Guest Posts Revisited Cook From Scratch with Author J.P.Mclean – Roasted Tomato Sauce

Another series that I would like to repeat is the original Cook from Scratch back in 2014 as the dishes are just as delicious and back then they were aimed at a much smaller audience.

This week the cook from scratch is a dish that I refer to as ‘red gold’… It can be used as a wonderful pasta sauce but also as the base for many more dishes.. I have a version (not as delicious as this sounds) that I cook up in bulk and store in the freezer in two portion containers. Not only do I use a couple of times a week in my everyday cooking but also very useful to have on hand when visitors drop by unexpectedly.

Cooked tomato is one of the exceptions when it comes to nutritional benefits.  The lycopene which is the most beneficial ingredient in the tomato is more potent when cooked than when fresh.  Add in the garlic and olive oil and this sauce with rice or pasta is packed full of goodness.

My guest today is J.P McLean (Jo-Anne) who has her recipe for roasted tomato sauce down to a fine art.

Jo-Anne is the author of The Gift Legacy. A Thriller that will leave you believing the impossible and wary of the night skies.

About Book 1 – The Gift – Awakening.

Every Gift has its Price . . .

When Emelynn Taylor accepts a mysterious gift from a stranger, her life alters irrevocably. Haunted by terrifying abilities she can’t control, Emelynn returns to her abandoned home on the British Columbia coast where she vows to take command of her unruly gift. A near-fatal miscalculation drops her into the hands of a man who takes her breath away and an underground society who share the gift; but as they steer her into unknown territory, secrets surface and conspiracies are revealed. Will Emelynn master her dangerous gift and escape the unfolding web of perils before they take her life?

A fantasy thriller that will leave you believing the impossible and wary of the night skies.

If you’re new to the fantasy genre, this is a good place to start. The Gift Legacy crosses genres. It’s light on fantasy, heavy on thriller, with a healthy undercurrent of action and adventure. The books have been described as smart, contemporary and addictive.

One of the recent reviews for the book

The Gift Awakening is a fantasy that starts off slowly and gains momentum. The main protagonist, Emelynn, knows she is different but doesn’t realize just how unusual her gifted talents are.

She was just a normal preteen when a woman visited her on the beach near her home and bestowed a strange gift upon her. Odd things begin to happen to her and when she is seen by a doctor after one of these peculiar episodes he makes her aware of what is happening to her.

When a handsome stranger comes into her life Emelynn is tossed into more turmoil than she could ever imagine. This story continued to intrigue me and I couldn’t put it down for long.

This author has a winning series that is sure to get the attention of fantasy lovers out there. I look forward to the next books in this gripping series.

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Read more reviews and follow Jo-Anne on Goodreads:

Now time for Jo-Anne’s delicious and easy to make tomato sauce.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

I make this at the end of the tomato season to fill my freezer with read-to-use tomato sauce. It’s suitable for use as a base for spaghetti sauce, chili and soup, or for use in stuffed peppers or cabbage rolls. It’s quite flexible and can be adjusted to taste, adding onions or peppers or other spices. I’ve never weighed or measured the amount of tomatoes, I simply fill my roaster, and it’s one that fits an 18-20lb turkey.

Fresh tomatoes washed and quartered.
A whole head of garlic, peeled
¼ cup olive oil and salt to taste.

Pile a large roaster with the tomatoes and garlic. Drizzle oil over top and sprinkle with salt.
Roast in a 350 oven for 4-5 hours, stirring every hour or so until reduced to 1/3 original volume.
The tomato skins will blacken, which is good – it adds flavour. Let the mixture cool.

You can either process the sauce with a food processor, or if you prefer to remove the skins and seeds entirely, you can process it with a European Tomato Press, known in our house as the Wapper because of the noise it makes when you operate it. I put the pulp through twice to get all the yummy goodness out.

Can be used immediately or frozen.

Connect to Jo-Anne


My thanks to Jo-Anne for contributing this delicious and extremely useful roasted tomato sauce.  For the previous recipes in the series please check the directory and I hope that you will accept my invitation to share one of your favourite cook from scratch recipes. Just email me on



Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Stevie Wonder, The Neanderthals and other legends

Thanks for dropping in and a quick review of the guests and posts this week in case you missed.

The Blogger Daily returns next week and to help me out it would be great if you would email me the link to your most recent post in the last week so that I can share from tomorrow.

My thanks as always to contributing guests for their hard work. William Price King shares the 1970s and Stevie Wonder’s amazing music with us and Paul Andruss delights with news of our distant relatives – The Neanderthals and a doyen of the kitchen.. Mary the woman behind the Marie-Bain.

A poem that touched everyone’s hearts from Carmen Stefanescu and some cook from scratch Eggs and a bit of a disaster.

If you are in the bookstore and have a new release, review or offer then get in touch so that they can be included in the two Cafe and Bookstore updates on Monday and Friday..

Even if you are not in the bookstore you can join the 200 other authors with your books by emailing me

The new Air your Reviews post is doing well and this is open to any author even if you are not in the bookstore to share your latest great review.

I do check as many authors and blogs but I do not use a crystal ball so please help me out and let me know  Thanks

Hope you enjoy the post and thanks again for all your tremendoous support.. It keeps me motivated.

William Price King meets some Legends.

Writer in Residence Paul Andruss

Thomas the Rhymer

The Colour of Life by Geoff Cronin

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore

The Updates

New on the Shelves

Book Reading and Interview

Air Your Reviews

Smorgasbord Health 2017

Cook from Scratch

Nutrition in the news

Top to Toe


Smorgasbord Poetry

Smorgasbord Short Stories

Tales from the garden volume two

I have just finished writing the stories for the second volume.. You have not read them all and I am giving you the choice to read one of the stories beginning with the following letters. Q  V W X Y Z… put your choice in the comments section and the story will be posted on Tuesday.. The selection ends at midnight tonight.

Thank you so much for keeping me company.. Enjoy the rest of the weekend.. Sally

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch – Is it wrong to swear when baking for the church pie sale? by Molly Stevens

Sometimes our efforts in the kitchen, especially when it is for a special occasion or event do not go according to plan.. even with a little prayer.. Molly Stevens of Shallow Reflections shares her experience.. one that I have enjoyed myself many times…. which is why I always keep a tub of ice-cream in the freezer and some frozen berries!

By the way Molly has been nominated for this year’s Blogger’s Bash Awards in the Hidden Gem Category.

You can vote for Molly and your favourite bloggers in the ten categories and voting ends on June 2nd.

Is it wrong to swear when baking for church pie sale?

For our annual church pie sale, I usually keep it simple and use convenient pie crusts that unfold from a box, loading them with sweet, stress-free fillings.

But one lovely summer evening after a satisfying day at the office, I announced I was going to make lemon meringue pies from scratch. Patrick pointed out that this might not be the best night to experiment in the kitchen, but I forged ahead with luscious delusions of grandeur dancing in my head.

I congratulated myself on remaining calm while ‘no fail pie crust’ dough stuck to my rolling-pin. I employed utmost patience while I lined tiny aluminum pie plates with ragged ribbons of mangled pastry.

When I took a flip on the flour-coated floor, a couple of curse words escaped my pristine lips. But I dusted myself off, rationalizing that my slip of the tongue was excusable, since I didn’t take the Lord’s name in vain.

While my pastry masterpieces were browning in a 450-degree oven, I whisked boiling lemon filling, and beat egg whites. Patrick couldn’t help but notice I was a little agitated when he helped me wrestle the filled pies into the oven. Wisdom prevailed, and he refrained from reminding me of his earlier warning about tackling this culinary adventure on a blistering, humid evening, after a long, stressful day at the office.

He had no cutting retort as I glared at him, my lips pressed together restraining these bitter sentiments, “For the love of God, why didn’t you talk me out of this?” Under my torrid breath, I muttered a stronger profanity, but rationalized it was permissible, since it was unintelligible.

As my physical and emotional temperatures rose, I watched through the smudged oven window while copious chunks of crust crumbled into a lake of fire and brimstone. I had an asthma attack when I opened the oven door, and inhaled toxic black smoke. Wheezing and coughing made it difficult to steady the pies, and molten, lemony lava crested and receded, threatening to overflow the crusts’ jagged edges.

The smoke detector made a piercing announcement that the house might be on fire, and the dog began to bark and run in circles around my legs. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience when to my horror, I finally uttered an expletive that shattered a commandment.

Once the pies were on the cooling racks, weeping syrupy meringue tears, I rationalized that I had done what any Christian would do under the circumstances: given a shout out to Jesus for help in a desperate situation.

I’m sure that even the most pie-ous among you will not cast judgment on me for swearing (or writing bad puns) now that you know the full story. After all, didn’t Jesus say not to look at the speck of pie crust in your neighbor’s eye, when you have a whole lemon meringue pie in yours?

©2015, Stevens. All rights reserved.

Image Pie: depositphotos_copyright-olyina.jpg

About Molly Stevens

My name is Molly and I arrived late to the writing desk, but am forever grateful my second act took this direction instead of adult tricycle racing or hoarding cats.

I grew up on a potato farm in northern Maine, where I wore a snowsuit over both my Halloween costume and my Easter dress. No one knows for sure if my ideas result from eating too many carbs, or childhood exposure to herbicides.

I have ‘practiced’ professional nursing for *mumble,mumble* years, and someday hope I’ll be competent or retired, whichever comes first. My husband, Patrick, is watching for early signs of dementia, and will have me put in a home when I show an enthusiasm for camping.

When I’m not writing, working or watching the Patriots win super bowls, I love to spend time with our son, daughter-in-law and two perfect grandsons.

Connect to Molly


Would be delighted to share your Cook from Scratch stories, even the disastrous ones.  Contact me at

Thanks to Molly for sharing her post and to you for dropping by… Sally

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from scratch – Magical Cloud Eggs – Jena C. Henry

My thanks to author Jena C. Henry who has sent me this cook from scratch recipe for some wonderful eggs for the whole family.

Magical Cloud Eggs – (for American and English cooks)

I wish I had sent this recipe to Sally before Mother’s Day. Kids would have a blast making this magical dish for Mom’s (Mum’s breakfast in bed.

But Cloud Eggs are fun any time. I made these eggs for me on a regular Thursday and giggled while (whilst) I made them and smiled as I ate them. Adding this recipe to my favorites (favourites) Enjoy!

Here are my directions. I got carried away and wrote 8 steps, but it’s really simple: separate eggs, whip the egg whites, plop them whites into cloud shapes, with a well for the egg yolk. Bake the cloud egg whites, drop in the egg yolk, bake some more and eat!

1. The only ingredient is an egg. One egg makes a serving. Decide how many eggs you want to use. (Use may Parmesan cheese if you want.)

2. Preheat your oven to 450 F degrees (I believe that is 232.222 Celsius, have fun with that!) A hot oven is what we want.

3. Separate the eggs. I put all the whites in one big bowl, and each (unbroken) yolk in a separate little cup. So if you are making four cloud eggs, you will need 1 big bowl and 4 small cups. Or if you are a child making this, you will need 7 big bowls and 21 little cups. And you might as well eat the chocolates Mom (Mum) had hidden in one of the bowls.

4. Whip the whites at high speed until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. As you may know whipping egg whites is amazingly fun. If you are a child, your Mom (Mum) would prefer it if you kept the beaters in the bowl.

5. If you want, add some grated Parmesan cheese to the egg whites. I didn’t do this, because I wanted to try it plain and then decide if I wanted cheese.

6. Put parchment paper, or something similar, on a baking sheet. Then make your clouds. Plop a pile of egg whites on the baking sheet, and make a little well for the yolk.

7. Bake the egg white clouds for about 3 minutes. Then slide the baking sheet out and gently place an egg yolk in the well you made in each cloud. Bake for 3 more minutes.

But you may want to think about timing, depending on how runny you want your egg yolks. I would say it takes 6-7 minutes of total baking. If you want firmer eggs, then I would only bake the whites for 2 minutes, and bake the yolks for 5 minutes. That way your egg white clouds won’t bake too brown. So adjust depending on your taste. Do you know what I mean? If you are child, just go watch TV and forget about them.

8. Gently remove the baked cloud eggs from the baking sheet and to loud acclaims and applause, enjoy them! Kids- Mom (Mum) doesn’t care if you dropped one on the floor- just pick it up before a pet gets it.)

©Jena C. Henry, May, 2017

About Jena C. Henry

Jena C. Henry is an active, high energy gal who is a wife, mother, non-profit volunteer and bon vivant. She created the book series, The Golden Age of Charli, to encourage, entertain and share her joy of living and laughing. Jena C. Henry holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Akron School of Law. Now retired, she and her husband, Alan, live in tropical Ohio where they enjoy their two adult children and extended family, friends and darling dog.

Jena presents writing workshops to help creatives achieve their dreams of writing a book and publishing it.When she is finished tidying her house, Jena likes to relax on her front porch and read and write. She enjoys fine dining, traveling to visit family, and lounging by lovely bodies…of water.

Books by Jena C. Henry

About the The Golden Age of Charli RSVP

Charlotte McAntic spent her thirties, forties, and even fifties in peace and harmony aligning her marriage, mortgage, careers, and children. As she stumbles into a new phase of life—also known as the Golden Years—Charli cannot help but wonder where the gold and her husband, Pud, are hiding.

Pud is happily cruising down the retirement path that, for him, leads straight to the golf course. While Charli spends her days at home cleaning out closets and the basement, she yearns to gaze deeply into Pud’s blue eyes and remember all the reasons why she fell in love with him thirty years ago. Unfortunately, the only thing Pud is eying is the next fairway. Knowing there is more to savor in retirement than silver-hair shampoos, senior discounts, and hernia surgery, Charli embarks on a quest to do whatever it takes to spend retirement in the embrace of the man she loves. But is it too late for happily ever after?

In this humorous novel, a high-energy wife and her solid guy must learn to adjust to a new chapter in their lives and find their way back into each other’s hearts after their retirement begins with a jolt.

Read all the reviews for the three books and buy:

Check out other reviews on Goodreads:

My thanks to Jena for this easy to make but spectacular looking egg dish that will delight the family. And if you have a recipe that is a family favourite that uses all natural ingredients (even if it is one you have adapted over the years) please let me know at

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Stevie Wonder, Justice ‘East End’ Style, Skin and Bones

Welcome to the round up for the posts this week just in case you missed any. I feel a little guilty since I spent quite a bit of time off line and not spending time with your blogs but I promise that just another week to go and I will be more attentive.

The plan was to get the next volume of What’s in a Name finished.. I have two more stories to go Y and Z… already in my head and then I have some surprises to add that will be revealed when it is published.  A slightely different appoach to the names from K to Z with just ordinary people doing something they will be remembered for.. Even if it is only by those they love.

Some of you may remember that I wrote a story using an illustration by the very talented Donata Zawadzka.

This story along with 24 more make up the sequel to Tales from the Garden but this time set in Ireland. Queen Filigree is forced to escape from the palace beneath the magnolia tree in Spain and to seek refuge with her Irish cousin.

I am working with Donata who is producing four central illustrations that head up the four seasons in the book and I am very excited by the project. And I have to thank Paul Andruss for introducing us. It will be in print as well as Ebook and is the first book of mine to be written in Ireland since 1999.

You can find out more about Donata at her website and her sales site:
Buy her work on Redbubble:

I have managed to get some gardening done this week which has a duel purpose.. I pot plants and plot stories!  I am going to do the same this week whilst I finish the current projects but I will be in each day to check up on things and have a chat.

Thank you for all your wonderful support and wonderful comments… I am hugely grateful.

Now for a look at the posts from the week… with additional thanks to my two collaborators.. William Price King and Paul Andruss.

William Price meets the Legends

A brand new series and this time the artist is the amazingly talented Mr. Stevie Wonder who has entertained us for over 50 years. His first performances at age 11 propelled him to early stardom and some of his most iconic hits were written when he was a teenager.  To get you in the mood is one of my all time favourites.

Writer in Residence – Paul Andruss

Paul explores the origins of music and you might look at chimpanzees in a different light.

The Colour of Life – by Geoff Cronin

Just a few more chapters to go in my father-in-law’s memoir but since so many of you have enjoyed I will also be serialising his second book of tall tales.. This week too I pay tribute to my mother-in-law Joan who would have been 97 yesterday. A lovely woman with the most infectious laugh you will ever hear.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Book Reading and Interview

Just  a reminder that if you are in the bookstore you are welcome to do a book reading and interview. The details of how to do that are in this post.  My guest this week was Richard Ankers and next week Sandra J. Jackson and C.S. Boyack.

Sally's Cafe and Bookstore

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore New on the Shelves

If you are not already on the shelves of the bookstore then please pop in and take a look at this post which has a link to what you need to send me.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

If you are in the bookstore you can enjoy regular updates of new releases, great reviews or offers.. Just send me an email to

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air your Reviews

This is open to all authors on the bookstore shelves or not… just send the link to your latest great review to

Jessica Norrie

Smorgasbord Poetry

My thanks to Robbie Cheadle for her contribution to this post this week.. In a dilemma about which cake to bake for her husband’s birthday she took to verse…

Smorgasbord Short Stories

The Sewing Circle is about a group of elderly residents of an East London estate whose lives are devastated by the actions of a family of thugs.  Here are all three episodes. More stories from this collection next week.

Some personal stuff

I was delighted to be interviewed by two writers this week. The first was with Amy M. Reade.

And the second was with Lisa Burton.... courtesy of Craig Boyack.

I was also very honoured to be nominated in the Most Informative Category for the #BloggersBash this year and voting is now open. There are ten categories and some wonderful nominees.. Please head over and vote for your favourites.

Smorgasbord Health – Let’s Walk a Marathon Challenge

This week.. how to burn extra fat…

Smorgasbord Health – Top to Toe.

Smorgasbord Health – Cook from Scratch

I would love to hear from you if you have a recipe made from fresh ingredients that is a favourite..


Put your troubles away for a little while and enjoy the outlook of a pug who has a neural problem but does not let it get him down..

Thanks for showing up, commenting, sharing and being so supportive.. hugs Sally

Keep smiling




Cook from Scratch – The sandwich that packs a punch with link to 140 fillings

Sometimes we over complicate things especially when it comes to healthy eating. One of the healthiest lunches you can make, pack and eat on the go is a sandwich and later in the post there is a link to a wonderful food blog where Grace Hall has compiled a list of 140 fillings.  There is more than enough choise to find natural fresh ingredients that will give you a healthy boost in the middle of the day. Especially if you team with an apple or an orange.

There is a current trend to demonise carbohydrates, and as with any trend, the baby is thrown out with the bathwater. There is no doubt that when we are less than active, eating too many carbohydrates of the wrong kind, can lead to sugar overload and fat being laid down in the belly area.  But we do need a moderate amount of wholegrain carbohydrates, and despite alleged evidence to the contrary our bodies have been eating good grains for a very long time particular in their wild state.

Our current obesity problem is related to another trend thirty years ago, that enouraged us  all to give up fat and eat mainly carbohydrates. The body has an essential need for good fats and has had the indignity of being bombarded with fads and myths for far too long and this was one of the most harmful in our modern diet.

There is no doubt that the body finds modern refined grains such as white flour hard to digest, and to find any nutritional benefit, even when the industrial food merchants pop some synthetic vitamins into their concoctions. But wholegrains and root vegetables are packed with nutrients and are needed by our bodies in varying amounts.


Carbohydrates are a component of food that supplies us with energy in the form of calories to the body. Along with proteins and fats they provide the human body with the main elements required to be healthy. Carbohydrates are made up of sugars (simple carbohydrates), starches (complex carbohydrates) and fibre. If you take the fibre out of the formula through over processing you are just left with the sugars.. These are intense and result in blood glucose fluctuations. You may have experienced this for yourself after a heavy lunch with lots of white rice followed by a rich and sugary dessert. You become light headed and feel faint requiring a top up around 4pm in the afternoon!

If a child has a white flour, sugar and transfat diet from an early age not only are they likely to be obese but they are also at risk of developing diabetes.  More and more middle-aged adults also suffer from pre-diabetic conditions especially when their exercise levels drop off.

There is no doubt that our requirement for carbohydrates will change as we get older. When we are children and young adults our growing bodies require a supercharged fuel – carbohydrates are also needed in higher concentration during periods of high activity as you get older, but should be allied to that particular period of exercise. When men and women pass through the mid-life change the requirement certainly drops but levels again depend on how active your life style is. If you still run 5 miles three times a week or play a fast game of tennis, you can eat more carbohydrates than someone who enjoys video games.

If someone is a total couch potato drifting from bed to table, table to car, car to desk, desk to car, car to sofa – then putting a high octane fuel into the body will simply be converted to fat. However, stopping all carbohydrates is wrong – there are certain nutrients and fibre within wholegrain carbohydrates that the body needs so that the chemical balance is maintained. Eating them in moderation is the key.

As an example of how a good grain becomes a refined grain with added synthetic vitamins.

Any variety of wholegrain rice will contain more of the nutrients as it loses only the outer layer of the grain called the hull. During the process that turns brown rice to white rice it loses 67% of its vitamin B3 (niacin) 80% of B1, 90% of B6 – half of its manganese and phosphorus, 60% of its iron and all the dietary fibre and essential fatty acids. Do you realise that to make white rice acceptable as a food it has to be artificially enriched with B1 B3 and iron? It is amazing the difference that processing a food can have on its nutritional content.

The processing the wholegrain wheat and other cereals that we consume has the same effect on their nutritional value to the body.

You might as well be eating cardboard rather than white packaged bread, cakes, biscuits and savoury pies.

I shared the recipe for Irish Soda Bread last week and a number of you commented that you make your own bread.. that is great especially with wholegrain flour and no additives and with minimum sugar.

If I do buy bread, I buy the in house bakery wholegrain varieties that have a short shelf life and freeze them so that they stay fresh. The reason they go stale is that they are not filled with transfats and additives.

If you use two medium slices of wholegrain bread for your sandwiches with a light spread of real butter and not low-fat spread or margerine you have a great base for your lunch. To eat immediately to to take to school, work or for a day out.

To put things into perspective.. store bought sandwiches have been made from unknown ingredients, perhaps two days ago, with margerine or cheap mayonnaise and can have a calorie count of up to 600 calories with high saturated fat content.

By putting good quality salad vegetables in your sandwich you are not only making a more filling sandwich but you are adding to the nutritional content.

I am not going to reinvent the wheel on this one when I can simply share a link to this post by Grace Hall of Eats Amazing. 140 fillings that means that sandwiches are never boring. If you use all fresh ingredients and have a different sandwich every day you can still lose weight. Counteract having a mature cheddar cheese sandwich one day with salad with a hard boiled egg sandwich and salad the next day.

Most of the fattening elements are adding too much mayonnaise when a scrape of butter, seasoning and herbs are just as tasty.

This is one of the most versatile lunches you can have and I look forward to mine everyday, particularly now that I have Grace’s list to select my preferences from.

The Ultimate List of Sandwich Fillings by Grace Hall of Eats Amazing a UK food blog.

Do you ever get fed up of sandwiches? Think they’re boring? Well think again, because today I have over 140 sandwich filling ideas to share with you. You read that right, I’ve got 140+ different sandwich ideas right here in this post – sandwiches will never be dull again!

Follow this link for an amazing A – Z link to 140 fillings for sandwiches :

As always if you have any questions about your dietary needs or my posts you can contact me on .. thanks for stopping by.

Cook from Scratch – Australian Apple Chocolate Cake from Darlene Foster.

Darlene Foster very kindly sent in this dessert which she and her family enjoy. If you have a recipe that you would like to share then contact me via the link at the end of the post.

I enjoy making desserts from scratch. We don´t often have dessert but when we do, it has to be homemade. I love this one from a recipe book I was given as a gift. It is always a hit with hubby and guests. Everyone loves a bit of chocolate! The pure Valor chocolate is great but any chocolate will do. It is a perfect recipe for those who require gluton or lactose free desserts. The dolop of whipped cream is optional. I often serve it with a couple of strawberries on the side.

from Green Feasts by Richard Cawley

4 eggs separated
115 g/4 oz sugar
115g/4oz plain chocolate melted
1 dessert apple, peeled, cored and grated
115g/4 oz ground almonds

Preheat oven to 350 F (175 C) and oil a 20cm/8 inch spring form pan
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until light and fluffy.
Mix in chocolate, apple and almonds
Beat the egg whites until stiff and fold them into the mixture.
Pour into prepared cake pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the pan and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream and a thin slice of apple if desired.


About Darlene Foster

Darlene Foster is a writer, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor for children, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, shoes, cooking, reading, sewing, chocolate, music, the beach and making new friends. Her 13-year-old grandson called her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.

She was brought up on a ranch near Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people. She currently divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca in Spain, with her husband Paul.

“Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask” was her first published novel. Once bitten by the travel bug, Amanda travels to other interesting places, sticking her nose in other people’s problems and getting herself in trouble. Read “Amanda in Spain – The Girl in the Painting”, “Amanda in England – The Missing Novel”, “Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone”, and “Amanda on the Danube – The Sounds of Music” to find out the adventures Amanda has as she travels the world.

Connect to Darlene via her website:

Books by Darlene Foster

Read all the reviews and buy the books:

Read more reviews on Goodreads:

Thank you for dropping by today and if you have a recipe that is made from scratch with (mainly) fresh ingredients that is a family favourite then please send to If we have not met before I will need your blog or website links, Amazon or Goodreads and social media.  Thanks Sally

Cook From Scratch – Yeast Free Irish Soda Bread

I have made a few pies and cakes in my time but for some reason not much bread.  When we went to live in Spain and before discovering some of their artisan wholegrain breads, I did have a go with some Irish soda bread but it was a total disaster.  We could have built a garden wall with the bricks that came out of the oven.  The results ended up being given to the ducks.. but the small pieces were so heavy they sank to the bottom of the lake which provided exercise for the ducks and entertainment for us.

Rescue was at hand when my husband’s brother came out for a visit armed with his secret recipe.  I am proud to announce that following some modifications, I can now produce some variations including bread made with some oats and another with fruit and nuts. Thank you Frank.

Here is the recipe and even those who are not avoiding yeast will find it delicious.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees – put the rack mid oven.  Prepare two 14inch bread tins – I use greaseproof paper cut to size and a little olive oil around the tin so that the paper sticks.

irish soda bread

Ingredients – for two loaves.
600gm strong whole wheat plain flour (or 500gm flour and 100gm porridge oats – or 500 gm flour and 100gm dried fruit)
two teaspoons of baking powder
Two teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda
Two teaspoons of salt
Two teaspoons of sugar
Two eggs
600ml milk (I use full fat)
Juice of two lemons (to sour the milk)


Sultanas and mixed fruit can be added and makes a delicious fruit bread.


Add the lemon juice to the milk and stir – leave for about 15 minutes until it thickens.

Sift the flour into a large bowl (add porridge oats or fruit if using)

add in the bicarbonate, baking powder, sugar and salt
mix in gently.

Pour in the soured milk and using a fork gently stir together.

Add in two eggs and mix in.

Pour the mixture into the tins and place in the hot oven for approximately 60 minutes.

Check after 45 and the loaves should have risen and be brown on top.

When baked take the loaves out of the oven and remove from tins. (peel of the paper if you have used)

You will know they are cooked if they sound hollow when you tap them on the bottom of the loaf.

Wrap in clean tea towels to stop the crust getting too crisp and leave on a rack until cool.

I wrap one in clingfilm and put in freezer and because there are no preservatives you need to eat over a couple of days.  I keep one in the fridge.


Butter and Olive oil.
I don’t like processed spreads but love a bit of butter or some olive oil on my bread. In the last post I shared the recipe for the tomato relish that is wonderful spread on toasted bread with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt.

I would love to hear from you if you have some ‘cook from scratch’ recipes that we can all enjoy. Just email me at  Thanks for stopping by.


Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Evolution, Rebellion and The Colour of Life

It is a wonderfully sunny day and I have enjoyed the morning in the sun.. but before I head off to help with clearing more trees… it is time for a round up of the guests and posts this week.

I have said many times before that this blog is a collaborative effort and every time you visit and like, comment and share you are contributing. Please do not be shy and it would be great if you would put the link to your latest post in the comments section. I do have the blogger daily Monday to Friday and I am addicted to the reblog button so I will share one way or another. But, it also introduces you to the other readers who have popped in.

I like to think of this blog as the water cooler at the office and I like nothing more when I see a conversation striking up between two people who have never met before.

I have a pile of pine branches to strip so that they can go through the without further ado.

My thanks to William Price King and Paul Andruss for their outstanding contributions…they provide such wonderful posts and I am so grateful for their continued support.

William Price King Meets some Legends

Although Dame Shirley Bassey has performed some sell out concerts and been featured in television specials in the last 17 years she is semi-retired so we chose to leave her career at the point where she received her honour.

This coming week we take a small break but there will be a recap post on the series so far including jazz, classical and contemporary with some of the stand out performances. The following week we will begin the new series on the iconic musician and singer.. Mr. Stevie Wonder.

Writer in Residence Extra with Paul Andruss

This week I featured one of a series of posts on the evolution of mankind from Paul’s archives on his own blog. I am sure you will enjoy as much as I did, especially our close bond with rats.

The Colour of Life by Geoff Cronin

Two more chapters from my father-in-laws memoirs and this week some canny business sense at the mobile cinema and the market place.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore

Book Reading and Interview

Author Update

New on the Shelves

Air Your Reviews


Let’s Walk A Marathon

New series of Cook from Scratch.. guest cooks wanted.

Nutrients in the news

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Personal stuff

Hugh Roberts honoured me by making What’s in a Name his book of the month.. A lovely gesture and one that is much appreciated.


As I delve back into my archive of poems written from my teens onwards it amuses me to see what emotional turmoil I put myself through… and others.

This poem was written when I was sixteen following a trip to the West Country with my sister Diana.. as you can see I was the cat.. and I was away!

Rebellion in Frome by Sally Cronin

My mother said no, that while I was home
That my ears should stay pristine
But away from her, in far distant Frome
I laughed at being sixteen

Read the rest:


Thank you again for dropping in and look forward to seeing you again in the next week… thanks Sally