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Broccoli Pasta Salad


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A week ago I was supposed to go to a Pot Luck lunch/meeting with the other Senior Missionaries.  It ended up that for reasons of health I was not able to go, however I had already made this delicious salad to take.  However some of the younger missionaries came over to borrow our BBQ for an activity they were having that day and so I gave the salad to them to have with their Hot Dogs and Burgers.  They were pretty happy about that!

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Chicken Rarebits with Melted Leeks


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One thing I really love about chicken breasts is their complete versatility and ability to take on other flavours easily.  They are like a blank canvas for  an abundance flavours, textures and ingredients . . .  so long as you don't dry them out.  Over-cooked, they are quite tasteless and not very pleasant to eat at all.

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Wildo, Functional and Attractive


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I confess I am a great fan of Swedish Design.   I love everything about it.  I love the colours, the simplicity, the fact that everything they do is meant to not only look good, but have great function.  That's why I was really excited to have been asked to tell you about these new Wildo Camp-A-Box's!  I have to say . . .  I am very impressed.

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Simply Ramen


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 I recently received this lovely book, Simply Ramen, a Complete Course in Preparing Ramen Meals at Home by Amy Kimoto-Kahn to review.   I confess I have never had ramen, although I know a lot of people who have and who rave about it.  I was very excited to get this book!


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Hawaiian Pizza Pasta


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Remind me not to buy such a big ham next year.  When there are only two of you it takes a while to use it all up.  We had roasted gammon on the day, then I did the omelette thing, then the next day we had it just re-heated in a pan with the vegetable leftovers and now today I have done a pasta dish with it. (Not Todd's favourite but he declared it quite edible.  I thought it was rather tasty myself, but then again, I do love pasta!)  And there is still ham to use up . . . I may just have to freeze it to have another time, when we are not all "hammed" out as it were!

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Baked Denver Omelette


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I think I have really been overdoing it on the carb front lately and so I took advantage of us having leftover ham in the house and lots of eggs to make us a delicious Baked Denver Omelette for our supper tonight.  Not only was it quick and easy to make, but it is also relatively low in fat and pretty healthy all round!

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An Easy Simnel Cake


An Easy Simnel Cake

Simnel Cakes and Easter go together like peas and carrots! If you don't live in the UK, you are probably very unfamiliar with Simnel Cake.  I adore Simnel Cake myself, but then I am a fan of fruit cakes in general.  

This very easy simnel cake recipe is one of my favourite go-to's for seasonal Easter Treats. It embodies all of the yumminess of a full sized Simnel Cake, but not a lot of the faffing about!  Works for me!



An Easy Simnel Cake


A Simnel cake is a light fruit cake with two layers of almond paste or marzipan, one in the middle and one on top, that is toasted, and eaten during the Easter period here in the United Kingdom, Ireland and some other countries.  

I think it's also made for Mother's Day, but I'm not entirely sure.   I did not bake a full Simnel Cake  . . . because I didn't have enough Marzipan in my cupboard. However,  I did find a recipe for a Simple Simnel Cake which I baked in its place and it turned out lovely.

The  original recipe comes from a  Good Food cookery magazine, entitled The Good Food Cake Collection. Its filled with lots of yummy cakes.

An Easy Simnel Cake

This is what would be considered to be a white fruit cake, or light. It is stogged full of lovely dried vine fruits, as well as glace cherries.  Also included are the flavors of oranges (zest, juice and cointreau), along with the traditional layer of marzipan in the center.  

I really  love marzipan, don't you?  Filled with almond moreishness!  It is extremely lovely in this cake.  It goes so well with cherries you know.

 An Easy Simnel Cake

It's baked in a loaf tin, but do be warned you will need a large one.  It is a lot of cake.

I recommend a deep 9 X 4 inch loaf tin at the very least, or two smaller tins.  You don't want to fill any tin more than 3/4 full with the cake batter.

An Easy Simnel Cake

The top is glazed with a simple orange glaze icing and topped with caramel crusted almonds.  

The original recipe called for whole blanched almonds, but I didn't have any of those. I did have flaked however and they worked beautifully.

An Easy Simnel Cake

So what you get is a beautiful fruity cake,  studded with vine fruits, and with a delicious layer of almondy marzipan in the centre, a scrumptious glaze on top and those beautiful crunchy sweet almonds scattered over the top.  

Whew!  That was a real mouthful!! This is a cake that just begs to be served with a nice hot cuppa.  Do indulge . . .  and Happy Easter.

An Easy Simnel Cake

*A Simple Simnel Cake*
Serves 16 to 18

This is a simple recipe I adapted from one found in the paperback magazine book entitled BBC Good Food Cake Collection.  Simnel Cake is a traditional Easter Cake here in the UK.  It can be rather over complicated, so it's nice to have a simple version to play with.  Love the candied almonds on top!  If you have any leftovers, use them as a salad topping!  You will need a large deep loaf tin. 

the zest and juice of 2 large oranges
2 TBS Cointreau
350g of mixed dried fruit (2 1/2 cups)
100g whole glace cherries (2/3 cup)
250g pack of marzipan (1/2 pound)
200g butter, softened (14 TBS)
200g caster sugar (1 cup)
350g of self raising flour (2 1/2 cups)
4 large free range eggs
2 TBS milk
For the frosting:
125g of sifted icing sugar (scant cup)
zest of one orange plus 1 - 1 1/2 TBS orange juice
For the almonds:
50g of toasted flaked almonds (generous half cup)
100g caster sugar (1/2 cup)


An Easy Simnel Cake

Make the candied almonds. Have ready a lightly buttered baking sheet. Toast the almonds carefully in a skillet, over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Tip out into a bowl.  Add the sugar and let it sit, undisturbed until it begins to melt.  Swirl every now and again until it is completely liquid and turns a golden caramel colour.  Don't be tempted to rush this process as you will end up with burnt sugar.  Medium heat is sufficient.  Remove from the heat. Tip in the almonds, stirring to coat.  Pour onto the prepared baking sheet and tear them apart with two forks while they are still hot, breaking them up into little clumps.  Allow to cool completely.  Remember hot sugar is HOT.  Don't touch.

An Easy Simnel Cake


Preheat the oven to 160*C/325*F gas mark 3.  Butter a large loaf tin and line it with baking paper.  Set aside.

Put the mixed dried fruit into a bowl along with the orange zest and juice and the cointreau.  Let to set while you make the batter.

Cream the butter and sugar together.  Beat in the eggs.  Tip iin the flour and milk and beat all together until you have a lovely smooth batter. Stir in the fruit plus their juices to combine. 
Shape the marzipan into a log roughly the length of the loaf tin.  Roll out to the width of the loaf tin.  Trim as necessary.


An Easy Simnel Cake

Spread half of the cake batter into the lined loaf tin.  Cover with the rolled out marzipan.  Cover with the remaining batter, smoothing the top over.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 40  minutes until the cake is well risen and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely in the tin before removing.  Remove and discard the paper.

On the day you want to serve the cake, whisk the ingredients together for the glaze icing.  Drizzle this over top of the cake, and scatter with the candied almonds.  Let set before cutting into slices to serve.


Simnel Cake

For a more traditional recipe, and some of the history of the Simnel cake  you can find one on the ASDA recipe pages here

An Easy Simnel Cake 

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. 


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Apricot Glazed Gammon/Ham and sides for Easter


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When I was a child Gammon/Ham was the centre piece of every Easter celebration dinner.  It was always served cold, thinly sliced, with mustard and mashed potatoes and vegetables on the side.  In all honesty as a child, I was far too full of chocolate and candy to really get too excited about Easter dinner.  There would have been a lemon pie for dessert though and that would have gotten me plenty excited.  (Its my favourite!)

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Lentil Soup and Falafel


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I don't know about you, but I have very special feelings associated with Good Friday.  I have always been a very spiritual person and for me this has to be one of the most emotional days of the year . . .  a mix of sadness combined with feelings of gratitude and thanksgiving.  I like to keep food simple on Good Friday.  We usually start with hot cross buns for breakfast and then the rest of the day we have basically a vegetarian diet.   I like to have a soup for supper, like this delicious Lentil Soup and for lunch this year we are having homemade Falafel.

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Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas


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I've been to Buffalo, New York many times in my life time but I am sorry to say that I have never tried Buffalo Wings in Buffalo.  Shame that, because they are one of my favourite things ever.   The spiciness of that finger licking chicken . . .  and the wings are my favourite part of the chicken (naughty me)  . . . along with the cool creaminess of the blue cheese dressing . . . well, to me it's just the perfect combination.   A marriage made in heaven.  I have promised myself that if I ever have the chance to go to Buffalo again, I will indulge in some Buffalo Wings and at the place they are supposed to have originated from . . . The Anchor Bar.  Now that's one for the bucket list if ever there was one!

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Cereal Wheat Bread and Degustabox


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As soon as I saw the box of Nutribix Cereal in the February Degustabox, I knew exactly what I wanted to make as my recipe for the month.  I have been making a bread for about 40 years now that uses wheat cereal biscuits and I thought this cereal would be perfect for that.  You can make it in either small loaves, or in buns.  I did buns, but both would be beautiful.  It's a hearty bread and very tasty!  More about that later, first I'd like to tell you about the other products I received in this box.

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French Onion Chicken Sandwiches


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One of my favourite things to get when we are eating out is a Chicken Sandwich or Burger.   Yes, I know  . . .  we eat chicken all the time at home, and dollars to donuts I eat it again when we are out and about.  I am just a boring person I guess!  Chicken Sandwiches or Burgers can often be very high in fat and calories however and so today I created one which is delicious and a little bit healthier than normal, well certainly healthier than those breaded deep fried ones you get in the restaurants . . .  and not only that, but it is pretty economical as well.

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Cheesy Potatoes


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This is something which I made a long time ago and forgot to tell you about.  It is loosely based on something which my friend Kathy did in her crock pot, except I did it in the oven with parboiled potatoes, and I used cream instead of soup, etc.  It turned out fabulous!

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Homemade Brownie Mix=Easter Basket Brownies


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I have always made my own convenience mixes for things . . . .  biscuit/scone mix, cookie mix, muffin mix, etc.  One of my favourite convenience mixes to have to hand is my Brownie Mix.  It comes  in very handy and so easy to make and to store.  It does make a lot, but you can always cut the recipe in half to make less.  Today I used it to make these delicious Easter Basket Brownies!

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Lemon Kisses


Lemon Kisses

I do believe I have found THE perfect lemon cookie.   I love lemon anything and these cookies are just the absolute epitome of what are some beautiful lemon flavours!   

I SO adore lemon in anything, pies, cakes, cookies.  Even savoury dishes. I absolutely love Lemon Chicken.

These cookies are crisp, buttery and full on lemony!  Wowsa wowsa!   Pucker up because these cookies are going to slap you with a lovely lemon kiss!

Lemon Kisses

They are so simple to make  nd bake as well.  The recipe is one I adapted from a little BBC Good Food Book, entitled Easy Baking Recipes.  

I love those little BBC books, they are chock full of great recipes. I have quite a few of them. When I first moved to the UK I had a subscription to Good Food Magazine.  

It was a real favourite of mine. Always filled with great recipes, and so are these little books.

Lemon Kisses

The dough for these cookies is simple butter dough. It is flavoured with lemon and vanilla.

The baked cookie is tender and flakey. I would say that they are not quite shortbread like, but very close. They have a beautiful texture when baked.

Lemon Kisses

The lemon flavour in the cookie itself is very subtle, but not overly so.  It's definitely there.

It just doesn’t smack you in the face! 

Lemon Kisses

Additional lemon flavour comes from the lemon curd which you use to sandwich these lovely biscuits together with.  Use a good quality curd. I like to one which I know is thick and puckeringly lemony  flavoured. 

 It is worth it to pay a bit more for a quality curd or even to make your own if you can. These lovely biscuits deserve more than the cheap stuff.  You won't be sorry.

Lemon Kisses

 Yet another layer of lemon flavour comes in the sweet lemon icing which is drizzled over top of the sandwiched biscuits.  Drizzle icings are very easy to make.

Whisk together a few ingredients and drizzle. Easy peasy.  But, that's not all . . . there is more.

 Lemon Kisses

 A finishing sprinkle of freshly grated lemon zest seals the deal and completes three layers of delightful lemon tastiness.

These are lemon cookies you can write home about. These are the lemon cookies you have dreamed about.

Lemon Kisses

Simply put  . . .  these are gorgeous. These are beautiful enough to serve for a special occasion, like a tea party or a birthday party.

But they are simple enough to enjoy every day. Be warned. You are sure to fall in love! 

Lemon Kisses


*Lemon Kisses*
Makes about 20 double biscuits/cookies

Use a good quality thick lemon curd for these.  If you love lemon, you will quite simply adore these. 

200g soft butter (7 ounces or 14 TBS)
140g caster sugar (3/4 cup)
1 large free range egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
the zest of two lemons
the juice of one lemon
300g of plain flour, plus a bit extra for dusting (2 cups plus  2 1/2 TBS, plus extra for dusting)
1/2 jar good quality lemon curd
140g of icing sugar, sifted (3/4 cup) 


 Lemon Kisses

 Line a few large baking trays with baking paper.  Set aside.


Cream the butter together with the sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and the zest of one lemon until well combined.  Add the flour and stir together.  You may need to use your hands near the end to make sure the flour is completely incorporated, and you have a smooth dough.   Divide the dough in half and roll out to 1/4 inch thickness on a lightly floured board.  Stamp into 2 1/2 inch rounds.  Reroll trimmings and recut until you have used all the dough. Place on baking sheets.  Chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.

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

Lemon Kisses

Bake the cookies, one tray at a time, on the middle rack of the oven until pale golden brown, about 8 minutes or so. Scoop off onto wire rack to cool.   Allow to cool completely  before proceeding.
Spread half of the biscuits with some lemon curd, and top with the remaining biscuits.

Lemon Kisses


Whisk the icing sugar together with enough of the lemon juice from one of the lemons to give you a thick drizzle icing.   Drizzle this over top of the sandwiched biscuits and sprinkle with the lemon zest of the second lemon.  Leave to set before serving.  Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.  Bring to room temperature before serving.

Lemon Kisses

As I was rolling these out, I thought to myself, wouldn't these be lovely cut out with my bunny cutters, filled, glazed and then decorated with some white candy puff tails, and pink eyes . . .  and so I cut out roughly half the dough as bunnies.  

Never thinking for a minute that if I wanted to sandwich them together I would have to reverse cut half of them . . .  DUH.  Nevermind.  They were still cute and pretty tasty as a single layer cookie, glazed with the lemon icing and decorated simply as it were.

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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Bunny Bum Cakes


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 Wow, I can't believe that Easter is almost upon us and that this Sunday it is already Palm Sunday.  It seems early this year . . .  but then again, time just seems to be flying by at the speed of light don't you think?    Easter was always one of my favourite holidays when I was growing up.  It meant a new hat, a new dress and we could take our winter tights off and start wearing  knee socks!  OH, and let's not forget the chocolate!    Easter Eggs, Baby Chicks and Easter Bunnies . . .  and if they involved chocolate so much the better!

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 Are these not the cutest cupcakes ever?  I love them.   They are from the baking experts Dr. Oetker! In the lead up to Easter, Dr. Oetker wants to get people excited about baking with chocolate. To do this, they are creating a super fun, 6ft chocolate Bunny Bum that will appear in two locations in the UK!
 In honour of this, they sent me a recipe for these cute Bunny Bum Cupcakes and some ingredients so that I could re-create these delightful little cakes for myself, and if I could add a bit of a twist to them and make them my own  . . .  so much the better!


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Healthy Options for Saint Patricks Day


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 I thought it would be fun to share some healthy Saint Patrick's Day options today which I have gathered from around the www.   All look tasty.  All look simple.  All are very healthy, diabetic friendly and sure to a smile on your Saint Patrick's Day loving family's faces! So put on your green and lets eat some healthy grub!

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Irish Soda Farl




I have to confess I am a real old film buff. I could sit and watch old movies all day long . . . the black and white images don't bother me. I just adore them.

I think it's because they take me back to a simpler time . . .

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Balnamoon Skink, Irish Hunter's Pie and Berry Buttermilk Cobbler for St Patty's Day


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I'm going through some medical stuff over this next couple of days so I hope that you will forgive me for reposting this delicious Irish Menu for Saint Patricks Day 2016.  I haven't and won't be eating anything at all  much until all is said and done at the hospital, but I do hope that you will enjoy this tasty menu and perhaps be inspired to do one of your own. 

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Chicken Crumble Pot Pie


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 We eat a lot of chicken in this house and I am always on the search for new ways to prepare it, so that it never becomes boring.   Chicken is such a lovely protein in that it takes to other flavours very well and is so very adaptable.   I discovered what looked to be a very delicious recipe for a Chicken Pot Pie Crumble on Pinterest last week.  Chicken . . .  Check!  Pot Pie . . .  Check!!  Crumble . . .  Check !!!  The three together  . . .  well that just spells Winner Winner Chicken Dinner to me!

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Healthy Snacking with Yushoi Snapea Rice Sticks


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 One of the blessings of having a food blog is that I occasionally get to try new products.  That is something which I truly enjoy.    I was recently sent a selection of Yushoi Snapea Rice Sticks to try out and I have to say I was pretty excited to receive them.  I am always on the look out for a healthy snack to indulge in.  I quite like potato crisps,  but they're not really all that good for you are they . . .  these looked to be a lot healthier.

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Peanut Butter Blossoms


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This is a cookie I used to make for my kiddos quite often when they were growing up and who wouldn't love them?   A tasty peanut butter cookie, topped with a milk chocolate candy kiss as soon as they come out from the oven.  Peanut butter and milk chocolate  . . .  a marriage made in heavenly bliss!

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Chocolate & Caramel Stuffed Croissants


Chocolate & Caramel Stuffed Croissants

  Chocolate and Caramel Egg Stuffed Croissants.  This quick and easy recipe is something delicious to make with any excess Easter Eggs you find yourself struggling with! (As if!)

When I was growing up my dear Aunt Thelma used to send us up some lovely Easter Breads every year . . .  sweetly glazed with icing and decorated with candied cherries.  

We loved them.  Easter and sweet breads go together like peas and carrots!  Think Hot Cross Buns . . .  this recipe today is only a bit of fun and one that the kids will surely love baking this Easter.  It's very simple to make!




 Chocolate & Caramel Stuffed Croissants

All you need is some refrigerated croissant dough and some caramel stuffed milk chocolate Easter eggs.  

You just lay the croissant dough out and then roll it up around the Easter eggs.

Chocolate & Caramel Stuffed Croissants

The only care you need to take is to make sure that the egg is completely enclosed and that there are no holes in the buns for the chocolate to leak out.

 Chocolate & Caramel Stuffed Croissants

 An egg wash and a sprinkle of demerara sugar ensures that they are golden brown with just a hint of crunchy sweetness on the outsides.

Chocolate & Caramel Stuffed Croissants

You will also want to make sure that you let them sit for a few minutes prior to eating . . .  the filling can be quite hot and candy is involved.

Chocolate & Caramel Stuffed Croissants

Everyone will be thoroughly delighted when they break them open and see all of that decadent chocolately loveliness lurking inside!  

How to make friends and influence people?  Just make them one of these.

 Chocolate & Caramel Stuffed Croissants

*Chocolate & Caramel Stuffed Croissants*
Serves 6

Just a bit of Easter fun.  Decadent.   If you're a diabetic, you need to look away. 

1 tin of refrigerated Croissant dough
6 individual chocolate and caramel Easter Eggs, unwrapped
1 large free range egg yolk beaten with 1 tsp water
demerara sugar for sprinkling 

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Line a baking tray with some baking parchment. 

Unroll the croissant dough and break apart at the perforations.  Place one caramel egg on the wide end of each triangle.  Roll up as per directions on the tin, taking care to completely enclose the Easter eggs, and twisting it well shut on the ends.  Place a few inches apart on the baking tray.  Brush with some beaten egg and sprinkle with some sugar. 

Bake for about 10 minutes until well risen and golden brown.  Let stand for about 10 minutes prior to eating. 

Chocolate & Caramel Stuffed Croissants 

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. 

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