Melanie's Food Adventures

by Melanie McEwan

Cocoa Ooze Bistro Review


When I received a message from Jamie of Cocoa Ooze, inviting me to his newly opened Chocolate Themed Bistro, I naturally only had one answer. This was partly due to the fact that it was going to involve chocolate in every dish (natch!) but it also meant spending a bit of time in Jamie’s company again. If you’ve ever been fortunate to meet Jamie, you’ll know what I mean!

To give you a bit of a background, Jamie started creating chocolates in his family home when he was 17, now just 8 years later he’s a force to be reckoned with! His passion and drive (and his ridiculously infectious positive attitude) is quite something, winning countless awards and an ever-growing list of corporate clients, it’s fantastic to have watched him and his business grow.


Anyway, I’d better get on to telling you about the menu! I headed along to the Bistro, where I met the lovely ladies from Lost in Food for a long overdue catch up. Where the next few hours went, I’ve no idea but we ate well and laughed lots (always a good sign of grand night out!). After arriving, Jamie explained the menu to us, giving detail of how items were sourced locally.image

After a great amount of decision making, we agreed to all order something different for each course so we could all try each other’s. For starters I chose the Plum Tomato Tart Tatin with Chilli and Chocolate Jam. The tart was a beautiful mix of sweetness from the tomatoes and savouriness of the tart and the jam was just incredible! Full of flavour with a lovely heat from the chilli.

Plum Tomato Tart Tartin

Onwards to the main, where I chose the Falafel Burger, Tomato Salsa, Vegan Mayo and a Puy Lentil Chilli Chocolate Taco. The whole dish, while looking truly beautiful, tasted incredible. Everything came together perfectly and I, like my friends, cleared my plate with gusto.


The greatest decision came when we had to choose a dessert each. I would have happily eaten all/any of them! Eventually I plumped for the Dark Chocolate Tart, Cherry Compote and Toasted Almond Ice Cream…. Oh my… What a perfect ending to a perfect meal. As I’m the only lover of cherries in my family, I always jump at the chance if I see it on a menu, and this didn’t disappoint!


What impressed me the most about the whole menu was the imagination that has gone into each dish. To be Scotland’s first Chocolate Themed Bistro could have easily led to chocolate just being shoe-horned in for the sake of it, but by chatting to Jamie you soon realised the care that’s been taken. The menu can also altered to cater anyone following a gluten-free or dairy free diet. You can check out their current menu below:

It was safe to say we’d all eaten very well, and I would like to say a huge thank you to Jamie and his very talented staff for a very memorable meal and I can’t wait to return!

Cocoa Ooze Bistro is open from 5pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. You can also check out their coffee shop during the day and Sundays too!



I was invited to dine at the Bistro by Jamie, all opinions given are my own.

Melanie, Food Adventurer


by Melanie McEwan

Valentine Chocolate Bars


With Valentine’s Day just around the corner (14th February just in case you need reminding!) why don’t you say it with chocolate? I can’t guarantee that they’ll last longer than flowers, probably less time in fact, but they’re so much more individual and you can personalise them with sweeties that will make the love of your life love you just that little bit more ❤

Perhaps you could use it to pop the question?…..




100g bar of your choice of chocolate (you can choose milk, dark or white, just make sure it’s a good quality one though)

Sprinkles – I bought some gorgeous Valentine ones from Iced Jems

Haribo Hearts and Rings

Jelly Babies

Love Heart Sweets


1. Break the chocolate up into small pieces and melt either in the microwave using a suitable bowl or in a glass bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the simmering water).

2. Once melted, pour the chocolate into the mould (I bought this one from eBay). Ensure the chocolate gets into all the corners and give the mould a little tap on your worktop to get rid of any air bubbles. If any bubbles show then burst them with a cocktail stick.

3. Now comes the fun bit, decorating!! Have everything to hand and start adding your choice of sweets & sprinkles.

4. Place the tray into your fridge and allow to set hard.

White Chocolate Valentine's Bar



Hints and tips

– I used this Rose Gold Edible Dust, again from Iced Jems, on the milk chocolate bar.

-Pop your mould onto a small baking tray or plate before you start as it will make transferring the mould to the fridge so much easier!

Melanie, Food Adventurer

by Melanie McEwan

Snowglobe Cookies



Can you believe there’s less than 3 weeks till Christmas? With that in mind I bring you Snowglobe Cookies!! I first spotted these on Sweet Explorations via Pinterest a few weeks back and had such an urge to make them! They were so much fun to create and decorate, and of course, you can personalise what goes inside the globe. Have fun and happy baking!

Snowglobe Cookies (makes 18)


170g softened Unsalted Butter
225g Caster Sugar
1 large Egg
1tsp Vanilla Paste
300g Plain Flour

For the “glass”
150g Corn Syrup (From Amazon)
220g Caster Sugar

For the decorations
Edible Glue
Edible Red Glitter
White Sugarpaste
Small Black Sprinkles
Small White Sprinkles
Carrot Sprinkles


1. Place 170g softened Unsalted Butter and 225g Caster Sugar into your mixer and cream on high speed for 5 minutes until pale and fluffy.

2. Now add your large Egg and teaspoon of Vanilla Paste and mix on medium speed until fully combined.

3. Finally sieve in 300g Plain Flour on the lowest speed until the dough just starts to come together then stop.

4. Place the dough between two large pieces of cling film and roll out to the thickness of a £1 coin. Slide the dough (still in the cling film) onto a baking tray and pop into the fridge for at least an hour.

5. When ready to cut out your shapes, remove your dough from the fridge & lift off the top layer of cling film & cut out your shapes and place onto another tray lined with greaseproof paper or a silicone baking mat. Using a small circle cutter (mine measured 5cms) cut out a circle in the middle of the globe (this will be where you’ll be filling your sugar glass later). Place back into the fridge for an hour.

6. 10 minutes before you take your tray back out the fridge, preheat your oven to 180C / 160 Fan / 350F and bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies start to turn golden around the edges. Once done, leave on the tray for 10 minutes to cool before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Place some kitchen roll under the rack to help with decorating later!

7. While letting your cookies cool you can get on with the decorations. Lightly dust your worktop with some Cornflour and roll out some White Sugarpaste. Using a mini snowman cutter, cut out your snowmen and set to the side. Use a small paintbrush to dab on where you want to create the snowman’s eyes, nose & buttons and then pop the Small Black Sprinkles and Carrot Sprinkles on and allow to dry.

8. Once your cookies have cooled completely it’s time to add the red sparkly base and make the sugar glass. Paint a thin layer of Edible Glue onto the bottom section of the cookie and gently sprinkle over the Edible Red Glitter and allow to dry for a couple of minutes.

9. The process of making the sugar glass is very simple but as you’ll be dealing with very hot sugar PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!!! Place 150g Corn Syrup and 220g Caster Sugar into a microwaveable jug and give it a good stir before placing into the microwave for 2 & 1/2 minutes. Leave for 1 minute before taking the jug out and carefully giving it a stir to ensure the sugar has been completely incorporated. Then pop back in for another 30 seconds and use immediately.

10. Pour the hot sugar into each of the holes you made in the cookies and then add your Sugarpaste snowmen and finally scatter on your Small White Sprinkles to create a snow scene!



1. If you can’t get hold of the carrot sprinkles you could use Orange Sugarpaste and roll and cut into triangles.

2. If the dough has spread during baking then use your small circle cutter to create the hole shape again.

3. If you don’t want to make the snowmen with Sugarpaste then you could use Royal Icing to pipe onto the sugar glass once it has cooled completely.

4. Have everything you need to decorate your cookies to hand as the sugar glass cools quickly.

5. Try not to pour too much of the sugar glass into the hole. You want whoever is going to eat them to have all their teeth intact! Too thick and it’s impossible to eat!







Melanie, Food Adventurer

by Melanie McEwan

Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies



Oh, hello December….. I’ve been expecting you!! I flipping love Christmas and the whole build up throughout the month. It’s also Wee Food Adventurer’s birthday just before Christmas (cue Angry Birds and Hot Wheels aplenty) so there’s lots to look forward to.

For me, there’s nothing I love more than Christmas baking and as you can tell I didn’t hang about too far into the month to get cracking! It was a pretty perfect yesterday as I baked. I’d decorated the house, it was snowing outside and I had a Christmas film on the telly.

I love the texture of these biscuits, not too crumbly, not too firm and the perfect amount of sweetness…. Oh, and Cranberries for the Christmas touch. Just check out the dough for Pete’s sake! If the dough looks good, you just know the cookies are going to taste awesome!!!


Cranberry & White Chocolate Cookies

INGREDIENTS (makes around 20 cookies)
250g Plain Flour
120g softened Unsalted Butter
70g Caster Sugar
1 large Egg
100g Dried Cranberries
100g White Chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Valrhona which had raspberry chips through it)


1. Place 120g Unsalted Butter and 70g Caster Sugar into your food mixer and cream together for 5 minutes.
2. Now add in the Egg and mix before adding 250g Plain Flour and turn the mixer back on until the dough starts to come together.
3. Finally, add in the White Chocolate and Cranberries (I put the cranberries in whole but feel free to chop roughly before adding). Once combined, stopped mixing.

4. Form your dough into a large flat circle and wrap in cling film before popping into the fridge for an hour.

5. Preheat your oven to 180C / 160C Fan / 350F / Gas 4 and lightly dust your worktop with some Cornflour (this doesn’t dry out your dough like plain flour can). Roll out your dough to around 3mm (the thickness of a pound coin) before using the cutter of your choice to cut out your cookies. Place on a greaseproof lined baking tray (you’ll probably need a couple of trays).

6. Place your trays into the oven for around 12 minutes until the cookies are starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven and transfer the cookies to a cooling rack until cooled completely.




Melanie, Food Adventurer

by Melanie McEwan

Maltesers Reindeer Chocolate Bark


I’ve been quite overwhelmed with the lovely comments since making my Maltesers Reindeer Bark and many of you have asked how to make it. I’m almost embarrassed to call it a “recipe” as it’s made in under 5 minutes but as it’s caused quite a commotion I thought I’d better write a blog piece!


300g Milk Chocolate (any make will do!)
1 pack of Malteser Reindeers
Red M&M’s
Any Christmas sprinkles you like!


1. Break up your Milk Chocolate into squares & place in a microwave bowl & blast for 30 seconds at a time, giving a good stir each time. You want to get to the stage where there’s just little bits of chocolate left to melt. Give it a good stir until it melts into the rest.

2. Pour your Milk Chocolate into a small baking tray lined with greaseproof paper (mine measured 8″ x 8″)

3. Now comes the fun bit!! Pop your Malteser Reindeers onto the chocolate followed by the red M&M’s and your Christmas Sprinkles before popping your tray into the fridge to set.

4. Once set cut into pieces & enjoy!!

Hints & tips

  1. Have all the items you’ll be adding to the bark to hand so that you can start popping them on as soon as you’ve poured the chocolate.
  2. If you only have a larger baking tray then you’ll want to increase the amount of chocolate you use otherwise it won’t cover the base of your tin and be quite thin.



Melanie, Food Adventurer

by Melanie McEwan

Choc Chip Cookie Bars


Round Cookies? Sooooooo last year, bars are definitely the way to go! These little beauties have a slightly crunchy top and a wonderfully chewy bottom, I mean, what’s not to love, right? They’re great with a cup of tea, but I defy you to stop at one!


110g Unsalted Butter
175g Light Soft Brown Sugar
1 Large Egg
1tsp Vanilla Extract / Paste
175g Plain Flour (sifted)
1/2tsp Baking Powder
1/2tsp Salt
1/8tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
130g Chocolate Chips


1. Preheat your oven to 175°c / 160°c Fan / 350°F and line a 9 x 9 (approx) baking tin with greaseproof paper, allowing a little extra paper than you think so it’s easier to lift out once cooled.

2. Place 110g Unsalted Butter in a microwaveable bowl and place into your microwave to melt. (Heat for 30 seconds then remove the bowl and give it a good stir. If there’s still some butter left unmelted, pop back in to heat for a 10 second blast). Once melted leave to the side to cool slightly.

3. Place 175g Light Soft Brown Sugar, 1 large Egg and 1tsp Vanilla Extract into a bowl and pour over the slightly cooled butter

4. Gently mix together. This may take a couple of minutes so don’t panic if the butter looks like it’s ever going to mix in! Start off slowly so that the melted butter doesn’t slosh out onto you!

5. Tip in one third of the 175g Plain Flour, 1/2tsp Baking Powder, 1/2tsp Salt, and 1/8tsp Bicarbonate of Soda into the wet mixture folding in gently until combined. Repeat with the other two thirds of Flour until it’s all thoroughly mixed in.

6. Finally, fold in roughly half of the 130g of Chocolate Chips before scooping the mixture into your baking tin. Place into the oven for 20-25 minutes until the top is crispy and there’s still just a very slight wobble in the centre (this will give you the chewy bottom!)

7. Remove the tin from the oven & leave to cool completely before lifting out by the paper & cutting into bars (the size is your choice!). The bars can be kept in an air-tight container for 3-4 days.







Melanie, Food Adventurer

by Melanie McEwan

Mini Choclolate Pavlova with Bourbon Roasted Cherries


I have to say that I think that chocolate and cherries are one of my favourite combinations, they just go so well together! And by adding something a little boozy into the mix, you can pretty much guarantee that they’ll soon become a household favourite! The Pavlovas are wonderfully crisp on the outside…. but the best bit is the chewy inside…. utterly divine!



Mini Chocolate Pavlovas (makes 8)

4 Large Egg Whites (I used 8tbsp of Two Chicks Egg White Liquid)
75g Dark Chocolate (grated)
225g Caster Sugar
2tbsp Cocoa Powder
Pinch of Salt
1tsp Red Wine Vinegar
400ml Double Cream (to serve)

For the Baked Bourbon Cherries

350g Fresh Cherries (roughly two shop-bought punnets)

1tbsp Caster Sugar

3tbsp Bourbon (any make is just fine!)


1. Preheat the oven to 230°c / 210°c Fan / 450°F and place the Cherries onto an oven proof dish so that they’re in a single layer. Sprinkle over 1tbsp Caster Sugar and 1tbsp Bourbon. Pop into the oven for around 15 minutes (giving the dish a wee shake every 5 minutes) until the Cherries have started to break down. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Once they’ve cooled, remove the stones (be careful of the juice!!) and roughly chop before placing into a jar with the other 2tbsp of Bourbon and all the cherry juice that you have. Place into the fridge while you get on with the meringues.

1. Reduce the temperature of the oven to 180°c / 160°c Fan / 350°F and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.

2. Whisk the 4 Egg Whites & Salt until stiff peaks then, still whisking on high-speed, add the 225g Caster Sugar a spoonful at a time. You’ll hear the mixture getting thicker & it will now be wonderfully glossy.

3. Now add your 2tbsp Cocoa Powder and 1tsp Red Wine Vinegar and mix again on a slow speed to prevent the Cocoa Powder flying back out again! Stop whisking once fully combined before finally gently folding in 50g Grated Chocolate with a large metal spoon (this reduces knocking out the air).

4. Scoop the meringue mixture carefully into a large piping bag with a large open nozzle and pipe 4 nests onto each sheet.

5. Place into the oven, reducing the temperature to 160°c / 140°c Fan / 310°F as soon as you’ve closed the door & bake for 30 minutes, then switch off the oven and leave the trays inside (without opening the door for a sneaky peek) for a further 30 minutes. Remove from the oven & transfer your mini Pavlovas to a cooling rack to cool completely.

6. Once cooled, you can prepare your toppings! Place 400ml of Double Cream into a bowl and whisk until you reach a soft peak stage. Dollop your Cream on top of each Pavlova & finish with a scoop of boozy Cherries, finishing with a final grating of 25g Dark Chocolate.

Hints and tips

– Remove the cherry stones over a bowl so you can collect as much juice as possible.

– If you’re not a fan of cherries then substitute for another fruit, raspberries work particularly well with chocolate!





Melanie, Food Adventurer

by Melanie McEwan

Lemon Meringue Cake



Baking for Mr Food Adventurer’s birthday calls for something special. I know he loves lemon flavoured cakes, so when I spotted this on the BBC Good Food website I knew I’d found the one! Now, please don’t let the amount of steps put you off, it’s a really fabulous cake, fit to take centre stage at any birthday party. This was my first adventure into Italian Meringue making and I have to say it went off without a hitch, just take your time adding the hot syrup and you’ll be fine.

You’re going to love the moistness of the cake, not to mention the fresh taste of lemon that runs through each mouthful, and the meringue topping makes such a light alternative to buttercream.

INGREDIENTS (serves 16)

For the Caramel Sugar Syrup

85g Caster Sugar

50ml Boiled Water


For the Cake

300g Unsalted Butter (softened)

200g Caster Sugar

75g Light Muscovado Sugar

300g Self Raising Flour

5 Medium Eggs (beaten)

25g Cornflour

1tsp Baking Powder

Zest of 4 Lemons


For the Italian Meringue

300g Caster Sugar

6 medium Egg Whites

1/2tsp Cream of Tartar


Lemon Curd you can find a fab recipe from Jammy Blog here


1. First, we’re going to make the Caramel Sugar Syrup. Heat 85g Caster Sugar in a pan over a medium heat until it melts and starts to caramelise. DO NOT STIR UNTIL THIS POINT (sorry for the shouty capital letters but I needed to get your attention!). Now stir until the syrup is smooth and a gorgeous deep golden colour. Remove from the heat and CAREFULLY pour in 50ml Boiling Water. It will get angry at you so take your time and show it who’s boss. 😉 As soon as you’ve poured the water in, stir to combine then pour immediately into a heatproof jug then top up the syrup with boiling water until you have a total of 100ml. Leave to one side to cool while you make the cake.

2. Preheat your oven to 180°C / 160° Fan / Gas Mark 3 and grease 3 x 20cm sandwich tins before lining the bases and sides with baking parchment.

3. Add 300g softened Unsalted Butter, 200g Caster Sugar and 75g Light Muscovado Sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk (or stand mixer) until light and fluffy (this will take around 5 minutes). Mix in 1tbsp of the 300g Self Raising Flour then add 5 Eggs, one at a time, beating until each is combined before adding in the next.

4. In a separate bowl, place the rest of the Self Raising Flour, 25g Cornflour and 1tsp Baking Powder along with the zest of 4 Lemons and 1/2tsp Salt and give a little mix before folding into the wet mixture along with your cooled Caramel Sugar Syrup.

5. Split your cake mixture between the 3 sandwich tins, levelling the tops with the back of a wet spoon. Place into the oven for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in their tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack and peeling off the parchment and leaving to cool completely.

6. Now we’re going to assemble the cake in preparation for the Italian Meringue topping. Place one of your sponges the right way up on a serving plate or cake board and top with a level layer of Curd, leaving around 1cm from the edge of the cake uncovered. Gently place the next sponge on top and repeat with the curd before placing the final sponge upside down on top.

7. To make the Italian Meringue, put 300g Caster Sugar and 175ml Water in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over a high heat, continuing to boil until it reaches 115c on a sugar thermometer (you need to watch this like a hawk as the temperature will stick for what feels like forever then all of a sudden it will jump up). You can, however, get on with the other part of the meringue. If you have a stand mixer, this is the time to use it, otherwise an electric hand whisk is fine. Place 6 medium Egg Whites and 1/2tsp Cream of Tartar into a bowl and whisk until you reach a soft peak stage. Once you get to this point whack the speed up to the maximum and very slowly trickle in the hot syrup. The meringue will begin to thicken (you’ll hear it as you whisk) and go lovely and glossy after around 10 minutes. Keep the whisk going full pelt until it starts to cool, and is still just warm. That’s it! You’ve just made Italian Meringue!!

8. Use the Meringue straight away as it’s easier to spread while warm. Using a palette knife, spread a thin layer of Meringue around the side of the cake to level it up, then spread an even layer of about 3mm (the height of a £1 coin) over the top of the cake. Now place the remaining meringue into a large piping bag, fitted with a small star nozzle) and start to pipe vertical columns up the side of the cake, ensuring that you finish each line of piping level with the top of the cake. Lastly, pipe wee meringue stars on top of each column (if you have a cake turntable or cake stand then this is a bonus so you can turn the cake as you pipe).

9. Ok, I promise this is the last stage, and it’s an important one for the overall look of the cake. Brown the meringue using a kitchen blowtorch and then devour!




Hints and tips

– The cake will keep for 3 days in the fridge.

– Please ensure that you pour your hot syrup into your meringue REALLY SLOWLY. Take your time with this stage and you will have perfect Italian Meringue.

– Don’t stress over your piping work, even if you’re not confident. Once you’ve used the blowtorch, it takes the cake to a whole new dimension… definitely the wow factor!

– If your sugar hardens when making the Caramel Sugar Syrup (like mine did!!), don’t panic and think it’s a complete right off. Put the pan back onto the heat for a few minutes and it will melt again.



Melanie, Food Adventurer


















by Melanie McEwan

Jammy Bodger’s Peanut Butter & Jam Cookies



I’m so excited to introduce to you my latest guest blog! I was virtually introduced to Mel (great name I might add) of Jammy Bodger last year and quickly became a fan of her recipes, so much so that I bought her book! Facebook and social media in general gets a lot of criticism but without it I wouldn’t have known about Mel and her jamming. You can find Jammy Bodger over on Facebook, so please pop over and say hi and check out her fab book while you’re there! So, it’s over to you Mel!


Who says peanut butter and jam is just for kids ? As a child I certain didn’t appreciate the fighting combination of salty crunch versus sweet and fruity. In fact I’m not sure it even occurred to me to try it. But now I love crunchy Nut Butter on Toast topped with a dollop of home made jam. Plus this is one of the only times (err.. the only time) I would actually recommend Strawberry Jam as it’s slightly cloying sweetness is beautifully balanced by the peanut butter.

 So what better than to work this flavour combination into cookies. I love a slightly chewy cookie although as you can see from the photo I’ve not got the most exciting cookie cutters, this is where Melanie’s Food Adventures excels. I experimented (by that I mean I ate) lots of these cookies and definitely the jammy thumb prints were my favourite. If you’d rather leave out the jam then add 50g more sugar to your biscuits and indulge in a slightly fatter cookie shape.

 The dough is easiest to handle if it’s left in the fridge overnight then there are loads of different ways to roll out and shape. You could roll it into a sausage shape wrap it in cling film and leave it overnight to firm up before cutting it with a sharp knife. Or keep the dough balled overnight in a bowl covered with a damp tea towel and then roll it into small balls using the palms of your hands, press the balls down into a rounder, flatter, shapes on the tray and then decorate to your (or your little baking buddie’s) hearts content.

 I used the tip of an icing piping bag to make my thumbprints but use anything you’ve got to hand (ha ha yes I know such as your thumb). The dough is quite fragile so if your dough is sticking either dip your shaping utensil into a cup of hot water then shake off the excess, or if you are cutting dip into flour before using. If you want to make the cookies straight away without popping the dough in the fridge go for the balling option and just press down onto the tray.

 This is also a great recipe for using up under or over set jam. Yep that still happens to even old hands at jam making. With under set jam, heat a small jars worth of jam in a saucepan, then in a bowl mix 1 Tbsp of jam with 1 Tbsp of cornflour until it forms a thick paste, add the rest of the jam to the paste and mix thoroughly, then pop it back into the saucepan and heat until it thickens up loverly. This also intensifies the jam flavour. If it’s over set simply use it as it is, but if it’s totally immobile warm it with 1 Tbsp of water to get to a dolloping consistency.

 I hope you love these cookies as much as I do. I spent two days eating loads then within a day found I was craving them again, so yep they taste good!



I also make a Paleo Version check it out here




Peanut Butter & Jam Cookies

140g / 1 Cup Plain Flour

½ Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

½ Tsp Baking Powder

250g / 1 Cup Crunchy Peanut Butter

115g / ½ Cup Butter (either warmed in microwave or left on sunny windowsill)

250g / 1 ¼ Cup Light Brown Sugar

1 Egg Free Range

1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

½ Jar or Jam



1. Sieve all your dry ingredients except the sugar into a large bowl and set aside.

2. In a separate bowl cream the butter and sugar together. Mix in the egg, peanut butter and vanilla extract.

3. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.

4. Bring the mixture together into a large ball, cover with a damp tea towel and place in the fridge.

(Time Passes)

5. Pre – heat your oven to 180°C/350°F / Gas Mark 4. And grease 2 large baking trays.

6. Either roll your dough out trying not to add too much flour or roll into small balls and then press down on the baking sheet making a dip in the middle for jammy thumbprints.

7. Dollop the jam into your jammy thumbprints.

8. Bake in the oven for 8 – 10 minutes until they are just turning golden around the edges.

9. Leave your cookies to cool on the tray for 2 – 3 minutes to cool before transferring the cookies to the cooling rack.

10. When cool either eat or sandwich small biscuits together with jam and then eat.






by Melanie McEwan

Sweetcorn, Chipotle & Lime Soup


I fell in love with this soup as soon as I spotted the recipe online. A smoky, spicy soup with sweetcorn and lime…. I was in heaven! The fact it was a recipe from the fabulously talented Yotam Ottolenghi had nothing everything to do with it! It’s incredibly easy to make and will make the perfect lunch or starter to a meal. Imagine heating up a bowl at work for your lunch…. just wait for the envious looks from colleagues!


3tbsp Olive Oil

4 Shallots (peeled and chopped)

2 Garlic cloves

3 Celery Sticks (cut into 1cm pieces)

1tsp Ground Cumin

1/4tsp Ground Coriander

400g Pumkin/Butternut Squash (peeled and cut into 1cm pieces)

2 Bay Leaves

3 Lime Leaves (fresh or dried is fine)

1ltr Water

1 dried Chipotle Chilli (soaked in boiling water for 15 minutes)

4 Sweetcorn cobs (kernels shaved off) (or 2 tins of sweetcorn or frozen will do)

160g Soured Cream

3 Limes (halved)

Handful of fresh Coriander leaves



1. Heat 3tbsp Olive Oil in a medium pan and add the Shallots, Garlic, Celery, 1tsp Ground Cumin, 1/4tsp Ground Coriander and a small pinch of Salt. Sauté for 12-14 minutes until the vegetables are soft.

2. Now add the Pumpkin/Butternut Squash, Bay Leaves, Lime Leaves and Water.

3. Squeeze the water from the Chipotle Chilli and roughly chop up before adding it to the soup (feel free to add the seeds from the chilli too if you can handle the heat!)

4. Bring your soup to the boil before allowing to simmer for 15 minutes (or until the Pumkin/Butternut Squash is soft). Add the Sweetcorn and cook for a further 5 minutes.

5. Using a slotted spoon, remove around half of the vegetables along with the Bay and Lime leaves. Blitz the remaining soup until silky smooth before remaining the other half back to the pan. Bring back to a simmer and then add 80g Soured Cream and season to taste.

6. To serve, divide the soup into 6 bowls, squeeze 1/2 a Lime over the top of each portion and finish with a tablespoon of Soured Cream into the centre of each and scatter over some torn up Coriander leaves.

Sweetcorn Soup8

Sweetcorn Soup3

Sweetcorn Soup9



Melanie, Food Adventurer




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