How to avoid weight gain during the menopause

How to avoid weight gain during the menopause: Nutritionist shares her top tips – from high protein foods, to vitamin D and saying YES to pudding

  • Tamara Willner is nutritionist at NHS-backed healthy eating plan Second Nature 
  • Says lower metabolism and changes in stress hormones can result in weight gain
  • Suggested a low carbohydrate menu as way to manage your blood sugar levels 

One of the many unwanted side effects of the menopause is weight gain, and it can be one of the hardest factors to tackle, because it’s caused by a multitude of factors. 

According to Tamara Willner, nutritionist at NHS-backed healthy eating plan Second Nature, a combincation of hormonal shifts, sleeplessness and increased stress can lead to the dreaded ‘menopausal middle’. 

‘The hormonal changes women experience in the years leading up to menopause can impact both where we gain weight and how much weight we gain,’ she explained. 

‘The combination of lower metabolism and changes in stress hormones can result in an increase in weight and fat storage around our abdomen.’

And rather than aggressive dieting or beating yourself up, Tamara said that treating yourself with compassion is just as important as eating the right things.  

‘The most important thing to remember is that the body goes through significant changes during menopause, so it’s important to be kind to ourselves and focus on self-care,’ Tamara said. 

‘Although weight is one marker of health, our mental wellbeing, fitness, and happiness are equally important. Focusing on those factors will make managing any potential weight gain easier and more natural.

Here, for World Menopause Day, Tamara reveals the exact menu plan to follow to make sure you feel full and satisfied without gaining weight – and dessert is definitely on the menu.  

NHS nutritionist Tamara Willner has revealed why high protein foods are the key to keeping your weight in check during the menopause and shares tips with Femail and four days worth of meal plans. The recipes include eggs royale (pictured) 

Healthy fats, which can be found in recipes including mackerel with rye crisps (pictured) can help manage blood sugar levels and weight in the long term


Storing more fat around our middle section is linked to insulin resistance. When we become insulin resistant, our blood sugar levels remain consistently high, which further promotes fat storage.

The best way to manage our blood sugar levels and weight in the long term is to adopt a lower-carbohydrate diet. This naturally increases our protein intake (chicken, tofu, or eggs) and healthy fats (salmon, avocado, or olive oil). These are digested more slowly than carbs, which can help us feel full and reduce cravings for unhealthy foods, which can be stronger during menopause.

Cravings can be a result of feeling tired from disrupted sleep, which many women experience during menopause.

This can be a result of hot flushes, or the hormonal changes going on in our bodies. Specifically, cravings for sweet foods that are high in refined carbohydrates are common.

Focusing on having three proper meals each day can reduce the chances of cravings. When we do experience strong cravings, a good option is to enjoy something satisfying and delicious that’s made from whole foods.

Consider trying one of the dessert recipes here. That way, you’re not depriving yourself and you’ll be satisfied for longer, while reducing your intake of refined carbs.

She advises trying one of the dessert recipes including pear and chocolate crumble (pictured). That way, you’re not depriving yourself and you’ll be satisfied for longer

Mediterranean fish stew (pictured) serves four people and provides plenty of nutrient rich vegetables and healthy fats 


Certain supplements can also promote health and help us manage the symptoms we experience.

Post-menopause, women are at higher risk of osteoporosis (weakening of the bones), which means that calcium requirements increase to prevent bone breakages. 

Vitamin D increases calcium absorption, and since natural foods, apart from oily fish, contain little vitamin D, supplementation is recommended.

Vitamin D can also promote a better quality of sleep, keeping our bones strong and sleeping better both contribute to managing our weight.

If you’re not eating many high-calcium foods, for example, if you follow a vegan diet, you may want to discuss the option of a combined calcium and vitamin D supplement with your GP.

Smashed chickpea cups (pictured) is a low-carb recipe which provide a great source of protein to keep you fuller for longer

Lentil flatbread with harissa chicken (pictured) is an easy way to increase protein intake and help reduce cravings 


Discomfort at night can also contribute to sleep disruption. There’s a number of techniques we can try to relieve discomfort and ensure we’re getting as much good quality sleep as possible. These include:

  • Keeping our bedroom cool and using a fan if necessary
  • Spraying our face with cool water or using a cool gel pack
  • Wearing loose, thin clothing to bed that can be easily removed if necessary
  • Avoiding synthetic fabrics and opting for thin cotton nightwear or sheets
  • Sipping cold or iced water 
  • Having a lukewarm shower or bath rather than a hot one 


In addition, some women might find it harder to engage in physical activity because of the discomfort from aches or hot flushes. We all know that exercise can contribute both directly and indirectly to weight loss and health.

She says protein such as tofu (pictured in Tamar’s pad thai recipe) are digested more slowly than carbs, which can help us feel full and reduce cravings for unhealthy foods 

The very berry smoothie (pictured) takes just five minutes to make and provides several essential nutrients and vitamins 

Exercise doesn’t need to be done for long periods to be effective.For example, doing squats while you wait for the kettle to boil or push-ups while your food is heating in the microwave.

Exercise is also an excellent stress-reliever, and so if we’re finding it harder to exercise we may experience increased stress levels.

Stress is something we often don’t think about when we’re trying to make healthy changes, but it can be one of the most impactful factors. Consider these techniques for managing our stress levels:

  • Meditation or deep breathing
  • Gentle exercise, like walking or yoga
  • Journaling daily gratitudes
  • Joining a programme

If you’re looking for extra support, joining a programme to help you make healthy changes can be effective. For example, the NHS-backed Second Nature programme helps you to achieve your weight goals with the support of an expert health coach and a digital peer group starting their journey at the same time as you. This year, 2,337 women between the ages of 45-60 have lost at least one 1st since joining

How to tackle weight gain during the menopause: Your meal plan


Chia pudding with mango (serves 2)

Prep time: 10 minutes


3 tbsp chia seeds

150ml tinned coconut milk

150ml water

1 mango, diced

2 tbsp toasted cashew nuts

1 small handful fresh mint, chopped


1. Combine the chia seeds, coconut milk, and water into a bowl and mix well. Let this sit for 15-20 minutes (or ideally overnight), until the chia seeds absorb the liquid and a pudding-like consistency is formed.

2. Divide the chia pudding into 2 bowls or glasses, layered with the fresh mango.

3. Top with the toasted cashew nuts and mint.

Very berry smoothie (serves 1) 

Prep time: 5 minutes


200g plain natural or Greek yoghurt

1 tbsp rolled oats

1 tbsp milled flaxseed (optional)

1 handful baby spinach leaves

1 small handful fresh or frozen fruit (e.g. stoned cherries, berries, kiwi, melon, pineapple)

100ml milk


1. Place all ingredients in the order they are listed in a blender.

2. Screw the lid on tight and blend until smooth.

Eggs royale (serves 6)

Cooking and prep time: 45 minutes


170g butter

3 tbsp water

3 egg yolks

½-1 lemon, juiced

A pinch white ground pepper

6 eggs poached

6 slices rye, seeded or wholegrain toast

8 large handfuls spinach

500g asparagus spears

200g smoked salmon

1 handful fresh dill or chives


1. To make the hollandaise, melt the butter in a small saucepan, over medium heat and set aside.

2. In another saucepan, add about 1 inch of water and bring it to a simmer (low/medium heat). Add a mixing bowl that will fit on top of the saucepan, so that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. You want to double boil the contents of the mixing bowl.

3. Add the water, egg yolks, a small pinch to salt, and white pepper to the mixing bowl. Using a small hand whisk, constantly whisk the mixture until it is creamy and the whisk leaves a trail on the base of the mixing bowl. This can take roughly 5-7mins.

4. Take the egg mixture off the heat. Add the melted butter a few drops at a time to the egg mixture. This is really important, you’re better off going really slowly (1-2 drops at a time) otherwise the mixture will curdle. When the sauce starts to thicken, you can add the butter a little faster, but leave the whiter milky sediment at the bottom of the butter (use that when frying the asparagus and spinach).

5. Add ½ a lemon to the hollandaise, and taste. Add the other half if you prefer a more lemony taste.

6. Prepare the rest of the meal by poaching 6 eggs. Frying the asparagus and spinach in a saucepan with the leftover butter sediment and a tsp of olive oil, salt and pepper. Toast your preferred bread.

7. Add the spinach on top of the toast, a slice of smoked salmon, poached egg and 1-2 tbsp of the hollandaise on top. Serve with fresh dill or chives on top and asparagus on the side.   

Tofu scrambled eggs (serves 2)

Cooking and prep time: 20 minutes


100g (2) large mushrooms

150g cherry tomatoes

5 sprigs fresh thyme, destemmed

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

280g (1 packet) firm tofu, lightly mashed

½ tsp ground turmeric

½ tsp ground paprika

½ tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp milk

2 slices sourdough or rye bread, toasted (optional)

1 large handful spinach

1 small handful chives, sliced

½ lemon, cut into wedges (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to grill.

2. Add the mushrooms and cherry tomatoes to a large, non-stick baking tray. Cover with 1 tbsp of the oil, fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. Grill for 10-15mins, or until the mushroom has reduced in size and is moist, and the tomatoes are lightly charred.

3. Mash the tofu until it breaks up into small chunks.

4. Mix the turmeric, paprika, garlic powder, and milk.

5. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large, non-stick frying pan. Add the tofu, then the spice mix, and season generously with salt and pepper.

6. Serve the tofu ‘eggs’ with grilled mushrooms and tomatoes, fresh spinach, chives, toast (if using), and lemon wedges (if using).


Tofu pad thai (serves 2)

Cooking and prep time: 30 minutes


200g firm tofu

50g thick brown rice noodles

2 tsp tamarind paste

1.5 tsp fish sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

2 tbsp peanut butter (crunchy or smoothe) 

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small red chilli, finely sliced

1cm fresh ginger, minced

1/2 small brown onion, finely sliced

1 egg

2 carrots, grated

1 large courgette, spiralised (150g pre-bought)

1 lagre handful coriander, roughly chopped

1 lime sliced, to serve

80g beansprouts

20g peanuts, to serve

2 spring onions, thinly sliced


1. Cut the tofu into 2 thin ‘steaks’ and place between paper towel or tea towels and a heavy object on top, to drain some of the water out of the tofu. Leave for 5-10mins while you prepare the other ingredients.

2. Prepare the brown rice noodles into a large bowl, pour over plenty of boiling water and soak for 5 minutes. Drain and quickly rinse under cold water. Don’t leave them sitting for more than 6mins.

3. Mix the tamarind, fish sauce, oyster sauce and peanut butter into a small bowl and set aside.

4. Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes and set aside.

5. In a large wok or non-stick frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat.

6. Fry the garlic, chilli and ginger for 30-60 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the onion and fry for a further minute.

7. Add the tofu and fry for 1-2mins. Push the ingredients to one side of the pan and add the egg to the other side. Using a wooden spoon scramble the egg in the pan before mixing with the rest of the ingredients.

8. Add the carrots, courgette and cook for 2mins.

9. Add the noodles, sauce, spring onions and finally toss in the bean sprouts and coriander leaves. Cook for 2mins, or until just heated through.

10. Serve with lime wedges and crushed peanuts on top

Almond chicken curry (serves 2)

Cooking and prep time: 45 minutes – 1 hour


Serves: 2

12 fresh curry leaves

2 fresh makrut lime leaves

1/2 tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp garam masala

1 star anise

1/2 cinnamon stick

3 cardamon pods, lightly crushed

1 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp dried chilli flakes

2 tsp amchur (dried mango) powder

1-2cm fresh ginger, grated

3 cloves garlic, crushed

60g ground almonds

1 tbsp ghee or coconut oil

200g skinless, boneless chicken thighs, sliced

400ml boiling water

2 tbsp tomato paste

250g ripe tomatoes, chopped

160g spinach, roughly chopped

1 small handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped

1 tbsp flaked almonds (optional)


1. Throw all the leaves and spices, ginger, garlic and almonds into a dry lidden pan and toast over medium heat for 1-2mins.

2. Add the Ghee or coconut oil and stir for another 1-2mins.

3. Add the chicken and stir to colour and coat in the spices for 2mins.

4. Add the water, tomato paste, tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 20mins until the chicken is cooked and the tomatoes have broken down to a thick sauce.

5. Add the spinach for the last few minutes of cooking until wilted.

6. Serve with steamed vegetables and top with coriander and flaked almonds

Mediterranean fish stew (serves 4)

Cooking and prep time: 45 minutes


1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced

1 celery stalk, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, finely diced or minced

1 lemon, zested and juiced

1⁄2 tsp dried chilli flakes (or to taste)

2 tsp ground paprika

2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes

500ml fish or vegetable stock

700g seafood (e.g. bite-sized pieces of white fish, prawns, mussels, squid and/or scallops)

2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped


1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, over medium heat. Fry the onion, celery, garlic, and lemon zest for 5mins. Do not allow the vegetables to colour.

2. Stir in the chilli flakes and paprika, and fry for 2mins. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10mins. Add the stock and bring it back to a boil.

4. Reduce the heat again, cover, and simmer for another 10mins. Add the prepared seafood, season with salt and pepper, and stir gently.

5. Cover and simmer for 5mins, or until the seafood is just cooked.

6. Add the lemon juice and parsley and serve in bowls while still hot. 

Miso beef skewers (serves 4)

Cooking and prep time: 20 minutes


500g beef fillet

2 tbsp miso paste

2 tbsp soy sauce

2 ½ tbsp rice vinegar

1 tsp sesame oil

2 tbsp coconut oil

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

1cm ginger, minced

1 small red onion, sliced

¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper

175g baby corn, sliced in half

2 pak choi bulbs, sliced lengthways

200g mangetout

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)

1 small handful fresh coriander, whole

200g precooked brown rice (optional)


1. Prepare the beef fillets by cutting them in half and then along the halves in 2cm cubes. Add the cubes to skewers and set aside.

2. Mix the miso paste, soy, rice vinegar, and sesame oil until a smooth paste has formed. Do not add salt as the marinade will be salty from the miso and soy. 

3. Cover the beef skewers with the marinade, and let them sit while preparing the vegetables.

4. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a wok, over high heat. Fry the garlic and ginger for 30-60secs, or until golden. Add the red onion, cayenne, and baby corn, and cook for 2-3mins.

5. Add the sliced pak choi, mangetout, and soy sauce and cook for a further 2-3mins. Take off the heat and add the sesame seeds (if using) and coriander.

6. Heat the other 1 tbsp of oil in a grill or frying pan, over high heat. Add the marinated beef skewers and cook for 8mins, or until the outsides start to caramelise. Be careful of spitting, cover with a lid if you can. Otherwise, add a small splash of water when it starts to spit as this will reduce the spitting.

7. Serve with the vegetables and 1 portion of brown rice (if using).






Warm salmon, beetroot and freekah salad (serves 2)

Cooking and prep time: 40 minutes


250g raw beetroot, plus some beetroot stalks and leaves if you have them

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

40g Zaytoun smoky freekeh or plain freekeh

2 salmon fillets

50g rocket

50g creme fraiche

1 tbsp capers, finely chopped

½ lemon, juiced

1 tbsp water


1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/ 200°C fan / gas mark 7. Peel and chop beetroot into bite sized chunks. Toss in a little olive oil and salt, and roast until tender – about 30mins. If you have bunched beetroot, wash and chop the stalks and leaves from one beetroot – add these to the roasting dish for a further 5-7 mins, along with the beetroot chunks.

2. Cook the freekeh in boiling salted water for 10-12mins, or until tender. Drain well.

3. Line a baking tray with paper and place the salmon fillets skin side up, pat dry, drizzle with a little oil, and sprinkle with a little sea salt. Roast in the oven for 7-8mins, or until the flesh flakes easily. You can discard the skin if you prefer.

4. To make the dressing, mix the creme fraiche, capers, lemon juice, pinch of salt and pepper, and 1 tbsp of water in a small dish. Add a little more water if needed to make a drizzleable consistency.

5. Toss the warm beetroot, beetroot stalks, freekeh, and rocket together. Divide between bowls, top with a salmon fillet, and drizzle with the dressing.

Smashed chickpea cups (serves 2)

Cooking and prep time: 15


Serves: 2

2 heads little gem lettuce

1 x 400g tin Chickpeas rinsed, drained and smashed

½ avocado, smashed

1 tbsp mayo or vegan mayo

½ lemon, juiced

1 spring onion, thinly sliced

1 yellow or orange pepper, finely diced

1 celery stalk, finely diced

1large handful fresh parsley, finely chopped

1tsp ground paprika


1. Rinse and drain your chickpeas, and mash using a fork or potato masher.

2. Combine all the ingredients into a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

3. Scoop the smashed chickpea mixture into the lettuce cups and enjoy!

Lentil flatbread with harissa chicken (serves 2)

Cooking and prep time: 30 minutes – 3 hours


90g dried split red lentils

300ml water

2 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 chicken breast

1 tbsp harissa

1 tbsp yoghurt

4 tbsp tzatziki (shop or homemade – see recipe below)

1 small handful spinach

1 small carrot, mandolined

¼ small purple cabbage, finely sliced

½ small cucumber, sliced

1/2 lemon, sliced

1 large salad of your choice


1. To make the flat breads, soak the lentils for 2-3 hours minimum (or overnight) in 250ml of water. Thoroughly rinse and drain after soaking.

2. Add 50ml of fresh water back into the drained lentils and blend in a nutribullet style blender, until completely smooth.

3. Heat 1 tsp of oil per flatbread, over low heat in a large non stick frying pan. Add half of the lentil mixture to the pan. Using the back of a spoon quickly, but carefully, spread the thick mixture out over the pan so the wrap is about 0.3-0.5cm thick. Turn the heat up to medium once you’ve spread it out over the pan and cook for 3-4mins each side. When cooking the second flatbread make sure the pan heat reduces to low again before spreading the mixture.

4. Prepare the chicken and vegetables, or filling of your choice. If using chicken, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a small non stick frying pan, over medium/high heat. Season with salt and pepper, and fry the chicken for 3mins, or until browned. Add the harissa and yoghurt and continue cooking for 5-7mins, or until cooked through. Set aside, and thinly slice just before placing on the flatbread.

5. Add 2 heaped tbsp of tzatziki to each flatbread, Then add the spinach, carrot, cabbage, cucumber, finally the sliced chicken pieces, and spoon over the harissa sauce.

6. Serve with a side salad and fresh lemon wedges.



1⁄2 cucumber, peeled, deseeded, and sliced

400ml plain natural or Greek yoghurt 

½ lemon, juiced

2 garlic cloves, finely diced or minced

1⁄2 tsp dried mint or 8-10 mint leaves, finely chopped


1. Slice the cucumber lengthways and remove the seeds by running a teaspoon down the middle. Grate the cucumber on a coarse grater and sprinkle generously with 1⁄2 tsp of salt. Mix and put aside.

2. Let the cucumber sit for 10mins. Then, squeeze any further liquid out of the cucumber by pressing with the back of a wooden spoon.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the yoghurt, lemon juice, garlic, and mint. Add the drained cucumber to the yoghurt mixture and a little black pepper. Mix well.

Halloumi and chermoula tray bake (serves 4)

Cooking and prep time: 40 minutes


2 cloves garlic

1 large handful fresh coriander (stalks included)

1 large handful fresh parsley (stalks included)

1 tsp ground paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

½ lemon, zested and juiced

2 ½ tbsp (40ml) extra virgin olive oil

1 medium aubergine, cut into 2cm cubes

2 courgettes, cut into 2cm cubes

2 red peppers, cut into 2cm pieces

1 red onion, cut into 2cm chunks

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained

1 block halloumi, sliced

½ lemon, juiced


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan.

2. Prepare the chermoula by adding the garlic, coriander, parsley, paprika, cumin, lemon zest, juice, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a blender, and blend until smooth.

3. In a baking dish, combine the aubergine, zucchini, red pepper, red onion, and chickpeas, and mix through the chermoula evenly. Bake in the oven for 30-40mins, or until the vegetables have softened.

4. Add the sliced halloumi on top of the vegetables and bake for a further 15mins, or until the halloumi is lightly golden. Serve with a squeeze of lemon. 


Mackerel with rye crisps (serves 2)

Prep time: 15 minutes


1 red onion, thinly sliced

30-50ml apple cider vinegar

2 smoked mackerel fillets, flaked

¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper

40g Philadelphia cream cheese

½ lemon, juiced and zested

6 rye crisps

2 tbsp fresh dill, roughly chopped

½ cucumber, sliced

1 handful mixed lettuce


1. In a shallow bowl, add the red onion and cover with apple cider vinegar. Leave this to pickle while you prepare your mackerel.

2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the smoked mackerel, cayenne, cream cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Mix well to combine, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Arrange your rye crisps with the mixed lettuce, cucumber, mackerel, and pickled onion, and top with fresh dill.

Babaganoush (serves 4)

Prep time: 50 minutes


2 aubergines, whole

2 small garlic cloves, minced

½ lemon, juiced

2 tbsp tahini

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 small handful fresh parsley, chopped


1. Preheat the oven to grill.

2. Poke holes in the aubergines and place the whole aubergines on a non-stick baking tray and under the grill for roughly 10mins each side. The aubergines should be slightly blackened and softened.

3. Take the aubergine out of the oven and set aside to cool for a few minutes.

4. Mix the garlic, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil in a mixing bowl, and season lightly with salt and pepper.

5. Cut the aubergines in half and scoop out the flesh. You can blend the final product, but we prefer the texture of the aubergine unblended.

6. Add the aubergine flesh to the tahini mixture and serve with fresh parsley on top.

7. Enjoy with radish, cucumber, peppers, or a cheese biscuit for a delicious snack!

Guacamole (serves 4)

Prep time: 5 minutes


1 large avocado

1⁄4 small red onion, finely diced

1⁄2 lime, juiced

1 handful fresh coriander, finely chopped (optional)

1 tsp dried chilli flakes (optional)


1. Half the avocado, place both halves into a bowl, and mash using a fork.

2. Add the onion, lime juice, coriander (if using), chilli flakes (if using), and season with salt and pepper. Mix well.

Beetroot hummus (serves 4)

Prep time: 15 minutes


1 x 400g tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained

2 large cloves garlic, peeled

300g cooked beetroot, or 3-4 precooked beetroot balls

1 tbsp

2 tsp ground cumin

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 small handful fresh parsley or mint, roughly chopped to serve


1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender, and season well with salt and pepper.

2. Blend or blitz until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste, and blend or blitz again.


Pear and chocolate crumble (serves 4)

Prep time: 30-40 minutes


40g rolled oats or gluten free oats

80g hazelnuts, finely chopped

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tbsp coconut oil

4 ripe pears, peeled, cored, halved

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

50g 85% dark chocolate

100g mascarpone

1/2 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, hazelnuts, cinnamon and coconut oil to make the crumble topping.

3. Place the pears, nutmeg and half a cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cover the pot with a lid and allow the pears to cook for 10-15mins or until you notice them soften.

4. Transfer the pears to a baking dish, and break up the chocolate block and scatter over the pears. Cover with the crumble topping and bake for a further 10-15mins or until pears are cooked through and the crumble is golden brown

5. Meanwhile, lightly beat the mascarpone with the vanilla extract.

6. Once cooked divide the pear crumble and serve with a dollop of vanilla mascarpone.

Baked figs, mascarpone and pistachio (serves 4)

Prep time: 20 minutes


4 figs, halved

1 tbsp butter

100ml double cream (whip it)

125ml fold in mascarpone

1 orange, juiced

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla paste

4 tbsp pistachios, roughly chopped


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan.

2. Place the fig halves skin side down in a non-stick baking tray, cover with butter, and cook for 15-20mins, or until golden and releasing juice.

3. Take cold cream out of the fridge and whip it for roughly 3mins, until lovely and thick.

4. Fold the mascarpone into the whipped cream until no lumps appear. Add the orange juice, cinnamon and vanilla and lightly mix until it’s all combined.

5. Serve a heaping tbsp size portion of the mascarpone mixture, top with warm baked figs and cover with roughly chopped pistachios.        

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