Strawberry Vodka and Lemonade

Homemade strawberry vodka #recipe

This will need to be prepared a few days in advance!!

Strawberry Vodka…

2 pints (1.25 lbs. or 575g) strawberries, organic or unsprayed
750 ml vodka


  1. Wash, hull, and cut up the strawberries.
  2. Place them in a glass jar (or any container which can hold both the strawberries and the vodka, and with a tight lid!).
  3. Pour the vodka into the jar and tighten the lid. Give it a good shake.
  4. You will need to store the jar in a dark, cool place for 3-7 days (I went with 3 days) and shaken at least once a day.
  5. Once ready, strain the strawberry solids out with a fine sieve or cheesecloth.

This can be stored in the refrigerator or the freezer for several weeks (however I used mine straight away).

150g sugar
250ml water
250ml fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 5-6 lemons)
500ml water


  1. Stir the sugar and 250ml water together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Let boil for a minute and make sure all the sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat.
  3. Let the syrup cool then combine with the lemon juice and add 500ml of water. Add more water to taste.

To make strawberry vodka lemonade, add 1-2 shots of strawberry vodka into the top of a glass of lemonade over ice.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake

 Serves 8 to 10 / Prep time: 45 mins / Cook time: 25 mins / Total time: 1hr 25mins


For the cake:

The recipe called for 1 box devil’s food cake mix however I made my own – you can use your favourite cake recipe.
  • 200g Butter/marg
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 150g flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 50g of cocoa powder

For the cookie dough buttercream icing:

The recipe called for a separate mixture for the filling however I just used this one throughout and didn’t put it down the sides.
  • 225g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 280g confectioner’s sugar
  • 65g light brown sugar
  • 85g flour
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • milk (about 2 tbs. to thin out, add more if needed)


For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Grease 2 9-inch cake pans and set aside.
  2. Beat the sugar and butter until fluffy and creamy.
  3. Sift the cocoa powder into the flour.
  4. Add 1 egg, beat, then add 1/4 of the flour and beat lightly. Repeat this until all the eggs and flour are used.
  5. Divide the batter evenly amongst the two cake pans. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  6. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting. This is a necessity – the icing will melt very easily!

For the cookie dough icing:

  1. Beat together the butter and sugars until fluffy and creamy.
  2. Mix in the vanilla extract and flour and beat well until everything is combined. If the icing is too thick, add some milk, one tablespoon at a time to thin it out.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Remove the cake from the pans and carefully skim off the top of the cake with the knife until the top is level. Eat the scraps!
  2. Spoon half of the icing on top of the bottom cake layer and spread evenly. Add half of the chocolate chips on top (you can mix them into the mixture however this makes it harder to spread..
  3. Place the top layer of the cake on top of the filling and bottom layer. Using an icing spatula or a butter knife, ice the top of the cake. Again, sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top! Tip: Get a bowl of hot water to dip your knife in as this stops the mixture from sticking to it, making it spread easier.
  4. Feel free to garnish the cake however you’d like.

You can really use whatever cake recipe you prefer to use for this cake. If you have a favorite chocolate cake recipe, go for it! Or if you would rather do a white cake, do it!!

This cake in immensely sweet – I would recommend maybe a different filling as the icing is quite overwhelming.


Makes roughly 25 deep brookies


For the brownies:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the cookies:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies.


For the brownies:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Butter and line a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter completely. Stir in sugar and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not allow sugar mixture to boil.
  3. Leave to cool (You don’t want your eggs scrambling when you add them!)
  4. Measure out the cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder, flour in a bowl.
  5. Beat the eggs and vanilla extract into the butter mixture. Mix until well combined.
  6. Stir in the flour mixture and chocolate chips until well combined.
  7. Pour brownie batter into the prepared baking dish and bake in the oven for 20 minutes (I put it in for 10 but it was still too runny).

For the cookies:

  1. Whilst the brownie is baking…
  2. Beat together the butter, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla until creamy.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  4. Combine the flour and baking soda and add to the mixture gradually.
  5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  6. Once the brownie has had 20 minutes take it out of the oven (it won’t be cooked – don’t worry!) and drop small spoonfuls of the cookie dough on top of the brownie batter.
  7. Place back in the oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the brownie portion comes out mostly clean (I put it in for too long and the mixture was too dry so maybe play around with the baking times).

Butternut Squash and Sweet Leek Lasagna

Butternut squash and sweet leek lasagne

Serves 6 to 8


  • 1 medium butternut squash (approximately 1kg)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small bunch of fresh basil
  • 3 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
  • 4 leeks
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 500g ricotta cheese (I used cheddar as it was what I had in at the time)
  • 250g dry lasagna sheets
  • 1 x 125g ball of mozzarella
  • 100g Parmesan cheese


Prepare your squash

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C
  2. Carefully halve the butternut squash, then scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard
  3. Chop the squash into 3cm chunks, leaving the peel on but removing any thick skin
  4. Place the squash in a roasting tray, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and drizzle well with olive oil, then toss together
  5. Cook in the hot oven for 1 hour, or until soft and cooked through

To make your tomato sauce

  1. Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves
  2. Pick the basil leaves, discard the stalks
  3. Put a saucepan on a medium heat
  4. Add a lug of olive oil, the chopped garlic and basil leaves
  5. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring often, until the garlic turns golden
  6. At this point, add the tinned tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and leave to simmer for 10 minutes

To make your creamy leeks

  1. Trim and finely slice the leeks
  2. Wash the spinach
  3. Heat a large saucepan on a low heat and add a splash of olive oil
  4. Add the leeks and sweat slowly for about 10 minutes, or until lovely and soft
  5. Add the spinach and cook for another minute or two until wilted
  6. Remove from the heat and leave to cool for a few minutes, then carefully drain off any excess liquid
  7. Mix the ricotta into the pan and season well with salt and pepper

To make your lasagna

  1. Spoon a quarter of the tomato sauce into the bottom of an earthenware ovenproof dish (approximately 25cm by 35cm)
  2. Follow with a layer of lasagna sheets
  3. Spread half of the creamy leeks over the lasagna sheets and poke in half of the chunks of squash, then top with a third of the remaining tomato sauce
  4. Cover with another layer of lasagna sheets, then cover with the remaining creamy leeks and pieces of squash
  5. Top with half the remaining tomato sauce and a final layer of lasagna sheets
  6. Spoon the remaining tomato sauce on top in an even layer
  7. Tear the mozzarella into small pieces and dot over the top of the lasagna
  8. Finely grate the Parmesan over the top
  9. Cover with tin foil and cook in the hot oven for 20 minutes
  10. After that, remove the foil and cook for another 20 minutes, or until the lasagna is golden and bubbling
  11. Serve with a fresh green salad (see Simple green salad with French dressing)

This takes quite a while and there are a lot of steps however it is definitely worth is – possibly the best lasagna!

Asparagus Tarlets

Prep time: 20 mins / Cook time: 30 mins / Can do individual or one large!


  • 500g block puff pastry
  • plain flour (for dusting)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 250g (one tub) ricotta cheese
  • 75g wensleydale cheese (we left this out)
  • mint leaves shreaded – roughly a handful.
  • 1 lemon zest and juice of half lemon
  • 450g approx. asparagus.


  1. Preheat oven to 200degrees.
  2. Roll out pastry on floured surface to 0.3cm thick – chop into rectangles if doing separate tarts.
  3. Put on large baking tray and brush by the beaten egg. Score 1cm border around the edge and prick the centre with a fork.
  4. Bake for 10-12mins until puffed up and golden. Remove from oven and leave to cool completely.
  5. Mix the ricotta, 50g wensleydale (if using), mint, lemon zest and juice and season.
  6. Flatten the centre of the tarts and put the filling on. Top with asparagus spears and scatter over remaining wensleydale.
  7. Bake or 12-15mins until you have tender asparagus and crisp pastry.


Source: Hope’s birthday dish 🙂

Coconut Mango White Rum Ice Lollies



  • 170 ml white rum
  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 mangoes (frozen or fresh)


  1. Cut up the mangos into bitesize chunks – these can be pre-cut or frozen (I brought frozen but the only thing is the chucks were super hard and cold so make sure you cut them up small enough!).
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine rum and sugar. Mix until sugar dissolves (note: you can always use the stove to heat up this combo and move the process along. Just replace any rum that cooks off in the process).
  3. Pour in the coconut milk and whisk together until well-combined. Stir in the mango and ladle into molds. Stick them in the freezer and wait!