Tag Archives: Amber Rose

Anzac biscuits and manic Monday


This morning I was to take Léo to school, Java to the vet to have her stitches removed, and my husband to the osteopath in an attempt to convince him that his ribs are fractured and that he should temporarily cut out all activities involving long ladders and roofs. We arrived at school to be told that their roof had collapsed in the night and that there would be no lessons for the foreseeable. This suited me quite well as it happens, because it meant that Léo could stay in the back seat to prevent Java from strangling herself with her lead; emergency stops on the hard shoulder to unravel dogs are always a bit of a nuisance.

While the journey was event-free, it took no fewer than four of us to hold Java down while the vet tried to take out her stitches. Fifteen kilos of hyperactive, adrenaline-fuelled, unadulterated puppy terror produce a force to be reckoned with, believe me. Obviously Luc couldn’t help, what with his dodgy ribs, but it was very useful to have him there barking orders at us all (including the vet) to ‘just hold her down for God’s sake’. The visit to the osteopath was less traumatic (Luc didn’t wriggle on the table), but she did call me in to insist upon the importance of his staying still and on terra firma for the next six weeks. I guess someone else will have to fix the school roof, although presumably he’ll be available for ‘advice’!

These biscuits are divine and really rather healthy. Oats have a low GI, are extremely high in fibre and contain a multitude of vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in beta glucans which increase the immune system’s ability to fight off bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. Although beta glucans enhance the immune system, they don’t make it overactive and are therefore suitable for people with autoimmune diseases.

This recipe is adapted from Amber Rose’s wonderful book ‘Love. Bake. Nourish’.

Ingredients (makes 16-20)

125g spelt flour

100g desiccated coconut

40g raisins

100g rolled oats

Tablespoon chia seeds (optional)

Pinch of sea salt

75g coconut oil

50g butter

80g honey

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Prepare and grease two baking trays. Combine the flour, coconut, raisins, oats, chia seeds and salt in a large mixing bowl. Gently melt the coconut oil, butter and honey in a small saucepan and stir until smooth. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in two tablespoons of boiling water. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and combine well.

Roll walnut-sized pieces of dough into balls and place on the baking trays, leaving space between each ball. Flatten them slightly and bake for 15 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

Flourless chocolate cake (gf) and slovenly asset management


Based on my current posts, anyone would think that we currently existed solely on a diet of chocolate cake. Last week I scored a significant hit of carrots and beets from our neighbour, Yvette. Unfortunately the carrots disappeared within the hour; our asset management leaves a lot to be desired at the moment. Yesterday my husband drove off with his wallet and ID card on the roof of the car (both were later found in the track a kilometre from the house) and I had my Visa card confiscated by a very uppity machine (don’t let’s go there). Back to the disappearing carrots: Texas, the equine retiree with a highly inflated sense of entitlement, broke into the storage grange and scoffed the whole ‘hit’! To my further shame, he also chewed Yvette’s straw basket to bits. Anyway, he was about to move on to the beetroot when I discovered him. Luckily the beets were recovered, almost slobber-free, and I was able to whip up this cake.


Beetroot has plenty of health benefits: It lowers blood pressure, boosts stamina, fights inflammation, supports detoxification and helps prevent cancer. It is also fibre-rich and a very rich source of vitamin C, folic acid, potassium and manganese.

This is another adaptation from Amber Rose’s wonderful book ‘Love, Bake, Nourish’.

Ingredients (serves 8-10)

300g cooked beetroot, peeled and puréed.

4 large free-range eggs, beaten

4 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon organic cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 pinch of salt

125g ground almonds

125g min. 70% cocoa solids chocolate

1 teaspoon of rum (optional)

4 tablespoons olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and prepare a 22cm cake tin. Mix the beetroot, eggs, honey, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt, beating well. Once the ingredients are well combined, fold in the ground almonds. Melt the chocolate in the rum over a low heat and add the oil. Stir the chocolate and oil into the existing mixture, combining well. Transfer to the cake tin and bake for 35 minutes, or until a fork inserted into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool before serving, lightly dusted with cocoa powder.

Plum honey cake and one-way city


We went to San Sebastian (Donostia) during the recent school holidays. San Sebastian, just over the border from France in Spain’s Basque country, is home to the first University of Gastronomy and boasts an exceptionally high concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as some of the best tapas — or pintxos —  bars to be found.

We stayed in a hotel on one of the hills dominating the bay. The views from the balcony were absolutely stunning and this was, as I later found out, the best way to appreciate the town. I am no wimp when it comes to challenging city driving: I learned to drive in London and then for many years enjoyed regular and complicated tangos around the insane Arc de Triomphe ‘Etoile‘ roundabout with 70 other highly strung Parisians. But, after a number of near misses, San Sebastian’s complex one-way system got the better of me and I ended up conceding defeat. Léo took great delight in keeping a tally (with a rather abrasive running commentary) of my hugely illegal manoeuvres, details of which I would rather forget. And then, as if the stress at the idea of never ever being allowed to turn left again as long as I lived wasn’t enough, I got a call from home to say that Hugo had run away. More on that next time – my nerves are still in shreds! 😉

sansebastien copy

This cake is another little gem from Amber Rose’s book, ‘Love, Bake, Nourish’. The honey makes it deliciously, fragrantly soothing and I recommend you never drive anywhere without a large slice for arduous traffic situations.

Ingredients (serves 8)

180g spelt flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

130g ground almonds

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cardamon

5 large free-range eggs

120g butter

120g organic coconut oil

180g honey

400g plums, stoned and quartered

Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare a 22cm loose-bottomed cake tin. Mix the dry ingredients and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, softened butter and coconut oil and honey until thick and smooth. Gently fold into the dry ingredients. Whisk the egg whites in a clean bowl until stiff and then fold into the mix making sure they are fully incorporated. Finally stir in the plums and transfer the mixture to the greased tin. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean. Leave to cool before serving.

Plum and polenta cake and hawk-eyed osteopathic surgeons


We went to hospital at the end of last week for a follow-up on Léo’s broken wrists. After the usual palaver of negotiating the maze-like corridors, locating the original x-rays (I now refuse to take responsibilty for images, having once turned up for a follow-up visit of my own armed with x-rays of my dog’s hip) and being on the receiving end of a particularly vicious swing door, we finally saw the surgeon who cheerfully proclaimed Léo’s right wrist to be healing beautifully. I assumed this meant that the left one wasn’t and anxiously enquired ‘and the left one?’ The doctor gave a classic double take and burst into peals of laughter saying ‘oh mon dieu! He broke BOTH wrists? How did he manage to do that? Who actually breaks both wrists at the same time?’ I had naively imagined that the fact that both wrists bore hefty casts might have been a clue as to the extent of his injuries, but apparently not. Tempted as I was to find out just how hilarious he would find a broken jaw, I resisted and, once again, poor Léo had to recount the story of the day he thought he could fly…


20g agave syrup

400g plums, pitted

130g ground almonds

150g spelt flour

150g polenta

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of salt

150ml honey

180g natural Greek yoghurt

4 large free-range eggs, beaten

180ml olive oil

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Put the plums and agave syrup into a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, before lowering the heat and leaving to caramelise for a few minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Blend the almonds, spelt flour, polenta, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl mix the eggs, honey, yoghurt and olive oil together well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, folding thoroughly. Stir in the plums, transfer the mixture to a loose-bottomed cake tin and bake for 40 minutes. Leave to cool and serve.

Caramelised peach and buckwheat pudding cake (gf) and tired chicken legs


Hugo and I were nearly a kilometre from the house yesterday evening when we realised that we were not alone — all three hens had followed us. (The only other time I have seen chicken legs move as fast was at a rugby club barbecue).  It goes without saying that Hugo was not best pleased. He tried to explain, rather tendentiously I felt, that they should return home, but to no avail; they were absolutely determined that they needed some exercise.  As a result, for the moment at least, we have three hens too knackered to lay eggs.

This pudding cake is another adaptation from my Book of the Moment: Love, Bake, Nourish by Amber Rose. Luckily for me, it is fairly egg-light, but no less delicious for it.


For the peach topping:

3 peaches, peeled and cut into slices

2 cardamon pods

25g salted butter

2 tablespoons maple syrup

For the pudding base:

75g butter

75g organic virgin coconut oil

75g organic buckwheat flour

2 large free-range eggs (preferably from hens that don’t partake in cross-country events)

75g ground almonds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

50g maple syrup

50g agave syrup

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Caramelise the peaches and ground cardamon pods in the butter and maple syrup. Set aside. Cut the butter and coconut oil into small cubes and cream with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add a tiny bit of the flour, then the eggs one at a time. Continue to beat the mixture until fluffy. Fold in the remaining flour, ground almonds, cinnamon and syrups.

Transfer the mixture into a greased cake tin, levelling well with the back of a spoon. Place the caramelised peaches on top of the cake mixture, drizzling any remaining juice over the top. Bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool. Delicious served with vanilla ice-cream.

Apple and almond muffins and lawnmower paths


My husband has decided that the heat is too intense to navigate our land on foot and has starting going everywhere by lawnmower, as you do. He explained the logic at some length, although I don’t remember much; my mind must have slipped into neutral. I believe it was something to do with ‘efficiency’ and the fact that if I’m looking for him, I just have to follow the path of most freshly-cut grass. Or something. Our bank manager sounded more than a little bit nonplussed on the ‘phone this morning when I told him that he could indeed speak to ‘Monsieur’ just as soon as I had identified the most recently-cut grass strip…

These muffins are deliciously light and tasty whether you’re certifiable or not. They are adapted from one of my favourite cookbooks of the moment: ‘Love, Bake, Nourish’ by Amber Rose.

Ingredients (makes 12)

2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into pieces

1 teaspoon cinnamon

60g salted butter, softened

60g coconut oil, softened

150g spelt flour

2 organic eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

160g agave syrup

60g ground almonds

50ml milk

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sprinkle the apples with cinnamon  and poach until soft in a small amount of water. Set aside. Cream the butter and coconut oil for about 4 minutes. Add a spoonful of flour, beat again, then add the eggs, beating further until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add a little more flour to prevent curdling. Gently fold in the rest of the flour, baking powder, agave syrup, ground almonds and milk. Lastly, fold the poached apples into the mix. Spoon the mixture into muffin trays and bake for 25 minutes.