Monthly Archives: October 2012

  • Halloween cupcakes and glow in the dark icing

    The children at Splat Cooking's Saturday morning club decorated Halloween cupcakes this weekend and here are the amazing photos.  We also made glow in the dark icing, although it's not really glow in the dark as you need a black or UV light to really make it shine but it does work.  You will need:

    Powdered fondant icing sugar, the turquoise packet by Tate and Lyle or Silver Spoon and either Illuzoon which can be purchased from specialise molecular gastonomy websites or if you can't get hold of that you can use tonic water (it contains quinine which reacts with the UV to make it glow in the dark) and some lemon juice as the tonic water is bitter.

    Mix the illuzoon with water as per the tub instructions or mix the tonic water with some lemon juice and then use either liquid to make up a thick sticky icing, use on cupcakes and here's the effect, they're fab …


  • Halloween Food

    Beetroot Hummus on YouTube

    Beetroot hummus is delicious and as good for Halloween parties as it is as a starter for dinner parties throughout the year, very simple to make but tasting amazing.  The YouTube version is already up and the recipe is here too.

    Pumpkin soup and soda bread will be up shortly so keep checking back.


  • Beetroot and Walnut Hummus - great for Halloween

    Beetroot hummus is healthy, packed with vitamins and antioxidants and also brilliant for using at Halloween parties for a gruesome purple dip.
  • Jam making goes underground

    Did you ever think that homemade jam could become a black market item?  I have a vision of those glorious women of the WI, the doyennes of the home made jam industry setting up illegal jam shops where Afternoon Tea is served in the dark with a haunting saxophone soloist playing in the background.

    Customers enter with a secret 'tap' on a dark door in a dingy back alley after walking round the block a few times to make sure they're not followed by the jam police.  Tea drinkers sip Darjeeling in almost silence using sign language to indicate which jam they wish to have on their homemade scones....blackcurrant, damson, gooseberry, raspberry, or dare I mention it..........strawberry (deep gasp for being so daring!)

    There are secret escape hatches, the tables turn upside down at the flick of a switch to switch the illegal jam for gin and tonics, the dark days of the jam trade have arrived.  Jars can be taken home but are so 'hot' people pay jam smugglers to do the trade for them, these jars of homemade jam are reaching record levels, exchanging hands for up to £10,000 a jar.  Illegal jam making has given the WI new kudos in the black market, these ladies have always known how to make fabulous cakes and jam, but now with their skills being driven underground they are making serious money.

    Don't panic, this is all pure fantasy but you never know what the EU directives for the FSA will do next.  If you're not aware of it there has been a new Directive reported widely in the press.  The Daily Mail this morning reported on it as did The Telegraph and The Sunday Times.  Illegal homemade cake making next?

    The point the EU Directive is getting at is that glass is permeable and as people who make bottle jam have no idea what on earth could have been in the jar before they used up the ingredients in it and washed it out (der!) that this could be something dangerous and could kill the luckless person who happened to buy the resulting homemade jam. OK so glass is permeable but really only for hydrogen and certain radiations, it's glass after all and I suppose we're injecting common sense here which obviously no one in the EU has any of as that's we have directives like this isn't it?

    I personally tend to keep only jam jars for reusing to make home made jar as sundried tomato ones are a real pain to get the grease out of so I tend not to bother, I don't go foraging around in other peoples recycling bins to drag out unsuspecting ex-hydrogen filled jars to fill with homemade jam, maybe other people do?

    Apparently you're allowed to reuse jars for personal use but not if you are going to donate the jars, given away and definitely not to sell, beware the jam police or things could get a bit sticky, even worse you could end up with jam on your face.

    Going Underground by The Jam - says it all really

    Beverley's homemade damson jam, can't let you try it, I could get arrested.


  • Thame Food Festival

    Yesterday dawned lovely and sunny and we all breathed a sign of relief as it was Thame Food Festival and we'd waited a whole year for this amazing food festival and were desperately hoping that it wouldn't rain.

    I was kicking off the first dem of the day in the chef's theatre at 10am with a 40 min slot and 5 min turnaround before the lovely Laurie Gear from The Artichoke in Amersham took to the stage.

    When I arrived at 8.30am the chef's theatre wasn't built, ho hum, no need to panic, this is cooking at the frontline, after all it is a glorified tent so as long as we remember that when we agree to do these food festivals we're OK. Difficulties occur when chefs or TV personalities are booked to do dems at food festivals and they have high expectations of hot and cold running Home Economists to do their prep for them and champagne on tap, never happens guys, well, maybe if you're Nigella or Gordon but not for the rest of us mere mortals.....there's a Costa across the road, go get a takeway. By 9.55 it was mostly built with a bevvy of lovely chefs from Le Manoir running around cleaning everything, wow...Manoir slaves at my beck and call - joking guys, but seriously I'd like to take one of you home especially with 3 of you doing my washing and drying up, what service, thank you chaps.

    Only 5 minutes late but on stage with Phil Gayle from BBC Oxford, bless him he had no idea what was in store for him when I asked him to whisk the egg whites, how do you know if egg whites have reached stiff peak, watch the video and you'll see, I didn't warn Phil about this, fortunately he has a sense of humour.

    I then had a slightly crazy interview with Paper Sissors Stone, Thame TV's channel where we ended running around the high street trying to do an interview avoiding background noise of the many generators and the 30+ year olds making stupid faces, I can understand kids but come one, some of you were old enough to know better.  I'll blog when the piece is up.

    Then the real fun started with the Whizz Bang Workshops run by the Splat Cooking Team at Thame Town Hall.  This was brilliant, we had over 100 children throughout the next couple of hours doing foodie experiments such as:

    Deconstructed chocolate powder

    Exploring where our sense of taste comes from whilst having to taste chocolate, that was hard

    Eggsperiments - can a raw egg bounce? can you make green eggs and ham? The answer is 'yes' to both but you'll have to watch the video to find out how.

    Jelly - spaghetti jelly (my favourite), caviar pearls, instant setting jelly shapes, jelly brains

    The day was a great success with hundreds of children hopefully inspired to keep cooking at home.



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