Monday, April 30, 2012

Chilli Jam - Take 2

Mmm...Now isn't that just a fantastic picture to greet you with?
Thought I would give you something good to start off with, because this is a loooong post with quite a bit of writing.

Now this really is a recipe that is all my own, because I had a bit of this, a bit of that, chucked this in, and added a bit more of that!!

So if you read my first post about chilli jam, you would know that I found a jar of chilli jam in Cheltenham, fell absolutely in love with it and was craving it for weeks, so I tried to recreate it. It was a pretty good attempt, seeing as I had no idea what was in it. My boyfriend then bought the jar from his house to show me what was in it. In the original recipe, they used red wine vinegar, and in the recipe that I had, I used cider vinegar. I had some cider vinegar left over from the last batch, so I used that and mixed it with a bottle of red wine vinegar. I think that they used less chilli than me, they had roasted the red peppers and they had added tomatoes. I  didn't realise that they had roasted the peppers and used tomatoes until I had already made this batch of chilli jam. 
So this is my new variation of the chilli jam, I don't think it was as good as my first recipe, but it was still yummy!

- 350ml red wine vinegar
- 100ml cider vinegar
- 750g jam sugar
- 100g long red chillies, chopped (see here)
- 200g red peppers, chopped (see here)
- 1 apple, chopped (I can't remember exactly what type of apple I used, but it was something like a gala apple, a red and green one, that is soft and doesn't have much flavour)

1. Sterilise the jars. I washed up the jars and left them to air dry while the oven was heating up to 180 degrees. Lay all of the jars and lids on a baking tray or roasting tray, and put them in the oven for 20 minutes, but try to make sure none of the jars are touching! Be really careful not to move the jars as you take them out, because they can break really easily when hot!
Sterilised Jars

2. Core, de-seed and roughly chop the peppers, chillies and the apple. Check out the tutorials for the peppers and the chillies.
Roughly chopped red pepper
3. Put them into a food processor and blitz them - you might want to do this in 2 parts. If you don't have a food processor, you will just have to chop them really finely!
Chillies, red pepper and apple, blended
4. In a saucepan (a big one), heat the vinegars and dissolve the sugar into it.
Dissolving the sugar in the vinegar
5. When all the sugar has dissolved, add the chilli, pepper and apple. 
Just added the blended chilli, red pepper and apple
6. Bring to a fierce boil, for 10 minutes. 
Last time I did this, it bubbled up LOADS and I spilled a lot of it all over the cooker! It wasn't fun to clean up!
Boiling away
7. Leave it to cool in the pan for 40 minutes. It will thicken up as it cools. 
8. While its still warm, put the jam into the jars. I poured it into a jug, then into the jars. Put the lids on, then leave them to cool in a cupboard (not the fridge!)
WARNING!! Only pour hot/warm jam into warm jars or cool jam into cool jars! The temperature change may make them crack!
Into the jars!

One of the main differences in the jams are the vinegars that is their base.
The first chilli jam was all cider vinegar. Cooking that made the house absolutely stink of vinegar for days (my housemates LOVED that - not!), and it was also a very distinct smell in the jam - a smell that goes right up your nose. However, it tastes absolutely perfect in a sandwich or with cheese and biscuits. The taste really holds it's own, even when paired with a very strong and mature cheddar. After tasting the original one, we have decided that this one is better!! 

The second chilli jam (this one) is mainly red wine vinegar with a bit of cider vinegar, the taste of this was a lot more mellow and sweet. The smell wasn't as sharp as the first, but there is still a distinct vinegar smell there. I put an apple in this, but I don't think I will use the same type of apple again because it didn't add much to the flavour. Also, only found out today that there are actually no apples in it!! No wonder it didn't go well. Its not as good as the original one for cheese, it's taste hides behind strong cheeses. I have been putting it in some pasta sauces, for a bit of a chilli kick and it makes the tomato sauce really sweet. If you add vegetables like sweetcorn, peas and carrots, the jam compliments the sweetness of the vegetables.

The original chilli jam from Cheltenham is only red wine vinegar, and it doesn't have a sharp smell that goes right up your nose, but still smelt very vinegary. They roasted their peppers, which definitely adds an extra *something* to the flavour. Also, the colour was quite a solid and opaque red in the jar, which they probably got from tomatoes, where as mine is fairly clear.


I think I need to do some more experimenting with my first recipe, seeing as its the best one!! I will definitely miss out on the apple, but try to roast the red peppers and add tomatoes!!

If you guys make anything, send me a picture (you can upload it to my facebook page) and I might put some of them up on here!!

Zoe x

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Snack Jar

Snack jars! Isn't this a cute idea?

We went to Bristol for the day, and you know that you are bound to get hungry and not want to pay loads for some food, or not have the time to get any.
Nuts are a great snack, and they are healthy!
So I used one of my leftover sterilised jars from my chilli jam and filled it up with different nuts, dried fruit and chocolate! 

In mine I have 
- Pecan nuts
- Brazil nuts
- Hazelnuts
-  Walnuts
- Raisins
- Dark chocolate chunks (I had a bar of Cadbury's Bournville chocolate, and smashed it up with a rolling pin into chunks)

It will last a while, its sat in my car at the moment, so we can dip in and out of it whenever we want, and we don't have to worry about it going off.

What do you think? 
What will you put in yours?

Zoe x

Monday, April 9, 2012

Cookie Dough Brownies

Ben & Jerry's definitely got something right with their Half Baked ice cream. Cookie dough and brownie are so good together!

This recipe might seem a little scary because it has so many steps, but it is very easy!

Gooey in the middle!
Now I may have cheated slightly and made a brownie from a packet mix. Its so much quicker, easier, its probably cheaper and you know its going to work out well! I used Betty Crocker's Chocolate Fudge Brownie mix, because it honestly is the most amazing brownie I have ever had! I cooked mine for 30 minutes, rather than the suggested 35-40 minutes, so that it was still a bit gooey in the middle - the way a brownie should be! I only make it when I am at home in Dubai (I'm there now!), but I do make brownies from scratch when I am in Cardiff.

- 100g unsweetened dark chocolate
- 250g butter, melted
- 440g soft brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 125g all-purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Use a brownie tin that is 22x33 centimeters (9x11 inches) and grease it. You can grease the tin with a bit of butter or vegetable oil, and spread it around with some kitchen paper.
2. Chop up the chocolate and melt it in a glass bowl in a microwave. Melt it in short 30 second bursts, so you don't burn the chocolate.
3. Stir the melted butter and sugar together.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk them in. Add the vanilla extract.
5. Mix in the melted chocolate.
6. Next add the flour, and mix it until it is just combined. Lumps are good here.
7. Pour the batter into the tin and cook in the oven for 30 minutes. To test if it is cooked, use a toothpick and insert it into the middle of the brownie. You want it to come out clean. If it comes out with brownie batter on the end, cook it for a few more minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.

Cookie Dough:
- 170g butter
- 150g soft brown sugar
- 125g white sugar (use granulated sugar if you want more of a crunch, or caster sugar if you want it to be a bit smoother)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 200g all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp milk
- 140g chocolate chips, plus extra for sprinkling

1. Cream the butter.
2. Add the two sugars, vanilla extract and milk.
3. Carefully add the flour. You might want to test spreading a bit of the cookie dough onto the brownie, to make sure it sticks. Mine didn't at first, so I had to add milk to the recipe. If yours doesn't stick, add a little bit more milk.
4. Stir in the chocolate chips.
5. Spread the cookie dough over the cooled brownie. I didn't use all of the cookie dough, I thought I had enough on my brownies. I think I had a good cookie dough-to-brownie ratio!
6. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top! You can even make a glaze to go over the top, by melting about 90g of chocolate chips with 1 tsp of butter, drizzle it over the top, then sprinkle the extra chocolate chips over the top.

Someone couldn't resist!
I think there are only a few pieces left now!
You can freeze the cookie dough brownie pieces for up to 3 months in the freezer if you can't eat it all in one go.

Zoe x

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Cupcakes

These are my little Easter treats!! My sisters will think they are cute for Easter, and we have some friends coming over for a BBQ tomorrow, so they should enjoy them too!!

My inspiration for these were Cadbury's Creme Egg cupcakes - chocolate cupcakes that have a mini creme egg cooked in the middle of them, with vanilla icing and topped with another mini creme egg. No-one in my house will eat chocolate cupcakes though, so I made lemon cupcakes with lemon butter icing and they had a mini caramel egg on top. I definitely prefer Cadbury's caramel eggs to Galaxy's!

I like how you can see little bits of lemon zest in the 'egg white'!

So these are meant to be chocolate cupcakes, it is Easter after all! What goes with Easter better than chocolate and eggs? Chocolate eggs that is...

- 110g melted butter
- 275g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
- 100ml water
- 350g self-raising flour
- 85g cocoa powder
-1/2 tsp salt
- 125ml plain yogurt

- 150g butter
- 250g icing sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Milk

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a muffin tray with 10 cupcake liners.
2. Mix the melted butter with the sugar until it is cool.
3. Beat the eggs into the mixture one at a time. Add the vanilla extract and water.
4. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Mix together gently.
5. Stir in the yogurt.
6. Divide the batter between the 10 cupcake cases and bake for 15-20 minutes.
7. Whip the butter until it turns white, or almost white. 
8. Add the icing sugar and vanilla extract. Mix together. The icing may need some milk to get it to the desired consistency, about 4 tsp (20ml) should be good.
9. Remove about 4-5 tablespoons of the icing, put it into a separate bowl and dye this yellow. I use paste dye so that it doesn't make the icing runnier. If you are using liquid colouring, remove this icing from the big bowl before you add the milk!
10. Pipe a ring of white icing around the edge of the cupcakes.
11. Fill the holes in the middle with yellow icing. Place a mini creme egg or a mini caramel egg on the top!

They don't look too fantastic, I'm not good at piping the icing yet!! Maybe I should have stuck to crumbling a Flake over the top for a bird's nest and sticking Mini Eggs on...

Zoe x

Lemon Cupcakes

These lemon cupcakes are amazing. I think they are probably the best cupcake recipe that I have.
The batter is thick, the icing smooths out perfectly and they have a fantastically intense lemon flavour.
I don't have any great pictures of them yet, but I will re-post this later on with better pictures!

These are my little beauties rising perfectly in the oven!

- 125g butter
- 125g caster sugar
- Zest of half a lemon
- 2 eggs
- 150g self-raising flour (or 150g all-purpose flour plus 1 tsp baking powder)

- 75g butter
- 125g icing sugar
- Zest of half a lemon
- 2 tsp lemon juice (or to taste)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Line a muffin tray with 12 cupcake cases.
2. Cream the butter for as long as you can. I whipped my butter in a mixer, which made my cakes really light, but you don't have to do that, they will still turn out great!
3. Add the sugar and lemon zest, mix.
4. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
5. Sift in the flour in and mix again.
6. Put a tablespoon of batter into each cupcake case. There should be enough for about 13 cupcakes, or 12 and some batter for you to lick up!
7. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes.
8. While the cakes are cooling, start to make the icing. Cream the butter until it is pale and fluffy. I whipped this butter, and it turned almost white! Which is absolutely perfect and just how you want it to be! (See picture below).
9. Add the icing sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix it together s-l-o-w-l-y at first so that icing sugar doesn't fly everywhere!!
10. When your cakes are cooled, decorate them with the icing, either piping it on, using a palate knife or a regular knife!

Look how white my icing is!


These are some cupcakes that I made ages ago, with Hundreds and Thousands sprinkles and edible glitter.

And a sneaky peek at my Easter cupcakes that are lemon!

Zoe x

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lemon Curd Cupcakes

I had SO much lemon curd leftover from when I made chilli jam (I emptied the jars so I could fill them with the jam) and I haven't really thought of much to make from it yet. I made some lemon tarts that looked terrible, they weren't even worthy enough of a photograph!!
I love lemon cupcakes, so decided to put lemon curd in the mixture. The icing was quite runny, but it  looked good, and more importantly, it tasted good!!

- 125g butter
- 125g caster sugar
- 4 tbsp (60g) lemon curd
- 2 eggs
- 150g of self-raising flour
- 75g butter
- 200g icing sugar
- 3 tbsp lemon curd (taste it as you go along and see if you need more)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Put 12 cupcake liners on a muffin tray.
2. Cream the butter with a fork until it is pale and fluffy.
3. Add the sugar and lemon curd and cream it again. The longer you cream the butter for, the lighter your cakes will be.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, and mix well after each egg.
5. Sift the flour into the mix. You don't have to sift it, but it will ensure that you have no lumps and get more air into the cakes. Gently fold the flour into the mixture.
6. Divide the mix equally between the 12 cupcake liners and bake for 10-15 minutes. You want to fill the liners with a big tablespoon on mixture. I normally find that there is enough mix for 13 cakes, so you can enjoy licking the bowl clean when you have made 12!
7. For the icing, cream the butter, add the lemon curd, then gently and gradually stir in the icing sugar. I found it was quite runny, so I left it in the bowl in the fridge while the cakes were baking, took the cakes out and left them to cool, then transferred the icing into a piping bag and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes. 
8. Ice your cupcakes. You don't have to pipe the icing, but I had a go at it for the first time! If you don't want to pipe the icing on, it doesn't need to be as thick, so you don't need to put it in the freezer. You can decorate them with anything you want, I chose edible glitter!

You could carve a hole in the cupcakes before you ice them, and then fill the hole with lemon curd!

I love the photo below, how cute are the cases?

Zoe x

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mixed Berry Crumble

A while ago I posted the recipe for a crumble. This time I made it as individual servings, instead of one big one.

Serves one.


- 100g plain flour 

- 50g unsalted butter 
- 45g Demerara sugar (soft brown sugar)

- A few tbsp of frozen berries
- 1 tsp cornflour 
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla essence 

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Place the flour, butter and baking soda into a bowl and rub with your fingers or mix with a fork, until it forms breadcrumbs. 
3. Add the sugar and mix together. This can go in the freezer until you are ready to use it.
4. In a ramekin, pour the berries, cornflour and sugar in and mix together.
5. Top the fruit with a few spoonfuls of the crumble topping. Cook in the oven for approximately 15-20 minutes.

Before being cooked...
Be careful! The ramekins are really hot when they come out of the oven, so you will probably need to transfer the crumble to a dish.
I then spooned the crumble out of the ramekins and served with vanilla ice cream. Custard or cream would also be lovely with this!
Zoe x
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