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Garden Herb Dip

No doubt quite a few of you will be entertaining this weekend. Last weekend we had our August Bank Holiday weekend and I know that this weekend in North America it is what is known as the Labour Day Long Weekend, Summer's last hurrah before the busy-ness of Autumn sets in.  Schools will be going back next week, Summer holidays are over.  This is the weekend to throw one last Summer blast!  This Garden Herb Dip is perfect for any get-togethers you might be planning!

I always come home with an empty container. It is a simple make and tastes delicious and I don't know anyone who doesn't love vegetables or crackers and chips with a tasty dip!

I am betting you have everything in your house right now to make it also . . .  cream cheese, thick plain yogurt, mayonnaise, a bit of Dijon mustard and a splash of hot sauce, along with some chopped spring onions (scallions), chives and seasonings.

Simple ingredients whisked together with fabulous results!

The recipe comes, once again, from my Big Blue Binder.  Its perfect for serving with crisp things  . . . like raw vegetables or potato chips, crackers, crisp breads, etc.

Some of my favourite vegetables for dipping are carrots, cucumbers, radishes, peppers, and broccoli and cauliflower.  Although at this stage of life I need to blanch the broccoli and cauliflower briefly first. My body doesn't seem to tolerate them as well as they did when I was younger. 'Nuff said! (Diverticulitis!)

What I like most about this dip is that it is lovely and thick. It is easy to dip and stays on your dipper!  Its not messy to eat in the least.  When you are entertaining or partying, that's a huge plus for me!

You could add other herbs if you want, but I think it is pretty perfect just as it is!

Yield: 2 1/2 cups

Garden Herb Dip

prep time: 15 minscook time: 8 hourtotal time: 8 hours and 15 mins
Fabulous with crisp vegetables and crackers.  Quick and easy to make and very delicious! Great for parties and get-togethers!


1 (250g) pack of cream cheese (8 oz pack)
240ml thick Greek yogurt, plain (1 cup)
60g mayonnaise (1/4 cup)
3 spring onions, trimmed, washed and chopped
2 heaped TBS minced fresh chives
salt to taste
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
dash of Tabasco sauce


Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and chill
overnight.  Spoon into a bowl to serve along with your favourite crisp
raw vegetables.  Some good suggestions are carrots, cucumber, broccoli
and cauliflower (I lightly blanch first), assorted bell pepper strips,
trimmed baby spring onions, tomato wedges, radishes, baby corn, fresh
mushrooms, etc.
Created using The Recipes Generator

See how lovely and thick it is and how it stays on the vegetables without dipping.  This is a plus, plus, PLUS!

I like to use my 5 in 1 Vegetable Shredder for prepping some of the vegetables.  Not only is it easy to use, but it is also designed as a handy container for holding your prepped vegetables. 

It has five different prep blades, a vegetable peeler and a special gliding vegetable holder which safely helps you to glide the vegetables over the blades.  They are quite sharp.

The picks on the bottom of the glider grab the vegetable and hold it in place. There are two sizes of plain slicer bladed, two sizes of grating blades and a waffle blade . . . this is what I used to cut my carrots with today.  Very pretty.

As you slide the vegetables over the blade they go into the handy storage bowl underneath, cutting down on any mess.  Easy to use, it simply rinses clean.  Made of Premium ABS plastic and stainless steel it also stores easily. All of the parts can be stored in the handy bowl underneath when not in use.  Its also very easy to change the blades.  I quite like it myself!  Bon Appetit! 

Marie Rayner
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Corn & Tomato Pie

Late summer is one of my favourite times of the year.  You get lovely days with cool nights, and our gardens are overflowing with lovely fruit and veg.  This recipe I am sharing today is a perfect way to use up some of the garden glut! 

I don't think it is an accident that fresh tomatoes and corn are ripening at the same time. These two vegetables go wonderfully together!

This recipe includes both sweet corn kernels and ripe summer tomatoes, mixed together with crisp green bell peppers and beautiful garden basil.

Its not a pie in the way that you would recognise a pie . . .  there is no crust really, just two layers of streaky bacon and dry bread crumbs that kind of form a crust if that makes sense. BACON!!  Yes, with corn and tomatoes?  Count me in!

I used pulverized KrispRolls for the crumbs.  Whole grain and really crisp, they were perfect for this use. I try to get as many whole grains into us as I can. Todd really prefers white bread, but I know that whole grains are essential for good health and lower GI, so in something like this, I use them.  Feeding men is sometimes like feeding children.  You have to just sneak the goodness in so they don't notice. Shhh . . .  don't tell.

The whole dish has a slightly smokey quality, from the bacon of course, and the bread crumbs soak up any excess fat which helps them to form a bit of a crust.  Crisp bacon, who doesn't love that!  (Well, unless you are a vegetarian of course!) 

Fresh crisp sweet corn . . . tender and delicious  . . .  ripe sweet tomatoes, with the taste of the sunshine in every mouthful . . . To peel the tomatoes easily cut a cross in the centre of the bottom of each tomato with a sharp knife, and plunge them into boiling water. Let sit for about 1 minute and you will notice that the edges of the cross will be starting to lift just a bit. Scoop the out with a slotted spoon into ice water and they will peel really easily. No problemo!

Herby basil . . . basil goes extremely well with corn and tomatoes . . . and the smell  . . .  mmmm . . . . I actually cut it chiffonade style. Just layer the leaves and then roll tightly into a cigar and cut crosswise into thin slices.  Chopping basil bruises it too much, and you release more of the flavour into your cutting board.  You really want the flavour to stay in the leaves.

Some people have a difficult time digesting green peppers. In that case you can use red or orange peppers. It won't be quite as pretty as the green, but will still taste very good. I use this chopper which easily chops them to the perfect size. No fuss no muss.

A bit of salt and pepper, remembering that bacon can be salty. Oh, about the bacon. I always use dry cure bacon. Less water in it.  More natural. Oh, I am reminded of something. Many years ago we used to buy home smoked bacon from a little country store back home.  It was simply gorgeous.  The smell alone was like nothing you could buy in the regular shops and the flavour was amazing.

But I digress  . . .  all of these flavours today, combined in a delicious layered casserole/pie make for some pretty darn delicious eating if I don't say so myself. You won't want to miss out on this one. I dare say that you could use frozen corn in a pinch, but if you have fresh, why not use that.  You are going to love this! 

Yield: 6

Corn & Tomato Pie

prep time: 15 minscook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 hours and 15 mins
A great way to use up some of the abundance in the garden at this time of year.  Simple fresh ingredients done right.


8 slices streaky bacon, halved crosswise
240g dry bread crumbs (2 cups)
1 green bell pepper, trimmed, seeded and minced
8 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped (2 cups)
the fresh kernels from 4 large cobs of corn (3 cups)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp soft light brown sugar
large handful of fresh basil, minced (1/4 cup)


Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Have ready a shallow 2 litre/2 quart casserole dish. 

 the casserole dish with half the bacon. Top with half of the bread
crumbs.  Layer in the green pepper, tomatoes and corn, seasoning each
layer with salt and pepper, chopped basil and brown sugar, layering each
 ingredient twice.  Sprinkle the remaining bread crumbs over top.  Lay
the remaining bacon slices over the bread crumbs.

Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, until the top is lightly browned and everything is tender and cooked through.  Serve hot.
Created using The Recipes Generator

This is a recipe taken from my Big Blue Binder.  For those who don't know it is a huge blue covered binder that I have been collecting recipes from family and friends in since I was a girl. It has travelled the world with me!  Its pretty much falling apart at this point, but it is filled with lovely gems such as this one!  Bon Appetit!

Marie Rayner
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Oven Hash

If there is anything I like more than a roast on the first day, it is the wonderful things you can do with the leftovers. Be it chicken, turkey, beef, lamb or pork, I am a master at making the leftovers taste fresh and new and delicious!  Nobody in my house has ever said, Leftovers?  YUCK!  In fact they have always loved them, and I say that not to brag, but as a fact.

This recipe I am sharing today is a simple and easy version of Roast Beef Hash, with the exception being that there is no frying involved. None at all. 

Chopped onion, potato and beef are simply combined with some tinned evaporated milk, Worcestershire sauce, seasoning and parsley flakes, poured into a buttered dish, and topped with some buttered cracker crumbs prior to baking. 

That is it in its very basic rendition  . . .  of course you can amp it up a bit with the addition of some garlic powder and herbs. I would suggest thyme and marjoram and maybe some rosemary. You won't need a lot, just a smidgen of each.

You could add a squirt of ketchup and mustard to the milk mixture as well if you like.  Both work very well . . .  or even a squirt of either BBQ sauce or HP sauce. 

You could also add some mixed vegetables if you liked, about a cup of frozen mixed vegetables would be nice, but I wouldn't do any more to it than that.   Really, in all truth, it is very delicious even in it's most basic form!

The quantities are for two people, which is a very generous amount. You can easily double it to serve more if you want. Just make sure you have the same amount of potato as beef, and then half again as much of onion. You can precook the onion if you want, but its really not necessary.

I had plenty of leftover veg from Sunday and so I warmed them up and served them on the side and the casserole would easily have served at least three people generously. 

We had mashed Swede (rutabaga/turnips) and a mix of peas, corn and carrots, all leftover as well.  When I do my Swede, I simply boil it until tender in lightly salted water, drain well and then mash well with a potato masher, stirring in a small knob of butter and a touch of brown sugar, salt and pepper.  The Brown sugar really enhances the natural sweetness of the Swede.  Trust me on this.

I like to season my carrots with a pinch of sugar and some freshly grated nutmeg.  There is something about nutmeg that goes very well with carrots and I know you will love it.  I usually don't add any butter, but you can if you want, and some salt and pepper also.

Yield: 2

Oven Hash

prep time: 15 minscook time: 30 minstotal time: 45 mins
A delicious casserole for two to make with the leftovers from your Sunday Roast!


1 cup finely chopped roast beef
1 cup finely chopped cooked potato
150g evaporated milk (2/3 cup)
1 small onion, peeled and minced
1/2 tsp dried parsley flakes
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and black pepper to taste
a handful of crushed rich round crackers
1 TBS butter, melted


Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Combine the beef, potato,
milk, onion, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  Turn into a
 buttered 1 litre/1 QT casserole dish. Toss the cracker crumbs with the
melted butter and sprinkle on top.  Bake in the preheated oven for half
an hour, until heated through, bubbling and golden brown.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Todd enjoyed his with some warmed up leftover gravy and mash on the side. Me, I enjoyed mine with a splash of tomato sauce. Yes, I am one of those North Americans who enjoys her ketchup!  And we still have some roast beef leftover, which I have even more plans for. Watch this space and Bon Appetit! 

Marie Rayner
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Pip & Nut

I do get sent the absolute nicest things.  I was recently contacted and asked did I want to try some products from the  Pip & Nut. I said of course. I am always happy to try new things.  I was sent a selection of their products which came in this adorable box.  As one of my followers on Instagram said, I half expected to open it up and find a real squirrel!  The packaging is totally charming! 

As you can see there were no live squirrels inside, despite the air holes and squirrel paw prints on the bottom of the box.  Instead there was a lovely assortment of their range of nut butters. 

Pip is a keen runner who has always been on the lookout for delicious things, believing that good food should be super tasty, and yet packed with nutrients and energy With this in mind she began making her own nut butters, without palm oil or refined sugars, and containing only natural ingredients. She began by selling her nut butters at the Maltby Street Market in London, but it wasn't long before (due to the high demand) she was selling her products in Selfridges. Happily nowadays her butters and other products are available in more than 5,000 stores across the UK and Europe.

As I was said I was sent a selection of her nut butters.  They are available in 9 different flavours includign Smooth, Crunchy and Crunchy Maple Peanut Butter, Smooth, Crunchy and Coconut Almond Butter, Honey Almond Butter, Chocolate Coconut Hazelnut Butter and the newest flavour Chocolate Orange Almond Butter. All 100% natural and palm oil free. These come in jars as well as squeeze packs. They also  make Dairy Free Nut Milks.

I have been enjoying these butters very much over the past month.  What I love about them is that they are totally natural.  Because there are no preservatives per se, this does mean that you need to stir them up prior to using, but that is not a problem from where I am sitting. I also love that there are only natural sweeteners used in some of them, nothing refined. Sweeteners such as Maple  and  Agave syrups, Agave nectar and coconut. The peanut butter contains only two ingredients . . .  Peanuts and sea salt!  Like Like! LIKE!  Really nutty and delicious!

I have been enjoying it on my oats in the morning along with some sliced banana.  But they are also great in smoothies. You can actually purchase a cookbook filled with recipes for using their products on Amazon

I really like their products and their mandate to provide the consumer with products that only contain ingredients you can pronounce with no e-numbers, no preservatives and no additives. Pure, wholesome and delicious. 

You can find out more on their website

Follow them on Instagram
Like them on Facebook.
Follow them on Twitter 

Disclaimer - I was sent product free of charge for the purpose of review but was not obligated to write a positive review of said product. Any and all opinions are my own.
Marie Rayner
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