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Chocolate Chip Pancakes with a Buttermilk Syrup


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One day recently I found out that our little Spanish girl loves pancakes.  It just slipped out in a conversation as these things do . . .  and so I decided to treat her to a lovely batch of them one morning.   I know . . .  I am spoiling her, but it's just so darned nice to have a young person around.  I truly am enjoying the experience and her! 

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Marie Rayner
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Cut and Come Again Cake


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How can you not love a cake which is called "Cut and Come Again Cake?"  It's just impossible I tell you . . .  well, it's impossible for me to at any rate.  I am an old fashioned girl and I just adore these old fashioned names for things . . .  so just what is Cut and  Come Again Cake?  Well . . .


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Marie Rayner
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Spaghetti with a Marinated Cherry Tomato Sauce


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One of the nice things about having someone else in the house is that Ariana likes Pasta and now I have the perfect excuse to cook it and not feel guilty about it.   Today I made this simple and yet incredibly tasty pasta dish that  Ariana and I both really enjoyed, and the Toddster dined on leftover meat and potatoes.  Everybody was happy!

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Marie Rayner
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Cheese and Broccoli Stuffed Jacket Potatoes


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I have to admit that broccoli is not one of the Toddster's favourite vegetables.  I love the stuff, but he's not so keen.   It's one of those vegetables however that is really very good for you and so I am always looking for ways to incorporate it into our diets, that are appealing to him at least in some small way.

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Marie Rayner
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Spicy Blueberry Sauce


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I love, love blueberries and we are right in the midst of our blueberry season here in the UK at the moment.  I know my sister has been picking the juicy little blue jewels for a few weeks now in Canada.  I can never get enough of them during the season and I always freeze tons to use in the Winter months.  Today I decided to make a delicious sauce with them!

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Marie Rayner
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Grilled Cheese Encounters of a delicious kind . . .


 

I have to admit, that of all the sandwiches out there, and all the sandwiches I have eaten in my lifetime, my favourite has to be the good old fashioned Cheese Toastie, or Grilled Cheese as it is also called.  Over here they call sandwiches sarnies in some places.  Or Baps . . . 

Bap. Sarnie.  Toastie.   Sandwich.  Truth be told no matter what they are called this carb loving heart of mine just adores them whatever they be called, and the grilled cheese is my most favourite-est indulgence of all!


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Marie Rayner
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Spag Bol and Cheese Garlic Toastie


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Occasionally you see something which is totally outrageous and yet strangely appealing at the same time.  That's the way it was for me when I saw these toasted Spaghetti and Cheese sandwiches popping up all over the net.  


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Marie Rayner
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Dark Chocolate Drizzled Ginger Butter Cookies


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I don't mind admitting it.  I'm having a kind of a blah day.   I think everyone has days like that from time to time.  It's like I'm running on empty today and my battery just feels low . . .  low . . .  low.  I am totally lacking in energy and inspiration.  Totally.


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Marie Rayner
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Tuna, White Bean and Potato Salad


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We have a lovely girl staying with us at the moment from Spain.   She is working at the hospital and so I have been making her a lunch to take with her each day.  Today, in my quest to get away from sandwiches, I made her a deliciously different salad for a change.

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Marie Rayner
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Lemon and Thyme Roasted Chicken and Potatoes


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I love to cook and eat chicken.   Once upon a time, when I was working full time . . .  I was able to afford free range organic chicken, and I won't like . . . it was lovely.  These days all I can rise to buy with the budget I have to work with is higher welfare chicken.  I am not sure I want to really know what constitutes higher welfare, but  . . .  I like to believe that they are not that badly treated, or as badly treated as the other kind.    Unemployment is a great equalizer.  If I could afford it I would certainly still prefer to buy free range and organic, but one must do what one must do.
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Marie Rayner
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Cracker Lasagne


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The temps have really dropped here these past couple of days.   It seems we are getting winds from the North and things are getting pretty cool, even down to they say only 3 degrees early tomorrow morning!  Who would believe it in August?  Crazy!


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Marie Rayner
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Lemon and Chocolate Chunk Cake and Degusta Box




I received another tasty Degustabox at the end of July and have been enjoying it's contents in the ensuing weeks.  You can see evidence of that in the lovely Lemon and Chocolate Chip Cake I baked with the bar of Green & Black's Lemon Bar a bit later on but first I want to tell you all about what I got in the July Box.


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Marie Rayner
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Nutella Cookies . . . only 3 ingredients!


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Mondy evenings are always Family Home Evenings in our house.   This is a special night each week that we set apart to do things together as a family.   Usually we share a special thought, some fun activity and a special treat to share.  It's a church thing, and we feel it is inspired and it helps us to draw closer together as a family.


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Marie Rayner
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Cheese and Mashed Potato Fritters


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I have always been a "foodie."  I've always loved food, eating, recipes, etc.  When I was between the ages of 5 and 9, my best friend in the world was a girl named Susan Warburton.  



Here we are at the end of Grade one, we would have both been six years old.  She is on the far left and I am right beside her.  It was the awards ceremony at the end of the year.


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Marie Rayner
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Some Tasty Pancakes for the Weekend!




Hooray for the weekend!  I usually reserve the weekends for cooking us a nice big breakfast. It might be a full on fry up . . . or it might be something as simple as muffins. It all depends on how I feel and how hungry we are. Generally though,  I like to pull out all the stops and cook something really scrummy for us to enjoy.


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Marie Rayner
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Banana, Coconut and Macadamia Nut Muffins


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I usually like to bake something scrummy for our weekend breakfasts.  A breakfast cake of some sort, scones . . .  tea loaves, muffins.   What I bake depends totally on what I have to hand and what kind of a mood I am in.   This week I had some bananas that needed using and so I decided to bake these delicious Banana, Coconut and Macadamia Nut Muffins!


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Marie Rayner
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Newman's Own American Rubs to make the BBQ Sizzle!


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Three new cooking rubs have been added to the Newman's Own Range to help recreate a US-style BBQ!  You can bring these delicious American flavours to your own kitchen this summer with the new range of American style Rubs, an easy way to recreate the flavours of US low'n slow-style BBQ food at home.   The rubs deliver authentic succulent flavours. 

All natural, these delicious rubs are based on traditional USA regional recipes!


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Kentucky Style Rub for Ribs!  For melt in the mouth ribs serving six to eight,  you only need a tube of this tasty rib rub, 2 kg of pork ribs and 100ml of cold water!

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Texas Style Rub for Brisket! Now doesn't that look delicious!  Again, for a mouth watering Brisket that will feed six to eight people all you need is the tube of rub, a 2kg Beef brisket and 100ml of water.

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Carolina Style Rub for Pulled Pork.  A taste sensation that is really catching on over here in the UK!  For six to eight you will need a tube of the Pulled Pork Rub,  2kg of pork shoulder and 100ml of water.

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The rubs are available now from ASDA stores from the all-profits-to-charity brand, Newman's Own,  joining the rest of their American condiments range launched this year.   I just love LOVE their Smokin Hot Dog Sauce!  It packs a tasty punch.   The rubs retail for £1.59 per tube. 

Newman's Own, the all-profits-to-charity family favourite, already has a range of salad dressings (love the Blue Cheese and the Caesar), BBQ sauces, pasta sauces and marinades availale througout the UK.  Newman's own has already donated over £1 million to a wide range of charities in the UK alone and over £250 million donated around the world via the Newman's Own Foundation. 

I love that I can enjoy a tasty meal and know that at the same time a portion of the money I have spent is going to support charities both here in the UK and abroad!

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Marie Rayner
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Herb and Egg Gratins . . . simply indulgent


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Here we are at day four of my week of celebrations cooking fest!  I have a fondness for eggs, especially good eggs.   I always buy free range eggs for baking with, but if I am going to eat eggs as a meal/dinner, I often splurge and get some really good eggs.

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I really like these Burford Browns or the Costwald Legbars.  They have beautiful flavours and nice deep yellow yolks.   When you are having eggs for a meal you want an egg which has a flavour that will really shine through!  These are more expensive than regular free range eggs, but it's supper folks.  Just think about how much you would spend on a piece of meat and it puts things in perspective and they don't seem to be so expensive anymore.


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Marie Rayner
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Marie's Best Corn Chowder


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Continuing on with my week of celebrations, I just have to share with you one of my favourite soup/stews!  Corn Chowder!   This is a hearty family favourite that I have been making for my family and myself for many, many years.  It is a tried and true!

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It is chock full of vegetables . . .  potatoes (of course!) celery, onions, carrots . . . and of course bacon.  I use pancetta these days because I like the flavour of it, but you can use just ordinary bacon.  I like the thicker cut bacon, and if you are lucky enough to be able to find home smoked bacon, then you are in for a real treat!


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Marie Rayner
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Let Them Eat Cake and Ice Cream Clowns!



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 Well today is my birthday.  Boo Hoo  Fifty nine years old.  However did that happen.  No matter, happen it did and I am celebrating!  Ten friends are coming over for lunch today and we are going to do it in style.  I am looking forward to seeing and spending time with them.



This is the cake that I always  make for my Birthday.  It just wouldn't be my birthday without it.  I make it every year, no fail, and this year it is no different.


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Marie Rayner
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A delicious Courgette (zucchini) Tomato Bake


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This is the first of my week of celebrations posts!  It is my birthday on Wednesday of this week and it will mark the beginning of my last year as a fifty something year old!  (I know! Boo Hoo, how did that happen?  I still feel sixteen inside.  It's that first look in the mirror in the morning that's the kicker!)


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Marie Rayner
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Glazed Cinnamon Roll Muffins


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Some days you just want something for breakfast that is really bad and a bit naughty.  I know cake is a good thing to fill that urge, but sometimes you want it only a bit naughty, but still a bit decadent . . . any woman would know what I am talking about I think . . .


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Marie Rayner
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Some delicious Almond Breakfast Pastries




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I recently bought a little booklet at the grocery store, entitled Delicious Pastries.  I fear I have been in love with puff pastry my whole life, fueled by trips made to my French Grandmaman's home where we would feast on caramel filled puff pastry squares dolloped with thick sweet cream . . . mmmm . . . so good.

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Some Simple Jammy Bites!




I have something spectacularly simple and yet very elegant to share with you today.

These little gems are quite old fashioned, coming from a recipe that's been around a very long time. (1933) I have a series of cookery books in my home library, called The Farmer's Wife cookbooks. I have the Baking one, the Comfort Foods one, and one simply entitled The Farmer's Wife. There are quite a few others as well, but I haven't managed to collect them just yet.



These are lovely ring bound cookery books, just stogged full of tried and trues, family and farm tested recipes, based on simple, wholesome and nourishing ingredients.


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Marie Rayner
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Sticky Gammon Steaks


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During the week, I try to cook meals which are quick and easy and not too hard on the budget.  Living on a pension means we have a very basic fixed income, and so there is not a lot of room for playing around overly much, and with way food costs are rising, it gets harder and harder each week to make ends meet and still keep our meals interesting.

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This means that I now do most of my shopping at one of the bargain supermarkets, usually Aldi.  It's actually a pretty good place to do your shopping as the prices are great and the quality is pretty good on most things.  There are no frills, and your choice is limited in comparison to the major shops, but overall it's a great place to shop.  I do my major shop there and then if there is something I really need that they don't have, I will whip into one of the other shops to get it.


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Marie Rayner
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How to Make Your Own Wedding Favours




If you have ever planned a wedding then you will know one thing for sure – they can be really expensive. There are no two ways about it, as soon as you mention the word wedding whether in a cake, dress or jewellery shop then you can automatically and another zero to the price.

With so many different things to think about for the big day the costs can spiral out of control. But help is at hand! Making things like wedding favours can really cut down on costs and they can be really simple to do.    

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Sugar Almonds

These are a traditional wedding favour would usually consist of 5 sugared almonds which are used to represent health, wealth, happiness, long life and fertility. You can pick up some organza bags fairly cheaply and put some almonds in, which can make for some very attractive wedding favours that you haven’t had to spend a fortune to make. Almonds can come in all shapes and sizes, and you can often find specially coloured ones to add a different effect to your favour – Just make sure that no one at your reception has a severe nut allergy!  

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If you are looking for something a little bit more modern then chocolate wedding favours are really taking off – because who doesn’t like chocolate? (Ok, so there may be one or two who don’t but you can’t please everyone!) Forever Wedding Favours have a great range of chocolate shaped wedding favours to pick from including heart shaped or lollipop sticks all wrapped in foil. Whether you’ve got a theme for your wedding or just something simple like a particular colour, then chocolates in certain flavours and wrappings can tie into your day perfectly.  

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For a more elegant chocolate favour you could use the “Just Married Neapolitans” and offer them round with tea or coffee after the wedding breakfast as chocolate is a great way to finish a meal.  

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Sweets In A Jar

If you are getting married in the summer then chocolate might not be the way to go, especially if it is looking like it will be a warm day! An alternative sugary treat to chocolate would be to use sweets instead; by purchasing a small jar you can put a few sweets of your choice together and give your guests a real treat! Attaching a small name label to the jar will also make them a perfect


personalised gift and, while it may take some time to create, they will look amazing once you have finished.

Choosing the most suitable wedding favour for your guests can be tricky but it doesn’t have to cost the Earth. Creating or making something small can often have a bigger impact than spending a lot of money buying something that hasn’t had a lot of thought going in to it.

Remember though, it is your day and while offering your guests a small gesture of appreciation is a great way to acknowledge their involvement in being there, it is not something you have to stress about!
 

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