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Thai Chicken Salad  Roll Ups

Thai Chicken Salad Roll Ups

We eat a lot of chicken in our house and I am always looking for new things to do with it so that it doesn't get boring. I don't think that I, personally, could ever get bored of it, but my husband sure could!  (Men!)  I do like to please him if I can, so I am always doing different things with it to keep him happy about eating it!

Chicken is such a versatile ingredient.  You can do so much with it and it easily adapts itself to a large variety of different flavours and textures. Today Todd brought home a rotisserie chicken from Costco for us to have for our tea.

I had seen a recipe on the TABLESPOON site for Thai Chicken Salad Wraps that ticked all of my boxes and that I was very keen to try and so I decided to adapt the recipe to what I had in the house and give them a go.

I didn't have any full size tortilla wraps, so I made do with smaller ones and made them as cones.  This worked really well for me.  I also cut the recipe in half as there are only two of us. 

The original recipe used bagged coleslaw mix. I have never seen that over here, but that is not a problem because I have never minded shredding my own.  I prefer to shred by hand as grating it would make it far too fine a texture for this purpose.  I did grate my carrot.

The original recipe also called for using raw chicken breasts that you poach and cube, which you could certainly easily do.  I had already cooked chicken, so I skipped this step! 

I love chicken salad and I love Thai flavours, so this seemed like a win/win combination for me.  I also love wraps.

The dressing for this salad is really delicious.  It is a creamy peanut sauce, with sesame, soy, lime and coriander flavours, along with a bit of heat from some chili flakes.  It uses soft light brown sugar, but as I am a diabetic, I used  Sukrin Gold brown sugar substitute which worked fine.

Its actually pretty low carb, with the wraps so I would say fairly Diabetic friendly, with plenty of crunch from the vegetables and some from the peanuts, which (although high in fat) are a great source of additional protein.

They were really, really good, although if I make them again (and I really think I will as they are fabulously tasty) I will cut down a bit on the sauce/dressing as it was a bit too much for our liking. Overall however, I would call this a winner/winner chicken dinner!

*Thai Chicken Salad Roll Ups*
Serves 4

These tasty roll ups make a change from the usual chicken salad sandwich! Quick and easy to make as well as being delicious! 

375g shredded cooked chicken (3 cups)
150g hand shredded cabbage (I use a mix of white and red) (1 1/2 cups)
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
3 TBS chopped fresh coriander leaf (cilantro)
3 TBS coarsely chopped dry roasted peanuts
3 TBS creamy smooth peanut butter
3 TBS soy sauce
3 TBS lime juice
3 TBS soft light brown sugar (I use a brown sugar substitute)
3 TBS light sesame oil
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
pinch hot pepper flakes
salt and black pepper to taste
lettuce leaves ( I like baby cos)
8 (6-inch) flour tortillas 

Place the chicken in a large bowl.  Add the cabbage, carrot, spring onions, coriander leaf and chopped peanuts.  Whisk together the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, sesame oil, garlic, hot pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste, until smooth. Pour over the chicken and vegetables and toss to coat completely. 

Lay out your tortillas.  Place a couple of lettuce leaves on each. Divide the chicken salad between each tortilla.  Fold up from the bottom and then from the sides to shape cones.  Fasten securely with toothpicks and serve immediately!

These are so delicious and very easy to throw together.  I just loved them and I think you will too!!  Bon Appetit!

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Marie Rayner
Lemon, Lime & Ginger Curd

Lemon, Lime & Ginger Curd

I have to say that one of my absolute favourite things is Lemon Curd.  I could sit down and eat it with a spoon.  I have always made my own. Its not all that hard to do and tastes unbelievably better than the store bought stuff.  Seriously.

I found myself with some lemons and limes that needed using up today and I had in mind to do a Lemon & Lime curd, but was a bit unsure as to what proportions of each I should use.  After doing a search I found what looked like a great recipe on the Waitrose site.  I decided to charge things up a bit however and add some fresh ginger root to the mix, as  I also had a knob  of that which needed using up.

The people at English Provender had once sent me some Lemon and Ginger Curd and it was very moreish, so I thought why not!

The end result was something so fabulous that I think you are really going to love it!  Its tart and sweet and has just a bit of gingery heat to it,  but not obnoxiously so.

This would make a fabulous filling for a cake I think  . . .  maybe even a banana cake . . .  hmmm . . .  the wheels are turning.  I also make a lovely lemon drizzle loaf which uses lemon curd, so I think I am going to try using some of it in that. (You will find that recipe in the same place as my regular lemon curd recipe. See link above.)

See how lovely and thick it is?  And that is while it is still a bit warm. It thickens up beautifully in the refrigerator.

Mmmm . . .  so tasty.  I had a huge Bon Maman jam jar from some jam I had gotten a while back at Costco and that is what I have used to store it in.  I think we will make pretty short work of this.

I couldn't resist trying some on top of a soda cracker just to taste it . . .  you know how it goes.  Oh boy.  This is one gorgeous curd!!

I hope you will give it a go. Making curd is not that easy if you follow the directions perfectly.  And even if your eggs do end up curdling a bit, its not the end of the world, just strain out the curdles. It will still be perfectly edible, but in all truth if you are careful and temper your eggs first, then that just won't happen!

*Lemon, Lime & Ginger Curd*
Makes 600ml (2 1/2 cups)

Creamy, tart and tangy.  This gorgeous spread is very simple to make and tastes fabulous spread onto warm scones or toast, between cake layers etc.

the finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes
the finely grated zest and juice of 3 lemons
1 inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
250g caster sugar (1 1/3 cup)
125g butter, cut into small bits (1/2 cup)
4 large free range eggs, beaten

Place the grated ginger root, lemon and lime zests and juices into a heatproof bowl, large enough to fit over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir in the sugar and add the butter. Place over the simmering water and cook, stirring occasionally until the butter and sugar both melt. 

Whisk a bit of this hotter mixture into the beaten eggs to temper it, then slowly whisk the eggs back into the bowl of juices, etc. Make sure you don't forget to temper the eggs as you will end up with scrambled egg. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. This will take 20 to 25 minutes over water at a low simmer.  Stirring is not optional, you must stir it continuously or the mixture will not thicken evenly.  

Remove the bowl from the pan and strain the curd into clean and sterilised jars.  (This is not totally necessary, but I like to strain any solids out so that the mixture is completely smooth.) Cover and allow to cool completely before storing in the refrigerator. This will keep for about a week.  So I would give a jar away.  I am sure nobody will refuse it.

Note - It is possible to do this in the microwave by placing all of the ingredients into a bowl and cooking on high for five to six minutes, stirring at frequent intervals  until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.  Jar and seal as above.  I have not tried this method myself, so cannot vouch for it.

I adapted this recipe from one I found on the Waitrose site for Tangy Lemon and Lime Curd.  I thought that fresh ginger would be a fabulous addition to the flavours and I was right! I love it when that happens! 

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Marie Rayner
BBQ Bacon, Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner

BBQ Bacon, Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner

I took the opportunity the other day to make another recipe using some of that delicious Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce I was sent last week.  I had in mind to make my Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner for  supper one night and decided to add some of the sauce to it with most delicious results! 

All suitable for VEGANS (except for the HONEY BBQ GLAZE)

With Jack Daniel’s Sauces, it’s easy to surprise and delight family and friends. Simply serve up luxuriously sticky, glazed chicken wings and ribs, add depth to ‘low and slow’ dishes like pulled pork or beef brisket, or use the sauces as a delicious dip for fries, wedges and veggies.

The latest addition to the range is Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Honey™ Barbecue Glaze, which is infused with the soft flavours of the popular Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Honey™ Liqueur, giving the glaze a smooth hint of honey.

Each Jack Daniel’s Sauce is virtually fat-free with around 40 calories per typical 25g serving. Each of the sauces is suitable for vegetarians. Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauces are available nationwide from Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Waitrose, RRP £2.00. Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Honey™ Barbecue Glaze is available in Waitrose and Tesco stores nationwide RRP £1.99

This skillet meal is such a family friendly favourite of ours mine. True, Todd would like it better if it was made with potatoes, but somehow I don't think potatoes would give you quite the same delicious results.  And I love potatoes! 

Its a texture thing really.  I really think the only way to go with this is using macaroni. Oddly enough when I was a child I hated any kind of pasta with minced beef in it. The differences in the texture used to make gag.  I think I was an expert at getting minced beef out of any hole that would hold it.  At the end of a meal, the macaroni would be all gone, but there would be a tidy pile of hamburger bits sitting on the edge of my plate.

Now that I am an adult I find that if I leave the meat in larger lumps and brown it really well, I can tolerate it very nicely.  I have actually come to enjoy it, but then I do use extra extra lean ground steak.

Like I said, this is very family friendly and something children really enjoy, and normally men as well.  It contains nothing too out of the ordinary.  This time I substituted some of the Jack Danielle's smooth original sauce for the Worcestershire sauce in my regular recipe and I have to say it worked, really, REALLY well!

Just gave that sauce a little bit of extra tangy zip. I left out the herbs as well because I thought they might jar with the sauce.  We didn't miss them. 

I like to use a strong cheddar because it has a lot of flavour and you don't really need a lot of it to get the same flavour impact that you might get using a larger quantity of a milder one.  So less calories and fat that way. 

I do use tinned tomato soup in this.  I like Heinz. Its always been my favourite when it comes to tinned tomato soup.  That's just a personal preference.

There is  bacon in this, yes  . . .  but if you try to use the leanest streaky bacon you can find and then drain it well and pat it dry with paper towels, you can cut back on the fat and calories also.

Having said all that however, this is never ever going to be on any list of healthy options when it comes to eating, but it does make a wonderful, economical and delicious once in a blue moon treat!

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger Skillet Dinner*
Serves 4

This is one of those great family style dishes that not only tastes delicious, but is also quick, easy. It also freezes very well. 

235g uncooked elbow macaroni (2 cups)
500g extra lean minced beef (1 generous pound)
225g streaky bacon (1/2 pound)
1 small onion, peeled and minced
2 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 tin of tomato soup
120ml hot water (1/2 cup)
65g Jack Daniels BBQ Sauce (1/4 cup)
salt to taste
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
180g extra strong cheddar cheese, grated (1 1/2 cups)

Cook the bacon in a large skillet until crisp. Remove with tongs and set aside to drain. Add the minced beef, onions and garlic to the drippings. Cook, stirring from time to time, until the beef is lightly browned and the vegetables are soft. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Crumble in the cooked bacon. Add the BBQ sauce, water, and tomato soup. Bring to the boil, then simmer while you cook the pasta.

Cook the pasta in lightly salted water according to the package directions until tender. Once tender, drain well and then stir into the beef mixture. Add 3/4 of the cheddar cheese and stir it in to melt, then sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top and allow to melt. Serve right from the pan with lots of crusty bread and a tasty salad on the side.

If  you are looking for a meal that is quick and easy, delicious and economical, and one that your family will love,  look no further.  This fits the bill on all fronts.  I like to serve it with a salad on the side.  Do note that it also freezes very well and you can freeze it in single serving sized portions to pop out from the freezer for when someone is going to be on their own, or home late or even to take for lunch at work were they can just pop it into a microwave!

If you would like to see the original recipe you can find that here.  That was actually the last time I made this, so five whole years ago. That really is once in a blue moon!  Also with there only being two of us, and no missionaries to feed, this time I cut the recipe in half so that it only made 4 servings instead of 8.  I sent the leftovers next door, and there were NO complaints!  ☺  Bon Appetit! 

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Marie Rayner
Mochachino Brownies with White Mocha Sauce

Mochachino Brownies with White Mocha Sauce


Its all about the dad's in the kitchen today!  Happy Father's Day to all you dad's our there in blog land!  Its time to pull out the stops and spoil our fathers a little bit and there is nothing like some lovin-from-the-oven to do just that!

I haven't seen my dad for probably 8 or 9 years now.  I haven't been back home now for quite a while.  He was away the last time I was home, which was about 5 years ago now.  I miss him. Not a lot I can do about it either as finances are kind of tight, but he knows I love him, and that if I could be there I would be there.  He would absolutely love these brownies though!  He has always been one of my biggest fans, and loves my cooking.  Dad, these are for you!

These are beautifully rich and decadent brownies, moist and delicious, stogged full of two kinds of chocolate and toasted nuts. The recipe comes from a book I picked up at M&S many moons ago, called Blissful Brownies. 
A compendium of many delicious looking brownies, each one looking a tad more decadent than the other.  You will want to bake them all.

Today I used toasted pecans, but toasted walnuts are equally as good.  They add a tiny bit of texture and crunch. There are some in the brownies, and you sprinkle some over the brownies when you go to serve them.

I don't know why chocolate is so difficult to photograph, but it is.  I took the liberty of sprinkling the brownies with a bit of icing sugar today so that they would photograph better and I actually liked the way it worked.

There is also some strong coffee in the brownie batter. Not a lot, just a hint.  Coffee really helps to enhance chocolate flavours. They have a perfect chemistry and affinity for each other  . . .  maybe that is because they are both beans . . .  coffee and cacao. You don't really need a lot of it to do it's job.

But that is not where all the deliciousness stops  . . .  there is also a decadent white chocolate and mocha sauce as well . . .  you spoon this over the warm brownies  . . .

Oh boy but it is some good.  Rich, creamy . . .  sweet, and again with just a hint of coffee.  You won't need a lot of it on your brownies, a little goes a long way . . .

Rich, chocolatey, mocha-ey, decadent . . .  moist . . .

Don't get me started on the nuts . . .  I know, who did I make these for anyways????

Yes, its true Todd doesn't like chocolate, so I guess they aren't really for him.  *Innocent-look*  I confess, I will have to give them away as much as I might want to eat them myself, I really shouldn't . . .

*Mochachino Brownies with White Mocha Sauce*
Serves 8 - 9

For the Mochachino lover in your life. You can leave out the nuts if you wish. 

For the brownies:
120g unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the pan (1/2 cup)
115g plain chocolate (4 ounces)
2 TBS extra strong black coffee
250g golden caster sugar (1 1/3 cups)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 large free range eggs, beaten
85g plain flour (1/2 cup + 2 TBS)
55g milk chocolate chips (1/4 cup)
55g toasted walnuts or pecans (1/2 cup) (optional)
Plus more to decorate

For the sauce:
100ml double cream (3 1/2  fluid ounces)
85g white chocolate (3 ounces)
1 TBS strong black coffee

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter and line a 9 inch square baking tin.  (I like to leave an overhang to lift the brownies out with once they have cooled. Makes it easier to cut them.)  

Melt the chocolate, coffee and butter together in a saucepan over low heat, stirring, just until the mixture has all melted and is smooth.  Cool slightly. 

Whisk in the sugar, cinnamon and eggs, one at a time.  Beat in the flour, chocolate chips and walnuts/pecans if using.  Pour into the prepared pan. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, just until firm, but still moist. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.  Lift out and cut into squares for serving. 

To make the sauce, put all ingredients in a small saucepan, and place over low heat. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. 

Place the brownies onto individual serving plates and spoon the warm sauce over top. Sprinkle with additional toasted nuts, if using, and serve immediately.

I wasn't going to put any cream on top, but then I just had to see how it looked (and tasted) and so I did.  WOWSA!  Incredible!   Happy Father's Day and Bon Appetit! 

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Marie Rayner

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