Spiced Shortbread Biscuits

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. In the run up to Thanksgiving, I became very ill resulting in a bad sinus infection causing me to come to a grinding halt. I’m usually doing so many things at once, so it was annoying to have to just stop and do nothing in order to get better. So with just days until Christmas, I thought I should at least post a few recipes as my energy levels are slowly on the rise. Cue a super easy cookie recipe with only a few ingredients but lots of spice. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon all spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened

First, measure out the flour, sugar, and spices into a bowl and combine well. You should already be able to smell the warming spices coming together.

Next, cube the softened butter and work it into the dough with the vanilla.

You can use a mixer, or just use your hand (like me!). However you do it, you will have a soft, smooth dough eventually.

Once the dough has come together, form it into a cylinder shape, that resembles, um, a wooden log, ha, ha. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill, then using a sharp knife, cut off circular shapes and place on a lined tray.

Bake in an oven heated to 350 F / 180 C and bake for 15 – 17 minutes, depending on how crunchy you like your biscuits.

And there you have it, Spiced Shortbread Biscuits! These were super easy to make, and they really don’t require an array of ingredients.  So if you’re looking for something simple to make for your workplace, for Santa on Christmas Eve, or for yourself, give these a try! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

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Pumpkin Spice Balls

We are well into October, but here in Bristol, we are being spoiled by beautiful weather this weekend. Walking around was so perfect and it certainly doesn’t feel like winter will be here soon. Taking advantage of the nice weather, I went to Zero Green in Bedminster, one of Bristol’s many plastic free shops. You bring your own containers, weigh, fill, then weigh again. The oats, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, date/raisins, and pulp are from this shop. They also feature almond, cashew, and oat mylk in glass bottles from a lovely company called O!Mylk. They often leave leftover nut pulp for customers to take for free! So I took about a cups worth and decided to make these Pumpkin Spice Balls. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 cup almond pulp (or desiccated almonds if you don’t have pulp)
  • 1/4 cup porridge oats
  • 1/4 cup raisins and/or chopped dates
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin spice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or nut butter of your choice)
  • 5-6 tablespoons puréed pumpkin
  • Pumpkin seeds to coat

Place the pulp, oats, dates & raisins, chia seeds, and pumpkin spice in a bowl. The pulp is moist, so I found it best to mix together with a fork, working all the ingredients together as much as possible.

Once mixed, it should look a bit crumbly, as seen above.

Next, add the honey, nut butter, and pumpkin. Really stir it through so that all dry ingredients are well incorporated. If the mixture is too dry and not holding, you can add a bit more pumpkin. If it’s turned out too wet, just sprinkle on a bit more oats.

After rolling into a ball, I squished pumpkin seeds onto the outside. You really have to press them in as they don’t stick easily. Alternatively, you can drizzle the balls in chocolate or icing, then put the seeds on.

And there you have it, Pumpkin Spice Balls! They were super easy to make and would be a fun activity for little ones. There are also a lot of ways to adapt this recipe to your liking. You can always use maple syrup or golden syrup instead of honey. And if you like them sweeter, add more honey and slightly less pumpkin to bind. I think toasted pecans or chocolate chips would work really well in these treats. However you make them, this is a great way to create a healthy snack without producing much waste.

Enjoy the sunshine while it lasts! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Upside Down Plum Cake

The Bristol Half Marathon is tomorrow and I thought I’d bake up some pre-race fuel to use up some ripe plums. Not sure how the weather will turn out, but when all else fails, at least there’s cake. Here is what you’ll need:

For the plum topping:

  • 8-10 ripe plums
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

For the cake batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup almond milk (or any you like)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 beaten eggs

First, wash and cut the plums as you like.

Next, mix the brown sugar and butter, spreading it on the bottom of your cake tin.

Then, neatly arrange the plums on top of the butter and brown sugar.

In a bowl, add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, almond milk, and almond extract. Stir it a bit, then do the eggs.

Last, beat the eggs separately before adding them to the batter. If you have a mixer, use it! If not, just use a whisk to get a good batter. For the record, I don’t have a mixer, but the cakes still turn out alright.

Once mixed, pour the batter evenly into the tin, making sure it covers the fruit.

Heat your oven to 180 C / 350 F, and bake for 35 minutes.

And there you have it, Upside Down Plum Cake! This cake is good, like real good! Gooey, sticky, sweet, and part of your 5 a day? Heck yeah!

This is the perfect way to use up your ripe plums. The recipe also works well with damsons, peaches, and nectarines. And who doesn’t like a serving of fruit? Hopefully a slice of this cake will propel me to the finish line. And at the very least, lots of leftovers, yeah! If you happen to be near the Half Marathon route, come out and cheer us on – with the weather we’re expecting, we’ll need it! Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Easy Blackberry Jam

The weather is starting to turn, but we’re still having lots of sunny afternoons with cool breezes. And, there are still blackberries to be harvested. So, I thought I’d make some easy Blackberry jam with my last haul. It makes a small batch, which is approximately one jar. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Juice from 1 lemon

After washing your blackberries very well, place in a small sauce pan with the sugar.

Next, grab a masher and spend several minutes smashing the heck out of those berries. You really want to get the juice flowing so that the berries become a liquid purée like mash up.

There will still be bits of berry, but as you can see above, it should have lots of juice. Place on the stove and set on high. I used mark 5.

Bring the berry mash to a boil, stirring it the entire time. By constantly stirring, you’ll ensure it does not burn. Once it boils for about 5 minutes, put on medium low and simmer until it thickens. You’ll know it’s ready when it coats the spoon.

Juice the lemon, and stir in the liquid while the berry mixture is still hot.

Make sure your jar is already prepared. It needs to be thoroughly cleaned and boiled to sterilise. While the liquid is still hot, spoon jam into the jar. It will firm up as it cools.

And there you have it, one batch of Easy Blackberry Jam! This is the perfect way to preserve the last of the summer fruit to enjoy into the cold winter months. Stir it in porridge, put it in yogurt, or enjoy on some toast! However you slice it, this jam is just too easy to pass up. Give it a try before the berries disappear. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Wild Fruit Crumble

This cooler weather has been so nice and comfortable. It’s the perfect temperature for running and cycling, and for foraging wild fruit on the way.

I loaded up on these berries and apples during a bike ride, and the most obvious thing to make was a warm and filling crumble. Here is what you’ll need:

  • 2 cups blackberries
  • 3 small apples
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 cup porridge oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup raisins or sultanas
  • 1/3 cup almond milk

First wash the fruit very well, then peel and chop the apples into chunks. Put all the fruit into your baking dish.

Pour the sugar and flour over the fruit, and mix it around trying to coat the chunks as much as possible.

Next you will prepare the topping, which is essentially a bowl of porridge. Put the oats, cinnamon, almonds, raisins, and almond milk together. Let it sit for about 5 minutes so the oats absorb as much of the liquid as possible.

Spread the topping over the fruit. Make sure it’s as even as possible.

Place in the oven at 180 C / 350 F for 35 – 40 minutes, depending on your oven. It’s done when the fruit is soft and the topping is golden brown.

And there, you have it, Wild Fruit Crumble! You can pretty much use any fruit you want. Damson, blueberries, and red plums work well too! And the topping is on the healthy side compared to traditional crumble which often has a lot of butter and sugar. As I’m training for the Bristol Half Marathon, this is definitely a dessert I can get behind! And you can even have it for breakfast! It is part of your five a day and a lovely way to fuel your morning workout. Give this recipe a try and you can start by picking some wild fruit. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Pumpkin Pecan Cookies


October is finally here, and although the weather is crisp, it is absolutely beautiful outside today! I walked up park street and had the most delightful pumpkin spice tea latte at Bluebird Tea Company. So much flavour! I ended up buying some tea to take home, and thought what could I made that would accompany this cuppa? The answer is these cookies, here is what you’ll need:

1/2 cup (100 g) coconut oil

  • 1/4 cup (50 g) white sugar
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup (35 g) puréed pumpkin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; all spice works just as well.
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups (190 g) flour
  • 1 cup pecans


First, cream together the coconut oil and both sugars.


In a small bowl, beat one egg then add to the sugar mixture. It helps if the egg is room temperature.


Next, add the vanilla and pumpkin. Mix well, until smooth.


You will then add the salt, cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin pie spice, and baking soda. Stir well until evenly distributed.


Next add the flour and pecans. I would suggest mixing in the flour first, then add the pecans (unlike what I did above).


Once the cookie dough comes together, place it into the fridge for an hour to chill. The dough needs to be cold, otherwise the cookies will be too flat.


Once chilled, arrange on a lined cookie sheet. As far as size, I used a cereal spoon and scooped up a heaping of dough. This resulted in cookies that were about 2 inches / 3-4 cm across when baked.


Preheat your oven to 350 F / 180 C and bake for 12-15 minutes.


After cooling, you will have a warm plateful of Pumpkin Pecan Cookies! These were the perfect treat after walking around the harbour side. I will say, if you’re not too big on strong pumpkin flavours, then you may like these as they tasted more of the spice. I think when I make these again, I may increase the cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice a bit more. Now, if like me, you really like a strong pumpkin flavour, I may even add 2/3 cup pumpkin and only 1/4 cup coconut oil. Either way, the cookies will be awesome. My favourite part is pairing it will the spiced pumpkin pie tea I bought at Bluebird Tea Company up on park street. It really is a great way to welcome autumn! I hope you have fun making these as the leaves fall outside. Thanks for reading and Happy Eating!

Apple Cider Ice Cream

FullSizeRender (47)Ahh, a typical English summer day. Overcast, rainy, not too hot… more like a California winter for this west coast girl! Well, when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  But I live in Bristol and here, life tends to give you cider sometimes.  So, I decided to make apple cider ice cream. I mean, it is still summer after all.  I don’t have an ice cream maker, but I decided to try this anyway and will post the results however it turns out.

Here is the recipe, which consists of a typical ice cream base with a reduced cider/sugar mixture added in for flavor.  The cider I’m using today is another lovely selection from Ralph’s Traditional Cider, made in Wales. I used a bottle of their perry for a gorgeous cake the other week, which can be found here. This one is a sweet, still 7% apple beauty and will be perfect for today’s recipe:

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  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup double cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 egg yolks


First, you’ll want to add one cup of the cider and 1/4 cup of sugar to a saucepan and bring to a boil until it is reduced to approximately 1/3 of a cup.

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Make sure you keep an eye on the bubbling mixture, stirring it throughout to prevent any burning.

FullSizeRender (51)Once reduced, take off the heat source and add it into a saucepan with 1 cup of milk, 1 cup of double cream, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, whisking the entire time.  In the future, I will use the same sauce pan instead of transferring the cider mixture as it will need to start warming up.  In this case, I switched the hob on mark 1 as you will need to add some of this in the next step.

FullSizeRender (52)In a separate small bowl, add the three egg yolks and whisk.  You are basically creating an almost custard base, so make sure none of the egg whites are attached.  Once the eggs yolks are whisked to a smooth consistency, you’ll want to temper them by adding some of the warm cider/dairy mixture.  I added 1/3 of a cup to mix with the yolks.

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FullSizeRender (54)Once tempered, add the yolk mixture to the saucepan, bring to a boil and whisk away.  You want to cook this until thick; you’ll know its enough when it coats the back of a spoon.  Since this is the first time I’m making ice cream, I thought it was thick enough, but now looking at the picture, I think I should have given it a few more minutes.

FullSizeRender (55)Once mixed and thick, transfer to a heat proof dish to let it cool to room temperature.  You can do this by placing it partially in an ice bath.

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Since I didn’t have any ice or ice trays, I put it by the window since it was pretty much the antithesis of a summer day.  This is also the container I will be freezing it in since I do not have an ice cream machine.  After it cools, you can transfer the mixture to a machine if you have one and let it churn away. If not, just place a lid over it.

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If like me you are trying it freestyle, it is recommended that you use a whisk to stir the mixture every 45 minutes until frozen or nearly there.  To be honest, this process took too long for me to be that vigilant.  I stirred it once, then realized it was 9 pm and started to get ready for bed.  This morning, I checked on it and it sure was frozen. Like a brick.  So it will need to thaw out some before I scoop it out for tonight’s dessert.FullSizeRender (58)So, the verdict on this recipe is still out.  I don’t think I will try this again as it really did take much longer than I thought.  And in the end, didn’t produce more than about 2 cups of ice cream which I can easily polish off myself if I didn’t love my husband so much.  I will update this post tonight after I taste it, but for now, I can’t even scoop out a bit.  I have another recipe for a much easier no churn ice cream, which I hope to try next week after all the Harbor Festival fun this weekend in Bristol.  I do think this is a good recipe, but perhaps it is more suited for those who have an ice cream machine.  Stay dry out there, thanks for reading and Happy Eating! That is, when your ice cream thaws out….

UPDATE: So, I let the ice cream thaw out and it was great!  The flavor reminds me of autumn, so will make this again in a few months for sure. I think a nice caramel apple sauce on top would compliment it well.