Category Archives: Comfort Food

The Best BBQ Baked Beans

The best BBQ Baked Beans I’ve ever tasted – ultra rich, tangy, sweet and smoky. A summer barbecue essential! 

BBQ Baked Beans . The best I've ever tasted - ultra rich, tangy, sweet and smoky. A summer barbecue essential!  |

I’m cutting right to the chase. These are the BEST. BBQ. BAKED. BEANS. EVER. I’m not one to use the word “best” casually, I only use it when I really mean it. I would be shocked if I met baked beans I liked more than these. You don’t need any other recipe, this is it. Send the others back where they came from.

I first came across this recipe in Adam Perry Lang’s Serious Barbecue cookbook. I’m pretty sure I almost fainted after the first spoonful. These beans are so flavorsome and rich. You can practically taste the richness with your eyes just by looking at that dark burgundy color. The barbecue flavor is very concentrated, equally sweet, tangy and smoky.

This must be what real BBQ baked beans are supposed to taste like. You see, growing up we only ever ate Bush’s canned baked beans. I’ve also eaten an alarmingly large amount of Heinz baked beans since making my way across the pond. The contrast between those and these is drastic, to say the least.

Of course, me being me, I can’t let well enough alone. I made a few changes to Adam’s fantastic recipe to make it even more fantastic. For me. Hopefully for you too. I will admit that the original recipe is a bit too sharp and rich for my liking. I’ve made a few changes to correct this, but have in no way shape or form sacrificed that immense barbecue flavor.

I will give you three solid reasons why you will love this recipe as much as I do:

The best homemade BBQ sauce for BBQ Baked Beans |

1. Homemade BBQ Sauce. Please see my previous post. Have you tried this yet? If you haven’t, please do. I mean look at it. Luscious. I could eat it with a spoon.

Yes, of course you can use your favorite store-bought sauce if you don’t have time to make a BBQ sauce.

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Tour de France, 4th of July & Homemade BBQ Sauce

It was an exciting weekend for us here in Yorkshire! The cyclists in the Tour de France began their long race riding up dale, down dale and through many towns and villages across Yorkshire. It was wonderful to see our beautiful county on center stage in front of the rest of the world.

There were hundreds and hundreds of people lining the route, yellow shirts on and flags waving. A full on show of support, but  I would expect nothing less from Yorkshire folk! It’s no secret that this is the most friendly region in England. So listen up tourists! You are missing out on something special if you travel to the UK and don’t visit Yorkshire.  London isn’t the center of the Universe you know. I’m sorry, but it has to be said. I’ll prove it to you:

We couldn’t miss any of the action on Saturday morning, so we braved the road closures, put on our walking shoes and went out to watch the opening procession. Miraculously, it was sunny on the day the sun was supposed to shine!

We chose a spot close to an ice cream van (how convenient!), so Scarlett could entertain herself while we waited. She loved watching the French policemen and all of the support vehicles go past. We knew the cyclists were getting close when the helicopters began hovering over us. The whole thing was over in about 30 seconds, but it was a great experience getting into the spirit of the event and cheering on the racers with the rest of the crowd.

Tour de France Collage

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England vs. USA Part 2: Homemade Sausage Rolls

It doesn’t get much better than flaky, buttery puff pastry wrapped around lightly spiced sausage with sage and onion. So easy and fast to make at home!

Homemade Sausage Rolls - Flaky, buttery puff pastry wrapped around lightly spiced sausage with sage and onion. So simple to make at home. |

May I please introduce you to sausage rolls, the English part of my England vs. USA match day snack-off (see the American part here). These will make people love you. Seriously. Especially if they walk into your house while they’re in the oven. Sausage rolls definitely hold a high position in my mental list of “Reasons to Live in England, Despite the Non-Existent Summer.” Please remind me to share the rest of that list with you another day because it’s actually very amusing.

Sorry, I’m feeling a bit under the weather today (no pun intended). I woke up this morning to very cool temperatures and drizzle. I’m not kidding about the cool temperatures. The high today is 13 degrees Celsius, or in my language, a very chilly 56 degrees Fahrenheit. I’m torturing myself imagining hot breezes, warm evenings, maxi dresses, flip flops and long days spent at the pool.  Okay, fine. I may be exaggerating a little. It gets warm here. It’s just that Yorkshire high summer warm is more like early April Virginia warm. You’d think I’d be over it after 7 years.

I’ve resolved to keep my chin up. There’s still plenty to celebrate because the USA made it through the group stage last night!!! There’s still a reason to watch the World Cup, which means I’ve got an excuse to win people over with my Buffalo Chicken Dip and these super delicious homemade sausage rolls.

There’s nothing more to this recipe than sprucing up some store bought sausage, wrapping it in pre-made, pre-rolled puff pastry and baking it in the oven. Trust me, this homemade version is so much better than the ones you buy at the supermarket. It’s worth taking the extra ten minutes when the result is light, flaky pastry and juicy sausage bursting with sage and onion. Questionable meat and cardboard pastry? I don’t think so. Not in my house!

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Angel Biscuits

Angel Biscuits |

These heavenly beauties are my ultimate homesickness cure. If you’ve never tried an Angel Biscuit, imagine a fresh loaf of bread meeting a savory scone. I can’t think of a better description for their unique texture and flavor. The outside of the biscuit is crusty, golden brown and glistening with butter. The interior is soft and airy. They are deliciously yeasty and slightly sweet with a pleasant buttermilk tang.

I whip up a batch of these for most holiday meals. They were a perfect accompaniment to our Easter ham. They’re ideal for parties, for brunch, or to serve with soup or a Sunday roast. Oh, and how could I forget ham biscuits? Obviously.

It’s a bit of a mystery as to where and when the Angel Biscuit originated. The recipe started popping up in local cook books in the American South in the mid-20th century. The soft, fluffy texture can be attributed to three types of raising agents –  baking powder, baking soda and yeast. This is a great recipe to try if you are new to baking with yeast because it is fail proof. The biscuits ALWAYS rise! I promise.

Angel Biscuits |

Aren’t they gorgeous?

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Perfect Cottage Pie

Perfect Cottage Pie. Spiced beef, creamy mash, sweet leeks and strong cheddar. The ultimate comfort food. An improved version of Delia's recipe! |

I have to admit, I was a little shocked at how beautiful the weather was today. I walked out of my office this morning and was pleasantly surprised to feel the warmth of the sun on my back. The usual chill in the air was virtually non-existent and the birds were happily singing away. This weather completely defies my reasoning behind the perfect timing of this post.

A piping hot, hearty cottage pie is perfect food for bitterly cold, rainy, windy days. The kind of weather where the wind and rain are so extreme you MUST wear a coat with a hood because there is no hope of getting an umbrella to stay up. It’s the hood or get soaked. I usually get soaked (note to self: buy a coat with a hood). Yup, that pretty much sums up the last 6 weeks. That’s why I pulled out the old cottage pie recipe, a classic in these parts for very good reason. I even made a portion of this recipe in my cute little soup terrines for added cheerfulness.

Perfect Cottage Pie. Spiced beef, creamy mash, sweet leeks and strong cheddar. The ultimate comfort food. An improved version of Delia's recipe! |

But we can be honest here. This is northern England. It’s February. There’s no way I’m feeling that warm sun on my back again until at least the end of May. I think it’s safe to keep the recipe out for another couple of months.

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