbsp golden syrup
- 100g rich tea biscuits, roughly broken
- 100g mini marshmallows
- 100g cranberries100g
- Brazil nuts, roughly chopped
On a low heat, melt the spread, chocolate and syrup together in a pan.
Line a square baking dish with cling film
Once the chocolate and spread mix is completely melted, add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and mix through.
Pour the mixture into the baking dish and place it in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight, until set.
Remove from the dish and discard the cling film. Chop into bite-sized squares.
Chilli and chocolate is one of my favorite combinations, so these brownies are perfect for me!
The original recipe for this one came from the RHS Red hot chilli grower book. I have adapted the recipe several times, more recently to allow for my wife’s dairy and egg allergy.
If you are into spicy things you can up the amount of chilli to your taste.
- 300g really dark chocolate
- 300g light soft brown sugar
- 250g dairy free spread (I have used both Flora freedom and Stork)
- 1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
- 220g plain flour (sifted)
- Juice from 1 can of chick peas (also known as aquafaba)
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius
Put the chocolate, sugar, spread and chilli into a pan and slowly heat until dissolved
Meanwhile whisk the chick pea juice to form soft peaks
Take the chocolate mix off the heat and stir in the flour. Fold in half the chick pea juice, followed by the other half
Distribute the mix between cupcake cases. You should end up with around 16
Cook for around 20-25 minutes until springy to the touch
With pancake day approaching we needed to come up with an egg and milk free pancake for my wife, who, since being pregnant, has developed an allergy to them.
Swapping milk is straight forward enough, but what about the egg? Well it turns out that you can use the juice from a can of chick peas, or any legume, as an egg substitute in almost any meal. It goes by the name of Aquafaba.
Don’t worry the pancakes don’t end up tasting like chickpeas. The almond milk also gives a great flavour to the pancakes, but Soya or any milk would also work.
I like to make mini pancakes using crumpet rings as they are a bit easier to handle.
300ml almond milk
100g self raising flour (sieved)
Pinch of salt
Dairy free spread, like Flora freedom
2 tablespoon of juice from a can of chick peas (lightly beaten)
Add half the milk to the flour and salt and whisk to a smooth mix. Add the rest of the milk and the chick pea juice and whisk again.
Place a couple of crumpet rings into a small frying pan. Add a small amount of spread to each ring. Pour some batter into the rings and cook on a low heat for several minutes.
Carefully remove the rings and flip the pancakes. Cook for a few more minutes, until golden in colour.
Serve drizzled in honey and with a handful of raspberries
Shop bought nuts are so overpriced I decided to attempt to make my own. They actually taste really good and have got me thinking of other recipes I could try in the coming weeks.
1kg plain peanuts
Juice of 6 limes
6 tablespoons of chilli powder
1 tablespoon of smoked paprika
large pinch of salt
1 heaped teaspoon of sugar
Pre-heat the oven at 120 degrees Celcius
Mix the lime juice with the chilli powder, paprika, salt and sugar. Add the nuts and mix well ensuring they are all well coated.
Place onto a baking tray (or 2) in a single layer if possible. Put them in the oven for around 45 minutes, turning every 10 minutes or so until nice and dry.
Leave to cool before storing in an airtight container
A quick and easy pudding to make. Use pre-made lemon curd, if you can. See my other post on how to do that here.
- 1 jar of lemon curd
- 250g ginger nut biscuits
- 100g butter
- 4 eggs (whites only)
- 200g caster sugar
Break up the biscuits into crumbs. Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the biscuit crumbs. firmly press into the bottom of a tin
Cover in a thick layer of lemon curd, I used home made, see my other post on how to do that.
Beat the egg whites in a bowl until fluffy and add the sugar. Beat until soft peaks form.
Cover the lemon curd with the meringue mix and place in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius and cook for around 15 mins until lightly browned on top.
Leave to cool before removing from the tin, this allows everything to set firm.