Thursday, 24 April 2014
So what to do with them, hmm let's have a look in the fridge and see what is there... oh yes, some mini peppers and a courgette, dice and slice them and add a tablespoon of oil then roast in the oven at 180C for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables have started to soften and blacken round the edges.
The Spice Trail run by Vanesther at Bangers and Mash as the challenge is celebrating Mexican food this month.
Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary and hosted this month at JibberJabberUK
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
Nice and Nobbly Organic, Gluten Free, Granola Bars from Nature's Path. They come in two flavours - Trail Mix and Dark Choc Chip - and are a great alternative to the often taste-less and bland gluten-free products on the market. They are very tasty, hold together well and I would definitely buy them. 9/10
LU and Cadbury Dairy Milk Ritz are available in 35g bars, each with four mini segments (RRP £0.58) and in three bar multipacks (RRP £1.49). 8/10
I hope you've enjoyed reading about the products I've been reviewing on my kitchen table, back soon with more recipes and reviews.
I received samples of the products , I was not paid for these reviews and all opinions are my own.
Saturday, 19 April 2014
I found some Nutterly Buttery Fudge, Creme de Menthe Fudge and some Bacon Praline as well as some Lime and Berry boiled sweets. They were all lovely to eat as sweets, but I thought they would also work well as a topping for a plain cookie, and I was right. They might not be the prettiest cookies but they are very easy to make and taste delicious, you could top these cookies with nuts, chocolate or anything that takes your fancy.
Sweetie Cookies (makes 24-30)
100g margarine or butter
100g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
225g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Toppings of your choice
Heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Cover two or three baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cream the margarine or butter with the sugar and then add the remaining ingredients until they form a soft dough. Roll the dough into a sausage and wrap in clingfilm, put this in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes.
Slice rounds from the roll and place, evenly spaced, on to the baking sheets. Add the toppings and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes until pale golden brown and crisp. Don't allow them to get too brown.
Lift off and leave to cool on a wire rack.
The dough is very soft, so the cookies are not exactly round! The sticky looking cookies are the ones topped with bacon praline, I was a bit worried that they might be too bacony, but no, the praline sweetness totally compensated. I had to use my grill pan rack to cool the cookies as my cooling trays are still in storage, it's amazing what you can use when you have to!
Thursday, 17 April 2014
It's not been possible for me to make any Easter treats to share with you, so instead I'm going to share some quirky recipes created by gastronaut Stefan Gates for Castello cheese which you can make to impress your guests this Easter.
Chocolate eggs are so last Easter!! This year, speciality cheese brand Castello has paired up with gastronaut and foodie adventurer Stefan Gates to creatively craft innovative Easter egg recipes with a cheese twist. Stefan has turned tradition on its head with a cheeky take on the classic egg and soldiers, and a chocolate cream egg that is bound to make your guests do a double take.
Proving the versatility of cheese, Stefan has used the Castello range to devise playful recipes that are sure to inject some fun into your Easter weekend. And to ensure the holiday wows, top wine expert Matt Day has co-ordinated delicious and surprising drinks pairings to get the best flavours from your meal.
Stefan Gates said, “Castello cheeses are so versatile, from the tangy taste of Tickler extra mature cheddar to the lusciously soft Pineapple Halo - you can really have fun with them even turning some into a sweet treat. If you’re not constricted by cheese convention, you will be surprised by the flavour combinations out there. I wanted to rethink the Easter cream egg and traditional egg and soldiers turning them into crowd pleasers yet still easy to make at home.”
Ticker and Cider Fondue
Truffled Tickler and cider fondue served in an egg shell with Tickler soldiers fried in beurre noisette.
Ingredients (serves 4)
350g Castello Tickler Extra-Mature Cheddar (grated)
200ml fine strong cider
1 tablespoon of cornflour, mixed to a paste with 2tbsp cold water
½ tsp Worcester sauce
1tbsp truffle oil
8 slices sourdough
200g Castello Tickler Extra-Mature Cheddar thinly sliced
100g butter for frying
Juice of 1 lemon
1. Put a thick-bottomed saucepan on a medium heat, add the cider and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat, mix in the grated cheese, cornflour paste and Worcester sauce. Stir gently until all the cheese has melted. It should be as thick as Greek yoghurt, so if you need to thicken or loosen it add more cheese or cider. Keep it warm until you’re ready to serve
2. Lightly toast the sourdough slices, then make four unbuttered sandwiches with cheddar slices inside
3. Heat a large knob of butter in a frying pan until sizzling, then just as the butter turns brown, add 1 tbsp of lemon juice and turn one of the sandwiches in it to coat and continue frying until slightly crispy. Repeat with the rest of the sandwiches, then slice them into soldiers and put them on plates
4. Stir ½ tbsp. truffle oil into the fondue, taste and add another ½ tbsp. if you need to (truffle oils can vary in strength). Put each egg-shell in an egg cup and fill with the fondue (there’ll be more leftover for seconds!) and serve
Why not complement the savoury eggs with a chilled glass of champagne or an icy beer. Choose one of Matt Day’s suggestions to bring out the tangy taste of the Tickler:
Leffe Blonde Beer (£2.99 widely available)
Tesco finest* 1531 Blanquette de Limoux (£8.49)
Le Mesnil Blac de Blancs Champagne 2004 (Waitrose £33.99)
Who would have thought cheese tastes great with chocolate? True to form, Stefan surprises with a delectable dessert that is both quick and fun to conjure up. This recipe is the perfect way to enhance both the pineapple, papaya and almond aromas found in the soft cheese, Pineapple Halo.
Pineapple Halo mixed with crème fraiche in a chocolate egg with orange zest
Ingredients (for 2 eggs)
2 hollow chocolate eggs
½ wheel of Castello Pineapple Halo
4tbsp crème fraiche
Zest of one orange
1. Carefully slice the top off the chocolate eggs using a hot knife dipped in water from a boiled kettle. Put them into egg cups
2. Put the cheese, crème fraiche and ¾ of the orange zest into a bowl and mix it together with the back of a fork. Fill each eggshell with the mixture, and then put the remaining orange zest on top to look like the yolk
This naughty but nice chocolate treat works perfectly with one of the following:
Mimosa (Champagne, Grand Marnier, Fresh Orange Juice)
Brown Brothers Orange Muscat & Flora (Ocado £7.49)
Fontana fredda Moscato D'Asti Moncucco (Asda £12.47)
For more information about the Castello range visit: www.castellocheese.co.uk
I was not paid for this post, but received some packs of Castello Cheeses to try.
Sunday, 13 April 2014
with 7 Vegetables
8 chicken thighs
2 cloves garlic
7 small vine tomatoes
2 Aubergines (Eggplant)
3 large or 12 mini red, orange or yellow (bell) peppers
2 large courgettes (zucchini)
12 pitted black olives
2 tablespoons of pesto
2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
small bunch of parsley
1. Brown the chicken pieces in a pan with a little oil, set aside.
2. Chop all the vegetables into even sized pieces and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker.
3. Mix the pesto and balsamic vinegar into the vegetables and top with the chicken pieces.
4. Cook on medium for 4 hours or on low for 7 hours.
5. Top with chopped parsley.
6. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the juices.
Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy are also celebrating 7-a-day with their challenge Extra Veg.
Thursday, 10 April 2014
|Clockwise from left: Hot Cross Bun Fudge, Caramel Swirls, American Buttermints, Roobarb and Custard.|
Donna is a self proclaimed 'Doonhamer' born and bred in Dumfries in the South West of Scotland. When she had to give up her career as a psychiatric nurse, specialising in forensics, after illness and injury she returned home to stay with her Mum. Donna has Crohn's Disease, a chronic digestive disorder and sugar is about the only thing she can eat without pain. She got fed up with the lack of variety and quality of the sweets available to her and was thrilled when her sister bought her Hope and Greenwood's 'Life is Sweet' and she was able to make her own sweets.
The reaction to Donna's sweets, amongst her family and friends, was so positive that she soon started taking custom orders for gifts, weddings and parties. Wherever possible Donna uses local products including Uncle Roy's colours and extracts and Lockerbie butter. She is looking for someone local to buy cream and would love to find an artisan butter maker. Wee Sweetie sweets are made in small batches to ensure the sweets are as fresh as can be and Donna aims to make them look and feel handmade, not uniform and mass-produced. She doesn't believe in adding anything unnecessarily so make sure everything is completely natural, preservative and additive free. Most are gluten free and veggie friendly too.
Donna kindly sent me some of her Wee Sweeties to try. Let's start with the Hot Cross Bun Fudge, what a brilliant concept! The fudge really tastes like a Hot Cross Bun and would be a perfect Easter Gift. I was a bit concerned to try the Caramel Swirls as I thought they might be hard and chewy, but far from it, they transported me back to my childhood as they tasted exactly like the Russian Toffee my Mum made. Soft and with a rich, sweet burnt sugar flavour that was completely moreish. American Buttermints were next on the tasting list, they have a real hit of mint, firm on the outside and meltingly soft on the inside, quite delightful. And finally 'the boilings' Roobarb and Custard boiled sweets were just brilliant, the balance of the acidic rhubarb taste and the sweet custard make these sweets just burst with flavour on your tongue.
Many thanks to Donna for the opportunity to review her delicious sweeties, I'll be ordering up some of that Hot Cross Bun Fudge for Easter!
I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.
Monday, 7 April 2014
|The Black Farmer Premium Pork Sausages with Mashed Potato and Baked Beans|
Sausages often get a bad press. There are many excellent quality sausages with a high meat content which are really tasty and every bit as good as other cuts of meat. Sausages are not only good value but they are also extremely versatile.
I always buy premium sausages and was delighted when The Black Farmer invited me to review their products, as I had already heard a lot of good things about these sausages. This pack of 10 sausages arrived along with a pack of The Black Farmer's Daughter's Premium Chipolatas. They are in the freezer at the moment, awaiting their destiny!
|The Black Farmer Premium Pork Sausages|
Gold winner of the Great Taste Awards, and a FreeFrom Food Award winner.
With 90% meat from prime cuts of pork, these gluten free sausages are full flavoured and meaty. They are made using British Freedom Food outdoor bred pork.
The seasoning really brings out the flavour of the meat.
This is a great all rounder for all the family and for any occasion.
It cooks well in the frying pan, grill or oven and makes a robust ingredient for casseroles as well as a perfect breakfast or tea time treat.
Ingredients Pork 90%, Soya Bean Flour, Salt, Dextrose, Spiced, Herbs, Stabiliser: E451(i), Preservative: E221, Antioxidants: E300, E330, Spice Extracts.
Allergen advice Contains Soya and Sulphites
|Spaghetti with Sausages and Red Pepper Pesto|
I received the sausages from The Black Farmer, I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own.