Lavender sugar

My girls have their jars at the ready…


I adore the heady spice of lavender in many sweet treats from shortbread to cheesecake almost as much as the simple task of picking fresh and dry flowers on a warm sunny day and shaking free any adorable crawlies before jarring with bright white caster sugar. So simple, yet so satisfying, make sure you make this perfumed sugar once your own lavender comes into bloom.


To make:
Add 1 tbsp of fresh lavender flowers (grown without chemical sprays) picked on a dry day, to a jam jar of caster sugar, shake and leave to infuse for at least one week before using.

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Summer muffin’ had me a blast ….summer muffin’ happened so fast

Watching Grease with my cherubs on the first day of the summer holidays, I feel the urgent need to bake a treat to celebrate the cosy calm…

Dairy free banana mini muffins

Dairy free banana mini muffins

Like Old Mother Hubbard my larder is practically bare of delicious treats so I use what I have – 5 small over ripe bananas that have been begging to be baked into a banana bread for days. I want something more portable than a loaf cake as the cherubs are nagging to go swimming, so spotting my new bottle of sunflower oil I choose fluffy light muffins over heavier banana bread and reason that it is more summery too. To pep up the flavour I grab vanilla extract (always Nielson Massey) and white couverture powder (Mortimer Chocolate Company) so this decadent muffin is dairy free.

Makes 12 muffins 18 + smaller buns

You’ll need: 3 large or 5 small over ripe bananas 125ml vegetable oil or light olive oil 2 large eggs 100g golden caster sugar or soft brown muscovado for maximum flavour – Billingtons is delicious in baking, it lends toffee/caramel notes to your favourite recipes with no extra effort! 60g Mortimer Chocolate Co White Couveture powder 1tsp vanilla extract/vanilla bean paste 1tsp bicarbonate of soda 225g self raising flour

How to: Preheat your oven to 200C/ 180C fan/ gas mark 6 and line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas by hand or with a hand mixer. Add the oil, vanilla, eggs then sugar, beating between each addition. Sieve in the flour, chocolate powder and bicarb then beat until thoroughly combined. Pour into cases up to 2/3 full and bake for 15-20 mins until risen, golden and a skewer when inserted comes away clean. Allow to cool for 5 mins before removing from tin and cooling on a wire rack.

Watch as happy faces devour your first batch in moments prompting to you to start the process again!

Alternatives: You can swap the chocolate couverture for cocoa or chocolate chips! For more muffin rise fill cases fully. I tried to make the mix go further but we ate the whole batch whilst still warm regardless!