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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 

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

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Marie Rayner
Baked Eggs

Baked Eggs

If you are looking for an excellent light supper, lunch or even brunch dish, look no further than these Baked Eggs. You could also have them for breakfast.  They are really simple, uncomplicated and delicious!

They are as simple as buttering a dish and cracking a couple of eggs into it.  A smallish dish for each, so that the eggs cook perfectly . . .  with set whites and golden runny yolks . . .

A mix of hard cheese, cream and mustard is sprinkled over top . . .  before baking. You can also add chopped cooked bacon if you wish, or a bed of spinach for the bottom, or leave the cheese/cream out altogether and just add a few slices of chorizo . . . or some buttered crumbs . . .  they are very forgiving and adaptable.

I butter bread, cut it into soldiers and bake along side . . .  for dipping into those beautiful runny golden yolks . . .

They are also a really quick bake. Ten minutes.  That's all, which makes them perfect for a week-night supper when you get in from work, all tired and wasted, and just can't be asked to do anything complicated.

They look gourmet.  They taste gourmet.  They are a total Doddle.

I added a smattering of snipped chives today  . . .  for show.  It does add a bit of flavour also, but its really not necessary if you don't want to.

See?  Perfectly cooked  . . .  with each dip bringing you a bit of golden yolk, runny cheese, and a scrap of bacon  . . . just gorgeous.

*Baked Eggs*
Serves 2

Quite simply scrumptious. I like to butter bread, cut it into fingers and bake it along side of the eggs for dipping. 

25g butter (2 TBS)
4 large free-range eggs
50g grated hard cheese (gruyere, or cheddar, scant half cup)
1 tsp mustard
1 TBS heavy cream
fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
toast to serve 

Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Butter two small oven proof dishes and crack two eggs into each one.  Mix together the cheese, mustard and cream. Season with salt and pepper.  Scoop onto the top of the eggs.  Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Serve hot with toasted bread cut into fingers for dipping. 

- add some crumbled cooked bacon to the cheese mixture.
-wilt a few large handfuls of baby spinach in a bit of butter and add a bed of this to each dish, before cracking in the eggs.
-omit the cream and top with several thin slices of chorizo sausage
-top with buttered bread crumbs for a crispy finish.

These really are simple. If you wanted to cook for a light lunch or supper, just add a salad on the side. Quantities are given for two, but easily adapted for more!  Bon Appetit! 

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Marie Rayner
Crunchy Yogurt Pots

Crunchy Yogurt Pots

After all of the decadence of the last few days this morning I am really craving a return to normality.  My hips are screaming at me . . .  "enough already!"  and I can't say that I blame them.  This morning saw me indulging in a simple, plain yet really delicious breakfast. Crunchy Yogurt Pots.

I quite simply adore yogurt.  I started eating it when I was still in highschool. It was a relatively new product at that point and I don't think a lot of people really knew what it was, or even liked it.  I had a small pot of yogurt every day for my lunch all the way through my years in high school on into Secretarial school.  

I think I am in love with Greek Yogurt most of all.  Its thick and creamy and quite delicious. Yogurt's health properties are also prett impressive when you look at it just on it's own. It can boost the immune system, prevent yeast infections, lower bad cholesterol and raise good cholesterol.

Rich in calcium, it is good for building bones and it has also been found to have a preventative and curative effect on arthritis. Because it kills the bacteria on your tongue, it can also help to prevent halitosis, or as it is more commonly known . . .  bad breath!

Many people have also found that it can help to ease ulcers and colitis. Add to that the fact that its delicious and you have something which is really special.  When you add a mix of toasted nuts and oats to it, which also have great health properties such as added calcium, protein and cholesterol lowing properties  . . .

Along with cinnamon, which is also very good for you  . . .  well, you are really onto a winner here!

I like to add a drizzle of honey to mine because not only do I like the natural sweetness of it, but it is also a much healthier option than sugar and has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties amongst many other things.

Altogether this makes for a breakfast that is not only crunchy, sweet and creamy, but that is also quite good for you!  I LIKE!

*Crunchy Yogurt Pots*
Serves 4

Quite simply delicious!  

3 TBS raw cashew nuts
3 TBS raw almonds
3 TBS raw macadamia nuts
2 TBS large flake oats
4 TBS raisins
1 tsp ground cinnamon
350g Greek yogurt, plain (scant 1 1/2 cups)
liquid honey to serve (optional) 

Coarsely chop the nuts. Heat a dry non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add the nuts and oats.  Cook, tossing every 30 seconds or so, for about 3 minutes to lightly toast. Remove from the heat and dump into a bowl.  Add the cinnamon and raisins. Toss together to coat. 

Divide the yogurt between four yogurt glasses. Top each with a quantity of the toasted nut/oat/raisin mixture. If desired drizzle with some honey and serve immediately.

This was so refreshing.  I really enjoyed it this morning.  I think you will too.  Do note that it is not wise to feed honey to the elderly or the very young.  Bon appetit! 

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Marie Rayner
Jam Oysters

Jam Oysters

When I made my declaration about not doing any more fancy eating posts for a while, I had forgotten about these delicious little jam tarts I had baked the other day for the Royal Occasion. Nevermind, it may be too late for the wedding, but this fabulous recipe is sure to come in handy for any tea party/special occasion you have in mind that you want something a tiny bit special for.  Jam Oysters.  Sounds funny to you I am thinking, a name like Jam Oysters.  But let me explain . . .

They are really only jam tarts.  Fancy jam tarts.  Little almond frangipane filled short crust pastry tarts that you bake until the frangipane is golden brown and then the magic happens . . .

You take the tip of a sharp knife and carefully remove the frangipane once the tarts have cooled, taking care to keep it intact. You then fill the baked and now empty tart shells with a portion of raspberry jam, and a layer of  piped vanilla buttercream. At the end you pop that frangipane layer back on top and dust with icing sugar.  I suppose it looks a bit like an opened oyster shell, but with what is a much tastier filling than an oyster . .  in my honest opinion.

They look quite pretty on a tea table  . . . and are just that tiny bit more special than a plain old jam tart.

They are as light as air  . . .  and oh so tasty.  Use a good raspberry jam for this. If you don't have homemade, us a good storemade one, which in my case is always Bon Maman.  And not just because of the jar . . .

Although to be sure that little gingham red and white cap draws me like an ocean siren draws a sailor.  I just love Bon Maman preserves, both the contents and the jars. So pretty and pretty tasty!

I thought they looked quite pretty balanced on top of these little Jenny Wren egg cups . . .  just like the little Jenny's are about to take to the air with their sweet little surprises  . . . 

Such pretty little birds . . .  such pretty little cakes  . . .

Incredibly tasty too and sure to be a big hit at your next soiree!  I have given recipes for the tarts as well as the pastry (a sweet shortcrust) and for the buttercream.  YUM! 

*Jam Oysters*
Makes 18 

Not only are these a real treat for the eyes, but they are delicious as well. They look complicated but they really are very easy to put together.
175g  of prepared shortcrust pastry (make your own or use ready made) (1/2 pound)

70g butter (1/3 cup)
70g ounces of caster sugar (1/3 cup + 1/2 TBS)
85g ground almonds (scant cup)
1 medium free-range egg, lightly beaten
Few drops of almond essence

You will also need:
Raspberry jam to fill
Vanilla Butter Cream icing to fill
Icing sugar to dust

Pre-heat the oven to 190*C/375*F/gas mark 5. Roll out the pastry thinly and cut into rounds, using a 3 inch fluted pastry cutter. Use this to line 18 patty tins.

Cream the butter together with the sugar until fluffy and well incorporated. Stir in the ground almonds, beaten egg and the almond essence. Mix well.

Place a small spoonful of the almond mixture into each pastry case. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until set and nicely browned.

Remove from the oven to a rack to cool. Once they are thoroughly cooled, carefully remove the almond filling with a knife. Fill the pasty cases with the jam and pipe a bit of butter cream on top of each. Replace the almond filling on top, dust with icing sugar, and serve.

*Rich Sweet Shortcrust Pastry*
makes 1/2 pound 

The best way to make shortcrust pastry that has a crisp crumble in the mouth texture is to do it by hand, rather than by machine. Using a  machine tends to overwork the gluten in the flour and the pastry has a tendancy to end up springy and shrink when cooked..  Resting the pastry for a half hour in the fridge is also an important step because of the high proportion of butter to flour, which makes it difficult to roll out when warm. 

280g plain flour (2 cups)
4 ounces cold butter (1/2 cup)
6 TBS icing sugar, sifted
2 egg yolks
2 TBS water 

Sift the flour into a basin. Add the butter, cut into pieces and rub it into the flour until it resembled fine dry bread crumbs. Add the icing sugar. Whisk in well. Make a indentation in the centre of the butter mixture. Beat the egg yolks and water together. Pour into the indentation and then, using a fork, mix together to a rough dough in the basin. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth. Shape into a ball and then place into a zip lock bag. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 30 minutes, while you make the filling.  Proceed as per the recipe requirements for whichever recipe that you are using to fill the tart with. 

*Perfect Vanilla Buttercream Icing*
Makes enough to fill and frost a layer cake

225g butter, softened (1 cup)
390g icing sugar, sifted (3 cups, confectioners, powdered)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 to 2 TBS double cream 

Beat the butter and sugar together on low until well blended and then continue to beat on mdeium for another few minutes until it begins to become fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and 1 TBS cream, only adding the second one if needed until you have a frosting of spreading consistency. 

I just adore these old fashioned, traditional teatime recipes  that you find here in the UK.  I adore frangipane anyways, but when you pop it into pastry along with some jam and buttercream, well that is just a couple of little heavenly bites that I truly have a difficult time resisting!!!  Bon Appetit!

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Marie Rayner

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