Monthly Archives: July 2015

Gooseberry Sauce Cake (Vegan)

As I’m enjoying my annual gooseberry harvest, I thought I’d share an excellent gooseberry cake recipe which I’ve cooked dozens of times over the years.   The recipe is a good way to make use of fresh or frozen gooseberries.  It’s also a great vegan cake recipe which can easily be adapted to use other allotment fruit (e.g. rhubarb or blackcurrants).

York Wholefood Restaurant CookbooThis recipe comes from The York Wholefood Restaurant Cookbook, published in 1985 and sadly long out of print.  It must be one of the most charming and useful books ever published.  My well-used copy was given to me about 25 years ago by my sister Chrissie who lived in York at that time.


half a cup of oil (I use sunflower)
1.5 cups of stewed, unsweetened gooseberries
1.5 cups of sugar (I normally reduce that)
8oz flour (wholemeal is fine)
1.5 tsp baking powder
2 level tsp mace (I use nutmeg as I don’t usually have mace)
pinch of salt


Mix together the oil and sugar, then add the stewed gooseberries.  Add to this the flour with the baking powder, salt and mace sifted in.  Your mixture may need a little more flour, it should be reasonably stiff.  Bake at gas mark 4 for 50-60 mins.

As I recall, I usually have to add quite a lot of extra flour, and bake it for at least 15 minutes longer than the time given above.

Because the book is out of print, I have taken the liberty of scanning the page from the cookbook so that you can download it as a pdf and print it out in its original form if you wish:  download recipe pdf of gooseberry sauce cake (vegan) .

Make a simple slow worm habitat

Although endangered nationally, slow worms are still fairly common in Stroud and they deserve our help.  They eat slugs and snails, after all!

You can help them by making a simple home for them in your garden.  All you need is a bit of corrugated roofing sheet (black bitumen sheet, trade name ‘Onduline’, or galvanised corrugated iron sheet).  Put it in a sunny spot, and put a brick or two on it to hold it down. Couldn’t be simpler, and with luck a family of slow worms will soon move in.  They love the heat and safety under the corrugated roofing sheet.

Slow Worm Habitat Stroud
Just put a piece of corrugated roofing sheet (black or galvanised, not clear) in a sunny spot and slow worms will live underneath it – coming out to forage for slugs and snails.
A day after I put the roofing sheet in place, I lifted it up and found a lovely big slow worm (and a slug which would soon be a tasty snack for it).
A few days after I put the roofing sheet in place, I lifted it up and found a lovely big slow worm living there, just as I expected since I often see them in my garden.

I have some offcuts of black roofing sheet available for £4 each (a complete two-metre long sheet is £16 in B&Q Stroud or Wickes Gloucester).