Chocolate Peanut Smoothie (v)

Chocolate banana smoothie

In these uncertain and unsettling times I’m struggling to eat. I’m also hyper aware that I don’t want to waste any food at all. This smoothie delivers a healthy boost of fruit; is easy to drink if you’ve no appetite and uses up some bananas that are too ripe for me to enjoy as they are. You can use whatever ingredients you have to hand. These were in my freezer/cupboard.

For one portion you need

  • 1 ripe banana
  • Handful of frozen black cherries
  • 1 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • ~200ml soya milk or whatever milk you have to hand.
  1. Put everything into a blender goblet. Blitz till smooth, adding more liquid if you need to. Enjoy.

If you have lots of ripe bananas, peel them and freeze them. If you use frozen banana you will need to add more liquid as it will thicken a lot.

Pornstar Smoothie (v)


Why should martinis get all the fun eh? Sadly no chaser of prosecco to follow, just a healthy dose of fruit and vitamins.

For one portion you need

  • 2 oranges, skinned and cut into quarters
  • 1 banana
  • 1 apple, cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 150ml apple juice
  • 1 tbsp freshly grated giner
  • 1 passion fruit for garnish
  • A nutribullet or similar high speed blender

Place everything apart from the passion fruit in a nutribullet goblet and blitz until smooth, about 1 minute. Pour into a serving glass and garnish with the passion fruit. Drink. Pretend this has undone all the bad things you have eaten and drunk over the festive period and beyond.



Tropical Fruit with Butterscotch Sauce

Who says that eating fruit has to be puritanical all the time 😉 This simple butterscotch sauce is great for dipping your fruit in when you’re fed up with being a saint all the time.
For 4 portions you need
50g butter
75g soft brown sugar
100ml double cream
Tropical fruit of your choice, we used mango, papaya and pineapple.

Put the butter, sugar and cream in a pan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Allow to boil gently to reduce slightly, but take care not to let the sauce catch or burn. Serve on the side as a dipping sauce or just tip the whole lot over your bowl and enjoy J

Home Grown Roasted Rhubarb with Ice Cream

The rhubarb season has begun and the crown I planted 18 months ago is seriously bearing fruit! So we had it very simply roasted last night for pudding, served with some good quality ice cream. Simplicity at its best.

For 2 people you need
3-4 sticks rhubarb, washed and cut into 1 inch lengths
2-3 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbs water
Ice cream to serve

Place the rhubarb, sugar and water in a roasting dish and cook in a hot oven for 20 mins until the rhubarb is soft and starting to caramelise and there is a syrupy sauce forming from the sugary juices. Serve warm with ice cream. Yummy.

Perfect Pavlova

I don’t often make pavlovas as they end up being too big for a few people to eat, and all those calories over a few days is not a good idea! But a couple of friends came round to see us on Fri so I made one and it was luuuuuush! I prefer to keep my pavlovas simple, no crunchy, pippy passion fruit toppings for me thank you very much! So this recipe can pretty much be thrown together out of store/fridge/freezer staples and looks like you’ve made a huge effort. Result! The rule of thumb you need when making a pavlova is 62.5g of caster sugar per egg white, this way you can make one as big or small as you like!

For 6-8 portions you need
5 egg whites
310g caster sugar
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp cornflower
600ml double cream
300g frozen raspberries (or any fruit of your choice), defrosted
1 tbsp icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Begin by whisking the egg whites until they form stiff peaks in a free standing mixer. With the motor running, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Add the vinegar and cornflower and mix in well.

Spoon the meringue on to a lined baking sheet. I usually take care to make a well in the middle with banked up sides to hold the filling in place but you can do it however you wish! Pop into the oven and turn the heat down to 140 degrees. Cook for 90 minutes and then turn off the oven. Leave the door open a little and leave the pavlova to cool in the oven.

Whip the cream to soft peaks then spread onto the pavlova. Add the raspberries and then sift over the icing sugar. Utterly delicious!

Mixed Summer Berry Fruit Pie (v)

I cleaned out the freezer last week in readiness for this seasons new crops. Lurking at the back of the freezer were bags of last summers fruit: red currants, black currants, strawberries, gooseberries, blackberries, raspberries. I made some jam from strawberries and red currants, but still had enough fruit left over to create this pie.

For 6-8 portions you need
8oz plain flour
4oz vegan margarine
cold water

4 cups mixed fruit
1/2 cup vanilla sugar (or to taste)
2 tbsp cornflour

Place the flour and vegan spread in a food processor and blitz till it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water a little at a time until a dough is formed. Push into a disc shape in clingfilm and leave to rest for 5 mins.

Gently heat the berries and sugar in a pan for 3-4 mins until the juices run. Strain off any liquid (this prevents the pie from becoming too soggy). Mix in the cornflour to the strained fruit.

Cut the pastry into two chunks of 1/3 and 2/3. Roll out the large portion and use to line a pie dish. Fill with the fruit and then roll out the remaining pastry to form a lid. Brush with soya milk and sprinkle over a little extra caster sugar.

Bake in a moderate oven (180 degrees) for 30-45 mins until the pie is golden brown and crisp.

Fruit with Sesame and Coconut Dip (v)

New Year, new food habits of course! So January should see the start of some more healthy recipes than of late as the excess of the festive period makes way for clean healthy flavours instead. This sesame and coconut dip is a variation of one I saw in a waitrose food magazine. It works brilliantly as a tasty textured contrast to the juicy soft fruit beneath it. It’s also delicious on top of yogurt for a healthy breakfast.

For 10-12 portions of dip you need
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup sesame seeds
1 tbsp demerara sugar

Place the coconut and sesame seeds in a pan and gently toast over a low heat till golden brown. Don’t be tempted to turn up the heat and rush this process or it will burn!

Serve with fruit of your choice 🙂 We had melon, papaya, passion fruit, oranges and pineapple.

Foraged Blackberry Jam (v)

According to one of the contestants on the Great British Bake Off, young people have forgotten skills like jam making . Yeah, I can’t stand him either, but for lots of other reasons too. Anyway. It’s not true. I have been making jam, and chutney, and jelly, for years. So to you. Jam making is not hard and does not involve any particular skills. You just need to know the right balance of sugar to fruit and whether or not you need to add more pectin. And you must must must sterilise your jars properly if you want to store your jam for a wee while. This jam was made from foraged blackberries from Baildon common. We were lucky enough to get a kilo in one visit, but the fruit freezes well if you can’t pick that much before getting fed up being pricked by prickles or stung by brambles…

For 8 mini (225g) jars you need
1kg blackberries
1kg sugar. Any sugar is fine but preserving sugar is easier to melt and jam sugar already contains additional pectin
juice 1 lemon if not using jam sugar
Wax discs to seal the jam

Start by placing a saucer or small plate in the freezer. We will need it later.

Sterilise your jam jars, lids and any other utensils you will use to put the jam from the pan into jars (e.g. ladle etc). Do this by either putting in a hot dishwasher cycle or by washing in hot soapy water, rinsing and placing in the oven at 75 degrees for 10 mins. Make sure everything is still warm before you bottle the jam.

Place the fruit and sugar and lemon in a large, heavy based pan. A preserving pan is ideal but if you only plan on making one batch of jam don’t bother with buying one, a normal pan is fine. Slowly (this being the operative word) melt the sugar. As you heat the fruit will start to break down releasing juice which will mingle with the sugar and aid the process. Don’t rush this bit, it should take about 15-30 mins. Once the sugar has fully melted and there are no sugar crystals left, bring to the boil.

Boil rapidly for 5 mins and then start to test for a soft set. To do this, take your plate from the freezer, remove the jam from the heat, and place a small dollop on the cold plate. If after 30 seconds you can draw a line through it with your fingernail and it doesn’t immediately get filled with liquid the jam is ready. If not, reboil for a further minute and keep testing until you reach soft set.

I like my jam smooth so I blitz with a stick blender before bottling. Transfer the jam to the sterilised jars and seal with a wax disc. Loosely place the lids on top, and leave to cool before tightening. Don’t put labels on until the jam jars are cold or they will fall off! Leave in a cool, darkish place and enjoy in deepest winter.

Plum and Cinnamon Tart (v)

This was step two in using up the rest of the pastry and some vegan cream cheese and plums…

For 2 portions you need:
4-5 plums, cut into 6ths
1/2 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
1/2 tub vegan cream cheese
3-4 dessertspoonfuls of cinnamon sugar (or demarara sugar and some ground cinnamon)

Lay the pastry on a baking sheet and score a 1cm border. Spread over the cream cheese and sprinkle over 2 spoonfuls of sugar. Lay on the plums. Top with more sugar. Bake in a hot oven for 20-25 mins. Eat. Gaze in wonder that something so amazing contains no animal products What. So. Ever.

Fruit with Toffee Fondue Sauce

This is an easy way to use up any leftover sauce from a sticky toffee pudding.

For 4 people you need:
Assorted fruit – we used melon, mango, apple and clementine

Toffee Sauce made from
275g golden syrup
225ml double cream
275g light soft brown sugar
100g butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

Boil the sauce ingredients for 5 mins till golden and bubbling. Chop the fruit roughly and dip in to the sauce. This is an excellent way to get children (and adults!) to each fruit 🙂