Recipe blog posts

Roasted strawberry and vodka sorbet

When your friend drops off a bottle of ‘Mama vodka’ (seriously that is its name) you are duty bound to make something delicious with it. We are still in the middle of a mini Munich heat wave and so whilst it was tempting to simply grab some ice and a slice, I wanted to make something worthy of the weekend.

Alcohol works wonders in a sorbet as its higher freezing temperature stops the fruit mixture from freezing rock solid. This means it is always at the perfect scooping consistency. I love vodka. Maybe its growing up in Norway. Maybe because it was my drink of choice during the party years on Lower Marsh in London (cranberry and vodka felt so grown up back then!). Maybe its because it works so well in recipes with fruit. It somehow manages to pack a serious punch without overpowering other flavors.

Strawberries were the obvious choice for me, mainly because I had a few punnets languishing in the fridge. Strawberry season is over now and these summer fruits have past their prime. The ones I had were seedier than normal and didn’t have that super sweet juiciness of their July counterparts. By roasting them I was able to draw out their hidden sweetness and caramelize their natural sugars. There are other options though: lychee and ginger is going to be my next experiment and I bet peach and pistachio would be delicious too.

This is a really simply sorbet. It is three ingredients and is ready to eat after two hours in the freezer. It is refreshing, sweet and packs that secret kick. Make it tonight and enjoy all weekend.

…..and just as a little side note. If you want instant vodka sorbet then all you need to do is combine vodka, maple syrup and frozen fruit…happy friday!

400g strawberries

6 tbsp maple syrup

4 tbsp vodka

Preheat the oven to 180C

Place the strawberry into an dish and roast for 25mins

Once cooled place into a blender with the maple syrup and the vodka

Pour into a shallow dish and allow to freeze for 2 hours or more


YNBO rosewater and pistachio vegan iced biscuits

Thank goodness I keep a stash of chickpeas in the cupboard because once again GBBO and the show stopper has me reaching for aqua faba. This week saw the contestants making standing constructions, viennese biscuits and practicing their icing skills. To be honest, I am not much of a biscuit girl but I loved last nights show and it makes me want to up my gingerbread house game this winter! I thought I would combine two challenges and give you a vegan cinnamon biscuit with a beautiful plant based icing. You could easily use this biscuit to make a house or other construction as it is a hard biscuit that holds icing well.

Normal royal icing needs egg whites to help it to set and whilst I am sure that you could try and use a combination of arrow root and corn starch, I figured that chick pea water would do the trick again. I decided to make my own icing sugar using unrefined sugar. Unrefined sugar is still sugar but it retains its naturally present minerals and nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus and iron. It is sold as raw unrefined sugar. Brown sugar is not unrefined unless stated, it is simply refined sugar that has had molasses added to it to give it colour.

For colors you could make a paste (1tsp hot water, 2 tsp ingredient) of: bee pollen (yellow), Acai (Purple), Beetroot powder (red/pink), matcha (green). To colour my icing i used 1 tbsp of acai powder to get a speckled purple. In order to get icing thick enough to pipe the easiest test is to run a knife through the icing in the bowl. It should take 15 seconds for the line to cover up again. For thinner icing (to flood/colour in an area) the same test can be done but it should take around 10 seconds for the line to close.

These cinnamon biscuits are crunchy and light. They hold the icing without getting soggy and they have a warming aftertaste to them. I topped the icing with ground pistachios but you could decorate with icing, chopped nuts or edible flowers.

Ingredients-Icing (for approx 40 biscuits)
60ml aqua faba

240g icing sugar

1 tsp rose water (or vanilla)

(1 tsp juice or 1 tbsp powder to dye)

Place the aqua faba into a bowl and whisk until it becomes frothy

Add in the rose water and the sugar and whisk carefully until fully combined

Place into the fridge to set for 1.5 hours

Stir in colorings as desired


Ingredients – Cinnamon biscuits (approx 40)
150g self raising flour

150g plain flour

2 tsp cinnamon

100g coconut oil or 125g butter

1 flax egg or 1 egg

100g unrefined sugar

Preheat your oven to 160C

Combine all the ingredients & mix into a firm dough

Roll the dough out between two sheets of baking paper to a 1cm thickness

Cut out and place onto a baking sheet

Bake for 10-12 minutes

Cool on a baking rack before icing

Blackberry and ginger chia fresca

It was seriously crazy hot this weekend. We escaped with our close friends to a nearby lake, Worthsee. It is so perfect for kids, there is a huge sandy playpark and the lake surround is beautiful soft grass that leads down to the water edge. The water is crystal clear and the lake was full of happy swimmers, stand up paddle boarders and toddling babies. They also have a kiosk that sells strong coffee, chips and wine…just saying!

We took a picnic both days with us and packed up berries, roasted veggies, crackers and mini frittatas for the little ones. We ate the leftovers/rejects at times but mostly we hung out on big rugs and enjoyed the last of the summer. When its super hot I don’t have a big appetite and I seemed to live on smoothie bowls, watermelon and chia fresca this weekend. Chia seeds are so powerful in keeping you hydrated. They absorb up to twelve times their own weight in water and so allow your body to ‘store’ water for longer. You can make a simple chia fresca – water, chia, lime juice and a little sweetener as an effective natural energy drink for during or after working out. Its a really popular drink for endurance athletes..and hot mums on busy days.

Blackberry season is just starting so take full advantage. They are packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. As kids we spent every summer on a farm in France and I remember being sent out by my mum to go picking. We would go off down the lane with my aunty and uncle and spend ages trying to fill buckets with the biggest berries. We always thought my uncle was a genius/wizard as he could do the 360 degree bucket flip without spilling a berry! We would return home stained and prickled and excited for the feast! Enjoy

Ingredients (serves 4)
135g blackberries (washed)

3 tbsp chia seeds

1 small piece of ginger

Juice 1/2 lime

800 ml water

3 tbsp maple syrup

Ice cubes to serve

Place the chia seeds in a glass with 400ml of water and leave to swell for 20mins

Place the ginger, berries, maple syrup, lime juice and 400 ml of water into a blender and blend well

Add in the chia seed gel and blend briefly

Serve over ice

German damson cake

What I love about Germany is that they really celebrate seasonal food. During white asparagus season little stalls pop up everywhere. Trays and trays of white asparagus are brought out each morning and are gone by the afternoon. The stalls are often little more than a road side table and carry only the prized white stalks and occasionally a packet of Hollandaise sauce and the odd homemade jar of jam. As strawberry season arrives, the stalls make room for the berries and then they seem to disappear until the next year. Here, close to the Alps, mushroom season is a huge deal and the first of the chanterelles have just started to appear. Kale is only around after the first frost but before the ground thaws.

Being that Germans love cake you can also follow the seasonal foods via what cake is in the bakery windows. Right now it is damson cake. Up north this is called ‘Zwetschen (damson) Kuchen (cake)’ but down here is ‘Zwetschgendatshi’. In Bavarian the word datshi means to squish. Traditionally when you make this cake you squish the damsons onto the cake base to allow the juice to soak in before baking. I buy this cake a lot just to sit and eat the roasted damsons off the top (the dog gets the cake base…which isn’t helping his diet). Damsons are in season now and at their most delicious but you could replicate this cake with greengages or plums. In a few weeks the damsons will be gone and in their place will be apricots (at the stalls and the bakery) and then come apples. I really appreciate that local seasonal food is embraced and enjoyed. And also that it then disappears until the next year when once again its arrival is celebrated with much fanfare.

When my good friend arrived at my doorstep with a huge punnet of damsons from her Aunty’s garden I knew that I wanted to try and replicate this delicious cake. You could layer it onto a thinly baked sponge, but keep the marzipan as it stops the cake from getting too soft. As with all things, this cake is best shared and even better enjoyed with a cup of coffee and a good chat.

Ingredients (base)
2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup honey

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cardamon

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/4 plain flour

Place the oats and flour into a blender and blend until the oats are finely chopped

Add in the spices and oil blend briefly

Add in the honey and blend until you have a thick sticky ball of dough

Place the dough onto a piece of baking paper and place a second sheet on top

Roll out the dough between the paper sheets into a rectangle until it is approx 2cm thick

Bake for 12-15 minutes

Once almost cool cut into 4 rectangles

Ingredients (Marzipan)
100g ground almonds

2tsp maple syrup

1 tsp rose water

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and mix until you have a dough

Roll out on baking paper into a thin layer and cut into rectangles to fit onto the base rectangles

Place onto the biscuit base whilst the base is still slightly warm and allow to melt

Ingredients (damsons)
14 – 16 damson (halved and de stoned)

2 tbsp water

Place the damsons cut side up into a baking dish with the water

Roast for 30 mins until soft

Allow to cool then layer onto the base


YNBO Vegan genoise cake with a chocolate glaze

Did you watch it? You know what I’m talking about right…. The magic that is Great British Bake Off is back and I for one could not be happier. Obviously I already have my favourite: Benjamina but I’ve got a soft spot for Val. I spent the entire hour glued to the show, looking away only to text my Aunty & sister who were also watching. Last night we had the joys of drizzle cake, Jaffa cakes & of course a genoise sponge with a mirror glaze as the show stopper. I have two things to say – firstly who bakes Jaffa cakes???? And secondly I have decided to enter the GBBO this year, or rather I have decided to set myself the challenge of baking a plant based healthier version of the show stopper for you each Thursday.

Welcome to YNBO – Yolanda’s Natural Bake Off

This morning was a little bit stressful. Genoise sponge is a type of sponge that doesn’t use a raising agent. To get volume you whip up egg whites and sugar. When you set yourself the challenge of plant based it means no eggs and you have to think hard about alternatives. In my panic I turned to chickpeas, no seriously, this cake uses chickpeas.

I had heard about chefs using Aqua faba as an alternative to egg whites when making meringue. Aqua faba is the water in a tin of chickpeas. This unassuming liquid is magic and despite the fact that I had to whip it by hand (bicep ache!!), it really did allow me to make an egg less sponge.

For the mirror glaze you traditionally use gelatin to give it the shine and so I crossed my fingers and used agar-agar. My cake is certainly not super smooth and polished but if you want yours to be, you can either cover it first in a cream and then allow it to chill before glazing or you can trim the top of the cake to get a perfectly flat surface.

This cake is two very simple flavors but you could get creative. Pistachio & lemon cake or orange & rose water would be delicious. You could also infuse your cream in the glaze with rooibos tea, ginger or elderflower.

I have no idea what is coming up each week or even if I will manage to recreate a plant based version each Thursday….but for now here is my (chickpea) vegan genoise with a chocolate mirror glaze.

Ingredients – makes one 6inch sponge
2/3 cup chickpea water

3/4 cup raw unrefined sugar

1 cup plain flour

1/4 coconut or rapeseed oil

Place the sugar and chickpea water into a large clean bowl

Whisk together until the mixture thickens & can form soft peaks

Gently fold in the oil & then slowly fold in the sifted flour

Place into a greased cake tin & bake for approx 40mins

Leave to cool

Ingredients – chocolate glaze
4 tbsp cocoa

1/2 raw sugar

1/2 oat cream

1/2 cup water

1 serving agar agar dissolved in 1 tbsp water (or according to packet)

Place the cocoa, sugar, cream & water into a pan

Heat gently, whilst stirring till the mixture thickens

Remove from the heat & add in the agar-agar

Stir well to dissolve

Allow to cool & then pour over the cool cake

Decorate & enjoy