Birthday Picnic! 🥳🥳🎉🎉🎉

Happy birthday to my dear friend @wellnessbyyana! We were truly blessed with glorious weather ☀️ ☀️ this weekend in the U.K., which made it perfect for a birthday picnic in the park! 😉🙌🙌

At the request of my dear friend, this trifle is dairy-free, refined sugar-free and loaded with extra shots of rum ready for the party! 💃 💃 🎉🎉🎉🎊🎊🎊 The trifle consists of a rum and berries jelly at the bottom, layered with a banana sponge cake (soaked with more rum!), strawberries, blueberries and raspberries- all covered with a soya milk custard with a plant-based whipped cream. What a perfect day to celebrate the end of lockdown! 🥳🥳

Dairy-free refined sugar-free rum and berries trifle


For the jelly:

250g mixed berries (e.g. raspberries and blueberries)

30g honey

25ml water

2 tsp lemon juice

3 shots of rum

2 1/2 gelatine leaves

For the banana cake:

190g self-raising flour

1 1/2 bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

2 ripen bananas, mashed

20g honey, plus extra to drizzle on the sponge

90ml vegetable/sunflower oil

60ml plant-based milk (e.g. soya/almond)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 shots of rum

For the custard:

350ml plant-based milk (e.g. soya/almond)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp elderflower/lemon extract (optional)

4 egg yolks

30g honey

15g plain flour

15g cornflour

For the whipped cream:

Any dairy free double or whipping cream

For the fruits:


Mixed berries (e.g. raspberries and blueberries) to your likening

For the decorations:

Toasted almond flakes (optional)

Goji berries (optional)


1. Start with the jelly by making a fruit purée. Heat the berries, honey, water and lemon juice in a saucepan. Crush/blend the fruits as you are cooking.

2. Pass the purée through a sieve to get a smooth purée and place it back into a clean saucepan.

3. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water.

3. Add the rum and heat the purée gently.

4. Squeeze the water out of the soaked gelatine and add it to the purée. Stir under heat until the gelatine is fully dissolved.

5. Pour the purée into a clean glass bowl. Let it cool before putting it in the fridge for several hours, or until the jelly is fully set.

6. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

7. Make the banana sponge cake by passing the flour through a sieve. Mix in bicarbonate of soda, salt and cinnamon.

7. Mix the mashed bananas, honey, milk, oil and vanilla extract together until well-combined. Then fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture until well-combined.

8. Pour the mixture into a parchment-lined cake tray and bake in the preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

9. Remove the cake from the tray and cool on a wire rack.

10. For the custard, heat the milk and extracts gently in a saucepan without it boiling.

11. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg yolks by hand with the honey until pale. Sieve the flours in and mix until well-combined.

12. Slowly pour about half of the heated milk into the yolk mixture, whisking vigorously as you pour. Then, pour the mixture back into the remaining milk in the saucepan.

13. Cook the custard gently over heat, whisking continuously as it cooks until you have a smooth, thickened mixture. (If it doesn’t thicken, add about a tablespoon of cornflour.) Set aside and let the custard cool.

14. Slice the strawberries in halves to prepare for assembling.

15. Cut and layer the banana sponge over the set jelly in the bowl. Drizzle the sponge with more honey and soak with shots of rum.

16. Place the sliced strawberries over the sponge to surround the bowl. Add the remaining fruits in the centre. (You can add more rum at this stage if you want!)

17. Pour the cooled custard over the fruits and use a knife to spread it out evenly. Place back into the fridge to set.

18. Use an electric whisk to whip the cream until stiff.

19. Layer the cream over the set custard and again use a knife to spread it out evenly, filling to the top of the bowl.

20. Spread almond flakes and goji berries over the top to decorate the trifle before serving.

Imperfection Is Beauty

How often have you spent your day worrying what others think of you and trying to be your perfect self? But when I have days like this, I would suddenly feel like I am losing myself in the process of trying to achieve this almost-impossible goal. Isn’t life just simpler when you embrace all these imperfections?

Following my stunt to make the perfect macarons a few days ago, I was left with trays of cracked macarons that had since clustered in my fridge. I pondered whether I should just throw them away or just eat them all as they were, but then an idea came to my head that maybe they could be of some better uses. After some quick researches online, I was inspired by the idea of making an Eton mess using the broken macarons. Not only did it look more elaborated, but the softeness of the whipped cream and the tartness of the fruits complimented very well with the crunchy texture of the sweet macarons. And more importantly, it is very simple and quick to make. It is the perfect summer dessert!

Life may not be smooth sailing at all times, but those imperfect moments are just as beautiful as the rest. So, let’s all enjoy the ride! 🙂

Macaron Eton Mess

Quantity: 2 plates


1 batch of macarons

400g strawberries

200g mixed berries (e.g. blueberries and raspberries)

20ml water

20g caster sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

300 ml double cream


  1. Place one third of the fruits, water, sugar and the lemon juice in a saucepan. Heat and bring them to a boil. Crush the fruits as you are cooking.
  2. Pass the puree through a sieve and leave it to cool.
  3. Whip the double cream to soft peaks and set aside.
  4. Use a spoon to drizzle swirls of the fruit puree on the plate. Break the macarons into small pieces and place on top of the puree. Garnish with the remaining fruits and whipped cream, and drizzle more puree over it.