Fruit cake- sugar and oil free


Sugar free Tea soaked Fruit Cake

Makes one large cake or two small loaf size -16-18 portions.

This super cake is so easy to make and uses very little ingredients making it totally free from, no gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, sugar. Quite a virtuous cake. You can either make a large round cake but sometimes I like to make it in loaf tins so it can be sliced almost like a malt loaf. Great for a picnic and keeps for a week.


950g mixed dried fruit. – you can use any mix of dried fruit you would like I normally use apricots, sultanas, goji berries, raisins. When I make this cake at Christmas, I swap out some of the sultanas and raisins and replace with cranberries for a more festive luxurious cake.

2tsp ground ginger

1tsp cinnamon

1tsp mixed spice

500ml black tea – I like to use a spiced tea like chai but green tea also works well

350g brown rice flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda.

Almonds to decorate (optional)


Place all the dried mixed fruit into a large bowl. Pour over the tea and orange juice. Mix with a spoon and cover and leave overnight (or for at least 3 hours) for the fruit to soak up all the liquid, rehydrate and plump up.

Prepare your tin by lining with 2-3 layers of parchment. Then on the outside wrap with newspaper. To do this take a few sheet and fold lengthways three times then wrap around the outside of the tin and secure with string. We do this because the cake is baked for a long time and the collar of paper stops the outside of the cake from burning before the inside is cooked. Cut a couple of rounds of parchment to place on top of cake half way through cooking but set these to one side for now.

Preheat the oven to 140oc / Gas mark 1.

Take the fruit and give a good stir, the fruit should be all plump and there should be very little if any liquid left. To this mix add the spices and stir again then add the flour bicarbonate of soda and baking powder and give a good stir to combine the flour and fruit. This may take a bit of time as the mixture is quite dry, do not worry or add any extra liquid this is normal and how it is meant to be. Once totally combined transfer this mix to your prepared tin and with a spatula or back of a spoon smooth over and press down making sure it goes all the way to the sides and is level on top. If you are using almonds or nuts to decorate the top add these now by placing and gently pushing down into the mix.

Bake the cake in the bottom of the oven for 2 ¼ – 2 ½ hours. After 1 hour place the discs of parchment on the top on the cake to prevent the top from catching, then five minutes before you remove the cake remove the parchment from the top of the cake. Remove the cake when the top feels firm and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Christmas pudding with chocolate. 

Serves 6-8

I love Christmas pudding, but the children love chocolate pudding, this is a way to compromise and we all get what we want. A super decadent pudding that if served with dark fruits is like a luxury hot black forest. All my favourite Christmas puddings rolled into one, what’s not to like? It takes a bit of prep with soaking the fruit overnight but other than that a very easy pudding that can be made weeks in advance.



130g Glace cherries, chopped in half

60g Raisins

100g dates, chopped

30g currants

50g sultanas

50g cranberries

Zest and juice of a large orange

5 tbsp rape seed oil

4 tbsp water

2 tbsp brandy (Cherry brandy or spiced Rum also works well) If you do not want to use alcohol just add 2 extra tbsp of water.

1 tbsp date syrup

50g plain chocolate, grated

100g gluten free bread flour (I used doves farm brown bread flour)

1 tbsp cocoa powder

2 tsp mixed spice.


Place all the fruit in a bowl along with the orange zest and juice, water, brandy and date syrup, stir to combine, cover and leave to stand overnight to allow the fruit to plump up and absorb the liquid. The next day grate in the plain chocolate, add the mixed spices, oil and flour and mix with the fruit mix. Stir to combine, this is quite a sticky mixture. Grease the sides of a 1 litre pudding basin, transfer the mixture to the basin and press down and flatten. Cover the mix with two circles of baking parchment, then cover the bowl with silver foil, secure with string around the rim. Place the pudding in a large saucepan, half fill with boiling water, cover with lid and simmer gently for 4 hours. Keep an eye and top up with water as it gets low to maintain the water level in the saucepan. Remove from the water and allow to cool. Remove foil and parchment and replace with new before storing until needed. To serve, simmer the pudding for an hour, turn out onto your serving dish. Garnish with dark fruits or leave plain and serve with custard or ice-cream.

Stuffed Courgettes Rolls

I love food that not only tastes great but is packed full of nutrients. These  stuffed courgette rolls are a great recipe that does just that. Great party food to share with friends or as a light lunch with salad and dips. I also like these served  for dinner with a large green salad.

These great tasting stuffed courgettes are delicious served hot or cold. If you do not like courgettes this recipe works equally well using sliced aubergine or thin slices of sweet potato. Any left over filling can be used as a stuffing for roasted peppers or rolled in to balls and baked, making delicious little falafel bites.

Makes 12-16 depending on size


2-3 x courgettes sliced lengthways

A little rapeseed oil for brushing


1 red onions, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed

Small handful chopped fresh Kale (stalks removed) or spinach

400g tin/carton chickpeas drained

215g tin/carton kidney beans drained

215g tin /carton butterbeans drained

1tsp onion granules/powder

2 tsp dried harissa spices (use more or less depending on taste and strength of your spice-but 2 tsp is good place to start)

Handful of fresh coriander chopped

zest of 1 small lime, juice ½ lime

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tsp black onion seeds

2tbsp chickpea flour (often called gram or Besan flour)


Firstly, make the filling. Place all the ingredients into a food processor apart from the chickpea flour and pulse to make a chunky rough mixture. Transfer to a large bowl then add the chickpea flour, stir to combine. Leave to one side while you prepare the wraps.

Bring the water to the boil in a steamer, steam the thin slices of courgette for 3-5 minutes so soft enough to roll without breaking. Remove and place on some kitchen roll to cool a little.

Pre-heat the oven to 180oc. Prepare a baking tray by lining with baking parchment and using some of the oil brush lightly. When the courgettes are cool enough to handle lay out and spread on the filling mixture the full length of the slices of courgette, then roll up. Place on the prepared baking sheet with the rolled end facing down so it doesnt unravel while cooking.


Repeat this until you have used all the mixture.

*Chefs tip any leftover filling can be rolled into balls and baked as falafels.

Brush a little of the oil over the top of the stuffed courgettes and bake in the middle of the oven for 15-20 minutes until lightly browned. Delicious served with spinach pesto or vegan mayo.





Meringue nests with baked plums


This is a fabulous dessert, gorgeous sweetness from the meringues and lovely tartness from the plums, easy to make and can be prepared in advance. A perfect finale to a romantic meal for two, or stunning dessert for any meal. What great is its totally vegan and uses the juice from a can of chickpeas in place of the eggs in a traditional meringue recipe.   You can add the sugar raw and cold but if you are doing this add a little at a time. I like to add it as a sugar syrup as i have found this makes the meringue more stable. Plus if you are making a lemon meringue pie you can use this mix and finish the cooking with a blow torch. The great thing about using aquafaba is that you cant over mix it like egg whites and the final mix can be made in advance and stored in the fridge in the piping bag for a couple of days.  Great if you are making individual meringue pies and have some mix left over.

Makes 12- 14 medium nests, 1 or 2 large pavlova bases


12 tsp aquafaba (juice from a can chickpeas) = the water from 1x400g tin

225g caster sugar

6 tbsp water

½ tsp cream of tartar

Pinch salt

½ tsp vanilla extract


This recipe is Italian meringue as I find it more stable when using aquafaba if you are wanting to pipe it into nests.

Pre-heat the oven to 100oc / gas ¼

Place your aquafaba into a large mixing bowl along with the cream of tartar and salt. Whisk until stiff soft peaks form. (A stand mixer may be easier however you can do it with an electric hand whisk.) This can take a good five minutes. You can not over mix the aquafaba unlike egg whites so you can leave this to do in a stand mix.


When this is done leave to one side while you prepare your sugar syrup. In a pan add your sugar and water bring to the boil and rapid boil until it reaches 120oc in temperature, remove from the heat.

Start to whisk your meringue mix again and gently pour in the sugar syrup. Be careful not to pour it onto the actual whisk or you will splatter hot sugar everywhere including yourself. Once combined add your vanilla extract then keep whisking for a further 4-5 minutes. This allows the mix to disperse the heat and  cool a little as you do not want it too hot before you put it in your piping bag.


Transfer the mix into a piping bag and pipe your nests on parchment covered baking sheets. Bake in the oven for 2- 2 ,1/4  hours. Once cooked turn off the oven and leave your nests in there to dry out for and hour, or leave in the oven over night. These nests can be made in advance and kept in an airtight container for several days.


Baked plums


4 large purple or red plums halved and pitted

2 tsp maple syrup

Juice of 2 large oranges (about 1/3 cup)


Pre-heat the oven to 200oc / gas mark 6


In a baking dish add the orange juice, maple syrup and stir to combine. Place the plums cut side down in the liquid. Bake in the oven until tender and juicy. Turn the plums over 2/3rd’s of the way through and spoon over the juice.



Once cooked allow to cool then serve on top of the meringue nest with a little of the juices. If you place the plums on the meringues hot the nests will dissolve.


Chestnut roast with pine nuts, mushrooms and cranberries.


This is a delicious twist on a rut roast peppered with little red jewels of sweetness from the cranberries. Fabulous served hot with Christmas dinner or served cold as part of a Boxing day lunch if there is any left! It can be made in advance and reheated in the oven on the day.





4 slices of gluten free bread (If you want this recipe to be egg free too check the bread you are using does not contain egg as many gluten free breads do, I used Bfreed brown seeded as this also adds to the texture and flavour)

1 tbsp rape seed oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

100g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

400g tin butter beans, drained and rinsed

180g roasted chestnuts, chopped. (I used fresh roasted but you can use prepacked, Merchant Gourmet whole chestnut which are found in most supermarkets as they just need chopping and no roasting required.)

60g dried cranberries

2 heaped tbsp pine nuts roughly chopped

1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

2 tbsp plain soya yogurt

150 ml vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to taste


Pre-heat the oven to 180oc gas mk 4

Grease a loaf tin. In a frying pan heat the oil and add the onion and mushrooms and cook on a low heat to soften for 5 minutes, then add the crushed garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.

In a food processor pulse the bread to make fine breadcrumbs , then add the pine nuts and pulse again to break them up. Make the vegetable stock and add the cranberries and set aside for a few minutes to allow the cranberries to pump up a little.

In a large bowl mash the drained butter beans, then add the chopped chestnuts, breadcrumbs, herbs, yogurt, stock with cranberries and mix, add the mushroom mixture and stir to combine. Season to taste. Transfer the mixture to your prepared loaf tin and press down and smooth the top. Cover with foil and bake in pre-heated oven for 1 ¼ hours, remove from oven, remove foil and bake for a further 10 minutes. When cooked leave to stand for 10- 15 minutes before serving.




Mince Pies



Like I have said before my family love anything that contains sweet mincemeat. Once I had decided to go completely plant based I found pastry to be the most difficult to convert because it is also gluten free. My go to recipe for pastry was fantastic, so good that people did not know the difference. However, I used an egg to enrich the flavour and help bind the pastry keeping it light and crumbly as any good pastry should be. My attempt as gluten free plant-based pastry were not the greatest unlike pastry made with flour containing gluten, you cannot just rely on the flour. It becomes too hard. I do not like using xanthan gum to bind as I do not like the texture it creates. So more experimenting. I have several recipes for pastry using gluten free oat flour and almond flour, also a shortbread biscuit style but for a mince pie you need a pastry. I decided to replace the egg I would normally use with a flax-seed egg and added some baking powder. This seemed to work well but it’s a work in progress as I strive to make it better. Much of this pastry recipe in in the technique and temperature. For now, here is my mince pie recipe using my homemade mincemeat recipe.


280g gluten free plain flour

120g vegan butter or hard spread (I used stork block)

2-6 depending on humidity very cold water

½ tsp baking powder

1 flax seed egg- 1tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp water

Pinch of Himalayan sea salt

Homemade mincemeat

A little plant based milk for glazing

2 tsp coconut sugar



Firstly, place a fork knife and your water in the fridge, trust me this will become clear later. Mix your flax-seed egg, place the flax-seed and water in a small cup or bowl and stir to combine, set aside.

In a food processor measure your flour and baking powder. With you cold knife cut the hard butter in to small chunks and add to the food processor. This is to keep the butter as cold as possible. I have bags of butter already measured in the freezer, so I just remove from the freezer and put straight into the processor. Using the pulse setting pulse until the mix resembles wet sand. Be careful not to over process so it begins to stick together. Tip this into a mixing bowl. The reason for doing it in the food processor is to keep the mix as cold as possible and to avoid touching it. If you do not have a food processor lightly rub the butter and flour until you get the desired wet sand / breadcrumb look. I would suggest you wash your hands in cold water and dry to keep your hands nice and cold.  With your cold fork stir and mix in your flax seed egg, your mix will not come together yet. Gradually 1 tbsp at a time add your water mix with the fork or the tips of your fingers. You want it to just come together, it will look a bit crumbly at this point. Do not overhandle. One it has come together tip out onto your work surface. Kneed 3 or 4 rolls just to combine, literally a couple of seconds! Do not over handle or kneed your dough or it will become hard and greasy when cooked. Wrap in cling film flatten slightly to make rolling easier and pop in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

When you are ready to make your mince pies remove your pastry from the fridge and allow to sit for about 5 minutes. Grease the holes of a bun tin and pre-heat your oven to 180oc/gas mk 4.

Lay a sheet of cling film on your work surface and dust lightly with gf plain flour. Remove your pastry from its cling film (Do not kneed) and place on the dusted cling film, lightly dust the top of the pastry and cover with another sheet of film. Roll your pastry between the two sheets of cling film. This pastry can be quite sticky and the temptation if rolling on a board is to add more flour which changes the pastry, the pastry absorbs the flour and you become tempted to do it again. By rolling between two sheets of film it allows you to roll without sticking.  Once you have the desired thickness remove the top layer and with a round cutter dipped in flour to stop it from sticking, cut disks big enough to cover the indent of each hole in your bun tin. Fill each pastry case with a spoonful of your mincemeat. Cut either another round or a shape to cover each mince pie. With a brush wet the edges of your base with the plant milk to stick the lid to the base. Brush the tops with a little plant milk to glaze and sprinkle with coconut sugar for colour and sweet crunch.  Bake in the oven for 15-18 minutes, until the top starts to brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack. These are lovely served hot or cold.

Store in airtight tin.




Homemade mincemeat.



My family and especially my other half love mince pies, well, anything that contains mincemeat to be honest and last year my mincemeat crumble slice was a huge hit. To the point I was making it on request a couple of times a week, it became my gift as we attended friends and family over the festive season. But for those with restricted diets finding good shop bought mincemeat can be a challenge.

Traditionally mince pies contained meat and not the best meat, so spices and fruit were added along with spirits to add flavour and the dish became more of a sweet rather than savoury dish. Now-a-days the shop bought mincemeat uses vegetable shortening rather than beef suet, but I wanted to make a version that doesn’t use as much fat or added refined sugars it also needed to be totally plant based. I decided to make my own with the fruit that I liked, as I am not keen on candied fruit peel and almost every jar of mincemeat I picked up in the store contained it. So, thinking cap on a little research and to the kitchen to have a play and see what I could come up with. Because I wasn’t going to be using the suet I needed to make sure the mincemeat stayed nice and moist, so I decided to use chopped apples in its place which would break down whilst cooking and medjool dates. After a few attempts I have a mincemeat I love, we can all eat and best of all got a thumb’s up from the family. The recipe is below, feel free like myself to change the ratio or choices of dried fruits.

Makes 2 x 500 ml jars


3 red apples chopped in to chunk about 1cm

2 large oranges zest and juice

2 tbsp maple syrup

Zest unwaxed lemon

5 medjool dates ( you can use other dates but these are the best as they are still beautiful and soft and full of flavour)

400g mixed fruit of your choice I used

80g raisins

      80g currants

      80g sultanas

     80g dried cranberries- to add a sharpness and festive flavour

     80g dried apricots chopped


1 ½ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp ginger

½ tsp nutmeg

1 ½ tsp mixed spice

¼ tsp ground cloves

2 tbsp Brandy


Place all the ingredients into a large pan and heat on a low heat until apples are soft, the fruit has plumped and the liquid has almost been absorbed by the fruit. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little. Transfer the mix to a food processor and pulse until you have your desired consistency. Decant into clean jars. This can be used immediately or stored until needed. If you make this in advance and store the flavours infuse more and become more intense. Decanted in pretty jars along with a recipe for mince pies or mincemeat crumble slice make a fabulous ‘homemade with love’ Christmas gift for a budding baker in the family.



Yorkshire Puddings

I love Yorkshire puddings!For many years I went without. First I had the horrors of mastering the gluten free Yorkshire which was hit and miss until one day it happened and from then on fabulous Yorkshires….then I went totally plant-based, no eggs, Oh No! roast dinners will never be the same again, for a few years now I have tried many recipes with little or no luck and to be honest I am not a fan of egg replacer so have never tried with that. But, when I’m feeling lucky and in the mood to experiment I tweek the recipe some more, in a vain hope they will work. My poor family has been subjected to many of my trial and errors,  almost having to visit the dentist for broken teeth as many Yorkshires resembled biscuits made from steel. But at last a Yorkshire that worked, was it fluke? I tried again and Huzzah! success, so below I share my triumph with you. These little beauties are great straight out of the oven but if like me you have to sometimes do dinner in relays as they all come home at different times they are still fab heated in the microwave. In-fact my other half loves them like that. So enjoy. x


120g gluten free plain flour

1 heaped tsp gram flour (chickpea flour found in most supermarkets sometimes called Besan)

285ml soya milk, however if you can’t have soya other plant milks work ok.

1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder

rapeseed oil for the pan, olive oil is too strong in flavour for this recipe however if you prefer you can use coconut oil.


Pre-heat your oven to 230oc / gas mk 8 Very Hot Oven!

Pour a little oil into each hole of your pudding tray and place in the oven to get hot.

In a mixing bowl or large measuring jug add the flours baking powder, whisk to combine then add the milk, whisk till mix is combined and fluffy with bubbles.

Remove the tin from the oven the oil must be hot and smoking , if the oil is not hot the puddings will not work. Make sure you shut the oven door to keep the oven at a high temperature. Quickly fill your holes of the pudding tray, they should bubble as you pour it in. Fill to just over half way. Return them to the oven and bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden brown. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN until they are ready or they will sink and you will have biscuits. Remember the oil MUST be smoking hot for them to work , just like standard Yorkshires.


Spiced Pumpkin Bread


What a treat as Halloween gets closer. All those beautiful pumpkins waiting to be turned into delightful yummy bakes. This is a great way to get vegetables into the family without them knowing, a loaf that contains one of your 5-a-day and easy to make.


The smell in my kitchen whilst I was making this was just awesome. and also brought the family to the kitchen to investigate what was cooking. Delicious, moist tasty Pumpkin bread.

Great with a dollop of apple and ginger conserve.

Serves 8-10

Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, soya free, nut free, plant-based

Dry Ingredients

260g gluten free plain flour

140g coconut sugar (you can use caster sugar if you have no coconut sugar but coconut sugar adds a beautiful caramel flavour)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground flax seeds

2 tbsp pumpkin seeds


Wet ingredients

340g pumpkin puree (from 1 small squash – acorn, butternut, queen)

3 tbsp maple syrup

3 tbsp plant based milk (I used coconut but any plant based milk will do)


Peel and dice your squash and place in pan with water, bring to boil, then simmer until squash soft. Drain the squash and place in blender and blitz till paste or use stick blender.

Pre-heat the oven to 180oc. Line a loaf tin with baking parchment.

In a mixing bowl add all the dry ingredients and stir to mix. In another bowl add the wet ingredients including the squash puree and stir to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, mix till combined. This batter can be very thick. Transfer to your prepared loaf tin. Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for ten minutes before you remove to cool on a wire rack. Wait till completely cool before slicing.

Serve warm with a dollop of ginger and apple jam. This loaf keeps well in an airtight tin for about 4-5 days.



Raspberry & Chocolate Cake



Not over sweet, delicious flavour combo and beautifully light fluffy and moist, this is my go to chocolate cake recipe. Always a great hit in our house and never lasts long. You can replace the raspberry ingredients with strawberry if you prefer. Without the topping this cake also freezes well.


Makes 10-12 slices


For the cake

300g plain gluten free flour

50g raw cacao powder (you can use cocoa powder)

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp salt

280g coconut sugar

375ml soya milk. (if preferred you can use other plant milk)

125ml rape seed oil

7 tbsp seedless raspberry jam

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the topping

40ml soya milk

85g dark dairy free chocolate broken into small pieces

60g icing sugar

1 Tbsp maple syrup

Fresh raspberries to decorate.



Pre-heat the oven to 180oc /gas mk 4. Grease and line 22cm square or round cake tin. Sift the flour, cacao, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl then stir in the sugar and salt. In a medium saucepan heat the milk, oil, raspberry jam and vanilla extract whisk slowly to combine until the jam has melted. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Transfer to the prepared cake tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before you add the topping.

To make the topping, heat the soya milk in a saucepan until boiling, remove from heat add the chocolate and stir until melted. With a spatula or large spoon beat in the sugar and maple syrup until smooth and combined. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes then spread over the top of the cake. Top with the fresh raspberries.