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Category: Favourite recipes (Page 1 of 2)

Pumpkin Soup Recipe


  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 800g pumpkin, peeled and roughly diced
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
  • Half a teaspoon cumin powder
  • Half a teaspoon mild curry powder
  • 150ml double cream
  • Fresh bread to accompany


  1. Gently heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in thick-based saucepan.
  2. Once the oil is hot add the onion and garlic, frying them on a gentle heat until the onion softens.
  3. Add the diced pumpkin to the pan and cook until it starts to soften, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the vegetable stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is very tender.
  6. Add the cumin and curry powder and stir in.
  7. Pour the cream into the pan and bring back to the boil.
  8. Remove from the heat and purée with a hand blender.
  9. For an extra-velvety consistency pour the soup through a fine sieve.

This pumpkin soup makes a fabulous starter or a lovely warming snack. The whole process is even more rewarding when made from your home grown pumpkins. Click here to read about ours.

Jamie’s Roasted Beets and Carrots

I love this recipe as an accompaniment to slow roasted shoulder of pork. It is taken from Jamie Oliver’s cook book “Jamie At Home , Cook Your Own Way To A Good Life”. The full recipe is Roasted Carrots And Beets With The Juiciest Pork Chops. It is especially relevant during the mid to late summer months as carrots and beets are readily available.


  • 750g peeled carrots, mixed colours if available
  • 750g beets, different sizes and colours if available
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bulb garlic, broken apart, half the cloves smashed, half left whole
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 orange
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • a few sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves picked
  • 5 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 220° C/425 °F, gas 7
  2. Put carrots into a large saucepan and beets into another
  3. Add enough water to cover them
  4. Cook for 15-20 minutes until just tender
  5. Drain and place in separate bowls
  6. Peel beets, and cut any larger carrots and beets in half or quarters (leave small ones whole)
  7. Add flavourings while veg are still hot
  8. Toss carrots with half the smashed garlic and a glug of olive oil
  9. Lightly season
  10. Add the orange juice and thyme leaves and toss again
  11. Mix the beets with the rest of the garlic, the rosemary, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper
  12. Now put veg into a large roasting tray with carrots in one half and beets in the other
  13. Place in the middle of the preheated oven and roast for around half an hour or until golden
  14. Serve as side dish or as a main

This serves 4 as a side dish.

It is ideal served with a pork joint or pork chops.

Chocolate & Beetroot Cake

Our allotment has been full to bursting this year and for the first time I grew beetroot.

I’ve used some in salads, and have also roasted some, Jamie Oliver style. Yum!

Today, however, I decided to make a Chocolate and Beetroot cake.

I searched the internet for a recipe and found this easy to follow one on the Tesco website.

I don’t have a food processor at the present time so used an electric food chopper to blend the beetroot and to finely chop the chocolate.

I used an electric mixer to add the eggs and a wooden spoon to mix the wet and dry ingredients together.

To sprinkle the icing sugar I used a tea strainer.

For a first attempt I was really happy with the outcome as were my neighbours who dropped by for tea!


  • 50g cocoa powder
  • 175g plain flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 250g cooked beetroot
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 200ml sunflower oil
  • 100g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • Icing sugar


  • Preheat oven to gas 4, 180 ° C, fan 160 ° C
  • Grease and line the bottom of a 23cm spring form cake tin
  • Sieve the cocoa, flour, baking powder and sugar into a large mixing bowl
Dry ingredients
  • Drain and halve the beetroot
  • Blend in a food processor
Chopped beetroot
  • With the machine running, add the eggs one at a time
  • Pour in the oil
  • Blend the mixture until smooth
Wet ingredients
  • Stir the wet mixture into the dry ingredients
  • Mix in the chocolate
Cake mix
  • Pour into the tin and cook for 45 minutes or until a skewer or cocktail stick comes out clean
Cake in oven
  • Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 minutes
  • Turn out and leave to cool
  • Dust the cake with icing sugar before serving


Vegan Blueberry Muffins

I’ve had this recipe in my file for so long that I had forgotten where it had come from. The only reference was to “Blythe”…

A quick bit of research this morning reveals that this healthier version was created by Gwyneth Paltrow. Her inspiration came from her mother, Blythe Danner’s, recipe.

I have used it a several times and, if followed precisely, the end result is a healthier version of a Blueberry Muffin as the recipe does not use any white sugar. They are also vegan.

Give it a go. I’m sure you’ll love them.


  • 125ml vegetable oil
  • 125ml soya milk
  • 125ml real Vermont maple syrup
  • 4 tablespoons light agave nectar
  • 100g white spelt flour
  • 125g whole spelt flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 300g fresh blueberries


  • Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan /gas 5
  • Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases
  • Mix the wet ingredients together
  • Stir in the dry ingredients
  • Fold in the blueberries
  • Divide between the paper cases
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown
  • To test, if cooked, insert a cocktail stick or skewer in the centre of a muffin – if it comes out clean the muffins are ready
  • Leave to cool before eating


I have also made these muffins substituting the blueberries for dark chocolate broken up into tiny pieces. No doubt far less healthy, but I know which ones the children preferred!

No Cook Low Cal Tiramisu Recipe

No Cook Low Cal Tiramisu recipe – what’s not to like?

This recipe originates from a Pinch of Nom, who claim to be the UK’s most visited food blog. I actually bought their first book which includes 100 slimming home style recipes. This is definitely one of my favourites as it is really simple to make and only has 108 Kcal per serving.

There’s no cooking involved but you should allow 10 minutes chilling time before serving. The end result is a really tasty dessert which could easily be served at a dinner party.


Ingredients for Tiramisu recipe

  • 150g ricotta
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 2 tsp granulated sweetener
  • 8 sponge fingers, each broken into 3 pieces
  • 100ml strong espresso, cooled
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

Method for Tiramisu recipe

  1. Put the ricotta, vanilla bean paste and granulated sweetener in a bowl and mix with a fork until smooth.
  2. Place three sponge finger pieces into the base of four 125ml ramekins.
  3. Add a couple of teaspoons of espresso to each ramekin and crush the sponge fingers down to cover the base of the ramekins.
  4. Top this layer with a layer of ricotta mix, then add three more sponge finger pieces, placing them towards the edges of the ramekin. There is no need to crush these down.
  5. Add another little drizzle of espresso and top with the remaining ricotta mix.
  6. Place the cocoa powder in a sieve and generously dust it over each tiramisu.
  7. Chill for around 10 minutes or until ready to serve.


If calories aren’t an issue then I would suggest using the whole of a 250g pot of ricotta rather than have any leftover. I also found that swapping the espresso for regular instant coffee doesn’t make a noticeable difference. You could also add a measure of Tia Maria to the coffee to ensure that the sponge fingers are lovely and moist. Top with a lovely sweet strawberry.


It’s Not All Bad

So, like the majority of mums, I didn’t get to celebrate Mothers Day in the conventional sense this year, nor go to the cinema to see Peter Rabbit II with my boys.

Nevertheless, the sun is shining and I am lucky enough to have a garden that is beckoning to me to start work. In return it provides me with a source of physical exercise and an excuse to be out in the fresh air.

It’s not all bad.

Day one in the garden required an element of digging over and clearing the débris from last year. That in itself proved profitable as beneath the surface I found sufficient carrots to make a soup.

My first thought turned to carrot and coriander but whilst searching through my saved recipes I found one for curried carrot soup. I quickly scanned the list of ingredients. On the whole they were kitchen cupboard staples, and those not on hand, I decided to research an alternative as shopping is currently only for absolute essentials.

The recipe I had saved appeared to have been published in a Waitrose magazine back in October 2017. Writing about Duchy carrot-grower Joe Rolfe from Norfolk the recipe was an addendum to the article.

I must admit I modified it to suit my means but have copied it here for your reference.

My Version Of Curried Carrot Soup


  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 10g fresh root ginger, grated (I substituted with 1.5 tsp ground ginger)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 400g Waitrose Duchy Organic bunched carrots, finely sliced (I substituted these with my own organically grown heritage carrots)
  • 1.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1.5 tsp ground coriander
  • Pinch of crushed chilli flakes
  • 0.5 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp caster sugar
  • 0.5 lemon, juice
  • 3 tbs creme fraiche (I substituted this with Greek yoghurt)


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add garlic, onion, celery, and salt and sweat over a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the carrots to the saucepan and stir for a few minutes, then stir in the spices and sugar. Pour in 850ml water. Simmer until carrots are soft.
  • Remove from the heat and , using a stick blender, whizz until smooth.
  • I put through a sieve as well as I prefer a smoother blend.
  • Stir through the lemon juice and 3 tbsp of creme fraiche or Greek yoghurt.
  • Divide the soup between bowls and serve with crusty bread.

Serves 6

The cinemas may not have been broadcasting the new Peter Rabbit movie this past weekend but my carrot soup certainly reminded me of Peter’s cheeky antics.

I know its difficult times but I try to see the positives in everything. In doing so I hope I bring a little light into your life.

My Favourite Winter Recipes

I love to experiment with new recipes and also to revisit some of my old favourites. On the run up to Christmas, and during the holiday period, I have had the opportunity to host a couple of special evenings and here I would like to share with you two of the recipes that contributed to their success. The two I have chosen compliment each other perfectly as the first requires 4 egg yolks and the second requires 4 egg whites.

Toffee Vodka Ice Cream (serves 4)


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tablespoons warmed maple syrup
  • 300ml double cream
  • 4 tablespoons Toffee Vodka
  • small pieces of vanilla fudge (optional)


  1. Beat the egg yolks in a warmed mixer bowl for about 5 minutes until they have expanded as far as possible
  2. Slowly drip in the warmed maple syrup and carry on beating for further 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, lightly whip up the cream with the vodka.
  4. Fold the two mixtures together adding small pieces of vanilla fudge if desired.
  5. Put the cream mixture into a plastic container and freeze for at least 12 hours.
  6. Using an ice cream scoop serve straight from the freezer.
  7. Use within 3 days as it may become a little rubbery after time.

This recipe was based on John Tovey’s Honey and Brandy Ice Cream from his book Wicked Puddings.

Blackberry and Apple Soufflé (serves 4)


  • Melted butter and caster sugar to dust the moulds
  • 100g mixture of diced, peeled and cored apples
  • 100g blackberries, fresh or frozen
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 4 egg whites
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • Icing sugar to dust


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C
  2. Brush the base and sides of 4 x 250ml soufflé dishes, or coffee cups, with melted butter and sprinkle with caster sugar, tipping out the excess. Chill until ready to use.
  3. Mix the cornflour with 2tsp cold water.
  4. Peel, core and roughly chop the apples, put them into a saucepan with the blackberries and half the sugar, to taste. Put on a medium heat and cook until the apples are soft.
  5. Process in a food processor until smooth, strain through a sieve, them tip the fruit into a small saucepan.
  6. Stir over a low heat and bring to the boil.
  7. Stir in the cornflour mixture and cook until thickened.
  8. Remove from the heat but continue stirring until the mixture is cool.
  9. Beat the egg whites with the salt and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  10. Gradually add the other half of the sugar until the mixture is thick and glossy.
  11. Add a third of the egg whites to the fruit purée, mixing well with a metal spoon, then add the rest of the egg white and gently mix it in until it is one uniform colour.
  12. Spoon into the dishes and smooth the tops.
  13. Bake in the over for 12-14 minutes, until well risen and starting to colour.
  14. Dust with icing sugar and serve immediately.

This recipe was taken from The Abinger Cookery School’s Chalet Cook Book in association with Fish & Pips.

I would like to think that both of these desserts are mouthwateringly divine and are great for weekend entertaining!

Courgette & Parmesan Quiche

This is my take on a recipe featured in the August 2019 Country Living magazine. I have chosen to make my own “quiche” pastry rather than use a “ready-rolled puff pastry” and have used my own method for making the white sauce.

I would also suggest using a flan dish rather than a deep pie dish as I found that the filling did not fill the dish I used completely. As a consequence the crust was rather large.



  • 225g plain flour
  • Half a teaspoon salt
  • 100g butter
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water


  • 40g butter
  • 40g plain flour
  • 400ml milk
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 60g Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 courgettes
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 small aubergine
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground salt & black pepper
Quiche prior to cooking. In future I will use a flan dish rather than a deep pie dish.


  1. First make a white sauce by melting the butter in a non-stick pan over a medium heat. Add flour and cook over low heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Do not allow mixture to brown. Remove from heat and gradually blend in the milk. Return to heat and cook, stirring, until the sauce comes to the boil and thickens. Simmer very gently for 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and leave to cool, covering the surface with a circle of baking parchment to stop a skin forming.
  2. Make pastry by sifting flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Rub in flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Mix to a dough with the egg and water. Roll out and line a 23cm fluted flan dish. Chill.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan oven) gas mark 4.
  4. Cut the vegetables lengthways, as thinly as possible, with a mandolin if you have one. (I used a potato peeler as a suitable alternative to produce ribbons of courgette and carrot.) Halve the aubergine lengthways, if necessary, so that it is similar in width. Cut into strips using a sharp knife.
  5. Mix the eggs and Parmesan together in a bowl, then stir into the now cool white sauce.
  6. Pour the sauce into the flan dish.
  7. Starting from the edge of the dish arrange the vegetables around in a spiral pattern. Alternate between the courgette, carrot and aubergine. Brush the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt.
  8. Put flan dish on pre-heated baking tray and cook for 50-60 minutes until golden, and vegetables are tender.
  9. Allow to cool for approximately 10 minutes.
  10. Slice and serve.

Serve alone, or as an accompaniment to a selection of cold cooked meats and warm crusty bread. Serves around 6-8.

Pumpkin Soup

Our pumpkin crop was a big success this year. Brought on early by the long hot summer our first, and biggest, pumpkin was ready for harvesting in August.

Encouraged by our budding gardener, Finlay, this was our second year of growing these giant vegetables from seed, and it was far more successful than the first.

Keen to show Finlay the benefits of growing his own food we decided to turn some of our later crop into soup. We selected two of the smaller pumpkins as they didn’t look as though they would make very impressive lanterns, and set to work.

We combined two recipes to come up with our final concoction:


  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 800g pumpkin, peeled and roughly diced
  • 700ml vegetable stock
  • Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper
  • Half a teaspoon cumin powder
  • Half a teaspoon mild curry powder
  • 150ml double cream
  • Fresh bread to accompany


  1. Gently heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in thick-based saucepan.
  2. Once the oil is hot add the onion and garlic, frying them on a gentle heat until the onion softens.
  3. Add the diced pumpkin to the pan and cook until it starts to soften, about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the vegetable stock into the pan and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes or until the pumpkin is very tender.
  6. Add the cumin and curry powder and stir in.
  7. Pour the cream into the pan and bring back to the boil.
  8. Remove from the heat and purée with a hand blender.
  9. For an extra-velvety consistency pour the soup through a fine sieve.

    Garlic and onion ready for the pan

Peeled and diced pumpkin

Extra-velvety pumpkin soup

I’m pleased to report that everyone enjoyed their autumnal treat even though our Indian summer prevailed and temperatures were unusually high for this time of year.

The Heat Is On

When the heat is on and we have the opportunity to eat our meals in the garden I often get the urge to invite friends and family over for something to eat. I love it when I stumble across some really quick and easy recipes that make entertaining that much easier when we all live such busy lives.

Recently I found three inspirational recipes that made that move to the kitchen really easy.

Two were published in You Magazine and take moments to prepare whilst the third was published in Country Living magazine. The first has become a breakfast staple, the second a simple summer desert, and the last is an excellent choice for a tasty lunch or light supper.

1) Breakfast Tartine

Spread a generous layer of ricotta on sourdough toast, sprinkle with chopped pistachios and drizzle with honey.

2)Boozy Berry Fool

Pour a glut of Cointreau over seasonal berries and leave for 1 hour (or more). Spoon over crushed meringue and top with whipped cream and fresh mint.

3)Salad Leaves, Saffron Lamb and Pitta Bread


  • 200ml natural Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 150g mixed salad leaves
  • 1 cucumber, peeled
  • 2 red onions, thickly sliced into rings
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 pitta breads
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to season

For the marinated lamb

  • 1 onion, roughly grated
  • 565g lean lamb fillet or leg steaks, diced
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • a large pinch of saffron threads
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to season


  1. Put the grated onion in a bowl with the lamb, olive oil, lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Grind the saffron with a pinch of sea salt and mix into the lamb. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Heat a griddle pan or BBQ to a high heat.
  4. Put the yogurt into a bowl and beat in 5 tbsp of cold water. Season to taste.
  5. Place the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan and toast over a high heat, giving the pan an occasional shake.
  6. As soon as they smell delicious remove from the heat and grind to a powder. Sprinkle over the yogurt.
  7. Wash and dry the salad leaves. Rip into easy-to-eat lengths and place in a bowl. Slice the cucumber into half moons and mix into the leaves.
  8. Coat the red onion rings in 2 tbsp olive oil and season. Place on the hot griddle or BBQ and cook for 2 minutes on each side until golden. Tip into the salad.
  9. Place the lamb chunks on the hot griddle pan. If using a BBQ thread onto skewers before cooking. To serve medium rare, cook for 3 minutes on either side. Mix into the salad.
  10. Meanwhile, warm the pitta breads in a toaster or on the edge of the BBQ.
  11. Toss the salad in the lemon juice and 2 tbsp olive oil and season to taste.
  12. Split open the pitta breads, fill with the lamb mixture and drizzle with some of the yogurt. Serve immediately.

Preparation 20 minutes, plus marinating. Cooking 10 minutes. Serves 4.


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