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Roasted Pears with Honey, Cinnamon & Cardamom

Roasted Pears with Honey, Cinnamon & Cardamom

We were very grateful to have been able to get our hands on a fruit and vegetable box last week.  It was filled with all sorts of lovely things and I have been making sure that I make the most of everything that was in the box.

I have been enjoying eating the apples out of hand, and Todd has been enjoying the bananas.  One night I made us a cut fruit salad with some of the bananas, some cut up oranges, a kiwi and some coconut.

And of course we have been enjoying the potatoes, onions, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower in the box.  I still have parsnips and a butternut squash to make use of.  Not a problem.

There was a quantity of Conference pears, which can be awfully hard to eat out of hand, but they are beautiful for cooking with as they hold their shape well. 

Conference pears are a medium-sized pear with an elongated bottle aand are quite similar in appearance to the 'Bosc pear'. A table pear, it is suitable for fresh-cut processing. The skin is thick greenish-brown, becoming pale yellow when ripe. The flesh is white, but turns pale yellow when the pear is ripe. The texture is very fine and soft, and the flavour is sweet. They have always reminded me of Russet Apples in a way.

They are beautiful roasted!  Roasting softens them up nicely and really enhances their beautiful pear flavour.

This is not so much a recipe as it is a technique which you can apply to any quantity of the hard fleshed fruit. In fact you really want hard fruits for this as they stand up better in the roasting, and hold their shapes well.

To do this I peel the fruit and then I scoop out the seed portion of the fruit using  a metal measuring spoon, or a melon baller if you have one. This leaves a little bowl shape, which is perfect for filling with things  . . .  like little nobs of butter  . . .

I lay them out on a baking sheet, lined with paper, cut side up and do just that.  Pop a little knob of cold butter into each bowl.

It is probably not more more than 1/4 tsp.  We are awfully fond of the flavours of cinnamon and cardamom and so we also sprinkle a modicum of ground cinnamon and ground cardamom over each pear half. I finish them off with a small drizzle of honey and then I roast them in a hot oven . . .

It doesn't take too long . . . only about 20 minutes or so.  I start them cut side up, roast for a bit, then flip them over, roast for a bit longer, and then I flip them and cook them just for a little while longer until they are just slightly caramelised and beautifully sticky.   These are gorgeous served with a nice dollop of thick yogurt or some cream.  Ice cream would also be very nice.

Roasted Pears with Honey, Cinnamon & Cardamom

Roasted Pears with Honey, Cinnamon & Cardamom

Yield: Variable
This is not so much a recipe as it is a technique.  Its great for when you end up with fruit that is rock hard.  These always turn out perfect.


  • fresh pears
  • honey
  • butter
  • ground cinnamon and cardamom
To serve:
  • thick plain yogurt, or pouring cream
  • vanilla bean ice cream


How to cook Roasted Pears with Honey, Cinnamon & Cardamom

  1. Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Line a baking tray with some baking paper.
  2. Peel your pears and cut them in half lengthways.  Using a metal teaspoon or melon baller scoop out the seeds of each half and discard.  I also like to trim off the blossom end, although I do leave on the stems for asthetic purposes.
  3. Place the pears cut side up on the baking tray.  Put a little dab of butter into the hollow in each pear half.  Sprinkle with each with some cardamom and cinnamon and then drizzle with honey.
  4. Roast in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, flip over and roast for a further 10 minutes.  Flip again and roast until the pears are sweetly glazed, soft and golden.
  5. Serve warm with some of the juices spooned over top and a dollop of yogurt or some cream, or even a scoop of vanilla ice cream of you have it.

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #EnglishKitchen
Created using The Recipes Generator

I can't help feeling a tiny bit sad today as this was the day that I should have had my children arriving. Oh what a joyous reunion that would have been.  It has been 8 years since I have seen them. Nevermind, with any lucky and the goodness of God it will still happen later in the year.  Stay happy, stay healthy, wash those hands and, if you can,  stay home!  

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Marie Rayner
Anything Hash & Perfectly Poached Eggs

Anything Hash & Perfectly Poached Eggs

I have become very thrifty over these past weeks. Something I am ashamed to say that I should have been practicing all along.  Nothing is going to waste in my kitchen.  They are saying it could be six months until the present crisis is over and I am keen to make everything we have stretch as far as I can.

Any thing hash is a great way to make good use of just whatever you have in your refrigerator that needs using up and topping it with a poached egg, turns it into a well balanced meal, containing some carbs, plenty of veg and a protein. 

It also makes a great vegetarian meal, for those of you who are not opposed to eating eggs.

The hash is composed of whatever you happen to have in the refrigerator that needs using up.  In my case I had a baked potato left from the other day, which wouldn't have fed two people normally, but when you add a host of other vegetables to it, it becomes like the loaves and fishes and magically multiplies to feed more.

I had a head of broccoli in the refrigerator, some carrots and a swede (rutabaga).  The stems on broccoli are often wasted and thrown away.  They can tend to be a bit fribrous, but if you trim of any fribrous bits there is no reason why you can't eat the rest. You can also eat the leaves of broccoli.

All of my veg was cut into 1/2 inch cubes and tossed together with a small chopped onion and then cooked together in my iron skillet, along with some oil and butter.

I cooked it first over low heat, covered so that the raw vegetables could cook to crispy tender and then I turned up the heat, seasoning it all with some salt and pepper, and cooking it until I had some golden brown carmelised bits.  The perfect hash.

You could of course add a quanitity of chopped cooked meat to this, along with some herbs, but I didn't have any lefover roast or any other meat that needed using and so I decided to top the hash with poached eggs.

You could, of course, do a fried egg, but I figured we would both benefit from the healthier option and so I poached us each an egg.

People can be a bit afraid of poaching eggs, but there is no need to be afraid really.  I have given exact instructions to give perfect results.

It helps if your eggs are at room temperature.  I also like to break them into a small bowl before slipping them individually into simmering water.  Don't ever tip them into boiling water or they will break up all over the place.

Cook them on the heat for exactly one minute, then take them off, cover the pan and let them sit for exactly ten minutes.  You will have perfectly poached eggs.  Ready to scoop out with a slotted spoon onto kitchen paper towelling.

Once drained they are ready to use in any way you want.  In this case, atop a nice plate of crispy anything hash!

Anything Hash & Perfectly Poached Eggs

Anything Hash & Perfectly Poached Eggs

Yield: 2
A delicious supper for two which makes a good use of what's in the refrigerator


  • 2 cups of vegetables cut into small cubes (today I used a leftover baked potato, some carrot, some swede(rutabaga), broccoli stems and a small onion)
  • 1/2 TBS butter
  • 1/2 TBS oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 large free range eggs


How to cook Anything Hash & Perfectly Poached Eggs

  1. Prepare your vegetables. Peel the carrots and swede, trim any fibrous bits from the broccoli stems, saving any leaves. Chop them all into a uniform size along with the potato and onion. 
  2. Heat the butter and oil in a heavy based skillet. (I used my cast iron.) Once the butter begins to foam, add the vegetables. Todd them to coat in the fat then turn the heat down low, cover and allow to cook over low heat for about 10 minutes until everything is tender. Remove the lid, turn up the heat, season to taste with salt and black pepper and cook, turning over occasionally until golden brown in places. Keep warm while you poach your eggs. 
  3. Have all your eggs at room temperature and break each into a small bowl before you start. Bring a pot of water, to which you have added 1 tsp of vinegar, to a slow simmer over gentle heat. Once you can see tiny bubbles on the bottom of the pan, carefully add the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Simmer, without covering for exactly 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs sit in the hot water for exactly ten minutes. (a timer is incredibly useful here) At the end of the time you should have a perfect poached egg, with a beautifully translucent and pefectly set white and a soft and creamy yolk. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon, one at a time onto some paper kitchen toweling to drain.
  5. Divide the hash and spoon it onto heated serving dishes.  Top each serving with a poached egg and serve immediately.

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #EnglishKitchen
Created using The Recipes Generator

The skys have turned to pewter today and it is threatening of rain.  March is about to go out like a Lion methinks!  Oh well, so much for that old wive's tale as it came in like a Lion as well! 

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Marie Rayner
English Muffins

English Muffins

In January I started writing on another site called Home Chef World.  I was hired to provide them with between 4 and 8 recipe posts a month.  This is in addition to what I share here.   I have really enjoyed doing it thus far and I hope this lasts a long longer than my other job did.  One never knows with the unstable world we are living in at the moment, but one thing is for sure, people will always want and need to eat.

One of the recipes I will be sharing on there over this next month required English Muffins.  Do you think I could find any?  None to be had anywhere, and I tried.  We are living in precarious times and I have realised that certain things have become very difficult to find.  One is flour (we won't talk about toilet paper). 

I am rationing my flour out very carefully because I don't know how long it will be before I can get any more.  It has become a very precious commodity in this house.

I did a lot of research before I picked a recipe to try.  I am not the most experienced bread baker and my results have always tended to be a bit hit and miss.  I found this recipe on a site called Bigger Bolder Baking.  It also had a video, and quite a few good reviews, so I felt fairly confident in using this recipe

It differed a bit somewhat in the English Muffins I am used to in that there is no cornmeal or semolina involved. Some recipes use this to keep the dough from sticking to things.  You do need to start it 18 hours prior to when you want to bake/grill them.

You do not need an oven for these. They cook entirely on top of the stove in a large non-stick skillet with a lid.  I found that my dough was a tiny bit drier than what hers looked like, so I was a bit worried that it wouldn't turn out, but my fears were completely unfounded.  It was perfect.

They cooked very easily in my largest skillet.  I was going to use my griddle pan until I realised I didn't have a lid to cover it. DUH. 

Using a lid to cover the muffins while they are first baking is integral to the success of the recipe.  This action allows them to rise higher and to cook thoroughly.

You might be interested to know that English Muffins are not really English at all, although they were invented by an English Ex Pat, living in New York City named Samuel Bath Thomas back in 1874.

Invented in America by an Englishman.  He owned a bakery known as Chelsea (could there be a more British name?) and were originally called Toaster Crumpets.

They were very quick to catch on and became very popular in Hotels and restaurants, soon taking on the name of "English Muffins."

The best way to open up an English Muffin is to run the tines of a fork into them all around the centre of the circumferance of the warm muffins.  Once you have done that. it is very easy to gently pull them apart.

This helps to prevent them from being squashed . . .  they are filled with lovely butter catching holes, nooks and crannies and separating them with a fork helps to create even more.

Oh my  . . .  I have fallen in love. Their texture was beautiful.  Todd enjoyed one later on, toasted on the open side under the hot grill and those little nooks and crannies, toasted up really nicely.

Just beautiful . . . . I enjoyed one warm from the oven with some cold butter thinly sliced over top . . . .

and some Bonne Maman Intense strawberry jam.  Oh boy, but this was sooooo good!

They were light and fluffy, beautifully golden brown on the outside and crisp at the edges  . . .

I could find no fault with them, no fault at all  . . .

In fact the worst thing I have to say about these is that once you have tried one  you will never ever be happy again with a ready made one. Never ever.

English Muffins

English Muffins

Yield: makes 8 to 10
These are fabulous.  The worst thing you can say about them is that once you eat one of these you will be forever spoilt from ever enjoying a store made muffin again. You will need to start these the day before.


  • 350g strong bread flour (2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 tsp bread machine yeast
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 160ml milk (2/3 cup)
  • 120ml water (1/2 cup)
  • 1 TBS salted butter


How to cook English Muffins

  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl.  Add the yeast on one side of the bowl and the salt on the other. Don't let them touch as salt kills yeast. Mix lightly together.
  2. Measure the milk and water into a microwave safe jug. Add the butter. Cook for about 30 seconds in the microwave to melt the butter and slightly warm the milk mixture.  The temperature should be only blood warm.  Take care not to over heat.
  3. Holding some of the liquid mixture back, stir it into the dry mixture, adding only enough to give you  a soft dough. It may be a bit sticky, and you may not need it all.  Cover bowl with a sheet of plastic cling film and then cover with a clean tea towel.  Set aside in a warm, draft free place for 12 to 18 hours.  (You can refrigerate the dough after 18 hours if you are not quite ready to griddle them.)
  4. When you are ready to bake, dust a surface lightly with flour.  Scrape the dough out onto the surface.  Recover with the cling film and kitchen towel.  Let rest for 10 minutes. 
  5. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
  6. At the end of the rest time, gently pat out to a thickness of about 1 inch.  Using a  sharp 3 inch round metal cutter dusted in flour, stamp out rounds, removing and placing them onto the baking sheet as you cut them out, leaving plenty of space in between.  Continue until you have cut all the rounds out.  Any scraps leftover can be rerolled and cut into rounds, although they won't be quite as perfect in appearance as the others.
  7. Cover the muffins with cling film and the kitchen towel and set aside to rest for 45 minutes.
  8. At the end of that time heat a large non-stick skillet over medium low heat. It should feel quite warm when you hold your hand just above the surface.  Working in batches, carefully remove the muffins from the baking sheet, about 4 at a time, and transfer them into the heated pan.   Do not crowd them. Leave at least 2 inches between each muffin. Cover with a lid and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes until golden brown on the underside.  Having the lid on will create steam which will help the muffins to rise and cook thoroughly.
  9. Once the underside is golden brown, carefully flip over and toast on the other side.
  10. Set aside to let them cool slightly before eating.  I like to split them in half  using a fork, sticking it carefully into the centre of the muffins all the way around and gently pulling them apart.  This gives you lots of craggy bits.  Serve warm with butter and jam.
  11. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days.  Split and toast in a toaster or under the grill. You make also freeze the in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #EnglishKitchen
Created using The Recipes Generator

In fact these are so good thatI think that I may have to make some again really soon.  I highly recommend! 

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Marie Rayner

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