Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Chilli Jam

This chilli jam recipe is quick and easy to make and is the perfect edible gift. This chilli jam that glows a fiery, flecked red and is fabulous with cold meats or a cheese plate. And just a small pot of it makes a gorgeous present.

  • 150g fresh red chilli peppers ( deseeded and cut into 4-5 pieces)
  • 150g red peppers ( cored, deseeded and cut into rough chunks)
  • 1 kg jam sugar
  • 600ml cider vinegar

You will need 6 x  250ml jars. 

Put the cut up chillies into a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Add the chunks of red pepper and pulse again until you have a vibrantly red flecked processor bowl.

Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a wide, medium sized pan over a low heat without stirring.

Scrape the chilli-pepper mixture out of the bowl and add to the pan. Bring the pan to the boil, then leave it at a rollicking boil for 10 minutes. 

Take the pan off the heat and allow it to cool. The liquid will become more syrupy, then from the syrup to viscous and from vicious to jelly like as it cools. 

After about 40 minutes, or once the red flecks are more or less evenly dispersed in the jelly ( as the liquid firms up, the hints of chilli and pepper start being suspended in it rather than floating in it ), ladle into the sterilise jars. Then seal tightly. 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Fruit tray bake

These fruity fingers are the perfect anytime treat. But be warned: it's impossible to just eat one.


For the cake :
  • 200g (7oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 level tsp ground mixed spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 100g (3½ oz) soft brown sugar
  • 350g (12oz) mixed dried fruit
  • 60g (2oz) glacé cherries, quartered
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 125ml (4fl oz) oil
  • 125ml (4fl oz) milk
  • Few drops of vanilla extract
For the topping :
  • 125g (4oz) royal icing sugar
  • 26 x 16.5cm (10¼ x 6½ in) traybake tin, lined with baking parchment
  • Small disposable piping bag
Method :

To make the cake, sift the flour, spice and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients. Either beat with a wooden spoon for 3-4 mins until well mixed, or use an electric mixer and beat for 1-2 mins. Turn the mixture into the tin and spread out so it is level

Bake the cake in the centre of a preheated oven at 170°C (325ºF, gas mark 3) for 45 mins - then, working quickly, remove the cake from the oven and spread the grated marzipan over it. Return the cake to the oven for a further 15-20 mins, or until the marzipan has turned a pale golden colour.

Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool in the tin, then remove from tin.

Mix the royal icing sugar with enough water to give a drizzling consistency. Fill the piping bag with the icing. Cut off the end of the bag to give a small hole and pipe zig-zags over the top of the cake, using up all the icing.

Leave the icing to set before cutting the cake into fingers.