Clementine Cake – a Dairy and Wheat Free Seasonal Delight!


Turn a few ingredients into a simple and delicious cake or dessert.

I included a version of this recipe in my first book, Focus on Flavour. It is a great way of using eggs and at this time of year, when there is an abundance of clementines (or satsumas or tangerines), it makes a great treat, with the added bonus of having no flour or added fat and being relatively low in sugar. So it is excellent for anyone looking for a wheat / gluten and dairy free cake or dessert.

I first heard of this from Claudia Roden and later came across it on

I have reduced the sugar significantly, it really does not need to be particularly sweet, let the flavour and sweetness of the fruit shine through!

_MG_9021 If you cut the cake into 12 slices, it comes to less than 180 calories a piece.  We will have it with some lovely thick greek yogurt, or a scoop of chocolate sorbet, as a dessert. A small sliver would go very well with a cup of espresso if you have guests to please….

I plan to freeze half of it.

Clementine Cake
Serves 12
A moist and fruity gluten- and dairy-free cake or dessert, making the most of seasonal clementines and eggs, with ground almonds for body.
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Prep Time
2 hr 15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
3 hr 15 min
Prep Time
2 hr 15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
3 hr 15 min
  1. 6 clementines (or satsumas or tangerines, use 8 if small - about 440g in total)
  2. 225g ground almonds
  3. 50g soft brown sugar
  4. 6 eggs
  5. 1 tsp baking powder (heaped)
  1. Put fruit in pan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil, cover and simmer 2 hours.
  2. Drain and cool.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  4. Cut the fruit in half, discarding the seeds and stalks.
  5. Blitz (skins and all) in a food processor.
  6. Add the other ingredients and pulse until integrated.
  7. Pour into a greased, lined, loose-bottomed 20cm cake tin.
  8. Bake for 1 hour, covering with paper after 40 minutes to prevent browning too much.
  9. A skewer should come out clean when the cake is cooked.
  10. Cool in the tin on a wire rack.
  11. Turn out and sprinkle with icing sugar.
  12. Serve with dairy free chocolate sorbet or sauce for a luscious dessert, or with a dollop pf thick greek yogurt if dairy is ok.
  1. Although this requires a long time for the fruit to soften, they don't need to be closely watched and that can be done the evening before if you wish. Actually making the cake takes hardly any time or effort at all!
Adapted from Claudia Roden
Adapted from Claudia Roden
Focus on Flavour

Tangle Pie – a lighter way to top almost anything!

Tangle PieThis idea came to me via the Hairy Dieters, whose recipes are enormously popular with many 5:2 fasters, as they are generally straightforward and family friendly.  I am a great fan of filo pastry, as one of the things you often miss when you cut back on starchy carbs and fat (i.e pastry) is a contrasting texture. Here is a way of adding something light and crispy as a topping.  In this example, I was actually using more of my Christmas leftovers so this is a Turkey Tangle Pie, which also used up the last scraps of gammon, some mushrooms, some cream and some brandy. I’m going to be trying some variations of this for sure – imagine some roasted veg and a rich mushroom and sherry sauce, or layers of sliced celeriac and carrots with spinach and a herby sauce…. or something fruity like apples, mincemeat and marzipan with just a drizzle of honey or maple syrup or a sprinkle of icing sugar when serving…

So to the method: 

  • One sheet* of filo pastry per portion and half a teaspoon of vegetable oil, I used sunflower oil.
  • Lay the sheets on top of each other and cut into 3. Lay those on top of each other, and then cut into 3 in the other direction, so you end up with 9 small rectangles from each slice.
  • Now, scrunch them up and lay them on top of your pie to cover the filling completely and very lightly brush with the oil.
  • Bake in a hot oven for 15 – 20 minutes.

* I have discovered that filo sheets vary a lot in size! The ones I use measure 30 x 38cms, there are 8 -10 sheets in a 250g pack, so each sheet would be between 70 and 90 calories. ½ a teaspoon of oil is about 20 calories. So adding a topping like this will be add approximately 100 calories per serving. Compare that to a puff pastry topping, which would be about 300 calories!

Maintaining on 5:2 – enjoying the fruits of summer

I reached my target weight of 55kgs during June and have been happily maintaining between 54-55 for the last few weeks. With 5:2, it is so easy! I really don’t have to worry about what I eat in between fast days, though compared to this time last year I am eating less carbs and fat, well less of everything actually, except for fresh veggies and fruits!

I love this time of year, when our evening meal is largely determined by what I can harvest from the garden :-


Last week saw our first horticultural show in Lauzerte, organised by the VEEQ *Vivre Ensemble en Quercy* Garden Group.  I love my garden, so it was with enthusiasm that I entered loads of different categories to help fill up the tables and make a good show for the public. I was somewhat astonished to receive two cups and the magnificent trophy for Champion! I got a 1st for my mixed box of produce, shown above:- it gives you some idea of the choice I am spoiled with during the summer. All organically grown too.

Even if you aren’t lucky enough to have a garden, or to enjoy tending it, summertime is great for local seasonal produce and you can often pick up a bargain at market stalls.

Here’s a neat carb-free idea that you can do with courgettes of any shape, but I used patty pan squash, which are cropping abundantly :-

 Carb-free Summer Tartlets

summer tartletsSlices or halves of squash or courgette (slice a little off the bottom if using long courgettes, so they sit well on the tray), laid on a non-stick baking tray, lightly brushed with a little olive oil, sprinkled with finely chopped garlic or garlic powder, topped with either a slice of tomato and feta cheese, or grated cheese with tomato. Sprinkle with finely sliced basil, season with freshly ground black pepper and a little sea salt and bake near the top of the oven at about 220c for 10 – 15 minutes. 

A bit of a treat this week has been to have Strawberry Scones with Clotted Cream – I made a couple of batches of scones for the Horticultural Show, where we were serving English cream teas. So easy and quick to make and quite low in butter and sugar. I made up for that with the clotted cream, which was left over for us to buy at the end of the show. An afternoon tea-time treat. I much prefer using fresh fruit to jam. You could use thick creme fraîche instead of clotted cream. 


Strawberry Scones


I used Delia Smith’s Plain Scone recipe – about 100 calories per scone. Using about a tablespoon of cream between the two halves – add another 90. Including the strawberries then say 200 calories for this plate of yumminess. But whose counting?

Enjoy the summer while it lasts!


Wholewheat Pitta

Following on from a discussion with Karen Booth, who this week presented us with wonderful looking low calorie Cajun Chicken Kebabs, I had been thinking about making my own wholewheat pitta bread, as it is impossible to buy locally in SW France and the long life packs of white pitta are rather too stodgy for my liking. Looking to see if there was a way to make them light, I got inspired by looking at The Little Loaf‘s Wholemeal Pitta Bread page.

Wholewheat Pitta - 100kcals each

So having some cubes of lamb left over from yesterday’s Lean Lamb Stir-Fry with Feta, I decided to make them into kebabs to go with pitta bread. Looking in the recipe book for my Panasonic Bread Maker, I was delighted to find that their recipe was for wholewheat flour and had no added fat

  • 250g strong wholewheat flour, preferably organic stone-ground
  • 1/2 tsp baking yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 150ml water

You can’t get much simpler than that.

I left the bread-maker to do it’s Pizza Dough programme and went off for a cycle ride.

When I came back, the dough was ready. I decided to divide the mix into 8 (the recipe said 4), making each pitta just 100 kcals.

Making Wholewheat Pitta       _MG_3361

Rolled out and left to prove on a baking sheet for about 10 minutes, then baked in a hot oven (240c, I might do a little lower next time) for about 8 minutes, until puffed up and starting to colour.