Recipe: Chipotle Cheddar Scones

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

Just like everyone else, I've been passing the time in quarantine by baking quite a bit more than I usually would be. My workplace canteen sells the best cheese scones on a Friday morning and I've been trying to keep that routine by making some cheese scones on a Thursday night. I'd been experimenting with add ins when some chipotle paste I had sitting around in the fridge caught my eye, I thought it would be a nice way to add a spicy kick to the scones and I wasn't wrong. I've made these a few times now and I don't think I can go back to regular cheese scones now. 

I started with the BBC Good Food classic cheese scone recipe and made a few tweaks to give them a kick. After experimenting a few times, I found that the best way to get the chipotle paste into the scones is whisking the paste into the milk. This meant that the flavour was evenly distributed throughout the scone before that trying to mix it into the dough by hand. 




Makes 8 scones.

Ingredients

225g of self raising flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 teaspoon of chilli flakes
1/2 teaspoon of salt
50g of cold butter
100g of grated cheddar
100ml of milk 
chipotle paste

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200 °C and place a large baking sheet to heat in the oven. 
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. 
  3. Rub the butter into the flour mixture.
  4. Stir in the cheddar.
  5. Whisk between 1 teaspoon and 1 tablespoon of chipotle paste into the milk, depending on how spicy you like it. 
  6. Stir the milk into dry mixture by hand until you have a rough, sticky dough. 
  7. Split into 8 and shape into circles, place on greaseproof paper. 
  8. Brush the tops with milk and top with more grated cheese. 
  9. Take your hot tray out the oven and slide the greaseproof paper onto it. 
  10. Bake for 15-20 minutes, wait as long as you can manage and serve with lots of salted butter. 

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

My Top 12 Reads of 2018

Wednesday, 29 April 2020
Ok so, I think it's pretty safe to say that my blogging has dropped off substantially over the last year or so. I started this post at the end of 2018/beginning of 2019 and I'm ashamed to say that I'm only just getting round to finishing it now. And by this point, my 2019 round up is well overdue too. But hey, better late than never. As usual, these are my favourite books that I personally read in 2018, not necessarily books that were released in 2018. And they're in no particular order, but may help anyone looking for some recommendations for lockdown reads.


The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid was one of my favourite books of 2018. So I started off the year by checking out some of his other work. This was another favourite of mine. The Reluctant Fundamentalist has a bit of a weird set up, so I'll try my best to explain. This book reads like someone is talking to you. You have to imagine that you are an American citizen who works in security in Pakistan. You are eating in a restaurant when a stranger approaches you and starts to tell you his story. He tells you, he went to university there and worked in New York City for a while before moving back to Pakistan after 9/11. This book is spectacularly written but is an uncomfortable read at the same time. I think its main goal is to show how people develop an anti-American sentiment. It challenges your views when you read it. This book is powerful.

Sourdough by Robin Sloan
I must admit that I was a little shocked when looking back at the list of books I read in 2018, to see that this one was even in there. I pretty much fell in love with this book from the first page and it's been a favourite ever since I couldn't really believe that this time last year I hadn't read it yet. This book follows Lois, a busy tech worker in San Francisco. One night she decides to order takeout from a leaflet she gets through the door for a soup place. She falls in love with their soup and bread combo and quickly becomes friends with the brothers who run the place. When they suddenly up and leave, they leave their sourdough starter behind and Lois tries making some for herself. She quickly gets drawn into the world of breadmaking, although the sourdough starter is not quite what it seems. Robin Sloan is a phenomenal writer, his books walk the line between real life and magical fiction and they are sublime.  This book made me fall in love with bread baking. 

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
This novel follows two half-sisters and their separate bloodlines. Effia and Esi are half-sisters, born into two different villages in Ghana. Effia marries an Englishman and remains in Ghana whilst Esi is imprisoned and sold into slavery, then shipped off to North America. This novel has one chapter from a member of each bloodline at each generation. I think that this is one of the best books I've ever read, it grips you right in from the start and addresses many big issues in a powerful and punching manner. Even years later, I'm still blown away by how clever this book is and I would really recommend it. 

Postcards from Sarajevo

Sunday, 24 November 2019
When you think tourism, you might not think of Bosnia & Herzegovina. I had no real mind block against visiting the country, I think mostly because I'm too young to remember the war. During the summer, I went on the Budapest & The Balkans tour and Sarajevo was the third city on the trip. I had done a lot of research for this trip, and many reviews said that Sarajevo was the real hidden gem so it was probably the place I was looking forward to visiting the most. It did not let me down!


The drive from Belgrade to Sarajevo was the longest bit of travel on the whole trip. We left Belgrade at 7am to avoid rush hour traffic and managed to get to Sarajevo by around 2pm. The journey was very beautiful, passing through beautiful countryside and mountain scenery, but it was very twisty and left us all feeling a bit travel sick. As soon as we got off the bus in Sarajevo, several of us said that we instantly got a feeling that it was going to be a city that we liked a lot (and we were right!). Sarajevo ended up being my favourite city on the whole trip.


After dropping off our bags at our accommodation, we met our local guide Mohammed (of Urban Adventures Sarajevo) for a tour of the city. Mohammed would take us on two tours, this was the introductory orientation tour of the city lasting about an hour and a half. We saw local churches, mosques, markets whilst he told us about the history of the city including the assassination of the Franz Ferdinand, the Olympics and of course, the siege of Sarajevo. Sarajevo has been part of both the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires and so it has really interesting architecture spread out across the city. As our guide put it 'you walk down the street feeling like you are in Istanbul and then all of a sudden you're in Vienna'.



We had agreed to all meet for dinner so after we disbanded from the tour we all had some free time. I ended up walking around the markets with some others from the tour before we went for a drink with them in a place called Tesla Bar that we were attracted to because of the statue outside...


A few Aperol Spritzes later, the group reunited at a diner called Dveri for dinner, which is just off the main market area. I just spent more time than I'd care to admit trying to find that on Google maps. It was the perfect little cosy restaurant with an indoor and outdoor seating area and a fantastic menu. I'm not even slightly exaggerating when I say that I had the best meal of the trip here. It was sooooo good. I ordered the beef goulash with gnocchi and it was the perfect comfort food. On the side, we ordered lots of bread for the table which came in this swirled pattern, which was absolutely perfect for soaking up all the soup with. And don't get me started on the salads, with fresh local produce they were some of the best I've eaten ever. If you go to Sarajevo, you MUST go here for dinner.




The next morning we were up bright and early for another tour from Mohammed. This tour was called 'Tales from a Forgotten City" and focused on the Seige of Sarajevo. As we drove through the city, Mohammed told us the story of how the siege started and pointed out various places that played an important part. The stories were heartbreaking and it was even more hard-hitting from someone who lived through it as a child. But I won't share anything because I think you should take the tour yourself! We then headed to the Tunnel Museum where you can walk a section of the tunnel that was built to smuggle goods and people out of Sarajevo during the siege. A striking experience and the opportunity to learn about everyday people who rose up to face challenges. To finish off the tour we stopped at a local view spot to take in the sight of the city and eat some burek - tasty pastry snacks filled with meat or spinach and cheese that Sarajevo is famous for.








The rest of the afternoon was spent chilling out and walking around the markets. I picked up some jewellery and a little metal dish that I now keep salt in at home. We went for dinner at a place that had fantastic reviews on Trip Advisor. We were on the hunt for cevapi - the national dish of Bosnia & Herzegovina. Little kebabs that come served with flatbreads and salad. A very simple meal but very delicious. We were all incredibly satisfied. We then finished off our last night in Sarajevo by hanging out together and having a few drinks. Despite being a predominantly Muslim city, Sarajevo still has lots of fantastic bars and an impressive nightlife.





The next morning we were up very early to catch a train to Mostar. I was so sad to be leaving Sarajevo and would have been happy to spend a few more days there - though I know I'll return one day!

Twitter @honestlyrussell // Instagram  @honestlyrussell // Pinterest @honestlyrussell

A Day in Edinburgh with Megabus [gifted]

Sunday, 17 November 2019
"I always feel that when I come to Edinburgh, in many ways I am coming home."

- Alan Rickman


Megabus has recently launched new routes connecting Edinburgh to new UK cities. To celebrate, they've challenged me to show you how you can spend one day exploring Edinburgh for £60. I lived in Edinburgh for 4 years during university and grew up nearby - so I reckon I can give some fantastic tips. Edinburgh is a beautiful city and it's quite small, so it's easy to cover a lot of ground in a small space of time. Let's get started! 

On My Plate: 4 Edinburgh Brunch Recommendations

Sunday, 1 September 2019


There's never a shortage of places to go for a good brunch in Edinburgh. With the Fringe winding down and the city getting quiet again, I thought it was the perfect time to share some great brunch spots for those looking for a lazy, autumn weekend treat. I may have moved to Cambridge but whilst I get myself sorted out down here (and by that I mean scouting out the local eateries) I'm going to be working through a backlog of Edinburgh restaurants I've got mouth-watering photos from. 


Brochan
Just when you thought Edinburgh couldn't get more Edinburgh... then you find out it has an artisan porridge place. I will be the first to admit I was a little judgemental at first - but the more I heard the more I wanted to try it out. Brochan, named after the Gaelic word for porridge, is located in the middle of Marchmont - the perfect location for a lazy weekend breakfast and walk around the meadows. I visited on a Sunday around 12 before the Fringe madness took over the city and whilst it was busy, tables move quite quickly. All the porridge is made with coconut milk so is suitable for vegans too. 

My friend ordered the black forest porridge - topped with chocolate almond brownie, oat creme fraiche, cherry almond compote, cacao nibs and toasted flaked almonds. I went for the daily special which was topped with roasted peaches, raspberries, berry coulis and crunchy pumpkin seeds. Both were absolutely delicious. It was by far the smoothest porridge I have ever eaten and not too heavy or stodgy either. I never would have thought of myself as the sort of person who would order porridge off a breakfast menu but I've been totally proven wrong. The portion size was also very generous - but I pushed myself to finish it because it was just so good. If you want a filling, delicious breakfast in Edinburgh - this is the place to go! 

See the menu online here

My Favourite Reads of the Year So Far

Wednesday, 24 July 2019
"Wait is that Hayley writing a blog post?"

Yeah you're just as surprised as I am. My final year of uni was a toughie but I'm now a fully qualified Master of Chemistry (with Environmental and Sustainable Chemistry with Industrial Experience). Now that I'm a graduate with a nice certificate with my name on it (and the longest degree title in the world), I've got free time and really want to get this blog up and running again. You may notice it's even got a new design! I've decided to ease myself in with a little reading wrap up. Instead of including every book I've read since I stopped writing my monthly wrap-ups, I thought I'd include my favourites from what I've read so far this year. 


Almost Love by Louise O'Neill
This harsh contemporary fiction novel follows Sarah. A girl who is so hopeless in love with Matthew. But Matthew is twenty years older than her and treats her like shit. This book isn't necessarily an easy read. Sarah is frustrating. Again and again, she makes decisions that are hard to agree with. Everyone has a friend like Sarah. And at times I'm pretty sure we've all been Sarah. This book presents you with reality, like all of Louise O'Neill's books. It's harsh, raw and beautifully written.