Search Results for: Popcorn

Caramel Honeycomb Popcorn

If you asked me why I decided to make caramel popcorn this week I’d give you my honest answer – I have no idea!  I don’t know what on earth possessed me to make this sticky sweet snack, but it was a nice change instead of the cakes and cookies I usually make.  I think the idea may have stemmed from a recent trip to the movies (aka the cinema here in the UK) where I indulged in a bit of popcorn, BUT the popcorn they serve in the UK is not like the popcorn the serve in North American movie theatres.  Why you ask?  Well, for starters they don’t have buttery popcorn here!  The first time I went to a movie theatre and ordered popcorn the girl behind the counter asked me what flavour I’d like.  “Just buttery please”, I said.  Then came the strange look and her reply – “Huh? We don’t have buttery popcorn. You must be American.”  It turns out that here in the UK they sell 2 kinds of popcorn – sweet or salty.  The salty popcorn has a fine mist of salt on it, and I guess the closet thing that would come close to the sweet popcorn is American kettle corn.  As time’s gone by I’ve learned to enjoy both flavors, but my favorite way to eat popcorn at movies here is to mix both the sweet and salty together.  It’s really quite nice!  The other major difference about popcorn here in the UK is that generally popcorn isn’t eaten at home as much as it is in North America.  One of the first things that was added to our UK wedding registry was a hot air popcorn maker – not the most common appliance in a UK kitchen.  Back home in Canada I was quite the popcorn connoisseur, and was always in charge of whipping up a batch when a group of friends got together to watch a movie. Making good buttery popcorn was one of the few kitchen skills I learned from my father.  My mom the Home-Ec teacher gets credit for the rest.  Over the years I’ve tried quite a few flavor combinations, but I’ve never made my own caramel popcorn – until now.  Caramel popcorn is just one of those things that’s nice to snack on every once in a while, plus it’s great to share with friends at get togethers like summer BBQ’s.  And, I have to admit – it looks quite impressive if you package it up in a cellophane bag with a bow and give it away as a gift at Christmas time. At the last minute, I decided to add a little something extra to my caramel popcorn and threw in some Crunchy Bar pieces.  You know, just cuz. 
To make your own caramel popcorn you’ll need some of that dreaded, yet infamous American ingredient – Corn Syrup.  Since moving to the UK I’ve come across countless recipes that I’d love to try, but they all called for corn syrup – something that is very hard to find in the UK.  Luckily about a year ago I discovered that clear corn syrup was available at the Kensington location of Whole Foods in London, so now I’ve always got a bottle at home in my cupboard.  UK’ers – if your looking for corn syrup give some of these places a try.  You could also try using Lyles Golden Syrup, but I can’t guarantee that it would turn out, or if the flavor would be the same.

Caramel Honeycomb Popcorn

1/4 cup (60g) butter
1 cups (200g) brown (muscovado) sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 cups (75g) popped popcorn
2 Crunchy Bars chopped

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place the popped popcorn in a very large bowl.
2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
3. Place popcorn in a pre-greased large shallow baking pan (such as a turkey roaster) and bake in preheated oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour.
4. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle the Crunchy bar pieces over the warm popcorn so that the chocolate melts and sticks to the popcorn.  Cool completely before breaking into pieces and serving.

Top 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts For Foodies

I’ve always been a sucker for holidays of any kind. The shops are filled with cute limited edition holiday themed sweets and gift ideas. No sooner are we over one holiday before another limited edition themed product range hits the store shelves.

Some people may find this overkill, and at times I do too (ie: seeing the Easter candy being put out on display on Christmas Eve!), but it gives me something to look forward to.

I’ve noticed that the Valentine’s Day range of products has been slow to hit store shelves this year. They’ve been trumped by the Easter range which is still 3 months away. And perhaps it’s because other holidays have a wider appeal, but the selection of Valentine’s products never equals that of the other holidays (aside from St. Patricks Day – except maybe in the States where it’s hugely popular). Over the past week or so I’ve really started to see some neat Valentine’s Day products emerge, especially in the food / baking department.

I’ve found a few new products that I really love, as well as a few favourites that have been seasonally rebranded. So without further adew, I give you my top 10 Valentine’s Day gifts for foodies. Feel free to share these with your significant other, you know – just in case they need a little help.

Top 10 Valentine’s Day Gifts For Foodies

1.  Limited Edition Le Creuset Cast Iron Casserole Dish – What more can I say?  I seriously LOVE this dish!   Available exclusively online at Le Creuset  UK, this “chiffon pink” casserole dish is limited to only 100 pieces, and retails for £145.

2.  Peggy Porschen Valentine’s Day Cupcake Gift Box – An assortment of my two favourite cupcakes, the Strawberry & Champagne, and Chocolate Heaven cupcakes are decorated with hand made sugar roses and mini heart biscuits.  £30 for six cupcakes.  You can also add on a bottle of Laurent Perrier Cuvee Rose Champagne if you wish. Available for pick up and delivery from Peggy Porschen.

3.  Charbonnel et Walker Truffle Kisses – How cute are these!  Perfect little pink lips flavoured with Marc De Champagne and Raspberry.  So much better than a Hershey’s Kiss!  Available from John Lewis for £15.

4.  Pink Tuscan Cake Stand – An absolutely gorgeous pale milky pink 9 inch cake stand.   Other colours and sizes available. £65 from Liberty.

5.  Heart Ravioli Pasta Cutter – Instead of going out, cook your other half a romantic dinner to remember with this ultra cute ravioli cutter.  I first spotted this in Carluccio’s a year or so ago, and I’m glad to see they still have it.  £4.95

6.  Mason Cash Hearts Mixing Bowl – You can never have enough mixing bowls.  Seriously.  This would also make a great popcorn bowl if you feel like watching a movie after dinner. It’s the perfect size for sharing.  £13.99 from Dunelm.

7.  Laduree Macarons – Laduree has the best macarons, as well as the most stunning gift boxes.  They’ve always got seasonal flavours – this month it’s a limited edition Nina Ricci Macaron covered in gold leaf that’s filled with a raspberry jam, and a hint of lemon juice and rose essence.  Ah-maze-ing!  Assorted flavours, boxes and sizes available from the four London Laduree locations.

8.  Light My Fire Matchstick Biscuits – These are just so cute and unique.  Perfect if you’re not into heats and pink!  Available from Not On The High Street for £10, although I’m pretty sure you could make your own with minimal effort.

9.  Emma Bridgewater Heart Mug – I’m not a massive fan of Emma Bridgewater, but I do love her heart pattern collection.  These mugs are so classic, and beautifully British.  You can also order a personalised version for £18 from the Emma Bridgewater website.  I have one, and it’s great. No one can steal your mug at the office!

10.  “I Love You A Latte” Coffee Stencil – These are actually personalised coffee stencils that you can customise to say whatever you want, but there’s a great selection of pre-made ones suitable for Valentine’s day. Really great fun for a Valentine’s Day breakfast in bed. £12.50 from Not On The High Street.

* My Top 10 Picks were independently chosen by me without any compensation or influence from the manufacturers.

Foodie Penpals April Reveal

If you follow me on Twitter you may know that some days I’m on there no stop. Just tweeting away about anything and everything.  And then other days I’m not on there at all. With an eight month old and a full time day job, finding time to tweet can be hard!  One of my favourite things about Twitter is that I get to know so many wonderful people – both bloggers and readers that I wouldn’t have ever interacted with otherwise.  

About six weeks ago I came across a tweet from Carol Anne aka @ThisIsRockSalt talking about Foodie Penpals.  I was intrigued…. I’d had a penpal when I was younger and loved writing letters to her, and sending and receiving packages.  It’s always nice to receive packages in the mail rather than the boring bills and junk you normally get.  I immediately tweeted her back, and just like that I had signed up to become a Foodie Penpal.


Let me give you a bit of background info – Foodie Penpals was started last year by American food blogger The Lean Green Bean.  Since then Foodie Penpals has grown from about 30 participants in the US and Canada, to over 600 participants in the US, Canada, the UK and Europe.  Carol Anne from the blog This Is Rock Salt now organises the UK & European side of Foodie Penpals.  So what is a Foodie Penpal you ask??  Well, let me tell you!  Basically, bloggers (and readers if they wish) are matched up together each month.  At the beginning of the month everyone is notified as to who they are matched up with (it’s someone different each month), and then they’re responsible for putting together a little foodie package for them.  How fun!

My first Foodie Penpal package was sent to me by Jules at Good Gobble Blog.  I had never “met” Jules before (ie: in person, twitter, or the general blogosphere), so before she put together my package we sent a few emails back and forth so she could get a feel of what types of things she might want to send me.  I told her that I liked “snacky” type things and things that I could use in my baking.  


Jules put together a fantastic package for me, and I was so excited when it arrived.  The first thing she included were some Caramel Callets from Slattery’s Parissiery and Chocolatier in Manchester.  I first read about Slattery’s on Jule’s blog post here when I had just found out that she would be my foodie penpal. This place looks seriously amazing!  You’ve got to check out the Chocolate Challenge dessert that her friend Doyle ordered!! OMG! Seriously drool worthy.  I have to go to this place when I’m in Manchester.  Actually – I have to go to Manchester just so I can go to this place!   I sampled a few of the Caramel Callets and they are delicious.  I’m still not too sure what I’m going to make with them, but when I do you can be sure to read about it here!

Jules also sent me shortbread mix in a jar.  All I have to do is add butter to the mixture and bake.  Simple!  I had planned on baking the shortbread on Saturday, but I was starting to come down with a cold and couldn’t muster up the energy to even attempt to bake anything. Next weekend!

She also included some sweet plantain chips – something I’d never had before, but were a favourite snack of hers while she travelled through Peru.  She just happened to find them here in the UK!  Jules recommended eating them with a salsa recipe that she included on the back of the package, but my husband and I just snacked on them straight outta the bag.  Yum!


Jules was also kind enough to make some things for me to snack on.  She made individual rocky road bars fully loaded with chocolate and marshmallows and as well as some delicious walnut free granola (I’m allergic to walnuts).  The rocky road bars were absolutely delicious and the fact that they were individually wrapped meant they were the perfect thing to throw in my lunch bag for an afternoon snack at work.  The granola was also just as delicious.  I’ve been munching on it by the handful rather than eating it with milk because I rarely have milk in my fridge unless I’m baking with it.  I haven’t been online much in the past few weeks, so I’ve not really been able to catch up on my blog reading.  I’ve just noticed that Jules has posted the recipes for the rocky road bars and the granola, so if you’d like the recipes please check them out on her blog.  I also must apologise for the complete lack of photos in this post – my camera was on the wrong setting and pretty much all of them turned out blurry except for a few.  **Smacks head!  Doh!**  I did manage to take a picture of a rocky road bar with my iPhone before I gobbled it all up!  You can also see more pictures of the rocky road bars and granola on her blog.


My Foodie Penpal for this month was Helen from Aardvark Cakes.  I have to be honest and say that I was a little intimidated at the fact Helen was my foodie penpal.  After all, she runs her own cake decorating business so she’s bound to either have everything or seen it before.  I had recently made a trip back home to Canada and the US just after I signed up for Foodie Penpals, so I bought a bunch of different things specifically for my future FP’s.  Whenever I go on holiday, and even when I’m shopping here at home I’m always on the lookout for different foodie things that I don’t see every day and can’t buy regularly.  I picked out a few things for Helen that I thought she might like, so hopefully she enjoyed them!  


I sent her a cute box of Lemon Whoopie Pie Mix, some buttery microwave popcorn (one of my favourite snacks from back home – traditionally popcorn here in the UK is either salty or sweet – not buttery), some maple flavouring for cakes and icing, a little packet of powdered cinnamon bun icing flavouring that I came across while in the US, and a Coffee Crisp Easter Egg – coffee crisp is a Canadian chocolate bar that as far as I know isn’t sold outside of Canada.  

Hopefully Helen liked my foodie penpal package as much as I liked the one Jules sent me.  If you’d like to become a foodie penpal you can sign up and find more information about it here if you’re in the UK & Europe, or here is your in the US & Canada.