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.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Turnip and Carrot Dish

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I've always been a big lover of vegetables.  There are not too many I don't like with the exception of tinned peas.   This goes back to when I was a child.  Other than carrots and turnips, we mostly had tinned vegetables at home, and my mother found a dead cricket at the bottom of a tin of peas once, after we had already eaten half the tin.  You couldn't get me to eat a tinned pea after that.   In fact, in all truth I am very fussy about my peas.  I only like tender small ones.  Once they get big and woody textures, I can't stand them, and I don't think I am alone in that!


Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Pumpkin Puddings

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Ahh . . .  Pumpkin Season is upon us.  Autumn.  That time of year when we start to long for food that is a bit stodgier than the summer fare we've been eating the past couple of months.  Bring on the bonfires and . . . the Pumpkin delights!


Monday, 28 September 2015

New Bits for the Kitchen

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Hi there peoples!  I wanted to tell you about some of the equipment I've been using in my kitchen over this past month.  You know a cook is only as good as the tools she uses and I have been very blessed to have nice things that are really useful.

A few years when I was over in Canada, the Toddster wore out our tin opener and had to buy a new one. I have never been fond of the new one he bought.  (Sorry Todd!)  I recently got this new One-Touch Automatic Can Opener.

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I've never had a battery operated can opener before.  At first I wasn't quite sure how to use it.   The handy instruction leaflet which came with it soon dispelled any mystery.

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You simply place the can opener on top of the can with it's rim positioned in the groove between the cutter and the drive wheel.  With the tin on a flat surface you press the button for about one second and release and then it goes to work, cutting the can all the way around.  You then press the button again to reverse the cutter and it reverses and stops.

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You then lift the cutter off the can, and the magnet on the can opener will pick up the lid for convenience.  Easy Peasy, lemon squeezy!  I tried to take a video of it in action, but I need a teenager around to show me how to use my camera.  Sigh . . .  all I got was the picture you can see at the top with the opener on top of the can and my finger going in to touch the button!


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I've also been using these Colour Works Utensils.   The  Masher is made from Nylon and is dishwasher safe and suitable for nonstick surfaces.  Heat resistant to 210*C/410*F.,  it carries a five year warantee.

The Silicone Spoon Spatula is also dishwasher safe, hygenic and very flexible.  It's stain resistant and suitable for non-stick surfaces.  It is heat resistant for up to 260*C/500*F and also comes with a five year warantee.

What can I say?  They do their job and I love that they don't scratch my pans and are dishwasher safe.

All of these items can be purchases at Next Day Catering, a leading online catering supplier providing a range of high quality catering equipment and hotel supplies in in the UK. They have been the UK’s favourite catering suppliers for 20 years now, supplying quality products from top name brands including KitchenAid, Dualit, Panasonic, Samsung Victorinox and more. Their next day catering supplies are used across the UK by bars, hotels, restaurants, cafés, bed and breakfasts, schools, office canteens, bistros and other professional kitchens and hospitality businesses.  With a quick delivery,  great prices, and a full stock selection, they are my first port of call when it comes to finding the right tools to do what I love to do, and that is  . . .  cook.

Chilli Bean Soup with an Avocado Salsa

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I have to say that although I found the prospect of ever being able to eat anything delicious a little bit daunting at the first of my Diabetic journey . . .  a week later and I think I am finally beginning to understand things a bit better.  I am a long ways from an expert by all means . . .  but I've learned a lot.  I am looking forward to the class I am going to take at the hospital which will hopefully teach me a lot more.    I have also discovered that there is a wealth of information on the www that is very helpful and informative.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Popcorn Popping with Portlebay Popcorn!



Image courtesy of Portlebay

I really do get sent the nicest things.  I was recently sent a box of some really delicious cracklecorn from Portelbay Popcorn.  Portlebay is a small company in the depths of Devon,which creates all of their products by hand.   I was sent both the Chilli & Lime and the Wasabi & Sweet Ginger flavours to try.

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These are really unsual flavours.  I am not normally that fond of overly spicy things.  What would I think of these???


Chilli & lime: I was a little bit unsure about this flavour on the approach.  I normally find red chillis much to hot for my taste, and even the sweet chilli sauce can burn my taste buds, but I have to say I was pretty amazed. It was sweet yet spicy from the chilli, with an almost salsa like taste which the lime cut through, ensuring that it wasn’t too sickly sweet.  I found the heat not at all unpleasant.  It was crunchy and just sweet enough, with a bit of a nice but not overwhelming heat.


Wasabi & Sweet Ginger:   I have a special fondness of Wasabi Peas.  It's the one snack I can eat that the dog doesn't beg me for, so I can enjoy them without being stared at the whole way through.  They can be hot, but not so hot that I don't like them.   I have to say that this is most deliciously different and exciting popcorn I’ve ever tasted. It really was unusual, but quite tasty.  The Wasabi wasn't overwhelming, but there was a really nice Ginger taste which I would say was the predominent flavour in this. It wasn't quite as sweet as the Sweet Chilli and Lime. I quite liked it as well.

Both would be fab snacks to break out for watching the footie or rugby!

portlebay

Of course these are only two in the wide range of flavoured Kracklecorn that Portlebay produces.   There are also Applewood Smoked Cheddar, Crispy Bacon & Maple Syrup and the Original Cracklecorn flavours.

There are a quite a few companies out there at the moment who are trying to bring something new to the world of popcorn, but it's been my experience that most of them don’t deliver on flavour.  It either gets lost as a mere dusting over the corn, or drowned in a candy coating.   Portlebay Popcorn, on the other hand,  is without doubt packed full of flavour.  Popped in the pot with raw cane sugar to give it a more brittle, crunchy texture, and then sprinkled with  a little sea salt along with their specially developed natural seasonings, this Krackle Corn is designed  to tingle your tastebuds in a really special way!  I highly recommend this if you are looking for a snack which is delicious, wholegrain and naturally  high in fibre.

They also do a range of sweet popcorns, which I have never tasted but which sound really scrummy, with flavours such as Lemon Sherbet, Cinnamon Swirl, Very Berry and Cappuccino!

They come in small packs which are made for snacking, or  big bags which are perfect for sharing with friends. Available at Tesco's, Booths and Budgens across the country as well as a network of independant shops and stockists.

To find out more check out  http://www.portlebaypopcorn.com/
Follow them on Facebook
Follow them on Twitter



Pumpkin Muffins Two Ways, Diabetic Friendly

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 I decided to play with one of my favourite Pumpkin Muffin recipes the other day to see if I could replace the sugar in it with a sugar substitute suitable for baking, and replace the regular cooking oil with coconut oil, which is better for you.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

The Great Cornish Food Festival 2015















 

The Great Cornish Food Festival – the largest event anywhere dedicated 100% to Cornish food and drink – is back for its 12th year on Truro’s Lemon Quay from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th September. 

With a packed timetable of hands-on masterclasses, sampling and kids’ activities, and loyal supporter GWR taking the headline sponsor spot for the second year, get ready to enjoy three days of tastings, culinary titbits and food-loving fun for all ages. 

Celebrated seafood chef Nathan Outlaw is confirmed to host the grand finale on Sunday afternoon, following a tantalising programme of masterclasses and demonstrations across two different stages, in company with a host of Cornwall’s top chefs and food experts.

Visit the festival all three days and you’ll be treated to an array of demonstrations on everything from filleting fish to wine tasting, AGA-cookery to coffee brewing, and as always, everything on sale from festival exhibitors will have been produced in Cornwall.

Around 60 producers and 40 chefs and food experts are taking part, with an exhibitor line-up that includes everyone from household Cornish names like Rodda’s and Sharp’s Brewery, to artisan producers such as Fowey Valley Cider and Buttermilk Confectionery, just some of the businesses making serious waves across the UK food scene.

Here you’ll find all the info on what to buy, what to see and how to get here – so take a look around, and start planning your visit to the biggest food event in Cornwall.

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To that end I was sent a lovely food Hamper by the Sponsors of this year's Cornish Food Festival,  Great Western Rail, which was filled with  a whole bunch of Cornish Goodies, including Portlebay Popcorn, a couple of Luscomb Crushes, a bottle of Admiral's Ale (destined for a pie),  My  Little Black Book of Seafood by Mitch Tonks, some tasty Furniss Choc Chip mini Cookies,  a packet of Mr Filbert's Cornish Sea Salt Mixed Nuts, some Tregothnan Tea and a couple of Cornish Saffron Cakes and some Cornish Biscuits.  Yum!

Also issued was a challenge to make some Cornish Pastys!

 

Yum!  Yum!  Who doesn't love a good Cornish Pasty!



*Cornish Pasty Recipe*
Makes 6 good sized pasties
 

Traditional.   Make sure you plan ahead as the pastry needs to sit for 3 hours prior to rolling out.  Delicious meat hand pies! 
 

For the pastry:
500g strong bread flour ( it is important to use a stronger flour than normal
as you need the extra strength in the gluten to produce a strong
pliable pastry) (3 1/2 cups, plus 2 TBS)
120g lard or white shortening (1/2 cup plus 1 TBS)
125g of Cornish Butter (1/2 cup)
1 tsp salt
175ml cold water (3/4 cup)
For the filling:
450g of good quality beef skirt, cut into cubes (1 pound)
450g potato, peeled and diced (1 pound)
250g swede, peeled and diced (1/2 pound rutabaga)
200g onion, peeled and sliced (about 1 large onion)
salt andblack pepper to taste ( 2 to 1 ratio)
beaten egg or milk to glaze 
 

Sift the flour into a bowl and rub both fats into it until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add the water and bring the mixture together.  Knead until the pastry becomes elastic.  This will take longer than ordinary pastry, but it gives the pastry the strength it needs to hold the filling and keep a good shape.  

Cover with cling film and leave to rest in the refrigerator for 3 hours.   
 

Roll out the pastry and cut into circles, approximately 8 inches in diameter.  Layer the vegetables and meat on top of the pastry, adding plenty of seasoning.  Bring the pastry around and crimp the edges together.  Glaze with beaten egg, or an egg and milk mixture.  Bake in a pre-heated 165*C/325*F/ gas mark 3 for 50 to 55 minutes, until golden. 
 
 
 

Tips:
The american equivalent of skirt steak is flank steak.  Cut from the udnerside of the belly of the animal, it has no gristle and little fat, cooks in the same amount of time as the raw vegetables and it's juice provides a delicious gravy.  Use a firm waxy potato, such as a Maris Peer.   A floury potato (baking or mashing) will fall apart on cooking.
How to Crimp:
1.  Lightly brush the edge of the pastry with water.
2.  Fold the otehr half of pasry over the filling and squeeze the half circle edges firmly together.
3.  Push down on the edge of the pasty and using your index finger and thumb, twist the edge of the pastry over to form a crimp.  Repeat this process along the edge of the pasty.
4.  When you've finished crimping along the edge, tuck the end corners underneath.

Plum and Hazelnut Crumble Slice



When we lived down in Kent we were really spoiled. We were surrounded by Orchards and in the autumn had our pick of windfalls . . . several varieties of apples, and pears . . . not to mention hedgerows filled to over flowing with sloes and blackberries


Friday, 25 September 2015

Almond Crumbed Cod

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We love fish in this house.  We don't eat it as often as I would like to, mostly because of the expense, and partially because I am not fond of mystery fish.  I like to know what I am eating and although there are cheap options at the shops, they are all covered in batter or fried, or the type of fish used is not exactly spelt out on the package.   I confess . . .  I don't like fish that tastes . . .  well . . .  fishy!


Thursday, 24 September 2015

Zippy Red Slaw

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The challenge with this new diet will be keeping my own sugars in check, and losing weight myself, without Todd losing weight.  He had his yearly check up today and he is in perfectly good health, except he has lost some weight. This means that I either have to cook two separate meals or add some extra's to his.  The latter is the more preferable one, because I don't have the time  to cook two separate meals, nor do I have the inclination, but a few extras for him, I CAN do!

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Keeping it Real in The English Kitchen, my first Lesson in Controlling Diabetes

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Hello everyone.   Last Friday I was diagnosed as having Type 2 Diabetes.   I don't know how someone goes from being normal to Type 2 overnight, but that's what happened.   I only know that I had not been feeling really well for a long time.  I was very tired and experiencing blurred vision from time to time.  In the Spring, I experienced an Posterior Vitreous Detachment, or PVD, in my left eye, which was somewhat worriesome.  When I had the first scan of back of my eye,  the Opthamologist told me that there were signs that I had experienced an aneurism at the back of my eye,  and that an artery was blocked had probably been so for some time as it was all white.  But then, magically . . .  when I went back a few months later for  a re-test, it had fixed itself.   Still worriesome, but not as bad I suppose.  I was also experiencing periods of giddiness or feeling faint if I went overlong without eating, etc.

In any case, I didn't exhibit any of the usual symptoms . . .  excessive thirst, frequent loo breaks,  acidic fruity breath, and I definitely had not suffered from weight loss!  (More's the pity!)

When I went for my yearly check up a few weeks ago and had fasting blood tests done I was completely shocked to find out that (after two conclusive tests) I am now a Type 2 Diabetic.

Also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes melitus (NIDDM), this is  more common than Type 1.   Being overweithg is a risk factor for developing this type of Diabetes, along with poor diet and lack of exercise.  Heredity is also a factor.   (My father is diabetic as is my middle son, but I did not know until last Friday that, almost all of my father's siblings are also diabetic and some of my cousins as well.  Knowledge is key.  I wish I had known this sooner.)

With this type of diabetes, insulin production is reduced (not ceased), so the rise in blood glucose levels is more gradual.  Some insulin is being released, but not enough to process sufficient glucose for the system to function normally.

The bad news . . .  I will always have it.

The good news  . . .  with a change in diet and exercise it can be managed.  I have also been put on a low dose (to start and hopefully stay with) of metformin, one 500mg pill a day.

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I confess . . .  after the diagnosis and talk with the nurse, when I got back to the car, I cried a little bit.   I love food and I love to cook.  I also love to eat, which is probably what got me into this mess!  Too many treats!!  My life changed in an instant.  I am only 60 years old, which to you youngsters might seem pretty old, but I conceivably should have another 20 or so years of life left in me, maybe more . . .  and I want them to be the best and the healthiest they can be.  Obviously something has to change, and with that in mind I will be changing the focus of The English Kitchen to healthier food and options in the future.   Diabetic friendly options.  Along the way I will be learning and I am hoping that you will all come along on the journey with me.  The old recipes will still be here, and of course there will be the occasional treats.  What would life be worth, if not for the occasional treat!!! For the most part, however,  we are getting down and dirty with healthy eating here from here on!

It's going to be fun actually, as I am going to be trying to revamp my old favourites into something I can eat, coming up with new favourites and hopefully getting healthier along the way.

I haven't cooked anything new in the house since I got the diagnosis as I have been trying hard to figure out what I should be eating and what I shouldn't.  But you can look for some new things soon.

In the meantime, here is what I have learned thus far!

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This is my dinner plate from last night.  This is a 9 inch plate.  For portion control this is what is recommended and actually what I have been using all along.   They recommend that you use a 9 inch plate, and a 1 cup glass (225ml) for milk, a 1/2 cup dish for fruit or desserts (125g approx.) and a 1 cup bowl for cereal or soup. (225ml)

If you look at my plate, you can see it is roughly divided this way . . .  one whole half of the plate is non starchy vegetables ( green beans, broccoli and cauliflower) , then in the top right hand quarter of the plate, I have something starchy (a kid sized baked potato with a dollop of plain yogurt on top, instead of sour cream.)  You could also have a whole grain rice or pasta or some other whole grain starch.  Corn, peas and beans also count as a starchy food.  Beans are also protein. (Fibre is important). The lower right hand quarter is reserved for protein.   I have a half of a pork cutlet, which is protein. (DON'T look at the breading!  It's all I had until I went shopping and I had to eat!  I could have eaten a whole one, but only ate a half, so it's not so bad as it could have been.)  Ideally you should choose lean meat.   I was told by the nurse to eat red meats sparingly, so the wisest choices would be chicken or fish.  Tofu, eggs, cheese and nuts also count as proteins.

In addition to the full plate, I could enjoy a cup of fat free milk or light yogurt (plain) and a small piece of fruit or 1/2 cup (125g) canned (in juice) fruit on the side.

Keeping to low fat choices, a meal with these sides and each of the three plate components totals 55 to 60 grams of carbohydrate and approximately 350 to 400 calories, just so long as you don't pile the food up to make up for the smaller sized plate.  No more than about the thickness of your index finger should do the trick! Non-starchy vegetables should be the tallest section.


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Don't panic.  Eating to control your diabetes doesn't have to be boring.   You can use the same plate method with mixed dishes such as casseroles, pizza, tacos and sandwiches too.  You just need to think in terms of the ingredients separately, which isn't such a stretch really.

  • A salad with grilled chicken and croutons, could easily cover every section of the plate:  greens, carrots, and tomatoes for the non starchy vegetables, Chicken for the protein, and croutons/pasta/rice/etc. for the starch or grain. 
  • In casseroles, you can assemble them in layers first, so that you can see how much protein versus vegetables and starches you are getting.  So if you layer the casserole with 1/2 non starchy veg, 1/4 protein and 1/4 starch, you should be okay.  And a low fat milky sauce, etc. could be counted as one of the extras, so long as you keep the proportions right, ie.  for four servings, only 2 cups of sauce would be ideal.
Anyways, I think that is enough to digest for today and hopefully you have learned something along with me.   I'll be back tomorrow,  ideally, with a new recipe!  I do hope you will all come along on the journey with me.  I promise you it will be as delicious a journey as I can make it!



Tuesday, 22 September 2015

I do get sent the nicest things . . . Chocolate Delights!

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I do get sent the nicest things.  Look at what dropped through my letter box recently!  Cadbury's latest smash hit . . .  Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Smashables!  These two new bars are available in two deliciosu flavours;  the ever popular Jelly Popping Candy and the all new Rocky Mallow Road.

Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Smashables are the perfect sharing treat for all the family to enjoy.  The bars have a completely new and unique design, which has been created to make them easy to smash in the middle and then break up into fun shaped pieces.

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Simply flip the bar, smash in the centre and share out amongst loved ones and friends  . . .  or use as a fun family game whilst watching your favourite Saturday night TV shows!

Brand new Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Smashables Rocky Mallow Road is filled with an assortment of delicious flavours including mini-marshmallows, sweet strawberry flavoured jellies and crunchy biscuit pieces (yum!0 topped with a layer of Cadbury Dairy Milk; a bar which is sure to send your taste buds into overdrive.  This new delicious bar is joined by the much loved flavours of Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Smashables Jelly Popping Candy, which combines smooth Cadbury Dairy Milk with chewy jellies, colourful sugar coated cocoa pieces and curiously crackling popping candy.

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Matthew Williams, Marketing Activation Director at Mondele International said:  "The new Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Smashables range is a really fun and exciting addition, especially with the new Rocky Mallow Road.  We know how important family time is and we really wanted to introduce a joyful ritual that everyone can enjoy." 

Movie Night just got a whole lot better!   The Toddster has really been enjoying this, while I look on with longing . . .

Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Smashables are available in 180g family sized bars with an rrp of £2.49 and in the smaller individual 47g sized bard with an RRP of £0.61.

For more information visit www.cadbury.co.uk
Find them on facebook at www.facebook.com/CadburyUK
Tweet them @CadburyUK 

Brioche Chinois

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I had never heard of Brioche before I moved over here to the UK, let alone Brioche Chinois.  You would be right in thinking this is not English . . .  it's French in origin, but it brings the Brioche a step beyond a normal Brioche . . .  this is "Translated literally," a Chinese Brioche.  Why Chinese?  I have no idea!  The only thing I know for sure is that they are delicious!


Monday, 21 September 2015

Amy's Kitchen . . . made with love

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This September Amy's Kitchen is supporting Soil Association's Organic September and encouraging you to switch to organic which can have huge benefits for people, animal welfare and the environment.  The buying decisions you make are a simple but powerful form of direct action, and your actions really can make a big difference!

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Amy's Kitchen is a family owned business which was founded by husband and wife team Andy and Rachel Berliner  in 1987, and named after their daughter Amy.  It al started with a mission to create tasty, satisfying vegetarian food that was full of organic ingredients and home cooked flavour, but  also was quick and easy to prepare.  Rachel and Andy are just as passionate about this mission today as they were back then.

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Amy's Kitchen makes handcrafted froen meals and tinned soups and chillies for people who are too busy to cook, and yet  . . . at the same time . . . don't want to compromise on their values.

Works for me!  Why not start making small organic changes to your life this month?

For more information visit:

Amy's Kitchen
On Facebook
On Twitter 

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Their chunky tomato soup went down a real treat the other day for a light supper along with some grilled cheese.  Hand's down the BEST tomato soup I have ever eaten, and I don't say that lightly.  I normally only ever buy another brand, but I can tell you I will be buying Amy's from now on, it is that delicious.   Seriously.  I'm so happy I had the opportunity to try it!   This was really tasty, and I love that its organic and gluten free!  Colour me chuffed!

Chicken with Lemon and Thyme

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I normally eat chicken breast meat, but the other day I got a package of chicken drumsticks for a pretty good price.  A price I simply could not resist, and so I did what anyone who lives on a limited budged does  . . .  I brought them home with me!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Lemon Ricotta Cake



You would be quite forgiven if, upon closing your eyes and taking a bite of this lovely cake, you imagined you were eating a baked cheesecake. In fact with that delightful crack on top, and underlying creamy taste, it really does resemble a cheese cake.


Saturday, 19 September 2015

Pains Aux Chocolate



One of the nice things I loved when we were living down South was being so close to the tunnel and the ferry over to France and the continent . . . France, France, France, home of my forebears . . . land of the black beret, garlic, the macaron, the Eifle tower, beautiful baguettes, tasty cheese . . . and these . . . little lovelies . . .


 


Friday, 18 September 2015

Pork and Piccalilli Pies, Cheese and Caramelized Red Onion Muffins and Mustard and Horseradish Beef Cobbler

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The Rugby World Cup 2015 commences today, Friday the 18th of September and will be hosted this year on home soil.  The England team need the support of home fans and whether you're watching from home or make it along to the hallowed grounds of some of ruby's most inspiring pitches, you'll need some very English sustenance to keep you going.   To that end, The English Provender Co has come up with some of the best recipes for snacks and nibbles to watch each match,  beginning with these delicious Pork and Piccalilli Pies!

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Thursday, 17 September 2015

Summer Harvest Pasta and Degustabox

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I love this time of year when we have so much fresh local fresh produce to use.  Fresh courgettes (zucchini) and fresh tomatoes.   We'll soon be resorting to imports, so I am really enjoying using what we have locally at the moment while I still can!   I had seen this recipe on my friend Monique's blog and as soon as I saw it I wanted to cook it, and then when I saw my Degustabox I know that this recipe was perfect for using up some of the ingredients in this months's box!


Wednesday, 16 September 2015

A Blueberry Pie to Write Home About

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I was checking on here the other day and I couldn't believe that I didn't have my blueberry pie recipe on here!  Not surprising really as when I first moved over here in the year 2000, blueberries were not an ingredient that was readily available.  Thankfully that has changed now and we have tons of them, and at reasonable prices.  In fact, Todd and I now grow our own.


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Savoury Sausage Breakfast Bake and Sausage, Kale and Sweet Potato Gratin

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Sausages . . .  or Bangers, no matter what you call them . . .  they are a real favourite in our home.  If there is one thing which the Toddster really loves it's a good Banger.   I completely adore British Bangers, but not all sausages are created equally.  I like a quality banger . . .  well flavoured and meaty without a lot of nasty fillers, which is why I really like debbie & andrew's sausages.   This is sausage made the old fashioned way, using natural products and generous amounts of lean, juicy pork taken from the best cuts of meat produced on British farms. Provenance at it's very finest.   I have been busy creating a few recipes over the past few days to highlight the best of these quality bangers and I hope you will agree with me when I say that I did myself proud.  The first dish I did was a Savoury Sausage Breakfast Bake . . .

Monday, 14 September 2015

The Quest for the Best - Make My Sausage Challenge

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Andy bates, the award winning television chef and champion of British Food has presented three television series, which follow global steet food trends and highlight modern twists on a variety of classic dishes.  Now this London-based street food expert, chef and presenter is encouraging everyone to "Quest fot the Best" in everything they eat . . .  especially in every day food.

"I want to encourage people to explore what makes something taste good," comments Andy Bates.  "I think it is important to use fresh, quality ingredients and also to understand where they come from."

This is something which I also feel very strongly about.   I am really enthusiastic about knowing where my food comes from and the providence behind our food production.   That's why I really enjoy challenges such as this one!

The central proposition of "The Quest for the Best 'Make my Sausage' Challenge"  is that it is an open competition inviting sausage fans to design their very own sausage!

"There is a real feeling that this is the right time to get everyone thinking again about what we eat and how it's made," comments Andy.

This approach is part of the 'make my sausage' challenge, which invited everyone from food bloggers to sausaholics to describe their perfect sausage . . .  following Andy's 'quality ingredients, freshness ans superb taste' criteria.   The  dream sausage must also  be wheat, gluten and dairy free.   They could perhaps feature a childhood favourite mix of foods . . .  marmalade and pork, or gingernuts and marmite?  Who knows what the winning combination will be!

This is THE time to make your dream sausage come to life.   The best sausage will be selected by Andy to be made by debbie&andrew's and will become a part of the range to be sold during the 2016 road shows, which will be reaching some 500k people all around the UK.

To enter: simply complete the form on www.debbieandandrews.co.uk/makemysausage or tweet #makemysausage with your flavour idea and contact details.


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Andy will be following the winning sausage through debbie&andrews's production process, filming all of the stages involved in preparing the winning sausage.

"Good sausages can make a great meal," explains Andy, "but only when they're well made and meet my simple criteria . . .  quality ingredients, freshness and great taste!"  (This will be broadcast on the Quest for the Best website in November during British Sausage week)


"There is a real feeling that this is the right time to get everyone thinking again about what we eat and how it's made," concludes Andy.  "I hope that the Quest inspires people to find out more about their food as well as encouraging them to spend more time sharing food together.  After all, good food is made great when eaten in company."

Do Note:  This competition closes on the 23rd of September, so the time to enter is NOW!

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The Quest for the Best will not just stop at designing an entirely new sausage.  Andy will also be exploring how to cook sausages in new ways and examining the ultimate BBQ pairings.  He is also identifying food and harvest heroes, encouraging those who champion great food and inspiring more people to become involved in community celebrations.

debbie&andrew’s support is aimed at local or grass root fund raisers for whom even a small injection of cash could make a significant difference. They are calling this support a ‘micro sponsorship’. Awards can range from £50 to £1000 in cash, plus free product for use in charity meals or barbecues. Any fund raiser in aid of local activities and communities and which brings ‘A Real Taste of the Country’ to life can qualify. So long as the money raised is for a good cause that is supported locally and embodies country-inspired activities, skills, crafts, values or ideas.

 To find out more about debbie&andrew's micro sponsorships offering up to £1000 for community and fund raising projects visit:  http://www.debbieandandrews.co.uk/about-us/community
  
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Here is some really exciting news about debbie&andrew's!  Their "Perfect Cumberland" and "Perfect Pork" sausages are becoming dairy free, wheat free and gluten free by the end of September, so that's great news for everyone out there who has food intolerances!  Yay!

I picked some of each up at the weekend and created a couple of new recipes with them, so stay tuned as I'll be showing them to you real soon!  

In the meantime do take the opportunity to enter the "Make My Sausage" competition and or nominate any local harvest or food heroes you think are deserving of a sponsorship!

Bacon and Cabbage

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I recently purchased a new cookery book.  I know . . .  I didn't really need a new cookerybook, but it was my birthday and cookbooks are what bring me the most pleasure.  I read them like novels and always have a stack next to the bed which I am flipping through.  Call it what you will.  Obsession?  Guilty as charged!   This one is really special however.  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.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Dutch Apple Turnovers

 

The Toddster has been a pretty good boy lately and so I decided to make him a special treat today. He especially loves apple pie.  It's a real favourite with him . . .


Saturday, 12 September 2015

Scrumptious Cupcakes Galore!

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Do you love cupcakes as much as I love cupcakes?   Who doesn't love cupcakes?   A little tiny cake just for you.  They are perfectly delightful and a mini celebration just for one!  The perfect indulgence and next week is National Cupcake Week!   Yes!  A week just to celebrate cupcakes, from the 14th to the 20th of September 2015!  Go on treat yourself and what better way than to try out one or two or three of these lovely recipes!   Chocolate Chip Cookie Cupcakes.  Irish Coffee Cupcakes.  Marshmallow Crispy Cupcakes.  Pina Colada Cupcakes.  Sticky Toffee Cupcakes.  There is a recipe here to suit every taste and persuasion, so there's  really no excuse not to celebrate!

Fruit Fritters



The sun is shining and, although cool, it's a really beautiful day. Funny how a spot of sunshine can just lift the soul!!

I wanted to make something sweet for our dessert tonight, but as I had a roast in the oven I wasn't really able to bake anything and I was sadly lacking in a lot of other ingredients as well . . . so puddings and such were kind of out of the picture . . .