Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Creamy Chicken and Rice Soup

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After his hospital procedure today I wanted to make Todd something he would really enjoy for his tea.  Apparently he was talking about stew and dumplings in the operating theatre and how good my stew is that I make.  I didn't have any stewing beef or lamb in the house, and no way of getting to the shops to get any,  but I did have some leftover cooked chicken, and another of Todd's favourites is a nice and creamy soup.  I had found this recipe on the net the other day and thought it looked pretty good and so I decided to make it, but with a few adaptions.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Pumpkin Escalloped Potatoes

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I like to push the boundaries from time to time.  I had some leftover cooked pumpkin and so I decided to do something savoury with it instead of something sweet.  Lord knows I don't need any more sugar in my life!  This savoury potato dish turned out really lovely.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Harvest Casserole

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This is a recipe I have had written down in my notebook for yonks and yonks.  Its really delicious.  Every so often I dust it off and we have it for a side dish with chicken or fish.  Harvest Casserole.  The original recipe calls for diced butternut squash, courgettes (zucchini) and swede (rutabaga).  A tasty combination.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Bumbleberry Pie Tray Bake

What is a Bumbleberry? Ahhh . . . I think I might know the answer to that. A bumbleberry is a Burple and Binkel berry (amazing colours you know), one berry being sweet and the other tart. The two colours, when cooked together, creating a flavour that is fantastically gloriously delicious! (of course!)

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Steamed Cherry Bakewell Pudding


Oh I do so love when the cooler temperatures arrive and I can get down to the business of cooking comfort foods again. So does Todd.  He does enjoy my salads, but he is a WW2 baby and he likes his stodge much more than those leafy greens and veg.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Halloween Bark

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I recently put together some little Halloween Gift bags for the children of a friend of mine.  I wanted to do something special for them because just a few weeks ago on FHE (Family Home Evening) they had popped over with some lovely cookies for us.  It really touched our hearts that they would do something like this for us and so I wanted to do something nice in return.  And so I did what any mom or nan would do at this time of year, I made them some Halloween treats!

Friday, 21 October 2016

Christmas is coming!

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Christmas is coming, Christmas is coming and I am getting in the mood for picking up some gifts now for family and friends.  One of my favourite places to get quirky, unusual and delightful well priced items is dotcomgiftshop!   I've been buying from there for several years now and have always been well pleased with the choice and what I have gotten.  They carry everything from dedicated Christmas items to gifts for women, men, children and yes, pets . . .  household items, vintage look items, craft items,etc.  I love their hobby section, but then as dedicated hobbiest, I would!

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This is a fabulous apron.  I just adore the vintage look print and the quality of it is excellent.  100% cotton duck, and very affordable at £12.95.

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It is so cheerful!  I love it.  And they have a whole kitchen line which follows the same cheery design.

I recently ordered some kitchen items from them.  I love their Japanese designs and their vintage kitchen items.

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I love the quirky designs of these Japanese ceramic mugs.  Just the right size, and these retro kitchen items, the sugar pourer and the salt and pepper shakers.  Just what I was looking for.    The mugs are priced at   £4.95 each and the sugar pourer was £3.95 and the salt and pepper shakers were also only £3.95.

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I also ordered myself an enamel basin.  I had fallen in love with the photograph and the price was just right.  £8.95  It arrived chipped however, but a quick e-mail to them, and lo and behold a few days later . . . 

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A brand new one arrived and in perfect condition!

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This is now going to be my dedicated bread mixing/rising basin.  It reminds me so much of my mother's basin which was my grandmother's before hers and I am feeling very, very nostalgic about it.

Some of the reasons I like dotcom giftshop are:
  • The prices are very reasonable, providing fairly good value for money spent.
  • Delivery is quick and reasonsable, often free on orders over £20 in the UK.
  • They have an incredible variety of gift items to choose from, for any age and gender!  As well as for the home, for the crafter, for the holidays, etc.
  • They have a dedicated wish list, so you can pop your favourites into it for shopping later on.  (I hate it when I have really liked something in an online shop and then can't find it again very easily.) 
  • All items are well packaged and usually arrive intact, but if they don't, they quickly replace anything which has been damaged in transit.
  • I adore their Vintage lines of, well . . .  everything!  Sewing, kitchen, toys, crafts, etc. 

In short, I love dotcom.giftshop and I think you will too.  They make online shopping a pleasure.

Note - I was sent a free apron and a gift certificate to purchase anything I wanted.  I was not required to write any review at all. They were simply sent to me because I had been a previous customer in the past and I have a blog.   I couldn't help sharing with you however because I . . . to be totally honest, do love the shop.  Nothing was required of me in the least.  End of.

Sausages with Mustard and Apple

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Todd is so happy that the cooler weather has arrived, not because he likes the cold, but because he knows there will be fewer salads on the menu and more meat and potatoes, and my Todd, he is a meat and potatoes kind of guy!  Especially when it is a tasty entree like these Sausages with Apple & Mustard.   How much more autumnal can you get!

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Windfall Crumble Cake

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This is the perfect cake to make with the apples and pears that fall off your trees before they are totally ripe and is the perfect use for those hard ones you pick up at the Grocery store before they are ready to eat.  In fact, I have had apples and pears that I bought in the shops that never quite ripen.  Most annoying!

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

SACHER TORTE, the Betty's Way Part Two

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 Its now Great British Bake Off Season here in the UK, and in honor of that each week Betty's will be sharing a delicious recipe, plus a video and their baking tips to go with each recipe. The kind of thing you won't find in any cookery book! Here is week Nine of their delicious hints and tips and recipe.

 SACHER TORTE, the Betty's Way Part Two


1 X 15 cm deep baking ring


For the chocolate glacage (Mirror glaze):
50g caster sugar (1/4 cup fine sugar)
100g liquid glucose (1/4 cup)
50ml water (scant 1/4 cup)
220g dark chocolate (8 ounces)
100g butter, chilled and diced (7 TBS)

for the Torte:

50g apricot jam (1/4 cup)

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In a heavy based pan, bring the caster sugar, liquid glucose and water to the boil until all the ingredients have dissolved into a syrup.

Take off the heat, add the chocolate and the butter to the syrup and stir until completely dissolved to achieve a glossy finish.

Assemble the torte by slicing the sponge in half horizontally.  Tyrn upside down so the flat base becomes of the top of your torte.

Spread all the apricot jam over the middle of sponge, then add 2 to 3 TBS of the chocolate glacage before sandwiching together.

Place in th baking ring.

Now to press it down.  Cover the torte with a sheet of baking parchment and place a large pan on top of it.  Place some tin cans inside the pan for extra weight.

Place in the refrigerator, wighted down, for 2 hours, or ideally overnight.

To fnish the torte gently reheat the remaining glacage over a low heat until it's fluid, but not too runny.

Remove the pressed torte from the baking ring.

Place the rote on a cooling wire with a sheet of paper beneath the wire.

Pour the glacage over the torte, allowing it to flood naturally over the top and sides.  Leave to partially set for 15 minutes.

Use the excess chocolate glacage from beneath the cooling wire to fill a piping bag, then pipe the word Sacher onto the top of the torte.  Leave to set.

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Tempering Dark Chocolate


Make sure you're feeling happy and relaxed - it's a delicate task which can be affected by a bad mood!  As we like to say, "Chocolate's in charge".

Switch off your phoe and prepare your working area fully.  You won't have time to move things around or respond to calls.

Be aware that the weather can afect your chocolate work.  It's very  sensitive to temperature.


Chocolate has a memory - it will take on the qualities of the surface it touches.  A shiny surface makes a shiny chocolate, so use a glass bowl to warm the chocolate.

Glass it good for another eason:  cereamic and metal are better conductors of heat and can over-heat the chocolate.

If using a bar, break the chocolate ino similar sized pieces so they melt easily.

Use more chocolate than you need.  The larger volume means it changes temperature more slowly, giving you more time to work with it at specific heats.


Create a bain marie with a couple of centimetres of water simmering in a pan under the glass bowl.  Don't let the water touch the bottom of the bowl.

Work the chocolate with the back of a wooden spoon against the bowl.

Keep checking the temperature, but make sure your thermometer doesn't touch the surface of the bowl itself, or the temperature measurement may be wrong.  Keep it moving around the chocolate, as some spots can be hotter than others.

Heat to 45-48*C, but remember - nearly there is there enough.  Take it off at around 39-40*C as the temperature will continue to rise.  If it does need a little more heat, use the bain marie in ten second bursts to stay in control.


Now bring it down to a tempered temperature of 25-27*C.

Work the chocolate by movvin it around on a flat surface, gradually taking the temperature down.  A marble or granite surface is best. Plastic or wood can dull the chocolate, so avoid that if possible.

When the chocolaate reaches 25-27*C, scoop it back into the bowl, place back over the bain marie and take it back up to 29-31*C.  It's now ready to use.

Come back next week for the final part of our recipe for Sachertorte and to find out how to use your tempered chocolate to create stylish decorations.  For more Betty's Baking Secrets visit