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Fried Cabbage with Bacon & Onions



I have always loved fried cabbage.  I first had it when I was in high school.  We cooked it in our Home Economics Class. It was just fried cabbage and it was mixed with buttered noodles.  I fell in love with it then, and I have loved it ever since. It is a dish my family also loved through the years and something a few of them still make, if not all, the older ones at any rate.
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Marie Rayner
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Chocolate Chip Banana Bread



Well, I did a bit of housekeeping on here yesterday and I lost my old blog theme.  I did save the html to a word document, but I have no idea of how to sort that type of thing.  I managed to keep my header, so I guess I should be happy for that.  And I guess I do like the cleaner look without any busy background, and I like the way the blog posts are showing.  It is a neater, tidier look and I can live with that!  Growing pains, they are never easy are they?


Over these past couple of  months not a lot of new cooking has been going on due to the fact I was writing my cookbook, but I manage several new recipes a week, which was pretty good I thought.  I cooked a few cringe worthy things also that I would never show you.  Thing which I thought might be really tasty, but which ended up being blecch.  I hate it when that happens, but it does every now and than. 


This banana loaf recipe is one I got from The Complete Canadian Living Cook Book.  I have had the book for yonks, but haven't really cooked a lot from it.  I have made it my goal this year to try to cook more things from the books I have, and if I find a book that doesn't have a lot of redeemable recipes in it, then I am getting rid. Life is far too short to carry excess baggage, like too many cookery books.


This is a fairly decent banana loaf. It is pretty dense however and heavy. So I suppose whether you like it or not will depend on what you are looking for. If you want dense, then you have struck gold. If you are wanting more cakey, keep looking  . . . 


I do have some really good Banana Loaf recipes on this site.  This one is extremely good and so is this one.


My absolute all-time favourite one is this one, and that's probably because it is incredibly moist from the sour cream and more cake like. I like cake. My ex-bosses husband used to request this once a week.  He liked it toasted and buttered.  It is very good.


There are plenty of chocolate chips in this one I am showing you today.  It is not overly sweet either.  I used a really good quality chocolate chip, almost more bitter than sweet. I think milk chocolate chips would be better actually.  In any case it was very nice buttered and served with a hot drink.  I hope you will try it and then let me know what you think!



*Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf*
Makes one 2 lb loaf (9X5)
The tastiest thing to do with brown speckled bananas. 

280g plain flour (2 cups)
50g sugar (1/4 cup)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
180g chocolate chips (1 cup)
4 large over-ripe bananas, mashed (2 cups)
125g butter, melted (1/2 cup)
60ml milk
2 large free range eggs, beaten 

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter and line a 2 pound loaf tin (9 X 5  inches). 

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Stir in the chocolate chips. Set aside. 

Mash the bananas and then stir in the milk, butter and eggs.  Pour this mixture over top of the dry mixture. Mix together just to blend. Spoon into the prepared loaf tin. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes until well risen, golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  

Leave to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, before tipping out onto a rack and cooling completely.



Note - I've been using those pan liners which are like muffin cups a lot lately. They are so simple to use and nothing sticks as they are silicone coasted. I highly recommend!

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Marie Rayner
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Byron Potatoes



We love potatoes in this house. In fact I would hazard to say that for both of us, the potato is our favourite vegetable!
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Chili Fry Tacos



I was looking for something quick and easy to make for our tea the other night.  I needed to go grocery shopping and there wasn't a lot of fresh things to choose from. I always have a pretty well stocked store cupboard and so I dug into that for some inspiration. 
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French Dip Au Jus



  On Sundays if I am really on the ball, I like to throw something into the crockpot before I leave for church so that dinner is ready and waiting for us when we get home.  We're usually starving by that time.  I am much less inclined to munch on something I shouldn't if dinner is ready and waiting!  I reckon I am not alone in that! 
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Cookie Crisp French Toast Sticks



Several years ago I made some French Toast Sticks using Rice bubbles and they were fabulous. These were a real favourite of ours.  They were delicious and they froze well, so that made them great for having in the freezer ready to pull out when we felt like a bit of a quick and delicious treat!
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Blueberry & Lemon Breakfast Buns



 I normally like to pull out all the stops for breakfast at the weekend.   A leftover from my working days I suppose.   I didn't have a lot of time during the week to make much of a cooked breakfast, so Saturdays usually meant I would do us something special. I hear we are supposed to have some nice weather this weekend as well.   I am loving these longer, brighter and warmer days!

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Honey & Soy Baked Chicken



 Everyone needs a tasty recipe like this up their sleeves!  It is so simple and so delicious and uses things I always have in the house, and I am betting that you do too!  
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Lemon Glazed Cinnamon Scrolls



 I love puff pastry.  Well, I love any pastry actually.  I am a pastry afficionado from way back and the butterier and flakier the better! I am a very good pastry maker if I don't say so myself, must be all the years of practice I have had. One thing I don't do however is make my own Puff Pastry from scratch. Call me lazy or whatever. It is very time consuming and the end results are not much better than a good quality all butter puff pastry you can buy in the shops.
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Salmon and Broccoli Quiche



I forget where I was, but it was a couple of weeks ago now, I was visiting with someone and they mentioned baking a quiche for supper a few nights before that and I remember thinking to myself, I have not baked a quiche in a while and my appetite for having quiche was immediately whetted and I thought about nothing else for a few days!
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Skillet Chicken and Spinach Bowties



Today I bring you a pasta dish which is not only quick and easy to make, but quite, quite delicious!  With it's fresh flavours and pretty colours, this is sure to please almost anyone and is a great way to get the kids to eat their spinach!
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Chunky Puy Lentil & Vegetable Soup



  Puy lentils, grown in France are just wonderful in soups. They thicken without turning to sludge. They don't break down like other lentils and keep their lovely little shape, giving any soup which is made with them a bit of a bite, a very delicious bite!
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Blue Ribbon Blueberry Cake




This is a cake that I haven't made in a very long time. I had actually forgotten all about it, but then as I was going thru the Big Blue Binder the other day, I happened upon the recipe and remembered how very good it was . . .

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Date, Pistachio & Honey Slices



As you know I've  been working really hard on my cookbook. There hasn't been a lot of cooking going on these past few days as I am down to the crunch.  I hope you will forgive me for re-posting these lovely slices from a few years ago.  They are delicious, so I am sure you won't!  
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Irish Apple Cake



I wanted to make Todd my Irish Apple Cake for Saint Patricks Day.  He loves apple anything, and I have been wanting to re-do some of my earlier recipes and take new photos of them, so today, in honor of Saint Patrick, I re-did my Irish Apple Cake Recipe.
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Golden Syrup and Oatmeal Muffins




One of the tastes I have come to really enjoy over here is Golden Syrup. A pale thick amber coloured syrup, it is a form of inverted sugar syrup, made in the process of converting sugar cane juice into sugar. Oh, it is soooo scrummy and has a lovely caramel like, almost buttery flavour.


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Bean & Sausage Hot Pot



Still working on my cookbook that I am writing.  It is down to the crunch time now, with not a lot of time left for me to finish it all up.  I have it under control I am happy to say, and have been revisiting a few of my older recipes and re-cooking/re-doiong photography of them. Dishes such as this fabulously tasty Bean & Sausage Hot Pot!  This recipe also happened to tie in with some of the contents of this month's Degustabox!



Degustabox is a monthly foodie subscription service that sends out a range of specially selected foodie products. There's always a great mix of new products that I haven't tried before, as well as plenty of treats from more established brands. Each Degustabox costs £12.99, delivery costs are included in the price, and there is no fixed contract involved - you can cancel at any time. I love getting these boxes. Its a little bit like Christmas for me when the box arrives every month. Here is a little bit about the February box I received.


KOKO Dairy Free Originial 1 X £1.50

Koko Dairy Free Original is a fresh tasting and versatile milk alternative made from freshly pressed coconut milk.  It tastes great in tea or coffee, on breakfast cereals, in smoothies, as a refreshing cold drink, or in cooking.  Plus, with only 27 calories per 100ml, it is lighter than skimmed milk.





Double Dutch is a new range of premium, low calorie soft drinks created by Dutch Twins, Raissa and Joyce de Haas. Combining unusual flavours, these drinks have been specifically designed to enhance the taste of higher-quality spirits. While offering a playful alternative to boring mixers, the innovative range of flavours are also delicious enjoyed on their own.  I received a Pomegranate and Basil.  Yum!

 


KABUTO NOODLES 1 X £1.99

 Vegetable Laksa
This new gluten-free rice noodle dish is inspired by the warm coconut Laksa dishes of Malaysia. It's also completely vegetarian and bursting with sweetcorn and peppers.

Like all of our noodles, it is made using quality ingredients and no additives or preservatives. There's no need to refrigerate, so you can enjoy restaurant flavours wherever you are (as long as you're near a kettle). Perfect for work, home, tents, camper vans and the big outdoors, Kabuto Noodles make a filling meal that's fit for a warrior.

I love Kabuto Noodles.  They make a great quick lunch, and these were delicious.

 

BLOSSOM HILL Fruitbloom 1 X £4.99

 A fresh and fruity twist on wine! With light bubbles and natural fruit flavours, Blossom Hill Fruit Bloom is the ultimate refreshment. Best served with close friends and sizzling conversation!

I received the Summer Fruits.  It also comes in Elderflower.

 

MAUI AND SONS Dark Chocolate Covered Banana Chips  1 X £1.00

Maui and Sons' Banana Chips are made from one of the most delicious tropical fruits... Bananas! This tasty superfood is naturally packed full of potassium, vitamin A and iron.

We cook our chips to perfection then lightly coat with dark chocolate giving every chip a satisfying crunch, making them a healthy gluten-free snack and delicious treat when you're on the go, and perfect for school, work, play and as a topping on desserts.

With a dash of cocoa and a pinch of sugar these chips are choco-licious, and with no animal products involved in production, they're completely vegan; once you take a bite, you'll literally go BANANAS for more!

I think this was my favourite thing in the whole box!  They are gorgeously delicious!


Willy Chase FITCORN £1.99 - £2.19 

From the same Single-Estate Farm as his world-renowned distillery in Hereford, Willy Chase has developed an array of good-for-you foods with real pedigree and grown-up flavours. Let us introduce you to FITCORN and Willy's Apple Cider Vinegar with The Mother.

FITCORN is our very own popcorn, air-popped to perfection, forming the finest clouds of butterfly corn with a light and crunchy bite. Available in the following flavours: Apple Cider Vinegar, Salted Honey, Smoky Bloody Mary, Nearly Naked and Goats Cheese, Red Onion and Thyme. Free from GM. Free from Gluten. Free from Guilt! 

Willy's Apple Cider Vinegar with the Mother, a beautifully crafted vinegar from untouched 300 year old apple orchards. 


JUST BEE  Honey Water X 1

Just Bee Honey Water is a light and refreshing spring water drink, deliciously infused with fruits and the natural sweetness from a drop of honey.

No refined sugar, nothing artificial and less than 50 calories per carton!

Created by a family of British beekeepers, 10% of profits are donated to help Save the Bees!

Just Bee is available from Boots, Waitrose and Holland & Barrett.


 PEPPERSMITH Dental Gum and Dental Mints 2 X £1.50

Did you know that it takes more than brushing to look after your teeth? Protect your smile in between brushing with Peppersmith mints and chewing gum.

Most damage to teeth happens during the day when sugars feed bacteria that form plaque and produce acids. Peppersmith is sweetened with 100% xylitol which reduces this bacteria and protects teeth from damage throughout the day. With natural flavours including Peppermint, Lemon and Strawberry, our mints, chewing gum and pastilles taste great whilst getting to work keeping your teeth healthy. All Peppersmith products are accredited by the Oral Health Foundation, are sugar-free and contain no aspartame. 


BEBETO Cheese Cake Jelly gums and Candy Crush 2 X £1.69

Tasty.

 



Introducing our delicious roasted coffee beans coated in sumptuous dark chocolate. Our delicious Americanos are top quality Guatemalan coffee beans coated in the most delicious dark chocolate for a taste that is incredible, rich and intense. A wonderful pick-me-up both in the office or at the gym.
As these are so popular we provide in many formats - grab and go, gifting tins and filled bar jars as well as 1kg catering packs. Even people who don't like coffee love these and very popular with marathon runners who need an extra caffeine kick. Please visit our website for all the other wonderful innovative products we do.  

I have to confess I did not like these at all, nor did Todd, but then we are not coffee drinkers, although we both normally enjoy coffee flavoured candies and cakes.  These were not our cup of tea however..  



DIABLO No Added Sugar Cream Filled Milk Chocolate Wafer  1 X £0.95

Everyone should be allowed to treat themselves once in a while, don't you think? :Diablo goodies have all the flavour, without any of the naughty added sugar, so there's no need to feel so bad about the little devil on your shoulder with a sweet-tooth.

Ad a Diabetic, I really enjoyed this.

 

COLDPRESS 1 X £2.79

Because Coldpress® juices are cold pressed, not heated, they naturally cram in more taste, more vitamins and more nutrients than conventional pasteurised juices. Coldpress® 100% fruit and vegetable juices are packed with vitamins and lower in naturally occurring sugars.

Berry Beets is an earthy, yet fruity, mix of apples, beetroots, raspberries pears and lemon juice.

Fruity Greens is a tasty blend of apples, celery, kiwis, bananas, kale, spinach and lime.

I received the Fruity Greens and it tasted really good.

  


HEINZ 2 X £0.65 

NEW Heinz No Added Sugar Beanz.

Great Heinz taste with no artificial sweeteners, flavours or preservatives maintaining the natural goodness of Beanz!

And this was the product I chose to highlight with a recipe.  We are already fans of Heinz Beanz.  They have always been our tinned baked beans of choice.  It is nice to see that they are now leaving out the sugar. 


Which is why I didn't feel too guilty about this recipe.  You do add some brown sugar to it, so to know that there is no sugar in the beans was quite a good thing for me.



In this recipe, leftover cooked potatoes line a baking dish, topped with some herbed garlic and onions . . . 


A layer of sliced smoked sausage goes on top of the onions and potatoes.  You could actually use leftover baked ham, or tinned corned beef as well, or even spam.  You could also use leftover cooked breakfast or dinner sausage.  All would work well.


The next layer is a mix of baked beans, brown sugar and BBQ sauce, which gets slathered over the sausage. Cover with foil and bake . . .


Then un-cover, throw on some cheese and return the dish to the oven to melt the cheese.  Altogether this is quite delicious as well as being economical.  You can't lose!  I like to serve it with some coleslaw and sliced bread.


*Bean and Sausage Hot Pot*
Serves 4


A little tasty something I made up to help use up leftover cooked sausage or ham and potatoes.  Delicious.


2 TBS olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1 TBS chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
4 medium potatoes, cooked, peeled and cubed
1/2 pound of leftover spicy cooked sausage, smoked or otherwise and crumbled or sliced
(Can also use an equivalent amount of leftover cooked smoked ham, cubed)
1 tin of baked beans, undrained (2 cups)
100g soft light brown sugar (1/2 cup)
60g  barbeque sauce (1/4 cup)
120g of grated strong cheddar (1 cup) 

 


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


Heat half of the oil in a medium skillet.  Add the onions and garlic.  Cook and stir until the onions begin to wilt.  Stir in the herbs, salt and pepper.   Toss in the potatoes and mix well together.  Remove from heat. 


Use the remaining oil to butter an 8 inch square baking dish.   Spread the potato mixture over top.   Sprinkle with the cooked sausage or ham.   Stir together the beans, brown sugar and barbeque sauce.  Pour this mixture evenly over top of the sausage.  Cover the casserole dish tightly with foil.   Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.  Uncover.  Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer.  Serve hot. 
 




Many thanks to Degustabox UK for sending me this box. I have to say I really look forward to getting my box each month. There are always lots of things in it to enjoy and new products to try out. I highly recommend. You can also tailor the boxes to your own likes and dislikes by filling in your own Taste Profile. If you like the sound of the February 2017 box, you can obtain yours now here . Do check out the Degustabox web page for more information and details.   I can also offer you a discount code this month.  Just use OWCFI  and get your first box at a reduced price!

Follow them on Facebook 
Follow them on Twitter 
 

I also wanted to add that the box which arrived this month was damaged, with the popcorn being opened and all over the contents of the box and the apple cider vinegar also being open and having spilt over the contents.  A quick e-mail and a brand new box was sent out to me within the next few days!  Thanks Degustabox for such good service!

Bon Appetit!


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Boiled Bacon & Cabbage with a Mustard Sauce




I have a cookery book I really love.  It's called The Country Cooking of Ireland, by Coleman Andrews and it's a real winner.  I have always felt that if you want to get a real sense of what a country is like, you will embrace the food of that country . . .  and to do that you really need to get into the thick of the countryside.  Let me tell you . . .  the Irish countryside is a very delicious place!  Especially if this recipe is a fair representation of that, and I believe it is.  I thought it would be very fitting to share this with you as this week we will be celebrating St Patrick's Day, and since discovering this past year that 27% of my DNA is Irish, what better reason to celebrate!

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Mexi-Bean Bake



After a really busy and full week last week, I found myself craving something simple for tea on Saturday evening.  A store cupboard meal and something which would not take a lot of time to knock together.  I have this recipe binder that I have had kicking around for a very long time and this recipe comes from that.  It is perfect for those lacking in inspiration nights and for nights when you are feeling very lazy but still want to eat something delicious!  Tex-Mex Bean Bake.  I have no idea where the original recipe comes from, as it is hand written and I didn't make note of the source back when I was doing my binder.  All I can tell you for sure is it is very tasty and very old . . .  written on a page that is splattered and torn!  A testimony to it's deliciousness!
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Jam Roly Poly



I never make a Jam Roly Poly for dessert but what I don't think of one of my favourite childhood stories, The Tale of Samuel Whiskers and the Roly Poly Pudding by Beatrix Potter. Its kind of a gruesome story really when you think about it . . . rats capturing an innocent little kitten and rolling him up in pudding dough to bake and eat . . .  it sent shivers up my spine at the thought.  A tale really of a lesson learned about the perils of disobedience and the consquences which follow!
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Spiced Apple Custard & Cake Pie



I've been really cracking the whip with myself this month, writing, writing, writing . . .  trying to hit the deadline for my new cookbook and write the best book possible for all of you.  Between that and Todd's radio-therapy this month has been chocker block so far with no end in sight.  I did have a chance to bake a really delicious pie today however, that I just cannot resist showing you!  Man oh man, this was gorgeous!
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