Sunday, 30 September 2012


Good Morning to you,

The skies are very dark and the clouds look thunderous. The wind is howling outside and the rain is bouncing off the pavements.  The weatherman says the wind and rain is set to remain for the rest of the day and could actually continue for the next couple of days.  I am lucky because today, I am in my warm and cosy  kitchen, so I have decided to ignore the horrible weather and make the Moussaka I promised you I would make.

First things first, a  cappuccino is in order, then I will organise  the ingredients  and finally I will find some good music to listen to whilst cooking.  Once this is done, I am well and truly ready to start making Moussaka.





1 additional aubergine (total 3 aubergines used)

2-3 large aubergines (I needed to use 3)
 2 medium sized onions
2 to 3 cloves of garlic (depends on your taste)
olive oil
1kg minced lamb
1 1/2 glasses of red wine (optional)
1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato puree
1 400g tin of tomatoes (chopped)
or if you prefer use fresh tomatoes
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons of dried oregano
salt and pepper
1/2 pint of water

1 x 12" by 9"  dish that can be used in the oven

Top and tail the aubergines then  slice the aubergines length ways.

Brush both sides of the aubergines with olive oil and place in a dry pan. Cook until brown on both sides.

 Remove from the pan and set aside until needed

 Cook the lamb mince until the pinkness has gone, then remove from the pan into a dish and set aside until needed.

 Place two tablespoons of olive oil in a pan. Add the onions and cook until translucent.

Add the grated garlic, oregano and cook for a further couple of minutes

Add the cooked lamb mince back into the pan, a little at a time, to allow  all the ingredients to be incorporated.

Add the cinnamon, salt and pepper and stir well.

 Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree,  red wine, sugar and water to the meat mixture and stir again. Bring to a simmer,  place a lid on the pan and leave to simmer for about 50 - 60 minutes. Check for seasoning, if more is needed add now and stir. You want the consistency to be quite thick, with very little liquid, so if you still have a lot of liquid left after 50 minutes, remove the lid and  increase the heat to allow the liquid to evaporate.  Stir occasionally, when you reach the required thick consistency, remove from the heat  and set aside.


 75 g  butter
75 g  flour
750 ml of milk
75 g grated Kephalotiri Cheese
 (if you are unable to buy this Greek cheese, Parmesan  mixed with a little cheddar cheese is a good substitute)
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
sea salt and  black pepper 

 Melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Keep stirring and allow the mixture to cook for about a minute. This is to make sure the flour is thoroughly cooked.  Add the milk and whisk vigorously with a balloon whisk.  I find the white sauce does not turn lumpy as long as you keep whisking.  Takes a little while, but persevere and you will have a luscious thick white sauce.

Remove from the heat and add the cheese, salt and pepper, keep mixing until the cheese has melted. Check the seasoning, again if more is needed add now and stir for a minute or so. 

Allow the sauce to cool a little, I would say about 3 minutes. Whisk the eggs and slowly pour them into the mixture,  beating to  fully incorporate the eggs.   Make sure your sauce is not too hot, otherwise your eggs will scramble. 


You will now have a rich, creamy sauce. 

 Using Olive oil, brush the baking dish. Place a layer of aubergines at the bottom of the dish, then add the meat sauce on top of the aubergines.

Continue layering in this manner. I found I had a couple of sliced aubergines over, I did not want to waste them so I added them to the final layer of meat sauce.


Pour the white sauce over the meat mixture, making sure the meat is entirely covered. 

Bake at 140 C  for 50-60 minutes until golden brown.

Ovens do vary and I found  this took 45 minutes in my oven.

There is the option to add another layer to this dish, by using sliced potatoes. 

Par-boil your potatoes and allow to cool as this makes the potatoes easier to slice. Slice the potatoes the same thickness as the aubergines. Then alternate the layers, aubergines, meat mixture, then  potatoes.

If you decide to add potatoes, then don't allow the meat mixture to be too thick in consistency, leave some liquid, as the extra liquid will allow the par-boiled potatoes to fully cook when baking the Moussaka in the oven.
I hope you try this recipe.  It does take a little time, but believe me it is worth it.  Just a thought, if you are short of time, you could cook the meat mixture one day, then the aubergines and potatoes and cheese sauce the following day.

So, Dimi, what do you think, I would love to know.

This week I shall be joining,

Yvonne from StoneGable for On the Menu Monday 
Alli for Throwback Thursday 
Have a lovely week and I will see you later.  Take care until then.

Best Wishes
Daphne xx

Wednesday, 26 September 2012


Good Morning to you,

A few weeks ago, I shared with you  how easy it was to increase your supply of basil plants, by rooting stems in water. See here.

Well now is the time to do something with those  plants before the mornings become any colder and we lose our basil plants to the morning frosts.

 Pesto which you make yourself has a far superior taste to anything you can buy in the shops, and of course the added bonus is that you know exactly what has gone into additives, which can only be good.

This is such a simple recipe. The hardest thing  for you to do, is use your arm muscles to finely grate the cheese and use the gas hob to  toast the pine nuts, then the food processor does the rest.


2  large handfuls of fresh basil leaves
  (stems included)
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
(depends on your taste)
50g pine nuts, lightly toasted
100g parmesan cheese, finely grated
1/4 pint of olive oil
Sea salt and pepper

Lightly toast the pine nuts in a dry pan.
(Do not add oil)

Keep a sharp eye on them, because the pine nuts will brown very quickly and are easily burnt.

Toss a few times until lightly golden


 Place the basil, garlic and pine nuts into a blender.


Pulse a few times until the ingredients are finely chopped.


 Add the olive oil and pulse again.
If you prefer a looser consistency,  add more olive oil at this point.

 Add the sea salt and black pepper

 Add the grated Parmesan Cheese

Pulse again, until fully incorporated 

Just as an added extra, you know my love of lemons, well I must confess I do add a squeeze or two of lemon at this point, but this is optional.
Taste to check the seasoning, add more if required. 

Now , your pesto is ready to use. It really is that quick.
I put my pesto in a jar, which has been sterilised and I also add a layer of olive oil on the top. 
Keep the pesto in the fridge until needed.
Just as an added note, remember pesto has a very strong flavour, so use sparingly as you can spoil your dish by using too much. As I am always saying with cooking, it's easy to add a little at a time, but you can't take away.
Take care and I'll see you later in the week.
I shall be joining,
Best Wishes

Daphne xxx

Sunday, 23 September 2012


Good Morning to you,

Can I ask you a question? 

Do you remember the  first cookery book you bought?

You do. Tell me,  how did you feel when you held the book in your hands?   Were you excited to recreate the recipes the book offered?  Were you seduced by the photographs? Were you "champing at the bit" to read the book from cover to cover?

What I am really describing is how I felt. I remember  all of these feelings and I couldn't wait for my culinary adventure to begin.


Here it is.   I felt nothing less than a book entitled  International Cookery Course would do. As a newly wed, I wanted to impress George with what would be, my newly acquired, exotic culinary cooking!

Remember this was 1970 and cookery books were changing.    Can you imagine  jumping from Ivy's cookery book, which had 4 colour plates, to Phyllis' which had a few more colour plates than Ivy's, to a cookery book which was full of brightly coloured photographs and so much detail. Not only that, but  filled with exotic foods.

I was ensnared. No more plain cooking for me. I was going to be an exotic cook (remember I was very young).... and so my love of food from around the world began.

Greek food is still one of my favourites and  Moussaka is delicious. The sights and sounds of Cyprus come flooding back when the aroma of Moussaka fills my kitchen.  Cooking Moussaka and listening to a little Greek Music makes me a very happy person.


Tourtiere is a well known meat pie from Quebec and is traditionally served after midnight mass at Christmas.  This pie is spiced with cloves as well as mixed dried herbs, which I found unusual at the time.  You can't tell by the photo that it includes bacon, onion, potato as well as pie pork. George loves this pie as his father used to make him plate pies as a child and he says although not as thick as this Tourtiere, the pie his father made was very similar.  

 Can you imagine how I felt when I first set eyes on this cake. No..... well I will tell. I couldn't believe that a cake baked at home could look so spectacular.  As you know Ivy was a skilled baker, but I had never seen anything baked as large as this magnificent cake. I couldn't wait to bake it.   The first time I baked it I had to share it with friends as  the two of us would have been eating it forever more.  My friends were impressed with this cake and so was I. After my first attempt I kept this cake for special occasions.

Does anyone remember making Beef Stroganoff? (That question is for the Diamond Jubilee Children!) This was a very popular dish if you were having a dinner party.   In the '70's we didn't say we would invite friends for supper,which is a much more relaxed affair.  We invited them to a dinner party which was very formal. We dressed for dinner and minded our P's and Q's.   Nowadays things are a lot less formal and much more relax which I prefer.


.....and who didn't make Goulash in the '70's, especially during the winter.  It is such comforting food.   The important ingredient in this recipe is paprika, which can be bought in abundance now, but again it wasn't so readily available back then.  Can you tell this has been a well used recipe over the years. See the marks on the photo, some ingredient or other  was splashed on the page when I was making this dish and you can see where I tried to wipe the mark away.

This Potato Soup with Dumplings is a recipe  used time and time again.  This soup we enjoy for supper as it is filled with carrots, leeks, celery,onions, bacon and salami and is a very hearty, warming soup.

....and now to Spain.  The omelette I was used to, was a  little  French rolled omelette, using  two  eggs and filled with grated cheese, but this was a giant in the world of omelettes. When I came across these tortillas I didn't imagine I would make them as they were so large and far too much for two people.  But when George spotted them they became one of his favourites, as in his youth he did a lot of sport, especially judo and canoeing which took great amounts of energy, so these Tortillas  became a regular in my repertoire of cooking.

Look at that beautiful picture, at the time, there was nothing more exotic than an Indian Curry. The information about making Chicken Curry said,  "Spices and ingredients for curry, including poppadoms, are available in high-class grocery stores ".  mmm didn't know any high-class grocery stores back then, so this dish wasn't made for many years.  Nowadays,  the spices I use  come from India. You can't be more authentic than that.

It was during the middle of the '70's that I was able to buy the ingredients for dishes such as Prawns with Mixed Vegetables and Crispy Pancake Rolls. At the time I felt my culinary education needed to be increased before I attempted these  dishes.  It took a while, but with practise I mastered these dishes and was rewarded with delicious new tastes to savour.
I hope you have enjoyed looking at recipes from way back when..... ok the 1970's.  I hope so, as I am going to recreate a few of the recipes for you.  The first one will be next Sunday, and I'll be cooking  Moussaka.... now, this will be fun as Dimi from Aussi Dimi Decoupage will tell me if I am making it correctly, but I have to say, I adapt recipes for our taste, so it probably won't be strictly correct, but it will be very tasty.
This week I will be joining,
 Green Day at Raindrops and Daisies
Take care and I will see you later in the week. 
Best Wishes
Daphne xxx 

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


Good Morning to you, 

 Do you remember, in August, when I showed you some photos of my garden,   I  included  the flowers which were growing on the Runner Bean plant.  I added this photo  as the flowers  were so vibrant and beautiful, I felt they had earned their place amongst the other garden flowers. 

Well, the months have passed, my plants have grown and  now I have a plentiful supply of runner beans.

I planted three plants, which were slow to grow because of the constant rain during June and July, but come August they started growing really well and because of this little plant I have an abundance of Runner beans. 

 Each plant has yielded about 1 kilo of Runner beans.

Once I started picking the Runner beans, they grew so fast that I had more than I could use, so I decided to freeze them in portions sizes, enough for us to eat at one meal. 
 I selected young, tender beans which I didn't allow to grow too big otherwise they would have become stringy and tough.


 I washed them thoroughly, then topped and tailed them (this means, trim each end of the bean). Then cut the beans into good sized pieces.  My Runner beans are chunkier than  Phyllis and Ivy's,  as they tended to cut theirs into a much slimmer shape, which made the beans look more delicate, but George prefers a chunkier bean.  He says this is a "man" sized bean!

 I then blanched the beans.  This is essential as blanching preserves the colour, the flavour and texture of the beans. I used 3 litres of water to every 500g of beans.

Bring the pan of water to a rolling boil and add the beans. I find it easier to add a couple of handfuls  at a time, as this allows the water to return to a rolling boil quickly. 

When 3 minutes has passed, (I would recommend you set a timer as it is easy to be distracted), remove the beans from the pan with a slotted spoon and plunge the beans into a bowl of iced cold water.  I use cold water from the tap then add about 12 ice cubes, this enables the beans to cool quickly to prevent over cooking and to allow the beans to retain their colour. 

Have your freezer bags to hand ready to fill with Runner beans.  Record the date the beans were frozen and add what the bags contain, in this case, Runner beans.

Add the beans to your freezer bags, as much or as little as you prefer, but not more than three quarters full.  I tend to freeze enough for one meal. 


Remove as much air as you can from the bag and seal. Your beans are now ready to freeze to enjoy during the winter time. 

I place the beans into the freezer and lay them flat as this helps to freeze them much quicker.  I can stack them once the beans have frozen.

And all because of this wonderful flower.... and not forgetting the pollination by the bees.

Now, I want to say,

a big thank you to Linda from Life and Linda who wrote a great post about watermarking photos using PicMonkey. You can find her post here:

I wanted to say thank you as watermarking also introduced me to PicMonkey which in turn allowed me to improve my photos. The blogging community is such a generous community, which I am glad to be a part of. If you are a new blogger click on the link and you will be so glad you did. 

I shall be joining,


 Enjoy the rest of your week and I will see you soon.  Take care,

Best Wishes

Daphne xxx

Sunday, 16 September 2012


Good Morning to you,

I love Cheesecake, always have and always will! For me the best place to enjoy Cheesecake is The Cheesecake Factory in Peach Tree Road, Atlanta.

The very first time I visited The Cheesecake Factory, I was overwhelmed.  There were so many delicious Cheesecakes to choose from.... well it took me forever to choose, BUT, my absolute favourite was, and still is, Dutch Apple Caramel Streusel. No words can describe the pleasure I have when eating a slice of this Cheesecake.  It also brings back lovely memories of dining out with Natasha, Danielle and The Sugarhill Gang.

So today, to remind me of those lovely memories, I am making a Cheesecake, one which I have baked often and adapted from Nigella Lawson's Cookery Book, Nigella Bites, it works every time and is easy to make. 


750g Philadelphia Cream Cheese
200g caster sugar
4 whole eggs
2 yolks
juice of 4 limes

20-21cm spring form cake tin
kitchen foil

180C/Gas Mark 4


200g Double Chocolate Maryland cookies
75 g unsalted butter


Place a large piece of tin foil over the bottom of the spring form tin and then insert the base over it. Fold the tin foil up around the sides of the tin and place the whole thing on a second piece of tin foil, also folding it and pressing it securely up around the tin so that you have a water-tight covering.  


Place the biscuits into a food processor until they are like crumbs. Or....

if you have a lot of excess energy to use, place the biscuits into a plastic bag, find your rolling pin and "bash" the biscuits into little pieces.....there do you feel better now? 

 Place the biscuit crumbs into a bowl and add the melted butter and stir until incorporated.

 Place the biscuit mixture into the baking tin and press down firmly using the back of a spoon. Place in the fridge to set and preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.


Beat the cream cheese gently until smooth, then add the sugar and mix thoroughly.

Add the beaten eggs and egg yolks

Then add the lime juice

 Make sure everything is incorporated.


 Pour the cream cheese filling onto the chilled biscuit base.

Carefully place the tin in a roasting tray and pour hot water around the cheesecake to reach half way up the sides of the baking tin.

Bake for 1 hour, but check after 50 minutes. The cheesecake is cooked when you have a slight "wobble" below the surface.

Carefully remove the baking tin from the roasting tray  and stand on a wire rack.  Remove all the outer layers of tin foil and leave to cool. Again do this carefully as the layers of tin foil will be hot.

When cooled place in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving.

Transfer to the plate you are going to serve it on and unclip.  I wasn't able to remove the base of the baking tin, but I really didnot mind. 

Also you might find, as I did, that your cheesecake splits a little on top as it cools down. If you feel the need this can easily be covered with fruits, but I left mine so you could see, that I had the same problem.  It certainly doesn't spoil the taste of this delicious cheesecake.

The base is just right and the cream cheese topping is delicious.

These days I am having to increase my walking from 10,000 steps a day to 12,000, as I am eating more "baked goodies" than I normally do.  Just as well I am able to share them with friends and's easy to spread the calories around!
This week I shall be joining,
Wow Us Wednesdays at Savvy Southern Style
I will see you later in the week, so until then, take care,
Best Wishes
Daphne xxx
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