Category: Cookery

January Herb Salad – from Hawkwell Herbs

Sara Dixon from Hawkwell Herbs has come to talk to us about cooking with herbs, her monthly slot will include some herby recipes, plus where to find her stall and how to order or buy…

It’s a cold January, so why a salad? We need taste still, we need to feel we are indulging still, but, let’s face it, we put ourselves under pressure to go ‘healthy’ at the beginning of the year.  This recipe has taste, indulgence AND health.

hawkwell herbs

What do you need?

Oil – oil of your choice – try using flavoured oils if you have any – try indulging with a nut oil if you are able.

Onion – I like to use red onions for colour AND strong flavour.  Chop your onion quite small after peeling.

Bulghur wheat or any other grain of your choice – as long as it is capable of filling you up.  You can even use beans if you prefer.

Herbs of your choice – I tend to go with whatever I have the most of! I have used Parsley, which survives cold, frost, snow… and I have gone for the flat leaved variety which I prefer to the curly, I’m using Mint and have gone for Moroccan as it has a punchy taste but try any flavour mint that you have, and Land Cress which, if you haven’t tried it, is peppery.

Preparation: Chop the herb leaves for the dish itself but RETAIN the stalks as well (see below)

  1. Cook your chosen grain/beans according to manufacturer’s instructions.
    1. If you are going with the Bulghur Wheat, it is one third wheat to two thirds water (in volume), bring to the boil, simmer for about 10 minutes.
    2. Drain any excess moisture away.
  2. Whilst cooking your grain/beans, start to gently fry your onion in the oil until it goes soft. This is when the natural sugars develop too. Which helps if you crave that still-remembered Christmas sugar hit!
  3. The amount of oil you add is up to you but this is a dish which involves Bulghur Wheat which soaks up the oil very nicely as part of the final mixing.
  4. Once the onion begins to go soft, add your herbs. Turn the heat right down and gently stir them until they too begin to wilt. I like some crunch to my herbs as well as rawness of flavour but if you are using herbs which need some cooking, stir them for longer.
  5. Then add your Bulghur Wheat/grains/beans to the herb mix and mix it all together well.
  6. Eat hot or cold.

Did you know?

Retain the stalks of herbs (unless they are used in the dish itself) as they still have a use! I use them in stock, stews, casseroles, even herbal teas/tisanes as they often hold a great deal of flavour.

hawkwell herbs

Where can you find Hawkwell Herbs this month?

Sunday 6th January – Olney Farmers’ Market

Saturday 12th January – Oundle Farmers’ Market

Saturday 26th January – Ely Farmers’ Market.

PLUS Sara delivers herbs in ‘HerbBella the Van’ to Loyalty Card customers on Mondays and Fridays to keep everybody topped up in between markets.

hawkwell herbs

Special events this month:

Monday 7th January – a healthy afternoon tea party hosted with AmbaScarlett  https://www.facebook.com/events/1611948945572240/

Sunday 27th January – Hanslope Vegan Winter Fair  https://www.facebook.com/events/728024497577611/

Herb of the month for January

Another themed month!  A variety of herbs to help you make tasty herbal teas/tisanes, as well as herbs to pep up a winter salad.   As always, a Cooking Ideas booklet comes with each herb. All available at the Farmers’ Markets.



Vegan Delights from Pure and Raw Goodies

When someone says “Just to let you know my peanut butter ‘cheeseless’ cheesecake is packed with superfoods and wholefoods including nuts, cacao and coconut oil.

All my products are vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free” I just have to go and investigate.


Pure and Raw Goodies based over in Weston Favell produce vegan, raw well…err….  Goodies!!


I saw Sheena posting on Facebook about her vegan, refined sugar free Easter Eggs recently and knew I wanted to find out more about what she did.

pure and raw goodies | nene local

As some of you may know, I run a magazine called Aspen Girl, as well as Nene Local.  Aspen Girl is all about mind, body, spirit.  Last week my husband and I were trying out a vegan way of eating.  The idea of trying a vegan ‘cheese’ cake was going to go down a storm.


I collected from Weston Favell but Pure and Raw Goodies also sell through Daily Bread and Beckworth Emporium too.  Some items can be posted but not this lovely ‘cheese’ cake.

pure and raw goodies | nene local

Sheena informed me that the dessert would last a good few weeks in the fridge as with no cheese, butter, eggs etc in it there is very little to go off.  I’m not sure she anticipated my husband who said no way will it last in OUR fridge!  (He was right!!)


The dessert’s base, inner ‘cheese’ bit and ‘chocolate’ topping was incredible.  Very rich and satisfying and extremely filling.  I couldn’t eat a huge slice in one sitting, so it did mean it lasted a little longer.  Although it was Peanut Butter Cheeseless Cake, it wasn’t such a strong taste it knocked you sideways, the flavour was subtle but really nice.  I particularly loved the base, which I’d have happily eaten on its own as a cookie!

pure and raw goodies | nene local

My husband is a big cheese cake fan and so he was quite unsure about this vegan interloper.  To begin with……  most evenings until we finished it he would say “Shall we have a bit of that cake?”

pure and raw goodies | nene local

Keep an eye on the Pure and Raw Goodies Facebook page as she does various food fairs.  Although we would highly recommend looking through her page and just ordering yourself a little hamper to try!!!


More information


Pure and Raw Goodies

Telephone:  07792 287854

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pureandrawgoodies/






Happy Yummy Easter from DonnaLulu Cooks!

This is a tasty fruit cake for Easter. It’s an all in one method, so it’s easy too. You can also add some brandy or rum to the mixture to make richer!

Simnel Cake

180g softened butter

180g light brown sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ tsp ground allspice

½ tsp ground ginger

300g mixed dried fruit (sultanas, currants raisins)

Zest and juice of 1 orange (or lemon)

Approx. 400g Marzipan

Dusting of cornflour for rolling

Runny honey or apricot jam to stick the marzipan on top

Simnel Cake

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 3/160C/140C fan oven. Grease a 7-inch round deep cake tin and line the bottom with greaseproof. (A spring form tin works well).

Lightly flour a work surface with the cornflour and roll out 1/3 the marzipan until it’s approx. ½ cm thick. With the cake tin, cut a disc out of the marzipan for the middle of the cake, and set aside. Roll up the rest of the marzipan and cover until needed later.

This is an all in-one method and can be mixed in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer. Place all the ingredients apart from the marzipan into a bowl and whisk until they are all well combined.

Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth out. Place the rolled-out disc of marzipan on top and then spoon the rest of the cake mixture on top of the marzipan. Smooth the top and bake for 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours or until a skewer placed in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool and remove from the tin.

Once cooled, roll out another disc of the marzipan. Brush the top of the cake with some runny honey or warmed apricot jam and place the marzipan disc on top. Roll out the remaining marzipan into 11 balls, brush one side with some of the honey/jam or this can be done with some water, and place the balls evenly around the edge of the cake. Happy Easter & enjoy!


Glamorgan Sausages by DonnaLulu Cooks

We’ve had quite a culinary week, what with Shrove Tuesday last Tuesday and St. David’s Day the day after! These Glamorgan sausages are delicious and easy to make. They can be cooked as they are or they can be covered in breadcrumbs for an extra crunch – and it will use up any leftover bread!

Glamorgan Sausages


You will need:


150g leeks – washed & finely sliced16930759_609660945889211_1088643964_o

25g butter

100g breadcrumbs – brown or white

175g Caerphilly cheese – grated

2 egg yolks

2 tsp wholegrain mustard

Handful chopped parsley

Pinch each of salt & pepper

Glug of vegetable oil for frying



This recipe will make 6 larger sausages or 8 smaller ones.


Over a medium heat, melt the butter in a saucepan or frying pan and add the leeks. Gently fry the leeks until softened and set aside. In a large bowl add the breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, salt & pepper and mix until combined. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and mustard. Add the leeks to the breadcrumb mix and then add the egg yolks. Mix with a wooden spoon until the mixture is all combined.


Using your hands, bring it all together into one and then divide the mixture into 6 (or 8) and shape each piece into a sausage shape. Put them on a plate, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes so they harden and are easier to cook. If you want to coat them in breadcrumbs you will need the 2 egg whites and 100g extra breadcrumbs. Whisk the 2 egg whites until just beginning to froth, dip each sausage in the egg white and then roll them in the breadcrumbs on all sides. Place the sausages on a plate, cover with cling film and then place in the fridge.


To cook them, heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Place the sausages in the pan and gently fry on all sides turning them, as they become golden, crisp and hot in the middle. Serve as you wish, with salad, in a bun, in a wrap or with chips!

Get in Touch

Recipe by Donna Thomas

Website: donnalulucooks.co.uk

Facebook: DonnaLulu Cooks

Twitter: @DonnaLuluThomas