Plum and almond loaf


My wonderful 103 yr old Nan has a lovely Victoria plum tree in her garden and this year she had such a bumper crop that I was lucky enough to get a huge bagful! So I thought I’d better bake something to go and share with her over a cuppa to say thank you.

I’m a massive almond fan and they go so well with plums so I thought a plum and almond loaf would do the trick! It’s a delicious moist loaf, and only about 298 cals for a slice!

You will need:

225g dairy-free spread (or bitter)

225g sugar (I used 112g of half spoon sugar instead)

225g self-raising flour (any flour you like)

100g ground almonds

4 medium eggs

1 tsp almond extract

1 tsp cinnamon

Approx 250g plums,

Flaked almonds to decorate

Optional – 2 tbsp plum or apricot jam

Preheat the oven to 170.

Put the spread and sugar in a bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and continue to beat (don’t worry if it splits a bit). Add the flour, cinnamon and ground almonds and fold together.

Chop 2/3 of the plums into small pieces and add in to the batter, together with the almond extract. Fold until well distributed.

Spoon the mixture into a lined or greased loaf tin. Slice the remaining plums and on the top. Sprinkle on the flaked almonds and a little sugar and cinnamon.

Pop in the oven and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes (check occasionally and cover with foil if it starts to burn on top), or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.

Brush the jam over the cake and leave to cool completely. Serve in slices with a cuppa (the Nan is optional)!

Enjoy 🙂 xx

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Healthy blackberry and apple cinnamon crumble


I love blackberry season! You just can’t beat these delicious little berries and if you’re lucky enough to be able to forage for them too you get the additional fun of finding and picking them!

We got a great haul at the weekend so what better way to use some of them than in a crumble! This is a bit healthier than the standard crumble and comes in at about 184 calories per potion (I got 6 portions from mine) but tastes just as great! I didn’t add any sugar to my fruit at all – it was perfectly sweet as it was and with the sweetness of the topping you shouldn’t need to add any, but you can add if you feel you need it.

You will need:

3 cooking apples (bramleys work best)

A large punnet of blackberries (approx 200 – 300g)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

For the topping:

100g oats

50g flour (I used rice flour as it’s lighter)

30g sugar (I used ‘half spoon’)

1 tsp cinnamon

40g non-dairy spread

Prepare the fruit – peel, core and chop the apples into small chunks and rinse the blackberries. Place the apples in a saucepan with a tbsp of water and start to cook – they need a bit longer than the blackberries so this gives them a head start. Once they’ve started to soften a little add the blackberries and the cinnamon and stir well. Allow to simmer gently until the apples are cooked through.

Pre-heat the oven to 190 C.

Place the oats, flour, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and mix well. Add the spread and then use a fork or your fingers to rub it in to the mixture creating little lumps.

Pour the fruit mixture into whatever dish you’re using – I made 4 individual portions and one double portion.

Add the topping and then pop in the oven for 15-20 mins or until the topping starts to brown.

Remove and serve warm. I had mine with some scoops of blackberry and cinnamon N’ice cream!

Enjoy! Xx

Frangipane Mince Pie tarts


I know Christmas is over, but I never tire of mince meat! I did actually create these before the big day but didn’t get a chance to post the recipe until now. This was created on request from a special friend for her discerning hubby, and they seemed to go down well … in his words “this is the best thing you’ve ever baked”…! 🙂

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So if you have some leftover mince meat then give this a go! These include a layer of marzipan which is optional but I think adds a fab extra almondy loveliness! Make your own (recipe here) or buy a block of plain marzipan – but do buy the good stuff (Neideregger is a great brand).

The frangipane does contain egg but I’ve also posted an egg-free version below too! 🙂

If you fancy making up a batch of mince meat specially then the recipe is here

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For the pastry you will need:

4 oz Buckwheat flour

2 oz ground Almonds

5 tbsp Agave nectar

Up to 6 tbsp Water

For the frangipane you will need (this will be enough for 4 small tarts – 5 – 6cm diameter):

65g unrefined Raw sugar or Coconut palm sugar

100g Ground almonds

1 Egg

50 ml Almond oil (you can use mild Olive oil if you prefer)

1/8 tsp Vanilla extract

1/8 tsp Almond extract (if you have it)

Ground cinnamon (for dusting)

Flaked almonds (for decoration)

125g Marzipan (optional)

Make the pastry first. Put the buckwheat flour and ground almonds in a processor and add the agave. Pulse and gradually add the water until it forms a dough. You may find you need more or less water. If it is too wet add a little more flour. Once it is forming a firm dough remove, wrap in cling-film and place the mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.

Preheat the oven to 175 C.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out as thin as you can. Line mini tart cases (or one large flan/tart tin) with the pastry (you will probably have spare pastry left over). Brush with a little almond oil and then place in the oven to blind bake. They only need a few minutes – just until they start to brown very slightly at the edges.

Meanwhile make the frangipane. Pop the sugar and almond oil in a bowl and mix well together. Add the egg and extracts and mix again. Gently fold in the ground almonds until well mixed.

Once the pastry cases are starting to brown a little remove from the oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then spread a thin layer of mince meat (enough to cover the base). Thinly slice the marzipan and layer over the top.

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Then cover with a generous layer of the frangipane.Sprinkle flaked almonds over the top and a dusting of cinnamon. Then place in the oven for 15 – 20 mins or until the frangipane is cooked and a lovely golden brown.

Delicious served with custard or soya yoghurt at any time of year! 🙂

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Egg free frangipane recipe:

6 tbsp Coconut Oil (don’t melt it)
2/3 cup Coconut Palm Sugar / Unrefined Raw Sugar
1 and 1/4 cup Ground Almonds
2 tbsp Cornflour
pinch salt
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2/3 cup Almond Milk
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Almond Extract

Put the coconut oil, sugar, ground almonds, cornflour, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and pulse until well combined and all crumbly. Slowly add the almond milk, vanilla extract and almond extract whilst still pulsing the food processor until it forms a thick batter. This frangipane takes a bit more baking than the one above so keep an eye on the tarts and just remove when done.

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Mince Pies! Gluten and Dairy Free!


It’s mince pie time again! whoop! This year I’m trying out some mini ones – almost as I type! 🙂 (pics to follow) but for now I thought I’d post my recipe for mincemeat and gluten and dairy-free pastry in case you fancy making a batch this weekend 🙂

This recipe was originally posted over at Colette’s Fitness Kitchen 🙂

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For the Pastry:

4 oz Buckwheat flour
2 oz ground Almonds
5 tbsp Agave nectar
Up to 6 tbsp Water

For the Mincemeat:

3 oz Bramley apples, cored and finely chopped

6 oz Mixed dried fruit (I prefer raisins, currants, cranberries and apricots)
1 oz Vegetable suet
2 oz Raw sugar (coconut palm or dark raw muscovado)
Juice and grated zest of half an Orange
1 level tsp of ground allspice
1 pinch ground Cinnamon
1 pinch ground Cloves
1 pinch grated / ground Nutmeg
1 small handful chopped Almonds
1 tbsp Date syrup

Make the pastry first. Put the buckwheat flour and ground almonds in a processor and add the agave. Pulse and gradually add the water until it forms a dough. You may find you need more or less water. If it is too wet add a little more flour. Once it is forming a firm dough remove, wrap in cling-film and place the mixture in the fridge.

Put all the ingredients for the mincemeat into a saucepan. Cook on a low heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the apple is soft and the mixture is thick – it may take some time. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 6.

Lightly oil & flour a 12 muffin tin with almond, coconut or hazelnut oil. Remove pastry from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll it as thin as you can – a few mm. Use a round biscuit cutter to cut out 12 bases. Place them in the tin. Lightly brush with oil and use a fork to prick the base. Place in an oven to blind bake for 5–10 mins. Keep an eye on them – this pastry browns quite fast. Once the edges are brown and the middle is firm remove them. While the cases are in the oven take a smaller circular biscuit cutter to cut out the “lids” or you could use star shapes/ holly leaf shapes/lattice pattern – whatever takes your fancy 🙂

Place a generous helping of mincemeat in each of the cases and place your chosen “lid” on top. Lightly oil and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and raw sugar. Place the pies back in the oven and bake until golden (10–20 mins). Keep a careful eye on them. You want the tops to brown but be careful the bases don’t burn. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins, then remove and place on a wire cooling rack.

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Nectarine and blackberry compote


I was lucky enough to pick up some very ripe nectarines at the market and had some of the last of my foraged wild blackberries left so decided to make a quick compote.

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This is so easy – simply dice the nectarines (leaving the skins on) and add to a large pan. Add the blackberries. You can use whatever quantity you have – I used about 6 nectarines and 3 large handfuls of blackberries. If the fruit is very ripe you shouldn’t need anything more but if necessary add a tbsp or 2 of water. You can also add a small amount of unrefined sugar if you need – personally I don’t think it needs it.

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Simmer on a medium heat until the fruit is tender. Stir often. You may find that the fruit produces a lot of liquid. You can continue to simmer to boil some of this off but if it’s still very liquid then simply drain some off. Whatever you do don’t throw the excess juice away – you can drink it or pop it in a smoothie!

Once the fruit is tender remove from the heat and pour in to a sterilised jar. This will keep for a few weeks in the fridge.

Enjoy on some porridge, with soya yoghurt or just on its own!

Quinoa and chia porridge


As the weather starts to turn and the mornings get darker I start to crave a warm, filling breakfast and this porridge definitely hits the spot. You can add whatever you like to it but I’ve made a few suggestions here – stewed pear, peach and almond porridge, caramelised banana and nectarine porridge, apple compote and blueberries, and nectarine and blackberry compote. You may notice a theme with my toppings!

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For the porridge you will need:

1/3 cup Quinoa flakes
2 tbsp Chia seeds
1/2 – 1 cup Almond (or other non-dairy milk)
I tbsp Cashew butter (or other nut butter)

Put the quinoa, chia and milk in a small saucepan on a medium heat. Start with half a cup of milk and add more as the milk is absorbed. If you like your porridge more liquid then add more milk. Keep stirring until the milk is absorbed and the porridge is tender. It will only take a few minutes. Stir the cashew butter in about half way through. Pop in a bowl and add your topping of choice.

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Stewed pear and peach with almonds:

Take one conference pear and slice into small pieces. I like the skin so I leave it on but peel if you prefer. Pop in a small pan with a couple of tablespoons of water and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. If you want it sweeter you can add a small amount of unrefined sugar or a tsp of agave or rice syrup. Simmer for a few minutes until the pear is soft but retains it’s shape. Add to the top of the porridge. Dice a ripe peach and add together with a handful of blueberries. Toast a handful of flaked almonds in a dry frying pan and sprinkle over the top!

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Caramelised banana and nectarine:

Slice a ripe banana into thin pieces and place in a frying pan with a tbsp of rice syrup, agave or maple syrup. Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp cinnamon and heat on a medium – high heat until the bananas are soft and starting to go brown at the edges. Turn once during the cooking.

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Add to your porridge and then thinly slice a nectarine and add that too. Sprinkle with some fresh blueberries and toasted almond flakes.

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Apple compote and blueberries:

Make some simple apple compote – recipe here. And add to the porridge, with blueberries and toasted almonds.

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Nectarine and blackberry compote:

Use some homemade compote – recipe here. Add blueberries and almonds and serve with a dollop of soya yoghurt.

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Plum and Almond Cake – Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free


English plums are in season right now so it’s an ideal time to use them for something yummy! This cake definitely qualifies! I was really unsure how this would turn out but it’s actually amazing! If you are a fan of almond macaroons or frangipanes you will absolutely love this. I had the pleasure of getting some English plums from Riverford Organic so I thought I’d better put them to good use!

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This went down really well with my husband and even George the cat was curious about it 😉 so it must be a winner!

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This is gluten and dairy free but does contain eggs. I’ve got an egg-free plum cake coming up soon so never fear!

If you are using the small English plums you will probably only need 6 – 8, if using larger ones you will need no more than 4 at the most.

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You will need:

125g unrefined Raw sugar or Coconut palm sugar

200g Ground almonds

2 Eggs

100 ml Almond oil (you can use mild Olive oil if you prefer

1/4 tsp Vanilla extract

1/8 tsp Almond extract (if you have it)

Plums 4 -8 depending on size

Ground cinnamon (for dusting)

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C and line and grease a 20cm cake tin – if you have a springform tin then use that as it makes it easier to get it out without it breaking. If not a loose bottom tin is the best option.

Add the oil and sugar to a bowl and use a hand mixer to beat together (you can do it by hand with a fork if not). Beat in the eggs one at a time. Then add in the extracts and mix well. Fold in the ground almonds with a metal spoon. Once mixed pour in to the tin.

Half (or quarter if they’re big) the plums, remove the stone, and place in to the batter. Push them down a little bit so they’re well bedded in there. Sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon.

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Pop in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes. It is worth starting to check it at about 20 minutes. Once a skewer comes out clean then it’s done.

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Let it cool for 10 minutes in the tin and then carefully remove it and allow it to cool on a wire rack. Slice and enjoy! 🙂