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Honey Garlic Chops



No doubt about it my husband is a chop man.  He does love his pork chops so very much.   I can take or leave meat for the most part except for a good chop, I do love those, but Todd, he loves a good chop, and I like to accomodate him whenever I can.
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Marie Rayner
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Tomato Lasagne




Oh, I do love a good lasagne.   Oftimes we will sto ourselves from making it as it can be a somewhat complicated dish, but this simple lasagne can be whiped u any time and what I love most about it is the simplicity of flavours.   A simple tomato sauce, layered with bechamel and cheese . . .  amongst sheets of pasta, and baked until golden.   It is so good.   And it is the simplicity of the flavours which make it even more delicious.
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Marie Rayner
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Lemon Curd Muffins



I think one of my very most favourite ingredients to work with has to be lemon curd.  Well, actually one of my very favourite things to eat is Lemon Curd.  I could eat it right out of the jar with a spoon.  Yes . . .  I am a glutton!

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Marie Rayner
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Lemon and Ginger Split Seconds


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Lemon and Ginger are one of those flavours that go together just like peas and carrots.  I would say jam and peanut butter, but that is not a combination they seem to like over here in the UK.  The Toddster says we might as well eat fish and custard as eat peanut butter with jam.  I guess it's a cultural thing!

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Marie Rayner
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Winter Fruit Salad



Even though it's Winter and it's cold . . . I still find myself longing for the salad days of summer . . . there are some days when stodge just doesn't cut the mustard. I want lettuce, and I want it now!  Sadly there is a bit of a shortage of lettuce (and other veg) just at the moment with all of the bad weather they have had in Spain.  Thankfully I was able to get a lovely head of Cos lettuce to make this.  Whew!

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Marie Rayner
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Anzac Biscuits/Cookies



We have an Elder serving us here in the Chester Ward area at the moment from Australia. Elder Van Dyken.  As you know I love to feed the missionaries and help them out whenever I can.   Last Friday Elder Van Dyken and Elder Allen were sweet enough to bring us a meal because they knew that Todd might not be feeling well after his procedure on Thursday, and so I thought I would do something for them in return.  I was always taught that you never give back a dish empty and so I decided to bake them some Azac Biscuits (cookies) in honor of Australia day which is on the 26th of January.  (Today as you read this.)
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Marie Rayner
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Basic Chicken Stock &Chicken Noodle Soup




I have been making my own chicken stock for as long as I can remember.   Whenever we have the bones left from a roasted chicken I put them into a container in the freezer (if I am not going to use them right away).  That way I have them at the ready to use to make a delicious stock and then soup whenever I need them.  You can also use raw chicken backs and necks to make a stock, but there is a little bit more faffing required as you need to skim the broth frequently to remove any scum which rises to the top.  I prefer to use the bones leftover from a roast chicken myself.
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Marie Rayner
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Dijon Chicken & Dumpling Casserole



Here I am today with part two of yesterday back to the basics post with a delicious idea of what to do with your roast chicken leftovers.  In all truth we eat a lot of chicken in this house and I have about a bazillion ways of dealing with it  I am truly the Queen of Leftovers!
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Marie Rayner
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Basic Roast Chicken



I don't think there is  dish on earth that exemplifies home sweet home any better than a delicious roasted chicken.   We love it in this house and we don't have it near often enough.  Not only is it delicious, but its also economical as you are sure, with careful planning, to get at least three meals for your family from any good sized chicken.
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Marie Rayner
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Small Batch Chocolate Chip Muffins



I really, really like muffins.   I really, really, REALLY like chocolate chip muffins, and not the double chocolate chip muffins, but the yellow buttery cake type of chocolate chip muffins. 
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Marie Rayner
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Lemon, Fruit and Nut Breakfast Scrolls



There are a few things I always keep on hand.  One is a jar of Lemon Curd (I also make my own, but having a jar of ready made is a great store cupboard ingredient.)  Another is frozen all butter puff pastry.   The Lemon curd comes in handy for all sorts and the puff pastry is great for making impromptu tarts, or topping pies and one of my favourite things . . .  for making these fabulously tasty breakfast pastries!
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Marie Rayner
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Coconut, Cardamom, Vanilla and Honey Rice Pudding




It doesn't take much to mak the Toddster incredibly happy.   He's a simple man with simple tastes.   Rice pudding does it for him every time.  I am one of those cooks who can't leave well enough alone however  . . .  and today I just about outdid myself with this lovely version of rice pudding I created just for him.  I had been sent a lovely jar of Manuka Honey a while back and I decided that it would be perfect for both sweetening and flavouring this delicious dessert.


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Marie Rayner
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Perfect Granola




I have been making my own granola since the mid 1980's.  My next door neighbor used to make her own granola and she taught me how to make my own.  I've been a huge fan ever since. 
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Marie Rayner
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Bacon BBQ Chicken



I hesitate to post this as  a recipe, but it is just so darned simple and just so delicious that I cannot resist sharing it with you. 
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Marie Rayner
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Stove Top Spaghetti


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Invariably, if you are like me, the beginning of the week finds me wondering what I can do with the leftovers from the weekend roast dinner.  I do often make a hash or pot pies, and sometimes sandwiches . . .  but every so often I like to shake things up a bit and do something different.

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Marie Rayner
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Sticky Maple Bangers with Irish Champ



Bangers and Mash have to be Todd's favourite meal of all time.   He is a meat and potatoes man through and through.  If both are on the menu then he is a very happy camper.  He hasn't been feeling the greatest lately.  Very, very tired.  He is a very thin man to begin with and it is a struggle to keep the weight on for him.  (I wish!)  In any case I decided to make him a comfort meal consisting of Sticky Maple and Mustard Glazed Bangers with Irish Champ! 
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Marie Rayner
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Pear and Hazelnut Frangipane Cakelettes




I have a confession to make.

I am one of those obnoxious people that walk around the grocery shops, tut tutting and taking note of things that look delicious, all the while telling myself that I could quite easily make them at home . . . not only cheaper but somehow tastier too.

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Marie Rayner
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Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake 4 One



One of the most popular and favourite desserts here in the UK has to be Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake.  I can't think of anyone that wouldn't swoon at being presented with a nice bowl of Stocky Toffee Pudding slathered with lashings of cream.  It is just heaven in a bowl.   I first tried it when we were up in the Lake District.  You could buy it readymade in the chiller cabinets at the shops.  It is a Lake District original and considered to be a modern classic!
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Marie Rayner
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French Canadian Salmon Pie



For those of you who don't know, my father is a French Canadian, bred and born in the Saguenay Region of Quebec where he lived until he joined the Canadian Military way back when.  My childhood was embroidered with the traditional foods of my mother's English/German ancestry and my father's French traditions.  Some of the French dishes may have been slightly adapted to my mother's tastes and skills in translation, but I believe at the very essence they stayed the same.
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Marie Rayner
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Cabbage with Pancetta and Cream




 I love winter food . . . comfort food, warming and filling.   Indoor food.   Foods like earthy root vegetables and potatoes . . . leeks and cabbage.   Cabbage is a real favourite around here, and I'm not picky about the variety either.   I love all types, although in all honesty I really had only ever eaten red or white cabbage prior to moving here to the UK.   I was incredibly naieve as to the many delicious varieties of this fabulous member of the Brassica family.

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Marie Rayner
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Chicken Con Queso Bake



 This was something which I made late last week and was it ever good.   I adapted it from a recipe I found on the Betty Crocker Site.  It looked really tasty and like something we would both enjoy.  I didn't have all of the ingredients however and wasn't even sure what salsa con queso was, never having seen it myself.
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Marie Rayner
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Crispy Potato Roast


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I did us some lovely Lamb Chops for our New Years Eve Supper last week.  I simply rubbed them with a mixture of rosemary, thyme, garlic, sea salt, white pepper, olive oil and a bit of  good balsamic vinegar that I mashed together with my mortar and pestle.   I let them macerate for a good hour or more while these delicious potatoes were baking and then I quickly grilled them in a hot skillet with a bit of butter for about a minute and a half per side.   They were done perfectly!


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Marie Rayner
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Chai Spiced Glazed Doughnut Muffins




 I love muffins.   They are like portable breakfast foods and so delicious enjoyed for breaktimes.  I Love Chai Spice as well and so when I saw a recipe for Chai Spice Donut Muffins on My Baking Addiction, I knew I wanted to bake them.  Dougnuts?  Chai Spice?  Muffins?  Sounded like a winner/winner/winner to me!
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Marie Rayner
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Hot Cocoa Cookies



I actually baked these cookies in early December and am only now just getting to where I can show them to you.  There were just so many other things in the queue!  That's the holidays for you!


So, Hot Cocoa Cookies.   I have adapted this recipe from one that I found on The Recipe Critic.  From the moment I saw them, they were cookies that I really wanted to bake.


She got the recipe from Rachel Ray, and well, who knows who Rachel Ray got it from.  Maybe Martha Stewart.  As they say there is really nothing new under the sun, only new ways of doing things.


With these you get a lovely fudgy, almost "brownie-like" cookie . . . soft and chewy in the middle, just like a good brownie should be  . . . Take care not to overbake them . . .  to do so would take away from that brownie-ness.   There is some more chocolate tucked underneath the marshmallow.  You bake the cookies first and then add the chocolate to the top and cover with half a marshmallow, returning them to the oven very briefly to melt the marshmallow.


Mmmm . . . these are so good.  Just like a warm mug of hot cocoa and a hug.  I dusted them with a bit of cocoa powder just to dress them up a bit.  I thought it looked quite pretty and so did the people I gifted them to.   Delicious was the verdict!  




*Hot Cocoa Cookies*
Makes about 4 dozen
 

 
These are rich like a brownie with the added touch of some melted marshmallow on top with a sweet chocolate surprise sandwiched in the middle. Full on chocolate decadence!  Plan ahead as the dough need to chill for at least an hour prior to baking. 
 

125g unsalted butter (1/2 cup)
12 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
210g of plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
30g cocoa powder (1/4 cup, not drinking chocolate)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
275g soft light brown sugar (1 1/4 cups, packed)
3 large free range eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
24 large marshmallows
extra chocolate chips for filling
more cocoa powder for dusting


Melt the butter along with the chocolate chips over low heat in a large saucepan.  Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for about 15 minutes.  Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt.  Beat the sugar into the melted chocolate and butter mixture.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Stir in the vanilla and the flour mixture until you have a smooth mixture.  It will be like a thick batter but not stiff like a cookie batter.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour until firm. 


Preheat the oven to 170*C/325*F/gas mark 3.  Line several baking sheets with baking paper.  


Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and place on the baking paper lined baking sheets, leaving 2 inches of space in between.  Press down lightly with your fingers to flatten the balls slightly. 


Bake for 12 minutes or just until the cookies are puffed and begin to crack.  While they are baking cut the marshmallows in half.  Top the cut side with 3 or 4 chocolate chips.   Take the cookies from the oven and top each with a marshmallow half, cut/chocolate side down.  Return to the oven for a further 4 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cool.  Dust with a bit of cocoa powder.  Store in an airight container with wax paper in between.


These are sure to become a real favourite with the family.  I hope you will give them a go!  Bon Appetit!

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Marie Rayner
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Swedish Apple Pie



I had some apples which I needed to use this week and I was tired of doing the same old same old and so I did a search on google and came up with this.  I confess I had my doubts when I encountered this recipe on cooks.com.


It was so simple . . .  no crust per se, and no leavening.   How could this work?  Its been my experience however, that simple things are oftimes the best things, and so I crossed my fingers and went with the flow!  I took a chance.


Wow!  This was so simple and quick to put together.  You just slice the apples and dump them into the pie tin, sprinkle them with a little bit of sugar and cinnamon and then pour the batter over top and bake.


Leave it to the Swedes to come up with something which is totally streamlined and totally tasty.  That is their hallmark in design and clearly with cooking also!


The batter is simply melted butter, sugar, an egg and flour.  It shouldn't work, but it does . . .  amazingly! 


The apples are sweet and soft, without being overly so.  You will want them to be a bit tart because there is pleny of sweetness in that crisp and buttery batter topping.  Oh boy, oh boy.   It is a day later and I cannot walk by this without wanting to dig in and have just a smidgen more.


It is one of the  MOST delicious apple desserts I have ever baked.  Seriously.  Talk about Hygge.  Comfort.  Sweet comfort.   I know you probably only just started a diet and its too soon to break it, but hey.  Some things you just don't want to miss!


 
*Swedish Apple Pie*
Serves 6
 
 
This is simple to make and delicious.  Todd loves it.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream. 
 

6 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp apple pie spice (see my side bar)
170g of butter, melted (3/4 cup)
190g sugar (1 cup)
1 large free range egg, beaten
140g flour (1 cup)
pinch salt
60g chopped toasted walnuts (1/2 cup)
Vanilla ice cream to serve (optional)




Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  


Butter a 9 inch deep fill pie dish.   Put the apples into the dish.  Sprinkle with the sugar and then the cinnamon.  Whisk together the butter, sugar, egg flour and salt until smooth.  Stir in the nuts and then pour this over top of the apples to cover.  Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes until set and golden brown.   


Allow to cool until just warm before serving.  Cut into wedges to serve.  Serve warm with ice cream if desired.


Seriously you really do WANT to bake this.   I wouldn't couldn't lie about something as serious as dessert.  I guarantee it will become a firm favourite in your repertoire.  If you  ever find yourself in need of a quick and simple dessert that will blow your guests socks off . . .  this is THE one!


Bon Appetit and Happy Weekend!

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Marie Rayner
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Creamy Potato Gratin


 

This was the potato gratin I made to go along with our ham for our New Years celebrations.  It is not only delicious but very simple to make.  It is not low in calories however, so it will remain a once in a blue moon treat!
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French Dip Burgers


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One of my favourite things has always been the Beef Dip Sandwich.   A beef dip is a sandwich  composed of shaved roast beef in a toasted baguette that you dip in a hearty beef broth to eat.   Scrummo!   I love em! 

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Mac and Cheese Pie



This is a great dish to make on those nights when you are wanting to make something quick and easy but something that the family will still enjoy.   Mac and Cheese pie fits the bill on all counts!
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Basic Mix and Match Casserole



We always said that my mom could make soup out of anything and its true.  My mom makes the best soup in the world.  Everyone always says I could make a meal out of anything, and that is also true.  I am the Queen of Casseroles and best user-upper of leftovers you could ever want to meet.  I guarantee that this recipe I am showing you here today will make you the Queen of Casseroles too, and that nothing edible in your kitchen will ever go to waste again!  


With this basic Mix and Match Casserole recipe you will never find yourself at a loss as to what to do with your leftover veg, or meat . . .  not even your leftover starches will be safe.  You will be able to find a use for all of it, guaranteed!


And not only that, but your family will be gobbling up your leftovers pronto because these casseroles are just so delicious.    Each casserole is simply a basic combination of protein, vegetable, carbohydrate,  sauce, and toppings.


Which can be used in any number of combinations!  For instance today, I used some leftover baked ham, leftover cooked potato,  swede (rutabaga) and green beans, a bit of chopped celery, onion and frozen sliced mushrooms, half a tin of creamed corn, along with some cracker crumbs and grated cheese on top.  Easy peasy and Todd said that it was the most delicious thing he had ever eaten.

 And all it was, was  . . . .  leftovers.  bits and bobs of this and that.  Not enough of any one thing to do anything major with, but just enough of everything that put all together we had something pretty delicious.  In fact I was wishing I had had some leftover turkey to throw in there as well because that would have been pretty tasty.


The combinations are endless.  You don't need to use cream soups if you don't want to, you can make a simple white sauce using 1 TBS flour, 1 TBS butter and 1 cup of warm milk (for one cup of sauce)  Simply melt the butter, whisk in the flour, cook for a minute and then whisk in the milk, along with some seasoning,  and cook until thick.  To make a cheese sauce just whisk in some grated cheese and a bit of tabasco.  Another easy cream sauce can be made by whisking together 2 eggs (beaten) and 1 cup of milk.  No need to cook.  Just whisk it all together with some seasoning, and mix into the casserole.  It will cook in the oven and make a delicious sauce.


Even mayonnaise works, or leftover gravy (so much the better!) or even half mayonnaise and half sour cream.   All work beautifully.  You can be your own magician and work the magic with whatever you have that is available for you to use.   Like I said, the combinations are endless.  Enjoy!



*Basic Mix and Match Casserole*
Serves 2
What is a casserole, but an opportunity to use up all your bits and bobs.   The quantities are for two, but can easily be doubled or tripled, depending on what you have to hand. 

For the protein:
(You may choose one or a combination of several to gie
you the amount of 1 cup)
chopped hard boiled egg
cooked dry peas, beans or lentils
cooked shelled prawns or shrimp
flaked cooked fish
cooke beef or pork, shredded or cubed
cooked ground beef or turkey
diced cooked ham
diced cooked chicken or turkey 

For the vegetable:
(You may choose 1 or more to equal 1 cup of cooked vegetables)
green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
peas
courgettes, sliced or chopped
broccoli florets
sauteed, chopped, or sliced onions and or sliced mushrooms 

For the Starch:
(You may choose 1 or more to equal 1 1/2 cups cooked)
pasta shapes such as penne or macaroni (I like whole wheat), cooked and drained
wide or narrow strands of noodles or spaghetti, broken
and cooked, then drained
cooked potato, swede or sweet potato, diced
long or short grain brown or white rice, or a wild rice blend, cooked 

For the Sauce:
(Select one to measure approximately 1 cup)
basic white sauce
basic cheese sauce
condensed soup (cream of mushroom, celery or chicken)
sour cream or mayonnaise
tinned creamed corn
whole or diced tomatoes in juice, undrained 

For the flavour ingredients:
(Select one or more to equal about 1/4 cup)
chopped onion
chopped celery
sliced black olives 

For the herbs:
(Select 1/2 tsp dried or up to 1 1/2 TBS fresh)
mixed dried or chopped fresh herbs such as basil, thyme, majoram, rosemary, parsley, summer savoury 

For the topping:
(Select1 or more to equal 1/3 cup)
grated cheese (Cheddar, Swiss,  Jack, Parmesan)
buttered bread crumbs
cracker crumbs




Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Lightly butter a casserole large enough to hold your ingredients. Mine holds about 4 cups.


Select and prepare the ingredients of your choice.  Place the protein, starch, and veg in a large bowl and mix together.  Mix together the sauce, flavour ingredients and herbs which you are using in another measure.  Fold this into the protein mixture and then spread the mixture into the prepared casserole.  Sprinkle with the topping.


Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, covered.  Uncover and bake for a further 15 minutes, or until bubbling and heated through.


This is very easy to multiply up.


Note:  Today I used diced ham,  green beans, mushrooms, swede, potato, onions, celery, creamed corn, thyme and parsley.  I topped with cheddar and cracker crumbs.  It was delicious!



Basic Mix and Match Casserole

I hope you are getting really excited now at that refrigerator full of leftovers and that the wheels are turning.  What will you make?   I would love to hear the combinations you come up with!  Shoot me a comment below and share with us what you have done.  


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