Friday 31 July 2020

Chocolate Box Bread Pudding for Two

I had some stale croissants in the kitchen and a few chocolates leftover from our Christmas box that I thought should be used up. (Not that they have done off, but you know . . . I like to get rid of tempation if I can.) I decided to experiment use them up in a scrumptious Chocolate Box Bread Pudding for Two.  Lets end July in a positive way!

Plus it was a great way to showcase my newest tea/coffee cups.  I got these from the Scandanavian Pantry.  They're so cute. I am totally in love with Scandanavian design, always have been. I am also a lover of Nordic television dramas, but anyways, back to the pudding . . .

I had gotten two tins of these chocolates at Christmas, mostly because I was in love with the little tin that they came in. 

I mean, what's not to love about this . . . I thought they would make perfect little sewing boxes. I know I have far too many fingers in far too many pies.

I chopped up four Country Fudge Chocolates and stirred them into the bread pudding batter, which was a mix of stale croissants, egg, milk, cream, sugar and vanilla. This sat for awhile so that the croissants could absorbe the liquid and then I divided it between the two cups, pushing a Golden Barrel (caramel) down into the centre.  I then topped it with some more torn up bits of croissant which had been tossed with melted butter and sprinkled it with demerera sugar to give a nice crunchy topping.

I believe Demerara Sugar is called Turbinado sugar in North America.  I had to take a photo as soon as they came out of the oven so you could see how nice they puffed up over the edges of the cups. So pretty.

They will sink upon standing  . . .  not a lot, but some, that's perfectly okay and quite normal.

I was tempted to dust this with icing sugar but held myself back, surely this was sweet enough  . . .

Just look at that lovely buttery crunchy topping  . . . 

Nobody knows the special secret which is lurking beneath the surface  . . .

What a surprise that will be when they dig their spoon into the centre . . .

And pull up some of that melted chocolate and caramel . . .  so rich, so decadent.

The skinny man I live with has to have cream, or custard sauce on his puddings, which is what they call desserts over here in the UK. They all get called puddings . . .  cake, pie, etc.

Just look at that  . . . and he hasn't even discovered the chocolate fudge bits yet  . . .

They are in there, I promise  . . . so, so SO tasty!

I was trying to think of what other kinds of chocolate you could use in their place.  Soft toffees could be chopped up along with coffee flavoured chocolates . . .

Then there is the chocolate orange which could be chopped and then in the centre a whole chocolate filled with orange fondant  . . .

You really can let your imagination go wild here . . . 

See the fudge bits in there.  Wowsa, wowsa eh!  Todd thought he had died and gone to heaven!

Chocolate Box Bread Pudding for two

Chocolate Box Bread Pudding for two
Yield: 2
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 15 Mcook time: 30 Mtotal time: 45 M
Thoroughly decadent and no waste.  Rich and delicious.


  • 2 TBS butter, melted plus extra to butter cups
  • 3 croissants, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 2 TBS caster sugar
  • 120ml cream (1/2 cup)
  • 60ml whole milk (1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 6 leftover chocolates (four toffee fudge ones and two caramel barrels)
  • 1 tsp demerara sugar
To serve: (optional)
  • pouring cream, clotted cream, ice cream, custard sauce


  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter two (6-oz) tea or coffee cups really well.  Place onto a small baking tray.
  2. Measure out about 1/2 cup of the croissant cubes and tear into smaller bits and toss together with the melted butter in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Cut the fudge chocolates into small bits.
  4. Whisk the egg together in a bowl along with the caster sugar until the sugar dissolves. (Caster sugar is a fine granulated sugar.)Whisk in the cream, milk and vanilla. Add the cubed croissants and fold in the fudge chocolate bits. Let stand for fifteen minutes.  Divide this mixture between the two buttered cups. 
  5. Press a caramel barrel chocolate down into the centre of each pudding. Top with the buttered croissant pieces, piling them over the chocolate to cover completely.   Sprinkle each with 1/2 tsp of demerara sugar.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until puffed and golden brown. The pudding should be set.   Serve warm with pouring cream, clotted cream, ice cream, or  custard sauce.


Don't panic if it sinks a bit after it starts to cool. This is completely normal.
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I wish I could outfit my whole kitchen in Scandanavian goodies, but then I would be worried each time Todd used something that he would break it. You know men can be quite careless . . . but we won't go there . . . 

Happy Friday! 


Thursday 30 July 2020

Sheet Pan Beef & Broccoli for Two

I think of all the Chinese Dishes we used to get at the Chinese Food Restaurant back home, Beef and Broccoli was my absolute favourite dish. Whether as a takeaway, part of a combo meal or at the local all you can eat buffet, even more than sweet and sour chicken, Beef and Broccoli was the one I had to have every time. It was my mother's favourite as well.

I have often made it for us from scratch on top of the stove. You can find my recipe for that here and it is also in my cookbook.

The other day I spied a sheet pan version on The College Housewife.  I was instantly intrigued!  Beef and Broccoli on a baking sheet with no frying involved?

No spatters to clean off the stove top, and no dishes to wash except for the eating ones?  Count me in!  I needed to try this!

I just happened to have flank steak in the freezer as well.  Usually I like to do my teriyaki steak with flank steak.  (We always called that Amanda's steak because she loved it so much when she was growing up.) (If you click on her name it will take you to that recipe.)

In all truth we do not eat red meat very often. It is a rare treat in this house.

I cannot resist Beef and Broccoli however and so I knew I had to make this version, and I knew I had to downsize it to feed two.

With there only being two of us in the house and Todd and I not wanting to eat the same thing for days on  end, plus our shrinking appetites, it only made sense to adapt the recipe to only feed two people, and even then we had leftovers which Todd enjoyed the next day for his lunch.

The sauce also acts as a marinade, which helps to tenderise the meat and penetrate it with its lush flavours.

I was a bit worried that the broccoli would overcook in the oven, but all my fears were for naught. It cooked perfectly.  Broccoli is not one of Todd's favourite vegetables, so I really have to cook it perfectly.  (Too many cooked to death school dinners.)

This was beautiful.  The meat was perfectly cooked and so was the broccoli.  It went very well with some steamed rice for a beautiful dinner.

Sheet Pan Beef & Broccoli for Two

Sheet Pan Beef & Broccoli for Two
Yield: 2
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 10 Mcook time: 20 Mtotal time: 30 M
An easy Asian dish with crispy tender broccoli and deliciously tender strips of beef. Just as good or better than a takeaway. No frying involved either so its probably healthier!


For the marinade and sauce:
  • 1 1/4 tsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 60ml soy sauce (1/4 cup)
  • 30ml beef broth (2 TBS)
  • 1 TBS liquid honey
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
You will also need:
  • 3/4 pound of flank steak, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 medium head of broccoli, broken into florets
  • olive oil to drizzle
  • fine sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • Sesame seeds to sprinkle (about 1/2 tsp)


  1. Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients until smooth. Put the slices of steak into a bowl and pour 1/3 of the marinade over top, turning them to coat well.  Reserve the remainder of the marinade.  Leave the steak to marinate  for between 20 minutes to one hour. (Obviously more flavour will permeate the steak if you leave it for the longer time.)
  2. Preheat the ovn to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. Line a baking tray with a sheet of foil and lightly spritz the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Scatter the broccoli over the baking tray. Drizzle wih a tiny bit of olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the marinated steak, scattering it around the broccoli on the tray.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the steak is cooked through and the broccoli is crispy tender.
  5. Put the remaining marinade in a small glass measure.  Heat in the microwave on high for about a minute, stirring every 30 seconds, until it bubbles and thickens. If it appears too thick you can add a bit of boiling water to thin it or a splash of white wine.
  6. Pour the sauce over the beef and broccoli on the baking sheet and scatter with the spring onions and sesame seeds. Serve immediately.
  7. We enjoy this with steamed white rice.
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Brown food does not photograph very well, but this looks okay I think.  If you are wanting to try something new, and not wanting a whole wackadoodle of a bunch of food, do try this out!  It works well for two as a main course, and would work for more as a course of more than one options. Enjoy!


Wednesday 29 July 2020

Creamy Roasted New Potato Salad

Creamy Roasted Potato Salad is actually a recipe which I had done for another site that I was writing for last year.  They ended up not really being able to get off the ground so it never got used.  

When I posted my recipe for the chicken on IG yesterday some people expressed interest in the potato salad so here it is! (The recipe for the chicken is here. Lemon & Herb Roasted Chicken Thighs.)

This was actually a really nice potato salad and quite a bit different than the usual one that we see with lots of mayonnaise, eggs, etc. 

This salad has none of those.  This is a creamy potato salad, but with a delicious twist, because it is a roasted potato salad.

Creamy Roasted New Potato Salad   

It makes a great use of new potatoes which are in abundance right now. These get cut into chunks.  I just leave the skins on them for colour and texture.  

I cut them in 1/2 inch cubes as best as I can, along with some onion and garlic.

They get spread onto a baking sheet and roasted quickly in a hot oven until they are crisp and golden brown. It only takes about half an hour.

Just long enough for you to fry up some bacon, because yes, this tasty salad also boasts a nice quantity of crisp bacon in it and some spring onions.  

Bacon makes everything taste better doncha know?  At least that is the rumor!

The dressing is a really simple one as well.  Its just your favourite ranch dressing mixed together with some mayonnaise.  

Easy peasy.  Toss it all into a bowl and give it a good stir and presto chango . . .

Creamy Roasted New Potato Salad

You have a delicious potato salad to serve along side of all your grills and roasts etc. I can't think of anything that it wouldn't go with actually. Its really very nice!

Creamy Roasted Potato Salad

Creamy Roasted Potato Salad
Yield: 4 - 6
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 11 Mcook time: 35 Mtotal time: 46 M
This delicious salad makes good use of the new potatoes and fresh produce available this time of year.  It is a beautiful mix of textures and flavours.


  • 2 TBS light olive oil
  • 2 pounds new red potatoes, washed, dried and diced
  • 1 medium brown onion, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • ½ tsp of freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 rashers of cooked crisp (streaky) bacon, crumbled
  • 1 bunch of spring (green) onions, washed, trimmed and chopped
  • ½ cup prepared Ranch Dressing (use your favourite brand) (120g)
  • ¼ cup good quality mayonnaise (60g)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 425*F/ 230*C/ gas mark 7. Line a 15 X 10-inch jelly roll pan with aluminium foil.
  2. Chop the brown onions and potatoes (I don’t bother to peel the potatoes) and mince the garlic. Toss together in a bowl along with the salt, black pepper and olive oil. Spread out on your prepared baking sheet. Roast in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring them every now and then. If you like your potatoes a bit crisper, you can bake them for 10 minutes longer.
  3. Chop your spring onions and crumble the cooked bacon while the potatoes are roasting.
  4. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the crumbled bacon, and spring onions. Whisk together the ranch dressing and mayonnaise. Pour over the potato mixture and combine completely. Taste and adjust seasoning as required. Serve immediately, or cover and chill until serving time.
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What kinds of salads do you enjoy in the summer months?  I really love vegetable salads myself.  Lettuce, all kinds of lettuce. I really enjoy the dark green ones, and a mix of lettuces.

 I had planted some with the few seeds I was able to get, but the slugs ate them all. They are particularly bad this year but we have had a lot of rain which really brings them out!  In any case, I also love potato salad. The potato is my favourite vegetable! 


Tuesday 28 July 2020

Tips to Smoke the Perfect Brisket

Follow These Tips To Smoke The Perfect Brisket 

Tips to Smoke the Perfect Brisket

Barbeque has the ability to bring people together for a festive celebration. There is a reason why Brisket tops the world of barbeque meat goodness: the perfect brisket has thick smoke bark, great seasoning, is super juicy and tender on the inside, and can be shared in a group of friends.

 These days, it is impossible to go to your favorite barbeque joint for brisket, because of a countrywide lockdown, but that doesn’t mean you cannot enjoy a perfect brisket at your home. While smoking a restaurant-quality brisket can be tough and challenging at home, staying mindful of a few things can help you achieve smoked perfection every time. After getting in touch with professional pitmasters, we have enlisted several tips that will guarantee a juicy piece of meat.

Tips to Smoke the Perfect Brisket

Source A Prime Cut Of Meat 

The brisket muscle is generally a little tough because it belongs to that part of the cow that gets a lot of stretching. In order to ensure, that your brisket stays juicy and tender, you need to invest in a cut that has a profound degree of fat marbling. Getting yourself a prime cut will make sure that a day’s effort does not go to waste, since smoking a brisket is a long haul.

While you are sourcing the ingredients, also pay attention to the sides. A pairing of roast potatoes complements meat wonderfully. If you are looking to save time while prepping the potatoes, you can get the best potato slicer to scale your efficiency, and buy you time to focus on the start of the show.

Tips to Smoke the Perfect Brisket

The Smoker Must Be Hot 

Achieving barbeque perfection is science. One that involves the expert management of heat and smoke. Since Brisket is a thick piece of meat, a long and slow cook is required to bring the internal temperature up for a perfectly pink interior. To make sure that the brisket cooks smoothly, heating up the smoker beforehand is essential. This is just like preheating the oven, so the meat actually smokes rather than boils inside the smoker.

Tips to Smoke the Perfect Brisket

Keep The Rub Original 

There is a reason why the best barbeque joints have such an amazing brisket flavor: they rely on smoke rather than seasonings. Making a brisket in your backdoor smoker is not a reason to empty the seasonings cabinet. The best briskets are those that just have salt and black pepper as seasoning. If you are a connoisseur of little kick, then you can always spice things up with a touch of cayenne or paprika.
Tips to Smoke the Perfect Brisket

Don’t Rely On Temperature 

Every meat lover knows the importance of touch when it comes to identifying whether the piece is cooked perfectly or not. Since every brisket is of different size and weight, there is no exact temperature reading that can guarantee you a pink center throughout. This is why you should rely more on touch rather than temperature.

When you hit the temperature of around 180 degrees Fahrenheit, take out the brisket and give it a feel. If it sponges back and feels like medium-rare, then it’s almost time to eat. Once you are done with the cook, stay patient as resting the meat for about forty-five minutes is pivotal. During the resting time, the meat fibers and connective tissue spread the juices all around evenly, making sure that the meat retains its moistness, once it is cut in.