February recipes: Sweet dreams

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baking

We share a taste of Nadiya’s Fast Flavours published by Penguin Michael Joseph (£22)

Banana thyme loaf

Ingredients:

• Four small bananas, three mashed (340g prepped weight), one sliced lengthways
• 50g salted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing the tin
• 175g caster sugar a pinch of salt
• a large sprig of fresh thyme leaves picked
• 120ml olive oil
• 75ml whole milk, at room temperature
• 300g self-raising flour, sifted
• 100g caster sugar 45g salted butter 60ml cream
• ½ teaspoon salt flakes

Prep: 25 minutes | Cooking:  1 hour | Serves: 8-10 people

Method

Put the mashed bananas in a bowl and leave out for half an hour to oxidise – this will make them browner and add to the colour. Or if you are in a rush, just mash the bananas and get to baking the loaf.

Line and grease a 900g loaf tin and preheat the oven to 180°C/ fan 160°C.
Add the butter and caster sugar to the banana and mix, then add the salt and thyme leaves, reserving a few to sprinkle at the end. Now pour in the olive oil and milk and mix through. Add the sifted flour and fold through until you have a smooth cake batter.

Pour into the tin and level off with a few sharp taps, add the two slices of banana, cut-side up, and bake for 50 minutes to an hour, covering loosely for the last 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when a skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the caramel by adding the sugar in an even layer into the base of a pan, on medium to low heat, and watch as the sugar turns to caramel, stirring it occasionally. As soon as the sugar melts, add the butter. If you find it seizing, don’t worry, just keep stirring over a very low heat and the caramel will come together. As soon as the butter has melted, add the cream. Cook on a low heat for two minutes till you have smooth caramel. Take off the heat.

Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then take out and leave to cool on a wire rack.

As soon as it has cooled enough, drizzle over the caramel. If it’s become too stiff, warm gently and then drizzle. You will have caramel left over but not to worry, because we all need a little extra caramel and it’s perfect served on the side for anyone who wants some more to pour over. Sprinkle with a few thyme leaves, if you like.

The simplest of all recipes, this set-custard-slash-mousse pot is creamy, zesty and entirely foolproof. Using very few ingredients, the syllabub is infused with thyme and set with lemon juice. Simply serve with sponge fingers and a good cup of coffee.

Ingredients:

• 150g raspberries
• One teaspoon rose extract
• A sprig of fresh lemon thyme, leaves picked
• 300ml double cream 50g caster sugar
• One lemon, zest and juice sponge fingers, to serve

Prep: 15 minutes + 1 hour chilling | Makes: Four

Lemon Syllabub

Method

Have four serving glasses or jam jars ready.

Mix the raspberries with the rose extract and lemon thyme leaves and mash a little to break up. Divide the mixture into the four glasses.

Add the cream and sugar to a mixing bowl and whip to soft peaks. Add the lemon zest and juice and fold through. Spoon on top of the raspberries. Ideally chill for an hour before serving, but you can eat it straight away!

Serve with sponge fingers.

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January recipes: Gut Reaction

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We’re serving up a taster from The Gut-Loving Cookbook by Alana & Lisa MacFarlane which is out this month, published by Pavilion Books

Baked salmon topped with sourdough crumbs

Ingredients:

• One slice of day-old sourdough, or shop-bought sourdough loaf
• 1½ tbsp olive oil
• One lemon, quartered
• One fennel bulb, finely sliced
• One red onion, sliced
• Two handfuls of cherry tomatoes
• 100g jarred artichoke, drained
• Two salmon fillets
• Two garlic cloves, finely sliced
• Handful of stoned black olives
• Handful of fresh herbs, such
as basil or flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
• Salt and pepper

Prep: five minutes | Cooking: 30 minutes | Serves: two people

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/400°F/gas mark 6 and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Add the sourdough to a blender and pulse to breadcrumbs, then stir in the ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Place the fennel, onion, tomatoes and jarred artichokes in a mixing bowl, season well and coat with the remaining olive oil. Spread out over a medium baking tray and cook for 15 minutes.

Remove the tray from the oven, stir in the garlic and olives, add the salmon and cover the salmon and vegetables with the sourdough breadcrumbs. Return to the oven and cook for a further 15–20 minutes until the salmon is cooked through.

Serve garnished with the chopped fresh herbs and an extra squeeze of lemon juice.

Extract credit to: The Gut-Loving Cookbook by Alana and Lisa Macfarlane of The Gut Stuff (Pavilion Books). Image credit – Haarala Hamilton

Spiced green pancakes

Who said pancakes have gotta be sweet? I love these for a weekend brunch or a lazy late lunch. Excellent with a spicy Bloody Mary!

Ingredients:

Pancakes
• One garlic clove, peeled
• Handful of fresh coriander
• Handful of spinach
• ½ tsp ground cumin
• ½ tsp ground cardamom
• 100ml (3½ fl oz) milk or oat milk, plus extra if needed
• 125g (4½ oz) spelt flour
• Two large eggs
• 1-2 tbsp butter
• Salt and pepper

Topping
• One avocado, cut into chunks
• Two spring onions, finely sliced
• Two handfuls of spinach
• 2 tbsp milk kefir (homemade, or shop-bought)
• One 200g (7oz) can of sweetcorn, drained
• ½ tbsp chilli flakes
• Squeeze of lemon juice

Prep: 22 minutes | Cooking: 50 minutes | Makes: Two

Method

Put the garlic, coriander, spinach, cumin and cardamom in a blender and blitz to a smooth green paste. Add a splash of the milk or oat milk to loosen if needed.

Add the flour to a large mixing bowl and create a well, then add the eggs, slowly whisking them into the flour. Add a pinch of salt and stir, then gradually add the milk, followed by the green paste and whisk to combine. Leave to rest for 20 minutes at room temperature.

Put all the topping ingredients in a mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.

Melt the butter in a 20cm (8 in) non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.

Once hot, whisk the batter, then ladle 60ml (4 tbsp) into the pan. Cook for two minutes, then flip and cook for a further minute. Transfer to a plate and repeat, serve with the mixed topping.

Store any leftover pancakes in an airtight container in the fridge for three or four days.

The topping is best prepared and served immediately.

We have two copies of  The Gut-Loving Cookbook by Alana & Lisa MacFarlane, published by Pavilion Books to giveaway

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Jack & Beyond

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Send some sweetness & light to loved ones with Jack & Beyond’s Christmas cakes & goodies available for delivery across the UK

Is it ever too early for the first mince pie of the year? We have decided that this year, most certainly not! We love food here at Round & About, which we’re showcasing in our jam-packed November & December magazines. So we have been trying to take the repeated warnings about food shortages in the run-up to the festive season with a pinch of salt!

Luckily, thanks to all the dedicated food & hospitality stars out there, we have found that there is much to celebrate… and tuck into! The bakers & makers at creative cake shop Jack & Beyond have wowed us, as well as the Great Taste award judges with their handmade artisan mince pies, generously filled with an immediate aroma of Christmas, earning them a two-star billing. They can be sent as gifts with a personal message or just as a treat for yourself (hey, we’re not judging!). There are also gingerbread mince pies and chocolate mince pies for the non-purists looking to shake things up.

The London-based Jack & Beyond team have expanded their Christmas range for 2021 – all available to order from their online shop for delivery nationwide. In addition to their divine mince pies, they have Christmas macarons, gingerbread and moreish truffles which make tasty Christmas gifts or simply a luxurious way to entertain your guests this Christmas.

New for 2021 are Christmas Macarons hand-decorated with quirky festive designs with four flavours raspberry, salted caramel, chocolate and lemon & elderflower all presented in a beautiful gift box. The new Christmas Gingerbread Cookies are packed with flavour and the fun decorations make them popular with adults and children.

For chocolate fans, Jack & Beyond’s range of smooth gooey brownies are made with luxurious dark Callebaut chocolate and finished with beautiful patterns, they achieve the perfect balance of sweetness and intense chocolate. Choose from white chocolate and pistachio; red velvet; salted caramel; peanut butter; and vegan chocolate and raspberry brownies and new for this year Bailey’s chocolate brownies fans – a classic chocolate chip brownie topped with a generous layer of indulgent Bailey’s & chocolate ganache. Ideal for gifts for colleagues, clients or teachers, Jack & Beyond has attractive gift bags of brownies, shortbread, fudge and new for 2021 Chocolate Truffles  – Champagne, Dark Chocolate, Gin & Tonic, Raspberry & Champagne and  Salted Caramel Truffles

For cake lovers, Jack & Beyond’s Christmas Yule Log and Fruit Cake Loaf are perfect treats or gifts and can be delivered nationwide. The Yule Log is an indulgent chocolate sponge cake roll with a swirl of spiced chocolate ganache, while the Fruit Cake has a lovely soft texture and packed with flavours of mixed dried fruits, spices and ground almonds.

JACK & BEYOND 606 Fulham Road, London, SW6 5RP Web: Jackandbeyond.com/ Instagram: @jackandbeyond  • Facebook/jackandbeyond

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Delicious chocolates for Mother’s Day

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Make mum’s day with these delicious chocolates

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday so why not show her how much she means by making these sweet treats packed with healthy ingredients and love

DARK CHOCOLATE CHILLI & ORANGE FLOWERS

Sugar free and vegan

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Chilling time: 3 hours
Servings: 15 chocolates

You will need: Silicone moulds***

Ingredients:

OPTION 1 – COCONUT OIL
Coconut Oil gives a creamier texture and tends to melt more easily in warmer weather if left at room temp. Cheapest option and easy to prepare.

• 100 g coconut oil
• 25 g raw cacao powder
• 1.5 TBSP xylitol – powdered xylitol sugar alternative ground to a powder in a coffee grinder (available as Total Sweet)
• 2 tsp orange zest
• 1 pinch chilli powder

OPTION 2 – 100% DARK CHOCOLATE
100% dark chocolate is becoming more widely available in supermarkets and shops. This recipe is mid-price, of the three options, is easy to prepare and gives a nice, hard consistency for finished chocolates.

• 100 g 100% dark chocolate
• 1.5 TBSP xylitol – powdered xylitol ground to a powder in a coffee grinder
• 2 tsp orange zest
• 1 pinch chilli powder

OPTION 3 – CACAO BUTTER
Cacao Butter is more expensive and harder to source (health shop or buy online) but can be kept in the freezer and melted down as needed. Best bought in button-sized pieces for ease of using the quantity needed. Gives a harder consistency than coconut oil for the chocolates once prepared.

• 100 g cacao butter
• 25 g dark cocoa powder
• 1.5 TBSP xylitol – powdered xylitol ground to a powder in a coffee grinder
• 2 tsp orange zest
• 1 pinch chilli powder

Method:

1. For all options, begin by melting the Coconut Oil / Dark Chocolate / Cacao Butter in a bain-marie (place a bowl over the top of a pan which has two inches of water in it. Heat the water over a medium heat until the ingredients have melted, stirring continuously. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water.

2. Once the coconut oil / dark chocolate / cacao butter has melted, remove the bowl from the pan and turn off the heat. Place the bowl on a heat proof surface and stir in the raw cacao or dark cocoa powder (NB: you do not need to add chocolate to the 100% dark chocolate option).

3. Next, add the powdered xylitol and a pinch of chilli powder and stir until combined.

4. Place the chocolate silicon mould on to a moveable flat surface (a baking tray or chopping board works well).

5. Sprinkle a small amount of orange zest into each mould.

6. Now spoon the chocolate mixture on top until each mould is full.

7. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours before removing each chocolate from its mould and storing in a suitable airtight container.

8. It is best to eat these within 4 days of making them (not that they will last that long) as the chocolate can start to crystallise after then.

SUPERFOOD TRUFFLES

These little chocolate nuggets are supercharged with chlorella to energise the body. A perfect healthy treat for this Mother’s Day.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 4 hours
Makes: 16 truffles

Ingredients:

• 115g cashew nut butter or tahini
• 60g maple syrup
• 2tbsp cacao powder
• 60g melted dark chocolate
• 60g dried cranberries or cherries
• Pinch of sea salt
• 1tsp vanilla extract
• 1tsp Sun Chlorella powder
• 30g shelled hemp seeds

Method:

1. Place the cashew nut butter, maple syrup, cacao powder and melted chocolate in a food processor and combine. Add the remaining ingredients and process to form a dough. Chill in the fridge for several hours until firm enough to roll into balls.

2. When the mixture is firm use a spoon to scoop out walnut size balls. Roll into balls and place on a sheet of baking parchment. Roll the truffles in a little shredded coconut or dust with cacao powder.

Every Mum is sure to love these treats for Mother’s Day – and there’s nothing quite like a homemade gift (especially an edible one!)

See more of our recipes here

Barking to baking

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baking

Cook up some peanut butter cookies for your four-legged friends!

The award-winning team behind The Big Bakes are helping dog owners across the nation turn Barking to Baking with their new free online classes as part of a mini series helping owners make simple dog treats at home.

The Big Bakes is the UK’s first and only live baking competition, where guests take part in live bake off events in fully decked out marquees in London and Birmingham. Whilst we are all isolating at home, they are hosting an array of remote tutorials across their instagram and facebook channels to get the nation baking.

Keeping us humans company during our new indoor time is hard work for our four legged friends, so to say thanks, homeowners across the country can now bake their canine companions some special treats to say thank you.

Eloise Frank, co-founder at The Big Bakes said: “My dogs Luna and Freddie have provided me unconditional love and friendship, making life in lockdown infinitely more manageable which is why it is great to be able to return the favour and spend time together baking their favourite dog treats!”

The new mini pet baking series, available now, will see recipes launched twice weekly for an array of pets in the home. The baking team will be sharing two pet treat bake-at-home classes each week across their social media channels, airing on IGTV every Monday and Friday – make sure you look out for the cuteness overload making a guest visit in the Peanut Butter Dog Cookie recipe airing today, Monday, 6th April. All recipes use day-to-day ingredients and standard kitchen equipment found in the home.

To take part in these digital sessions, all people need to do is visit @Thebig_bakes on Instagram or The Big Bakes on Facebook where they will find a list of all the necessary ingredients needed for their up-coming class. And the good news is, there are also plenty of free baking classes on the channel for us humans too. Once people have completed their home made creations, they can share a photograph with @Thebig_bakes, in order to be in the running for a prize. Each week, the team will choose the winning amateur baker, who will receive vouchers to attend a live session later in the year.

The Big Bakes is all about bringing people together through a love of baking (and eating!) so they thought why not extend this to all members of the household, including those with four legs as well as two!

Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Cookies  

Ingredients:

 ⅔ cup or 85 grams fruit puree e.g. pumpkin, banana, apple  

• ¼ cup or roughly 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter (Do not use peanut butter spread that contains sugar, or additives, this should be an all natural whole nut butter suitable for animal consumption e.g. Meridian or Pip and Nut as Xylitol, the sweetener most often used in peanut butter with sugar is toxic to dogs).  

• 2 large eggs  

• 3 cups or 384 grams plain flour wholemeal or rye  

Method:

Begin by preheating your oven to 180c degrees and line a large flat baking tray with baking parchment or a silicone baking mat.  

2  Take your large mixing bowl and crack in your eggs and then add the peanut butter and fruit puree. Now mix the wet ingredients until combined using an electric whisk with the paddle attachment or with a wooden spoon. Remember to give it a good mix if you are using a spoon! 

3  Once combined, gradually add your flour about a quarter at a time and fold into the wet mixture. If you are using an electric whisk then beat this slowly until just incorporated. Then repeat to add the rest of the flour quarter by quarter until the dough is no longer sticky.  

4  Now, form your dough into a ball TIP: you may need to use your hands to do this, so dust them with some flour first.  

5  Then, once your dough is bound together in a ball, dust a work surface with flour and then knead the cookie dough (use your knuckles to press firmly and turn the dough a few times) until it comes together. If you are finding the dough to be sticky just sprinkle on some more flour. 

6  Then, using a rolling pin, roll the dough until it is about the thickness of a £1 coin.  

7  Once rolled, take your cookie cutters (you can also make these by choosing some stencil shapes online and printing and cutting these out using a piece of card) and cut out your desired shapes and place onto the prepared baking sheet leaving a little space between each cookie.  

8  Place into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until they start to turn a golden brown and they are firm to touch.   

9  Once ready, leave to cool completely before treating your 4 legged friend to a delicious peanut butter treat! 

See our other recipes (for humans)

Tuck into Cornish Pasty Week

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baking

Yesterday marked the start of Real Bread Week and today it’s the turn of Cornish Pasty Week.

Ok, so we’re a long way from the West Country here but who doesn’t love a pasty, but did you know:

No meat other than beef can be used and no vegetables other than sliced or diced potato, swede (turnip), onion and salt and pepper should be used in the filling.

There must be at least 12.5% beef and 25% vegetables in the whole pasty. All the ingredients must be uncooked when the pasty is assembled and then slowly baked to develop all that famous Cornish pasty taste and succulence.

Pasties traditionally went down the mines, across fields and out to sea, so they had to be able to withstand rough treatment. Once created, the edges should be sealed by crimping – if it’s not crimped it’s not Cornish.

Most importantly it can only be called a Cornish pasty if it’s produced west of the Tamar, in Cornwall.

The Oxford English Dictionary indicates that the pasty was identified in around 1300 and at that time was enjoyed by the rich upper classes and royalty.

In the 1700s it became a staple of poorer working families in Cornwall and in the 1800s came into its own as an important art of the lives of many Cornish families.

The week, which runs until 29th February, will be celebrated with a competition to find the world’s finest crimper and the world pasty championships at the Eden Project. All are welcome to join in the fun, taste one or two and have a go yourself.

The 2020 World Pasty Championships take place on Saturday, 29th February.

Have a go yourself with the ultimate pasty recipe from the Cornish Pasty Association:

FOR SHORTCRUST PASTRY

(rough puff can also be used):

• 500 g strong bread flour (it is important to use a stronger flour than normal as you need the extra strength in the gluten to produce strong pliable pastry)

• 120 g lard or white shortening

• 125 g Cornish butter

• 1 tsp salt

• 175 ml cold water

FOR THE FILLING

• 400 g good quality beef skirt, cut into cubes

• 300 g potato, peeled and diced

• 150 g swede/turnip*, peeled and diced

• 150 g onion, peeled and sliced

• Salt & pepper to taste (2:1 ratio)

• Beaten egg or milk to glaze

*The vegetable to use is the yellow-fleshed swede, not a white turnip. This is known commonly in Cornwall as the turnip. It’s also known as the yellow turnip/Swedish turnip in some places and in North America it is called rutabaga.

METHOD

Add the salt to the flour in a large mixing bowl.

Rub the two types of fat lightly into flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add water, bring the mixture together and knead until the pastry becomes elastic. This will take longer than normal pastry but it gives the pastry the strength that is needed to hold the filling and retain a good shape. This can also be done in a food mixer.

Cover with cling film and leave to rest for 3 hours in the fridge. This is a very important stage as it is almost impossible to roll and shape the pastry when fresh.

Roll out the pastry and cut into circles approx. 20cm diameter. A side plate is an ideal size to use as a guide.

Layer the vegetables and meat on top of the pastry, adding plenty of seasoning.

Bring the pastry around and crimp the edges together (see our guide to crimping).

Glaze with beaten egg or an egg and milk mixture.

Bake at 165 degrees C (fan oven) for about 50 – 55 minutes until golden.

Get involved...

To find out all you could possibly want to know about pasties and more visit

Real Bread Week

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baking

Rise up together and support Real Bread Week

Did you know this week is Real Bread Week? It’s the annual celebration of additive-free loaves and the people who make them.

#RealBreadWeek 2020: Together We Rise! Runs from today (22nd February) until 1st March and aims to help people to bake a better future, one loaf at a time.

Launched by the Real Bread Campaign in 2010 it has three main aims:

• Buy Real Bread from local, independent bakeries
• Bake their own Real Bread at home
• Join the Real Bread Campaign

Each year, bakeries, baking schools, mills, schools, care homes, youth and other community groups hold classes, feasts and other events and activities.

People bake at home, with their families, colleagues and other friends, and share photos of themselves and their loaves on social media.

The week also wants to big up little bakeries and support small, independent, locally-owned bakeries which in addition to supporting skilled jobs and keeping money circulating in the local economy, help to keep the high street alive.

They may also offer social benefits, from being a place where older people at risk of isolation can see a friendly face and stop for a chat, to those that are set up to offer training and employment opportunities for people facing one of a range of challenges.

Get involved and help the charity Sustain by making a donation of £10 or whatever you can; join the campaign; buy the mug, T-shirt, apron, recipe book or dough scorer and if you’re in the business why not collect dough-nations from customers to help too.

Get involved...

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Macmillan coffee morning

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baking

Join thousands holding coffee mornings to raise funds for Macmillan on Friday, 27th September

Last year almost £27million was raised through people drinking coffee and eating cake as part of Macmillan’s Biggest Coffee Morning and this year with your help they want to top that.

The first get together was held in 1990 with the very simple idea that people would gather over a cuppa and donate the cost of their coffee to Macmillan. Such was its success it was decided to do it again the following year but to take it national – since then the coffee mornings have gone on to raise more than £200million.

Whatever you raise it all helps make a difference – just £28 could pay for a Macmillan nurse for an hour, helping those living with cancer and their families receive practical and emotional support; £112 could pay for a Macmillan social care worker for a day and £210 could fund a Macmillan nurse for a day. However much you raise, you’ll be making a difference.

And if you need some ideas for what to treat your family, friends or work colleagues to while drinking their coffee, they can help with that too. How about a piece of cherry and almond tray bake, coffee and walnut cake or try a savoury option of gruyere, bacon and leek scones?

Whatever takes your fancy, get cooking (you can even cheat and buy ready made if you like) but join in and help people have access to cancer support in their communities.

Christine Wallace: in the mix!

Round & About

baking

Hello everyone! Is it just me or is there a feelgood factor in the air recently?

In general people seem to be quite happy and smiley. Just passing someone in the street or at the shops seems to generate a “hello” and my goodness, doesn’t it make you feel good!? I put it down to summer, the weather isn’t bad and holidays are on everyone’s mind so lots to be happy about. There also might be a measure of trying to forget that we live in quite a troubled world and the news can be depressing so let’s just live for the day! Whatever it is, I hope it lasts!

July brings hedgerows heavy with berries, fennel to liven up salads and lots more including aubergines and courgettes. Cherries and peaches are at their best and the glorious gooseberry is here. The poor gooseberry doesn’t get a good press and it’s hard to find them, even in farm shops. But there are wonderful recipes using this vitamin C-rich fruit; poached gooseberries with a creamy vanilla custard, gooseberry compote which is super used in cakes or to top a cheesecake, gooseberry jam or the very delicious gooseberry fool. Take 400g gooseberries and cook with 50g sugar over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until soft. Remove from the heat, crush and cool. Pour two tablespoons of elderflower cordial and 1tbsp lemon juice into 400ml double cream and whisk to medium peaks. Add 4 tablespoons of ready-made custard. Fold half the gooseberries into the mixture. Spoon half into four glasses. Layer the rest of the gooseberries, then top with the rest of the cream mix. Chill until ready to serve. You’ll love it!

Also in shops is new-season lamb (the best is from Kent). Lamb breast is a great make-ahead meal – slow cooking turns a cheap cut into a luxury. Tom Kerridge’s breast of lamb with broccoli, anchovy and caper dressing is lovely!

The Greeks and Romans are returning! Stretch Didcot’s Roman Festival at the Didcot Girls School on Saturday, 7th July (10.30am-5pm) will have more than 20 different experts and events, including me! Tickets are a fantastic £4.

Visit www.christinebakes.co.uk and please get in touch!