Mushroom & Wild Garlic Tart with Chestnut Crumble. (Vegan and Gluten & Wheat Free)

My lovely girl has decide to take Cookery as her GCSE exam, but at school she struggles. She cannot eat wheat and although the school have said they will accommodate this, they don’t really know how to use Gluten Free flour and so she is frustrated and feels she is no good at cooking.


When really all that is the matter is that she needs to be taught how to cook with Gluten Free flour as opposed to just following a wheaten recipe and subbing in the Gluten Free flour – mostly that doesn’t work, allowances have to be made.

Anyway, so I wanted to help her see she is very capable. SO we set about making this tart with a few fresh organic(!) ingredients I was able to pick up at the market on Saturday.

It all turned out fab, not only did it give her a little boost, we all got a lovely late breakfast – perhaps not a perfect nutritional balance – but utterly joyous!

I hope you all like it


Mushroom & Wild Garlic Tart with Chestnut Crumble.

120g/4oz wild garlic

3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic pressed
6 portobello (field) mushrooms, diced


500g/1 lb Gluten Free plain flour
½ tsp sea salt

250g/8oz sunflower margarine at room temperature

75g/2½oz/heaped ½ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds, finely chopped

250ml/10fl oz water with 1 tsp ground linseeds soaked in it

Tofu filling
400g/14oz tofu, patted dry

30ml/2 tbsp olive oil

40ml/3 tbsp lemon juice

1½ tsp sea salt

1½ tbsp dried thyme

1½ tbsp dried tarragon
1½ tbsp nutritional yeast (Engervita B12 is the one to find)

3 tbsp cornflour

250g/8oz Chestnut flour
125g/4oz Cashew nuts
90ml/3 floz olive oil

Set the oven to 190°C/375°F Gas5
Make the pastry. Super simple to make this. Blitz the marg, salt and flour together until it is crumby. On a slow speed pour in the water and it will form a ball.
Use this to line a 29 cm flan case. When you roll the pastry do not worry that it break, there is not gluten so you can easily patch this pastry as you would when you were little playing with playdough. It will not suffer at all for it. It does not need to rest or be chilled as there is not stretchy gluten to make it misbehave. Line it with the parchment paper, fill with baking beans and bake for 35- 40 minutes until it is set.

To make the Tofu filling, process all the ingredients together in the food processor and set aside.
To make the Filling, heat a frying pan over a high heat. Add the oil and cook the onions until they are starting to colour. Drain from the pan but leave in the oil and then fry the diced mushrooms until they brown too. Add the garlic and wilt in the chopped wild garlic. Tip in with the onion and set aside.

To make the crumble just blitz the ingredients until they make a nice crumble, set aside.

Take the case from the oven.

Mix the tofu and filling parts together and pour into the case. Top with the crumble and return to the oven for another 20 minutes until it is nice and brown.

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You can serve it hot, warm, cold or chilled. We had it on it’s own (with a side of fresh fruit jam parts made from the scraps of pastry and a loaf of Fennel & Caraway Sourdough on the side 🙂

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National Vegetarian Week

This week is National Vegetarian Week and as part of my commitment to great Vegetarian food I wanted to share a recipe for each day.

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I shall endeavour for it to be Vegan. But we all have to start somewhere and if you are not vegetarian then just give a few recipes a go! I honestly believe you will be surprised.

Below are links to some of my previously blogged recipes and I will add more this week (as I can – I still have ‘no camera’ issues).

If you have any questions or queries then please do ask.

I myself an not exclusively RAW, Vegan, Paleo or Vegetarian but I appreciate that they are a great addition to our weekly food habits.

I hope you enjoy them


And so to start:

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Have a great week


Blackberried, Fresh Pear & Frangipane Tart
 (Gluten & Wheat Free/ Dairy Free)

I am popping this one in as I found the photo as I was looking for an image that I could use for this blog. I am still without a camera, but hopefully in the next week or two I shall be able to get one.


I grow both the berries and the apples in my garden and on the allotment (must do photos when I can). So for me this an autumn pud, but some of you are in your autumn now.

There is a reason why people call this a classic combination and that is because it it delicious.

I do use conference pears as they retain a good texture and flavour after poaching. And it is the Italian in me that loves nuts in a pud.

I hope you enjoy this.

I have to dash as I am off to the market today and the weather forecast is for sunshine (swoon). I love an English Summer 😀

Blackberried, Fresh Pear & Frangipane Tart
 (Gluten & Wheat Free/ Dairy Free)
3 firm pears
90g / 3 oz blackberries
Almond Filling

120g / 4 oz ground almonds

90 / 3oz potato or rice flour
150g / 5 oz caster sugar

120g / 4 oz sunflower margarine, room temperature

2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 tsp vanilla
Icing (confectioners) sugar
1 tbsp bramble jelly or blackberry jam conserve – home made if you have it is so much nicer!
pastry case
240g / 8 oz Gluten Free Plain flour

30g / 1 oz icing sugar
60g / 2 oz caster sugar
1/4 tsp salt
120g / 4 oz sunflower margarine, cut into small pieces
1 egg + 1 egg white

Make up and chill the pastry.
Roll out and line the 23 cm loose based tart pan.
Line with paper and fill with beans. Bake for 25 minutes-ish 400˚F/200˚C/Gas 6. Set to one side.
Wash the berries.
Peel and quarter the pears and poach in simmering water for 5 minutes. Drain and cool.
For almond filling: Mix almonds, flour, sugar, margarine, eggs and extracts in the processor.
Turn the oven to 375˚F/190˚C/Gas 5.
Spread bramble jelly onto base of pastry then spread with almond filling.
Cut pears crosswise into thin slices. Gently press each pear half to fan slices but keep slices tightly overlapped.
Slide spatula under pears and arrange on the filling with narrow ends in centre.
Press the berries in and around the pears..
Bake until golden and tester inserted into center of filling comes out clean, about 55 minutes. Cool tart.
Sprinkle with icing sugar.


Peanut & Chocolate Fudge Cake

As at the moment I do not have a camera I am a little stuck for posting in this blog. So sorry that once again it is just a single photo … but you can see it’s a good ‘un 🙂


This is a lovely cake, unapologetic of its nuts and dairy and sugar. But for a celebration or general gathering it is always a delight to see.

I hope you enjoy it.

Peanut & Chocolate Fudge Cake

360g / 12 oz sifted self-rising flour
120g / 4 oz cocoa

1/2 tsp baking powder (or baking soda)
1/2 tsp sea salt
240g / 8 oz butter, at room temperature

480g / 1 lb Muscavado Sugar

120g / 4 oz 85% chocolate
4 eggs

250 ml / 8 fl oz milk
2 tsp vanilla paste

Set oven to 350˚F/180˚C/Gas 4 .
Parchment line three 23cm round cake tins.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder/soda and salt into a large bowl.
On a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat the sugar and butter for about 5 minutes, until nice and fluffy.
Whilst that is happening put the chocolate into the top of a double boiler (or like I do, a bowl over a small pan of hardly simmering water) and gently stir as it melts.
As soon as it is melted remove it from the top of the pan. And set to one side.
Beat together the vanilla paste and the eggs just to break them up.
Add slowly into the butter and sugar as it mixers. This can easily take another 5 minutes to do well.
Once that is done turn the beaters to slow and pour in the chocolate and allow it to barely mix together.
Add into the flour mix and along with the milk stir and fold until well blended.
Divide among the 3 prepared cake pans.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer comes out almost clean.
Cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. Then turn onto wire racks.
Do not peel off the paper on the bottom cooled completely (they will be too fragile).
Fill and coat with the Peanut Butter Topping (recipe below) however you particularly like. I generally like to leave the sides bare as people like to see that there are ‘layers’ 🙂
Then make up the Peanut Fudge Ganache and make into balls or quennels to top the cake (these are fab, like a really good peanut truffle – try not to eat it before using what you need for the cake.

Peanut Butter Topping

210g / 7 oz cream cheese
210g / 7 oz butter (at room temperature)

480g / 1 lb icing (confectioners) sugar
120g / 4 oz smooth peanut butter

On a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat the cream cheese, peanut butter and butter until light and fluffy.
Turn the beaters to slow and slowly mix in the icing (confectioners) sugar.
Turn the speed up again and allow to beat for another minute or so until light and fluffy

Peanut Fudge Ganache

3 oz dark chocolate

1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp golden syrup
In the top of a double boiler or in a bowl set over simmering water, stir together the chocolate, peanut butter, and golden syrup as it melts together.
Remove from the heat and beat until just thickened.
You need to shape this whilst it is warm 🙂


Perfect Eggs #2 Scrambled

This is the second in a little collection inspired by my delightful Daughter No2. As I have said has had a confusing relationship with eggs, she likes the look and smell of them, we kept hens ourselves until a few years ago.


And we loved them, they were a daily visitor into the house and of course we had to feed them and clean them and take care of them if they were poorly.

And there is nothing as exciting for a small child, used to animals, than to go out gathering the eggs in the morning. But she couldn’t eat them. Until recently!

And now a love affair has truly begun, she wants to learn how to cook them so that she can prepare a quick nutritious meal for herself. (‘ats ma gurl!)

Already her fragile confidence has started to build. I had hoped that my love of and daily practice of cooking would be somehow absorbed by my children, but it seems as though what it has done has created a very high standard that they feel they have to attain. I would never have wanted that. Sadly my mad love of the art that I have practiced with determination since the age of 8 has given the impression that it is effortless.

I regret this. I have had and still do have failures, recipes that do not work out and I have to try again.

I think my Mum did me a great favour, all be it ostensibly as in reality she was just very busy, fruit and veg to grow, 3 kids, animals everywhere. There wasn’t huge amounts of time for any instruction. But I was allowed to go in the kitchen and just ‘try’ to cook and everything was eaten with varying amounts of pleasure but always with gratitude as we were always hungry.

Enthusiastic eaters are an amazing spur to a keen but unskilled novice cook 😉


We had these with


Perfect Eggs #2 Scrambled

2 or 3 eggs
Small non stick pan
a pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon of butter
a splash of milk or water
a little chopped parsley (we like the taste)



Crack the eggs into a small bowl and whisk with a fork to break it up well. I add a pinch of salt at this point as it helps to break down the structure making a creamier dish. But if you do not take salt then just leave it out.



Melt the butter in the pan over a medium heat.



Once it is melted , turn the heat up and tip the egg into the pan and start stirring, making sure you get every tiny spot on the base of the pan.


Once the dish is about 1/3 scrambled, turn the heat down to low and keep mixing very well.



As the egg looks 3/4 done, remove from the heat and ad the splash of milk or water.


There is enough heat to finish cooking the egg. This way you get a delicious soft dish that is easy on the digestion as opposed to a dish you could bounce off the walls and sits in your stomach refusing to move on.

Carefully tip the egg mixture out onto your plate.


Maybe add a flourish of chopped parsley.

Great stuff.


Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.
All new customers will get a lovely washable cotton shopper as a ‘Thank you and please come again next week’ (While stocks last!)

Every Friday at about 6 pm GMT I publish photos of the items I have cooked for market. Have a look at the Facebook page.

Chocolate & Apple Cake

I have had so many people contact me recently because they are suffering from a wheat and/or gluten sensitivity. I have suffered this at various points in my life and I know how miserable and difficult it can make life. But unless you are allergic or a Coeliac, it can get better and as long as you do not eat gluten strengthened bread, pastries, biscuits etc, you will be able to eat wheat again. After all it is a lovely sweet grain, but I know I can never eat cheap bread, or anything from a high street or supermarket bakery (just set me off again). So no Cheese and Onion Pasty for me, but I can very happily make Cheese and Onion Pie at home (Oooh now there’s an idea!)


I made this as a practice recipe, but it turned out really well. I put the photo onto Facebook and it was really well received, so I said I would blog it today.

So not the usual amount of photos but you can see what a lovely moist cake it is.

If this is too large a cake then halve the recipe and bake in a 23 cm cake tin.

Chocolate & Apple Cake

180g / 6 oz Butter
180g / 6 oz Muscavado sugar
6 Eggs
7 oz Gluten Free Self Raising Flour
90 g / 3 oz Cocoa powder
240g / 8 oz sweet eating apples
a pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder

Set oven to 350˚F/180˚C/ Gas 4.
Parchment line or greaseproof paper or butter and flour a 29 cm cake pan.
Wash the skins and then grated the apple on a large hole.
Break the eggs and beat with a fork to break up.
Sift together the flour, salt, cocoa and baking powder.
Melt the butter in a large pan.
Cool slightly then beat in the sugar.
Add the egg and beat to incorporate.
Add in the flour mixture and grated apple then fold to mix.
Divide between the pans.
Bake for 1 hour and 10 -15 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.
Turn onto a cooling rack (make sure you turn it again so that the bottom of the cake is on the rack as the top will still be a little tender and a little stickier than a usual sponge).


If you like you can top with a Chocolate butter cream

120g / 4 oz Butter
240g / 8 oz Icing sugar
90 g / 3 oz Cocoa powder
60 ml / 2 fl oz strong black coffee

Have the butter at room temperature.
Beat until soft. then sift the icing sugar and cocoa and start to fold, stir and then beat it into the butter.
Finally add the coffee and beat until very light and fluffy.


Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.
All new customers will get a lovely washable cotton shopper as a ‘Thank you and please come again next week’ (Whie stocks last!)

Every Friday at about 6 pm GMT I publish photos of the items I have cooked for market. Have a look at the Facebook page.

email me
phone or text 0792 310 9170
or follow me on Twitter
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Perfect Eggs #1 Poached

My delightful Daughter No2 has had a confusing relationship with eggs. My Dad kept hens until very recently and I also kept them for a number of years. Such lovely creatures, I have spent many happy hours engaging one way or another with my hems. Plus we had the added benefit in the summer of them keeping annoying pests at a low ebb (don’t leave them too long in the veg patch as they will start on the leafy stuff). During the Autumn and Winter they grub out the slugs and snails and in the Spring (before sowing anything) they eat the weed seeds and the diminutive weeds before they catch a hold.

I miss them! There is nothing as sweet as watching a hen nuzzle down next to a cat to do a little sunbathing 🙂


And with the Spring the hens start to naturally lay and the eggs are at their best. All long the roads the little wooden huts are appearing selling those fantastically good eggs. I know they are not Lion Branded – but they are the best.

So ‘young’un’ wanted to learn how to do eggs, so she can have a tasty selection of ‘just home from school, Mum’s not around, what can I cook’ snacks.

This is basic stuff but by learning these simple items she can build confidence and know how in a way that watching telly or reading a book will never give.

I think she did a great job. We have eaten a lot of eggs recently but seeing her surprise and pride in herself makes it all worthwhile. I’ll have a salad later


We had these with

Perfect Eggs #1 Poached

1 or 2 eggs
Small pan of boiling water
a pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon of malt vinegar
a little chopped parsley (we like the taste)

Get ready a slotted spoon and a warm plate onto which to serve the eggs.


Crack the egg into a tea cup, if you break the yolk I suggest you try another egg – just until you get the hang of what you’re doing.


Bring a 3/4 – 4/5 full pan of water to the boil.

Add the salt and vinegar and stir with a spoon to create a swirling vortex in the middle of the boiling water.
Keep the heat on full (you need it boiling).


Hold the handle of the tea cup (you don not want to dip your fingers into the water) and tip the egg into the middle of the vortex.


Encourage the swirling to continue by a few mare spoony paddles around the edge of the egg.
I say a medium egg (UK) / large egg (USA) takes about 3 minutes for the egg white to be firm and the yolk soft.


Carefully lift the egg out (scoop right under it).
Tip away the water and onto the plate.



A little parsley.
A grind of pepper.
A perfect little meal


Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.
All new customers will get a lovely washable cotton shopper as a ‘Thank you and please come again next week’ (Whie stocks last!)

Every Friday at about 6 pm GMT I publish photos of the items I have cooked for market. Have a look at the Facebook page.