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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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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┬ádidn’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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Rocky Road (To Hell) Pie

Parental supervision is advised (apparently!)

A simple enough idea – a homemade (well, cheated with the crust) Rocky Road Pie. Marshmallows, mixed fruit and glace cherries coated in melted chocolate.

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The chocolate DID NOT want to cooperate in the melting process though. You know how they say “Always ask for assistance from a grown-up”….yeah, haha.

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Turned out ok though. Allow to cool, then chill overnight.

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This was actually a test run for something similar I want to do for Easter, so I’ll hopefully post that next month.

Pancake Day 2015 – Milkshake and Choc-Orange Pancakes

Flipping good (sorry)

This year, I thought I’d make my first attempts at making pancakes, but in typical fashion, I wasn’t prepared to just settle for any old plain type, so here are my experiments for this year’s Pancake Day. I think they turned out okay for a first attempt!

Idea #1 – Banana Milkshake and Glace Cherry Pancake

This is regular pancake batter, flavoured with a couple of spoonfuls of Banana milkshake powder, and with a couple of finely-chopped Glace Cherries mixed in. It’s the latter part that I wasn’t certain would work, but it mixed and cooked just fine, though I didn’t quite get an even spread.

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Idea #2 – Chocolate-Orange filled Pancake (well, Clementine segments and Bourbon Biscuit Chocolate spread, to be exact)

Regular batter, covered down the centre with Bourbon Biscuit Chocolate spread, on tip of which I placed some Clementine segments, as I personally prefer them over regular Oranges usually. I’d never tried fruit in a pancake before, and I’d definitely try it again sometime.

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Idea #3 – Strawberry milkshake Pancake

Again just regular batter, but flavoured with a few spoonfuls of Strawberry milkshake powder. Out of the two milkshake flavoured pancakes, I prefered the Banana flavoured one (as did my family); not to say that it was bad, but it needs some tweaking.

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Now to improve and think of ideas for next year!

Rocky Road Popcorn

A twist on a snack favourite

Inspired by a recent video posted online by the people at SORTED Food (posted below), I thought I’d try making popcorn with a twist too – Rocky Road popcorn. This was my first attempt, and I followed my own improvised method, rather than follow any already online.

I used:
2 ounces of popcorn kernals
2 ounces of butter
Glace Cherries, chopped
Chocolate chips
Mini Marshmallows
Sultanas

Two ounces makes a nice bowlful.

2 ounces makes a nice bowlful.

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In a large pan, melt your butter over a high heat, swirling around to make sure the bottom is completely coated.

Add the kernals and cover the pan, swirling closely over the heat. Ensure the cover is on firmly (use a teatowel to hold in place) as you do this. You may find it useful to use a glass saucepan lid. Keep it on the move to avoid burning any popcorn.

Once popped, turn off heat and add in the rest of the ingredients and mix whilst still warm, then transfer to a bowl – a microwaveable one if you wish to add in further ingredients to mix in, as I did, though this will come down to personal preference. An additional 40 seconds in the microwave should suffice, should you wish to add in more; just coat with further marshmallows and chips, then stir in after heating again.

Looked nice, but I decided further Rocky Road ingredients were required....

Looked nice, but I decided further Rocky Road ingredients were required….

....so added more on top, microwaved for 40 seconds and mixed.

….so added more on top, microwaved for 40 seconds and mixed.

This went down well with everyone who tried it – turns out it works well as a handy snack on a night out!

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Sorted Food’s popcorn video:

https://twitter.com/sortedfood

Sunday Roast Pizza

Another idea for those leftovers….

Another quick and easy one – if you’re ever stuck for ideas on how to get leftovers used up quickly, or just hate seeing food go to waste, give this a try.

This was my first attempt at this one, turned out nice – roast pork, roast potato, broccoli and sage & onion stuffing, on a pizza base. I used a pre-made pizza base and pizza sauce, but mixed a little gravy into the sauce before spreading it on the base, to give it a slightly beefier flavour. Intentionally left out any cheese for this one.

Only takes 8-10 minutes in the oven, gas mark 7.

Think I might try it again, with chicken next time.

Before cooking.

Before cooking.

Please see also, my pie idea – https://randomkitchenexperiments.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/mini-christmas-dinner-pies/