Category: Cookery

Beetroot & Lemon Valentine Brownie by DonnaLulu Cooks

Each month Donna Thomas will share one of her secret recipes….  Lovely to make yourself, even better to ready made from Donna though!!

Beetroot in a brownie or try it with a sweet potato or just leave that part out – it works just as well. The lemon and the lemon curd give it an extra sharpness as the chocolate can be quite rich. Although it is a Valentines treat!


Beetroot & Lemon Valentine Brownie

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You will need:


175g good quality dark chocolate

150g butter

175g dark brown soft sugar

2 eggs

150g raw beetroot, peeled & grated

Zest of 1 lemon

100g self-raising flour

6 Tsp lemon curd – optional



Pre-heat the oven to 170C/fan 160C/gas mark 4. Grease a 22cm/8 inch square cake tin, line with baking parchment making sure it hangs over the edge of the tin to make it easier to remove later.  Lightly grease the parchment.


In a heatproof bowl, break up the chocolate and add the butter. Melt gently over a pan of simmering water (making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water) stirring occasionally until the chocolate & butter are melted, then set aside. Alternatively you can place the bowl in the microwave on a high setting until melted. Place the sugar and eggs in a separate bowl or standalone mixing bowl and whisk until light and fluffy – this will take around 5 minutes with a mixer on a high speed. Add the chocolate mix and whisk for 30 seconds then add the beetroot & lemon zest and whisk for a further 30 seconds. Gently fold in the flour until it is just combined and pour the mixture into the prepared tin. An optional extra to make it more lemony, is to dot ½ teaspoons of lemon curd over the top of the mixture. Place in the oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. It may crack slightly but that’s fine and the brownie should be just set. Place on a cooling rack to cool down completely. Once cool, gently pull out the brownie from the tin using opposite sides of the greaseproof paper. Cut into heart shapes or squares and enjoy with ice cream, cream or just as they are!


Recipe by Donna Thomas

Website: donnalulucooks.co.uk

Facebook: DonnaLulu Cooks

Twitter: @DonnaLuluThomas


Blackberry Flapjacks – I’ve been Foraging for some Free Food!

This easy recipe is great to make and a great addition to any lunchbox or a mid-morning treat! With freshly foraged for seasonal blackberries, it’s almost good for you too!  ….and all those calories I used blackberry picking, well they count too don’t they?


You will need;

150g soft light brown sugarblackberry-flapjack-nene-local-sept-2016-issue

150g unsalted butter

1 tbsp. golden syrup

300g porridge oats

120g fresh blackberries

1 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)

Pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 150C/gas mark 2. Lightly grease a square or round 7 inch cake tin.


Place the sugar, butter and golden syrup in a large pan and melt together on a low – medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the butter has melted. Turn off the heat and add the oats, spice, salt and stir until all the ingredients are well combined. Gently stir in the blackberries making sure not to break them up too much. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and press down firmly and evenly with the back of a metal spoon. Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown on top and bubbling at the edges. Leave to cool in the tin and then tip it out and cut into generous pieces.


Recipe by Donna Thomas

Website: donnalulucooks.co.uk

Facebook: DonnaLulu Cooks

Twitter: @DonnaLuluThomas







Plum Cider Fruit & Nut Loaf from DonnaLulu Cooks

This loaf is made with the local Saxby’s plum cider, but it can also be made with other sparkling ciders of choice. This recipe is just a guide so if you like just fruit in the loaf, take out the nuts and add more fruit or more nuts if you don’t want too much fruit. The cider gives it the extra sweetness so it doesn’t need any added sugar and as it uses sparkling cider, it will rise without adding any extra yeast.  It’s delicious toasted for breakfast as well as being more thinly sliced to have with some cheese & chutney.

Plum Cider Fruit & Nut Loaf

You will need:


500g self-raising flour (brown or white or mix of both)
1 x 500ml bottle of Saxby’s plum cider (or rhubarb or cider of your choice)
100g sultanas
100g mixed nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

Pinch of salt

Vegetable oil for greasing

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Lightly grease the sides and base of a 2lb loaf tin and pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4/fan 170C.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Pour the cider over the mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake in the oven for 50 – 60 minutes until browned on top and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped at the bottom once it is out of the tin. The loaf can sometimes be a bit lively during baking and may start to drip over the edge, but just put the loaf tin onto a baking tray and continue baking. Cool on a wire rack, slice and serve!

Spicy cider fruit & nut loaf

Recipe by Donna Thomas

Website; donnalulucooks.co.uk

Email; donnalulucooks@btinternet.com

Facebook; DonnaLulu Cooks

Twitter; @DonnaluluThomas