Tuesday, 30 June 2015
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.
Monday, 29 June 2015
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!
Sunday, 28 June 2015
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!
Saturday, 27 June 2015
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.
Friday, 26 June 2015
Thursday, 25 June 2015
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!!
Wednesday, 24 June 2015
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.
Tuesday, 23 June 2015
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.
Monday, 22 June 2015
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.)
Sunday, 21 June 2015
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.
Saturday, 20 June 2015
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.
Friday, 19 June 2015
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.
Thursday, 18 June 2015
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.
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!
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.
Everything is in both English and French, which may even inspire your children to learn a second language. I find it quite charming . . .
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.
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!
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.
Published by Quarry Books
RRP - $21.99 US/ £12.99 UK/ $23.99 CAN
Labels: cookbook review
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.
Wednesday, 17 June 2015
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.
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
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!
Monday, 15 June 2015
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.
Sunday, 14 June 2015
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!
Saturday, 13 June 2015
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!
Friday, 12 June 2015
Now that summer is picking up and dusting itself off everyday, the thought of enjoying a creamy delicious ice-cream on a sunny day is getting more and more real. To that end I recently made a Strawberry ice-cream cake to add a little bit of twist I took this idea from a popular bingo site GameVillage Bingo.
2- 3 pints vanilla ice-cream
25- strawberries, hulled and cut in to pieces
1-cup of cream
1/2 cup of blue berries finely chopped
2- tbsp of blue berry squash
1 kg- Vanilla cake
1. Line the bottom of a 9-10 inch springform pan with parchment paper or foil. Place the pan in freezer to chill, about 15 minutes.
2. Take ice cream scoops in a bowl and blend it with the help of electric blender until it turns soft, but still holds its shape. Do this for two minutes. Add few strawberries and blend it again until the ice-cream turns pink and strawberries get finely chopped
3. Transfer this batter to the chilled pan and spread to smooth the surface
4. Freeze the ice-cream for 2-3 hours
5. Whip the cream in a bowl to form soft peaks.
6. Remove the cake from the springform ring
7. Spread the cream on the top
8. Do the topping with finely chopped blue berries
9. Spread the blue berry squash very neatly over the cream
10. Use a sharp knife to slice the cake in to wedges.
This is the perfect ice-cream cake in my books. I am in heaven. Serve the cold cake with finely crushed strawberries and some blueberries squash on the side.
Like I said in the beginning itself that this recipe is inspired from the site- GameVillage Bingo. I regularly play bingo on this and the idea of strawberry ice cream cake with blue berry topping was taken from the sites color combination purple and pink. This site is designed like a village and has used hues of purple and pink as similar as this cake. The site has got amazing collection of bingo and casino games. So hop in here and have lots of fun with chilled ice-cream cake this summer.
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!
Thursday, 11 June 2015
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 . . .
Wednesday, 10 June 2015
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 . . .
Tuesday, 9 June 2015
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.
Monday, 8 June 2015
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!)
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!!
Sunday, 7 June 2015
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!
Saturday, 6 June 2015
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!
Friday, 5 June 2015
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
Thursday, 4 June 2015
Here we are into the month of June. Summer is upon us and with it delicious summery type of meals like these fabulous Barbequed Spareribs. I like to oven braise my spareribs first, which ensures a really tender finish. After that you can either finish them with a barbeque glaze in the oven or outside on the barbeque, it's all up to you and of course the weather! (Always a consideration here in the UK.) Of course either way you will want to finish them with a delicious barbeque sauce, either homemade or purchased. Today I used Sweet Baby Ray's Barbeque Sauce, which came in my latest Degusta Box.
Wednesday, 3 June 2015
One of our favourite suppers when I was growing up was my mother's homemade baked beans. Oh my but they were absolutely gorgeous. She would start the night before by soaking the dried beans overnight and then early the next morning, often even before anyone else was up, she began her magic with them . . . putting everything together and into her bean crock and into the oven, so that by the time we woke up we could already smell the deliciousness that was waiting for us later in the day!
Tuesday, 2 June 2015
Salmon and Broccoli have to be one of my absolute favourite flavour pairings! I'm not sure why they work so well together. You wouldn't think they would because both salmon and broccoli have somewhat strong flavours all on their own . . . but somehow it just works and works well!
Monday, 1 June 2015
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Delicious Alchemy for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.
I was recently asked if I would like to try some products from a company here in the UK which produces gluten free products. Delicious Alchemy have recently launched the UK's only gluten and dairy free instant porridge pots and oats sachets alongside their existing range of bread mixes, breakfast products and sweet baking mixes! You can buy the products online in their SHOP, and at the moment I can share with you a special Discount Code which you can use to get 20% off of any order at the moment. Just enter the code DA20%off at the checkout.
This brand was set up by Emma Killilea eight years ago after she was diagnosed with coeliac Disease. She was frustrated by the lack of natural, healthy and delicious gluten free food which was available to Coeliac sufferers and set out to make a change. Packing in her job, she went back to school to study Food Science and Marketing. After that Delicious Alchemy was born! You can read more about Emma's Story here.
I have some close friends who have a child which was diagnosed as a coeliac several years back and I know only too well how very frustrated they were at the lack of product available at the time, as well as the stress and fuss involved in trying to feed their child delicious and interesting food within the restrictions of the disease.
It's amazing just how many of our food products are filled with wheat! One really needs to become adept at label reading. At any rate, Delicious Alchemy had gone about filling the gap in the market with an astonishing range of product, which is not only gluten and dairy free, but also very beautifully presented in bright and colourful packaging
They have no less than seven breakfast products including Oats, Rice Flake Porridge, Purely Oaty Fruity Meusli . . .
as well as the new dairy and gluten free instant porridge line which includes both original oats and golden syrup flavour oats, available in envelope sachets as well as handy microwavable pots.
There is also a very extensive range of baking mixes . . .
A Vanilla Sponge Mix which is great for cakes and cupcakes, which you can vary by adding different flavourings and fruit . . .
Chocolate Brownie Mix for those of us who cannot live without the occasional chocolate fix.
Oaty Cookie Mix, also quite adaptable as you can add dried fruits or nuts to it to charge it up to your own taste, or even spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg, etc. so long as your spices and fruits are also gluten free.
Brown Bread Mix which you can make both by hand or in a bread maker. (Complete instructions for using a bread maker are on the site.)
White Bread Mix, which is again makeable by both hand and bread maker.
Do note that both bread mixes are also dairy free.
The chocolate lover in me just had to bake the brownies first. I was thrilled when I noticed that the mix was filled with little chocolate chips!! These went together very easily. It was as simple as melting some butter and stirring it in and then beating in some eggs. Pour into the pan and bake and 19 to 22 minutes later you are rewarded with a delicious fudgy brownie that I dare anyone not to like!
I didn't have a square pan the right size so I baked them in a round tin and let me tell you . . . this was very reminiscent of a flourless chocolate cake I make. Definitely scrummo! Fudgy and intense. Delicious! I declared these a winner through lips coated with delicious chocolate!
The Oaty Cookies were likewise very moreish. You only needed to add some butter and water, then scrunch the dough into balls and flatten them on the pan and bake. I love oatmeal cookies and I would make these again. I am thinking that they would also make a perfectly delicious oaty cookie pie crust!
We have been enjoying the instant oat packets for breakfast. I love the golden syrup. But I have a sweet tooth. The Toddster love any kind of oats. One day I used some of the oats to make some delicious breakfast bars
These Fruit and Oat Breakfast Bars are quite simply fabulous. Stogged full of dried cranberries and blueberries . . . with the nutty crunch of pumpkin and sunflower seeds, they are so simple to make and so delicious.
Perfect for packing in lunch or picnic boxes . . . to grab on the go when you are in a rush and don't have a lot of time to spend on breakfast . . . great for a delicious high energy snack and perfect as a little Elevensies or Coffee Break indulgence.
*Fruit and Oat Breakfast Bars*
Makes 18 servings
Crunchy, sweet and gluten free.
150g of sunflower seeds (1 cup)
150g of pumpkin seeds (1 cup)
100g dried cranberries (2/3 cup)
100g of dried blueberries (2/3 cup)
100g of gluten free porridge oats (1 1/4 cups)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 (397g) tin of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
150g of butter, cut into bits (10 1/2 TBS)
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Line a 9 inch square baking tin with baking parchment. Butter the parchment. Set aside.
Measure all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Heat the milk and butter gently until the butter melts, mixing together to blend well. Pour this over the dry ingredients and mix together with a spoon. Spoon this out into the prepared tin and press down lightly with a spoon to smooth over.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven. Cool completely before cutting into bars to serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container.
The Rice Flake Porridge is also very easy to use and delicious as a breakfast alternative, but I really love rice puddings and one day I used some of it to make a delicious Baked Milk Pudding for us to enjoy.
Milk Pudding is just another name for Rice Pudding and it is one of Todd's favourite desserts. I also have a special fondness for this dish. It is comfort food to me . . . like the warm hug of a mother or grandmother . . .
The epitome of loving kindness in a spoon . . . the flaked rice porridge worked perfectly in this old fashioned comforting dessert.
*Baked Milk Pudding*
Eating this is like eating a mother's hug. Delicious and comforting and very simple to make.
50g (1/4 cup) flaked rice porridge
568 ml (1 pint) fresh whole milk
2 TBS sugar
15g of butter, diced (1 1/2 TBS)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, ground mixed spice or grated nutmeg
Preheat the oven to170*C/325*F/ gas mark 4.
Butter a 2 pint ovenproof serving dish. Gently warm the milk and whisk in the sugar, butter and spice. Put the rice into the dish and pour the milk mixture over top. Bake for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring two or three times in the first hour, but leaving for the remaining 1 1/2 hours in order to form a nice crust. Serve hot or cold, plain or topped with fresh fruit, chopped nuts or thick natural yogurt. Delicious.
Altogether I have been deliciously impressed with this vast range of gluten free products. Not only are they beautifully packaged, but they are easy to use and the end results are quite delicious. I love knowing that for those who suffer from Coeliac Disease there are some really tasty alternatives to wheat based baking mixes and products available. My friend was very excited about these as well. If you would like to know more about their products etc. please do hop on over to the Delicious Alchemy page.
They also have a really nifty free Gluten Free Guide to help you if you are in any doubt as to what you should or should not be eating. You can find that HERE.
I would like to thank Delicious Alchemy for providing me with this opportunity to try out their products. Although I was sent the products for free, any and all opinions are my own.
Follow them on Twitter: Delicious Alchemy Twitter
Follow them on Facebook: Delicious Alchemy Facebook
Labels: product reviews