November letter from The Ferns chatting about vegan biscuits, wassail punch and Harper Adams University

Vegan peanut butter and banana cookies

My  blogging friend, Angela, see  is a wonderfully inventive cook, and she said that she would look at vegan cookies for my vegan guests. She excelled herself by finding a simple recipe that anyone could do. As she said – some of the vegan biscuit recipes do have some very strange ingredients, which would not be easy for most people to buy and   to then find a use for afterwards. The recipe that she chose was show-cased in her blog. Here are the ingredients and the method:


60g mashed banana
65g peanut butter
35g dark brown soft sugar
50g caster sugar
3/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
83g plain flour
half teaspoon baking powder
40g plain dark chocolate chips (no dairy)

makes 15


peanut butter and banana cookies


  • Preheat the oven to 190 C / Gas mark 5
  • In a bowl, mash the banana, stir together the banana and peanut butter until well blended. Stir in the dark brown soft sugar, caster sugar and vanilla until smooth.
  • Add the flour and baking powder to the peanut butter mixture and mix well. Finally, fold in the chocolate chips if required. Cover and chill dough for at least 1 hour.
  • Roll into walnut sized balls, space out on a lined baking tray. I would use a fork to gently push down on the dough, otherwise you will end up with ball-shaped cookies.
  • Bake for 12 minutes, allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool.


Bake-of-the-weekThe recipe was entered into the Bake of the Week website

We  had a cup of Earl Grey and did a  taste test! They were very tasty. The butter or marergine has been replaced with bananas and peanut butter. No need for eggs either. What a lovely simply recipe, and so moreish!


Wassail punch

Newport is having a Dickensian day on Friday 12th December

Newport History Society – me included –

Click to get to our website

Click to get to our website

will be singing carols in Victorian costume in the Guildhall’s  (left hand part of building) front foyer from 5.30 to 7.00pm.  Hopefully with wassail punch for weary shoppers (Donation required).


The Guildhall, Newport


I shall be experimenting with a Christmas punch for the event. Some punches seem very heavy on spirits but this is a wassail punch, which has as its main ingredient cider; so it should be very light and warming. I shall be practising making it over the next week or so, and the results will be in my December letter.



The word ‘Wassail’ comes from the Old English words ‘Waes Hael’, literally ‘be you healthy’. It refers both to the salute ‘Waes Hail’ and to the drink of Wassail – a hot mulled cider traditionally drunk as an integral part of the ancient English drinking ritual intended to ensure a good apple harvest the following year. So each of our visitors to the carols will be greeted with a hearty ‘Waes hail’ greeting!


Harper Adams University

I have enjoyed having guests this year from all around the world, but I suppose the largest number have been here as a result of Harper Adams University – either as lecturers, students or parents of students.

Harper Adams , which is about 2 miles from the centre of Newport – is in Edgmond.  Harper Adams was a wealthy Shropshire gentleman farmer. On his death in 1892 he bequeathed his considerable estate ‘for the purpose of teaching practical and theoretical agriculture’. Harper Adams Agricultural College was the first institution of its kind to be financed by private bequest. The Foundation was set up with the sum of £45,496. It opened to six students in 1901

Image courtesy of Harper Adams University

Image courtesy of Harper Adams University


I love this student accommodation c 1908. Looks a bit bleak, but let’s face they went home for a super Christmas! My Christmas letter will be full of Christmas Cheer so make sure to get my blog by ‘following’ from the link on my web site

Waes hael!!  Linda