Nancy’s Mince Pies!


Many of you have tried my little mini mince pies at my festive classes and a few have asked for the recipe so I thought I’d re-blog it for you 🤗.

I make mini pies for my classes using a canapé or mini muffin tin – they come in at approx 47 cals per pie so are a perfect little mouthful, but you can obvious make any size you like! The recipe below makes 12 normal pies or approx 24-30 mini ones.

These happen to be both gluten and dairy-free so everyone can enjoy them.

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 equal quantities of raisins, currants, cranberries and apricots)
1 oz Vegetable suet
2 oz brown sugar (coconut palm or dark raw muscovado give the best flavour)
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

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.

For the Pastry: 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. You can also do this by hand in a bowl – it’s just a bit messier. Once it’s forming a firm dough remove, wrap in cling-film and place the mixture in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 6.

Lightly oil a 12 hole cake tin. Remove pastry from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll it as thin as you can – a few mm. The pastry can be a bit difficult to handle so I find working with smaller bits at a time is easier. 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 (or 3-7 mins for mini ones). 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 sugar. Place the pies back in the oven and bake until golden (10–20 mins for large ones, 5 – 10 for mini ones). 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.

Enjoy! 🙂

Xx

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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

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!

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

Blackberry and cinnamon N’ice cream


A perfect pud for hot summer days and goes great with my blackberry and apple cinnamon crumble!

You will need:

3 bananas (chopped and then frozen)

Handful of blackberries

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Chop the bananas in to slices and freeze.

Place the frozen bananas in to a high speed blender and start to blend. I find it works best if you start with short pulses and stop regularly to scrape the banana back down. Once it starts to become creamy throw the blackberries and cinnamon in and whizz that up.

Serve immediately or pop in a tupperware and freeze for later use! Perfect with crumble!

Enjoy xx

Summer pudding – mum’s recipe :)


As I still had a load of summer fruits left I thought I’d try one of my mum’s favourite summer recipes – Summer Pudding!

You can use any fruits you like – I had a few gooseberries and red currants left so they went in, along with blackberries, strawberries and raspberries.

You will need:

  • Approx 500 – 750g fruit (best to make more as you can always have any excess for brekkie or pud with some yoghurt etc)
  • Sugar to taste (I used none as my fruit was all really sweet but up to you)
  • A small white loaf (a day old so its slightly stale)

Put berries that have tough skins (blackcurrants,  cherries , gooseberries etc) into pan with small amount of sugar if needed and a little water.  Heat gently until berries soften and juices run.

Leave to cool for a few mins and then add soft fruit – raspberries, blackberries, strawberries etc and stir, gently.  If required you can add more sugar to taste.

Cut medium slices of white bread (one day old) and remove crusts.

Line a pudding basin with clingfilm cut larger than the basin.  Cut the bread into shape to line the basin with a disc for the base.

Drain the fruit, saving the juices in a separate bowl. Dip the bread into the juices and place the bread around the inside of the basin, plugging any holes with small pieces of bread. Pack the cooled fruit well into the basin.

Put a larger disc of bread (or several pieces cut to shape) on the top.

Overlap the cling film to cover the top of the bread.  Put a saucer or small plate on the top and weigh down with a tin or similar weight to compress the fruit.

Chill overnight, then turn out and serve with more fruit and yoghurt!

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Enjoy! Xx