Win a copy of The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook | Press | Lay the table

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via Win a copy of The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook (featuring my recipe!) | Press | Lay the table.

Not my recipe ! but I do know Lynn and the clandestine cake club and have been delighted to attend one of the secret afternoon tea gatherings. So well recommended

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Homemade meatballs

So delighted. I got a new gadget toy for my kenwood mixer, it is a mincer. I had bought it thinking I would make sausages but when looking through my cookbooks I decided instead to try mincing my own meat and making meatballs. I used the mr bowler cookbook, and they were delicious. I will be now experimenting with lots of other types of mince , shepherds pie anyone?

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New Obsession with Jam and preserves

It used to be all about the soup but recently I have found myself becoming more excited by preserving.

It started a few years ago making my own marmalade. My mum has always made marmalade and so I thought I would give it ago, I then progressed to raspberry jam then strawberry jam. Then I began making my own sloe gin, then blackberry gin, raspberry vodka and now I can’t stop.

Being from Yorkshire and it being February I am going to make Forced rhubarb, rose and cardamom jam next. This is a soft set jam and I will use it to either spread on a cake or to top some yoghurt with a sprinkling of pistachios.

I am already planning what I will do after that so far the list is

– freezer jam – no cooking just use apple pectin to set (supposed to be great for strawberries and raspberries)

– raspberry and violet jam

– blackberry and sloe gin jam

– pear and chestnut jam

– apricot and lavender jam

– rose petal jelly

– earl grey tea jelly

– sweet blackcurrant vinegar

– pickled cucumber

– pickled garlic



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Celeriac and Thyme Soup

Celery and celeriac are ingredients that everyone goes “I don’t like them” and yet they love this soup. Celery makes the base for nearly all my soups and this is a delicious creamy soup with a hint of nutmeg and lots of fresh thyme – I love this soup it is magic and has so few calories that you probably burn up more calories eating it than consuming it!

250g Celeriac diced

4 sticks celery diced

Onion diced

1.2l Vegetable Stock

25g Butter

Bay leaf


Fresh thyme

Salt and pepper


Melt the butter and add half the thyme, the celeriac, onion and celery cover with a lid and sweat for 15 mins. Add the bay leaf, a few gratings of nutmeg and the vegetable stock . Simmer for 30 minutes remove the bay leaf, then blend, check the seasoning it needs quite a lot of black pepper and garnish with fresh thyme leaves.

Health benefits

Celery is great, it makes you wee loads (which is good if you suffer from water retention girls) lowers your blood pressure and lowers your cholesterol . Celery also contains compounds called coumarins that help prevent free radicals from damaging cells, thus decreasing the mutations that increase the potential for cells to become cancerous. Coumarins also enhance the activity of certain white blood cells, immune defenders that target and eliminate potentially harmful cells, including cancer cells. In addition, compounds in celery called acetylenics have been shown to stop the growth of tumour cells.

Thyme is the abracadabra of this soup as it contains the oil thymol. Thymol has been shown to stop your brain, kidney and heart cells from aging. It is also an antibacterial agent which means if you add it to a salad dressing it will kill off any nasty bacteria which could give you an upset stomach. .

Did You know…

The ancient Egyptians used thyme oil as an embalming agent to preserve their deceased pharaohs


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Tea or coffee for breakfast

Being a Yorkshire girl I do love a big mug of tea in the morning, however I also like a small strong cappuccino . Occasionally I get so carried away that I have to have both . The first breakfast is tea with a breakfast of peaches, yoghurt and toasted almonds. The second is coffee with a breakfast of English strawberries , greek yogurt. The last breakfast is softly scrambled free range eggs on toast with a strong cup of tea and an even stronger cup of coffee. What do you like to drink in the morning?





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Moroccan Chickpea Soup

It is cold and wet and horrible – you need nourishment. Now Jade Goody thought that chickpeas came from chickens but they don’t, kidney beans however are the kidneys of small dogs so be warned.


2 tbsp Olive oil

1 Onion diced

Clove garlic chopped

2 celery sticks diced

2 tsp cumin

1 can of chickpeas

1 can of tomatoes

100g frozen broad beans

1 tsp harissa

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp tomato puree


Heat oil with spices, add onion and celery and sweat for 10 mins, add all the other ingredients except broad beans and simmer for 8 mins. Add broad beans and lemon juice (optional) serve with chopped coriander

Health benefits

Chickpeas like most of the other pulses are fantastic for you as they lower your heart attack risk (lots of magnesium and folate), provide lots of fibre which is very good for avoiding Irritable bowl syndrome, lowers cholesterol which when combined with a bit of garlic and turmeric (which this soup does) can lower your cholesterol level by 9%. Help your body balance it blood sugar so you don’t get highs and lows and instead have sustained energy release. Iron which loads of women are short off which can make you feel weak and lethargic and finally loads of protein which makes you feel full up without the saturated fat of meat or dairy.

Canned tomatoes have many health benefits. The magic word is Lycopene. This has been shown to help protect not only against prostate, but breast, pancreatic and intestinal cancers, especially when consumed with fat-rich foods, such as avocado, olive oil or nuts. (This is because carotenoids are fat-soluble, meaning they are absorbed into the body along with fats.) So you could have a few nuts with this soup if you want to increase your absorption of lycopene.

Did You know…

The word restaurant was first used in France in the 16th century, to describe a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, sold by street vendors called restaurer, that was advertised as an antidote to physical exhaustion. In 1765, a Parisian entrepreneur opened a shop specializing in restaurers. This prompted the use of the modern word restaurant to describe the shops.


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Pea and Mint soup

From the 19th Century I have taken a split pea soup (sometimes called a London Peculiar as it was named after the smog “peculiar” to London) and from the 20th century I have taken a fresh pea and mint soup. Blend them together and we have created a 21st century soup complete with a garnish of petit pois. How lucky are you my little time travellers.


300g Green Split peas

300g Frozen peas (reserve a handful for garnish)

1 stick celery diced

1 Carrot diced

1 Leek sliced

1Onion diced

1.2l Vegetable stock

Bay leaf

½ tsp Cumin

1 tbsp Fresh mint

1 tsp Mint sauce

25g Butter


Soak the split peas for at least 4hrs – this makes them quicker to cook. In a large pan melt the butter and add the celery, onions, leeks and carrots sauté until soft add the cumin split peas bay leaf and vegetable stock bring to the boil and simmer for about 40 minutes until the green split peas have begun to break down. Add the frozen peas, remove the bay leaf and blend. Add the chopped fresh mint and the mint sauce check for seasoning, decorate with a few reserved whole peas.

Health benefits

Peas are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, thiamine (vitamin B1), iron and phosphorus. They are rich in protein, carbohydrate and fibre, and low in fat. Peas may help prevent certain types of cancer: for example, in one study they were linked to lower rates of prostate cancer. They are good for the heart because they are a rich source of soluble fibre, which enables the body to reduce its blood cholesterol level. They may also protect against appendicitis.

Mint contains a number of vitamins and minerals, which are vital to maintain a healthy body. Mint is rich in Vitamins A and C and also contains smaller amounts of Vitamin B2. Vitamin C is an important antioxidant and may help to decrease the risk of certain cancers such as colon and rectal cancer. Although mint may be consumed in small quantities, the vital nutrients obtained are still beneficial to one’s health.

Mint also contains a wide range of essential minerals such as manganese, copper, iron, potassium and calcium

. Did You know…

Garden peas were an absolute craze in the Royal French Court in the seventeenth century. They were eaten like a delicious sin (bit like we eat chocolate).
Madame de Maintenon, mistress of Louis XIV wrote in 1669: “There are ladies who, after having dined, and dined well, eat garden peas in their own quarters before going to bed.”

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