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Tag Archives: Recipies

  • Gwyneth Paltrow's Pear and Lemon Verbena

    I was flicking through my copy of Gwyneth Paltrow’s book It’s All Good trying to find some healthy smoothie recipes for my last few weeks of pregnancy and came across another scrummy drink idea using some of our lemon verbena. I thought I would share it with you as another use for our herb!

    Pear and Lemon Verbena

    • 3 cups of water

    • ½ cup raw honey

    • 2 ½ pounds pears (about 6 pears), stemmed and seeded and cut into large pieces

    • 1 sprig of leafy lemon verbena

    • Juice of 2 lemons

    Combine the water, honey, pears and lemon verbena in a large pot set over a high heat. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, remove and discard the lemon verbena, and cover the pot. Let the mixture cool to room temperature. Puree the mixture in a powerful blender in batches and pass the puree through a fine-mesh strainer or a sieve lined with cheesecloth. Discard the contents of the strainer and whisk the lemon juice into the agua fresca. Serve immediately over ice.

    She also says you can add more honey if you would like it sweeter!

    Melissa, November 2014

  • Halloween Treats - Chocolate Bat Biscuits

    I was searching for some fun Halloween recipes and came across these fantastic chocolate bat biscuits on the BBC Good Food website which would look fab on the side of your mug of tea this Halloween!

    Quick and easy to make they are ideal to do with kids this half term!


    • 125g butter, softened

    • 85g icing sugar

    • 1 large egg yolk

    • 1 tsp vanilla extract

    • 1 tsp milk

    • 175g plain flour, plus extra for rolling

    • 1 tsp fine espresso-style powder coffee

    • 50g cocoa powder

    • ¼ tsp salt

    To decorate:

    • 100g bar dark or milk chocolate

    • Chocolate hundreds and thousands

    • Coloured writing icing (or make your own with 100g icing sugar, 2-4 tsp water and some colouring)


    Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line two baking sheets with baking parchment. Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and pale, then beat in the yolk, the vanilla and milk. Sift the flour, coffee, cocoa and salt into the bowl, then mix together to make a soft dough. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap and chill for 15 mins.

    Dust the dough all over with a little flour, then roll it between two large sheets of baking parchment, to the thickness of a £1 coin. Remove the top layer of the paper, stamp shapes with an 8cm bat (or other) cutter, and carefully lift to the lined sheets using a palette knife. Re-roll the trimmings. Cut a 1.5cm x 5mm notch at the base of each bat’s body. This is about right to sit the bats on thick tumblers; if your glasses are finer-edged, make the notches thinner so that the bats stay put. Bake for 10 mins or until the biscuits feel sandy and smell rich and chocolatey. Cool on the sheets for 5 mins, then lift the cookies onto a wire rack and cool completely.

    To decorate, melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave. One biscuit at a time, brush chocolate over the bat ears and wings with a small paintbrush, then cover with chocolate sprinkles. Tap off the excess. Pipe faces and fangs onto your bats, then leave to dry. Keep in an airtight container for up to a week.


    (Image courtesy of BBC Good Food Recipes)

    Melissa, October, 2014

  • Date and Walnut Pudding with Hot Fudge Sauce

    This is the most popular pudding in the Disney household and whenever my Mum asks which pudding she should do after a Sunday Roast this is always the answer! The fudge sauce is also good re-heated and poured over ice cream, so you could always double the sauce part and then you will definitely have leftovers! She can't remember where she originally got the recipe from but I think it has been adapted over the years.

    Date and Walnut Pudding with Hot Fudge Sauce - Google Images

    (Picture courtesy of Google Images - not one I made earlier)

    Serves 4-6

    • Oven 180 (electric)/ 160 (fan)
    • 1 buttered 1 litre deep dish
    • 175g Butter
    • 175g Light Muscovado Sugar
    • 300ml Double Cream
    • 100g Dates
    • 100ml Boiling Water
    • ½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
    • 1 Egg Beaten
    • 110g Self Raising Flour
    • 50g Walnuts Chopped


    1. Over a low heat, heat half the butter, 110g sugar and all the cream, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
    2. Bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes.
    3. Pour a little of the sauce into a buttered 1 litre deep dish to just cover the base.
    4. Pour the boiling water over the dates, add the bicarbonate of soda and leave for 10 minutes. Then add and beat the remaining sugar with 50g butter until light.
    5. Beat in the egg with the date mixture – don’t worry if it curdles!
    6. Stir in the flour and walnuts and pour into the dish.
    7. Bake for 50 minutes until firm to touch.
    8. Cool in the dish for a few minutes then turn out onto a plate.
    9. Re-heat the sauce and serve.

    Warning - you may need some of our organic peppermint tea after this pudding as it is quite rich!

    Melissa, February 2013

  • Jamie Oliver Recipease

    At Jamie Oliver’s Recipease you get the chance to learn from one of his team how to make a selection of his famous dishes. Last night Rob and I embarked upon the American-style green chilli class at the Clapham Junction branch.

    This is where I should let you know that Rob is a superb cook. He loves food, reading recipes and as a way of unwinding in the evening he will happily cook new recipes and try new things. I on the other-hand can cook, but much prefer to bake and certainly don’t find cooking calming like Rob does! This really was a chance for me to learn some new techniques in a fun and chilled out atmosphere - (It probably was also going to help that I had a rather large glass of wine in the pub first!)

    When we arrived we were introduced to our chef Dan, we put our belongings away, washed our hands and put on our aprons. Dan then took us through the first parts of the recipe that we were going to make; the pork chilli and the dough for the flatbreads. Having seen how much chopping there was to do, the injury Chef Dan had from chopping his nail off and my history with a breadknife (another story altogether) we thought it may be safer for Rob to do the chopping and for me to make the flatbreads!

    You work in pairs and have a little cooking station for the both of you with all your ingredients laid out and all the tools you will need. You each get your own hob too! Rob got on with the chopping and I started on the dough.

    The flatbreads could not have been simpler to make and I was rather impressed with how similar my dough turned out to the one Dan had showed us. All they entailed were flour, baking powder, salt, some water and oil. We then included fennel seeds and parsley to give them a unique flavour. Maybe this cooking malarkey could be fun!

    Our Jamie Oliver Flat bread Baking

    Dan came round to each couple and checked on how we were doing, answered questions and gave little tips and facts along the way. He certainly had the ‘Jamie’ style of cooking down to a fine art and his and our dishes did look exactly like the one in Jamie’s book.

    Once the pork chilli was starting to cook and the flatbreads were made, Dan showed us how to make the guacamole (very roughly chopped – not like shop bought ones) and explained how long we should cook the flatbreads for. It was then our turn to follow and then we could eat it!

    Our Jamie Oliver Guacamole

    We decided again that Rob should chop and as I was so proud of my little flatbreads I should cook them. All in all the lesson and cooking took around an hour and then we got half an hour to sit down with our fellow chefs and enjoy the result of all our hard work with a well-earned glass of wine or beer. I have to say that it really was delicious and so simple to do. Following the class they email you the recipe so you can recreate it at home and they also keep the shop open and give you 10% that evening. We certainly will be cooking this for friends and you never know maybe I have found my calling as a bread maker!

    Sams Jamie Oliver Inspired Meal

    I would highly recommend a Recipease class to anyone who either enjoys cooking, wants to learn some simple dishes, or as a party with friends. I have my eye on the Dipping into Chocolate class or the Knife Skills one (so I don’t have any further nasty accidents!) I think we will make this a more regular outing.

    Sam And Rob Make a Jamie Oliver Inspired Dinner

    Melissa, January 2013


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