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Tips & Tricks Archive

Soft baked chocolatey oat flapjack broken in half with its lovely texture on view

Vegan Banana Split

For a yummy summer pudding, peel a banana and slice it lengthways. Pop the slices into a bowl and top with generous scoops of your favourite vegan ice cream, then drizzle over some melted dark chocolate (check to make sure it’s vegan friendly) and a crumbled up Oaty Coconut Bar with Dark Chocolate. Add a scattering of desiccated coconut to make it extra tropical, then tuck in and enjoy!

Close up of lots of chickpeas

Roasted Chickpeas - a naturally gluten free alternative to crisps

Roasted chickpeas are a tasty and naturally gluten free alternative to crisps and crackers - they’re also incredibly cheap and simple to make and the sort of thing you always have in your store cupboard. Take one 400g tin of chickpeas - drain, rinse and lightly pat dry with kitchen paper. Toss the chickpeas in a couple of teaspoons of rapeseed oil and a few pinches of your favourite spices - sweet paprika and cayenne pepper work well. Spread out over a baking tray and roast at 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6 until the chickpeas are golden and crunchy (about 35 minutes). Enjoy warm or cold.

Fresh beetroot with their stalks and roots, lined up in a a basket

Easy Beetroot Soup

Beetroot soup is my definition of comfort. Make your own at home with this easy recipe. Start by softening a whole onion off in a pan with a stick of celery and a carrot. Add one litre of vegetable stock and 2 large or 4 small uncooked, peeled beetroot's. Bring this to the boil and then simmer until the beetroot is tender. Blitz in a blender and enjoy. Add a dollop of crème fresh and a sprig of dill for extra fanciness. 

Three vintage glass jars lined up, one with cloves and lebelled with a hand written brown luggage tag, one with cinnamon in, and one with star anise in.

Easy Homemade Mulled Wine

Homemade mulled wine always tastes nicer than anything shop-bought - plus, it’s embarrassingly easy to create and takes no time at all. This recipe tastes delicious as is but can easily be adapted to suit your tastes by adjusting the combination of spices. Don’t worry if you don’t have any muslin - you might just have to retrieve errant spices out of the glasses before serving.

Ingredients: 1 bottle of red wine, 60g/2 ¼ oz demerara sugar, 1 sliced orange, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, 1 tsp grated nutmeg, 5 cloves, large pinch mixed spice. You’ll also need a small piece of muslin cloth and some heatproof glasses, for serving.

Stud the sliced orange with the cloves and make a little muslin pouch containing the remaining spices. Place the pouch, the orange slices and the remaining ingredients into a large saucepan and heat gently for 15 to 20 minutes – allow the wine to simmer, but don’t boil otherwise the alcohol will evaporate. Taste, add additional sugar if you’d prefer more sweetness, and serve.

Bright reddy pink rosehip surrounded by green leaves

Rosehip Tea

Grab a handful of fresh ripe rosehips (the best ones can be found on a walk in the wild away from traffic). Pop these into a small saucepan of boiling water and allow to steep and simmer for ten minutes. Give them a good bashing in the water with the back of a spoon so all the juicy goodness and seeds are released. Strain and fill your favourite mug with the liquid left behind. It's high in vitamin C and great to keep those autumn / winter colds at bay. 

Fresh mint plant growing in rustic metal container

Fresh mint and fruit ice cubes

Cut up fresh mint, preferably from out of your garden, and chopped strawberries, raspberries and blueberries. Place in normal ice cube trays and fill with water or even lemonade. Add the ice cubes to plain water or sparkling drinks on those hot summer days spent by the BBQ. 

Juicy plums baked in a tray with star anise

Roast plums with star anise

This very easy and utterly delicious roast plum recipe is great for serving with ice cream or as an alternative to chutney. Try with gluten free crackers and Godminster Cheddar... Use any ripe plums, Victorias are great. Take the stones out and cut into chunky bits or halves. Spread on a baking tray. Drizzle with honey and break up three flowers of star anise over the plums. Roast in a pre-heated oven for 25 mins at 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4. You then pick out the star anise bits. I serve it just like this but you can always blitz to a smoother texture if you like.

Fresh rosemary with delicate purple flowers on rustic hessian background

Freeze your fresh herbs

The miracle method of being able to use fresh herbs in cooking and keep them for several weeks without growing them on a windowsill has been achieved. Once bought, cut the fresh herbs up and put in a zip-lock bag. Pop these in the freezer and use when ever to add to sauces, casseroles etc without the freeze dried feel. They keep in the freezer for a few weeks.

collection of orange pansies planted in a vintage metal container

Crystallised Flowers

Crystallised flowers are a gorgeous and natural way to beautify sponge cakes and cupcakes. All you need are some edible flowers (pansies, violas and violets are all good), an egg white and a small bowl of caster sugar. Briefly whisk the egg white and then use a small paintbrush to gently coat the petals, before sprinkling with sugar (shake off any excess). Leave the flowers to dry on parchment paper for approximately 24 hours before using.

Stack of four small lemon shortbread sponge cake slices on vintage green wooden surface

Lemon and ginger Snowy Hills Pudding Pots

These fresh and creamy desserts are lovely in the summer and will always please a crowd. Lightly whip 300ml of double cream with 250g of good quality lemon curd and the zest of one lemon. Split the mix between small dessert dishes and drizzle over some more lemon curd, marbling it through the cream. Freeze for 30 minutes until nice and cold, then crumble over a couple of gluten free lemon and ginger Snowy Hills cakes and serve immediately. If you would prefer to make your own homemade Snowy Hills cake, you can find the recipe here.

Overhead view into a glass kilner jar with freeze dried raspberries in it.

Freeze-dried fruits are a god-send

We all know how difficult it is to keep fresh fruit like raspberries and strawberries in the fridge; either they’re eaten before we get to them or they’ve gone off when the time comes. We love using different freeze dried fruits to add an element of natural tang and they give the most glorious pop of colour too. Freeze dried raspberries look amazing on a light cake or dessert to make it really stand out on the plate. 

Stack of shortbread biscuits with a pretty pattern embossed on the top, with a vintage wooden rolling pin with blue handles blurry in the background

Edible Christmas Tree Decorations

Homemade edible decorations are a great addition to all Christmas trees – the additional bonus being that they don’t have to go back into storage after the festivities are over. Make up a batch of your favourite robust biscuit dough (our gluten free shortbread is nice and reliable), skewering a small hole in the cut out shapes just prior to baking. Once baked, cooled and iced, thread some festive ribbon through the holes and hang all over your tree. You could also string several biscuits together to make edible bunting – the possibilities are numerous!

Homemade hummus in heart shaped dish, on a pretty vintage plate surrounded by sa;ad, pickle and a tart

Make your hummus your own

Hummus is a filling and healthy snack for anytime of day. The plain, chickpea kind can sometimes become a bit ordinary. So we say…spice up your hummus! Try blitzing a cooked beetroot in a food processor and stirring this in to add a sweet flavour and pop of colour. Other adaptations to your humus could be adding roasted bell peppers, paprika to give it a spicy smokey kick, or caramelized onion. If it’s texture you’re looking for, add seeds like pumpkin, sesame and poppy. Make the hummus from scratch or add the flavours to a ready made pack, we don’t mind, we just hope you like it!

Bowl of freshly picked red and yellow tomatoes, all varying sizes.

Super Speedy Tomato Chutney

Slice one large onion or two small ones along with two celery sticks and pop in a pan along with 500g of fresh tomatoes, add 70 ml of red wine vinegar and 140g of light Muscovado sugar. Season and simmer for half an hour to 40 minutes until you get a jam / chutney like consistency. Place into sterilized jars. For optimum enjoyment try in a cornbread sandwich with mature cheddar cheese. 

Side view of gorgoeus red rosehips roasted in a baking tray

Rosehip Jus

I can't pretend to have made this syrup yet. I started off full of good intentions this summer after being inspired by the massive & plentiful Rosa Rugosa (or Sea Spray rose) hips in the Bee Shack garden. I left the hip picking too late- the flesh had started to shrivel. This is delicious served with the Honeybuns cake of your choice. So over to the expert, Adele Nozedar (from her gorgeous book, The Hedgerow Handbook):

Makes approx. 1/2 litre
1kg rose hips 
50g soft dark brown sugar
Water (see recipe for amount)
"Split all the rose hips in half and scrape out the seeds...Then all you do is put the prepared hips, the sugar, and the same volume of water in a large, heavy-bottomed pan, bring to the boil, then simmer til the hips are soft. Leave to cool, then...blend util smooth".
Sounds simple & Adele recommends it to accompany cheese dishes. Will make sure we harvest the hips in time. 

Roasted hazelnuts on a baking tray

Healthy Nutella

A guilt free all-natural dairy free alternative to one of our favourite indulgences.

400g roasted unsalted hazelnuts
90g (dairy free) dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt

Roast the hazelnuts on a baking tray for 10 mins at 180°C / 350°F / Gas 4, remove and cool. Remove excess skin on hazelnuts and place in food processor. Blitz for 8-10 mins scraping down the side to make sure a creamy mix is achieved. Melt chocolate and add to hazelnut mixture. Add salt and vanilla extract and enjoy.

Vintage metal feeding trough filled with mint growing, a mix of chocolate mint and peppermint

Mint Pesto

Grab a handful of fresh mint and another of parsley, put into a food processor along with two garlic cloves, the juice of half a lemon and 100g of pistachios. Grate 30g of parmesan cheese and 120 ml olive oil into the food processor too, blitz until smooth and forms a pesto like paste.  Enjoy on pasta and pizza, Italian style living with a twist! 

Yellow courgette, red pepper and butternut squash on display in a wooden tray

Friendly Butternut Squash Lasagne

As a great gluten free and vegan friendly alternative to lasagne sheets, use thin slices of butternut squash. If you have one, a mandoline will help slice the squash thinly. Simply use as you would regular lasagne - layering with bolognese and cheese sauce and finishing with handfuls of grated cheddar. Bake in the oven until cooked through, golden and bubbling.

Bushy green rosemary next to a well worn red brick pathway

Guilt Free Sweet Potato Chips

The sweet potato is the perfect alternative to its carbohydrate rich cousin.  Cut them up into thin, pencil width slices after peeling, coat in vegetable oil and set the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6. Place on a large baking tray and sprinkle with flaked sea salt and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and cook for approx. 25-30 mins or until brown and crispy. Enjoy while hot. 

mince pie icecream

Festive Mince Pie Ice Cream

We’re all guilty of misjudging how many mince pies (why not try our gluten free mince pie recipe) we can eat over the festive season, and it’s not uncommon to find some leftover in the cake tin come January. Rather than let them go to waste, they can easily be turned into delicious mince pie ice cream.

Simply take a tub of your favourite vanilla ice cream (we like Jude’s) or dairy-free alternative from your freezer and leave to soften slightly (but don’t allow to thaw). Crumble up the mince pies and stir them through the ice cream until well mixed. Then just pop back into the freezer to firm up and eat as and when desired! This also works brilliantly with leftover Christmas pudding.

Roasted plums on a well worn chopping board, with star anise and a vintage dish with crumble in it
Spiced Crumble

We love a good twist on an old English favourite here at Honeybuns. One of our favourite flavour combinations we’ve tried has been star anise and plums roasted together and topped with a gluten free crumble mix. Simply heavenly, especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. You can find our classic Apple & Blackberry Crumble recipe or Rhubarb Crumble Pots on Em's Blog.

Fresh blackberries in a vintage plastic orange collinder

Blackberry Syrup

Blackberries are a fruit we just can’t seem to get enough of in the late summer, probably because they are only around for such a short amount of time. Making blackberry syrup is always our ‘go to’ late summer past time as this means we can reap the berry benefits even after the season is over. Mix 300g of blackberries (washed) with 250ml of water, 1 tbsp lemon juice and 225 grams of sugar. Bring this mix to a boil and boil for 2 mins, then simmer until a syrupy consistency is reached. Place in sterilized jars and use over pancakes, yoghurt and ice cream all year round. 

For other blackberry inspired free-from recipes, take a look at our Blackberry CoulisFruit ChamFruit Leathers and No Bake Blackberry Cheesecake.

Close up of a clump of ripe and unripe blackberries on a branch with green leaves in background

Autumnal Eton Mess

To make a speedy version, simply load your shop bought gluten free meringue nest with crème fraiche, blackberries and toasted hazelnuts. To toast the nuts pop in a pre-heated oven at 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6 for 4-5 mins.

You can drizzle with this delicious blackberry coulis.

Homemade jam in jar with label tied around neck

Jammy Flapjacks

We all love a good flapjack from time to time, or all the time, we’re not here to judge. Sometimes I’m not in the mood to entertain seeds and dried fruits with my syrupy oats, instead we recommend adding your favourite jam or fruit puree to the bake. Once you’ve made the oat mix, divide in two and put on half in the baking tray and flatten out. Then layer a generous couple of dollops of jam on top of this and sandwich the other flapjack oat mix on top of the jam layer. Delicious and ever so slightly nutritious.

For all natural cane sugar-free jam we can recommend St. Dalfour. We sell delicious flapjacks in our online shop too.

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