Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Kitchen Christmas Decorations

While out and about in the Oxford Street I saw these excellent Christmas windows at the John Lewis store. They used cups, plates, pots and pans plus many other items you can find in the kitchen to decorate their windows. Very clever :)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Sweet Pepper Relish

On special offer at the supermarket a few weeks ago were very large bags of mixed peppers. I bought a bag but only used half the peppers. I hate wasting food so chopped the peppers up and put them in the freezer for adding to soups and sauces, it seemed like a good idea (I also do this with other fruit & veg onions are always handy to have chopped and really) except on Friday my fridge/ freezer stopped working. Now I am busy using everything up before the food spoils. The peppers were at the front so I decided to make some sweet pepper relish. This recipe made a small jar and tastes great with some crackers and cheese :)
For larger qualities just double, triple etc. up the basic recipe. If you like your sweet relish with a kick add 1/2 tsp of chili flakes or a finely chopped a small chili.

  • 6 oz Prepared bell peppers - de-seeded & finely chopped (I used a mix of red, yellow, green & orange because that's what I had)
  • 3 Shallots (or 1 small onion)
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 1 Clove garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 170 mls/ 6 fl oz Apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp Olive oil
Prepare the peppers - remove the seeds and white inner walls, chop finely. Add to a saucepan.

Peel and chop the shallots finely, crush the garlic and add to the saucepan with the sugar, vinegar, salt and oil.

Bring to a boil then simmer until reduced and the mixture has thickened (approx.10 - 15 minutes).

 Spoon into a sterilised jar/s. Seal at once.

Friday, 11 October 2013

Banana Limequat Jam

I wanted to use up my over ripe bananas, I hate wasting them and don't like the sweet taste when they have over ripened, so instead of making my usual banana muffins or banana bread I decided I wanted something different, plus I had purchased some very cheap limequats I also wanted to use up so looking thought some old recipe books I saw a few recipes for vanilla banana jam and adapted them with the flavours I liked. The recipes made about 8 pots (I don't even have enough cupboard space for that many) and used vanilla I don't know how the vanilla taste would go with the limequat juice of changed it to cinnamon. I added salt as I like how it works with really sweet things (plus I like salt) not sure why I added the knob of butter but it worked. Plus I only had 2 limequats left and 3 bananas so this recipe makes just a small jar, as banana has no acid it is not like other jams so was not sure of its cupboard life.

  • 3 Medium over-ripe bananas (chopped)
  • 50 gms/ 2 fl oz/ 1/4 cup water
  • Juice of 2 limequats
  • 125 gms / 5 oz/ 2/3 loose cup brown sugar
  • a knob of butter
  • a pinch of salt
  • a pinch of cinnamon

Prepare the bananas remove the skins and chop into small pieces set aside.

In a large saucepan add the brown sugar, limequat juice, water and salt.
Heat until the sugar has dissolved and starts to boil.

 Add the bananas and butter, simmer for approx. 20 minutes.


As jam cooks use a wooden spoon or masher to mash the bananas as they heat. This will make the mixture thicken.
Add the cinnamon and stir.
Add the mixture to a clean sterilised jar add lid. This should keep in the fridge for 1 - 2 weeks but it is recommended to use as soon as possible.

Add to hot toast, scones, English muffins, pikelets or try adding a spoonful in to your yogurt

Sunday, 6 October 2013

English Muffins

What could be better on an windy, rainy autumn weekend then hot toasted muffins. Traditionally muffins are pulled apart without cutting then lightly toasted and buttered yummy!
Muffins work well with both savoury or sweet toppings such as jam or honey.

  • 450g/ 1 lb/ 3 1/3 cups Strong white flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp fast-action dried yeast
  • 25g/ 1oz Melted butter
  • 300g/ 10oz/ 1 1/3 cups warm water
  • 1 tablespoon Semolina or ground rice or cornmeal (for dusting) 
In a large bowl add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast and mix together. 
Add the melted butter and water and mix to a soft dough.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes and cover with oiled cling-film and leave to stand for approx 1 hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Knead the dough for a couple of minutes on a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 balls.
Place on a baking tray dusted with half the semolina or ground rice or cornmeal (only use 1 not all 3) sprinkle remain over the top of the muffin, lightly press the muffin to slightly flatten them to roughly 1.5cm/ 3/4 inches thick, cover with a clean tea towel and leave until well risen approx.30 minutes.
Heat a heavy-based frying pan/ flat griddle to a medium heat (not to hot or the base of the muffins will burn). You may find if the muffins stick you can spray your pan with a little oil. Depending on the size of our pan place 3 to 4 muffins (cooking in batches) and cook gently for about 6 - 8 minutes or until they puff up and the bottom is golden brown, turn over and cook the other size for approx. 4 - 6 minutes. I find to make sure the centre is fully cooked I pre-heat my oven to a medium heat then the muffins are cooked I pop them on a baking tray in the oven for a approx 3 - 5 minutes on a medium heat.
Remove from oven, leave to cool.
Un-toasted muffins can stored in an airtight tin/ container for about two days.

Servicing suggestions - split the muffin in half and butter for hot muffin toast lightly for a few minutes before serving.
Great for as a daytime treat buttered with a little jam and a hot cup of tea.
Make a tasty breakfast with a poached egg and crispy bacon (or veggie crispy bacon)

Monday, 30 September 2013


Super tasty served warm with butter or jam and a cup of tea. Pikelets are like crumpets but are thinner and not cooked in a ring. Pikelet in the UK are different from pikelets in other parts of the world as they are made with yeast not baking powder like Scotch crumpets/ pancakes (also very very tasty). 
Best eaten the day they are made. This is an easy way to try cooking with yeast as no kneading is required. 

  • 125g/ 4.5 oz/ 1 cup Strong white flour
  • 125g/ 4.5 oz/ 1 cup Plain white flour
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Sugar
  •  350 ml /12 oz/ 1 1/2 cups Warm water & milk (1/2 water, 1/2 milk)
  • 1/2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda (you will need 8 tablespoons of warm water)
In a large bowl add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast and mix together. 
Add the warm milk and water and stir in until smooth.
Cover with cling-film and leave to stand for approx 2 hours until bubbles have risen in the mixture and started to fall again.

Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in 8 tablespoons of warm water and whisk it into the batter.
Set aside for 15 minutes.
Heat a heavy-based frying pan or a flat griddle over a medium to high heat (not to hot or the base of the pikelets will burn but if nt hot enough the bubbles will not appear).
Drop a heaped tablespoon of batter on to the hot pan/ griddle and cook until the top of the pikelet is no longer wet and little bubbles will appear.  
Turn pikelet over and cook the other side until it is lightly browned approx 1 1/2 minutes.
If you find the bottom of the pikelets burning, try heating your oven and when the bubbles appear on the pikelets pop them on a baking tray in the oven for a few minutes or until the top is dry then remove from the oven and return to the the pan/ griddle to lightly brown.

Can be served hot from the pan, or you can leave to cool then toast when required and butter.   

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