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Some refreshing new sauces from the Lake District Dairy Co


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As you know I get sent new products to try out from time to time and a few weeks ago I was sent a lovely hamper from the Lake District Dairy Co, containing their new Cooking sauces along with some fresh ingredients so that I could cook some recipes using the new flavours . . .  Garlic & Herb, Tomato & Basil and Tikka Sauces.

Included in the hamper were all the necessary ingredients so that I could cook Gnocchi with Spinach and Tomat & Basil Quark Sauce, Chicken Tikka & Quark Rice, and Spaghetti Quarkonara.

First a bit about the sauces:

The new Lake Districk Dairy Co. Cooking sauces are ideal for those who are pressed for time and who are health conscious.   Naturally low fat, convenient and naturally nutritious they taste deliciously indulgent, yet because they are made with Quark, they boast half the calories and treble the protein of other stir-in dairy sauces.  They recently won an award at the World Dairy Innovation Awards.   You can simply swap these cooking sauces into recipes as an alternative to traditional dairy ingredients such as creme fraiche or double cream to create  a variety of healthy and flavoursome day to day dishes, from creamy carbonaras to tantalizing tomato bakes.

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The first recipe I tried was Chicken Tikka & Quark Rice.  The sauce itself was delicious as was the finished dish, however the recipe was inconsistent with the ingredients sent, with uncooked rice being called for in the recipe and a pouch of already cooked rice being sent in the hamper.  I decided to go with the recipe and used uncooked rice.

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This was our favourite of all the dishes cookes.   Coming in at only 382 calories a serving, it was quite satisfying and very delicious.  We all really enjoyed this.





























(click on photo to enlarge recipe)

The Lake District Dairy Co - Naturally Low Fat Tikka Cooking Sauce
(RRP £1.75 per 200g pot)
One of the nation's favourites - a beautiful blend of herbs and spices for perfect curry dishes with minimal fuss.  contains NO preservatives or artificial flavours
Nutrition (per 100g)
75 kcals, 4.5 g Sugar, 2.6g Fat, 0.6g Saturates, 0.74g Salt

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The next dish I cookes was Gnocchi with Spinach and Tomato & Basil Quark Sauce.  Everything for the recipe was included.  It went together very easily and I found the sauce to be quite delicious.

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The finished dish was attractive and very tasty.  We all really enjoyed this as well.































(again click on photo to enlarge recipe)

The Lake District Dairy Co. - Naturally Low Fat Tomato & Basil Cooking Sauce
(RRP £1.75 per 100g pot)
Great for adding a sumptuous Italian twist to meat and pasta dishes.
Contains NO preservatives or artificial flavours.
Nutrition (per 100g)
79kcals, 6.3g Sugar, 2,8g Fat, 0.6g Saturates, 0.83g Salt

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The final recipe which I cooked was Spaghetti Quarkonara using their Garlic & Herb Sauce.   I have to say that we did not enjoy this recipe at all.   First of all, I thought there was too much pasta per sauce ratio, and I would never use quick cooking spaghetti myself.  I would like to try it again, using regular spaghetti and less pasta per sauce.

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The ham added nothing to this recipe.  You couldn't even taste it really.  I added peas because I thought it could use some colour, but again, this wasn't our favourite dish




(Click on photo to enlarge)

The sauce itself was quite flavourful, but this recipe let it down in my opinion.  I would use the sauce again in another way, but not this recipe.

The Lake District Dairy Co. - Naturally Low FAt Garlic & Herb Cooking Sauce
(RRP £1.75 per 200g pot
Smooth and indulgent, with a deliciously fresh garlic taste - great for mixing with fish, chicken or pasta.
Contains NO preservatives or artificial flavours
Nutrition (per 100g)
76 kcals, 5.6g Sugar, 1.5g Fat, 0.4g Saturates, 0.74g Salt

For more information about The Lake District Dairy Co. Quark, including delicious recipe suggestions to suit every occasion, visit www.lakeDistrictQuark.co.uk and follow @LDDCQuark on Twitter.

Over all I found the sauces themselves to be filled with flavour and I love that they are all natural and relatively low in fat which make them a great option for someone who is looking for convenience along with healthy options.  Many thanks to The Lake District Dairy Co. for sending this lovely hamper to me. 
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Biscoff (Lotus) Granola


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I think you would pretty much have to live under a rock to not know what Biscoff, or Lotus cookies are.   They are those gorgeous little caramel flavoured biscuits that they hand out in coffee shops and that get handed out on Delta Airlines etc.  I just adore them.   I just love Nutella and Peanut butter . . . so when I found that they make a Lotus (Biscoff) Spread  I was thrilled and of course I had to buy some.  Oh boy that is some good.  I could eat it with a spoon.    All caramel rich and gooey . . .  lovely on crackers or plain biscuit/cookies.  Or sandwiched between two . . .  just sayin!


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Easy Oven Baked Pasta


Easy Oven Baked Pasta

Sometimes you just feel really lazy, don't you?  It can't just be me, can it?  I confess . . .  I do have days when I feel really lazy.

Days when I can't get motivated to do much of anything, and yet I am absolutely starving!     That is when a recipe like this one here today comes in really handy.


Easy Oven Baked Pasta

It might not look like very much, but don't let what it looks like fool you into thinking that this isn't very, very tasty.  It's fabulously tasty . . .  well as tasty as the jar of pasta sauce that you use.   

 Yes . . .  she shrieks in horror . . .  I do use a jarred pasta sauce once in a while!   Doesn't everyone?

Easy Oven Baked Pasta

I am not a culinary paragon of virtue.  I do have a store cupboard full of ingredients that I use from time to time . . .  when I am lacking in time, energy . . . and yes inspiration. Because even I am not always "on."   

I do buy quality pasta sauces when they are on offer . . .  I am not fond of no name or generic brands.  I have a particular fondness for Lloyd Grossman sauces . . .  and Napoli, which brings me to this dish here today.

 Easy Oven Baked Pasta

About a month or so ago, I found a jar of Lloyd's oven bake pasta sauce that I had picked up on offer a while back, just to try like.  I can't remember what flavour it was . . . I think it might have been the  Al Forno one with pancetta in it.  

 In any case, I made it and it was really tasty.   So tasty that I tried to pick up some more one day when I was at the shops . . .  to no avail, because they had plenty of his pasta sauces, but no oven bake pasta sauces.

Easy Oven Baked Pasta

And that is when I decided that I would try making my own version of it, using whatever pasta sauce I had in my larder, simply by adding some water and dry pasta to it and baking it . . .  and you know what???  

It worked like a charm.  In fact it was perfect.  Result!  Pasta which has been baked in sauce is really very tasty . . .  and all you have to do is just sit there and let the oven do all of the work.  All you need is some salad and crusty bread on the side and Bob's your uncle! Even the Toddster rather liked this and that says a LOT!

Easy Oven Baked Pasta


*Easy Oven Baked Pasta*
Serves 2 to 3


For those nights when you are singularly lacking in inspiration and time.  This leaves your hands free to do something else when it is baking.  

1 400g jar of pasta sauce, any flavour (approximately 2 1/2 cups)
300ml of water (1 1/3 cups)
150g of dry pasta (any short shape such as penne, 1 1/3 cups)
70g of grated cheddar cheese (2/3 cup)
a handful of buttered cracker or bread crumbs
2 TBS grated Parmesan Cheese    


Easy Oven Baked Pasta

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. 

Empty the sauce into a  1 1/2 litre casserole dish (about 1 1/2 quarts).  Whisk in the water to combine and then stir in the dry pasta. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir well.  Stir half of the cheese into the dish.  Combine the remaining cheese with the buttered crumbs, and Parmesan Cheese and sprinkle this evenly over top.  Return to the oven and bake for a final 10 minutes at which time the pasta should be cooked properly and the top will be bubbling and golden brown.   Let stand for about 5 minutes prior to serving. 

Sorry for my absence of the past couple of days!  I had no internet connection, well not a lasting one anyways!  Hopefully it's now been sorted!  I missed you! ☺ 

This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com Thanks so much for visiting. Do come again! 

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Custard Corncake with Berries and Honey


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In America there is a debate between bakers in the south and bakers in the north about whether there is sugar in a proper cornbread or not.  Up north, and in Canada actually, we use some sugar in our cornbread and our corn muffins.  Down south they do not.     In their eyes, once sugar is added . . .  it becomes a cake.

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Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits


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I am a huge fan of quick breads . . .  muffins, loaves . . .  scones, biscuits.   Scones and biscuits are really quite similar.   The basic ingredients are essentially the same . . .  flour, butter or shortening, milk or cream, leavening, and a bit of salt and possibly sugar. The method of preparation, too, is pretty similar . . . you sift the dry ingredients, cut in the fat, and add the liquid. As with biscuits, the scone dough is rolled and cut into shapes.

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Blackberry and Clotted Cream Shortcakes





















One of our favourite things to eat here in the UK at this time of year are blackberries and they are pretty much free for the asking, as they grow  wild in the hedgerows all across the country.  They are quite prolific and need little or no care really, which is probably why they can be found in such abundance.  They can be somewhat of a nuisance to home gardeners whose aim is to have a very manicured garden, as they do have a habit of popping up in the most diverse of places, their canes travelling beneath the ground.  I, for one, don't really mind.  We love blackberries and cannot get enough of them when they are at their best, eating them fresh as often as possible . . .  and I  try to freeze as many as I can as well, for winter time treats.   We grown our own in our garden . . .  well, I say that.  We actually planted tayberries, but they've become blackberries for the most part.  The blackberries which grow in the hedgerow bordering our property have taken over somewhat and intermingled with them, so what we have now is a happy mixture of them both.


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All About Knives


 










































(Click on the above picture to enlarge for more detail.)

One of the first things I was taught, amongst other things, when I went to Culinary school was the proper use and care of knives.   A good knife is one of your most important tools as a chef, or a cook . . .  and it's really important that a person knows how to use and care for them properly.   Not only are they one of the most important tools in the kitchen, but they are also one of the most dangerous tools in the kitchen, so proper care and safety is essential!  Knives must always be handled with respect, used correctly and taken care of so that a professional performance can be achieved.

Some safety rules for knife use are:
  • Always carry your knifes, point held downwards
  • Knives placed on tables must be placed flat and not project over the edge of the table
  • When using knives, always concentrate on the job at hand.
  • Keep knives sharp and use the correct knife for the correct purpose.
  • After use, always wife the knife, blade away from the hand.
  • Keep knife handles clean and do not leave in the sink.
  • Never misuse knives.  After use wash, rinse, dry and safely put away.
  • Colour coding of knife handles can assist in preventing cross contamination
Two tools are available for sharpening knives, a steel and a carborundum stone.  Periodically knives may need to be ground.  To retain sharpness, always use a cutting board.   A good craftsman or craftswoman never blames his or her tools since they always take good care of them.

It goes without saying that for a tool as important as a knife you will want to invest the most that you can in them, as you will want them to be of good quality and to last you for a lifetime.  It is more than worth the money to invest in something as important as a good set of knives.  My mother is still using the same knives she purchased back in the 1950's.   They may have seemed expensive at the time, but they have more than paid for the initial investment through the years and have served her very well.    When I was getting kitted out for culinary school, the knives were the major part of my financial investment, aside from the course.  I can never under-estimate the important of having good tools to work with.   Some of the best quality chefs kitchen knives can be found online at kitchen specialist websites such as Milly's Store.

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It's important to remember also that speed is not essential when using your knives properly.   When watching celebrity chef's on the telly, they always whiz through their chopping amazingly quickly and it can be impressive to watch.  Don't forget that they have had years of professional training and experience . . .  and their knifes are really sharp The most dangerous tool in the kitchen is a dull knife.  Never forget that.   Remember also, that control is much more important than speed.  With time and experience you may well become just as fast as they are, but really all you want to be is safe.

So, with good quality knives, taken care of and used safely . . .  you can be well assured that you are well on your way to becoming a master chef in your home kitchen.





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Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls . . . Combo Number Nine Part Deux


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 Following on from yesterday's post on a Chinese Combo Plate Number Nine, here are the delicious Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls which went along with the Beef and Broccoli which I cooked for us the other day.  If you go to a Chinese Buffet (in Canada at least ) these are the first things to disappear!  Followed closely by the won tons and the chicken wings!

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Beef and Broccoli . . . Combo Special Number 9


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I wouldn't like to call myself predictable, but I guess there are some choices which I obsess on choose predictably identically all the time every time.  Things like always sleeping on the left hand side of the bed . . .  or getting up at the same time each morning and going to bed at the same time each night . . . drinking diet coke as the drink of choice when we go out for dinner, or always having Turkey for Christmas  . . . I suppose we all have our own individual quirks and obsessions!


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Macaroni, Cheese and Tomato Bake


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Interestingly enough the food here in the UK isn't all fish and chips and roast beef or curries.  They're also very fond of macaroni here, and other pasta's too.  In fact it is said that at the beginning of the 19th century they used to call their dandies "macaronis" because the  wigs which they wore were said to resemble macaroni!




























 There is a saying over here which goes . . . "There's naught so queer as folk."  I believe that would apply in this instance!

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Apple and Bramble Hat


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Apple and Bramble (blackberries) have to be the quintessential flavour combination for September here in the UK.   That's when the apples are ripe and the hedgerows are bursting with fresh blackberries, free for the picking.  When we lived down in Kent, we were surrounded by orchards and we were welcome to go scrumping each autum, which is the word they use to describe picking up the windfalls.  

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Glazed Meat Loaf Burgers


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We had the Missionary Elders over for dinner the other night.   They are always such nice young lads.   I love to have them in our home and I do so love to spoil them.   I usually try to cook them something which reminds them of home.   They both really enjoyed this and have requested the recipe from me so that they can either make it for themselves  or pass it on to their mums/girlfriends when they get home.

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A new Fetish for the Foodie in You


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As any foodie will know there is not shortage of food related sites out there!  There are food blogs galore as well as food photography sites in abundance.  There is nothing like a little food porn to get your tastes buds tingling and inspire one to get into the kitchen and start rattling the pots and pans!

Can there ever be too much information out there for the ultimate foodie to enjoy???  I think not and with that in mind . . .  allow me to introduce you to  Zugme, the new social networking system with a unique twist for the foodie to enjoy! Their topic @ city feed structure allows foodies and foodie communities to gather and represent local gastronomic delights and indulgences, exposing other  users and creating a hub of activity in the process. For the foodie this means a chance to discuss or research your favourite restaurants, recipes, ingredients, food fads and other food related content  with "like minded individuals", both locally and nationwide . . .  and even internationally.

Their iFollow and myPeople functions allow industry professionals, food related bloggers and gastronomically minded folks to communicate directly with foodie fans, orchestrating a well-executed method of engaging like minded users within a protected and comfortable space!

With plenty of food related content already available via the internet already, Zugme offers the "food, recipe, restaurant,  and cooking" fan (ie "foodie") a really easy to use and viable alternative to anything they are using at the present time, and I predict that it will soon be the platform of choice for foodies to engage and share with each other all over the UK.

Sign up and join in today, and follow Zugme on Twitter and Facebook for updates.
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Apple and Blackberry Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding and Degusta Box


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I received another tasty Degustabox at the end of August and have been enjoying it's contents in the ensuing weeks.  You can see evidence of that in the lovely Apple and Blackberry Bread and Butter Pudding I bakes with the package of Brioche Pasquier I received in the box, but more about that later, right now  I want to tell you all about what I got in the August box . . .

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Cauliflower Cheese Pie


 

I think Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables, and cauliflower cheese is one of my favourite things to do with it . . .  with a dish like that you don't really need any meat . . . rich and indulgent and very, very tasty.



Today I decided to kick it up a notch or two and added a puff pastry crust.  Talk about good . . .
 I love pies of any kind.  If it's got a crust on top . . . I'm well ready to get stuck in!

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Hot Dog Roll Ups


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I confess . . .  I put my hand up.  I like hot dogs, and not what passes for hotdogs over here in the UK . . . I mean the frankfurter type of hot dog . . .  smoked and from the chiller cabinet, not a tin.  Nothing grosser than a tinned hot dog.  Trust me on this.

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Chow Mein


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 We're usually starving when we get home from church on Sundays.  If I've been smart I will have gotten up early enough to get something into the slow cooker, but if I haven't we have to resort to whatever I can come up with at short notice, because . . . we are absolutely famished by that time!

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Cupcakes Galore!


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Today marks the beginning of National Cupcake Week, September 15 to 21st, 2014.  This week people all over the UK will be baking up a storm of cupcakes in their  quest to become the cupcake baking champion of the UK.  Be prepared for oodles of cupcake deliciousness!


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Fresh Blackberry Tart with Spiked Creme Anglaise




 

Today I baked a Fresh Blackberry Tart with Spiked Creme Anglaise recipe from a cookery book I have had for a while by Kelly Jaggers, called Not so Humble Pies.  This is blackberry season here in the UK at the moment and they are something that I have a lot of and that I love to use in the autumn.




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White Chocolate and Ginger Curd Cheesecake























He's cheeky.  He's handsome.  He's one of my favourite Princes.  He's a ginger . . .  and he's turning 30 on Monday, the 15th September.  Happy Birthday Prince Harry! 

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The totally unique and indulgently delicious Luxury Ginger Curd is perfect for celebrating the birthday of our own favourite ginger-haired Royal!  Prince Harry will no doubt be celebrating his 30th birthday on Monday with the best and most luxurious food and drink so enjoy a little luxury  of your own with The English Provinder Co. Luxury Ginger Curd.

Perfect drizzled over lemon sponge cake or swirled through ice cream, the Ginger Curd is simply heavenly with creamy vanilla cheesecake or meringue.  Create your own delicious dessert  using the following recipe for a fabulous English Provender's White Chocolate and Ginger Curd Cheesecake  It's a winner/winner!

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*White Chocolate and Ginger Curd Cheesecake*
Serves 8

Delicious!  Very easy to make as well.  Do plan ahead as it need to chill for one to two hours.  

75g of butter (1/3 cup)
150g of plain chocolate digestive biscuits crushed (can use 1 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs)
200g good quality white chocolate (7 ounces)
500g marcarpone cheese ( 2 cups)
315g jar The English Provender Co. Luxury Ginger Curd (1 1/2 cups)
grated white chocolate or chocolate curls to decorate  

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan and stir in the biscuits.  Press into the base of an 8 inch diameter loose bottomed round cake tin.  CHill whilst preparing the filling.


Place the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water and heat gently, stirring occasionally until melted.

Place the mascarpone in a bowl and whisk in the ginger curd until smooth.   Whisk in the melted chocolate.  Spoon over the base and chill for 1 to 2 hours.

Carefully loosen and remove from the tin and decorate with grated chocolate or chocolate curls.  Cut into slices to serve.

SCRUMPTIOUS! 

RRP:  £2.49 and available from The English Provender Co.
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Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares


Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares

The two young Missionary Sisters who are serving in the Chester Ward at the moment came over today to do some service in our garden.   We just love our Missionaries, we really do.  

I did them some grilled cheese sandwiches for their lunch which I served them along with some potato chips and some of my cherished sweet pickles from home that I hoard.   

They were really happy with that, but when I cracked open my Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares, they were just thrilled!

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares

I don't know anyone that wouldn't be thrilled to be faced with a plate of these.   Picture it . . .  you have a brown sugar, oatmeal buttery nutty fudgy cake type of base . . .   partially baked . . .

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares

Slathered with a rich sweet peanut buttery custard filling . . . and then topped with more of that brown sugar, oatmeal buttery nutty fudgy cake base, crumbled this time and mixed with oodles of milk chocolate bits and then baked again until the whole mass melds together  . . .

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares

Into something so scrumdiddlyumptious that it will be quite, quite impossible to eat just one.  Seriously.  Impossible.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares

I took a bite out of one just so I could show you how very tempting they are . . .  ahem . . .  tough job but somebody's got to do it!


 Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares

*Chocolate and Peanut Butter Slice*
Makes 20

Decadent and moreish.  Bet you can't eat just one!  

300g milk chocolate, cut into bits, or milk chocolate chips (1 2/3 cups)
350g of plain flour (2 1/2 cups)
1 tsp baking powder
225g of butter (1 cup)
350g of soft light brown sugar (1 3/4 cup)
175g of rolled oats (2 cups plus 3 TBS)
70g chopped walnuts (2/3 cup)
1 large free range egg, beaten
400g tin of sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated 14 ounces)
70g peanut butter (6 1/2 TBS)   


Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.   Butter a 12 by 8 inch rectangular tin really well, set aside.  (Alternately you can line the tin with baking paper and butter the baking paper. (I like to leave enough overhang to lift it out with when it is cooled in order to be able to cut it into even slices.)
Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl.  Drop in the butter and rub it into the flour using your fingertips until you have a mixture resembling fine bread crumbs.  Stir in the brown sugar, oats and chopped nuts to combine all together well.  Remove a quarter of the mixture and set it aside in a bowl.  Stir the egg into the remaining mixture, mixing it in completely.  Press this mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking tin.  Bake for 15 minutes.

While the base is baking, stir the chocolate chips/bits into the reserved crumb mixture and set aside.
Whisk together the condensed milk and the peanut butter.


Remove the partially baked base from the oven.   Pour the peanut butter mixture over the base, spreading it out evenly.   Sprinkle the chocolate bit crumb mixture evenly over top and press down lightly.  Return the pan to the oven and bake a further 20 minutes, until golden brown.  Allow to cool completely in the tin. Lift out and cut into squares to serve.   Store in an airtight container.  Delicious!

Missionaries

She kissed a frog, but it didn't turn into a prince . . .  so cute.  That Sister Wagner is such a cutie pie.

 Missionaries

I don't know who was braver, Sister Jones or the baby frog!

Missionaries

I kinda think it was the baby frog, surrounded by all of us giants.  Isn't nature amazing?    

This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com Thanks so much for visiting. Do come again! 




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