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.

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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.

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Slice, and enjoy!

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Popcorn & Banana Tic Tac Vodka

….made with Minions!!

Here’s one I’ve been meaning to post up for a little while, now finally online in time for ‘National Vodka Day’ (seriously though, who makes these days??) – popcorn and banana flavoured vodka, made using Tic Tacs. The latter was made using Minion Tic Tacs – their sacrifice shall not be in vain!

For the popcorn-flavoured vodka, I poured one container’s worth of Tic Tacs into the bottle, then just a little extra from another container, then allowed to brew.

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Around 90 minutes later, it looked like this….

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Then the following day, it looked like this….

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To play it safe, I decided to allow it to brew for another day, then moved on to the next one.

For the banana-flavoured vodka, I added about half of a large container, equivalent of a regular sized one. A little less may have sufficed, as it left more to filter out, but it was still worth it.

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I ended up having bits of Minion floating around….

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A few days later, both had the right scent – just needed to be filtered and taste-tested.

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Given that this was my first attempt at flavouring vodka, I was quite pleased with how they turned out, having tasted both. Still need to try these out on friends, hope they’re ready….

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Sausage and Bacon Stir-Fry in Honey JD Sauce

Essentially, an all-day breakfast stir-fry

Ever have one of those moments where you want to do something different to spruce up a meal, but you’re limited to what you have to hand? I had one such moment at the weekend with some sausages, but upon discovering that we had some left-over boiled rice, decided to make my first attempt at making a homemade stir-fry, using some tips from my dad, who has made them often.

I used:

2 cooked sausages, chopped
1 rasher of bacon, chopped
Boiled rice (the amount will come down to personal preference)
1 egg
Chopped onion
A pinch of garlic powder
A pinch of ginger powder
Soya Sauce
Jack Daniel’s Honey Barbecue sauce

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Melt some butter in a large wok/saucepan, enough to cover the bottom of the pan

Add the onions and cook until softened, then crack open the egg and mix in.

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When the egg has yellowed, add the bacon and stir in, then once the bacon has cooked lightly, add in the rice and sausages and stir in.

Add the garlic and ginger, stir then add a couple of splashes of soya sauce.

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Stir in, then when just about ready, drizzle on the barbecue sauce, stir until covered and serve.

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It wasn’t until I’d eaten around two-thirds of it that I realised that I had essentially made an all-day breakfast* stir-fry, quite by accident – one I’d happily make again!

*A popular breakfast dish here in the UK

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I was quite pleased with how my first attempt at this turned out – now to think up some further twists!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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Butterbeer

Ten p(o)ints to Gryffindor

This is the first of my movie/fiction-inspired posts I plan to make in coming months – my attempt to recreate a version of ‘Butterbeer’, as featured in the Harry Potter series of books and films. Given that it was never made clear exactly what went into brewing Butterbeer, it allowed for some room to improvise.

I used:
One packet of Butterscotch Angel Delight
Two 330ml bottles of Vanilla Milkshake
Vanilla Vodka
Irish Cream
Whipped Cream

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I opted to use a vanilla-flavoured milk in place of regular milk, to boost the flavour.

Added the powder to a large mixing bowl, poured in one bottle of flavoured milk and mixed using an electric whisk.

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Paused the whisking, added a dash of Irish Cream then continued to mix.

Paused again and added a couple of dashes of vanilla vodka, then resumed.

Whilst mixing, I gradually poured in the second bottle of flavoured milk.

When ready, I carefully poured into a jug (to make pouring into glasses much easier), then poured into each glass.

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Topped each with some whipped cream, then leveled out with a spoon, adding more where needed.

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It might not have been an exact replica, but it was close enough and tasted good!

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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Oh and Batman appreciated them too.

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Hunters Chicken Lasagna in Jack Daniel’s Honey Barbecue Sauce

Happy Birthday ‘Jack’ Daniel (part 2)

I thought it was about time I tried something else savoury, and being a big fan of both Lasagna and Hunters Chicken, I thought I’d try combining the two, with the added twist of using Jack Daniel’s Honey Barbecue glaze, in honour of Jasper Newton Daniel’s recent September Birthday.

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I’ll admit now, the first attempt was a complete failure – this was the second attempt!

I used:
Lasagna pasta sheets (I used five, including one at the bottom)
Smoked Back Bacon rashers
Around 230g of cooked Chicken
Jack Daniel’s Honey Barbecue glaze
Grated Cheddar cheese

I pre-cooked the pasta sheets, and fried the bacon lightly first.

I then layered the ingredients in a baking tin, coating each layer with barbecue sauce.

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When ready, I added a generous heaping of grated/sliced cheese on top, then placed in the middle of the oven.

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I set the oven to gas mark 4, as the ingredients were already pre-cooked, and monitored every couple of minutes until I was satisfied that the cheese had melted to cover, with just the right colour.

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Given that the first attempt hadn’t worked, I was quite relieved to find that this one was great, and my family enjoyed it too – I’m already getting requests to make another.

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A (slightly belated) Happy Birthday to Jasper Newton ‘Jack’ Daniel!