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James McIntosh

Odd food combinations, what’s the scoop?

Posted by James McIntosh Tuesday, 11th March 2014

By the time you’re reading this I will be in China demonstrating Rangemaster cookers on a beautiful island in the South China Sea. I've spent much time in China presenting TV shows and I have discovered some interesting food combinations out there. Not to mention the classic 'bird's nest soup'. Now, don't worry, it’s not a real birds nest, rather a set of noodles in the shape of a bird’s nest. But what could be considered as 'odd' food combinations to some can be normal reality to others. 


I remember as a child turning up my nose at Sesame Street (is it still on TV?) at the notion of Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches. Now I know it’s all a matter of lost in translation as it’s peanut butter and jam to us Brits. Talking about "Lost in Translation", I was in Kyoto, Japan the time the movie of Lost in Translation was aired, moushie moushie means I love you (see my last Rangemaster blog) and not a type of pea to consumer with fish and chips  (which I have cooked in China in the past and watched chips being eaten with chopsticks...). While in Japan I needed some carbohydrates to help, I saw what looked like a chocolate bun, only to my surprise it was red bean paste. 


Have you tried a glass of Stout with a scoop of ice-cream? I must say it's jolly good.  Heston's snail porridge goes one step too far for me. Last year in Rangemaster we encouraged customers to get their children to cook Roald Dahl's revolting recipes from the Twits. We were inundated with pictures of goulish garish creations...


I'm playing it safe, eggs with maple syrup. What's your odd combination? Salted caramel is currently on-trend; here is a great cupcake recipe for you to try in your Rangemaster. And it is really quite something. 




Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Salted Caramel Cupcake Edit


Makes 12


180g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Large pinch sea salt

120g unsalted butter, at room temperature

230g light brown sugar

2 tbsp light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

154ml buttermilk


Caramel Filling

100g caster sugar

3 tsp salted butter

60ml double cream



Preheat the Rangemaster Oven to 160C / 140C if using a fan oven / Gas Mark 3.  Line a cupcake tin with papers.


Sieve the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, set aside.


In a clean bowl, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy with a wooden spoon or electric mixer until light and fluffy and it falls off the end of a spoon to the count of 2.


Add the eggs one at a time and beat well until each is incorporated into the mixture.  Add the vanilla and fold the flour through in 3 batches with 1/3rd of the buttermilk between each addition of the flour.  Divide into the lined tray and bake for about 20 - 25 minutes until cooked.  Place onto a wire tray to cool.


To make the filling, melt the sugar in a pan over a high heat in a thick based pan and cook until it’s a deep amber colour.  Add the butter and whisk through, then add the cream.  It's ok if it foams.  Whisk until all of the lumps have gone.  Remove from the heat and cool slightly.


Cut a round piece out of the top of each cupcake and pour 1 tsp of caramel into the hole.  Place the top on and decorate as you like.

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