Plum, Hibiscus + Rose Jam


 Prep Time : 20 Minutes | Cook Time : 30 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Jammin’

Hello my lovelies! Can’t stay away from jam for long. Especially now I have my new copper jam pan. It is so beautiful. I made it a special spot on display in the kitchen. Sigh. It makes fabulous jam too. We want skillz with our good looks around here. Whether you have or haven’t thrown your money at France in exchange for their expensive fabulousness then you should still make this heavenly plum jam with a floral twist. It’s soft and plummy. It’s aromatic and luxurious. It feels like a fancy treat without a fancy price tag. I would say that while this jam is seasonal in the southern hemisphere right now bookmark this for later in the year if you’re just heading into spring. My general practice is to wash and prep fruit when it’s in season and freeze it in increments of 1 kilogram so it’s ready when I am. Even across the summer things ripen so fast that I struggle to find time to make things in the short window when some fruits are at their best. It also leaves you with a treasure trove of summery goodness in colder months that you can pull out and make into something delicious. I will be getting some apricots out in July to remind myself what summer tastes like. For now lets make some plums into something wonderful. If you are using fruit that has been frozen it will break down far quicker when you cook it.

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Caramel Espresso Crunch Blondies


 Prep Time : 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 30 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! Part two of brownie vs blondie. This time we’re hitting the sweet stuff. Taking the edge off with a bit of coffee and a bit of crunch. We’re using caramelised white chocolate to give the a deeper flavour. Right now in NZ an old favourite chocolate block is back on our shelves for a limited time. Caramilk. While I have my issues with Cadbury as a company it is the only block form of caramelised white chocolate that’s a reasonable price. When it’s having one of it’s limited edition runs. If you’re too classy for that (or live in another country) Valrhona Dulcey is an excellent choice. You can always caramelise your own white chocolate if you’ve had a bit of practice. Just be aware that roasting the chocolate changes the moisture content so the recipe may not have the exact same texture if you caramelise yourself. If you have a loved one who isn’t deep into chocolate then try these blondies as a valentines treat. They’re quick and easy to throw together and you’re sure to earn yourself some brownie points. Sorry. Not sorry. #punsforlife. Be sure to use fresh sweet tasting walnuts and cocoa nibs to avoid bitter notes in your blondies.

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Buttered Miso + Sesame Milk Bread


 Prep Time : 15+ 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 40 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Bread

Hello my lovelies! Bread is on the agenda today. A salty buttery pull-apart situation. I am in love with miso at the moment. Specifically Urban Hippie miso from Nelson. I had tried a few different ones before and was never that enthused. Partly because I was younger but also because some are just not as good as others. I have been putting it in salad dressing and caramel. Brushing it on grilled chicken. Spreading it on toast with butter. That last is how we ended up here. It’s like a loaf of pre-made buttery miso on toast. With a little sesame for bitter balance. Sesame and miso are best friends. I couldn’t keep them apart. This is a simple milk based bread that is put together in a way that looks fancy. We are basically cutting out squares and stacking them together. Easy peasy. We’re all about minimal effort for maximum effect.

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Plum + Hazelnut Brownies


 Prep Time : 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 30 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! A friend of mine is having a brownie vs blondie battle at her office. It’s too good an idea to pass by. This week we’re on team brownie. Next week team blondie. The good kind of fighting in the lead up to Valentines. These deep dark brownies are adapted from my favourite base recipe by Michelle at Hummingbird High. We are adding crunchy hazelnuts and dark rich Black Doris plum slices to the mix. Dark plums add all kind of fruity goodness to chocolate. Use a good quality chocolate to get the best flavour – you’re worth it. We are cutting these darkly glorious treats into triangles today because I like triangles. Feel free to pull out a large heart cutter to get a good amount of Valentines bang for your buck if you go in for that sort of thing. You can get 4 good sized hearts from an 8 inch pan and then chop up the trimmings and fold them into ice cream for another day. Or later that day. You’re your own person.

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Herbed Ham + Cheese Muffins


 Prep Time : 15 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 Minutes | Total Time : 1 hour | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! Since we started our week with doughnuts it’s probably a good idea to dial it back a bit. Make ourselves a savoury snack to get ourselves back in balance. Something that doesn’t require a lot of faffing about. Rustling up bits from the fridge and freezer. Snipping some greens from the windowsill. Oh yeah and herb is now a verb. For the purposes of snappy recipe names anyway. To herb or not to herb? Moving on. While my mind is still intact. This is a simple savoury muffin base that can be jazzed up how you like depending on what you have around. I love ham and cheese together. Let’s be honest I love anything and cheese together. Herbs give these muffins a lovely freshness. I used parsley, oregano and tarragon in these muffins but use what you have. A few chives. A little thyme. As you like. Make these for a brunch lunch snacking situation with friends and family or stash them in the freezer for workday munching. A muffin is a beautiful and versatile thing. Embrace it.

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Black Doris + Cardamom Doughnuts


 Prep Time : 45 Minutes | Cook Time : 10 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Frying

Hello my lovelies! I can’t go past a good doughnut. This recipe is a two-fer – you get a jam and a dough all in one. When we have bread class my demonstration batch of doughnuts never get fried at this time of year. It’s so warm that they are over-proved by the time all the students are done with theirs. It’s a race against time. And now I have doughnuts on the brain. We are rapidly burning through stone fruit season and we need to get some good plum recipes in before it’s too late. This recipe has a few steps but each of them isn’t a big investment of time. If you have a fryer then it will be even easier. If you don’t use your cast iron casserole or other large heavy bottomed saucepan on the stovetop to fry. Keep an eye on the temperature with a candy thermometer.  If you don’t want to do the jam step use a good quality store bought plum jam that doesn’t have too many chunks. It is worth getting yourself a Bismarck piping tip – it’s a long thin one specially for filling things like doughnuts. Especially if you see more doughnuts in your future…

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Grape + Black Pepper Focaccia


 Prep Time : 15 + 10 Minutes | Cook Time : 20 Minutes | Total Time : 3 hours | Difficulty : Easy

Hello my lovelies! Can’t go too long without a bread recipe for you. Don’t want you to feel strangely empty or anything. A dose of carbs will sort it out. Today we are mixing sweet and savoury. Which you know I’m a fan of. Chewy golden bread studded with sweet roasted grapes. Sticky juice trickling out. Balanced with flaky salt and cracked pepper. Use the best grapes you can. These mini focaccia are delicious with regular supermarket grapes but if you can get your hands on more flavourful varieties it will change the game. In NZ there is a short season for NZ grown grapes that have a tonne of flavour so keep an eye out at your fruit market over the next month. In the meantime let’s get out bread on. This is a genuinely easy recipe. The dough doesn’t even leave the bowl until it’s time to divide it up and shape the breads. In this weather the dough will rise quickly so it won’t even take very long. No excuses.

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