Back to School Gooey Chocolate Cake

Our family tradition is to bake a gooey chocolate back to school chocolate cake on the first day of school as a treat, to make the day special. We hope you enjoy this easy recipe.

Back to School Gooey Chocolate Cake

Family Traditions

We have a tradition in our house. I started it when Cooper started school and we continue on with it each year.

On Cooper's first day back at school we make chocolate cake together. Not not in the morning! You're having a laugh. Do you know how mad the first day of school is?

Of course English schools break up later and the children are starting back next week, so I'm hoping when I share Cooper's Gooey Chocolate Cake it might start a tradition in another home.

Last year we walked into town after school and spent way too long in Waterstones book shop, in the cafe and then looking at books so we didn't have time to make chocolate cake.

We made Malteser Fudge Brownies instead and boy were they yummy, but more importantly they were quick. This year we came home so we have plenty of time for a full sized chocolate creation.


Falafel and Apple Salad Sandwich Recipe

A delicious vegan sandwich. Sweet crunchy apple with lightly spiced falafel, creamy hummus and fresh salad on soft brown bread with a sweet bit of heat from some mango chutney. Plus 15 family sandwich ideas.

I don't share many sandwich recipes, but I seem to make plenty of them and I'm always looking for new ideas, so I figured you might enjoy some new sandwich recipes too.

I often add falafel to sandwiches and wraps and this falafel and apple salad recipe went down really well. Graham and I both really enjoyed it. Needless to say Cooper would never eat this. He's funny with it comes to sandwiches. He likes them plain. 

He will eat a sandwich with peanut butter and jam, peanut butter and Nutella, butter and jam, Oh and he will eat falafel on a wrap with some cream cheese, but that's as exciting as it gets. 

Salad on a sandwich? You have to be joking! It's so odd that he likes cheese and crunchy salad vegetables but won't accept them on a sandwich. I really hope his tastes change and develop as he gets older. Thank goodness he loves homemade soup!

A delicious vegan sandwich. Sweet crunchy apple with lightly spiced falafel, creamy hummus and fresh salad on soft brown bread with a sweet bit of heat from some mango chutney. Plus 15 family sandwich ideas.

This sandwich combines sweet crunchy apple with lightly spiced falafel, creamy hummus and fresh salad on soft brown bread with a sweet bit of heat from some mango chutney. The flavours and textures are a real triumph.

These flavours would be great on a wrap or as a filling for some wholemeal pitta too.

What's your favourite sandwich filling?

A delicious vegan sandwich. Sweet crunchy apple with lightly spiced falafel, creamy hummus and fresh salad on soft brown bread with a sweet bit of heat from some mango chutney. Plus 15 family sandwich ideas.

15 Vegetarian and Vegan Sandwich Fillings

Here are some of our family favourite sandwich fillings. 

  1. Butter or spread and mashed banana with a sprinkle of cinnamon
  2. Peanut butter and jam
  3. Peanut butter and nutella
  4. Cream cheese (dairy or dairy-free) with cucumber and a good grinding of black pepper
  5. Pesto with roast vegetables and salad
  6. Hummus with roast vegetables and salad
  7. Salad stacked high, with a light drizzle of dressing
  8. Hummus, well cooked veggie sausages and carmelised onions
  9. Cheddar (dairy or dairy-free) and beetroot
  10. Pesto, slices of tomato, sundried tomatoes, basil and salad leaves
  11. Hummus, grated carrot and mango chutney
  12. Hummus, grated carrot, pickled beetroot and salad leaves
  13. Bean pate, roasted red peppers and salad leaves
  14. Onion bhaji, cucumber, salad leaves and sweet chilli sauce
  15. Horseradish, sauteed mushrooms (with lots of black pepper) and slices of avocado

 Related - Easy Hummus Recipe 

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Falafel and Apple Salad Sandwich Recipe
Falafel and Apple Salad Sandwich Recipe

A delicious vegan sandwich. Sweet crunchy apple with lightly spiced falafel, creamy hummus and fresh salad on soft brown bread with a sweet bit of heat from some mango chutney.
  • 2 slices soft wholemeal bread
  • 3 tbsp hummus (add more if you like)
  • a handful of salad leaves
  • a few slices of cucumber
  • 3 falafel
  • 1 small red apple sliced
  • 1 tbsp mango chutney
1. Cut the falafel in half and slice the apple.2. Spread both slices of bread with hummus. 3. Top the bottom slice of hummus topped bread with salad leaves, cucumber, falafel, then apple slices. Drizzle over some mango chutney. 4. Top with the other slice of bread, cut in half and serve.5. Enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Makes 1 sandwich

For more lunch ideas ...

15 Back to School Lunch Ideas
The Ultimate Sandwich Guide (50 veggie and vegan sandwich recipes)
10 Vegan Lunch Box Ideas for Kids
41 Insanely Good Vegan Lunches

related - Summer Salad & Baby Beet Lunch Wrap

Share the love sandwich!

Tweet this sandwich to share it with your friends. Hopefully one of them with take the hint and make it for you!

Happy lunchtime!


Cornish Cup Punch Recipe - Wot No Pimms?

We all love a glass of Pimms in the summer, but there's a new kid on the block. Curio Cornish Cup. It's inspired by a traditional punch drunk by the British Navy in the 17th Century and can be made up exactly like Pimms or served over ice with ginger beer.

The base is a Mullion Dry Gin blended with botanicals and Chai tea. The flavours include rich malty Assam tea, cardamom pods and cinnamon. 

It's absolutely delicious served both ways, as a punch or with ginger beer. The punch is definitely a great one to sip while sitting in the garden and mixing it with ginger beer is a great one to serve at BBQs. Try it both ways and see which you like best.


Chip Shop Battered Tofu Recipe

Chip Shop Battered Tofu

There's nothing better in the summer than walking along a beach or sitting in a harbour watching the boats and eating a bag of hot fluffy chips with lashings of salt and vinegar.

Going to a chip shop as a vegetarian can be a bit like playing Russian roulette. First you have to do a bit of detective work and find out what oil they use (many use beef dripping) and then there's that moment when you optimistically or if you've done this before pessimistically look at the menu hoping there might be something exciting to order. That bag of chips is great when you are walking along the beach, but it's not a very filling or satisfying evening meal.

Chip shop battered tofu. Serve with chips, peas and a wedge of lemon. Suitable vegetarian, vegan and dairy-free diets.


Honey Badger Cocktail Recipe

A refreshing cocktail made with light and crisp beer, honey and basil.

Honey Badger Cocktail in a pint glass with lots of ice and mint

Honey Badger Cocktail

Looks good doesn't it? 

This cocktail is really refreshing. Honey Badger is a long cool cocktail made with Golden Champion Beer, honey, basil and bitters. 

Golden Champion Beer is a crisp and fruity floral summer beer, which is the perfect beer to serve ice cold at a BBQ or made into this cocktail.

If you are a strict vegan you could replace the honey with agave nectar in this recipe. Golden Champion Beer is vegan as are all the bottled beers from Hall & Woodhouse.

I just realised my cocktails this week are all very woodland creature. The last one was purple stag and this one is honey badger, maybe I need to start a series.

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Honey Badger Cocktail is a refreshing cocktail made with light and crisp beer, honey and basil. Perfect for summer BBQs and picnics. #cocktail #beercocktail #honey #basil #beer #picnicrecipes #BBQrecipes #picnicdrinks #BBQdrinks

7 Fun Beer Facts

  1. Beer is the most widely consumed alcoholic drink around the world.
  2. It's the third most popular drink after water and tea. 
  3. Cenosillicaphobia is the fear of an empty beer glass, yes it is actually a thing!
  4. Alledgedly the ancient egyptians were tipsy when constructing the pyramids. They were each given 4 litres a day.
  5. Oktoberfest originally a festival celebrating the 1810 marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig.
  6. A Buddhist temple in the Thailand was built with over one million recycled beer bottles.
  7. Vikings believed in heaven (Valhalla), there was a giant goat whose udders provided unlimited supply of beer.

Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Drinks

This post is one of several I'm sharing this week on the topic of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. I realised I mostly share meals and rather neglect drinks, with the exception of smoothies.

Check out my other drinks articles

Yield: 1

Honey Badger Cocktail

prep time: 5 MINScook time: total time: 5 mins
A long cool cocktail made with Golden Champion Beer, honey (or agave nectar), basil and bitters


  • 6 fresh basil leaves
  • 10ml honey or agave nectar
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 250ml Golden Champion Beer
  • a tall glass full of ice


  1. Fill a tall glass with the basil, honey and bitters, then top with half the beer and
  2. Fill the glass with ice and add the rest of the beer.
  3. Garnish with a basil leaf.
  4. Enjoy!.
  5.      Don't drink too many!
Created using The Recipes Generator

Beer Recommendations

1. Golden Champion (vegan)

Golden Champion is a crisp and fruity floral brew, perfect for a summer evening.  It's an easy drinking beer that goes well with light dishes like salads.

£1.99 from your local supermarket

2. Crabbies Scottish Raspberry Alcoholic Ginger Beer 

A ginger beer, not a standard beer, but I couldn't resist adding it. I love ginger beer and it's nice to see them coming a flavoured edition. This Crabbies alcoholic ginger beer is flavoured with Scottish raspberries and is gorgeous over ice.

£1.80 from your local supermarket

3. Organic Celia Lager (vegan)

CELIA Organic is a light, gluten free, vegan beer. It is made from only 3 ingredients it has a crisp and refreshing taste with citrus notes, the perfect summer beer. Such an fresh and easy beer. 

£2.49 from Tesco, Waitrose, Oddbins and online at Ocado

Disclosure: I was sent some samples to review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.


Meat Free Monday Vegetarian Recipes


Well it's Monday again. Wasn't it just yesterday I was saying that to you?

Where does the time go?

This week Cooper is back at school. He was very eager to go back. All his friends are still in his class, but he has a new teacher.

On his first day back we (well I say we, but I just advised him and and dealt with the oven) made chocolate cake. It's become our family tradition to make a back-to-school chocolate cake on the first day of a new school year. The next day he took it into school to share with his friends. I'm sure his teacher was delighted to divide up and share such a gooey chocolate cake to lots of children in white shirts. Whoops!

Enough about cake and our week, let's have a look at another seven delicious recipes for this week's Meat Free Mondays. Hopefully it will inspire you to cook vegetarian more than one day this week, although one day is an excellent start.


Purple Stag Cocktail Recipe

A lush purple cocktail made with blackberries.

Purple Stag Cocktail Recipe

Purple Stag Cocktail Recipe is the second in my series of drinks posts. I realised I share very few drink recipes or recommendations apart from smoothies, so this week I am sharing some tasty summer drinks. 

In my last post I shared 7 refreshing soft and non-alcoholic drinks for summer. They are great if you are pregnant, it's your turn to drive or you are just trying to cut down on how many units you are drinking each week.

I this post I say to hell with that and share some alcohol. Well do have to cover both sides don't I?

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A summer cocktail with the flavours of blackberries made with Jägermeister, plus a guide to summer fruity and botanical alcoholic drinks. #cocktail #fruitycocktail #cocktailrecipes #blackberries #blackberryrecipes #summerrecipes

Fresh Blackberries

Purple Stag Cocktail Recipe

The Purple Stag is a summer cocktail made with fresh blackberries, blackcurrant jam, yes jam and Jägermeister. 

It's a gorgeous colour isn't it and I think we can count it as one of our five-a-day, can't we?

It's so fruity and delicious over ice. 

The perfect summer cocktail.

Blackberry Facts

  1. Blackberries are also called brambles, brambleberries and dewberries.
  2. Batology is the study of blackberries, not bats.
  3. Blackberries are high in anti-oxidants.
  4. Unripe blackberries are red and not green.
  5. These berries are very low in calories. Only 43 calories in 100g of blackberries.

Quick Blackberry and Chocolate Cake

If you love the flavour of blackberries, try my quick blackberry and chocolate cake. Made in under 30 minutes, it's suitable for vegetarians and vegans. It's dairy-free, egg-free and utterly decadent.

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Purple Stag Cocktail Recipe
Purple Stag Cocktail Recipe

A fruity cocktail made with fresh blackberries, blackcurrant jam and Jägermeister. Drink up! Slurp!
  • 50ml Jägermeister
  • 25ml Chambord
  • 25ml berry tea
  • 1 tsp blackcurrant jam
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 3 fresh blackberries to decorate
  • a tray of ice cubes
1. Fill your cocktail shaker with ice.2. Add the other ingredients, bar the fresh blackberries, close and shake, shake shake. 3. Strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice.4. Enjoy!.5. Don't drink too many!
Total time:
Yield: Makes 1 cocktail


So today I'm sharing this fruity cocktail made with Jägermeister, but I'd also like to share some more fruity and botanical summer drinks with you.

Fruity and Botanical Drinks for Summer

Fruity and Botanical Drinks for Summer

1. Whitley Neil Blood Orange Vodka 

Blood oranges give a burst of citrus to a clean sharp vodka. Best served over ice with a slice of orange or over ice with tonic.

Whitley Neil Blood Orange Vodka 70cl £26 (on sale from £30 with free delivery) Amazon

2. Ciroc Mango Flavoured Vodka

Mango flavoured vodka. Mmmmmmm! This one is also good served over ice or with tonic, but it also makes a great base for cocktails.

Ciroc Mango Flavoured Vodka 70cl - £26.99 (on sale from £40 with free delivery) Amazon

3. Conker Dorset Dry Gin

This delicious gin is made with 10 botanicals. Three of the botanicals are hand-sourced in Dorset (elderberries, gorse flowers and samphire). It is distilled in Bournemouth and this award-winning gin can be served with tonic or poured over ice. No need  to add lime as it already contains a touch of lime.

Conker Dorset Dry Gin 70cl  £35.95 and available to buy at Fortnum & Mason and via

I also tried Caorunn Gin this week and rather liked it, but I have to admit I preferred the Conker. My friend Audrey would disagree, she loves Caorunn Gin and would fight me over this. I will let you try it and see what you think.

4. Jägermeister

You may have heard of Jägermeister shots but do you know what the flavours of this spirit are? First there is fresh ginger, then cinnamon sticks, star anise, cardamom and orange peel. Yes this is one delicious drink. Serve it over ice, with tonic and ice or as the base for a cocktail.

Jägermeister 70cl from the Jägermeister website or your local supermarket. Best price at time of this post £15 from Tesco

And for the mixer.........

I've been trying these tonics from Franklin and Sons. They do a great range of flavoured tonics and mixers as well as soft drinks. Choosing a different mixer can really change the flavour of your drink, so it's worth trying a few. It's so easy to buy the same thing again and again, but that is just boring. So why not try something new?

Available from supermarkets, bars, online shops and farm shops from £1.20.

Disclosure: I was sent some drinks samples to try, I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

7 Refreshing Soft and Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Summer

7 Refreshing Soft and Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Summer

I share lots of recipes with you, but they're mostly recipes for meals. While summer lasts I thought it would be good to share a series of posts on summer drinks.

Now I've probably mentioned I like a glass of wine with dinner, but I also love refreshing summer drinks. I mean who doesn't love a glass or two of Pimms?

But what if you are the designated driver at a summer BBQ or party, pregnant or just trying to cut back on alcoholic drinks? Often all you can expect is to be offered some fizzy juice or a glass of water.

We can do better than that! I have seven refreshing and delicious summer drinks that you can enjoy and not feel like you are missing out.


Meat Free Mondays - Summer 2017

Happy Monday!

How are you? How has your week been?

Our week has been full of fun for my wee boy and the last week of the summer holidays too.

He's been out on his scooter, playing in the park, eye bombing, playing board games, walking on the beach and today he went to a animal handling session. He's had a haircut in a hipster barbers and now he's tucked up snug in bed ready for an early start tomorrow for his first day of school.

Now we've caught up it's time for the recipes.

You may eat vegetarian every day or just once a week, whichever way you eat, enjoy this week's recipes and tune in next Monday for a new batch of recipes.


Smashed Potato Salad with Pesto Dressing

Smashed Potato Salad with Dairy-Free Pesto Dressing

I eat a lot more salads in the summer, even when the weather is bleugh. 

Sometimes we have a salad like this smashed potato salad or a pasta salad for dinner (like we did last night), for lunch it might be a couscous salad and at other meals you will often find salad on the side. 

In fact I think we eat more salad vegetables than any other type at this time of year. Salads are so quick and easy and a lot less cooking too.


Meat Free Mondays August 2017

Happy Monday!

How are you? How has your week been?

I've had a super busy week, yes I know, what's new?  Not much to share though.

I usually start the post with a photo of food, but I thought I'd share a photo of my kitchen instead to show you just how small it is. See the sink there. The draining board takes you right to the kitchen door, that leads into my conservatory which we use as a dining room, overlooking the garden.

Yes, it's that small. Now imagine it a bit more packed with gadgets.  I don't that microwave any more. My bread maker is now in place of the microwave and beside that is my toaster, kettle and blender, with a waffle maker squashed behind them. On the middle unit I now have a few big jars of spices and lentils. It's pretty packed. 

Oh yes and my cooker top is covered with my cast iron pots, that I leave on top instead of lugging them in and out of the cupboard. Yes this is a false representation of how my kitchen actually looks, but it gives you an idea of how small it is.

Is your kitchen teeny like mine or huge? Go on, make me jealous!

Anyway less of my kitchen and onto the recipes. There weren't as many recipes this week. I guess people are on holiday and enjoying the good weather instead of cooking and blogging, so I'm going to share a few recipes from my archives too. I hope you enjoy them.


Roast Vegetable and Hummus Pizza (vegan and dairy-free)

I had you at pizza didn't I?

If you're anything like us you love pizza. Our standard choice is a Margherita pizza with added veggies, but today we decided to try something different and went for a blond pizza with roast vegetables and hummus.

The truth is we've had pizza twice this week. Cooper wanted to make pizza from scratch so he and I both worked on a dough and we ended up with too much pizza for one night.

The first night we had it our favourite way. Our homemade thin pizza base, topped with my whizz bang pizza (blender) sauce, then mozzarella (vegan for Graham) and lots of veg. Cooper had sweetcorn on his, he likes to keep it simple.

The second night I spread the pizza base with a thick layer of hummus, topped it with lots of freshly roasted vegetables, a sprinkle of oregano, paprika and black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. It was actually really good!

 Related - Easy Hummus Recipe 

A homemade white pizza with hummus in instead of tomato sauce, roast vegetables, herbs and spices. Suitable for a vegetarian, vegan or dairy-free diet.


Best Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce

Best Tomato and Basil Pasta Sauce. A simple but fresh sauce. Full of flavour but low in calories. It's a real family favourite and suitable for a vegetarian, vegan or dairy free diet.

Best ever?
The best tomato and basil pasta sauce is simple but fresh sauce made with tinned chopped tomatoes, garlic and fresh basil. Full of flavour but low in calories. It's a real family favourite and suitable for a vegetarian, vegan or dairy free diet.

Yep! I would say so. I started making fresh tomato and basil sauce for pasta when I was a student. It was an easy sauce I could make to feed myself and my friends, even when my boyfriend (husband now) would invite bands to stay in our student flat and I would end up feeding a dozen hungry lads.

Over the years the sauce has been tweaked to what I like to think is the best version of it. Back in my student days I would never have added red wine to a sauce as it was too much of an extravagance and I had to watch my pennies, but it does make a big difference to the favour. Originally I would have used dried basil, but of course adding fresh basil gives such of pop of flavour to the sauce and I seem to remember adding tomato ketchup to the sauce if I didn't have any tomato puree but I'd never do that now.

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