All posts tagged: hints and tips

5 Ingredient Salted Caramel Chocolate Mocha Yule Log, 38p

This is a fairly cheeky little recipe, mostly because it involves very little work at all – and looks and tastes far more impressive than it should do, considering the sum of its parts. I should confess I didn’t make the Yule log in the centre; I bought one from Asda on a whim and made it better. I’m a busy person, and also, I’ve never successfully managed to roll a Swiss roll up without smashing the whole thing to bits with my clod-handed impatience, so I wasn’t going to take the risk. The good thing is, Asda Swiss rolls (and other premade brands are available, I just live near Asda) are alright; the right side of soft, generous with the buttercream swirl, and left out on the counter all night by accident, they stay pretty moist and squishy. Sometimes, just sometimes, you can treat yourself to cheating. Because who cares for blood and tears and martyrdom with fondant sugar, when it tastes this good? (If you object to Flakes, use milk or dark chocolate …

How To Dry Mushrooms

Before your mushrooms go slimy in the back of the fridge, dry them out to store them. Dried mushrooms are marketed as a gourmet ingredient when, really, they’re very simple to make. I keep my eyes peeled for mushrooms on special offer, or in the reduced chiller at the supermarket, and stock up on them to dry out at home. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Clean any dirt from your mushrooms with a dry tea towel or dish cloth, with paper towel or – as I do – use a clean soft toothbrush. Slice or chop the mushrooms as desired. Chopping them into smallish pieces means that they will dry quicker, but slices look nice – it’s up to you. Lay the prepared mushrooms on a baking tray and put into the preheated oven for 45 minutes, turning halfway through. Alternatively, if you don’t want to use the oven, cover the baking tray with a clean tea towel and leave it on the side in the kitchen for 2 days (away from any curious …

How To Shop On A Budget – from A Girl Called Jack

These are the handy hints in the front of my first cookbook, A Girl Called Jack and are as useful now as they were then – it’s advice I give readers all the time, old and new, so I thought it would be handy to pop it here too: WRITE A LIST AND STICK TO IT. It sounds obvious, but I only generally have two kinds of shopping experiences. Those where I walk into the store, list in hand, doggedly stick to it and come out with everything I need and no money wasted. And those where I run in in a hurry, flail about, grab things I don’t need, and berate myself all week for wasting money and forgetting certain essential items. The first few times may feel awful. Many a time, as a single mum on benefits that were suspended or delayed, with no spare money in my bank account and just a handful of change, I found myself standing in the freezer aisle staring at luxury ice cream. Picking up the posh coffee …