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.
I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air.
~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Friday, 31 October 2014

Some really tasty Potato Bites

One of the things I love about having a food blog is the opportunity which I am afforded to try out new things.   As a person who loves to try new things, this is a win/win situation.  I get to try them and tell you about them, and the companies get a bit of press.   Recently the people from Bannisters' Farm sent me some of their new Potato Bites to try out. I love the Bannisters' products and have been a big fan of their frozen baked potatoes for a while now.  They are a staple ingredient in my freezer.   I normally opt to bake them in the oven, rather than microwave them, but the option is there is you are wanting a quick fix for a baked potato supper. 

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These mini loaded potato skins are absolutely packed with deliciously moreish, melt-in-your-mouth fillings. They’re perfect as a quick, hot and tasty snack or for sharing with friends. They’re traditionally baked, gluten free, wholesome good food, and come in three delicious flavours.   The Cheese and Onion ones  . . .

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And the Cheese & Jalapeno ones.

They also have Cheese and Bacon ones.  I was only sent the Cheese and Onion and the Cheese and Jalapeno ones.

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They are really convenient to use.  Just pop them onto a baking tray and bang them into a hot oven.  (The package tells you how)

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And in due course you are rewarded with some very tasty potato snacks to share and gobble up!

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What better combination than British cheddar cheese and British Monterey Jack, blended together with the piquancy of onion pieces. Deliciously moreish and meltingly good. These were my favourite ones, the Cheese and Onion Bites.   They had a generous topping and were very well flavoured.  I enjoyed mine with a bit of sour cream for dipping, cuz I am a glutton.

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For those with much stronger tastebuds I recommend Cheese and Jalapeno ones.   They may be small but these mini loaded potato skins pack a real punch! With a blend of two British Cheeses and a sprinkling of Jalapeno, they’re sure to wake tired taste buds.  Todd really enjoyed these.   Ariana and I found them too hot for our taste buds.  WE are tastebud wimps!

These mini loaded potato skins are best cooked in the oven. But if you can't wait for 20 minutes, then you can use your microwave instead. They'll be a little less crispy, but still just as tasty.  

I can imagine that these would be great nibbles for your guests during the holidays while they are waiting for dinner to be served, or for those nights when you get together as a group to watch sport or films on the telly.   They would also make the perfect bite to share on the upcoming BonFire Night!   These are simply fantastic cooked on your barbeque too.  For further information on how you can do this,  just have a gander at the back of one of the Bites packs.

To find out more about the people at Bannisters' and their products do check out their webpage HERE.

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Available in all the major grocery shops here in the UK.

Thanks to the Bannisters' people for sending me these scrumptious bites to try!

Disclaimer:  Although I was sent free product to try, any and all opinions are my own.

Green Pepper Steak

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This is one of those quick, easy and simple recipes that every cook should have up their sleeves.  I wish I had a pound for every time I have cooked this over the past 45 years or so . . .  I'd be a very rich woman!  Green Pepper Steak is one of those delightfully quick and tasty dishes that goes together in a flash and can be on the table in not much more than half an hour or so.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Coconut and Lime Glazed Banana Muffins, a taste of the Tropics!


One fruit that I am not overly fond of is bananas.  You will never see me peeling a banana and eating it like that.  They just don't appeal to me in that way.   If you slice them into a bowl and add lashings of warm custard, or  scatter slices of them over a bowl of crisp rice cereal. . .  they somehow become much more appealing to me. 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A Delicious One Pan Autumn Warmer

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I have a love affair going with the Bratwurst sausages.   Todd and I love German Food full stop.  It's one of our favourite places to visit . . .  I had the most delicious brats and sauerkraut once when we were there.  

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The photograph I took doesn't really do it justice.  It was absolutely flippin delicious!  Boiled potatoes . . .  that tangy kraut, perfectly cooked and a grilled brat.  So good!  You know something is fabulous when six years later you are still thinking about it!  Me-thinks I best start saving my pennies to go back!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Posh Spice

Prestat's NEW Orange & Cardamom Chai Thins

Velvety Milk Chocolate Thins, Orange and Cardamom Chai £11.50

Prestat, chocolatier to Her Majesty The Queen, has launched some fabulous NEW Orange & cardamom Chai Thins - a perfect treat to enjoy over Diwali.  The thin disks of velvety milk chocolate have just received the Gold Great Taste Award, and are infused with Mediterranean Orange Oil, Cardamom and Chai - producing the taste equivalent of a fabulous firework and the vibrant colours of Rajasthan!

In 1902, a chocolate shop called Prestat was opened in London by descendants of Louis, Dufour, the man who created the world's first recorded chocolate truffle in Champray, France in 1896.  Prestat's reputation for making exquisite handmade chocolates quickly spread and before too long, maharajas, sultans, presidents and stars of the stage and screen had all experienced the delight that only the finest chocolate can bring.  Granted a Royal Warrant, Prestat chocolates continue to be served at every major state banquet.

Prestat is one of the few British Artisan chocolatiers to make all it's own chocolates, giving it completely control of recipes and the sourcing of ingredients as well as the opportunity to nurture the traditional skills needed to create it's handcrafted chocolates.

For more infomation and stockist details check out their web page at

Creamy Chicken, Broccoli & Cheese Soup


When I was growing up we never, ever had broccoli to eat. I had never even heard of the stuff. My dad would only ever eat a few vegetables . . . peas, beans, carrots, swede, potatoes and once in a while corn, and so my mom never cooked anything else.

And more often than not . . . they came from a tin. Ugh . . . tinned vegetables.  Not so tasty . . .

Monday, 27 October 2014

Keeping Time with Oregon Scientific

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As you have probably correctly surmised I am a rather keen cook.   No surprise there.   As a keen cook, I really rely on having quality tools in my kitchen to work with.   When I used to cook at the Manor, I regularly cooked Silver Service Formal Dinner Parties with multiple courses for anywheres up to 40 people (and once a cocktail party for 200).  People used to ask how I managed to do it all.   I had excellent tools at my fingertips and one of my secrets was . . .  I used multiple timers.

I always use kitchen timers when I am cooking, even now when I am only cooking every day stuff for the Toddster and myself.  I am a person that is easily distracted and so a kitchen timer has saved my bacon and THE bacon more than once!

I was recently sent a gorgeous Kitchen Timer from Oregon Scientific to try out and I am really keen to tell you all about it.

 This is the Oregon Scientific Two Channel Kitchen Timer with Clock & LED Visual Alert, which I have been using in my kitchen for the past week or so and I have to say that I just love it.

Some of it's features are: 

  • Dual timer with count up/down function
  • Adjustable alarm volume – high / low / mute – with LED alert
  • Digital clock
  • With stand, magnet and hanging hole
  • Batteries are included
  • Product Size : 90(W) x 76(H) x 20(D) mm  

  •  The Kitchen Timer with two channels and LED alert gives a combination of clock and timer within one design. The two-channel timer allows you to alter between the count up and down functions according to your needs. The alarm volume can be adjusted, and the LED alert will flash continuously when the alarm is muted. The timer comes with stand, magnet and hanging holes which enable you to move around kitchen / home as required.  

    What I love about it most is that I can set it up to time two things that I am cooking at the same time.  This is a brilliant feature.   What I also love about it is that it is really LOUD!  I can't tell you the number of times I have missed a timer going off because my deaf husband who always forgets to turn his hearing aid on has the television on at about a bazillion decibels and I haven't heard it.   That has not been a problem at all with this Oregon Scientific Two Channel Kitchen Timer.  It is so loud and piercing that I can hear it all over the house . . .  and it flashes red as well so even if I couldn't hear it I would see it.

    I love also that I can hang it on a string around my neck if I wanted to . . .  I love that the magnets on the back mean that I can just stick it to the microwave or the refrigerator, or front of the stove.   I love the little stand that means I can have it sitting up on the counter within my eyesight, with that green count down light flashing and that red light flashing when it is done.

    In short I love it.   This would make a fabulous gift for any foodie on your Christmas List this year.  I highly recommend.   I'm really happy with it myself and I think you would be too.

    To find out more,  check out all of the details on the Oregon Scientific  Page.  

    Note:  Although I was sent one of these to use any and all opinions are my own.

    An Alsation Tart . . . Got Bacon?

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    I think Bacon has to be high on the list of just about everyone's favourite foods, don't you?   I know we love the stuff.   I have often thought I would like to stop eating meat altogether . . .  but I could never give up bacon or a good steak.   Those two things are heaven to me.

    "Nothing is quite as intoxicating as the smell of bacon frying . . . "
    ~James Beard 

    Sunday, 26 October 2014

    Easy Fruit & Cheese Danish

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    I think my youngest son had to be the pickiest eater ever born.   The youngest of five he took on, not only all of his own food dislikes, but also the food dislikes of his older brothers and sisters.  Getting him to eat was somewhat of a nightmare. He went through periods of time where he would only eat hot dogs . . .  and then mashed potatoes . . .  peanut butter sandwiches . . .  corn and rice.  I used to really despair of him ever growing up to be healthy . . . thankfully my fears were for naught and he is now a pretty healthy eater and normal in every way!

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    He used to love pizza pockets and those Pillsbury Toaster Strudels.  I think he practically lived off them for a time.  I do confess that I kinda liked them too . . .  but only in a lazy, "I can't be asked to cook  and yet I am starving" kind of a way.   I only mention this because these delicious Easy Cheese Danishes I am showing you here today almost remind me of those toaster strudels, except  . . .  of course they are better.  Because you make them yourself.

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    And oh how very easy they are to make.  With just a bit of ready roll puff pastry, some cream cheese, a few store cupboard essentials and some jam . . .  and less than half an hour later you can be munching on one of these very delicious pastries.

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    You can use whatever kind of jam you want . . .  I have a penchant for  strawberry and cherry . . .  today I used blueberry because I didn't have any cherry . . .  apricot would be very tasty as well.   Just pick your favourite flavour!  mmmmm ..... plum preserves would be gorgeous.

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    It's as simple as cutting your puff pastry into rectangles, dolloping on a simple to make cream cheese filling . . .  swirling it with a bit of jam and baking.  Oh . . .  there are a few other little steps in there as well, but nothing too complicated.  I hope you'll give them a go and that you enjoy them as much as we do!  I do like to pull out the stops at the weekend and make us a breakfast treat now and again!  I haven't had any complaints yet!

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    *Easy Fruit and Cheese Danish*
    Makes eight

    These are so lovely and so easy and simple to make.  Delicious.  

    1 sheet of ready roll puff pastry, all butter
    115g of cream cheese (4 ounces)
    50g of sugar (1/4 cup)
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    1 TBS heavy cream
    2 TBS jam (I used strawberry on half and blueberry on the other half)
    1 egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp water
    demerara sugar to sprinkle (turbinado)  

    To ice:
    130g of icing sugar, sifted (1 cup)
    1 to 2 TBS of lemon juice  

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    Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Line several baking sheets with baking paper. 
    Whisk the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and cream together.   Set aside.  Unroll your puff pastry.  Cut it into 8 rectangles.  Place four on each baking sheet, leaving lots of space in between.  Using a sharp knife, and taking care not to cut all the way through, score a border all the way around each, about 1/2 inch deep.  This will help the edges to rise and create an edge to help keep the filling in.  Place 1/8 of the cream cheese mixture in the centre of each.   Spread it out almost to the border on each.  Top each with a few dots of jam and swirl it a bit with the end of a toothpick.  Brush the border of each with the beaten egg yolk mixture and sprinkle with some sugar.

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    Bake for 13 to 14 minutes, until golden brown on the edges and nicely risen.   Remove from the oven and lift off carefully onto a wire rack to cool completely.

    Once the pastries are cold, whisk together the icing sugar and enough lemon juice to make a thickish drizzle.  Using a spoon, drizzle some of this decoratively over each pastry.  Allow to set and then serve.

    Saturday, 25 October 2014

    Almond Glazed Poppy Seed Bread

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    I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have baked this delicious tea bread!  It was a popular request when I worked at the Manor for the tea parties and Ladie's Luncheons, and was often requested as something to send when there was something needing sending such as in a new baby, or death in a family etc.  It's a North American thing.  We send food to show our support at times of need.