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Spicy Chicken Burgers with Coriander-Lime Mayo

Over here for the last few weeks a certain fast food place has been having their annual Tastes of America promotion. We popped in last week and ordered the Alabama Chicken sandwich with a smoky white BBQ sauce, bacon, cheese and onion crisps.  There was also lettuce and the bun was supposed to be a cornbread style bun.

To say I was slightly disappointed is to say the least.  I will say no more.  I came away thinking I could make a far better chicken burger at home and today (Saturday as I write this) I did just that.  

It wasn't quite a copycat.  I infused ours with Tex Mex Flavours  . . .  but it was still a chicken burger and it was mighty tasty if I don't say so myself.

I don't think a chicken burger is all that hard to get wrong . . .  but so often it is done so very poorly . . .  I hate that when I eat out, more often than not, I am disappointed by food which fails to deliver what it promises.

I am probably eating in the wrong places.  I have a connoisseurs appetite and a pauper's budget, which is probably the whole problem in a nutshell.

I created a coriander lime mayo to spread on the buns, using chopped fresh coriander, garlic, and some lime juice and zest, with a tiny bit of salt.  This got put into the refrigerator so that the flavours had some time to meld.  I also used a low fat mayo. 

I also marinated the chicken for a couple of hours.  I pounded two boneless skinless chicken breasts until they were even in size, or as even as I could get them . . .

These were marinated in a mix of beaten egg, oregano, chili powder, hot sauce and a bit of salt.  I used the Green Tabasco sauce for a real Tex Mex Jalapeno flavour . . .

While they were marinating I pulverized tortilla chips in the food processor until they were like fine bread crumbs.  I actually used a mix of cool ranch and lightly salted, but you could use nacho cheese, or whatever tortilla chips you enjoy.

Just make sure that your crumbs are really fine . . .

Take the chicken out of the refrigerator and remove them from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off, and discarding the marinade.  Pat the chicken into the tortilla crumbs and then brown them lightly on both sides.  I finish them off in the oven to make sure they are cooked all the way through, adding some grated pepper Jack to the top so that it melts a bit before removing them.

I served them on toasted whole wheat buns that I spread with that delicious garlicky mayo, along with some shredded lettuce and raw red onion rings for a bit of zip!  Tasty tasty!

Yield: 2

Spicy Chicken Burgers with Coriander Lime Mayo

Spicy chicken cutlets on a toasted bun with a delicious garlic, coriander and lime mayonnaise dressing.  A garnish of shredded lettuce and sliced red onion bring additional flavour and crunch.  Do note that the chicken needs to marinate for 2 hours prior to cooking.


For the Mayo:
  • 55g low fat real mayonnaise (1/4 cup)
  • 2 TBS chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest
  • 1 small clove of garlic, peeled and minced
For the Burgers:
  • 2 free range organic chicken breast fillets
  • 1 small free range egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 TBS Tabasco sauce
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp mild chili powder
  • 65g tortilla chips, pulverised (3 cups before pulverising)
  • 2 TBS light olive oil
  • 2 TBS grated pepper jack cheese
To serve:
  • shredded lettuce
  • red onion rings (raw)
  • toasted whole wheat burger buns


How to cook Spicy Chicken Burgers with Coriander Lime Mayo

  1. Take your chicken breast fillets and pound them out to an even layer. Prick them all over with a fork.  Put them into a container along with the egg, hot sauce, oregano, chili powder and salt.  Cover and shake to coat.  Place into the refrigerator for 2 hours. (You can also use the milder Green Jalapeno Tabasco sauce if you want.)
  2. To make the mayonnaise, combine all of the ingredients well, then cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.  
  3. Make sure your tortilla chips are really pulverised and fine for the chicken burgers.  I do this in my food processor.  Place  the finely ground chips into a shallow dish.
  4. Working with one piece of chicken at a time., remove the chicken from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off.  Coat completely in the ground tortilla chips. Repeat until both are well coated.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Have a small baking tray ready.
  6. Heat the oil in a non-stick  skillet.  Add the chicken breasts and cook for about 3 minutes per side.  Place them onto the baking tray.  Bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, until cooked through and the juices run clear.  Sprinkle the top of each with 1 TBS of the pepper jack about 5 minutes before finishing so that it melts.
  7. Split the burger buns and toast on the cut sides under the grill.  Spread the tops and bottoms of each with  the mayonnaise.  Place the bottoms on serving plates. Top with some shredded lettuce and onion rings.  Place the chicken burgers on top. Finally place the toasted bun tops over all.  Serve immediately.
  8. We had some leftover coleslaw vinaigrette from the other day with this along with some oven chips.


Note - if you wish to serve more people simply double the ingredients.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I was really, really pleased with how these turned out.  I was a tiny bit worried that the tortilla chips would be too crisp, but they were perfect.  I think the key is to really grind them small, almost to a powder.  We enjoyed them with some oven chips (krinkle kind, Todd's favourites) and some leftover coleslaw vinaigrette! 

Marie Rayner
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Rosalie's Tom & Jerry Cake

I guess it must have been a few months ago, my friend Noelle (who lives in Nova Scotia) was talking on Facebook about her mother's recipe for a Tom & Jerry Cake that she was baking in the oven and how lovely it smelled while it was baking.

I was instantly intrigued.  I had never heard of a Tom & Jerry Cake and my family goes way back in Nova Scotia's history to its very earliest days.  

The fact that it was one of her family recipes really interested me.  I love recipes with a family history.  Taste (in my opinion) is a really important part of the fabric of a family. It seems to me that food and recipes with a family history taste all the better for that fact.

I asked her about the recipe and she very generously shared it with me and I know she will be really pleased that I finally baked it and am sharing it with you.  Recipes shared in friendship are really special indeed.  I have a whole big blue vinyl binder filled with such things and let me tell you it is a family treasure . . .

A real treasure trove of friendship and family and love in the form of recipes just like this one . . . with a touch of special love built into each one.  I Published a volume of some of the best of those a number of years back in a book I called, what else but  . . .  Recipes From the Big Blue Binder.

I finally got around to baking the cake today and let me tell you it did not disappoint!  Not one whit!

It smelled like pure heavenly bliss when it was baking.  The batter is broken into two layers.  You make a vanilla batter and then you remove some of it and add molasses, cocoa powder and warm baking spices to it, which creates a lovely spiced batter that you fold sultana raisins into.

 This spicy batter gets spooned into a prepped bundt tin and then the vanilla batter gets spooned over top.  I used the full amount of spice that Noelle recommended, but if you are not overly fond of spice you can cut them back a bit if you like.

When baking the vanilla batter sinks a bit into the spiced batter making a lovely pattern in the cake as you can see.

I dusted the finished cake with icing sugar  . . .  but that is just be, because . . .  I like plain cakes prettied up a bit with a dusting of sugar.

If you are not fond of raisins, you could leave them out I guess.  We like raisins so I had no problem with them being in there.

This truly is a lovely cake . . .  with a moist and delicious crumb . . .  somewhat dense . . .

This is a cake that goes well with hot drinks . . .  or cold glasses of milk  . . .

I also think for special occasions a nice scoop of vanilla on top would go down a real treat! Thank you so much for sharing with me Noelle!

Rosalie's Tom & Jerry Cake

Yield: 16
A beautiful two toned cake which you can bake in either a bundt tin or  a deep 9 inch cake tin.  Two batters, a spicy gingerbread type studded with sultanas and a lovely vanilla cake are baked together to give you a moist and delicious cake that the whole family will enjoy. A gift from my good friend  in Nova Scotia, Noelle.   It is a lovely dense  & delicious cake that is well enjoyed with a hot cuppa or a glass of milk.


Tom Layer:
  • 220g butter (1 cup)
  • 380g sugar (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 large free range eggs
  • 420g plain flour (3 cups)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 240ml milk (1 cup)
Jerry Layer:
  • 2 TBS dark cocoa powder, sifted (not drinking mix)
  • 3 TBS mild molasses
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 115g sultana raisins (3/4 cup)


How to cook Rosalie's Tom & Jerry Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter and flour a large Bundt pan or a deep 9 inch round tin.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla for the Tom layer together until very light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Beat into the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, making 3 dry and two wet additions.
  3. Remove 1/3 to 1/2 of the batter to another bowl. (The amount depends on your preference of how much spice batter you want. I removed 1/2 of the batter.)  To this batter beat in by hand the molasses, spices, cocoa powder until well incorporated and then fold in the raisins.
  4. Spoon the spice batter into your prepared pan. Spoon the vanilla batter on top and smooth out.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours until the cake tests done.  You may need to cover the top with some aluminium foil for the last 15 minutes or so if you think it is getting too brown.
  5. Let sit in the tin for 15 minutes before tipping out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. I dusted mine with icing sugar.


Noelle's Notes - Mom always used canned milk. My sister uses less of the molasses, spices and cocoa but I like my spice batter to be dark and rich. (I used it all and it was lovely.)   I have written the recipe not as mom wrote it because as you know, the best recipes are just jotted down and never include what to do with the ingredients.  At 350*F I find the cake in my oven usually bakes in about 1 1/4 hours.  I have lowered the temperature to 325*F (165*C/gas mark 3) and baked it for 1 1/2 successfully.
Created using The Recipes Generator 

Noelle probably doesn't know this, but when I was a small child my father used to read to me every night.  One of my favourite stories was a book I had about Tom & Jerry.  If I close my eyes I can still hear my father's voice in my head reading it to me.  He would affect different voices for each character.  I think the high squeaky one he did for Jerry Mouse was my favourite!  In the book it was a really fine day, and Jerry and his little friend Tuffy decided it was the perfect day for a picnic.  Of course this involved stealing food from the big people's kitchen.  I am quite sure if this cake was there it would totally be on their menu! 

Marie Rayner
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Lemon Sauced Salmon Patties

My sister and I were talking earlier today.  She was telling me that she had had to throw away a dozen cans of out of date Salmon from my mother's larder and that there were still about half a dozen that were still in date but that she was taking to the food bank.  She wouldn't have dared throw it away while mum was alive, but now mum is gone, there is no point keeping it.

Mum did love a bargain, and tended to hoard things like tinned salmon, toilet paper and shampoo.  I don't think my sister will have to buy toilet paper for years, (LOL) and the local charity shop has been gifted with a nice box of shampoos and creams for their employees to share. 

We were remembering how in the summer when it was hot sometimes my mom would open a tin of salmon and we would each get a spoonful on our plate along with some potato salad, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers, etc. and that would be supper.  We both hated it . . .

I am still not fond of it served that way, and I confess when I buy tinned salmon, I always buy the one without any skin or bones. I don't care how much more it costs. 

On its own I would much rather have a nicely cooked fillet of salmon or salmon steak . . .  but I do love tinned salmon in a casserole, loaf or pie.

It would be a shame to use a nice fillet of salmon in this way, but one feels no compunction or guilt about using a nice tin of salmon for dishes such as this.

Simple salmon patties  . . .  flaked and mashed tinned salmon, mixed with some breadcrumbs, milk, egg, parsley, grated onion (I use my micro plane grater) and seasoning, mixed together and spooned into well buttered muffin cups  . . .

Baked until set and golden brown. You could add some finely minced green pepper if you wanted to, which would be nice or even some finely chopped green olives . . .

I try not to pack them into the muffin cups . . .  I want them light and fluffy and I love the little crispy bits that you get from the uneven texture on the tops of them . . . 

I always like to make a sauce to serve with them . . .  sometimes I will use creamed peas . . . which is very old fashioned . . .

Today I made a creamy lemon sauce, which is different than my usual Lemon Butter Sauce . . .

Its like a basic bechamel sauce but with the addition of lemon juice and cayenne pepper  . . .

This gets spooned over the baked patties . . . 

Such a simple dish, but so flavourful.  I served them with some scalloped potatoes and steamed baby peas.

Lemon Sauced Salmon Patties

Yield: 4
Simple and delicious.  This is a store cupboard family favourite.


  • 1 tall can of pink salmon, drained well, skin and bones removed & discarded and flaked
  • 180ml milk (3/4 cup)
  • 2 sliced white bread, made into soft crumbs
  • 1 large free range egg, beaten 1 TBS minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp grated onion
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • salt and black pepper to taste
Lemon sauce:
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 TBS plain flour
  • 180ml milk
  • 2 TBS fresh lemon juice
  • pinch salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper


How to cook Lemon Sauced Salmon Patties

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter 8 non-stick muffin cups really well.  Set aside.
  2. Mash the salmon in a bowl really well, then add the breadcrumbs. Season lightly.  Beat together the egg, milk, grated onion, parsley and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the salmon and bread crumb mixture. Mix all together well.  Spoon into the muffin cups.  (I tend not to pack them down. I like them a bit fluffy. You get more crispy bits that way.)
  3. Place into the pre-heated oven and bake for 45 minutes, or until set and golden brown.
  4. While the patties are baking, make the sauce.  Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Whisk in the flour and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring to make a smooth paste.  Slowly whisk in the flour, whisking constantly.  Bring to the boil, and then cook for several minutes over low heat, stirring continuously until nicely thickened and smooth.  Remove from the heat.  Whisk in the lemon juice and cayenne pepper. 
  5. Serve the patties hot, with the lemon sauce spooned over top.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I think today we can be a bit snobbish when it comes to things like this . . . thinking that tinned fish and corned beef are beneath us . . .  but really these were mainstays in the kitchens of our mothers and grandmothers.  They were affordable ways to get some protein into our families and provide a bit of variety. There is a time for a whole piece of salmon  . . .  and there is a time for things like this.  Simple and yet very, very tasty.

Marie Rayner
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Cranberry Baked Chicken

The other day when Mitzie wasn't feeling well, I sent Todd to the store to buy some chicken breasts so that I could poach some for when she started to feel better.  I shoulda known better  . . .

He came home with the cheapest chicken thighs ever . . .  bone in, skin on, the value pack. Not what I would normally buy even for us to eat, but certainly much too rich for a poorly dog to eat.  Never mind  . . .  at least he brought home chicken.

I recognise that it could always have been much worse.  In marriage as well as life, you need to learn to pick your battles and when to bite your tongue.  😉

I bit my tongue . . . . and then went to the shops myself a bit later on and picked up some chicken breasts.

I didn't want to waste the chicken he had bought however, even if it wasn't what I normally would have purchased.  So I decided to bake them with a sauce.

I picked a recipe for a cranberry chicken from the Taste of Home, the Complete Guide to Country Cooking cookbook  . . .  it looked tasty . . .

And then I proceeded to start making another recipe from the book for oven BBQ chicken.  DUH!

I hate it when that happens.  SO I did what any good cook would do.  I cobbled the two recipes together and came up with this! 

Tender juicy, finger licking tasty, saucy chicken . . .

The original recipe (s) had called for browning the chicken in oil first.  I decided to cut out that step and the extra calories all together . . . totally un-necessary.  I oven browned it at a high temperature without using any fat.  Worked perfectly.

Once it was browned I poured my cobbled together sauce over top and baked it until the chicken was tender and the sauce had reduced to a lovely thick glaze/sauce.  I served it with baked potatoes, peas and carrots.

Cranberry Baked Chicken

Yield: 6
Oven baked Chicken with a sweet and tangy finger-licking delicious sauce.


  • 3 - 4 pounds skin on/bone in chicken pieces
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 TBS butter
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 185g tomato ketchup (3/4 cup)
  • 120ml water (1/2 cup)
  • 80ml cider vinegar (1/3 cup)
  • 3 TBS soft dark brown sugar
  • 1 TBS Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp prepared mustard
  • 115g whole berry cranberry sauce (1/2 cup)


How to cook Cranberry Baked Chicken

  1. Preheat the oven to 230*C/425*F/ gas mark 7.  Place the chicken pieces in a single layer in a dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.  Season generously with salt and black pepper. Place into the oven and bake for 15 minutes while you make the sauce.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the onion.  Cook until softened, stirring frequently, without browning.  Whisk in the ketchup, water, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustard and cranberry sauce.  Bring to the boil, whisking well to combine.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature t 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Pour the cranberry sauce over the top of  and around the chicken in the dish.  Return to the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, basting frequently with the sauce.
  4. Serve the chicken hot with some of the sauce spooned over top.
Created using The Recipes Generator 

I should have called this Cranberry Yum Yum Chicken, because that is what it was  . . .  most delicious!  A happy accident to say the least!  

Marie Rayner
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