Beetroot Hummus

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I love colourful food, it always stirs an interest and makes it so much more fun to eat. Anything seems more edible when it looks good and who doesn’t love a good dip? Experimenting with hummus is really easy, there are so many different flavours you can add to this much loved dip the options are endless. I had a couple of beetroots knocking about in my veg draw so decided to put them to good use. I couldn’t decide what to do with them at first as the colour they give off can give anything a beety twist, but as I was doing a deli board style dinner on Saturday night I decided to go for a hummus. Since purchasing a real food processor a couple of months ago (I had a small hand held thing before) I’ve been mixing together all different kinds of things, making pesto’s and sauces and soups. I keep it on the work top so it’s ready to have something thrown into it. I’m not sure whether the novelty will wear off soon but it’s been helping me make some lovely meals! Here’s the latest…

You will need:

  • 2 medium sized cooked beetroots – I bought mine raw and steamed them for about 50 minutes until soft, then allowed them to cool, topped and tailed, peeled them carefully so as not to colour myself purple and roughly chopped
  • 400g tin of chick peas (drained, rinsed and skins removed)
  • 1 Clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 100ml olive oil plus a little extra for drizzling

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish and make a swirl in the top before pouring over the extra olive oil. Chill until serving. We enjoyed eating this with the Crispy Crackers I had made a day earlier and it went down a treat!

SCC Beetroot Dip with Sea Salt Crackers

SCC Beetroot Hummus Blurred Wine

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Crispy Crackers

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Crackers are something we always like to have in the cupboard. They’re so versatile, you can eat them with cheese, salads, pate, soups and dips. A few  weekends ago, I really felt like baking but was begged not to bake more cakes as a large amount of chocolate and salt caramel cupcakes had been devoured over the last couple of days. I decided to give making crackers a go out of a basic flour, water, salt, sugar, oil mixture and this was the end result. I did a couple of versions. The first batch were slightly soft and the second batch were nice and crispy. The second batch went down a treat so they’ll be the ones I’m making from now on but you can easily make softer crackers by simply cooking for less time. You can give them more taste and texture by adding seeds, nuts or some Maldon Sea Salt just before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celcius

Yield: About 35 crackers

  • 180g Plain Flour
  • 180g Wholegrain Bread Flour
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 75ml Olive Oil
  • 200ml Cold water
  • Your choice of toppings, here I used pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Maldon sea salt and coursely ground black pepper

Start by mixing all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Next add the olive oil and and mix using a table knife, gradually add the water until you have a ball of dough, you may not need all of the water. Cut the ball of dough into two pieces and place one on a well floured surface. Roll out the dough as thin as you can and cut into cracker sized rectangles. Transfer onto a baking sheet and brush with a little water, this will help to make the topping stick. Scatter the toppings over the top and lightly press into the crackers. Before placing in the oven for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them as when they start to brown, they will finish soon after. We like ours really golden, almost burned, but if you like yours a bit paler than just reduce the cooking time. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack, as soon as they have cooled down transfer them to an air tight container and eat within 3 – 5 days. If they last that long! This recipe is quite flexible, you can adjust the flour to use whatever you have in your kitchen cupboard.

SCC Close Up Crackers

Sea salt and cracked black pepper crackers with a spiced pumpkin soup

Delicious served with soup

Serve with hummus
Serve with hummus

Sea salt and cracked black pepper with spiced pumpkin soup

Sea salt and cracked black pepper with spiced pumpkin soup

Salted Caramel Sauce

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It’s probably a bit too late to jump on the salt caramel band wagon now as it has certainly been the cool kid for a while, but with it’s popularity just increasing why not?! You see it everywhere and if you’ve tasted it you will know why. I was working hard in the gym the other day and started to crave something sweet towards the end of my work out, day dreaming of the soft chocolatey cup cakes I’d made the night before I imagined them with the sweet and salty hit of salt caramel in the middle. It certainly gave me that extra push to work harder so I wouldn’t feel so guilty afterwards! Later that afternoon I decided to make some salt caramel sauce, it keeps for a while so I made a decent size batch to keep in the fridge. I almost wish I hadn’t now because I just want to eat it with everything in sight! When I was a kid, my mum would catch me eating sugar right from the bag in the cupboard, this time it’s my fiancé catching me with the jar of salt caramel in hand! I wasn’t sure if he would like salt caramel but with the single chocolate cake remaining (I did manage to save him the last one!) I lobbed off the top like I used to when I made butterfly cakes as a child, and filled it with my sticky new friend. He looked quite sad after he had finished it and I quickly realised it was because there were no more left!

Salt Caramel Sauce is actually pretty easy to make, all you need is sugar, butter, cream and flakey salt. My favorite flakey salt is Maldon, don’t ask me why because I just don’t know but I love the stuff and put it on almost everything, now even chocolate cake it seems! Thankfully they stock it in my local supermarket so I can always have some to hand!

So far I have used this batch of Salted Caramel  in chocolate cake, as a dip for apples, in my coffee, on ice cream and just on it’s own.

400g Granulated Sugar

170g Unsalted Butter, you’ll need to cut this into small chunks and have it ready at room temperature

240ml double cream (I actually used Emlea Light as that’s what I had in the fridge)

1 tbsp Maldon Sea Salt

One sterilised jar

Heat the Sugar in a heavy saucepan over a medium heat, when it begins to melt, start whisking to prevent any burning. SCC Heating SugarWhisk and whisk until the sugar has completely melted. Now continue to heat the sugar until it is a dark amber colour, this won’t take long, just be careful you don’t burn the sugar here as it will give your finished sauce a bitter taste. SCC Melted Sugar Remove from the heat and slowly add the butter bit by bit, it will sizzle from the heat of the sugar when you add it so go careful and gently whisk it in until it’s all melted. Now add the cream and gently stir in until everything is mixed. You can now add the salt and stir until incorporated. Allow it to cool for about 30 minutes before pouring into a sterilised jar. SCC Caramel from aboveDon’t put it in the fridge until it reaches room temperature. Enjoy with a spoon.. or an apple!

SCC Apple Salt Caramel

Bangers and Bulgar

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‘Remember, remember the 5th of November, Gunpowder, Treason and Plot’ It’s the most well known song that relates to Guy Fawes Night. This is the first year in a long time that I have missed a display on bonfire night, there doesn’t seem to be anything happening in Singapore but I have fond memories of watching displays previous years. Wrapped up in hats, scarves and gloves it seems a world away from our life here. Apart from sparklers, I always think of slightly burned sausages when I think of bonfire night. I have no idea why as my Dad would probably gasp at the prospect of a sausage being given such disrespect. I had tried to find some decent sausages here in Singapore and finally hit the jackpot a couple of weeks ago when I found a packet of British Sausages in the freezer section of my local supermarket. From a farm in the home counties they really are a taste of England. The last couple of weeks I’ve been eating a lot of grains, pulses and wholewheat. I always thought that Bulgar Wheat was really boring and tasteless, but cooked with the right herbs and spices it can be really full of flavor. It’s also a pretty quick dinner and to top it all off, this week is British Sausage Week, what better excuse do I need to open a packet of good old british bangers!

Here’s my recipe for Bangers and Bulgar

What you’ll need for two people…

100g Bulgar Wheat, this will need a good wash to take away any bitter taste

25g Raisins

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 Red onion thinly sliced

2 Cloves of garlic

1 tsp Cinnamon

1 tsp Garam Masala

25g Toasted Pine Nuts

One large pack of fresh coriander, roughly chopped

4 Sausages

SCC Bangers and Bulghar Ingredients

Get the sausages cooking as they’re going to take the longest. While they’re having a sizzle, take a small sauce pan and heat the onion and garlic until soft. This should take just over 5 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper along with the cinnamon and garam masala and cook for another couple of minutes. Meanwhile, place the bulghar and the raisins in a sauce pan, cover with water and boil for 5 minutes. Once cooked, drain and mix with the cooked onions and garlic, add the pine nuts and serve with the sausages cut into chunks.

SCC Bangers and Bulghar