Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they weren't 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.
“She turned to the sunlight and shook her yellow head, and whispered to her neighbor . . . "Winter is dead.”
~A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

Monday, 31 January 2011

Cinnamon Swirl Tea Bread



I wonder if you like cinnamon like I like cinnamon . . .
It is one of my favourite flavours. I don't just like it, I lurve it!!



I love it sprinkled on my oatmeal. All hot and steamy and covered in brown sugar, cinnamon and cream . . .



I love it on my French Toast, all buttery and eggy and doused in maple syrup . . .



I love it on toast! That buttery, sweet gritty feel in your mouth with the crunch of the toast and the warmth of the cinnamon. Oh but it is good . . .



I love it in cinnamon rolls, all buttery and filled with lots of raisins and nuts . . . and slathered in sweet, sweet icing . . .



I love the smell of anything filled with cinnamon in it baking. It always makes me smile and feel all warm inside.

Back when I used to live in an old farmhouse with a wood stove, I often kept a pot of water on the back of the stove simmering away, filled with water and cinnamon sticks, a few cloves and some nutmeg. It always smelled like I had something delicious in the oven . . .



Cinnamon smells like home. Cinnamon smells like love. Cinnamon is the ultimate comfort spice.
If you like cinnamon, like I like cinnamon, you will love this bread. All rich and buttery and filled with a delicious cinnamon swirl.

You'll want to keep it all to yourself . . . but alas . . . it is TOO good not to share . . .



*Cinnamon Swirl Tea Bread*
Makes one 9 by 5 inch loaf
Printable Recipe

Terrifically tasty. Moist, yummy and oh so cinnamony!

4 ounces butter, softened (1/2 cup)
2 large free range eggs
250ml of sour cream or plain yoghurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
7 ounces caster sugar (1 cup)
8 1/2 ounces plain flour (2 cups)
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
6 TBS soft light brown sugar, packed
2 TBS ground cinnamon
dash allspice

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf tin and line with baking paper. Set aside.

Measure the butter, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, sugar, flour, soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Beat together until well combined, but do not overbeat. Stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon and allspice.

Spread half of the batter into the prepared baking tin. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Spread the remainiing batter over top. Sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar. Using a round bladed knive gently cut through the batter to swirl the cinnamon sugar through.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes until well risen and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Store wrapped tightly in cling film. Serve cut in slices, toasted or not, and spread with butter.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Jaffa Rock Cakes



January is the time of year for making marmalade, as all the grocery stop shelves fill up with affordable Spanish oranges. I think Marmalade is one of Todd's favourite things to have on his toast. I like it too, with it's bittersweet tang and all those lovely chewy bits of rind peppered throughout . . .



I have yet to make my own, but it's not all that hard. One year I will make some for sure, but in the meantime I enjoy good quality storebought and yes . . . there are some very good ones out there. If you do feel so inclined to make your own, you will find a very good recipe here. Seville oranges make the best marmalade, by the way. One can just imagine how lovely the house smells when it's cooking . . .



I found a recipe in the latest Country Kitchen Magazine for some tasty marmalade rock cakes. I like Country Kitchen Magazine. It's filled with lots of lovely traditional recipes and British food folklore.



I have made plain rockcakes before. You can find that recipe here. Remember, they are Harry Potter's favourite teatime treats! They were rather yummy and I really enjoyed them.



This recipe using the marmalade looked quite delicious as well, but once again . . . I could not leave well enough alone! I used all butter, and added milk chocolate chips instead of sultanas, and . . . why not????



Orange and chocolate are a quintessentially beautifully flavourful combination, moreish even.



And these definitely were . . . moreish, that is!!! If Harry were here, I'm quite sure he'd heartily approve!



*Jaffa Rock Cakes*
makes about 12
Printable Recipe

Quick, easy and melt in the mouth, and stogged full of tangy bits of seville marmalade and sweet milk chocolate chips.

4 ounces butter (1/2 cup)
8 ounces of self raising flour (scant 2 cups)
4 ounces caster sugar (a generous 1/2 cup)
2 1/4 ounces of milk chocolate chips
1 heaped dessertspoon of seville marmalade
1 large free range egg, beaten
milk

Preheat the oven to 190*C/ 375*F/ gas mark 5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and butter the paper.
Set aside.

Measure the flour into a bowl. Cut the butter into bits and drop it into the bowl with the flour. Rub it in with your fngertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, and then stir in the marmalade and chocolate chips. Stir in the beaten egg along with some milk to make a stiff paste, of a good dropping consistency. You won't need much milk at all.

Drop by heaped dessertspoons onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving a good space between each. Bake for 10 minutes or so until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack to cool before eating.

From Wikepedia:

A rock cake is a small cookie or a fruit cake with a rough surface, resembling a rock.

Rock cakes seem to have originated in Great Britain but are now popular in many parts of the world. Being easy to make, they are also suited for children cooking. They are consumed as cookies or tea treats.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Parsnip Cake with Browned Butter Frosting



I think that Parsnips have to be my all-time-favourite vegetable! I know that I say that about a lot of things, don't I? I guess I just love food and have a lot of favourites! But seriously, I do love, Love, LOVE Parsnips!



Paler than carrots, but much sweeter than cooked, I just adore them in any way, shape or form. My mother hated them and so we didn't get them at all when I was growing up, although . . . I do remember her cooking them for us once, in an attempt to see whether her tastes had changed through the years . . .



I remember her peeling them and slicing them into coins, and then she cooked them in butter, until they were soft and caramelized. They were lovely . . . but, she still didn't like them, so that was that! She never cooked them for us again.



I always remembered how delicious I had found them to be though, and once I got out on my own, I took every opportunity to cook them that I could, slipping them into stews and soups, roasting them, frying them and even mashing them. (They are just scrumptious cooked together with carrots and then mashed with some butter and seasoning!)



We have all made carrot cakes, I am sure. They're really quite popular nowadays . . . moist and scrummy and topped with a creamed cheese icing. I cannot imagine anyone not liking them, but I am sure there are some exceptions to the rule!



Yesterday I thought . . . if parsnips are so much sweeter than carrots, I am sure they would make a delicious cake and so . . . I made a Parsnip Cake, using my favourite Carrot Cake recipe!



Oh my, this is scrummy . . . all moist and sweet, and stogged full of lovely parsnips, pineapple crush, toasted walnuts and warm baking spices!

We had the missionaries over for their tea and they screwed their noses up a bit in disbelief when I told them I had baked a Parsnip cake, but . . .



they ended up taking half of it with them when they left, it was sooooo good!! I think the Browned Butter Frosting was . . . well . . . the icing on the cake!

Oh yes . . . it is very moreishly scrumdiddlyumptious!

I'm sure glad that I am a cook who is not afraid to push the boundaries of what's considered to be normal at times. It makes life much more exciting, oh . . . and much tastier too!!!




*Parsnip Cake with Browned Butter Frosting*
Makes one 9 by 13 inch cake
Printable Recipe

Spicy, sweet and moist with a nutty frosting.

8.5 ounces plain flour (2 cups)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
5.25 ounces caster sugar (3/4 cup)
5.6 ounces soft light brown sugar (3/4 cup packed)
3 large free range eggs
6 fluid ounces of canola oil (3/4 cup)
1 tsp vanilla
3 medium parsnips peeled and grated
1 (435g) tin of pineapple crush, drained (1 cup)
2 ounces chopped toasted walnuts (1/2 cup)

Brown Butter Frosting:
2 ounces butter softened (1/4 cup)
pinch salt
16 ounces icing sugar, sifted (4 cups)
75 - 100ml of cream (1/3 tp 1/2 cup)

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a 9 by 13 inch baking tin and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, caster and brown sugars and vanilla until smooth. Add to the flour mixture and stir together just until moistened. Stir in the parsnips, pineapple and nuts. Spread into the prepared baking tin, leveling it off. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, heat the butter over medium heat until it turns a nutty brown colour. Be careful not to burn it. Add the sale and then beat in the sugar and the cream until it is cold, creamy and thick enough to spread. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.

Cut into squares to serve. Store in an airtight container.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Spiced Pot Roast



We tend to eat more red meats in winter time than we do any other time of the year . . . beef, pork, mutton . . . our bodies seem to cry out for their robust and comforting sustenance!

Deliciously meaty stews and casseroles . . .



Thick soups, and meat pies . . .

Scrummy pot roasts . . . such as this one, with it's tasty vegetable filled gravy!



Oh they are soooo good and we enjoy them so very much! The Toddster is a real meat and potatoes man. No food on earth brings him as much pleasure . . . and in the winter, he is in meat and potato heaven!

Pot roasts are wonderful. Economical and delicious they make good use of some of the cheaper cuts of meat . . . but cheap does not equate flavourless!



In fact, some of these cheaper cuts, such as brisket or silverside, are just loaded with wonderful flavour.

Cooked properly, they are meltingly tender and oh so warmingly delicious!



The leftovers are delicious, coarsely chopped and warmed gently in any leftover gravy. Try it spooned over top of a jacket potato for a real treat!



*Spiced Pot Roast*
Serves 6
Printable Recipe

A moist, tender and tasty winter warmer. Serve with lots of mashed spuds. They go so well with the delicious gravy!

3 pound lean rolled beef brisket or silverside joint
fine sea salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 ounces of streaky bacon, chopped (or cubes of pancetta)
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
4 large stick celery, trimmed and sliced
300ml of good quality beef stock (1 cup)
14 ounce tin of chopped tomatoes in juice
(About 2 cups)
2 bay leaves, broken
a splash of Worcestershire Sauce
1 TBS Dijon mustard

Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F/ gas mark 3.

Place the meat onto a cutting board. Carefully make slashes all over the top, taking care not to cut the string. I do it in a diagonal pattern. Rub the salt and cayenne pepper into the fat and meat all over. Place the bacon into a large flame proof casserole dish, large enough to hold the meat. Once the fat begins to run, add the brisket and slowly brown it on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add the garlic, onions, celery and carrots. Stir and sweat over medium heat for about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaves, Worcestershire Sauce and mustard. Taste and adjust seasoning as required. Add the brisket, turning it over to coat with the sauce, and ending with the fat side up. Cover tightly and place into the heated oven.

Roast for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the meat is very tender and the gravy nicely thickened. Check every so often to make sure it is not cooking dry and adding boiling water as required.

Serve thinly sliced, with some of the pan juices spooned over, alongside of fluffy mashed potatoes and some haricots verts for a tasty meal!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Baguette Pizzas

They had a really good deal on bulk baguettes in the grocery store the other day so I picked up a pack. As per normal . . . we only got two of them used on the day, and the next day I had 3 left and no room in the freezer to store them.



I decided to make baguette pizzas, which is a great way to use bread that is not at it's freshest and makes even stale loaves taste freshly baked.



You pay a premium price for one of these tasty pizzas in all of the sandwich shops. They're very easy to make at home though, and are great ways of getting rid of little bits of whatever you have to hand, and leftovers you might have floating around your refrigerator that need using up.



Kids LOVE making and eating them too! They can choose their own toppings, customized to their own likes and tastes. They're a great slumber party snack for the teens, or perfect for game day as well!



I love to use chopped baby pickled sweet and sour hot cherry peppers and dry cured olives on mine. Oh so yummy! The pesto base makes a nice change from tomato sauce!



*Baguette Pizzas*
Makes 6
Printable Recipe

These can be whatever you want them to be. Dress them up or down. The choice is yours.

3 (12-inch) French Baguettes
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
green pesto (I use the fresh one from the chiller cabinet in the store or make my own)
Selected toppings: (Any or all)
grated cheddar cheese, grated Parmesan cheese, ham, pepperoni, parma ham, cooked bacon, salami, black and/or green olives,
sun dried tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, sliced red onion,tuna, roasted peppers, pickled hot peppers



Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7. Slice each baguette in half lengthwise through the middle. Place on a baking tray and bake in the oven until they are a bit crisp. Remove from the oven and while warm, rube each baguette half with the cut side of the garlic. Discard the spent garlic.

Spread each toasted half with some pesto and then top with a variety of toppings as desired. Pop back into the oven and roast for 6 to 8 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the toppings are heated through.


My Pampered Chef party went ever so well last evening. I think everyone had a fabulous time. We got to see some really quality products and to try them out first hand. We got to eat some really delicious food as well . . . "FAT Free" Yorkshire puddings, baked in the Pampered Chef stone ware muffin tin. They were enormous and crispy and oh so delicious. It was hard to believe that they were fat free, but it's true! Fat free Yorkies! I've been waiting all my life for these! There was a fabulous Hot Broccoli dip and some really tasty Rolo Tarts as well. If you were unable to attend and were wanting to order anything, you still have time to do so.

The party page for my party doesn't close until tomorrow and you can visit my party page and place an order online. Don't forget anyone who places an order online will be put into a draw for a five card selection of my own personally designed and handmade Greeting Cards (Your choice), a Pampered Chef Season's Best Cookbook and a Mini Measure All Cup.
You can't lose!

What you have to do:

First hop on over to Julie's page . . . HERE.

Once you are on Julie's Page click on the Shop Online link. Once there, it will tell you that there are two ways to shop, first if you've been invited to a show . . . (This is the one you want)
This is where you have to put my name in the host area:
Marie in the first bit, Rayner in the second bit (make sure you spell it right, with an er not an or or an ar . . . then click . . .
it will then list my show as a hyper link . . . click on the link and shop away. I've only had one online order thus far, so your chance of winning the prizes are quite good!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Lime and Ginger Posset



On Monday evening we had guests over for dinner. Nothing special . . . just soup, salad and raclette. (Raclette is to the 21st century what the fondue was to the 20th!) I did an Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with fennel which was lovely. I didn't get any pictures though . . . sigh . . .



That's the problem when you have dinner guests. One feels almost awkward asking them to wait while you do photos . . . and so . . . I don't, and wish that I had!!

The salad was a tasty Greek Salad, with lots of olives, cucumbers, peppers, red onions, tomatoes, baby gems and feta cheese in a tasty greek dressing.



Raclette, what can I say . . . grilled chopped vegetables and meats, bathed in melted cheese and dumped over steamed new potatoes. Yum!

After all that though, I thought we would need something light for dessert. Light doesn't have to mean boring or tasteless though . . . Possets fit the bill perfectly.



I often make Lemon Possets for dessert when we have guests for dinner. They have to be the quickest and easiest dessert to make ever. You will never find a better dessert for ease of preparation that pays such huge dividends in taste department.

It's smooth and delicious. It's rich. It's not overly filling. A little goes a long way, and it always goes down a real treat! It's also a recipe that is very easy to double or triple with great success!



I wanted something slightly different this time though, than the usual lemon, so I decided to do a lime posset. Nothing unusual there . . . but add a Tablespoon of ginger syrup and some chopped preserved ginger on the top and you have created a real gem of a dinner party dessert.



Oh my . . . this was fabulous. I don't know why I never thought of it before? Ginger and lime go very well together. It was creamy and rich. The lime gave it just enough tartness to counteract the sweet flavour of the sweetened cream . . . and the ginger a sweet heat, with a tiny bit of crunch atop all that creamy deliciousness!

Mmmm . . . sometimes I even surprise myself! This is a new favourite in the Rayner household!



*Lime and Ginger Posset*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

Quick, easy, rich, silky and delicious. The perfect dinner party dessert! It;s a great make ahead as well, so you can plan with confidence. You will need at least 2 hours for it to set up.

400ml of double cream (a generousl 1 3/4 cups)
8 TBS caster sugar (superfine sugar)
5 TBS of lime juice, plus the finely grated zest of two limes
1 TBS ginger syrup, from a jar of preserved ginger
1 knob of preserved ginger



Have 4 dessert glasses ready. Place the cream and sugar into a saucepan. Bring just to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium and boil briskly for 2 1/2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Whisk in the lime juice and most of the lime zest, reserving some for the garnish. Whisk in the ginger syrup. Divide the mixture evenly between the 4 glasses. Place into the refrigerator and chill for at least two hours.

When you are ready to serve, chop the knob of ginger coarsely into small bits. Mix together with the grated lime zest and sprinkle some on top of each pudding.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Spaghetti on Toast, my way . . .



I can hear you all scratching your heads now and thinking that I have lost my marbles . . . I mean, really . . . Spaghetti on Toast??? What ever will I do next!

There are times however when nothing else will do . . . this is the ultimate comfort food . . . nursery food that brings us back to the bosom of our mum's and home sweet homes . . .



Perhaps you've had a rough day at work, or had a bit of bad news. Maybe you're just feeling downright lazy . . .



Or . . . and this is a real biggie . . . maybe you just get a hankering every once in a while for good old spaghetti from a tin! It's absolutely not gourmet . . . it's definitely not al dente . . . heck it's probably not even a real tomato sauce! Sometimes you just don't care! You just gotta do what you gotta do!



Most people over here just dump a tin of heated spaghetti over top of some toast, but you know me . . . I can't leave well enough alone and I just have to pimp it . . . I can't help myself!



When I was a kid, the biggest treat my mother could make for us for our tea was hotdogs and tinned spaghetti. We loved it! We didn't have it very often, but when we did we were over the moon. We didn't have it with toast either . . . we always just had it with buttered bread. But you know the British . . . they love their toast and they love to put things on it, and not just marmalade either!



Try it. You might even like it! (Nigella might even be tempted to sneak down the stairs in her dressing gown and indulge in this one! Do ya think??)


*Spaghetti On Toast*
for two
Printable Recipe

This is comfort food, plain and simple, with my added twist of course!

1 large tin of Spaghetti in tomato sauce
(I like Heinz)
1/2 package of smoked frankfurters
4 slices of toasted bread, buttered (your choice, wheat or white)
a good grinding of black pepper
a handful of grated strong cheddar cheese

No need for genius here. Slice the frankfurters into coins and brown them in a skillet. Dump on the tin of spaghetti and heat through while you make your toast. Place the buttered toast onto two warm plates. Divide the spaghetti mixture between both plates, covering the toast. Grind some black pepper on top and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Serve immediately.

And of course only one thing would do for afters . . .



Yep . . . Creamed Rice.
(Todd is still suffering from his tooth ailment and so soft foods are still in order.)