Nourishing Christmas Treats

Almond, Lime & Raspberry Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Icing | Serves 12

This tangy cake has a lovely buttery texture, and is perhaps a little sweeter than many of my other recipes, but the slightly savoury cream cheese icing works perfectly with it.

– 250g/8.8oz butter, softened
– 120g/4.2oz ground almonds
– 4 organic eggs
– 220g/7.8oz spelt flour
– 2 teaspoon baking powder
– 130g/4.6oz pure maple syrup
– 130g/4.6oz light muscovado sugar
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– Zest and juice of 2 limes
– 130g/4.6oz frozen raspberries

– 250g/8.8oz cream cheese
– Juice of ½ lime
– 3 tablespoon  maple syrup
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– Filling: 3 tablespoon  good-quality raspberry
jam or lime curd

– Freeze-dried raspberries
– Lime zest



Preheat oven to 180°C fan bake. Line two 22cm cake tins with baking paper.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter until pale, light and fluffy. And the ground almonds and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Gradually add in the flour and baking powder.

Fold in the maple syrup, sugar, vanilla and lime zest and juice, being careful not to overmix.

Evenly divide the batter between the two tins and dot in the raspberries, pressing down lightly with a spoon.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until golden in colour, springy to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow the cakes to cool for around 10 minutes before turning onto a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, make the cream cheese icing. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and continue to add all the other ingredients. Once cakes are fully cool, spread the filling onto one layer and place the other on top. Ice the top of the cake with cream cheese icing and top with the freeze-dried raspberries and lime zest.

Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe: Jordan rondel
Images: Sally Geer


A chargrilled mushroom feast | SERVES: 4

A chargrilled mushroom feast

“This dish is one of the things I like to cook when people come for dinner. It’s an unexpected riot of flavour and colour, with lots of interesting, unique elements that sing when eaten together. A long time ago a brilliant Italian chef taught me to be brave with the heat when it came to mushrooms: a hot pan, not overcrowded, with generous seasoning. And luckily this way of cooking mushrooms is so well suited to speedy cooking. This is how I like mushrooms best. Charred, dense and smoky all at once. Marinating the mushrooms while the griddle heats up is a quick way to get some extra flavour into them. If you don’t have a griddle you can use a large frying pan, or, even better, a barbecue.”

Anna Jones

– 200g black or wild rice
– 3 tablespoons currants
– 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
– ½ a small bunch of fresh dill and/or tarragon

– 800g interesting mushrooms: king oyster,
portobello, chestnut
– 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
– 2 tablespoons maple syrup or runny honey
juice of ½ a lemon
– 2 tablespoons sumac
– A good glug of olive oil

– ½ a cucumber
– ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
– ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
– 150ml yoghurt of your choice (I use coconut or good Greek)
– Juice of ½ a lemon

– 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
– 8 tablespoons homemade or good shop-bought hummus
– The seeds from ½ a pomegranate

– A handful of black olives (I use Kalamata)
– A small bunch of fresh coriander


Fill and boil a kettle and get all of your ingredients together. Heat a griddle pan.

Weigh out the rice in a mug or measuring jug, making a note of the level it comes up to, then rinse it in cold water and put it into the pan. Fill the mug to the same level with hot water from the kettle and add to the pan, then repeat so you have double the volume of water to rice. Put a lid on the pan and bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30–35 minutes for black rice and about 20 for wild rice. Soak the currants in the white wine vinegar.

Break or chop any large mushrooms into thick slices, put them into a bowl, then add the marinade ingredients and mix well.

To make the tzatziki, grate the cucumber into a bowl. Toast the cumin and fennel seeds in a dry pan and add them to the cucumber, then stir in the yoghurt, the lemon juice and a good pinch of salt and pepper and set aside.

Once the griddle is smoking, add a layer of mushrooms and grill on all sides until charred, crispy and cooked through. Work in batches rather than overcrowding the griddle, as otherwise they won’t cook properly. Keep one eye on the mushrooms, turning them as you need to, while you get on with another couple of jobs. Keep the first couple of batches warm in a low oven while you cook the rest.

Toast the coriander seeds in the dry pan and bash in a pestle and mortar until you have a rough powder, then add to your hummus with some more salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed.

Sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds.
De-stone and chop the olives and the coriander together on a board until you have a rough salsa. Scoop into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, then add a little drizzle of oil and put to one side.

Once the rice is cooked, drain any excess water, then mix in the currants and their soaking liquid along with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Chop the dill and tarragon and mix through the rice.
Once all the mushrooms are cooked, turn off the griddle. Pile the rice on to plates, scatter the mushrooms over and serve with big spoons of the olive salsa, hummus and tzatziki. And, if you like, some flatbreads.

Image: Jonathan Gregson