Monday, 7 November 2022

Old Dalby Apple and Cinnamon Cake



 A decadantly moist cake, which is equally delicious served warm or cold.

Optional overnight soaking of sultanas in sherry


700g cooking apples, or a 50/50 mix of cooking and dessert apples (yields 550-575g thinly sliced apples - either all Bramley (3-4 large) or 2 large Bramley and 2-3 small dessert apples (e.g. Coxes, Gala etc.). Best sliced on a mandolin or food processor, 2-3ml thin.

Juice of 1 small lemon (2 tbsp)

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1.5 tbsp golden caster sugar (or to taste)

100g sultanas

75g sherry (e.g. Harvey's Bristol Cream / Croft Original) - optional

225g salted butter, softened

250g golden caster sugar

4 large eggs

1 tbsp vanilla extract

350g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt (optional)

1 tbsp cinnamon

Demerrara sugar to top (5-6 tbsp / 40-70g to taste)


1. Preheat oven to gas mark 4 / 180C / 160C fan oven. Grease and line (with non-stick baking paper) a deep tin which is 22.5cm / 9 inches square.

2. Peel core and thinly slice apples thinly (2-3 cm) and toss with the lemon juice ASAP to prevent browning, and stir in the 1 tbsp cinnamon, and 1.5 tbsp sugar until evenly coated and set aside (it doesn't matter if they break up a bit). Tip: I find it easiest to peel, then slice on three sides on a mandolin until I get to the core, or you could peel, quarter, core, then drop into the top of a food processor with a slicing blade.

3. Cream the soft butter and sugar together until increased in volume, and lighter in colour (the longer the better for a lighter result). An electric hand blender makes this a much easier and quicker job.

4. Add the eggs one by one, and the vanilla extract and incorporate. (Don't worry if it starts to look split at any point, the flour will bring it together again).

5. Sift in the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and optional pinch of salt. Gently fold in with a large metal spoon or a spatula and stir in the sultanas and any juices.

6. Gently spread half of the cake batter into the lined tin, spread half of the sliced apple mix on it, then repeat and sprinkle over the demerrara sugar on top.

7. Bake for around 1 hour (check at 45 minutes) or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Leave to cool for around 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Delicious served warm with custard or cream, or cool on its own.

Sunday, 30 October 2022

Fried Green Tomatoes with a Crispy, Spicy Coating (Can be made gluten free and in an airfryer instead of frying)

This is just THE most delicious thing to do with green tomatoes, if you have a glut of them which haven't ripened at the end of summer!

I've made green tomato chutney before, which is also delicious, but this year I thought I'd hark back to a film I watched as a teenager (many years ago!) - Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. I always wondered what they tasted like, and we have soooo many green tomatoes left over this year, that I've had several opportunities to experiment with various ingredients and methods, and this is the combination of ingredients I've settled  on as my favourite - be it fried or air fried!

May be an image of food and indoor
The air fried version

May be an image of food and indoor
The shallow fried version

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do - I've become a bit obsessed with them now, and there definitely aren't going to be any left over for chutney this year - also, they're an excellent vegetarian dish, brilliant as a starter, side, or even just to serve alongside drinks... or, erm, breakfast, brunch, supper... you get the idea! And I'd even go as far as to say that I prefer the air fryer version - they're so crispy - and almost guilt free!

Monday, 15 August 2022


A delicious, healthy and refreshing chilled soup from Spain.

Made predominately from raw tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, onion and garlic blended together with sherry vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, this soup can be anything from a starter, to a main or a tapa - and on a hot summer's day it's wonderful to be able to just reach into the fridge and pour yourself some out!

Makes approximately 1.25 litres (or see Notes for double).


(See Notes at the bottom of the page for double quantities, for ease of use)

  • 750g ripe, tasty tomatoes (yields 700g after coring), e.g. large, on the vine.
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1/2 green long or bell pepper
  • 1 long red pepper
  • 1/2 large or 1 small (red) onion
  • 1 stick celery (optional)
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 large red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped (optional)

Seasoning ingredients

  • 1 to 1.5 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tbsp sugar (optional, to taste depending on flavour of tomatoes)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp high quality sherry vinegar (to taste)
  • 65g high quality extra virgin olive oil


Finely diced salad items such as cucumber, red and / or green pepper, red and / or brown onion, avocado,chopped hard-boiled egg, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil at the end.


1. Remove the cores from the tomatoes and peppers, and de-seed the peppers. (There is no need to skin any of the vegetables)

2. Roughly chop all the vegetables into large chunks, then add to a food processor (with the garlic and chilli if using) and blend until almost at the consistency you require.

3. Add the salt, sherry vinegar, and optional sugar, then whilst blending, slowly pour in the olive oil until it is all incorporated, and taste for seasoning.

4. Enjoy lightly chilled, with your preferred garnishes on top. I find mine lasts for several days in the fridge (if it doesn't all get eaten!) in a large sterilised bottle or jar - shake before serving as it may seperate a little when stored. Technically speaking, if it's a smooth gazpacho, you can freeze it, but after defrosting it, you'll most likely need to reblend it to get the texture back. Not a good idea to freeze a chunkier gazpacho as it spoils the texture.


Gazpacho can also contain stale bread, however I find this is deliciously thick already, and as my daughter is coeliac, I have made my version gluten free.

Doubled up version (makes approximately 2.5 litres, and just fits into a magimax CE! I like to blend it using the Smoothie programme a couple of times, and then whizz it some more on speed 18 on the Expert programme until it's our preferred texture).

(For 2.5 litres)

  • 1.5kg large, ripe vine tomatoes
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 green long or bell pepper
  • 2 long red peppers
  • 1 large or 2 small red onions
  • 2 sticks celery (optional)
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 to 1 large red chilli, de-seeded (optional)

Seasoning ingredients

(These are to our taste, depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes, so add salt and vinegar to your own tastes gradually until you're happy with the flavour, or you might find it too salty /  acidic)

  • 1 scant tbsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp sugar (optional, to taste)
  • 4 tbsp high quality sherry vinegar (to taste)
  • 130g high quality extra virgin olive oil

Saturday, 15 January 2022

2 Minute Chunky Bueno-Style Bars - Gluten Free!

This could hardly be easier - only two ingredients, and two minutes 'cooking' time!

Quick intro, as I know you just want to get on making the naughties! My daughter bought the choco pillows cereal as a treat for herself (being a teenager, with a salary from a Saturday job - these definitely don't pass the approved healthy breakfast test!!!), and made me try one. I didn't really want to, but I was polite, and when I tried one, I thought how much it reminded me of a Kinder Bueno bar, which I have a soft spot for!

I've tried the gluten free alternative, and it's OK, but tiny, and expensive... and I immediately thought why not melt some nice chocolate, stir these in, and make our own -, whilst I consider it a VERY unhealthy breakfast (not judging, honest!), I think it makes a great treat, and way cheaper than buying the gluten free alternatives! Anyway, I hope you enjoy, I love it - and just think - this version has a whole list of nutrients on the side of the box, so maybe it's healthier too?!

Oh, and currently cost wise, 300g of Choco pillows from Morrisons - £0.99, Galaxy milk chocolate 360g bar at ASDA £3.

So 16.5p for choco pillows, and 67p's worth of chocolate - 74p rounded up for 5 to 6 bars of crispy, crunchy, hazelnut-y, chocolately deliciousness! That would be 12-15p per bar... OMG I am having to go into a witness protection scheme once Kinder and Schar find out I've done this!!!

Anyway, about time coeliacs had a win, and I hope you enjoy it! If I don't post for a while, you know what happened...

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Kecap Manis - Gluten Free Substitute

The perfect substitute if you need a gluten free substitute for Kecap Manis.

After developing a newfound love for Indonesian food, I had to also develop a substitute for the Indonesian sweet soy sauce known as Kecap Manis so that my coeliac daughter could enjoy it too.

The great news is that it's really easy to make, and you only need three ingredients, all of which are pretty easy to get hold of if you don't already have them in your storecupboard.

Yield - 200g / 200ml

  • 50g black treacle
  • 80g golden syrup
  • 25g gluten free tamari sauce
  • 45g boiled water


Heat the ingredients sufficiently for them to mix together thoroughly. The consistency of this will be runnier than most traditional kecap manis brands, but is perfect to use in cooking dishes which require kecap manis. Stored in a sterilized bottle / container in the fridge this will keep for a good while.


If you want a thicker sauce to use as a drizzle / dressing, then bring to a simmer and add a tiny amount of cornflour slurry (cornflour mixed with cold water to the consistency of single cream) and cook out until it is the consistency you require. Remember the consistency will thicken more if you have done this and refrigerate it.

Sunday, 26 April 2020

Potato Masala filling for Masala Dosas

If you love a masala dosa, then here is how to make the delicious potato masala filling!

One of my absolute favourite Southern Indian foods is a masala dosa: A crispy pancake made from a fermented rice and lentil batter, with a delicious spiced potato filling, traditionally served with sambar (a light soupy dal made with lentils, spices, tomato and vegetables) and a creamy coconut chutney. There are many regional variations, and I've made my potato filling from traditional ingredients based on the flavours of the dosas from Southern Indian restaurants along the 'Golden Mile' in my home town of Leicester where some of the best authentic Indian food in the UK can be found.

It really is the kind of dish which has so many flavours and textures, and is so tasty that it wouldn't even enter your head that you were eating vegan food, or missing your meat and dairy! Making the potato filling and the sambar isn't at all difficult or time consuming, so if you love a dosa it's well worth having a go, and you can buy ready made dosa batter from Asian grocers if you find the idea of making that yourself daunting, and just fry the pancakes at home.

Makes enough potato masala for approximately 16 medium-sized dosas, or 8 large dosas if you have a large dosa pan! (i.e. serves 8 people one portion each - or in my case serves 4 and freeze the rest for another time!)

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Strawberry, Blueberry and Vanilla Jam or Compote in the Magimix Cook Expert

If you have a glut of strawberries, or just a punnet in the fridge that needs using, then this is a delicious way to use them and preserve them.

I had a huge box of Driscoll's in the fridge and it would have been a crime for any to go to waste, so I decided to preserve some with a punnet of blueberries that I had in this delicious jam. You could just make with strawberries if you preferred, but just be aware that the setting times might vary very slightly.

Huge thumbs up from the jam-loving famalam, for what they pronounced to be the tastiest strawberry jam they'd ever had - I have to say, jam isn't something normally made in this house as it's such a luxurious treat, but it's amazing to taste the depth of flavour from the fruit when you make it yourself!

Makes approximately three 340g jam jars.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

Antibacterial Spray Alternative

A fresh smelling, homemade alternative to commercial antibacterial sprays.

Easy to make, and using the natural antibacterial and antifungal properties of essential oils this will save you money, be kinder to the environment and you will reduce the amount of plastic you use by making your own.

I also think it smells much nicer, and it doesn't get to the back of my throat when I spray it!

I first started making this nearly twenty years ago and recently recovered my recipe in a box of old things, so thought I would record it on my blog for future use (so that way I can't use it again!). It's very easy to make, you just tip a few bits into your bottle, give it a shake, and off you go!

N.B. If you want a quick look at the science, you can find the abstract from an article on the NBCI website here which looked at the antibacterial and antifungal properties of certain essential oils. And of course there is lots more evidence all over the interwebs readily available.

Easy Foaming Handwash - only 3 ingredients and 30 seconds!

A really quick recipe for foaming handwash that you'll use again and again as it's so easy!

Many years ago, I used to make lots of my own eco-friendly cleaning products for around the home. Somehow (maybe a house move and a second baby on the way and other things?) I got out of the habit, and it was only recently, when clearing out some old boxes, that I found some of my old 'recipes' and started again as part of my efforts to reduce our usage of plastic.

Not only will you stop having to buy expensive plastic bottles of handwash, you'll also SAVE money, because it costs less than 20p to make each 300ml bottle yourself, rather than the £1 it usually costs to buy a 250-300ml bottle! Below, you'll find the recipe for handwash, together with the links for the lovely glass foaming bottles I found and the organic pure castile soap I use. If you have to buy in the ingredients to make this, they will soon pay for themselves with the huge saving you'll make on every bottle of handwash you make for yourself from now on.

Another unexpected benefit - after only a couple of days of using this handwash, there was a visible difference to the skin on my hands - particularly the back of my hands. I kept doing a double take, as my previously rather dry, and sadly a bit wrinkly hands had become noticeably smoother looking and softer. What's not to love?!

Anyway, enough eulogising, here's how to make it!

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Easy Fajita Spice Mix (Gluten Free) and Chicken / Beef Fajitas Recipe

Delicious with Chicken or Beef and Peppers!

Want to knock up your own tasty fajita spice mix in seconds, and know what's in it?

This is my delicious fajita spice mix, similar to commercial brands which you simply sprinkle over your chicken (or beef) strips and stir in just before you cook it - no need to marinate, and you just stir together the spices. It couldn't be more simple, and you know what's in it!

If you don't have onion powder or garlic powder, no problem, you just grate fresh garlic and onion onto the chicken (or beef) and stir in before you add the spice mix, and it tastes just as great either way!

This makes enough to make a generous serving for four people (using 640g chicken cut into 1/4 inch strips, 3 red/orange/yellow peppers, and two small-medium onions - see below for instructions how to use). Easy to double (or more) and store. This quantity makes about 5 x 15ml tbsp, so if you make a big batch, just measure this out for a 4 person serving.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Decidedly Delicious Blueberry Muffins - Gluten Free

These are indescribably delicious freshly-baked and warm from the oven!

In fact, I'd say they're impossible to resist eating warm and moist after the fragrance of them baking has filled the house!

Not only that, they're gluten free - but you'd never guess! Only one of us in the household has to be gluten free, but when a batch of these come out of the oven there's a mad scramble for them!

This recipe makes 12 muffins, and I would say it's a very easy recipe to make - you just need to mix wet and dry ingredients together and combine.

Sunday, 3 February 2019

Delicious Homemade Doner Kebab Meat / Lamb Gyro Meat - Gluten Free and Dairy Free (includes Thermomix instructions)

A delicious doner kebab that you don't have to feel guilty about!

If you love a doner kebab, but you feel kind of uncomfortable about not knowing exactly what you're eating, then here is the perfect recipe to recreate what you get from your local takeaway at home, without any fancy equipment, and know that only good, wholesome ingredients have gone into it!

If you also happen love a good fresh tomato chilli sauce on top, and some garlic yoghurt sauce, I have blogged my very easy recipes for those too, which require no cooking, just mixing ingredients together! The chilli sauce recipe is here, and the garlic yoghurt sauce recipe is here.

If you're not into sauces, this is also delicious without any sauces and just served with fresh salad and a tiny squeeze of lemon, as there is so much flavour in the meat - even though I might be biased, I do not think that you could come closer to the flavour and texture of the doner meat from a typical kebab house in this country if you tried! Close your eyes and eat it, and you're there - except, dare I say it, it's even tastier!

Anyway, enough eulogising, and onto the recipe. If you're familiar with my recipes, you'll know that I always prefer to use fresh ingredients. Using onions and garlic granules / powder is not something I usually do, and it's not a shortcut here - it's for the flavour, and to keep the texture of the meat firm and close enough to thinly slice when it's chilled: as opposed to using fresh onion which would add a lot of unwanted liquid to the mixture, as well as the flavour of raw onion (and garlic) in this context, which is less authentic-tasting.

I hope you enjoy this recipe, please bear in mind this is a homemade replication of the doner meat found in English takeaways, rather than one of my more gourmet affairs - if you give it a try, please leave me a comment to let me know what you think! If you'd like to make more authentic Turkish kebabs, please have a look at my recipes for chicken shish kebabs, and lamb (adana) kebabs and the various accompaniments - great for BBQs!

Also, did I mention, once your meat is cooked and sliced, and your salad is prepped - it takes about 10-15 seconds to heat the meat through, and less than 5 minutes to throw together a home made doner kebab - how amazing is that!!!

Serves: 800g of 20% fat organic lamb mince (plus herbs and spices) yielded approximately 770g of cooked meat after draining and cooling. 100g of sliced meat makes for a very generously stuffed large doner kebab, so in total this would serve around 8 to 12 people (depending on serving sizes). Freezes well.

Very Easy Garlic Yoghurt Sauce

Perfect for drizzling over kebabs!

This is so easy, it's barely even a recipe - however I feel it's an important component of a home made doner kebab, alongside a good chilli sauce (see here for my easy fresh chilli and tomato sauce recipe), so it needs to be here!

Only 4 ingredients, and 12 calories per 15ml tbsp (depending on which yoghurt you use).

Easy, No-Cook Fresh Chilli and Tomato Sauce (includes Thermomix instructions)

This is such a simple, tasty, no-cook chilli sauce it's well worth making - and quicker than nipping to the shop to buy some!

I make this for drizzling over home made doner kebabs (see here for my recipe to make your own delicious doner kebab meat), but if you're a fan of spicy sauces then you could use it in lots of other ways!

As it's made from fresh ingredients it will only keep in the fridge for a few days, but it's easily halved, and you can freeze what you don't need for another time.

If you want to reduce the heat, you can either reduce the number of chillies you use, or omit the seeds.

Calories: approximately 7 calories per tbsp, 273 calories for the whole batch.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Butternut Squash, Ginger and Orange Cake (Gluten Free)

A deliciously dark and decadent, spiced ginger cake with fragrant orange notes, with a lovely moistness and lightness from the grated squash.

When you end up with four butternut squashes (primarily from your veg box delivery), you need to be a bit creative to use them all up!

Having already made a tasty squash and tomato soup, curry, and some buttery squash and swede mash for the freezer, it seemed like I could turn towards the dark side (cake!), and come up with something new.

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