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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Blackberry bakewell slice


Having made some blackberry jam I thought it was only right to find a use for it! I love Bakewell tarts – that combo of almond frangipane and jam is just delish! So I thought I’d make a blackberry version!

You can obviously use shop bought jam for this but if you fancy making it yourself then you can follow my recipe here (blackberry jam). If you have the time, and inclination, you can make your own short crust pastry (recipe below) or you can just buy the ready made stuff from the supermarket! This made one tray and three small tarts – approx 20 slices, at 299 cals each!

You will need:

For the pastry
300g plain flour
125g cold butter or dairy free ‘butter’/ spread
30g sugar (or 15g half spoon to save cals)
1 egg
2 tbsp non dairy or dairy milk (optional)

Or one pack of ready made short crust pastry.

For the filling:
approx 200g blackberry jam

A handful of blackberries

A handful of flaked almonds
250g dairy free spread
100g caster sugar (or 50g half spoon sugar)
5 eggs
250g ground almonds
2 tbsp self-raising flour

If you are making the pastry put the flour, butter and sugar into a processor and pulse until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and pulse until it comes together into a rough dough. If it is too dry add a little milk. Add one of the eggs and pulse until the mixture comes together to form a rough dough. If the dough is too dry, add a bit of milk. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for 20-25 mins.

Unwrap the dough (or open up your packet of ready made pastry!) and turn out onto a floured surface. Roll it out until it is large enough for your tray (l used one thought 20 x 15 cm, and then three small round tart cases).

Grease the tin or line with baking parchment and then lay the pastry tins and trim off the excess. Pop in the fridge to chill for 10 – 20 mins and preheat the oven to 200 C.

Remove from fridge, prick with a fork across the tin and line with baking parchment and fill with baking beans (or dried pulses or rice if you don’t have any). Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly golden-brown.

Remove the paper and beans and brush the pastry with a little spread, beaten egg or milk and then return to the oven for 5 mins or so until golden brown. all over with the remaining beaten egg. Remove the pastry from the oven and turn the oven down to 180 C. Once done remove and leave out to one side.

Now start on the filling. Beat the spread and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time and beat gentle each time (don’t worry if it appears to split a bit). Add the flour and ground almonds and beat together.

Spread the jam over the pastry, be as generous as you like – I love the jammy bit so I like a thick layer!

Gently spoon or pipe the filling over the top and smooth it down. Press in the whole blackberries, and sprinkle with a little sugar and flakes almonds.

Bake for 45-50 mins. The frangipane should be cooked all the way through with a sugary crust on the top. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

Slice and serve – on its own or with some ice cream or custard!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

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

Apple and blackberry loaf


I got given a massive haul of blackberries and some little wild apples from some very kind friends (and I do mean a massive haul!). So I thought I’d better come up with another recipe to use some of them!

This time it’s a yummy loaf cake – combining the apples and blackberries. Perfect for a Sunday afternoon, with a cuppa! This makes one loaf and assuming you cut it into 8 slices it’s about 284 cals per slice!

You will need:

250g self-raising flour (any type you like)

175g dairy-free spread

175g sugar (or 85g half spoon sugar for less cals)

1 small cooking apple (or in my case 5 tiny apples!)

2 large eggs, beaten

225g blackberry

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 180 C.

Put the flour, sugar and spread in a large bowl and using a fork or your fingertips rub together to form a crumb-like mixture. Take 5 tbsp of the mixture out and place to one side. Then add the baking power and mix well.

Peel and core the apple (or mini apples in my case) and then grate into a bowl. Add the beaten eggs and mix well.

Add to the dry mixture and combine lightly to form a dough (try not to over mix it). Gently fold in three quarters of the blackberries.

Put the mixture into the loaf tin and scatter the remaining berries over the top and then cover with the crumb mixture you set aside earlier.

Put in the oven and bake for 60 – 80 mins. Check it half way through and cover with foil if the top is starting to burn. It’s done when a skewer comes out clean.

Allow to cool in the tin for about 25 mins, then remove. Slice and serve!

enjoy! 🙂

Xx

Blackberry and Coconut Slices


I was given an extremely generous haul of blackberries from some lovely friends so it was time to whip up another blackberry-based bake! I love coconut so thought I’d combine the two!

This is really easy to make and quick to prepare, though takes a little while to cook. Perfect for school lunch boxes or mid-afternoon office snacks too, or a tasty dessert with custard! This makes 12 – 16 slices (depending how large you cut them!) at 260 – 200 cals per slice.

You will need:

250g self raising flour (any type you like)

50g oats

200g sugar (or 100g half spoon sugar)

90g desiccated coconut

200g dairy free spread (or butter)

300g blackberries

1 tsp cinnamon (if you’re a fan of cinnamon you can add more)

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Add the flour, oats, sugar and cinnamon into bowl and mix well. Add the spread and use your fingers or a fork to rub it in to the flour until you have a crumble mix.

Add the coconut and mix well. Remove a cup full of mixture and place to one side. Add the eggs to the remaining mixture and stir in to form a sticky dough. Line a small baking tray (I used a 27 x 17cm tray) and press the mixture into the tray, smoothing the top with a spoon.

Scatter the blackerries over the top and then sprinkle the mixture you set aside over the top.

Place in the oven for 60 mins or until a skewer comes out with only moist crumbs. Check regularly and about half way through cover the tray with foil before the topping starts to burn.

Leave to cool, then remove from the tin and cut into squares.

Eat as it is, or serve with more berries and yoghurt, custard or ice cream!

Enjoy 🙂

Xx

Toasted Berry and Fig Charlotte


I still had some figs, locally foraged blackberries, blackcurrants and red currants left, so inspired by a recipe my friend sent me I thought I’d whip up a healthy, warm summer dessert.

This comes in at only 152 cals per portion (I made 6 portions) so it’s a great healthy pud! You could use any fruits you like – just make up the same total quantity.

You will need:

400g Figs

150g Blackberries

159g Blackcurrants

100g Red currants

6 thin slices of day old white bread

100g dairy free spread (or butter)

1 tbsp sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 190 C.

Prepare the fruit – remove the stems from the currants, wash the blackberries and cut the figs into quarters (or if large cut even smaller). Pop the blackcurrants in a pan with a tbsp water and gently heat for a couple of minutes until the juices start to run. Add in the figs and continue to heat for another couple of mins until the figs are starting to soften.

Add in the blackberries and red currants and stir gently. Heat for a couple of mins until soft. I didn’t need to add sugar to my fruit but taste and if you feel it needs sweetening add a little sugar.

Spoon the fruit mixture into a medium dish or several small ones. I made three small ones and one slightly larger one!

Cut the bread into small triangles. Melt the spread in a small bowl, add the sugar and cinnamon and stir well. Dunk the triangles in the melted spread and arrange on top of the fruit in an overlapping pattern. Then sprinkle with a little more sugar and cinnamon.

Pop in the oven and bake for 15-20 mins or until golden and crispy. Best served warm!

Enjoy! 🙂

Xx

Fig, blackberry and almond cake


I was lucky enough to receive some home grown figs from my lovely friend Claire, and I had some more foraged blackberries so I thought I’d put them together in this yummy fig, blackberry and almond cake!

It’s quick and easy to make and really tasty! It is dairy free but does contain eggs, however you can easily use soaked chia seeds as an egg replacer if you want!

You will need:

125g unrefined Raw sugar or Coconut palm sugar

200g Ground almonds

2 Eggs (or you can use 1tbps chia seeds soaked in 3 tbsp water to replace each egg)

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)

Figs and blackberries (or any late summer fruits of your choice – plums, raspberries, apple etc)

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.

Prepare your fruit. Half (or quarter if they’re big) the figs and wash the blackberries. Place the fruit in to the batter. Push them down a little bit so they’re well bedded in there. Sprinkle the top with ground cinnamon.

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. 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!