Jam Roly Poly

Jam Roly Poly, the very name takes me back to my childhood. School dinners were usually somewhat gruesome affairs, with plenty of unidentifiable main courses that were not be be eaten. The saviour of the meal was usually the pudding and the canteen served a range of steamed puddings with custard. Jam Roly Poly was a big hit, with its rolls of pudding interlaced with jam and lashings of custard. It is a traditional British steamed pudding, made with suet and it is hot, sweet and filling. The perfect comfort food for a wet Autumn or winter night.

jam-roly-poly-3Jam Roly Poly was often delightfully know as Dead Man’s Arm as it was often wrapped and steamed in an old shirt sleeve so it would retain it’s shape. Now greaseproof paper is a perfect substitute and the resulting pudding is just as delicious. When I was sent some Mackays jam and marmalade in their new festive varieties it seemed the perfect chance to try making Jam Roly Poly. I had already used the Mackays Christmas Marmalade with Cranberries to make a marmalade glazed ham which is ideal food for Christmas Eve. Whilst Jam Roly Poly is not really festive I thought that the Mackays Christmas Preserve with Mulled Wine would add another dimension to the pudding.

Mackays-jamMackays are a Scottish family firm who make their jams and marmalades in the traditional way, using open copper pans and hand stirred during the cooking process. The products are made in small batches and the jams use Scottish raspberries, blackcurrants and strawberries. The jams have a great homemade taste and I loved the background of mulled wine in this jam, it makes it very festive. Mackays Christmas products are available exclusively in their on-line shop.

I set to work making the Jam Roly Poly, it is quite relaxing. It involves making and kneading the dough then spreading the dough with jam. The hard part is getting the dough to form a perfect rectangle. Once the dough is spread with the jam it needs to be rolled up, without the jam squishing out. An art that takes a while to perfect, but I managed it.
jam-roly-polyI then used string and greaseproof paper and left the pudding in the oven with a roasting tin full of boiled water under it. This worked well and the finished pudding was lovely. The Chrismas preserve has a lovely spicy taste which made the Jam Roly Poly a bit more special.

jam-roly-poly-2The pudding was much easier to make that I was expecting and was well received by my husband and son. Served with custard, the plates were soon cleared.

Jam Roly Poly Recipe

Jam Roly Poly
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  1. 150g (5½ oz) self raising flour
  2. 70g (3 oz) suet
  3. 100ml (3½ oz) cold water
  4. pinch salt
  5. 5 tbsp jam
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C, Gas Mark 6
  2. Add the flour, salt and suet into a bowl.
  3. Gradually add the water, mixing until a soft dough is formed.
  4. Knead then roll out into a rectangle 1 cm thick.
  5. Spread the jam onto the dough leaving a border round the edge.
  6. Use cold water on the ends to help create a seal.
  7. Roll the dough up pinching the ends together as you go.
  8. Place on buttered greaseproof paper and roll this round the pudding making a concertina fold at the top to allow the pudding to expand.
  9. Twist the ends of the greaseproof paper like a boiled sweet wrapper to hold it together
  10. Place the pudding in a loaf tin.
  11. Fill a roasting tin with boiling water and place at the bottom of the oven
  12. Place the loaf tin and pudding on the top shelf and bake for 45 minutes
  13. Serve with custard
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/

I was sent some Mackays jam and marmalade in order to create a recipe

Marmalade Glazed Ham

As a child I always remember my mum cooking marmalade glazed ham for our Christmas Eve lunch. We always had a special meal on Christmas Eve as well as Christmas Day. Our Grandparents came round and joined in the excitement we had as kids about Santa being on the way. My mum used to prepare the ham the day before by boiling it and start roasting it the next morning. The house was always full of gorgeous smells and we thoroughly enjoyed the meal. The marmalade adds a lovely sweet taste to the ham that works really well. Maramalade-glazed-ham-3 Recently Mackays got in touch regarding their Christmas project. Mackays are a family run business that produce jams and marmalades in a traditional way, using large copper pans. This gives the finished product a great homemade taste. Mackays are the last remaining producer of Dundee orange marmalade in the Dundee area in Scotland. Dundee marmalade was first made in 1797. Mackays use Scottish berries in their jams and the oranges for their marmalade comes from Seville, Spain. They have recently launched some Christmas products and wanted bloggers to use them in a recipe. I was sent some Mackays Christmas Preserve with Mulled Wine and Christmas Marmalade with Cranberries.

Mackays products When I saw the Christmas marmalade with cranberries I knew it would be ideal for making marmalade glazed ham.   As well as being delicious served with roast potatoes and all the trimmings, the ham is also gorgeous served cold in salad or used for sandwiches. If you get a large ham joint you can use most of it for roasting and make pot luck soup with the rest of the joint and the water you have boiled the ham in.  This is great served with crusty bread and you get several meals from one ham joint.         

Marmalade glazed hamThe marmalade is lovely, you can taste the hint of cranberries which adds a sweetness to the oranges. After boiling my ham I put it in some silver foil, poured ginger ale over it, wrapped it up and put it in the oven to bake. Part way though the baking process I added a marmalade glaze which was made with marmalade and dark brown sugar coated over the ham. When the ham was done it had a lovely sweet taste.

Marmalade glazed hamThe ham is perfect for a special occasion like Christmas Eve and was enjoyed by all the family. I love to roast tiny onions as well as potatoes and parsnips to go along with the ham as these make the perfect accompaniment. Red cabbage is also a great vegetable to serve with ham as it seems to really complement the meal.

Marmalade Glazed Ham Recipe

Marmalade Glazed Ham
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  1. 1.5 kg ham joint
  2. 1 onion
  3. 1 stick celery
  4. 1 carrot
  5. peppercorns
  6. 3 tbsp dark brown muscovado sugar
  7. 2 tbsp marmalade
  8. ginger ale
  1. Place the gammon in a large pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil.
  2. Once it starts boiling drain the water and cover the ham with water again.
  3. Peel and chop the onion and carrot, chop the celery and add to the water with the peppercorns
  4. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2½ hours.
  5. Remove the ham from the pan. It can be left to cool and put into the fridge to cook the next day or you can bake it straight away.
  6. Preheat the oven to 200C, Gas Mark 4.
  7. Place the ham on some tin foil and pour over some ginger ale wrap it up and place it in the oven for ½ hour.
  8. Mix together the marmalade and brown sugar.
  9. Remove the ham from the oven and coat in the glaze.
  10. Wrap it back up and cook for 45 minutes, basting with more glaze at regular intervals.
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/

I was sent Mackays jam and marmalade in order to create a recipe. Look out for a jam recipe soon.

The Ultimate French Toast

When I was a child my parents took me to America. On the flight we were provided with headphones to listen to music and I remember listening to “Don’t go breaking my heart” by Elton John and Kiki Dee. The songs were on repeat and I must have listened to it hundreds of times. Arriving in New York we got a cab to our hotel and I was taken by the hustle and bustle of the city. I have some black and white photos of the time which still bring back memories. As kids we were impressed by the number of television channels that were on the tv, at the time we only had three channels in the UK. Even better the kids programmes were on all night, due to jet lag we were up at some ungodly hour watching cartoons on telly. The next morning our parents took us to an American coffee house for breakfast. The menu was amazing, pancakes smothered in maple syrup, hash browns, crispy bacon and many other dishes. You even had to specify how you wanted your eggs, sunny side up, over easy, it was like a whole new language. It was here I first encountered French Toast.

French-toastThere is something comforting about French toast,  thick slices of bread dipped in a mixture of egg and cream, sprinkled with cinnamon and covered in maple syrup. It can be eaten for breakfast or as a late Supper snack. Eating it makes you feel decadent and pampered.  When Warburtons sent me a hamper which included their new range of special loaves the first thing that came to my mind to make was French toast.

WarburtonsThere are four loaves in Warburtons new 400g range, Old English White, Malted Grain and Seeds, Wholegrain and Oat and Honey Wheat. They are available in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose for RRP £1.39. The Old English White was perfect for making French Toast and the bananas and blueberries made a great accompaniment. The other loaves are ideal for making sandwiches, I particularity liked the Honey Wheat which had a sweet note to it.

Warburtons special loavesWarburtons Old English White was perfect for French toast. It sopped up the cream and egg mixture perfectly and tasted delicious sprinkled with cinnamon and maple syrup. The perfect comfort food on a cold evening with a cup of tea.French toast

French Toast Recipe

French Toast
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  1. white bread (2 slices per person)
  2. 2 eggs (per two slice of bread)
  3. 50 ml cream (per 2 slices of bread)
  4. cinnamon
  5. butter
  6. maple syrup
  1. Mix together together the eggs and the cream.
  2. Dip each slice of bread into the egg and cream mixture until both sides are covered
  3. Melt the butter in a frying pan
  4. Gently fry the bread until both sides are golden
  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon and top with maple syrup
  1. Serve with chopped banana and blueberries for the ultimate French toast
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
I was sent a hamper including Warburtons loaves in return for an honest review.

Pastel De Choclo (Chilean Corn Pie)

A while ago I was asked to take part in Frontera Wine blogger challenge, to celebrate the new labels on Frontera wine. Frontera wine is the world’s best-selling Chilean wine brand and now each label reflects the heritage of the wine with a visual story and a poem in the ‘Lira Popular’ style. Lira Popular is a poetry style that is popular in Chile.

For my first recipe I created a traditional English dish, roast beef slow cooked in red wine sauce. For my second dish I wanted to try a Chilean dish to celebrate the heritage of the wine and I decided to make Pastel De Choclo. Translated it means corn pie, but it is really more like a shepherd’s pie with a layer of creamed corn on the top and baked in the oven. The dish also includes raisins, boiled eggs and olives making it a real fusion between the native Indian and European influences in Chilean cooking.

Pastel de chocloFor my Pastel de Choclo I used Frontera Merlot wine in the recipe, and it actually went very well with the meal as well. The Lira Popular poem on the Merlot label reads like this

It was a little blackbird // That gave me my name // Mirlo they called it // beautiful and dark //

Two things we share // Along with a joyful song // Grapes with magical roots

Pastle de chocloPastel de Choclo is perfect winter comfort food, the warming layer of meat with the caramelised sweetness of the corn on the top makes it ideal for a cold day. The mix of spice and the sweetness of the raisins in the meat add a new depth and the merlot adds a subtle flavour. My son loved this dish and kept asking for more. In honour of the dish I created my own Lira Popular to reflect the meal.

A mix of mince, raisins and eggs // topped with corn // Pastel de choclo is its name // savoury and sweet

Warming and filling // empty your plate // a traditional dish.

Pastel de chocloI wasn’t sure how well the eggs would work with the meat but they actually add more flavour. Traditionally olives are added as well but I missed these out as my son does not like them. The dish whist unusual is really tasty and worth making the effort to cook.

Pastel De Choclo Recipe

Pastel de Choclo
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  1. Olive oil
  2. 500g beef mince
  3. 2 onions
  4. 2 tbsp paprika
  5. 2 tbsp raisins
  6. 2 cloves garlic
  7. 1 tsp cumin
  8. 3 tbsp red wine
  9. ½ tsp pepper
  10. 2 eggs
  11. For the topping
  12. 500g sweetcorn
  13. 230 ml whipping cream
  14. 1 tsp salt
  15. 3 tbsp sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C, Gas Mark 4.
  2. Place the raisins in a bowl, cover with hot water and leave to stand for five minutes. Drain the water off.
  3. Boil the eggs
  4. Put some olive oil into a pan and heat. Add the beef and fry until brown.
  5. Put the beef in a bowl.
  6. Chop the onions and garlic and add to the pan, cook till soft.
  7. Add the beef, raisins, cumin, paprika and wine into the onion mixture.
  8. Stir well and add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Place in a casserole dish and layer the chopped hard boiled eggs on top
  10. In a food processor mix the sweetcorn with the cream and blended until puréed.
  11. Pour the mixture into a clean frying pan and cook until dark yellow in colour.
  12. Top the beef with the sweetcorn mixture.
  13. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  14. Sprinkle the top with sugar and place in the oven until it caramelises, keep an eye on it so it does not burn
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
The Frontera range is available at stockists nationwide RRP £5.99 the range includes Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and the newly launched Cabernet Sauvignon Blush. I was sent some Frontera wine in order to create a recipe.

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Isle of Skye Candles

There is something evocative about a scent, even now whenever I smell honeysuckle I am taken back to holidays in Ireland with my parents and wandering down country lanes covered with honeysuckle plants. A scent has the power to bring back memories and make you feel as if you are there. A lovely scent can also lift a mood and make a home feel more welcoming. Perfumed candles are a lovely way to set a mood in your home, there is something magical about the flickering flame on a dark night. The fragrance spreads gently though the house and lingers in the air bringing a feeling of well being.

Christmas is a great time to burn a candle, a Christmas scent adds instant cheer to the home and makes it feel more welcoming. Recently I received a vanilla and fig scented candle from the Isle of Skye Candle company to try out. I must admit to having a soft spot for Scotland, we are close to the border here in Newcastle Upon Tyne. We have spent many lovely holidays in Scotland, recently visiting the Highlands and also staying in a castle in Dumfries and Galloway. Skye is a place I always wanted to visit and maybe one day I will make the trip.

Isle of skye fig and vanilla candleThe Isle of Skye Candle Company are a Scottish family run business and they specialised in selling environmentally friendly, handmade naturally scented candles and reed diffusers. The candles are made from natural soy wax and use  the finest quality oils to create the scent. The candles are all handmade from start to finish and checked for imperfections during the process. The candle I received came in a gorgeous glass tumbler and promised a burn time of 45 hours. This is the minimum burn time, many of the candles will burn much longer.

Isle of skye candleAfter lighting the candle the air started to fill with a gorgeous scent, the smell is sweet and uplifting with an undertone of vanilla warmth. It is a lovely scent, it fills the house with fragrance without being overpowering. It would be an ideal scent for Christmas, making the house feel warm and alive.
Isle of Skye candleA candle like this would make a perfect gift, they come in a range of scents and sizes so there will be one that is ideal for you. I know I would be delighted to receive the gift of a candle at Christmas and welcome the scent flooding though my house whenever it was lit. Thanks to this candle my house will smell welcoming this Christmas and my mood will be uplifted whenever I light it.

I was sent an Isle of Skyle candle in return for an honest review.