Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Sweet Spiced Salty Pecans

pecans in pretty bowl

I will apologise in advance, if left with the whole batch, you may end up eating everything.....guilty face right here, well almost... my dad ate some too: I promise. Serve these at your New Years eve party, or at any party with the other nibbles and canapes. or next year at Christmas(premature? of course not) as a snack when opening presents. These also make a lovely gift. 
sweet spiced pecans

I love sweet and salty things and these were no exception, not to mention I'm like a squirrel(and probably a rabbit too, as i can eat multiple carrots in a row, armed with a tub of hummus. obvs.) as I'm always snacking on nuts; so these looked incredible to me, and i had been dying to try them for over a year now. Luckily, they didn't disappoint, although the kitchen filling up with pepper smoke was a very strange experience (i recommend the windows wide open for this one).
caramalized pecans in bowl
I used pecans, as they are just incredible covered in sugar, but i think almonds would be equally as good. I used white pepper, as i didn't have any finely ground black pepper, i also used paprika instead of cayenne pepper (for some reason we don't have any.shocking i know.) both adaptations were fine, so if you don't have something in your cupboard then feel free to compromise.
sweet spiced nuts

party nibbles nuts

party nibbles/ canapes

100g caster sugar
2 tsp sea salt flakes
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp ground cinnamon
250g pecan halves

1. mix sugar, salt and spices together
2. lightly toast pecans in dry frying pan over medium high heat, stirring often(1-4 mins)
3. reduce heat, add half mixture and stir until sugar melts and nuts are coated
4. sprinkle in remaining mixture and stir until melted. don't let sugar on the nuts burn
5. tip nuts onto non- stick baking tray. allow to cool
6. enjoy 

Emma xx

and Happy New Year(almost forgot. whoops!)
party nibbles/ canapes

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Filo Pastry Mince Pies

With two days till Christmas and I've suddenly realised i haven't done any proper Christmas food, on my blog. *Slaps self on wrists*. Without any further dilly dadaling, i will introduce you to these beautiful little morsels, that grace my Christmas, and definitely should yours.

filo pastry mince pies

These, are my take on mince pies; introduced by my mum, as she was never fond of normal shortcrust pastry. Any homemade mince pies are normally far superior to the supermarket ones, with little filling and overly sweet pastry, and these in my opinion are better than ones with shortcrust pastry. These are extremely crispy and crunchy which pairs nicely with the soft mincemeat. 
filo pastry mince pies
 These, are also super quick and easy to make without any rolling out of pastry. And not to mention, alot healthier with filo pastry being low in fat, which is always good when piling on the pounds at Christmas. 
filo pastry mince pies

filo pastry mince pie


1 270g pack filo pastry
1 510g jar mincemeat
melted butter

1. preheat oven at 180 °
2. lay out filo pastry
3. divide equally and cut into 8 squares
4. brush 3 layers of filo with butter and layer up 
5. place a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat in the centre of the square
6. pinch the ends together
7. brush with melted butter and place in the oven until golden brown and crisp.
8. serve warm or cold
9. enjoy. (possibly with mulled wine, family & friends)

Merry Christmas

Emma x 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Cashew butter

I wasn't intending this post to be a Christmas gift idea, but sometimes life is so busy that the blog gets behind schedule. But hey, coursework can just sit in the back corner for a while( for just a few minutes, don't worry mum!) . This is perfect homemade gift for that person who is a complete health freak, but you still want to give them a homemade food gift. 
nut butters
This roast cashew butter is super simple to make, and only requires one ingredient. I kept mine just plain cashew, with a little bit of salt to taste, but feel free to churn up, honey roasted nuts or spiced nuts for an interesting twist. Or add your own flavors e.g. vanilla.

For simple twists, set aside a few cashews to finely chop up later for a crunchy cashew butter. Or if your feeling lazy just blitz up the nuts without roasting them, for a raw cashew butter.

roasting nuts

500g of cashew nuts( this makes a nice amount, but feel free to do more or less)

1. Roast the cashews in a dry pan or oven. Just remember to keep an eye on them.

2. Pop into a food processor and start chopping up.

3. Continue blending it will then reach a fine crumb stage.

4. Continue. It will start sticking around the edge, and may seem like it will never create nut butter.

5. Keep blending, and it will start clumping together, at this point you might want to add oil but don't, keep persevering. 
6. Nearly there...

7. When it smooth and like a paste it ready. If you like it thick you can take it out now, if you prefer it thinner feel free to continue. as it will release more oils and making it thinner.

nut butter

8. Enjoy yourself, or tie with ribbon and give to a friend.

spoon and jar

Emma x

Monday, 8 December 2014

Banana Loaf

This, is for those days when you wake up, and want to bake something for breakfast, but want something quick and sweet, instead of a savoury brunch of English muffins or crumpets.
This recipe has been used by my family for a very long time. I find it works best with all black bananas, and have several ready in the freezer and regularly leave bananas to go black on purpose (yeah, i already know I'm crazy, OK.)to top up my stocks again. A speckled banana is fine too, if a black one grosses you out to much!

Serve on a Sunday morning(or whenever you fancy), smothered in butter. If you want to swap it into a round cake, then be my guest. Or make it fancy by topping with whipped cream and sliced bananas. I like my banana cake to be just banana, but if you wanted a change it, dark chocolate chunks would be amazing, specially when its still warm and the chocolate is still melted. Or if your not to fond of chocolate, i think nuts would make a nice addition too, if not a much healthier choice. 


125 g butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed banana(i just use two)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp hot milk
2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder

1. cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy
2. add eggs one at a time. beat well after each addition
3. add banana and mix
4. stir soda into hot milk, add to creamed mixture
5. sift flour and baking powder together. fold into the mixture
6. pop in greased and lined tin
7. bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, for 50 mins or until the cake springs back.(if you want to shorten the cooking time split into two tins.)
8. leave to cool and decorate as you fancy or raise your cholesterol by smothering with butter (just remember kids everything in moderation!)
9. enjoy

Emma x

Friday, 14 November 2014

Rocky Road

These things.....oh so beautiful. Delicious. just so......well there are very few words to describe my emotions to these. um mm, so very very good. 
And yes, somehow even though i didn't need it, i convinced myself that, yes, i did need one of the last three, when writing this, because of course it helps me write; who am i kidding. The chocolate is creamy, and the perfect sweetness not too bitter, like all dark chocolate ,and not to sickly sweet as milk chocolate can be when mixed with other incredibly sugary things. Even my mum will eat this, when generally, shes not a rocky road kinda gal, as often it is too sweet.
chocolate bars
Feel free to play up the inside things, to whatever takes your fancy. I like to keep the base the same, with 50/50 of each chocolate, mini marshmallows (because who can be bothered to cut up massive ones, it just saves a whole lot of time) and digestives. The rest is up to you. This time i chopped up almonds, and added sour cherries. In the past, for children my sisters age (around 10,) i didn't use nuts and put in cranberries, as they are sweeter for young children,then filled the rest up with more digestives and marshmallows. i also kept the chocolate mix the same as i think its great for all ages, but feel free to switch is up the chocolate, for whoever your are giving it to.
baking blog
Its super quick, and you probably have all the ingredients already, so is perfect for a last minute, ahhh some one is visiting panic.  Its also super easy to adapt seasonally, such as adding pistachios and cranberries for a Christmassy feel( talking about Christmas is now officially allowed its November now. OK.) or make it your own by adding your favourite chocolate bar ,or totally change the look, by making it a white rocky road,and now i mention it i might try crunchie bar next time. 

baking blog
Dusted with icing sugar, very apt for this time of year, like a dusting of snow.
baking blog

baking blog

125g butter
150g dark chocolate
150g milk chocolate
3 tbsp golden syrup
100g digestive biscuits
100g of nuts, dried fruit, whatever takes your fancy or fill up with more digestive or marshmallows
100g mini marshmallows

icing sugar, to dust

1. line rectangle tin and grease the paper(i greased the tin this time and i found it was harder to get out, so learn from my mistakes and don't.)
2. melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup until fully combined, and you just want to gulp it down, right then and there. i don't recommend doing this as it could cause a heart attack, not from how good it is but, sadly from the amount of sugar.
3. stir in the last 4 ingredients(not the icing sugar)
4. spoon into the tin(leaving about 2 tbsp, because a bowl with nothing in, is not worth scraping out, and that is the best part to baking, am i not right.) and flatten as best as you possibly can.
5. chill in fridge for about 2 hrs, or until firm
6. dust with icing sugar and cut into squares
7. demolish, as slowly as you can(because lets be honest its not the most healthy treat you could eat). bet you cant last a week.

let me know what you decide to add. Emma x

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Poppies, The Shard and Borough Market

If you haven't heard about the poppies at tower hill, then you must have been living under a rock!
So with them disappearing soon, we decided to pop over to tower hill to see the poppies. They really are beautiful and if you haven't seen them and can before they get taken down then defiantly do it. I order you to and of course take an abundance Instagram worthy photos, that it makes it difficult to chose which one to post!

The poppies have attracted large crowds so i recommend getting there before 10, otherwise you will be very restricted in viewing them and it will take you a long time to walk all the way along. I think very early morning on a nice with the sunrise would look particularly beautiful similarly at sunset, and night with the lights also looks beautiful.

^ Soldiers laying down poppies for the 888,246 British fallen soldiers of WWW1.
^A sea of red

view from the shard
We then popped up the shard as it was free for children(for my sisters) in half term, and great for me as a student as its cheaper than a usual. its quite pricey for adults, but you can go half way up for free and have a coffee.
view from the shard

^ The magnificent shadow of the shard
view from the shard
Personally I love the unfinished look of the shard, unlike my sister who kept complaining that it wasn't finished, and why weren't they working on it ! 

war ship

view from the shard

^ a hazy Battersea power station.
We then headed over to borough market for a late lunch. It's one of my favourite places, as I love all the hustle and bustle, but sometimes during weekends and holidays there are so many queues (i swear it didn't used to be as popular), let me know of any more food market recommendations. 

Obviously, a trip to borough market wouldn't be complete, without several pictures of the delicious fresh fish stalls, and fruit & veg stalls.

^Giant cookies are always so tempting. And great mounds of chocolate always without a fail get my mouth watering.

How gorgeous do these English muffins and brownies look, I'm glad i live about 1hr away, instead of about 5 minutes  otherwise i would have these every single day.full stop.

There are always new food stalls in borough market, and these gourmet scotch eggs with an incredibly runny yolk served sweet potato fries looked super inviting, and on my ever extending list to have next time.
An old classic of borough market Raclette, with potatoes and pickles.
^A scrummy smelling hog roast.
We decided to have chips from the fish place as they are always so good, we quite often have the fish as well, but we decided to try something that we hadn't before, and fill our tummies up until they couldn't (well i'm sure they could) hold anymore.

We tried the vegetarian option in the market. spiced potatoes, which were incredible.
street food
With a cauliflower and pea curry and served with rice and an optional sauce.
borough market
We also had an onion bhuji each, they were nicely spiced but were disappointing as they were cold and not crisp as we were expecting them to be.
street food
The main part was delicious and perfectly spiced and wasn't heavy or to filling and I would have it again if there weren't so many other things to try first!

Emma x