Gin and ginger

IMAG1333My new favourite way to enjoy gin – with slimline tonic, fresh ginger and a cube of brown sugar. In this case the gin was Jawbox.


Winter Warmers

Spring is definitely on the way here in Yorkshire, but there is still a chill in the air and it’s nice to spend cosy evenings with the heating on enjoying being indoors. Here are a couple of suggestions for hearty treats.

Leek and Potato crumble (serves 2)

1 large onion
3 leeks
2 medium potatoes
150ml milk
75g butter
125g plain flour
30g cheddar cheese
1 tsp paprika

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Slice the onions and leeks. Peel the potatoes and dice into small cubes.

3. Put in a pan with the milk and 25g butter. Cook over a medium heat, stirring until the butter melts. Cover and allow to cook until the veg is softened.

4. Blend 25g flour with 4tbsp cold water and stir into the veg. Cook for 3 minutes until the sauce thickens. Season as needed.

5. Meanwhile dice 50g butter and rub into 100g flour to make crumbs. Mix in the cheddar and paprika.

6. Tip the vegetable base into an ovenproof dish and top with the crumble. Cook in the preheated oven for 15 minutes until the crumble is golden brown.

Hot buttered Rum (serves 2)

My Dad and his partner bought me some little bottles of Rum back from their recent Caribbean cruise and I wanted to try doing something different with them.

25g butter
3tsp soft brown sugar
Orange peel (use a potato peeler to cut a few long strips of peel)
100ml Rum, spiced rum works particularly well.
2 cinnamon sticks
300ml boiling water

1. Melt the butter and sugar together in a pan with a strip of orange peel.

2. Stir in the Rum and boiling water.

3. Serve with the cinnamon stick to garnish.

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween everyone! My plan for this evening was to purchase some Pumpkin flavoured Baileys and enjoy while watching ‘Hocus Pocus’, but I’ve been reading ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’ by Marie Kondo and I didn’t really want to go and buy more drinks when I have lots in the cupboard already. I’m determined to try and put some of her principles into practice and have a good tidy up! So as a compromise I decided to have a go at flavouring some original Baileys I already had in the cupboard with Monin’s flavoured syrup that I had for adding to coffee. I mixed Cinnamon syrup in with the cream liqueur and it worked well. (I also have Pain d’Espice syrup in the cupboard, so I’m already prepared for Christmas drinks!)



We enjoyed an amazing cocktail making experience at Panda’s kitchen where we sampled some delicious and unique artisan liqueurs (mince pie/cake/blackberry gin/ Haribo and pineapple) and had the opportunity to make some cocktails.

We shook up a Pineapple Upside Down Cake cocktail (pictured top right), made a depth charge using cake flavoured liqueur, and cream soda,  a sparkling ginger and frangelico cocktail and finished with Turkish Delight.

What’s in my kitchen?

Today’s blog challenge was to reveal the contents of your makeup bag. That didn’t feel very relevant to a cooking blog, so I thought I would adapt the theme and tell you about a few things that can be found in my kitchen instead. I tried to pick some unusual items.

I am currently obsessed with popcorn and love trying different flavours. I am a big fan of the Joe & Seph’s range for a special treat, and Propercorn for an everyday snack. I’ve just discovered Metcalfe’s Honey Bee popcorn, which is delicious.

I’ve been experimenting with flavoured icing sugars and have been using Sugar and Crumbs Black Cherry flavour. I incorporated the icing sugar into meringues. I like the range because there is a wide variety of flavours.

I received a tub of Pop a Ball bursting bubbles in Passion Fruit flavour. I tried mine in a glass of Prosecco but they can be used in soft drinks or in Bubble Tea. They are vegetarian.




Food from around the world (or how to use up a tin of condensed milk!)

One of the things that makes the Internet fantastic is having access to a whole bunch of recipes from around the world. It means that when I have some leftover ingredients I can use them up in an exciting way and try out some new food experiences. That is exactly what happened when I had most of a tin of condensed milk that needed using up. (I’d been making chocolate truffles – if you’ve never done this before you can make quick chocolate truffles by melting 200g chocolate and stirring in a dessertspoonful of condensed milk. Mix well until you get that truffle consistency and then roll into balls.)

A quick search on Pinterest heralded my first recipe to attempt – Brazilian lemonade. Now I have no idea why it’s referred to as lemonade, as the recipe actually uses limes! I adapted a few recipes for my own convenience when making this, particularly as I only wanted to make one serving at a time. For a more authentic recipe please feel free to check out the options on Pinterest. Here’s my quick and easy version:

Brazilian Lemonade (serves 1)


One lime
250ml water
25g sugar
1 1/2 tbsp condensed milk

  1. Begin by scrubbing the limes and getting them really clean.
  2. Measure 250ml cold water and add 25g sugar. Stir well to dissolve.
  3. Add the liquid mixture to a blender. Grate in the zest of the lime, and then cut the lime up and squeeze the juice into the blender too.
  4. Add the condensed milk and blend well until frothy. Serve over ice.

You can of course adjust the ingredients accordingly depending on how sweet you want this drink to be.

My next experimentation was with a recipe for Gooey Butter Cake. I came across this originally in the Hummingbird Bakery Life is Sweet cookbook, which describes a recipe from St Louis, Missouri, with a dough base made with yeast, topped with a sweet buttery filling. I decided to forgo the base and just make a version of the filling, baking it in a silicone cake mould. This worked really well as the silicone helped to give the mixture a ‘crust’. This is therefore another recipe of mine with no claims to authenticity! It did taste great though. It’s very sweet, so next time I make it I’ll cut it into small bite size squares to serve with coffee.

Gooey Butter ‘cake’ (Serves 6-8 small slices)


150g butter at room temperature
75ml condensed milk
75g golden syrup
1 large egg
45g plain flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Prepare a 20cm cake tin. I used a silicone one which I would recommend.
  2. Beat the butter using an electric mixer for 3 minutes until it is fluffy and light. Mix in the condensed milk and the golden syrup. Mix in the egg and keep the mixer going for another couple of minutes until the mixture is well combined. Add the flour, a little at a time, while the mixer is running. When the flour is completely mixed in, add the vanilla extract.
  3. Fill the prepared tin with the mixture and bake for 20 – 25 minutes until golden. There should still be some wobble to the cake, it will firm up as it cools down.

Last days of summer smoothie

It’s been a busy few months with lots happening and September is lining up to be busy too. Here’s a quick breakfast idea to enjoy while the sun is still shining.

Banana and Pineapple Smoothie (serves 1)

1 banana
3 rings of pineapple from a tin, plus 2tbsp of the juice
Juice of 1 lime

Whizz all the ingredients together in a blender. Enjoy in the sunshine.


Banana and pineapple smoothie