Vanilla Coffee Syrup

This is the stuff Starbucks use to  turn your latte into a vanilla latte - just use it in place of sugar in your coffee.
I also like to use it in hot or cold milk.

In a Saucepan:
200g White Sugar
100ml Water

In a Glass:
50ml water

In a 2nd Glass:
100ml Water
3 caps of vanilla flavouring

  1. Put the saucepan on the stove over med/high heat.
  2. Using a metal spoon, occasionally scrape the bottom of the pan - there is no need to stir constantly.
  3. When the sugar starts to turn the colour of light engine oil IMMEDIATELY remove it from the heat and (at arms length) add the 50ml of water.
  4. As soon as the most violent bubbling stops, stir the mixture with a metal spoon - at first the sugar will try to solidify, but as you mix it will stay as a hot liquid.
  5. Cool for 10 minutes, Then add the remaining water and flavoring.
  6. Cool to room temperature and store in a plastic or glass bottle.
  7. Keeps indefinitely in a refrigerator.

Smoked Mackerel Pâté

150g Smoked Mackerel
150g Soft Creme Cheese
30g Mayonnaise

1. Remove and discard the skin from the Mackerel.
2. Chop the fish roughly.
3. Put all ingredients in a bowel, and combine with an electric whisk until smooth
4. Cover and refrigerate.

Can be eaten straight away, but better for a day in the fridge.

Spread onto slices of crusty bread.

"Fast and Dirty" Sticky Toffee Pudding.

This is not the finest Sticky Toffee Pudding you will ever taste; but it is still very yummy indeed, and is without question the easiest, fastest, Sticky Toffee Pudding you will ever make; and you may even have the ingredients to hand. The Cake itself may be a little on the bland side, but the sauce is soooo good that when you pair the two, you'll have a delicious pudding.

The sauce just got even easier!

4oz Dark Brown Sugar
4oz Self Raising Flour
4oz Salted Butter
2 large Eggs

(Quantities are minimum - you'll probably want more)
1 Cup* Dark Brown Sugar, packed
1 Cup* Double Cream
1 Knob Salted Butter

(*Just grab a teacup, I don't care what size)

  1. Preheat an oven to 180C
  2. Throw all of Cake ingredients into a bowl an beat or whisk together until the mix goes a shade paler (Yes, this is a victoria sponge, but with dark sugar)
  3. Split the Mixture into 4 Cup-Cake Moulds and bake for 20 mins until a wooden skewer pushed into the centre of a cake comes out clean.
  4. Meanwhile throw all of the sauce ingredients into a non stick pan, and bring it to a vigorous boil, then remove it from  the heat  - it will look too runny, but it's also to hot to eat right now, once it cools to eating temperature it'll be the right consistency.
  5. If it's dessert time once the cakes come out of the oven, just pop the sauce back on the heat and warm it through (no need to re-boil). 
  6. If it's for later, let the cakes cool and store them in an airtight tub - same for the sauce.When ready to serve, microwave first the sauce, then the cakes (be careful not to over nuke baked goods, you will make them go stale). 
  7. Pop each cake in a bowl and pour over 1/2 a cup of the sauce.
  8. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, or some of the left over double cream.
(For those who are interested, the sauce originally had a cup of water in it, that got reduced out - I had thought that this would stop the cream from burning... turns out it doesn't burn anyway!)

Free Soup

Summer seems like an odd time for soup recipes, but with a little planning, a summer's worth of cooking can yield several meals worth of free soup for the winter!

You'll need a ziplock bag (actually more than one over time, but you'll start with one) to keep in your freezer, and you're going to be bagging things that you would otherwise have thrown away.

Everything needs chopping up into pieces up to an inch or so - but any smaller bits are fine.

When you cook meals all summer (all year even) bear in mind the following:
  • Using broccoli or cauliflower?, chop up the stalks and leaves and throw them in the bag.
  • Fresh peas? Pods get cut up and go in the bag.
  • Cooked too much veg? Bag it.
  • Too many potatoes (boiled, mashed or roast)? Bag. 
  • Topped and tailed carrots or celery? - The ends go in the bag.
  • Kept some veg a bit too long and it's "use it or bin it" day? if you don't have a use for it today, then chop it and bag it!
  • That bit at the end of the onion that you just can't slice properly? - Chop it roughly and stick it in the bag.

Before too long you'll have bagfuls of frozen veg bits - when you want soup, fill a pot (or even better, slow cooker) with them, add boiling water (not quite enough to cover everything; It'll boil down), bring it to the boil and then simmer the life out of it! Once everything is soft, just blast it with a blender;

Free Soup!

If it's a bit low on flavor, you can upgrade from free soup to very cheap soup by stirring in some chicken  or vegetable bullion.

Season with salt, pepper, an (optionally) chilli flakes.

Orange and Mint Salad Dressing

1/3 Cup Olive Oil
2/3 Cup Orange Juice
1/2 Tsp Mint sauce
1/2 Tsp Honey (optional)

Just slap everything in a jar, put on the lid, and give it a good hard shake.

Cinema Sweet Popcorn

30ml Sunflower Oil
45g popping corn
20g sugar

  1. Put the sugar and corn in a single container, such as a small bowel or mug.
  2. Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pad.
  3. Once it's shimmering, throw in the corn and sugar, put on the pan lid
  4. Keep the pan, and the corn moving, until all the corn has popped (this will require some violent shaking at times)
  5. Nom.

Decadent Brownies

300g brown sugar
90g plain flour
90g cocoa powder (unsweetened)
80g chopped walnuts
60g chocolate chips or chunks
3 eggs
225g of softened butter

1. Preheat oven to 320°F (160°C). Line a 7x11" (18x28cm) baking tin with baking paper.
2. Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.
3. Spread onto baking tray and bake for 30-35 minutes.
4. Cut into 20-24 squares and cool on a wire rack.
5. Nom.