To celebrate the launch of a new vegan menu for kids, wagamama unveils the top 30 vegan foods to try before you’re 12

To mark the launch of its brand-new vegan children’s menu, wagamama is inspiring little noodlers nationwide by revealing the top 30 plant-based foods to try before they’re 12. The carefully curated list aims to encourage kids to be more playful with their palettes with a selection of fun flavours, crisp and crunchy textures.

Working with Specialist Paediatric Dietitian Bahee Van de Bor, wagamama has devised a colourful combination of exciting foods and flavours to encourage children to go outside their cuisine comfort zone. The vegan list was carefully selected based on natural, unprocessed foods, with a focus on ingredients that are nutritionally beneficial for children on a plant-based diet.

The new children’s menu also includes the tofu challenge, where kids are encouraged to try a piece of tofu in vegetable broth for free at all restaurants across the UK. 

wagamama top 30 things to try before you’re 12


1.       Tofu – For protection against heart disease and also help reduce bone loss

2.       Edamame – Useful snack for kids as an additional way to sneak in protein into children’s diets

3.       Sesame seeds – Contribute iron and zinc but also a range of vitamins and minerals

4.       Peanuts – Rich in antioxidants and a good source of zinc

5.       Guava – High in Vitamin C which is an immune booster and protects from infection, such as the regular coughs and colds

6.       Banana – The prebiotic fibre in bananas help the growth of friendly “good” bacteria in the gut to help maintain a healthy digestive system

7.       Broccoli – At least 50% of calcium present in broccoli is absorbed by the body. A nutritious vegetable with multiple vitamins

8.       Spinach – High in iron, which is important for transporting oxygen around the body

9.       Sweet potato – Rich in beta-carotene, a vitamin important for immunity and vision

10.   Red split lentils – Rich in iron and a great source of fibre

11.   All beans: chickpeas, butter beans, haricot, adzuki – Excellent source of plant protein and carbohydrate with soluble fibre – supporting a healthy central nervous system and children’s learning capacity

12.   Soba Noodles – High in fibre and also higher in protein compared to standard wheat based noodles

13.   Beets – Nitrates in beets are thought to help promote cognitive function

14.   Carrots – Rich in vitamin A, fat-soluble vitamin that children require for vision, immunity as well as normal growth and development

15.   Amaranth – High protein grain that is complete with all essential amino acids and antioxidants

16.   Oats – Contains beta-glucan fibre which helps prevent constipation

17.   Blueberries – Overall beneficial for heart health, brain function, low in calories and anti-inflammatory properties

18.   Mango – High vitamin A content making it a great food source for immunity, healthy hair and skin

19.   Walnuts – Perfect ratio of the essential omega-3 fats to help the body make DHA that has an important role in brain development

20.   Almonds – One of the best sources of vitamin E foods (23.9mg/100g) but is also rich in iron

21.   Apple – Most of the fibre and antioxidants are on the skin, so encourage kids to eat with the skin left on

22.   Passion fruit – Vitamin A is important for immunity, vision and healthy skin

23.   Mushrooms – An affordable source of selenium with a “meaty” texture

24.   Bell peppers – The vitamin C in bell peppers also helps the absorption of iron from plant foods

25.   Artichoke – An excellent source of fibre that help feed the healthy bacteria in the gut

26.   Kale – The calcium in kale is highly bioavailable with at least 50-60% is absorbed

27.   Butternut squash – A nutritious food for kids that is high in both vitamin A and is a source of vitamin E and potassium

28.   Aubergine – especially rich in anthocyanins, a type of pigment with antioxidant properties that’s responsible for their vibrant colour

29.   Rapeseed oil – Rich in poly and mono fats, it is also a source of parent omega-3 fats which the body can convert to a small extent to DHA (DHA has a role in the normal development of the brain and eyes)

30.   Calcium fortified plant drink – Children following a plant-based diet require a reliable source of calcium such as soy or oat-based calcium enriched drink

Images of children by Lauren Jayne Hall

Delicious, Healthy Pancake Recipes

It’s Shrove Tuesday – the day when it’s officially acceptable to eat pancakes for at least one meal! So if you’re looking for some super healthy, but totally delicious pancake recipes to make with your little ones then here are three from our favourite foodie gurus.

Deliciously Ella’s



2 tablespoons chia seeds, 4 tablespoons water

1/2 cup buckwheat flour (100g)

1 banana

1/2 cup brown rice milk (or any other plant-based milk) (150ml)

5 cardamom pods or 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom

zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon coconut oil (for frying)


1 teaspoon coconut oil

3 teaspoons of honey or maple syrup

zest of 1/2 lemon



Combine 2 tablespoons of chia seeds with 4 tablespoons of water and leave to sit in the fridge for about of 30 minutes.

Firmly press down on each cardamom pod with the flat side of a sturdy knife. Open the pod and pick out the seeds, discarding the outer shell. Either carefully roughly chop the seeds with a knife or grind them using a mortar and pestle.

Zest an entire lemon and set aside half for the drizzle.

Mash the banana in a bowl and then add all the pancake ingredients to your blender. Blitz well until everything is combined. The consistency should be nice and thick!

Heat the coconut oil over a medium heat in a non-stick pan. Once the oil has melted, use about a ¼ cup of the mix and pour into the pan. Heat until bubbles form about three quarters of the way cooked through and then flip to cook for another minute or two. Repeat with the rest of the mixture adding more coconut oil when the pan dries out. The mix should make 5-6 small pancakes.

Then simply combine all of the ingredients for the drizzle together and stir well.

Stack your pancakes and pour the zesty honey drizzle on top!


Madeleine Shaw’s



In a large bowl mix the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, soda, cinnamon, salt and coconut sugar. Add the eggs, oil and milk and mix well.

Heat a frying pan to a medium-high temperature and melt the coconut oil.  Fry off a few tbsp. of the pancake mix, cook for a minute or two on one side until the pancakes start to bubble then flip over and cook on the other side.

Serve with fresh fruit, maple syrup and nuts.

If you are vegan you can swap the eggs for chia eggs.


160g of rice flour or buckwheat flour

75g of ground almonds

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoon coconut sugar

2 eggs

3 tbsp of melted coconut oil plus extra for cooking

1 cup milk (almond, rice, coconut…whatever you want)

to serve – maple syrup, fresh fruit and almond flakes.


Hemsley and Hemsley’s



Wash the blueberries and allow them to dry.

Melt the coconut oil or butter, on a low heat, in a PTFE-free non-stick pan (we use Greenpan or Colourworks ceramic frying pan) and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, beat the eggs, maple syrup, vanilla and salt in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy.

Sift in the coconut flour and bicarbonate of soda and blend with the melted coconut oil to make a batter.

Add water a tablespoon at a time to get the right consistency.

Use a spatula to redistribute any leftover coconut oil in the frying pan and on a medium heat add 2 tablespoons of the batter. Push 5 blueberries into the centre of the pancake and the blueberries will spread slowly as it cooks.

After a couple of minutes check if you can loosen the pancake easily and carefully turn it over – it may need a little longer.

After another minute or so the pancake is cooked and ready to serve.

For the cashew mango cream, add the mango and the water it has been soaking in to a blender with the rinsed and drained cashews then blend until smooth. Add more water if desired.


2 eggs (room temperature)

2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil or butter, melted

2-4 tablespoons of warm water

2 tablespoons of coconut flour

1.5 tablespoons of maple syrup

1 tiny sprinkle of salt

¼ teaspoon of baking powder

½ teaspoon or more of vanilla extract

Cashew mango cream

1/2 cup of whole cashews (soaked for 6-7 hours in filtered warm water with sea salt, rinsed and drained)

30g dried mango soaked in ½ cup of filtered water


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Jo Pratt’s latest book, The Flexible Pescatarian, offers a variety of dishes with or without fish. Try these fishfingers with four dips, sure to suit the many tastes of most households.

When time is short (that’s most of the time then!) and I want a home cooked, nutritious meal for all the family, this is often my go-to recipe. It uses accessible ingredients, is really quick to prep and involves minimal washing up. Furthermore, you can cook them immediately or leave them in your fridge to cook later which means you can cook them to suit the various comings and goings in your house.
I’ve given you the Moroccan inspired recipe here but there are numerous flavour combinations to suit your family’s tastes or ingredient availability (see PS at the end of the recipe). Now my children are a bit bigger, I’ll make four parcels from this recipe, but you might find you can get six parcels if you have smaller tummies to fill. Cook them all and put any leftovers in the freezer for heating up another day.
The parcels work very well as a complete meal in one – so there’s no need to make extra side dishes. That said, some couscous, pasta, rice or crusty bread are always a welcome addition.

TIME TAKEN 30 minutes

  • 450g / 1 lb white fish, skinned
  • 50g / 1¾ oz plain flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 100g / 4½ oz dried white breadcrumbs, ideally panko
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt
  • olive oil, for frying
  • freshly ground black pepper

Cut the fish into finger-sized pieces.

Put the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs into separate, shallow bowls. Mix the paprika, salt and a twist of pepper into the flour.

Lightly coat the fish in the flour, then egg, and finish with a coating of breadcrumbs.

To fry the fish fingers, pour in enough oil to cover the base of a frying pan and, when it’s hot, add the fish fingers.

Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden and crunchy. You may need to do this in a couple of batches as it’s best not to overcrowd the pan.

Drain on kitchen paper and serve with your chosen dips.

Alternatively, you can bake the fish fingers by putting them on an oiled baking tray and drizzling or spraying with oil. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F/gas 6 for 6 minutes on each side.


TIME TAKEN 5 minutes

  • 100ml / 3½ fl oz mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • few drops of Tabasco sauce
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix everything together and transfer to a serving dish.


TIME TAKEN 5 minutes

  • 150g / 5½ oz frozen peas, defrosted
  • 4 tbsp crème fraîche
  • small handful of mint leaves
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the peas in a food processor and briefly blitz before adding the remaining ingredients. Blend until smooth and transfer to a serving bowl.


TIME TAKEN 10 minutes

  • 175ml / 6 fl oz olive oil
  • finely grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • flaked sea salt

Warm the olive oil and lemon zest in a small pan until just tepid.

Place the egg yolks, lemon juice and water in a medium heatproof bowl. Stand the bowl in a pan of gently simmering water and whisk until the mixture thickens just enough to form ribbons when the whisk is lifted.

Remove the bowl from the pan and slowly pour the warm oil into the egg mixture, whisking continuously to give you a dipping sauce consistency.
Season with salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Keep covered until needed.


TIME TAKEN 5 minutes

  • 125ml / 4 fl oz mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp wasabi
  • 2 tsp lime juice

Mix the wasabi and lime into the mayonnaise and transfer to a serving bowl.


TIME TAKEN 10 minutes

  • 150ml / 5½ fl oz mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp capers
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped gherkins
  • ½ shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix everything together and transfer to a serving bowl.

For more of Jo Pratt’s recipes head to our recipes page.

The Flexible Pescatarian by Jo Pratt
The Flexible Pescatarian by Jo Pratt
White Lion Publishing £20
Available on Amazon, Waterstones, The Book Depositor , and Books Etc.


by Jo Pratt

When time is short (that’s most of the time then!) and I want a home cooked, nutritious meal for all the family, this is often my go-to recipe. It uses accessible ingredients, is really quick to prep and involves minimal washing up. Furthermore, you can cook them immediately or leave them in your fridge to cook later which means you can cook them to suit the various comings and goings in your house.
I’ve given you the Moroccan inspired recipe here but there are numerous flavour combinations to suit your family’s tastes or ingredient availability (see PS at the end of the recipe). Now my children are a bit bigger, I’ll make four parcels from this recipe, but you might find you can get six parcels if you have smaller tummies to fill. Cook them all and put any leftovers in the freezer for heating up another day.
The parcels work very well as a complete meal in one – so there’s no need to make extra side dishes. That said, some couscous, pasta, rice or crusty bread are always a welcome addition.

COOKING TIME 30 minutes

  • 4 skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbsp grated root ginger
  • 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin drained tinned chickpeas or cannellini beans
  • 100g dried raisins, sultanas or chopped apricots
  • 200g green beans, halved
  • 1-2 tsp harissa paste
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • large handful pitted black or green olives (optional)
  • small handful of shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped (optional)
  • few sprigs of fresh coriander (optional)

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and put a large baking tray in the oven to heat.

Take four large pieces of grease proof paper or kitchen foil and fold each one in half to make it double thickness. Tightly fold together two of the edges to seal, creating a pouch, making sure there are no gaps for the food to escape when cooking. Secure the folds using a stapler if using greaseproof paper. Alternatively, buy baking/roasting bags from supermarkets that are ready to use and a real time saver.

Slice each chicken breast into 3-4 pieces and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together all of the remaining ingredients, apart from the pistachios and coriander. Season with a little salt and pepper. Divide between the four parcels and put a sliced chicken breast into each one, pushing down into the sauce to cover. Seal the parcels by folding over the open top, or using an oven-proof tie or string, leaving some air in them for steam to circulate when cooking. The parcels are now ready to cook straight away or store in the fridge until required.

Put the parcels directly on top of the baking tray you’ve been heating in the oven, slightly spaced apart, and cook for 30 minutes. By now the chicken will be tender and juicy and the sauce thickened. When cooked, split open the parcels onto bowls/plates and serve scattered with pistachios and coriander

Be creative and switch the flavours around:

GREEK CHICKEN PARCELS swap the harissa for 2 tsp olive tapenade and switch the ground coriander for dried oregano. Serve scattered with some feta cheese and serve with bulgur wheat.

INDIAN CHICKEN PARCELS swap the harissa for 1 tbsp curry paste and omit the olives and pistachios. Scatter the top with flaked almonds and serve with some mango chutney and naan bread or rice.

ITALIAN CHICKEN PARCELS Omit the ginger, harissa, raisins, coriander and cinnamon and use 2 tbsp pesto, 2 chopped anchovies (optional), 1 tsp balsamic vinegar and a pinch of sugar instead. Serve with parmesan cheese and garlic bread or pasta.




We are delighted to announce that we have extended the deadline for our City Kids School Food Awards #CityKidsSFA19. The response from schools and parents has been so overwhelmingly positive that we want to include as many entrants as possible.

The School Food Awards are a unique opportunity to win an award that recognises the great work of schools and their kitchen teams. All schools are operating on budgets, and some are very tight budgets, yet many catering teams manage to provide nutritious, hot lunches for the kids. We think this should be celebrated!  But we also need to continue the discussion surrounding around free school meals and healthy eating.

With these awards we aim to recognise those schools who are providing catering excellence and thinking beyond meat and potatoes. The awards will become a well-regarded accolade amongst parents and educators alike. Winners will be handpicked by the City Kids editorial team and a host of well-known and passionate foodies, to be announced shortly.

The award categories are as follows:

State Sector
  • School Dinner Hero (Primary/Secondary)
  • Best School Menu (Primary/Secondary)
  • Best Vegetarian Menu (Primary/Secondary)
Independent Sector
  • School Dinner Hero (Prep/Secondary)
  • Best School Menu (Prep/Secondary)
  • Best Vegetarian Menu (Prep/Secondary)
Why Enter?

What’s the one question that kids ask when they visit a school? “What’s the food like?”
And what do parents ask on a daily basis when they collect their kids from school? “What did you have for lunch?”
School food is top of the agenda for kids and parents and what better way to show your school’s catering brilliance than with these awards.

Apart from the obvious positive PR, there are plenty of benefits to nominating your school for a City Kids School Food Award. All shortlisted schools will be mentioned in print and online and will be featured in our Spring Education issue. Winners will feature in our Summer issue. You will also receive a digital logo for use across your marketing assets to include: Vote for Us!, Shortlisted, Winner, Runner-up. This will contribute to the multi-media brand exposure across our platforms and yours.

How to enter

For more information about the entry process, categories and judging please click on the link below. Make your application by completing the online form on this page or by email. If you have any questions please email Good luck!

CityKidsSFA2019 rules and entry form

Entries close on Friday 31st January 2019. 



Jo Pratt gives us a quick, easy and healthy recipe for After School Bars which can be made in advance, and also taken to school as they’re nut-free.

“I’m hungry, have you got anything to eat?”… that’s what I hear pretty much every day at school pick up – and not just from my own children.  I’m sure we’ve all been there and resorted to giving them something you’ve quickly grabbed from the ‘treat drawer’ on your way out of the house or from the local shop.

The problem is by the time you get home they are hungry again. As a result you then hear yourself say (again) that you must look for a healthier snack to give to them that will satisfy their hunger for longer.
So with that in mind, when City Kids asked me for this issues recipe I thought; it’s a new school year, lets start as we mean to go on. I had a play around with one of my Flapjack recipes and a healthy granola recipe to create these fruity, oaty bars that are packed with slow release energy from the oats and dried fruits. They are much lower in fat than traditional flapjacks, refined sugar-free, don’t contain nuts and better still get the thumbs up from my two children who can be very fussy at times.



Makes: 8 bars

Takes: 40 minutes

  • 100g porridge oats
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 225g pitted dates
  • 75g honey or agave syrup
  • 100g tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • finely grated zest ½ orange
  • 40g pumpkin or sunflower seeds (or a mixture of the two)
  • 75g dried fruit (i.e cranberries, cherries, raisins, sultanas, chopped apricot)

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 4. Line a 20cm x 20 cm square cake tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.

Mix together the oats and cinnamon. Spread onto a baking tray and toast the oats in the oven for 10 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through so they evenly toast. Remove from the oven and tip the oats into a bowl.

Put the dates in a food processor and blend until they form a sticky paste. Transfer to the bowl with the oats.  Add the seeds and dried fruit.

Heat the honey or agave syrup, tahini and orange zest in a saucepan until hot but not boiling. Pour into the bowl and mix everything together.

Transfer to the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the top is golden.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out and cooling completely. Cut into 8 rectangle bars and store for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container.


by Jo Pratt

Crispy Squid is a very popular dish on the menu at The Gorgeous Kitchen and we’ve recently added a smaller version to our children’s menu, which is going down a treat. Of course you don’t have to plan a flight from Heathrow to taste it, as here’s the recipe for you to make it yourself at home. It’s really quick to prepare and cook, and you can easily buy ready cleaned squid (fresh or frozen) from fishmongers or larger supermarkets. Both larger squid tubes or the baby squid can be used, and you could even throw a few prawns in there too. At the restaurant we serve with a Lime and Chilli dip on the main menu (and a choice of dips for kids). For convenience you can serve yours at home with a bought sweet chilli dipping sauce, however you might also like to give the below dip recipes a try too. Enjoy!



• 400g squid, cleaned
• 100g cornflour
• 100g plain flour
• 1 tsp salt
• 200ml milk
• sunflower or groundnut oil for frying
• lime wedges
• choice of dipping sauce (Lime Mayonnaise, Sweet Chilli, Satay… see recipes)

  • Wash and pat dry the squid. Slice the tubes horizontally into rings or slice in half lengthways and lightly score the inside in a crisscross pattern before cutting into smaller bite size pieces. If using baby squid, you may also have the tentacles, which can be left whole.
  • Put the squid into a bowl and pour over the milk.
  • Put the cornflour, flour and salt in a shallow bowl and mix to combine.
  • Pour some oil into a large pan until the pan is no more than a third full. Place over a medium heat and let the oil warm up.
  • Totest that the oil is ready, place a small piece of bread in the pan – it should sizzle when it touches the oil. It needs to reach about 180°C.
  • Remove a handful of squid from the milk, and toss around in the flour mixture, to coat. Shake off excess flour and gently drop individual pieces of squid into the oil. Fry for about 3 minutes until the coating is crisp and lightly golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining squid.
  • Serve straight away with dipping sauces of your choices and wedges of lime to squeeze over.

• ½ tsp cornflour
• 1 red chilli, finely chopped
• 85ml white wine vinegar
• 175g caster sugar
• 2 tsp fish sauce
• ½ garlic clove
• 1 tbsp finely chopped ginger

Mix the cornflour into 25ml water to dissolve. Set aside. Put all of the remaining ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Whisk in the cornflour solution and boil for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

• 150g peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
• 1 tbsp soy sauce
• 1 tbsp honey
• 1 tsp grated ginger
• pinch dried chilli flakes (optional)
• 1 clove garlic, crushed
• 1 tsp Thai fish sauce
• ½ tbsp sunflower oil
• 150ml coconut milk
• squeeze lime juice

Blend together all of the ingredients until smooth and spoon into dipping bowls.

• 2 tbsp mayonnaise
• 2 tbsp Greek yogurt
• squeeze of fresh lime
• lime zest

Simply mix together the mayonnaise, yogurt and lime juice. Spoon into dipping bowls and scatter with lime zest.


by Jo Pratt

Whether you’re planning an activity to get the kids off their devices, or you just want to escape to the kitchen for some peace and quiet on your own, then you really have to reach for this recipe. It’s easy enough for kids of all ages to help with, doesn’t require any weird and wonderful sized cake tins or a super creative eye to decorate the end result. This tray bake is guaranteed to be a huge hit whatever it looks like and to whoever you serve it to.
This is my twist on a household favourite, Sticky Toffee Pudding. I’ve transformed the tasty dessert into a handy tray bake that can be eaten as a treat throughout the week, taken to school or charity cake sales, coffee mornings, work ‘cake’ days, or even offered as a dinner party dessert when served with some poached pears and a cheeky glass of dessert wine.

Happy baking!


TAKES 30 minutes to bake
SERVES approx. 20 pieces

• 250g ready-to-eat dates
• 250ml black tea
• ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 1 tsp ground mixed spice or ground ginger
• 100g butter, softened
• 150g light brown sugar
• 2 large eggs, beaten
• 200g self-raising flour

• 75g caramel or dulce de leche (tinned Carnation caramel is ideal for this recipe and easily available in supermarkets), plus 2 tbsp extra to serve
• 225g icing sugar
• 65g butter, softened

• chocolate chips/flakes
• pecan or walnuts halves
• dried banana chips
• flaked toasted coconut

• Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas 4. Lightly grease and line a cake tin (approx. 20cm x 25cm).
• Cut the dates into small pieces, removing any stones. Put in a small saucepan with the tea and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes for the dates to soften. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda and mixed spice or ginger. The mixture will froth slightly – this is normal, so don’t panic!
Leave to cool for around 10 minutes.
• Cream together the butter and sugar either by hand or with an electric mixer. Add the eggs and flour, beating in thoroughly before mixing in the date mixture.
• Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 minutes until the top is just firm to touch. Insert a skewer into the middle. It should come out clean. If not, continue cooking for a little longer.
• Remove from the oven and cool for 15 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely.
• To make the frosting, simply beat together the caramel, sugar and butter either by hand or with an electric mixer until light, thick and creamy. Spread over the top of the cooled tray bake with a palate knife.
• Stir the remaining caramel until you have a loose consistency, then drizzle over the top. Add any further toppings if you wish.
• Cut into squares and store for up to one week in an airtight container.


by Jo Pratt

These tacos are proper feel-good food. Put the toasted tortillas in the middle of the table and everyone can start to pile on the smoky, spiced potato and beans, chunky avocado salsa, fresh coriander, a squeeze of lime and big dollop of sour cream. Eating them with grace is impossible, but no one will care as they’ll be too busy getting stuck into their own.


TAKES 40 minutes

• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 red onion, chopped
• 1 medium–large sweet potato, peeled and diced into approx. 1cm / ½ inch pieces
• 2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tbsp chipotle paste
• 2 tbsp tomato purée
• 1 x 400g/14 oz tin kidney or black eye beans, not drained flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 8 corn tortillas
• sour cream, to serve

• 1 red onion, chopped
• 1 large ripe avocado, peeled and roughly chopped
• 4 spring onions (scallions), finely chopped
• 2 ripe tomatoes, deseeded and diced
• 2 limes, cut into wedges
• handful chopped coriander
• 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat the olive oil in a large frying or sauté pan. Sauté the onion until softened before adding the sweet potato, garlic, cumin and cinnamon.
Cook for a couple of minutes, then stir in the chipotle paste, tomato purée and tinned beans, along with their liquid and around 75ml/2½ fl oz water (if you’ve already drained them, then add around 175ml/6 fl oz). Season with salt and pepper.
Bring to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for about 15–20 minutes, until the potato is cooked and the sauce thickened. Add a splash more water if it seems necessary.
Next, make the salsa. Lightly mix together the avocado, spring onions, diced tomato, juice of half a lime, chopped coriander and extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a serving bowl.
Heat the tortillas one at a time, either in a hot dry frying pan for 30 seconds to 1 minute each side, or by holding over the gas flame until lightly charred on each side. Spoon some of the sweet potato and chipotle bean mixture over each tortilla, add some avocado mixture and a dollop of sour cream. Squeeze over extra lime and tuck in.


Swap the tinned beans for around 250g/9 oz diced chicken breast, pork fillet, beef or lamb steak, adding to the pan with the sweet potato.


By Jo Pratt

Whether you’re a full time vegetarian, or simply cutting down on the meat you and your family eat, you might find it a challenge to find recipes the whole family will enjoy eating. Well, worry not as this burger recipe will more than please meat-eaters and veggies alike. Quite often, a veggie burger is thought of as a boring, flavourless, wholesome substitute to an indulgent meaty beef burger. I’m pleased to say that this recipe is far from flavourless, and certainly shouldn’t be considered a boring substitute to a meat version. The burger has a fabulous meaty texture and holds up really well when adding numerous toppings before being sandwiched into a soft burger bun. I’ve chosen to do melting smoked cheese, sticky sweet onions, spiced mayo, gherkins and lettuce. However, just a good squirt of tomato ketchup can be just as satisfying for some. For the ultimate experience, serve your delicious veggie burgers with some homemade sweet potato fries and a crunchy coleslaw. You could also create your own American style diner and have a selection of milkshakes on the go as well.


VEGGIEBURGERS with onion marmalade and harissa

TAKES 1 hour + 1 hour chilling
TO SERVE 4 brioche buns, split in half
100g/3 1⁄2 oz sliced smoked cheddar cheese 6 tbsp mayonnaise
1-2 tsp harissa paste
baby gem lettuce leaves
sliced gherkins


olive oil
250–300g/9–10 1⁄2 oz flat or portabella mushrooms, cut into approx. 1cm/1⁄2 inch pieces
1 large (approx. 400g/14 oz) aubergine (eggplant), cut into approx. 1cm /1⁄2 inch pieces
6 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 tbsp brown sauce (such as HP or Daddies) 175g/6 oz fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 1⁄2 tsp mixed dried herbs
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


25g/10 oz butter
3 red onions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed 60ml/2 oz balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp soft dark brown sugar

To make the marmalade, melt the butter in a large saucepan.
Add the sliced onions and garlic, and season well. Gently cook over a low–medium heat until the onions are deep golden and caramelised, around 20 minutes. Increase the heat and add the balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan. Add the sugar and cook for a further 5 minutes, then season again. Cool to room temperature.

To make the burgers, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and fry the mushrooms over a high heat until coloured and any moisture has cooked away. Tip into a bowl to cool. Return the pan to the heat. Heat a further 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the aubergine until golden and tender, tossing around in the pan, to prevent it from burning. Remove from the heat and also leave to cool.

Put the cooled mushrooms and aubergine into a food processor along with the garlic, brown sauce, breadcrumbs, egg and herbs. Season with salt and pepper and blend until the mixture is thoroughly mixed. Using wet hands, firmly shape into four thick burgers and put on a parchment-lined tray or plate. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour.

Heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan. Fry the burgers over a medium–high heat for around 4 minutes each side until cooked.

Heat the grill to medium–high. Halve the brioche buns and lightly toast the cut sides. At the same time, top the burgers with slices of cheese and sit under the grill until melted. Mix the mayonnaise and harissa together. Spread some onto the bottom halves of the buns, then lay on some lettuce and a spoon of onion marmalade. Sit the burger on top, add sliced gherkins and nally a dollop of harissa mayonnaise. Lightly press down with the bun lid.

Flexible For a more traditional meat burger, sauté 1 chopped onion and 2 cloves of garlic in 25g/1oz butter. Leave to cool then mix with 600g/1lb 5oz good-quality minced steak, 6 rashers of finely diced smoked streaky bacon, 1 beaten egg, 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard and plenty of salt and pepper. Shape into four burgers and chill for 30 minutes. Fry in a trickle of olive oil for 3–4 minutes each side (medium) before finishing with the cheese on top under the grill.


TAKES 15 minutes

1 red-skinned apple, such as Braeburn or Pink Lady
1 tbsp lemon juice
1⁄2 fennel
1⁄4 red cabbage
125g/4 1⁄2 oz crème fraiche
50g/ 2 oz natural (plain) yoghurt
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp cider vinegar
1 tsp celery salt
Flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


TAKES 40-45 minutes

4 medium–large sweet potatoes
1 1⁄2 tbsp fine polenta 1⁄2 tsp paprika
olive oil
flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Remove the core from the apple and cut the apple into matchstick size pieces. Put into a large bowl and toss in the lemon juice. Very finely slice or shred the fennel, cabbage, radishes and shallots either using a very sharp knife and steady hand, a mandolin or a slicer blade on a food processor. Add to the apple and toss everything together.

Mix together the crème fraiche, yoghurt, Dijon mustard, cider vinegar and celery salt. Season with a good twist of pepper and mix thoroughly into the vegetables. Season to taste. Chill in the fridge for about 1 hour for the dressing to absorb into the vegetables a little, and for all of the flavours to combine.

Heat the oven to 220°C/425°F/gas 7.

Peel the potatoes and cut into long 1cm / 1⁄2 inch chip shapes. Wash well in cold water and pat dry. Tip onto a baking tray. Scatter over the polenta, paprika, pinch of salt, pepper and a decent drizzle of olive oil (enough to lightly coat the potatoes). Toss together and bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes, turning a few times throughout, until golden and crispy.

The Flexible Vegetarian

by Jo Pratt,
£20 (Frances Lincoln)


by Jo Pratt

Photos: Georgia Glynn Smith

There is nothing better than firing up the barbecue during the summer months – it’s such a sociable form of cooking. Whether it’s with friends or family, everyone gathers around and enjoys the aromas and flavours the barbecue creates.

Whichever type of barbecue you have, charcoal or gas, big or small, it’s amazing just how versatile they can be when it comes to what can be cooked. However, more often than not, we turn to the old-time favourites … quick-cooking bangers, steak, burgers and corn-on-the-cob etc. So, how about you try cooking something that can be left to cook low ’n slow while you enjoy the company of your friends/family, a couple of drinks and the wonderful outdoors.
This pulled pork is a real crowd pleaser. Its juicy, sweetly spiced and mildly smoked meat is delicious served with salads, roasted veggies, baked potatoes or simply sandwiched into a brioche burger bun. After cooking for five hours, the pork effortlessly pulls apart. It will require a little advance planning as you’ll need to cure the meat overnight in salt and sugar. This isn’t a last minute kind of dish, but the end result is worth the wait.
As for something sweet to finish with, since you have the barbecue all set and fired up, simply add a few more coals to increase the heat a little, then cook these fantastically sweet, fruity, nutty stuffed apple parcels.

Have fun, happy barbecuing and enjoy the summer!



TAKES 5 hours cooking plus overnight salting
TO SERVE Brioche buns , Sliced gherkins, Coleslaw

• 2kg piece boned pork shoulder, rind/skin removed
• 75g sea salt
• 75g dark brown sugar
• 2 tbsp English mustard powder
• 75g wholegrain mustard
• 75g maple syrup
• 150ml orange juice

1/ The day before you plan to cook the pork, put it in a non-metallic dish or a large food bag. Mix together the sea salt and brown sugar and rub all over the pork. Leave in the fridge overnight to draw out excess water, tenderise and evenly season the meat.

2/ The following day, wipe the sugary salt off the pork and sit it in a roasting tray. Mix together the English mustard powder and cayenne pepper, scatter all over the pork and bring to room temperature for about 30 minutes.

3/ In the meantime, light your barbecue for low ’n slow indirect cooking. Keep at a fairly consistent low heat, around 140°C.

4/ Mix together the wholegrain mustard and maple syrup. Spread over the pork, making sure it covers the meat. Pour the orange juice and 200ml water into the bottom of the tin and put into the barbeque. Cover with the lid and cook for five hours, regulating the air vents and adding more coal throughout if need be. Baste the pork with any juices a couple of times. If it starts to colour too much towards the end, cover loosely with foil. If the base of the pan starts to become too dry, add a splash of water.

5/ Remove from the barbeque and leave to rest for 20-30 minutes, loosely covered with foil.

6/ Transfer the pork to a serving plate or board. Shred the meat into strips with two forks. Skim any fat from the juices in the pan and serve to pour over the pork.

Serve in brioche buns with gherkins and coleslaw.


if you don’t want to cook for the full five hours on the barbecue, you can cook for half of the time in an oven set at 140°C/gas 1, then cook on the barbecue for the remaining two and a half hours.



TO SERVE Ice cream, clotted cream or Greek yoghurt

• 4 large cox or royal gala apples
• 50g sultanas, raisins, dried cranberries or dried cherries
• 50ml dark rum or apple juice
• 75g soft brown sugar
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• Finely grated zest of ½ orange
• 50g pecan nuts or walnuts, chopped
• 25g butter

1/ Prepare the barbecue so it is burning at about 170°C.

2/ Remove the core from the apples using a corer or small knife, to create a cavity through the middle of each apple. Sit each apple on a sheet of foil large enough to wrap the apples well.

3/ Mix together the dried fruit, rum or apple juice, sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and nuts. Stuff generously into the apples, letting any excess spill over. Top the apples with a dot of butter and wrap each one tightly so they are well sealed.

4/ Place the apples in the barbecue, sitting on the grill. Cover with the lid and cook for 35-40 minutes, until soft to touch. Rotate a couple of times for even cooking.

5/ Leave to cool for 5 minutes before unwrapping and topping with ice cream, clotted cream or Greek yoghurt.


Photos: Georgia Glynn Smith

There’s nothing worse than having to deal with ‘hangry’ kids at the school gate or the moment they walk through the front door. We’ve all been there (numerous times) when our bad tempered little darlings are demanding something to eat NOW and an apple or satsuma simply won’t do!


Whilst we plan our lunches and dinners for the family, creating a substantial healthy after school snack can be an afterthought, which will often result in reaching for confectionery, biscuits and cakes. However making something healthy needn’t be time consuming, it just requires a bit of pre-planning. Next time you’ve got the oven on, why not cook up a batch of these delicious savoury muffins. Once cooled, they can be stored in the freezer so you can defrost one at a time, as and when you need them.

And for something nutritious to drink, within minutes you can have a homemade milkshake to treat the kids to, in fact while you’re at it, you may as well make one for yourself as they are delicious, and may well prevent you from becoming ‘hangry’ later on.



MAKES about 12
COOKING TIME 20 minutes

• butter, for greasing (optional)
• 40g / 1½ oz pine nuts
• 225g / 8 oz self-raising flour
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 100g / 3½ oz polenta or semolina
• 150g / 5½ oz grated mature Cheddar cheese
• 150g / 5½ oz courgettes, grated
• 2 eggs
• 200ml / 7fl oz natural yogurt
• 80ml / 2½ fl oz olive or rapeseed oil
• 75g / 2½ oz ham, salami or chorizo, finely chopped
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/ Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases. Alternatively, lightly grease the holes of the muffin tin, then press a 13cm/5in square of baking paper into each hole, shaping the squares to fit by folding the sides.

2/ Put the pine nuts in a dry, non-stick pan over a medium heat for a few minutes, shaking and tossing the pan continuously until they start to turn golden. (Don’t leave them in the pan or they will quickly burn.)

3/ Tip them out onto a plate to cool.

4/ Mix together the flour, baking powder and polenta in a mixing bowl.

5/ In a separate bowl, lightly mix together two-thirds of the cheese and all the remaining ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix quickly and lightly to form a lumpy batter. (Over- mixing will make the cooked muffins turn out heavy.) Spoon into the prepared muffin cases and scatter the remaining cheese over the top. Bake for 20 minutes until risen and golden.

6/ Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack.
Serve warm or cold.

Leftovers are lovely toasted muffins

The muffins are lovely as a picnic lunch served with some tomato chutney, or for a weekday packed lunch. After a day or so, they will become a little dry, but are delicious split in half and lightly toasted under the grill, spread with butter or cream cheese and topped with chutney or tomato salsa.


EACH ONE MAKES 2 large or 4 small shakes



• 400ml / 14fl oz milk
• 200g / 7oz strawberries or raspberries, stalks removed
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 4–6 ice cubes
• clear honey or maple syrup, to taste (optional)

1/ Pour the milk into a blender. Add the fruit, vanilla extract and ice cubes and whizz for 30–45 seconds until smooth. Add honey or maple syrup to taste, if you like.

2/ Strain into glasses to remove any pips or chunks of ice and serve.


• 400ml / 14fl oz milk
• 2 ripe bananas, peeled and roughly chopped
• 2 tbsp peanut butter
• 4–6 ice cubes
• clear honey, to taste

1/ Pour the milk into a blender. Add the bananas, peanut butter and ice cubes and whizz for 30 seconds until smooth. Add a little honey to taste.

2/ Strain into glasses to remove chunks of ice and serve.


• 400ml / 14fl oz milk
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 4–6 ice cubes

1/ Pour the milk into a blender. Add the maple syrup, vanilla extract and ice cubes and whizz for about 15 seconds until smooth.

2/ Strain into glasses to remove chunks of ice and serve.



Handing out some homemade edible gifts for the teachers, friends or family this Christmas is guaranteed to earn you and the kids plenty of gold stars (or a good school report next term).

These festive treats are really fun to make and easy enough to get the kids involved, too. You’ll probably have all the clearing up to do, but I’m afraid that’s all part of being a parent! My advice is to save some of the goodies for yourself (especially the Chocolate Cherry Liqueur) and it’ll all be worth it!



MAKES about 12

• 125g butter, softened
• 75g caster sugar
• finely grated zest of 1 orange
• 1 egg yolk
• 150g plain flour
• 100g white chocolate drops
• 50g dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas 4.

1/ Beat together the butter and sugar until it is pale and creamy, either in an electric mixer or if you are feeling energetic, then by hand. Beat in the orange zest and egg yolk. Add the flour, half of the white chocolate drops and cranberries. Mix until you have a smooth dough, with the only lumps being the chocolate and cranberries.

2/ Using your hands, roll the dough into golf-sized balls and lightly press each one flat on to a greased baking sheet, making sure they are spread slightly apart.

3/ Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool a couple of minutes before cooling completely on a wire rack.

4/ Melt the remaining white chocolate in a small bowl over a pan of simmering water, or very gently in the microwave. Drizzle over the cooled cookies. Leave to set and the cookies are ready to pack/wrap or simply eat.

PS…The white chocolate can be replaced for milk or plain chocolate if preferred. Other dried fruits can be used instead of cranberries, such as cherries or sultanas. You can also add 50g chopped macadamia or pecan nuts to the cookie dough.


Gingerbread snowflakes

MAKES 26 x 8 cm biscuits (or more or less, depending on the size of your pastry cutter)

• 125g light muscovado sugar
• 1 tbsp black treacle
• 1 tbsp golden syrup
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• coloured writing icing tubes
• 375g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
• 2 tbsp ground ginger
• 1 tbsp cocoa powder
• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 125g butter, softened

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan ovens/gas 4.

1/ Sift together the flour, ginger, cocoa, cinnamon and baking powder.

2/ In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugar with an electric hand whisk until it is slightly creamy. Add the treacle, golden syrup and egg. Beat until smooth.

3/ Using a wooden spoon, gradually add the flour mixture, a little at a time so the flour doesn’t go everywhere, and then finish off with your hands to form a smooth dough, kneading lightly on the worktop.

4/ Roll the gingerbread dough out on a flour dusted worktop, to around the thickness of a £1 coin. Using a pastry cutter, cut out as many small or large biscuit shapes as you can, and place on greased baking sheets. There is no need to space them well apart as the dough won’t spread while cooking.

5/ Place in the pre-heated oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, until they are starting to firm up. If you want to hang them on your Christmas tree, make a hole with a skewer, near the edge while they are still hot.

6/ Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

7/ Once cold the gingerbread biscuits can be decorated like snowflakes (or, of course whatever pattern you or the kids like).

PS… Once made these will keep, un-decorated, for 3 weeks in an airtight container and decorate when required. If they are decorated too soon, they will become soft.

A special treat for the grown-ups:


Chocolate cherry liqueur

MAKES about 800ml

• 200g good quality milk chocolate, broken into pieces
• 300ml single cream
• 400ml Cherry Brandy
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan ovens/gas 4.

Melt the chocolate and cream in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, or gently in the microwave. Stir well until the mixture is smooth, cover with cling film and leave to cool to room temperature. Once it’s cool, stir in the Cherry Brandy.

Pour the Chocolate Cherry Liqueur into 1 or 2 sterilized glass bottles and store at room temperature. Before drinking or pouring over ice-cream, shake the bottle lightly before using. The liqueur will last for a good few weeks (if it isn’t all drunk before then).

PS… You can make this into a chocolate Orange Liqueur by swapping the Cherry Brandy for an orange flavoured liqueur. Alternatively, use whatever flavour liqueur takes your fancy, such as hazelnut, almond, coffee, coconut or mint.


FISH FINGER TORTILLASAfter the summer holidays, getting back into the swing of nursery or school runs, work and general day to day jobs can be a bit of a shock. Here are two time-busting recipes to ease the pain and make light work in the kitchen. My Fish Finger Tortillas is what I call a flexi-recipe – either a family meal, or one where the kids eat earlier and the adults enjoy the meal (perhaps with a glass of wine) when the kids are in bed. Prepare and freeze the fish fingers ahead of time, then just cook when you need them.

And what better than a fast restaurant-style pudding that will beat having plain fruit or yogurt for dessert any day of the week. Of course, if you have a kitchen blowtorch, using that will be quicker than putting it under the grill, and adds drama to the recipe. The best bit of all is cracking the top of the brûlées with the spoon – the kids love it (and so do I!).>



MAKES 2 adult or 4 kid-sized portions
COOKING TIME 6 minutes

• 250g / 9oz thick fish fillet, such as salmon, cod, haddock, pollock or other white fish
• 2 tbsp plain/all-purpose flour
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 75g/2.oz / 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
• 2–3 tbsp olive oil
• a pinch of sea salt (optional)

1/ Cut the fish into 12 finger shapes and season lightly with salt, if you like.

2/ Put the flour, egg and breadcrumbs into three separate medium sized sandwich bags or shallow bowls. First, coat the fish fingers, a few at a time, in flour, then egg and finally turn gently in the crumbs so they are evenly coated. (The fish fingers can be prepared to this stage and kept in the refrigerator for a day or frozen for up to 3 months.)

3/ To cook, heat a frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil. If you plan on cooking just a few, use less oil. Once hot, add the fish fingers and cook for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden and cooked through. Alternatively, if you have the oven on, lightly toss the fish fingers in the oil, put on a hot baking sheet and cook for about 6 minutes until golden, turning halfway. (If cooking from frozen, add a couple of minutes on each side, and fry or bake until completely cooked through.)

4/ Once the fish fingers are cooked, either warm your tortillas in the microwave or lightly toast under the grill/broiler, then tailor-make your tortillas to everyone’s liking. Serve hot.

Tortilla bread or wraps
Choose any accompaniment, including:
• shredded lettuce or rocket
• tomato salsa, hot pepper sauce, ketchup
• mayonnaise (flavoured with garlic, lime or lemon juice), sour cream
• sliced tomatoes
• sliced avocado
• Home-made or shop-bought guacamole


Fruit Yogurt Brulees

MAKES 2 adult or 4 kid-sized portions
COOKING TIME 2 minutes

• 100-150g / 3-5oz fresh soft fruit, such as plums, berries, banana or mango a few drops of vanilla extract, rosewater or orange flower water
• 300ml / 10fl oz / scant 1 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
• 50g / 1oz / scant 1 3/4 cup caster sugar

1/ If the fruit is large, cut it into smaller pieces and spoon into the base of individual ramekin dishes. Mix the vanilla extract into the yogurt and spoon on top of the fruit. Smooth over the surface, cover and keep in the refrigerator if not eating straight away.

2/ Preheat the grill to its hottest setting. Sprinkle the caster sugar over the yogurt in a thick, even layer. Put the ramekins onto a baking sheet and grill for 1–2 minutes until the sugar melts and is golden and bubbling. Remove from the grill and the sugar will set almost straight away. Serve immediately.


In the Mood for Quick Family FoodWith summer upon us and temperatures rising (well…let’s hope so), our appetite changes somewhat and we tend to crave lighter foods such as fresh fruits, salads and healthier dishes. This is the ideal time to get creative, spend less time cooking and more time assembling simple dishes with fresh ingredients. Preparing a sharing plate like this this fig salad is such a simple and delicious way to celebrate wonderfully ripe figs, salty cured ham, full flavoured curd cheese and fragrant honey. This is the perfect recipe to serve any time of the day, whether it be for brunch, lunch or starter. And if you’re planning a trip out to pick your own strawberries or, like me, you automatically add them to your shopping list as soon as the British season starts, then why not serve them with this amazing cashew cream. It’s lower in saturated fat than dairy cream, high in calcium and zinc, which are great for your immune system and skin. This healthier twist to the classic British dessert of strawberries and cream will go down a treat with all the family. Enjoy and have a great summer!



Fig, serrano and curd cheese salad with honey dressing


• 12-16 figs, depending on their size
• 12-16 slices Serrano ham
• 200g sheep’s curd cheese, or ricotta if unavailable
• 2 sprigs fresh oregano
• 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• juice of ½ lemon
• 1 tbsp honey
(try a flavoured one such as thyme, lavender or orange blossom)
• salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/ Cut the figs in quarters and sit onto plates. Lay slices of ham in between the figs. Spoon the curd cheese into the middle.

2/ To make the dressing, strip the leaves off the oregano stalks and roughly chop. Place half in a bowl and mix with the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, and season with salt and pepper.

3/ Drizzle the dressing over the top of the salad, scatter over the remaining oregano and serve.


Padron peppers


These are traditionally Spanish, though widely available everywhere now, particularly during the summer months. The thing I love about these little green peppers is that, every so often, you come across a fiery one, making it like a game of Russian Roulette when you eat them. Cook as a tasty pre-dinner nibble or part of a tapas selection.

• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 bag of Padron peppers
• sea salt

1/ Heat a frying pan or wok over a medium heat. Add the oil.

2/ Add the peppers and fry over a medium heat for about 4-5 minutes, tossing and shaking the pan every once in a while, until you see the skin of the peppers blister and they appear to be shrinking.

3/ Sprinkle fairly generously with sea salt and serve hot. Grab them by the stalk, take a bite and see if you’ve a feisty one or not. Either way, they are simply delicious.



Strawberries with vanilla cashew cream

PREPARATION TIME 5 minutes + 2 hours soaking

• 400g / 14oz ripe strawberries
• freshly ground black pepper
• a few basil leaves, finely shredded (optional)
• juice of ½ lime
• ice cubes, to serve (optional)

For the vanilla cashew cream
• 150g / 5.oz / ¼ cups cashew nuts
• seeds from 1 vanilla pod/bean
• 2 tbsp maple syrup
1/ To make the cashew cream, put the cashews in a bowl and cover with water.Leave to soak for about 2 hours to soften.

2/ Drain the softened cashews and put them in a food processor with 125ml / 4fl oz/ ½ cup cold water. Blend until completely smooth, adding up to 125ml / 4fl oz / ½ cup more water, as necessary, until it is smooth and creamy, and you have a cream as thick or loose as you like. Add the vanilla seeds and maple syrup and briefly blitz to combine.

3/ Prepare the strawberries as you like, whether you want to serve them whole or cut up. Add a twist of pepper and scatter over the basil, if using. Serve with the vanilla cashew cream.



We should all start the morning with a well-balanced, fabulous-tasting breakfast. You’ll feel full of vitality and ready to tackle whatever the rest of day throws your way. However, in reality – it’s usually the weekends (or holidays) when we have slightly more time on our side first thing. So make sure you plan ahead for the weekend and have plenty of healthy ingredients to hand when you know you’ll have time to enjoy eating them.
Start off with an energy-giving, super-hydrating juice drink that’s great for your digestion. Packed with fresh fruit, powerful ginger and coconut water, all you do is blend and go. Kids should love it too, and you can freeze any leftover for an ice-pop another day.
For a real treat you have to have a go at pan-frying some avocado. It has a smoky flavour similar to mild smoked bacon, and is perfect served on toasted crusty bread with nutritious poached eggs and protein rich tahini.



Preparation time: 10 minutes
½ ripe pineapple, about 300g/10½oz flesh, peeled and cut into chunks
1 ripe mango, peeled, pitted and chopped
500ml/17fl oz/2 cups coconut water, chilled
1 tsp grated root ginger
juice of ½ lime
ice cubes, to serve (optional)

• Put all the ingredients in a blender and blitz for about 1 minute until completely smooth.
• Pour into glasses and serve over ice, if using, or straight.

Not only is coconut water a great ingredient to use in juices and smoothies, but you can also use it to cook rice. It gives it a subtle flavour that works brilliantly with a number of cuisines from around the world, such as Asian, Indian, Caribbean or South American, to name a few. If you have some left over after making this recipe, why not give it a try?




poached egg & av


SERVES 4 (or 2 very hungry people)
preparation time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 5 minutes

2 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 eggs
2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
2 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and cut into 1cm/½in thick slices
4 thick slices of fresh bread (such as sourdough or rye bread)
3 tbsp tahini, plus extra to serve
1 tsp sumac
1 tsp toasted sesame seeds
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling

• Bring a medium to large pan of water to the boil over a medium-high heat and add the white wine vinegar. Break in the eggs one at a time and reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook for 2–3 minutes until the whites are set.
• Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the avocado slices and fry for about 1–2 minutes on each side until slightly golden. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper.
• Toast the bread until golden. Spread each slice with tahini, then top with the avocado slices. Remove the poached eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon. Dry any excess water with paper towels and then put the eggs on top of the toasts. Season with salt and pepper. Scatter with the sumac and sesame seeds, then serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a little more tahini.

Aaron Craze’s Cauliflower Crème Brûlée Recipe

Aaron Craze’s


COOKING TIME 60 minutes

12 egg yolks
220g caster sugar
200g cauliflower florets (finely sliced)
1 litre Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp vanilla extract 50g brown sugar


1. Boil the Greek yoghurt, vanilla and cauliflower in a pan. Bring to boil then simmer till the cauliflower is tender.

2. Blend in a food processor, and then pass through a sieve.

3. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar. Add the yoghurt to the egg mix and pour into ramekins.

4. Sit the ramekins in a water bath in the oven at 110°c for 60 mins or until set. 5. Once cooled, sprinkle with brown sugar and caramelise with a torch or grill.

Chia Seed Flapjacks by Jo Pratt


by Jo Pratt

COOKING TIME 30 minutes

6 tbsp coconut oil, plus extra for greasing
175g / 6oz / 1¾ cups rolled oats
100g / 3½ oz / scant 1 cup pecan nuts, roughly chopped
50g / 1¾ oz / 2/3 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
50g / 1¾ oz / 1/3 cup chia seeds
40g / 1½ oz / 1 cup coconut flakes
75g / 2½ oz / ½ cup dried cherries, cranberries or blueberries
100g / 3½ oz / 2/3 cup chopped dried figs or dates
½ tsp vanilla extract
115g / 4 oz / generous 1/3 cup honey
3 tbsp soft brown sugar


1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Oil and line a 20 x 30cm/8 x 12in cake pan with baking parchment.

2. Put the oats, pecans and seeds in a baking pan and toast in the oven for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden. Tip into a bowl and mix with the chia seeds, coconut flakes, dried fruit and vanilla extract.

3. In a small pan, heat together the coconut oil, honey and sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture starts to boil. Simmer for 2 minutes, then pour over the oat mixture. Mix well, then tip into the prepared pan. Press into the edges with the back of a spoon and bake for 25–30 minutes, until lightly golden on top.

4. Remove and leave until completely cool before turning out and cutting into squares.

5. The flapjacks will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.