5 a day, Halifax opportunities trust, on a budget, pasta, The veg box challenge, Vegan, vegetarian

What did we do at gardening club this week?




Today was the last session of gardening club before the summer holidays. But don’t worry Gardening club will be returning after the summer holidays. During the summer holidays The outback is open every Tuesday 1pm -5pm for free garden play.
Keep checking back to see what fantasic activities and events will be on at the outback.

this week we made :
courgette ribbons in a marinara sauce, marinara pasta and pasta with peas courgettes and fresh herbs. We also had fresh strawberry cakes and lemon and lavender shortbread.  All the dishes were made from produce in the garden. See below for some of our recipes.

Lemon and lavender cookies   4 tablespoons demerara sugar (or any other coarse sugar)
1/2 cup vegetable shortening (non- hydrogenated softened like trex)
1/4 cup dairy free milk
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons lemons (zest finely grated any citrus zest will do)
1/2 lemon (juice)
1 tablespoon dropped dried lavender flowers
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch (corn flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Spoon Demerara sugar onto a plate and put to one side.
Use a hand mixer to cream the shortening and sugar until fluffy mix in almond milk and citrus zest, juice and vanilla.

Add the remaining ingredients and mix on medium speed until a pliable dough forms it will look crumbly but will come together easily in your hands.

Roll heaped tablespoons pf dough into balls. Press each ball into the Demerara sugar to flatten it, coating one side only. Place the cookies sugar side up on baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden at the edges.

strawberry muffins
1 and 3/4 cups plain flour
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoonBaking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
8oz (I used 14 strawberries)Frozen/Fresh Pureed OR Crushed Strawberries
1 teaspoonVanilla Extract
1/2 cup veg oil
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
¼ cup of dairy free milk
Preheat the oven to 350F/180C for 15 minutes. Grease/line a muffin tin or grease a 9 inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl combine together the flour, baking soda and sugar.In another bowl, mix the oil, vinegar and vanilla add the chopped or pureed  strawberry also to the oil mixture  add the DF milk and stir to combine.

Create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Stir together but do not over stir.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins. I got exactly 12 muffins.

Bake for about 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If baking a loaf bake it for 40-45 minutes and check for the doneness.

Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. When cool, frost the cupcakes and top each with a whole strawberry.


5 a day, money matters, on a budget, recipes, salad, The veg box challenge, Vegan, vegetarian

What did we do at Gardening club today?

We had a glut for broad beans and courgettes. We made spicy courgette fritters and a a grilled courgette, pea, bean and feta potato salad. Everyone had tons of fun in the sunshine and and made the most of the good weather. Recipes below.

Courgette, broad bean, pea mint and ricotta bruschetta

1 good handful podded broad beans

1 courgette sliced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the bread

zest and a little juice from 1 lemon

10 mint leaves, roughly chopped

flaky sea salt and black pepper

2 thick good bread

½ a garlic clove

3 tablespoons crumbled feta
grill or griddle the courgettes until slightly charred

place the broad beans into boiling water for 5 minutes, remove and plunge into cold water, then drain and skin them. put the beans in a small bowl and dress them in the olive oil, the lemon zest, a little lemon juice and most of the chopped mint. season with salt and pepper.

Boil the peas for approx. 5 mins and drain, add peas to broadbeans

toast or grill the slices of bread so that they are crunchy on the outside but still have a bit of give when squeezed. rub one side of each slice a few times with the cut side of the garlic clove so that it melts into the bread’s hot surface. drizzle with olive oil.

Season the fresh feta with and black pepper to taste, then crumble on to the hot, garlicky bread. top with the courgettes, broad beans and garnish with the remaining chopped mint.


Hugh’s courgettes, mozzarella, pasta


Hugh’s courgettes, mozzarella, pasta, taken from his 3 Good Things on More4. Hugh’s recognised a simple pattern that underpins so many well-loved dishes – that they are little more or less than three good things on a plate and in this series, he pursues that idea, experimenting with different flavours and textures.

Rate this recipe:



  • 4


  • A knob of butter
  • 500g courgettes, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 250g pasta shapes, such as penne or rigatoni
  • 2 balls of buffalo mozzarella (250g in total)
  • 2 tablespoons double cream
  • Freshly grated Parmesan, hard goat’s cheese or other well-flavoured hard cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5 and lightly butter an oven dish, about 1.5 litre capacity. Cut the courgettes into 3mm thick slices.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the courgettes. Once they are sizzling nicely, but before they start to brown, turn the heat down and season with a little salt; this helps draw out their moisture. Cook the courgettes gently, stirring often and breaking them down a little with your spatula or wooden spoon as they become tender. Continue to cook until they have softened almost to the point of mushiness – up to half an hour. Add the garlic when you think they are almost done. You should end up with a fragrant, garlicky, rough courgette puree.

Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil, salt it well and add the pasta. Cook for a minute or two less than the minimum time suggested on the packet, so it is marginally underdone.

Drain the pasta well. Add the mushy, garlicky courgettes and stir to combine. Tear up the mozzarella with your hands and add it to the pasta, along with the cream. Season with salt and pepper and stir the whole lot together one more time.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared oven dish and give it a good grating of Parmesan or other hard cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until piping hot and golden brown on top. Serve straight away.

This recipe is one of hundreds of new recipes which can be found in the book which inspired the series,
Courgette Fritters


Courgette Fritters are a healthy and delicious entry in a type of food that has become notorious for its fat content (though my carrot and coriander fritters are another notable exception). The stigma attached to fritters came to the fore with the arrival of the Mars bar fritter in a hazy, calorie filled moment around 10 years ago (correct me if I’m wrong). Essentially a deep fried Mars bar, these hunks of what is essentially just fat and sugar endowed the term ‘fritter’ with something of a bad name. Gladly, with health a growing concern for many the aforementioned fritter – we shall no longer speak its name – has rightly fallen from grace and out of vogue (except perhaps in Glasgow). Though some notable and respectable household chefs still seek to add fat and cheese to their fritters, the very best renditions are light and just a tad spicy – perfection in the summer months.

To my mind, there are two ways of cooking fritters – you can shallow fry them, or deep fry them. Either is good and if done properly deep frying doesn’t leave you with a fat soaked heap of a fritter. However, my personal favourite method is shallow frying – it makes less mess and is the healthier option of the two. I also find that with shallow frying you get a light crunch and crispiness, something that suits the profile of these fritters inimitably.


You can flavour these courgette fritters any way you please – they needn’t be spicy, but I would keep the base recipe roughly the same. Herbs work very well as they maintain the lightness of the ensemble, whereas cheese would work but create a heavier, fattier fritter that to my mind is best reserved for “burgers”. These are well served atop a mound of crisp salad, alongside pita bread and a little mango chutney, yoghurt, salsa or even hummus.

Could anything be more perfect for this warm weather than a courgette fritter? Is there anything you’d like to see me turn into a fritter?

Courgettes Fritter

Serves 3-4


• 2 courgettes, grated

• 4 tbsp gram flour

• 75-100ml water

• 1 small red onion, finely chopped

• 2 cloves of garlic, mashed

• A large handful of fresh herbs, finely chopped

• 2 tsp cumin seed, freshly ground

• 1 tsp coriander seed, freshly ground

• ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

• Salt and pepper


1. Toast your spices gently and add them to a large mixing bowl. Take your grated courgettes, squeeze most of the water out of them using a tea towel, add them to the bowl. Tip in the red onion, garlic, gram flour and herbs (coriander, mint, basil – whatever you please) and add water until you have a batter of good dropping consistency. Season.

2. Heat a generous amount of oil -preferably tasteless – in a pan and take a scoop of the mixture in your hand (around 1 tbsp or so). Place gently into the oil, patting it down a little. Cook 2-3 at a time until each is golden brown and crisp on either side. Serve as suggested above.


5 a day, on a budget, salad, smoothie, The veg box challenge, Vegan, vegetarian

Beets in the box

Early dinner beetroot orange and sesame salad from afr

A post shared by Lou St (@cakeinmyface) on

Beetroot orange carrott blackcurrant and apple smoothie

A post shared by Lou St (@cakeinmyface) on

We have gone a bit beet crazy seen as lots of lovely beets were in the box.
I made this beautiful recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz Appetite for Reduction. Its always a big hit in out house.
we also tried a raw beetroot, orange, carrot and apple smoothie which was very tasty.

5 a day, Halifax opportunities trust, money matters, on a budget, recipes, The veg box challenge, Vegan, vegetarian

What did we do at Gardening club today?

cake in my face community training volunteers at the Gardening club, at the Outback at Jubilee children’s centre every Tuesday term time 3.30-5pm..

No photos today my good friends! I was very busy and unable to take any so instead I will  be kind and leave you the recipes from the sessions so far.
Today we made butternut squash and mushroom risotto and pea and asparagus soup. Everyone tucked in and enjoyed the lovely produce from the garden.



Serves: 4 

  • 200g asparagus spears
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 175g potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 650ml vegetable stock, made with stock cubes
  • small sprig of fresh mint


Prep: 15min  ›  Cook: 15min  ›  Ready in: 30min 

  1. Snap off any woody ends from the asparagus stalks at the point where they break easily. Cut off the tender tips and reserve. Roughly chop the remainder.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pan and add the shallots, chopped asparagus and potatoes. Cover and cook over a medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes or until tender.
  3. Reserve a handful of peas and add the remainder to the pan with the stock and mint sprig. Cook for a few minutes if the potato is not quite tender. Season, then tip into a food processor or blender and process to a smooth purée. Return to the pan.
  4. Blanch the asparagus tips and reserved peas in a pan of boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain. Bring the soup to the boil, then stir in the blanched asparagus tips and peas. Ladle into bowls.


1 small butternut squash (bottom and top removed, cut in half and seeds scraped out)

2 tablespoons oil

1 tablespoon margarine

150g mushrooms chopped

2 cloves garlic minced

1 onion finely chopped

1.2 litre of  boiling water (straight out of the kettle)

1 teaspoon of low salt bouillon or 1 veg stock cube

350g Arborio rice

2 teaspoons dried sage

Preheat oven to gas mark 7. Place squash cut side up on baking tray and bake for 40 mins until tender when pierced with a fork

Heat oil in a pan and add the butter. Add the onions and fry for 5 mins, then add the garlic and the mushrooms, fry for a further 5 min. Now add rice and fry for 2 mins. Add the bouillon and sage.

Now add the hot water in 200 ml increments, stirring well between each addition. When each addition of water has been absorbed add a little more. This process should take about ½ hour to 40 mins.

Once cooked, the rice should be creamy but al dente with a little bite, you can cook for longer if you feel your baby wont be able to chew or manager the rice al dente, but you will need to add more water.

Once rice is cooked, scrape out the flesh from the roasted butternut squash and mash with fork. Add to the risotto and mix well.


and from last week:


1 cup rice arborio, carnoli or pudding rice preferably but any rice can be used

2 tablespoons oil

2 courgettes chopped

1 onion finely chopped

1/2 cup frozen peas

1.5 litres of boiling water

2 teaspoons dried dill

4 cloves garlic crushed

1 teaspoon salt reduced bouillon


Heat the oil in a pan, add the onion and soften for 5 mins, then add the courgette and garlic, dill and bouillon and stir well coating in oil. cook for about 10 mins until courgette is good and soft.  Now add the rice.  Then add the water a ladle full at a time, stirring well until each ladle full is absorbed before adding the next ladle full. once all the water has been absorbed add the peas and cook for 5 more mins.

If you wish you can add a dash of soy milk or butter to add extra creaminess to the dish. Season with pepper

5 a day, on a budget, recipes, soup, The veg box challenge, Vegan, vegetarian

Not soup again! Got veg that needs using up?

Today we had a massive lunch which included an enormous dessert! It felt only right that we have something a little lighter for our evening meal.

Do you like maximising your veg? For me the best bit about eating out at places like a carvery. They usually have an unlimited veg policy.  A great way to get your monies worth. I had the Veggie option when we went out today. This included all the carvery trimmings, Yorkshire pud, stuffing, carrots, vegetarian gravy, leeks, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower cheese, roast potatoes new potatoes and the usual sauces. Mine came with a little mascarpone, tomato and herb flan which was lovely!

Get making a soup… easy to use up leftover veg

3 carrots peeled and sliced

2 small potatoes or 1 medium peeled and diced

1 onion chopped

1 large tomato chopped

1 clove garlic crushed

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 veg stock cube

Boiling water from kettle to cover.


Place all ingredients in a sauce pan, cover with boiling water. Bring to boil reduce to simmer for approx 25-30 mins until teh carrots are soft. Place in blend and whizz until smooth. season with pepper.