Saturday, 30 June 2012

Mincemeat Crumble Bars

These are delicious. They take a little bit more time and effort to make than most cakes but are so worth it!

You will need:

400g Jar of Mincemeat

For the base:
140g Butter (plus a little extra for greasing)
85g Caster Sugar
150g Plain Flour
85g Cornflour

For the topping:
100g Butter
85g Caster Sugar
115g Self-raising Flour



1. Grease a 28 x 20 cm cake tin or ovenproof dish. To make a non-stick coating on an ovenproof dish first grease with butter an then coat the layer of butter with plain flour.

 2. Start by making the bottom layer. Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy.

 3. Add the flour and cornflour (sift if necessary), and roughly mix using the wooden spoon and then using your hands bring the mixture together to form a ball of dough.

 4. Use your hands to push the dough out to cover the cake tin, making sure you push it into all the corners.

 5. Chill the dish with the dough in the refrigerator for 20 mins. Then bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for 12 - 15 mins or until puffed and golden.

6. While the dough is in the refrigerator/oven the crumble topping can be made. Place the flour, butter and sugar in a bowl and use your hand to rub the mixture together to form coarse crumbs. (You can use a spoon to roughly bring the mixture together before you use your hands.)

 7. After the bottom layer has been baked in the oven spread the mincemeat over the bottom.

 8. Scatter over the crumble topping and bake in the oven for a further 20 mins or until golden brown on top.

 9. Allow to cool slightly, then cut into slices while still warm. Allow to cool completely before removing from the dish.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Leek and Potato Soup

This is such a quick, simple meal to make. It tastes great and is even better with a chunk of crusty homemade bread.

You will need:

30g Butter
1 Garlic Clove
1 Onion
1 Leek
1 Large Potato
450 ml Chicken Stock

Equipment: Knife, saucepan, wooden spoon, potato masher.


1. Slice the leek and dice the onion and potato.

2.  Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add all the vegetables with the garlic crushed. Cook in the butter for 5 mins.

3. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Using a potato masher, roughly mash the soup. Add seasoning and cook for a further 5 mins.

 5. Serve while hot.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012


A couple of weeks ago I decided to try out a subscription food service called 'graze'. I had never heard of this company before until I saw a few people at college who where using this service and decided to give it a go after looking on their website (

 Graze is a company offering a subscription food service where they will deliver a box packed with 4 food snacks to your home or workplace. The company was originally set up by a group of friends who found that they couldn't eat the food they loved at work, and found that others shared this same issue too. So they set up graze as a solution to this problem. It seems that the company's slogan is 'nature delivered', and they are true to this in the foods they source and the packaging of the food.

The graze box is the perfect size to fit through a letterbox so there's no need to worry about being there to collect it. When it arrived there were two plastic strips around the box to stop it coming open, although I took these off before the photo was taken.

When the box is opened there is a picture on the inside lid of the box and your 4 snacks with a leaflet containing nutritional information about the food. The graze company are also pretty big on recycling, so on the back of the leaflet there are instructions on how to recycle all the packaging of the box and food, there is a note on the side of the box saying 'the graze box - just wood, vegetable ink and a bit of water', and underneath the containers of food there is a 100% recycled napkin.

This leaflet contains all the nutritional information you would normally find on food packaging including the ingredients, calories, fat content etc. and also points out other useful facts like whether a snack counts as one of you 5 a day or whether its high in fiber.

When you set up you subscription service you can choose from one of two options: either a 'nibblebox' which can contain any of the food in their range, or a 'nutritionbox' which will only contain healthier options. I chose the 'nibblebox'. You can then browse through their food range and rate the foods either bin, try, like, or love and anything you put in the bin category they will not send you. You can also tick a box titled send soon to get more choice as to what comes in your box. I was quite open to trying things out but wasn't keen on much in the nuts or seeds categories, but that's just personal taste.
In this box I received:

 apple & cinnamon flapjack - rustic rolled oat flapjack with apple and cinnamon.

 My Thai - sweet chilli sauce with baked soy bites.

 bakewell tart - cherry sultanas, almonds and cranberries.

 Lemon Meringue - mini meringue, lemon sultanas & yogurt dipped peanuts.

This was actually the second box that I have tried from them. Overall I have really like the food in the boxes and think the portion size is adequate for a snack. I have discovered a few new foods through these boxes too such as dried sour mango (which I absolutely love!), flavoured sultanas (which I hadn't heard of before but actually taste like the flovour they are e.g. lemon sultanas) and the baked soy bites were really nice!

 I think that the only down side to these boxes for me is the price. They cost £3.79 each, which includes the delivery of the box too. I'm not sure how much the delivery cost of these boxes would be, but if I were to buy these snacks individually elsewhere I would probably be willing to pay about 60p for each one and so £2.40 in total. So maybe the added price is for the luxury of having this ready make box delivered to you, but personally I wouldn't be able to afford these.

If you would like to try a box out for free, and you can cancel the service at any time, I have a coupon code available. Just enter the code '35ZXWVM' when ordering your first box.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Gingernut Biscuits

This recipe is so simple and quick (if you have quite a few baking trays to hand). I've made these a few times and they always quite eaten up really fast! 

You will need:

350g Self-Raising Flour
200g Caster Sugar
A Pinch of Salt
1 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 tbsp Ground Ginger
125g Butter or Margarine
75g Golden Syrup
1 Egg

Equipment: Mixing bowl, saucepan, wooden spoon, non-stick baking tray, cooling rack.


1. Put all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl (Flour, Sugar, Salt, Bicarbonate of Soda and Ground Ginger.)

 2. Melt the Butter and Golden Syrup over a low heat in a saucepan.

3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow it to cool slightly. Then pour the mixture from the saucepan into the mixing bowl with all the ingredients and add the egg.

4. Mix all the ingredients together until a stiff dough forms.

5. Using you hand take small amount of the dough and roll into a ball between the palms of you hands. Put the balls onto a baking tray and use you fingers to flatten them a little. (You may need to experiment with the size of the balls of dough as they spread out a bit while cooking.) Also you may need to cook them in several batches as you can get about 30 or so out of the mixture.

6. Put into a pre-heated oven at 160°C for 15 - 20 minutes or until golden. Take out and leave on the tray for a few minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.