Category Archives: Recipes

How To: Make Cranberry Jam

How to make cranberry jam recipe

If you have NEVER made jam before this is child’s play.

I normally buy my cranberries in the New Year, when they are half price, freeze them and store them all year, making jam as I go….eat, make jam, rave, repeat…if you will…

Cranberries are high in pectin (the stuff that makes jam set) so this jam doesn’t need special jam sugar. Don’t let folk tell you otherwise….and scare you with their ‘special jam sugar’ talk.

You will need an amount of cranberries….then weigh out the same amount of sugar, regular ‘pop in your tea’ sugar is fine. Then combine in a large pan, stirring constantly over a low heat until all the cranberries pop, it boils and then thickens.

How to make cranberry jam recipe

Pour into sterilised jars (ones JUST out of the hot dishwasher cycle or that have been popped in a 100C oven for 15 minutes) and screw the lids on whilst warm.


Jam is honestly that easy to make.

Some recipes will call for a splash of lemon juice to ‘allow the scum to rise to the surface’…I personally don’t do this…mainly because I wash my fruit beforehand and have never found cranberries particularly scummy…and mine has always turned out ok!

I use cranberry jam (and cranberry sauce for that matter) in Victoria Sponges, as I find the sharp tang of the cranberries override the super sickly sweet taste of buttercream icing.

Have you made jam before? Why not?!


REVISIT: Autumn Fairy Cakes


Hi guys! I am back on Monday with some ‘live’ posts post wedding…yaaaay…here is a little cake based post that I will be making this week!

I love cake almost as much as I love books. FACT

My Autumn Fairy Cakes (or my AFC’s as I like to call them) are perfect for when the nights are drawing in and you need something a little heartier than a summer treat.

Give them a spin yourself!

ShinyP’s AFC’s

Ingredients (easily doubled or in my case TRIPLED!)

  • 6 oz Self Raising Flour
  • 4 oz Butter
  • 4 oz Sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp of milk
  • 2 tbsp of cinnamon
  • A large handful of raisins


  1. Preheat your oven to 190ºC.
  2. Cream your butter and sugar together
  3. Add your eggs and beat furiously
  4. Mix in your flour and cinnamon, and then add the milk.
  5. Beat well and then chuck in the raisins.
  6. Stir and spoon into cake cases.
  7. Bake for 15/20 minutes till golden brown and risen.
  8. Devour alongside a mug of hot cider.

Puff Pizza Pie

puff pastry pizza

This is honestly one of my favourite meals to make. It takes no time, as long as you remember to defrost your puff pastry! This is such a good combination of pie (the puff pastry) and pizza (the toppings) that it makes me drool just writing about it.

If you can…save some for the day after…it is the BEST lunch ever…. true story.


500g block of Puff Pastry – don’t make pastry…life is too short.

3 tbsps of Tomato Puree mixed with 3 tbsps of tinned tomatoes.

A whole heap of cheese (my favourite measurement of cheese)

A choice of toppings (we use salami, olives, chillies, capers and mushrooms)

puff pastry pizza

Firstly roll out your pastry so it will almost cover your baking tray. You don’t need to grease it or anything, as long as it isn’t one you have been using out in the garden…  but you will need to preheat your oven to 220°C (200°C for fan ovens).

Spread your tomato mixture across the rolled out pastry using the back of a spoon, leaving a 1 cm gap round the edge.

Pop in the oven for 10 minutes

Now chop and prep your favourite toppings and grate a whole heap of cheese. I can’t honestly give you a measurement for the cheese as we would quite happily use over 200g….we have a slight cheese problem.

Pull the Pizza Pie out of the oven, pop on your toppings and then your cheese and then whack it back in the oven for a further 10 minutes….then job is a good’un.

Puff pastry Pizza

Excuse me whilst I wipe up the drool on my keyboard….


How To: Make Easy peasy chocolate fudge

We all have that moment when we want to swear loudly because we thought our Christmas shopping was done….and then you realise you forgot someone.
But never fear! I am here to help sort you out.
Here is a super simple recipe for whipping up some very yummy chocolate fudge.

How to make easy chocolate fudge

Pop them in a little bag or box and give them to someone who deserves scrumptious goodies.


  • 400g dark or milk chocolate (about 50% cocoa solids)
  • 397g can Condensed Milk
  • 25g butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • Nuts/sprinkles etc for topping

You will also need…

20cm square tin, lined with baking parchment (I used my silicone tin because it was soooo easy to pop out after)


  1. Break into small bits and place in a pan with the condensed milk and butter. Melt the ingredients gently over a low heat, stirring occasionally until smooth and lovely.
  2. Put in the icing sugar and mix thoroughly. I don’t sieve my icing sugar because by missing this time-consuming step, the sugar leaves lovely little spots throughout, like a sprinkle of snow.
  3. Press the fudge into the tin, smooth over the top with the back of a spoon.  Sprinkle decorations into the surface, if using, pressing nuts down so they stay stuck.
  4. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour until set, cut into squares. It will stay nice in airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks….if it lasts that long.


REVISIT:- Chocolate Chip Cookies – The Pigeon Way

Hi guys, I have previously given out this recipe, but since I have been off work for the summer holidays I have been making trays upon trays of these, because they are P’s favourites and I felt they needed resharing.
We call them ‘Cakies’ (cay-keys) in our house because they should have a cake like texture in a cookie shape.

If you make the choc chips too small they sink to the bottom, ensure you make ‘em big!


(Makes 16 oversized cookies)

125g of butter (soft)
185g of soft brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 lightly beaten egg
1 tablespoon of milk
215g of plain flour, mixed with 1 teaspoon of baking powder
250g of chocolate (pre-broken into squares or smaller if you wish)


1 – Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas mark 4). Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

2- Cream the butter and sugar together.

3- Stir in the vanilla extract, and then gradually add the egg, giving it a good beating.

4 – Stir in the milk, and then add the flour and baking powder, till it becomes a wet dough.

5 – Add the chocolate chips/chunks (I don’t skinny chip…I chunky dunk!)

6 – Roll the cookie dough between your hands in large walnut sized globes. Pop them on the baking tray trying to leave a good 4cm around each cookie as they will spread….as I found out!

7 – Bake for around 15 mins or until lightly golden.

8 – Leave to cool for a little while on a wire rack if you can before you munch away,  else you’ll burn your mouth on lava-like chocolate!

My cookies become speckled with chocolate on top and hold the gooey choccy goodness in the centre and bottom, as in the piccie above, because I tend to whack everything through my mixer, so don’t worry if you get larger pieces of chocolate breaking through the top of the cookies. (I’m sure you’ll survive somehow!)


Bourbon Truffles

Last year for my hampers – I made these very yummy Oreo Truffles pictured above.

This year, I have found that my budget for Christmas has tightened (whose hasn’t?) can’t stretch to buying Oreos (come on.. a £1 per stupidly small packet?!) so I decided to experiment using that trusty biscuit barrel staple, the bourbon biscuit.

Ok, ok, I know it doesn’t look as exotic to us Brits as the Oreo, but it works just as well, and produces some pretty tasty results.


250g of Philadelphia or equivalent (I used Sainsbury’s own brand)

500g Bourbon Biscuits

400g of Milk Chocolate


  1. Blitz the biscuits in a food processor till they are a fine crumbly mix. (You can just put them in a plastic bag and attack them with a rolling pin if you are without a food processor)
  2. Mix the biscuits & Philly together.
  3. Roll small amounts of the mixture into little balls onto greaseproof paper or a silicone tray. (I wear CSI gloves for this because it stops them sticking to my hands which I HATE!)
  4. Chill for 30 minutes (minimum…I try to leave mine overnight)
  5. Melt the chocolate till molten (either do this on the hob or do it in small sections in the microwave)
  6. Cover the Philly/Biscuits balls with chocolate.
  7. Fridge till set.

They can be quite fiddley to put the chocolate on, but once you get into the rhythm of it, it’s quite therapeutic. I use two spoons, one table and one tea, I put the ball on the teaspoon and then I dunk the tablespoon in the chocolate. I then move the ball between the two spoons until it is completely covered before putting it back on the teaspoon (which should have less chocolate on it than the tablespoon) before placing it on a silicone tray/greaseproof paper.

Can take a while but the taste is TOTALLY worth it!


How I Spend My Christmas Vacation

Today was the last day of term (I’m in tomorrow to do a care shift…but lets glaze over that shall we?), so work for me is finished! HUZZAH!

So from finishing one job, to starting another. Time to crack on with my christmas hampers.

My jams are already done, and my relishes are relishing. What I wait for ages to do are my sweet things as I’m always afraid my biscuits will go soggy and my truffles will get….well…. scoffed.

The first thing I’ll start making are my homemade chocolates. These are possibly the easiest of all my goodies to make, but this year I’m adding a little flavouring to make mint and orange delights.


 Last year, P had bought a penguin shaped ice cube silicone mould for making…you guessed it…penguin shaped ice cubes.

Due to being totally amazeballs and full of great ideas (check out MY SELF-ESTEEM!) I pinched it to make Choccy Penguins for my friends children and my younger brothers as seen last christmas here. Since last year, we have bought LOADS of different silicone moulds (IKEA you legend!) for my christmas chocolates and I’m most excited about using the heart shapes.

1: Take 200g of chocolate (any flavour, how about chilli chocolate for the menfolk? – I’ve done plain white & milk shapes as they are for children) – 200g does one ice cube tray. Keep the empty ice cube tray in the freezer till you are just ready to put the chocolate in it.

2: Break it up into squares and nuke in the microwave until completley melted. You can do it the traditional way over a pan of hot water, but I feel it takes too long when I’m in this festive rush! (At this point, stir in a few drops to taste, of peppermint or orange essence, if you fancy some flavoured chocs)

3: Using a teaspoon, scoop and dribble molten chocolate – it has to be runny or it will make silly blobs too quickly, into the mould…halfway you can add a nut, or a sweetie if you wish, dependent if you want them to have a centre. You could also do half white and half milk…etc etc, just stopping halfway through before adding the different layer.

4: Ensure you are as neat as possible as this will save you neatening them up after they come out the freezer. Clean up the edges with a flat butter knife. Give the mould a little wibble to make all the chocolate fall into the cracks.

5: Whack in the freezer for about an hour.

6: Pop out of the mould (you may have to be a bit rougher than you think) and place in bought or homemade bags or boxes lined with greaseproof paper.

Do try not to scoff them before you finish….mine get stored in our drinks fridge (that doubles as an end table) ready to go in their cute cellophane bags. I have to wrap them pretty quick else P thinks they are fair game and scoffs them all!