Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night

Bonfire Night 

Remember, remember!  The fifth of November, The Gunpowder treason and plot;
The British tradition dating back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, which brings fireworks and delight to most but also fills others with dread especially our four legged friends, we have put together some fun facts and top tips for everyone to enjoy Guy Fawkes night!

Did you know?
  • Some fireworks can travel up to speeds of 150 mph.
  • Bonfire night was originally called bone fire night.
  • Until 1959  it was illegal not to celebrate bonfire night in the UK.
  • If three sparklers are burnt together, they will reach the same heat at a blowtorch used for joining metal.
  • Fireworks were invented by accident. In the 10th century, a Chinese cook accidentally mixed three common cooking ingredients (sulphur, charcoal and a salt substitute) and set it alight, which resulted in colourful flames.
  • The first recorded fireworks display in England was at the wedding of King Henry VII in 1486.
  • Fireworks first reached Europe in the 14th century. Initially, they were produced by the Italians and the first recorded display took place in Florence.
Keeping the animals safe.

Fireworks night isn’t often a fun time for our four legged friends and unfortunately it doesn’t always last for one night, we have put together some tips to keep them happy and safe.

  • If you have a bonfire in your garden check for any cats, hedgehogs or other animals before lighting.
  • Try to keep all cats indoors from early evening and over night from the weekend before until a few days after the event.
  • Keep all animals locked safely indoors on the night its self, especially if you are having a display at home.
  • Try not to leave them at home alone if possible.
  • Leave the television or radio on, to keep them company and to mask the sound.
  • Close the windows and curtains.
  • If your pet is very distressed at this time of year, you could visit your vet or local pet store to buy some animal calmers.
Halloween

Halloween

The summer has flown by again! Its now time to think get ready for Halloween. Whether you are just taking the children Trick or Treating or you are preparing to be the best dressed house in the street you can find our Halloween inspired recipes in this months blog.

Chocolate Marshmallow Halloween Cake

Ingredients
250g/9oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing 250g/9oz caster sugar 4 free-range eggs, lightly beaten 1 tsp vanilla extract ½ tsp black gel food colour (optional) 50g/2oz cocoa powder 200g/7oz self-raising flour 200g/7oz dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids), chopped into small pieces 200ml/7fl oz double cream 10 white marshmallows edible candy eyes
Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

  2. To make the cake, grease and line a 20x30cm/8x12in rectangular cake tin with baking paper.

  3. Beat together the butter and sugar with a hand-held mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well between each addition. Add the vanilla extract and the black gel food colouring, if using, with the last of the egg.

  4. Sift together the cocoa powder and flour into a bowl. Fold the flour into the butter mixture until fully combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.

  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until springy to the touch (a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake should come out clean). Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  6. To make the chocolate ganache icing, put the cream into a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Pour into a heatproof bowl. Add the chopped chocolate, a little at a time, and stir until completely melted and the ganache is smooth and glossy. Leave to cool for a few minutes until it feels just warm to the touch.

  7. Place the cake (on the cooling rack) onto a large sheet of newspaper or baking paper. Pour half the ganache onto the centre of the cake and spread out evenly to coat the top and sides, adding more as needed, to make a nice even coat. Allow to cool and set.

  8. Meanwhile, lightly butter a non-stick saucepan, add the marshmallows and melt over a low heat, stirring frequently (or place in a lightly buttered heatproof bowl and microwave in 10 second bursts until melted, stiring often). The marshmallows don’t need to melt completely before you remove them from the heat – they will continue melting on their own – but don’t burn or overheat the marshmallow.

  9. Check the marshmallow isn’t too hot before taking a pinch between your fingers and pulling it appart so it makes thin strands. Drape the strands all over the cake in an irregular zig zag fashion. When the marshmallow in your fingers cools too much to pull, rinse your fingers in warm water and start again with another pinch. Place the edible eyes in pairs in the gaps between the marshmallow cobweb.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Ingredients

225g/8oz digestive biscuits

60g/2oz butter

juice and zest 1 lemon

340g/12oz cooked pumpkin (steamed or roasted)

225g/8oz caster sugar

450g/1lb cream cheese

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2.5g/½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

eggs

90ml/3fl oz double cream

90ml/3fl oz natural yoghurt

Method
  1. Heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3.

  2. Bash the digestive biscuits into crumbs. Melt the butter over a low heat and mix in the biscuit crumbs and lemon zest. Lightly grease a 25cm/10in loose-bottomed cake tin and press the crumbs into the base and up the sides slightly.

  3. Mix together the cream cheese, pumpkin flesh, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg until smooth. Beat the eggs and fold into the pumpkin mixture. Turn into the tin and bake in the oven for 90 minutes until the surface is set but the underneath still slightly squidgy.

  4. Take the cheesecake out of the oven and let it cool in the tin. When cool, turn it on to a serving plate, cover with foodwrap and chill overnight.

  5. Whip the double cream until thick and fold in the yoghurt and the lemon juice. Spread over the top of the cheesecake and serve at room temperature.

Halloween Franken-Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the Cupcake

125g/4½oz plain flour

25g/1oz cocoa powder

1½ tsp baking powder

150g/5oz caster sugar

150g/5oz unsalted butter, softened at room temperature

1 free-range egg

8 tbsp milk

For the buttercream

125g/4½oz unsalted butter, softened

250g/9oz icing sugar, sifted

1 tbsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

green food colouring paste

red food colouring paste

For decoration

Edible candy eyes

chocolate sprinkles

chocolate flake, crumbled soft black licorice twists

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Line a muffin tray with 9 paper cases.

  2. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a bowl. Add the sugar and butter and beat the mixture together until well combined.

  3. Whisk in the egg and milk until the mixture is thick and smooth.

  4. Divide the mixture between the paper case and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until springy to the touch and skewer inserted into the middle of one of the cakes comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.

  5. Put the butter into a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

  6. Sift in the icing sugar, then work it into the butter, starting slowly at first, then beating more vigorously once all the sugar is combined.

  7. Add the milk and the vanilla, then beat until creamy and smooth.

  8. Set aside 1 tablespoon of the icing to colour red. Colour the remaining icing green (you may need to add the tiniest amount of red to make an olive green colour).

  9. Place a heaped tablespoon of icing on each cupcake. Use a palette knife to smooth the sides at an angle and flatten the top.

  10. Decorate with licorice twists, candy eyes, crumbled flaked chocolate and chocolate sprinkles. Use the red icing to draw on stitches with a cocktail stick.

Halloween Punch

Ingredients

500ml/18fl oz cranberry juice

1.5 litres/2½ pints lemonade

limes, juice only large

handful gummi worms

For adults only – Just add a slug of gin or vodka 

Method
  1. Pour all of the ingredients into a large glass bowl and mix until well combined.

  2. Drape the gummi worms over the edge of the bowl

Gummy Worms

Ingredients

1(6 ounce) package raspberry gelatin powder or 1 (6 ounce) package grape gelatin

3(1/4 ounce) envelopes unflavoured gelatin

cups boiling water

100 flexible plastic straws

tall slender

4 cup container (same height as extended straws)

34 cup whipping cream

12 -15  drops green food colouring

Method
  1. In a bowl, combine gelatins.
  2. Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Chill until lukewarm, about 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, gently pull straws to extend to full length; place in tall container.
  4. Blend cream and food coloring with the lukewarm gelatin mixture. Pour into container, filling straws.
  5. Chill until gelatin is firm, at least 8 hours, or cover and chill up to 2 days.
  6. Pull straws from container (if using a carton, tear carton away from straws). Pull straws apart; run hot tap water for about 2 seconds over 3 to 4 straws at a time. Starting at the empty ends, push worms from straws with rolling pin, or use your fingers; lay worms on waxed paper-lined baking sheets.
  7. Cover and chill until ready to use, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  8. Worms will hold at room temperature up to 2 hours.

Get inspired

Get inspired

The return of The Great British Bake Off

It’s that time of year again when everyone is thinking about cakes! Whether you watch the Great British Bake Off or not, you will struggle to avoid hearing about all of the recipes, so if you can’t beat them join them! Why not have your own Bake Off at home or in the office.

Chocolate and Avocado Cake

Ingredients

For the cake

  • a little dairy-free sunflower spread, for greasing
  • 1 large, ripe avocado
  • 300g light muscovado sugar
  • 350g gluten-free plain flour
  • 50g good quality cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • 400ml unsweetened soya milk
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

For the frosting

  • 85g ripe avocado 
  • 85g dairy-free sunflower spread
  • 200g dairy-free chocolate, 70% cocoa, broken into chunks
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 125ml unsweetened soya milk
  • 200g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • gluten-free and vegan sprinkles, to decorate
Method
  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins, then line the bases with baking parchment. Put the avocado and the sugar in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Add the rest of the cake ingredients to the bowl with 1/2 tsp fine salt and process again to a velvety, liquid batter. Divide between the tins and bake for 25 mins or until fully risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
  2. Cool in the tins for 5 mins, then turn the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. While you wait, start preparing the frosting. Beat together the avocado and sunflower spread with electric beaters until creamy and smooth. Pass through a sieve and set aside.
  3. Melt the chocolate, either over a bowl of water or in the microwave, then let it cool for a few mins. Sift the cocoa into a large bowl. Bring the soya milk to a simmer, then gradually beat into the cocoa until smooth. Cool for a few mins. Tip in the avocado mix, icing sugar, melted chocolate and vanilla, and keep mixing to make a shiny, thick frosting. Use this to sandwich and top the cake. Cover with sprinkles or your own decoration, then leave to set for 10 mins before slicing. Can be made 2 days ahead.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 225g unsalted butter, softened
  • 225g caster sugar
  • eggs
  • finely grated zest 1 lemon
  • 225g self-raising flour

For the drizzle topping

  • juice 1½ lemons
  • 85g caster sugar
Method
  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins, then line the bases with baking parchment. Put the avocado and the sugar in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Add the rest of the cake ingredients to the bowl with 1/2 tsp fine salt and process again to a velvety, liquid batter. Divide between the tins and bake for 25 mins or until fully risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean.
  2. Cool in the tins for 5 mins, then turn the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. While you wait, start preparing the frosting. Beat together the avocado and sunflower spread with electric beaters until creamy and smooth. Pass through a sieve and set aside.
  3. Melt the chocolate, either over a bowl of water or in the microwave, then let it cool for a few mins. Sift the cocoa into a large bowl. Bring the soya milk to a simmer, then gradually beat into the cocoa until smooth. Cool for a few mins. Tip in the avocado mix, icing sugar, melted chocolate and vanilla, and keep mixing to make a shiny, thick frosting. Use this to sandwich and top the cake. Cover with sprinkles or your own decoration, then leave to set for 10 mins before slicing. Can be made 2 days ahead.

Carrot Cake

Ingredients

For the cake

  • zest and juice 1 orange
  • 50g sultanas
  • 150ml sunflower oil, plus extra for greasing
  • eggs
  • 140g soft light brown sugar
  • 85g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 85g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp each ground cinnamon and ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 140g carrots, coarsely grated
  • 50g walnuts, chopped, plus a few halves to decorate

For the icing

  • 200g soft cheese
  • 50g butter, softened
  • 85g icing sugar, sifted
  • pinch ground cinnamon
Method
  1. If you have time to do it the night before, put the orange zest and juice in a bowl with the sultanas. If you don’t have time, on the day simply stir the zest, juice and sultanas together and microwave on Medium for 1-2 mins.
  2. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and grease and line the base and sides of a 2lb loaf tin. Whisk together the oil and eggs. Mix together the sugar, flours, mixed spice, cinnamon and bicarb in your largest mixing bowl. Add the sultanas with any juice and zest left in the bowl, grated carrot, walnuts and whisked egg mixture into the dry ingredients, then thoroughly mix with a wooden spoon. Tip into the loaf tin and bake on the middle shelf for 1 hr, or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool the cake in the tin.
  3. Once cool, remove from the tin and make the icing. With an electric whisk, beat together the soft cheese, butter, icing sugar and cinnamon until smooth. Spread over the top of the cake and decorate with walnut halves.
Ingredients

For the raspberry sponge

  • 150ml pot raspberry yogurt
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • 100g frozen raspberry, defrosted
  • 200g self-raising flour, plus an extra 5 tbsp
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • artificial pink food colouring

For the chocolate sponge

  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150ml pot natural yogurt
  • 150ml vegetable oil
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

To decorate

  • 200ml pot double cream
  • 100g seedless raspberry jam
  • 100g bar dark chocolate, roughly chopped

vegetable oil, for greasing

Method
  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line the base of a deep 22cm round cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. To make the raspberry sponge, put the yogurt, oil and raspberries in a food processor or blender, and whizz until well blended. Sieve, to remove the seeds, into a measuring jug, until you reach 300ml. Discard the rest.
  3. From now, make the 2 cakes simultaneously. In 2 mixing bowls, separately mix the dry ingredients, plus a pinch of salt, for the raspberry and chocolate sponges. Crack in the eggs, then add the yogurt, oil and vanilla extract to the chocolate one, and the measured raspberry mixture to the other. Beat each with an electric whisk until smooth, cleaning whisks between bowls. Quickly stir some pink food colouring into the raspberry batter, to give a strong colour – a good cherry pink works well.
  4. Sit the cake tin in front of you and a bowl of cake batter to each side – you need to work quickly and smoothly for the next bit, so make sure your oven is hot and racks are in the right place. Using 2 x ½ cup measurers, or 2 similar ladles or serving spoons, spoon 1 measure (about 150ml) of the chocolate batter into the very centre of the prepared cake tin. Don’t wait for it to settle or spread, quickly top with the same measure of raspberry mixture, right in the middle (see Secrets of success, below). Repeat alternating batters, without pausing, until all the mixes are finished, then put straight in the oven.
  5. Bake for 1 hr until a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean – keep an eye on it though, you may want to loosely cover with parchment after 45 mins if the cake is looking dark (the top will be cracked). Cool in the tin.
  6. To decorate, put the cream and raspberry jam in a pan, and bring nearly to the boil, stirring to melt the jam. Take off the heat, tip in the chocolate and leave until melted. Stir together until smooth. When thick enough to spread, remove the cake from the tin and swirl the chocolate icing all over the top.

Chocolate and Raspberry Zebra Cake

Banana Cake  with Pecan Crumble Crunch

Ingredients
Method
  1. Heat  the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4, and line the base and sides of a deep 20cm (8 inch) loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment. For the crumble topping stir together 2 tbsp each of the sugar, flour and chopped pecans, then add the butter, cut into a few pieces, and rub together until you have sticky crumbs. Set aside.
  2. Break up the whole eggs with a fork, then mix with the mashed banana, oil and milk until all the wet ingredients are well combined. In a separate, large bowl tip in the remaining sugar, flour and pecans, and briefly stir with the cinnamon and baking powder. Whisk the egg whites until just stiff. To combine, tip the oily banana mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and quickly stir in until you have a smooth, lump-free mix. Finally using a large metal spoon or spatula gently fold in the egg whites, then carefully pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Scatter over the crumble topping and bake for 1 hr, until a skewer stuck in to the middle comes out clean. Check the cake with 15 mins to go, if the surface is browning too quickly cover with another piece of baking parchment.
  3. Once the cake is ready leave it in its tin for 5 minutes, then finish cooling on a wire rack.

Unicorn Cupcakes

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 150g white caster sugar
  • eggs
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 150g self-raising flour

For the vanilla syrup

For the buttercream

  • 200g butter, softened
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 4 tsp milk
  • few drops vanilla extract
  • food colouring ( we used pink, green and blue)

To decorate

  • selection of sweets and sprinkles (we used hundreds and thousands, chocolate buttons, white chocolate stars, Smarties and coloured sugar).
Method
  1. Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4 and line a 12-hole cupcake tin with paper muffin cases. Put all of the cake ingredients into a bowl and whisk with electric beaters for 3-4 mins until light and pale. Divide the mixture evenly between the cases and bake for 20 mins or until a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of one of the cakes comes out clean. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
  2. Mix together the maple syrup, vanilla extract and 1 tbsp water. Use a cocktail stick to poke a few tiny holes in each of the cooled cupcakes then drizzle a little bit of the syrup over each one.
  3. Beat together the butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla until smooth and pale. Put half the buttercream in one bowl and leave as it is, then divide the other half into 3 bowls. Use the food colouring to dye one pink, one pale green and one pale blue, then transfer them all to one large piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle, including the plain. Pipe swirls on top of the cupcakes – as the buttercream comes through the bag, the colours will start to blend and change as you pipe. Decorate the tops of the cupcakes with your favourite sprinkles if you like.

This indulgent Chocolate and Avocado cake, is topped with a rich frosting – you’d never guess that it’s free from dairy, eggs, wheat and nuts. Find the recipe here.

Its Holiday Time

Its Holiday Time

It’s that time of year again when we are all thinking about holidays. If you are lucky, you may even be off for a couple of weeks in the sun. But however relaxing it will be when you get there, getting ready to go on holiday can be stressful! To help make everything a little easier, you can read our holiday blog, with holiday tips, tricks and a useful checklist to make sure you don’t forget the essentials.

Holiday check list- are you missing any of these?

So, packing for a fun filled holiday must be easy, right? Now you can avoid last minute disasters and forgotten belongings with our hassle-free holiday check list!

  • Passports – you might say this one is too obvious, but have you checked they are in date?
  • Tickets and boarding passes – some airlines require you to print out your boarding passes, while some will print them out for you, if unsure visit your airlines website.
  • EHIC cards
  • Driving license if you wish to hire a vehicle
  • Foreign currency and credit/debit cards
  • First aid kits/medication
  • Don’t bank on the weather – check the forecast and pack accordingly

Holiday must haves

Holiday essentials will depend entirely on what kind of holiday you are going on! Whatever kind of holiday you are planning on taking, there are some essentials that none of us can go without!

  • A travel wallet. Great for organising and will mean you are less likely to panic over where you put your passports!
  • A waterproof money wallet. This means you don’t have to worry about valuables getting wet or sandy, but you can keep them on you at all times!
  • Comfortable shoes. We have all been caught out by only packing flip flops then realising they aren’t that great to walk any distance in!
  • Adaptors for plug sockets.

Sun care tips

Burning on the first day of your holiday can be a nightmare – leaving you sitting grumpily in the shade for the next few days! The best sun burn treatment is avoiding it all together! Follow our sun care tips and trips to keep your skin happy on holiday!

  • Drink plenty (of water!)
  • Apply sun cream 30 minutes before going into the sun, and regularly throughout the day. Make sure your sun protection is at least SPF 15, and higher if you have fair skin which is prone to burning.
  • Stay out of the mid-day sun.
  • Wear a hat and sunglasses to prevent heat stroke. Wearing a hat shades your face making it easier to read and admire your surroundings!
  • Don’t expose your skin all day – wear a T-shirt during the hotter hours of the day, or if you are spending a lot of time in the pool or sea. Water reflects the light and can make you more likely to burn.
  • How to cope if you do get sunburn? If you do get sunburnt, make sure you apply cooling after-sun and keep your burnt areas well covered! Mild sunburn will usually improve after a few days, so this shouldn’t ruin your holiday!
Life Style Hacks

Life Style Hacks

There is nothing like the British summer, it can be glorious. But as the sun comes out and we all begin to melt, joy can turn to tears. That’s why, we have put together some of our favourite summer ‘life hacks’ to make your everyday and your holiday fun easier this summer.

Enjoy, and let us know if you have tried any of our suggestions…

Picnic Anyone?

Going on a picnic? Why not keep your drinks cooler for longer by filling empty water bottles halfway with water, freeze, and then add whichever drink you fancy.

Sand free sandwiches

If you are visiting the beach, try using a fitted sheet with a heavy item in each corner to keep sand out of your things.

Avoiding the "ouch!"

Remember to always wear sun tan lotion, but if you are caught out and happen to get burnt, try mixing some Aloe Vera with water, freeze it and ice your body after a long day in the sun.

Keep your drinks cooler for longer.

Want to keep your wine cooler for longer without diluting it?  Freeze some green grapes and put them in your glass of white wine.

Avoiding Sticky Fingers

Avoid sticky fingers by putting a slit in a cupcake liner and using it as an ice lolly drip catcher.

The bug beater

There is nothing more annoying than having a bug land in your drink whilst you are relaxing in the garden, try placing an upside down cupcake liner over your glass and poke a straw through the middle, to help you enjoy a bug free drink.

Harvesting Fruit

Harvesting Fruit

With the weather picking up (intermittently), now is a good idea to start making use of the produce starting to appear in our gardens and in the wild, as well as our supermarket shelves. Enjoy home made jams, cakes cool beverages this summer.

Strawberry Jam 

Ingredients

900g (2 lb) fresh strawberries, hulled

800g (1 3/4 lb) caster sugar

4 tablespoons lemon juice

Method

1) In a heavy bottomed saucepan, crush the strawberries with a potato masher.

2) Add sugar and lemon juice. Stir over low heat until the sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to high, and bring the mixture to a full rolling boil. Boil, stirring often, until the mixture reaches 105 C.

3) Transfer to hot sterile jars, leaving 1cm (1/2 in) headspace and seal. Process any unsealed jars in a water bath. If the jam is going to be eaten right away, don’t bother with processing, and just refrigerate.


Strawberry Jam

Damson Gin

Ingredients

1 lb Damsons

1lb sugar

1 bottle of gin (750ml is you like it syrupy, 1 litre if you like less syrupy- both work ok)

Method

1) Prick damsons, put into a clean sterilised glass container that can be sealed. (Demi Johns are perfect)

2) Add sugar and shake every day until the sugar is very pink.

3) Add gin, shake and store in a dark place. Turn and swill fruit around once a day until sugar has dissolved then leave and shake occasionally.

4) After 3 months, strain and bottle.

5) Damsons usually ready in September which means gin is ready for bottling just before Christmas.


Gin

Apricot Jam

Ingredients

1kg apricots, halved and stoned

juice of 1 small lemon

250ml water

1kg caster sugar

1 knob butter

Method

1) Place the apricot halves, lemon juice and water in a large non-reactive saucepan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the fruit is soft.

2) Remove from heat, add the sugar and stir until it has dissolved completely. Return the pan to the heat, add the butter and stir until melted.

3) Bring the jam to a full boil and boil rapidly for 15 minutes, then test for setting. If setting point has not been reached, boil for 5 minutes more, then test again. Pour into warm sterilised jars and cover immediately.


Apricot Jam

Sloe Gin

Ingredients

450g/1lb Sloes

225g/8oz caster sugar

1 litre/1¾ pint gin

Method

1) Prick the tough skin of the sloes all over with a clean needle and put in a large sterilised jar.

2) Pour in the sugar and the gin, seal tightly and shake well.

3) Store in a cool, dark cupboard and shake every other day for a week. Then shake once a week for at least two months.

4 )Strain the sloe gin through muslin into a sterilised bottle


Sloeberry

Rhubarb Crumble

Ingredients

10 sticks of rhubarb

4 tbsp water

8 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp powdered ginger

110g/4oz butter, softened

110g/4oz demerara sugar

180-200g/6-7oz flour

Method

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

2) Cut the rhubarb into 7½cm/3in long sticks and place on an oven tray, sprinkle with the water and caster sugar and roast in the oven for 10 minutes.

3) Once cooked, remove from the oven, sprinkle over the ginger and mix well.

4) Fill an ovenproof dish about 4cm/1½in deep with the rhubarb.

5) Rub the butter into the flour and sugar to make the crumble topping. Sprinkle over the rhubarb and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the crumble topping is crisp and golden-brown and the rhubarb filling has softened and is bubbling.

6) Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving with double cream.

Rhubarb crumble