Theme Layout

Boxed or Wide or Framed

Theme Translation

Display Featured Slider

Featured Slider Styles

Display Grid Slider

Grid Slider Styles

Display Trending Posts

Display Author Bio


Display Instagram Footer

Cinnamon Cake

Cinnamon Cake

Mmmm . . . is there any smell on earth better than the smell of cinnamon anything baking in the oven???  I think not!!!  It has to be the most comforting, homey, hug-me smell that there is, next to Vanilla.  That smells pretty good too.  You are going to love this wonderful breakfast cake I am showing you this morning.  It is absolutely perfect in every way!

It has a moist and nutty batter  . . . moist from the use of sour cream.  Sour cream is a great moistener when it comes to cakes  . . .  and this cake has plenty of that. 

Finely chopped toasted pecans.  This cake has plenty of those too . . .  finely chopped and stirred through that beautiful batter, so that every forkful brings you some of that moreish nuttiness . . .

And then there is the cinnamon sugar  . . .  a whole 4 tsp of cinnamon in that cinnamon sugar mix . . .  swirled through that lovely nutty batter . . .

It makes lovely cinnamony . . . sugary  . . .  moreishly tasty rivers and canyons of cinnamon tastiness throughout the cake!

Perfect for a weekend brunch  . . .  I guarantee the smell of it baking alone will get everyone hopping out of bed and clambering to the table, bellying up for a taste! 

"By the Rivers of Cinnamon  . . . la la la . . .!  Wait no, I guess it was Babylon, never mind.  Drat  . . .  now I'll be singing that song all day in my head.  Urrrrggg! I hate it when that happens.

I all seriousness however, this is one very delicious cake.  And it is simple.  As simple as stirring together a batter, and spreading it into a pan . . .

As simple as mixing together a quantity of granulated sugar and another quantity of ground cinnamon and sprinkling that over top of the batter in the pan . . .

As simple as taking a round bladed knife and swirling that layer of cinnamon sugar through that sour cream batter  . . .

and then simply waiting  . . .  for half an hour or so while it bakes  . . . and you sit there smelling that lovely smell  . . .

And then you take it out, wait a few minutes until it cools down a bit . . . and dig in.  Mmmm . . .  so lovely served warm with something to drink.  Tea. Coffee.  Milk.  Hot Chocolate, or  . . .  in my case . . .  diet coke. (I know naughty me.)  Yum!!

*Cinnamon Cake*
Makes one 8 or 9-inch cake

This light and moist cake smells heavenly when it is baking and makes a great addition to a weekend brunch!

210g plain flour (1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/4 tsp baking power
1/4 tsp salt
120g butter softened (1/2 cup)
135g sugar, divided (3/4 cup)
2 large free range eggs
1 tsp vanilla
120g sour cream (1 cup)
60g finely chopped pecans (1/2 cup)
4 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter and flour an 8 or 9 inch square baking tin. Set aside. 

Whisk together the flour, soda, baking powder and salt. 

Cream together 90g/1/2 cup of the sugar with the butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the vanilla.  Stir in the dry ingredients, just to blend, in two lots, alternating with the sour cream.  Stir in the pecans. Spoon into the prepared cake tin.  Combine the remaining sugar and the cinnamon. Spoon evenly over top of the cake batter. Swirl in with a round bladed knife to marble it. 

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean and the cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes and serve warm, cut into squares.

Todd enjoyed his with some squirty whipped cream on top.  I cannot afford that indulgence myself.  In fact I cannot afford even eating the cake, but I do treat myself to a tiny smidgen.  I hope you will too!  Bon Appetit and happy weekend!

Read more »
Marie Rayner
Nut Jumbles

Nut Jumbles

Ahhh . . .  the weekend, time to pull out the stops a tiny bit and bake something the family will enjoy. A tiny treat, a bit of an indulgence.  Something like these fabulous Nut Jumbles.  A deliciously moreish cookie that is a jumble of coconut and toasted nuts, topped with a  shiney and sweet, incredibly tasty browned butter glaze.

These truly are wonderful cookies. If you can eat just one of them you are a much better man than I Gunga Din!  They are nice and chewy . . .  and stogged full of lovely shredded sweetened coconut . . . don't be tempted to use dessicated. It doesn't have the right texture and is a bit dry. I buy my shredded coconut online at Skyco.  Its the cheapest.  I usually buy it in bulk and keep it frozen in the freezer so I can keep it for a long time.

You can use either toasted walnuts or pecans. Today I used pecans.  Both are equally as delicious. 

I always toast my nuts before baking with them. Toasting really does enhance their nuttiness and freshens them up a lot.  You can also do this well ahead of time and keep them frozen until you want to use them.  Just bring them to room temperature first.

10 minutes or so in a moderate oven does the trick just nicely.  Just bang those nuts onto a baking sheet and into the oven.  180*C/350*F/gas mark 4.  They will smell lovely and nutty.  Let them cool before chopping.  If I don't have some stored in the freezer, I will usually do this a day or so before I know I am going to bake with them. But you can also do it on the day, just make sure they are thoroughly cool before using them.

Mmmm . . .  there is something about toasted nuts in a cookie that ticks all my flavour boxes.

Don't get me started on this browned butter glaze.  Oh boy . . .  that really tips a delicious cookie over the edge into FAB-U-LOUS!!

You need to put it on the cookies almost as soon as they come from the oven, while they are still hot. It will be kind of thick, but the heat from the cookies will make it quite spreadable.

Try not to lick your fingers too many times . . .

The glaze helps to keep them nice and chewy, so its purpose is really a two-fold one . . . taste and texture.

This is the kind of cookie your granny would have baked.  Just coz she loves you and you are such a good little girl/boy. There is nothing like lovin'  from the oven to make you feel all warm and toasty inside!!

Of course a little glass of ice cold milk is the perfect accompaniment.

*Nut Jumbles*
Makes 4 dozen approx.
Moreishly chewy drop cookie topped with a shiny browned butter glaze! 

8 TBS unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
95g granulated sugar (1/2 up)
100g dark soft brown sugar (1/2 cup, packed)
1 large free-range egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
175g plain flour (1 1/4 cups)
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/4 tsp salt
76g shredded sweetened coconut (1 cup)
60g chopped toasted walnuts or pecans (1/2 cup)
60g sour cream (1/2 cup)

For the glaze:
3 TBS butter
195g icing sugar (1 1/2 cups) sifted
2 TBS milk
few drops vanilla

Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/ gas mark 5.  Line several large baking sheets with baking paper. Set aside.

Cream together the butter and both sugrs until light and fluffy.  Beat in the egg and vanilla.  Sift the flour, soda and salt together and stir in just to mi. Stir in teh coconut, toasted nust and sour cream to make a stiff dough.

Drop by TBS onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches in between.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookes are set and no impression is left when lightly touched.

While the cookies are baking make the glaze.  Heat the butter in a small skillet over low heat until it turns a nut brown, abot 3 to 4 minutes, swirling it occasionally. Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, milk and vanilla to give you a smooth shiny glaze.  

Spoon the glaze over the hot cookies.  Allow to set.

I really betcha can't eat just one.  Happy Bank Holiday weekend and Bon Appetit! 

Read more »
Marie Rayner
Ketjap Manis

Ketjap Manis

I am a huge fan of Westernized oriental cuisine.  I say Westernized because I have never had any other kind.  I have never travelled in the orient or any further West than the border of British Columbia in Canada, or any further East than the Austian Tyrol.  So you see . . .  no Eastern experience at all.  My sum experience of Oriental cuisine amounts to the dishes you might find on an all-you-can-eat buffet service at any Western Chinese restaurant. 

I did go to a Korean restaurant once, in Toronto, and I quite liked what I had there, although it was quite spicy and I do like Kimchee. 

I often make my own Chinese/Indonesian dishes at home, in the main being stir fries and fried rice. We are lovers of both of those.  I do admit to having a real fondness for sweet and sour dishes and egg/spring rolls also.  A very rare treat. 

And don't get me started on Beef and Broccoli.  That has to be my all-time favourite chinese dish.  All. Time.

When we were living down South here in the UK, I got turned onto Ketjap Manis.  I picked up a bottle in the oriental foods section of our local Waitrose down there and it was love at first taste!

This was the kind I bought.  I was actually taking a chance when I bought it.  I have always loved exploring grocery shops and it was an ingredient I had never used before, so I bought it to try. Like I said . . .  LOVE AT FIRST TASTE!  

Ketjap Manis is a sweet Indonesian Soy Sauce and quite addictive really.  I found myself putting it in everything Chinese and loving that unique sweet salty flavour it imparted.  It can also have a bit of a spicey heat, depending on how much chillies you add, or ginger . . .  I like to be a bit judicious myself.

I was using it in my fried rice, my stir fries . . .  on spare ribs, etc. Like I said, love at first taste.  I was so disappointed when I ran out and then couldn't find it anymore.  We had moved of course, and I didn't have a Waitrose where we live. We do now, but its almost all the way across the city and, although Todd loves me very much, he won't be driving across the city for any ingredient when it comes to cooking.   

What can I say.  He is so NOT a foodie. He only eats when he gets hungry (Kudos to him) and he never gets hungry and wouldn't eat at all if I didn't remind him that he needs to.  DUH.  (How I wish!)  

Anyways, I now make my own Ketjap Manis.  I found a few recipes online and adapted them to my own use and taste.  I am not sure how authentic it is, but I do know how delicious it is. Its so simple to make really. I am betting you have everything you need in your kitchen to make it right now!  

*Ketjap Manis*
Makes about 2/3 cup


Ketjap Manis is a  thick sweet Indonesian soy sauce, with a bit of a kick, that is used a lot in Indonesian cooking.  I love the stuff, but have always had a hard time finding it in the shops. Its really easy to make your own however.  You will find that you reach for this again and again. Its a really useful store cupboard ingredient to have on hand!  

240ml dark soy sauce (1 cup)
6 TBS soft light brown sugar
6 TBS molasses
large pinch red chili flakes
1 medium clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 inch of fresh ginger, finely grated
You will also need some water,
amount depending on how thick you want your ketjap manis 

Put the soy sauce, brown sugar, molasses, red chili flakes, garlic and ginger into a sauce pan.  Bring to the boil, stirring, then reduce to a very low simmer.  Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes until nicely thickened. (It will thicken more upon cooling.) Whisk in water 1 tsp at a time until you get a thick drizzle syrup, about the consistency of golden syrup.  Strain through a seive to take out any bits.  Discard the bits and store the syrup in an airtight jar, in a dark cool place. 

I really hope that you will make this. I think you will find yourself using it for all sorts and, like me, you may even find it quite, quite addictive!  Bon Appetit!

Read more »
Marie Rayner
Parmesan & Black Pepper Potato Scones

Parmesan & Black Pepper Potato Scones

I think scones are one of my favourite things to bake (and eat!).  Who doesn't love a scone.  They are perfectly at home and fit in with all types of social and private occasions.  Sweet scones are lovely for teas and genteel like get-togethers, whereas savoury ones love homey occasions and going to picnics.  These fabulous Parmesan & Black Pepper Potato Scones are perfect for those types of things and would go wonderfully with cold meats, salads, soups, etc.  They are light, fluffy and savoury, with a bit of the bite from the pepper.    Its a recipe I came up with when I dug into the April Degustabox.

As you know I am the lucky recipient of a Degustabox every month and as soon as I saw the contents of the April box I got really excited because I knew right away the product I wanted to use to make a recipe!  But first the box . . .

I love these boxes. Opening each one is tiny a bit like opening a Christmas gift. Always a surprise, and always filled with things that pique my interest and desire to try. Degustabox is a monthly foodie subscription service that sends out a range of 10 to 15 specially selected foodie products. There's always a great mix of new products that I haven't tried before, as well as plenty of treats from more established brands. Quite often you will have the opportunity to try  new products before they arrive in the shops, so it can be a bit of a sneak peak! Each Degustabox costs only £12.99, delivery costs are included in the price, and there is no fixed contract involved - you can cancel at any time. I love getting these boxes! They are great value for money spent.

Here is what was in the April Box, which had an active/outdoors theme!

TREK Protein Energy Chunks 2 X £1.15

TREK Chunks are deliciously different. Instead of relying on mysterious additives & syrups, TREK chunks are packed with a precise cold-pressed balance of powerfu wholefoods, delivering sustained energy, when you need it most.

Vegan/Gluten Free/1 of your five a day.

STRAWBERRY and BANANA LIOBITES Smoothie Bites 1 X £2.35

LioBites are 100% Fruit Crisps, made by a mum searching for a healthy snack for her family. We pick the ripest and sweetest fruits in season to ensure the maximum nutrition and vitamins are retained.  The fruits are quickly frozen and then dried to achieve a sweet, crunchy fruit crisp.

NICK'S Kexbar 1 X £1.20

NICK'S kexbar is a crispy chocolate wafer with vanilla cream covered in thick delicious milk chocolate. We never add sugar i our products, not now and not ever! Join our fight on sugar at Find our products on and use the voucher code DEGUSTA1 for a 20% discount. 

MINDFUL BITES Squeeze Sachets  3 X £1.49

Mindful Bites is apremium brand of unique nut butters blended with superfoods and highly innovative snacks. Our Nut Butter Squeeze Sachets are great to be eaten on-the-go, perfect for active people; the innovate packaging makes them mess-free and easy to carry everywhere.

MUTTI Passata 1 X £1.40 

Perfect for dishes with reduced cooking times and can enhance pasta sauces, eggs and meat.  The passata retains its bright red colour, velvety texture and sweet flavour.

MUTTI Finely Chopped Tomatoes 1 X £1.00

Winners of a prestigious Great Taste Award. Only Italian tomatoes: red, sweet, ripe ad free of yellow and green parts.  Differnt from the first glance, thick, inviting and fragrant. Taste the quality, all the delicate flavours of fresh tomatoes.

MILKYBAR Wowsomes 2 X £0.55

Milkybar Wowsomes have arrived to bring the fun, with 30% less sugar than similar chocolate products and no artificial sweeteners, colours, flaours or preseratives. Its simply 100% deicious white chocolate or white & milk chocolate filled with a creamy-tasting centre and crispy oat cereal.

a2 MILK Long life Semi-Skimmed Cow's Milk 1 X £1.50

a2 Milk is a natural cow's milk with a difference. It is naturally free from the A1 protein found in regular cow's milk so its gentle on sensitive tummies, easy to digest and less likely to trigger symptoms associated with milk intolerance. 

 * a2 MILK is not suitable for cow's milk protein allergy. 

JUICY FUEL Cola 2 X £2.00

Juicy Fuel Cola is a cola made from entirey natural ingredients, no added sugar, no artificial sweeteners and no preservatives, and remarkably one of your five a day.  The alternative is here.


Discover the great taste of Lucozade Energy Orange in the moment when you need it most! Whatever your day may hold, remember your energy beats everything.  Lucozade energy is best served chilled, so put your bottle in the fridge for maximum great taste! 


This chocolatey spread is low in sugar and sweetened with natvia, a naturally sourced sweetener. It is also free from palm oil, so it’s endorsed by the Orangutan Alliance. This has a nuttier, less sweet flavour than other similar products. It’s a nice alternative for those watching their sugar intake and those concerned about the detrimental impact of palm oil production on wildlife. 

 HAPPY DOWN Lychee Guava Chilli crafted sparkling cocktail which wasn’t on the info sheet. This is a hand blended, premixed cocktail with natural flavours and no preservatives.

HARIBO Giant Strawberries 1 X £1.29

Giant in flavour and in size. A traditional pick and mix treat that is so popula now it has its own sharing and pocket sized packs.  Strawberry flavoured and shaped and boasting its own unique texture.  Giant Stawbs is also perfect for vegetarians. 


The Food Doctor Full of Beans Protein Mix and Smokin' Edamame Mix make the perfect mid-morning snacks as they contain a blend of corn and beans which are high i nfibre and a good source of protein that will keep you going until lunch time. 

IDAHOAN'S Perfect Mash Roasted Garlic 1 X £1.50 

Idahoan Perfect Mash is ready in just 1 minute. Simply add 475ml of boiling water to a bowl and stir in the flakes resulting in flffy mash and great taste. Making mid-week meals like Sausage & Mash really easy! GM-free, Gluten free.  Find us in the tinned vegetable aisle.

This was the product I decided to highlight with a recipe.  Its actually something which I have already bought and used.

It makes a great quick mash alternative to from scratch mash and is also great in recipes such as these savoury potato scones I am showing you today!

I have been using instant mashed potatoes for years to make beautiful potato scones.  This roasted garlic mash made for a lovely flavour in my favourite scone recipe.

I add grated Parmesan cheese and black pepper, for additional flavour and a bit of a bite.  Works beautifully.

Just look at how tall they rise up in the oven.  They are light and fluffy, with a beautiful texture and flavour.  Great for all of your savoury scone-needs! 

*Parmesan & Black Pepper Potato Scones*
Makes 2 dozen 

These are fabulous served with cold meats and cheese, or with soups.   

50g instant mashed potato flakes (1/2 cup)
1 tsp sugar
6 TBS cold butter
240ml sour milk (1 cup)
350g plain flour (2 1/2 cups)
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (Baking soda)
1 tsp salt
1 TBS cracked black pepper
4 TBS coarsely grated Parmesan cheese

To finish:
cream to brush
coarsely grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle 

Preat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7.  Line a large baking tray with baking paper. 

Mesure the potato flakes, sugar, flour, baking powder and soda into a bowl. Add the salt and whisk all together.  Grate in the cold butter, add the cheese and stir all together.  Stir in the black pepper.  Add the milk all at once and stir with a fork to make a soft dough.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently a couple of times.  Pat out to a round, about 1 inch thick. Using a 2 inch sharp round cutter, stamp out rounds and place a few inches apart on the baking tray.  Genty knead together the scraps and repeat until all of your dough is used up. Try to get as many rounds stamped out of the first cutting as you can as subsequent cuts will not be as tender.

Brush the tops with a little cream and sprinkle with some more Parmesan. 

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until well risen and golden brown.  

Just look at that beautiful texture! 

Every box does include an information card, along with some other bits, recipes, etc. from the brands included.  I find it really handy to have, to learn about the products a bit more and to also know how much the products would cost if I went on to buy them, and also for ideas on how to use some of them.

So, that was the April  Degustabox - a nice selection of products as always. We loved it. The price of each Degustabox is £12.99 (including delivery). To order your box, visit 
 Many thanks to Degustabox UK for sending me this box. I have to say I really look forward to getting my box each month. There are always lots of things in it to enjoy and new products to try out. I highly recommend. You can also tailor the boxes to your own likes and dislikes by filling in your own Taste Profile.  Do you like the sound of this box? Why not sign up now! I find them to be really good value for money spent and I really enjoy trying out new products that I have not tried before.  

Follow them on Facebook 

Follow them on Twitter 

Note - Although I was sent a box free of charge any and all opinions are my own.
Bon appetit! 

Read more »
Marie Rayner

Follow @georgialoustudios