Strawberry, almond & mint smoothie

Posted in: DF, N, S, SF, V, WF

The lack of spring (entirely forgiven in light of the recent outpouring of unbroken, blistering sunshine) wasn’t all bad. UK cooler conditions caused a slower growth and more time for the plants to develop in the soil, equalling plumper, juicier, sweeter berries. Make the most of the 2013 vintage crop by blitzing and freezing to use in recipes throughout the year. And gorge on beach body smoothies in the meantime. This is a great breakfast option as the almonds and oats are not only good for you, they fill you up for longer. As with this recipe, unearth inspiration and berry buddies with our Gather & Gather friend, Niki Segnit’s indispensable Flavour Thesaurus.



Feeds: 2 as a breakfast or 4 as a dessert



1 tbsp / 12 almonds – I like skins on
3 tbsp oats
1 tsp cinnamon
12 strawberries
2 bananas
1 bunch fresh mint
1 dsp Sweet Freedom / Agave / honey
300ml rice milk (or cows milk)
100ml cold water 2 tbsp yoghurt, optional


In a blender, blitz almonds and oats until they resemble a sawdust like texture. You’ll need to scrape down the sides after about 5 seconds and repeat.

Follow with remaining ingredients and blend till smooth. You can also add yoghurt for a thicker, more filling smoothie. If so, you may want to thin out slightly with some water or milk.

Not wishing to disparage the best of berries, but this recipe’s just as good without the strawberry or mint when your frozen stash runs out: nutty banana cream.

Click on the Seducer links to learn why your insides will love this recipe as much as your taste buds: Almonds and Strawberries.

Seasonal Seducer: Strawberries

Posted in: Uncategorized

Most attractive features

The good old strawberry is packed with vitamins C, B3 and B5. It contains fibre for a healthy heart and digestive system and ellagic acid to (rumour has it) help fight toxins and cancer.

Why we fell in love

Because this summer classic actually chills us out; B-vitamins are proven to support the nervous system and fight stress. Prized by Ancient Rome for their medicinal purposes, this favourite of berries is even said to help build resistance to disease.

Orange, almond & chocolate cake

Posted in: DF, Featured, S, SF, V, WF

This is one of my all time favourite recipes: uber moist; sophisticatedly sweet and tangy; distinctively almondy. A cake for grown ups. Commonly used in Spanish and Moorish cakes, almonds bring so much more to the party than Bulk Out Flour, and they taste better. They’re filling, good for us, moist in baking and gluten free. The swapping of sugar for Agave is a trick I’m a tiny bit pleased with. Options are also given for sugar and Stevia (saccharine barf) FYI, though my preference on both taste and waistline would be Agave.

You can lose the choc drops for a more traditional recipe which is also sugar and dairy free. This cake is so devoid of bad stuff, in fact, you can even use it as an energy and protein pick me up for fitness training. I’ve baked in tartan cups as a nod to Edinburgh’s Brew Lab inspiration from last week.




3 medium oranges
4 tbsp Agave / 3 tbsp Stevia / 300g tbsp caster sugar
400g ground almonds
4 eggs
2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp dark choc chips

For the syrup

2 oranges, juice of
2 tbsp Agave / 1 tbsp Stevia / 100g sugar


Preheat oven to 180C / 350F / Gas 4. Grease and line a 25cm springform cake tin with greaseproof paper. Alternatively, you can make 8 – 10 individual cakes with muffin moulds or ANTA ovenproof cups.

Clean oranges, cover with water in a saucepan, bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 mins. Cut into quarters, removing the seeds.

Transfer to a food processor (retaining the peel!) and blitz with 4 tbsp of the Agave or 300g sugar for about 30 secs. Add almonds, eggs and baking powder and puree for a few seconds before scraping down the sides and blitzing again until smooth – approx. 10 secs.

Fold through the choc chips and transfer into your greased tin. Bake for 50 or so mins. If opting for the muffin-sized cakes, cook for 20 mins. A knife should come out moist. Set your cake aside in the tin or cups for 10 mins.


Bring the syrup ingredients to the boil and simmer until the sauce starts to thicken. Prick the cake/s all over with a skewer and pour over the syrup. Leave to soak up all the juices.

Once cooled, remove and serve on a plate, or directly from your ANTA cups. Dollop with double cream.

The almonds will keep this cake moist for several days. In fact, it will go moldy before it goes stale. As an added bonus, almonds are also a Seducer, check out their charms here.

Edinburgh Eating: The Lowdown

Posted in: Featured, Reviews

I’m a big Edinburgh fan. Growing up in the Highlands with a large chunk of our relatives effectively defecting to the Lowlands, week-end trips south were a formative part of my childhood. Edinburgh’s not only one of the most beautiful cities architecturally, it’s also hugely inspirational from a food perspective. Independent restaurant concepts have long been embraced here and as a result, you’d be hard pushed to get through my pick of the best fuel stops in two days:


Timberyard’s Armani does Ski lodge style compelled me to congratulate the affable and obliging staff within approximately 3 seconds of entering the building.


Provenance and the Slow Food philosophy are king so expect Scottish ales and local ingredients; some from Ben (In House Forager); some from the back garden.

Urban Angels


Urban Angel’s chain of Wholesomely Seductive cafés are my breakfast, supper or train journey packed lunch staple.

Top picks: Smoked haddock, poached egg, hollandaise & tattie scone. Cooked to such creamy perfection I’ve since questioned why more cafes don’t feature as an alternative to the ubiquitous Eggs Benedict / Florentine clan…


The Goat’s cheese, caramelized onion quiche skimps not on the good stuff: Abundantly cheesy with sweet onion and a deliciously substantial pastry base. Lightened by the addition of fresh tang and crunch from Pineapple, fennel & sultana slaw. Not to be missed: Almond & honey Florentine. Trust me.

Ship on the shore

The Ship on the Shore  in Leith (seaside Edinburgh) manages to impress not just Little Miss Fussy, but Hippy Mum and even the more traditional, OBE decorated, Edinburgh Great Uncle. Fish and shellfish at its best. With wild garlic, haggis mash, in a pint or just about any way you like it. This is a must tick when visiting Edinburgh. #intelligentcooking

While Starbucks is inevitably prevalent, it’s far outweighed by the long established and increasingly popular coffee shops who’s look is anything but that of a cookie cut corporate. And their coffee strong and smooth enough to cause a discerning Antipodean barista to weep.

Brew Lab


A stone’s throw from the university, Brew Lab leads the way, even securing colleague Paul’s much coveted high praise. Paul’s title reads: Gather & Gather Coffee Guru. And he’s Australian, of course. Following in the trend for ‘We’d Serve You From A Urinal If EHO Allowed It Styling’, Brew Lab’s exposed brick makes Havana’s perilously pinned together buildings look positively pristine.


The fresh mint tea (with egg timer) resulted in much jubilation from a non-coffee drinking colleague and the ridiculously tasty and rich Almond & cherry cake inspired me to covet my personalised Spanish version no longer. Next week I’ll bring you Orange, almond & chocolate cake: Uber moist; sophisticatedly sweet and tangy; distinctively almondy. A cake for grown ups.

Other Edinburgh hot spots: The Gardener’s CottageThe Dogs, Peter’s Yard.