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Onion Pot Roast


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I normally wouldn't show you two beef recipes in a row, but I was meant to show you this last week and am only now just getting around to it.   We don't eat beef very often and we would only ever very rarely have it two days in a row!  This is a pot roast recipe which I have been using for years and years.  It is a tried and true and something my family always looked forward to me cooking.

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Creamy Garlic Mushrooms


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One thing we really enjoy eating in the summer months are great grilled steaks.  There is nothing nicer than a steak cooked properly and served up with something scrumptious on the side.   Today I cooked our favourite Creamy Garlic Mushrooms to have with some simple grilled steaks that I had grilled on our electric grill.   They went down a real treat!

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A Delicious Trio of Family Favourite Cakes To Enjoy . . . Vanilla, Chocolate and Lemon




I wanted to share some of my all time favourite cake recipes with you today.  These are old recipes that I've been using for a very long time.  Tried and true, there is a delicious Lazy Daisy Cake, a fabulous Double Layer Chocolate Cake and a to die for Lemon Meringue Cake.   That's right, cake not pie!  Enjoy!

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Summer Fresh Cherry Trifle




One of my favourite late spring/early summer fruits is cherries. When we lived down in Kent at this time of year you could find lots of cherry sellers set up on the many laybys in the area, their tables just laden with glorious cherries, of several different varieties.

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A pretty Basic Macaroni Salad


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We had the Missionary Sisters over for supper last Thursday evening.  As we all had a meeting that we needed to dash out to afterwards, I decided to keep it simple.  I cooked burgers.  Yes, hamburgers.

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Chicken and Barley Simmer




Oh, it is a cold and rainy day . . . blustery . . . the kind of day that would have Pooh scrambling around with his umbrella, complaining to Piglet . . . I can almost hear his voice.

Whatever happened to spring . . . here we are in June and it still feels like April. Nevermind . . . the warm sunny days will be with us soon enough and then we will be complaining it is too hot!!

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Spaghetti with a Honeyed Tomato Sauce


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What can I say . . .  there are times in life when I just long for . . .  indeed crave  . . .  a bowl of pasta.  And sometimes it can be as simple as a bowl of hot spaghetti adorned with nothing but butter, salt, pepper and a bit of parmesan and sometimes it can be  something a bit more complicated . . .  it just depends on my mood and how quickly I want it on the table.

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Homemade *Salad* Dressing (Mayonnaise type)


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When I was growing up my mother never bought mayonnaise as such.  I don't know why, only that she didn't.  There were only type such things that she did buy.  One was Miracle Whip and the other was Salad Dressing.   Both were very mayonnaise like, but couldn't be considered mayonnaise per se because they contained ingredients which were not considered proper in a mayonnaise.  A proper mayonnaise should only contain egg yolks, mustard, some vinegar and oil and perhaps some seasoning.

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Tutorial on Plain Scones




One of the things I love most over here are Cream Teas, and of course when you think of a cream tea you must think of a scone. That delicious light bun thing that closely resembles the baking powder biscuits (not to be confused with a cookie) from back home in appearance, but is nothing like them at all in taste or texture.

I had my first cream tea when my husband and I were on holiday down in Devon. They brought the tea to our table in a lovely porcelain pot on a tray along with some dainty china cups and a plate full of lovely light scones, and bowls of red berry preserves and lucious clotted cream. I was hooked from first bite. I had never tasted anything so lovely in my life.  (You don't have to have regular tea.  You can get herbal blends also, which is nice.  We don't drink regular tea.)

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Spiced Fruit Salad




We've been having some really nice this week with not a lot of rain . . .  it's looked threatening of rain at times and felt very close, but it's been quite dry for the most part.   Todd soaks it all up.  He loves this kind of weather!

This week it's been time to lighten things up a bit.  You don't want heavy food when the temps are high.

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Crunchy Blueberry Tart




If you had told me when I was a child that I would one day love blueberries, I would not have believed you. Nova Scotia, Canada, the place where I grew up, has some of the nicest wild blueberries in the world, just ripe and free for the picking. You can stop just about anywhere at the side of the road and find them just waiting to be picked.

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Not Your Mama's Potato Salad




One of my absolute favourite things to make in warmer weather is Potato Salad. The potato is my favourite vegetable and well, potato salad is one of my favourite salads.

My mother always made fantastic potato salad. She would boil the potatoes up the day before. Then on the day she would peel them carefully and cut them into little cubes. Then she would peel a cucumber, remove the seeds and cut that into little cubes as well. A bit of minced onion, some Kraft Salad Dressing, salt and pepper, and chopped egg and it was done and delicious! We used to get a ice cream scooped ball, sitting nicely on a few lettuce leaves on our plates. Very pretty. Very good.

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Kids Cook French and Gougeres


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One of the many perks of being a food blogger is that I occasionally get sent cookery books to review.   I love it when that happens as I really love cookbooks.  I was recently sent the book, Kids Cook French, by Claudine Pepin, with illustrations by Jacques Pepin to review.  This one is a delight!

I grew up in Canada watching Jacques Pepin cook on PBS along with Julia Child, and so I was excited to get this book, which has been written by his daughter Claudine.  It only seems natural that Claudine (an accomplished home cook and wine educator who married a chef), should publish a cookbook for kids, since she grew up with the fine cuisine of her father and now cooks most nights for her own family.

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This book was designed for the foodie chile and in a way which is sure to inspire children to want to get in the kitchen and cook and we all know that a way to get children to eat healthier and to eat a more varied diet is to get them in the kitchen cooking.  Kids LOVE to cook what they eat!


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As a keen artist myself, and a writer of my own small illustrated cookbooklets, I really enjoyed the illustrations done by Jacques Pepin himself.  They are bright and colourful and quite entertaining.  The recipes range from uncomplicated to somewhat complicated,  with recipes for everything from croque monsieur to roasted cauliflower to apple tarts with almond frangipane.

There is a note to each the child and the parent to begin with, followed by four chapters . . .  To Start (appetizers and beginnings), To Continue (main courses), On the Side (delicious side dishes) and To Finish (as you would expect some tasty desserts).  Also included are a range of tasty menus using the recipes from the book.

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Everything is in both English and French, which may even inspire your children to learn a second language.  I find it quite charming . . .

 french and english recipe

There are also little tips interspersed throughout in colourful little boxes . . .  ie. "Everything you cut, dice, slice, or chop is going to be eaten by someone, so take care and do it well."

True to Claudine’s guiding philosophy . . . that there is no such thing as “kids food,” only “good food” . . .  Kids Cook French doesn’t look or read like a children’s cookbook. You won’t find rebus-like directions in large print with little measuring spoons, or yet another “recipe” for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This is not to say that the recipes are overly complicated, only that adult supervision is required for what are clearly family projects.

I love the idea of families cooking together.

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And once again, the illustrations truly are delightful.

I always like to try at least one recipe to show you from the cookbooks I review and so this time I chose Gougeres.   Gougeres are a delicious cheese puff type of appetizer, which is composed of choux paste, which can be somewhat complicated to cook.   The instructions were quite easy to follow however and I think you will agree that my Gougeres turned out just lovely!

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*Gougeres*
Makes 30

Little airy puffs of deliciousness.  From the book, Kids Cook French by Claudine Pepin. 

5 TBS (70g)  unsalted butter, divided
1 cup whole milk (235ml)
1 cup all purpose flour (125g)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 pinch fresh ground white pepper
4 eggs
6 ounces Guyere or Swiss Cheese, grated (170g or 2 cups)
1 tsp Dijon style mustard
1 pinch cayenne pepper 

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Butter a cookie sheet with 1 TBS (15g) of the butter. 

In a 4 QT (4 L) saucepan, heat the milk and remaining 4 TBS (55g) of butter.  As soon as it comes just to the boil, and before it boils over, add the flour, salt and pepper all at once, stirring in thoroughly.    This will make a very sticky ball of dough.   Cook on medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon for about 3 minutes. 

Put the dough into the food processor.   Using the pulse setting, add the eggs, one at a time.   Add the cheese, mustard and cayenne and blend until just incorporated. 

With a piping bag or using two spoons, make balls of about 1 TBS of dough, 3/4 inch in diameter on the buttered cookie sheet.  Don't place too close together as the dough will roughly triple in size. 

Bake at 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6 for 10 minutes, rotating the tray if necessary.   Turn the oven temperature down to 150*C/300*F/ gas mark 3 and bake for an additional 15 minutes.  Gougeres should be brown and firm on the outside and light and airy on the inside.

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If you haven't already gotten a gift for the special Father in your life for Father's Day on Sunday, I think this would be a fabulous gift.   Nothing like getting Dad and the children into the kitchen for a little bit of family bonding over some cookery and good food!

All in all I think this is a purely delightful book, for parent and child alike.   It's just complicated enough to make it interesting to the older child and adult, but not so complicated that it can't be understood by a younger child with supervision!

Kids Cook French
Les Enfants Cuisinent a La Francaise
by Claudine Pepin
with illustrations by Jacques Pepin
Cookbook for ages 5+, 96 pp.

ISBN 978-1-59253-953-6
Published by Quarry Books
RRP - $21.99 US/ £12.99 UK/ $23.99 CAN
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Little Gems with a Creamy Basil Dressing




I am truly a salad nut. I could eat salad seven nights a week and never tire of it . . . ever.

One of my favourite salad leaves to use, are the baby gems. I love them sliced into quarters and dressed with a simple vinaigrette, or a tasty blue cheese dressing . . . fabulous along with a scattering of sliced spring onion.

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Banana Nut Muffins for the smaller household


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I don't know about you, but at my age, and with only two people living in this house, I struggle sometimes getting everything I bake eaten up.  I do give a lot of it away, but food is money and in today's economy, I don't always want to be giving away half of everything I make because I can't use it or because it can't be frozen or stored.  The perfect solution is to downsize recipes, cutting them in half, or only cooking and baking things that can be frozen.

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Perfectly Cooked Cabbage


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We were cleaning out the freezer at the weekend and I found a nice piece of salt beef that was in danger of having been in there for far too long, so what's a gal to do.  I thawed it out and cooked it.  I know it's not St Patrick's Day or even close to it . . .  but in all honesty I can eat salt or corned beef anytime!  And of course the tastiest go with it side dish has to be cabbage!

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Sauteed Garlic and Lemon Chops


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My husband is a died and true Meat and Potatoes man.   He's not bothered with having anything fancy.  Simply prepared, meat and potatoes . . .  he's a happy camper.  It comes from having been brought up during WW2, during rationing, etc.  He's happy with most things you put in front of him, but simple food pleases him most of all.

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Spiced Cantuccini with Almonds


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I can still remember the very first time I had a Cantuccini, or Biscotti as they are also known.   I was probably in my early 30's.  My ex and I were enjoying a weekend on our own at my ex Sister in Law's condo in Toronto . . .  down on Young Street . . .  in the  midst of what was happening in Toronto.  You know you are living in a nice complex when you have an Italian Coffee Shop on the first floor filled with foreign Italian delights and . . .  what was really new to me  . . .  Barista Coffee!

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Bitty Blueberry Fudge Bettys


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Can you take yet another delicious blueberry recipe from me???  Oh, I am sure you can!  As you know I love blueberries and I am betting that there is a fair number of you who feel the same.  Can you ever have too many blueberry recipes???  I think not!

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Fish and Chips for a Friday Treat!


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There is nothing more appealing than a delicious plate of fish and chips and as good as the ones taste that you can get at the seaside and at our fish and chips place that we like in Chester . . .  nothing beats the Beer Battered Cod and Twice Fried Chips that you can make at home.  A bit of a fiddle yes . . .  but as a once in a blue moon treat, well worth the bother!


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Banoffee Mess


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Some days you just want to bury your face into an indulgent fruity dessert, but having no fruity fruit to hand, you make do with what you do have  . . . and today it was bananas.  We always have bananas in this house, them being one of the Toddsters favourite snacks . . .  the fact that they are loaded with potassium and good for you not withstanding . . .

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Sausage Rolls


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Sausage rolls are very popular over here in the UK.   You will see them for sale in all of the bake shops and cafes and of course at most pot lucks/parties, etc.  there is usually the obligatory tray of sausage rolls to feast on.  People really like them.  Myself, I am not overly fond of shop bought sausage rolls.  There's usually a too high pastry to sausage meat ration on them, and more often than not they seem to  use cheap and nasty sausage meat in them.   I can't abide cheap and nasty sausage meat!  It's pasty and fatty and just ugh . . .

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Steak with Pizzaiola Sauce


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When I was growing up my mother used to treat us every now and again to a steak supper called Swiss Steak.   It was delicious and one of my father's favourite meals.   Easy to do . . .  it involved beating tougher cuts of steak to tenderize them, browning them and then braising them in a mix of tinned tomatoes and onions.   When I had my own family, I added peppers and herbs to the mix.   Everyone loved it.

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21 Signs You're at a Quintessentially British BBQ!
















Once the weather starts to turn warmer, the North American in me starts pining for a good old BBQ! There is nothing like warm temps and the smell of a charcoal grill to get the tastebuds tingling.   My Brit husband tends to think that there is nothing like planning a BBQ at the weekend to insure a good sprinkling of rain.   After having been over here for almost fifteen years now I don't think a BBQ would be complete with at least the risk of showers!

The people at the Mill Race Garden Centre have put together a really humorous list of  21 Signs You are at a Quintessentially British BBQ!  It's brilliantly witty and oh so true!  I really had to chuckle when I read it myself, because it is all so true!  Do hop on over to their page and get in on the fun.   (That's another thing I love about the Brits . . .  their ability to poke fun at themselves in a very tongue in the cheek way!)  
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Kim's Chicken Dish


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We had the most delicious chicken for lunch last week when we went to our friend's house.   It was incredibly tasty, and I think it's pretty safe to say that nobody was worrying about calories that day!  (What with this chicken dish and the Malva Pudding and all!)  It's nice to indulge once in a while and this chicken was incredibly tasty.  My friend Tina got the recipe from her daughter Kim and it was sooo good that I had to make it for the Missionaries when they came for tea.   Once again no complaints.  I am calling it Kim's Chicken Dish, but it really should be called the Flippingly Amazingly Delicous Chicken Dish!!

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Some Classic British Biscuits


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One thing that the British do really well are biscuits, or cookies as they are known in North America.   There are whole aisles in the grocery shops devoted to the British Biscuit containing every indulgence under the sun!  I was quite amazed when I first moved over here and saw the variety available!  It's quite mind boggling, really . . .  but after 15 years I have come to have favourites amongst the lot!

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Malva Pudding





We were invited to have lunch with some friends earlier this week in their home.  Tina and Tony.   We love spending time with them.   They are a fascinating couple and good people.   They've lived  several places in their lives, including South Africa and Australia and now they live in Wales.  They're retired just like us and just like me, Tina loves to cook.  You can be certain that when you are invited to theirs for a meal, you are in for a real treat, and boy oh boy was lunch the other day a treat!





Dessert was this fabulous pudding which is South African in origin.  Hands down the most delicious pudding I have ever eaten.  I just had to ask for the recipe and one of the nice things about Tina is she doesn't mind sharing, which is great!




This dessert was soooooooo delicious that I ended up making it for the Missionary Elders when they came to us for tea on Thursday evening and it went down a real treat then too!



It's like a dense, sticky rich cake.  You make a batter first, which you bake in a casserole dish in a slow oven for about 45 minutes, covered with foil.



While it is baking, you make a rich buttery sauce with cream, which you then pour over the baked batter as soon as you take it out of the oven.



The sauce soaks into the batter adding to it's moistness . . .  rich, sticky . . .  scrumptiously delicious.  Almost dangerous.



Tina served hers with warm custard, but I served it with pouring cream . . .  mostly because I ran out of time and didn't have time to make custard . . .



There were no complaints.  'Nuff said.



*Malva Pudding*
Serves 6

This is an incredibly delicious and rich pudding.   I got the recipe from my friend Tina. It's simple and easy to make and you probably have everything you need in the house to make this right now!  It's a South African recipe. 

190g of caster sugar (1 cup)
1 large free range egg
1 TBS smooth apricot jam
140g of plain flour (1 cup)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
pinch of salt
1 TBS butter, melted
1 tsp vinegar (I used cider)
225ml of milk (1 cup) 

For the sauce:
225ml cream (1 cup)
6 ounces butter (3/4 cup)
190g of caster sugar (1 cup)
115ml of hot water (1/2 cup)

To serve:
pouring cream, warm custard or ice cream.




Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.   Butter a shallow 1 litre/1 quart baking dish.  Set aside.


Beat the egg and sugar together until light.   Beat in the jam.  Sift together the flour, soda and salt.   Whisk together the milk, vinegar and butter.   Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture, alternately with the milk mixture.  Mix until smooth.  Pour into the prepared baking dish.  Cover with tin foil.  Bake for 3/4 to 1 hour, until risen and golden brown.  It will look sticky on top.


While the cake is baking mix together the sauce ingredients and heat gently until the sugar has melted completely and the butter as well.  Keep warm.


Remove the cake from the oven and pour the sauce mixture over top, allowing it to absorbe as you pour it.   Serve warm or at room temperature with custard, pouring cream or ice cream.
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Pan Fried Steaks with Parsley Butter for Two




If there is one thing that prevents me from becoming a vegetarian, it's the idea of a delicious steak dinner  . . .  okay bacon does it too, but today's recipe is all about steak.   I do love a nice steak, but it can sometimes be a bit on the expensive side.   Today's recipe shows you how to make a delicious steak dinner, using one of the cheaper cuts.


Minute, or "Cube" steaks  as I believe they are called in North America are from a tougher cut of beef, usually the round or rump or so called frying steaks  . . .  but they have been tenderized by the butcher running them through a tenderizing machine, which dimples them and makes little cuts in them all over.  You can do the same thing by pounding them to within an inch of their lives.




This is a fabulous way of turning a relatively cheap cut of meat into something which tastes anything but cheap.  All it takes is a bit of effort on your part and proper cooking.



The pounding helps, but so does the method of cooking.   The way to ruin any steak, even the most expensive cuts . . .  is to over cook them.  By cooking these quickly and for a minimum time at a relatively high temperature you preserve the flavour of the meat . . .  searing in all of the tasty juices.  Of course when you mingle those juices with a few pats of a delicious garlic and parsley butter . . . well the result is sublime.



Delicious flavours which belie their inexpensive price tag.   I paid less than £2.50 for two and they were gorgeous.  Cheap eats that feel like a treat.  I love it when that happens!


*Pan Fried Steaks with Garlic Parsley Butter for Two*
Serves 2

Try to get the minute or cubed steaks that have been put through the butcher's tenderizing machine, which covers the steak with little cuts and dimples.   

1 TBS unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp minced fresh parsley
1 small clove of garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and black pepper to taste
2 beef minute steaks (6 ounces each)
70g of plain flour (1/2 cup)
2 TBS light olive oil for frying




Cream together the buter, parsley, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and a pinch of pepper.   Shape into a small roll, wrap up and place in the refrigerator to chill. 

One at a time lay the steaks between two sheets of plastic cling film and pound until roughly 1/4 inch thick.  Wipe dry with paper towels and season well with salt and pepper.  Dredge in flour shaking off any excess.



Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium high heat just until it starts to smoke.   Lay the steaks in the skillet and cook for approximately 3 minutes on the first side, until nicely browned.  Flip over and cook for a further minute or so on the other side until well browned on that side as well.  Remove from the heat onto heated dinner plates.   Slice the parsley butter into pats and lay atop the steaks.   Serve immediately.   

We like to have mashed potatoes and a green vegetable with this.  Delicious!
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