Plum Jam


I was lucky enough to be given a load of Victoria plums from a friend – so what better thing to do with them than whip up some jam! I wanted to go for a slightly lower sugar jam so I used mostly halfspoon sugar but you could use normal sugar (just bear in mind you’ll need more sugar – a 1:1 ratio of sugar to fruit if so). You can use any weight of fruit you have, just adjust the quantity of sugar accordingly.

You will need:

900g Plums

500g Halfspoon sugar or 900g of jam sugar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

(Tiny knob of butter/spread – optional)

To start with pop a saucer in the freezer (to test the jam later!). De-stone and chop the plums in to quarters or small pieces (keep an eye out for the little maggots that sometimes get in them!).

Pop the plums in to a large saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice.Using a very gentle heat start to warm them up, folding the sugar in until it melts.

Bring it up to the boil gently (the key is taking your time so keep the heat low). Stir occasionally. Once it’s boiling you can turn it up a little and let it simmer for 5-10 mins.

A froth may form – if it does you can either skim it off with a spoon, or you can add a tiny bit of spread/butter to disperse the froth, or just leave it (I left it – I’m not too fussed about it!).

Test the jam after 10 mins or so. Put a small amount on the saucer from the freezer leave it for a min or so. If you can create a trail through the jam that doesn’t refill, or if the jam crinkles up when you push it, then it’s ready. If it’s still runny allow it to simmer for another couple of minutes and test again. If the fruit is very ripe you may find it takes much longer – it’s all about the ratio of water to sugar so keep boiling off the water (or you can add a little extra sugar too).

Pop some clean jars in the oven at about 100 C for ten mins or so. Remove the jam from the heat and pour into the jars.

Apply wax seals and cellophane if you have it (Lakeland and other places do fab little sets, but if not you can just put the lid on). Allow to cool, label and store in the fridge.

It should be ready to eat after 24hrs. If it turns out not to have set then it’s no drama, you just have a lovely plum compote to pour over yoghurt, pancakes or ice cream instead! Plum jam does have a tendency to over set – if you find it’s a tad rubbery don’t panic – empty the jars back in to a pan, heat gently and add a little water to loosen it. Perform the saucer test again and then pop back into the jars (having cleaned and sterilised then again).

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Ps also delicious spread on a slice of plum and cinnamon loaf (recipe here)!

Easy Blackberry Jam


Still making the most of the blackberry season and thought I’d have a go at a simple blackberry jam. Perfect for using up the end of season blackberries or those that have gone a bit squishy!

It doesn’t matter what weight of blackberries you use just ensure you use an equal weight of sugar.

You will need:

500g blackberries

500g jam or preserving sugar

Juice of 1 lemon

(Tiny knob of butter/spread – optional)

Ensure your blackberries are clean and then pop in the saucepan together with the sugar, and lemon juice.

Using a very gentle heat start to warm them up, folding the sugar in until it melts.

Bring it up to the boil gently (the key is taking your time so keep the heat low). Stir occasionally. Once it’s boiling you can turn it up a little and let it simmer for 10-12 mins.

A froth may form – if it does you can either skim it off with a spoon, or you can add a tiny bit of spread/butter to disperse the froth.

Test the jam after 10 mins or so. Put a small amount on a plate and pop it in he fridge for a couple of mins. If you can create a trail through the jam that doesn’t refill, or if the jam crinkles up when you push it, then it’s ready. If it’s still runny allow it to simmer for another couple of minutes and test again.

Pop some clean jars in the oven at about 100 C for ten mins or so. Remove the jam from the heat and pour into the jars.

Apply wax seals and cellophane if you have it (Lakeland and other places do fab little sets, but if not you can just put the lid on). Allow to cool, label and store in the fridge.

It should be ready to eat after 24hrs. If it turns out not to have set then it’s no drama, you just have a lovely

Blackberry syrup to pour over yoghurt, pancakes or ice cream instead!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Wild blackberry Banana N’ice cream


That time of year has come around again – wild blackberry foraging time!  We went for a lovely walk yesterday and got a huge box full so I thought I’d better start using them.

The sun was shining earlier and that obviously put me in the mood for ice cream so I whipped up a quick batch of wild blackberry n’ice cream.

Super easy as always – you just need  3 – 4 frozen bananas (peeled and chopped before freezing) and a good handful of blackberries. Pop the bananas in the blender (a high speed one) and blitz until they start to form a creamy mixture. Throw the blackberries in and blitz again. I like to leave some of the blackberries as pieces so I don’t blitz fully but it’t up to you.

Delicious as it is, or even better sprinkled with my cinnamon spiced coconut caramelised nuts (recipe here). Enjoy!

Cinnamon spiced coconut caramelised nuts


This is a super easy, super quick snack that can be eaten on it’s own or sprinkled on top of your porridge, yoghurt or how about on some n’ice cream (recipe here)!
 Check out my video here:

You will need:

1 tsp Coconut Oil

A good handful of mixed Nuts (I used almonds, pecans and cashews)

A good handful of Coconut flakes

1 tsp Cinnamon

2 tsp Coconut Syrup (I use the Bali Nutra syrup)

Pop the oil in a pan over a medium heat and allow to melt. Throw the cinnamon in and stir. Heat it until you start to smell the aromas of the cinnamon then add the nuts. Sauté for about 2 – 3 mins being careful not to let them burn. Add the coconut flakes and stir – keep an eye on these as they tend to burn fast. Drizzle in the sweetener and allow to sizzle for a minute or so.

Pour on to baking paper and leave to cool. Then enjoy just as it is, or use as a topping.

Cashew Cream


I can’t believe I’ve waited this long to try making cashew cream! Thank you to my good friend Colette over at Colette’s Fitness Kitchen for the inspiration 🙂

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This is super easy. You will need:

A cup of cashew nuts (or however many you want to use!)

Some water

maple syrup/agave syrup/rice malt syrup (optional – to taste)

A blender/ vitamix

Soak the cashews overnight in water (so that they are well covered).

Drain and rinse them and then pop them in to the blender. Start by adding about half as much water as cashews to the blender and give it a blitz. Continue adding water until the cashews are smooth and you have the consistence of cream that you want – less water, thicker cream! If you want to add some sweetness add your choice of liquid sweetner to taste. That’s it! Easy! 🙂

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Blueberry and Lemon Curd with a surprise ingredient – dairy and egg free!


My lemon curd recipe (here) has gone down a storm so I thought I’d have a little go at some more curd! I’ve had some blueberries in my freezer for the last few months waiting to be used for something so I decided a blueberry and lemon curd was the one to try!

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This curd is lovely! It’s especially yummy smothered on sourdough fruit toast 🙂

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What’s this surprise ingredient then? Well it’s certainly not something you’d expect to find in a fruit curd! The problem with blueberries in baking is that they do tend to lose their flavour and I didn’t want to overpower them with the lemon. After a bit of research I discovered a nifty little trick to enhance the blueberry flavour; the addition of coriander seeds! Trust me you will not taste the coriander at all but it does bring out the blueberry flavour. This is because they both contain a similar compound so adding the coriander gives the blueberry flavour a real boost!

So you will need:

approx 400g Blueberries (don’t worry if you have a few more or less – it’s not critical)

1/2 cup Water

12 Coriander seeds ground (or a 1/4 tsp ready ground coriander)

Up to 1 cup of Lemon juice (see below) – I used 4 very large lemons

3/4 cup of unrefined raw Sugar (but adjust to taste)

10 tbsp Cornflour

zest of 2 – 3 Lemons

4 tbsp Dairy-free margarine

12 tbsp Coconut milk (or other non dairy milk – almond milk or soya milk will also work)

Pop the blueberries in to a saucepan with the water and heat gently until the blueberries are softened.

While the blueberries are softening you can juice and zest your lemons. You only need the zest from 2 – 3 lemons but it’s worth zesting all of them and keeping the remaining zest in the freezer to use in other recipes later.

Once the blueberries have softened add the ground coriander seed, stir well and heat for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and pass the blueberries through a sieve. Use a wooden spoon to push as much through the sieve as you can. You will be left with a small amount of skin and pulp. Save this and use it in a smoothie! 🙂

Measure your blueberry juice out  – you need a total amount of liquid of 3 cups. The blueberry juice will be about 2 cups or so,  so make it up to 3 cups with the lemon juice. Place it all in to a cold saucepan. Add the cornstarch and whisk to dissolve. Add half the sugar and turn on the heat. Continue to whisk as you bring the mixture to a boil slowly. Taste as you go and add more sugar until you get to a sweetness that suits you. Once boiling allow it to boil gently for one minute without stirring.

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Add the rest of the ingredients, whisking the whole time, and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl or jars and allow to cool. Place in the fridge once cooled. Then enjoy! 🙂

Easy Lemon Curd – dairy and egg free (vegan)


I’ve been on a bit of a lemon obsession lately so decided I would have a go at making some homemade lemon curd. The curd you buy in the shops is full of refined sugars, dairy and eggs so this is a much healthier option. It was super easy to make too!

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This is divine mixed with some natural soya yoghurt, or of course it will make the perfect filling for a lemon meringue pie (recipe here)!

You will need:

1 1/4 cups of Lemon juice (I used 6 very large lemons)

Zest of half of the lemons used (freeze the rest of the zest for use later)

1/2 cup of Cold water

1 3/4 cups unrefined raw Sugar (adjust to taste)

5 tbsp Cornflour (corn starch)

2 tbsp non-dairy margarine

6 tbsp Almond milk (you could also use soya or coconut milk)

Juice and zest your lemons. You only need the zest from half of the lemons but it’s worth zesting them all and keeping the remaining zest in the freezer to use in other recipes later.

Place the lemon juice and water in a cold saucepan. Add the cornstarch and whisk to dissolve. Add the sugar and turn on the heat. Continue to whisk as you bring the mixture to a boil slowly. Once boiling allow it to boil gently for one minute without stirring.

Add the rest of the ingredients, whisking the whole time, and cook for 3 minutes.  Have a little taste – if it’s not sweet enough for you then stir in some more sugar. Remove from the heat, pour into a bowl or jars and allow to cool. Place in the fridge once cooled. Then enjoy – right off the spoon! 🙂

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Salt and Spice and all things nice! The smallest pumpkin in the world and a yummy pumpkin seed snack! Re-post :)


As if you hadn’t noticed, it’s that time of year again – PUMPKIN TIME! So as part of my drive to post all things pumpkiny I thought I would re-post this little recipe from last year!

I’m getting my hands on another one of these little munchkin pumpkins for this year, but in the meantime – here’s last year’s delights! 🙂

Well, when I asked for a small pumpkin I wasn’t expecting something quite as small as this….

But anyone who knows me knows I love a challenge so not to be thwarted I decided I’d do my best with this little munchkin of a pumpkin and lo and behold look what I managed to create! Scary eh?

So there wasn’t much meat in this little pumpkin so rather than create the pumpkin-based hallowe’en cake I had planned I decided instead to do something funky with the seeds. It’s a sweet salty treat which sounds odd but combines some wonderful autumn flavours. I adapted it from the SNOG healthy treats book.

Salty and Spicey Sweet potato, raisin, pumpkin seed yumminess!

So I started off by creating some salted roasted seeds. Take your pumpkin seeds, remove all the stringy bits of pumpkin flesh and put in a pan. For every half cup of pumpkin seeds add 2 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and allow to cool slightly.

Then spread them out in one layer on a baking tray and place in an oven at 200 degrees C for anything from 5 – 15 minutes. Just keep checking them as it will depend how big the seeds are. Mine took around 8 minutes 🙂

These are yummy as they are or you can hull (de-husk) them if you really want to (I couldn’t be bothered!). Eat them just like this or use them in the next bit of the recipe.

Take 1 sweet potato and cut it into 1cm cubes. Spread on a baking tray with 2 – 3 tablespoons of the salted roasted pumpkin seeds. Add a handful of raisins and then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of coconut palm sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Finally drizzle over some coconut oil (approx 2 tablespoons) and place in the oven at 190 degrees C for about 20 – 25 minutes until the sweet potato is cooked through and the sugar is caramelised. Stir occasionally.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Then enjoy on it’s own or spoon it over some natural yoghurt (or ice cream!). It sounds odd but trust me – the sweetness of the sweet potato and raisins go really well with the salty roasted seeds and the cinnamon adds a lovely autumnal twist! Divine and healthy too! 🙂

Happy Hallowe’en!

Pumpkin Butter (gluten and dairy free) and a bonus Pumpkin Purée Recipe!


This is so simple and so yummy! It’s like a cross between a jam and a nut butter, with a hint of sweetness but also the savoury flavour from the pumpkin! Simply divine and a great way to use up any pumpkin flesh you have left over after carving those little beauties!

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You will need:

about 800g Pumpkin purée (made from the pumpkin flesh – see below for recipe.  A 6 inch pumpkin should yield enough purée. Althernatively you can buy canned purée if you need to)

1 cup unrefined Coconut or other raw dark sugar

Optional – you can also add spices to your butter. If you fancy doing this I recommend:

1 tsp ground Cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground Cloves

1/4 tsp Allspice

To make the purée, scoop the seeds out of the pumpkin (don’t throw these away! You can lay them out on a pan and roast them – see here for a great recipe).

If you are not using the pumpkin to carve then simply cut it in to halves or quarters and place on a roasting dish and cover with foil. Bake in the oven for 25 mins at 200 C until the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven and scoop the flesh out of the pumpkin, and then place in a bowl.  If you are using the left overs from carving you will probably need to use a few pumpkins (it will depend on the size and how much carving you do!). Lay the flesh out on a baking tray and cover with foil and roast – 10 – 15 mins should be enough depending on the size but just keep going until the flesh is tender.

Use a hand blender to purée the pumpkin. Place the resulting purée in to a muslin cloth / cheese cloth and squeeze the excess water out and voila – you have your own pumpkin purée!

To make the butter:

Place the purée into a sauce pan and add the sugar and spices if you are using them. Then heat on a medium heat, stirring frequently. You are aiming to reduce the pumpkin down to a very very thick, dark paste. This quantity should yield about 1 – 2 cups of the butter itself so just keep going. You need the heat high enough to reduce the purée but just under the burning point. It took me about 45 mins to get to the butter stage – it should be so thick it sticks to the spoon and won’t slide off. Once you are there then remove from the heat and either place in a sterilised jar or simply pop in a bowl and eat!

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Perfect on sliced apples, fruit toast or it goes brilliantly on these breakfast pumpkin bread sweet loaves too (recipe to follow shortly!). Enjoy!

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Plum and Apple Chutney


Believe it or not after making my plum and almond cake and egg-less plum cake, I still had some plums left! I also had the very good fortune to be given a massive bag of apples from my friend Zena’s garden (how lucky am I! 🙂 ), so I decided I’d have a go at my first ever batch of chutney! I am a massive fan of chutney but have never tried making it myself – mainly because my mum, and my very good friend Colette from Colette’s fitness kitchen, make THE best chutney and have kept me in good supply! But with this glut of autumn fruit I thought it was about time I repaid the favour!

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You will need:

1 kg Apples (bramleys will work best but I used the apples I was given which were some sort of eating apple, and then I added a few extra bramleys in)

1 kg Plums

2 large Onions

1 whole Garlic bulb

1 inch of Root ginger (or a piece approximately the size of your thumb!)

500ml Cider vinegar

450g Golden unrefined caster sugar

1 Cinnamon stick

1 tsp Cumin seeds

3 star Anise (you can substitute with 1 1/2 tsp of chinese five spice)

1 tbsp Himalayan rock salt

Prepare all the ingredients to start with. Peel the garlic and cut in to fine slices. Peel and grate the ginger, and thinly slice the onions. Peel, core and chop the apples.

Pop the onions, garlic and ginger into a large pan or stock pot. Add the apples and all the spices and vinegar. Bring the pan to the boil gently, stir well and then turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 30 mins with a lid on until the apples are soft.

While the apples are cooking slice the plums in to quarters (or eighths if they’re large) and add them once the apples are soft. Add the sugar and stir well. Leave it simmering with the lid uncovered for at least 40 minutes or until the plums are cooked and the chutney has thickened. You will know when it’s ready as if you drag a wooden spoon through it to reveal the base of the pan and takes it time returning then you know it’s done. Trust me this could take a while – it will depend how much juice comes out of the apples and plums. Just stick with it and keep stirring while it simmers down.

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Pop some jars in to the oven to sterilise (20 mins at about 180 C will do it), remove the star anise and cinnamon stick and ladle the chutney in to the jars. Seal and label the jars. It’s best to let the chutney mature for a month if possible before you eat it. It will keep for up to a year, but once opened it’s best to keep it in the fridge and eat within a month.

Makes a great gift or, just enjoy it yourself with some cashew cheese!

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