Christmas Crackers, anyone?

The inevitable happened

As a lover of puns and wordplay, this is something I couldn’t resist posting. I’ve been waiting for months to be able to do this!

20161226_173132

A simple cracker, topped with roast pork, sage and onion stuffing, roast potato and apple sauce. Didn’t have any cranberry sauce, otherwise that would’ve made an appearance too.

Merry Christmas!

Related:
https://randomkitchenexperiments.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/mini-christmas-dinner-pies/

Cheesy Beans Pizza

Beans on toast with a twist

Another simple pizza-based idea, this time a new twist on a British snack favourite, baked beans on toast.

I used:
One fresh plain pizza base
One can of baked beans
Cheddar cheese, grated
One slice of ham (I would also suggest bacon or chicken)

Open the baked beans into a saucepan and heat until it starts to bubble (though temperature-wise this can come down to personal preference).

Pour over the pizza base, scatter on some pieces of ham, then cover liberally with grated cheese.

cimg6750

Place under a grill on a high heat for just a couple of minutes, turning the pizza around halfway through, until the cheese has melted.

cimg6752

Slice, and enjoy!

cimg6754

Banana-Smartie Cakes

Ban-artie Cakes??

It’s been a while since I last tried doing something cake-related, so decided to modify one of my earlier ideas (which in itself was a twist on something else I’d seen online) and created another batch of an old favourite, with a new twist – banana cupcakes, with Smarties mixed in. Who hasn’t got time for Smarties?

This is an easy recipe to follow, and isn’t too time-consuming.

CIMG0548.JPG

You’ll need:

230 grams (1 3/4 cups) self-raising flour

150 grams (3/4 cup) granulated white sugar

1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

120 grams (1/2 cup) melted butter or margarine

2 large bananas, mashed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Roughly two and a half tubes’ worth of Smarties (or chocolate chips for a similar result)

Cake cases

This mixture will yield 22 cupcakes.

CIMG0562

In one bowl combine your flour, sugar & salt. In another combine your eggs, butter, mashed bananas & vanilla. Tip one into the other and mix together, but don’t worry so much about making a smooth mix – it still needs to be lumpy ideally.

CIMG0554

Mix in the Smarties, then spoon into each cake case.

CIMG0558

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180C or 350F), then place in the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes.

CIMG0566

CIMG0568

They turned out great! Banana cake is always nice, regardless of what you add to it, and isn’t too difficult to make, so I’d recommend something like this if you’re looking for something simple but fun.

CIMG0708

Savoury Popcorn

JD Honey Barbecue & Bacon Crumbles/Sweet & Sour/Jalapeno Sauce & Mango Chutney/Peanut Butter/Cranberry Jelly-enhanced snacks!

I haven’t posted anything savoury on here for a while, and this is something I’ve been wanting to do again (after trying out Rocky Road Popcorn last year), so here it is – how to put a unique twist on an old party/snack favourite. I knew it could end badly in various ways, as I was making the method up as I went along (though the ingredients were mostly pre-planned) – thankfully, it all seemed to work out!

CIMG8637

I used:
2 ounces of popping corn
2 ounces of butter

1 tablespoon of peanut butter

Jack Daniel’s Honey Barbecue sauce
Bacon Crumbles

Jalapeno sauce
Mango chutney

1 sachet of Sweet & Sour sauce

Cranberry sauce

I started by making up a batch of popcorn in the standard method, melting the butter in a large saucepan, then adding the popping corn and covering, keeping in constant movement over a heated hob until the popping stopped. Once this was ready, I divided it up and added the different ingredients to each….

Peanut Butter Popcorn
Melt one tablespoon of peanut butter in a saucepan, add the popcorn then stir until covered.

CIMG8642

Jack Daniel’s Honey Barbecue Sauce & Bacon Crumbles
Mix the bacon crumbles into the popcorn, add the sauce then stir until coated, adding more sauce if necessary.

CIMG8645

CIMG8647

CIMG8649

Sweet & Sour Popcorn
Simply empty over the popcorn, and stir until covered.

CIMG8650

CIMG8664

Jalapeno Sauce & Mango Chutney
Approach with caution! This was the one I was mostly worried about getting wrong, as I wanted to get the right balance between spicy and tasty, something with a kick but not overpowering. Add the Jalapeno sauce, then the chutney, and mix in until covered. It’s worth doing a taste test as you go along to make sure, especially if you intend on sharing around. I managed to balance it so that you got the sweetness first, with a little creeping heat after!

CIMG8651

CIMG8655

Cranberry Sauce
This is actually sweet not savoury, but occurred spontaneously as I had some popcorn leftover and thought I’d try something else with whatever I could find in the fridge/cupboard. All the other ingredients had been bought on the day. I mixed the sauce with a little hot water first to make it easier to mix, then stirred into the popcorn.

CIMG8659

Out of the five, I think the barbecue-flavoured one is my favourite, with the spicy one coming a close second.

Have fun if you try this too.

CIMG8670

Mince & Cherry Pies with Honey Jack Daniel’s

A Christmas favorite with a twist

With Christmas fast approaching, I thought I’d start playing with some ideas for the season, and being a fan of Mince Pies, decided to put my own twist on this popular classic, with Glace Cherries and (typically) a splash of Honey Jack Daniel’s.

CIMG7886

I used:
1 375g pre-made Puff Pastry sheet (from which I was able to make 12 pies)
1 jar of Traditional Mincemeat (though I didn’t use the whole jar)
Glace Cherries
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey

CIMG7898

Cut out the pastry bases with a cookie cutter, and place in a buttered baking tray, along with a cherry in each one.

CIMG7768

Spoon out some mincemeat meat into a bowl, and add a splash or two of JD, just enough so that it mixes in with the mince without making it too runny. Spoon this mix into each pie.

CIMG7771

Cut out the pastry tops with a smaller cookie cutter, place on top of each, then apply a milk wash.

CIMG7781

Place in the middle of a pre-heated oven at gas mark 6 (400 degrees F) for 20 minutes.

CIMG7782

Done! Quick and easy, ideal for snacks, dessert or party food. I’m already looking forward to making more this year.

CIMG7785

CIMG7798

CIMG7892

Oh and Batman appreciated them too.

CIMG7885

Apple Jelly Shots

Ever whittled a shot cup out of an apple?

I’m sure many people are already familiar wih the idea of eating a jelly shot out of a hollowed-out orange (I used a clementine once), but I’d never previously heard of anyone using an apple, so had to try it out myself.

The ingredients will all come down to personal preference, but I used the following:

– An apple (I used a Golden Delicious apple)
– Three cubes of jelly per apple (I used Blackcurrant-flavoured jelly)
– Roughly 50ml water per apple (though I wasn’t exact with my measurements)
– Jim Beam Red Stag Whiskey for one side of apple
– Bols’ Blue Curacao for the other side

Melt the jelly cubes in water, and allow to cool.

Carefully hollow-out your apple, add a dash of your chosen beverage, then top up with jelly mix.

There's no non-messy photogenic way of doing this, apparently,

There’s no non-messy photogenic way of doing this, apparently,

CIMG0086

Place in fridge and chill over night.

The end result of the Bols side.

The end result of the Bols side.

Also made a second attempt - I'l admit, the first one had a leak.

Also made a second attempt – I’l admit, the first one had a leak.

The verdict? Oh, definitely try it out yourself.

The Red Stag (Black Cherry) half.

The Red Stag (Black Cherry) half.

Easter Egg Pie

No eggs-acellent puns….whoops

Shortly before Easter, a friend suggested that I “make something Easter-themed”. I agreed. “Make a flan!”, he then suggested. He may have been joking at this point, but that was enough to get the ideas flowing, ideas which then turned into a Mini Egg Pie (the Rocky Road Pie I also made was a practise of-sorts for this, though luckily that became something good too).

It’s a simple enough recipe; take a handful of different types of miniature eggs, and cover them in melted cooking chocolate.

I used:
1 300g (large) bar of milk chocolate for cooking
1 ready-made sweet pie crust
Mini Eggs
Caramel Eggs
Smarties Eggs
Milkybar Eggs
Strawberry flavoured frosting powder

CIMG9647

Lay the eggs out in the pie crust, then cover evenly with the melted chocolate.

CIMG9643CIMG9644

Allow to cool, chill overnight in the fridge, then cover with icing sugar or flavoured icing powder.

CIMG9648CIMG9656

I then proceeded to take many photos….

CIMG9660CIMG9665CIMG9667CIMG9676

If you’ve got any leftover chocolate or eggs, or need an idea for next Easter (I’d originally hoped to get this posted sooner), here you are. I should point out that yes, I know that many people may think that the words ‘leftover’ and ‘chocolate’ don’t belong together at all!