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Thursday, 27 August 2015

Quick Yellow Plum Jam

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Yellow Plum Jam
Tangy and sweet plum jam.

  • 1000g Yellow Plums stoned and diced
  • 1000g Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice

1. Add the stoned diced yellow plums to a heavy based saucepan with the sugar and lemon juice and heat on a medium heat until sugar starts to melt.2. Shake the pan and continue to cook the jam on a slow boil until plums start to break down and jam thickens, it takes approximately 15-18 minutes.3. To check the setting point of the jam place a sugar thermometer in the jam and move it around so that you get an even heat distribution, than take pan off the heat and take reading. The jam should be at 105 degrees C or 215 degrees F.4. Once jam reaches the required temperature, remove the pan from heat and allow to cool slightly.Transfer the jam to sterilised jam for storing.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 Jar

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Giveaway Tickets to cake International NEC Birmingham


The world’s largest cake decorating show is back!
Cake International – The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating and Baking Show
6-8 November 2015

NEC, Birmingham
The world’s largest cake decorating show celebrates the end of its 21st anniversary year at the NEC, Birmingham from 6-8 November 2015. The globally recognised event will be opened by chocolate extraordinaire Will Torrent and will feature life size cake and sugarcraft characters such as Maleficent, the newest creation from Emma Jayne and the 40th anniversary celebration of the Rocky Horror Sugar Show.

Fact File

Cake International – The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating & Baking Show
NEC, Birmingham
6-8 November 2015
Friday 9.30am - 5.30pm, Saturday 9am - 5.30pm, Sunday 9am - 5pm
Adult: £14.00 (£12.00 Advance Price)
Senior: £13.00 (£11.00 Advance Price)
Children free if accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket, otherwise £5.00
2 Day Ticket (Advance Only) Adults: £19.00 Senior: £17.00
3 Day Ticket (Advance Only) Adults: £27.00 Senior: £25.00

All advanced tickets need to be ordered by 5pm Mon 2 November 2015

For more information or to book tickets please visit,  Alternatively, phone the Ticket Hotline on 01425 277988.

Cake International have been very kind and they have agreed to send 1 pairs of tickets each  to five lucky winners as a giveaway prize.

How To Enter:
·         Simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below to verify your entries
·         Entries can be via blog comment, Facebook, Twitter etc
·         Please read the rules they form the terms and conditions of this Giveaway
·         Closing date – 20th October 2015. Open to UK residents over the age of 18 only

For Good Karma
Follow Cake International  on Twitter @thecakeshows  and  on Facebook – Cake International

How Rafflecopter works:
  • You will need to complete the mandatory entry first – usually making a blog comment. You can do this by clicking on leave a comment at the bottom of the post and leaving your reply in the comment box. Please note your comment will not show immediately as it needs to be moderated however rest assured it will appear on the site, so carry on with rest of entries.
  • Login to Rafflecopter – click to see what the question is. Make a comment answering the question on the blog.
  •  Go back to Rafflecopter and click the green button to tell me you have made a comment, this will unlock all the other options. All entries are checked to see that the mandatory question is answered, if its not all bonus entries will become void. 
  • Rafflecopter will tweet, like and follow on your behalf.
  • For information on how to find the URL of your tweet click here
  • For bonus entries you can return to this page and enter the daily bonus entries. 
  • If you are still unsure as to how Rafflecopter works please do check out this short video

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 7 August 2015

An Allotment Visit.

As a child I lived in East Africa, I have fond memories of a large house with a verandah surrounded with orange, lemon, lime, mango and papaya trees. We had  a backyard which went on for miles and miles and every vegetable imaginable was grown in it. We had mint,coriander, fenugreek, chilli plants, sweet corn, plantain trees. We also had tomato plants, all types of green beans, fresh garlic, spring onions, potatoes, aubergines and many more vegetables that I can't even remember names of. 
All our fruit and vegetables was sourced from our vegetable gardens and it was only when certain vegetables were out of season, that  my mum would make a trip to the local market to buy her vegetables. There were no chemicals or pesticides used and everything was organic and tasted beautiful. No vegetable was uniform shaped but you knew that it would taste great never the less.

When my parents emigrated to the UK, my mum found it really hard to adjust. She hated having to shop at the super market for her fruits and vegetables and she found it really difficult to find asian vegetables unless we travelled miles to source an asian supermarket. Feeling frustrated my mum started growing her own vegetables and herbs in the English backyard which was barely 20 ft. This was difficult with the soil and the climate but my mum never gave up. She would work hard digging and planting and cultivating seeds. Often she faced failure after failure because of the bitter frost and English weather but she never gave up. I still remember the look of joy on her face when she got her first crop of green chillies.

Years went by and my mother's vegetable patch flourished, but sadly she passed away, my father maintained the vegetable patch and we carried on enjoying the vegetables from my mother's vegetable patch for many years, that is until my father passed away too and the house was sold.

I have always missed not having the luxury to have home grown vegetables, with work and children I have never had the time to start up my own patch although I would love to one day. I really admire people who spend the time and effort to grow their own produce. One such friend is Heidi , she is a food blogger friend who has magic green fingers. She has her own allotment where she grows a variety of herbs and vegetables. Chatting to Heidi about her allotment brought back childhood memories. It made me quite emotional and when Heidi invited me along to her allotment to pick some fresh produce I was over the moon. I think Heidi didn't realise how special it was for me to visit the allotment and relive the memories of my mums vegetable patch.

Heidi grows a variety of herbs and vegetables 0n her allotment, she maintains the allotment with her partner Clive and together they have created a vegetable paradise.

On the allotment she has potatoes, courgettes and beans which were ready to be picked.

I really had fun picking the courgettes, she has two varieties a courgette with ridges and a smooth variety.

Below you can fresh beetroot, yellow squash, cucumbers and you can also see the mini apple tree, the apples were not quite ready to be picked.

The purple beans were really interesting, although they were  not long enough to picked and needed a few more days before harvest. On the allotment Heidi also grows fresh mint, lavender and oregano.

Spending the afternoon at the allotment was really fun and Heidi and Clive also showed me around the other plots too. There was a lovely community feel and camaraderie  amongst the  plot neighbours . I was able to see a variety of other produce such as gooseberries, redcurrants, corn, spring onions, pumpkins  and many other fruits and vegetables growing.

After a glorious afternoon at the allotment, we had the most delicious lunch at Heidi's made with the fresh produce. I can't wait to go again to visit Heidi as her allotment has definitely stirred my childhood memories for me.

I had a lovely visit and armed with bags of fresh home produce I arrived home. My next task is to create some recipes with my freshly picked courgettes, yellow squash, beetroot, oregano, mint, potatoes and rainbow swiss chard.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Spinach and Potato Parathas

As a child I remember coming home from school, throwing my shoes off and blazer and running into the kitchen where my mum was always found. She would be at the kitchen stove cooking these amazing mouth watering parathas.The kitchen would be filled with a smoky haze from the griddle, her arms dusted in flour as she magically rolled one paratha after another to simple round perfection. The fillings would vary from season to season but the spinach and potato parathas were always a regular. I devoured these hot and spicy paratha straight from the griddle served with sweet, tangy yoghurt and her home made mango pickle. You didn't need anything else with these. They were heaven on a plate.I am sure my mother felt secretly satisfied with a glee of triumph that she had won the battle of feeding her children the dreaded spinach!

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Spinach and Potato Parathas
Indian flatbreads stuffed with spicy spinach and potato mixture.
  • 3 medium Boiled potatoes
  • 1 cup Blanched spinach
  • 1 teaspoon chilli paste
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 240 g Plain all purpose flour
  • 90 ml Sunflower oil
  • 90 ml water
  • 60 g Plain flour for rolling
1. In a bowl add the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon oil and make a soft dough adding a little water at a time.2. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and keep aside.3.Finely chop the blanched spinach and add it to a large bowl.4. Using a potato masher, mash the boiled potatoes and add them to the spinach.5.Add the salt, green chillies, ginger, lemon juice and turmeric powder and mix all the ingredients together ensuring there are no lumps of potato.

6. Divide the mixture into 8 golf sized balls and keep them aside.7. Knead the dough and divide it into 8 parts.8. Roll out a 3 inch diameter circle of one of the dough balls and place a potato ball in the centre of it.9. Gather the dough around the potato ball to encase it and pinch the dough ends together to seal them.10. Slightly flatten out the potato encased dough ball and dip it in flour. Very gently roll out a 7 inch circle with it.11.Heat a frying pan on medium heat and then gently place the rolled paratha on it for 1 minute.12. Flip the paratha with a spatula and brush this top side with some oil and allow underside to cook for 1 minute or until brown spots appear.13. Flip the paratha so that the oiled side is down and cook for 1 minute until brown spots appear.14.Brush some  oil on the top side and flip the paratha and to cook the second side for one minute until brown spots appear.15. Transfer the paratha to a plate and repeat procedure for rest of dough.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 parathas
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