Notes of Nutmeg – Cactus Cupcake Recipe

Summer is almost here! It’s the time of year that we’re looking for new activities to keep us busy whilst we enjoy the good weather.  Last summer, I decided to take up cacti collecting. I loved trawling round garden centres and flower shows to find the new addition to my little cactus plant family.  Some of the real troopers have even lasted the winter! To pay homage to my cacti pals, I’ve decided to work on my piping skills to create this fun cactus cupcake recipe. I hope you have as much fun making them as I did.

 

 

 


Ingredients:
 

  • For the cupcakes
  • 4-5tbsp boiling water
  • 40g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 eggs
  • 175g unsalted butter, softened
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 115g self-raising flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4tsp hot chilli powder (optional)
  • For the decoration
  • Approx. 36 Chocolate fingers
  • 125g butter
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted
  • Milk (if needed)
  • Zest of 2 limes (optional)
  • Green food colouring
  • Chocolate fudge icing
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Fondant flowers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200°c/390°c/Gas Mark 6. Lightly grease your plant pot moulds and place them on a baking tray. If using cases, place 12 cupcake cases into a muffin tin.
  2. In a bowl mix together your cocoa and boiling water to make a paste. Add the rest of the cupcake ingredients and using an electric beater, combine the ingredients to make a batter.
  3. Evenly pour the batter between the 12 moulds. Place them in the oven and bake for 12 -15 minutes until they’re springy to the touch.
  4. Whilst the cakes are cooling, beat together your butter and icing sugar to form a light buttercream. If the mixture is too stiff, add a splash of milk and beat again. If you’ve been daring and added the chilli powder to your cakes, try adding the lime zest to the icing now to give it another kick! Add the green food colouring and mix it through until you get the shade of green you’re looking for.
  5. Once your cakes have cooled, coat the tops of the cakes with chocolate fudge icing and dip them into your chocolate sprinkles to get a soil-like effect.
  6. Now take three chocolate fingers and stick them together using your buttercream. Push them into the top of the cake firmly so they stand up unaided.
  7. If you’re using a disposable piping bag, snip the end of in an upside-down V-shape. If you’d prefer to use nozzles, select a V-shaped nozzle. Fill your piping bag with the green buttercream and begin to pipe vertically up the edges of the fingers, rotating the cupcake as you go so you’ve piped all the way around.
  8. Place a fondant flower on top of the cactus to disguise any rough edges and add a little colour. Repeat for all twelve cakes. These can be stored in an airtight container for 3-4 days!

 

 

 

 

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NOTES OF NUTMEG – ROYAL WEDDING CAKE

CREATE A RECIPE READY FOR ROYALTY

 

With the birth of the adorable Prince Louis and the upcoming wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the British Royal Family is having a very exciting year. I personally love a royal wedding. I love the grandeur and majesty but most of all, I love the excuse to party!

My neighbours and I love to celebrate royal weddings together as a community with a street party. People come out in their best of British attire and share a feast full of finger sandwiches, tea and cake. For this royal wedding, I want to show you how to make your own replica of Harry and Meghan’s cake. If you love the new couple’s style, this recipe is perfect. You can wow your friends and neighbours or even make it for your own wedding if you’re on a budget. This cake encompasses all the wonderful things about Spring; the fresh and vibrant ingredients like lemon and elderflower, and all of the gorgeous blooms we are surrounded by this time of year. My suggestion would be to follow Harry and Meghan’s example and source all your ingredients seasonally and responsibly.

 

Lemon and Elderflower Royal Wedding Cake

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(prep time: approx. 3 hrs, cook time: approx. 1 hour, serves 15)

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 240g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 260g caster sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp of vanilla bean paste
  • 5 large eggs, beaten
  • 325g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder, level
  • Fine zest and juice of 2 small lemons
  • 2 tbsp elderflower cordial

 

 

For the decoration:

  • 250g butter
  • 500g icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 500g ready to roll
  • 40 4x4cm sheets of edible gold leaf
  • 15-20g fresh edible flowers like pansies and violets

 

 

Method

  1. Grease and line one 6 inch/15cm tin and one 4inch/10cm tin, making sure to line the sides of the tin as well as the base. Preheat your oven to 180°c/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
  2. In a big mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. This should take 3-5 minutes
  3. Then, add the eggs gradually. If the mixture begins to curdle, add a spoonful of flour with each bit of egg.
  4. Once the eggs are combined, sift in the flour, baking powder and salt. Then add the cordial and lemon juice and zest and fold everything together gently until its fully combined.
  5. Scoop the mixture into your prepared tins. And bake the smaller one for 35 mins and the larger for 1 hour. Ensure you check the cakes are done by inserting a skewer into the centre and making sure it comes out clean. If it’s still sticky, leave it in and check again in 3-5 minutes intervals.
  6. Once the cakes are both cooked, leave them in the tin for 20 minutes, then on a cooling rack until they’re completely cool.
  7. Whilst the cakes are cooling, beat together the butter and icing sugar until combined. If the icing is too stiff to spread, add a splash of milk.
  8. When the cakes have cooled, use a cake leveller or bread knife to flatten the top of the cakes and to slice them in half. Spread your buttercream into the middle of each cake, about a centimetre in thickness. Then coat the outsides fully with a thin layer just to make it smooth. Now put them in the fridge for 30 mins to chill the icing.
  9. After the icing is chilled, sprinkle icing sugar onto a clean surface and roll the fondant out into a circle. Fold the fondant onto your rolling pin and gently roll it onto the top of the bigger cake.
  10. Gently smooth the top and sides of the icing over the cake and trim around the bottom edges. Ball up and roll out the trimmings into another circle, repeating the last steps for the smaller cake.
  11. It’s now time to apply the gold leaf around the rims of the cakes. Be patient, it is fiddly work. Wet the icing slightly with a clean cotton bud or paintbrush and lay a sheet of gold leaf over. If you want to rough the edges for a vintage look, use a dry cotton bud to crumble the edges of the gold leaf off. Repeat this until the whole rim is covered and overlaps slightly on the top of each cake.
  12. Place your 6-inch cake onto a plate and gently lower the 4-inch cake on top of it, making sure to place in centrally. You can now decorate the top and sides with edible flowers, as seen in the photos.

 

 

 

Looking for another romantic idea? Try my Valentine’s Day fondue for two!

 

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London Marathon – Training Tips & Recovery Rules

The London Marathon 2018 is not far away and the nerves are beginning to kick in for runners of the gruelling 26.2 mile route. The annual race will take place on Sunday 22nd April with thousands of participants taking to the streets of London including amateur, professional and celebrity runners. The marathon is incredibly tough on your body and can take its toll on your joints and muscles. Whilst there is a lot to think about in the lead up to the marathon, it’s important to prepare your body for the recovery too. We sat down with 4-time marathon runner, Adam Diplock to help put your mind at ease with some training and recovery tips.

What do you do to warm up and cool down?

Adam: My warm-up is usually incorporated into whatever training I have for that day – obviously some runs are designed to be more strenuous/faster pace, so I usually cater it to what I’m about to do. My cool down is usually a little walk after I have finished my run (You can’t just stop!) and then I move onto stretching.

When did you start training and do you have any additional support?

Adam: I started training back in January (4 months ago) and haven’t really had any consistent support, to be honest. My parents and girlfriend have been amazing and helped me with longer runs, but usually, training is a pretty lonely experience. Not everybody wants to jump out of bed to run a 13 miler with you.

How do you fit training around your work/social life?

Adam: Great question! It is tough. You get in from work and the last thing you want to do is go straight back out. But honestly? If you want to do well, you don’t really have a choice.

What dietary changes do you make in preparation for the Marathon?

Adam: Honestly my diet doesn’t change too much (I try to cut down on sugary snacks) but, at the same time I like to think I eat healthily anyway. You should factor in when to eat – your meal size dictates how long until you can run. I usually will give a good 1:30 or 2 hours after a larger meal.

What motivation tips do you have when it comes to the last few miles of the Marathon?

Adam: The crowd are your motivation. Your training is your motivation. The fundraising is your motivation. You’ve trained since January, (giving up several social events) raised a ton of money for a great cause and have loads of people willing you on. Motivation isn’t a problem, you need some mental toughness towards the end. It becomes a case of digging deep and just getting home.

How do you help your body recover once the Marathon is over?

Adam: Using foam rollers and regular stretching are great ways to recover. I also try and swim during the week after the marathon – good exercise but not strenuous on the body.

Good luck to all of those taking part in the London Marathon!

NOTES OF NUTMEG – EASTER CAKE RECIPE

CHOCOLATE EGG PIÑATA CAKE

 

Spring is finally here, and that means it is time to enjoy the Easter celebrations. For me, Easter has always been a day to celebrate new beginnings with my family and gorge on as much chocolate as possible. I especially loved Easter as a kid. My mum would set up these fantastic egg hunts around our house and spoil us rotten with sweets for the day. With this recipe, I wanted to capture those fun sunny afternoons and bring some childish joy to your Easter festivities. This cake is surprisingly easy to make, so you can even get the kids involved in making this delicious dessert. With its secret surprise in the centre, this cake is a great showstopper for any party. Have a very Happy Easter! 

I hope you have as much fun baking this cake as I did with my neighbours! We managed to capture some of the baking fun before my phone battery ran out…

 

Chocolate egg piñata cake

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(Serves 10, prep time: 1 hour, cook time: 20-25 mins)

Ingredients:

For the cake:

200g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

100g cocoa powder

180ml hot water

6 large eggs

120ml milk

350g self-raising flour

2 rounded tsp baking powder

600g golden caster sugar

250g mini eggs

For the icing and decoration:

200g butter, softened and cubed

150g icing sugar, sifted

Grated zest of 1 orange

Red and yellow/orange gel food colour

150ml double cream

150g dark chocolate, I used a dark chocolate infused with orange oil

Small chocolate eggs to decorate.

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°c/fan 160°c/gas mark 4 and grease and line 4x 20cm sandwich tins
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cocoa powder and hot water to make a paste.
  3. Sift in the flour and baking powder, then add all the other cake ingredients, apart from the mini eggs. Mix with a beater until everything is combined.
  4. Pour your batter equally across the four tins and bake them for 20-25mins. When they are done, they will be risen and shrinking slightly away from the edges of the tins.
  5. Whilst you leave your cakes to cool fully, make the buttercream icing by beating together your soft cubed butter, icing sugar and the orange zest. Add a few drops of food colour to make a pale orange and zingy buttercream. Set this aside.
  6. Over a bain marie, gently heat together the cream and chocolate to make your ganache. Once the chocolate is melted smoothly through the cream, take it off the heat and leave it to cool.
  7. Now its time to assemble the cake! On a cake board or plate lay down your first layer of cake and spread a thin layer of icing around the top rim of the cake.
  8. The take the middle two layers of cake and using a round cutter, remove the centres of those layers.
  9. Lay a hollow layer on top of the first one and spread icing around the top of this layer. Repeat with the third layer.
  10. Now gently pour your mini eggs into the centre of the cake and lay the last layer on top.
  11. Have fun smoothing the remaining icing around the edge, when baking with kids I always find it less stressful when I accept the ‘homemade look’.
  12. Gently spread the thickened ganache on top of the cake and push your mini chocolate eggs into the ganache. Happy Easter!

 

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NOTES OF NUTMEG – MOTHER’S DAY RECIPE

 MOTHER’S DAY CREAM TEA TREATS

 

 With Mother’s Day around the corner, it’s time to don the thinking caps to come up with a way to make the mothers in your life feel special and appreciated. I remember when my brother and I were small, my dad would sometimes struggle to think of ways to include us in the Mother’s Day celebrations. Kids love to bake. My Mum’s favourite treat is a cream tea. Freshly baked scones and a hot cup of something herbal will always make her happy. These days we often take her out to a tearoom, but making something at home is much more meaningful and is a great way to save some money! I’d forgotten how much fun it was to create our own little tea party and celebrate how awesome my mum is. Mother’s work harder than anyone, so really put the effort in for them this Sunday and get everyone involved. This recipe will entertain the little ones and put a big smile on Mum’s face. Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Mother’s Day Cream Tea

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(Makes about 6-8 scones, Prep time: 20 mins, Cook time 10-12 minutes)

Ingredients:

225g self-raising flour

1 pinch of salt

50g butter, chilled

25g caster sugar

125ml buttermilk

4tbsp milk, preferably whole

1 egg, for the egg-wash (optional)

Icing sugar, to dust (optional)

Strawberry jam and clotted cream, for serving

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°c/fan 200°c/gas 7 and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  2. Add the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Then using a cheese grater, grate your cold butter into the bowl.
  3. Using only your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Don’t worry if there’s a few little lumps left, it’s better not to over rub.
  4. Stir in the sugar.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the buttermilk and the milk to make it slightly thinner, then add this into your main mixing bowl, stirring until combined, but do not over mix.
  6. Once your dough is formed, lift it onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few times to make it smooth.
  7. Then, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 2.5cm. Cut out your scones using a fluted 5.5cm cutter, making sure you coat it in flour to ensure they come out easily.
  8. Place your scones onto your baking tray and whisk up your egg. Brush the egg gently onto the top of the scones, avoiding getting any on the sides as that could hinder them rising.
  9. Bake them for 10-12 minutes until they’re golden. Then let them cool for about ten minutes.
  10. Plate them up whilst they are still warm from the oven, dust them with icing sugar and serve them with clotted cream, jam and a cup of hot tea.

 

If scones aren’t your mum’s cup of tea, treat her to something a little sweet with my brookie recipe.

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Notes of Nutmeg – Valentine’s Day Recipe

Show off your sweet side!

 

Valentine’s Day is one of my favourite holidays. Although it gets perceived as tacky and commercial, it is a great opportunity to celebrate love with the special people in your life.

I’ve always found that the best way to show someone you care is to make them something heartfelt. My recipe for fondue and dipping biscuits for two is the perfect way to do this. As well as being a unique Valentine’s gift idea, is it also a tasty twist on the traditional heart-shaped box of chocolates that is far more fun and personal.

If you’re trying to impress a new partner or simply trying to change it up in a long-term relationship, this recipe is perfect for any food-lover or chocaholic. With this romantic recipe at the ready, you will have an unforgettable evening, without breaking the bank.

If you’re a baking beginner, don’t worry, this recipe is easy to follow so have fun with it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Fondue for two with heart-shaped dipping biscuits:

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(makes enough fondue for two and 20-25 biscuits, prep time: 1hr 40 minutes, cook time: 10 mins per batch)

 

Ingredients:

For the biscuits:

90g unsalted butter, soft

100g caster sugar

1 large egg

200g plain flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

Sugar decorations

For the fondue:

100g dark chocolate, good quality

100g milk chocolate, good quality

200 ml double cream

Any other fruits or sweets for dipping, for example strawberries, marshmallows and cherries.

You will also need:

– Heart-shaped biscuit cutter or stencil

– Cake pop sticks

– A chocolate fondue pot

 

Method:

  1. Beat together the butter and sugar until it’s pale and creamy. This could take 3-4 minutes with an electric beater. Add the egg and vanilla paste then beat again until mostly combined.
  2. In another bowl, mix together your dry ingredients.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and beat gently until a dough is formed. Try not to overwork the dough as the biscuits could become tough.
  4. Wrap your dough in cling film and chill for at least an hour.
  5. Once your dough has chilled, preheat the oven to 180°c/Gas Mark 4 , Roll out the dough onto a lightly floured surface to a thickness of about a ½ cm.
  6. Cut out as many hearts as you can. To do this, either use a heart-shaped cutter or print out a stencil and then use a knife to cut around the shape. Place the shapes onto a lined baking tray.
  7. To make these into biscuit pops, perfect for dipping, carefully push a pop stick into the base of each heart and reform the shape by pinching the bottom gently. Cheeky 😉

If you’re adding decorations, push them gently into the top of the biscuits now.

  1. Bake the biscuits for around ten minutes, turning the tray halfway through if your oven is uneven. When the biscuits are done, they should look slightly more golden and smell delicious.
  2. Whilst the biscuits are cooling on a rack, break up your chocolate into a heatproof bowl and add the cream. Heat this over a very gently simmering pan of water, stirring constantly until the chocolate has all melted and combined.
  3. Place your chocolate mix into a fondue pot and serve with your dipping biscuits and any other nibbles you see fit. Tuck in immediately.

 

 

Left-over batter from Pancake Day? Try making the perfect pancake for your partner with these delicious recipes 

 

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Notes of Nutmeg – Pancake Day Recipes

Pancake Day 3 Ways:

 

Yes! Pancake Day is here! Who doesn’t love a day where you can get away with eating pancakes for all three meals?  

Here in the UK, it’s a tradition that goes back many generations. On Shrove Tuesday, pancakes are made to use up the sugar and eggs in the house, so there is little temptation left for Lent. It’s now more common to give up those bad foods as a New Year’s resolution. Pancake Day, to most, has become a day of Wintertime fun; flipping pancakes with family and friends.

In my family, Pancake Day is always good fun. Pancake flipping competitions always provided good mealtime entertainment, even if we lost a pancake or two along the way. Everyone likes their pancakes a different way and with different toppings, so variety has always played a key role in our Pancake Day traditions. The year we found out that my dad is gluten-intolerant, we also had to be creative and discovered the best ways to enjoy Pancake Day gluten-free. Pancakes are so easy to make, even for baking beginners and they can easily be adapted to modern diets.

Even with dietary requirements, your Pancake Day can be equally as delicious. I’m sharing with you three of my top pancake recipes for slightly alternative Pancake Day treats.

 

 

Gluten-free galettes:

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(makes 5 pancakes, prep time: 10 mins, cook time: approx. 6 mins per pancake)

If you are gluten-intolerant or are trying out a gluten-free diet, this is the best pancake mix for you. I discovered it when staying with my friend’s family in France and we had it many times as a light lunch with a glass of cider. It has a delicious flavour and is naturally gluten-free, as it uses buckwheat flour. If you’re struggling to find buckwheat flour in your local supermarkets, try any local health food shops or online.

I was taught a galette should be eaten with cheese, ham and an egg cooked right there on the pancake, a galette complète. Delicious!

Ingredients:

For the pancakes:

100g buckwheat flour

Pinch of salt

1 egg

300ml milk

50g melted butter, plus extra for frying

To fill:

5 ham slices, cut/torn into pieces

200g grated cheese

5 eggs

Method:

  1. Sift the flour into a bowl. Then add the salt, egg and half of the milk and beat until smooth.
  2. Add the remainder of the milk and mix into a thin batter. At this stage, the batter can be kept in the fridge for up to 12 hours if you’re not planning to make the pancakes straight away.
  3. When you’re ready to get cooking, make sure the batter is back up to room temperature. Melt the butter and add it to the mix, stirring until combined. Be prepared, the batter is a strange, slightly stringy or gloopy texture, but this is normal.
  4. To cook the pancakes, heat up a frying pan (or ideally a pancake pan) until it’s nice and hot. Add a small amount of butter to coat the pan surface. Then, using a ladle, drop some of the batter into the pan making sure to move it around until it’s evenly spread out.
  5. After about a minute, there should be air bubbles forming under the pancake and the edges should be starting to brown and peel away, this means it’s time to flip!
  6. After flipping the pancake, crack your egg straight onto the hot pancake so that it starts to cook, then add the grated cheese and ham around the edge of the egg. If the egg is taking a little too long to cook, try spreading the whites out thinner or placing the pan under a grill, keeping an eye to make sure the pancake doesn’t catch.
  7. Once the filling is all cooked, fold the edges of the pancake in to make a square, with the egg showing the middle and serve immediately.

 

Vegan pancakes

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(makes approx. 10 pancakes, prep time: 10 mins, cook time: approx. 3 mins per pancake)

Although pancakes are traditionally made using butter, milk and eggs, they are not necessary to make a great pancake. Here is my favourite recipe for a vegan British pancake mix with my favourite decadent topping, poached pears and dark chocolate.

Ingredients:

150g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

1 tbsp sugar

500ml soy milk

1tsp oil

Oil for frying, preferably coconut oil

For the topping:

4 ripe pears, peeled

1l of water

300g sugar

A shake of ground cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla extract

100g dark chocolate, melted (Vegan Chocolate)

 Method:

  1. Starting with the pears, add the water, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla into a large pan and stir until most of the sugar has dissolved. Now add the pears to the water and heat the water to a good simmer. Turning the pears occasionally, leave to simmer for up to 20 minutes or until the pears feel soft when tested with a sharp knife. When they’re done, turn the heat off but leave the pears to rest in their liquor. They can be used hot or cold.
  2. Whilst the pears are poaching, sift the dry pancake ingredients into a bowl.
  3. Add the oil and gradually add the milk whilst stirring the batter to make sure it’s all combined smoothly.
  4. Now heat the coconut oil in a frying pan until its nice and hot and make sure it’s spread to the edges. Pour a ladle-full of the batter into the pan and spread it evenly, trying to make the pancake very thin. This recipe can easily produce a stodgy pancake if poured too thick.
  5. When the pancake is bubbling underneath and the sides are peeling away, flip and cook on the other side.
  6. Serve your pancake with slices of poached pear and drizzled heavily in dark chocolate. If this doesn’t take your fancy, why not try them with the traditional lemon and sugar?

 

Fluffy American style pancakes

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(makes approx. 8 pancakes, prep time: 15 mins, cook time: approx. 4 mins per batch)

This is my final Pancake Day special. No diets allowed for this one, it’s a traditional fluffy American-style pancake recipe for those who want to indulge.

For the pancakes:

Ingredients:

150g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder, heaped

¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp caster sugar

Pinch of salt

250ml buttermilk

1 egg

25g unsalted butter, melted (plus extra for greasing)

 

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Then, in another bowl, whisk up the buttermilk, egg and butter.
  2. Combine the wet and dry together in the large bowl, stirring only until they are combined with a few lumps. This mix doesn’t like to be overbeaten.
  3. In a greased pan, over a medium-low heat, drop in a large heaped spoonful of the mixture per pancake. You can cook these in batches of 2 or 3 at a time.
  4. Once the pancake has little bubbles on the top and the underside has browned, flip them over and cook for another minute or two until golden and spongy to touch.

 

Now you have a stack of fluffy pancakes, why not try my super tasty topping options?

 

Maple glaze, toasted pecans and vanilla ice cream:

Ever find when you drizzle maple syrup on your pancakes, that it soaks right in and you can barely taste it? Well, this maple glaze is a super easy to make and delicious alternative which will stay on your pancakes and keep them moist and sweet.

 

 Ingredients:

50g unsalted butter

100ml maple syrup

100g icing sugar, sifted

50g toasted pecan halves

Vanilla ice cream

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt together the butter and maple syrup.
  2. Once the butter is fully melted, take off the heat.
  3. Add gradually to the bowl of icing sugar, stirring until its fully combined.
  4. Leave until it’s come down to room temperature as it should then be a good pouring consistency.
  5. Serve your pancakes with the glaze poured over, sprinkled with pecans and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

 

Mixed berry compote and cream:

Fancy something a bit fruitier? Try my easy recipe for a tangy berry compote.

Ingredients:

400g frozen mixed berries

1-3 tbsp brown sugar, depending on your sweetness preference

Extra thick double cream

 

Method:

  1. In a saucepan, mix together the berries and sugar and place over a medium-low heat.
  2. Stirring occasionally, heat the fruit until it starts to break down and the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Leave the mixture at a low simmer for around 20 mins, stirring every now and then to prevent any burning on the bottom.
  4. Leave your compote to cool slightly before spooning onto your pancake stack and topping with a dollop of fresh cream.

 

 

Not a big fan of pancakes? There are other delicious treats to enjoy on Shrove Tuesday – Why not try Brookies as another way to use up tempting ingredients in your kitchen cupboard?

 

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New Year, New Goals – 5 ways to take your resolutions further


‘This is the year I’m going to make a change’ …we’ve all been there. After enjoying tasty treats over the festive season, many take the new year as an opportunity to focus on their health and fitness. Some join a gym, purchase celebrity fitness DVDs or join a new sports team. But how many of us set new year’s resolutions, but forget them by February? We have some helpful tips to help you focus on your fitness goals through the year.

  • Getting started

Does a gym full of fitness fanatics sound like an absolute nightmare to you? Simply start with smaller steps. Think about any bad habits you would like to break, even just swapping that cheeky chocolate bar for a piece of fruit. By making these small changes first, you can gain the confidence to face your workout.

  • Be realistic

Let’s set something straight from the start – no one can get a six pack in a week! Our lives are saturated with images of photoshopped bodies, which can give people unrealistic goals in relation to their fitness. Rather than comparing yourself to others, go deeper into thinking about why you want to change your regular routine. If you set unrealistic goals, you will feel like giving up very early on, maybe not even making it past one month. You know yourself better than anyone, so you can set your own goals to work towards at your own pace.

  • Make a plan

Now you have your goals – it’s time to get planning. One of the reasons people fail to achieve their fitness goals is because they attempt to do too much at once. Set a schedule to see how your new activity will fit around your work and social life. Research timetables for your local gym or see when a sports team regularly train to see what you would prefer.

 

  • Get the right support

Maintaining your fitness routine is much easier to do when you have the right support around you. Not feeling up to going to the gym on your own? Find a friend to join the gym with you. By having someone with you in the gym you will be less likely to cancel your plans last minute, and it can also help to push you to go further. As well as your friends, use the expertise of the fitness staff in your gym as much as possible. If you do not know where to start, they can do an initial assessment of your fitness early on and help you to achieve your fitness goals.

 

  • Keep Track

You’ve identified what you want to change, you’ve got your plan – but do you really know what you’re made of? Keeping track of smaller changes can keep you motivated through your fitness journey. Don’t want to keep writing your weight down? Choose a body analyser scale that can connect your smartphone and save the pen and paper!

 

Everyone is different, and making a change in your regular routine can take some getting used to. Go at your own pace, and most importantly – Have fun!

COOK WITHOUT THE BOOK: SEASONAL SHOWSTOPPERS

It’s nearly time for everyone to sit down with their loved ones on Christmas Day to enjoy a delicious dinner. For those hosting many guests at the dinner table, it can be difficult to keep track of everyone’s likes and dislikes when it comes to Christmas Dinner. We’ve selected a range of seasonal showstoppers which will wow your guests, and ensure you have a fabulous festive feast!

 

Cupcake Christmas Tree

 

Some guests may prefer a small treat after devouring a delicious dinner. Bake to impress with this stunning edible centrepiece – perfect for a Christmas party buffet or as a quick snack after the main meal.

DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE HERE

 

 

 

Rudolph Christmas Cake

 

Get everyone involved in the cooking this Christmas with this creative cake. This Rudolph cake is a delicious dessert that everyone at the table will enjoy. With a rich chocolate sponge, this delicious dessert is the perfect addition to any festive feast.

DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE HERE

 

 

 

Christmas Wreath Centrepiece

 

Who says a Christmas wreath has to be hung on the door? This centrepiece is a super showstopper for any of your guests that are vegetarians. This dish is packed with grains, root vegetables, mixed mushrooms, herbs and spice, which will leave your guests fully satisfied.

DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE HERE

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Orange & Cranberry Red Velvet Bombe

 

Create a delicious dessert that will combine your favourite festive flavours. With a hidden cream cheese and cranberry filling, this seasonal showstopper gives an extra surprise for your guests to enjoy on Christmas Day.

DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE HERE

 

 

 

 

Christmas Pudding Cheesecake

 

Do you struggle to choose between desserts on Christmas Day? Combine your favourite desserts together to create something new. Cross a Christmas pudding with a cheesecake and you’ll have a fantastic alternative festive dessert with a crunchy ginger base and creamy filling.

DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE HERE

 

 

 

Download the Salter Cook App for FREE

Simply Collect, Connect & Cook

www.saltercook.co.uk

 

 

COOK WITHOUT THE BOOK: PIES AND PUDDINGS

You may have planned your starter and main course for Christmas dinner, but have you started thinking about pudding?  Mince pies, Christmas pudding and fruitcake are just a small selection of the desserts many will make for Christmas day – but they’re not for everyone. Whether you prefer traditional treats or anything that includes chocolate, we have a selection of recipes that will ensure you can make perfect pies and puddings this Christmas, with Salter Cook.

 

 

Mince Pies

 

 

A festive favourite which is easy to make at home. These can be used as a simple snack on Christmas Eve or as a dessert for your continued celebrations after Christmas Dinner.

DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE HERE

 

 

 

Chocoholics Christmas Pudding

 

 

Not everyone is a fan of the classic Christmas pudding, but Christmas is the perfect excuse for a little bit of extra chocolate. This dessert is the perfect alternative if all the traditional treats you offer are not to everyone’s taste.

DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE HERE

 

 

 

Last minute Christmas Loaf Cake

 

 

Last minute guests and no Christmas cake to serve? This loaf cake tastes as if it had been made in November. Decorate with a snow shower of icing sugar to add an extra festive feeling.

DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE HERE

 

 

 

Christmas Eton Mess

 

 

Are you missing the flavours of Summer? Bring back a summer favourite with a Christmas twist. Take the classic Summer Eton mess combo of cream and meringue and add some festive fun with frozen mixed berries, cinnamon and blackcurrant liqueur.

 

DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE HERE

 

 

 

Christmas Pie

 

 

Mince pies are not the only perfect pastry to serve at Christmas. Combine your favourite festive flavours to make a pie that both children and adults will adore. This recipe is perfect for all the pastry pros out there.

 

DOWNLOAD THE RECIPE HERE

 

 

Download the Salter Cook App for FREE

Simply Collect, Connect & Cook

www.saltercook.co.uk