Friday, 26 June 2015

Cucumber, Fennel and Parsley Salad

As we near the end of June, it's getting even hotter - well, not THAT hot, but it was 21 degrees Celsius here on Wednesday and we needed the windows open while having lunch in the car in Leeds and it also made me feel really sleepy.  This weekend, I'm heading down to Cambridge for the first of two family meet-ups for this summer and if the weather's good (it's usually better in Cambridge than it is here in the cold North), we'll be having a barbecue in my cousins' garden.  Since we're only going to be arriving in the late-afternoon, I probably won't quite have enough time (or the ingredients) to make anything, but if I were to make a contribution to the barbecue party, I make a couple of batches of this salad recipe that I found in the Tesco Food Family Living magazine for June 2015.  It's full of greens and herbs, so eat plenty!

Ingredients (to serve 6)

1 cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds scooped out, and finely sliced
2 fennel bulbs, finely sliced
1/2 x 60g bag lamb's lettuce
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chives
1 lemon, zested
1 teaspoon poppy seeds

For the dressing:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 x 31g pack fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 lemon, juiced


  1. In a large bowl, combine the cucumber, fennel, lamb's lettuce, chives and lemon zest.  Scatter over the poppy seeds.
  2. To make the dressing, put the olive oil, parsley, garlic and lemon juice in a blender and whizz to combine.
  3. Gradually add 1-2 tablespoons of water until the mixture reaches a pourable consistency. 
  4. Serve the dressing on the side to spoon over the salad.

Friday, 19 June 2015

DIY Water Candles

This week, I'm going to share something a little different.  Instead of a recipe for a simple meal (well, they're usually desserts, but sometimes savoury as well), I'm going to share a DIY.  As we are now in mid to late June, it should definitely be time to get barbecues or picnics underway.  I've found a few recipes for dishes you can make for a barbecue which I will share in the next couple of weeks, but maybe you'd also like something to decorate your outdoor (or indoor) dining table while you're enjoying a barbecue with friends in the evening.  Here are some instructions for a DIY water candle that I found in the Tesco Food Family Living magazine for June 2015.  This candle is vegan-friendly, and uses common household cooking products, and also encourages recycling.

What You Need

a glass jar
a pair of scissors
a plastic water bottle
a pencil
a wick from a tapered candle
1 tablespoon of cooking oil


  1. Choose a glass jar as your candle holder.
  2. Then, with scissors, cut out the base of a plastic water bottle, making it slightly smaller than the circumference of the glass jar mouth, so it will fit snugly inside the top of the jar.  Pierce a small hole in the centre of the disc.
  3. Remove a wick from a tapered candle and tie a knot in one end, about 2.5cm (1 inch) from the top.  Thread it through the hole in the plastic disc.
  4. Fill the jar with water up to 2.5cm (1 inch) from the top.  Put the disc and wick on the water.
  5. Carefully pour 1 tablespoon of cooking oil on top of the disc, then light your water candle.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Toasted Chocolate Sandwiches

So this is my first post as a 20 year old (i.e. no longer a teenager), but that doesn't necessarily mean I'll be sharing complicated and "grown-up" recipes yet, especially as I have no intention of learning how to cook meat.  At this point, fairly simple is still the way I'm going.  In the end, my birthday did not involve an outdoor archery session (*cries*), but I spent the morning listening to the Rent soundtrack in bed while starting sewing a Winnie the Pooh cross-stitch pattern, and then spent the afternoon in the kitchen listening to Hilary Duff while preparing the ice cream cake from the recipe I shared last week.  And for a special breakfast treat, I decided to make myself a toasted chocolate sandwich using the recipe I found in Coffee Bites by Susie Theodorou.

Ingredients (to serve 1)

2 slices of thick-crusted white bread
30-50g (1-2oz / ½ cup) dark (dairy-free) chocolate


  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius fan-assisted (or 425 degrees Fahrenheit, or gas mark 7) and preheat a baking sheet.
  2. Chop the dark chocolate and place the pieces in the centre of the pieces of bread.
  3. Toast the sandwich in the oven for 5 minutes, turn and bake for another 3 minutes.
  4. Let the sandwich cool, then slice to serve.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Choc-Caramel-Vanilla Ice Cream Cake

Guess whose favourite food blogger/musical theatre person/student radio presenter/web design student is turning 20 this Sunday???  That's right, it's ME!  And to celebrate, I'm planning to spend tomorrow making the following ice cream cake that I found at The Peachy Pear.  This cake is vegan, gluten-free and low-fat, making it the perfect cake to share with two of my best friends from secondary school (one of them has recently gone vegan and the other is vegetarian with intolerances to both lactose and gluten), but wouldn't be an ideal cake to share with my uni friends because it contains a total of SEVEN bananas (one of my friends is allergic to bananas).  In any case, I can share this cake with my family, so I suppose we're onto a winner!  Plans for my birthday itself may include archery :D


  • 10 medjool dates
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
1st layer
  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon desiccated coconut
2nd layer
  • 3 frozen bananas
  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder
  • 2 medjool dates
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)


  1. Cut the bananas into slices and freeze for a few hours or overnight.
  2. Use a food processor or blender to combine the ingredients that make the base of the cake.  When well-combined or a ball forms, spread at the bottom of an approx. 15cm round cake dish.
  3. Repeat process for the next 2 layers of the cake, then place in freezer until hard.
  4. Combine ingredients for the icing of the cake, then spread on top of the cake.  Top with any desired toppings, such as dark chocolate squares, strawberries or blueberries.
  5. Store in freezer until serving.