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Allotment Diary: Recipes to give your Christmas a sugar high

The festive season calls for sugar, spice and something healthy, too, says Katie Moore of Allotment, the catering company she runs from her Cambridgeshire home and garden

‘Tis the season for merriment and excess! Leave a family box of Maltesers in the same house as me and you can fully expect to find it empty upon your return. I have come to accept that my food intake all but doubles over the festive season, however there are still days when I wake up and crave something fresh and healthy (so I don’t feel quite so guilty about my mince pie addiction). This breakfast recipe is great as it has all the colours and flavours of Christmas, and is ready and waiting for you in the fridge as soon as you venture out of bed.

Festive Quinoa Bircher Muesli

Makes 4 portions

Allotment Diary - Katie Moore, Dec 19 Velvet (20782090)
Allotment Diary - Katie Moore, Dec 19 Velvet (20782090)


300g quinoa

300g coconut milk

300g water

1/4tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger

2 apples, grated

50g dried fruit e.g cranberries, raisins or chopped apricots

1/2 orange, zest

200ml extra coconut milk

75g yoghurt and extra to top

1tbsp honey

40g pistachios, chopped

2tbsp pomegranate seeds


Put the quinoa, coconut milk, water, spices and a pinch of salt into a saucepan. Stir everything together and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Set the pan over a medium heat and simmer for 15 minutes until the quinoa is cooked through and all the liquid has been absorbed. Decant the quinoa into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool.

Once cool, add the grated apple, dried fruit, orange zest and extra coconut milk, and stir it all together. Cover the bowl and leave it in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, stir through 75g yoghurt to loosen the grains up, and then spoon into 4 bowls. Add an extra spoonful of yoghurt to each bowl and top with a drizzle of honey, some chopped pistachios, and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds. Eat in front of your favourite Christmas film before moving on to the Maltesers.

If you’re visiting friends or family over the festive season, these cookies are a wonderful thing to take with you. They’re quick and easy to make, and the warm ginger flavour is especially comforting on a cold day. You can also make the dough up to two days in advance and keep it in the fridge so you’ve got fresh cookies ready to go if unexpected guests turn up.

Ginger + Dark Chocolate Cookies

Makes 18-20

Allotment Diary - Katie Moore, Dec 19 Velvet (20782111)
Allotment Diary - Katie Moore, Dec 19 Velvet (20782111)


170g unsalted butter

100g caster sugar

100g light brown sugar

85g treacle

1 egg

275g plain flour

2tsp baking powder

2tsp ground ginger

1tsp ground cinnamon

1/2tsp fine sea salt

1tbsp stem ginger, chopped

150g dark chocolate, chopped


In a mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy. Add in the egg and the treacle and mix again until everything is evenly incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, spices and salt, then add this to the bowl with the butter mixture. Mix on a slow speed until there are no lumps of flour.

Finally, mix through the chopped ginger and chocolate pieces, then cover the bowl and put it in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and line 2-3 baking trays with baking paper.

Remove the cookie dough from the fridge and roll it into balls approximately the size of a walnut. Toss the balls in caster sugar and place them on the baking trays, leaving plenty of space between them to allow for spreading as they bake.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden on top and just starting to crack. Leave to cool on the trays for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For more information – including where to find Katie’s fabulous food – follow @allotmentcafe and see allotmentcafe.com.

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