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Homemade Crumpets and TEA & CAKE


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I am a crumpet lover.   I couldn't tell you how many crumpets I have eaten through the years, but it's quite a few . . . . ohhh . . . those soft yeasty, pancake like cakes . . .  riddled with holes, just perfect for collecting butter and jam or honey, or  . . .  I love them.  Can you tell?   I had always shied away from making my own however.  I don't know why though.  They're fabulous and so easy to make and the homemade ones taste infinitely better than store bought ones.  Seriously!   So what was it that inspired me to conquer my fears and make my own?

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Marie Rayner
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Sweeten Mother's Day with Radnor Preserves


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Show mums just how special they are this Mother's Day with a beautiful box of award winning Radnor Preserves arriving on their doorstep.  Even if sons and daughters can't be there in person, preserve-maker Joanna Morgan hand-makes preserves and marmalades so delicious and unique in flavour, that they'll top the traditional bouquet.

The collection is perfect for mums who enjoy exploring their culinary skills, as the Snowdon Marmalade gives a zesty twist to bread and butter puddings, whilst the gold mdal World Marmalade Award winning Sicilian Blood Orange transforms casserole dishes.

Flavours also include the indulgent dark chocolate and pear Belle-Helene, Clementine & Cointreau, Rhubarb & Caramelized Fig and Great Taste Award winning Raspberry & Crushed Cardamom.  Gifr boxes and hampers can also contain a personalized message.

A box of three costs £15 plus P&P or for a real treat, try a hamper for £50, which contains 7 jars and a recipe book.   All are gluten-free, vegan-friendly and free from artificial perservatives and additives.

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I was sent a jar of their Great Taste Award Winning 2013 Black Currant & Vanilla Preserve to try out.

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I found it to be lovely and thick with lots of fruit as well as having a heavenly scented of vanilla.  All in all it went down a real treat with some homemade crumpets.

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As fans of black currants, we both really enjoyed this jam.  Tune in tomorrow for the crumpet recipe.  You're in for a real treat.

Many thanks to Radnor Preserves for sending me a jar of jam to enjoy.   Although I was sent the jam, any and all opinions are my own.   This isn't award winning jam for no reason.   It's really lovely.
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Marie Rayner
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Black Bean Lasagne


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This is an easy Vegetarian dish I have had on my list of things to make for a very long time.  I can't even remember where it came from now.   I think possibly it was a Pillsbury recipe, but I can't say for sure.  In any case it I finally got it made the other day and it wasn't half bad!

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Marie Rayner
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Cheddar and Garlic Drop Buns


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We have had some really cold weather these past couple of weeks.  I know it is not near as cold as the temperatures you hardy North Americans are used to, but over here in the UK, the temperatures don't have to dip very low before we are freezing.  We don't have the heating, insulation and windows that you are used to in North America, and it is a lot damper . . .  so when it is cold, it is cold.  Cold weather is soup weather and when I cook us a pot of soup, I always like to bake some sort of bread to accompany it.   A decent piece of bread can turn even the simplest of soups into a hearty meal!

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Marie Rayner
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Perfect Deviled Eggs


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If there is one thing on a buffet table that is very popular, it has to be Deviled Eggs.    I hope you don't think I am bragging when I say this, but  . . .  I do believe that I make the most delicious Deviled Eggs in the world.  If I had a pound or dollar for every Deviled Egg I have made in my lifetime that was enjoyed by someone, I'd be sitting pretty well at the moment with no financial worries for the rest of my life.   In fact when I worked at the manor, I was under express orders to make sure there was a plate of them in the refrigerator at all times.  I am sure they must have missed them when I left.

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Marie Rayner
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Puffy Peanut Butter Cookies . . . the chewy ones.


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I came across a peanut butter cookie recipe the other day that looked pretty good, on a blog called Julia's Album .  I like puffy peanut butter cookies.   I prefer my peanut butter cookies to be a bit soft and chewy rather than hard and crunchy.   These looked perfect and not only that, but her recipe only made between 12 and 15 cookies, which is just the perfect amount to have here in this house because we are only two.  People that is.

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Marie Rayner
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Beef and Potato Casserole



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As you know we had the Missionary Elders here for their supper the other night.  That's when I made that gorgeous Profiterole Cake.  Today I am going to show you what they had for their main course.   A delicious Beef and Potato Casserole!  They both had seconds!

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Marie Rayner
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Strawberry Macaroon Slices


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If you have a jar of jam in the cupboard you have the makings of quite a few things.  Delicious Cookies and Tarts . . . Muffins and Cakes  . . . and of course that favourite tea time treat . . . . Bread and Jam!  One of my favourite things to make is my Lemon and Jam Slices . . .  but I also love making these delicious Strawberry Macaroon Slices!

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Marie Rayner
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Profiterole Cake


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We had the Missionary Elders for tea last night and I wanted to make them a special dessert to enjoy.  This chilled dessert always goes down a real treat with everyone I serve it to.   I call it Profiterole Cake but I have also seen it called Eclair Cake.  It's basically a choux pastry base filled with a vanilla  and cream cheese filling, topped with whipped cream and then drizzled with a chocolate sauce!  It.  Is.  To.  Die.  For.

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Marie Rayner
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Lemon Drizzle Cake


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If there is one thing which I enjoy more than almost anything else, it is a good Lemon Drizzle Cake.   Back home we always called it Lemon Loaf, but over here they call it Lemon Drizzle.  I think Lemon Drizzle sounds tastier don't you?

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Marie Rayner
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Farmer's Cheese Filled Pierogi


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The other day I cooked us some very delicious Pierogi for our supper.  I am no stranger to Pierogi, having discovered them as a young bride when I moved West to Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.  They were a very popular dish and one year at Christmas time a good friend of mine, Esther, taught me how to make them myself.   They have been a staple in our home ever since. Delicious!   That was not the recipe I used this time however.  I used a recipe from a book I was recently sent to review, entitled . . .  Noodle Kids, by Jonathon Sawyer.

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Marie Rayner
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Hot Roast Beef and Cheese Sandwiches


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 I cooked us a roast on Valentines Day.  We had not had a roastable (other than pot roast) beef in a very long time and so I splurged and treated us to a Prime Rib.  Oh boy it was really good.   Prime Rib is my favourite of all the roasts.  I used to cook it for my employers fairly often when I worked at the Manor, but I think Todd and I have only ever had it one other time the whole time we have been married.

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Marie Rayner
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Banana and Sticky Date Muffins



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I ended up with a few bananas today that needed using up pronto, and as I am a person who doesn't like to waste anything I decided to make some muffins with them. That way we could keep some for ourselves and I could take a few over to our elderly friend Doreen . . .

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Marie Rayner
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Pecan and Chocolate Tart


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I had wanted to share this recipe with you prior to Valentines Day, but the time just got away from me.  You know what they say though . . .  better late than never.  I am sure you will find some use for it your repertoire of easy and delicious dessert recipes!  This is one which is perfect for entertaining.  I have adapted it from "East Baking" by Linda Collister, published by Ryland Peters.

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Marie Rayner
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Floating Islands


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On Valentines day I like to pull out the stops a little bit when it comes to serving a lovely dinner to my beloved.    Nice needn't be complicated however.  A simple soup for a first course . . .  a steak (with a bearnaise butter) and baked potato for the main, along with a salad . . .  and for dessert, this simple, uncomplicated yet delicious dish.  Floating Islands.  A bit old fashioned yes, but impressive nonetheless and light.  Perfect for afters when you've eaten a somewhat heavy meal.

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Marie Rayner
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A Classic Boeuf Bourguinon


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This was something that I made at the weekend, and am only now getting on to writing about it on here. I actually made it on Saturday, and then warmed it up in the slow cooker on Sunday when we were at church.

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Marie Rayner
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Sticky Walnut Buns


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There is nothing I love more than getting a new cookery book.  I know . . . Todd agrees.  I have enough cookbooks already, but I just can't help but get excited when I am offered a new one to review.   I was recently sent a new one from DK entitled Cupcakes and Mini Cakes . . .  I know cake  . . .  sigh . . .  mini cakes.  If there is anything better than cake it's a cupcake or a mini cake . . . coz it's perfectly sized just . . .  for . . .  YOU!

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Marie Rayner
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Tropical Sunshine Smoothie and Degustabox for January


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There is nothing like a bit of tropical sunshine in the middle of Winter!  Seriously.  I can't quite come up plane tickets to the tropics . . .  but I can invite a little bit of it into my home by way of these delicious Tropical Sunshine Smoothies for breakfast.   They are so delicious.  I was inspired by the Degustabox January Healthy Box!  It's nice to partake of something which is sunshiny, healthy and delicious!  I feel good! (channeling James Brown here. lol)

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Marie Rayner
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Cheesy Corn Dip


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 I do so love a good dip and a good dipper to dip into a good dip!  With it being sports season this recipe is one that will come in really handy over the coming weeks.  Hockey, British Footie, American Football . . .  there is nothing like sharing good game viewing with friends and good food at the same time!

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Marie Rayner
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Cheese, Potato and Onion Pie


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Who says that a savoury pie has to have meat in it to be good?  This pie is absolutely fabulous!     You can adapt it to use the cheese which you have in the house. It can be a tiny bit fiddly with the making of the pastry, but absolutely worth all of the fiddle!  We were all drooling over it in this house!

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Marie Rayner
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Chocolate Fudgie Wudgies


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I hate to do this to you but I must.   This is one of those types of recipes that you are going to wish you had never seen . . .  well, if you are a chocoholic at any rate.   These babies are GORGEOUSLY rich, decadent and totally fudgy wudgy chocolatey!

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Marie Rayner
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Blue Ribbon Blueberry Cake




This is a cake that I haven't made in a very long time. I had actually forgotten all about it, but then as I was going thru the Big Blue Binder the other day, I happened upon the recipe and remembered how very good it was . . .

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Marie Rayner
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Long Boy Burgers





I first saw these burgers a few years back on a delicious blog that I like to visit from time to time entitled Full Bellies Make Happy Kids. Sandra is a stay at home mom and she cooks the most delicious things for her family. Reading her page reminds me of what my life was like at the same stage in life . . . when I had a whole houseful of hungry kids (Five to be exact!) . . . and was so very busy preparing delicious and interesting meals to tempt their palates! (In between doing laundry, laundry and um . . . more laundry!!)

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Marie Rayner
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Winter Fruit Salad




Even though it's Winter and it's cold . . . I still find myself longing for the salad days of summer . . . there are some days when stodge just doesn't cut the mustard. I want lettuce, and I want it now!

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Marie Rayner
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Salmon Patties


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Tinned salmon is something I always have in the house.  It's a very versatile ingredient and something which we both love.  It's great in sandwiches and pate's . . .  in casseroles, on it's own, in salads, etc.  One of my favourite ways of using it is to make these delicious salmon patties!

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Marie Rayner
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Easy Pot Roast


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I was recently sent a hamper from the people at Knorr and challenged to come up with a recipe using their award winning Flavour Pots.  I am no stranger to the Flavour Pots.  I use them all the time and I really love a challenge so for me this was something I really enjoyed doing.   I am not sure how many recipes I am allowed to create, but this is the first one.  I got the hamper on Friday and already I have done the recipe.   Just goes to show you how much I love these flavour pots.

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Marie Rayner
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The Ultimate Sausage Breakfast Sarnie


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I found these really nice sausage patties in the grocery store the other day.  They were my favourite brand of Sausages, Heck Sausages, and they were shaped like hearts!  What better to serve your sweetie pie with in the month of love than a breakfast sandwich made with a heart shaped sausage patty!

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Marie Rayner
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Chelsea Buns


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Normally at the weekend, I like to do some baking that takes a bit more effort than what I usually get up to during the week.  I'm not a really big fan of yeast baking, but I am a huge fan of Chelsea Buns . . .  and the shop bought ones are usually so disappointing, so this weekend I decided to try to make my own with excellent results, using a recipe I got from a National Trust baking book.  They are excellent sources of traditional recipes.

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Marie Rayner
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