Easy Strawberry Ice Cream

This is the strawberry ice cream that I served up with a slice of hot fudgey chocolate cake, the one I got from Anne. Let me tell you, it was a slice of heaven on a plate!

Easy Strawberry Ice Cream

500g pot good-quality vanilla custard
600g strawberries, hulled and sliced
50 - 100g caster sugar (depending on sweetness of strawberries and custard, you may not actually need any sugar)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
a squeeze of lemon juice

Whizz up all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Then transfer the mixture into an ice cream machine. Churn until it begins to firm up. How long it takes will depend on your machine, I know my ice cream is done, when the paddle starts to rotate the opposite way, although you can tell by the texture. So, when the ice cream is velvety, transfer it to a container and freeze until you are ready to serve it.

If you are churning by hand, pop into a container and freeze for about 90 minutes until it starts to freeze around the edges. Stir well, then repeat the process twice more until the mix is smooth and frozen.

This really is a cheat's ice cream, as the custard is already made. It just makes the process so quick from start to finish and when you have a eureka moment like I did, when I decided to eat some of that fudgey chocolate cake, hot with ice cream, then it is just what you want. It is a good store cupboard standby for last minute guests too!

Spinach and Mushroom Linguine

I love this dish, but then I am a sucker for any mushroom dish. I just crave mushrooms.

In this simple dish the linguine pasta is coated in a creamy garlic sauce, mushroom and spinach. Creamy sauces can be a bit rich, so I have cut through the cream with some vegetable stock that also adds to the flavour.

I used single cream but you can make this vegan by using a non-dairy cream. I like Alpro single soya cream. I buy the UHT version and keep some in my store cupboard so I can throw together quick sauces.

Spinach & Mushroom Linguine


1 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
250g mushrooms sliced
100g baby spinach
½ cup vegetable stock
½ cup single cream (or dairy free single cream)
1 handful fresh basil
black pepper

freshly cooked linguine
black pepper
freshly grated parmesan (veggie or vegan)
a few basil leaves


  1. Lightly saute the mushrooms and garlic in the olive oil until the mushrooms are soft. I like to add black pepper to my mushrooms as they cook, but you can wait until the end to season. 
  2. Add the spinach to the pan, before adding the stock. Leave to cook gently for a few minutes and then add the cream. 
  3. Next add the basil leaves. You may leave the sauce on a gentle heat until the pasta has finished cooking and has been drained.
  4. Pour the pasta into the pan and coat well with the sauce before serving. 
  5. Top with a grind of black pepper, a sprinkling of parmesan and a few basil leaves.

Serves 2


Fudgey Chocolate Cake

I have this recipe thanks to a really sweet girl and a lovely new friend - Anne from Anne's Kitchen. Anne made this fudgey chocolate cake back in December, but I only discovered it after spending a happy couple of hours browsing through Anne's archives. As soon as I saw it I knew I had to make it and it certainly didn't disappoint.

I met Anne over at The UK Food Bloggers Association.

The UK Food Bloggers Association (UKFBA) was founded in 2007 by Julia Parsons, a British Food Blogger who writes the blog 'A Slice of Cherry Pie'. Julia set up the association to create a community for the growing number of food bloggers in the UK to network with, get to know, and help and support each other.

The association also enables food bloggers from around the world and people from outside of the food blogging world to connect with the British food bloggers. It's the first point of call to find out what's hot and happening from the people with their fingers on the pulse of the British food scene.

To begin with Julia set up a blog, where British bloggers could post and chat. She also set up a foodie forum, but the latest edition to the UKFBA is a social networking site that is a bit like a facebook for food bloggers.

There was, at my last count 253 members and it has attracted support from UKTV Food, Mat Follas, the 2009 winner of Masterchef, food presenter Lotte Duncan, the New Covent Garden Food Company and my favourite vegetarian cook & food writer Celia Brooks Brown. It really is well worth a visit and I hope some of you will join up.

But enough of the preamble and on with the recipe.

Fudgey Chocolate Cake

100g butter
175g caster sugar
75g brown or muscovado sugar
125g dark chocolate
1 tbsp golden syrup
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm cake tin.

Place the butter, both sugars, chocolate and golden syrup in the pan and melt gently on a low heat until it is smooth and lump-free.

Remove the pan from the heat, break the eggs into the bowl and whisk with the fork until light and frothy.

Add the eggs, vanilla extract or essence, flour, baking powder and cocoa powder to the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly.

Put the mixture into the greased and lined cake tin and place on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 25 minutes.

Remove and allow to cool for 20-30 mins before cutting into wedges and serving.

I served my chocolate cake warm with homemade strawberry ice cream. It was divine! Although it is also good to bite into cold with no frills. This recipe is definitely a keeper!

Strawberry & Blueberry Fruit Soup

The thought of a chilled berry soup for dessert is very appealing, especially now that berry season is just beginning here. I decided to use my favourite berries in this dessert soup. Bluberries and strawberries. The strawberries are still a little tart, so I added some honey to my soup.

This is such a delicious, yet guilt-free dessert, so you can serve it with a light heart and a thankful waistline.

Strawberry & Blueberry Fruit Soup

12 large strawberries, hulled
½ cup blueberries
1 large pear, peeled and cut into chunks
½ cup water
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsp honey & extra to drizzle
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon & extra to sprinkle
Greek Yoghurt to serve

Whizz up all the ingredients apart from the honey. Add this towards the end, tasting as you go. How much you need, will very much depend on how sweet your berries are, but it is nice to leave a little tartness to this soup.

Serve in bowls with a dollop of thick Greek yoghurt. Drizzle some honey over the yoghurt and sprinkle on a little extra cinnamon.

Serves 4


Red Lentil, Carrot & Coconut Soup

I needed some comfort food. I was feeling so, so tired yesterday. I turned to my old favourite - soup! I wanted a creamy, thick soup, so I decided to use lentils. I added lots of carrots for a lovely sweet flavour, then spiced it up with some turmeric and chilli and finished it off with a little coconut milk. As usual this recipe makes a large pot of soup. I never see the point in making a small amount, as soup tastes so much better the next day and it can always be shared around or popped in the fridge or freezer.

Red Lentil, Carrot & Coconut Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cm piece fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder (up this if you want a hotter flavour)
8 carrots, chopped
2 large potatoes, chopped
3 pints vegetable stock
2 cups red lentils
½ cup coconut milk
3 tbsp tomato puree
1 large handful fresh coriander, chopped

Saute the onion, garlic and ginger in the olive oil until softened, then add the carrots and potatoes before stirring in the turmeric and chilli powder. Cook gently for 10 minutes, add a splash of water, if the vegetables feel like they are clinging to the pot. Add the red lentils and the stock then simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in the tomato puree & coconut milk and stir until the puree has dissolved. Stir in the coriander, then whizz up half of the soup. It is always good to have some chunks of vegetable in your soup. Stir the blended soup back in and then season.

Serves 8

Chocolate Maple Muffins

These muffins originally started out as Maple Cupcakes. They were adapted from a recipe for Vegan Maple Cupcakes I got from Ricki over at Diet,Dessert & Dogs.

I basically added chocolate to the recipe,which changed the texture of these cakes, so they were more of a muffin than a cupcake and the maple flavour wasn't so strong. Good all the same!

So here they are...

Chocolate Maple Muffins

½ cup milk
½ tsp cider vinegar
½ cup pure maple syrup
1⁄3 cup sunflower oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1⁄3 cups plain flour
1⁄3 cup sugar
1⁄3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 180c/350f/GM4.

Line 12 muffins cups with muffin cases.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, vinegar, maple syrup, oil and vanilla until well combined. Set aside while you measure the dry ingredients, for at least 2 minutes.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar and salt. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and whisk just until combined (do not over mix).

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, until a tester inserted in one of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Makes 12
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