Recipe – Grilled Plums with Cinnamon, Brown Sugar & Amaretto

Stone fruits are so luscious at this time of year and I can’t get enough of them. Faced with a large bowl of ripe purple and yellow plums and lacking inspiration, I decided to simply grill them with a little brown sugar, cinnamon and a splash of Amaretto liqueur.

They only take a few minutes to cook and I recommend keeping your eye on them – my attention had wandered so the first batch I made were completely carbonized.

Cooked plums have a tangy quality that I love so I tend to hold back on the amount of sugar I use but add more if you want, or stir some into the crème fraîche.

These would also be delicious served with sour cream or some really good vanilla ice cream.

Grilled Plums with Brown Sugar, Cinnamon & Amaretto

Grilled Plums with Brown Sugar, Cinnamon & Amaretto


(Serves 4)

8 large ripe plums of any color, halved, stones discarded

2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar plus extra if needed

1/2 a teaspoon of ground cinnamon

A good splash of Amaretto

10 fl oz (300ml) of crème fraîche, sour cream or ice cream


Mix the brown sugar with the cinnamon and get the grill / broiler really hot. Arrange the plums snugly in a shallow heatproof dish. Sprinkle with Amaretto followed by the sugar-cinnamon mixture.

Place the plums about 6 inches from the heat and broil them until the fruit is soft and the sugar is bubbling and golden.

Serve warm.

Here are a few more ways to serve plums:

A Plum & Apricot Galette and a Plum & Walnut Crumble

A Very Easy Fruit & Almond Tart

A Very Easy Fruit & Almond Tart

A Very Easy Fruit & Almond Tart



Posted in Desserts, Gluten Free Desserts, Made in Under 30 mins | 3 Comments

Recipe – Blackberry, Lime & Polenta Cake

This is one of those cakes that you really need to eat with a fork as it’s so squelchy  – and I’m not going to pretend it’s low in fat or sugar either. However for the occasional treat, this is ridiculously good and better yet, if you have a food processor it takes no time at all to prepare as you throw all the ingredients in together.

If you prefer the type of cake that’s less messy to eat with your fingers, just halve the amount of elderflower and lime syrup that you pour all over it while still hot from the oven.

Blackberry Lime & Polenta Cake

Blackberry Lime & Polenta Cake


(Makes 16-20 squares)


8oz (225g) of self rising flour

2.5 oz (75g) of yellow cornmeal/polenta

9 oz (250g) of unsalted butter, softened

8 oz (230g) of fine white sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla

The juice and zest of 1 large lime

2 tablespoons of pouring cream

6 oz (170g) of fresh blackberries

For the syrup topping, combine the following:

3.5 fl oz (100ml) of elderflower syrup (IKEA sells it in the US)

5 tablespoons of fine white sugar

The finely grated zest and juice of 1/2  a lime


Preheat the oven to 375F (190C)

Combine everything except the blackberries and syrup topping ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you have a thick batter.

Grease a 9 in x 13 in (23cm x 33cm) cake pan (approx size). Spread the batter evenly in the pan  – and equally spaced, arrange the blackberries on top.

Bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is puffy and golden and as soon as you take it out of the oven, spoon the syrup all over and allow the cake to cool completely in the pan before slicing into it.

Posted in Desserts | 2 Comments

Recipe – Sweet Potato and Polenta Cakes with Rosemary

These delicious little sweet potato cakes go really well with roast lamb, pork, beef, chicken or turkey  – and reheated then next day, topped with a dollop of crème fraîche and some wood-smoked salmon, they were a huge hit at breakfast.

They’re also good enough to eat on their own.

Slightly crunchy on the outside, tender on the inside, they only take a few minutes to make once you’ve baked the sweet potatoes in their skins.

Sweet Potato & Polenta Cakes with Rosemary

Sweet Potato & Polenta Cakes with Rosemary


(Makes approx sixteen 2-inch cakes)


1.5 lbs (680g) of sweet potatoes

1/4 cup (60ml) of very hot water

1/4 cup (60ml) of runny honey, warmed

1/2 cup (120ml) of polenta / yellow cornmeal plus extra for dredging

1 teaspoon of chopped fresh rosemary

Pinch of sea salt

Hi temp cooking oil such as avocado, canola or grape seed


sweet potato cakes 004Bake the sweet potatoes in their skins in a pre-heated 335F (170C) oven for 1 hour. Allow them to cool a bit until you can handle them.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the polenta with the hot water, warmed honey, rosemary and sea salt – mix together well then squeeze the soft baked potato flesh out of their skins and add this to the mixture – stir to combine  and discard (or eat) the skins.

The mixture will be very soft so carefully form tablespoon-sized amounts into a ball then gently press them down onto a plate of polenta to coat both sides and flatten slightly into a patty shape.

Pour about 1/2 inch (1.5cm) of oil into a heavy, deep-sided saute pan and when hot (but not smoking), transfer no more than 4 patties at a time to the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes until the sides firm up, then flip them over and cook for another minute.

Transfer them to a paper-towel lined plate and continue in this way until they’re all done.

Best eaten hot or warm. You can reheat them gently in a warm oven, or on the stove-top in a dry heavy-based skillet.


Posted in Salads & Appetizers, Vegan, Vegetables / Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Recipe – Fresh Apricot Chutney with Indian Spices

Paonia is an area located on Colorado’s sunny western slopes that’s famous for it’s orchards and vineyards and I recently spent one scorching hot day there.

Everywhere you looked, there were apricot trees buckling under the weight of their golden fruit. Many weren’t quite ripe enough but while wandering through a sunny pasture, we came across a lone tree, completely exposed to the sun’s rays and loaded with apricots so ripe, that they dropped into your hand at the slightest touch.

These weren’t the large, fat apricots you see at the supermarket; they were small, warm from the sun and absolutely bursting with sweet juice. Possibly the best apricots I’ve ever tasted.

Back home and after greedily devouring several handfuls, I decided to make a chutney. Loosely adapted from a recipe in Mridula Baljekar’s Balti Cookbook, this isn’t the usual type of chutney that can be stored indefinitely as it doesn’t contain vinegar and it only takes a few minutes to cook. However, it does keep for several weeks stored in the fridge.

This relish is absolutely wonderful served with a sharp cheddar, grilled lamb, pork or any Indian dish.

Black onion seeds (kalonji) are available from Indian supermarkets or online from A1 SpiceWorld.

Fresh Apricot Chutney with Indian Spices

Fresh Apricot Chutney with Indian Spices


(Makes 2 smallish jars)


1 tablespoon of sunflower or corn oil

1/2 teaspoon of black onion seeds

1/2 teaspoon of whole cumin seeds

1.25 lbs (575g) of pitted apricots, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger

1 fat clove of garlic, crushed

2 teaspoons of ground cumin

1 teaspoon of chili powder (decrease or increase to taste)

1 teaspoon of sea salt

1/2 teaspoon of sugar

1 oz (25g) of golden raisins


Fresh Paonia apricots 009Preheat a deep saute pan or wok then add the oil. When the oil is hot (but not smoking) add the onion seeds and cumin seeds – let them pop and sizzle for 30 seconds, then add the fruit, ginger, garlic, cumin and chili powder – stir fry for about 3 minutes.

Add the salt and sugar, stir fry for another 30 seconds then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan with a lid or piece of foil and continue to cook for another 5 minutes.

Remove the lid, add the raisins and stir-fry for 4-5 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Take it off the heat, cool completely then transfer to clean glass jars and store in the fridge.

Paonia apricots




Posted in Indian Cuisine, Made in Under 30 mins, Vegan | 4 Comments

Recipe – Frozen Berries with a Warm White Chocolate Sauce

Loosely adapted from a Patricia Lousada recipe that I combined with a happy error of mine, this is drop dead easy to make and turned out to be quite an elegant dessert when served on a pretty plate.

Raspberries and blueberries freeze brilliantly and I always have some ready-frozen, in which case this dessert can be assembled in under 30 minutes. Otherwise, just spread the fresh berries in a single layer on a plate and freeze them overnight.

I’m not normally a fan of white chocolate, preferring the darkest of the dark – but I must say, this is really wonderful!

Frozen Berries with a Warm White Chocolate Sauce

Frozen Berries with a Warm White Chocolate Sauce


(Serves 4)


2 cups each (240ml measure) of frozen raspberries and blueberries

1 cup (240ml) of heavy (double) whipping cream

7 oz (200g) of good quality white chocolate chips such as Ghiradelli

1 teaspoon of pure vanilla or finely grated orange zest


To make the sauce, combine the chocolate chips, cream and vanilla (or zest)  in a bowl set over barely simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t come into contact with the water. Check after a few minutes and give it a good stir every now and then until the chocolate has completely melted.  Remove from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.

Divide the frozen berries between 4 dishes or dessert plates and pour the sauce over and around the berries to serve.



Posted in Desserts, Gluten Free Desserts | Leave a comment

Recipe – Oven Roasted Baby Turnips with a Lemon & Herb Vinaigrette

Turnips can grow to be be as big as your head, are rather unappetizing and they’re frequently fed to livestock.

However, if you’re lucky enough to find tiny baby turnips as I did at the farmers market the other day, then I recommend buying a bagful. When raw, they have a crisp, peppery flavor and are absolutely delicious sliced into a salad or dunked into aioli, as you would with a radish.

However, if you roast them in a hot oven for about 20 minutes, you’ll have sweeter-tasting, tender morsels, made even more delicious when smothered in a lemony herb dressing.

Another way to serve them would be to cook them like potatoes then toss them in butter with a little soft brown sugar.

In this recipe they’re best eaten warm or at room temperature. I left the green stalks on them for appearances only – they aren’t meant to be eaten.

Roast Baby Turnips with a Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

Roast Baby Turnips with a Lemon Herb Vinaigrette



1 lb (1/2 kilo) of baby turnips, washed and with stalks trimmed short

2 tablespoons hi temp cooking oil such as avocado or grape seed

For the vinaigrette:

1/2 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon of finely chopped shallot

2 heaped tablespoons of chopped parsley

A pinch or two of sugar

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Roast Baby Turnips, Lemon & Herb Vinaigrette 003Action:

Combine all the vinaigrette ingredients together and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425F / 220C and put a roasting pan in the oven to heat.

Cut the turnips in half lengthwise, toss them with the two tablespoons of avocado oil and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Arrange the turnips in the preheated pan and roast for 18-25 minutes or until tender and tinged brown in patches.

Transfer them turnips to a bowl, allow them to cool a bit then toss them with the vinaigrette.

Serve warm or at room temp. If you make them ahead, cover and chill in the fridge but bring them back to room temp before serving.

Posted in Made in Under 30 mins, Salads & Appetizers, Vegan, Vegetables / Vegetarian | 4 Comments

Recipe – Watermelon Salsa

Fresh, fruity, versatile and totally summery, this fragrant salsa has quite a kick and goes brilliantly with grilled fish, chicken, sausages, burgers, pork, lamb, even beef kebabs – or just serve it with your favorite chips.

If you can’t find jicama, use English hothouse cucumber and that goes for seedless watermelon as well; I just happened to have one lurking in the fridge. Diced mango, roasted sweetcorn kernels or tomatoes are also wonderful – in fact many combinations of ingredients will make a perfect salsa; just make sure you always include the cilantro (coriander), onion, lime and chili.

Watermelon Salsa

Watermelon Salsa


(makes about 3 cups)


2 jalapeño chilies or one red chili, seeded and finely diced (add more for extra fire)

The juice of 1 or two limes

1 bunch of fresh cilantro (coriander), tough stems discarded, leaves chopped

1 each of small red, yellow and orange peppers, seeded and finely chopped

½ cup measure of finely diced jicama

1 medium shallot, finely minced

Half of a small seedless watermelon, cut into small dice

Sea salt to taste


Pretty simple; combine all the above and adjust the salt to taste. Cover and chill up to 4 hours.


Posted in Made in Under 30 mins, Salads & Appetizers, Vegan, Vegetables / Vegetarian | 4 Comments