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Mexican Bean Stew


Mexican Bean Stew

In an attempt to utilise what I had in my cupboards, this lovely Mexican stew was created - its amazing what a few spices can do to pep up some tinned beans! Make this the day before you want to eat it for the best flavour.


MEXICAN BEAN STEW

| Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes |


Ingredients:


  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 Red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Red pepper, chopped
  • 1 TSP each of Paprika, Cumin, Coriander, Chili and Oregano
  • 1 400g tin of Kidney Beans
  • 1 400g tin of Butter Beans
  • 1 400g tin of Cannellini Beans
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml Vegetable Stock 
  • 1 tbsp dark chocolate , chopped
  • Coriander, chopped

Instructions:



  • Step 1: Heat the oil in a large casserole and fry the onion and red pepper until softened - about 5 minutes.
  • Step 2: Add the spices, beans, tomatoes and stock, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
  • Step 3: Stir in chocolate until melted and sprinkle over the coriander before serving.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 20th December 2010 |


Beth Sachs
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Plum Flapjacks


Plum Flapjacks

These sweet, fruity little beauties were gone in a day. Perfect with a cuppa but also surprisingly good with some warm mulled cider - well it is Christmas!


PLUM FLAPJACKS


| Serves: makes 12 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 45 Minutes | Total Time: 55 Minutes |


Ingredients:

  • 400g fresh Plums, stoned and chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 300g Golden Granulated Sugar
  • 300g Butter
  • 350g Rolled Oats
  • 140g Plain Flour
  • 3 TBSP Golden Syrup

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Heat oven to 200c/ 180fan and grease a 20cm cake tin. Toss the plums with the cinnamon, 50g of the sugar and set aside.
  • Step 2: Melt the butter and Syrup in a pan. In a large bowl combine the flour, oats and remaining sugar.
  • Step 3: Pour the butter mix into the dry ingredients and combine.
  • Step 4: Press half the mix into the tin, spread the plums on top and then add the remaining flapjack mix. Press down firmly and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 15th December 2010 |


Beth Sachs
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Sausagemeat and Bramley Apple Stuffing


Stuffing

I've been experimenting with stuffing over the last few weeks and thought I'd post my favourite concoction to date. The bramely apple gives it a lovely tang (especially with a glug of cider) and it would make the perfect accompaniment to your turkey.

SAUSAGEMEAT AND APPLE STUFFING


| Serves: 6  | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 40 Minutes | Total Time: 50 Minutes |

Ingredients:

  • 450g Sausagemeat
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Bramley, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • 1 TBSP Dried Mixed Herbs
  • 100g Breadcrumbs
  • Salt and Pepper
  • If mixture is a little dry, add a glug of Cider!

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Fry the onion in a TBSP of butter until soft.
  • Step 2: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix thoroughly and then spoon into an ovenproof dish. Uncooked stuffing can be kept in the fridge for a few days.
  • Step 3: When you are ready to cook, preheat oven to 180C/Gas 4 and bake for around 40 minutes - check after 30 mins and if browning too much on top cover with foil.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 9th December 2010 |


Beth Sachs
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The Scandinavian Cookbook: A Review





I have to be honest I'd never heard of Trina Hahnemann before the recently published paperback version of Scandinavian Cookbook dropped through my door. My knowledge of Scandi cuisine extended only so far as knowing herring is pretty popular and cardamom buns are an institution (*hangs head in shame*!).

However, thanks to following some Scandinavian foodies on Twitter, such as Scandilicious and Scandinavian Kitchen, Scandinavian cuisine has really come into my radar in the the last few months and I jumped at the chance of reviewing, reading and trying out some new recipes from this beautifully presented book (a book which quite frankly is far too good to be confined to the bookshelf thanks to the stunning photography by Lars Ranek).

So Trina Hahnemann - who is she? Well after a little bit of research I found out she is a leading Danish T.V chef and food writer but her career started over 20 years ago when she co-founded a company that catered for the film and music industry on location in Scandinavia. She has since started her own company Frukostkompagniet, which runs restaurant and personnel canteens throughout Denmark, including Denmark's House of Parliament - Christiansborg.

In this book, Trina introduces a light modern version of traditional home cooking to the reader and for that reason it offers the perfect way into Scandi cuisine for novices like me. The book is split into 12 chapters mirroring the 12 months of the year and showcases the fresh and seasonal ingredients available. But don't worry there is also plenty of page space dedicated to traditional scandi baking too.
The book starts its story at the beginning of the year in January, at a time when most Scandinavian countries are in darkness for the majority of the day. This chapter includes traditional comforting bakes such as the ever popular Danish pastries (which look so unlike the danish pastries I know its untrue)  as well as recipes for Rye Bread and Spelt Buns. But, its the fish dishes in this chapter that lend a hand to beating the January blues. The Pan Fried Plaice with Potatoes and Parsley (p18) is one such dish as is the Marinated Fresh Salmon on page 20 - both so simple but elegantly fresh.
February has a comforting Lamb stew with rosemary mash that caught my eye as well as the all important Cardamom Buns, which  I have yet to make myself at home...but soon! March showcases one of the many traditional Smorrebrods in the book, an open sandwich made with Rye Bread topped in this case with cods roe, a speciality at this time of year. The Yogurt and Wheat bread also looks like a must try.

Its all about Herrings in April, which are typically served on top of rye bread with  raw onion and dill. There is also a lovely light lemon mousse on offer and traditional almond cakes worthy of an afternoon baking session. In May I was drawn straight to the Rhubarb cordial and Rhubarb Trifle - I adore Rhubarb and I'm always looking for new ways to use it.

The summer months feature some fresh salads and fish such as The Fried Mackerel with Fresh Summer Salad - the picture alone makes me salivate! Berry recipes are also prevalent with offerings such as Redcurrant and Strawberry Smoothies, Fruit Porridge (which sounds particularly interesting) and a beautiful Strawberry Layer Cake.

Heading into Autumn and there is an intriguing recipe for Chanterelle, bacon and plum salad with blue cheese, utilising the wonderful seasonal produce on offer, a divine looking blueberry tart and a beautiful Apple Trifle. However its the Winter recipes that really inspire me. Meatballs in curry sauce would go down a storm with the kids in this house and the recipe for Mulled Wine would go down a storm with me.

The Swedish Christmas Ham, with a simple mustard and sugar crust would be perfect on Christmas Eve and my daughter already has eyes on the Christmas Cookies, especially the  swirl butter cookies (very heavy on the butter though!) made with vanilla and cocoa.

This beautifully styled book really has opened my eyes and awakened my taste buds to Scandinavian cuisine and is definitely a book I will be dipping into for inspiration very soon.
Beth Sachs
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Molton Chocolate Puddings



I've been looking for an easy warming pud to make for the Christmas pudding haters in our family (there are a few of them!)...and I think I've found it. These are so simple taking just 5 minutes to prepare and about 10 minutes in the oven and taste gorgeously rich and gooey. You could easily double the recipe to serve 8 if you needed to cater for a larger number of people and for an added seasonal twist you could omit the vanilla extract and add the zest of 1 or 2 clementines.

I promise you will be impressed by these!

MOLTON CHOCOLATE PUDDINGS

| Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Total Time: 15 Minutes |


Ingredients: 

  • 125g Dark Chocolate
  • 125g Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 150g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 35g Plain Flour
  • 1/2 TSP of Vanilla Extract
  • Butter and Flour for ramekins

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200c and butter and lightly flour 4 ramekins (approx 200ml capacity).
  • Step 2: Melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave (do 20-30 second zaps at a time to prevent it burning).
  • Step 3: Whisk eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla extract together until just mixed then fold in the chocolate mixture.
  • Step 4: Pour the mixture into the 4 ramekins and put on a baking sheet. Place in the centre of the oven for 10-12 minutes until a few cracks form on the top.
  • Step 5: Serve straight out of the oven with some ice cream or clotted cream.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 26th November 2010 |


Beth Sachs
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Easy Mince Pies ..... for the freezer


Mince Pies

Last weekend I made my usual batch of mincemeat and decided while I was at it to make some mince pies for the freezer too. The pastry is no effort and is made entirely in the food processor (although you can do it by hand if you wish). It produces wonderfully crumbly pies, with a slight nutty flavour thanks to the ground almonds.

You don't have to freeze the pies of course and I give instructions below for baking them straight away, but I like to get ahead at Christmas and stashing a batch of these away in the freezer, I am safe in the knowledge I am just 20 minutes away from a warm homemade mince pie. Perfect for unexpected guests.


EASY MINCE PIES

| Serves: 16 pies  | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 20 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes  |


Ingredients: 

  • 350g Mincemeat
  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 75g Ground Almonds
  • 40g Caster Sugar
  • 125g Butter, cubed
  • 1 Egg
  • Milk for glaze.
Instructions:
  • Step 1: Butter a bun tin (you may need two).
  • Step 2: Place the flour, sugar, almonds and butter in a food processor and process until resembling breadcrumbs, then slowly add the egg through the feeder tube and pulse.
  • Step 3: Tip out onto the worktop and bring the pastry together with your hands, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 mins.
  • Step 4: If cooking straight away preheat the oven to 200c.
  • Step 5: Roll out just over half of the pastry (I like to do this between 2 sheets of clingfilm so I don't add too much more flour to the dough) and cut out 16 circles and place lightly into bun tin. Fill with the mincemeat then roll out of the remaining dough and cut out slightly smaller circles to place on top. If you are freezing them, pop the whole tin in the freezer and when the are completely frozen pop the pies out of the tins and into freezer bags. When you are ready to bake them pop them back into the bun tins and follow the rest of the recipe.
  • Step 6: Glaze the tops with milk (use a pastry brush) and bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes until golden.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 24th November 2010 |


Beth Sachs
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A Slice of Cherry Pie: A Review



As a UK Food Blogger it was with great excitement I received my copy of ‘A Slice of Cherry Pie’ written by the founder of the UK Food Bloggers Association, Julia Parsons.

Julia, who has run a successful food blog (also entitled ‘A Slice of Cherry Pie’) since 2006 and more recently set up the UK Food Bloggers Association to act as a community hub for like-minded foodies, is now officially a published author too (is there no end to this woman’s talents?).

Julia has been releasing snippets of the book on her blog in the run up to its launch and I, like many bloggers have been eagerly counting down the days to its release. Well, it finally landed on my doorstep last week and I spent a lovely evening curled up on the sofa reading it from cover to cover – ideally it would have been with a glass of wine, but due to the flooding I hadn’t been able to get the shops so I had to make do with a can of hubby's lager – which somewhat ruined the image of a dark autumn evening, fire blazing, feet up, glass of wine in hand, but hey at least the book didn’t let me down.

From being a long time reader of Julia’s blog, I already knew that using seasonal produce is something close to her heart and this strong ethos is carried through into this cookbook, which is split into beautifully themed seasonal sections.

The book begins its story in spring with ‘Cherry Blossom’ and I didn’t have to look very far for my first must try recipe. The Feta Cheese and Watercress Sauce on page 13 immediately caught my eye and had me salivating. Salty feta and peppery watercress bound together with double cream and poured over some grilled chicken….do I really have to wait until Spring? Staying on the cheese theme, the Baked Camembert with Asparagus Dippers (p23) is also going to be ‘post-it noted’.

By far the largest section of the book is devoted to summer recipes, Julia’s favourite time of the year. In the chapter ‘Sunshines and Lemons’ it was the Peaches and Cream Trifle (p42) that had me dreaming (and reminiscing) about hot summer days, al fresco dining and getting tipsy on Archers when I was a teenager – the trifle uses peach schnapps to drizzle over the sponge, I didn’t just randomly reminisce about drinking it. Over the page is ‘the’ recipe for Cherry Pie, although Julia herself concedes that she is not sure any cherry pie can live up to one in her head;

‘the one with crumbly pastry and glossy, jammy cherries bursting with deep flavour’


In ‘Poppy Fields’, picnic and barbecue foods take centre stage with recipes for Homemade Scotch Eggs (p62) which look gloriously oozy in the middle, Beef Burgers (p67) and the Parsons family Coleslaw recipe (P72) handed to Julia by her Mother in Law. Perhaps most decadent though is the Midsummer Cake (p56), a simple sponge filled with glorious summer fruits and whipped cream.


Throughout the book there are snippets of old blog entries, childhood photographs, famous quotes, lyrics to songs and extracts of handwritten notes, which together give us a sneaky peak into Julia's own journey through food and beyond. It is these qualities that give the book a uniqueness that many cookbooks lack - you really get to know the author and what makes her tick.

Back to the recipes and seafood lovers may want to skip straight to ‘Pebbles and Ice Cream’ where Julia reminisces about her childhood holidays in Hastings and more recently her trips to Whitstable for Oysters. The King Prawn Linguine sounds perfect for a balmy summer evening but it’s the Filo Crab Parcels (p84) that caught my imagination and sound just perfect for laid back summer entertaining – and it’s entertaining that forms the basis of the next chapter ‘Linen and Roses’.

The food in this chapter manages to maintain its simple seasonal charm but aims to impress your guests (which is a plus in my book). Desserts are especially prevalent with my pick in this chapter being the Rose Wine and Strawberry Jellies (p114). There is also a lovely piece on cheeseboards with information on serving and presenting cheeses and it is here where Julia highlights her own favourites – I’m with you on the Roquefort!

We finally get to autumn ‘Rain on Glass’ – my favourite season and despite Julia’s love of summer even she concedes that autumn is the most exciting and inspiring time for the cook. In my view there is not a more comforting autumnal dish than the Creamy Sausage Pasta on page 122 (which I will blog shortly). Sausages, onions, cream, thyme and stock, bound together and tossed through a steaming bowl of pasta – heaven on a plate. But it was the rainy day Fairy Cakes that took my daughters imagination and a recipe she has asked me to make with her soon.

The penultimate chapter ‘Wood Smoke and Roasts’ takes you through the quintessential roast (chicken, beef and pork), homely family recipes such as Toad in the Hole, Bolognese and Shepherds Pie and some lovely autumnal desserts like Plum Crumble and Baked Apples.

Finally, we come to Snow Flurries, celebrating warming winter meals like Chorizo and Cabbage Risotto, Bean and Bacon Stew (sounds yummy) as well as Christmassy offerings such as Chestnut and Bacon Soup, Christmas Pudding Cheesecakes and Port Glazed Gammon on page 191 which will definitely be on my table this Christmas Eve.

Above all this  book is to be treasured and enjoyed and comes bursting with fresh, seasonal offerings. Well done Julia – it’s fab!
Beth Sachs
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Turkey Bolognese (and a cardinal sin)


Turkey Bolognese

OK, shoot me, I used linguine instead of spaghetti, a cardinal sin according to my hubby! 

Despite this 'oversight' on my part it turned out to be a deliciously rich bolognese, not dry as I often worry with turkey. 

Although the recipe uses turkey mince, there is absolutely no reason why you couldn't substitute it with some leftover cooked turkey (chopped up in a food processor) from your Christmas lunch! Just remember to add the turkey after the mushrooms.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

TURKEY BOLOGNESE

| Serves: 4  | Prep Time:  20 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes  | Total Time: 1 Hour 50 |


Ingredients

  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 250g Mushrooms, sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • 600g Turkey Mince - or use leftover turkey chopped up
  • 1 dried chilli
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP Tomato Puree
  • 325ml Red Wine
  • 500ml Chicken Stock
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Sprig of thyme
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

  • Step 1:  Heat a glug of oil in a large pan and cook the onions and garlic until starting to brown. Add the turkey and brown all over.
  • Step 2: Crumble in the chilli, add the mushrooms, salt and pepper.
  • Step 3: Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, wine, stock, Worcestershire sauce and thyme and simmer on hob for an hour and a half.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 19th November 2010 |


Beth Sachs
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Easy Christmas Cake


Fruity Christmas Cake

I finally got around to making my Christmas Cake last weekend, - I was beginning to panic a  bit as I've never left it this late before. Instead of the usual pre-soaking of the fruits in alcohol, I decided to simmer the fruits in Cherry Brandy for 10 minutes, which meant I could get the whole cake made and baked in a couple of hours.

The cake is now safely wrapped in a double layer of baking paper and a layer of foil, ready for its weekly feedings of cherry brandy - it's going to be a boozy one! In terms of the decoration, this year I am opting out of icing and instead going to go for a simple apricot glaze (warmed apricot jam brushed onto the cake) with brazil nuts and candied fruits on top.

EASY CHRISTMAS CAKE

| Serves: 1 x 20cm cake | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes | Total Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes |


Ingredients

  • 500g dried fruit mix including rasins, currants and mixed peel
  • 100g Glace Cherries, chopped
  • 100g Apricots, chopped
  • 100g Dates, chopped
  • Zest of 2 Oranges and juice of 1
  • 175g Butter
  • 200g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 100ml Brandy - I used Cherry, plus 4 TBSP
  • 3 large Eggs, beaten
  • 85g ground Almonds
  • 200g plain Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TSP Mixed Spice
  • 1 TSP Cinnamon

Instructions:

Step 1: Double line a 20cm deep cake tin with baking paper.
Step 2: Put the fruits, zest, juice, butter, sugar and brandy in a saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and continue to stir for 10 minutes. Leave to cool
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 150c/130c Fan/Gas 2. When the boozy fruit mixture is cooled, stir in the eggs and almonds then sift in the flour, baking powder and spices.
Step 4: Spoon into prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes then turn down the heat to 140c/gas 1 and continue to bake for 1 hour. Test with skewer.
Step 5: When completely cool, remove from tin and wrap as instructed in the introduction.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 17th November 2015 |


Beth Sachs
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Food from Plenty: A Review


Many of you may know Diana Henry from Market Kitchen, or perhaps from her articles in The Telegraph, Waitrose Food Illustrated or Sainsbury's magazine (she has been named cookery writer of the year twice!). I have long been a fan of her fresh, family friendly approach to food but shamefully up until last week I didn't own any of her cookbooks.

Henry is the author of six books to date including the much acclaimed Crazy water, pickled lemons; Roast figs, sugar snow and Cook simple. The latest offering, 'Food from Plenty' has over 350 recipes showcasing inexpensive and resourceful meals, ideas for using up gluts and clever ways to make the most of leftovers.

The book is based on a strong sustainability ethos but is not preachy or condescending. Diana shows the reader that by cooking seasonally, often with cheaper cuts of meat and fish (e.g. Braised Lamb Shanks with gremolata p180 and Pigs cheeks with mustard lentils p193), you can reduce food miles but more importantly produce inspiring and thoughtful meals for your family and friends.

Chapters include 'Vegetable Love' (with recipes such as Peas, Broad beans and Chorizo p 61 and Spanish tomato and bread salad p.65), a complete section on 'Racing' Pulses and one on 'Good Grains' (I'm particularly inspired to try the Creamy lentils and pumpkin with ginger and cumin (p101) as well as the Sausage and Red Wine Risotto on p117). Chapters on Fish and Meat follow before moving on to wild foraged food in 'Where the Wild Things Are' - I'm keen to try the Blackberry and brown sugar loaf next Autumn (although I have some blackberries in the freezer....). A whole chapter on fruit called 'Sweet Fruitfulness' entices the reader with recipes for Cherry wine (p256) and Gooseberry Pots (p258), before she moves onto the intriguing 'Crust and Crumbs', a section dedicated to using up stale bread. The Spring Panzanella (p292), with fresh broad beans, fresh peas and asparagus had me salivating, as did the Brown Bread and Whisky Ice Cream on p300.

The final chapter is all about eggs and Diana urges you to buy free range (this is the most preachy it gets!). The humble, cheap egg is transformed into souffles, omelette's, clafoutis (Peach and Lavender Honey to be precise on p314 - sounds wonderful doesn't it?) and not forgetting fresh healthy salads.

My favourite chapter though is the one found at the very beginning 'The roast and les restes'. In it Henry takes you through the art of roasting different joints of meat and more importantly (from my point of view) makes a plethora of suggestions for using up the leftovers. For example, from leftover roast chicken a restorative chicken and parsley risotto (p22) might emerge, or from lamb, a middle eastern inspired shepherds pie (p39).  But, the leftover dish I am intending to make very soon is the Pork , roast squash, apple and chestnut salad (p42) - surely there's no better an excuse to roast a juicy bit of pork?

Finally, I'll let Diana sum the book up in her own words;

 'it's about a thoughtful approach to food, one that is better for you in terms of money saved and pleasure gained....'

This book really is must have for any family cook.

Beth Sachs
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Leon: Naturally Fast Food - A Review



Following on from their best-selling cookbook Leon: Ingredients and Recipes, Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent have recently published their latest offering– Leon: Naturally Fast Food.

Leon (Carnaby Street) opened in 2004 by Dimbleby, Vincent and Allegra McEvedy had within 6 months been named the Best New Restaurant in Great Britain at the Observer Food Monthly awards. With a prestigious judging panel containing names such as Gordon Ramsey, Rick Stein, Nigel Slater and Jay Rayner it was bound to go far and far it has gone – with 9 restaurants and counting! Leon's ethos is based on the twin principles that food can both taste good and do you good and the offerings in this cookbook certainly respect the founding aims. But far from being boringly healthy, this book exudes fun, quirkiness and above all is a very useful tool in any cooks kitchen.

The book is split into two halves. The first half contains fast food recipes, recipes for all types of occasion that take less than 20 minutes to prepare. Some on my must try list include Bacon and Root Veg Soup (page 79), Keralan Fish Curry (page 101), Greekish Butter Beans (page 125), Henry's Quick Chocolate Cake (page 186) and most definitely the Upside-Down Apple and Cardamom Tart (page 193) – which is actually printed upside down! (I thought this was a printing error when I first opened the book).

The second half of the book is focused on Slow Fast Food – things that can be made in advance when you have the time and cooked up quickly when you don’t. A few of the recipes that caught my eye were Bruno’s Osso Bucco (page 227) - one of the many recipes donated by friends and family, Pork Belly with Turnips and Prunes (page 235) and Leon’s Chilli Con Carne (page 219) -I’m always on the lookout for new chilli recipes.

The book keeps the reader glued with every page turn with tips, ideas, anecdotes, photo’s and random quirky features such as the stickers page (yes you read that right – it certainly pleased the three year old!), extracts from Leon's (Ludgate Circus) drawer of wishes and my favourite, the ‘Dressing up shop bought ice cream’ pull-out located right in the middle – the photo’s alone make the book worth buying.

Despite all this praise a review wouldn’t be good and proper without testing one of the recipes. I decided to make the Cheese and Ham Muffins on page 172 (see below) and they turned out just perfect, especially served with my Pumpkin and Apple Soup. All in all this really is a cookery book to be treasured, well thumbed and entertained by all at the same time.

Ham and Cheese Muffins

Cheese and Ham Muffins
Ingredients: to make 12
6 slices of ham, chopped
190g cheddar, grated
75g butter, cut into pieces
1 egg
250ml milk
300g self raising flour
1/2 TSP paprika
pinch of sea salt

Method:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 190c and line a muffin tin
Step 2: Beat the egg in a bowl with the milk.
Step 3: Sieve the flour, paprika and salt into a large bowl and run in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs
Step 4: Add the ham and cheese and pour in the eggy milk - mix thoroughly
Step 5: Spoon into the muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes.
Beth Sachs
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Pumpkin, Apple and Sage Soup


Pumpkin, Apple and Sage Soup

A very large pumpkin had sat staring at me for quite a number of days in my vegetable rack so when Friday came (my day off) ... and it was raining, I thought I'd better turn the monster into something edible. Despite the time it took to chop up all the pumpkin flesh (a job I very much dislike!), it was on the table in less than an hour, so not bad really.

The apples were a bit of the spur of the moment thing, but they really worked and the cider vinegar gave it a tangy edge. I served it with some cheesy toasts using some of the Dorset Blue Vinney I was kindly sent from The Cheese Shed.

PUMPKIN, APPLE AND SAGE SOUP

| Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 40 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour |


Ingredients: 

  • 15g Butter
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1TSP Sage
  • 1/2 TSP Chilli Flakes
  • 1 TBSP Cider Vinegar
  • 1 large Pumpkin, peeled, cored and flesh cut into chunks
  • 2 Bramley Apples, peeled and chopped
  • 800ml Vegetable Stock
  • Seasoning

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Melt the butter in a large pan then add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 5-10 minutes until soft.
  • Step 2: Add the sage, chilli and cider vinegar and cook for a minute before adding the pumpkin and apple.
  • Step 3: After 3-4 minutes, add in the stock and season well. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and cook for 20-30 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked through.
  • Step 4: Liquidise the soup and serve with some cheesy toasts.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 8th November 2015 |


Beth Sachs
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Win a Hotel Chocolat Advent Calendar





COMPETITION CLOSED
Christmas is not so far away (7 weeks to be exact) and to celebrate Hotel Chocolat have plied me with chocolate...again. They have kindly let me road test not one but two Advent Calendars  AND given you the opportunity to win them in a little Christmas competition (2 winners this time so double the chance of winning).

First up was the Childrens Advent Calendar which Lowen reviewed (although I think she was getting confused thinking it actually was Christmas - she's only 3!). The Advent Calender was filled with milk chocolate in 6 different festive shapes, Lowens favourite being the reindeer below. The calendar also included 3 Christmas decorations to cut out and hang on your tree.


Hubby and I got to road test the Truffles for Share Calendar, which handily has two truffles behind each window - no more fighting over one chocolate for us! There are 6 different varieties of truffles, my favourite was the mousse au chocolat but the gingerbread truffle came a close second. Hubby's favourite was the Orange Liquor.


To be in with a chance of winning both the Childrens Advent Calendar and Truffles to Share Calendar all you have to do is;
1. Check out Hotel Chocolats christmas gifts and let me know which gift you would most like to find in your stocking on Christmas Day.
2. Leave your answers in the comments section of this post, or the Jam and Clotted Cream Facebook Page. I will also accept entries on Twitter (start your tweet @jamandcream HChoc).
3. Competition open to UK residents only.
4. Competition closes on 19th November at 5pm.
5. Share the competition on Facebook or RT on Twitter for an extra entry (use the widget at the bottom of this post).
Beth Sachs
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Foodie Events in Cornwall ~ November 2010





24th - 27th November - Made in Cornwall Christmas Fair, Lemon Quay, Truro. Huge array of Cornish food, drinks and crafts.

27th November - Celtic Beer Festival, St Austell Brewery.

27th -28th November  - Cotehele Christmas Food Fair at Cotehele House nr Saltash. Annual Food Festival organised by Taste of the West. £2 admission.

Events at Amelies Restaurant, Porthleven this month
Pie & Ale night - every Tuesday
Tuesday nights at Amélies are homemade pie and ale nights. Priced at £12.50, you get a homemade pie with seasonal vegetables, hand cut chips and a bottle of your favourite ale.
£10 Curry and stew night - every Thursday (except 11th and 25th)Choose between chef Marcus Houghton’s incredible curries served with rice, naan bead and chutneys, or a wholesome stew with oven-baked bread. All meals are served with a bottle of beer and are priced at £10.00.
70s night - Thursday 11th November
Take yourself back to a brighter era, with a funky disco, and retro buffet of classic 1970s dishes: prawn cocktails, Waldorf salad, and cheese and pineapple on stick as well as a glass of punch on arrival. From 7pm till late, tickets are £15.
La Dolce Vita - Thursday 25th November
For one night Amélies becomes Amalfi. Serving a four course set menu comprising antipasti, primi piatti, secondi piatti, and a contorni, all paired with a great bottle of Italian wine for two to share. Tickets are priced at £35.00.
Beth Sachs
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Win a Cheese Shed Christmas Selection Box



COMPETITION CLOSED
The Cheese Shed started life back in 2006 when Ian Wellens, James Mann and Gill Mann, set up the company with the aim of making little known Westcountry cheeses available to people all over the country. Their key focus remains the same today, selling local artisan cheeses from the southwest, primarily from small scale producers.


I am a cheese lover as most of you will already know, so when an opportunity came up to try a Cheese Shed Christmas  Box (and give one away!) I wasn't going to turn it down. I was the lucky recipient of the following;
A Christmas Three Box containing;
*Dorset Blue Vinney - a wonderfully crumbly blue cheese made by Michael Davies at his dairy near Sturminster Newton. He uses a semi skimmed unpasteurised milk which makes it low in fat (so you can eat more of it without feeling guilty).
*Black-Eyed Susan - my personal favourite. Made by Richard and Caroline Harbord on their farm near Bruton in Somerset. This particular cheese is covered in crushed black peppercorns giving it a nice subtle heat.
*Godminster Vintage Cheddar -  comes in a distinctive purple wax and has a real bite to it - just how I like my cheddar! I enjoyed this with some homemade runner bean chutney.
Please note due to working with small dairies exact contents may vary but will always contain a hard cheese, a brie and a blue.

    For your chance to win a Christmas Three Box all you have to do is;
    1.  Visit the 'Cheese Wall' on the Cheese Shed website and tell me what cheese you would most like to be on your Christmas cheese board.
    2. Answers can be left in the comments section of this post, on the Jam and Clotted Cream Facebook page or via Twitter (please start your tweet @jamandcream cheese comp).
    3. Competition will close at 5pm GMT on Monday 29th November
    4. Open to UK mainland residents only
    Beth Sachs
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    Halloween Cupcakes



                                                  (I think this was meant to be a red legged spider!!)

    As I said in the Gingerbread Skeletons post, I am possibly the least artistic person to walk this planet, so if I can decorate cupcakes anyone can. I kept the decorations simple, so spiderwebs, pumpkins and monster type things with long red legs were the order of the day! Feel free to be as adventurous as you wish.  Just make sure you set aside a good hour to clean up afterwards. Icing sugar gets everywhere!

    Thank-you to Silverspoon for sending me the products to try.

    HALLOWEEN CUPCAKES


    Ingredients:


    • 250 g unsalted butter, softened
    • 250 g caster sugar
    • 250 g self-raising flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • For the icing
    • 220 g unsalted butter, softened
    • 400 g icing sugar
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • Silverspoon writing icing, colourings and choco beans to decorate (as well as other sweets such as red laces, liquorice)

    Instructions: makes 18


    • Step 1: Preheat oven to 180c. Line 2 cupcake tins with paper cases
    • Step 2: Put all the cupcake ingredients in a standing mixer (or a big bowl to mix with handheld mixer or by hand) and mix for 3 minutes until pale.
    • Step 3: Divide into 18 cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes.
    • Step 4: Leave to cool on a wire rack.
    • Step 5: To make the icing - Mix together the icing sugar and softened butter with the vanilla extract, divide between 3 bowls.
    • Step 6: Put 4-5 drops of green colouring in one, a mix of red and yellow colouring in the other and leave the last one white (make sure the icing is mixed thoroughly).
    • Step 7: Decorate cupcakes as desired. I got hold of the Halloween cupcake surrounds from Morrisons.
    Beth Sachs
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    Win A Cosy Tea Hamper


    COMPETITION CLOSED
    I recently got to trial these fab teas by a company that I hadn't even heard of before (I can't believe these slipped through the radar). What makes Cosy Tea unique is that, inspired by the recent rennaissance in knitting, each packet has its own knitted pattern (a kind of tea cosy) and, on the side of each pack is the name of the stitch and knitter that created it. Very quirky and right up my street.

    The Cosy Tea range includes the following teas;
    Breakfast Tea
    Earl Grey
    Chamomile
    Rooibos
    Lemon Green
    Jasmine Green
    Peppermint
    Blueberry and Echinacea

    All products are organic as well as being approved by the Vegetarian Society and for vegan diets by Viva! My favourite has to be the Blueberry and Echinacea- which came in very handy during my recent bout of sniffles. It was intensely fruity and, with a drop of honey really soothed my throat.

    I've got two mini hampers, each containing 6 packets of this lovely stuff to give away to two lucky people .

    To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is tell me how many cups of tea you drink in a day?
    • You can leave your answers in the comments section of this post, on the Jam and Clotted Cream Facebook Page or via Twitter (start tweet @jamandcream teacomp)
    • Competition is open to UK residents only.
    • Competition closes at 5pm Friday 29th October.
    • Retweet competiton on Twitter or Share on Facebook for an extra entry (and let me know you have done so) using the handy widget at the bottom of this post.
    Good Luck
    Beth Sachs
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    Easy Kedgeree


    Easy Kedgeree

    Its not exactly authentic, being more like risotto in texture rather than the traditional rice and fish breakfast dish that originated in India, but who cares when it tastes so good. You could replace the smoked cod loin with the more traditional smoked haddock if you wanted, I just managed to pick up a lovely piece of cod from my local fishmongers at a knockdown price.

    EASY KEDGEREE

    | Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 20 Minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes |


    Ingredients:


    • 400g Cooked Basmati Rice
    • 2 TBSP Groundnut Oil
    • 1 heaped TBSP Harissa Paste
    • 400g Smoked Cod Loin, skinless and boneless
    • 6 Spring Onions, sliced
    • 1 Green Chili, sliced
    • 400g Tin Coconut Milk
    • 1 TSP Veg Bouillon powder
    • Handful of frozen peas
    • 2 Hard Boiled Eggs, quartered
    • 1 Lime, quartered

    Instructions:

    • Step 1: Heat the oil in a large lidded pan and add the harissa paste, stir for a minute.
    • Step 2: Place the cod loin(s) into the pan scatter over the spring onions and chilli, pour in the coconut milk, add the vegetable bouillon powder and season. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes.
    • Step 3: Uncover, flake the fish and add the rice and peas. Cover and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
    • Step 4: Serve into dishes and garnish with boiled egg quarters and lime wedge.

    | Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 20th October 2010 |


    Beth Sachs
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    Gingerbread Skeletons



    Gingerbread Skeletons

    Enough of the laughter - I tried my best! Hopefully for those of you that are artistic you can see the potential in these Gingerbread Skeletons for Halloween. The dough itself is very easy to make and is based on a Delia Smith recipe that now has many adaptions. It withstands manhandling by the kids so it really doesn't matter how much they play around it.

    White Designer Icing (from Silverspoon) was used to pipe on the skeleton frame. Just make sure you knead the icing  tube a little before use, it makes piping a lot easier.

    This would make an ideal half term activity with the kids.

    GINGERBREAD SKELETONS

    | Serves: 10 Gingerbread Men | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes |


    Ingredients

    • 75g Light Muscavado Sugar
    • 2 TBSP Golden Syrup
    • 1 TBSP Black Treacle
    • 1 TSP Ground Ginger
    • Pinch of Cloves
    • Zest of 2 Satsumas
    • 95g Butter, cubed
    • 1/2 TSP Bicarbonate of Soda
    • 225g Plain Flour
    • White Designer or Writing Icing to decorate.

    Instructions:

    • Step 1: Preheat oven to 180c or Gas Mark 4 and grease 2 baking sheets.
    • Step 2: Put the sugar, syrup, treacle, 1 tbsp water, spices, zest of satsumas in a pan and bring to the boil. Once at boiling point remove from heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda and butter . Finally stir in the flour until you have a soft smooth dough (you may require more flour - keep adding a TBSP at a time until a soft smooth dough that is easily handled has formed).
    • Step 3: Leave the dough to cool (or leave it wrapped in clingfilm in the fridge for an hour). Then roll out the dough on a floured surface to about 10mm thick. Stamp out the gingerbread men with suitable cutters, place on baking trays and cook for 10 minutes.
    • Step 4: Let the gingerbread men cool a little before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
    • Step 5: When completely cool, knead the icing in the tube and begin decorating.

    | Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 18th October 2010 |


    Beth Sachs
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    Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese and Sage Risotto


    Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese and Sage Risotto


    Those of you who follow me on twitter will know the night I made this I declared it the best risotto I had ever made and on reflection, I still believe that (not trying to pipe my own trumpet - it was the quality ingredients obviously).

    The slightly sweet nutty roasted squash together with the tangy Helford blue cheese I purchased at   Fifteen Cornwall Farmers Market was a match made in heaven, but the sage just gave it an extra special dimension. A sprinkling of toasted pine nuts if I'd had any, would have been a great addition too.

    A perfect, comforting autumnal recipe to be enjoyed with a large glass of wine.


    BUTTERNUT SQUASH, BLUE CHEESE AND SAGE RISOTTO


    | Serves: 2  | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 45 Minutes |


    Ingredients: 


    • 1 Butternut Squash, quartered and deseeded
    • 2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
    • 15 Sage leaves, shredded
    • 20g Butter
    • Glug of Olive Oil
    • 1 Onion, chopped
    • Splash of Vermouth
    • 300g Arborio Rice
    • 1 litre of Vegetable Stock
    • 100g Blue Cheese, cubed

    Instructions:

    • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200c. Place the squash in a roasting tray with the garlic, 6 sage leaves, a drizzle of oil and salt and pepper. Roast for about 45 minutes until tender. Put to one side to cool. Once cooled take the skin off and chop into cubes. 
    • Step 2: To make the risotto, heat the butter and oil in a large pan and then fry the onion until soft. Turn up the heat, then stir in the risotto rice and add the Vermouth.
    • Step 3: Add the first ladle of stock along with the remaining sage leaves then stir until the liquid has been absorbed. Keep adding the stock until it is all absorbed and the rice is cooked.
    • Step 4: Turn off the heat and stir in the blue cheese and cubed squash before serving.

    | Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 13th October 2010 |


    Beth Sachs
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    Fifteen Cornwall Autumn Farmers Market


    Lowen and I ventured down to Watergate Bay on Saturday to visit the Fifteen Cornwall Autumn Farmers Market. Despite the wind (it was blowing a hoolie) the crowds turned up in force to enjoy the fresh Cornish produce on offer.

    There were about 25 stalls in the marquee, which had been erected on the Car Park above the restaurant, selling everything from fish, fresh bread and patisserie, jams and pickles, cheeses, duck, meat, chocolates and oils. The Eden Project also had a stall selling Christmas decorations (which sent me into a panic - better get on with the Christmas cake) as well as Halloween goodies.

    Here are a few photo's of just some of the foodie offerings.

    Cornish Coldpresed Rapeseed Oil from Simply Oils is produced from Rapeseed grown on the North Cornish coast. It has a really distinctive nutty flavour that I would quite happily enjoy by itself with some fresh bread for dunking.

    Cornish Orchards with a fine display of their hand crafted apple juices, ciders and vinegars made from apples grown on their farm at Duloe. I love their Apple Cider Vinegar.

    Some sweet treats from Rick Steins Patisserie .

    Baker Toms Bread. I bought some of the Sea Salt and Rosemary Foccacia (as seen in the photo) and a small White Loaf - both were excellent.

    Cupcakes and Brownie Bites (photo below) made by the Fifteen apprentices to raise funds for the Cornwall Foundation of Promise charity.


    Fresh Fish from local fishmonger Matt Stevens.

    Hanson Fine Foods selling some local artisan cheeses. In the photo is 'Miss Muffet' an  emmental style cheese from Whalesborough Farm. I also bought the delicious, if not a bit smelly, Helford White made by Treveador Farm Dairy. Its a very soft tangy cheese with an edible pink rind - delicious with bread.

    We came away absolutely stuffed and with rather less money than what we had arrived with!
    Beth Sachs
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