July’s Recipes for Life challenge: berries, honey and oats


This was supposed to be the final month for the Recipes for Life challenge. Can you believe we’re onto month six already? Time flies when you’re having fun, eh? But due to popular demand – well, a bit of banter recently on Twitter – we’ve decided to extend the challenge by another month.

So, I welcome you to the penultimate month for Recipes for Life! July’s three ingredients, as selected by the cookery group at SWALLOW, are berries, honey and oats. What mouth-watering, healthy, easy-to-make dishes could you create with those?

The berries can any kind of berries you fancy – gooseberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries – the list goes on. The berries can be fresh, frozen, tinned or dried. The honey can be set or runny. The oats can be Scotch or rolled. As ever, we’re pretty flexible really. All we ask is that you keep your recipes as simple as possible and any other ingredients you use should be found in most fridges or store cupboards, or otherwise easily sourced from any supermarket or grocery shop. Full guidelines on how to take part are below.

At the end of the Recipes for Life challenge, the best recipes will be included in SWALLOW’s new cookery book. SWALLOW is a brilliant charity in Somerset, supporting adults with learning disabilities to lead more independent lives. Your recipes will also be recreated by SWALLOW’s cookery group, which is run by the lovely Tracey. The group meets every Wednesday and introduces its members to simple but delicious dishes they can make on their own.


Recipes for Life: how to enter

  1. Display the Recipes for Life badge (shown above and available here) on your recipe post, and link back to this challenge post.
  2. You may enter as many recipe links as you like, so long as they are based on the three main ingredients selected for this month and accompanied only by everyday items.
  3. Send your recipe URL to me at vanesther-at-reescommunications-dot-co-dot-uk, including your own email address and the title of your recipe or post. The closing date this month is Tuesday 30 July 2013.
  4. If you tweet your post, please mention #RecipesforLife@BangerMashChat and@SWALLOWcharity in your tweet and we will retweet each one we see.
  5. Feel free to republish old recipe posts, but please add the information about this challenge and the Recipes for Life badge.
  6. As entries come in, links to these will be added to this page and at the end of the month there will be a round-up of all entries received.
  7. SWALLOW staff and members will choose their favourite recipe at the end of each month, and the winner will receive a small prize.
  8. A selection of recipes entered each month will be featured in the SWALLOW cookbook to be published later this year, helping the charity to raise much-needed funds for its ongoing work.

We have been absolutely thrilled at the support we have had from food bloggers for the Recipes for Life challenge – thank you all so much. And we look forward – hungrily – to your entries for July!

July’s entries

  1. Raspberry and Toasted Coconut Flapjacks with Yoghurt Drizzle by Under The Blue Gum Tree
  2. Honey Nut Granola and Raspberry Yogurt Parfaits by Whatever Gets You Through The Day

  3. Strawberry & Honey Super Smoothies by Bangers & Mash
  4. Fruit & Nut Granola by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
  5. Duck with a Honey & Oats Crust and Berries Compote by Spurs Cook
  6. Blueberry and Oat Drop Pancakes from Rich in Flavour
  7. Chewy Honey & Oatmeal Cookies with Summery Berry Jam by The Crazy Kitchen
  8. Cherry Crumble Muffins by Bangers & Mash

Spiced rhubarb and lemon sorbet with cinnamon cookies

rhubarb and lemon sorbet

“Rhubarb. Rhubarb. Rhubarb.”

“Rhubarb. Rhubarb. Rhu-barb!” 



Back in the day, when I was a young thespian-type, this is the noise you’d hear coming from all us extras on stage attempting to emulate the murmur of chit-chat. And it’s exactly how Twitter and the wider blogosphere sound right now. Yes, it’s rhubarb season and recipes and conversations about rhubarb abound. Oh, and of course, there are quite a few mentions of


and the occasional

“Wild garlic….”

and perhaps a slightly hopeful


I’m partly to blame of course for the fascination in all things rhubarb, as this tart and tasty perennial is one of the three set ingredients for May’s Recipes for Life challenge I’m hosting, together with lemon and spice. We’ve already seen some delicious rhubarb recipes entered, from ice cream and fools to scones and muffins – you can take a look at all the entries submitted so far here.

This fragrantly spicy rhubarb and lemon sorbet is my second entry. It’s incredibly simple and absolutely delicious, and so ideal for Recipes for Life, as we’re trying to come up with a selection of easy recipes for SWALLOW members, all adults with learning difficulties, to prepare during their cookery lessons and ultimately to feature in a charity cookbook.

cinnamon oat cookie

I served my sorbet with an oaty sultana and cinnamon cookie on the side; a perfectly crunchy, slightly chewy biscuit with which to scoop up your sorbet.

rhubarb lemon sorbet

Spiced rhubarb and lemon sorbet

250g rhubarb, washed and trimmed and cut into 5cm chunks
110g caster sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of ½ a lemon
75ml water
1 star anise
Half a cinnamon stick

Place the rhubarb, caster sugar, lemon zest and juice, water and spices in a saucepan and cook over a gentle heat for around 10 to 15 minutes until soft.

Leave to cool. Remove the star anise and cinnamon stick, and then blend the rhubarb in a liquidizer until smooth.

Pour into in an air-tight container and place in the freezer. Give it a good stir every hour or so to prevent ice crystals forming. Keep doing this until the sorbet is set, which will take around four hours. If you have an ice cream maker, which I don’t – sadly – then I guess it’s even easier and you can leave it to churn itself.

Serve your sorbet with an oat cookie on the side…

Cinnamon oat cookies

125g butter
200g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
150g rolled oats
125g plain flour
Pinch of salt
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp ground cinnamon
75g sultanas

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease and line two baking trays with baking parchment.

Put the butter in a large saucepan and melt over a low heat. Remove from the heat, add the sugar and combine well.

Add the beaten egg and mix it in. Next add the oats, flour, salt, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and sultanas and mix it all together thoroughly.

Use a tablespoon to spoon the cookie mixture onto the baking trays, making sure they are spaced out well. Squish the mixture flat with your fingers.

Bake the cookies in the oven for around 15 minutes until golden. Leave to cool for a few minutes on the tray before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Stored in an air-tight, they’ll keep for up to five days. As if they’ll get the chance!

rhubarb lemon sorbet

I’m entering this sorbet into May’s Recipes for Life challenge, as well as Ren Behan’s wonderful Simple and in Season community blog event, where I think you may find a fair few rhubarb recipes this month!

recipes for life