Category Archives: Recipes

Gluten free crumpets have arrived
(and it’s a whole new world)


One of my very first blog posts was all about crumpets. Crumpets and tea, crumpets with jam, crumpets on the sofa, crumpets oozing with butter…

Crumpets sum up cosy for me and I’ve been banging on about them ever since. They are a part of me. Literally. I’m probably around 40% crumpets on any given day. (Apart from Christmas, when I became 70% cheese. There was less room for crumpets).

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Transforming my home grown tomatoes
into Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognaise

Photo: Vikalinka

All the way through the Summer, Autumn and up until a few days ago, I had the fruits of my successful labours alive and kicking and glowing beautifully red in pots outside my kitchen, thanks to Wyevale Garden Centres.

They sent me all kinds of wonderful goodies to attempt to grow myself… some were more successful than others and my overwhelming triumphs were my little tomatoes!

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A lunch less ordinary


Everyone has a go-to Ryvita topping. It might be cream cheese, maybe it’s marmite (me) or  cheese and pickle… but it wasn’t until I was challenged to come up with an exciting topping, that I realised I was in a Ryvita Rut. An RR.

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Learning to make Goan Fish Curry at
Waitrose Cookery School

Waitress Cookery School

I really enjoy cooking. I’m very happy making a mess in the kitchen as I steadily work my way through every pot, pan, knife and chopping board I can lay my hands on… I occasionally attempt to wing something from whatever I’ve got in the fridge… but this usually doesn’t end exceptionally well.

Which often surprises me. I feel I ought to be really good at that. Especially if I had radio 4 on on the background. If it was a movie, I’d be whipping up amazingly gorgeous dishes from half a carrot, some old feta and a mystery vegetable. But I don’t live in a movie (I DO I DO I DO) so I stick to my beloved recipe books and love discovering new and unusual dishes.

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Cinnamon Spiced Hot Apple Toddy

Jason Vale Juicer

In this super chilly weather, I have a tendency to reach for the hot cocoa in the evenings… and then the marshmallows… and sugar… and chocolate sprinkles… and you can see where this going.

So, in an effort to be less naughty and be kinder to my body, I’ve attempted to ditch as many refined sugars as possible and instead, make delicious warming drinks using only natural ingredients…

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Cute Christmas Cookies
to make you smile

Christmas bunny cookies


Last week, I rediscovered my Enchanted Forest Biscuit set, which I had completey forgotten about.

I had so much love for these bunnies over on Instagram, that I thought I’d better let you all know how I made them! I didn’t just stop at bunnies though.. ho (ho ho) no…

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An Ever So Delicious Plum Frangipane Tart

Plum Frangipane Tart


This recipe comes courtesy of my dear pal Natalie James, who found it over on The recipe on their site is actually for a Nectarine Frangipane Tart, but I had plums in my fridge. So that’s what I used. Living on the edge, me.

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Banana, blueberry and pecan pancakes
(Vegan and gluten free)

A Modern Way to Eat by Anna Jones - Recipe Book




Yes yes yes! This is what I made! I made THIS!

These are banana, blueberry and pecan pancakes from Anna Jones’ new recipe book, ‘A Modern Way to Eat’ and I wanted them for breakfast as soon as I woke up. My tummy told me.

So this is how this miracle occurred.

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National Chocolate Cake Day
and a heavenly flourless
chocolate cake recipe

Poppy Loves Chocolate Cake

Chocolate cake with buttercream – found on Pinterest; originally
from Half Baked Harvest


Oh thank goodness. Thank goodness it’s National Chocolate Cake Day today. I had no idea this day even existed, but thanks to me eye spying Kate Spade tweeting about it on Twitterdom last night, I am very pleased to announce that it’s true.

And not a day too early as far as I’m concerned, seeing as I had a superiorly rotten day yesterday. Cake is the answer. Cake brings friends together, it makes sure tea is brewing.. and magically, it heals wounds.

Gem brought me chocolate cake yesterday – she’d made it herself. She’s clever. This recipe is not for the cake above (you can find that recipe here) but its for an amazingly easy, delicious, rich and luxuriously chocolatey Nigella recipe. There are 5 ingredients and 4 stages. When I say easy, I mean easy, with a capital peasy.

Flourless Chocolate and Almond Cake

5 eggs
200g butter
200g sugar
200g plain chocolate
200g ground almonds

1. Melt the chocolate and butter together, then mix in the almonds. Set aside to cool a little.

2. Separate 4 of the eggs. Mix 1 whole egg and 4 yolks with the sugar. Blend this with the chocolatey mixture.

3. Beat the 4 remaining egg whites until they are stiff. Using a metal spoon, carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolatey mixture.

4. Pour into a non-stick spring-form baking tin and bake at 175-180 for 45 mins.

That’s all there is to it. If you make it, please let me know how you get on.. and of course, feel free to post me a slice…

One more thing, if you love the gooey deliciousness of the picture above as much as me, you can see the rest of the chocolatey pics I’ve been dribbling over here on my Pinterest board.

For now, I wish you a very happy National Chocolate Cake Day and a tip-top-tastic Monday.



Cheesecake Mince Pies from A Handmade Cottage

Lucky me to know such lovely bloggers who make such yummy things. I’m so pleased to be able to introduce you to the gorgeous Jodie May of A Handmade Cottage, unless of course, you’ve met her already… You may have seen her in the first issue of Blogosphere Magazine back in October, (of which yours truly is the Lifestyle editor – ding!) or maybe you found her browsing tinternet for warm and cosy and lovely things to make and do… but either way, here she is and I’m very proud to have her in my little corner of the webbynet.
Message from Jodie May:
Those that know me, know I’m not a great cook. I start out with good intentions … I don my pretty apron and hum along to Billie Holiday whilst prepping my ingredients but more often than not, it will all end with Ralphy (my Jack Russell) running for cover and yours truly swearing like a sailor. However, I can bake, and since it’s Christmas I want to give Poppy’s readers a real treat. This recipe has been handed down to me by my lovely mother-in-law, who really is a master-chef. 
A Handmade Cottage’s  Cheesecake Mince Pies
These are simply the most delicious mince pies you will EVER eat. They have sweet cream cheese inside and the pastry is yummy, crisp and not at all stodgy. I know this because I’ve eaten 5 today. I can’t stop. Make them and you’ll see why.
For the pastry
225g/8oz plain flour
50g / 2oz golden caster sugar
140g/5oz butter (cut into small cubes)
Grated zest of one orange
1 egg yolk
For the filling
200g/8oz decent mincemeat
125g pack full fat soft cheese
2 tsp caster sugar
Finely grated zest of lemon.
And at the end
1 egg white, lightly whisked
Golden granulated sugar for sprinkling!
1. Preheat oven to 200C/Gas 6/Fan oven 180C.
Make pastry: Put flour, butter, orange zest and caster sugar in a food processor and whizz to form breadcrumbs. (NOTE: I don’t have food processor, crumbling with fingers works just as well).
Add the egg yolk and a tablespoon of water and pulse (squidge together) to form a dough.
Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 mins.

2. Make filling:  Beat the cheese until soft, then mix in the sugar and lemon zest and set aside. Roll out just over half the dough, fairly thin and stamp 12 rounds with a fluted cutter (NOTE: I don’t have a fluted cutter so I used a small teacup! worked perfectly.) Pop these into your bun tin.

3. Fun bit. Put heaped teaspoon of mincemeat in each pasty case (don’t overdo it though) and top with a teaspoon of the sweetened cream cheese. Roll out the remaining dough and stamp out 12 slightly smaller rounds (NOTE: I just used a slightly small cup) Put these lids on a press gently to seal.
‘top with a teaspoon of sweetened cream cheese’
4. Fun bit. With the left over pastry stamp out 12 stars ensuring they’re not too thick. (NOTE: I didn’t have a star cutter, so using a teaspoon I made holly, birds and stars : ) Brush with egg white and stick your bits on top. The pies can be frozen at this point for up to 6 weeks. To finish brush the tops with egg white and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake for 12 -15 minutes until golden. Let them cool for 10 mins then remove and rest on a wire rack.
‘..sprinkle with granulated sugar…’
Make a cuppa and enjoy!
Merry Christmas Poppy Loves readers..
From Jodie May, AKA Fairy baker at

Sunday Supper: Beetroot & Roasted Parsnip Soup and Easiest Macaroni Cheese

As the evenings start drawing in earlier and the chill in the air becomes more noticeable, I crave warm, cosy food. Eating something gorgeously gooey out of a bowl, or an oversized mug, while sitting on a sofa under a blanket is the ultimate in comfort food for me. 

So, the two recipes I made for supper a couple of weeks ago were perfect for my it’s-nearly-Winter-but-not-quite-yet night in. With Downtown. (Poor old Bates..)

Jamie Oliver Blender by Philips – £79.95 at John Lewis

I made both recipes with my Jamie Oliver Blender by Philips. This little number is fast becoming my very best friend in the kitchen. Nothing is too much for it – just bung it in, set it to ‘whizz’ and you’ll be staring at a smooth liquid (I really don’t like that word, but I can’t think of a better alternative) before you know it. Blender

First, I made the soup. I found this recipe in the New Covent Garden Co recipe book – A Soup for Every Day. (Currently £5 on Amazon – reduced from £25!) They actually do have a recipe for every day, which means the ingredients are always seasonal. This means not only more delicious yumminess, but also fewer pennies spent when you buy your ingredients.  Blender

I get my bits and bobs from Cheryl on Portobello Road. Her market stall is always bursting with beautiful fresh produce and her prices are unbeatable.

Beetroot & Roasted Parsnip soup in my Anthropologie mug. With a blog of cream for good measure :-)

Beetroot and Roasted Parsnip Soup

1 tablespoon oliver oil
1 large parsnip, diced
4 cooked beetroots, diced
1 medium onion, diced
knob of butter
1 clove garlic, crushed
350ml veg stock
2 tablespoons double cream to blob on top if you fancy

1. Preheat the oven to 200C
2. Coat the parsnips in the olive oil and bake for 20-30 mins
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and garlic and cook for 5 mins
4. Add the roasted parsnips, beetroot and stock, then season to taste
5. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins
6. Blend until smooth – (Jamie Oliver’s blender had this nailed in less than 5 seconds)
7. Blob on the cream or stir in if you’d prefer

Then onwards to the macaroni cheese. I picked Nigella’s recipe as it skips the whole ‘make a cheese sauce’ thing. Which I think is quite exciting. Blender

This recipe is straight out of the book Nigella Express and with just four stages to the recipe and it being absolutely delicious, it’s shot up to the top of my quick fix suppers list.

Macaroni Cheese

250g macaroni
250g mature cheddar
250ml evaporated milk
2 eggs
grating of fresh nutmeg
salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 220C and cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions and then put back into the hot pan
2. While the pasta is cooking, put the cheese, evaporated milk, eggs and nutmeg in a processor and blitz to mix
3. Pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni, stir well and season with salt and pepper to taste
4. Tip into a dish and bake for 10-15 mins

Both these recipes were so fast to make and this was mostly down to the Jamie Oliver Blender. I’m now going on a smoothie mission… (It’s too fun!)


How to churn butter in a jar. Yes, that’s what I said.

Pic pilfered from Fleur de Sel

Pic pilfered from Fleur de Sel

I love a bit of butter, me, spread thickly and luxuriously on crumpets, toast, crackers… crumpets again. Butter means home. Butter means cosy. Butter makes me disproportionately happy (admitting it is the first step) so as soon as I learned that I could make freshly churned butter at home in a jar, I couldn’t get the idea out of my head.

I love the simplicity of the ingredients, (all you need is cream) and the delicious, satisfying, creamy result. 

Pic from Gina and Kris

Pic from Gina and Kris

All you need is cream and a jar. Ready? Here you go..

1. Fill approximately 1/3 of a jar with thick double/whipping cream and seal tightly. (Feel free to add in a pinch of salt or anything else you fancy if you’re feeling adventurous..)

2. Shake vigorously until a blob of butter has formed in the jar. This can take between 10 mins and half an hour, so may I suggest that you dance along during this section. You might want to consider tracks such as “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ by Wham, or ‘ABC’ by The Jackson 5. 

3. Drain out the buttermilk around the butter and rinse your butter under cold water – wash off all the buttermilk – you’ll know you’ve done it when the water runs clear. 

4. Put your butter on a board and press the butter with the back of a wooden spoon to force out any more of the buttermilk. This is important as any buttermilk left inside will make the butter go sour.

5. Shape your butter, wrap it in greaseproof paper and pop it in the fridge. 

6. Or, eat it immediately.

Ta da! Crumpets, anyone?


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I am a culinary genius! (Thank you, The Recipe Kit)

I love cooking, but I do sometimes find myself in a rut. I have my old faithful recipes, some sure-thing spice combos and one or two show stoppers (can’t possibly reveal how easy these are here, or you will no longer thing I am a culinary genius. *Snorts*) I am not afraid of herbs and spices… I just don’t always know what to do with them. Or where to put them. 

I would occasionally like to bust out of my Poppy safety bubble and whirl around the kitchen like Animal from the Muppets, in clouds of sugar and spice craziness with bubbling pots of mysterious amazingness all around me… only to emerge with a sensational meal that makes everyone cry. (I’m not sure Animal is sexy enough – I want to swap with what’s-her-chops from Bewitched. Thank you.)

Low and behold, a couple of weeks ago my wish was granted. Ta da! Enter The Recipe Kit. I selected my favourite 3 recipes from their website, (there are 9 to choose from each week) and they sent me everything I needed in a big (biodegradable) box. Everything had been measured out in the exact quantity required and packaged up in neatly labelled bags and boxes. 

Each recipe comes with an instruction card, with simple step-by-step instructions of how, what and when to do everything. They also go one step further by teaching you new cooking skills, advising what wine you should drink with the meal and even what music you should listen to… it’s a cooking masterclass and the best bit is that you can do it all in your own kitchen. In your slippers. Or in your pants. (I wasn’t in my pants, but if you wanted to cook starkers there’s be no judgement from me.) (But do wear an apron. #healthandsafety)

The three recipes I chose were Crab Fishcakes with Poached Duck Eggs and Peashoot Salad, Lamb Kofteh with Barberries and Tabouleh Salad… AND… Curried Prawns with Salted Lemons and Tender Stemmed Broccoli. Wow. Wow. Wow.

All our ingredients, measured, packaged and labelled for us

All our ingredients, measured, packaged and labelled for us

We made the recipes throughout the week and they were so SO easy to follow. Each had unusual ingredients, new cooking lingo I wasn’t too familiar with and I had grown in confidence with my new found cooking skills after making the first recipe – the crab cakes.

The recipe kit

Poppy’s been dicing…

All their recipes are healthy and well balanced with super fresh ingredients, (from the farm to your door on the same day.) They use local suppliers who provide seasonal produce and, the best bit is that the recipe kits are delivered to your very door.

The dishes were so delicious and we had such a sense of pride when we ate them. The kitchen didn’t know what had hit it. Pestles were bashed in Mortars, eggs were poached free stylee, there was blanching, dicing, marinading and zesting… and I had a delicious meal cooked for me by a very VERY lovely man (more on him another day) when I couldn’t lift a finger after my Gobstopper Removal.

Recipe Kit

Ta da! Crab Fishcakes with poached duck eggs and peashoot salad! Made by Poppy!

The Recipe Kit always offer at least 3 veggie options, the recipes are culturally and culinarily (is that a word?) diverse, they deliver nationwide and with prices starting at £4.90 per person, per meal, it’s almost a bit too good to be true. 

It gets better – The Recipe Kit are giving Poppy Loves readers an exclusive 30% discount! Just enter ‘lovedinner’ at checkout.

Go on. Get your Chef on…


7 Minutes Molten Fudge Chocolate Cake

Image from Ana Fernandez

Image from Ana Fernandez

This recipe just made me swoon. It’s by Ana Fernandez, who lives in Venezuela and boy is she one clever dolly. 

This is a also vegan recipe, (check your margarine) and although I haven’t made it yet, I know I’m going to love it and couldn’t resist popping it up here for all your eyes to see, just in time for the weekend… 

This recipe makes 2, so you need to divide the ingredients between the two ramekins.

What you need: 

2 tablespoons margarine
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 tablespoons flour
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons chopped cooking chocolate

What you do:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. In a ramekin mix the maple syrup and the margarine and place in the oven for
1 minute so everything will melt.
3. Mix in the baking powder, then the flour and the cocoa.
4. Place the chocolate on top and press slightly.
5. Bake for 5 minutes.

The end. I am in love.



Mimbles’ Fig and Apple Compote

Mimbles' Fig and Apple Compote

Mimbles’ Fig and Apple Compote

Last Sunday I went round to see Mimbles for breakfast. She is quite nifty in the kitchen is Mimbles. She sort of puts things together in pots and pans that would usually terrify me but they always come out being brilliant.

This recipe isn’t terrifying at all, but I was still mighty impressed that the preparation had begun the NIGHT BEFORE (hides Coco Pops) and involved stewing and Roobios tea.

It was so delicious. We ate it outside in the garden with the birds singing (this was on the day that Spring popped up to say hi), with natural yoghurt and almonds sprinkled on top.

Fig and apple compote

1. Soak 10 dried figs in rooibos tea – made with 500ml boiling water and 1 tea bag – overnight
2. The next day peel, core and chop an apple into 1cm pieces
3. Drain figs, cut off and discard the hard stem then cut the rest into 1 cm pieces
4. Place chopped figs and apple in a saucepan and stew gently for 30 minutes
5. Serve with yoghurt and almonds. 

Thank you Mimbles for a perfect breakfast – what a treat.