Crabapple Jelly

To my delight, I was handed a whole tree’s worth of crabapples. I decided to make crabapple jelly. 


Firstly, I opened up the crabapple bag and loads of flies came out so I squealed like a pig and ran around my kitchen. Once I had gotten over myself, I washed the fruit and removed the bruised bits and stalks. I filled many pans with the crabapples and put enough water in to cover the fruit. I put the fruit on the boil and went on a fly hunt (standard). When the fruit was soft I poured it into many sieves lined with muslin cloths to drip into bowls overnight. In the morning, I excitably lifted the fruit out (without squeezing it) and admired my fruity syrup. IMPORTANT: If you squeeze the muslin cloth/fruit the jelly juice goes cloudy. No one wants cloudy jelly.


I measured the juice and mixed it with A LOT of sugar (7 parts sugar to 10 parts juice). I boiled it on a low heat for what seemed like an age. I skimmed the top regularly and tested it for jelly consistency by blobbing the syrup on the back of a cold spoon. IMPORTANT: Once the syrup solidifies on the back of a cold spoon, it is ready to pour into a sterilised jar. 


Behold. I made three jars out of 300(ish) crabapples. It took 9 hours of effort, twenty fruit flies and a lot of washing up. It tastes REALLY good, it’s sweet with a sour note. As you can see I already ate the top half of the jar.

Jam is a bargain in the supermarket, that’s for sure. Never take jam for granted. Bit crabby now.

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Guinea pig cake


My sister turned 25 this week and to celebrate we bought her some guinea pigs. Lotty has always been animal mad and works at Chester Zoo. The grey pig is called Gin and the brown one is Rhubarb.
So…. it only made sense to make a guinea pig cake. A sticky toffee guinea pig cake. I was very impressed with the recipe I found online (see link). You just have to remember to buy a lot of dates. 


He’s covered in toffee buttercream fur and his feet and ears are made out of fudge. I’m pretty happy with him, he’s about 5x bigger than the baby pigs! 

https://thehappyfoodie.co.uk/recipes/gloriously-sticky-toffee-cake

Blastocyst cake

I made a blastocyst for a colleague’s leaving cake. For those of you who are not sure what a blastocyst is, it is an embryo that is about 5 days old (humans that is). I made a vanilla sponge and plopped plenty of vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam inside. I then created the embryo by using sweets. Those  ‘jelly tot’ like sweets look a bit GM. If you’re not convinced it’s a blastocyst, then feel free to think of it as a UFO or something equally fun. 

Eggy birthday cake!


Happy birthday to my sister-in-law Cleo!!! I made a Victoria sponge and jazzed it up with chocolate fingers and mini eggs. Top tip: go to Pound Land for the eggs and fingers and make a lot more buttercream than you think you need. 

Tiffin

It’s Tiffin time! Technically this does not count as a bake, it’s more of a smash and melt. Yum. To make these glorious beauties you need: 

  • Half a packet of digestive biscuits
  • 4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 big squeezes of golden syrup
  • 120g butter
  • Handful of sultanas
  • 200g dark chocolate

Melt the butter, sugar, syrup and cocoa powder together to make a delicious chocolate butter. Smash the biscuits to within an inch of their being- but leave some big bits because everyone likes chunks. It’s just a fact. Mix the crushed biscuits into the chocolate butter and throw a handful of sultanas in. Mix and press into a shallow lined baking tin. Melt the chocolate and pour on top. Allow to cool at room temperature and then pop in the fridge to solidify properly. Using a sharp knife, divide the tiffin into yummy sized pieces. Takes about an hour to solidify. 

Happy Tiffin day people!!! It’s really nice on top of ice cream. 

Valentine’s biscuits

I had a good bash at making some heart biscuits. They are a little wonky but that’s because they’re full of love. Wonky love. The method was surprisingly fiddly, I used the following recipe:
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slice-and-bake-valentines-biscuits

The recipe involves making a basic vanilla shortbread and colouring one third of the dough pink. The pink dough is cut into lots of hearts which are stuck together and frozen in a log. 2 hours later you wrap the frozen hearts with the rest of the pliable plain shortbread mixture. Many more hours chilling the biscuit dough and then you slice them up and bung ’em in the oven. Pretty tasty buttery treats. 

Anyway. Fill your Valentine’s Day with butter…… buttery hearts!