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Pizza Muffins



I think Pizza is one of my all time favourite food groups, so when I saw a recipe for Pizza Muffins on the Donna Hay site a while back I put it on my "to bake" list! They really appealed to me, however I did not want twelve muffins, so I have small batched it!




The muffin now makes only six delicious, flavour-filled, cheesy muffins.  I also adapted the recipe a tiny bit because  . . .  how could I not?  I just have to fiddle with things. I can't help myself.


I will put my hand up at the start and let you know, yes  . . .  I AM one of those miscreants that thinks ham and pineapple are good on pizza!  I do not apologise for that fact.  We are all different!


Her recipe had pineapple, ham and a bit of tomato paste in it, but that didn't shout pizza to me, so I added some Italian Garlic Seasoning and grated Parmesan cheese, along with the regular cheese. (Now we're talking!)


What is pizza without those two things???  You need some Italian herbs and some garlic on a pizza and Parmesan cheese . . .  it is like a Pizza's best friend!


I didn't get really high crowns like I usually do on my muffins.  The cheese on top probably hampered their growth. If you look at her recipe and photo, you will see that hers don't have high crowns either. In fact she baked hers in little paper loaf cases.


I did not bake mine in paper cases. I buttered my medium sized muffin tins really well instead. I have had too many things like pineapple and cheese stick to paper cases and I did not want that to happen.


It was a good call as they did not stick and I ended up with lovely crusty sides and bottoms, which contrasted well with those lovely light insides.


Adding the Italian Seasoning was another good call as I think they would have been rather bland without it. In fact if I make them again I will up it to 3/4 tsp rather than 1/2.


Make sure you cut your ham into a tiny dice. I did it 1/4-inch  which is very easily done. Just cut the ham into strips, stack them and then cut crosswise into the dice.


I think you could up the ante as well by adding a few other pizza ingredients, such as chopped olives or/and red onions, or peppers. You could use crumbled crisp bacon instead of ham if you wanted to.


Leave out the ham and pineapple and use chopped pepperoni and peppers! Onions . . .  peppers!


I think you could really make these over the top delicious by adding a few extras!


We enjoyed these warm with a nice salad for lunch! (Italian dressing of course.)  They would also go very well with soup!

Pizza Muffins (small batch)

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Pizza Muffins (small batch)
Yield: 6 muffins
Author:
prep time: 9 Mcook time: 30 Mtotal time: 39 M
These are light and delicious and filled with lovely flavours.  Ham, pineapple, plenty of cheese, some herbs and a bit of tomato. Scrumptious!  They make a lovely light lunch!

Ingredients:

  • 225g self rising flour (1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic Italian seasoning
  • 75g chopped ham (about 3 ounces)
  • 75g crushed pineapple, well drained (1/3 cup)
  • 1 TBS tomato paste
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 125ml milk (1/2 cup)
  • 80ml vegetable oil (1/3 cup)
  • 90g coarsely grated strong cheddar cheese, divided (3/4 cup)
  • 1 TBS grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter a 6-cup nonstick muffin tin really well. Set aside.
  2. Stir the flour, baking powder, Italian seasoning and 60g (1/2 cup) of the cheese ogether in a bowl.  Stir in the ham, mixing all together well.
  3. Whisk together the oil, tomato paste, egg, milk, and pineapple to combine.  Add all at once to the dry ingredients and mix together until just combined.  Divide between the six prepared muffin cups.
  4. Mix together the parmesan cheese and the remaining cheddar. Sprinkle over top of the batter in the tin.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of one comes out clean.

notes:

You can easily make your own self rising flour. For every cup of pain/allpurpose flour add 1/2 tsp of baking powder and 1/4 tsp of salt.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #EnglishKitchen
Created using The Recipes Generator



What kind pizza toppings are your favourite?  I love pizza with everything on it  . . .  Italian sausage, mushrooms, peppers, onions, pineapple, ham and plenty of cheese!

 


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Marie Rayner
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Lydia's Junior Cookies small batch



Growing up we were always aware of my mother's cousins in the states Lydia McNayr. I think she was probably my mother's second cousin, first cousin to my maternal Grandmother. She and her husband Austin had been very good to my mother's family during the great depression. They (like a lot of Maritimers) had moved down to the New England States of America to find work and had been able to prosper there.  She and her husband used to ship home boxes of clothing and other things to my mother's family which they were most appreciative of.


Once mom got married and had a family Lydia continued to send gifts to us children every year.  They were highly unsual things. One year it was glow in the dark pictures of the Lords Prayer.  This picture watched over me during my sleep the whole of my childhood.


Another time it was crepe paper butterflies made with clothespins and pipecleaners.  They decorated the curtains in my sister and my bedroom for a long time. There was also pin cushions that looked like chairs, made from tin cans, all cut and twisted and painted to look incredibly ornate. These simple gifts meant the world to us to say the least.


We never got to meet her or her husband but we always felt that we knew them, partly from the gifts that she would send and also through the stories my mother would share of her.  I wish I had written some of them down. There is an old, old photograph of she and her husband visiting way back when. Its black and white and not very clear.  Its being held hostage in my photobucket account.


This is cousin Lydia's cookie recipe. It goes back many years.  The original recipe was shared to my grandmother and then to my mother and was handwritten on the back of an envelope.  No instructions, just ingredients.

Lydia's Junior Cookies

Mom never baked homemade cookies very often, but when she did sometimes it was these.  They are wholesome and old fashioned  . . .  almost like little cakes.  Not greasy and filled with the homey flavours of warm baking spices  . . .


Cinnamon, ginger  . . .  nutmeg  . . .


They are also flavoured with molasses and brown sugar and studded with lots of raisins and toasted nuts.  I had not made them in a very long time.  The original recipe made a LOT of cookies.


Today I small-batched the recipe and made just two dozen and even that is a lot for us.  But what a wonderful taste of my childhood!


These are the kind of cookies you would enjoy with a nice cold glass of milk, or if you are a tea drinking person, a hot cuppa!


Like Lydia, I too flew far away from my Nova Scotia roots. Every so often I do like to enjoy one of these old fashioned family recipes. Eating one of these cookies is like having a warm hug from the past  . . .


They are old fashioned  . . . the country cousin of the toll house I expect . . .  made from simple ingredients that most cooks might have had in their larders in the old days.


The original recipe called for the use of shortening.  Today I used butter instead of shortening as we are trying to stick to more natural fats when we can.


The house smells so homey and beautiful when you bake these cake-like cookie treats!  Today, these were a most enjoyable taste from the past.

Lydia's Junior Cookies (small batch)

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Lydia's Junior Cookies (small batch)
Yield: 24
Author:
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 10 Mtotal time: 20 M
These delicious old fashioned cookie are filled with lovely warm baking spice flavours and lots of raisins and nuts.  Sweetened with down home molasses and brown sugar. You just know these are comfort food cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 275g plain flour (1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/3 tsp ginger
  • 60g butter, softened (1/4 cup)
  • 75g soft light brown sugar (1/3 cup, packed)
  • 60ml molasses (1/4 cup)
  • 1 large free range egg yolk
  • 60ml milk (1/4 cup)
  • 75g raisins (1/2 cup)
  • 60g chopped toasted walnuts (1/2 cup)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/ 350*F/ gas mark 4.  Line a couple of baking sheets with baking paper.  Set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
  3. Cream the butter together with the sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg yolk and the molasses.  Beat in the milk and then stir in the flour mixture to give you a nice stiff batter.
  4. Drop by heaped TBS onto the baking sheets, leaving two inches between each cookie.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, until set and just beginning to brown.
  6. Scoop off onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Store in an airtight container.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #EnglishKitchen
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I think you will enjoy these cookies if you decide to bake them.  They  are old fashioned and comforting. If you would like the full size recipe just message me and I will oblidge!  I wonder what Lydia would think of her recipe being baked on the other side of the ocean all these years later?  I wonder  . . . . or even that some thirty odd years after her death, a little girl who was comforted all of her childhood by a glow in the dark Jesus would still be enjoying them and thinking of her while she did.




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Marie Rayner
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Lemon Cream Pie



If you are on a diet you might want to look away now!  Lemon Cream Pie is definitely not diet food that's for sure!  You cannot however, ask for a better summer dessert.  This Lemon Cream Pie comes together in mere minutes and is extremely delicious and light in texture.


Don't ask about the calories. I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW!  Some things are just better left unsaid or thought about, lol.


This is the perfect summer dessert and pie. There is absolutely no cooking or baking involved, which means your kitchen stays cool, cool, COOL! If you don't count the crust, you only need four ingredients, and if you are making your own crust that ups to six, which is still not bad!



I splurged and bought myself a ready made graham cracker crust from SKYCO this time. Quite simply it is my go-to for Canadian and American ingredients. I have been using them since I worked a the Manor, so you know that is a very long time.  They have never let me down.


I was a little worried that the crust might arrive crushed, but they have the art of packing and delivery down pat!  My crust arrived in perfect condition. It was wrapped in bubble wrap! If you are looking for these types of things I highly recommend them!


Back to the pie  . . . yes, I cheated this time and used a ready made crust, but it is also very simple to make your own with melted butter and either graham cracker crumbs or digestive biscuit crumbs. Both work well. Just make sure you crumb them to almost a powder.


The filling for this pie is rich and silky smooth. You could use Philadelphia Cream cheese instead of the mascarpone, but why not use the best, which is quite frankly mascarpone cheese. It creates a filling that is totally velvety . . . plush and indulgent . . .


It is the perfect dessert for the summer months when the temperatures are so high and none of us really want to heat up our kitchens overly much.


I love the ease at which the filling goes together. If you can operate a electric hand mixer, you can easily do this. Everything comes together like magic.


Did you know that when you mix lemon juice with things like cream and cream cheese, it works a miracle and thickens things??? (Think Lemon Possett here.)



I did not bother to sweeten the cream for the garnish. I figured there was enough sugar in the filling with the sweetened condensed milk. By the way don't use Evaporated milk. They are just not the same thing.  Sweetened condensed milk is milk that is mixed with sugar and then heat treated and condensed down to a luxurious sweet thickish mixture.


If you are looking for a rich, indulgent, easy, cool and luxurious dessert this weekend, make this Lemon Cream Pie. You can thank me for it afterwards, cos you are simply going to love it!

Yield: 12
Author:
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Lemon Cream Pie

Lemon Cream Pie

Quick, easy, no bake and delicious. The longest part of this fabulously tasty pie recipe is waiting for it to chill!  You can make your own crumb crust, or use a ready made crust.
prep time: 20 Mcook time: 6 hourtotal time: 6 H & 20 M

Ingredients:

For the crust:
  • 60g butter (1/4 cup), melted
  • 160g digestive or graham cracker crumbs (1 1/4 cups)
For the filling:
  • 1 (397g) tin of sweetened condensed milk (14 oz)
  • 225g mascarpone cheese (8 ounces)
  • 180ml heavy cream (3/4 cup)
  • 120ml fresh lemon juice (1/2 cup)
To garnish:
  • whipped cream
  • lemon slices

Instructions:

  1. If you are making your own crust you will need a 9-inch pie tin. Mix the melted butter with the crumbs until evenly distributed.  Press into the bottom and up the sides of the tin. Press down firmly. (The back of a metal spoon or measuring cup works really well.)
  2. Place in the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.
  3. Put the mascarpone cheese into a chilled bowl. Beat until smooth with an electric whisk. Slowly beat in the sweetened condensed milk until completely incorporated and smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  4. Add the heavy cream and combine.  Slowly add the lemon juice, beating it in thoroughly at a low speed.  The mixture will thicken and get really creamy.
  5. Spoon into your prepared chilled crust.  Cover lightly and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least six hours, or overnight until it is completely set up.
  6. Garnish with dollops of whipped cream and bits of lemon.  Cut into wedges to serve.
Did you make this recipe?
Tag @marierayner5530 on instagram and hashtag it #EnglishKitchen
Created using The Recipes Generator



You can see how nicely it cuts once it is set up. If you wanted to you could top it with fresh berries as well. All would work beautifully!!  Happy weekend! (Its only the last weekend in June and it feels like the dog days of August! Phew!) 





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Marie Rayner
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Roast Chicken, with Mini Roasts and Sides




I'm not sure about you, but one of our favourite meals in this house has to be a Roast Chicken Dinner with all the trimmings.  Succulent perfectly cooked chicken, crispy roast potatoes, fresh veg and plenty of gravy.  There is not much about a Roast Chicken Dinner I don't like!


I was recently contacted by the people at Hello Fresh and asked would I like to try out and cook one of their recipes in the comfort of my own home.  I think all of us can agree that cooking during this Pandemic has been somewhat of a challenge to say the least.  Its been really hard getting grocery slots and when you get one, you can't be guaranteed that you even get everything you have ordered.  Its been a bit like playing Russian Roulette at best.  There is nothing more annoying than planning on cooking something, and only having half the ingredients that you need to make it show up!  You then have to scramble and think of something else that you can make with what you have gotten.


You might be a person who just doesn't like planning meals and recipes, or you may be a person who finds that a lot of what you buy goes to waste because you have to buy larger quantities of it than you need and its not possible to preserve the leftover bits to use another time. As a small household, that is often the problem with us. 

Maybe you are adventurous as a cook and want to try new things and recipes,  and new cuisines and techniques, but you don't want to have to buy a whole bottle of something  you know you are only going to use maybe once.

Hello Fresh is a subscription recipe and food delivery service, which is considered to be one of the best that is available in this country, according to a fairly recent review in the Independant. They rated its service as one of the best and most thought out, as well as being one of the best value, wih three recipes a week for two people plus ingredients ringing in at £5 a meal.  Sounds good.

I had a very extensive list of recipes to choose from to cook.  It was really hard to make up my mind, but in the end I settled on this one.  Roast Chicken, with Mini Roast Potatoes,  Honey Glazed Carrots Broccoli and Pan Gravy.    For each meal you choose you will receive the ingredients to cook that meal, along with a recipe card which gives you step by step instructions for cooking that meal from beginning to plating up. I sized the recipe for three.


The ingredients for this meal included:

1 pack of potatoes (three servings)
1 unit of broccoli
3 carrots
3/4 of a bunch of fresh thyme
3 units of skin on chicken breast fillets
1 1/2 TBS plain flour
2 TBS honey
1 unit chicken stock pot

Not included would be any regular seasoning such as salt and pepper, any oil for cooking, and the water (450ml, aproximately 1 1/2 cups) needed for the gravy.  

You are also given an extensive list of any equipment you might need to cook the recipe:

•Baking Tray
•Cutting board
•Knife
•Peeler
•Frying Pan
•Lid
•Saucepan
•Strainer
•Spoon
•Bowl
•Fork
•Plate

It really couldn't be more explanatory.

The instructions went as follows:

Roast Chicken, with Mini Roasts and Sides


1. Preheat your oven to 200°C. Chop the potato into 2cm pieces (no need to peel). 

Roast Chicken, with Mini Roasts and Sides

Peel the carrot and remove the top and bottom, then cut in half lengthways and chop into batons. Separate the broccoli into florets. Pick the thyme leaves from their stalks (discard the stalks). Put the potato on a baking tray with a drizzle of oil and a pinch of salt. Give the tray a good shake. Roast on the top shelf of your oven, 30 mins.


2. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper. Heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat and lay in the chicken, skin-side down. Fry until the skin is golden, 4-5 mins. 

 Roast Chicken, with Mini Roasts and Sides

Move to an oiled baking tray, skinside up, and sprinkle over the thyme leaves (don't wash the pan). Pop on the middle shelf of your oven. Roast for 25-30 mins. TIP: The chicken is cooked when it is no longer pink in the middle. 


3. Meanwhile, put two large saucepans of water on to boil. Once boiling, add a pinch of salt and the carrot to one pan. Cook until tender, 10-15 mins. When cooked, drain in a colander and return to the pan. Add the honey and a grind of black pepper. Stir well and pop the lid on to keep warm. Meanwhile, put the broccoli and a pinch of salt in the other pan of boiling water. Cook until tender, 5 mins, then drain in the colander. 



4. Put the chicken frying pan back on medium heat and add the flour. Stir the flour into the chicken juices (if the pan is a bit dry just add a little oil). Cook until beginning to turn golden, 2 mins. Stir occasionally to combine well. This is the roux that will thicken your gravy! Pop your kettle on to boil.

5.  Dissolve the chicken stock pot in a measuring jug of boiling water (amount specified in the ingredient list). Bit by bit, add this stock to the roux, stirring well to make sure there are no lumps. Bring to a simmer and keep stirring (or whisking if you have a whisk!). Cook until thickened to your liking, 3-5 mins. 

Roast Chicken, with Mini Roasts and Sides


6. Cut the chicken into 2cm thick slices, serve on plates with the mini roasties, veggies and a drizzle of gravy! Enjoy! 


And that was that!  Todd and I were able to sit down to a delicious Roast Chicken Dinner that was not only quick and easy to accomplish, but very straightforward as well!  With concise instructions, exact ingredients, and perfect timings for every aspect of the meal. 


You really can't get much better than this!


The vegetables were perfectly cooked and crispy tender the way I like them.  The potatoes, likewise were wonderfully roasted with crisp caramelised edges . . .


The chicken was beautifully cooked, moist, tender,  and really flavourful with a lovely crisp skin.  The gravy was lush, perfectly seasoned and just thick enough.  Also it wasn't loaded with salt like most of the gravy mixes you find out there.


Altogether this was a meal we both really enjoyed.  Looking at some of their other recipes, they really do have a huge variety of recipes to choose from.  

Sticky Beef with Basmati Rice.  Middle Eastern Risotto(with Zataar Portabellos.) Deliciously Ella's Coconut Thai Curry with Chickpeas. Veggie Shepherd's Pie (With Chickpeas, Yellow Pepper and Mushrooms). Dukka Crusted Duck (with Roasted Butternut Squash and Sumac Dressing). Chermoula Prawns (with Roasted Sweet Potatoes.) (Just to name a few.)

And that is just a taste of what Hello Fresh has to offer. There are recipes to cover almost every taste and diet.   All in all I am very impressed with the selection on offer, but don't take my word for it.  Check it out for yourself.

To find out more about Hello Fresh and what they offer, prices, options, etc.  do click over to their Home Page and go from there. 

  • The option of choosing your own recipes
  • Pre-measured ingredients for less waste.
  • Delivered safely to your door.
  • Convenient weekly deliveries
  • Seasonal fresh ingredients
  • You are not tied into a contract. You can skip a week or cancel at any time.

Sounds pretty good to me!  And it couldn't be a better time to use a service such as this as right now when we are all having to cope with the restrictions and limits we are having to cope with! If you are a person who is lacking in time and inspiration, wanting to save on your food bill, wanting to have your food delivered to your home, wanting to try new things, or wanting to stretch your palate and skills without it costing the moon, I don't think you can get much better than this.  I highly recommend!





















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Marie Rayner
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