Lemon blueberry loaf

This cake is the result of loads of indecision and the urge to clear out my fridge. I first set out to make a lemon and poppy seed pound cake only to discover that I didn’t have any poppy seeds. I saw a box of blueberries that were sitting in the fridge and thought they might go nicely with the lemon and then wondered if I should make some healthy blueberry muffins, instead. As you can see, clearly, decadence won the battle.

Lemon and blueberries go so well together that I think that lemon and poppy seed cake might have to wait a while. You’ll find that you don’t really need an excuse to make this over and over again.


Lemon Blueberry Loaf

Lemon Blueberry Loaf


250 grams self raising flour

250 grams unrefined caster sugar

250 grams salted butter

1/2  teaspoon baking powder

3 eggs

zest and juice of 1 whole lemon (1 tbsp of zest and 2 tbsp of juice)

1 cup blueberries

Equipment: Standard loaf tin – 2lbs or 9×3, strong whisk or stand mixer


  1. Preheat your oven to 180 C. Generously butter a loaf tin or silicon mould, dust with flour and keep aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the sugar and then the lemon zest. Rub the zest and sugar crystals together with the tips of your fingers. This releases the oil from the zest and flavours the sugar.
  3. Add the baking powder to the flour and whisk well.
  4. Add the sugar and butter to the bowl of your stand mixer and beat until nicely mixed. Add the lemon juice at this stage.
  5. Add the eggs, one by one and mix on a medium speed until you have a wet, sticky and lemony mixture.
  6. Add the flour, gradually and gently. It’s better if you do this stage by hand, folding in the flour until you have a lump-free batter.
  7. Add in the blueberries and mix well.
  8. Pour the batter into your buttered loaf tin.
  9. Bake for about 40-45 minutes, until the top is browned and a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean.
  10. Cool and slice.

This yields a moist loaf that keeps well until the next day, at least.


Posted in Baking, Cakes, Desserts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flatbread or Chapati French ‘toast’

Half term holidays mean easy mornings, some lie ins and time for a proper breakfast.

The last couple of months have been hectic with the little man saying good bye to his nursery and hello to proper school. New timings and the earl morning frenzy have taken a toll on all of us and consequently, on the blog.

But now, we’ve had a fun filled but easy week.  And of course, some good food, made and eaten at leisure.

So here’s what we came up with over the weekend. Our version of a savoury French ‘toast’ but made with leftover chapatis. You can also use some flatbread like ‘khoubuz’.

Leftover chapatis, eggs, seasoning, some chopped tomato and a scant teaspoon of chopped coriander – a colourful breakfast or indeed dinner is ready in minutes.

It went down a treat! Give it a go, won’t you?

Savoury french 'toast'

Savoury french ‘toast’


3 chapatis

3 pats of butter

3 tablespoons of cold milk or cold water

2-3 cubes of cheddar (approx.  8-10 tablespoons), grated

1 medium tomato, peeled and chopped

2 teaspoons of chopped coriander

salt and pepper to taste

Whole wheat chapati 'french toast'

Whole wheat chapati ‘french toast’


  1. Beat 3 eggs with the milk or water. Add salt and pepper and whisk well.
  2. Add the grated cheddar, chopped tomato and coriander leaves. Stir well with a fork.
  3. Now heat a pan over a high flame.
  4. Add the chapati to the pan. When it is warm, butter it generously on both sides.
  5. Pour a third of the egg mixture over the chapati. Swirl the pan so that the chapati is coated with the egg-cheese-tomato mixture.
  6. Cover with a lid and let cook.
  7. When the egg has started to set, flip over as you would an omelette and turn off the flame. This will allow it to cook till the egg is just done.
  8. Transfer to a plate and serve hot.
  9. Repeat for the other chapatis.

Ketchup and cutlery optional!

Dark Autumn mornings and evenings are brightened up with a colourful, hot and relaxed meal.

Posted in Breakfast, Quick Suppers, Savoury | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A labour of love and Preserved Lemons

A few weeks ago I attended my first block printing class and had the most awesome day. Deep in the heart of Surrey, Tobias and the Angel run these classes for creative, artistic minds as well as complete luddites like me. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your skill level is, Angel and Trudi welcome you like they have known you for yonks. First up is a 101 on block printing, and then the rest of the day is spent experimenting and getting your hands dirty, quite literally. It’s like a crafts day at a favourite aunt’s. Angel puts on a fabulous lunch and tea and chats about everything under the sun.

If you’re looking for a detox day, this compares with a five star spa. I came away feeling fabulously relaxed and very accomplished. Take a look at the table runner I made.

Table runner - Tobias and the Angel

Table runner – Tobias and the Angel


But this post is also about the most delicious salad I’ve ever had. Yes, ever. Peaches, mixed leaves, avocado and heavenly chunks of preserved lemons. I’m prepping for the salad by making some preserved lemons. I know I can always use the store bought version but it wouldn’t do Angel’s salad justice. It has to be a labour of love, just like my table runner. The post on the salad will have to wait.

Preserved lemons

Preserved lemons

Ingredients for the preserved lemons:

5-6 unwaxed lemons

250 grams (approx.) Maldon sea salt or any other sea salt flakes


  1. In a preserving jar or any other clean jar, pour enough salt to cover the base.
  2. Wash and dry the lemons. Slit them vertically but not quite to the end.
  3. Fill each lemon with about a tablespoon of salt.
  4. Cram as many lemons as you can fit into the jar.
  5. Top with salt.
  6. Seal the jar.

By now, the cramming of the lemons in the jar will have released quite a bit of lemon juice. If not, you can add some more juice and salt so that the jar is completely filled.

That’s it, really. Leave it in a cool place for 3-4 weeks. During this time, shake the jar a bit to redistribute salt and juice.

The preserved lemons are ready when the peel looks soft. At this point in time, the lemons need to be refrigerated and used as required.

My jars are still sitting on the kitchen counter and I’m waiting rather impatiently to use them to make Angel’s salad. Until then, I have to breathe and keep calm.


Posted in Compotes and Preserves, Savoury | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Spiced Apple cake

A dense, moist and flavourful cake that has Autumn written all over it. Yes, it’s a late post but this cake was too good not to share. Better late than never!

The apple tree in the back garden of our new house gave us a lovely welcome present. 3 kilos of apples were knocked down with a football (soccer, if you must) and a little help from our friends. (Welcome to new age apple picking.)

I first made a big batch of apple butter with some warming apple pie spice. Most of it was polished off over breakfast. But I kept 2 cups aside to make this cake. Am I glad I did!

I’m now looking forward to making this a regular on the baking list, thanks to our resident apple tree.

Spiced Apple cake

Spiced Apple cake


250 grams flour

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups spiced apple butter

120 grams lightly salted butter

3/4 cup muscovado sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)



1. Preheat oven to Gas 4 or 350 F. Grease and paper an 8″ cake tin.

2. Sieve the flour and baking powder together about 2-3 times so that you incorporate as much air as possible.

3. Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together. Add in the eggs and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add in the apple butter. Mix well.

4. Add the flour mixture, a little at a time. Mix well by hand (or with your mixer at a low speed). Mix in the walnuts.

5. Pour batter into cake tin and smoothen with a spatula.

6. Bake for about 45 minutes. The top should be golden brown and a skewer inserted into the centre should come out clean.

7. Cool for about 10-15 minutes before releasing it from the cake tin.

8. Cut into wedges and savour every last crumb.



1. Oven temperatures can vary so work with what’s best for your oven. The skewer test is the best way to tell if it’s done.

2. You can add more apple pie spice or a mix of powdered cinnamon, ginger, cloves and all spice. I left this out as the apple butter had all of this in abundance.

3. The muscovado sugar gives it a lovely dark colour that I like. It can easily be replaced by regular sugar.

4. If you choose to use unsalted butter, add a pinch of salt to your cake batter.

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Gingerbread men

When the weather is this wet and cold, I don’t need an excuse to fire up the oven. So when the little man asked if we could make gingerbread men as our Sunday activity, he didn’t really need to sell it to me.

And who wants to go shopping for ingredients when it’s pelting down?

Here’s a simple recipe from Waitrose that mostly uses stuff you would have in the store cupboard.

I adapted it further – see my notes toward the end. I’m really not a fan of rushing out to buy ingredients that would sit in the larder until well past their expiry date.

Happy Gingerbread Men



100 grams unsalted butter, softened

100 grams light muscovado sugar

1 .5 – 2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons crystallised ginger (blended to a paste)

250 grams flour

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon mixed spice

a generous pinch of salt

Optional, for decorating:

2-3 tablespoons of melted chocolate

silver sprinkles

Gingerbread men attempting an 'Abbey Road crossing'

Gingerbread men attempting an ‘Abbey Road crossing’


1. Grease and line a baking tray or cookie sheet. Pre-heat the oven to 180 C or Gas 4.

2. In a pan, heat the sugar, butter and honey until well combined into a thick syrup. Add the paste of crystallised ginger and mix well.

3. Separately, mix all the dry ingredients with a fork, airing the flour well.

4. Pour the syrup into the dry ingredients and mix well till it forms a stiff dough. Knead with your hands to make it pliable.

5. Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of parchment paper to 5 mm thickness. Cut the gingerbread men using a cookie cutter. Peel away the extra bits to leave just the gingerbread men silhouettes. Leave them for 5 minutes or so before you carefully transfer them to the pre-greased baking trays with the help of a butter knife.

6. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

7. Cool the gingerbread men for about 20-30 minutes.

8. Go to town with your decorations.

And while your gingerbread men are getting ready, why not take your mind off the wait? Check out how well you know the story by taking The Gingerbread Man quiz.


1. The original recipe is for Gingerbread Christmas trees from the November 2014 issue of Waitrose Kitchen.

2. I have used 1.5 tbsp of honey in place of 3 tbsp golden syrup.

3. I used crystallised ginger that I had (6-7 cubes blended to a paste) instead of the ground ginger. It gives the cookies a heady kick of ginger.

4. Oven temperatures vary. Check your gingerbread men after about 8-10 minutes. I followed the original times (10-15 minutes) and my first batch was more tanned than the second. See pic below.

Who's the fairest of them all?

Who’s the fairest of them all?

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Peppa Pig party games

If you’ve been following my Peppa Pig Party theme, you’ve probably wondered about the games: Playing musical muddy puddles, Passing Mr. ‘Dine-saw’, Sleeping Piggies

Armed with ideas from Pinterest and some of our imagination, this is what we came up with. They are simpler than you think.

Musical muddy puddles

Musical muddy puddles

1. Musical Muddy Puddles

As you’ve probably guessed, this is a variation of musical chairs. Each child was given a paper ‘muddy puddle’. While they ran around as the music played, I sneaked away one of the ‘puddles’. When the music stopped, each child had to bag a puddle. The one left without a puddle was ‘out’ (and became my assistant to sneak away the next puddle). So it went on until we had a winner.

2. Passing Mr. Dine-saw

Again, a variation of the classic ‘passing the parcel’. The kids passed a green dinosaur around as the music played. When the music stopped, the child holding the dinosaur chose a gift out of a bag and was ‘out’ of the game. (The gifts kept them busy as the game continued.)

3. Sleeping Piggies

A variation of Musical Statues, this one kept them busy while the food was being laid out. It also helped calm them down from the hectic activity so that they would be happy to sit down and enjoy the snacks.

Basically, the kids wiggle to the music and oink like Peppa Pig.  When the music stops, they all flop down and pretend to be ‘sleeping piggies’. The first one to move or open their eyes is out. (It’s easy to get a few them of out at a time, if you’re keen to move them on to the table.)

The ‘oinking’ went down quite well, I must say. We even had the parents joining in, under the guise of coaching their little ones.:)

We don’t need excuses to have fun, do we now?

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Muddy Puddles Cake

A Peppa Pig themed party wouldn’t be complete without a Peppa cake, would it?

To me, muddy puddles cues decadent chocolate cake that you can sink your teeth into and go Aaah! Maybe it’s just me but I would eat chocolate cake for breakfast if I could and if it didn’t set an example to my ‘ever eager to copy everything that he shouldn’t’ 3 year old.

My go-to recipe for chocolate cake is the Hummingbird Bakery’s classic chocolate cupcake recipe. I topped it with fondant icing and a large chocolate puddle for Peppa and George to wallow in.

I don’t much care for cake decorating. As you can tell, this one won’t win competitions. But it’s a simple and homely cake that even a cake decorating novice like me can manage. Take a look below.

I did, however, have a very happy 3 year old. That’s prize enough for me.


Muddy Puddles cake with Peppa and George

Muddy Puddles cake with Peppa and George



400 grams flour

80 grams dark cocoa powder

560 grams caster sugar

6 tsp baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

160 grams salted butter, softened

480 mls whole milk

4 medium eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Other bits and pieces:

500 grams shop bought white fondant icing

200 grams green fondant icing

1 box Willie’s Cacao Chef’s Drops

20″ cake tin, greased



1. Preheat the oven to gas 4 (180 C or 350 F).

2. Sieve the flour, cocoa and baking powder together so that it’s light and airy.

3. Beat the butter and sugar together until it’s creamy.

4. Whisk the eggs well, add in the milk and vanilla extract.

5. Add the milk and eggs mixture to the butter and sugar mixture until well incorporated. You could use a stand or handheld mixer on a low speed.

6. Add in the flour mix a little at a time, folding it in but not really beating it. Once it is smooth and free of lumps, pour it into the greased cake pan.

7. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. To test, insert a knife into the cake. If the knife comes out clean, your cake is done.

8. Let cool overnight and cover with fondant the next morning or after 3-4 hours.

9. For the muddy puddle, melt chocolate buttons and smooth the melted chocolate onto the fondant with the back of a spoon.

10. Place the Peppa and George figurines in the centre of the cake and Voila! There it is, your Muddy Puddles Cake. Happy toddler, guaranteed.


PS: I did sneak in a slice for breakfast the next day. Shhh, don’t tell!



1. Baking time may vary depending on your oven. Best to follow your own baking times, check for browning and follow the knife test.

2. For the green ‘hedges’ border, I simply grated some green icing and arranged it around the cake.

3. For the chocolate puddle I used Willie’s Cacao Chef drops. My new favourite ingredient!

4. I’ve multiplied the original recipe by 4 and used salted butter.

Posted in Baking, Cakes | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Birthday celebrations with Peppa Pig

Peppa pig and her little brother, George, have taken over not just our living room but also our lives. Our 3 year old is obsessed with the TV series and don’t be too surprised if you find us mouthing dialogues and also ‘oinking’ in character.

What else could possibly do justice to a 3rd birthday celebration than a Peppa themed party? Armed with ideas from Pinterest and various other sites, it turned out to be quite an enjoyable afternoon – this included eating a Muddy Puddles cake, playing Passing Mr. Dine-saw, Sleeping Piggies and even jumping up and down in muddy puddles.

I must admit that I did go a bit mad with the theme.:)

1. Muddy Puddles Cake

Muddy Puddles cake with Peppa and George

Muddy Puddles cake with Peppa and George

2. Playing musical muddy puddles, Passing Mr. ‘Dine-saw’, Sleeping Piggies

Musical muddy puddles

Musical muddy puddles


On a different but related note, we kicked off the celebrations with a visit to Peppa Pig World the weekend before the party. If the link makes your fingers itch to book and visit, here are some words of caution. Weekdays are best if you don’t want to queue up for 30 minutes for a 3 minute ride. And do carry plenty of wet wipes for those sticky fingers. Of course, this is not rocket science for parents of toddlers but it’s good to bear in mind, if you’re the kind that can get carried away by the thought of theme parks.

Peppa Pig World

Peppa Pig World

If you haven’t yet discovered Peppa Pig  look no further than YouTube. Just don’t blame me when you get hooked on to it yourself.😉

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Apple butter

No, it’s not really butter. It’s a cross between compote and a jam.

It doesn’t really need a recipe and it takes about 5 minutes to throw together and another 10 minutes to cook. So if you like apples, there’s really no reason to shy away from it. The bonus for me is that the whole house smells like apple pie!!

Apple butter with a generous pinch of mixed spice

Apple butter with a generous pinch of mixed spice


1 large cooking apple

2-3 sweet apples (medium sized ones)

1 heaped tablespoon caster sugar

2 tablespoons salted butter

1/2-3/4 teaspoon mixed spice


1. Core, peel and dice the apples. Retain some of the peels.

2. In a pan, melt the butter and add the sugar. Swirl it together. Then throw in the apple chunks along with 2-3 pieces of the peel.

3. Cover and cook till soft on medium heat. Add the mixed spice and stir well. When the apples are cooked, lower the heat and leave on the hob for about 2-3 minutes till the bottom is slightly caramelised.

4. Take off the heat and cool.

You can enjoy this in a number of ways – spread on a hot piece of toast or muffin, smother your pancakes with it, or top your morning bowl of oatmeal.

Millet porridge with Apple butter

Millet porridge with Apple butter

The best way, of course, is to enjoy it with a spoon, slowly, savouring every tiny bit of it.



1. The apple peels add a bit of warm, autumnal colour to the apple butter. You could omit them if you want a lighter, golden apple butter.

2. I used a combination of cooking apples and eating apples to balance the tartness and to reduce the sugar I needed to use.


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Minty apple lemonade

This is a twist on a classic and doesn’t really need a recipe. Minty apple lemonade is a perfect companion to a sunny and warm day. The mix of flavours also makes it a good pairing with a simple supper like this one.

If you have some apple juice sitting in the fridge, do give this a try. The lemon, mint and the sugar really jazz up plain old juice.

IMG_6540_2 IMG_6488

What you need:

300 mls unsweetened or fresh apple juice

1.5 tablespoons sugar

juice of 1 large lemon

10-12 mint leaves, roughly torn

Putting it together:

1. With a mortar and pestle, crush the mint leaves and sugar together.

2. Add this to the apple juice. Mix in the lemon juice.

3. Stir well. Pour into a large glass and add ice cubes (optional).

4. Sip slowly and watch the world go by.



1. I used cloudy, unsweetened apple juice.

2. The sugar you need will vary depending on the apple juice you use. Start with less – you can always add more sugar.

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Courgette and red pepper bites

Cleaning out the fridge, last weekend, produced an odd assortment of veggies. There weren’t enough for one proper recipe but that got me thinking – what could I make if I threw them all in together.

Here’s what they turned into – mini courgette (aka zucchini) and red pepper bites.

Perfect for a lovely light dinner with a refreshing salad and a tall, cool glass of minty apple lemonade.

We’re celebrating the last of the summer evenings!



2-3 courgettes, grated

3-4 green onions, chopped fine

2 pods garlic, lightly crushed

1 tsp dill, roughly chopped

1 red pepper, diced and lightly roasted

1 potato, boiled and mashed

salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/4 cup cheese, parmesan

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Equipment: 1 muffin tin, greased


1. Saute the garlic in hot oil. The add the chopped onions, red pepper and courgettes. Saute for about 5-10minutes till the pepper and onions are softened. Cool.

2. Mix the above veggies with the mashed potatoes. Add the dill, salt, pepper, cheese and breadcrumbs. Knead well and shape into patties.

3. Press the patties lightly in to the greased muffin tin. If you are using the cupcake cases, lightly grease them too.

4. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C / 350 F / gas 4 for about 25 minutes rotating the trays around and across shelves to ensure even baking.

5. Serve hot with a relish or tomato ketchup and add a tall glass of lemonade to beat the heat.


What exciting dinners do you have planned this week?

Notes: The cupcake cases are great for serving these as appetisers. Keeps the hands clean..ish.

Posted in Appetisers and Nibbles, Baking, Savoury | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Sunshine time

I’ve been sent some sunshine by Shalini the blogger behind Tale of Two Tomatoes. (Thanks Shalini! And apologies too, this has been long overdue)

It’s a grey and wet day here today so thank you for the warmth that the Sunshine Award brings with it. :) I’m very touched.

If any of you are hankering after Iddiyappams or Kottayam fish curry or Pongal Payasam head over to Tale of Two Tomatoes and discover these and other gems from Shalini’s Keralite kitchen.

So what is this Sunshine Award? Here are the rules. All but the last are easy to follow.

sunshine-awardRules Of The Sunshine Award
• Display the award on your blog.
• Show your gratitude and link back to the person who nominates you with the award.
• Nominate up to 10 of your favourite deserving “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”.
• Link the nominees in your post and let them know they have been awarded.
• Write 10 interesting things about yourself.

A few of my favourite bloggers are listed here. These are blogs that I keep going back to to discover interesting ideas or perspectives and I always come away with a big smile on my face. So in no particular order, here they are.

1. Shailaja V from Diary of a Doting Mom: Shailaja’s blog has become my go-to parenting site for her wisdom and for the fun ways in which she is bringing up little miss G.

2. Vidya Sury from vidyasury.com : I head to Vidya’s blog when I’m feeling a little low and need a pick me up. She has never failed me!

3. Cristina Trinidad from Filling my Prayer Closet : Cristina writes on religion, family ties and relationships, all peppered with some fabulously real pics. All I will say is that it makes for a pretty compelling read. Head over to find out for yourself.

4. Corinne Rodrigues from EverydayGyaan : Corinne, I think, is a mind reader. Motivation, inspiration and a reality check – I find all this and more at Corinne’s blog when I need it the most.

5. Sunila Vig’s posts on yoga, meditation and living a peaceful life really resonated with me during the A-Z Challenge. You can find her at Between you and me.

6. Tulika Singh from ObsessiveMom : Love reading? Would you like to know a little more about the men and women behind the literary works you love? Meet them on Tulika’s blog.

7. Kajal Kapur – For me, Kajal’s Movie Massala is my imdb and movie wiki rolled into one. Nuff said!

8. Eli E Zachariadis from Expatliv – armchair traveling with a special Mumbai bias, makes me love her blog even more.


And now, as per the rules, here are a few things you may not know about me.

1. I’ve done the world’s highest bungee jump.

2. I can’t ride a bicycle. (Yes, it’s true.)

3. I love dark chocolate.

4. Wine makes me sick.😦

5. I’d rather wash the floors and do the dishes than iron clothes or sew buttons.

6. My favourite way to relax is through yoga and of course, pottering around the kitchen.

7. I used to read 3-4 books a week until I became a mommy. Now I read 3-4 pages per day.

That’s quite enough about me. Go on and explore the wonderful blogs I’ve listed above. You can thank me later.:)


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Summer in a glass

Summer has been a mixture of sunshine and rain so far. I’ve had fruits ripen too quickly and needed to be used up before they went off. On one such scorching day, I had a melon and some strawberries that were begging to be finished.

Here’s the MelBerry Smoothie that they turned into.

It doesn’t need a recipe really. Throw in a combination of coolers like melons or cucumbers, flavour with berries or mangoes or any other fruits you like. And there you have it – summer in a glass.

Summer in a glass

Summer in a glass


1.5 cups cantaloupe, cubed

about 1.5 – 2 cups of strawberries

Honey or sugar to taste (optional)

Ice cubes


1. Whizz all the fruits in a blender.

2. Add sweetener, if required.

3. Add some ice cubes to a tall glass and pour the smoothie over.

4. Add a hammock and a good book and you’re all set to enjoy the summer.


How do you beat the heat? Do share your summer secrets through the comments box, below.


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Strawberry Summer Pops

Sunny summer days and strawberry picking go hand in hand. Last weekend was a perfect day out with the little man, picking these luscious red berries. All you could see and smell were perfectly ripe strawberries begging to be eaten.

Our two year old pitched in happily and gathered a whole basket by himself. Consequently, we left slightly redder and stickier than we had arrived, but that I suppose is part of the deal.

The best bit, however, was coming up with options for what to do with them, other than just eating them straight out of the trug.

And so this is what we did to celebrate the arrival of summer – Strawberry summer pops!


Strawberry summer pops

Strawberry summer pops


1500 grams of strawberries, washed and hulled

3/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet or tart the berries are)


a large saucepan

popsicle cases

Perfect for a summer picnic

Perfect for a summer picnic


1. In a clean pan, on high heat, tip in the sugar.

2. When the sugar starts to caramelise a bit add the strawberries and cook for 10-12 minutes. The juices that run out will help soften the berries and make their flavour more intense. No water or liquid of any sort is required.

3. Once the berries have turned dark and syrupy, take them off the heat and cool.

Strawberries in their syrup

Strawberries in their syrup

4. Once cool, fill the popsicle cases generously with berries and the syrup. Freeze.

5. Unmould and enjoy!



1. I enjoyed the texture of these pops. I don’t really like the crunchy ice versions. These had no water in them other than the juice of the berries so they were firm but not hard.

2. I used the leftovers to fill some ice trays. I’m sure they will come in handy to add to lemonade or simply to enjoy as mini pops.

Strawberry ice cubes

Strawberry ice cubes




Posted in Desserts | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Focaccia with sea salt

Another winner from Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake. This focaccia is much easier to make than I anticipated. As with all bread, I find it most relaxing to make it on a day at home, when I am not anxiously watching the timer or waiting for it to rise.

Perfect for a Saturday lunch. It’s difficult to make it last till dinner if you bake it in the day.:)

I’ve adpated the recipe slightly, omitting the herbs and reducing the quantities of olive oil and water.


500 grams strong white flour

10 grams salt

10 grams yeast

80-100 mils, olive oil

300 mils cool water

fine semolina for dusting

Sea salt (for finishing)

Focaccia cooling on a wire rack

Focaccia cooling on a wire rack


1. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour with salt to one side and yeast to the other. Add 40 mls of olive oil and mix it in. Make a well in the centre and add in about 270 mls of water. Mix well until the water and oil are well incorporated in the dough. You may want to add more water if your dough is a bit dry. What you need is a wet and soft dough. Knead lightly until you get a rough dough.

2. In a large and wide pan or on a clean surface, add some olive oil. Tip the dough onto it and knead well for about 10 minutes. Try not to add any flour. The oil will combine with the dough to give you a smooth and elastic ball of dough.

3. Divide the dough into two equal balls. Put them into an oiled tub or bowl and cover with cling film. Leave for at least an hour until the dough doubles in size.

4. Line 2 baking trays with parchment and grease them well with the oil.

5. Put some more olive oil on your work surface and dust with fine semolina. Now tip one ball of dough onto the surface. Working very gently stretch it to an even and flat (about 1.5 inches high) piece. Repeat this for the other ball of dough.

6. Cover each tray very loosely with cling film and let rest for an hour. The dough will double in size again.

7. Heat oven to Gas 7 (220 C).

8. Push your fingers down in the focaccia all the way to the bottom. This gives you the lovely dimpled surface that you see on a focaccia. Drizzle olive oil generously and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the top is lightly pinkish golden. Tap the bottom of the focaccia. A hollow sound indicates that it is done. Cool on a wire rack.

If you are baking each tray separately, repeat step 8 for each tray.

Sunny focaccia

Sunny focaccia


1. Best eaten fresh. Dip it in olive oil or smother it with butter.

2. You can also choose to sprinkle dried herbs in step 8, along with the salt. You could also add olives or sun dried tomatoes. Embed these in the dough, in step 8.




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