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Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad


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We had beautiful weather at the weekend.  Gorgeously sunny and warm.    The perfect Bank Holiday weekend.   I had some chicken breasts which I poached and then threw together this delicious Buffalo Chicken Pasta Salad for us to enjoy on one of the days.  It went down a real treat.  All the flavours of Buffalo Wings, except its a delicious salad.  I used some pasta which I had gotten in my latest Degustabox delivery, the May box.  I will tell you about the salad in a little bit, but first I want to tell you about what else I got in my May Degustabox.

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CADBURY DAIRY MILK BIG TASTE UNVEILS THE UK’S FIRST EVER MONSTER TRUCK TAXI




Fasten your seat belts and get your taste buds ready because Cadbury Dairy Milk gets the chocolate on the road with the UK’s first ever Monster Truck Taxi. This impressive vehicle was especially created to help celebrate the launch of the new Cadbury Dairy Milk Big Taste bars and  to bring us British big chunks of deliciousness and a ride to remember.

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Dwarfing all other cabs on the road, the Big Taste Monster Truck Taxi is a humongous  9ft tall and weighs an incredible  1.5 tonnes. Adorned with the iconic Cadbury purple, the car will open its doors to chocolate fans all over the country  to help introduce them to the thrilling taste sensation of the new bars in the range: Cadbury Dairy Milk Big Taste Toffee Whole Nut, Cadbury Dairy Milk Big Taste Oreo Crunch and Cadbury Dairy Milk Triple Choc Sensation.


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Sitting at over 2 meters in height passengers are sure to be in for a treat when they climb inside the cab. The Big Taste Monster Truck Taxi takes to the streets of London on 27th May 2016 and will then set off on a journey across the country, making a stop in Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool where it will give chocolate fans the chance to enjoy an exhilarating experience inside the cab, as well as sample some of Cadbury's delicious new products.

Big Taste Monster Truck Taxi will be touring the nation on the following days:

-27th May – London, King’s Cross
-29th May – Liverpool, One Paradise Place
-31st May – Manchester, Wellington Statue
-2nd June – Birmingham, Bullring

Gemma Flanigan, Cadbury Dairy Milk Senior Brand Manager at Mondelez International, said: “As part of our new “Tastes Like This Feels” campaign, we wanted to bring to life the unique feeling and the big taste sensation that Cadbury Dairy Milk Big Taste bars deliver. What better way to do this than by creating Britain’s first ever Monster Truck Taxi and inviting chocolate fans on board to experience a new and epic ride – the perfect metaphor for the feeling that Cadbury Dairy Milk Big Taste bars evoke. Sitting at over 2 meters in height passengers are sure to be in for a treat when they climb inside the cab and we can’t wait to take it on tour!”  



To keep up to date on exciting news about Cadbury, visit www.facebook.com/cadburyUK

Twitter @CadburyUK
#TastesLikeThisFeels 


Note - I received a free bar of chocolate for promoting this Cadbury Campaign.  Toffee Whole Nut.  It was good., tooooooo good.



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Chicken Parmo


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Chicken Parmo . . .  no, that is not a mistype.  I meant to say Chicken Parmo.  Are you ready for some full on decadence Middlesbrough style?   Lock away the calorie counters because I am going to show you something today which is totally off the scales tastewise, not to mention caloriwise!   Fastfood chicken as only the people in the North East of England, Teesside . . .  do it!  Hang onto your hats, you're in for a real treat!

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Warm Blueberry and Almond Muffins


 

Yayy!! It's the weekend!!  And a Bank Holiday weekend at that!  I know I don't work full time anymore and don't really have all that many pressing issues in my life during the week, except for whatever work I make for myself and my church duties, but I still like to pull out the stops a bit at the weekend, like anyone.

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Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Spring Asparagus


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I just love fresh Spring asparagus.  I don't eat asparagus any other time of the year because there is just no comparison in flavour.   I believe in eating seasonally.   I don't think asparagus that has been shipped over from Peru in the depths of winter has any flavour at all really.  The taste never justifies it's high price in my opinion!

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BBQ this Bank Holiday Weekend with Newman's Own!


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There is nothing us Brits love more than a good old-fashioned BBQ. Whatever the weather, nothing beats gathering friends and family together to enjoy tasty grilled treats. This year’s BBQ Week runs from 23rd – 29th May, coinciding with the Bank Holiday in May and Memorial Day in the US,  providing the perfect opportunity to experiment with a variety of recipes, and lucky for you, Newman’s Own is here to lend a helping hand.

With a selection of sauces, rubs, marinades and dressings from Newman’s Own, you won’t want to BBQ without them. Get to the grill this BBQ Week and impress your guests with a selection of mouth-watering recipes ranging from honey turkey burgers to fiery bourbon chicken wings. (All the post-tax profits from Newman’s Own products go to the Newman’s Own Foundation, with over £1 million already being donated to a wide range of charities in the UK alone and over £250 million donated worldwide.)

Let's start off with Fiery Bourbon Chicken Wings served with a cooling Blue Cheese Dip!   I adore chicken wings.  If chicken wings are on the appetiser menu, they are my choice every time!
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Parmesan Chicken Breasts with Crispy Prosciutto




I am always up for chicken. Its not something I ever get tired of. I could eat it every night of the week. I'm not fussy about which part I eat either . . . I love the thighs, I love the breasts, I love the wings. I adore roasted chicken, fried, baked, simmered . . . I just love chicken in any way shape or form!

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Homemade Pirate Cookies






Any guesses on what my absolute favourite cookie of all time is??? No, it's not custard creams, oreos, chocolate chip or even shortbreads . . .


It's the humble, peanut butter filled, peanut butter flavoured oat cookie from Canada called . . . "Pirate Cookies!" I just love that wholesome crisp oatmeal cookie (slightly peanut butter flavoured) and that yummy peanut buttercream filling. Oh, nothing on earth tastes better with a glass of milk.

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Stuffed Baby Sweet Bell Peppers


 

I found the cutest little baby bell peppers in the store today and I just couldn't resist picking them up! I am such a sucker for baby anything . . . kittens, puppies, duckings . . . baby vegetables!!

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Healthy Speedy Suppers by Katriona Macgregor, cookbook review


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Another cookery book I received recently for review is Healthy Speedy Suppers, by Katriona MacGregor. Bursting with quick, simple and deliciously healthy recipes, Healthy Speedy Suppers will inspire anyone who feels too tired or busy to cook at the end of the day.


Katriona MacGregor started her Speedy Weeknight Suppers column for The Telegraph online in 2013, after a move back to exhausting London office life caused a slump in her diet. Resolving to break away from eating ready meals and cheese on toast every night, she began developing recipes that took no more than 40 minutes to make, were packed with good quality, wholesome ingredients, and tasted fantastic.

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It is brimming over with advice for those who are short on time but stillwant to eat nutritiously and how to stock a healthy larder.  There are Six tasty chapters of recipes including . . .

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Soups and Salads - Nineteen delicious recipes including such fabulous delights as Little Gem, Cucumber and Rocket Soup, Asparagus, Broccoli and Proscuitto Salad wih Caper and Herb Dressing, Roast Carrot, Tomato and Dill Soup, Prawn, Courgette and Coriander Salad.  Who knew healthy could be so delicious!

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Poultry - Fourteen Tasty Delights . . .  Soy Roast Chicken Legs with Butternut Squash and Red Peppers, Pheasant, Coconut and Tamarind Curry, Honey and Mustard Glazed Poussin, Duck Breasts with Peaches and Balsamic Vinegar to name but a few.   Totally tempting to the tastebuds.

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Meat - Sixteen tantalizingly delicious sounding meaty meals including Pork, Courgette and Broccoli Stir Fry, Paprika Pork with Red Peppers, Corned Beef Hash with Roast Tomatoes, Lamb with Bashed Peas and Tomato & Mint Salsa.

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Fish -  Fifteen Oceanic Delights including  Sea Bass with Thai Vegetables, Moroccan Fish Tagine, Spicy prawn and Tomato Spaghetti, Garlic Roast Salmon with Courgettes and Olives.  Can't wait to get stuck in!

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Grains, Pulses & Vegetables - 18 delicious recipes using these as their main ingredient.   Fabulous sounding dishes such as Chickpea and Black-eyed Bean Chilli, Courgette, Cherry Tomato and Goats Cheese Frittata, Quinoa, Courgette and Herb Cakes,  Butternut Squash, Chestnut and Sage Risotto to name but a few. 

And finally  . . .

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Dips, Sauces & Dressings - Eight different dips, sauces and dressings including Butterbean and Pumpkin Seed Hummus, Grainy Mustard Mayonnaise, Beetroot and Walnut Dip and Watercress Sauce, just for starters.

No surprise . . .   no desserts.  Boo Hoo, but then again, unless you are talking about eating a fresh piece of fruit there are not too many healthy desserts are there really.

The recipes are fresh, seasonal and nutritious and showcase a broad range of influences from around the world. Ingredient lists are short, prep is kept to a minimum and the methods are relaxed, often featuring one-pot or one-tray cooking. All of them have been put to the test at home after a busy day in the office, and the ingredients are easy to find and can be scooped up on the way back from work. Ranging from the summery Strawberry, Fennel & Chicken Salad, to warming Aubergine & Red Lentil Curry and zesty Sea Bass with Thai Vegetable Noodles, there is something here for every mood, diet and seasons.

Most of the recipes are wheat and dairy free, and are all naturally low in fat, sugar and refined carbohydrates. Also included are a guide to larder essentials, suggestions for leftovers, ingredient substitutions and simple variations.  This is truly a one-stop cooking resource for stressed, busy people.

I, for one, can't wait to get stuck in!

 

Food writer and chef Katriona MacGregor has been cooking, thinking and writing about food since she was able to wield a wooden spoon. Leith’s trained, she has worked all over the country in restaurants, private houses and cookery schools both cooking and designing recipes.

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Ultimate Family Wellness by David Kirsch, a review


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I wanted to tell you about a new book I recently received today, entitled Ultimate Family Wellness, by fitness guru and trainer, David Kirsch.   The No-Excuses program for Diet, Fitness and Lifelong Health.

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David Kirsch is the trainer behind Jennifer Lopez’s killer physique, and in this book he delivers easy-to-follow tips for leading a healthier life. This fabulous guide is a wonderful go-to source for five-minute workout fixes and delicious, yet efficient, fat-burning meals.  His 5-5-5 exercise and nutrition philosophy (follow it and lose five pounds in five days) is definitely one to note.

It is divided into 5 Main chapters.

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What is the 5-5-5 Program and the Ultimate Family Wellness plan - This chapter outlines the plan, explaining all the details of the plan and how to implement it in your life.

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Chapter 2 - Exercising and Activities.   Exercises for the 5-5-5 program.  Detailed photographs and in-depth advice for a wide variety of exercises and activities designed to get both you and your family off your bums and on the road to fitness.

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Chapter 3 - Nutrition Food and Family.  The importance of family rituals, Five rules for optimimum nutrition, the ABC's of  Nutrition, Debunking Food and Nutrition Myths, David's Top Ten Superfoods.

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Chapter 4 - Cooking with Your Kids   (My favourite chapter)  This is the recipe chapter, containing a multitude of Nutritious and Healthy recipes to take you and your family from breakfast on through to dinner with healthy snacking options. (Berry Yogurt Parfaits, Oatmeal Banana Brulee, Roast Turkey Avocado Salad, Turkey Kale Soup, Tuna Spinach Bowls, Crispy Samon Nuggets, Stir fries, dressings, dips, etc.)  There is a wealth of really delicious sounding and photographed meal options in this chapter, designed to maximize nutrtition and create appeal for even the fussiest child.

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 Chapter 5 - Management and Maintenance Made Easy -  How to manage the five day plan, keep a record of your exercise, recommended meal plans and cheats, Rules for to live by and how to maintain the momentum once you get going on this fabulous plan.  This chapter aims to inspire you on to success.

With over two decades of experience uncovering and harnessing the powerful connection between mind, body and spirit, David Kirsch has become a leading authority on achieving optimal health and wellbeing at any age or fitness level. Throughout his years as a sought-after trainer, David has transformed the bodies and lives of countless devotees through his signature combination of mind-body conditioning, multi-tasking workouts and smart nutrition. From founding New York's award-winning Madison Square Club to developing unprecedented supplements, classes and techniques designed to maximize workouts; David has been a pioneer in the wellness field throughout his long career.

Trusted by some of the world's most visible celebrities and influencers, David is the man with whom many A-listers train when they need to get in shape fast. One of the unique aspects of training with David is his expertise in reading different body types and his ability to target different parts of the body. In addition to authoring five books, including the bestseller The Ultimate New York Body Plan, David has appeared on numerous television shows, including The Today Show, E! and CNN World News, Dr. Oz, Live with Regis and Kelly and The View. Additionally, as a single father of four-year-old twin girls, he has expanded his wellness empire to include areas such as family and child fitness, nutrition and wellness. His website, DavidKirschWellness.com, represents a passport to the complete David Kirsch lifestyle.

Altogether this is a fabulous book for those who are wanting to get themselves and their family back in shape and to promote good nutrtion and family wellness together.  If this is your goal and something you are really wanting to aspire to, then this book is for you!

Ultimate Family Wellness, by David Kirsch
224 pages
Colour, and soft covered
ISBN - 978-1-59233-709-5
Published by Fair Winds, A division of Quarto
$22.99/US  $27.99 /CAN  £14.99/UK

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Spaghetti Pizza Pie


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This recipe came from a clipping that I have had in my Big Blue Binder for a very long time.  It was one that I thought looked delicious and that I wanted to make some day.  It's only taken me twenty years I am sure.  I can't see a date on the clipping or the name of the magazine I got it from, so I cannot say for sure, but I have lived over here for sixteen, so it has to be at least that and then some!

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Asian Slaw with a Spicy Peanut Dressing


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I love LOVE these types of salads.    There is just so much going on here.  They are interesting and they are delicious, with plenty of crunch and a really fabulous dressing!  Mmm! Mmm!

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May Cakes with a Vanilla Buttercream


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As I write this (Saturday morning) I am expecting a big crowd of youngsters to come later on today for a BBQ.  We are going to christen the new BBQ which we purchased last weekend and which the Elders so kindly helped Todd to put together!  Younguns love cupcakes and so I baked these lovely May Cakes to go along with all of the other goodies.

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Apple and Prune Crumble


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My Todd just adores apple desserts . . .  pies, cakes, puddings, crumbles . . .  I decided to make him a crumble the other day, but this is a crumble with a difference!   It has the addition of sticky prunes and a lovely hazelnut and oat crumble topping!

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Confetti Rice Salad


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We've had some really nice weather this week, a bit cool, but the sun has been shining and that's always a plus in my book!  The other day I made us a delicious rice salad to go with some grilled chicken for our supper.  We had spent a bit of time working in the garden, so quick and easy was the order of the day!

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Twice Baked Cheese Souffles


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Today I took advantage of having a somewhat quiet day (until tonight that is) and made something for our dinner that I had not made in a very long time.  Twice Baked Cheese Souffles.  I used to make these at least once a week for the Mr when I cooked at the Manor.  

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Crunchy Cheese Potatoes


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We had the Sisters for dinner the other nice.  I made them my Meat Loaf Pie with  these delicious CrunchyCheese Potatoes on the side.   Carrots, cauliflower, salad, rolls and my Speedy Berry Cake rounded out the menu.  There were NO complaints.  Not that there would be anyways.  These girls and guys are always so grateful for the opportunity for a nice homemade meal, and as you know I love, LOVE feeding them.

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Garlic Fried Rice and Degustabox


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Fried rice is one of those dishes I love to prepare.   It makes great use of leftover vegetables if you have them and leftover rice as well, but don't worry if you don't have leftover rice.  There are some fabulous packs of already cooked rice on the market today which mean that so long as you keep some in your cupboard, fried rice is only ever just a few minutes away!   There was some VeeTee Cooked rice in April's Degustabox and as soon as I saw it fried rice came to mind!   I'll tell you all about that at the end of this post, in the meantime have a read of what all I got in my April box!

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Layered Cobb Salad


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I am a real salad lover.  I could eat a salad for every meal of the day.  Todd, he's not so fond of salads, but he does admit that salads are a lot tastier and more interesting since he met me.   No lettuce leaf with a few limp slices of tomato, cucumber and no dressing . . . my salads are filled with colour and crunch and, yes . . .  interest!

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Yorkshire Rock Cakes


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From what I can tell the only difference between Yorkshire Rock Cakes and regular rock cakes is the addition of glace cherries and blanched almonds on top.  Some people call them fat rascals, but they're not fat rascals at all.  These are fat rascals, and as you can clearly see, they are not the same animal at all.

 

They are very, very different, not only in looks, but also in texture and ingredients.  You can find my fat rascal recipe here.

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Date & Walnut Coffee Cake


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This isn't a coffee flavoured cake, but a dense cake which is meant to be eaten with a hot drink, and sometimes split and buttered.   They are not really sweet like regular cakes or soft like normal cakes, but are sturdier and meant to be eaten warm . . . at the weekend . . .  for brunch possibly . . . they fall somewhere in between being a cake and being a bun/scone, if that makes sense!    Generally speaking they will have a crumb filling or a crumb topping, or sometimes even both. Whatever . . .  I've never met one I didn't love!!!

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Danone Light & Free


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I recently received a voucher to try Danone's new Light & Free Greek Style Yogurt.  I was able to pick some up at my local Asda and had a choice of two flavours in that shop, raspberry or cherry.  It also comes in Blueberry, Strawberry and Peach and Passionfruit flavours.  I chose the Cherry Charmer as I have diverticulitis and need to be careful of eating anything with a lot of seeds.  Delciously thick, sumptuously creamy with fruit pieces, with 0% sugar and fat, and coming in less than 60 calories per pot!  What do you have to lose?

What I thought:

It was nice and thick and quite creamy.   There were lots of bits of cherry, and it tasted really nice and fruity.    There is a slightly flavour of the sweeteners which are used (acesulfame K, Sucralose), but its not unpleasant like some artificially sweetened things can be.  As a diabetic I have to watch any sugars and at 7.7g for each 115g (1 pot) serving it was bordering on the high side for me, but was still within acceptable levels.   I loved that it was both low in fat and calories, and it is a yogurt pot I would definitely buy.  I would really love to be able to try the blueberry and peach and passionfruit flavours, as well as the strawberry, so I will be keeping my eye out for these!

They are available at Tesco, Morrisons (although I couldn't find them at my local one in Chester), Nisa, Asda, Waitrose and Ocado.
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The Perfect Steak from Barbecoa!
























 

















































































 












One thing that people always ask me is if I have always been a good cook, and I am the first one to tell them that the answer is no.  I had to learn how to do what I do just like anyone.  I have always had a fire in my belly for cooking and eating good food, but trust me when I say that I have made some real mistakes through the years and cooked many an inedible meal!  (A rubber chicken comes to mind!)

One thing which I really love is a nice grilled steak, cooked to perfection, and sadly it is one of those things that is so often gotten very wrong.  I have to say that it is really difficult to get a properly cooked one in a restaurant.  I like my steaks medium rare, and I have ended up with steaks ranging anywhere from way overdone to downright raw (in France).  Apparently in France medium rare means raw.

Anyways, I have found that basically for me, the only way I am going to really get a good steak cooked properly is to cook it at home.  I wish I lived near London  which is where Jamie Oliver’s new Barbecue Steakhouse ‘Barbecoa‘ is situated.  They shared their very own infographic with me on how to expertly cook that perfect steak, and  today I am sharing it with you. I just know I would get the perfect steak if I went there to eat.  (And be able to leave some great feedback on it as well on this review site.)

In the meantime I will just keep dreaming about that perfect steak and enjoy cooking them at home, using their very expert tips on getting it just so!  Thanks Barbecoa!
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Butter Baked Jersey Royals


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One of the things I love most about Spring . . .  other than the fresh asparagus, rhubarb and early strawberries . . .  is the Jersey Royal New Potatoes!   The Jersey Royal was not a potato I had eaten prior to coming over to the UK, but it is a potato that I have fallen in love with and basically this is the only time of year you can find them fresh in the shops!   But just what is a Jersey Royal?

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Herb and Lemon Roasted Chicken Breasts




You've probably noticed by now that we eat a lot of chicken in this house. I am sure we eat it at least 2 or 3 times a week in at least one form or another.

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A Simple Ratatouille


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What can I say about Ratatouille.  Umm . . .  it's not a rat that can talk.  It's delicious.  I love it.  In all seriousness it is a very tasty dish, and other than all of the chopping of the vegetables, it's very simple to make!

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Oven Baked Chicken & Broccoli Risotto




I love risotto, and I totally adore oven baked risotto's. I bet you are wondering why.  It's no mystery really.  there is a very simple reason . . .

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Apple & Blueberry Eve's Pudding


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This is a lovely dessert I made the other night when we had some company for dinner.  I had other plans, but the time got away from me, and so I decided to whip up an Eve's Pudding, which makes a quick and easy dessert, but not just an Eve's Pudding, but an Apple and Blueberry Eve's Pudding, which was only slightly different then the original traditional Eve's Pudding.  Whew!

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Cinnamon Slice and Bakes


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If you are looking for a simple cookie that is easy to make and delicious. Look no further. Cinnamon Slice and Bakes have to be one of the simplest cookies around and they are totally scrumptious!
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Tasty Oat & Cheddar Scones


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You are going to love these delicious cheese and oat scones.   Not only are they very comfortable sitting down next to a hot bowl of soup, but they are equally as comfortable next to a plate of salad, or being slathered with butter and jam!

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Parsnip & Apple Soup


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I thought I better post this recipe before the weather gets too hot to enjoy a bowl of soup.  This is a delicious soup we had for supper the other night along with some homemade scones.  It went down a real treat on a cool and rainy day!


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Pan Fried Potatoes


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These were always a real favourite when I was growing up.   When my mother made these we were all very happy!  Of course she could never make enough of them!  She used to only make them if she had cold leftover boiled potatoes.  Nowadays I boil potatoes purposely just so that I can make these!

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