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Cream Biscuits

Cream Biscuits

I didn't have a lot of energy to do much today.  I have had more than a few nights of terrible sleep. I think it is being caused by my change in blood pressure medication. Hopefully it will sort itself out soon because I am really dragging my carcass today!

Dinner is something simple today I am afraid. Packaged potato gratin (like the Idaho scalloped potato  mixes in North America), and chicken.  I will pop some frozen veg on and that will be it.

I have been wanting to bake this Cream Biscuit recipe however and I had it on my list to do it this weekend.  Its a good thing they are really easy and together in a flash!

I adapted the recipe from one I found in this old cookery book of mine, The Best of Pantry, by the Editors of Harrowsmith Country. They were meant to be used as a topping for a curried vegetable casserole, but I thought they would  also work very well on their own.

I used to love watching Harrowsmith Country on the television in the 1990's and I loved the magazine. There was a part of me that always longed to live a country life, with chickens and a nice vegetable garden  . . . .

A hobby farm really  . . .  with maybe a cow for milk  . . .  or a goat . . .  a kind of Little House on the Prairie kind of a life, but with some modern conveniences thrown in for good measure, like washing machines and vacuum cleaners.

I think I could probably live quite happily with just a radio to listen to . . .  and I tend to romanticise doing things by candlelight and the light of a wood fire.  Don't we all!

I remember when I was about 16 I wanted to live on a Commune.  There was a couple I knew who lived in an old farm house up on the mountain which had very few modern amenities.  Hippy dippies as my dad would say.  I envied them their carefree life in a lot of ways.

I think I would have been quite happy living in an environment like that . . .  growing my own veg, baking my own bread, gathering eggs, milking cows, etc. 

Not so much now that I am older and not as agile as I was back then.  Every now and then though I do like to channel my inner hippie and bake my own bread (not so good at that) and grow my own beans, that kind of stuff.  Nothing too seriously  . . . .

I do long for the comforts of a wood fire  . . . sitting in my chair in the evening and crocheting as I watch the flames flicker, but alas that is not my life.  I make do with a fake fire and am grateful for that.

I was really pleased with how these biscuits turned out  . . .  nice and light with a beautiful fluffy texture  . . .

I could not resist enjoying one fresh from the oven spread with cold butter and a smattering of creamed honey  . . .

I don't eat honey very often as I have Diabetes and its not so good  . . .   but I put 1/2 tsp on each half biscuit and I was in biscuit and honey heaven!

Doesn't that look tasty?  I think it does!

Oh, if only I had had a few slivers of country ham to enjoy with it . . .  ham, biscuits and honey. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.

A person is entitled to their dreams! 

Yield: makes about a dozen

Cream Biscuits

These North American style biscuits (not cookies) are light and delicate. They only take minutes to prepare as well, which makes them a real favourite!


  • 280g plain flour (2 cups)
  • 1 TBS baking powder
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 80g lightly salted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 120ml heavy cream (1/2 cup)


How to cook Cream Biscuits

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. Whisk in the salt and sugar.  Drop in the butter and cut it in using a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Beat the eggs together with the cream, using a fork to combine. Make a hollow in the dry ingredients and add the wet, combing together lightly with a fork.  Tip out onto  floured board and lightly knead a couple times to bring together.  Pat out to 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut out using a  floured 2 inch round cutter. Place onto the baking sheet, leaving some space in between each.
  3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the biscuits are well risen and golden brown. Serve warm.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Sigh  . . .  I hope I sleep better tonight!  I have a brisket to cook for Sunday dinner and I don't want to be doing that when I am exhausted! 

Up Tomorrow:  Chicken & Pasta Parm Skillet (for 2)


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Marie Rayner
Spiced Plum Cake

Spiced Plum Cake

I really struggle with finding good light for taking my food photos this time of year, when the days are getting shorter and the sun is finding its way differently in the sky. It always takes me a few weeks to adjust to it all. Oh well! 

I hope you won't let poor photography dissuade you from baking what is a really lovely cake.  I adapted the recipe from one I found on a site called Once Upon a Chef. It looked really nice and I had picked up a couple of punnets of purple plums at the shops as they were on offer.

I adore plums, they are one of my favourite fruits.  I was quite disappointed in the plums we bought the other day. They were mealy.  I hate mealy fruit.  The only way to really use them was to cook them, hence the cake.

I'll be honest here and say I think its really bad that you should buy punnets of mealy fruit at this time of year when fruit is so fresh and readily available!  Bad. Bad. Bad. Shouldn't happen! 

Mind you, checking the label, upon closer inspection I see that they came from Spain. Why are we importing plums from Spain at a time of the year where fresh plums are ripe and ready for the picking and eating here in the UK?  So disappointing!

I shake my head when I think of it all  . . .  shouldn't happen.  Just shouldn't happen.

Anyways, this is  a really lovely cake.  I am afraid I over-cooked mine a tiny bit. The skewer kept coming out looking like it wasn't cooked in the centre, so I would pop it in for a few more minutes. 

So my edges got a bit crispy, but not in an unpalatable way at all!

As Todd was eating it he kept mumbling all the while, this is a really good cake . . .  love this cake  . . .  more cake please  . . .

He is a very lucky man.  He can eat cake until it comes out his ears  . . .  and pour cream all over it when he does  . . . .

And he never has to worry about any of it sticking to his thighs . . . 

Or his bottom, or his neck, cheeks, arms, etc.  . . .  I really don't think its fair, but it is what it is!

This is a beautiful cake  . . .  filled with the lovely flavours of cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom and that almost jammy fruit, which is tart and sweet at the same time.

For brunch or for dessert, this is one cake you won't want to miss out on . . .  and the perfect way to use up less than perfect plums!

Yield: 8

Spiced Plum Cake

A beautiful cake that is perfect served for brunch with hot cups of coffee or as a dessert with scoops of vanilla ice cream.


  • 210g plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp each ground nutmeg and ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 115g butter softened, plus more to butter the pan (1/2 cup)
  • 190g white sugar, plus 2 TBS, divided (1 cup + 2TBS, divided)
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 120ml whole milk (1/2 cup)
  • 1 pound fresh plums, pitted and quartered


How to cook Spiced Plum Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a 9 inch spring form pan really well and dust with flour, shaking out any excess. Set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Stir in the salt. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and 190g/1 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla, adding a spoonful of the flour mixture if it starts to curdle. Add the milk alternately with the flour mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, levelling it off. Scatter the plums over top decoratively. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 TBS of sugar.
  4. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
  5. Run a knife carefully around the edge of the cake to loosen, and then loosen the sides of the pan. Leave to cool on a wire rack. Cut into slices to serve. You can dust this with icing sugar if you want to pretty it up a bit!
Created using The Recipes Generator

I am not really sure what I will have to share with you tomorrow. I am going to leave it as a bit of a surprise.  I don't think you will be disappointed at any rate, or at least I hope that you won't! 

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Marie Rayner
Just to say   . . .

Just to say . . .

I want you all to know that I am so very appreciative of the comments you always leave on my posts, and that I do generally try to respond to each and every one of them. On here, on facebook, on Instagram, etc. My motto has always been if someone has been generous enough to take the time to comment, then I need to be generous enough to respond.  Comments are not always kind however and I usually try to brush the unkind ones off, but today I want to respond to a particularly unkind and insensitive comment which was left on my post on the Knives Expert site on my Roasted Chicken recipe, which said simply:  

“What family? You live alone with your husband.” 

Dear Beccy033, 

Thank you so very much for your comment. How very kind it was of you to remind me that my husband has outlived all three of his children, and that my own children and grandchildren live over 2000 miles away from us.  You sweet words sure gave me the warm and fuzzies.  It also prompted me to think about what it is exactly that constitutes a family.

At its very most basic, a family is the compilation of a group of individuals who share a legal or genetic bond.  It can consist of a very large group of people, or it can be as simple as just two people who live under the same roof, or not, it could be an individual and their cat/dog. Many family members may live outside the actual home, coming together from time to time to celebrate occasions and to just hang out. 

To many people, however,  family means much more than this, and even the simple idea of genetic bonds can be far more complicated than it might seem on the surface.

There are many kinds of families.  I have often heard it said that friends are the family that one gets to choose for themselves.   There are step and blended families, adopted families, foster families, and childless families, all in addition to what might be seen as the so called “normal” family. Some families have two moms or two dads.  Childless families might include pets as their family members.

Essentially, I like to think that a family is composed of individuals and groups of people who share an emotional and spiritual connection, even if they share no legal or genetic bonds.  For example one's “Church Family” may have shared spiritual connections and values, whereas a “Work Family” might share long term relationships based on common experiences and activities, and hopefully . . .  a shared and pleasant work space.

I suppose what I am saying really is that the definition of what constitutes a family is something that is living and breathing,  very fluid and constantly evolving, and it is individual and unique to each of us. Every person can define family in a different way to encompass the relationships they share with the people in their lives, which, over time . . .  can, will and should change as one's life changes, and the importance of family values and rituals deepen.  Basically, every member who is truly considered to be a part of a family will help to make and keep it richer.

So when I choose to gather family around my table for a special meal or lunch, this might sometimes indeed only be my husband and I, or it might include some of the many wonderful people we have chosen to invite to share our lives and occasions with us, and certainly on very choice and rare occasions it might even include some of my own children or extended family members.  The point is, “I” am the one who gets to decide who is and who isn’t a member of my family.  Often, I like to think that my family also consists of the sweet and loyal people who drop by every day to see what I am cooking and share my recipes with me.  I am always happy to see them, and I usually, more often than not, appreciate the kind words they leave for me.  May it be ever so.

And just so you know, whilst I would really like to say you are not invited to dinner, the kind of person that I am would never refuse,  even you  . . . . a place at my table.

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Marie Rayner
Honey Mustard Roasted Parsnips & Carrots

Honey Mustard Roasted Parsnips & Carrots

When I was cooking that roast chicken dinner for the other site I write on, I wanted to cook a few side dishes to have along with the roast chicken and the potatoes.  I made my Sage & Onion Stuffing because we both love that very much.

And then I roasted some parsnips and carrots at the same time I was roasting the chicken. We had been gifted a bag of them by our friends Tina and Tony and I wanted to use them while they were still really fresh!

Remember these funky carrots I showed you the other day?  Apparently that is caused when your soil is full of stones. You get these weird looking almost alien carrots.   I was wondering how on earth I was going to peel them . . .  and then in bed one night it came to me!

Break them down into smaller carrots. Doesn't everyone think about things like this in bed?  Please tell me I am not crazy or anything!  Anyways, that is what I did and I ended up with quit a bundle of carrots!

Once I turned them into individual carrots, and peeled them, it was very easy to cut them into manageable strips.  My parsnips were quite large also, so these were cut into quarters or sixths.

After that I par-boiled them for about 5 minutes in some lightly salted water. It doesn't take long. You don't actually want to cook them through.

You just want them so that they don't take too long to cook in the oven.  Because they are coated in a sweetish mixture, you run the risk of them burning if they are in the oven too long.

I coated them in a mix of melted butter, Dijon mustard and liquid honey . . .

And then I roasted them for about 30 to 40 minutes.

They came out perfect.  Lightly glazed, a bit caramelised in parts, and beautifully crispy tender.

Yield: 4

Honey Mustard Roasted Parsnips & Carrots

Crispy tender, glazed and delicious.


  • 4 parsnips, peeled cut into strips
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into strips
  • fine sea salt and coarse black pepper to taste
  • 1 TBS melted butter
  • 1 TBS Dijon Mustard
  • 2 TBS liquid honey


How to cook Honey Mustard Roasted Parsnips & Carrots

  1. Cook the parsnips and carrots in a pot of lightly salted boiling water for 5 minutes, drain well.
  2. Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Butter a shallow baking dish large enough to hold the vegetables in one layer.
  3. Whisk together the melted butter, mustard and honey. Place the drained vegetables into a buttered dish. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the mustard mixture over top and toss together to coat. Distribute evenly in the pan. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, until crispy on the outsides, but tender inside. Delicious!
Created using The Recipes Generator

These really were gorgeous.  I think I might make them again for Thanksgiving in a few weeks time!

Up Tomorrow: Spiced Plum Cake

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Marie Rayner

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