Recipe: Gooseberry Chocolate Cake

So this was a bit of an experiment – I didn’t follow a recipe I just sort of went with an idea I had and mixed in ingredients! Weirdly it turned out well – I put some in freezer for when its a wintry, cold day but also ate a chunky slice before that! It was basically a fluffy, very light chocolate sponge with a Gooseberry sharpness to make it not heavy. The combination actually worked as the Gooseberry flavour was subtle and light but just added another element to the cake. I loved mixing in the pink Gooseberries from my parents garden as it was such a bright, pink colour juice.


Easy recipe and instructions:


-4 eggs

-plain flour

-1 teaspoon baking powder

-dairy free margarine

-sugar (your choice)

-2 tablespoons cocoa powder

-Third of a punnet of Gooseberries


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180’C.
  2. Simply weigh the 4 eggs and crack into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Weigh out the equivalent weight of each of sugar, flour, margarine. Then mix into bowl and eggs.
  4. Add the cocoa powder and mix together.
  5. Wash and drain the Gooseberries through a strainer. Push the juice and flesh through the strainer holes – this will be squishy and bright pink!
  6. Mix all ingredients together.
  7. Put mix into baking tin.
  8. Bake for approximately 50 minutes – check with a knife in the middle to ensure it is cooked through. It will feel fluffy and soft.
  9. Serve with custard or fruit compote to really make a filling pud!

Let me know what you think of this, Katy, The Good Life In Practice xx

Product review: Herbarium Book

So I was lucky enough to receive a very exciting, new book through the post the other day- Herbarium by Caz Hildebrand for Thames and Hudson. I unwrapped it and found this below!


So with enthusiasm and eagerness and flicked through the book! It is a very useful guide to all things herbs and I think it will be a quick reference book for me to use both in the garden and in the kitchen. I first noticed that it looks modern, crisp and has bold, bright pictures that add to the book. Then once flicking through it in more detail I realise that it is going to be so helpful for my foraging for herbs (such as Dandelion) too! It has a very easy reference section to use and lots of interesting snippets of quotes and historic facts to add to the reading experience.

One of the main things I loved about it was that it not only provides you with ideas for the kitchen and how to cook with the herb; but also it has information about how the herbs can be used medicinally or for beauty reasons.

The section at the back entitled ‘Everyday Herbarium’ is very informative and easy to access including sections on the symbolism of herbs, herbs for well-being and more importantly herbs which taste perfect in accompanying cocktails!


Overall, I thought that this newly published book Herbarium was a fresh idea for a reference book with more substance than a classic gardening or recipe book – I will be using it a lot for smallholding, the garden, the kitchen, beauty, remedies and more.

If you want to learn more about this book or other books by Thames and Hudson (such as the Geometry of Pasta) click here:

Katy, The Good Life In Practice xx

Wild Swimming and Hiking trip

Just a few quick pictures from a very quick, rapid visit to the Lake District and the Peak District. Lots of opportunity to do hiking, long walks and a bit of wild swimming – although it was still very cold!

Discovered a lovely little river near Ambleside for a quick paddle and swim and also managed to climb Mam Tor down in the Peak District. Some long walks near the new Sticklebarn National Trust Pub in the Lake District too – definitely one to come back to again in the Winter – the Scones and Cider were amazing even if it was raining on that day!

Just a few snaps to show the flavour of the trip – cannot wait to go back to do more Wild Swimming and exploring as simply love this region of Britain and the wilderness it offers.


Blog for Thompson and Morgan

Another quick link here to my regular blog posts for Thompson and Morgan – a seed and plant company locally. There are a number of useful and detailed blog posts on their website from a number of guest bloggers on a range of garden topics. Here is link to my most recent post for them:

On BBC Radio

A very quick post to say I was lucky enough to be on BBC radio Northampton today. Was very happy and excited about having a quick, live interview with the lovely Helen all about the blog and smallholding. It is a quick, live interview (about ten minutes) and you can listen to it here:

(It’s 1 hour and 38 minutes in). I wasn’t aware at the time how often I was saying “slightly obsessed”; must try to say that less when I am passionately speaking about something! Also, I was rather excited when I managed to sneak in the mention of Mr Podge the cat and the fact they mentioned him a few more times – legend of a cat already.

Hope you are all enjoying the summer, much love,

Katy, The Good Life In Practice xx…and Mr Podgington the farm cat (paw print)…