RECIPE: Easy Crumble Mix

crumble mix

It surprises me when people say they can’t make any puddings as there are some that are really simple to make. One of the easiest puddings of all is a fruit crumble and this is my ‘go-to’ pudding when I do not have a lot of time on my hands for food preparation and baking. This is a dessert that even a novice in the kitchen can make and there are so many variations you can try. Here is an easy crumble mix recipe that takes just minutes to make.

Crumble Mix Recipe

  • 8 oz/ 225 g plain flour
  • 4 oz/ 110 g butter
  • 2 oz/ 60 g caster sugar

How to Make a Crumble Mix

  1. Weigh out the flour and transfer to a mixing bowl.
  2. Weigh the butter and cut into cubes before adding to the flour.
  3. Rub the butter and flour between your fingers to create ‘crumbs’.
  4. Weigh the sugar and add to the mixing bowl.
  5. Continue to rub the mixture together.
  6. Add the crumble mix to the fruit of your choice and cook for 40 minutes, or until the crumble mix is golden, at 180 C/ 350 F/ gas mark 4. 

Further recipes for various crumbles will follow on this blog. 

Tip

Savoury crumble mix– you can also make a crumble topping for savoury dishes. Remove the caster sugar from the recipe and replace with a good pinch of salt.

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RECIPE: 15-Minute Pea and Ham Soup

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People often assume that making a soup takes a lot of preparation and that the ingredients take a long time to cook to get a decent flavour. However, there are ways that you can make a quick soup in under ten minutes without resorting to making a soup from a packet. This really simple pea and ham soup takes less than fifteen minutes to make and is a fantastic way of using up your leftover ham and ham stock. This is a light lunch on its own or a hearty lunch when served with a large chunk of warm bread. If the measurements of this recipe seem a bit vague, that is because they intentionally are as you can adapt this to your own taste. This will make enough for two bowls of soup. If you have more ham and stock left, simply make more and freeze for a later date. Here is how to make a 15-minute pea and ham soup.

Ingredients for Pea and Ham Soup

  • 2 tins of garden peas in water
  • 2 thick slices of leftover ham chopped into chunks
  • 1/2 onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup of ham stock
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 1 oz (large knob) butter
  • Black pepper

Instructions for Pea and Ham Soup

  1. On a medium heat, melt the butter in a pan and add the chopped onions.
  2. Drain two tins of garden peas.
  3. Once onions are softened, add peas to the pan and add enough boiling water to just cover the peas.
  4. Simmer for two minutes and then add the ham stock.
  5. Cook for a further two minutes before adding most of the cream and black pepper to season. Save a little cream for serving.
  6. Blend the ingredients in a blender to the consistency you want and then transfer back into the pan.
  7. Add the ham and cook for another two minutes to warm through the meat. 
  8. Transfer the soup to bowls and add a swirl of cream for decoration.
  9. Serve with warm crusty bread or croutons.

The Food Blog Fuzz

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This is a new blog and I have so many ideas but so little time to put things into place. I have been a freelance writer and content marketing consultant for seven years now. I first started while pregnant with my third child when I was working full-time in the education sector. It soon became my full-time job.

It has been my intention to have my own blog for several years and I have simply never got round to setting one up due to my heavy workload writing for others and looking after my four children. I have several recipes ready to add today, but I also have my other work, the school run, a trip to the barber’s with the boys, and the housework to do all before teatime. 

Choosing a food blog makes sense as I have worked in the catering industry, I love cooking, and it is what I seem to spend most of my time doing when I am not writing. It is also a topic I have written about for many years for others, so it is about time I started doing it for myself.

The problem is now finding time to implement all my ideas. I almost don’t know where to start. In terms of recipes, I want to get some of the basics in so I can link back to them when I am writing other recipes. I also want to include lots of my own photographs while making things, but I need to remember to take pictures when I am cooking. It is almost like I have so many ideas that they are now swirling round in my head and creating some kind of a food blog fuzz.

If things go well, these are some of the things you can expect from this blog in the future:

  • Recipes- lots of them!
  • Photographs
  • How-to videos
  • Food news
  • Restaurant reviews
  • Blogs about food programs on TV
  • Useful tips and ideas
  • Health and nutrition information
  • Dieting and food budgeting blogs

If you think I should include any other topics in this food blog, please feel free to leave a comment below. Thanks for reading!

 

RECIPE: Funky Red Cabbage Slaw

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Although I make the regular slaw, my kids really love my funky red cabbage slaw as there is something fun about having such a colorful side dish on the plate. It is quick and simple to make and is a great way of getting the kids to eat a variety of vegetables. Here is a quick guide on how to make funky red cabbage slaw. It makes enough for approximately eight good-sized side dishes to accompany a meal.

Ingredients for Funky Red Cabbage Slaw

  • 1/2 red cabbage grated or finely sliced
  • 4 large carrots grated
  • 1 red onion finely sliced
  • 8 heaped tablespoons of mayonnaise
  • 6 tablespoons of salad cream
  • 100 ml double cream
  • Salt and black pepper

How to Make Funky Red Cabbage Slaw

  1. Grate the carrots and red cabbage and finely slice the red onion.
  2. Add the grated and sliced vegetables to a large mixing bowl
  3. Add the mayonnaise, salad cream, and double cream to the bowl.
  4. Stir well until all the vegetables are coated.
  5. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Tips

  • Extra ingredients– you can add extra ingredients if you want a little variety. Try adding chopped apples, sultanas, or walnuts for a twist. 
  • Spice it up– this is delicious as it is, but you can also spice up this dish. Adding a teaspoon of curry powder or smoked paprika are just two ways you can change the flavor of this accompaniment.
  • Reduce the fat– it is easy to reduce the fat content of this side dish. Simply use low-fat mayonnaise and salad cream and omit the double cream from the recipe. 

 

 

RECIPE: Shortcrust Pastry

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It never ceases to amaze me that people do not make their own pastry when it is such a simple thing to make. Here is how to make shortcrust pastry with the ingredients, instructions, and some helpful tips. 

flour and butter

Ingredients for Shortcrust Pastry

  • 8 oz/ 225 g plain flour
  • 2 oz/ 60 g butter
  • 2 oz/ 20 g lard
  • Good pinch of salt

rolling pin

Instructions

  1. Weigh out the ingredients.
  2. Sieve the flour and the salt into a bowl.
  3. Chop the lard and the butter into the bowl.
  4. Rub the flour and the fat between your fingers to form a crumb.
  5. Add a small amount of water to the bowl and stir the crumbs with your hand to bind them together. Continue to add small amounts of water until you have a firm pastry dough.
  6. Wrap the pastry and put in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  7. Dust the work surface with a little flour and rub some flour into a rolling pin.
  8. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator, remove cling film and place on the floured surface.
  9. Take the rolling pin and roll backward and forwards on the pastry, pressing down firmly.
  10. Turn the pastry 90 degrees and repeat.

Tips

  • Vegetarians– Replace the lard with an extra 2 oz of butter or use margarine.
  • Sweet Pastry– Add 1 oz of caster sugar and do not add the salt.
  • Sticking pastry– If the pastry is sticking to the rolling pin, simply sprinkle a little flour over the pastry and rub some flour into the rolling pin.
  • Lifting the pastry– If you are finding it tricky to lift the pastry without breaking it, then use your rolling pin. Lie the rolling pin across the centre of the pastry. Take the edge furthest away from yourself and lift over the rolling pin until the back edge meets the front edge. Use the rolling pin to lift the pastry.
  • Glaze- If you are using the pastry for a pie crust, you should add a glaze. Use a pastry brush to cover the pastry with either milk or a whisked egg.

 

 

12 Ways to Use Leftover Ham

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A ham joint is something that I cook regularly at home. I usually serve this in a similar manner as a roast dinner, with potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Alternatively, I make ham, egg, chips, and peas. I generally cook a large piece of meat so there is plenty of leftover ham to make something for lunch or dinner the next day. Ham is a delicious and versatile meat, so there are plenty of different options when it comes to using up the leftovers. Here are some of my personal favorites.

  1. Soups- Save the stock to use in a soup as this adds a meaty and salty flavor. Pea and ham soup or ham and vegetable broth are both perfect for using up the leftover meat. 
  2. Croque Monsieur– Add a European twist to your day by creating a French-style cheese and ham toastie
  3. Ploughman’s lunch– More filling than a regular salad, a ploughman’s lunch combines an array of delicious flavours. This simple to prepare meal consists of a thick slice of ham, a wedge of your favourite cheese, a chunk of granary bread and butter, a selection of salad ingredients, and some tasty chutney.
  4. Spaghetti carbonara– My version of this dish is not strictly speaking an authentic spaghetti carbonara that the Italians make, but it is still a hearty and flavoursome meal. To spaghetti, I add cream cheese, leftover ham, sliced button mushrooms, cream and black pepper. On serving, I add grated parmesan to taste.
  5. Hawaiin pizza– The Hawaiin is one of the most popular pizza toppings and it is a great way to use up leftover ham. To a pizza base, add tomato puree, Mozzarella cheese, pineapple chunks and diced ham.
  6. Ham hash– Boil diced potatoes before transferring into a pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Lightly fry with finely chopped onions then add the ham. Season with black pepper.
  7. Chicken stuffed with ham and cream cheese– Ham and cream cheese is the perfect filling for a chicken breast. Bake in the oven and then serve with either salad or vegetables.
  8. Loaded potato skins– Bake jacket potatoes in the oven and then remove the filling. Mix chopped ham, grated cheese and finely sliced spring onions into the filling before returning the filling into the potato skins. Sprinkle with a little more grated cheese before returning to the oven. Cook until the cheese topping is golden.
  9. Mac ‘n’ cheese ‘n’ ham– Mac ‘n’ cheese is a household favorite as it is so simple to make. Give the dish a twist by adding your leftover ham. 
  10. Chicken, leek and ham pie– This hearty dish has a pie filling of chicken, ham and leeks. If you are not a fan of leeks, you can use mushrooms as an alternative ingredient. This dish can be made as a plate pie with a shortcrust pastry or as a pie in an individual pot with a puffed pastry topping. 
  11. Simple eggs benedict– Eggs Benedict is a slice of ham and a poached egg served on a toasted muffin and topped with hollandaise sauce. Add wilted spinach to this and you have a merger between eggs Benedict and eggs Florentine.
  12. Cauliflower cheese with ham– Adding leftover ham turns cauliflower cheese from an accompaniment to a dish in its own right. 

RECIPE: Courgette and Tomato Bake

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Although I love meat, I also enjoy the occasional vegetarian dish too. This courgette and tomato bake is really quick and easy to make. It is something I sometimes make myself for lunch as there is enough for two days. I also make it as an accompaniment to meat as a family meal. There is an ingredient that some people think is rather unusual (yes, it does say ready salted crisps on the ingredients list), but this is a delicious topping. This dish will serve two people as a main meal or four to six as a side dish. Here are the recipe and some tips for adapting this recipe to your own tastes.

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Ingredients

  • 3 courgettes (zucchini)
  • 8 cherry tomatoes
  • 6oz/ 170g crumbly cheese
  • 2oz/ 60g butter
  • 2 packets ready salted crisps (potato chips)
  • Salt and black pepper

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to the highest setting.
  2. Thinly slice the courgettes and halve or quarter the cherry tomatoes. 
  3. Cover the bottom of an oven-proof dish with a layer of the courgettes.
  4. Add all the tomatoes to the next layer.
  5. Continue adding layers with the remaining courgettes. 
  6. Season the dish with salt and black pepper.
  7. Chop the butter into small cubes and place them across the top of the courgettes.
  8. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the courgettes have softened.
  9. Remove from the oven and crumble the cheese evenly over the dish.
  10. Open your bags of crisps and crush the crisps by squeezing the packet until they become crumbs. Sprinkle the crisps crumbs over the top of the cheese.
  11. Return the dish to the oven and bake until the topping has turned a golden brown. This should take around ten minutes.

Tips

Meat lovers– if you are not a fan of vegetarian food, then simply add some ham or crispy bacon to the dish. Alternatively, serve it as an accompaniment to grilled or roast meats.

Fish lovers– courgettes and tomatoes work well with most fish, so this recipe is a great side dish to serve with your favourite fish. 

Switch the cheese- I use Lancashire crumbly cheese and this is produced locally in the area in which I live. However, any crumbly cheese will achieve the same results. If you prefer a cheese with a different consistency, switch to using cheddar, Mozzarella, or any other cheese of your choice.

Adding flavours- I like this dish just as it is. However, there are plenty of other flavours you can add. Try adding garlic or herbs to give this a different twist. 

On a diet- You can reduce the fat content of this dish by sprinkling the vegetables with water rather than adding butter before cooking. Using a low-fat cheese is another way to reduce the fat content. Rather than using ready salted crisps for the crunchy topping, opt for wholegrain breadcrumbs, instead.