Roasted Jalapeno and Lime Cream Cheese

We love bagels with plain cream cheese in my house, but I’m always looking for ways to be a little more creative and add other ingredients.

Roasted jalapeno cream cheese

You can buy flavoured cream cheese, but I am always a little disappointed by the flavour. Perhaps it’s because it has sat on the shelf of the supermarket for a while. Using fresh ingredients is always going to taste better and the options are endless.

This is a spicy recipe and so quick to make if you use a gas hob. I have been burning the skins off peppers over gas flames since I saw Jamie Oliver do it many, many years ago, but they can always be roasted under a hot grill or in the oven. So much quicker over the flame though!

Burnt chilli

I have used jalapeno peppers which aren’t super spicy, but it’s always best to taste the chilli to find out just how hot it is first. I used two for this recipe and they add a lovely spicy, smoky flavour that works well with the zesty, fresh lime. An additional 60 grams of cheddar cheese also works well in this too, but I would have cucumber or salad leaves rather than smoked salmon if I added extra cheese.

Ingredients:
1-2 fat fresh jalapeno chilli peppers – depending on how spicy you like it
1 lime
280g pack of good quality cream cheese – I used Philadelphia full fat
2tbs fresh dill – chopped
Freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt

Method:
Prick the chillies all over and using metal tongs, place directly onto a gas flame and burn the skin until it is black all over. If you don’t prick the skin, the chillies can explode!

When the chillies are completely black, place in a plastic bag or a bowl covered with plastic and leave to cool down and steam.

When they are cool enough to handle, rub off the skins, remove the seeds and finely chop.

Roasted jalapeno cream cheese1

Add the peppers and seasonings to the cream cheese. Stir in the zest of the lime and then add the juice of half of it. Stir to thoroughly combine and refrigerate until needed.

Roasted jalapeno cream cheese2

The perfect way to serve this is on a warm, fresh bagel, but equally delicious spread on savoury scones, crackers and oatcakes. It’s good with the traditional pairing of smoked salmon too!

Roasted jalapeno cream cheese3

Christmas Spiced Mincemeat Friands

Friands are so easy to make, a Christmas themed recipe was inevitable!

Christmas Friands

These friands have the addition of ground mixed spice in both the cakes and the glaze for that unmistakable Christmas flavour.

As before, I use refrigerated Two Chicks egg whites from the supermarket. So much easier than separating egg whites and then finding something to do with all the yolks. I also used some homemade mincemeat that was given to me as a gift, but there are lots of really good jars of mincemeat in the supermarket at this time of year.

Christmas Friands2

I sometimes like to customise shop bought mincemeat with a little extra brandy, pistachios or cranberries, but as the children were going to eat this one, I kept it simple. This particular jar had slivered almonds which made it particularly good to eat.

Ingredients:
6 large egg whites/250ml Two Chicks pasteurised egg whites
250g icing/powdered sugar, sieved with 2tsp ground mixed spice
130g ground almonds
100g plain flour, sieved
Zest of 1-2 satsumas or clementines
160g melted butter + extra for buttering the pan
1 jar of good quality mincemeat

Method:
Preheat the oven to 180°C and brush the friand tin with melted butter.

In a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, whisk the egg whites until frothy and then add the melted butter and zest.

Mix in the ground almonds and add the icing sugar and spice on low speed. Finally, fold in the flour until just combined.

Half fill a 12-hole friand pan with the mixture and add a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat to each one. Don’t be tempted to add too much, or it will bubble out due to the high sugar content.

Using the rest of the mixture, cover the mincemeat, dividing it equally between each one. The mincemeat will be encased inside.

Christmas Friands closeup2

Bake for around 30 minutes, or until they are cooked through. A toothpick inserted should come out clean.

Leave to rest for 15 minutes before gently turning out onto a wire cooling rack. Leave to cool completely before preparing the glaze.

Christmas Friand close up

Glaze:
1 cup of icing sugar, sieved with 1tsp of ground mixed spice
Juice of the two satsumas used for the cakes, plus the zest and juice of an extra one – enough to make a dropping consistency.

Simply mix together the sieved icing sugar, spice, zest and enough satsuma juice to make a dropping consistency – I used all 3 satsumas, but mine were very small ones.

Drizzle over a little of the spicy, zesty glaze and dust with a small amount of sieved icing sugar.

Christmas Friand inside

These are spicy, moist and delicious, with a juicy mincemeat filling – a really good alternative to the traditional mince pie. Serve with coffee for a festive treat.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes with Zesty Whipped Orange Butter.

These are delicious for a special weekend breakfast, or for those times when only pancakes will do.

Pancakes3

Butter:
4oz/113g room temperature butter
1tbs icing sugar
Zest of 1 clementine or small orange
1tbs freshly squeezed juice from the clementine or orange
Pinch of cinnamon – optional

Mix all the ingredients together using an electric whisk until completely whipped.

Pile onto greaseproof paper and roll into a sausage, twisting the ends to secure. Refrigerate until needed.

Pancakes:
2 eggs – separated
1 ½ cups/210g plain/all-purpose flour
¼ cup/50g sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup/113ml buttermilk
½ cup/113ml whole milk
3tbs/43g melted butter – allowed to cool
1 cup/160g blueberries
Warm maple syrup for serving

Beat the egg whites until they stand in stiff peaks.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, soda and salt and stir in sugar.

In another bowl or jug, beat the egg yolks, buttermilk, milk and melted butter together.

Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until combined, but being careful not over-mix.  Fold in the egg whites.

Ladle the batter onto a hot greased griddle or heavy based pan and sprinkle the blueberries into the wet mixture.  When bubbles appear on the top, flip them over to cook the other side.

Serve with a slice or two of the zesty orange butter and warm maple syrup.

This recipe also works really well substituting the blueberries for any other berries or dried fruit such as raisins, cranberries, chopped apricots or apples