Jan Bilton has an interesting feature this week about puddings and their origins in 16th Century England when "ordinary" houses started building small ovens in their chimneys. In the 17th century the pudding-cloth allowed cooks to prepare puddings at any time (without the need for animal gut) and a proliferation of sweet and savoury recipes resulted. Crumble was developed during World War II as a quicker method of making a fruit pie rather than using pastry. We do love our hot puddings, especially when full of fruit and light on the refined sugars which is what Kathy Paterson's baked tamarillos with ricotta and honey; pears baked with date syrup and chunky apple and pear sauce with yoghurt and honey nut drizzle do.

Although favoured for many years by those in health food circles, super nutritious hemp seeds are at last turning mainstream. We asked Plant Culture's Cameron Sims a few questions around the legalities of selling hemp seed products and Aaron Brunet has been experimenting with hemp protein powder which give his tortillas a boost of protein and Omega 3s. Aaron cooks his tortillas until crisp, for dipping in to a toasted pumpkin seed salsa that has nutritional benefits all its own.

We have a couple of wonderful bakes to pop in the oven this week. Simon Gault's sausage and sweetcorn pie makes an easy family meal that the kids can help make during the school holidays.

Allyson Gofton's puy lentil, roasted garlic, mushroom and pancetta lasagne is a favourite that's very economical and smart enough to serve to guests with salad and crusty bread.


Juicy New season navel oranges have arrived in supermarkets ready for eating just as they are and adding to desserts, salads and claypot orange and ginger chicken.

A plot of Vietnamese mint is being given the Peter Gordon treatment, Louise Thompson is talking choices and how they define us and dinner tonight is a teriyaki-glazed salmon with noodles and vegetables.