How to sterilise Jars, ready for your homemade goodies!

I thought it might be useful to mention how one sterilises jars as I certainly had no idea until I wanted to make my first jam. Of course, the same goes for marmalade, chutneys, pickles and mincemeat (the Christmas cakes and my all favourite mince pie variety, that is!! and not the kind of minced meat Rachel from 'Friends' used for her trifle!).
What to do:

In the oven:

1. Preheat oven to 140c/gas mark 1
2. Wash your jar/s with mild soapy water and rinse thoroughly. However, do not dry! Instead..:
3. Place jars on a baking sheet, on a baking tray, in the middle of the oven for approximately 20 minutes or until you see they are completely dried.

In the microwave:

1. Wash your jar/s with mild soapy water and rinse thoroughly. However, do not dry! Instead
2. Place them in a microwave whilst still wet
3. Put microwave on full power for around 50 seconds or until completely dry

Things to watch out for: 

*Dry heat can damage rubber seals therefore, if you are using Kilner jars, it is best just to boil their rubber seals seperately rather than put them in the microwave or oven.

* Do not use metal lids, or anything with metal in the microwave, instead boil them, just as you would the rubber seals.

*Always put your jam or other in the jars whilst they are both hot. Do not let the jars cool down as, if they are cool, they could break when having something hot poured into them.

I haven't mentioned sterilising in dishwashers and agas and all sorts of other things I may be missing, just because I haven't tried them. However, if you have any other sterilising methods or tips, please do share them in the comments below.

Hope this was useful!

Avocado Pesto

I always imagined that pesto would be difficult to make and time consuming but I couldn't have been more wrong! Pesto is so simple to make yet utterly satisfying!

This recipe is for an avocado pesto!

Avocado pesto is so versatile. It can be used with all kinds of pastas and sandwiches. For vegans, you can take away the cheese from this recipe as the avocado itself is such a creamy fruit, it doesn't need anything else added to it! For vegetarians, mixing the pesto with all sorts of pastas make for divine dishes and for meat eaters, I personally love and recommend topping some on your burger. Heaven for all to enjoy!! Also, if one is cutting down on oils, you can omit the olive oil in the recipe, as of course the avocado is wonderfully oily itself!

This recipe makes enough for a medium bowl's worth of pesto.


2 ripe avocados; peeled, pitted and diced
2 cups of fresh basil leaves (chopped)
1/2 cup of pine nuts
4-5 cloves of garlic (if you're a garlic fan like me- if not, go for 3-4 cloves)
Juice of a whole lemon
3 tablespoons olive oil (the more oil you put in the thinner the mixture and the less creamy)
a sprinkle of (sea) salt to taste
some black pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons water to help the mixture if,as and when needed

What to do:

Combine the diced avocados, chopped basil leaves,pine nuts and garlic cloves in a food processor/blender.
As you see them smoothing nicely together, stop and add the lemon juice and olive oil until all is of a smooth consistency or when it reaches the consistency you prefer (I always prefer mine to be slightly bumpy!).
Transfer to bowl.
Season with salt & pepper (if you haven't already) and you're done!!!


How do you have yours?
Please share your favourite ways of eating with pesto in comments below! :)

Flower-Strewn Midsummer Salmon

I have always been fascinated by pretty edible flowers, frequently having visions of myself as an old lady, inviting people around for an afternoon tea consisting of cucumber sandwiches, lavender madelaines, courgette cakes and rose tea. Even just writing about it now puts a smile on my face!

So much for my love of edible flowers that I thought what better way to turn this fantasy into reality than by posting recipes and information here on my blog, and this way I don't have to wait until I am an old lady to do so!

A lot of the recipes I would like to make are now out of season. However, I have a few up my sleeve and the 'Flower-Strewn Midsummer Salmon' by Franceso Mazzei is one of them! (note to self, must visit Sartoria whenever a super celebration comes up! It looks amazing!)

This recipe is perfect and taken from 'The Scented Kitchen' and serves 4-6


1kg salmon fillet, skin and bones removed
50g unsalted butter
2 marigolds, petals only
8-10 nastertium flowers
6 cornflowers, petals only
12 leaves of flat-leaf parsley
2-3 tbspoons dry cider

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
Spread the butter all over the salmon and season slightly.
Place the flower petals and herbs all over the fish.
Put the cider in a roasting bag and then the salmon. Secure the bag tightly and place on a roasting tray and cook for about 20 minutes (for me, actually it took half an hour)
Remove the fish from the oven and let it rest.
Serve with potatoes and green salad.


* I ordered my flowers from the best! Maddocks Farm Organics, who were so helpful in advising on tastes of the different flowers, what's in season and when, alternatives, and accomodating to my specific needs. They were amazing and their flowers arrived cold, fresh and beautiful!

Peach Lemonade

Yes, it's Summer in the U.K!! and that means some super warm days & nights followed by some not so warm days& night!!
This spiked peach lemonade by Maureen Petrosky will be ideal for any lovely warm evening. Whether you've just arrived home in a stressed and hot sweat, due to your sauna impersonated tube/bus journey back from the office or for a lovely balmy early evening with friends on the patio, preferably with a barbeque!
Of course you can also drink this all day, any day, sans alcohol (or not! Whatever tickles your fancy).
I have basically followed Maureen Petrosky’s recipe to a Tee! Well, with the exception of adding some cognac as well as the vodka!
Hooray for Summer!
Here's what you need:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
3 large peaches ( 1 for decoration; I preferred 3 peaches in my drink and 1 for decoration)
6 cups sparking water (For those who are not a big fan of fizzy drinks, like me, still water is just as effective!)
1 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ½ cups of vodka
½ cup of cognac
What to do:
In a small pot, combine the cup of sugar & cup of water and let simmer on a low/medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and leave to cool.
You can now use this time to peel your peaches. Maureen explains how easily you an do this and you can see me getting very excited, following her instructions on my Vlogging Channel:
Basically, you put a cross on the bottom of the peach, place in boiling water for 30 seconds and then directly into an ice bath. Once cooled – you peel with your fingers. Easy peasy!!
Next, cut the peaches into cubes and place them in a blender and puree.

 Now grab a large pitcher, combine the pureed peaches, the cooled syrup, the sparkling water, lemon juice, vodka and cognac and stir.
Add loads of ice, stir again and voila! You are ready for some refreshing, delicious drinking!

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