muffins, scones & cupcakes

raspberry crumb sourdough muffins (vegan & GF)

15th April 2022

Streusel crumb topping is a wonderful way to elevate any cake or pastry by adding a layer of crunch. I love adding it to muffins, tarts, or any cake. This streusel recipe is from Aran Goyoaga’s new book ‘Cannelle et Vanille BAKES SIMPLE.’

The streusel recipe makes much more than you need. Freeze the remaining; Sprinkle it on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Freeze the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer the streusel to a ziplock bag or airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. There’s no need to thaw the streusel before baking; sprinkle it frozen on a cake, muffins or tart and bake as directed.


  • *I take my starter (sourdough leaven) from the fridge in the evening, just before bed, and measure out 40g, and then feed it – 100g flour + 100g water. Allow it to sit overnight, by the morning, it may be fully active, or even if it has deflated already or hasn’t quite reached its full potential, no matter. With this starter, I make this raspberry crumb sourdough cake.
  • If you don’t have a sourdough starter, replace it with ½ cup/70g rice flour, and ⅓ cup/80g of water/buttermilk, and increase the baking powder to 1 ½ teaspoon.
  • Important! Let the muffins cool completely. This will allow the crumb to set nicely and not fall apart.
  • If you don’t want to make the streusel topping, omit and sprinkle the top with flaked almonds instead.

raspberry crumb sourdough muffins

Preparation 15 minutes

Baking 30-35 minutes

Makes 12-14 muffins or one pound cake (11 x 25cm loaf pan bake for 50 minutes) 

streusel crumb topping

1 cup/100g almond flour

¾ cup/100g superfine brown rice flour

½ cup/100g light brown sugar

¼ tsp fine rock salt

7 Tbsp/100g cold dairy-free butter or regular butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

cake ingredients

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseed + ½ cup/100g hot water (allow to sit for 10 mins as below)

¾ cup/150g light brown sugar

3 Tbsp finely grated orange zest (zest from 3 oranges)

2 Tbsp/50g maple syrup

½ cup + 2 Tbsp/200g sourdough starter

½ cup/110g extra virgin olive oil or neutral-tasting oil

¼ cup/55g orange juice (1 very juicy orange)

1 cup/140g brown rice flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

¼ cup/30g tapioca starch 

¾ tsp fine rock salt

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

125g fresh raspberries (Toss the raspberries in tapioca flour before adding them to your batter. This will stop them from sinking to the bottom.)


1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line your muffin tray with 12 baking cups. (I use these ones)

2. Make the streusel; In a medium bowl, toss together both flours, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and work it into the flour until the mixture is sandy and crumbly.  Place in the fridge until ready to use.

3. Make the cake; Into a large bowl, add the flax with water and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then add sugar, zest, maple syrup, sourdough starter, oil and orange juice – whisk until smooth.

4. In a small bowl measure out the brown rice flour, almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, baking soda and powder.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth, fold in the raspberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, distributing it evenly among them (they should be full). Generously cover with the streusel to form small domes over the batter, it’s optional to dot with a few extra raspberries. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden. Let cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

I hope that you have a wonderful festive weekend, here are some photos taken in the garden this week.

cornbread date muffins (vegan)

11th January 2021

It’s been cold here, and our heating system and the hot water boiler, shut down on Friday, so the weekend was spent huddled around the fireplace dressed in layers, coats and wearing three pairs of socks! It was sunny and bright though, and yesterday we drove to our favourite lookout for a walk and filled two Ikea bags with pinecones, making it back before the 1 o’clock curfew.  I added some pinecones to the fire, turned the oven on for extra warmth and baked these muffins.

I love the cornmeal’s grittiness and the dates’ sweet addition. Slather them in butter with strawberry jam as you would a scone. The extra sweetness from the jam gives a perfect balance of sweet!

cornbread date muffins

Preparation 45 minutes

Serves 8 muffins (I use these sized baking cups)

Recipe from here.


6 pitted Medjool dates (120g)

½ cup/100g boiling water

2 heaped Tbsp/18g ground flaxseed

3 Tbsp/30g melted coconut oil

1 cup/225g unsweetened warmed oat/rice milk

¾ cup/120g medium-ground yellow cornmeal (can use polenta)

¾ cup/90g white spelt flour

2 tbsp/15g coconut sugar/brown sugar

1 Tbsp baking powder

¼ tsp fine rock salt


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Place 7 baking cups in your muffin tray. Set aside.

2. Put the dates and ground flaxseed in a medium bowl and pour in the boiling water – allow to soak for 10 minutes.

3. Then add in the melted coconut oil and mash the dates with a fork until mostly creamy but with a few chunks remaining – this can also be done in a food processor. Gradually add in the warmed oat milk and whisk until well combined.

4. Add cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix with a fork until the wet and dry are well combined.

5. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, distributing it evenly among them (they should be full).

6. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the muffins are golden. Let cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Serve them with butter and honey or almond butter and homemade jam.

pear ginger macadamia muffins (vegan & gluten free)

11th December 2019

For this recipe, I used Amy Chaplins gluten-free muffin base recipe from her new book ‘Whole Food Cooking Every Day’ and combined it with two of my favourite recipes – Peach Ginger Muffins and Pear Ginger Cornmeal Cake.

She goes on to say, “I discovered textural magic (and a gorgeous golden crumb) with a combination of millet flour, oat flour and almond flour. These flours, along with plenty of ground flax seeds, becomes a winning base from which an endless number of variations have stemmed.”


There are four parts to this recipe;

  • pear topping,
  • wet ingredients
  • dry ingredients
  • and macadamia crumb

Once these four parts are assembled and ready, the muffins come together easily. I used the variation option (see below) in this photo and cut the pear into cubes, adding a ¼ cup into the batter and remaining on top.

pear ginger macadamia muffins

To make the different flours, place separately and in small quantities, whole millet, almond and oats in your high-speed blender and grind to a flour. Make in bigger amounts and store in the freezer.

Preparation – 20 minutes.

Baking – 35 minutes.

Makes 10 -12 muffins, depending on the size of your muffin cups. 

pear topping

2 small/165g pears (the smaller fit nicely on top)

1 Tbsp coconut oil

1 Tbsp maple syrup/coconut sugar

1 heaped tsp grated ginger

macadamia crumb

¾ cup/100g macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

2 Tbsp coconut sugar

2 Tbsp maple syrup


¼ cup/22g ground flax seeds

1 cup/225g almond milk

⅓ cup/70g melted coconut oil

¼ cup/75g pure maple syrup or coconut sugar

¼ cup/75g orange juice, freshly squeezed

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

½ tsp fine rock salt

1 small/80g pear, grated (skin and all)

2 heaped Tbsp/25g crystallized ginger, finely chopped 

2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger


1 cup/130g millet flour

½ cup/45g oat flour (gluten-free)

½ cup/45g almond flour

1 Tbsp baking powder


1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a standard muffin pan with 10- 12 paper liners and set aside. 

2. In a medium bowl, combine the ground flax seeds and almond milk from the cake ingredients, whisk to combine and set aside while you prepare the pear topping.

pear topping

3.  Halve the pears, remove the seeds, cut into quarters and then each quarter into three slices about ¼-inch thick. Set aside.

4.  In a skillet over medium heat, add the oil, sugar and ginger, melt the mixture, stirring gently to combine. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble, about 2 minutes, then add the pears, toss the pears to coat them with syrup, cover and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

macadamia crumb

5. In a small bowl, place the macadamias nuts, sugar and maple syrup, stir to combine – set aside.


6.  To the flax mixture, add the coconut oil, maple syrup, orange juice, vanilla, salt, grated pear, ginger and crystallized ginger.

7.  In another bowl, combine the millet flour, oat flour, almond flour and baking powder, breaking up any clumps of almond flour, using a spatula stir the wet ingredients into the dry until combined, then spoon the batter into the muffin cups filling them three-quarters full.

8.  Toss the pears to coat them with the pear juices and lay 2 – 3 slices over each of the muffins. Spoon any extra juices over the muffins.

9.  With your fingers, crumble the macadamia crumb on top of each muffin.

10.  Bake for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow the muffins to sit for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before serving, this allows the structure to set resulting in a tender crumb.


  • If melted coconut oil is added to cold ingredients, it will clump and harden. If wet ingredients are cold, not at room temperature, don’t add the coconut oil until right before combining the wet and dry ingredients.


  • For extra sweetness, replace the orange juice with maple syrup or coconut sugar.
  • As mentioned above; chop the pears into cubes instead of slivers, add ¼ cup/90g into the batter and the remaining on top.

ginger peach muffins (vegan)

24th July 2018

New MOON dip.

“The leaves of the lotus are emergent, meaning that they rise above the water level whereas the leaves of water-lily are found floating on the water surface. Same is true for their respective flowers; lotus flowers are emergent and water-lily flowers are floating.”

Monserrate Pond, Sintra

ginger peach muffins

Makes 10 muffins (I use these sized baking cups)

Adapted from ‘Good to the Grain’ by Kim Boyce.

‘Ripe peaches, cooked briefly in ginger syrup, are spooned over muffins made with soft, mellow oat flour and minced candied ginger. Be sure to use slightly tart peaches and not so ripe that they’ll break apart in the pan. Allow time for the muffins to cool before eating, as the oat flour can be moist when warm’. – Kim Boyce. 


2 Tbsp chia seeds

wet ingredients 

1 ¼ cup/270g nut milk (almond, rice, etc)

 cup/65g mild-tasting olive/coconut oil

1 Tbsp/12g vanilla essence

2 heaped Tbsp/21g grated ginger

3 Tbsp/35g finely chopped crystallized ginger

peach topping 

2 medium/310g firm, ripe peaches

1 Tbsp ghee/coconut oil

2 Tbsp/18g brown sugar/maple syrup

1 heaped tsp/7g freshly grated ginger

dry ingredients 

¾ cup/75g oat flour

1 ½ cup/200g all purpose white flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

¼ cup/50g light brown fine sugar

½ cup/75g dark brown sugar

¼ tsp fine rock salt


1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.  Rub a muffin tin with butter or oil.

2.  Grate the ginger; 2 heaped tablespoons plus 1 tsp – divided.

3. Whisk the chia seeds, wet ingredients and the grated and crystalized ginger in a medium bowl; set aside for 10 minutes to thicken.

peach topping

4.  Halve the peaches, remove the seeds, cut into quarters, and then slice each quarter into three or four slices about ¼-inch thick. Set aside.

5.  In a large skillet over medium heat, add the ghee/oil, sugar and 1 heaped teaspoon of grated ginger; melt the mixture, stirring to combine. Cook until the mixture begins to bubble, about 2 minutes.

6.  Add the peaches, tossing the pan to coat them with syrup. Cover and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.


7. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients—oat and white flour, baking powder, sugars, and salt—and set aside.

8.  Combine the wet and dry ingredients.  Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon; do not over-mix.

9.  Scoop the batter into 10-muffin cups using a spoon or an ice-cream scoop. Fill just a little over halfway. The batter will rise when the peaches are placed on top.

10.  Toss the peaches to coat them with the pan juices. Individually, lay one slice of peach over each of the muffins, tucking the second slice partway into the batter. Any extra peaches can be served with the muffins. Spoon the pan juices over the muffins.

11.  Bake until golden for approximately 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through. The muffins are ready when golden and the edges of the peaches are caramelized. These muffins are best eaten the day they are made.

Serve with a dollop of cream or Greek yoghurt and remaining peaches.

raspberry quinoa muffins with an almond crumb (vegan)

30th April 2017


This garden breathes beautifully of our time here……

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and deeply grateful for the gifts it has given……


raspberry quinoa muffins with an almond crumb

Makes 10 muffins (I use these sized baking cups)

A recipe I make often based on this Plum Millet Cake, the sweet almond crumb adds a delicious crunchy texture which contrasts nicely with the sourness of the raspberries. These muffins are tender, fragrant and light. The maple syrup can be replaced with ½ cup brown sugar plus ¼ cup/50g almond milk.

I made my own muffin liners by tearing up  12 x 12 cm square pieces of baking paper and pressing them down into the tray – if you grease the tin beforehand the liners behave nicely. If you don’t have a muffin tin, this recipe can also be made as a cake, may need to increase the baking time.

for the quinoa

¼ cup/50g quinoa

½ cup/125ml water

for the almond crumb

½ cup/45g flaked almonds

2 Tbsp/25g brown sugar/coconut sugar

2 Tbsp/45g maple syrup

for the cake

1½ cup/210g whole-spelt flour

1 Tbsp aluminium-free baking powder

¾ cup/220g maple syrup

 cup/65g mild-tasting olive/coconut oil

¼ cup/50g almond milk

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

¼ tsp fine rock salt

150g frozen/fresh raspberries

cook the quinoa

1.  Rinse and drain the quinoa, place in a pan, add water, and bring to a boil; then reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer – simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, uncovered, until the water has evaporated. Turn off the heat; cover and let sit for 10 minutes, then measure out 1 cup/130g cooked quinoa – set aside.

2.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and fill a muffin tray with 10 liners.

prepare the almond crumb

3.  In a small bowl place the flaked almonds, sugar and maple syrup, stir to combine – set aside.

prepare the cake

4.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder; set aside.

5.  In a medium jug, whisk together the maple syrup, oil, almond milk, vanilla, lemon zest, salt and cooked quinoa.

6.  Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients, and using a rubber spatula, stir until well combined, then gently fold in the raspberries – be careful not to over-mix.

7.  Scoop the batter into muffin cups, filling them all the way to the top using a spoon or an ice cream scoop.  Spoon a teaspoon of the almond crumb on top of each muffin.

8.  Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until golden or a toothpick comes out clean. Take the muffins out of the tin and place them on a wire rack to cool.

Serve with a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt.


Goodness shared by Stacey

citrus coconut cupcakes (vegan)

20th March 2016


When we lived in Israel, we were very fortunate to be surrounded by citrus orchards, and now here in Portugal, we have our own line of orange and lemon trees that extends down the driveway.  Each Winter, the trees are abundant and I am struggling to make use of all those oranges.  I managed to boil and freeze a dozen for this recipe, and twice-weekly, I fill a basket full to last us through with freshly squeezed juices in the mornings.  I peel and chop bowls full, to offer to class after yoga practice.  I have also been making big pots of marmalade jam to last us through the year.  Scooping it up and serving it on home-made bread to warm and brighten these damply, chilly days.  But still, so many end up on the ground.

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~ orange blossoms


citrus coconut cupcakes

Makes 12 cupcakes (I use these sized baking cups.)

Recipe adapted from Amy Chaplin’s – ‘At Home in the Wholefood Kitchen’.

Deliciously flavoured orange vegan cupcakes.  The boiled whole orange then blended with the wet ingredients, gives these cupcakes a clean, vibrant and refreshing flavour.  The coconut gives them a crusty outside and moist, light crumb inside.  I love to serve them with a dollop of thick Greek yoghurt drizzled with honey for a sweeter cake. 

I have also made this as a cake and drizzled it lavishly with a vegan lemon-zested frosting – recipe below. Or for a more festive occasion this pomegranate jewel cake.


1¾ cups/215g whole-spelt flour

1½ tsp aluminium-free baking powder

¾ tsp  baking soda

1¼ cups/100g, dried unsweetened, shredded coconut – divided

1 medium navel/Valencia orange, boiled

1 cup/280g maple syrup (replace with 1 cup/180g brown sugar plus 1 cup/245g almond milk)

¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp/50g extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

½ tsp rock salt

1 Tbsp vanilla essence

strips of lemon & orange zest to garnish, optional

boil the orange

1.  Place a whole orange in a medium pot, cover with water, then bring to boil over high heat, cover pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 45 – 50 minutes or until soft.  Remove from heat, drain, and set aside to cool.

You can also boil a few oranges in advance and freeze them for up to three months.

make the cupcakes

2.  Preheat oven to 180C/350F.  Line a muffin tray with 12 paper liners and set aside.

3.  Grind ¾ cup coconut in a food processor for 1 minute.

4.  Add the whole-spelt flour, baking powder and soda to the food processor, and blend to combine, transfer to a medium bowl and add the remaining dried coconut.  Set aside.

5.  Cut the boiled orange into quarters, remove any seeds, and cut each piece in half, then place in a food processor, add the maple syrup, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and vanilla – blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.

6. Pour into the flour mixture, and use a spatula to stir until just combined; do not overmix.

7.  Distribute batter among lined muffin tray, filling them almost to the top.

8.  Place in oven, bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Set aside to cool for a few minutes in the tray, then remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve with thick Greek yoghurt, coconut cream, drizzled with honey and garnish with strips of citrus zest or cover with lemon zested frosting.


lemon-zested vegan frosting


1 x 400ml unsweetened full-fat coconut milk

3 Tbsp agar flakes

6 Tbsp maple syrup

⅛ tsp turmeric powder

pinch rock salt

2 Tbsp lemon juice

2 Tbsp lime juice

3 Tbsp orange  juice

1 Tbsp vanilla extract


1.  Add coconut milk, agar flakes, maple syrup, turmeric and salt to a medium saucepan; whisk to combine. Bring to boil over high heat, whisking every minute or so. Cover and reduce heat to low – simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, whisking every 5 minutes or until agar is completely dissolved.

2.  Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon, lime and orange juices. Pour into a wide bowl; once mixture stops steaming place it in the fridge until completely hard, about 1 hour.

3.  Remove from fridge, and cut the frosting into chunks. Place in a food processor and add the vanilla.  Blend until completely smooth,  scraping down the sides as necessary. Place in a covered container and refrigerate until ready to use; it will continue to thicken as it cools.

Goodness shared from Stacey

vegan strawberry-filled Hanukkah doughnuts (sufganiyot)

10th December 2015


This is the first year I have made these ‘sufganiyot’.  They were requested for dessert after the lighting of the candles.  Hanukkah is my favourite celebration, with the evening ritual of light, candles and all that wonderful fried food, which I tend to avoid.

I enjoy living with a conscious choice of eating and preparing healthy, clean food, but I still enjoy some of the more indulgent foods from time to time.  I appreciate food and through my lifestyle, I have gained a deeper understanding of how food affects my physical, mental, emotional health, and in turn, my meditation practice. With that in mind, I have also come to understand that anything made with heartfelt gratitude, pure and good intention, and shared with like-minded loved ones, feeds the mind, body and soul and leads us to higher consciousness.  Even when there is deep-frying and powdered sugar involved!

Magic is involved when the dough hits the hot oil.  It is a miracle right before your eyes – you will understand when you make these.


strawberry jam-filled doughnuts

Makes approximately 20 doughnuts 

I find when deep-frying the doughnuts, it is best to deep fry in a cast-iron pot, as it keeps the oil at an even consistent temperature.  

This is a good site to judge how hot the oil should be without the use of a temperature thermometer.

I aimed for a smaller doughnut but you can make them as small or as large as you wish.  If wanting to make the doughnuts in stages, or to make only a few, prepare the dough, divide and refrigerate half of the dough overnight.  Bring the dough to room temperature the next day, which will take about 30 minutes, and proceed with the instructions below.  

for the wet ingredients

1 Tbsp chia seeds

3 Tbsp water

¾ cup nut milk (room temperature)

3 Tbsp oil coconut/olive oil

1 Tbsp vanilla extract

for the dry ingredients

250g white spelt flour

100g whole-spelt flour

50g/¼ cup light brown sugar

1 Tbsp dried yeast

½ tsp fine Himalayan salt

1 bottle canola, sunflower or peanut oil for frying

for the filling

½ cup strawberry jam

powdered sugar, for sprinkling


1.  In a medium bowl, combine the chia seeds, water and nut milk – stir to combine and set aside for 20 minutes. Once the chia seeds have gelled, add the oil and vanilla extract, then whisk to combine.

2.  Meanwhile, in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix together the salt, flour, sugar and sprinkle over the dried yeast.

3.  Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Knead, either by hand on a floured surface or with a dough hook for 7 – 10 minutes, until you have a smooth and slightly sticky dough.

4.  Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl, turning several times to coat entirely with oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in a nice warm area in your kitchen, until it has doubled in size, about 2 hours.

5.  Once the dough has risen, give it a quick knead and on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1-cm thickness, then using a 2-inch cookie cutter (or a glass), cut out about 20 (2-inch) circles, dipping the cutter in flour as needed to prevent sticking.  Re-roll scraps until the dough is used up.

6.  Line a baking tray with a clean kitchen towel and place the circles on the towel.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise until puffy, 20 – 30 minutes.


7.  When ready to fry, heat a few inches of oil in a large cast-iron pan until it reaches 340F/170C or a scrape of dough sizzles upon contact.  You don’t want it too hot as you want to allow time for the doughnuts to cook through.

8.  Fry in batches of 4 or 5 (depending on the size of your pot), turning once, until golden, for approximately 30 seconds on each side (the doughnuts will float and fry quickly and puff up).  The doughnuts may flip over by themselves, but some may need help.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to paper towels to drain.

9.  To fill them – When the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, use a chopstick to poke a hole in the side and rotate it to create a space for the filling.  With a piping bag or small zip-lock bag with the corner cut, squeeze a good helping of strawberry jam into the doughnuts and sprinkle generously with powdered sugar.  The doughnuts are best to serve immediately.

Happy Hanukka!


Goodness shared by Stacey

pumpkin scones

2nd September 2010

pumpkin scone-cut

I just spent the last month in England.  My mother-in-law deserves a medal for putting up with us for such a long time.  We all had such a wonderful holiday.  We saw some magnificent shows in London and spent a wonderful time in the English countryside.  A few days were in Cornwall, staying at a beautiful sea-side quaint hotel along the coast called Trevalsa Hotel.

Most days were spent collecting shells and stones along the beach.  We spent one day at the Eden Project, which was so inspiring and very impressive.   We did make it back in time for afternoon scones which were dotted with plump sultanas and served with thick clotted cream and raspberry jam.  The chef did such a wonderful job catering for our specific diets, vegetarian with no onion or garlic. One particular delicious meal was asparagus, lightly steamed, to just bring out its vibrant green colour, but leaving it still slightly crunchy, drizzled with an aioli sauce, green baby leaves and shaved parmesan.  Delicious.

We also spent a few days in Devon, meeting up with our dear friends, Anna and Leon.  On a particularly memorable day, we met up with Lulu who was spending a few days there.  She invited us for home-made scones and tea in her friend, Rusha’s place.  The table they set out was so beautiful, with three pots of teas and a mix and match of colourful china cups and saucers.  The scones were magically created in her tiny kitchen on her Aga.  They were delicious date and nectarine scones.

Rusha lives in a beautiful fairy-tale cottage which has a little creek running through her charming house, where the children spent the whole afternoon swimming in its freezing cold waters.  Her place is still with me.  The light, the colours, the cosiness of her kitchen and Rusha’s artistic richness in every nook and cranny.

Our next adventure was hiring a barge for four days and driving it through the canals up to Oxford with Anna and Leon and their son Lev.

What a wonderful experience!  It was like being in another world, stopping off anywhere along the banks to sleep, no shops in sight, just us and the lapping of the water against the barge.  We did have a few funny experiences as it is not easy to direct a 70-foot canal barge, beginners as we were. We made our way back to London and then onto Lulu’s place which sits on the border of Scotland on 55 acres of incredible lush peaceful beauty.  Beautiful walks, more stones collected and delicious meals shared.  Lu-Lu kept surprising us with freshly baked bread in the morning,  a lovely zucchini cake and home-made blackcurrant jelly and marmalade jam.

Now that I am back, I am obsessed with scones and jam.  Lu-Lu also gifted a jar of her blackcurrant jelly and I did buy a few jams while I was there.  Raspberry, blackberry, ginger marmalade…….   And so I had to make some scones to go with all that jam.  This is an old recipe coming from my leather-bound recipe book.  It was inspired from the days I lived in Brisbane and would travel up to Mount Glorious, enjoying the cool, crisp air and sitting in the little cafe cradled by the rainforest trees and feeding the left-over crumbs to the Rainbow Lorikeets that would bravely swoop down to eat the crumbs.  They served the most glorious pumpkin scones, rich in orange colour, moist and so tasty.  It didn’t matter how cold it was, we always sat outside, sipping hot tea and munching on warm pumpkin scones with jam and cream.

pumpkin scones

Preparation – 50 minutes

Makes 12 -14 scones


cup walnuts

1½ cups pumpkin, cut into small pieces

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 Tbsp flax meal (soaked in 3 Tbsp water for 15 minutes)

50ml full-fat cream

350g plain all-purpose flour

100g whole-wheat/spelt flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp fine rock salt

¼ cup/fine brown sugar

120g cold butter, cut into small pieces

1 tsp vinegar


1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F and line a baking tray with parchment.

2.  Place the walnuts on a tray and toast for approximately 8 minutes.  Allow to cool, roughly chop and set aside.

3.  Steam the pumpkin for 10 minutes, or until soft, drain well, and cool, place in a bowl and mash with a fork, then add the maple syrup, soaked flax and cream – stirring until well combined.  Set aside.

4.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, then using your fingertips, lightly work the butter until the mixture resembles dry breadcrumbs. Mix in the toasted nuts.

5.  Drizzle the vinegar into the wet pumpkin mixture and using a spoon or your hands, stir into the dough.  It will be on the moist side but if you having trouble handling it, dip your hands into flour.

6.  Gather the dough into a ball, turn out onto a floured work surface and knead until it roughly comes together.  Make sure not to overwork the dough, using about three kneads.  Use your hands to pat the dough until it’s 1-inch thick.

7.  Using a glass or round cutter, press straight through the dough and lift up.  Flour the glass each time you cut a scone. Don’t twist the glass, otherwise, it seals the dough and less air gets inside. Transfer to tray leaving a 2-inch space between each scone. Continue to cut out circles, gathering the scraps and pressing them together to make more scones.

8.  Bake in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through until the scones are golden brown.

Serve with your favourite tea and a dollop of fresh cream and your jam of choice.

pumpkin scone

Goodness shared from Stacey

chocolate fudge cupcakes

27th July 2009


I am an advocate for the health benefits of chocolate.  Yes, it can be full of fat and sugar, however, the current ‘research’ seems to favour dark chocolate and those with the highest percentage of cocoa.  So, I am a believer!  Added health benefits –  it just makes you feel good.

Hence, this post is going along those lines.  Chocolate fudge cupcakes.  This is the best version I have discovered.  Rich, crusty shell on top, moist on the inside and fudgy. Tried to ‘healthy-up’ this recipe, but a failure.  Tasted chocolatey, but was definitely missing something.  There is a strong part of me that finds it very difficult to follow a recipe exactly and not add/change something.  I try, but every time I look at a recipe, other ideas just take over.  However, sometimes it is best to know when some things should just stay as they are.  This is definitely one of those recipes, originally from ‘Delicious’.  I make them without the cream cheese frosting and walnuts and this time I replaced the white flour with whole wheat, and the caster sugar with unrefined brown sugar (whizzed in the mini processor). Ok, I did adapt just a little.  The recipe below has the original ingredients from ‘Delicious’ without the walnuts and frosting.   I have also discovered a wonderful cream cheese frosting that pipes well, but that will be another post.

chocolate fudge brownie cupcakes


The quality of the ingredients you use definitely affects the taste.  I use organic flour and eggs and Lurpak unsalted butter.  I have experimented with a few different varieties of dark chocolate and have discovered that ‘Cadbury Old Gold 70% cocoa’ or the ‘Lindt Excellence 85%’ cocoa gives the best flavour and texture.


170g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

120g unsalted butter

1 Tbsp golden syrup

pinch of fine rock salt

¾ cup (165g) caster sugar

2 eggs (room temperature)

½ cup (75g) plain flour

1 tsp baking powder


1.  Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  Line a cupcake pan with 8 paper cupcake liners.

2.  Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (very important for bowl not to come in contact with water) until they melt and are smooth.

3.  Stir in the golden syrup and a pinch of salt.  Remove from heat and set aside.

4.  Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and eggs in a large bowl for 2 minutes or until mixture is thick and light.  Stir in the chocolate mixture.  Add the flour and baking powder, and stir until just blended.

5.  Divide batter equally among the cupcake liners, filling almost completely.  Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until the cupcakes puff and crack on top and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with fudgy crumbs attached.

6.  Remove the cupcakes from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.  (I leave the cupcakes in tray for a few minutes before removing)

7.  Dust with icing sugar or a frosting of choice.


Goodness shared from Donna

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