Dairy free blackberry ripple ice cream

This is my last blackberry recipe for the season as they’re ever so nearly gone. I went foraging at the weekend and there’s only a few in the hedgerows – enough to add to a crumble and not much more.

Blackberry ripple coconut ice cream

This ice cream is much lower in sugar than usual recipes or any shop bought ice cream. Using maple syrup which contains half the amount of sugar weight for weight as granulated sugar. It is also a natural form of sugar so has a lower GI compared processed sugar. The amounts of maple syrup used are low too.

You will need…

About 350g blackberries washed and checked for signs of life
2 egg yolks (freeze the egg whites for other recipes)
4 tablespoons maple syrup
Capful of vanilla extract
300ml coconut drinking milk
1.5 teaspoons of cornflour
400g can coconut milk

How to…

…make the custard
Heat the coconut drinking milk in a pan to boiling point.
While you are heating it up beat the egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and vanilla extract in a bowl.
Mix the cornflour with a little water to make into a paste.
Add the paste to the egg mixture.
When the milk has reached boiling point, gradually whisk into the egg mixture.
Then pour into the pan and bring back to the boil stirring continually til it thickens.

Shake the tinned coconut milk
Mix into the custard.
Chill for at least a couple of hours in the fridge.

…make the ripple
Heat the blackberries in a pan with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
Simmer for a few minutes.
Take off the heat.
Pass through a sieve so you end up with a seed-free syrup.

…bring it together
Once the coconut mixture has cooled for long enough, add half the blackberry mixture.
Whisk for a few minutes with a handheld electric whisk.
Put in a sealed tub in the freezer for about an hour and a half.
Take out of the freezer put in a bowl and whisk again with the electric whisk.
Put in the freezer for another hour or so.
Whisk again.
It should now be solidifying and so now’s a good time to add the rest of the blackberry syrup.
Stir it through.
Freeze for an hour or two longer and it should be ready.
When you come to serve the ice cream, let it thaw for about 10 minutes before serving.


This recipe is dairy free – made with coconut milk. However as it includes home made custard, egg yolks are used.


Dairy free salmon, broccoli and pasta bake

I came up with this recipe as my eldest daughter has gone off salmon. Usually I just cook whole salmon. I buy Wild Alaskan as that’s the most sustainable and healthy salmon you can get.* However, wild salmon extrudes white albumin when cooked at a high temperature for too long. I must have been doing one of these things as the albumin, I think was what was putting her off.  This dish will appeal to children as it makes the salmon part of a pasta dish. If you’re not avoiding dairy or gluten then just use butter, milk, and normal pasta – though I tend to buy spelt as it has a lower gluten content.


This recipe makes enough for one adult and 2 children (based on children having about 50-60g of fish and adult having about 100g).

Allergen free
This recipe was made without dairy or gluten. Though if you don’t need to avoid dairy – then you can use milk and butter. And of course use conventional wheat flour and breadcrumbs too.

You will need…
2 wild* (or if you can’t find wild then organically farmed) salmon fillets (about 200g)
1 carrot chopped
1/2 an onion whole
a few peppercorns
40g vegan unhydrogenated olive oil spread
40g gluten free flour**
400ml coconut milk drink***
100g fresh or frozen peas
200g broccoli broken into small florets
150g gluten free pasta shapes
Handful of gluten free breadcrumbs

How to…

Put the fish fillets in a heavy bottomed pan and cover with the coconut milk.
Add the chopped vegetables, peppercorns and bay leaf.
Bring to the boil and then turn off the heat and put the lid on so the fish is poached in the milk and the flavours of the fish and vegetables infuse the milk.
Strain the milk and dispose of the vegetables.
Put the fish fillets to one side.
Cook the pasta.
Steam the broccoli and peas.
Pre-heat the oven to about 190°c / 160°c in a fan oven or gas mark 5.

Now make the Roux…
Melt the 40g of vegan spread in a pan.
Add the flour and combine and keep stirring, for a few minutes to cook the flour through.
Now start to add the milk from the fish infusion a little a time, combining with the paste completely before adding a little more.
It takes time and care, and if you get interrupted then it’s best to take the pan off the heat as if the sauce sticks to the bottom of the pan you can end up with a lumpy sauce (though if you do end up with a lumpy sauce you can pass it through a sieve).
Once it’s completely combined, keep stirring until it’s just about to start to boil. If you want to add a bit of flavour add a teaspoon of French mustard and 30g or so of cheese.

Bring it all together…
Rinse through the pasta with cold water so it doesn’t stick together.
Flake the fish carefully by hand ensuring there are no bones remaining.
Scatter the pasta, peas, broccoli and salmon carefully and evenly in a shallow dish, and pour the sauce over it.
Top with the breadcrumbs.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

And the verdict? It was a winner, of course.

*Farmed salmon are not sustainable, they are kept in cages in the sea at high stocking density, see this article from Channel 4 on Hugh’s Fish Fight for more information. If you’re buying wild salmon too, buy from sustainable stocks as some are becoming depleted. Retailers have to label which part of the world the fish comes from, so you can check it on the Marine Conservation Society’s database.

**I used Dove’s farm gluten free flour though am sure that others would work just as well.

***This is not the coconut milk in cans but the milk alternative drink which is sold in cartons and has a thinner consistency.

Blackberry and apple spread

It feels like I’ve made so much with the blackberries  this year that I am loosing a bit of my blackberry inspiration. Though there are still some good ones to be found in the hedgerows, these will probably end up in the freezer so I can make a crumble or two in the Winter months.

Coming down to the smell of freshly baked bread from the bread maker in the morning combined with making blackberry apple jam has proved irresistible over the Summer holidays.

To make it a healthier option I wanted to develop a blackberry spread that had no added processed sugar. Some would call it no sugar – but that’s not strictly true. Maple syrup has been used to sweeten the spread and it works well. Maple syrup contains about 2.5g of sugar per 5 grams and has a lower GI than sugar too. I’ve just road tested this recipe at our Thursday playgroup where we make bread and it was popular with grown ups and little ones. Including apples in the recipe means that there’s some natural fruit pectin which helps with the setting and consistency.


This recipe makes enough for a small jam jar of fruit spread. You’ll need to keep it in the fridge and it will last for up to 2 weeks. You can freeze it too.

Sterilise the jam jar by putting it in boiling water for 5 minutes or washing well and then putting in an oven at 140 degrees centigrade on a baking tray until fully dry.

You will need …

300g blackberries
100ml maple syrup
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
2 apples (Bramley, Cox or Pipin)

How to…

Wash all the fruit well, checking the blackberries for signs of life.
Core the apples and grate them skin as well (as it contains pectin) quickly, so they don’t brown, and stir in the lemon juice, to prevent browning.
Put everything in a heavy bottomed saucepan.
Bring to the boil.
Take off the heat for a few moments while you mash the fruit (this is really mainly for the blackberries) with a potato masher.
Then simmer on a low heat for 30-45 minutes.
Pour into sterilised jar.
Place a circle of waxed paper over the top of the spread to seal it (it should cover it exactly).
And tightly close the lid.