Logo Stamp arrived!

I had these made at 'Blade Rubber' which makes stamps to order, they've been about since 1993.
Here is their link http://www.bladerubberstamps.co.uk/
I emailed by design over on the Tuesday and the following day I had a call saying that it was ready to be collected!

Here is what it looks like:

Curried Sweet Potato & lentil Soup

This week I've been struggling eating anything other than soup, due to my wisdom teeth. Which has been a bit of a nightmare, however due to my new 'wisdom' I came across this soup recipe!! It delicious and perfect for the wet wintery days.

Curried Sweet Potato & lentil Soup
  1. Put the curry powder into a large saucepan, then toast over a medium heat for 2 mins. Add the olive oil, stirring as the spice sizzles in the pan. Tip in the onions, apple, garlic, coriander stalks and ginger, season, then gently cook for 5 mins, stirring every so often.
  2. Meanwhile, peel, then grate the sweet potatoes. Tip into the pan with the stock, lentils, milk and seasoning, then simmer, covered, for 20 mins. Blend until smooth using a stick blender. Check the seasoning and serve, topped with roughly-chopped coriander leaves.

CupCakes Galore!

This weekend I was invited to a 'baby shower' and was asked to bring some cake. I do love a reason to bake..... It was an afternoon tea party type thing I decided to have a go at a couple of new cupcake recipes.

A lemon cupcake with lemon frosting and a banana cupcake with chocolate frosting. They turned out really well. The sponge was lovely and light.

However I'm not going to put the recipes up as after trying them I felt the lemon ones could have been more lemony and the banana cupcakes were lovely but needed the frosting to have more of a cocoa hit and be a bit bitter, to counteract with the sweetness of the banana.

So I think I'll have a play around with the recipe a bit more. Once I've got it right I'll let you know.

That all said... they all went!

Plum Fruity Chutney

So this was the second chutney I made. It isn't as firery as the first chutney but still has a little kick and is good for those who like a chutney to be a little sweetness to it.

Again like any chutney, always works best if you have an abundance of the main fruit used. However as I don't have a plum tree or even a garden, buying them in season, on offer from the supermarket is just as good.

I found this recipe on http://www.bbcgoodfood.com

  • 900g plums
  • 2 Bramley apples (about 550g/1lb 4oz)
  • 450g pears
  • 1 large mango
  • 900g muscovado sugar
  • 500ml bottle cider vinegar
  • 2 medium onions (not red)
  • 85g chopped stem ginger (from a jar of ginger in syrup, or crystallized)
  • 3 garlic cloves , finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 1 rounded tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp crushed dried chillies
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cinnamon stick

  1. Halve, stone and chop the plums (about the same size as you would for an apple pie - not too big, not too small). Drop them into a large saucepan. Core, peel and chop the apples and pears in the same way. Peel, stone and chop the mango. Put all the fruit in the pan.
  2. Stir sugar, vinegar, onions, ginger, garlic, mustard seeds, coriander, crushed chillies and salt into the pan, then drop the cinnamon stick on top. Heat slowly for about 20 mins, giving an occasional stir, until the sugar has dissolved. Now leave the chutney to simmer at a steady pace, without a lid, stirring occasionally until reduced and thickened, but still with a nice balance of syrupy juice. This will take about 1½ hrs. You don't want to cook it until all the liquid has gone, as it will thicken once it cools. Discard the cinnamon stick.
  3. Using a heatproof jug, pour the chutney while still hot into sterilised jars. It will keep for about a year in a cool, dry place.

Firery Chutney - Wear glove trust me!

**Images on the way promise.......**

So on the weekend I made a couple of batches of chutneys. A firery one and a plum one....

This recipe is Pete's fav. It doesn't make loads & unless you've grown lots of red peppers, it isn't very cost effective. However it's BLOODY good!

Before you start take my advice when peeling the chillies - WEAR GLOVES otherwise your hands will be on fire - I know!

It's one of Jamie Oliver's recipes and is called:

cheeky chilli-pepper chutney

• 8-10 fresh red chillies
• 8 ripe red peppers
• olive oil
• 2 medium red onions, peeled and chopped
a sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
• 2 fresh bay leaves
• a 5cm piece of cinnamon stick
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 100g brown sugar
150ml balsamic vinegar

If you want your chutney to last for a while, make sure you have some small sterilized jars ready to go (see page 324). Place your chillies and peppers over a hot barbecue, in a griddle pan or on a tray under a hot grill, turning them now and then until blackened and blistered all over. Carefully lift the hot peppers and chillies into a bowl (the smaller chillies won’t take as long as the peppers so remove them first) and cover tightly with clingfilm. As they cool down, they’ll cook gently in their own steam. By the time they’re cool enough to handle, you’ll be able to peel the skin off easily.

When you’ve got rid of most of the skin, trimmed off the stalks and scooped out the seeds, you’ll be left with a pile of nice tasty peppers and chillies. Finely chop by hand or put in a food processor and whiz up. Then put to one side.

Heat a saucepan and pour in a splash of olive oil. Add the onions, rosemary, bay leaves and cinnamon and season with a little salt and pepper. Cook very slowly for about 20 minutes or so, until the onions become rich, golden and sticky.

Add the chopped peppers and chillies, the sugar and the vinegar to the onions and keep cooking. When the liquid reduces and you’re left with a lovely thick sticky chutney, season well to taste. Remove the cinnamon stick and the bay leaves. Either spoon into the sterilized jars and put them in a cool dark place, or keep in the fridge and use right away. In sterilized jars, the chutney should keep for a couple of months.

John-Boy's Jointing Skills

So this weekend I headed back home to the countryside and thought I do a post whilst I was up there. My brother in-law had been on shoot the day previous & wanted to show me how to skin and joint a pheasant.

You can't get much fresher or free-range meat than this! He was even kind enough to send me home with 4 breasts.

So last night I had a go cooking pheasant. Here is the recipe I used:

Pheasant breasts braised in cider

Recipe by Bella Radford From Masterchef

4 x pheasant breasts (young hen breasts if possible as they won t be so tough)
4 large rashers, lightly smoked bacon
500ml/17fl oz dry cider
5 shallots
1 tsp caster sugar
30g/1oz plain flour
100ml/7tbsp full fat crème fraîche


1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Butter the pheasant breasts and then wrap in the bacon. Place in an ovenproof dish (so that they aren t too cramped together) and then pop in the oven for 25 minutes.
3. After 25 minutes reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/Gas 3, pour 250ml/8 fl oz of the cider over the pheasant breasts, cover with a lid or tin foil, and return to the oven for another 60 minutes.
4. Towards the ending of the cooking time for the pheasants, pour the remaining cider into a saucepan and reduce by about half.
5. Thinly slice the shallots and cook very slowly in a little butter until soft. Then add the caster sugar and continue to cook until lightly caramelised. Remove off the heat until ready to finish the sauce.
6. Check the pheasant breasts during the cooking time to ensure that they do not dry out and add more cider if necessary.
7. To finish the sauce, add the flour to the shallots back on a gentle heat and mix together. You may need to add a little more butter at this stage if the shallots are very dry, but they shouldn't be. Now add the cider reduction and the crème fraîche and cook together over a low heat until the sauce starts to thicken.

It was really really tasty, but warning - keep an eye on the meat. It easily & quickly drys out, so don't be afraid to take it out of the oven a bit earlier if you so wish.


Pete's Chocolate chewy morsels

These are quite simular to the chocolate fingers on a previous post I did, but these are very different and are Pete's fav. He says it's cause they are more chewy :)

So again dead easy to make...

200g Digestive biscuits
100g Butter
3 tbsp Golden Syrup
2 tbsp cocoa powder
50g raisins
100g dark choc

  1. Butter a tin (can be whatever you have about - cake tin, bread tin ) an 18cm sandwich tin is good. I used a bread tin to help with the square edges.
  2. Now the best bit, all that pent up anger - take it out on those biscuits. Put them in a bag first & bash into uneven crumbs.
  3. Melt the butter and syrup in a pan. Stir in the cocoa and raisins and then the biscuit crumbs. Spoon into the tin and press firmly.
  4. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over simmering water and then spread over the biscuit base.
  5. Chill for at least half and hour. Cut up and serve!

Blueberry Zest Cake

Darker days, dreary weather and just a general feeling of yuk... So I decided bake a bright blueberry punch of a cake with a zesty kick to cheer things up a bit.

You can use any berries you have about & even mix them up a bit. Blueberries were on offer in the supermarket so I went with them.


225g softened butter , plus extra for greasing
225g golden caster sugar

4 medium eggs

2 limes, grated zest and juice

250g self-raising flour

25g ground almonds
200g blueberries

The syrup recipe:

8 tbsp lime juice (about 4 limes)
1 lime, grated zest
140g golden caster sugar

  1. Line the base and grease the sides of a 20cm/8in square cake tin (not loose-based) with greaseproof paper and butter the paper - or you can divde the mixture into two smaller tins like I did - One cake for you and another for someone else :).
  2. Set oven to 180C/Gas 4/fan oven 160C.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light. Gradually beat in the eggs, adding a little flour towards the end to prevent curdling. Beat in the lime zest, then fold in the flour and almonds. Fold in enough lime juice - about 3 tablespoons - to give you a good dropping consistency (the mixture should drop easily from the spoon when tapped).
  4. Fold in three quarters of the blueberries and raspberries and turn into the prepared tin. Smooth the surface, then scatter the remaining fruit on top - it will sink as the cake rises.
  5. Bake for about 1 hour (cover with foil if beginning to brown too much), or until firm to a gentle prod in the centre. A skewer pushed into the centre should be clean when removed.
  6. Meanwhile make the syrup: put the lime juice, zest and sugar in a small saucepan. Put over a gentle heat and stir, without allowing to bubble. The sugar should dissolve a little. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, prick all over with a skewer then spoon the syrup over it. To store, cool before wrapping in paper and/or foil.
  7. Fill the kettle make a brew. Carefully remove the cake from the tin, discard the lining paper and cut into 12 pieces to serve. YUM!