Seasonal Recipes: English Cherry Flapjacks

These are the sweet treats from my potager garden story: Umbrella boats, windowsill seeds and chocolate flapjacks and I quickly learnt through the comments I received from curious readers that in many other countries, flapjacks are another name for pancakes. These are the English variety – a quick and easy store cupboard oaty bake.

This version uses up whatever you have on hand, either fresh, dry or frozen, as the filling.


150g Butter/margarine/dairy-free spread

150g Light brown soft sugar

300g Porridge oats

4 tablespoons Honey/golden syrup/agave nectar

Approx 100g filling – such as frozen pitted cherries, a frozen smoothie mix, fresh fruit, desiccated coconut, chocolate – whatever you have on hand. You can also make a plain version, by simply leaving out the filling.


Large saucepan

Wooden spoon

Kitchen Scales

Swiss roll tin (or similar low-sided baking tin approx 23x33cm)

Baking parchment

Sharp knife


Set the oven to 180degrees, then grease and line the baking tray with parchment paper.

Melt the butter, sugar and honey in a large saucepan.

Stir in the oats. (If you are adding any additional dry ingredients, such as desiccated coconut, add them now too.)

Tip the warm oat mixture into the tray and press it down flat with the back of a spoon.

Scatter your filling over the top and then gently press them down into the mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes until golden.

Leave in the tray to cool a little, then slice and serve.

They keep very well for 3 days in the fridge … and possibly more, although they have never lasted long enough in our house to test this ūüôā

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Seasonal Recipes: Nutritious and Simple Basil Pesto

Nutritious and Simple Vegan Basil Pesto

The addition of Nutritional Yeast to this dairy free recipe not only creates the wonderful parmesan tang that great pesto needs, but also gives you a great big vitamin B12 boost.*  If you have never used it, nutritional yeast comes in delicate little yellow flakes, which melt on the tongue and taste like strong cheese.  If added to a soup or sauce, it dissolves instantly, or you can sprinkle on top of complete dishes, as you would parmesan flakes.

Many of my vegan recipes are inspired by the beautiful book: The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples: The Art of Making Your Own Staples [a Cookbook]


(Be adventurous and swap out basil for other green leaves, such as spinach or wild garlic, try other oils, and different nuts as preferred…)

2 cups basil leaves (packed in tightly)

1/2 cup pine nuts

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Salt and Pepper, season to taste


Chopping board

Sharp knife

Food Processor (or pestle and mortar)


Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, until desired consistency is reached.  We prefer ours a little course, so that the nutty texture of the pine nuts is still present.

Lasts for at least a week in the fridge … but we have never had any around longer to know how long it could last … we love fresh pesto too much in our family ūüôā

*Most supermarkets (in the UK at least) now stock nutritional yeast, but you can also buy it from health food shops or from international online stores like Amazon.  I favour the Marigold brand.

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I’ve linked below to where you can buy the items mentioned in my post from Amazon. If you click on the picture and buy the item I will get a small commission to help support my art.

The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples: The Art of Making Your Own Staples [a Cookbook]

Kilner Clip Top Round Jar 0.5 Litre

Seasonal Recipes: Smokey Garlic Ketchup

Vegan Smokey Garlic Ketchup

The base for this ketchup comes from one of my favourite books The Homemade Vegan Pantry Рwhich provides great basic recipes and also explains the science behind store cupboard staples.

I was surprised how incredibly easy and fast it is to make ketchup – I’m a complete convert to the homemade version.


The Basic Ketchup

1 1/3 cups tomato paste

2/3 cup water

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

2 teaspoons sea salt

Adjust the following items to taste, or add your own combination of flavours

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

1 1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

Splash of Ale


Sterilised jar

Bowl and spoon (or food processor)

Funnel (not necessary but handy)


Put all of the ingredients into a bowl or food processor.  Stir/mix well until combined, and the sugar and salt have dissolved.

Funnel the liquid into the sterilised jar and keep in the fridge.

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Seasonal Recipes: Homemade natural orange and candelilla furniture wax

Homemade natural orange and candelilla furniture wax

We have had the same french pine kitchen table for nearly 20 years. ¬†It started as a big desk for writing university essays in my late teens,¬†and it is now in the centre of our kitchen, where our family of six have our meals everyday. ¬†With a bit of a scrub with furniture wax once in a while, I’m hoping we never have to replace it. ¬†Every tiny nick and scratch is part of our family’s story; a new one would never be the same.

For this simple recipe I use candelilla* wax beads although traditional recipes would use beeswax, and¬†it’s interchangeable, in the same quantities.

For a much firmer wax, to use as a scrub to lift stubborn ingrained dirt, use 100g wax and 100ml oil.  The orange peel is optional, but releases a lovely scent and helps to add a finish to wooden furniture.

-Always try an out-of-sight test patch first-


40g candelilla wax

100ml unscented mineral/baby oil

5 drops orange essential oil

peel of half an orange


Kitchen scales

Measuring jug

Saucepan and bowl

Recycled glass jar with a screw-top lid

Wooden skewer


Place the wax beads and oil into the glass jar.

Sit the glass jar inside a small bowl, and then place the bowl into a saucepan of boiling water.

Keep the saucepan on the hob, on a gently rolling boil as if you were melting chocolate.

Stir the wax beads gently with a wooden skewer until they melts into a liquid, which resembles the colour of caramel.  (This can take a while if the glass jar is very thick, and sometimes I have to melt the wax directly in the bowl and pour into the jar afterwards.)

Place the glass jar on a heatproof surface to cool and then sprinkle in the orange peel bit by bit. ¬†Don’t be tempted to stir it into the mixture, as the orange peel will form one giant mass – instead gently encourage the pieces of peel into the fast-setting liquid with little darting prods of the skewer.

To apply, use an old cloth to work a small portion of wax into the furniture and then keep rubbing until all of the wax is lifted from the surface.

Top tip: If any of the cooking equipment gets covered in wax, boil a kettle and pour the hot water over the effected area, then wipe clean with a cloth.

*Candelilla wax is derived from the leaves of the small Candelilla shrub. ¬†The leaves have a natural coating to protect against the heat of the desert, and when they boiled and processed, candelilla wax is obtained. ¬†You can buy it in bead form from craft shops and online stores and it’s a great substitute for beeswax in recipes.

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Candelilla Wax 100g

Seasonal Recipes: Maple and Chilli Pickled Shallots

In previous years, we have focused on growing mainly salad veg, which we have harvested as they grow and have eaten straight away.  This year we are expanding our garden, and looking at growing foods that can be preserved and used over many months. 

I’ve broken down this recipe so that you can make a simple brine, and a basic pickling vinegar, and adapt it for the veg you have to hand, the size of the jars you have at home and the tastes of your own family.  It’s an easy recipe; the hardest bit is patience – waiting for 24 hours before completing the recipe, and then letting 3 weeks go by before you can finally try the shallots!


250g rock salt

2 litres water

1.35kg shallots (I check I have enough shallots to fill jars I have available, and if one jar is slightly under-filled and under-packed, we just start that one first.)

2 litres white wine vinegar

1tbsp allspice berries

1 tbsp juniper berries

1 tbsp mixed peppercorns

1 tbsp mustard seeds

2 bay leaves

170g light muscovado sugar

Then your own flavouring of choice, for this recipe we added:

1 tbsp dried chilli flakes

1 tbsp maple syrup



Sharp knife and cutting board

Kitchen scales

Large bowl, preferably stainless steel

Large saucepan or jam pan

3 large sterilised preserving jars with screw-top lids

Ladle and funnel (not essential but incredibly useful)


Bring the salt and water to the boil in a large saucepan to create a brine, and then set aside to cool.

Top, tail and peel the shallots.  Leave enough of the ends that they still hold together as a bulb.

Put the shallots into a large bowl, weigh down with a plate, so that they are completely submerged (otherwise they will float about on the surface) and leave for 24 hours.  I use a bowl, rather than the cooled saucepan, so that I can wash it ready for prepping the vinegar solution the next day.

After 24 hours, put the vinegar, allspice berries, juniper berries, peppercorns, mustard seeds, bay leaves and sugar into a large saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.

Once the standard pickling vinegar mixture is boiling, we add our own flavouring.  For this recipe we chose chilli flakes to give the shallots a hotter kick, and maple to counteract the taste of the vinegar (as not all in our family are fans.)  This is the part that really makes the recipe your own and it’s fun to change it every time.

Simmer gently for 5 more minutes, to infuse the new flavours, and then leave to cool.

Drain the shallots carefully (they are soft and delicate now, and can fall apart easily) and pack into the prepared jars.

Remove the two bay leaves from the pickling liquid and then pour the vinegar into the jars.  Try to guide the peppercorns and berries towards the outside of the jars, for a more aesthetic look on the shelf!

Cover the jars with the screw-top lids and then leave in a cool dark place for 3 weeks before eating.

Make sure you add a label, with the date, to the jars.

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Seasonal Recipes: German Apple Cake or Apfelkuchen

Vegan Apple Cake (Apfelkuchen)

Original version of the recipe by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau in The Joy of Vegan Baking

This recipe has no need for eggs because of the applesauce, which provides the binding and moisture that eggs normally would.  In just about any cake recipe, you replace every egg with approx 60-70g of apple sauce Рand it works particularly well in recipes where the cake is dense and moist, such as muffins.


3 Apples, peeled, cored and cut into slices (we use golden delicious, or granny smiths)

112g Vitalite, a little extra for greasing the cake tin

110g Granulated sugar

125g Unsweetened apple sauce

2 Tablespoons Almond milk

188g Plain flour

2 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder

For the topping:

60g Dark brown sugar

1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger


Kitchen scales, measuring spoons

Sharp knife and cutting board

Kitchen mixer


Small bowl and spoon

23cm spring form cake tin

Baking parchment

Cake testing skewer


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius and lightly grease the cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.

Cook the apples in a little water on the hob until that are soft, but not turning to mush.

Cream together the butter and sugar in a mixer.

Add the apple sauce and the almond milk and stir into the mixture gently.

Add the flour and baking powder and stir until just combined. ¬†Too much mixing, and the cake won’t rise.

Add the cake batter to the prepared cake tin.

Carefully add the apple slices to the top of the batter, starting in the centre and spiralling outwards.

Mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger in a little bowl and then sprinkle over the apple slices.

Bake for 40 minutes in the centre of the oven, or until a skewer through the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Allow to cool before releasing the cake from the cake tin.

Serve with a little dairy free cream.

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Homemade Natural Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner

The peppermint and orange oils in this cleaner not only cancel out any vinegar scent, but also add antibacterial properties – making it perfect for wiping down kitchen surfaces.  It’s also much safer to have around the house with children than commercial kitchen bleaches.


300ml of boiled, cooled water

60ml white vinegar

10 drops peppermint oil

10 drops orange oil


Measuring jug


Spray bottle


Simply boil a kettle, measure out 300ml of the water into a measuring jug and add the other ingredients.  Stir gently to combine, then leave to cool.  Funnel the contents into a spray bottle and use to clean kitchen surfaces with a washable cloth.

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Seasonal Recipes: Hazelnut Milk and Dark Chocolate Fudge

Hazelnut Milk and Dark Chocolate Fudge

Inspired by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau’s recipe in The Joy of Vegan Baking.

This fudge requires very few ingredients and is simple and quick to make.  It stores very well for a week or more, if kept in the fridge.


340g Dairy-free Dark Chocolate Buttons

6 Tbsp Vitalite, with extra for greasing the tin

350g Icing Sugar

64g Cocoa Powder, sifted

1tsp Vanilla Essence

60ml Alpro Hazelnut Milk


Baking parchment, for lining the tin

Square or Rectangular baking tin (the smaller the tin, the thicker the fudge later)

Two saucepans (one large one and a smaller one that will fit inside)

Wooden spoon

Large sharp knife

Chopping board


  1. Grease a square or rectangular baking tin and line with baking parchment that overlaps the sides (this will make the fudge easier to lift out and cut later.)
  2. Add the chocolate, vitalite, cocoa powder, vanilla essence and milk into the small saucepan.
  3. Place the small saucepan into the bigger saucepan and surround by boiling water.
  4. Stir until all of the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  5. Pour the mixture into the greased tin.
  6. Chill for 3-4 hours in the fridge
  7. When the mixture has set, lift it out of the tin, using the baking parchment, onto a chopping board
  8. Cut the fudge to size
  9. Enjoy with a glass of hazelnut milk, or keep in the fridge in an airtight tin.

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