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Another Pot Roast

Another Pot Roast

We were supposed to have some people over for a late lunch early supper the other day and I had bought a couple of small briskets to make for us all to enjoy.  Alas the weather interfered with our plans and so I froze one of the briskets for another time, and cooked one for Todd and I to enjoy on the day.

I didn't do it in my usual way this time.  I found a recipe for a pot roast in a Gooseberry Patch cookbook entitled "Comfort Food Lightened Up".   I had to adapt it big time because it called for things I didn't have or want to use, but the basic concept sounded good and so I used it as a backbone for what I ended up doing in the end (with most delicious results, I might add!).

Normally I cook my pot roasts in the slow cooker, but I didn't feel like dragging it out on Friday.  I did this in the oven.  You can see it resulted in lovely tender meat, but sliceable meat, which was great!  In the slow cooker it takes a lot longer and the meat falls apart so you can't really slice it. The original recipe had called for browning the roast first and for using a boneless beef chuck roast.

Even lightened up it came in at over 500 calories a serving, so I used brisket, which is a lot leaner, and I did not brown it first.  I just seasoned the meat all over and then lay it on top of some sliced raw onions in my La Creuset covered casserole dish.

Then I stirred together some beef stock, tomato sauce/passata, and a bit of brown sugar.  I added some prepared horseradish and Dijon mustard, and some celery salt.  This got poured over top and then it roasted covered in a moderate oven for about 3 hours or so.

At the end I took the meat out to rest for a time, while I simmered the pan juices on top of the stove until they got as thick as I wanted them to be, with the end result being a delicious onion sauce that we were able to spoon over our tender slices of beef.  It was really lovely!  I served it with mashed potatoes, mashed swede (rutabaga) and cooked carrots.  Todd was in man-meat-and-potatoes heaven!

*Another Pot Roast*
Serves 10

A delicious pot roast which baked up tender and moist with a very tasty sauce/gravy for spooning over. 

5 pound boneless rolled brisket roast
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large onion, peeled and sliced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
240ml beef stock (1 cup)
240ml tomato sauce/pasatta (1 cup)
1 TBS soft light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf, broken in half
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp celery salt

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Rub the roast all over with the crushed garlic, salt and black pepper. 

Place the onion in the bottom of a heavy flame proof oven casserole (I use a La Crueset enameled round roasting dish).  Place the roast on top of the onion.  Put the broken bayleaf in the pan. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour around the roast in the dish.  Cover tightly and roast in the preheated oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, at which time the roast should be quite tender.  Remove the roast to a platter and tent with foil.  Discard the bay leaf. Place the roasting dish over medium heat and simmer briskly until the sauce is of the desired consistency.  Serve the roast sliced with some of the sauce spooned over top.  

I like to serve this with potatoes (mashed or boiled) and a cooked vegetable . . .  carrots, peas, swede, etc. 

You could of course add peeled halved potatoes, and carrots in with the meat for the last hour of roasting.  I don't though as Todd enjoys his mash and my roasting casserole was not big enough to put much else in it.  This is really delicious however and a bit different than my usual pot roast.  Tune in tomorrow to see what I did with the leftovers.  You are going to love it!  Bon Appetit!

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Marie Rayner
Cinnamon Spice Applesauce Bread

Cinnamon Spice Applesauce Bread

I had some applesauce that needed using up yesterday and so I baked us a spiced applesauce loaf.  I adore loaves like this.  They smell heavenly when they are baking, making the whole house smell gorgeously welcoming, and they are moist and delicious!

I really despair of the lighting this time of the year.  It is cosy to a degree, but it makes taking good photos in natural light very difficult.  Or maybe I just need a new camera . . . .

I tend to think it is just the poor light.  In any case, don't let my lack of great photos put you off from baking this lovely loaf.

Its easy and quick to throw together and bakes up a dream.  Do make the spiced honey butter to spread on it when you sit down to enjoy  . . . .

Its also delicious and perfect on this tasty bread, and on your toast, your scones, your pancakes, your waffles, etc.  The two of these together are pure bliss.

*Cinnamon Spice Applesauce Bread*
Makes one large loaf
(9 inches by 5 inches loaf tin)
Moist and delicious, this smells heavenly when it is baking.  If you think it is browning too quickly you can tent with some foil for the last 15 minutes of bake time. 

2 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
120ml vegetable oil (1/2 cup)
240g apple sauce, unsweetened (1 cup)
1/2 tsp cinnamon extract (alternately you can use 1 tsp cinnamon)
2 tsp vanilla
50g soft light brown sugar (1/4 cup packed)
145g granulated white sugar (3/4 cup)
30g sour cream or plain yogurt (1/4 cup)
1 TBS ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
245g plain flour (1 3/4 cups)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 tsp baking powder 

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a 9 by 5 inch loaf tin and line with baking paper.  Set aside. 

Whisk together the eggs, oil, applesauce cinnamon and vanilla extracts, both sugars and sour cream.  Whisk together the ground cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, flour, soda and baking powder.   Make a well in the dry ingredients and stir in the wet just to combine.  It should be evenly moist and a bit lumpy.  Pour into the prepared loaf tin. 

Bake in the preheated oven for 55 to 60 m inutes, until the top is firm and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, tenting with foil during the last 15 minutes if you think it is getting too brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the tin on a wire rack for half an hour before lifting out of the tin to cool completely. This delicious loaf will keep, tightly covered, at room temperature for up to 5 days.  Cut into slices to serve.

*Spiced Honey Butter*
Makes about 3/4 cup
This is fabulous spread warm tea breads, toast, scones etc. Very simple to bake and will keep for several weeks.  

125g room temperature butter (1/2 cup)
85g creamed honey (1/4 cup)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon or to taste 

Put everything into a bowl and beat it together well with a wooden spoon.  Store covered in the refrigerator, and bring to room temperature before using.

There is nothing more comforting than sitting indoors on a cold snowy/sleety day and enjoying a warm slice of this with a hot cuppa.  Bon Appetit! 

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Marie Rayner
Crumble Topped Mince Pies

Crumble Topped Mince Pies

We love mince pies in this house!  Every year I like to make my traditional ones and I am always keen to try a new version! 

This version is one I found on the Waitrose recipe page.  I miss shopping at Waitrose . . .  I shopped there all the time when we lived down South.  We do have a beautiful big new one in Chester now, but it is all the way to the other side of Chester and so we have never been.

These tasty little tarts are absolutely packed with flavour.  They have a lovely crisp pastry base  . . . I used my homemade brandied mincemeat . . .

The crumble topping has lots of flavour in it from mixed spice (see my recipe to make your own in my sidebar) and orange zest . . .

They are beautiful served warm from the oven  . . .  with a hot drink of herbal tea . . . or even a glass of milk . . .

That buttery crumble topping is very moreish. I doubled the quantities because I thought we would enjoy even more of it, and I was right, we did.

They look almost lacy with the crumbles on top and a light dusting of icing sugar  . . .

I couldn't resist getting out my cupcake pedestal  to show them off  . . .

And my super big silver dragees that I got at M&S  . . .  kind of like jewelry . . .  coz these mince pies are all dressed up to go to the Christmas ball . . .

They were very, very, VERY nice, if I don't say so myself.  And yes  . . .  I know I just did.  😉

*Crumble Topped Mince Pies*
Makes 2 dozen 
A festive favourite with a light crunchy spiced orange flavoured crumble on top! 

For the pies
225g plain flour, plus extra for rolling (1 1/2 cups plus 2 TBS)
50g ground almonds (9 1/2 TBS) (almond meal)
50g caster sugar (1/4 cup)
125g unsalted butter, diced (1/2 cup)
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
1 large free range egg yolk
1 TBS water
800g prepared mincemeat (about 1 3/4 pound, or 28 ounces) 

For the crumble topping
75g plain flour (1/2 cup plus 1 tsp)
6 TBS demerara sugar (turbinado)
60g unsalted butter, cut into bits(1/4 cup)
the grated zest of one orange
1 tsp mixed spice (see recipe in side bar)
(I like to double the topping) 

You will also need
Icing sugar to dust

Measure the flour, almonds, sugar, butter and vanilla seeds into the bowl of a food processor.  Blitz to make crumbs.  Add the egg yolk, and 1 TBS of cold water  Pulse until it starts to clump together, adding a drop more water if need be.  Tip onto  lightly floured worktop and knead lightly until smooth.  Press into a flat disc, cover with cling film and refrigerate for about half an hour.

Without washing the food processor add the flour, sugar, butter,  orange zest and mixed spice.  Pulse until until you get a chunky crumble.

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6.  Have ready two 12 hole tart tins.  Place a small strip of baking paper into each hole of the tin to make removal of the tarts easy.

Roll the chilled pastry out  to 1/4 inch thickness. Stamp out 24 ( 3 to 3 1/2 inch) rounds with a sharp round cutter.  Reroll any trimmings as necessary.  Press into the holes of the tart tins over the baking paper. Place a heaped TBS of mincemeat into each case and scatter some crumble over the tops.  Bake for 15 minutes, until golden and crunchy.

Let cool in the tins for about 5 minutes before lifting out to a wire rack to cool.  Once cooled, dust with icing sugar.

These are really very nice . . . I don't think they will quite replace my good old fashioned plain jane mince tarts as my favourites, but then again, I am somewhat of a traditionalist!  Bon Appetit! 

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Marie Rayner
Cheese & Garlic Scrolls

Cheese & Garlic Scrolls

I never had a cinnamon roll made with yeast dough the whole time I was growing up.  My mother always made them with biscuit/scone dough and we loved them. They were a real treat.  I did the same thing for my children, and I am happy to say that my children are still doing this for their own kids.  A tradition that has passed down through three generations! 

This is Luke and Gabriel enjoying the fruits of their father's labours!  Yum!  So, what does this have to do with Cheese and Garlic Scrolls eh? (Like my Canadian touch there?) Well, nothing except that the basic biscuit/scone dough is the same, which goes to tell you something . . .  in case you didn't know this fact already.

 A good biscuit/scone dough can be the basis for a multitude of creations!  You can roll or pat it out to a rectangle and spread it with pretty much anything and you will end up with a delicious bun to enjoy anytime, anyplace, anyhow.  Win-Win-WIN!!

Today I spread it with a garlic butter mixture and sprinkled cheese on top, two kinds, rolled it up, cut it into slices and baked it and presto-chango!

You have a mighty tasty bun to serve with some soup, or a salad, or (true confessions) even on their own, just because they are so darned good you cannot resist them!

These are so tender and flaky.  They have just the right amount of flavour all on their own.  No need to butter or spread them with anything additional.  They are perfect just as they are.

Hot, cold and in between.  On the first day, on the second day, and yes  . . .  even the third day . . . if they last that long.  There are only two of us and they do last us a bit more than one or two days, but if you have a larger family I seriously doubt you will have them around much longer than a day. However, it is nice to know that if you do, they will still taste fabulous!

*Cheese and Garlic Scrolls*
Makes 12 
 Flaky and delicious. Perfect to serve with soup or stews.  Perfect anytime!  Best served on the day. 

280g plain flour (2 cups)
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
80g cold butter, cut into cubes (1/3 cup)
160ml whole milk (2/3 cup)
Softened butter for spreading (about 4 TBS)
1 TBS minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp onion powder
120g strong cheddar, grated (1 cup)
45g grated Parmesan cheese (1/4 cup)
a bit more of softened butter for topping (about 1 TBS)
a couple more TBS Parmesan for sprinkling on top

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F gas mark 4. Butter a 10 inch pie dish.  Set aside. 

Sift the flour into a bowl with the baking powder and salt.  Cut the butter into bits and drop into the floru mixture.  Cut in using a pastry blender until the mixture resembled small peas.  (You can also use two round bladed knives, making a cutting motion against each other.)  Add the milk and stir together to make a soft dough.  Pat out into a 8 by 12 inch rectangle.  Mix together the softened butter, garlic, basil, oregano and onion powder.  Spread this over the dough.  Sprinkle evenly with both cheeses.  Roll up tightly from the long end until you have a 12 inch sausage, pinch the ends together.  Cut into 12 equal slices and place into the baking dish.  Spread with a bit more softened butter and then sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese.

Bake in the preheated oven for 12 to 15  minutes until risen and golden brown.  Serve warm.

I don't care what else you are making for supper tonight, you need to run out into your kitchen and bake these today!  Your family will be most appreciative!!!  Bon Appetit!

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Marie Rayner
Burger Rarebits

Burger Rarebits

Things have gotten really busy around here.  With medical appointments, visits, and social obligations mixed in with the usual December going's-on life has become jam-packed!  I am not complaining, mind you.  I would rather be busy than bored!

My mother used to say that idle hands were the Devil's work, so I try to keep pretty busy most of the time anyways, but this time of year, they just seem to get busier.  I said to Todd this morning, however did we get all the things done that we needed to get done when we were both working full time?  I just don't know . . .

I fear I have broken my red-meat rule this week, and broken it badly.  We hardly ever eat red meat.  We might only have it once or twice a month, but this month so far we have had it twice already!  Bad us!

 Meat loaf earlier in the week and then today these Burger Rarebits.  These are such a quick and easy make however, so that could be why I caved and we ate red twice!   Normally I would do them out on the grill, but today I did them indoors. Its just too cold outside!

You can make your own burgers for this, or a good quality store bought burger.  Don't be tempted to use the cheap fatty ones. You will regret it. Trust me.  Today I made my own, which is really easy.  I just combine a good quality steak mince with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powders . . . using a light touch of course, and then I shape them into flat patties, again using a light touch.

I served them with oven chips and some sweet corn.  I normally would have had a salad, but I didn't have any salad bits in.  Nevermind . . .  the meal went down a real treat for both us  as we were absoutely famished after having run around all day! 

The cheesy burger topping is the best!  Its filled with tasty chopped cooked bacon, chopped spring onions, ketchup, mustard, mayo and hot sauce.   You just spread it over your cooked burgers and pop them under the grill to melt.  You could of course serve them on buns, but we are quite happy with them just as they are!

*Burger Rarebits*
Serves 6
These make a nice quick supper dish.  I don't serve them on buns, but you could certainly do so if you wanted to.  I like to serve these with some sort of potato and a vegetable or salad on the side.

150g grated strong cheddar cheese(1 1/4 cups)
4 slices cooked streaky bacon, crumbled
 6 spring onions chopped
  55ggood quality mayonnaise (1/4 cup)
1 TBS tomato catsup
1/2 TBS grainy mustard
1 1/2 tsp hot pepper sauce (more or less according to your own tastes)
6 good quality beef burger patties 

Heat up your gas, charcoal or oven grill.  Mix all the ingredients, except for the beef patties, together in a bowl.  Set aside.

Grill your burger patties under or over medium heat for 4 to 8 minutes, turning once, until the patties are cooked through and nicely browned.  Carefully top each patty with some of the cheese mixture, dividing it equally amongst them.  Cook, covered for 4 minutes longer, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.

Remove from the grill and serve immediately.

Simple to make, quick and so very delicious!!  These are sure to become firm family favourites with your crowd.  I guarantee!  Bon Appetit! 

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Marie Rayner

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