Archive for the 'Recipes' Category


This is the easiest thing to make – ever. When we went Raspberry picking I had quite a few fruits left over after we had had our fill. This is a really easy way to make sorbet. I thought it would be strange leaving the seeds in as I had only ever made sorbet by straining the mixture before. But it really doesn’t make a difference and makes the process really quick.


  • 6 cups (768g) of Raspberries
  • 1 cup (128g) of sugar
  • 1 and 3/4 (224g) cup of water


1. Put the sugar and water in a pan and heat until the sugar is melted. Let it cool.

2. Put the Raspberries in a mixer with a sprinkle of water and pulse for a few seconds. You don’t want to blend them but just chop them up.

3. Pour in the sugar water and blend until smooth.

4. Put into an airtight container and freeze.


It’s time to bring in the Broadbeans. I have around six plants producing a ton of beans. Harvesting the biggest ones from the bottom I managed to collect this little lot and some podded Peas too.

When it comes to preparing Broadbeans and Peas it’s always a time issue. Do you have time to do the shelling? I have harvested many a bowl of Peas or Beans that have sat, unshelled for a day or two. Not with these.

You don’t always need to shell Broad beans. If they are young enough and fresh enough they are pretty sweet as they come. But for those that do need shelling I did a post a while ago on how to shell Broadbeans. These were very sweet.


The first Broad bean harvest is definitely cause for celebration in our house. We had Jamie Oliver’s Incredible Smashed Pea and Broadbeans on Toast. A lovely recipe with Lemon, Mint and Pecorino cheese. With some crisp white wine, candles and a bunch of nice Oakleaf Hydrangeas cut from the garden. It was heaven.


Simple Red Currant Jam

This year I harvested over 1.2kg of fruit from one Red Currant bush! That’s the most I’ve ever had I think. I’ve made Red Currant Jelly before but I wanted a simpler recipe because I knew that I wouldn’t be keeping the jam for very long as it would probably get eaten in a matter of weeks.

The bush was so laden with fruit that I even had to cut off some of the branches as they had bent over with the weight.

The recipe was a simple one. Just pick the fruit (which took about half an hour) wash and weigh the fruit. I had 1.2kg of fruit. Put these, stalks and all, into a preserving pan. Cook the fruit for about 10 mins squashing the fruit to release the juice. Add the same quantity of sugar (1.2kg)
and bring to the boil. Boil for eight minutes then strain through a muslin. I bought this stand for the job. And it worked well.

Sterlize some jars in the oven and when the mixture is strained pour it into the waiting jars.

Regarding the amount of sugar – it is alot. Certainly when you weigh it out it looks like an excessive amount. Now that I’ve tasted the jam I think you could get away with putting less sugar in. Maybe even two or three hundred grams less. The resulting jam I’m guessing will be a little more tart but personally I’d prefer that so I’ll be reducing the sugar next time. If you like your jam sweet then go for equal proportions.


Banana Cake

I was going to bake Lemon cake today but I ran out of Lemons (essential ingredient in Lemon cake) so I made Banana cake instead. Bananas – now I have lots of those!

I used the very simple recipe from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook which includes lots of ginger, cinnamon and melted butter. The boys seemed to like it even though it was quite gingery. Here’s the recipe from the book, which if you like cakes, I really do recommend you buy.

270g soft light brown sugar
2 eggs
200g peeled bananas, mashed
280g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
140g unsalted, melted

23 x 13cm loaf tin, greased and dusted with flour

Preheat the oven to 170°C (or 160°C fan)

Put the sugar and eggs in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until well incorporated. Beat in the mashed bananas.

Add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and ginger to the sugar mixture. Mix it thoroughly until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the egg mixture. Pour in the melted butter and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed.

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and smooth over with a palette knife. Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Leave the cake to cool slightly in the tin before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.


Blueberry Pie

Not exactly cake but baking at least. I decided to use up the Blueberries from the freezer since there is precious little in the garden right now. A pie seemed the sensible option and a good excuse to get my pie dish out.

I made the pastry in the usual basic pie crust way – with a little help of course. We even made an err.. sort of, pastry snowman out of the left over bits.

I blind baked the base, weighted down with kidney beans and parchment.

The filling is so simple. Just Blueberries (550g), juice from one Lemon, lemon rind, 100g of caster sugar and a spoonful of cornflour to thicken. Then you let the oven do the work and cook it for 50 minutes at 170 degrees C. I think I’ll use more cornflour next time as the water from the frozen blueberries meant that the filling wasn’t as gloopy as I’d like.

But warm Blueberry pie with ice-cream? Wow! The boys had never had that before and by the end they were practically bribing me for more.


How to Roast Sweet Chestnuts

We are really lucky to have a Sweet Chestnut tree at the end of our driveway. It’s not strictly our tree but the tree is so big that there is a carpet of chestnuts there every year and you can almost hear the squirrels rubbing their hands.

So when my friend came around the other day and the kids needed some ‘outdoor play’ we decided to go do a little ‘cleaning up’ under the tree.

Having foraged enough for both of us we brought them home to roast. I’ve never done it before so I looked it up and here’s how:

Oven on 200c/400f/gas6. Score a cross into the skin of each chestnut, put into a roasting tin and roast for 30mins.


Preferably from a brown paper bag, while taking a walk on a blustery Autumn day. Or… infront of the TV. Your choice.

I just managed to get my Borlotti Beans in before the weather turned all wet and soggy (it’s tipping it down outside as I type). I harvested the lot, probably about 25 – 30 pods from one wigwam and only four plants. Apparently, that’s not bad in Borlotti terms as they tend to yield less than the same number of Runner Bean plants.

About 75% of these were perfect for fresh eating (the best way to save that lovely, Potatoey-and-yet-also-Beany flavour). You can dry them, of course, and use them over winter but I wanted to use them fresh in order to ‘really’ taste them, if you know what I mean.

The only problem was that, since I’ve never grown Borlotti Beans before my stash of recipes for this type of vegetable amounted to, erm, none. So I was stuck with a beautiful crop of Beans but not a clue what to do with them. I went on the hunt for some recipes and found such a lovely selection that I thought I’d share them here – in case you were wondering what to do with yours too. Oh and also, don’t forget to cook your beans before using them in a recipe. Simply boil them for 20 minutes until they are soft.

Here’s goes:

  1. Fresh Borlotti Bean, Tiger Prawn and Chorizo Horneado – I’m not a big fan of Chorizo so might replace this with sausage or similar but this just looked gorgeous and very hearty on an Autumn’s day too.
  2. Borlotti Beans braised with Onion, Tomato and Cime di Rapa – for those of you at a loss to know what Cime di Rapa is (me included) it is described here as being a Brassica a little like the leaves of Turnip. You could maybe substitue Chard or Cabbage leaves but this would give the dish a different flavour.
  3. Borlotti Bean Mole with Roast Winter Squash – one thing I like about this recipe is that it includes chocolate. Beans – good, Squash – good, Chocolate – good!
  4. Sausages with Fresh Borlotti Beans – As I suspected Borlotti Beans go well with sausages. Delicious magazine confirms all my suspicions.
  5. Borlotti Beans in Tomato Sauce with Creamy Polenta – ooh creamy polenta sounds like a good accompaniment to my Beans. This recipe is from a book called Heirloom Beans which looks pretty darn good too.
  6. Cranberry Bean “Fool Mudammas” – apparently Borlotti Beans are called Cranberry Beans in certain parts of the world – I did not know that! This recipe looks so fresh and crispy with its layer of Radish on top. Great to go with something warm and spicy.
  7. Cowboy Beans – one for the kids. These pot beans can be cooked the day before and warmed up on the day. You could even make them on a camping trip over the fire.
  8. Borlotti Bean, Chilli and Pine Nut Bake – A good bake is always a winner in our house. And with the added benefit of pine nuts this is guaranteed to go down well.
  9. Italian Bean and Tuna Salad – this uses a mix of Italian Beans but I bet you could use all Borlotti Beans and it would taste almost the same.
  10. Borlotti Bean and Courgette Hummus – wow! a recipe that uses up two end-of-the-summer gluts? Can it really be true?
  11. So there you have it, my favourite Fresh Borlotti Bean recipes. I think I’ll be making the Bean and Courgette Hummus.


How To Make Grape Juice

While on my knicker-making course the other week (I know, weird) I had a great idea what to do with my ripening black Grapes. One of the other attendees was drinking grape juice and I thought, ‘yes! that’s it, a great way to use up my Grapes.’

Why not just eat them, you say? Well, unfortunately the vine I have was already in my garden when I moved into the house and as it turns out the Grapes are small and very sweet but they have quite large pips in them. Which, if you’ve ever eaten non-seedless Grapes, is a bit of a pain in the booty.

So, here’s how to make your own Grape juice. Firstly, harvest and de-stem the Grapes making sure to pick out any damaged or rotted ones.

Next, give them a good wash to get rid of any nasties.

Then put them into a sturdy pan and mash them with a masher. The idea is to burst as many Grapes as possible. Heat them to a slow simmer for about 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally to ensure they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Lastly, pass the mixture through a fine sieve or cheesecloth. I used a sieve and pushed it through twice just to make sure all the bits were gone. Then bottle, chill and serve. You don’t need to process the jars if you plan on drinking it quickly. And if you have matching nail polish then apply now – the juice tastes so much better :)


Raspberry Milk

I know this is weird but I have a Raspberry glut. My Autumn Raspberries are producing at such a rate that the three of us can’t keep up with them. Infact, we’re a little bit sick of eating Raspberries (when I say we, I don’t mean a certain 2-year-old who is happy to eat them for breakfast, dinner and tea!).

So, I decided to make some Raspberry milk with the surplus. Just a cup full of milk in the blender with a handful of Raspberries. That’s all. No sugar needed.

Then serve to your waiting customers.


Super-Easy Mini Yule Logs

It’s Chriiiiiistmas! And in the spirit I made these Super-Easy Mini Yule Logs for a kids Christmas party that Jackson went to. They are so easy but look quite the part. Simply buy some ready made mini chocolate rolls, then cover each one with chocolate icing (bought or made whichever you have time for). Then dust with icing sugar and don’t forget the ornamental snow-covered trees! Et voilà – the easiest yule logs you’ll ever make.

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