Swedish Apple Cake

This is another of those recipes that came from a booklet we got with some bit of electrical kit like a mixer or a processor.  You can keep it as a whole cake but I think it’s another one that works brilliantly when cooked in a square tin and cut up into individual little square cakes then frozen and defrosted when the mood for a Swedish apple cake takes you.  The cake is cooked for longer than a lot of sponge cakes – it needs to in order to cook the apples and deal with the moisture that the apples have brought into the equation – and this means that you end up with soft sponge, melting apple and some crunchy sponge on top.  Excellent.

Excellent with coffee or tea. Also excellent as a dessert – especially warmed up, dusted with a bit of sieved icing sugar and served with cream.  

About the ingredients:
If you haven’t got cooking apples you can make it with dessert apples but be sure that they’re on the sharp side. And reduce the sugar in the sponge by about a quarter. But really you should use cooking apples.

Makes 16 little square cakes

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Kale Crisps

This recipe is for Keith’s mum Marion who’s been waiting for ages for me to post it!

My boyfriend and I had these in Los Angeles last year at The Standard Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, sat by a pool with a beer before dinner.  Is that image sickening enough for you and do you now hate me? My work here is done.

The point is, it was the first time I’d come across them and I was amazed – I thought them super cool and we scoffed the lot pretty darn quickly. That I knew they were healthy was a massive bonus. Salty pre-dinner snacks are a weakness of mine (see post on tomato salsa, which I eat tons of with tortilla chips). I now serve these delicate crisps as often as I can get my hands on some good strong kale, and people always love them, even people who you might expect to turn their noses up at something so…well – righteous.

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Guacamole

This is what you do when you bought a rock-hard avocado ten days ago, left it in a bowl to reach ripe perfection and then forgot about it so now it’s starting to look a bit old and tired.  There are lots of different ways of doing guacamole and you can experiment with them, of course. This is what I do. Nice and simple.

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Fresh Tomato and Coriander Salsa

Here is a tangy and coriander-fragrant salsa made with fresh tomatoes. It’s very easy, like all salsas. It goes brilliantly with tortilla chips, like all salsas. We have another salsa recipe which is made with tinned tomatoes and different herbs, the recipe is here. We like salsa and tortillas. Can you tell?

A brief word on chilli:

I use chilli flakes quite a lot, as you get used to how hot they are. But fresh chillies are very variable, sometimes you could eat a whole one and it tastes about as hot as a red pepper. Sometimes you taste a tiny bit and your mouth is on fire for forty-five minutes. So if you’re going for a fresh one, I BEG YOU to test it before it goes in.  Here are the rules:

  • Try a tiny little bit and see how hot it is. 
  • Remember that it gets hotter the closer to the stalk it is.
  • Be very wary of the seeds, as they’re the hottest bit.  I usually scrape them out unless the chilli tastes quite mild or I really need the extra heat.
  • The RED HOT RULE is that you can add more, but you’ll ruin the dish if you add too much

Tomato Salsa Ingredients

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Humous

Yes, you can buy humous ready made and it’s not expensive and it’s not nasty.  But I prefer home made. It’s different. I think it’s better. See what you think.

About the ingredients:

humous ingredients

You can make this with dried chickpeas, which involves soaking overnight and then cooking for a few minutes with a heaped teaspoon of bicarb, then adding water and boiling for about twenty minutes. But it turns out that tinned chickpeas might be better for humous. They’re softer and give a creamier consistency.

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Smoked Mackerel Pate

This couldn’t be easier. Smoked mackerel is still cheap even when it’s a quality posh version, and this will be much nicer with a really deep-flavoured fish, properly hot-smoked and not just with some smoke-tasting chemicals thrown on it. This means buying it from a fishmonger – I have a great one called Brighton and Newhaven Fish near me – or a good supermarket, (ahem, Waitrose). Having said that, if all you can get is cheap mackerel it will still taste pretty good. The cream cheese can be plain old Philadelphia or similar. I use an own-brand version that costs 40p!

I’m not going to beat about the bush, I’m just going to get on with it. This will serve four people as part of a lunch spread.

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Almond, Raisin and Lemon Biscotti

Biscotti_ingredients.

Howdy. So here are some very quick biscotti that turn out really impressively with minimal effort. What a great combo. Drag some people in off the street to show off to, if necessary. Serve with coffee, or hand them out with some ice-cream, and generally swank about how easy they are. 

They are veeeeehry tasty and veeeehry crunchy, and veeeehry versatile, because you can change the flavours to suit what you like. (Suggestions will follow the recipe). They freeze really well too and don’t take long to defrost. I also put less sugar in than regular recipes. No-one has ever complained they are not sweet enough. So they are, in short: A Winner.

Mine were almond, lemon, raisin and a bit of rosemary, but the rosemary was mainly to look good in the picture, as I have to fess up and say you can’t really taste it. 

Biscotti_ingredients2

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Oatcakes

Hello!!  And what innovative, eye-catching food-porn do we place before you today?? Celebratory tap dance..

Dah dah! …It’s OATCAKESHomemade Oatcake and CheeseOk so that’s mainly a picture of cheese. But under the cheese mountain is a crunchy chilli oatcake.

So why post about something so basic? (Some would say ‘plain’ and what they really mean is boring). Well, because this humble oatcake is not boring at all, it’s exactly the kind of home cooking that Life Is Jam is about – making everyday food yourself so you can cut out the fattening, unhealthy junk that people put in packet food, and so you can enjoy it more. These little tasty crunchies are:-

Easy, tastier than shop bought, cheaper than shop bought, better for you (no palm oil or other junk, just a little bit of butter), more satisfying to eat because you made it yourself and finally, they are customisable so you can choose your own flavours.

 The below makes about 210 grams, or 27 biscuits.  Total cost 26p. 

Ingredients

  • 100g oats (7p)
  • 100g plain flour (7p)
  • 15g butter (definitely not marg) (6p)
  • ¼teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder (2p)
  • 85 ml water and milk mixed (4p)

Oat_Mix

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