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.


Italian Pear & Chocolate Cake

Monday was my birthday and I spent the day in an oddly snowy London (for March!) with my two daughters.

When I was little my Mumma would make us this birthday cake every year. In rural England in the 1960’s and ’70’s Vanilla was not obtainable so she flavoured the cream with lemon. In the method I have made a few nods to the way my mum made it, which is what I do when I make it.

It is a super cake. I really hope you like it as much as I do.

Have a great weekend.



Italian Pear & Chocolate Cake
360g / 12 oz butter, at room temperature
360g / 12 oz sugar
5 eggs
360g / 12 oz sifted self-rising flour
250 ml Strong coffee
1 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 350˚F/180˚C/Gas 4.
Grease and line a 29 cm cake tin.


Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
Sift the flour and salt and add together with the coffee and fold until mixed.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.


Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.

Vanilla and Chocolate Pastry Cream
6 egg yolks
120g/4oz sugar
2 tbsp plain (AP) flour
2 tbsp cornflour
600ml/40fl oz milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
30g/1oz butter
240g/8 oz plain chocolate


In a large saucepan, beat together the eggs, flours, vanilla and sugar until nicely combined.


Set aside.
Heat the milk in a separate saucepan, bring just to a simmer.



Pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture, whisking all the time, then turn the heat on under the pan and whisk to the boil.


Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.


Add the chocolate to a small bowl.


Pass the cream through a sieve to remove any eggy pieces or lumps of flour.


Pass half of it directly onto the chocolate. This will encourage it to melt just right.


Give it a good stir to make sure it is all melted.


Give the surface a spray with some bland oil, then cover with a piece of cling film (touching onto the surface) to prevent a skin forming.
Place it somewhere to cool as quickly as possible.

10 pears (poached until tender) or 2 tins of pears.
Amaretto or Limoncello


Slice the Pears into 3 -4 mm slices.



Slice the cake in two.


Sprinkle the base with some of your chosen alcohol (don’t worry if you don’t want to use any, you can add a few spoons of the pear juice)


Spread the base with the vanilla pastry cream.


Cover this layer with the sliced pears.


Add the top layer of sponge.


Spread the top with the chocolate pastry cream.

I like to sieve a spoon of icing sugar and cocoa powder right on top.




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phone or text 0792 310 9170
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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.

For The Love Of Juice!

I went to see one of my good friends yesterday. She is an inspiration to me and has taught me very much about food. I know I can trust her judgements and advice.


So how over the moon, delighted was I to walk into her kitchen and see an ‘old school’ Classic Vita-mix sitting on her counter, then to tip me over the edge she had made me a fresh smoothie to boot.


The combination of fresh vegetables, ginger and edible weeds from her garden had me buzzing around!

I truly believe that fresh juices are an absolute miracle tonic and taste delicious. Today I am just giving you an insight into my breakfast juice ‘today’. I like to play and let my inner physician (I call her Dr Scarlet Rosita) lead me to what I actually need (plus a healthy dose of what needs using in the fruit bowl and veg draw).



For The Love Of Juice!


1 pear (sugar better tolerated as it has a softer impact on blood sugar levels)
1 eating apple (scrubbed)
1 orange (half the pith removed)
1 lime (3/4 of the pith removed)
1 stalk celery (scrubbed)
1 kg carrots (scrubbed)
1 beetroot (scrubbed)
1 tsp Spirulina powder
1 tsp wheatgrass powder


Pass through your juicer.


Add the powders.


Stir ….




(If you want to add lots of ice then you can, I have a delicate stomach and I would make myself ill consuming large amounts of ice-y anything 🙂 )

This is a very sweet juice that is great if you are just starting and some of the more bitter flavours are a challenge and perhaps you can build up to those.

Anyway I have been pinging around the kitchen like a toddler.

psst + I just had a slice of that Spelt loaf as my lunch Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm 😀

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
Follow Me on Pinterest

Conference Pear Chutney

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First to say, it is so cold in this kitchen on this typical November morning of bright blue skies and frost that I am wearing my gloves as I make my first pot of tea.
Okay, that said, today will be the day for another batch of Conference Pear Chutney. I am very lucky that the tree in the garden consistently provides me with a very generous supply every year, and they are my favourite.

Pears and jars washed Pears and jars washed

I have a love of preserving that is entirely down to my Mum and Dad. As Southern Italian farmers it is in their DNA (and so mine) that any excess be preserved. I can remember being very small, maybe 3 years old sitting at the kitchen table with my Mamma feeding tomatoes into long necked glass bottles (with the essential leaf of basil,) that she would then take outside to a massive vat of boiling water to be cooked for several hours. And then playing in the garden around the fire only to jump out of my skin at the occasional bang as one bottle would have a little air trapped in it and so explode. This way we would have tomatoes for sauce in the winter.
My first attempts at any thing like this was when I was about 11 years old and I made my first batches of Marmalade from the local markets end of the day sell off. A long way from the stuff bought in jars from the High Street’s International Supermarket, but far nicer and I was hooked.
Every year I make a variety of preserves and I hope to hand the love of it down to my daughters.


Anyway, this is my basic recipe, I encourage you to add and subtract ingredients as fits your palette, but have in mind that if you remove an ingredient, lets say the ginger, you may want to add another ingredient, perhaps another spice, so that the chutney will still have a good balance.

You will need to sterilize some jars so I am putting this before the recipe so you will have read it before you get all over keen and start chutney-ing-up what you have in the fruit bowl. Dull but essential to remove any bacteria, yeasts or fungi. Otherwise the chutney will spoil and that would be a shame and a waste.

Do NOT add cold food to hot jars, or hot food to cold jars otherwise the jar will shatter which is too dramatic.
Give the jars and lids a good wash in hot soapy water and rinse.
Boil the lids for 5 minutes in a pan of water (not the plastic ones) or else you can soak them in a dilute solution of something like ‘Milton’
Arrange your jars on a baking sheet but do not let them touch.
Make the chutney or jam 🙂
About 30 minutes before the chutney is done get back to the jars.
Pop them into the oven.
Turn the oven to 350°F/180°C/Gas 4 – no higher or the glass may crack or shatter.
Close the oven door and leave for a 25 minutes.
Set the tray of jars on a rack on the side.
Turn the heat off from under the chutney and let it stop bubbling.
Fill the hot jars with the hot chutney, I recommend adding a ladle of chutney to each jar in turn before attempting to fill the jar completely, that way if one is going to ‘pop’ it can do so and you only have a spoon of chutney wasted.
If you want to use the waxed disc now is the time to add them and then cover each jar with its own lid.
NEVER add cold food to hot jars, or hot food to cold jars-otherwise you will have a drama!
Leave chutney for about 10 minutes before tightening the screw tops on.


Conference Pear Chutney
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1 large red onion
225 g or 8oz sultanas
225 g or 8oz raisins
170 g or 6oz demerara sugar
140 g or 5oz malt vinegar
110 g or 2oz balsamic vinegar
100 g or 3½oz crystalised ginger, finely sliced
1Kg 350 g or 3lb pears cored and cut into wedges
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp paprika
½ tsp chilli flakes

Peel, core and chop the onion and pears.
Put all of the ingredients into a large pan on a low heat
Stir carefully with a wooden spoon, turning it all over and letting the sugar have a chance to melt down before you start to boil it.
Bring to the boil and give it one good stir. Reduce to a simmer and allow it to cook for 50 – 60 minutes, (this depends on your cooker) but you are wanting it to be thickened and dark looking.
Ladle into hot, clean, sterilized jars, cover and seal.
Label when fully cool.

Yields approximately 2.5 Kg or 6 lb of Chutney


I do love to use this Chutney in a number of ways,


but here as in these sausage rolls,


is a match made in heaven.

Can you see how happy the chutney and sausage meat are together  😀


I have made a Limited Edition Christmas Chutney. They will cost £5 per 500g/1lb jar.
You can order a jar or two from me directly, please email me at or contact me via my Facebook page