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Surprisingly cool yet hot and spicy veg drink

July 8, 2014

I’ve been experimenting with spicing up tomato / veg juice drinks and come up with a great combination I thought I’d share with you. I used V8 veg juice in the end but ordinary tomato juice is fine.

330ml V8 vegetable juice (cold, straight from the fridge)
1/2 level teaspoon Malden Sea Salt (ground in a pestle and mortar)
Teaspoon Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce
Teaspoon of Cholula Original Hot Sauce
Teaspoon of Franks Red Hot Sauce
Juice of half a lime
Black pepper (freshly ground) to taste

Combine everything in a shaker (I used a 1 ltr plastic milk carton with a screw top) and shake for 30 seconds) Pour and enjoy but beware its kick !! …… ouch!

Note: you could vary the ingredients to taste, add a very small pinch of celery salt if using just tomato juice.



Chocolate Chip and Sultana Flapjacks

May 28, 2014

I made these last week, a nice twist on ‘normal’ flapjacks.

125g of unsalted butter
60g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp clear honey
350g rolled oats (I use 250g normal oats and 100g jumbo oats)
90g chocolate (plain, milk, white or a mixture of all three)
90g Sultanas

Grease and line an 8 inch square shallow cake tin.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C or gas mk 4.
Cut the chocolate into small chunks (large chocolate chip size)
Put the butter, sugar, syrup and honey into a large pan and melt over a low heat until well combined.
Remove from heat and add the rolled oats.
Stir until well combined then mix in the chocolate and sultanas.
Transfer to the cake tin and press down to level it out.
Bake for approx 30 mins or until golden around the edges.
Allow to cool in the tin and then slice into squares.

choc chip and sultana

1930 Bakery recipe notebook

April 5, 2014

I recently found a hand written notebook from my Grandpas’s bakery from around 1930.
The bakery was in Bolton, Lancashire in the UK.

It’s a wonderful read and I’ll be trying the recipes in it and posting the results on this blog over the next few months.

Recipes in the book include various scones, raspberry buns, jam sandwich cake, gingerbread, soda buns, swiss roll, cracknels, simnel cakes, plum cake plus much more.

Only the quantities of ingredients are given (no instructions) so it’s going to be a little trial and error I think !

bolton 1930 bakery book

Golden Oat and Cinnamon Biscuits

March 29, 2014

Last week I made these lovely crisp Golden Oat Biscuits, very similar to making flapjacks and very easy !

You will need:

115g butter (french unsalted is nice for this)
115g soft light brown sugar
115g golden syrup
150g self raising flour
100g porridge oats (Aldi’s value range are brilliant for biscuits and flapjacks)
50g jumbo oats (mornflake are ideal)
40g dried fruit (currants, raisins, cranberries, sultanas -you choose) optional
half a teaspoon of vanilla essence
half a teaspoon of cinnamon

Preheat the oven to gas mk 4 / 180 degrees C
Grease and line two flat baking trays with baking parchment.

Put the oats into a bowl, sift in the flour, cinnamon and add the dried fruit.
Mix well.

In a large heavy bottom pan, melt the butter with the sugar and golden syrup (over a low heat so it doesnt burn). When thoroughly combined take off the heat and add the vanilla essence.
Add the oats, flour and fuit mix to the pan and stir well to make a dough (if its too sticky at this stage add a few more oats).

Roll the dough into small balls and place on the trays (leave room to spread). Flatten each ball with a spatula.

Place trays into the oven and bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool on the tray for 10 minutes and then place on a wire cooling rack.

Notes: You can use all porridge oats if you havent got any jumbo oats. The dried fruit is optional.

golden oat biscuits

Mango Chutney (spicy version)

February 17, 2014

I made mango chutney last week, never tried it before but it’s very easy !

I took the basic recipe from ‘Preserving Month by Month’ by Oded Schwartz but added a couple of twists.

You will need:

2kg mix of ripe and unripe mangos (Aldi are really cheap)
2 limes
4 red chillis
750ml white wine or distilled white vinegar (I used a mix of both)
500g soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp cardamom pods
1 tbsp corriander seeds
1 tbsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp hot sauce (I used Cholula)

Peel and cut the mangos into chunks. Slice the limes thinly and cut into semi circles.
Deseed the chillis (or leave them in if you want it very hot) and chop roughly.
Put the mangoes, limes and chillis into the preserving pan with the vinegar.
Bring to the boil and simmer for until the mango is tender (10 – 15 mins).
Add the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved then simmer for about an hour until
the mixture thickens.

Grind the cardomom pods, corriander seeds and mustard seeds with a pestle and mortar (or an electric grinder). Add to the mixture through a sieve. Stir in the hot sauce and turmeric.

Put into sterile jars and seal. Allow to mature for about 6 weeks.

Notes: To sterelize jars I generally wash them and rinse with very hot water. Then I pop them upside down in the oven on a VERY low heat for about 30 mins. Be careful when you take them out !!!! I sterelize the lids in boiling water.

mango chutney

pestle and mort

mango chut jars

Sticky Marmalade Cake (impressive but easy)

February 5, 2014

I made this cake recently. It’s looks impressive but it’s really very easy to make.


175g unsalted butter (room temp)
175g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs (beaten)
175g self raising flour
pinch of salt
1/2 level tsp baking powder
3 tbsp good orange marmalade
2 tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to gas mk 4 / 180 C. Grease and line (with baking parchment) a 20cm loose bottom cake tin.

Beat the butter in a mixing bowl with an electric whisk until creamy. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue to beat for about 5 minutes until light and fluffy.

Gradually add the eggs beating between each quantity, adding a tablespoon of flour with the last bit.
Sift in the flour, salt and baking powder into the mixture and fold gently until combined.
Add the milk and marmalade and stir.

Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and level evenly. Bake for 50 – 55 mins until golden brown and firm to the touch. Turn out onto a wire rack. Warm an additional 3 level tbsp of marmalade in a pan and brush over the warm cake. Allow to cool.

To finish – Sift 100g of icing sugar into a bowl. Add 2 tbsp of warm water and mix to a smooth (runny) icing. Spoon over the cake and allow to run down the sides (see picture). Leave to set.

I found this recipe in the Comic Relief Bake Off Book.

sticky organe marmalade cake

Christmas Mincemeat – very very easy ! (vegetarian version as well)

November 24, 2013

I’ve made the mincemeat for Christmas today. It’s a very easy recipe and so much nicer that the shop bought stuff. Good to make anytime from October onwards as it’ll keep (sealed) in a dark pantry for about a year. If you want to make the vegetarian version just use vegetarian suet as opposed to meat suet !


500g mixed dried fruit (I used Morrisons)
200g large raisins
500g soft light brown sugar
250g suet (can use veggie suet if required)
2 medium cooking apples
juice and zest of 2 oranges
juice and zest of 1 large unwaxed lemon
2 teaspoons of mixed spice
6 tablespoons rum *

Core and chop the cooking apples finely (wash but dont peel).
Place in the bowl with the dried fruits, sugar, spice and suet.
Combine well with a wooden spoon.
Zest and juice the oranges and lemon and add to the mixture.
Add the rum and mix thoroughly.
Leave to soak in the bowl for a couple of hours.
Pack into sterelized warm jars and seal.
Ready to use after a week.

* you can use a whisky or brandy if you prefer.