seasonal recipe ideas

Summertime Recipes for Children

Keep the little ones busy over the summer break by encouraging them to join you in the kitchen. Today on the blog we take a look at some simple recipe ideas that your children can help to make.

Fish Finger and Mushy Peas

Homemade Fish Fingers

There’s no need to resort to shop-bought when making your own is this easy. This homemade fish finger recipe from the BBC Good Food website is an excellent source of nutrition. They’re super delicious too! It goes well with lemon-roasted new potatoes.

Picnic Loaf

Picnic Loaf

If you’re heading to the park or countryside for a family picnic over the holidays, a picnic loaf is great to take along. Take a loaf of bread and fill it with all the flavours you love in a sandwich. This recipe from Sainsbury’s shows you how to layer ham, salami, cheese, and roasted vegetables.

Fruit and Nut Chocolate Fridge Cake

Fruit and Nut Chocolate Fridge Cake

Children love nothing more than baking with their parents; it makes them feel grown up and the results are always rewarding. This Fruit & Nut Chocolate Fridge Cake is easy and fun to make with your children. You can add your own favourite ingredients and use whichever type of chocolate you like.



Smoothies are terrific snacks for kids; they’re a great way of getting picky eaters to get their five a day. They are full of vitamins and nutrients but are colourful and full of flavour too. You just need a blender and a selection of your favourite or seasonal fruits. Experiment with combinations and see which flavours you can create.

Are you going to try any of these with your children? Let us know if you know any other recipe suggestions.

Grilled Pizza

Grilling is one of summer’s true pleasures but there are only so many burgers one can eat.

Grilled Pizzas

Pizza is a great appetiser for outdoor summer parties or as a lunch served with salad. You can mix some of your favourite flavours like chopped tomatoes, olives, sun dried tomatoes, and mushrooms.

You will need:

A batch of pizza dough – most supermarkets sell this ready to go. It’s also very easy to make, check out this recipe from Jamie Oliver.

A hot grill (gas or charcoal).

Oil for the grill grate or baking tray suitable for grilling, tongs and a paper towel.

All of your toppings.

It is suggested you roll the dough in the kitchen and make stacks of dough rounds alternated with sheets of oiled foil. Don’t be overly concerned with the shape or thickness; it’s supposed to be rustic. Smaller pizza (6″-8″) tend to be easier to manage than a large one.

When your grill is hot, put some oil on the paper towel and coat your grate or tray. The secret is to grill the crust first, then add the toppings. Add your dough with some last minute stretching if needed, try and put as many on as you can. Let it cook for two minutes.

Using the tongs, check to see how the bottom is doing; you’re looking for a nice golden brown colour but allow for a bit of char here and there. The top will puff and bubble up, which is what you’re looking for.

Once golden brown, take off the grill and place them on a suitable area brown side face up. Apply your toppings of choice – classic Margherita, mushroom and pesto, peppers and onions, bacon and red onion, it’s really up to you. With the toppings less is more to avoid sogginess.

Return to the cooler part of the grill, and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until the bottom is browned and the toppings are hot and bubbly.

Once cooked rest a few minutes and then they are ready to serve and devour.

Father’s Day

What better gift for dad on Father’s Day than cooking him something special? Get creative in the kitchen to show that special man in your life how much you care.

Spoil him rotten with breakfast in bed, a lunchtime treat or light the barbecue for a laid-back evening.

Today, we share some recipes ideas with you…

Breakfast – Traditional Full English

Father's Day - Full English

What man doesn’t enjoy a big fry-up of sausages, bacon, eggs, toast and butter? This Father’s Day make it a really special treat by serving it to dad in bed with a steaming mug of tea or freshly-squeezed fruit juice.

Lunch – Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Father's Day - Steak

Nothing is more masculine than a juicy grilled steak. Served with a picquant South American sauce comprised of parsley, oregano, garlic and chilli. This mouthwatering meal will leave your dad smiling as he leaves the dinner table. Don’t forget the chips…homemade are always the best!

Dinner – Pizza on the Barbecue

Father's Day - Pizza

If weather permits, lighting the barbecue is a perfect idea for a chilled out alfresco dinner. The traditional trimmings are always a favourite, particularly if you take cooking duty off your father’s hands. But why not try a pizza on the barbecue?

The heat of a hot barbecue is perfect for making pizza, coming in a close second to an Italian pizza oven. Provide a selection of your dad’s favourite toppings and let him create his own pizza masterpiece.

Dessert – Marmalade and Whisky Bread and Butter Pudding

Father's Day - Bread and Butter

Take your dad’s tastebuds back to his school days with this traditional dessert. The marmalade and whisky twist make this the ultimate grown-up comfort food and will be perfect after evening drinks.

So, what are you waiting for? Get creative in the kitchen and show your dad that you appreciate him this June 16th with some tastebud tantalising recipes.

If you go to Down the Woods Today…

We’ve all been enjoying the glorious weather recently. Heading to the local park on a sunny day is a must. Why not enjoy a lazy summer’s afternoon with a picnic?


The classic choice for a picnic is a selection of sandwiches and snacks. Today, we take a look at some other suggestions for a lunchtime picnic.

Quiche Lorraine

Quiche is the perfect partner to a picnic. You can fill it with your favourite ingredients, it can be eaten hot or cold, with or without cutlery. It’s easily transportable in a lunchbox and won’t easily crumble. A firm favourite is quiche Lorraine, check out this recipe from the BBC Food website.

Peach and Roasted Vegetable Salad

A salad is a great tasting, light on the waistline picnic treat. It allows for a combination of flavours that seem to taste even better in the sunshine. Be experimental with ingredients and you’ll be surprised at the results. How delicious does the Peach and Roasted Vegetable Salad look?

Picnic Pie

Nothing beats a homemade pie. They may take some time making but you can store them in the freezer until you decide to go on a picnic. With a wide range of fillings, including bacon and egg, chicken and stuffing and the traditional pork pie, there is no better way to indulge.

Chocolate and Cherry Slice

And for afters? This decadent chocolate slice brimming with glacé cherries is an ideal snack for a picnic: serve with clotted cream and fresh rasberries.

Homemade Lemonade

Why not wash it all down with a refreshing, summery drink? Homemade lemonade is easy to prepare and quenches your thirst on a hot day. Just for adults – why not create your favourite cocktail to enjoy on your afternoon day off? Or if you’re really wanting to treat yourself a bottle of bubbly is just as enjoyable.

Don’t forget to pack a picnic rug. There is nothing worse than grass stains on your bottom. There’s a great range of picnic ware available at John Lewis. As well as this, be considerate of the environment by taking along a rubbish bag so you don’t leave a mess behind.

So what are you waiting for? Gather your family or friends and head out to your local park to enjoy the sunshine.

Summer Sensations

It looks like the weather has finally decided to start acting like it should. With the sun making more of an appearance, we decided to take a look at what’s going to be hot this summer.

Heritage Chicken

Summer Food Trends - Heritage Chicken

With a rise in the cost of beef, pork and lamb, it seems we are favouring that humble bird, the chicken. Taking more consideration into the farming of chickens is making all the difference. Reared on small farms, heritage chickens are even tastier.

Summer Food Trends - Chicken Kiev

Chicken kievs are even finding their way back on to restaurant menus. We love this recipe from Channel 4’s Simon Rimmer.

Gilded Burgers

Summer Food Trends - Burgers

This year is all about quality fast food. The classic burger is undergoing a makeover with artisan buns, delectable sauces and new flavour combinations. Burger flavours being introduced include pork sage and onion, sweetcorn and turkey and cheddar cheese.


Summer Food Trends - Aperitivo

The Mediterranean is having a strong influence on our cuisine. It now seems we are following in the footsteps of the Italian in how they do evening drinks. Bars are offering complimentary Italian canapes, such as sweet tarts, beef carpaccio and crostini, to tuck into whilst you enjoy a bottle of wine.

Summer Food Trends - Vanilla in Allseasons - Italian Canapes

Aperitivos make great appetisers at a party. Here at Vanilla in Allseasons we have our own selection of Italian delicacies, if you’re planning an event feel free to contact us and we can discuss any requirements.


Summer Food Trends - Doughnuts

This year’s cupcake. Doughnuts, either homemade or bought from a specialist, are a great partner to coffee. With a wide array of fillings to satisfy your tastebuds, they are fast becoming the indulgent treat of the year.

We’d love to hear your ideas for this summer on our Facebook page

Happy Easter! Part 2

Today, we take a look at our recipe ideas for Easter dinner.

Starter – Creamy Curried Carrot and Butter Bean Soup

Creamy curried carrot and butter bean soup

With the weather not exactly being Spring-like, this spicy soup is sure to warm up your guests. The recipe is perfect for feeding a crowd, or you could save the leftovers for Bank Holiday lunch.

Main Course – Garlic and Herb Roast Lamb on Boulangère Potatoes with Green Beans, Pine Nuts and Shallots

Garlic & Herb roast lamb on boulangere potatoes

Green beans with pine nuts & shallot butter

Lamb is the traditional meat to eat at Easter. This garlic and herb roast gives a flavoursome twist to the traditional Easter Sunday dinner and the boulangère potatoes soak up all those delectable juices. Sprucing up those crisp green beans makes for an excellent complementary side dish.

Dessert – Simnel Cakes

Simnel cakes

Another Easter tradition is the simnel cake. Packed full of delicious flavours including mixed spices, cinnamon and dried fruit.

Easter Eggs

So what are you waiting for? Celebrate Easter with an array of flavours that will leave your guest’s mouths watering!

Happy Easter!

Whether you’re entertaining the family or hosting a larger gathering this Easter weekend, there is an abundance of eggs-cellent (see what we did there?!) recipe ideas to wow your guests.

With March and April providing delicious seasonal ingredients, from lamb to leeks and new potatoes, your only challenge is choosing what to serve!

Today, we offer our choice of recipe ideas to help you narrow down the menu.

Breakfast – Hot Cross Buns

Hot Cross Buns

There’s no better way to start the day than with this Easter classic. This sticky version of the hot cross bun is much tastier than those you can buy in the shops. Why don’t you give it a go?

Lunch – Chicken, Spinach and Pesto Puff Pastry Tart

Chicken, pesto and spinach puff pastry

This great light choice provides a quick and easy lunch that can served with a salad or a selection of vegetables. You don’t have to stick to the toppings suggested in this recipe either. You can mix together any combination of ingredients depending on what tickles your tastebuds.

Check back later in the week for our Easter dinner ideas.

Leek & Potato Soup

Leeks are in season just in time for Autumn. This warming, hearty soup is perfect for these chillier days.

3 russet potatoes, peeled and sliced or diced
5 leeks, trimmed, cleaned, then thinly sliced, including the tender green part
Salt to taste
4–6 tbsp. whipping cream
2–3 tbsp. minced fresh parsley or chives

1. Put potatoes, leeks, salt to taste, and 8 cups of water in a large saucepan over medium heat and simmer, partially covered, until vegetables are tender, 30-40 minutes.

2. Mash vegetables in the soup with a fork, or blend with a hand blender. Correct seasoning with salt.

3. Off heat, just before serving, stir in the cream by spoonfuls. Pour soup into a tureen or soup bowls and decorate with the herbs. Add a little freshly ground white pepper, if you like.


A Sloe Day?

Sloe berries are in season now. Why not gather some and use them to make sloe gin? If you prepare it now, it will be ready just in time for Christmas. Perfect as gifts or festive drinks with friends.

You Will Need-

450g/1lb sloes
225g/8oz caster sugar
1 litre/1¾ pint gin

Prick your sloes, about 450g, with a needle or freeze them and bash with a heavy weight. Tip them into sterilised bottles, the fruit coming a third of the way up. Divide 350g of caster or granulated sugar among them then top up with gin or vodka. It will take about 750ml. Little point in using an expensive brand, by the way. Place the sealed bottles somewhere cool and dark. Leave for 8-10 weeks, turning the bottle occasionally, giving it a shake every week.

Beautiful Blackberries

Late summer is the season for Blackberries! Tart, sweet and delicious they are very versatile and work well with both sweet and savoury dishes. Although desserts are a favourite way to use them, they are also delicious when scattered in a salad.

Why not head outside and see if you can find some in the hedgerows? Collect as many as you can, they freeze well too.

If that sounds a bit too much, they are readily available in the supermarkets.

~Blackberry Cobbler~

~Blackberry Honey Creams~

~Easy Blackberry Pie~

~Blackberry-Rose Ice Pops~

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