Transform your baking with Sussex spirits! (Sussex lemon-vodka cake recipe)


Looking to take your baking up a notch?

Want your friends and family to be awed by the flavour and heavenly texture of your baking?

There’s a simple trick – reach for the Sussex spirits!

Don’t just reserve them for cocktails, or you’ll be missing out on a world of spirits enjoyment.

How do spirits enhance baking?

If rich, moist and flavoursome desserts are what you desire, then a splash of something special will add that je ne sais qoui to your baking. Your friends will be clamoring for the recipe…

Whether a strong, aromatic spirit (such as walnut liqueur) or a simple Sussex gin, you’ll get a nice, boozy quality to complement your cakes, brownies and bakes. And, even if using a ‘neutral’ spirit such as our Sussex vodka, alcohol reacts with other flavour elements to truly enhance taste.

Whats more, if you’re perfecting a pastry crust – add vodka! For a buttery, flaky crust that is positively dreamy, swapping vodka for water will inhibit gluten formation (while allowing the dough to combine) for the ultimate baking hack.

Why choose Sussex spirits?

Quality matters! A bottle of the good stuff can go a long way and result in a superior end product. Low end spirits can be bitter and artificially flavoured – don’t risk your cake!

Plus, you’re supporting local business, making your desserts that much sweeter!

How to use:

You can add a splash of your favourite liquor into batter to imbue with flavour and create a denser, moisture texture.

Seeking a stronger kick? Pour alcohol over baking, soak a sponge cake layer or add to a glaze/creamy frosting. You’ll taste the difference – that’s for sure!

And don’t forget the final way to use spirits: pour yourself a glass while your dessert cooks – you’ve earned it…

Sussex Vodka Cake 

Want to cook something sweet with a Sussex spirit? Great! We’ve got a fabulous lemony-vodka cake recipe to show you just how delicious baking with spirits can be…

You’ll need:

For the cake
170g of Sussex butter
300 of fine sugar
250g flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp powdered vanilla
A pinch of salt
6 highest welfare Sussex eggs
1 organic, unwaxed lemon, peel grated. (reserve 1 tsp for the glaze)
400g creamy bio-live Sussex yogurt 
1/3 cup of Sussex Silver Birch vodka (*SALE*)

For the glaze
1/4 cup of Sussex Silver Birch vodka
220g fine sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tsp lemon peel

Preheat the oven to 180c. Combine the butter, sugar, eggs and lemon in a bowl until smooth and fluffy. Gently add in the yogurt and vodka.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt and vanilla. Add to the wet mixture and mix to form a smooth batter.  Pour the batter into your desired baking tray and cook for approximately 30 minutes.

For the glaze, mix the sugar, vodka and lemon in a pan on a low heat for a few minutes to form a syrup. When the cake base has cooled, gently press a fork into the surface to create indentations. Pour the glaze over to imbue with sweet lemony-vodka goodness.

**Fancy baking with alcohol? Check out our January sale – while stocks last!**

Now reduced – Sussex Silver Birch Vodka

Blackdown Silver Birch Vodka 37.5% ABV 70cl

A pure, smooth and refined vodka brewed in the stunning beauty of the South Downs National Park. With a hint of spring Sussex silver birch for delicate sweetness and aroma.


Recipe inspired by Just A Pinch/ Lemon Vodka Cake 
Image 1: Lemon drizzle cake by sarahluv/ FLICKR (CC)

Transform your baking with Sussex spirits! (Sussex lemon-vodka cake recipe)

Healthy Chocolate Beetroot Brownies!


(gluten-free, refined-sugar free)

January may be all about getting healthy. But, there’s no need to go the whole month without a little indulgence…

So, don’t throw away your resolutions just because you wanted a bite of something chocolatey… Simply whip up a batch of these healthy, delicious and seasonal brownies!

With this wholesome recipe, you can have your cake and eat it too: Using seasonal beetroots, raw Sussex honey and local, highest welfare organic eggs, a healthy dessert never tasted so sweet…

Gooey, chocolatey and everything you could dream about in a dessert, these chocolate brownies are good for the soul – as well as the body!

Mouth watering already?

Great – let’s get cooking!


You’ll need:
500g cooked beetroot
3 organic, high welfare Sussex eggs
1/2 cup of raw Sussex honey
100g cacao powder
1 tsp baking powder
100ml coconut oil or Sussex butter (melted)
1/2 cup of ground almonds, walnuts or hazelnuts
1-2 tsp vanilla powder

Preheat the oven too 180c. Peel the cooked beetroot and blitz in a food processor with the egg, coconut oil and honey. Once smooth, add the almonds, cacao powder, baking powder and vanilla and combine well.

Pour into a baking tin and bake for approx. 30 minutes. Allow to cool, and enjoy curled up by the fire with a cook book and good company!

*Why not try using incredible biodynamic Sussex candy beetroot for even more sweetness and beauty in this dessert? Let us know if you try this dessert or you have any wholesome recipes to share with us this January! @finandfarm 

Recipe inspired by:
Image 1: Taste at the Yelp Exchange by Yelp Inc/ FLICKR (CC)

Healthy Chocolate Beetroot Brownies!

Parsnips are in! (Organic + biodynamic) 7 incredible ways to enjoy.


Goodness, is it that time of year already?

Parsnips are here!

While they may seem to go hand-in-hand with Christmas in the British kitchen, there’re many ways to enjoy this comforting root veg. We’ve got a few ideas up our sleeve to keep them as a cool-season staple – not a once-a-year show.

From breakfast (really!) to dinner, parsnip’s wonderful earthy sweetness is one you simply need in your life.


Other than their palatability – parsnips are good for you.

This root veg is positively packed with essential minerals and phytonutrients to support your body. Parsnips are anti-inflammatory, cardio-protective and immune-enhancing.

Our locally grown, organic and bio-dynamic parsnips are positively bursting with health benefits.  Definitely a reason to include in our diets!

What are parsnips exactly?

Related to carrots, celery, celeriac, dill and parsley, parsnips are a root vegetable native to Europe. Spicy and sweet in flavour, parsnips have been a staple in our diets since roman times.

In the absence of honey and cane sugar, parsnips were the sweet treat in medieval England.

How? After the first frost, when parsnips are still in the ground, the starches change to sugar. (This is why Christmas parsnips taste so good roasted and caramelised…)

Fortunately for us, these days, we associate them as a savoury food. (Did you see our Sussex chocolate post?)

What happened to our love of parsnips?

Well – potatoes! Parsnips were pushed aside with the introduction of potatoes as a central source of starch in our diets.

But, today, there’s definitely room for both on our tables…


  • Heavy, dense parsnips are the best. These are the freshest – and tastiest. Our parsnips are dug fresh from the earth and delivered straight away for maximum enjoyment.
  • Don’t peel! The skin is rich in nutrients – and flavour! Plus, our organic, bio-dynamic Sussex parsnips are pesticide-residue free. Just give ’em a good scrub!
  • Baby parsnips can be finely sliced or grated into salads. Very large parsnips can have their cores cut out before cooking for a sweeter taste.

And now for the good part…

Ways to enjoy:

1. Breakfast

Parsnips are delicious any time of day. Breakfast is no exception! Try a creamy, sweet spiced parsnip porridge (honestly, it’s exquisite).

More savoury than sweet tooth? (Or perhaps just not up for the idea of parsnip porridge…). Parsnip hash-browns are a breakfast must. Or, how about a chicken and parsnip breakfast bake to keep you going…

2. Salads

I know. It’s hardly the weather to have you craving a salad. But, keep it seasonal and cool-weather salads will be a flavoursome delight.

Autumn parsnip and chestnut salad is about as seasonal (and delicious) as you can get. This parsnip, blue cheese and hazelnut salad will have you salivating.

Parsnips will add a whole new dimension of deliciousness to your leaves!

3. Soup

Naturally creamy and comforting, you can dig in with some fresh crusty bread and cool, salted Sussex butter after a brisk walk in the cool wintery air.

Sound appetizing? Parsnip is perfect in this farmer’s market soup. Or, how about parsnip, almond and garlic soup for a creamy, flavoursome and wholesome boost.

4. Curries and stews

Spices and slow cooking truly do this humble root veg justice. Parsnip and chickpea curry will transform the way you view this root veg, while this jungle curry  is a bowl of wintery, spiced goodness.

5. Roast

Roasting caramelises this root to utter perfection. You can simply slice and cover with oil and spices for a fuss-free side. Or, take note from Jamie Oliver on the perfect way to roast.

Our suggestion? Enjoy in the ultimate comforting way: Parmesan baked parsnips. (So, so moreish…)

6. Stock

Want to create the most delicious food you’ve ever cooked in your life?

Homemade stock is the answer! You’ll wonder how a stock cube could ever compare…

There’s no limit to what you can put in. Simply slowly simmer veg, fresh herbs and seasoning of choice. Sieve the liquid from the main ingredients once cooked, and use immediately or freeze for the future.

Aromatic and sweet parsnips are the key to creating an intense stock.  Here’s a recipe for inspiration (plus how to make your own stock powder).

7. Cake

Surprising, I know. But it may just be one of the most delicious things you’ll eat. Flavoursome and dense in texture, carrots can step aside and let parsnips steal the cake show for once.

Here’s an inviting recipe for parsnip and maple syrup cake. Or how about Scandinavian spiced parsnip cake? Mmm, or zesty orange and ginger parsnip cake

Feeling inspired?

Get your Sussex parsnips today!

Did you try any of these recipes? How do you like to eat and cook parsnips? Let us know! (@finandfarm)

Image: Parsnip Cake 7 by jules/ Flickr (CC)

Parsnips are in! (Organic + biodynamic) 7 incredible ways to enjoy.

Sweet Chestnuts!


Often scarce on the supermarket shelves (except at Christmas), Chestnuts can leave us a little perplexed with just what to do with them. But chestnuts have populated the British Isles since Roman times – and positively flourish in the South of England. We may associate them with Christmas, but chestnut season is here, and these delicious fruits deserve to be enjoyed!


A true seasonal delight, chestnuts are sweet, complex and richly flavoured. Their comforting starchy texture is wonderfully versatile for cooking. Whether sweet or savoury, chestnuts can be as wholesome or as decadent as you like. Mmm, it’s time to reintroduce the chestnut back into our culinary know-how…

How to cook

Chestnuts need cooking to become palatable. If you’ve cooked chestnuts before, then you can certainly attest to the rich, aromatic flavour cooking brings out. You can boil (approx. 30 minutes), microwave (approx. 3-4 minutes) or roast (approx. 30 minutes) – just be sure to score an X or line into the bottom of the shell to allow for peeling and to stop them from ‘exploding’! Cooking them in an open flame winter fire is, perhaps, one of the most loved ways to eat chestnuts in this country.

No matter how you’re cooking them, be sure to peel chestnuts when they’re still warm. When they’ve cooled, this can feel like the impossible task!

How to eat

There are a myriad of possibilities when it comes to enjoying chestnuts.  Blitz in a food processor to make chestnut flour – a healthy, gluten-free alternative with a slightly nutty flavour. Puree to fill a dessert such as the renowned French Buche de Noel (chocolate log filled with chestnut puree – yum!) or as a mashed potato alternative. Throw into roasts for texture and taste, or, add to rustic soups and stews to infinitely enhance with an earthy, sweet flavour.


Decadent Chocolate-Chestnut Torte

We may associate chestnuts with Christmas and open fires, but chocolate and chestnut might just be the most heavenly combination. Haven’t tried it yet? Well, we’ve got a recipe that’ll make your mouth water…

Gluten-free, deeply chocolatey and enhanced with the flavour of pureed chestnuts and enticing walnut liqueur, this cake won’t fail to please.

You’ll need:
450g chestnut puree
230g dark chocolate
6 eggs
125g butter
65g sugar
2 tablespoons walnut liqueur

To serve:
Cream (as desired)
50g dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 180C. In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until firm (but not quite meringue texture). Melt the dark chocolate over a bowl of boiling water.

In a food processor, combine the butter, sugar and chestnut puree. Add in the egg yolks, liqueur and dark chocolate and combine.

In a mixing bowl, gradually fold through the whisked egg whites. Pour into a baking tin and cook for approx 40 minutes in the oven. Allow to cool before enjoying with whipped cream and chocolate shavings (and possibly an extra shot of walnut liqueur)!


Order your chestnuts today!

Let us know in the comments how you like to enjoy this seasonal delicacy..

Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson Chocolate Chestnut Cake (gluten free)  
Image 1: Chestnuts by Kristian Mollenborg/flikr (CC)
Image 2: Chestnuts by Simone Piunno/flickr (CC)
Image 3: dark chocolate torte by kylesteed/flickr (CC)

Sweet Chestnuts!

Fingerling Potatoes – How to Store and Cook


Picture of Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes from The Dish

After chatting with our aunt, she made a very good point that a meal without potato is missing a limb. That sums up how important potatoes are in all their gorgeous versatility.  Plus a good reason why we are excited that fingerlings are the potato of the month.  We can happily enjoy their sweet nutty flavour for the next four weeks…

Fingerlings appeared relatively late in potato history – both are Victorian varieties and specifically cultivated to create their unique texture and flavour.  La Rattes were Danish and Pink Fir Apples, British, but they rapidly emigrated across the channel to France where they became the chef’s darling.

Anyway, our potatoes, as you will have seen from previous blogs, come from the beautiful Morghew Park in Tenterden, the specialist potato farm which sits on the Kent and Sussex border, who manage to produce such a stunning collection of heritage potatoes.


Mixed Bags or Available Singly

The special offer potatoes this month are available as either single kilo bags, mixed 2kg bags if you like a selection or single 5kg boxes.


La Ratte Potatoes

La Ratte, also known as Asparge potato or La Reine du Touquet.  Even though they’re Danish, their legacy is definitely French as Rattes are the chef’s choice for famous French dishes and rich potato purees.  Equally they are delicious as salad potatoes or in casseroles and stews, as they keep their shape in cooking.  They have a pale cream skin and flesh and a slightly hazelnutty flavour.


Pink Fir Apple Potatoes

Pink Fir Apple potatoes are long and knobbly with a wonderful nutty, earthy flavour.  They boil and steam well, keeping their shape and are extremely delicious roasted.  They have a pinkish skin and creamy yellow flesh, which after cooking is satisfyingly waxy, soft and buttery.



How to store

Fingerling potatoes are less tough than other varieties as their skins are more delicate, so keeping them in the fridge can actually encourage them to absorb the damp and go off more quickly.  Ideally, keep them in a brown paper bag in a dark cool cupboard and they should stay fresher for a bit longer.


How to cook

These are absolutely perfect boiled or steamed as they hold their shape well.  Their nuttiness pairs smoothly with a smoked salt or in a salad.  Equally, they are delicious roasted. Either way, no need to peel as they are delicious in their skins.

Fingerlings are firm and waxy, which is why they have been so popular in French dishes where they are slow roasted with cream or butter and still keep their shape well.

Here are some more ways to use – plus a really interesting chocolate pastry recipe.  Some call for a Jersey Royal but La Ratte would work just as well.

Some ways to use Fingerling Potatoes

Don’t know about you but we can’t resist a roast potato.  Fingerlings are sublime roasted and this recipe with chive pesto is a glorious combination of colours. However, til local chives are through we would probably use a delicious spicy rocket or wild garlic, shoudl that still be available.


The Secret Recipe Club has a delicious and healthy protein rich recipe which would make a quick midweek supper with her Roasted Broccoli and Fingerling Gribiche

Pizza and potatoes sounds like a step too far, but the waxy texture of fingerlings actually seems like it should work and provide that smooth creamy base for the blue cheese in this Gorgonzola and Fingerling Potatoes, Radicchio and Rosemary Pizza

As a side dish to a roast, fingerlings can cope with some robust flavours so don’t be put off by combining with strong flavours such as mustard, paprika, pancetta, bacon or other cured meats.  Roasted with a mustard crust here.

Or, there are a couple of stunning Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall recipes here which take the flavours one step further with the spicy Italian Devil potatoes and a rich Pan Haggerty, which is a Northumbrian dish of pan-fried potatoes, onion and cheese (we love this version!).

Or, and this one is intriguing and will be on our cooking list next weekend are waxy potato and chocolate pastries – we will keep you updated on that one.  This calls for Jersey Royals but La Ratte are perfect (and local) and our feeling is that the potato will be a creamy moist base for buttery pastry.


Visit our website at

Fingerling Potatoes – How to Store and Cook

So many ways to use Raw Honey



Blackman Bee Farm – Hove

So, our honey comes from Blackman Bee Farm where Mickelmus has extended his hives from just his back garden in Hove to all over the city and working with farms in the Sussex region.   Honey is a hard-working ingredient to keep as your cupboard staple and here are just a few ways to use it…

Continue reading “So many ways to use Raw Honey”

So many ways to use Raw Honey

Leftover Light Apple Fruit Cake


A leftover apple cake that is lighter than traditional fruit cakes – would make a perfect Simnel cake.

I was browsing ways of using up a couple of our Ringden Farm Egremont Russets and Jonagold apples that were a little past their prime and thought I’d make a cake for a friend coming over for supper.  Cake recipes are generally heavy on refined sugar one way or another so we thought the best balance is probably to incorporate more fruit and eat a delicious cake in smaller slices, using the best ingredients possible.

This cake is pretty much a lighter version of a fruit cake, but you could swap leftover ingredients or use whatever dried fruit you have in the cupboard.  It would work equally well with cranberries, cherries or pears.

It’s a nice grown-up kind of cake as well, that would work equally well with afternoon tea or as a delicious Easter Simnel Cake.

One thing is that we don’t eat cake every day – but when we do, it has to taste bloody good. We came across this cake on the BBC site, which with a bit of tweaking became the cake below and it’s one we’ve added to our little black book of cakes to repeat.

The comments on the BBC site said their cake was a little crumbly, so we upped the apple content to give it some moisture (worked brilliantly) and to counterbalance the fat.

It’s a little heavy on the butter side, but we only use Sussex Southdowns butter and this is our small indulgence (Southdowns is a traditionally-made butter that goes off if you don’t use it, unlike most commercial butters which must be irradiated or something…).

We have pinned this recipe in our December notes as it would make a fantastic lighter Christmas cake if you include homemade glacé cherries and nuts.  On the subject of which, if you’re foraging around at the back of the cupboard, then we found the remains of a bottle of Cointreau from the Christmas cocktails and soaked the dried fruit beforehand.

Nick is most definitely not a fruit cake fan, but he liked this as it has a lighter texture and is more moist and plump than a traditional fruit cake without the heavy leaden lining on your stomach afterwards!

Apple Fruit Cake


  • 150g dark muscovado sugar
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened plus extra for greasing
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 large tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 200g spelt flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 2 good size eating apples , grated (approx 120g each)
  • 300g mixed sultanas and raisins
  • A drizzle of Cointreau or brandy
  1. Put the dried fruit in a dish and drizzle over the liqueur.  Leave to absorb for a couple of hours.
  2. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
  3. Butter and line the bottom of a deep, round 20cm cake tin with greaseproof paper. Beat the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl (electric hand- beaters are best for this), until pale and thick. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold in the fruit until evenly combined.
  4. Spoon the batter into the tin and bake for 50 mins-1 hr or until the cake is dark golden, springy to the touch and has shrunk away from the tin slightly. A skewer inserted into the centre will come out clean when it’s ready.
Leftover Light Apple Fruit Cake