The Grand Launch, a Great Giveaway and Organic Foods

For a long time now, I have wanted to do a blog that was about nothing but food. No special thoughts, no poetry, no artsy fartsy stuff . . . just plain good food and plenty of it. Welcome to the grand launch of that very thing,
An English Kitchen
. I want this page to be about exploring all the delicious flavours and wonderful things that the British Isles have to offer those of us who are lucky enough to live here. I want to present recipes in an appealing way, both topically and seasonally. This is going to be a wonderfully exciting journey for me, and I hope you'll all want to come along on it with me.

A few weeks back, I was approached by someone representing an Organic Vegetable box scheme company called Abel & Cole. She wanted to know if I would be interested in receiving a free Organic mixed vegetable and fruit box from the company.

A few years ago, I had opted in to get an Organic vegetable box scheme from another company, and I have to admit it had not been a very good experience. To be honest, the whole experience had left a bad taste in my mouth. (no pun intended) Not only had it been ultra expensive for what I received, but my box had been delivered several days late and when it did arrive, the vegetables in it were tired and old and, in all truth, looked like the tail ends of what they had put out for the week. Actually, I think my box had gotten overlooked, and when I had inquired about it, they threw together whatever they had left, and shipped it out poste haste. Big mistake. I was really disappointed, and I did not order another one. I remained very skeptical about Organic Box schemes and quite gun shy at giving another company a try. In my mind if organic meant yucky looking tired and unappealing, i didn't want any part of it.

When you are offered something for free though, that's a different story, and so I jumped at the chance to receive one of Abel & Cole's boxes. After looking at their site, I was actually quite looking forward to it. Their web page was very well done and it looked quite promising.

I was not disappointed and, in fact, I was well impressed with what landed at my door last Wednesday afternoon. A beautiful sturdy (and recyclable) cardboard box, filled to the brim, with what looked like high quality produce. There were delicious looking apples and oranges, (not a blemish on any of them.) Beautiful fair trade organic bananas. Lovely red radishes, a cucumber, cherry tomatoes, a beautiful head of lettuce, some spring greens, some delicious looking mushrooms, and a lovely bunch of new potatoes. Not only did everything arrive exactly when I was told to expect it, but everything was fresh, Fresh, FRESH! Looking at their page everything is quite reasonably priced as well. What more could you ask for? Fresh, Organic, great quality, reasonably priced, and delivered right to your door!

That night I cooked us a lovely spring green, pancetta and mushroom frittata along with a pretty tasty new potato, cheese and chive crush. Never have I tasted potatoes that were so sweet and delicate. Surely it must be that they were freshly picked within days of me receiving them and were free from any pesticides etc. They truly were wonderful. Since then, I have made us a delicious Greek Chicken salad, using the lettuce, cucumber, etc. It was fantastic too!

Best of all, my previous scepticism has been replaced with trust. Not only is their produce fresh and of good quality. It all arrived in perfect condition and at the time agreed upon. If you check out their site, and I hope that you do, you will see that they also offer quality organic meats, poultry and other kitchen sundries and gifts. In fact one other thing that they sent me was one of their cookery books and I was well impressed with that as well, so much so that I went out and purchased another one to give to one of my lucky readers.

Yes!! To help me celebrate the launch of The English Kitchen I am giving away to one reader this lovely cookery book, The Abel & Cole Cookbook Paperback (deemed a kitchen essential by Country Living!) It's full of lovely innovative recipes using the best of what Britain has to offer in the way of produce, meats, poultry and fish. In order to be in on the giveaway, just leave a comment at the end of this post and sign up as one of my followers. The follower list is in the left hand column, just over there
See it?

I'll be picking the winner on Friday of this week, so you only have a few days to get in on it! Spread the news, and let me know, for every post linking back to this post I'll give you an extra chance on the giveaway. If you comment and become a follower, two chances. Post about this giveaway and newest venture of mine, giveaway, two chances. What are you waiting for?

I hope that you will enjoy this new page of mine, and that I will be able to keep your interest with wonderfully tasty recipes and innovative ideas, ideas from "this English Kitchen" of mine, here at Oak Cottage. I really do hope that you will come along and take the journey with me. (no fears, I will continue to do my daily posts over on Oak Cottage with food for the eyes, soul and body!)

This is the delicious salad that I made yesterday using some of that lovely produce from my Organic box. It was wonderful and quite healthy, well . . . except for the bacon that is, but what the heck, a little bit of what's naughty is quite alright once in awhile!

*Greek Chicken Salad*

Serves 4
Printable Recipe

I subscribe to a cookery magazine each month called Delicious. This was one of the recipes featured in the June 2009 issue. I adapted it a bit to our own tastes, and you know what ???? It was delicious!

3 free range chicken breasts
the juice and finely grated zest of one lemon
a handful of chopped fresh oregano
3 TBS olive oil
1 fat clove of garlic peeled and crushed
6 rashers of free range dry cured smokey bacon, cooked until crisp and cut into 3 pieces each
70g of fresh salad leaves
50 g of black olives, preferably kalamata, but I used those lovely dry cured black olives and they were wonderful
1/2 of a small cucumber, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, seeded and sliced into half moons
12 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
100g of thick Greek Yogurt
the finely grated zest and juice of another small lemon
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F. Place your chicken breasts in a shallow glass baking dish. Squeeze the juice of the first lemon over the chicken. Add the lemon zest, chopped oregano, garlic, and half of the olive oil. Rub all of this into the breasts. Season to taste with some sea salt and the black pepper. Set aside to marinate for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, place in the oven and roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until done and the juices run clear. Don't overcook, as dry chicken tastes nasty. Start checking at 15 minutes.

Place the salad leaves, olives, cucumber and tomatoes in a bowl and toss with the bacon pieces.

In another bowl, whisk together the yoghurt, second clove of garlic, the rest of the olive oil, the zest and juice of the second lemon and some salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. (If you find this too thick, you can thin with a bit of water. I didn't feel this was necessary myself. I loved the consistency.)

Divide the salad amongst 4 chilled plates. Slice the roasted chicken and divide it equally amongst the plates and serve each with some of the dressing drizzled over top. Pass any remaining dressing at the table. (In fact I would double the dressing ingredients so that there is plenty to go around. It's delicious, and if you use the no fat Greek yoghurt, it's not too bad for yo


  1. Really, Marie! It's 2:30 in the AM and I am salivating over that Greek Chicken Salad like I haven't eaten in a week. (Well, I guess what with the stomach flu, I haven't eaten in quite a few days! LOL)

  2. Great new blog Marie and what a nice idea to start it with a give-away!

  3. Yuum....this is going to be fun, recipes and more insights from Marie. Thank you faraway friend.
    Hugs, Barb

  4. This blog is going to be a scorcher, I can tell. I'd love to be in your "opening day give away" (there, I just did you a slogan!). Looking forward to the next helping.

    love, Angie, xx

  5. Wow...that salad looks good! I love your recipes and insight on life. I'll link back to you too!

  6. this blog is awesome marie! i love it! everything about it, from the layout, to the colors, to the photographs, everything!

    oh, and put me in the drawing-i would love to be a winner! :)

  7. Love both 'Year at Oak Cottage', and your new 'English Kitchen' blog, Marie. Thank you so much for sharing your life views as well as your recipes with us. I have lived in Texas, in the U.S. all my life, and love to read about your life there in England.
    Please enter me in your give-away. Or just e-mail me at And have a great day.

  8. Lovely new blog Marie - I'm sure it is going to be a very popular place to visit :0)

  9. Forgot to say I have linked your new blog on my site - thanks Rosie

  10. The new blog is absolutely lovely! Can't wait to see more. :-)

  11. Marie I lvoe this. You are making me into a virtual foodie. I love all your recipes and the photos are scrumptious! I really feel like trying so many of your recipes!

  12. Hi Marie. I love your new blog. I've been aviding follwing A Year at Oak Cottage and have just added this one to my RSS feeder.

  13. Sorry! My last post was in my test account for something else. This one contains my actual details but the sentiments remain the same. :o)

  14. Dear Marie, Congrats dear!!! Is a lovely and wonderful place as you!!! Is beauty and nice! I love it. Of course I will add to my favorites blogs, Im so proud of my dear friend (You) yes you are soooo smart!!! Je,!! Huggs and kisses, Gloria

  15. Lovely, lovely, lovely!!!

  16. LOVE this new blog Marie! The total foodie focus is exciting and your new presentation fantastic! I look forward to following along with you here. :o) Pity I'm too late for the giveway, but fun to see. So glad this new veg box scheme trial was a winner...what delicious vegetables. You know how I love veggies! Happy Day, sweet friend ((BIG HUGS))

  17. Oh, I'd love to do something like that weekly produce box! There was a place doing it in my area, but their memberships are all full. Bummer.

    Anyway, I'm loving this blog! Consider yourself bookmarked ;)

  18. Oh Marie, yet another blog!! how do you do it? I can't keep up with my one! This blog is quite lovely. We have been enjoying fresh potatoes as well as asparagus, strawberries, peas . . . .Lovely. Much love to you, Todd and Jess! Raquel XO

  19. Juhannus/Shona4 June 2009 at 09:55

    I'm waiting for the delivery of my first Abel and Cole veg and fruit box which I ordered after reading about the potatoes you received...I can't wait. I'm looking forward to following your new blog but my husband and I wonder how you manage to fit so much into your busy life.

  20. Wow a new blog...can't wait for the recipes...your buttermilk pancakes are now a standard in our home. Already I am drooling over some of the new recipes

    Best wishes

  21. Oh Wow, amazing blog and great recipes, thanks so much.


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