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Scrambled Eggs in Toasty Cups

Scrambled Eggs in Toasty Cups

Scrambled Eggs on Toast are a very popular and quick supper dish served over here in the UK.  I had probably been living under a rock, but . . . . in all honesty, it wasn't something I had ever heard of, or even considered, prior to moving over here!  I'd eaten plenty of toast with scrambled eggs, but had never had my scrambled eggs served on TOP of the toast.

 When I was working at the Manor, quite often Todd would make me scrambled egg on toast when I got home from work.  I would be too tired to want to cook for myself, but totally starving. (No I did not eat at work.  They did not feed their employees. That was one of their rules.  Rich people eh . . .  go figure.) Scrambled eggs on toast never tasted so good as when Todd made them for me.  He's a great Scrambled eggs on toast maker, but I reckon he got plenty of practice at it when he was a bachelor!

This recipe today takes Scrambled Eggs on Toast to a whole new level . . .  because they are not just ON the toast, but IN the toast! 

Well, not in the actual toast per se . . .  but piled into buttery crisp toast cups, that are very easy to make.  You can be baking the toast cups while you make the eggs.

Making these cups is as easy as cutting the crusts off slices of bread, buttering it on both sides and then pressing the slices down into muffin cups. You then bake them until they are nice and crisped up.  Fresher bread works best as it is more maleable, and will press down into the cups with less risk of tearing or breaking.

The Eggs are delicious  .  .  . free range eggs beaten together with cream, strong cheddar, and chives are scrambled in a knob of butter . . .  softly scrambled.  Seasoned with some salt and pepper and another knob of butter folded in at the end, ensures that they are delicious and moreishly tasty.  Pile them into the warm and crisp toast cups, put a bit of salad or sliced tomato on the side, and breakfast, lunch, or even a light supper is served!

*Scrambled Eggs in Toasty Cups*
Serves 4

Eggs and toast, toast and eggs.  Delicious with an impressive presentation, plus also very simple to make. 

For the toast cups:
8 large medium thick slices of whole wheat bread
(Try to use as fresh as you can)
4 TBS softened butter

For the eggs:
6 extra large free range eggs
6 TBS single cream
60g strong cheddar cheese, grated (1/2 cup)
4 TBS snipped chives
2 large knobs of butter
Salt and pepper to taste

You will also need:
a few TBS chopped chives or flat leaf parsley to garnish

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Trim the crusts off the bread and trim them to equal sized squares.  Press lightly and then butter them on both sides with the softened butter.  Press firmly into 8 medium muffin cups.  Bake in the preheated oven until crisp.  This will take between 15 and 20 minutes. Set aside and keep warm while you scramble the eggs.

Put a large non-stick skillet on medium heat to warm up. In the meantime beat together the eggs, cream, cheese and chives in a bowl. Drop a knob of butter into the heated skillet. Once it starts to foam tip in the egg mixture. Let it sit for about 30 seconds or so and then using a wooden spatula start to bring the egg from the edges into the centre, folding and turning slowly as the egg begins to cook. (You can’t rush scrambled eggs) Cook only until the egg is mostly set, but still moist and then remove from the heat and throw in the last knob of butter, folding it in. Taste and then season. Sometimes the cheese gives it enough flavour that you don’t need any seasoning at all!

Place two of the toast cups onto each of four heated plates and divide the scrambled eggs between them.  Garnish with the additonal chives or parsley.  Serve immediately.

These make a lovely presentation for a special breakfast at the weekend.  I can't think of anyone who wouldn't be pleased to be handed a tasty plate holding a couple of these! Egg haters maybe 😲 Bon Appetit!

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Marie Rayner
Easy Oven Stew

Easy Oven Stew

 This has to be the easiest and tastiest stew around.  I clipped the recipe from a newspaper many moons again and I have been using it ever since.  Not every time I make a stew, but whenever I know I am going to have a really busy day and am wanting something delicious for our supper that isn't going to take a lot of faffing about!

This fits the bill perfectly. It pretty much cooks itself.  With just a bit of peeling and chopping, your work is pretty much done, and if you use frozen chopped onions and buy your meat already cubed, then it doesn't take long to throw together at all.

There is no browning on top of the stove.  You just put the meat, onions, garlic and seasonings into a casserole dish/roaster and bang it into a really hot oven for about 10 minutes. Your meat will have started to brown itself by then. There is no messing about and no fat spatter all over the top of your stove.

Everything else simply gets stirred in.  Cubed potato and swede, sliced carrots and parsnips.  A tin of tomato soup, some water, Worcestershire sauce and a small packet of cream of mushroom cup-a-soup . . .  dry.

You stir that all together, pop on a lid and then let the oven do the rest.  I find about 2 hours does the trick nicely, but have left it in even longer than that sometimes when I get super busy.  Just make sure it doesn't bake dry.  

The soups create a delicious thick gravy, the meat gets lovely and tender, the vegetables just right.  I like to serve this with buttered bread and pickles beets.  Oh boy but it is some good.

*Easy Oven Stew*
Serves 4

This is a quick and easy stew to make. Other than peeling the vegetables and chopping them up there is literally no work to do. Your oven does it all! It’s just plain delicious too, so it’s a win/win combination! 

1 pound of well trimmed stewing beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp mixed herbs, or summer savoury
1 TBS Worcestershire Sauce
1 tin of condensed tomato soup (Campbells) (295g or 10 3/4 ounces)
1 soup tin of water
1 single serving size envelope of cream of mushroom cup a soup mix
2  carrots, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch slices)
1/2 small Swede/ rutabaga, peeled and cut into cubes (1/2 inch cubes)
2 parsnips, peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 inch slices)
4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes (1 inch cubes) 

Pre-heat the oven to 230*C/450*F. Put your beef, onions and garlic into a deep casserole dish with a lid. Season with some salt and pepper to taste and then place the casserole (without the lid at this point) into the heated oven and bake for about 10 minutes, just until the meat is beginning to brown. 

Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 160*C/350*F. 

Put soup, dry soup mix, and the water into the casserole dish along with the mixed herbs. Put the lid on and bang it back into the oven and let it bake for about an hour. At the end of the hour remove it from the oven and stir in the vegetables. You may need to add more water as the mixture should have reduced by then, and you want the liquid to just barely cover the vegetables and meat. Put the lid back on and return the casserole to the oven. Bake for another hour or until the vegetables and meat are tender. 

Remove from the oven and let stand for about 10 minutes before serving. 

I like to serve bread with this for mopping up the gravy!

I've also heard this called Lazy Man's Stew.  Lazy or Easy, no matter what you call it, you and your family are sure to love this simple stew.  Bon Appetit!

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Marie Rayner
Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

Roasted Root Vegetable Soup

One thing which I really love about autumn is that we start to want to eat soups, stews and casseroles and to move away from lighter eating.  Our bodies begin to crave heartier!  Heartier doesn't always have to equate with heavier, or calorie laden however!  This soup is a great example of hearty sustenance, yet light!

A simple mix of root vegetables are cut up and roasted in the oven with just a touch of oil to help to caramelize them a bit.  Roasting and caramelising vegetables really brings out their natural sweetness and earthiness in some cases . . .   Carrots and parsnips are especially suited to roasting.

Today I roasted parsnips, carrots, sweet potatoes, swede (rutabaga), red onions and shallots.  But you could use any combination of vegetables you like.  Butternut squash would also be lovely.   I scattered some herbs and seasoning over the veg before roasting.

Once the vegetables have nicely roasted you simply combine them in a pot with vegetable or chicken stock and simmer them until they are very, very soft . . . 

Once that happens I use my stick/immersion blender and blitz them util they are smooth. You could also put the soup through a sieve to make the mixture really smooth.  I'm rather lazy so I just use the immersion blender. You could also use a regular blender or a food processor, but be careful to vent it by leaving off the cap of the blender and cover with a towel, holding it down.  Hot things tend to expand and explode under the pressure of blitzing in a completely closed container. The last thing you want is hot soup all over the kitchen or your skin!

You also don't want to be eating vegetable puree, so keep some additional stock that you can add to the finished soup to thin it out if you think it is too thick.  I like my soup thick, but not too thick!  I want it to be soup!

I always toast some bread croutons to float on top.  Because it is pretty much autumn now, I cut some buttered whole wheat/rye bread out with an oak leaf cutter, sprinkled it with some herbs/seasonings and toasted in a hot oven until they were crisp and golden.  Seriously tasty on top of soup and they look really nice too!

*Roasted Root Vegetable Soup*
Serves 4 generously
One of my favourite soups to make in the autumn when all of the root vegetables are ripe for the pulling and the days are becoming cooler.  Delicious. Its a balance to end up with soup instead of vegetable puree, so make sure you add enough stock so this doesn't happen.  The amount will largely depend on the vegetables you use! 

4 pounds assorted root vegetables, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
(I like to use a mix of carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, onions, and shallots)
2 - 3 TBS olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 tsp thyme leaves (you could use a couple sprigs of fresh thyme if you have it)
1 1/2 to 2 litres of good chicken stock. (6 to 8 cups)  

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7.  Toss the vegetables in a bowl along with the oil, seasalt, black pepper and thyme.  Spread out on a lightly buttered baking sheet in a single layr.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until tender, giving them a stir a couple of times.

Heat 1 1/2 litres of the chicken stock in a saucepan.  Add the roasted vegetables and heat through.  Remove from the heat and, using an immersion blender, blitz until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.  If the soup is too thick, thin with the remaining chicken stock until you have the consistency you want.  Heat through again and serve hot, ladled into heated bowls or mugs.

Low in fat, high in fibre and vitamins, and easy on the pocketbook, this soup spells winner all round!  It is a really tasty way to get in some of your five a day! Serve some crusty bread or rolls on the side and nobody will be complaining!  Bon Appetit!
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Marie Rayner
Chocolate Meringue Cake

Chocolate Meringue Cake

Today you are going to see something which you do not very often see in my kitchen.  CHOCOLATE CAKE!  And not just any CHOCOLATE CAKE, but a delicious CHOCOLATE MERINGUE CAKE!  Combining two of the things that the Toddster loathes . . .  chocolate cake and meringue.  ☺ I know  . . .  he's not normal!

This is a delicious flourless chocolate cake . . .  so it's great for those on a gluten free diet.  No leavening except for eggs and there are rather a lot of them, but no mind.  It was all in a good cause.  Too bad it wasn't fat free too, but alas, it is not . . .  there is butter and sugar in it too . . .  and lots of goooooooooood dark chocolate.

And that is just the base . . .  the meringue on top is loaded with plenty of chocolate as well, grated instead of melted . . .  and folded in.  That way you get a crisp shell . . .  with a marshmallow centre, stogged full of  lots of flecks of ooey gooey chocolate.

Decadent . . .  Tick.    Rich . . .  Tick.   Delicious . . . Tick.  Irresistable . . .  Tick.

Yes, this one ticks all the boxes.  This is a cake that will be very much enjoyed, by all . . .  well, maybe not by Todd, but meh . . . you win some you lose some. 😀 More for me.  

*Chocolate Meringue Cake*
Serves 8 to 10
A delicious two layer, flourless chocolate cake.   This is completely gluten free.  It uses a lot of eggs.   Use any leftover egg yolks to add with a couple of whole eggs to make an omelete or something.  

for the cake layer:
135g of soft light brown sugar (3/4 cup)
150g of butter, softened (2/3 cup)
6 large free range eggs, separated
350g dark chocolate, minimum 70%cocoa solids, melted (12 ounces, 2 1/3 cup)
for the meringue:
4 large free range egg whites
225g caster sugar (1 1/2 cups, super fine)
1 TBS cornflour (cornstarch)
100g dark chocolate, minimum 70% cocoa solids, grated (2/3 cup or 3.5 ounces)  

Preheat the oven to 180*C. 350*F/ gas mark 4.   Grease and line (the bottom) of a 9 inch spring form cake tin.  

Whisk the sugar and butter together until light and creamy.   Whisk in the egg yolks, whisking them in one at a time.   Fold in the melted chocolate.  Using a clean bowl and beaters, whisk the egg whites until they form SOFT peaks. Using a large metal spoon, stir in one spoon of the egg whites to slacken the dough, then fold in the remaining egg whites.  Pour into the prepared baking tin.   Bake for 25 minutes.   The centre should still have a bit of a wobble.  

While the cake is baking, and using a clean bowl and scrupulously clean beaters,  whisk the egg whites for the meringue along with the corn flour until they form stiff peaks.   Whisk in the sugar, one tablespoon at a time, until you have a stiff, shiny meringue.   When the cake is ready, fold the grarted chocolate into the meringue.  Spoon this on top of the cake.  

Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 25 minutes or until the meringue is crisp.  It will puff right up but sink a bit as it cools.  Allow to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before unmolding and serving.

Note:  Don't freak out if you think the cake won't fit in the tin once the Chocolate layer is baked and you go to add the top meringue.  Just pile it on.  It will work out fine.    

I find that frozen chocolate is easier to grate.  It doesn't melt in your hands.  Use the coarse side of a box grater.

This is the perfect cake for entertaining.  Decadent and delicious.  It will have everybody oohing and ahhing.  And Gluten free. What more could you ask for??  Fon Appetit!

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Marie Rayner
Spotted Dick

Spotted Dick

This is a recipe I first posted about 8 or so years ago when I first started this blog.  I felt that it needed updating, and certainly needed better photographs than the original one I had.  That was very early on in my food blogging days, and I really didn't know what I was doing and I did not have a very nice camera.  Since then I have integrated things into the blog like posting dual measurements, for both North America and over here, and I must admit, much nicer photographs. At least I think they are!

I have to confess when I first heard the name of this British Pudding I was quite captivated. It sounded quite rude and I remember giggling rather nervously when someone mentioned it. It did rather intrigue me though. I suspect this is a rather naughty name given to it by rather naughty school boys.

Once I tasted it, I was truly smitten, and could well understand how this was one of Todd's favourite desserts, or puddings as they are lovingly referred to over here. My first taste of it was from a tin that we had bought at the local shops, which in no way compares to the real thing, made with your own little hands. Imagine a sweet, slightly stodgy but light dough studded with sweet currants, served up warm with lashings of lovely sweet custard . . . this truly is good.

I have also heard this pudding referred to as spotted dog and figgy duff. It's quite like a roly poly, studded with dried fruits, or in this case dried currants. By a roly poly I mean a sweet suet dough shaped into a sausage, wrapped and tied in greaseproof paper and then steamed until done.

 If you have read any of Beatrix Potter's stories you will remember that Tom Kitten was rolled up into a roly poly pudding by Samuel Whiskers. Thank goodness Samuel didn't succeed and Tom managed to escape! Although being immersed in a sweet pudding might seem like a bit of a dream come true to a pudding afficionado, I don't think somehow that Samuel had quite the same pleasant end  for Tom in mind . . . 

*Spotted Dick*
Serves 8 

This is great simply cut into slices and served hot with butter, drizzled with some double cream, or with a bit of demerara sugar sprinkled on top, but for the true British experience one really must have it served with lashings of warm custard poured over. 

25g soft butter for greasing (1 3/4 TBS)
350g plain flour (2 1/2 cups)
2 TBS baking powder
150g shredded suet (2/3 cup, or 5 1/4 ounces)
75g caster sugar (1/3 cup + 1 TBS)
150g dried currants (scant cup)
2 TBS brandy
25g butter, melted (1 3/4 TBS)
the finely grated zest and juice from 2 un-waxed lemons
1 large free range egg, beaten lightly
150ml whole milk (5 1/2 fluid ounces)
150ml double cream (5 1/2 fluid ounces) 

Warm the brandy just until it is warm. Remove from the heat, stir in the dried currants and then set aside to infuse for half an hour minimum. 

Butter a piece of greaseproof paper, or wax paper, measuring about 60 cm (24 inches) square with the soft butter.  Set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and caster sugar together in a bowl. Drain the currants, reserving any liquid. Stir the currants and sue into the flour mixturet. Add the melted butter. Stir in the lemon juice along with the lemon zest and beaten egg. Stir the reserved juice from the currants, milk and cream together. Slowly add this to the mixture, stirring, until you reach a slightly stiff (firm but moist) dropping consistency. You may not need to use all the liquid. 

Spoon the mixture onto one end of the paper, creating a sausage shape about 3 inches in diameter. Roll up in the paper, being careful not to roll it up too tightly.  I like to pleate it shut at the end.  Make sure you leave space for expansion, or else the mixture will not be able to rise properly and will end up heavy rather than light when done. 

Tie the ends tightly closed with some string. Place the pudding in a hot steamer fitted with a lid, over steaming water. Cover and steam for 1 1/4 hours until cooked. Check the bottom of the steamer from time to time and make sure you keep it topped up with hot water. 

Remove the pudding from the steamer and unwrap. Cut into slices and place in bowls. Serve with lashings of warm custard for the whole spotted dick experience! 

Note - Alternately you can spoon the dough into a buttered pudding basin (medium sized).  Cover lightly with a sheet of pleated buttered greaseproof paper and secure with a string, then steam, covered, over simmering water in the top of a double boiler for the same length of time.

*Proper Custard*
Makes about 3 cups
Printable Recipe

This is also known as creme anglaise. Be sure not to let the mixture boil once the eggs are added, or you wil end up with a curdled mess. You only need to heat it up enough to cook the eggs. The custard is ready when it coats the back of a wooden spoon.

8 egg yolks
75g caster sugar (a generous 1/3 cup)
300ml whole milk  (1 1/4 cup)
300ml double cream (1 1/4 cup)
1 vanilla pod, split

Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until well blended. Place the milk and cream in a saucepan with the vanilla. Scrape the insides of the vanilla pod into the mixture before you add it. Bring the mixture just to the boil.

Pour a little of this mixture into the eggs to temper them, and beat it together well. Pour this back into the pan and whisk together. Return to the heat and using a whisk, lightly stir until it begins to thicken. DO NOT BOIL.

As the egg yolks warm, the cream will get thicker and create a custard. Keep stirring until it coats the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and pass through a fine sieve. Leave to cool a bit before using. Serve warm or allow to cool completely,stirring occasionally.

The dish was originally mentioned in Alexis Soyer's "The modern Housewife or ménagère", published in 1849, in which he described a recipe for "Plum Bolster, or Spotted Dick".  The name has long been a source of amusement or embarassed titters.  Whatever the case . . . its delicious and well worth the time and effort to make it.  Bon Appetit!
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Marie Rayner
Hamburger & Chicken Pie

Hamburger & Chicken Pie

Today I get to show you what I did with some of my leftover roast chicken.  This is a combination that sounds quite different I am guessing.  It is a pie that my MIL used to make many moons ago.  Quite an unconventional filling, but very delicious.  I had been craving it for a long time, but had been quite unable to find the recipe!

Funny how it goes.  When you get divorced you often lose half your family and all things attached to that half of the family.  Not always, but often.  It was so in my case at any rate! This was a pie that I have been craving for at least 25 years now, but never thought I would ever taste again.  It's delicious.

I had done searches on line in every combination possible, but never come up with any results.  Then, the other day, I was going through my big blue binder and lo and behold . . .  there it was, in my own handwriting.  I had no idea that I had copied it down all those years ago, and I was thrilled to find it!
This pie has a triple layered crust.  Bottom, middle and top.  The crust is like a cross between a tea biscuit and a pastry . . .  and it is lightly flavoured with onion . . .

It puffs up nicely and has a beautiful buttery texture.  I could dine on the crust alone, its that good . . .  but the filling ups the ante because there is not just one tasty filling in it, but two!

You fill the bottom crust with a hamburger filling . . .  simple.  I use extra extra lean ground beef, browned with onions, and a few seasonings.  You then stir in half a tin of cream of chicken soup.  You cool it and then spread it on the bottom crust and then cover it with the middle crust.

On top of that middle crust goes a filling of shredded or finely chopped cooked chicken, mixed with the other half of the tin of soup, and some more seasonings.  You spread that all out to cover and then apply the top crust, tucking it in and fluting it all around . . .

A few slashes in the top to vent the pie and I brushed it with a bit of milk to give it a golden touch.  It really takes a negligible amount . . .  just a touch.  You then bake it in a moderate oven for 35 to 40 minutes  . . .  until the filling gets bubbling and that crust is golden brown.

Todd always likes mash with his pies, but really this would be quite filling and ample on its own with only a salad on the side and some vegetables.  I think you are really going to like this! 


*Hamburger & Chicken Pie*
Serves 6
This is a simple recipe in which a little bit of meat goes a very long way. The pastry is heavenly and altogether this is quite, quite delicious. Todd has to have mash and veg with his, but I am happy with just the pie! 

For the beef filling:
1 lb extra lean ground beef
1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/2 (295g)tin of condensed cream of chicken soup (10 3/4 ounce tin) 

For the chicken filling:
250g cooked chicken, cut into small bits or shredded (2 cups)
salt and black pepper to taste
1 tsp parsley flakes
1/2 (295g)tin of condensed cream of chicken soup (10 3/4 ounce tin) 

For the pastry:
115g of lard (4 ounces)
115g butter (4 ounces)
420g plain flour (3 cups)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp onion salt
160ml milk (2/3 cup) 

Spray a skillet with nonstick cooking spray.  Add the onion and ground beef.  Cook and stir, scrambling, until the beef is golden brown.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic powder and add the parsley flakes.  Stir in the soup.  Set aside to cool. 

To make the chicken filling, mix together all ingredients in a bowl.  Set aside.  (I like to shred my cooked chicken for this, but minced is good also) 

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.  Stir in the onion salt.  Drop in the fats and rub them in with your fingertips until your mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs with a few pea sized bits.  Stir in the milk with a fork to form a soft dough.  Divide into three bits, with one bit being larger than the other two.  This will be the bit you use to line the bottom and sides of the baking dish. 

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Have ready a 7 by 11 inch rectangular pie baking dish. 

Roll out the largest bit of the pastry on a floured board, using a floured rolling pin, to a size large enough to lie the bottom and sides of the pie dish. It should only be about 1/4 inch thick.  Line the dish with this.  Spread the hamburger filling on the bottom of the pastry. 

Roll out another bit of pastry large enough to just cover the hamburger filling. It should also be 1/4 inch thick.  Place on top of the meat.  Spread the chicken filling over top. 

Roll out the remaining pastry large enough to cover the chicken filling with a bit of overhang to tuck in the sides.  Place over the chicken filling and tuck in the edges all around. Crimp the edges.  Brush with a bit of milk and slash to vet the top. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown and bubbling.  Serve hot,cut into squares.

If you have an abhorrence to using tinned soup, you can make your own substitution for this by making a simple sauce.

* Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup Substitute*
substitutes for one 295g (10 3/4 oz) tin
Printable Recipe 

This is a quick, easy and delicious way to add depth of flavour to casseroles without having to open a tin of soup. It is also fat free. 

120ml milk (1/2 cup)
35g plain flour (1/4 cup)
180ml chicken broth (3/4 cup)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
salt and black pepper to taste
pinch of sweet paprika 

Shake the milk and flour together in a jar until well mixed without any lumps.  Heat the chicken  broth together with the onion and garlic powders, salt and pepper and paprika in a saucepan.  Slowly whisk in the flour/milk mixture, whisking constantly. Continue to cook and whisk for a further 3 minutes or so.  Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.  This can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week if stored in an airtight container.

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Marie Rayner

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