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.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Lemon Glazed Cinnamon Scrolls


 I love puff pastry.  Well, I love any pastry actually.  I am a pastry afficionado from way back and the butterier and flakier the better! I am a very good pastry maker if I don't say so myself, must be all the years of practice I have had. One thing I don't do however is make my own Puff Pastry from scratch. Call me lazy or whatever. It is very time consuming and the end results are not much better than a good quality all butter puff pastry you can buy in the shops.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Salmon and Broccoli Quiche


I forget where I was, but it was a couple of weeks ago now, I was visiting with someone and they mentioned baking a quiche for supper a few nights before that and I remember thinking to myself, I have not baked a quiche in a while and my appetite for having quiche was immediately whetted and I thought about nothing else for a few days!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Skillet Chicken and Spinach Bowties


Today I bring you a pasta dish which is not only quick and easy to make, but quite, quite delicious!  With it's fresh flavours and pretty colours, this is sure to please almost anyone and is a great way to get the kids to eat their spinach!

Monday, 20 March 2017

Chunky Puy Lentil & Vegetable Soup


  Puy lentils, grown in France are just wonderful in soups. They thicken without turning to sludge. They don't break down like other lentils and keep their lovely little shape, giving any soup which is made with them a bit of a bite, a very delicious bite!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

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 . . .

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Date, Pistachio & Honey Slices


As you know I've  been working really hard on my cookbook. There hasn't been a lot of cooking going on these past few days as I am down to the crunch.  I hope you will forgive me for re-posting these lovely slices from a few years ago.  They are delicious, so I am sure you won't!  

Friday, 17 March 2017

Irish Apple Cake


I wanted to make Todd my Irish Apple Cake for Saint Patricks Day.  He loves apple anything, and I have been wanting to re-do some of my earlier recipes and take new photos of them, so today, in honor of Saint Patrick, I re-did my Irish Apple Cake Recipe.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Golden Syrup and Oatmeal Muffins



One of the tastes I have come to really enjoy over here is Golden Syrup. A pale thick amber coloured syrup, it is a form of inverted sugar syrup, made in the process of converting sugar cane juice into sugar. Oh, it is soooo scrummy and has a lovely caramel like, almost buttery flavour.


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Bean & Sausage Hot Pot


Still working on my cookbook that I am writing.  It is down to the crunch time now, with not a lot of time left for me to finish it all up.  I have it under control I am happy to say, and have been revisiting a few of my older recipes and re-cooking/re-doiong photography of them. Dishes such as this fabulously tasty Bean & Sausage Hot Pot!  This recipe also happened to tie in with some of the contents of this month's Degustabox!



Degustabox is a monthly foodie subscription service that sends out a range of specially selected foodie products. There's always a great mix of new products that I haven't tried before, as well as plenty of treats from more established brands. Each Degustabox costs £12.99, delivery costs are included in the price, and there is no fixed contract involved - you can cancel at any time. I love getting these boxes. Its a little bit like Christmas for me when the box arrives every month. Here is a little bit about the February box I received.


KOKO Dairy Free Originial 1 X £1.50

Koko Dairy Free Original is a fresh tasting and versatile milk alternative made from freshly pressed coconut milk.  It tastes great in tea or coffee, on breakfast cereals, in smoothies, as a refreshing cold drink, or in cooking.  Plus, with only 27 calories per 100ml, it is lighter than skimmed milk.





Double Dutch is a new range of premium, low calorie soft drinks created by Dutch Twins, Raissa and Joyce de Haas. Combining unusual flavours, these drinks have been specifically designed to enhance the taste of higher-quality spirits. While offering a playful alternative to boring mixers, the innovative range of flavours are also delicious enjoyed on their own.  I received a Pomegranate and Basil.  Yum!

 


KABUTO NOODLES 1 X £1.99

 Vegetable Laksa
This new gluten-free rice noodle dish is inspired by the warm coconut Laksa dishes of Malaysia. It's also completely vegetarian and bursting with sweetcorn and peppers.

Like all of our noodles, it is made using quality ingredients and no additives or preservatives. There's no need to refrigerate, so you can enjoy restaurant flavours wherever you are (as long as you're near a kettle). Perfect for work, home, tents, camper vans and the big outdoors, Kabuto Noodles make a filling meal that's fit for a warrior.

I love Kabuto Noodles.  They make a great quick lunch, and these were delicious.

 

BLOSSOM HILL Fruitbloom 1 X £4.99

 A fresh and fruity twist on wine! With light bubbles and natural fruit flavours, Blossom Hill Fruit Bloom is the ultimate refreshment. Best served with close friends and sizzling conversation!

I received the Summer Fruits.  It also comes in Elderflower.

 

MAUI AND SONS Dark Chocolate Covered Banana Chips  1 X £1.00

Maui and Sons' Banana Chips are made from one of the most delicious tropical fruits... Bananas! This tasty superfood is naturally packed full of potassium, vitamin A and iron.

We cook our chips to perfection then lightly coat with dark chocolate giving every chip a satisfying crunch, making them a healthy gluten-free snack and delicious treat when you're on the go, and perfect for school, work, play and as a topping on desserts.

With a dash of cocoa and a pinch of sugar these chips are choco-licious, and with no animal products involved in production, they're completely vegan; once you take a bite, you'll literally go BANANAS for more!

I think this was my favourite thing in the whole box!  They are gorgeously delicious!


Willy Chase FITCORN £1.99 - £2.19 

From the same Single-Estate Farm as his world-renowned distillery in Hereford, Willy Chase has developed an array of good-for-you foods with real pedigree and grown-up flavours. Let us introduce you to FITCORN and Willy's Apple Cider Vinegar with The Mother.

FITCORN is our very own popcorn, air-popped to perfection, forming the finest clouds of butterfly corn with a light and crunchy bite. Available in the following flavours: Apple Cider Vinegar, Salted Honey, Smoky Bloody Mary, Nearly Naked and Goats Cheese, Red Onion and Thyme. Free from GM. Free from Gluten. Free from Guilt! 

Willy's Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother, a beautifully crafted vinegar from untouched 300 year old apple orchards. 


JUST BEE  Honey Water X 1

Just Bee Honey Water is a light and refreshing spring water drink, deliciously infused with fruits and the natural sweetness from a drop of honey.

No refined sugar, nothing artificial and less than 50 calories per carton!

Created by a family of British beekeepers, 10% of profits are donated to help Save the Bees!

Just Bee is available from Boots, Waitrose and Holland & Barrett.


 PEPPERSMITH Dental Gum and Dental Mints 2 X £1.50

Did you know that it takes more than brushing to look after your teeth? Protect your smile in between brushing with Peppersmith mints and chewing gum.

Most damage to teeth happens during the day when sugars feed bacteria that form plaque and produce acids. Peppersmith is sweetened with 100% xylitol which reduces this bacteria and protects teeth from damage throughout the day. With natural flavours including Peppermint, Lemon and Strawberry, our mints, chewing gum and pastilles taste great whilst getting to work keeping your teeth healthy. All Peppersmith products are accredited by the Oral Health Foundation, are sugar-free and contain no aspartame. 


BEBETO Cheese Cake Jelly gums and Candy Crush 2 X £1.69

Tasty.

 



Introducing our delicious roasted coffee beans coated in sumptuous dark chocolate. Our delicious Americanos are top quality Guatemalan coffee beans coated in the most delicious dark chocolate for a taste that is incredible, rich and intense. A wonderful pick-me-up both in the office or at the gym.
As these are so popular we provide in many formats - grab and go, gifting tins and filled bar jars as well as 1kg catering packs. Even people who don't like coffee love these and very popular with marathon runners who need an extra caffeine kick. Please visit our website for all the other wonderful innovative products we do.  

I have to confess I did not like these at all, nor did Todd, but then we are not coffee drinkers, although we both normally enjoy coffee flavoured candies and cakes.  These were not our cup of tea however..  



DIABLO No Added Sugar Cream Filled Milk Chocolate Wafer  1 X £0.95

Everyone should be allowed to treat themselves once in a while, don't you think? :Diablo goodies have all the flavour, without any of the naughty added sugar, so there's no need to feel so bad about the little devil on your shoulder with a sweet-tooth.

Ad a Diabetic, I really enjoyed this.

 

COLDPRESS 1 X £2.79

Because Coldpress® juices are cold pressed, not heated, they naturally cram in more taste, more vitamins and more nutrients than conventional pasteurised juices. Coldpress® 100% fruit and vegetable juices are packed with vitamins and lower in naturally occurring sugars.

Berry Beets is an earthy, yet fruity, mix of apples, beetroots, raspberries pears and lemon juice.

Fruity Greens is a tasty blend of apples, celery, kiwis, bananas, kale, spinach and lime.

I received the Fruity Greens and it tasted really good.

  


HEINZ 2 X £0.65 

NEW Heinz No Added Sugar Beanz.

Great Heinz taste with no artificial sweeteners, flavours or preservatives maintaining the natural goodness of Beanz!

And this was the product I chose to highlight with a recipe.  We are already fans of Heinz Beanz.  They have always been our tinned baked beans of choice.  It is nice to see that they are now leaving out the sugar. 


Which is why I didn't feel too guilty about this recipe.  You do add some brown sugar to it, so to know that there is no sugar in the beans was quite a good thing for me.



In this recipe, leftover cooked potatoes line a baking dish, topped with some herbed garlic and onions . . . 


A layer of sliced smoked sausage goes on top of the onions and potatoes.  You could actually use leftover baked ham, or tinned corned beef as well, or even spam.  You could also use leftover cooked breakfast or dinner sausage.  All would work well.


The next layer is a mix of baked beans, brown sugar and BBQ sauce, which gets slathered over the sausage. Cover with foil and bake . . .


Then un-cover, throw on some cheese and return the dish to the oven to melt the cheese.  Altogether this is quite delicious as well as being economical.  You can't lose!  I like to serve it with some coleslaw and sliced bread.


*Bean and Sausage Hot Pot*
Serves 4


A little tasty something I made up to help use up leftover cooked sausage or ham and potatoes.  Delicious.


2 TBS olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 TBS chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
4 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled and cubed
1/2 pound of leftover spicy cooked sausage, smoked or otherwise and crumbled or sliced
(Can also use an equivalent amount of leftover cooked smoked ham, cubed)
1 tin of baked beans, undrained (2 cups)
100g soft light brown sugar (1/2 cup)
60g  barbeque sauce (1/4 cup)
120g of grated strong cheddar (1 cup) 

 


Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.   


Heat half of the oil in a medium skillet.  Add the onions and garlic.  Cook and stir until the onions begin to wilt.  Stir in the herbs, salt and pepper.   Toss in the potatoes and mix well together.  Remove from heat. 


Use the remaining oil to butter an 8 inch square baking dish.   Spread the potato mixture over top.   Sprinkle with the cooked sausage or ham.   Stir together the beans, brown sugar and barbeque sauce.  Pour this mixture evenly over top of the sausage.  Cover the casserole dish tightly with foil.   Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  Uncover.  Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer.  Serve hot. 
 




Many thanks to Degustabox UK for sending me this box. I have to say I really look forward to getting my box each month. There are always lots of things in it to enjoy and new products to try out. I highly recommend. You can also tailor the boxes to your own likes and dislikes by filling in your own Taste Profile. If you like the sound of the February 2017 box, you can obtain yours now here . Do check out the Degustabox web page for more information and details.   I can also offer you a discount code this month.  Just use OWCFI  and get your first box at a reduced price!

Follow them on Facebook 
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I also wanted to add that the box which arrived this month was damaged, with the popcorn being opened and all over the contents of the box and the apple cider vinegar also being open and having spilt over the contents.  A quick e-mail and a brand new box was sent out to me within the next few days!  Thanks Degustabox for such good service!

Bon Appetit!


Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Boiled Bacon & Cabbage with a Mustard Sauce



I have a cookery book I really love.  It's called The Country Cooking of Ireland, by Coleman Andrews and it's a real winner.  I have always felt that if you want to get a real sense of what a country is like, you will embrace the food of that country . . .  and to do that you really need to get into the thick of the countryside.  Let me tell you . . .  the Irish countryside is a very delicious place!  Especially if this recipe is a fair representation of that, and I believe it is.  I thought it would be very fitting to share this with you as this week we will be celebrating St Patrick's Day, and since discovering this past year that 27% of my DNA is Irish, what better reason to celebrate!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Mexi-Bean Bake


After a really busy and full week last week, I found myself craving something simple for tea on Saturday evening.  A store cupboard meal and something which would not take a lot of time to knock together.  I have this recipe binder that I have had kicking around for a very long time and this recipe comes from that.  It is perfect for those lacking in inspiration nights and for nights when you are feeling very lazy but still want to eat something delicious!  Tex-Mex Bean Bake.  I have no idea where the original recipe comes from, as it is hand written and I didn't make note of the source back when I was doing my binder.  All I can tell you for sure is it is very tasty and very old . . .  written on a page that is splattered and torn!  A testimony to it's deliciousness!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Jam Roly Poly


I never make a Jam Roly Poly for dessert but what I don't think of one of my favourite childhood stories, The Tale of Samuel Whiskers and the Roly Poly Pudding by Beatrix Potter. Its kind of a gruesome story really when you think about it . . . rats capturing an innocent little kitten and rolling him up in pudding dough to bake and eat . . .  it sent shivers up my spine at the thought.  A tale really of a lesson learned about the perils of disobedience and the consquences which follow!

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Spiced Apple Custard & Cake Pie


I've been really cracking the whip with myself this month, writing, writing, writing . . .  trying to hit the deadline for my new cookbook and write the best book possible for all of you.  Between that and Todd's radio-therapy this month has been chocker block so far with no end in sight.  I did have a chance to bake a really delicious pie today however, that I just cannot resist showing you!  Man oh man, this was gorgeous!

Friday, 10 March 2017

Coffee & Cardamom Loaf


One of my favourite cooking magazines over here in the UK is the Good Food Cooking magazine.  I used to have a subscription, but when I lost my job it wasn't something I could afford and so now I only pick it up when there are recipes in it that I am particularly interested in.  The latest issue had a great recipe in it for a basic loaf cake right on the very last page, with some variations on it.  I thought this variation sounded delicious! 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Chicken with Apricots & Almonds

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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.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Ham Hash, & Epicurean Kitchenware



Eddingtons recently sent me some kitchenware from Epicurean to try out and I have spent the last month putting it through it's paces in a big way.  I could have told you about it right off the bat, but I wanted to really use it before I spoke to you about it.

Epicurean Cutting Surfaces are a world-class kitchenware brand committed to creating responsibly sourced, design lead and innovative kitchenware. The Epicurean brand was the inspiration of a custom skate park manufacturer who realised the potential for its use outside the skate parks when he was asked by friends and family to create chopping boards from the almost indestructible new materials used in the build process.

I received one of the large chopping boards in the natural colour and two utensils, a large spoon in the slate colour and a  sauté tool in the natural colour.


The Kitchen Series Chopping Boards are made from an eco-friendly, organic, wood fibre composite, available in a variety of sizes and colours; natural, slate and nutmeg. The wood fibre provides cooks with a knife friendly smooth surface upon which they can carry out all their food preparation. The boards are extremely durable, nonporous, heat resistant and dishwasher safe. The Kitchen Series boards really are the “go- to” board for all your cooking and chopping needs

- Dishwasher safe
-Heat resistant to 350*F/176*C
-Knife friendly
-Non-porous wood fibre
-Limited lifetime warranty

I have really loved using this board.  Not only does it perform well as a chopping board, but it also makes a great and attractive surface for me to lay out hot dishes on at the table, and I have to also add that this large one makes a great back drop for food photos. (Just sayin!)



The Kitchen Series Utensil Range has the look and feel of traditional wooden utensils, but has the added benefit of being fade, split and stain resistant. This is due to the innovative wood fibre composite that they are made from. The Kitchen Series utensils are gentle on pans and won’t harm non-stick surfaces whilst also being easy to clean and dishwasher safe. The utensil collection is available in two colours, Natural and Slate and includes three sizes of spoon, a sauté tool, paddle and angled turner.

- Dishwasher safe
-Heat resistant to 350*F/176*C
- Safe for non-stick pans
-Lifetime warranty

The utensils have also performed well.  At first I was a bit concerned that they might absorbe food flavours, colours, the way that traditional wooden spoons do, but that has not happened.  The sauté tool was a bit faded when I received it, due to the portion of it that had been covered with the label, but it has not taken on any colours or tints from anything I have used it with, tomatoes, tumeric, etc.  Nor have they taken on any smell from what I have used them to cook with either.  My pots and pans have remained scratch and scrape free.  Also the board has not taken on any smell from onions or garlic and its surface remains scratch free even after a month of daily use.

I was also a bit concerned that they might warp in the dish washer.  I mean wood, right?  This has also not happened and I have been using and dish washing them almost on a daily basis.  I have to add that I have a smaller, bar-sized board that I have been using for several years now and it has also performed well, never warping, scratching or taking on any smells.  I highly recommend these products.  You can purchase them at Borough Kitchen Cookshops.


As most of you know these past few months I have been kept very busy testing recipes and writing for my new cookbook which will be published soon.  This is one of the recipes which I have developed for it and one which really give the cutting board a real work out, as everything in it was chopped fine!  I used my handy dandy spring loaded food chopper and it did not scratch the board at all.  The durability of these products is amazing!  And so is this tasty recipe.  A great way to use up the leftovers from a roast ham dinner! 



*Baked Ham Hash*
Serves 4

A delicious way to use up the leftovers from a baked ham as well as some leftover cooked potato.  Simple, easy, thrifty and very tasty! 

300g finely chopped cooked ham (2 cups)
1 large brown onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 large cooked potatoes, finely chopped
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Black pepper to taste
120g grated strong cheddar cheese (1 cup sharp cheddar, grated) 

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a shallow 1 litre (1 quart) baking dish.  Set aside. 

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a shallow 1 litre (2 quart) baking dish. Set aside.

Mix the ham, onion, potatoes, worcestershiare sauce and black pepper in a bowl.  Spread in the buttered baking dish.  Scatter the grated cheese evenly over top.

Bake, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes until heated through and golden brown.  Serve hot.
A tossed salad on the side goes very well!

Note - you could also serve this with either a fried or poached egg on top.


Many thanks to Eddingtons for sending me these nifty kitchen tools to try out.  Eddingtons are purveryors and suppliers of quality kitchen merchandise.  They pride themselves in finding fun, innovative and practical kitchen and housewares that are just that little bit different

Turkey Meatballs and Lemon Rice


I am a huge fan of one an suppers.  The less washing up the better!  Less mess, less stress.  I recently came across this recipe for Turkey Meatballs and Lemon Rice and thought it sounded delicious and the fact that it was a one an supper made it even more appealing.  Adapted from the Cookbook entitled One-Pan Wonders from Cooks Country.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Roly Poly Rhubarb Pudding


When I was a child I could hardly wait for Rhubarb Season to roll around. My mom would make us our favourite rhubarb pies. They were so tasty, served warm with vanilla ice cream all melting down into that buttery crust and the sweet/tart juices of that beautiful fruit . . .

Monday, 6 March 2017

Buttermilk Chicken

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I can still remember the first time I tasted Buttermilk. It was way back in the mid 1970's.  I think I bought some to make a cake with or something.  Buttermilk in Canada, comes in one litre containers, so it wasn't long before I was scrambling to find something else I could make with it.  Back in those days it was a lot harder. There was no internet to seek advice from!    You had to rely on word of mouth, friends and family.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Gypsy Creams


I just love, love, LOVE the traditional recipes of the UK. All those years I spent ensconced in Enid Blyton books, drooling and dreaming over what sounded like exotic foods . . . well, those dreams and imaginations have come true for me since I arrived in the UK.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Chocolate Sheet Cake

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This recipe has been floating around for years.   Chocolate Sheet Cake.  Texas Sheet Cake, etc.  Call it what you will, it is all the same cake.  Like they say, there is nothing new under the sun, just new ways of doing things.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Buttermilk Biscuits

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I am a lover of quick breads  . . .  scones, tea loaves, baking powder biscuits, muffins, corn bread, etc.  I just love them.  One of the reasons I love them is because they are quick to put together and they freeze really well.   If you are making a pot of soup, it really isn't much extra work to put together a savoury muffin or quick bread to go along with it, and they realy turn a simple meal into something very special.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

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!  I found the recipe for it on Lesley's Kitchen, who got it from Holly Bell on the Great British Bakeoff.   I adapted it to use the cheese which I had here in the house and it was totally delish! A bit fiddly with the making of the pastry, but absolutely worth all of the fiddle!  We were all drooling over it in this house!