Naked peanut butter bars

This naked baking session produced the most memorable results in my kitchen this week. One minute there was relative peace and the next I had two bare bottomed urchins running around me causing havoc.

The aptly named Naked peanut butter bars were devoured before they made it to any form of storage tin. It wasn’t just the children, we all loved these. They’re oaty, crumbly, super peanuty and packed with slow releasing energy. I’m all over that at the minute. I’ve been training well and snacks like these massively help to get me through.

Naked PB bars_4

To make 12 of these simple peanut snacks you will need:

  • 120g oats
  • 100g tahini
  • 100g peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey

(Each one contains around 145 calories)

Naked PB bars

It’s barely a recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees F (fan setting)
  2. Mix everything together and press down in a baking tray or ceramic dish.
  3. Try get the mixture to a fairly equal depth of around 1.5cm. If you don’t fill the whole tray don’t worry, the mixture will hold together well and keep its form. Just try keep a clean edge.
  4. Bake for around 20 minutes until the bake turns a golden brown.
  5. Let the tray/dish cool for 15 minutes but not completely hard before cutting into bars and lifting from the dish.
  6. Enjoy as soon as they’re cool enough to eat.

God I love her…


A very guest friendly ginger cake

I think there is a fine line between capturing a moment and killing it. It goes something like this:

“Beautiful laughter kids, can you just tickle her again now I’ve got the lens cap off?”

“Erm, can we re-hide the Easter Eggs so I can take pictures now the sun is out?”

“Sorry I know the food is going cold, I just need to find the best light for a blog shot.”

My parents have been over from England this Easter. It’s been a brilliant few days  and we’ve enjoyed some stunning food. We’ve made some moreish salads, clean eating dressings, pestos, mayos and chutneys. But I didn’t forget to turn out the classic Easter indulgences, not withstanding this Easter cake and some Easter egg action.

We also sampled some absolute delights out and about. I was lucky enough to order the most amazing prawn carpaccio and devour the freshest tuna tartare of my life. We’ve savoured some lively young white wines and the olds ordered some sensational looking deserts.

I wanted to pause some moments. I wanted everyone to poise perfectly or better still, shuffle away from their plates so I could grab the magic snap. As food left our kitchen I wanted to pull it back and pretend it wasn’t quite ready. But I didn’t. I let go. I enjoyed the moment with my own senses – not the image we’d be left with afterwards.

On that note, I didn’t get a picture of this cake in action. Once the tea was poured, the plates were out and the knife went in, there was no serene Homes and Garden snap to be had. There was some table wobbling, a jostle for the eggs on the top and a some fingers and thumbs in the buttercream.

ginger cake_1

I’m trusting the feedback I’ve had on this beautifully moist, crowd pleaser. It’s a doddle to make and it actually gets better if you make in advance and leave it for a few days. This means its perfect to make ahead of guests coming and will serve well over 2 or 3 days of their visit. I have made this countless times and always had a positive response from adults and children alike.

It’s taken from a James Martin Parkin recipe on the BBC website. I tend to increase the ginger to 2 or 3 teaspoons and I also like to swap out some of the syrup for blackstrap molasses. It makes it a darker and richer cake.

Here is what you will need:

  • 225g / 8oz self raising flour
  • 110g / 4oz caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground ginger (I use 2 – 3)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 egg
  • 200ml / 7fl oz milk
  • 55g /2oz butter
  • 110g /4oz golden syrup (I swap out up to half of this and mix in blackstrap molasses)

It’s so easy to make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2. Line or grease a 22cm/8in round tin.
  2. Sieve the flour, sugar, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl.
  3. In a small pan gently heat the butter and syrup until melted.
  4. Beat the egg into the milk.
  5. Gradually pour the butter and syrup into the flour and stir. The mixture will be thick.
  6. Pour in the egg and milk and stir until smooth and pour into the lined tin.
  7. Bake for about an hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Once cool ice with buttercream – be as frugal or generous as you feel. The buttercream is made from an equal measure of icing sugar to butter. Using and electric whisk whip up till soft and fluffy.
  9. OR Wrap in foil or clingfilm and keep for a few days before icing. No eggs needed on top, other than for Easter of course.

So Easter is over for another year.  We caught some of our magic moments on film. But as always in life, for the main part we can’t snap all our our triumphs, joy or moments of madness. We need to learn how to capture these moments in our hearts where we keep them safe and unspoiled forever.



Saintly cinnamon and carrot muffins

If at first you don’t succeed…

…Then get obsessed. Give up a kilogram of oats, 8 eggs and 4 hours. Bake 43 muffins and force feed your loved ones. Over and over. Until you strike the jackpot.

And breathe.


I saw a great recipe on the Glitter and Grey blog for spinach and chocolate chip muffins. The recipe really grabbed me, so I thought I’d have a bash. I decided to tweak it though, making it into a carrot equivalent. The result was ok, but it certainly wasn’t a crowd pleaser. My five year old squeezed honey all over his first one and said that was pretty good though.

I wanted to create something as tasty as carrot cake, but without the flour, sugar and frosted icing. Slightly ambitious I know.

However, with some patience and practice I have created a beautifully sweet, slightly spiced and moist fruity muffin. These saintly bakes also now feature extra honey, thank you Tobias.


You will need:

  • 100 grams of greek yoghurt
  • 2 bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 grated carrots
  • Grated peel from 1 medium orange
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 200 grams of oats (I used gluten free)
  • 100 grams of raisins

Thank fully the process is simple:

  1. Put everything except the oats and raisins into the blender for a few seconds
  2. Then mix in the oats and raisins in a separate bowl
  3. Spoon into muffin cases (Use silicone cases to avoid sticking, there’s not a lot of grease in these)
  4. Put into pre-heated oven (180C fan or 350 F) for 15 – 20 minutes until a rich brown
  5. Leave on wire racks to cool

You will get 12 muffins from this recipe, each containing around 130 calories.


I also made a batch of buttercream. A reward to my husband and son. They were truly impressed with the less saintly alternative muffin served with a generous topping of buttercream.


The end result here is ultimately just a really tasty plate of cakes. Somehow, the thought, love and attention to get them spot on has made them something more special to me this week. For me this is how you take good ingredients, then carefully find the best way to serve them up with  masses of affection.

Empty spaces and scones

There are spare seats in our kitchen today

There’s a big empty space in my heart,

I’ve always spent this day with my mum

But I can’t because we’re apart,

So today in our house – I’m the main Mummy

The day is all about me,

It sounds indulgent and bloomin’ fantastic

But it actually feels quite empty,

Well I don’t have an AGA or all your know-how

So I’ll just have to give it a go,

For today is the day that I bake in your honour,

And make scones for people I know.


My take on Granny Lynne’s scones have been adapted from a recipe on the Good Food website. I’ve jazzed them up with some lemon, cranberries and sultanas:

You will need:

  • 350g self-raising flour, plus more for dusting
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 85g butter, cut into cubes
  • 3 tbsp caster sugar
  • 175ml milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • squeeze lemon juice
  • 80 grams of dried cranberries and sultanas
  • beaten egg, to glaze


Here’s how:

  1. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Tip the flour into a large bowl with the salt and baking powder, then mix. Add the butter, then rub in with your fingers until the mix looks like fine crumbs. Stir in the sugar.
  2. Add the vanilla and lemon juice to the milk. Make a well in the dry mix, then add the liquid and combine it quickly with a knife. Add some flour onto the work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Pat or roll into a round about 4cm deep.
  3. I used a small cutter to make 12 scones, refolding the dough once I had made as many as possible in the first flattened dough batch.
  4. Brush the tops with beaten egg, then carefully place onto the hot baking tray.
  5. Bake for 10 mins until risen and golden on the top. Eat just warm or cold on the day of baking, generously topped with jam and clotted cream.


I shared these with my family, some of the neighbours and friends we visited in Spain.

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mummys I know x

Ginger, carrot and apple loaf

I think ginger is such a special soulful ingredient. This slightly spicy cake loaf smells amazing and because of the moisture in the apples and the sticky molasses, it’s got a lovely rich texture. It’s a bit like parkin that’s been left to develop for a couple of days. Of course this is also even better when it’s been left for a day or so, but chances are it won’t make it in time. My boys like this with custard on, but it looks great naked as a nice slice to go with a cup of tea.

ginger loaf 2


  1. 100g unsalted butter
  2. 100g light brown sugar
  3. 50g molasses (or black treacle if you don’t have)
  4. 50g golden syrup
  5. zest 1 lime
  6. 1 carrot, grated
  7. Half an apple grated
  8. Tablespoon of raw grated ginger
  9. 175g self-raising flour
  10. ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  11. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  12. 1 tsp ground ginger
  13. 2 eggs

To make this:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 160 degrees celsius (fan oven, 180 degrees C for others)
  2. Grease a 900g loaf tin
  3. Melt the butter in a pan and add everything except the flour, bicarbonate and eggs
  4. Once melted in remove from the heat, add the flour and then the eggs (it’s best not to add the eggs on the heat as they may scramble, not good!)
  5. Bake for 40 minutes – until a skewer comes out dry

You can sprinkle with a little icing sugar to make it look really pretty.

I hope you enjoy.