Plum Jam

Food, Recipes, Uncategorized

One of life’s simple pleasures has got to be a slice of hot, buttery toast & homemade jam served with a cup of tea, or coffee on a drizzly weekend morning. Lazing around the house, in comfy clothes watching the rain drops fall on the window.

This jam for me was a bit of an experiment. I went to Garson’s Farm & picked some plums & bought some apricots from their amazing farm shop. The apricot jam, which funnily enough I thought would turn out better isn’t quite right. However, I’ve decided that you can buy it in the shops & it’s much less hassle. This plum jam however, tastes amazing which is good news, as I made about 5 jars.

I thought jam making would be quite easy, but turns out it was quite a stressful experience for me. I had to boil my jam for a fair amount of time, to bring it to the consistency needed. It was so worth it though …


  • 1kg plums (I used Victoria plums) stoned & quartered
  • 1kg white, granulated sugar
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100ml water
  • tbsp lemon juice
  • knob of butter


  1. Begin by sterilising your jars, I washed mine in hot soapy water then placed them in a low oven to dry. Keep your jars warm here until you are ready to fill them.
  2. Place the plums and the water in a large saucepan, and cook on a low heat for about ten minutes until the plums start to soften.
  3. Add the sugar, cinnamon and lemon to the pan.
  4. Dissolve the sugar slowly, without boiling the mixture. This takes about ten minutes.
  5. Once the sugar has dissolved, bring to a rolling boil, and cook until reaching a jammy consistency. This is 105*c on a sugar thermometer. You can also test it, by putting some plates in the freezer, and spooning some mixture on the cold plate and leave to cool. It should wrinkle slightly when you push it with your finger. This can take anywhere from 5 minutes, but it actually took me about 25 minutes.
  6. When ready, take off the heat and stir in the butter – this helps to disperse any scum on the top. Leave to cool for about 10 – 15 minutes and then ladle in to your hot jars. Screw on the lids straight away to seal them, and leave to cool.
  7. Serve on hot buttered toast, or spoon into the bottom of a pastry case and top with almond cake filling for a delicious twist on a Bakewell tart.

It makes great gifts for Christmas, simply add a homemade label with some ribbon, or be greedy and keep all the jars for yourself.


A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x


Mulled Wine Jelly

Food, Recipes


I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas, filled with lots of food & love. I’m apologising for the lack of posts in the past couple of months. I got a new internship, and was working 7 day weeks for a while, but I have now left my weekend job and for once in a very long time feel settled and fairly happy. I am loving my internship & am looking forward to what 2016 holds for me. I have set my self some personal goals, I’d like to remind my self that these aren’t simply New Year’s resolutions that won’t make it past January. Instead goals that I’d like to aim for and hopefully achieve by the end of the year. I’m not going to beat myself up about them if I don’t complete them, as I don’t know what life holds but I will work incredibly hard for them.

Onto the recipe, which is adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe. If you have any left over red wine from the heavy festive period, or any cream left over from all those desserts then this is the perfect recipe for you. I used a bottle of mulled wine (the type that’s already infused and spiced) but you can use some red wine and add those festive flavours, such as cinnamon, star anise & cloves. To his recipe I added a clementine, mascarpone cream, which was actually left over from the filling of our Christmas Eve yule log. But just use what you have, double cream is fine!


300ml red wine or mulled wine
300ml cranberry juice
50g sugar
1 cinnamon stick
A grating of fresh nutmeg
2 clementines
5 gelatine sheets
4 tablespoons double cream
Zest of 1 clementine
Icing sugar to taste


  1. Place the wine, cranberry juice, sugar and cinnamon in a large pan. Add the nutmeg and prick the clementines with a fork. Add to the pan and heat slowly until the sugar has dissolved. If you’re using plain red wine you will want to leave the mixture to infuse.
  2. Soak the gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes. Bring the wine back to a simmer (if you let it infuse). Squeeze the water out of the gelatine and add to the simmering wine mixture.
  3. Stir well until the gelatine dissolves. Combine both mixtures and pour into 6 glasses.
  4. Set in the fridge.
  5. To serve, whip your double cream to soft peaks, add icing sugar to your desired sweetness & add in the zest of one clementine. Dollop on some of your cream & serve with friends & family!

Mulled Wine Jelly 1

Enjoy the next few days & have a lovely new year.

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x

Roasted Pesto Veggies with Griddled Halloumi

Food, Recipes


These past couple of weeks have been a bit all over the place but exciting in terms of my near future. I decided to leave my previous internship but after applying for jobs I secured an interview and a new internship with a restaurant chain and start in a couple of weeks so I am spending my free time getting ideas for my blog, cooking and photographing things so I can post in the coming weeks when I may be a little more busy than I anticipate.

I decided to get my self a Moleskin notepad and some black felt tips to sketch ideas for recipes when I’m lounging around or out and about. There are some exciting themed recipes in the pipeline … think Halloween and Bonfire Night. I cannot wait to start designing recipes for Christmas! It will be nice to have it in a special book so I can keep all my ideas in one place – instead of jotting them on scrap bits of paper or my phone.

This weeks recipe is perfect as a vegetarian starter or a light lunch. The pesto adds a punch to the roasted veggies and is simple and quick to prepare with just 3 ingredients. I always love grilled halloumi – its a staple side when I order at Nandos, so you could also serve this with some grilled chicken for a meaty alternative.

I used a pack of ready to roast veg bought from the supermarket, but you could always chop up your own – a mix of red onion, peppers, tomatoes, and courgette works well.

Serves 2-3 People


400g approx. mediterranean vegetables

2tbsp green pesto – fresh or jar

250g Halloumi – sliced into approx 1cm slices


  1. Preheat your oven to 200°C / Fan 180°C / Gas 6.
  2. Place the prepared veggies onto a tray and coat with the pesto.
  3. Roast in the oven for about 20 minutes, stirring half way through.
  4. After about 15 minutes, preheat a griddle pan, or you can use a frying pan if you don’t have one.
  5. Drizzle a tiny bit of oil on the halloumi then griddle on each side for around 2 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Serve immediatley. You want to eat the cheese when its hot, soft on the inside and crispy and golden on the outside.

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I can’t wait to get creating other delicious recipes for you to try, and looking forward to pushing myself creatively. I’m still learning Illustrator so will try my best to create some fun recipe cards for this recipe and others but am currently having a bit of a creative block with this. I’m also planning on creating a video of footage I shot way back, when I went to Amsterdam. All these skills will be useful to use in my career and I want to try and stay as creative as I can. I’m also looking forward to starting my new job and hopefully taking a positive step into my future.

Lots of love,

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x

Caramelled Oranges

Food, Recipes

This dish is a bit of a family tradition that we serve after Christmas lunch, every year without fail. It’s sweet, but is something refreshing to cut through all the lovely rich food we are all guilty of eating around the festive period. Oranges are so lovely in winter time, so sweet and juicy making it a perfect dish to serve to your loved ones after Christmas lunch.


225g Granulated Sugar

500ml Water

6 Oranges and their zest (I used Navel)


1. Zest the 6 oranges

2. Place the sugar, water, and zest in a pan. Boil on a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and you have a syrup consistency. (Not too thick though, as this forms the ‘sauce’)

3. Freeze the 6 tested oranges for a little wile to make them easier to peel and slice. This stops all of the lovely juice from escaping. We want to keep as much of the juice as we can. They do not need to be frozen solid, just firm.

4. Using a knife, cut the outer skin off, removing the white, bitter pith. and slice thinly making sure to save any juice. I usually use a plate, rather than a chopping board as this saves the juice from running everywhere and creating a mess.

Beware … you’ll get cold fingers! Have a glass of mulled wine, or something hot at the ready!

5. Add the juice, oranges, and syrup into your serving dish. You can discard the zest, or use it to decorate your dish. I placed some of it on a baking tray and dried out in the oven. You can keep this in a sterilised jar and use this to decorate cupcakes.


A girl with an appetite for all things creative,
Maria x

Cranberry and Clementine Sauce

Food, Recipes

It’s an absolute must to have cranberry sauce with turkey on Christmas day. Ditch the jar, and try this out because homemade is so much better! This makes enough for all your cold meat sandwiches on boxing day. It also freezes well. I added clementine into this recipe – always lovely at Christmas time.


450g Fresh Cranberries

Zest and Juice of 1 Clementine

100 ml of Water

3/4 Cup of Sugar (you can simply add sugar to your taste, start with less and add more)


1. Place the cranberries, clementine zest and water in a pan.

2. Place on a low heat and cook until the cranberries have broken down into a pulp.

3. Add sugar whilst warm, and the clementine juice. The reason I always add sugar at the end is because you can taste it, and simply add enough sugar to your own tastes. The residual heat dissolves this.

4. Serve the jewel studded sauce in a nice serving dish.

A very simple recipe, no excuse to buy a jar!


A girl with an appetite for all things creative,
Maria x

Apple & Thyme Sauce

Food, Recipes

Here is a twist on a classic sauce to accompany rich meats such as pork. Apple and thyme is a classic combination.

I made this as an accompaniment to go with a pulled pork dish we served at our Christmas party. We served the pork alongside freshly baked homemade rolls, homemade barbecue sauce, mini roast potatoes, soy honey and sesame sausages  and salad. Of course a party at our house wouldn’t be complete with out a large spread of homemade dessert!


1 large cooking apple, chopped

1tsp dried thyme

1 cup of water

1/4 cup of sugar/ or to taste


1. Chop a large cooking apple into a rough dice. Don’t worry too much if your knife skills aren’t up to scratch, just make sure the pieces are roughly the same size to ensure even cooking.

2. Place the apple, thyme and water in a saucepan and place on a low heat.

3. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the fruit is soft and has broken down, stir it to break down any bigger lumps. Add more water here if needed.

4. Add the sugar, whilst still warm. The reason I add it at the end, rather than before cooking is so you can add sugar to taste. I’m used to using less sugar in my diet so don’t use too much, so likewise you can add less if you like it more tart, and more if you like it sweeter.

5. Serve warm or cold, and garnish with fresh thyme. This also freezes well, so if you have the apples, make extra and defrost ready for when you have a delicious Sunday pork roast.

Hope you like it!

A girl with an appetite for all things creative,

Maria x