Orange and Cinnamon Biscuits

Baking these biscuits will fill your kitchen with the most Christmassy aroma. Later today Arthur and I are going to make a couple of batches as Christmas gifts for his teachers. We'll keep them plain and pile them into traditional ridged glass jars adorned with some coloured ribbons. They'll look as pretty as a picture.

Here I have strung each biscuit with a coloured ribbon to finish - simply make an additional hole in the top of each biscuit before baking using the tip of a large icing nozzle. 

Orange & Cinnamon Biscuits

225g butter, softened
110g caster sugar
275g plain flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
Grated zest of an orange

Preheat the oven to 170°C / 325°F
In a large bowl or food mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Sift in the flour, cinnamon and orange zest and combine fully to form a dough.

Roll out your dough on a floured surface and press out your biscuits with your choice of cookie cutters. Place the biscuit on a baking sheet (no need to grease or line) and bake in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes, or until they are golden and slightly firm on top.

Carefully transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool.

Cerise And White Bakers Twine; Set of 4 Bauble cookie cutters; Medium Traditional Ridged Glass Biscuit Jar; Large Multicolour Party Honeycomb Ball - all from www.dotcomgiftshop.com

Coconut Yogurt Bark

This is yoghurt bark. Have you heard of it before? I hadn’t until recently. It is really too simple to class as a ‘recipe’, it’s more just a case of throwing some ingredients together. It’s a great recipe for kids to get involved in too. The new limited edition Onken coconut yogurt works perfectly in this recipe - just the right amount of sweetness, with its flecks of coconut adding a lovely texture. 

The bark makes for a great healthy snack, but I reckon it is good enough to bring to the table at the end of a meal as an alternative to those after dinner mints. I like to use freeze-dried berries in this recipe as their dryness holds up well to the yogurt. Their bright pink hue combined with vibrant green pistachio nuts are a winning combination for me. Try experimenting with other toppings though - chopped almonds, hazelnuts, dried fruit, seeds and chocolate chips are all great alternatives.

Coconut Yogurt Bark

450g Onken coconut yogurt
1 - 2 tbsp freeze-dried raspberries
1 - 2 tbsp of pistachio nuts, chopped

Line a 25cm x 25cm baking pan with baking paper.

Pour the Onken coconut yogurt into the lined tin and allow it to level out. Sprinkle the yoghurt with the freeze-dried raspberries and chopped pistachio nuts. Place in the freezer for approx 4 hours, or until frozen.

Remove from the freezer and carefully release from the tin and peel off the paper. Using a sharp knife, cut the bark into shards and serve immediately or place in a freezer bag and store in the freezer until required.

This post is sponsored by Onken. However I only work with brands that I trust and love and feel are relevant for my blog and its readers. For more recipe inspiration and to view the full range of Onken products please visit www.onken.co.uk

Lime & Coconut Yogurt Cake

When Onken set me the challenge to develop four easy recipes using their new coconut yogurt, I had to include a cake. Here I have taken what is essentially a foolproof mix-it-all-together recipe and added a twist with the coconut and lime. You could use lemon instead of the lime or indeed any citrus, but there is something about lime and coconut that I like. You could bake one big cake, but I think this recipe lends itself well to a more dainty individual affair. 

Lime & Coconut Yogurt Cake

180ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp finely grated lime zest
60ml lime juice
280g Onken coconut yogurt
385g caster sugar
300g self raising flour
160g icing sugar
2 tsp lime juice
1 - 3 tsp boiling water
Zest of a lime

Preheat oven to 160ºC (325ºF). Grease 6 (8.5 fl oz / 240 ml) mini bundt tins or one large 24cm non-stick bundt tin and set aside.

Mix the vegetable oil, eggs, lime zest, lime juice, Onken coconut yogurt and sugar in a large bowl using a whisk. Sift in the flour and mix until smooth.

Pour the mixture into bundt tins and bake in the oven for approx 25 - 35 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch. If using the larger tin, allow 45 - 55 minutes. Test they are cooked by inserting a skewer. If it come out clean, with no wet mixture, they are ready.

Allow the cakes to cool a little in the tins, before remove and inverting the cakes onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

To make the lime icing, mix the sugar and lime juice adding the boiling water bit by bit until you have a smooth runny consistency. Place a tray underneath your cooling rack before drizzling over the icing, allowing it to run down the sides of the cake. While the icing is still in its liquid state, finely grate over some lime zest. Allow the icing to set before serving.

This post is sponsored by Onken. However I only work with brands that I trust and love and feel are relevant for my blog and readers. For more recipe inspiration and to view the full range of Onken products please visit www.onken.co.uk

Coconut Chocolate Mousse

When I was a kid I always thought that a Bounty chocolate bar was the most sophisticated choice of confectionery. After all its adverts which featured tropical beaches and coconut palms promised ‘the taste of paradise’. Chocolate and coconut still has a place in my culinary heart.

So when developing my series of recipes for Onken using their new limited edition coconut yogurt, I had to include something with chocolate. The result was this mousse. With the coconut yogurt replacing the traditional cream, it is a healthier version of a favourite dessert. It’s also a winner in my book as it can be made the day before and left to chill in the fridge until required - perfect if you're entertaining.

Coconut Chocolate Mousse

85g dark chocolate, 70%
1 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 egg whites
1 tbsp caster sugar
50g Onken coconut yogurt
Grated dark chocolate and toasted coconut shavings for decoration (optional)

Break the chocolate into small pieces and place into a bowl that will fit over a pan of simmering water. Mix the cocoa and vanilla with 2 tbsp cold water, and pour over the chocolate. Place the bowl over the gently simmering water, give it all a stir, then remove from the heat.

Leave with the bowl of chocolate still over the water and stir occasionally until melted. Once melted, add 2 tbsp boiling water and stir to thin the chocolate down and leave to cool slightly.

Meanwhile whisk the egg whites to soft peaks, then add the sugar and whisk again until thick and glossy. Beat the Onken coconut yogurt into the cooled chocolate. Gently fold about one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mix using a large metal spoon. Add the remaining egg whites and carefully fold them in until fully combined, being careful not to over-mix.

Spoon the mousse into 4 small glasses and chill for a couple of hours, or overnight. When ready to eat, remove from the fridge and finish with a grating of dark chocolate and a few toasted coconut shavings.

This post is sponsored by Onken. However I only work with brands that I trust and love and feel are relevant for my blog and its readers. For more recipe inspiration and to view the full range of Onken products please visit www.onken.co.uk

Coconut, Blueberry & Pistachio Frozen Yogurt

Yogurt is big in our family. Sometimes it’s plain and used to add a creamy finish to our morning porridge along with some berries and toasted nuts. Sometimes it is a fruit yogurt served as a quick weekday pudding. However, our latest yogurt of choice is coconut. It’s a new limited edition flavour from Onken.

Onken set me the challenge to develop four easy recipes that the coconut yogurt could be used in and I am thrilled to be able to share them with you, over the next four days, on the blog.

This frozen yogurt recipe is quick to make and doesn’t require any special kit. I’ve used seasonal blueberries, but you could replace them with another berry such as raspberries. The coconut yogurt results in the most creamy of flavours making it taste extremely indulgent. Serve in a cone, small bowls or espresso cups.

Coconut, Blueberry & Pistachio Frozen Yogurt

375g blueberries
2 tbsp maple syrup
½ tbsp water
700ml Onken coconut yogurt
75g pistachio nuts
A handful of blueberries and pistachio nuts for decoration (optional)

Place the blueberries, maple syrup and water saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid and then cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 - 10 minutes or until the fruit is very soft and syrupy. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the berry mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Allow to cool a little before placing in the fridge until completely chilled.

Pour the Onken coconut yogurt into a large bowl. Add the cooled blueberry mixture, stirring until fully combined. Roughly chop the nuts and fold into the yogurt mixture. Pour the mix into a freezer-proof container and place in the freezer. After 45 minutes or so, take the container out of the freezer and whisk with a fork to break up any ice particles. Repeat this process every 45 minutes 3-4 times.

When ready to serve, take the container out of the freezer to allow the contents to soften for 15 mins or so before scoop into balls and serving with a garnish of chopped pistachio nuts and blueberries.

This post is sponsored by Onken. However I only work with brands that I trust and love and feel are relevant for my blog and its readers. For more recipe inspiration and to view the full range of Onken products please visit

P.S. The lovely ceramic espresso cups featured here are from www.dotcomgiftshop.com

Open House

On Friday I opened up my home for two hours and invited in friends, friends-of-friends, and neighbours to enjoy tea, coffee and homemade cake. It was in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support; my small contribution towards the national World's Biggest Coffee Morning - I raised £325.00.

The core aim, is of course to raise money for a worthy cause, but over the four years that I have held this event, it has become so much more. People of ages come along and each year I find myself greeting both familiar and new faces. 

There was a constant buzz of conversation that, due to the numbers and good weather, spilt out onto our small courtyard garden. I saw old friends in deep conversation with neighbours, mum's from school chatting with work colleagues - all sharing stories over a slice or two of cake. 

It sums up what I love most of all about food - when it is shared and brings people together.

Late Summer Market Salad

I've probably made this salad more than any other over the summer - plump, juicy cherries, sweet cherry tomatoes, crisp celery and creamy avocado and freshly snipped herbs - so simple yet so tasty. The cherries at the greengrocers are still good - so make it while you can. It's a salad that can only be made in late summer - it wouldn't be proper to make it any other time. 

These images, taken by photographer Emma Gutteridge, feature in the September issue of The Simple Things Magazine as part of an outdoor cinema gathering that I cooked and styled. The September issue of the magazine, containing all the recipes from the shoot can be purchased here.

Late Summer Market Salad

an adaptation of a recipe from Green Kitchen Stories

Serves 4

1 small celery head, sliced, including leaves
2 avocados, stoned, peeled and sliced
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 large handfuls of cherries, halved and stoned
1 small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, leaves picked and finely chopped
Juice of ½ lemon or more to taste
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Rinse and prepare all the vegetables, fruit and herbs and place in a large serving bowl. Mix to combine. Add the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and toss to mix well. This salad will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.