Friday 31 December 2021

Appetizers and Picky Bits to Enjoy



I have never been one to go out and cut up a rug on New Years Eve.  My parents always went out on New Years, but I have never enjoyed doing so. Instead I prefer to enjoy it in the comfort of my own home.

This may stem from the fact that when I was bringing up my family going out was not an option.  Most of the time my husband who was an MP was working, having exchanged the New Years shift for Christmas with the single guys who would rather have been out partying than working.

So NYE was usually a stay at home affair for me.  The children and I used to really enjoy our evening. We would watch movies, play games and enjoy lots of different picky bits and nibbles!  It was fun.

There is nothing more fun than spending an evening with the ones you love and an assortment of good food to enjoy.

Your nibbles can be as simple as a variety of chips and dips, frozen appetizers, mini pizzas, wings, pickles, olives, cheese, etc.  Nothing has to be or should be complicated!!   

shrimp cocktail


BACK TO THE 60'S SHRIMP COCKTAIL  This classic appetizer was the epitome of fine dining back in the day!  This Shrimp Cocktail Recipe is really a very simple dish to make as well!  


This easy recipe is a blend of simple things put together in a most delicious way!  

Easy Homemade Pizza Rolls

EASY HOMEMADE PIZZA ROLLS  These can be as simple as you like.  Puff pastry spread with your favorite pizza toppings, rolled up and sliced before baking. 

Delicious served with your favorite pizza sauce for dipping! 

Cheese and Mashed Potato Fritters

CHEESE AND MASHED POTATO FRITTERS  Exactly as described.  Little cheese, onion and potato pancakes. So simple to make and oh so tasty! 

Delicious served with a dollop of sour cream and some spring onions on top!

Jalapeno Pepper Jam Baked Brie

JALAPENO PEPPER JAM BAKED BRIE  Gloriously rich and creamy gooey brie mixed with that hot pepper jam . . . perfect for spreading onto soft slices of a fresh French loaf . . . and topped with a few leaves of rocket.

This puff pastry encased appetizer is actually very simple to make and is also incredibly delicious! It can be as plain or as ornate as you wish to make it! 

Smoked Salmon Spread

SMOKED SALMON SPREAD  This is actually an appetizer I used to make fairly often when I cooked at the Manor. You don't need to use your best smoked salmon to make it, you can often buy packages of smoked salmon ends and bits which are perfect for this purpose. 

It was one of the most popular appetizers with the dinner party guests and no small wonder there. It is delicious! 

Bagel Chips

BAGEL CHIPS  Not only are these very easy to make, but they are filled with flavor.  You can also use up some of the stale bagels you might have languishing in your bread bin.

Bagels cut into thin slices, spritzed with butter/oil and herbs, baked until crisp. Perfect for serving with some of the dips and spreads on the buffet table for New Years! 

Perfect Deviled Eggs

PERFECT DEVILED EGGS I used to make dozens of these every week when I cooked at the manor.  They were very popular.

Deviled eggs are a great dish for an appetizer buffet. Easy to make ahead and incredibly delicious, they always go down a real treat! 



MABEL'S HAM PATE  This is a recipe I got from my good friend Mabel many, many moons ago and it is quite simply delicious!  It is a tried and true. 

A food processor makes really short work of putting this delicious spread together.  You can adjust the coarseness or smoothness of your pate by the time you choose to process it.  Simple.  Delicious.   Food from a friend.   These types of recipes are the most special of all!

You can of course do it by hand, but it will take considerably longer.

Garden Herb Dip

GARDEN HERB DIP  One thing which is always popular on the buffet table is an assortment of raw vegetables and dip.  This is also a tried and true favorite! 

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! 


Spicy Chicken Wings and Blue Cheese Dip

SPICY CHICKEN WINGS WITH BLUE CHEESE DIP These tasty wings have just the right amount of spice without being over the top.  You can of course make these as spicy as you wish.

The blue cheese dip helps to tone the spice a bit and goes very well with the succulence of the wings.  Both together are an excellent option!  

Cheddar Cheese and Caraway Sables

CHEDDAR CHEESE AND CARAWAY SABLES   Not quite a cookie. Not quite a cracker, these crisp little morsels melt in the mouth. 

They are crisp and buttery little mouthful's of deliciousness. Quite moreish really. 

Sweet Chili Cheese Puffs

SWEET CHILI CHEESE PUFFS  A delicious little tidbit, that will whet everyone's appetites.  These are very similar to thumb print cookies.

Except they are savory cookies, nice and cheesy and filled with sweet hot pepper jams. Short and savory with a bit of a bite.


Stilton and Walnut Shortbreads

STILTON AND WALNUT SHORTBREADS, WITH AN INDIAN TWIST   You will really enjoy these. You can bake the little shortbreads well ahead of time and keep them in the freezer, warming them up and topping them with the cream cheese and chutney just prior to serving. 

Short textured cookie/cracker/biscuits topped with some whipped cream cheese, mango chutney and toasted walnut halves. Nothing could be easier. 

Crispy Smashed baby potatoes

CRISPY SMASHED BABY POTATOES  Served with a variety of dips and spreads, these simple potatoes always go down a real treat! 

Drizzled with olive oil, sprinkled with some seasoning and then baked in a hot oven until crisp and golden brown . . . I like to sprinkle them with a tiny bit of cheese at the end as well. Betcha can't eat just one! 

Crispy Spiced Chicken Wings with Dip

CRISPY SPICED CHICKEN WINGS Crisp chicken wings with a lovely and crispy spiced coating served along with a cooling sweet chili dip for dipping.  

The sweet chili sauce gives it a bit of a punch but also a cooling effect.  You can adjust the spice according to your tastes. These are addictive. 

Simple Taco Dip

SIMPLE TACO DIP  At its very simplest it is quick, easy and delicious . . .  but it is also very easily amped up to something more by making a few tweaks, none of them very complicated.  This is one recipe you can very easily adapt to individual family tastes. 

We like it with crisp tortilla chips, but it goes well with a variety of chips and dippers.

Spicy Bean Dip

SPICY BEAN DIP WITH PITA CRISPS This dip is fabulous to make for those occasions when you are wanting something simple and easy to serve your guests that is delicious and that they will love.  

This is probably my favourite all time bean dip.  Its very simple to make and uses things that I usually have in my cupboard and refrigerator.  It also goes together very quickly and tastes delicious!  

I also tell you how to make the crisps. 

Gruyere and Mustard Sticks

GRUYERE AND MUSTARD STICKS  Little puff pastry bread sticks that are very easy to make and incredibly moreish. 

Making them is as simple as spreading some puff pastry with mustard, folding it over and cutting the pastry into sticks . . .  glazing it with an egg yolk wash, sprinkling with some coarse sea salt and sprinkling with grated gruyere cheese.  


All Dressed Hummus

ALL DRESSED HUMMUS This is  the Cinderella of Hummus all dressed up and ready to go to the ball, glass slippers and all.  

Topped with crispy chick peas and a variety of crunchy vegetables, this is fresh and delicious. 


cheese tray 

A SIMPLE CHEESE TRAY  I did a tutorial on how to put together a simple cheese tray along with suggestions on what kinds of cheeses to choose, etc.  

Its a lot easier to do than people might suppose. All you need are a few different cheeses, some fruit and some crackers. 

Add some sliced deli meats and pickles and you have a simple chacuterie board!! 


So you see, it can be as simple as you wish, or as complicated as you wish.  The important thing is to have fun and to spend some time with the ones that you love.  

I wish for each of you a very Happy New Year!  May 2022 bring only good things to our tables! 

Thursday 30 December 2021

How to Build a Breakfast Board

How to Build a Breakfast Board 

I thought it would be fun today to talk about how to build a breakfast board.  This is something you might want to do for your family on special occasions, holidays, etc.  

Its something which is fabulous when you have company or even children's sleepovers.  Easy and quick to make they always go down really well. 

You can do most of the prep ahead of time, simply reheating things and putting them onto the board at the last minute, ready for people to help themselves! 

How to Build a Breakfast Board 

They are meant to be fun. They are meant to be delicious. They are meant to be simple, quick and easy to make.

As you can see from looking at mine I have included a breakfast assortment here.  There are pancakes, waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, hash browns, and an assortment of berries.

I have included a small jug of pure maple syrup and you could also add a pot of whipped butter which would be nice.  People also love croissants.

All you need on the side perhaps is a pot of hot coffee for the adults and a jug of fresh orange juice for everyone to enjoy!  

How to Build a Breakfast Board 

Today I made Cheesy Scrambled Eggs.  I used this recipe from my archives for Scrambled Eggs with Cheese and Chives.   Today I left out the chives because I didn't have any.

Nothing says home sweet home more than a plate of scrambled eggs.  They are so easy to make as well and you can easily keep them warm in a low oven if need be.

They are also something which can be thrown together at the last minute just before you go to serve your board.

Cookies N' Cream Waffles 

I baked some Cookies N' Cream Waffles using my mini heart waffle baker.  These tasty waffles have chocolate cookie bits scattered throughout and are delicious, with the perfect balance of crunch and fluff!

You can find the recipe for these delicious waffles below. These are something you can make well ahead of time, simply reheating them in the oven just prior to laying out your breakfast board! 

Cookies N' Cream Waffles


These tasty waffles are studded with crunchy cookie bits! I baked them in my mini heart shaped waffle iron.  The recipe makes 6 to 8 single hearts.

  • 6 cream filled chocolate cookies, pulverized
  • 1 cup (140g) all purpose plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TBS white sugar
  • 1 large free range egg
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk 
Simply whisk together all the dry ingredients. Then whisk together the wet, adding them to the dry and combining both  until no dry clumps remain.  Bake as per the instructions for your waffle maker.

How to Build a Breakfast Board

You want to include an assortment of fruit for your breakfast board. This can be any fruit you like, cut into bite sized pieces. 

Today I chose to use an assortment of halved large strawberries, fresh blueberries and fresh blackberries.

Sliced apple is also nice, as are sliced pears, peaches, quartered figs, plums, etc.  Bananas and pineapple are also nice. Do note that some fruits will need to be brushed with lemon juice to keep from turning brown.

How to Build a Breakfast Board 

Some kind of protein is a must.  Bacon and breakfast sausage are the usual choice, but you might want to go with sliced cold meats.  You know what your family will enjoy.

You can cook the sausages and the bacon ahead of time and keep them warm in a low oven while you cook other things. You can even cook them the night before and warm them up in the morning.

I used Maple Breakfast sausage and old fashioned thick bacon. Both worked very well. 

Silver Dollar Pancakes 

Pancakes always go down a real treat on a breakfast board.  My children always loved pancakes and I can't think of too many people that wouldn't!  

You do want to keep them smaller in size however as there are a lot of options on the breakfast board to choose from.

I chose to make my Silver Dollar Pancakes.   The recipe makes pancakes that are roughly the size of a silver dollar.

You can also make these well ahead of time and reheat in a low oven.  These are soft and tender and fluffy inside, with just a tiny bit of crunch and wholesomeness from the small addition of cornmeal.

How to Build a Breakfast Board

Another thing I added which was really nice were breakfast potatoes.  Most people enjoy hash browns or pan fries with their breakfasts.

You can either do them from scratch or use some of the wonderful frozen options that are available these days.

That is what I did. I used these mini potato pancake hash browns.  They were really nice and were just the right size for the board.

You could also use Tater Tots, hash brown wedges or even hash brown patties.  All work very well. 

How to Build a Breakfast Board 

The important thing is to have fun with it. Its not meant to be a stressful exercise, but something that is not only fun to put together but something which is fun to eat.

It should be appealing to the eye and to the palate!  If you pop everything piping hot onto the breakfast board and call your family to attend pronto, there is no reason why it cannot be enjoyed while things are still nice and warm.

How to Build a Breakfast Board

Using heated plates also help to keep the breakfast warm. Just be sure to warn your family and guests that the plates are warm! 

As you can see everything fits really nicely onto a sandwich sized plate.  A drizzle of maple syrup, a squirt of tomato sauce, some salt and pepper and I was ready to tuck in!

Fun and delicious!!  The world really is your oyster when it comes to something like this.  Just choose the things you family enjoys and go with the flow!  

You could even cut up dinner rolls  or croissants to make small sized French Toasts!  Or make Cinnamon  French Toast Batons!  The important thing is to have fun! 

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. 

Wednesday 29 December 2021

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 

One thing I have always enjoyed is Sliders.  A Slider, typically, is a small sandwich, based/filling a smallish bun, not much larger than two inches across.

Originally they were meant to be used for burgers, but, like everything, the sandwich has morphed to include all sorts of  tasty fillings!

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 

One thing which is nice about making them is that it is a great way of making a larger amount of sandwiches all at once!  You leave the buns attached together, like a sheet of buns.

You cut the "sheet" in half horizontally and then you lay them out in a baking dish, bottom halves first and  filling them all at once, placing the top "sheet" over the fillings.

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 

Typically they are then glazed with butter and some seasonings, covered and baked until the fillings are hot and any cheese in them has melted.

They are then very easy to cut apart and serve individually.  The very concept makes them great for get-togethers, parties, pot lucks, etc.

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 

Of course at the moment, getting together in large groups is not a smart thing to do, due these new highly transmittable versions of the Covid Virus.  For myself and my family, we are sticking to the four people who are in our own bubble, and even those get-togethers are rare.

Most of the time it is just me. If you are lucky enough to have a partner, then you will be just you and one more.  That doesn't mean you can't still enjoy good food and party treats.   

To that end, I downsized my favorite Cordon Bleu Sliders to feed only two people. 

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 

And let me tell you, they lack none of the deliciousness of the full-sized version.    They still taste every bit as delicious and are every bit as cheesy, moreish, yummilicious! 

So what do I mean when I refer to Cordon Bleu?   The term is French in origin, and translated into English simply means Blue Ribbon.  

According to Larousse Gastronomique cordon bleu "was originally a wide blue ribbon worn by members of the highest order of knighthood, L'Ordre des chevaliers du Saint-Esprit, instituted by Henri III of France in 1578. 

By extension, it now refers to food which has been prepared to a very high quality, but very good and experienced cooks. 

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 

Generally speaking to day it is meant to be a dish which includes ham, turkey/chicken and swiss cheese, with some sort of sauce involved.

With these sliders it means a tasty bun with several sauces, ham, turkey and cheese.  Totally delicious.

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 


Today I just used the last of the leftovers of my holiday meal, including the buns, so it was a really handy way to use them up in a very tasty way!  

  • 4 brioche mini rolls ( or mini-dinner rolls or Hawaiian rolls) (Keep together as a slab)
  • 1 TBS honey Dijon mustard
  • 1 TBS full fat mayonnaise
  • 4 thin slices of baked ham
  • 3 slices of swiss cheese
  • 4 thin slices of roast turkey
  • 2 TBS whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 TBS creamed horseradish
  • 1/2 TBS butter, melted
  • pinch garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tsp everything bagel seasoning (if you don't have any, you can use sesame seeds, or poppy seeds, celery seed, etc.)

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 

I was able to use the last of the dinner rolls, which were still attached together, and the leftover roast turkey and the ham. I even managed to use the cranberry sauce that was left.  

The only things which I needed to use that were at the holiday dinner were the horseradish, honey mustard, mayonnaise, the cheese, and a few seasonings.

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two

You can of course multiply this to feed more. If you don't have leftover ham or turkey, you can certainly use deli-meats.  

Don't like horseradish?  Leave it out and just use plain cranberry sauce.  Don't like honey mustard? Use regular Dijon.  You can also adapt the cheese to what you have to hand. What you want is a smooth melting kind of a cheese.

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 


These are so simple to make. I think a child could make them actually, except for the slicing of the rolls. That step a grown up should always do! 

The idea behind these is that they are baked as a whole.  So you will need four smallish rolls that are still attached to each other.  Cut them in half horizontally so that you have two "sheets" of buns.  A top and a bottom.

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 

Making them is kind of like making a lasagna or a bed.  You layer things in.  You will need two basic sauces.

One is made by whisking together the honey mustard and the mayonnaise. The other is made by whisking together the cranberry sauce and the horseradish sauce.   Make both of those.

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 

Place the bottom bun sheet, cut side up, in the bottom of a baking dish small enough to hold them snugly. Mine was about 7 inches square.  Spread this sheet with the honey mustard/mayo combination.

Lay your sliced ham on top of this to cover, then lay on your slices of cheese, covering the ham completely.  Finally lay on your turkey/chicken, again covering the cheese completely.

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two

Finally spread the cut side of the top bun sheet with the cranberry horseradish sauce. Spread it out evenly, and place it sauce side down on top of the turkey, pressing it lightly to make it adhere.

Melt your butter and mix it with the garlic powder. Brush this mixture evenly over the tops of the buns.

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 

Finally sprinkle them evenly with the everything bagel seasoning and the parsley.  If you don't have everything bagel seasoning, then you can use sesame seeds or poppy seeds, celery seed, etc.  

I have to say however, the everything bagel seasoning is perfect.

Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and then bake the sliders in a preheated 375*F/190*C/gas mark 5 oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until everything is heated through and the cheese has melted.

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 

Remove from the oven, let sit for a few minutes and then cut the bun sheet in four and serve.

Two sliders should be more than ample for each person, especially if you have some salad or potato chips or fries on the side.  Store any leftovers, covered in the refrigerator.

Cordon Bleu Sliders for Two 

I have never frozen these so I cannot say with any certainty that they will or will not freeze well.  This is such a small amount however, that there shouldn't really be much in the way of leftovers.  

These are incredibly delicious and very popular.  The honey mustard mayo goes well with both the ham and the turkey, and of course cranberry goes well with turkey.  Ham also lends itself to fruity condiments and the horseradish cuts the sweetness a tiny bit and gives these a bit of zippity do dah!

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.