Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Strawberry Buttermilk Bundt Cake

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This may not be the most beautiful cake in the world . . .  but it sure is one of the most delicious cakes!  It's extremely moist and somewhat dense . . .  a cake you can really get yourself stuck into.   It's sturdy and picnick-able.  (Is that a word?)   What I mean is its quite portable and not so fragile that it will fall apart  which makes it perfect for picnics!

Friday, 29 May 2015

Rice Krispie Chicken

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I know you are thinking . . .  not chicken again . . .  but what can I say.   We like chicken.  It's one of the most versatile proteins out there and it's affordable.  In today's economy that counts for a lot.  I never find it boring because I have about a bazillion delicious ways to use it, like this recipe I am showing you here today!  The kids will love this one!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Sponsered Yeni Raki presents an Ultimate Raki Table Dish by Olli Dabbous

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I have always been a proponent of the slow eating experience. One takes so much time to prepare a delicious meal for their family and friends, it’s a shame to see it all disappear in an instant. How much better to linger over the dishes presented, savouring and enjoying every delicious morsel in appreciation of the efforts which have been taken.

I’d like to tell you today about a unique and interesting partnership between the world’s leading aniseed spirit brand, Yeni Raki and top London Chef, Ollie Dabbous, with the hope of inspiring others to partake of the spirit’s traditional slow dining experience outside of its native country, Turkey.

To this end Yeni Raki has created an online video in which you can watch Chef Ollie prepare a delicious dish for his ultimate raki table!

This film is a component of the Yeni Raki’s global “Unrush Your World” campaign, in an effort to inspire the spirit of slow and highlight the importance of taking the time to enjoy the food you are eating. This is the perfect partnership as Ollie’s approach to food has always been that eating wasn’t meant to be hurried or rushed. This is a sentiment I wholeheartedly approve of!

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Chef Ollie has also helped Yeni Raki's launch in the UK by  hosting a party at his London Restaurant in November, having created a bespoke menu of dishes which totally complement the rich flavour of the spirit.

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 A variety of other top restaurants across the UK capital are also creating their own bespoke menus of food paired with the drink in an effort to encourage tasteful Londoners to experience this same spirit of slow dining.

Yeni Raki Website

Post sponsored by Yeni Raki.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Peanut Butter Cookie Pie

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Are you ready for a little bit of decadence?   I know I sure am!   And whilst this is not over the top decadence, it is still a bit of a tasty treat.  If you love peanut butter cookies, and you love peanut butter and jam (or chocolate) then you will absolutely adore this simple and impressive dessert!

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Mini Scone Foccaccia Breads

It was a little cool today and so Todd wanted me to make him some soup for lunch. I didn't do anything special, just opened a couple of tins of Bean and Bacon Soup. He loves that kind.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

The One Pot Gourmet Gardener

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I wanted to tell you about this fabulously fascinating cookbook that I received recently.  More than just a cookbook, it's also a gardening book.   The One-Pot Gourmet Gardener , Delicious container recipes to grow together and cook together authored by Cinead McTernan lifts cooking into the realms of actually growing what you eat, and even further into the realms of container gardening with the idea in mind that you would actually grow all of the produce/herbs/etc in one pot pertaining to a specific recipe.

You can grow all the ingredients you need for a single dish in a single pot.  In all there are 25 carefully devised container recipes grouped into Soups and Salads, Main Courses, Picnic food, Quick Suppers and Drinks and Puddings., Smoothies, Sauces and Tarts.

Each one-pot recipe provides every step from sowing to serving.   There's an introductory masterclass on how to grow crops in pots, giving you the confidence and skills to devise your own one-pot recipes.

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There are six chapters in the book . . .  with tips on how to use the book and getting started,  picnic dishes that you could eat al fresco and on the road, soups and salads, quick suppers, accompaniements such as salsa's and pickles and of course tasty drinks! This book covers a wide variety of subjects . . .

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There are fabulous tips on getting started, how to plant, when to plant, what to plant, etc.   Even the novice gardener would find it quite easy to do.    This would be the perfect book to use in order to inspire your children to eat healthier or different foods.   What child doesn't want to eat what they grow themselves.   Imagine planting a pot with all of the fresh ingredients to make Gazpacho Soup with the children, and then watching them grow together as you baby and help the plants along, right on up to being able to harvest what you have grown to make the soup!    It's a fabulous concept.

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The photography is beautifully executed by photographer Jason Ingram.  There are lots of photographs to help you every step of the way from preparing the soil, to planting, to the correct time for  harvesting.   It's all there, every inch of the way.

This is the ideal book for people with small gardens or balconies, who have the desire to grow their own food but are lacking in space as the ingredients for each recipe can be simply grown in a container.

I love the concept and I love the book.  I have a container planted,  to make my own Salsa Verde, but . . .  these things take time and so I won't be able to show you my results until a bit later in the year, but I am really excited about what I am going to end up with!

Cinead McTernan is a horticulturally trained writer and  the gardening editor of The Simple Things magazine. (She was previously editor of The Edible Garden magazine and worked on The English Garden and BBC Gardeners’ World magazines.) 

Available in hardback and priced at £16.99 One-Pot Gourmet Gardener is published by Frances Lincoln

ISBN 978-0-7112-3590-8
Frances Lincoln Limited Publishers
UK £16.99
US $26.99
Canada $28.99

Each one-pot recipe provides every step from sowing to serving.   And after being guided throuh an introductory masterclass on how to grow crops in pots, readers will have the confidece and skills to devise their own one-pot recipes!

  Reader Offer Discount:
To order One-Pot Gourmet Gardener at the discounted price of £12.99 including p&p* (RRP: £16.99), telephone 01903 828503 or email and quote the offer code APG311
*UK ONLY - Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

Many thanks to Frances Lincoln for sending me this copy for review.   All opinions are my own.

Parmesan Chicken Breasts with Crispy Prosciutto

I am always up for chicken. Its not something I ever get tired of. I could eat it every night of the week. I'm not fussy about which part I eat either . . . I love the thighs, I love the breasts, I love the wings. I adore roasted chicken, fried, baked, simmered . . . I just love chicken in any way shape or form!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Herby New Potato and Egg Salad

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With it being a Bank Holiday over here in the UK and of course Memorial Day over in America, people will be firing up their grills today and treating themselves to a barbeque . . .  at least if the weather co-operates.   Here in the UK a Bank Holiday usually signals the rain clouds to roll in, but sometimes we get lucky! I have my fingers crossed!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Glazed Apple, Carrot and Walnut Bread

What do you bake when it's not quite the fruity season, but you are craving something fruity???  When you are wanting something almost cake-like . . .  but are feeling too lazy to go through all of the faff that is involved in baking a decent cake???

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Cinnamon French Toast Batons

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I normally like to pull out the stops at the weekend and cook us something special for breakfast.  Normally during the week we have only toast and/or cereal, saving anything larger for Saturday or Sunday.   This is a bank Holiday here in the UK this weekend and so I decided that I would make us some French Toast for our Saturday breakfast . . . and not just any French Toast . . .  but  . . . Cinnamon French Toast Batons.

Friday, 22 May 2015

Hot Hamburger Platter with Fries and Coleslaw

One thing my Todd has always wanted to do is to go to a diner to eat. You know . . . just like the ones on the telly that you see in all those American movies.

All chrome and formica . . . and juke boxes, waitresses named Sally, and a coffee cup that has no bottom.

Club sandwiches, gravy fries and mile high pies.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Greek Mac and Cheese

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Prior to moving over here to the UK, I have to admit I had a very limited palate.   I was a good cook, everyone said so, and people enjoyed coming to our home for meals, but I wasn't very adventurous when it came to trying new things.  I grew up on plastic cheese with a father who only let my mother season things with salt and pepper  . . .  using any herb or spice at all was to me quite adventurous.  I did simple, plain food, but I did it well.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Chicken and Garlic Potatoes Casserole

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Are you ready for another delicious one pan chicken meal?   I know I am.   We do eat a lot of chicken in this house, but that is totally because it is economical, adaptable and delicious.  It never gets really boring.  I would love to eat more beef or lamb, but in all honesty, it's not within my budget except for on very rare occasions these days.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Nutella Swirl Banana Muffins

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I had the fortune to have some bananas go very ripe the other day which gave me the opportunity to bake something delicious.   I only ever rarely am able to do that as the Toddster eats up the bananas almost faster than I can bring them into the house!  He does love his bananas!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Spam and Beans

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I can hear you thinking . . .  Spam and Beans?   What is that girl doing now!  And I fed it to company no less, as one of a pair of casseroles.   It was delicious.   Absolutely delicious!  One of my guests was a real Spam lover as well, so that was win/win for me.   Delicious and popular!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Lemon Puddle Cake

I always have a bowl of lemons sitting on the counter. They look so pretty there and they smell delicious. They also come in very handy . . . for cakes and bakes . . . hot drinks . . . savoury dishes . . . cold drinks . . .

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Rhubarb and Strawberry Slices

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We had guests for lunch the other day and I baked these delicious Rhubarb and Strawberry Slices to have for dessert.   We had them along with some sliced strawberries and cream.   They went down a real treat!  And I am not surprised for they are truly delicious!  These are S P R I N G personified!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Creamy Cheddar Salad Dressing

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It's not quite salad weather yet, but it won't be long.  When the temperatures rise and the sun shines I love to make this delicious creamy dressing which we both really enjoy.  You can use low fat ingredients if you wish, which reduces the calorie count by about half.  (low fat mayo, sour cream and cheese)

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Celebrating British Sandwich Week!

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The 10th to the 16th of May is British Sandwich Week here in the UK. We Brits do love our sandwiches!  I don't think there is a shop here in the UK that you can't buy some kind of ready made sandwich in, even if it's only a Bacon or a Sausage Bap.   Sandwiches are the lunch of choice for millions and I think it's really great that we devote a whole week each year to celebrating that fact of deliciousness!

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Mrs Crimble's Gluten Free Wonder Bars

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Launching in May 2015 Britain's best loved gluten free Bakery Brand, Mrs Crimble's have created a NEW range of Cereal Bars available in three delicious flavours . . .  Cherries and Berries, Sultana and Apricot and Banana.

The bars form part of a new family of gluten free products called Gluten Free . . . and Good For Me which are calorie counted and designed to provide a convenient, great tasting and sustaining snack on the go.

With no artificial additives, 150 calories or less and lots of fruit and oats, fibre and honey, the Cereal Bars are baked, rather than pressed, to give them a fabulous texture and a delicious flavour.

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Cherries and Berries

With glace cherries and cranberries. No artificial colours of flavours. Suitable for vegetarians. Certified gluten free oats. High in fibre. 150 calories per bar.  

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With chewy banana chunks and date pieces. No artificial colours or flavours. Suitable for vegetarians. Certified gluten free oats. High in fibre. 150 calories per bar. 

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Apricot and Sultana

With delicious dried apricot pieces and plump sultanas. No artificial colours or flavours. Suitable for vegetarians. Certified gluten free oats. High in fibre. 150 calories per bar.  

Baked crispy oat bars in three fruity flavours.  Delicious high fibre chewy bars that fill a gap without the fat or calorie compromise.  Made with 50% oats, fruit and honey.  RRP £0.99 per bar

They were all delicious in their own way, but I think I liked the Banana one most of all.  Available in the Gluten Free section of most grocery shops in the UK, as well as online via Mrs. Crimble's.

Skillet Beans and Sausage

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We've had a couple of really cool, breezy and showery days this past week and that has called for some belly warming meals.   This is one of my favourites.  It's simple and quick to make (like, like) and quite delicious.  It's like a thick bean stew, but filled with fabulous flavours that really please!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Chicken Biryani

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Curry wasn't something which I had experienced a lot of prior to my moving over here to the UK.  My only experience had been a chicken curry that a friend of mine from Manchester had made for me about 30 years ago when I was living  on a British Military Training Base in Canada.  I remember that it was delicious but very spicy.  She had used a whole bottle of curry powder in it!

Monday, 11 May 2015

A Chicken and Mushroom Pie

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If you like chicken and you like pies, then today you are in for a real treat because the other day I cooked us a Chicken and Mushroom Pie for our tea that was absolutely fabulous.   With a delicious rich gravy, made all the better for using some pale ale to help flavour it (and cream) and a crisp and flakey puff pastry topping.  This Chicken and Mushroom Pie is a winner all round!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

There's a Surprise Inside

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There are an abundance of fabulous baking products available to us these days.   The mind boggles at the variety.  I wanted to show you today a few recipes which highlight the new Surprise Inside Cupcake Centers from Dr Oetker.  They come in three flavours . . .  Salted Caramel, Dark Chocolate and Zingy Lemon.  Yum yum! Hang onto your hats because there is about to be a lot of deliciousness coming your way this morning!

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Double Crusted Blueberry Oat Crumble


We had company the other day for supper and I wanted to make a special dessert. I also happened to have an abundance of blueberries as there had been a really good offer on at the grocery shop when I was shopping.  A HUGE punnet of blueberries for only £2.  They were easily four times the size of a normal punnet!  SCORE!

Friday, 8 May 2015

Rhubarb Butter

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No doubt about it rhubarb is one of my favourite fruits.  I look forward to rhubarb season every year and all of the treats I can cook up with it!  Pies!  Cakes!  Crumbles! Butter!

Rhubarb Butter?  Say what???

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Raspberry Linzer Slices

Do YOU like jam as much as I like Jam??? I don't think anyone could like jam as much as we do in this house, but . . . I could be wrong!

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

A Traditional British Fry Up

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I was searching through the archives here the other day and I couldn't believe that I had never done a British Fry Up.  That is what they call a big breakfast over here in the UK.  A fry up, and it is what will be offered you for breakfast at any B&B in the country.  It may vary slightly from area to area, but the basics are pretty simple . . .

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Chicken with Almonds and Apricots

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Weeknights I try to keep things really simple.   I am very busy during the week and after having worked as a chef for many years, I quite  honestly don't want to spend all my days in the kitchen cooking.   Simple, quick and easy works well for me . . .  but simple, quick and easy doesn't mean that food has to be tasteless or even unhealthy.   It is more than possible to cook a delicious meal without a lot of effort and from scratch.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Irish Brown-bread Crackers

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Marks & SPencers recently decided to stock a range of branded artisan foods, featuring an array of unique foods from small producers, having been sourced from a select range of food products from across the British Isles.  One artisan brand beingfeatured are one of Irelands best loved brands, Sheridans Cheesemongers.

I was recently sent a box of their Irish Brown-bread Crackers to try out.  Fundamental to the creation and production of the brown bread crackers is simplicity and integrity of ingredients and process.  Apart from sea salt, the crackers are created from only three ingredients . . .  butter, buttermilk and stone ground wholemeal flour, all of these ingredients being produced a short distance from the bakery in Clonakilty in rural West Cork.

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Traditional brown soda bread, baked daily in the Sheridan Family home, was the inspiration for these crackers.   Unsatisfied with the crackers available to accompany the great cheeses of Ireland and Britain, they decided to create their own and in 2012 Sheridans teamed up with artisan baker Richard Graham Leigh and created a unique range of handmade crackers, their Irish Brown Bread ones now forming a part of the M&S heritage range of artisan foods. 

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We enjoyed these crackers along with some good cheddar and some grapes for lunch the other day.   What did we think of them?

They had a nice crispness and texture.   They had a slightly nutty flavour, but there were no flavours present which would demean or take away from the integrity or flavour of the cheese we were eating them with.   They were not too salty, just right.  Cheese itself is very salty so you don't need a really salty cracker to be eating it with.   There was the merest tang of buttermilk, but only in the background, which again did not take away from the integrity of the cheese we were eating.  In short  we enjoyed them very much.

Available now in M&S food shops across the UK. 

Sauteed Yellow Turnips (Swede or Rutabaga)

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I have always loved yellow turnips . . .  Swede (here in the UK) or Rutabaga (North America) as they are also called  They are the ones with the purple skin and the yellow flesh inside.  

They were always my favourite part of holiday dinners when I was growing up.  My mom used to mash them together with potatoes so that they were not really strong flavoured.  Over here it is called Tatties and Neeps. I love them in any way shape or form. 

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Baked Granola Doughnuts with a Honey Glaze


You can blame this all on my sister.  My mother had a doughnut pan sitting on top of her kitchen cupboards, gathering dust for years and years . . . she finally sent it to my sister because she had expressed that she had always wanted to have one.  For some reason the idea of a baked doughnut had never really appealed to me . . .

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Cranberry and Orange Marmalade Tea Cake

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I am awfully fond of tea breads or cakes as they are also known.   Delicious small cakes baked in a loaf tin, perfectly sized to slice and enjoy at your leisure with whichever hot drink you enjoy.  In my case it is lemon and ginger tea . . . 

Friday, 1 May 2015

Roasted Onions with a Parmesan Cream

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I guess I didn't check the size of the bag of onions I was buying in that online grocery order too closely . . .  because it ended up being huge!  I decided to create something with some of them that we would both find delicious.  We love gratins . . .  and so I thought an onion gratin type of dish would work really well.