Courgette Cake

from ‘100 great recipes – Farmers Market’

A variation of the more familiar carrot cake – the courgette adds sweetness and a moist texture. A half and half mixture with carrots is also an option.

3 free range eggs
75g golden caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
225g courgettes, trimmed and grated
25g butter, melted
25g sultanas

175g full-fat cream cheese (eg Philadelphia)
1tbsp lemon or orange juice
75g icing sugar

1. Preheat oven to 180c,350f or gas mark 4.
2. Lightly oil and line the base of an 8inch round cake tin.
3. Place the eggs and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk until very pale and thick.
4.Fold in the courgettes. Carefully fold in the flour. Drizzle over the melted butter and fold in. Add sultanas.
5. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 25-35 mins or until springy to the touch. Cool in the tin for 5 mins before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
6.Beat together the cheese, lemon juice and icing sugar until just combined. Spread over the top of the cake.

variation – substitute 25g ground almonds for 25g of the flour.

Spiced potato & bean salad with roasted red peppers

from Avoca Salads

A substantial salad to have on its own or with barbequed meat or fish. Easy to prepare ahead of time.

3 red peppers, seeded and cut into thick strips
8 tbsps olive oil
500g new potatoes, washed and halved
2 tsps powdered cajun spice
1 can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bunch scallions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 chillies, finely chopped
1 bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Preheat to oven to 180c.
Toss the red pepper strips in 2 tbsps olive oil and roast for 10-15mins, turning occasionally. Transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Peel when cool enough to handle.

Toss the potatoes in the cajun spice and remaining olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and roast for 30-40 mins or until tender. You need to toss the potatoes once or twice during this time.

When the potatoes are cooked, combine with the beans, scallions, garlic, chilli and roasted peppers. Toss so everyting is well coated. Allow to cool and add the parsley, salt and pepper and toss again.

Roast parsnip soup with apple crisps

from ‘Avoca cafe cookbook 2’

‘Perhaps the sweetest of all the root vegetables, parsnips are an integral part of winter eating, their nutty robust flavour making them as good with roast meats as they are on their own’.

A perfect autumn warmer for a cold evening…

3 parsnips, diced
3 tbsps olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 potato, finely diced
50g butter
600ml light chicken stock
4 tsps creme fraiche
4 tsps chestnut puree
1 tbsp snipped chives
1 eating apple

Make the apple crisps well ahead, preheat the oven to 140c, core the apple and thinly slice. Lay the slices out on a baking tray and place in the oven for 2 hours, or until dried and crisp.

Preheat the oven to 200c. Toss the diced parsnips in the olive oil, season well and roast in the oven for 20 mins or until well coloured.

Gently saute the onion and potato in the butter over a low heat for 10 mins, stirring occasionally. Add the roasted parsnips and the stock and simmer for 20 mins, or until all the veg are soft. Allow to cool slightly, liquidise, then reheat and check the seasoning.

Garnish each bowl with a tsp of creme fraiche, a tsp of chestnut puree and the apple crisps, along with a few snipped chives.

Traditional teatime sponge cake

Traditional Sponge Cake
From ‘Avoca Tea time’

Although this is a recipe that everyone is familiar with I am including it for a couple of reasons: It has no butter, so is low fat (even with cream filling) which reduces cake related guilt… it needs no raising agent, which I think is amazing, considering how light it turns out… and it shows off how good duck eggs are for baking. Duck eggs have more albumen in the white, which means that they are better than hen eggs for any recipe that needs them to thicken and lift (eg meringues, buns and particularly – sponge cake). And – it really is an old fashioned treat.

5 large v fresh eggs (hen are fine, but duck are better)
150g caster sugar
150g plain flour, sieved

Strawberry jam
200ml whipping cream, whipped

1.    Preheat oven to 170c. Line 2 x 16cm, lined with parchment paper
2.    Beat the eggs and sugar together with an electric whisk until the thick ribbon stage is reached – takes about 10mins. Very gently, with a metal spoon, fold in the sieved flour.
3.    Spread the mix evenly between the two tins, bake for 20-25 mins, until firm to the touch. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
4.    When totally cold top the first cake with jam, then cream. You could also add sliced fresh berries. Place the second cake on top. Dust with sieved icing sugar and decorate with berries/flowers if wished.

Broccoli, cherry tomato, hazelnut & feta salad

Broccoli, cherry tomato, feta & hazelnut salad
From ‘Avoca Salads’

This is a great combination of sweet, salt and the crunchiness of the broccoli and nuts. Lovely as a side dish with green salad and fresh boiled potatoes.

110g hazelnuts
400g broccoli florets – bite sized
110g feta cheese, bite sized chunks
225g cherry tomatoes, halved
200ml French dressing

Toast the hazelnuts in a hot oven, until skins brown. Tip into a tea towel and rub off the skins. Allow to cool, then  put the hazelnuts in a bowl with the broccoli and cherry tomatoes. Gently toss with the dressing and season with pepper. Salt may not be needed, as the feta is usually salty enough. Top with the feta.

Courgette & Almond soup

Courgette & Almond soup
From ‘Avoca Soups’

This is a delicious soup – I got the recipe and a bowl from a trader at UL farmers market (Sarah at Chilli loco) – it’s creamy, mild and really tasty.

50g butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 potato, peeled and chopped
600ml veg stock
3 courgettes, finely chopped
25g ground almonds
125ml double cream, plus extra to serve (could be single if fat conscious…)
125ml milk
Flaked almonds to serve

Melt the butter in a large pan, add the onion and potato and cook over a very low heat for 5 mins. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 mins or until the potato is cooked. Add the courgettes, bring back to the boil and simmer for 5 mins. As soon as the courgettes are cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the almonds, cream and milk. Puree in a blender, then reheat gently and season to taste. Serve topped with a few toasted flaked almonds and a swirl of cream.

Creamed French Beans

Creamed French beans
From 100 great recipes – Farmers Market
By Jacqueline Bellefontaine

250g green beans (French or runner)
100ml double or soured cream
1-2 cloves garlic – crushed
½ tsp fresh thyme – chopped

1.    Top the beans and tail if required. Cook in lightly salt6ed boiling water for about 10 mins until just tender.
2.    Place the cream, garlic and thyme in a small saucepan and heat. Simmer gently for 5 mins.
3.    Drain the beans and place in a warm serving dish.
4.    Pour over the garlic cream and season. Toss to combine and serve.

Tomato salsa

Tomato salsa

1 chilli
450g tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil

Chop the chilli very finely and place in a bowl. Add the seeded and chopped tomatoes, chopped spring onions, parsley and coriander, lemon juice and olive oil. Mix well. Refrigerate and serve cold. Use within 3 days.

Tomato & Roasted Pepper soup

Tomato & roasted pepper soup
From ‘Avoca Soups’

1 onion – peeled & chopped
4 tbsps olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled & finely chopped
750ml veg or chicken stock
400g tomatoes
Sprig thyme
1 tsp tomato puree
Pinch ground cinnamon
2 red peppers, roasted and roughly chopped
1tsp lime (or lemon) juice

The secret of this recipe is in the roasted peppers. This brings out their natural sweetness which gives this soup its extra depth of flavour.

Saute the onion in the olive oil for about 10 mins, until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1 min. Then add the stock, tomatoes, thyme, tomato puree, cinnamon and simmer for 20 mins.
Stir in the roasted peppers and then puree the soup in a blender. Reheat gently, add the juice to taste and check seasoning.

Creamed kale with soy sauce, onion and garlic

Kale is known for it’s health properties and is considered a ‘superfood’

Creamed kale with soy sauce, onion and garlic


250g kale – thinly chopped, thick stalk removed

1 onion – chopped

2 cloves garlic – chopped

Mushrooms – sliced

Chopped fresh/dried chilli

Butter & olive oil


  1. Heat the butter and oil together in a deep pan.
  2. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and sauté over a medium heat for about 5-6 mins, until softened. Add chilli if using and fry up for 1-2 mins.
  3. Add the chopped kale, soy sauce and just cover with stock. Stir, season with black pepper, and simmer over medium heat for 10-12mins, or until kale has softened and liquid has reduced down.
  4. Add some cream and cook with lid off until the cream has reduced.