Splendid Bakes' PYO Blackcurrant and White Chocolate Muffins

Ripe blackcurrants that have been warmed by the sun thanks to their inky hue are the perfect taste of a British Summer. This week we had some friends visiting from overseas and I thought that what better way to show them around than to take them berry picking? I told my friend that we were going to a PYO at a farm shop filled with British cheeses and she took no more convincing. 

We picked almost a whole punnet each of blackcurrants, redcurrants and gooseberries and those that weren’t eaten on the way home or grabbed by the handful after lunch were made into some rather splendid treats:


Blackcurrant and White Chocolate Muffins

These muffins are great for making with children. Weigh out all of your ingredients first, then use your largest mixing bowl (to prevent mixture sloshing over the sides from erratic mixing) combine the sugar with the wet ingredients and then with the dry, then add the blackcurrants and chocolate. That’s it! 

250g Plain flour

2 tsp Baking powder

1 tsp Ground cinnamon

150ml buttermilk (or curdle 140ml full fat milk with 10ml lemon juice)

100ml Rapeseed oil (or melted butter or another flavourless oil)

75g Caster sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g (about a quarter of a punnet) Blackcurrants, stir in a teaspoon of flour to coat them.

50g white chocolate chips


Preheat your oven to 150C (Fan), line cupcake tin with paper cases or grease the tin.

Combine all of the wet ingredients and the sugar in a large bowl. I gave the children a balloon whisk to use as it makes it easier for little arms to mix, and you’re less likely to have them launching mixture over the sides. 

Combine the dry ingredients then sift over the wet mixture. Stir just enough to combine to a lumpy mixture then add almost all of the blackcurrants and chocolate. The less you mix, the lighter the muffin. 

Spoon the batter into prepared cupcake cases then top each with a few of your reserved blackcurrants and chocolate chips

Bake in the prepared oven for 30 – 40 minutes, checking after 20 minutes. They are done when the sponge is golden and firm when pressed and the blackcurrants on top have burst.

Makes 12 large muffins or 24 – 36 mini muffins, depending on your tin size. 

They are best on the day they’re made but will keep for 3-4 days in a sealed container. They also freeze well.

Variation – I like my muffins with a flat top but if you like more American style domed muffins, add another teaspoon of baking powder to the dry ingredients, and a teaspoon of lemon juice to the wet. 

Top Tip – Don’t put your children in white T-shirts to go blackcurrant picking. 

Thank you Kate! See more at www.splendidbakes.co.uk



Serves 4

500g Gooseberries

4 tbsp caster sugar

2 finely pared strips of lemon zest

12 medium heads of elderflower, plus a few to decorate

300ml double cream

Put the gooseberries into a pan with the sugar, lemon zest and a few splashed of water and throw the elderflower heads on top. Heat gently until the gooseberries begin to break up, then simmer for 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Push the pulpy mush through a sieve and leave to cool completely. 

Whisk the cream until soft peaks form, then fold into the gooseberry purée - either leaving it as a ripple or combining evenly. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

Spoon the chilled fruit fool into serving glasses and top each with a sprig of elderflower to decorate.



Sterilise a few jars in the oven before/while cooking.

5 Pears - cored, peeled and chopped into small chunks 

300g Gooseberries - chopped into quarters 

2 Garlic Cloves -crushed

2 Tsp Sea Salt

250ml White Wine Vinegar

250ml Water

2 tsp Ground Coriander

1 tsp Ground Cumin

100g Soft Light Brown Sugar

100g Demerara Sugar 

1 . Put all of the ingredients in a heavy based pan or preserving pan - except for the sugars. Bring it to the boil, then simmer the mixture for 15 minutes, to soften the pears.

2. Once the pears have softened, add the sugar and heat gently until dissolved. Keep stirring it, bring to the boil, then simmer for 1 hour until thick. You may not need this long depending on your stove type!  Once the sugar is in I would advise stirring it throughout the cooking time to stop it sticking.

3. To check if it’s thick enough run a spoon across the base of the pan – it should leave a clear trail through the chutney if it’s ready. 

4. Place the chutney in sterilised jars while it is still hot and keep stored in a cool dark place. You can leave the chutney to mature for a few weeks or eat it straight away! Once jarred it will last for a few months.

This recipe pairs really well with goats cheese and water cress!





400g puy lentils (soaked for 12 hours)
1 large carrot
1 medium onion
1 celery stick
cold press rapeseed oil
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of thyme, leaves picked

1 clove garlic (minced)
750ml veal stock or brown chicken stock
2 x 200g lamb neck fillets
salt and pepper
4 slices Parma ham (ask our deli team)
200g kale

1. Let’s get those lentils done first: dice up the carrot, onion and celery as small as possible. Try getting it as small as the lentil, so with every forkful you get a taste of it all.

2. Fry off the diced vegetables in a dash of cold press rapeseed oil until soft. Add the puy lentils, bay leaves, thyme leaves and garlic, and give it a good stir so that the lentils don’t stick together. Finally add the stock and simmer until lentils are tender.

3. Lamb prep next whilst our lentils are cooking: in a hot pan with a splash of cold press rapeseed oil, sear all sides of your fillets. Season at this point, remove and leave to rest. Don’t wash the pan, we will use it later.

4. Once rested, wrap each fillet in 2 pieces of Parma ham. This will add a lovely saltiness to your fillets.

5. Place fillets onto a non-stick tray (I use the stalks from the kale to put the lamb on: the stalks stop the meat from sticking to the tray, and they take on a lovely flavour). Cook for 12 minutes at 180 ̊C electric/gas mark 5. Thisshould cook them perfectly medium, another 5 minutes if you don’t like pink. Leave to rest while we cook the kale.

6. Now for the kale. Strip off the leaves from the stem and add them to the same pan that we used to seal off our fillets. Turn the heat back up. We are going to quickly sauté the kale until tender, adding a small knob of butter and some seasoning to finish.

7. Let’s plate. Take a nice big ladle of lentils and dish out into the middle of a plate. Slice the lamb into 5 pieces and place on top. Add the kale, grab a glass of red and enjoy.


  1. Remove your turkey from the fridge and leave it to stand at room temperature for 2 hours before cooking.

  2. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan assisted), 200°C (conventional) or Gas Mark 4.

  3. Rub butter all over your turkey. Place a peeled onion, a bouquet of herbs, and half a lemon in the cavity. Season it with salt and pepper.

  4. Place your turkey breast down on a rack in a roasting tin. Cover with foil and place in oven for the recommended time.

  5. One hour before the recommended time, remove the foil and turn the bird over so the breast is facing up. Season with salt and pepper.

  6. Once the recommended cooking time is reached, insert a skewer into the thickest part of the thigh - if the juices are
    pink, return to the oven and repeat the procedure at 10 minute intervals.

  7. Once cooked, cover with foil and be sure
    to allow your turkey to rest for 30 to 60 minutes before carving. This really does help to improve the succulence of the meat.

Turkey Weight/Cooking Time (guide only):
4kg - 2.25 hrs
5kg - 2.5 hrs
6kg - 2.75 hrs
7kg - 3 hrs
8kg - 3.25hrs
9kg - 3.5 hrs

If in doubt, please ask our butchery team, we are here to help!




For the filling:
1kg Estate Bramley apples
2 cinnamon sticks
3-4 cloves
2 bay leaf (I always pinch some out my mums garden)
1 star anise
140g golden caster sugar
For the pastry:
pinch of salt
400g flour
200g unsalted butter
56g sugar
2 vanilla pods
2 beaten eggs water


  1. Filling first; core and peel the apples and cut them into chunks.

  2. Heat up a heavy bottomed pan and throw in your spices to start releasing the aromas.

  3. Add the chunky apples and then the sugar, and let the apples stew down for 5-10 minutes, but take them off before they turn to sauce. Leave to cool down while you crack on with pasty.

  4. For the pastry sift the salt and flour and set aside.

  5. Mix the butter and sugar until just combined, then split the vanilla pods and scrape seeds into the mixture. Gradually add the eggs one by one.

  6. Now add the flour in stages until all combined and knead until smooth. Leave to rest wrapped in cling film for 20 minutes.

  7. Split the pastry into 2 and roll out to approximately 28 cm across. Line a 20-22cm diameter/4cm deep pie dish and, leaving some pastry to over-hang, place your cooled pie filling into the pie dish.

  8. With a pastry brush, brush some water around the edge so that when the lid goes on you get a nice seal, then its time to crimp the top and the bottom together. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

  9. Place into a pre-heated oven [190° C/fan oven 170° C/gas mark 5] for 35-40 minutes.