Food

limpets in bowl

Limpet Love – Limpet Chowder Recipe

Earlier this year, engineers found that limpets’ teeth were strongest biological material ever tested. Limpets use a tongue bristling with tiny teeth to scrape food off rocks and into their mouths.   The limpet has long been a symbol of prosperity and regeneration, admired for its tenacity.  The tenacity of … Continue reading

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winkles on balcony

Sweet and Sour Winkles

A perfect seaside appetiser to serve with drinks around a beach bonfire as the sun sets. This recipe is for around 100 winkles. Adjust accordingly if more or less gathered. Ingredients Winkles Juice of a lemon 50ml approx of water Few glugs of wine (optional) Either splash of Sweet Thai … Continue reading

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ceviche ingredients

Mackerel Ceviche

Ceviche is part of Peru’s national heritage and has even had a holiday declared in its honour.  Summer days fishing on the coast can often result in a glut of mackerel.  Ceviche is a great way to use fresh mackerel and can even be prepared fresh on the beach if you bring … Continue reading

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seasalt fudge

Rosemary Sea Salt Fudge

For me, fudge is a great indulgent treat to have with a cup of tea. I use coconut sugar to replace normal sugar, as not only is it a healthier option but also gives a great roundness to the flavour of your fudge. Not only does the rosemary add a … Continue reading

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cleavers, sticky weed savvy student sienna somers

Sticky weed: The new superfood?

Cleavers, sticky weed, goose grass, Galium aparine grows abundantly in towns, parks, roadsides has many names and is easily identifiable as the weed which made long childhood walks bearable by seeing how long the weed could stick to a family members back without them noticing, or rolling into a ball and pelting … Continue reading

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Shortbread about to be cooked

Coconut Sugar Shortbread

The Wikipedia description of shortbread is deceptively simple:  Shortbread is a type of biscuit  traditionally made from one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour (by weight). Originally recipes were apparently made from leftover bread and contained oatmeal and yeast. If it really were that simple to make … Continue reading

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Cooked buns

Cinnamon Buns

For me, Cinnamon is the holy grail of spices, not only is it utterly delicious, it has an plethora of health benefits. From aiding weight loss by increasing circulation to having great anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties. From a day to day basis, I enjoy cinnamon in my life, from cinnamon tea, you can … Continue reading

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rhubarb pudding in bowl

A Different Rhubarb Pudding

It’s that time of year when you might have a glut of rhubarb in your garden all going to seed, so it is a good time to harvest it. Although I love fresh, chilled rhubarb recipes like rhubarb and ginger wine syllabub, the chilly weather this week means it is … Continue reading

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mussels

Want to get ‘Mussel’y?

Scramble along one of Britain’s many rocky shores, and your not hard pushed to find a multitude of different marine invertebrates.  Many of which are not only edible but absolutely delicious! On my recent stroll down a small but diverse rocky coastal path, I came across several rock faces covered head-to-toe in mussels. From … Continue reading

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rosehips

Smoked Rosehip Chilli Jelly

Smoked Rosehip Chilli Jelly is a variation on rosehip jelly, but with a subtle kick.  I find it a perfect accompaniment to roasted squash or sweet potatoes and it is an invaluable addition to sticky spare ribs or, indeed, almost any roast pork dish.   I tend to make this … Continue reading

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Limpet Love – Limpet Chowder Recipe

Earlier this year, engineers found that limpets’ teeth were strongest biological material ever tested. Limpets use a tongue bristling with tiny teeth to scrape food off rocks and into their mouths.  

limpets in bowl

The limpet has long been a symbol of prosperity and regeneration, admired for its tenacity.  The tenacity of a limpet is also spoken of in a pejorative sense, as in ‘clinging like a limpet.’ Interestingly, the Oxford English Dictionary  refers to ‘officials alleged to be superfluous but clinging to their offices.’ In 1905, Lord Spencer apparently had some pertinent criticisms to make of the Limpet Government.

limpets on rocks

Foraging for limpets entails a bit of effort and preferable a sharp blade to prise from the rocks, although a sharp stone will work if you go the beach unprepared.

Ingredients

Serves 2

Around 40 limpets
2 potatoes diced into 1 cm squares
1 shallot
1 chopped red pepper
1 diced carrot
Half an ear of sweetcorn or small can
Small handful of chopped sea lettuce
200ml water
1 Tbls butter
1 clove of garlic
125g milk
Pinch of thyme
Lemon zest
Salt and Pepper

Recipe

  • Wash the limpets, removing any debris. Put limpets in a pan with a 100ml water and bring to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes and leave to cool.
  • When limpets are cool enough to handle, pull from the shells and separate the black sack from the meaty foot of the winkle. Discard the black sack. Dice the foot of the limpet.
  • Put butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add diced potatoes, one finely chopped shallot, chopped red pepper, a diced carrot, a chopped clove of garlic, half an ear of corn (or small can), zest of a lemon and a pinch of thyme.
  • Sauté for a few minutes until lightly browned. Add 100ml white wine and 100 ml water and continue to cook until potatoes are soft.
  • Add chopped sea lettuce and limpets. Add milk. Bring to the boil and add a dash of Tabasco sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Limpet chowder

Sweet and Sour Winkles


bonfire

A perfect seaside appetiser to serve with drinks around a beach bonfire as the sun sets.

This recipe is for around 100 winkles. Adjust accordingly if more or less gathered.

Winkles by rock pools, Branscombe beach

Ingredients

Winkles
Juice of a lemon
50ml approx of water
Few glugs of wine (optional)
Either splash of Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce or 1 Tsp Hot Chilli powder
Few drops of Red Hot pepper sauce or Tabasco
2 Tbls Fairtrade Dark Brown Sugar
Lingham’s Ginger Garlic Chilli Sauce (optional)
1 Tbls Olive oil
Pinch of salt

winkle ingredients

Recipe

  • First, forage your winkles.
  • Put the winkles in a large saucepan, add approximately 50ml of water and a few glugs of wine (if you have some around) to give you about a centimetre of liquid in the bottom of the pan.
  • Bring to the boil, put a lid on the pan and steam for around 5 minutes until cooked. Pour off the excess water and save it for poaching limpets (see my next recipe)
  • Add Sweet Thai Chilli Sauce if you have it. Otherwise add chilli pepper, a a few drops of Red Hot chilli pepper sauce or Tabasco to taste.If you happen to have Lingham’s Ginger Garlic Chilli Sauce in stock, add this now. Add the olive oil, brown sugar and pinch of salt.
  • Add the juice of a lemon.

Toss well and serve with toothpicks or skewers for extracting the winkles.  Serve as the sun sets.

winkles on balcony

Mackerel Ceviche

raw mackerel

Ceviche is part of Peru’s national heritage and has even had a holiday declared in its honour.  Summer days fishing on the coast can often result in a glut of mackerel.  Ceviche is a great way to use fresh mackerel and can even be prepared fresh on the beach if you bring the ingredients in a cooler.

My ceviche was made from a beach hut overlooking the beach in Branscombe after watching the rare occurrence of mackerel almost beaching themselves after chasing in a shoal of whitebait.  The whitebait could be picked up from the pebbles and the mackerel scooped up by the bucket.  Usually, however, catching the fish may require a little more effort!

filleted mackerel

The culinary theory behind ceviche is that the citric acid in the lime juice denatures the proteins which is essentially separating out the amino acids, imitating the effect of cooking the mackerel using heat.

ceviche ingredients

Ingredients:

2 mackerel
2 limes
3 spring onions
handful of cherry tomatoes
Few tbls olive oil
Chilli sauce/hot sauce/chilli flakes
Salt and pepper to taste

Ceviche ingredients in bowl

The recipe is simple:

1. Slice or dice your mackerel, spring onions and cherry tomatoes.

2. Mix together the juice of your two limes with the olive oil. Stir in the rest of your ingredients.  Leave to marinade in the fridge for an hour or longer.

Ceviche on plate

Health benefits:

Mackerel is rich in essential vitamins, oils and minerals.  Mackerel strengthens the immune system, prevents the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as it enhances memory performance, improves the condition of the blood which promotes better heart health and can reduce the risk of some cancers, as well as impeding their spread.

Rosemary Sea Salt Fudge

seasalt fudge

For me, fudge is a great indulgent treat to have with a cup of tea. I use coconut sugar to replace normal sugar, as not only is it a healthier option but also gives a great roundness to the flavour of your fudge.

Not only does the rosemary add a great taste, sniffing or ingesting rosemary has been scientifically proven to to enhance your memory. Rosemary has been associated with memory retention for centuries.

rosemary

 

I recommend making this fudge around exam periods, to increase your retention of information for an exam. Also try drinking Rosemary tea, which is a great tasting and refreshing drink – add a little honey to taste. Rosemary can be found frequently overhanging walls, I even found a massive bush right outside my lecture theatre!

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” (Hamlet, iv. 5.)

 

 

Sienna making fudge
Ingredients

1 can condensed milk
500g coconut sugar (you can granulated sugar)
4tbls unsalted butter
120ml water
two large sprigs of rosemary (you could replace with any other herb such as Lavender or fennel if preferred)
few drops vanilla essence
1/2 tsp sea salt

1. Strip the leaves from two sprigs of rosemary and bruise in a pestle and mortar to release the oils.  Put the leaves in a tea ball, or muslin.

2. Choose a large pan with a heavy base.  Dangle the tea ball or muslin bag filled with rosemary into the saucepan. I attached mine to the handle with an elastic band.

ingredients fudge in pan

3. Mix together the condensed milk, coconut sugar, butter and water and stir with a wooden spoon as you bring it to the boil.  Once the fudge starts to boil, stir it for around half an hour, ensuring you get into the bottom of the pan so the mixture doesn’t stick.  After half an hour the fudge should be noticeably stickier. If you have used coconut sugar you won’t be able to see the difference in colour, but with normal granulated sugar you will notice the mixture darken.

boiling fudge

4. Once the mixture has thickened and reduced in size, remove from the heat, add a few drops of vanilla essence, and beat for a minute.  Pour the mixture quickly into a pre-greased baking tray – if you leave it too long it will start to stick to the sides of the pan.

fudge after stirring

5. Flatten the top of the mixture and sprinkle the sea salt over the top, pushing it in slightly to the mixture.

6. Leave for several hours to cool until it feels firm (although we were picking at it from the moment it left the pan!)

 Eat and enjoy.  Make some more….

Sticky weed: The new superfood?

cleavers, sticky weed savvy student sienna somers

Cleavers, sticky weed, goose grass, Galium aparine grows abundantly in towns, parks, roadsides has many names and is easily identifiable as the weed which made long childhood walks bearable by seeing how long the weed could stick to a family members back without them noticing, or rolling into a ball and pelting it at each other. Apart from these recreational uses, it’s also drinkable. From the same family as coffee, G. Aparine can be used to produce drinks and ointments.

 

To create a substitute coffee, you can gather the small seeds from inside the small burrs and roast them. However, due to the quantity needed for this coffee, it takes a significant amount of time in order to get a decent batch of coffee.

However, you can dry the leaves (so you can store the plant for longer amounts of time) and you can pour boiling water over the leaves, creating a herbal tea. I usually add teaspoonful of  honey which makes it an enjoyable drink.

cleavers, sticky weed savvy student sienna somerscleavers, sticky weed savvy student sienna somers

 

 

 

Consumption of cleavers has been linked to weight loss. It has been associated with cleansing and detoxing of the body for may years, even being used as a slimming regime in the sixteenth century!

 

It is also edible, it can be used in a similar way that you would cook spinach, for example by steaming it.

I’ve started adding Cleavers to my Green Smoothies to pack a lot nutritional value into my smoothie but without breaking my bank.

You can create a toner by soaking the plants in cold water overnight. This has many uses, from clearing the complexion, helping eczema, removing dandruff and soothing burns. I apply some with an organic cotton pad to my face in the evenings.


Coconut Sugar Shortbread

The Wikipedia description of shortbread is deceptively simple:  Shortbread is a type of biscuit  traditionally made from one part white sugar, two parts butter, and three parts flour (by weight). Originally recipes were apparently made from leftover bread and contained oatmeal and yeast.

If it really were that simple to make shortbread, the Guardian wouldn’t have needed to publish an article entitled How To Make the Perfect Shortbread. The variations are dizzying:

The flour: Plain flour, or plain flour mixed with wholemeal? Do you include some rice flour for a little added crunch? What about cornflour to give that melt in the mouth texture?

The butter: chilled or soft? Or even somewhere in-between maybe?

And beyond the basics, what about the extra ingredients? Ayrshire shortbread demands cream and eggs.  I have read recipes for variations such as dark chocolate espresso shortbread and lemon chamomile shortbread, neither of which sounds at all enticing.  Sometimes simple recipes are best kept simple.

Shortbread on plate

Having said that, reluctant as I am to tamper with such a classic, the addition of lavender to this recipe certainly brings in an added dimension. I like it both with and without.

I try to avoid gluten and white sugar where possible, so my challenge was to create a shortbread recipe with healthier ingredients, but which lost none of the simplicity, flavour and texture of the original. My recipe uses coconut sugar which gives the shortbread a delicious flavour.  I also used a mixture of tapioca and rice flour.

12 portions or biscuits

5 oz/ 140g tapioca flour
1 oz/30g rice flour
4 oz/115g butter at room temperature
2 0z/55g coconut sugar
Pinch of salt if using unsalted butter
1 tablespoon lavender, stripped from the stalk (optional)

Sugar to dust if you wish

1. Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas Mark 2.

2. Put the butter int a large mixing bowl and beat until soft. You can use an electric whisk or a wooden spoon.

3. Beat in the coconut sugar and salt. If you do want to add the lavender, now is the time to do so.

4. Add both types of flour and mix until it forms a smooth dough.  Add a little more soft butter if the mixture doesn’t come together.

3. Line a 15cm round tin with greaseproof paper.  You can  roll out your dough but I usually prefer to pat mine into shape in the tray. The Guardian recipe I followed originally suggested you roll it out to 1cm thick but this took a long time to cook, so if you are short on time I would recommend you roll it a little thinner. Put in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.

4. When you take it out of the fridge, prick the dough with a fork to release the air and to create the traditional holes on top of the shortbread.  Mark out the slices with a knife, but don’t cut all the way through.

Shortbread about to be cooked

5. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes until cooked through. Remove from the oven and immediately cut into slices.

6. Allow to cool slightly and then transfer to a wire rack. Once cold, transfer to a plate and sprinkle with sugar.  It will keep for several days… although it probably won’t have the chance to do so!

Enjoy!

tea and shortbread

 

Cinnamon Buns

For me, Cinnamon is the holy grail of spices, not only is it utterly delicious, it has an plethora of health benefits. From aiding weight loss by increasing circulation to having great anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties. From a day to day basis, I enjoy cinnamon in my life, from cinnamon tea, you can either just pour boiling water over a cinnamon stick or I enjoy Pukka tea’s Liquorice and Cinnamon Tea, I also add a sprinkle of cinnamon over yogurt or mixed with oats and fruit for breakfast.

Home baked cinnamon buns are a good way to get cinnamon into your diet as they’re irresistibly moreish, and by making them yourself, you can monitor the amount of sugar and adjust the recipe to suit you. Sometimes I change the flour to be 50/50 plain flour to rice or Tapioca flour and I often change caster sugar to coconut sugar or honey which is a healthier alternative. I also add Cardamon which creates another dimension of flavour but you can remove this if you prefer.

Cinnamon and Cardamon coconut sugar buns – a twist on the classic Swedish cinnamon buns

Great for breakfast or afternoon tea.

Cooked buns

Makes 8 buns – double the recipe for 16

Dough
50g unsalted butter (room temperature)
65g coconut sugar
350g plain flour
Half a sachet of dried instant yeast (9g)
150ml milk
Half a beaten egg (you will use the other half for the glaze)
Small pinch salt

Filling
45g coconut sugar
75g unsalted butter (room temperature)
Half to One Tablespoon of Cardamom according to taste
2 Tablespoons of cinnamon

Glaze
Half a beaten egg
Syrup to glaze (this can be a sugar syrup with a little hot water or, if you have it, golden syrup or agave syrup.
Dusting of sugar – I used granulated as the white sugar looked pretty against the crisp top of the buns, but you could use coconut sugar again.

Method

1. Cream butter and sugar together.  Add the egg to the creamed mixture and beat for a minute or two.

2.Sift the flour if you want to, I didn’t bother, and stir in the yeast and salt.  Alternately add a few spoons of flour and a splash of milk until all added.  If you have a mixer with a dough attachment, or a bread maker, you can use this, or knead by hand for 15 minutes until the dough is elastic.  Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel or cling film and put somewhere warm to rise. If your house is cold, you could heat the oven to a low temperature, put the bowl in and turn off the heat.

3. While the dough is rising, cream together the butter and sugar for the filling, crush the cardamom pods to remove seeds and give them a quick squash in a pestle and mortar if you have one.

4. After about an hour, take the dough out of the bowl and shape into a rectangle. Roll it out (a wine bottle with the label removed will do if you don’t have a rolling pin) to about 2cm thick.   Spread the sugar/butter filling over the central part of your dough rectangle. If you get too near the edges it all squidges out.  Sprinkle your cinnamon over the top and then add a few pinches of cardamon.

Dough with filling

5. Fold in half one way and then in half again the other way.  Roll out the dough again until it is about 2cm thick.  It doesn’t matter if some of the filling gets on the outside of the dough.

6. Cut into 8 strips.  Take one strip in your hand, wrap it around two fingers of your other hand, take it off and tuck the outer end through the centre of the bun so it looks a bit like a knot.

Dough rolls

7. Put the buns onto a tray lined with baking paper, or just grease a tray with butter if you don’t have baking paper to hand.

8. Put the dough knots back somewhere warm for a further 45 minutes.

9. Put the tray in the oven Gas Mark 5, 200C, 400F for 10-15 minutes. You want the buns just slightly brown on top.

10. Remove from the oven, brush with the syrup and dust with sugar.

Try not to eat them all at once.

 

Bun on plate with tea

A Different Rhubarb Pudding

It’s that time of year when you might have a glut of rhubarb in your garden all going to seed, so it is a good time to harvest it. Although I love fresh, chilled rhubarb recipes like rhubarb and ginger wine syllabub, the chilly weather this week means it is time for something a bit more comforting.

rhubarb pudding in bowlRhubarb is one of the least calorific vegetables (yes, it is technically a vegetable) and the stalks are rich in B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), thiamin and pantothenic acid. Pink rhubarb stalks contain more vitamin-A than the green varieties which is a powerful natural anti-oxidant and great for your skin.

Rhubarb also contains high levels of Vitamin K. According to the Alzheimers.net vitamin K has recently been identified as a key anti-ageing vitamin, helping to keep heart disease, alzheimers, osteoporosis and certain kinds of cancer at bay.

Firstly, let me warn you that this is a bit of an odd recipe. Pouring boiling water over the top of a pudding seems like a very strange thing to do, as does mixing cornflour with sugar for the topping, but it works. It is also a really fast and easy recipe and tastes delicious.

Rhubarb in dish

For the Pudding:

  • 400g (14oz) approx of Rhubarb. You can add more or less, it won’t affect the recipe.
  • 125g (4½ oz) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • good pinch of salt
  • 115g (4oz) coconut sugar
  • 80ml milk
  • 45g (1½oz) melted butter
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract

For the Topping:

  • 125g125g (4½ oz)  coconut sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 225ml boiling water

1. Preheat oven to gas mark 4/180C/350F

2. Put the rhubarb in a reasonably large pudding dish. I used a deep, round, 25cm dish. You can use fresh rhubarb from your garden – it is so easy to grow and, as it’s a perennial, it comes up every year with no effort on your part. I used some pre-cooked frozen rhubarb. If using fresh, I would cook just for a couple of minutes in the microwave or oven first of all.

3. Whisk or beat together the flour, baking powder, salt, coconut sugar, milk, melted butter and vanilla extract. You can just pour it in all together. I used an electric mixer but I think a wooden spoon would work fine.  Spoon the batter mixture over the top of the rhubarb and smooth it out so all the rhubarb is covered.

4. Mix together the coconut sugar and cornflour topping and sprinkle over the top of the batter.

5. Pour the boiling water all over the top of everything.  You will get a pool of water sitting on top of the batter. Don’t stir it!

6. Be very careful putting this into the oven. Bake for around an hour. You want a good colour on top.

7. Eat with cream, yoghurt or mascarpone.  Really easy and really delicious.

Want to get ‘Mussel’y?

Scramble along one of Britain’s many rocky shores, and your not hard pushed to find a multitude of different marine invertebrates.  Many of which are not only edible but absolutely delicious!
Rocky shore of coast of st mawes sienna somers

On my recent stroll down a small but diverse rocky coastal path, I came across several rock faces covered head-to-toe in mussels. From October to march is the prime time for picking mussels, so whether you venture for a day to the sea or live in vicinity of a good rocky shore, be sure to keep an eye out for mussels.

Mussels are said to be the most sustainable source of Omega-3 which you can eat.

Mussels at helford estuary by sienna somers savvy student

While mussels may not directly get you muscly, they may help you get brainy! Mussels contain high levels of both Vitamin B12 and two highly desirable long chain fatty acids (Omega-3’s) which both contribute to improving brain function. Mussels also contain high levels of essential macronutrients such as Zinc (helps build immunity), Iron (used in red blood cells to transport blood around our bodies) and Selenium (helps to prevent cell damage) .

 The classic way to serve mussels is in a french Moules marinière, often accompanied with hand-cooked chips,  the frites.
  1. Firstly scrub your desired amount of mussels and tap them on the side of the kitchen sink as you remove their beards and barnacles. If they refuse to close then chuck them away. Any severly cracked or chipped shells should go, too.
  2. Put the mussels into a large pot with 250ml of white wine, a sprig of thyme and a crushed clove of garlic and a small palmful of chopped parsley. Put the lid on tight and bring the mussels up to boiling point.
  3. As soon as the mussels start to open, which should only take a minute or two, they are ready.
  4. Serve with home made chips, roasted with a bit of rosemary. You may also want some bread to accompany it to mop up all the juices.
  5. Finally, tuck in and enjoy!

mussels

 

Smoked Rosehip Chilli Jelly

Smoked Rosehip Chilli Jelly is a variation on rosehip jelly, but with a subtle kick.  I find it a perfect accompaniment to roasted squash or sweet potatoes and it is an invaluable addition to sticky spare ribs or, indeed, almost any roast pork dish.

 

Rosehips in pan

I tend to make this in fairly small batches as, although I use it a lot, you need such a small amount that a couple of jars will go a long way.  This recipe is adapted from one by River Cottage for rosehip and apple jelly.

Ingredients (makes 2-3 large jars)  If you have more rosehips, scale up the recipe accordingly.

1lb 10oz (750g) cooking apples or crab apples.  This is about two very large cooking apples.
9oz (250g) rosehips
16oz (450g) granulated sugar

Chilli: according to taste and availability. I used:
1 large, dried ancho chilli
2 small, dried chipotle chilli
A few pinches of smoked paprika
This combination will bring heat and depth, but any fresh, dried or powdered chilli combination will work.

1. Rinse the rosehips and remove stalks and leaves. Chop roughly by hand or in food processor.  Rinse and roughly chop the apples, keeping core and skin on as you need these for the pectin.

2. Put in a pan with about a pint of water (600ml) Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recommends cooking them all together but I found that the rosehips took longer, so I added these first and then put my apples in when the rosehips started to feel tender as the apples will be cooked in no time. Simmer until all the fruit is soft and pulpy.

3. Strain. This is the part which may be hard for students if you don’t have a kitchen equipped with such things as jelly bags.  However, almost any gauzy material would work and you can lay it in a sieve over a bowl.  I bet even an old pair of tights would make a perfect jam sieve! To sterilise the cloth, just pour some boiling water over it before using (especially if using old tights!)  Let the juice drip through.  Don’t be tempted to push it through or squeeze the fabric or you will get cloudy jelly. Yes, it looks absolutely disgusting at this stage!

Sieving rosehip & apple

4. The next day, measure the juice.  You should have about a pint (600ml)  If not, add water to make it up to this quantity.

5. The chilli part of this recipe is entirely down to your personal taste and availability of chilli.  Remove the seeds from the chilli if using fresh or dried chilli.  Chop the chilli finely or blitz in a food processor. Put in a small bowl and add about 100ml of boiling water and leave to soak for a few minutes. Mix into a paste. Don’t add the smoked paprika yet.

Chillis

6. Bring to the boil and add the sugar.  Then add the chilli paste mix.  Boil for about 10 minutes or until the jelly reaches setting point.  When it looks almost ready, add the smoked paprika to taste. This way you can monitor the chilli heat and can keep adding a sprinkle until you reach a heat which suits you.

Sugar into pan

7. The best way to test this is to have a couple of old jam lids or something similar which you have put in the freezer to cool.  Put a drop of the jelly on the cold jam lid and leave for a minute.  If it starts to wrinkle when you push it, it is ready.  If not, wash that jam lid and put back in the freezer.  Use the other lid next time and keep alternating them until you know that the jam is set. There is nothing more frustrating than thinking it is ready and then having to boil it all up again when you have bottled it and found it doesn’t set.

8. Skim any scum from the top of the jelly and pour into sterilised jars. The easiest way to do this is to leave jars and lids in the oven for about 10 minutes. Seal the jars, wipe the outside and label when cool and dry.

9. Spread on roast pork, ribs, squash, sweet potato. Delicious!

Smoked chilli jelly