Short. Hungry. Addicted to tea. Hi, I'm Emma. I like to write stuff.



So, I have never traveled with my husband.  We've always been saving for something else (houses, weddings, house modifications.)  We've been on holidays, sure, toured the UK and had weekends away - but we've never seen the things we always wanted to see, we've only been abroad together twice.  One of those times was Disneyland, which whilst awesome, is hardly an exploration of the world.

What the hell does this have to do with a glaze?

Don't you know that there's a story behind most food bloggers recipes?  It's kind of our thing.

That's what this year is all about.  We celebrated our year anniversary at the beginning of this month, and after walking, taking in a show, we sat in a hotel room and mapped out places to see, and how to logically visit all of them.

Yes, yes, I'm getting to the recipe...

These plans are doable thanks to the wonderful help of some brilliant travel bloggers, but it does mean that our food budget has been DRASTICALLY cut.

It's hard to run a food blog when you're trying out food budgeting.  We followed brilliant advice (seriously, blogs are amazing sources of information) and managed to cut our monthly food bill down by over £200.  That topped off with some seriously easy money management (blog advice again) we have done it, and are continuing to do it.  We have started booking our travels.

So what's on the menu, when you're budgeting?  Crap?  Rubbish?

TADA.  WE GOT TO THE BLOODY GLAZE.




You know where some of the best advice for budget cooking comes from?  Old cookbooks.  Wartime cookbooks are also amazing (I found some really cheap on eBay, and my nan gave me a few as well.) They are also great for advice on making the most of what you buy.  Glazes and sauces take up quite a lot of the old cookbooks I own, I'm guessing because they are cheap and easy and can cover up cheap cuts of meat or boring vegetables.

I might be on a budget, but I'm not looking to eat cardboard or fill my body with crap.  So how do we do all that?!

I'll get to all that at a later post, but at the moment, I'm going to stick to this glaze.  A jar of glaze in the supermarket (Decent quality, and not full of crap) can set you back £2.00 - I once purchased one for a fiver.

Instead I made this one using things I keep stocked in my pantry, or always have to hand.  So technically it was free, I said technically...

You can use it on anything, but it tastes especially good on the following:

MEATS
- Pork Joints
- Chicken thighs
- Chicken legs

VEGETABLES
- Roast Sweet potato
- Onions

NUTS
-Pecans
-Almonds



Obviously, in the pictures, I've glazed a pork joint, but the uses are endless.  It really is a simple Maple glaze... a simaple glaze, if you will.

This will make about 1/2 cups worth of glaze, how much that covers is up to you.  As a rule, it covers a whole pork joint.

YOU WILL NEED
100ml Maple Syrup
1 heaped tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon mixed spice
2 minced garlic cloves (Garlic paste works too)
Juice of half lemon

FIRST OF ALL
Whisk all the ingredients together in a bowl.  That's it.  Prep done.

SOME LIKE IT HOT
Apply the glaze 30 minutes before the end of your cooking time.  For chicken thighs / wings, it's better to marinade in the glaze and then put it in the oven for the entirety of the cooking time.

SERVE
As you wish.  You'll only need a brushing of it for things like vegetables or nuts, so the cooking time will be less.

Thin brushing = 5-10 minutes in a hot oven

Glazing whole meat joint = at least 20-30 minutes at the end of the cooking time
Marinade = 30 minutes, be careful to watch for burning.






Here we are again.  I'll start off by saying there are 3 previous installments of this:

Food photography blunders 1
Food photography blunders 2
Food photography blunders 3

God.  There are so many of these things, I can actually start doing themed editions.

On that note:

WELCOME TO THE:  Food photography blunders 4: "That literally looks like poo" edition.


ONE: 



So we're back a few years when "any surface will do" when it came to food photography.  This was my first attempt at low fat chocolate moouse, a mistake (or a moussetake if you will) I will never make again.  Not only did this picture come out as well as sticking my phone down a used toilet, but it tasted about as good as well.

I still put this on my blog when I first started it up.  So there's that.


TWO:




I just love these cookies.  Go one, scroll back up, and have another look.  I'll wait.  It's just so good. You can give each one a little personality and back-story.  For instance, the giant guy straddling a lumpy headless dinosaur.  I imagine he would name his dinosaur Stanley.  Don't blame me, Stan's head got eaten fell off before the picture was taken.


For the rest of the cookies though, I appear to have baked the source of all children's nightmares.





Sweet dreams kid.




THREE:



Well, you're making truffles, and you've decided to step-by-step the process.  What looks better than rolling that dark lumpy dough around, in what looks like, a mixture of sand and tiny bits of toilet paper.

Yep, that looks tasty.  Doesn't resemble used cat litter at all.  GOOD JOB EM.





FOUR:



You may not be thinking these look to bad.  Maybe you do.  The main thing is I took these to a party.  The main feedback I got on them?

"Oh yeah, they're a little dry.  And they make me think of assholes."

Great.  Wasn't my first thought, but thanks.  Maybe I'll call them Doughbutts.

Doughbutts.  Yes.





FIVE: 



So you're halfway through eating your pudding and you think "ooh I just started a blog, better take a picture of this"  So you stop, and take 20 identical blurry pictures, edit 4, crop them, place your logo over the half eaten part and say to yourself "That is good.  That is really good.  I'm posting this"

Welcome to Fork & Good, folks.






SIX:



Nothing says "good enough for the blog" like a thumb in the way and a battery just randomly in shot.  If you think this was a one off, you'd be wrong, there were 16 versions of this, and this was literally the best one I could use.  But it's cool though, cause you know, sprinkles and shit.  Oh that icing?  Was light brown.  Why it appears pink I have no idea.  Magic, I guess.





I've been asked a few times (okay twice).  What's the deal with your dog?  Do you take her everywhere with you?  How can you describe your dog as a best friend?!  I once had someone tell me that I should post her less on here.  We all remember that hilarious farce of an email, right?



Well, this Sunday (1st March) is her 12th Birthday, so if there ever was a time to dedicate a chunk of space to my furry crap-machine, this would be it.

When I was 13, my parents tried to bribe me into being less of a narcissistic lazy butt-lord by promising me a puppy.  It would be my puppy.  The deal was I had to train it, clean up after it, feed it, name it and generally take care of it.  For life.

I spent nights laying awake, imagining life with my future best buddy.  I expected a happy-go-lucky mutt, that would bring me my Mizz & smash hits magazines and basically be a mix of every dog from any Disney movie ever. 

Spoilet alert: This Didn't Happen

What I got was this sassy little package of black fur....


 
Here's a tip;  13 year olds don't have the best ideas for dog names.  She was called Princess FuFu for about an hour, then Black beauty, before my dad shut that down and I settled on Genna.  I'm pretty sure I picked that name because it sorta sounded like mine.  I am cool.

So she had her name, and her place by my bed.  I patiently awaited my instant Disney dog and instead I got a dog who adopted the personality of a teenage girl, the eye-roll of Tiny Fey and the sarcastic glare of Chandler Bing.

Thing is; I wouldn't have it any other way.  She's the dogs bollocks, even without dog bollocks. 


We can laugh about my school uniform later, ok?

So, you've given a dramatic 13 year old a puppy.  You'll given her complete control over this animals life.  You bet your ass that dog ended up in a wig.


OKAY MULTIPLE WIGS.

NAILED IT.


Now let's deal with the reality.  Puppies are hard work.  Most 13 year olds are completely immune to this word.  I was NO exception.  Life is pretty sweet at this age, yeah you're hormonal and you hate everyone, but your mum still makes you dinner and you're biggest problem is which cast member of Harry Potter to crush on this week.

Okay, there was no decision.  It was mostly this guy.

ENTER RESPONSIBILITY.

I remember crying because I had to miss top of the pops by carrying a gleely weeing Genna outside.  There were a lot of times I was annoyed because she didn't want to sit quietly with me when I was reading.  I remember every time she nipped me playfully, I would scream SHE HATES ME and dramatically fall into my bed.

And she ate ALOT of shoes.

I can't remember the turning point, probably around the time I stopped making it all about me, but we became inseparable.

I mean, yes, She deals with most problems in life by putting her arse on it.  She wipes her butt on anything I value and then looks like she's done me a favour.  I'm going to cut this whole paragraph short and just say I deal with her butt for about 60% of the day.

Seriously, she's more butt obsessed than Kim Kardigimon, or whatever her name is.

Anyone obsessively watch and play digimon as a kid?
Are you seriously wearing that today?  I haven't rubbed my arse on it yet.

So yes, she will sometimes ditch me for food, and she can be really uppity, but she's also my soul mate.  We grew up together.  Even as I write this, she's sitting on my feet.  It's 12 years later, I'm on my lunch break at work - My best bud is by my side.

Unless the heater is on, or a new man to impress turns up, and she's gone like a light if she hears someone opening up a sandwich.

But apart from that.  We're inseparable.



She pulled all-nighters with me during exam season.  During my first break up, she refused to leave my side.  In fact, as I moped over blurry Nokia pictures whilst screaming Rasmus lyrics, she would reverse up and stick her arse in my face.  Her universal sign of "Everything is going to be okay, look, here's my butt"

We even went through our difficult teenage emo stages at the same time.  We perfected our myspace poses together.  As a team.



It's a running joke in my family that if I'm ill, Gen is my nurse.  If I'm sick, she barges her way into the toilet to sit with me.  If she can't get in she'll scratch and bash on the door until someone opens it.  Then, she is just there for me.  Every 20 minutes or so, she will nudge me to check I'm still alive, and then lay back down on my feet. 

From the common cold, or the flu, she will not leave my side until I am better.  I got glandular fever when I was 15, and she had a permanent spot on my sickbed.  When I was at my worst she had to be tempted away from me to even eat.  Walks were out of the question, which was fine by her.  She was too busy offering me her butt and keeping me warm to bother with that.



When I was 16, I met Kris,  now known as husband.  Other boyfriends hadn't really given Gen much thought, but suddenly, Gen had a number one fan.  He loved to come on walks with us and always suggested new places to take her.  He didn't mind when she plonked herself between us, or that he needed her approval to win mine and he would turn up with food for her.  As a result,  she fell haplessly and completely in love with him.

Like dog like owner, AMIRIGHT?!



When I met Kris' family, it wasn't long before Gen came along to meet them as well.  They are now our family too.  She is queen of us all.



I've been told multiple times that it's like we have a secret club that no one else is invited too.  We share all of life's adventures.  From breakfast, to dinner to other minor stuff like moving house, getting married and growing old.  My friends, are her friends.  My family, is her family.  Apparently, my food is her food.  When I have to leave her, my mental family makes sure I'm never really without her.




She likes balloons (she picks them up by their nibs), any ball that she can squish and ice cubes.  If she hears a glass clinking with ice in it, she will be right at your side, giving you puppy eyes worthy of an Oscar.  If someone is fighting with me, or shouts at me in front of her, She will stand in front of me and give them the dirtiest look possible.  She truly is my best friend.  Just a lot hairier.

I've got her butt back and she's got mine.


Look, do you mind?  We're having a private conversation here.





She lost weight with me, another massive change that we tackled together.  I was told to exercise more, and Gen came along.  As the doctor told me to put more vegetables in my dinner, the Vet told me to do the same for Gen.  Which leads to a lot of scenes like this...

Screw your carrots.

Plus, she's put up with 12 years of me putting her in hats, glasses & wigs.

There's a lot of folders like this on my computer.

F*ck.  I'm picking up signals with this thing.

Don't hate me 'cause you ain't me.


#Flawless  #Eyeroll

So there you have it.  That's why she's my best bud, that's why she appears a lot on here.   I'm not saying it's been easy, I'm not saying she's been perfect, she's naughty, moody and sometimes incredibly stubborn, but I love her anyway - even if I come home to mess, or a disemboweled recycling bin or my personal favourite, a massive bum wipe from one end of the room to the other.

It's kind of her trademark.



Happy Birthday Gen.  Cheers for 12 years of offering me your butt.


Let's not skate around the obvious thing here.  Being a blogger means you get offered free stuff.  Usually by big brands.  You write your review, people read it and either buy it or disregard your opinion because you got free stuff, and everyone loves free stuff.

I had a bad experience where someone tried to change my 'tone', another wanted me to remove something because it didn't fit with 'their brand' and it's ridiculous.  I didn't start this blog to become a advertiser bought off with tea and frying pans.  This is my blog.  It's where I was supposed to share things I'm passionate about.

I want to open up my own little cafe, full of homemade treats, or stuff made by other small businesses.  I want to build a nice little community where I know my customers by name and their orders by heart.  My biggest dream is to be a small business owner.

So why the hell aren't I supporting others who have taken the leap and already done it?!

Small, independent businesses are awesome.  Their isn't anything small about their commitment. They spend their days creating, inventing and putting their heart into what they sell.  I love that.  Why?  Because these people live and breathe what they do.

You will usually find:

a)  They are passionate about what they do
b)  They are amazingly skilled at what they do.
c)  They are lovely.



So, without much more an introduction, I'd like to introduce to you all to Mello Mallo.  Laura ticks all three of these boxes, and I'm going to spend this post telling you why I think her shop is awesome and why giving her money in exchange for her treats will be the best decision you can make in the next 10 minutes.

and yes, you can bet that all these opinions are mine.  Sigh.  I haven't been paid to write this review.

So why do I love Mello Mallo?

To start with, I can appreciate how difficult creating the perfect marshmallow can be.  I've tried many different recipes, and only a few turned out okay.


Laura creates magic fluffy pillows of happiness.  Ugh.  Hold on.  That did not sound like me at all.  All this pink is turning me into a overly positive Disney sidekick.

The moment I placed my first Mello Mallo treat on my mouth, this was my reaction:


Replace the unicorn with a marshmallow and that could almost be a picture of the exact moment.

From the beautifully decorated raspberry and white chocolate hearts, to her moreish mint chocolate marshmallows, each hand made and hand cut marshmallow that I tasted,  was spot on.  They were almost bubbly, like how a certain brand of bubbly chocolate feels as it melts in your mouth.

Apparently being a badass at Marshmallow creation wasn't enough because she also creates chocolates.

Chocolate diamonds, to be exact.




I opened my bag the day before I was due to take some pictures.  Which is why I only had about 8 left to take pictures with.  Oops.  You know what they say, Diamonds are a girls best friend, Chocolate Diamonds will probably make her happier.

I offered Kris one.  A small one.  Even that was quite hard.

They were by far, my favourite thing I tried from this delivery.  Come pay-day, I shall be ordering myself some more of these.

photo by Mello Mallo

The Raspberry and pistachio Belgian White Chocolate Hearts were well appreciated by family members.  I shared these out amongst people as I'd already eaten pretty much everything else myself and was feeling a little guilty.


The mint chocolate chip marshmallows also tasted amazing on top of my evening hot chocolate.  A perfect combination.

Laura is passionate about what she does and that shows in what comes out of her kitchen.  I could kiss ass until the cows come home, but instead I'll end this post with the magician herself.

A few questions with Mello Mallo:


photo by Mello mallo


How do you come up with new flavour ideas?
I come up with new flavour ideas all the time but only a few make it through to the end. I am inspired by existing foods, so for example the way a chocolate bar is made up, I think about doing that in marshmallow form (I'm thinking along the lines of a twix for example - shortbread base, caramel layer, marshmallow then chocolate). I love citrus so am hoping a lemon flavoured mallow makes a comeback soon. On the more regimented side of things I have a great book called the Flavour Thesaurus which is a quick check for flavour pairings and can get me started on a recipe path.

photo by Mello mallo

What do you love about making marshmallows?
I love that marshmallows are so versatile when it comes to flavour, and that you don't need to use any artificial flavours because they work so well with fruits etc. I also love the feel of a freshly-made and cut mallow - it's soft and silky and would make the best (if not a bit sticky) pillow

photo by Mello mallo

What’s your favourite thing you sell?
I think my favourite thing I sell is the chocolate flavour marshmallow. So many people say to me they've never had a chocolate marshmallow, and that it's a strange concept to them. They then taste it and are so surprised with the intensity of the chocolate flavour. Definitely worth a try!

photo by Mello mallo


So big up a small business and check out her shop here.  She definitely has a fan in me.  If you hadn't guessed from this love letter to marshmallows I just wrote.

Can you tell I like Marshmallows?  I tried to make it subtle. ;)







author
Emma | Fork and Good
Married. Mid-20s. Documenting it all via vaguely sarcastic and sweary blog posts. Obsessions changes weekly.