Wednesday 28 August 2013


Good Morning to you,

I had just sat down, ready to catch up with you, when George came into my Button Room and surprised me with a toasted cinnamon muffin and a cup of coffee..... what a lovely way to start the morning.

Phyllis and George are watching the morning news, then later this afternoon we are going to the cinema to see the film, The Heat with Sandra Bullock..... I'll let you know what we think of the film, because all I know about it, is that it is a comedy.  I am going to listen to Phyllis laughing, so I will rate the film on how much she laughs on a scale from one to ten.

Today, I have something very simple to make with you.  Have you ever bought French bread, which for one reason or another you never used  on the day you bought it.  

If this has ever happened to you, then you will know that the bread is simply lovely when eaten on the day of purchase, but leave it for a day and it loses it's freshness. What did you do with the stale bread? I wonder, did you throw it away? If so there is no reason for you to do that again, have you ever thought of simply cutting the French bread into cubes, and then  turning them into Garlic and Oregano Croutons,

which can be added to soups, or they can be eaten on their own and enjoyed as a snack.  George often snacks on croutons whilst enjoying a glass of red wine.  

So let us begin, it's on with the apron and the music Phyllis has chosen today is,

Reba McEntire.  Phyllis had not heard of Reba McEntire, but when I played the CD she loved it. My favourite is "Everyday People" which Reba sings with Carole King.  Do you know I still own Carole King's LP.... yes LP.... Tapestry, I don't think I will be revealing any secrets when I tell you Tapestry is one of Natasha's favourite LPs...... or should I say CD's.


The ingredients for these Garlic and Oregano Croutons are very simple,

1 day old stick of French bread,
the size does not matter

1 clove of garlic
1 teaspoonful of sea salt
1 tablespoon of dried oregano

Olive oil, enough to coat the croutons


1 small baking tray
Oven temperature 180C (350F)

Slice the bread

Cut into cubes

Divide the cubed bread into three separate amounts
and place one amount into a bowl
and set aside for a moment.

Place the other two amounts into
freezer bags and freeze for
another time

Using the cubed bread which you set aside,

sprinkle sea salt over the cubed bread

Remove the dried oregano leaves
from the stem, crush between your fingers
and add to the cubed bread... you will love the aroma.
If using bought oregano, use 1 1/2 tablespoons.

If you would like to see how to dry your own
oregano, please see here

Add the grated garlic

to the olive oil and mix until combined

then drizzle over the cubed bread.
Leave to stand for a couple of minutes,
then turn the cubed bread over until 
thoroughly coated.

Place the cubed bread into  a small baking tray
 and bake for 15 minutes.  

After 10 minutes turn the cubed bread so 
both sides are golden brown.

Place in a bowl, ready to enjoy, with either warm soup or as a snack.

On this occasion the croutons were added to tomato soup, with a little added extra, a shaving of Parmesan cheese.  

You know how I loathe food waste, well I have an alternative to croutons. Slice the bread, as for the croutons, then  rub the slices of bread with a clove of garlic and bake to make Crostini. Then all you have to do is just add the toppings of your choice. We often eat them with homemade houmous. I find with a little thought, I can always think of an alternative way to use up foods, truly there is no need for waste.

When I asked Phyllis what she thought of the Garlic and Oregano Croutons, she just smiled..... I think that was a positive response, don't you.

Sadly, by the time we catch up with each other, on Sunday, Phyllis will have returned home, but I am not thinking about that now, as tomorrow, the weatherman has told us we are going to have a lovely sunny day, so we are going to visit Tynemouth, which is on the Northumberland coast.

So take care and I will see you on Sunday.

Sunday 25 August 2013


Good Morning to you,

Where has this week gone?  Phyllis arrived last Saturday and we both cannot believe how quickly the time has flown by .... one week of her holiday has gone by already.

We are so enjoying each others company. We have been shopping and spent a day in Newcastle. Actually, it's not only the shopping we enjoy, but the entertainment.  Around every corner there are groups singing, artists performing, and violinists serenading us with their beautiful music.

When we arrived at The Greys Monument, we found  there was a film being shown outdoors.  The deck chairs were lined up under The Monument and a huge screen was at the ready for everyone to enjoy a film. We hummed and harred, but decided not to stay, as there were a few bits and pieces we wanted to buy. We both felt we did not miss out on the film, as this week we are going to see The Heat with Sandra Bullock, which looks like it will be fun. I just love a good comedy film..... as does Phyllis.

I asked Phyllis what she would like me to bake today. I said she could choose a cake, some muffins, or a tart, whatever she fancied. With a little thought, well actually a lot of thought, because the one thing, which Phyllis is not good at, is making a decision.  If I give her too many choices, I would have to wait for a couple of hours for a decision, and then a decision would not always be reached. It took a while, but  we narrowed it down, she decided she did not want muffins, a cake would be nice, but she finally, after a lot of thought, decided on a tart.  So today we will be making a,

Lemon Tart.  The ingredients I am giving you is for a thicker Lemon Tart, but I prefer to make two tarts with the filling. By dividing the lemon cream into two tart cases, the  Lemon cream is not too thick, but the lemon still gives a real burst of flavour when you bite into it, so all you need is a small slice, maybe with a drizzle of cream and you have the perfect dessert.

So let's put on our aprons and with a little help from Phyllis, we will begin making this tart.  

The music we are listening to today was chosen by Phyllis, and is,

The Mavericks.  Phyllis loves "Dance The Night Away" and I have to tell you, there was a little dancing around the kitchen when this music played.

I have not written down the instructions on how to make the pastry case as we have made quite a few, but if you would like a reminder, take a look here, when we made Raspberry Summer Dessert.

Remember, you can make one Lemon Tart with a thick layer of filling or two Lemon Tarts with a thinner layer of filling. The instructions are for one thick layered Lemon Tart, although the photographs show a thin layered Lemon Tart..... I hope this isn't too confusing.


6 medium sized lemons

4 large eggs
6 oz (175g) of caster sugar

6 fl oz  of double cream


To make one Lemon Tart
9" loose-bottom baking tin 
at least 2 1/2" in depth

Oven temperature 160C (315F)

Juice the lemons

then finely grate the lemon rind

Place the four eggs

caster sugar into a  bowl and 
whisk together

stir in the lemon rind
the lemon juice
and stir until thoroughly mixed

Pour into the pre-prepared tart case
and bake for 40 -45 minutes, but check at
35 minutes as you do not want the Lemon tart to
be brown.

Bake until the lemon cream is set but 
has a slight wobble in the middle,
just as you would for a baked cheesecake.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes then remove
the outer case of the tart tin.

When completely cool remove the tart tin base
and place the Lemon Tart on a serving dish

Cut yourself a slice and place it on a plate, then decorate with raspberries or blueberries, sprinkled with a little icing sugar, and if you want to be really decadent, drizzle with lemon cream. 

Take hold of your dessert fork, and place a piece of Lemon Tart on your fork, pop it into your mouth, close your eyes and enjoy the lemon taste explosion.

If, like me you decide to make two tarts, then just divide the cream mixture between two pre-prepared tart cases and bake for 30 minutes.  Oh my, I hope you don't think we were greedy and ate both tarts, rest assured we didn't, we shared them with the family.

Phyllis enjoyed a slice with lemon cream and her verdict was,

 "Oh my, this is very nice, I think I will
 have another piece tomorrow!"

There is no more to be said, is there.

Oh yes there is just one thing, I thought I would mention that Phyllis' star sign is Libra...... hence the time it takes for her to make a decision.

Take care and I will see you later in the week.

Wednesday 21 August 2013


Good Morning to you,

I have exciting news, Phyllis, has come to stay with us for two weeks and do you know what her first request was when she arrived..... a nice cup of Yorkshire tea.

We have had fun going out and about and you will never guess which film we went to see yesterday, The Lone Ranger, with Johnny Depp playing the part of Tonto.  I worried at first that the sound in the cinema would be too loud for her, but she said it was fine, she sat between George and I and  we could both hear her laughing at funny parts of the film.  She said she remembered watching the original series with Clayton Moore playing the part of The Lone Ranger in the 1950's television series and was interested to see how Johnny Depp played the part of Tonto.  Her verdict.... he was marvellous and he made her laugh.

Afterwards we went for a meal and we started talking about my blog and the various cakes and desserts I had made.  She asked me what a Semifreddo was, and as I started to explain, a little alarm bell rang in my head. When I made Semifreddo, see here I had promised to show you how I make chocolate sauce, but it had totally slipped my mind, that is,  until we were talking about it. So I am going to remedy that today and Phyllis is going to help with a little stirring here and a little grating there.

Actually, I have to admit this looks like a cup of hot cocoa, but it isn't, it is chocolate sauce.  I did not drizzle the sauce over anything, as to be honest I did not have any ice cream.  I love this little cup and saucer which my mother-in-law, Sadie gave me, so I thought it would add a little interest.

So without further ado, it is on with the apron and the music I am listening to, is none other than, 

the fabulous Michael Buble, (sorry I do not have an accent on my computer to put over the "e" in Michael's name).  Michael is really popular here in England and  Phyllis loves listening to his music as well. The cd contains a mixture of old and new songs, so it was perfect for today, as Phyllis was singing along to quite a few of the songs, she especially liked "You Make Feel So Young".


150 ml (1/4 pint) double cream
50g (2 oz) butter,
1 orange
3 tablespoons caster sugar

100g (4 oz) dark good quality plain chocolate


Grate the zest from the orange
and set aside

juice the orange
and set aside

Pour the cream into a saucepan 

 add the caster sugar

Cut the butter into cubes and add to the cream and sugar.
Heat gently, stirring until the butter has melted,
do not allow to boil.

Break the chocolate into  small pieces 
and add to the cream.
At this point I remove the cream from the heat
and keep stirring until the chocolate has
melted into the cream.  If it does not melt 
completely, return to the heat for another minute.

Add the grated orange rind and stir

Add a tablespoonful of orange juice and mix, then add the
second tablespoonful of orange juice and mix until 
thoroughly incorporated.

Pour into a bowl and allow to cool a little before using
as you do not want to burn your mouth.

When you are ready to use this warm Orange and Chocolate Sauce, drizzle it over ice cream...... you will not be disappointed with the flavourful outcome.

If you do not use all the chocolate sauce, place it in the fridge and then when you want to use it again, maybe in the next day or two, place the cold sauce in a basin and place the basin over a pan of hot water.  After a few minutes, stir the sauce, it will gradually return to it's original consistency.

I have even left this chocolate sauce in the fridge over night until it sets and made little chocolates dipped in cocoa.  I use two small teaspoons, one teaspoon I dip into the sauce and remove just enough to fill the teaspoon and then with another teaspoon, which has been dipped in hot  water and then dried I shape the chocolates into little quenelles and then gently roll into cocoa.

Oh dear..... here I am talking about chocolate again. It is only Wednesday and this week  I have  made this Orange and Chocolate Sauce and also a Chocolate Cloud cake for Phyllis.

..... that is it..... no more chocolate for me this week.

Just before I go, I wanted to say, I am sorry I have not been answering comments and emails this week, but I know you will understand, that my time is precious with Phyllis, and I want to spend as much time with her as I can.   I promise to catch up with you when Phyllis returns home at the end of the month.

Take care and I will see you later in the week.

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