Strawberry & Peach Jam

Ok, so here's the story.

I was going to make some hot mango chutney. I sensibly bought the mangoes while they were on special offer, instead of waiting for winter to come around and paying an extortionate price. Those mangoes sat there in the fruit bowl staring at me moodily for a week or so.

Ah, I would like to make you into chutney, but I am busy! I need more onions and oh, I need bramley apples too. Hey, I can't find bramley apples. Yes, I found some bramley apples, you guys are going to be chutney soon! Nah, I am just too tired tonight, maybe tomorrow. Sorry, have yoga and salsa tonight, it's too late and I am too tired. Tomorrow, yes definitely tomorrow! Hey mum, nice to see you, glad you came over! I am making chutney today. Oh, what, when did that happen! You've gone all squishy :(

That's so not fair! I have all the ingredients ready. My jars are sterilising.


Ok, so I am not wasting those sparkling clean jars! What's in the fridge. Ok you'll do, in fact you will be the star of the show. Hey mum, I am making strawberry and peach jam :)

Strawberry & Peach Jam

400g sugar
250g punnet of strawberries, chopped
2 peaches, stoned and chopped
juice of 1 lemon

Place the sugar in a heatproof bowl and pop in a moderate oven for 10 minutes to heat up. Put a saucer in the freezer to test the jam. Place the fruit in a saucepan with the lemon juice and heat up. Simmer for 3 minutes and crush most of the fruit with a potato masher. Add the warm sugar, stir to dissolve and bring to the boil. Boil for around 5 minutes over a high heat, stirring regularly. To test, put a spoonful on your cold plate, leave to sit for a few seconds and then push finger through the jam, if it wrinkles, it's ready. Remove from heat and pour into sterilised jam jars. The jam will set as it cools.

Makes 2½ x 400g jars of jam

Wendy's Cauliflower & Mushroom Pie


As soon as I saw this pie on Wendy's blog, A Wee Bit of Cooking, I knew I had to make it. You see, our summer here in Scotland is more like Autumn. It is cool and very, very wet.

So, bring on the comfort food and to hang with salads!

Wendy's pie is filled with cauliflower, leek and mushrooms in a creamy bechamel sauce and topped with puff pastry. The original pie was a Chanterelle & Cauliflower Pie, however I couldn't find any chanterelles, so it was just bog standard mushrooms for me, but it was still great.

Graham loved this pie! He had seconds and thirds. So thanks for the recipe Wendy, we will definitely be having this again soon.

Cauliflower and Mushroom Pie

photo: A Wee Bit of Cooking

bechamel sauce
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, chopped
12 chestnut mushrooms
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
Puff pastry
Salt and Pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 200c fan/220c/425f/gas mark 7.
  2. Make the bechamel sauce and add the dried herbs and mustard to it.  Cook gently for 5 minutes to let flavours combine, then season and set aside.
  3. Fry the leek gently in olive oil for a few minutes until soft then add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes. Add the vinegar and cook until the juices have thickened.
  4. Add the cauliflower florets and stir well.  
  5. Cover and cook gently for 15 minutes until the cauliflower has just softened. Add a little water if you need to.
  6. Mix the bechamel sauce with the vegetables and pour into an oven proof dish.
  7. Cover with puff pastry and brush with beaten egg.
  8. Bake until the pie is golden.
  9. Serve and enjoy!
Serves 2 hungry people!

I have to add a thank you to my friend Adam who gave me the gorgeous cabbage plate. Thanks Adam, I love it :)


Chocolate Orange Sorbet

I have been thinking about making this sorbet for a while. I love eating a dollop of dark chocolate ice cream alongside a fruity sorbet, so I thought it would be fun to combine the two. Dark chocolate and orange is such a delicious flavour combination.

Chocolate Orange Sorbet


4 oranges, peeled
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
4 tsp Green & Black's Organic Cocoa Powder
1 tbsp cointreau

  1. Whizz all the ingredients in a blender, until smooth. 
  2. If you don't want the juicy bits in the sorbet, sieve the juice. 
  3. Blend the juice in an ice cream machine or freeze in a container and whip up every few hours.
Heaven on a spoon!


Going Raw

You will perhaps have read about my monthly night's out with my yoga crew. At the start of each month, we head out into town after our yoga class for a meal and drinks. Just a bit of a get together and catch up really.

It has become a tradition for Adam to invite us to his house each summer for a blissful evening of sun, chat, drinks, food and hot tub, in his garden. Here is a roundup of last year's visit.

This year, it was pouring with rain, so we retreated indoors for our party, but the rain wasn't the only change this year. Adam has gone raw (no, not from too much yoga!), but a new diet and a new philosophy.

Raw Foodism (or rawism) is a lifestyle promoting the consumption of uncooked, unprocessed, and often organic foods as a large percentage of the diet. (Thanks Wiki!)

I just didn't know that raw food could be so delicious! Adam made us lots of lovely raw dishes to try - gazpacho, hummous, salad and two of the most sumptuous desserts you ever have seen. A chocolate torte and a blueberry cheesecake. The blueberry cheesecake is based on a Pomegranate Cheesecake and the chocolate torte was original made as a valentine's day dessert, both recipes are by Russell James, The Raw Chef. Adam substituted the pomegranates and beetroot for blueberries, which gave the cheesecake such a gorgeous colour. As you would suspect, there's not any cheese in sight though, instead there cashews, coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract, salt, agave and blueberries. A nice line-up of ingredients, I'd say!

I was so impressed by the banquet Adam laid out before us, his enthusiasm for the lifestyle and the change in his physique, that I asked him to write a bit about his new outlook on life. Here it is...

Going Raw...

I decided to try a raw food diet in March 2008, after attending Sandy Newbigging's MindBody detox retreat at the LifeCo's Detox Centre at Turkbuku in Turkey.

I received a lot of useful and inspirational information there and decided to continue the good work of the detox retreat by not immediately filling my body up with new toxins. For me that now meant eating raw vegan food. We visited the LifeCo's Saf restaurant in Istanbul (there's now one in London) before returning and I was amazed at the variety of delicious colourful and nutritious food on offer.

Back home I sought help from the internet and raw food books (there's a huge amount of information out there). The last few months have been a huge learning curve for me but I'd say the transition has not been as difficult as I'd anticipated. I didn't plan to go on a weight loss diet, but I have lost some weight (nearly 2 stone) which has been welcome.

It is a way of life and I believe that moving to a raw food diet is the best way to maintain good health, maximise energy levels and maintain youth - it's just great being here!

Books that have inspired me include those by Kate 'Magic' Woods, Matthew Kenney & Sarma Melngailis, Brendan Brazier, Juliano, Gabriel Cousens, David Wolfe, Shazzie, Victoria Boutenko and her family.

I'd recommend the Fresh Network (amongst others) as a source of hard to get ingredients and their quarterly magazine 'Get Fresh!' for information and ideas.

Russell James's website is great and he has some fabulous recipes and I'm looking forward to attending one of his courses very soon.


Thank you for that, Adam!

So if you want to give a Raw Lifestyle a go, there are some websites coming up. But even for those of us who wouldn't consider such a big change to our lifestyles, I think it is still something we could look at for those periods in our lives, when we are feeling yucky or out of sorts with the world.

Recommended Websites

Detox Your World
David Wolfe
The Raw Chef
Fresh Network
Saf Restaurant & Bar
Life Co
Sandy Newbigging
Life Detox
Living & Raw Foods
Raw Living
Red Sugar

Mango, Basil & Balsamic Dressing

I had a mango who was becoming very ripe, glaring at me accusingly from the fruit bowl. I stared at him a while before deciding he would make a lovely fresh salad dressing.

Mango, Basil & Balsamic Dressing


1 mango cut into chunks (I am getting my money's worth out of that mango splitter).
1 handful of basil
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
freshly ground black pepper


Whizz up all the ingredients to make a lovely fresh dressing.

And now for the salad I dressed. A simple one with lots of flavour.

Feta Cheese


Noodley Goodness

I had a sudden craving for noodles. After a quick dash to the shop for some, I came up with this simple but delicious recipe.

Peanutty Vegetable Noodles

1 tsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cm piece fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
½ tsp turmeric
8 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 pak choi, sliced
½ red bell pepper, sliced
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup coconut milk
3 tbsp peanut butter
2 handfuls cashew nuts
1 packet of soft egg noodles (for a vegan dish use another type of noodles)
salt & pepper

Saute the onion in olive oil, adding the ginger, chilli, garlic and turmeric. Add a splash of water if required. Once the onion has softened, add the red pepper. Cook for a few minutes of minutes before adding the mushrooms and then the pak choi. Cook for a couple more minutes and then add the peanut butter, coconut milk and vegetable stock. Stir well. Add the noodles and cook for three minutes. Season and serve.

Serves 2 hungry peeps

I just can't tell you how amazingly good this was. It was just what I wanted! Graham enjoyed it too, but Mr Fusspot commented that the sauce would have been nice a little thinner. I reminded him at this point, how long it took him to come down for dinner after I had called. Hmmmmm!

Peach, Mango & Ginger Smoothie

I really needed an energy boost today, so I decided to raid the fruit bowl and whip up a smoothie.

And why am I so exhausted today? Well yesterday I did a 20 mile walk for charity. It was a fun day. We walked from the Tay Bridge to St Andrews, via Tentsmuir Forest. The highlight of the day had to be walking through a quagmire of a field. Sinking into that unidentified brown, watery sludge and it filling up your shoe. Yeugh! There was much shrieking as we traversed through that bog! It was a long, long walk and I have to admit, probably too long for me! My legs are killing me today and I am hobbling around the house in a most pathetic manner, letting out little squeaks as I go. I am so glad I put today in as a holiday!

Peach, Mango & Ginger Smoothie

2 peaches, stoned and chopped
1 mango, stoned -using my mango splitter :)
3 cm piece fresh ginger, peeled
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp low-fat coconut milk

Whizz up all the ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

This smoothie would be great with some fresh pineapple too, don't you think?

Blueberry Scones

While talking to a friend at work, I came up with the idea of blueberry scones. I love fruit scones and bluberries are really cheap just now, so I thought why not exchange the raisins for blueberries. Graham loves these scones, he says they have in-built jam. I liked that as a review.

Blueberry Scones

2 cups self-raising flour
120g / 1 stick butter
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp caster sugar
1 tsp ground mixed spice
1 pinch salt
¾ cup milk

Heat the oven to 220c/425f/GM7 and then flour a baking tray.

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the butter, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (cube the butter and let it soften a little before you rub it in). Sprinkle over the sugar, spice and salt and mix in. Pour the milk in a little at a time and mix through with a knife, until you have a soft dough.

Add the blueberries and knead the dough a little until combined. Flour your work surface, form the dough into a ball and flatten with the flat of your hand. You want the dough to be about 2 cm thick. Cut the dough with a circular cookie cutter or any shape you like really. Circular is traditional, but I cut mine into heart shapes.

Place the scones onto your floured baking tray and brush with a little milk. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes until the scones are golden.

Serve warm with butter and jam.

Makes about 8 scones

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