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Monday, 30 September 2013

Dish of the Month - September Round up

Many thanks to all the lovely food bloggers who joined me and Sue (A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate) for September Dish of the Month.  The blog event where we cook the recipes of Nigel Slater.  Sue and I are cooking our way through the Kitchen Diaries II but any recipe by Nigel can be entered for this easy-going challenge.

Nigel Slater's Autumn Chutney is the entry from Dish of the Month co-host Sue from A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate.  This chutney is packed with green beans, onions, tomatoes and spices, it looks so good, I can almost taste it!
 Baked Figs with Marsala and Honey is the simple dish brought to us by Jacqueline at How to be a Gourmet.  The simplicity is typical of Nigel Slater and Jacqueline describes the dish as 'naughty but nice'!

Courgette and Apple Cake provides two of your five a day in cake form, how much better can you get?   Well, this one is also organic, so I don't think you can get any better!  Many thanks to Dom from Belleau Kitchen for bringing this healthy cake to Dish of the Month.

Chocolate Damson Cake, another superb seasonal cake, this time from Linzi at Lancashire Food.  I love how it looks like a fruity, fudgy brownie!

Cod in Soured Cream Sauce is a fascinating dish which Galina from Chez Maximka created using Nigel Slater's Lemon Tarragon Cod recipe and her own memories of a similar dish that her Mum makes.

Lamb 'Osso Buco' with parsley papardelle was the recipe I started out to make, however the eagle-eyed among you will realise that that is not quite what ended up on the plate!  You will have to read my blog post to find out how this morphed into a pot roast.

Courgette Cake was a popular choice as Claire at Foodie Quine also chose to make this moist and tasty 'five a day' in a cake.   Apologies to Claire for leaving her cake off the original post, I must have been seeing double!

I hope you will join us for Dish of the Month in October, the Linky will be posted on 2nd October. 

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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Is Food Blogging good for your health?

Is Food Blogging good for your health?  Probably not, you tend to make too much food, eat too much food and generally sit hunched at your PC, laptop or tablet writing or interacting with your followers and friends online!

I'm mostly approached to review food or food products (more temptation) but when I saw an opportuntity to review the Braun ExactFit 5 Blood Pressure Monitor, I thought this would be a good opportunity to see just how my blood pressure had stood up to the rigours of food blogging. 

Known as the ‘silent killer’, many of us are often unaware we have high blood pressure, which is why those potentially at risk should have their blood pressure checked regularly as Camille Bourdelle, BPM Brand Manager EMEA, explains: “Knowing your blood pressure numbers is more important than your height and weight as it can prevent later complications such as cardiovascular diseases, stroke, heart attack or kidney failure. “High blood pressure is mainly an aging disease, however, there are other factors like weight, smoking, high alcohol consumption, limited physical activity or genetic predisposition that also put people at risk. We recommend that from the age of 45 blood pressure should be checked on a regular basis.”
The Braun Exactifit has it's own neat bag to store the cuffs and monitor.
Surprisingly, getting your blood pressure checked at the doctors or pharmacist isn’t always adequate, as Camille continues.“Because of the ‘white coat effect’, blood pressure levels can vary when visiting the doctor or pharmacist compared to normal, everyday readings. This is why we encourage those who are at risk or who have hypertension to take their blood pressure at home with a device developed for home usage.

Setting Up
Setting up the monitor was relatively easy too, a bit like setting your alarm clock or mobile phone, you need to put in the date and time as the monitor stores your measurements.  The instructions were easy to follow and the  batteries ARE included!  The Braun Blood Pressure micro site is well worth a visit and the videos there are even easier to follow than the instructions in the book.

You get a monitor, an adult cuff and a large adult cuff, batteries and instruction manual

My husband was also keen to measure his blood pressure, so we agreed to take the readings morning and evening for a week to get a good idea of our readings over a period of time.  We found that although there were variations between morning and evening, you can get an average after you have started to accumulate readings.  There is an easy guide down the side of the monitor to show you whether you are in the healthy area or whether you should be taking measures to reduce your hypertension.  
I found it simple to put on the cuff and take a reading.

This is the reading you get on the Monitor, the date and time at the top in smaller text.  Systolic reading followed by Diasystolic and then pulse rate.  If you look at the right of the monitor you can see a little arrow showing where this reading falls in the World Health Organisation (WHO)  blood pressure values.  You can see that my blood pressure is low on the scale which is very reassuring! 

My average reading over the week:  116 SYS, 69 DIA, 72 PUL
Husband average reading over the week: 134 SYS, 84 DIA, 80 PUL

Both of us within the WHO Normal valuies of up to 140 SYS and up to 90 DIA

The blood pressure monitor is easy to use and is also pretty accurate, we had visit at work from Occupational Health and I took the chance to have my BP checked by a professional, it came out at 124/76  which is fairly close to the average value I got with the monitor, if you take into account the 'white coat' effect and the fact that it was during a busy working day.

The four AA batteries lasted for 24 readings which would make using the monitor on a regular basis expensive.  I would have thought that this type of monitor could have had a built in battery which just needed plugging in to recharge, like your toothbrush (also made by Braun) or your phone!

The Verdict
I would recommend this monitor to anyone who has concerns about their blood pressure. If you have had your blood pressure checked by a professional and are in the pre-hypertension or mild hypertension category, then the monitor would be good for you to keep track of your blood pressure, paticularly if you are taking steps to reduce it.  If you hvae Severe Hypertension you should take the advice of your doctor. If like me you are right at the bottom of the normal range, then there is probably less of a need for regular checking.

The monitor we used was the  ExactFitTM 5 BP6200 which stores 60 measurements and gives a morning and evening average over the course of seven days.
RRP: £99.99
For further details visit  . Packed full of information and advice, Braun’s new microsite includes tips on controlling your blood pressure as well as practical videos showing you how to fit your Braun blood pressure monitor and understand your measurements. The Braun blood pressure monitors are available nationwide at selected Boots stores.

Many thanks to Sarah for giving me the opportunity to review the Braun Exact Fit Blood Pressure Monitor, I was not paid for this review and all opinions are my own.

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Friday, 27 September 2013

Summer Falls into Autumn Pudding

Summer Pudding is probably my favourite British pudding. There is something about the sharpness of the fruits and the tender bread shell soaked with juice that really appeals to me, especially when doused with a liberal pouring of cream.
For some reason I didn't make a summer pudding this summer so I thought I'd bridge the seasons with a summer into autumn version. I had two ripe pears in the fruit bowl, a punnet of raspberries, brambles (blackberries) from my hedgerow and some blackcurrants from the freezer, any combination of soft fruits will do, you want ones that will produce lots of fruity juice.

Summer Falls into Autumn Pudding
Serves 6
1 1/4 kg mixed berries and currants
175g caster sugar
1tbsp Framboise (optional)
1-2 tsp Galloway Chillies, Chilli and Raspberry Jam
Half a loaf of white bread.

 1. Slice the bread and cut off the crusts.  Line a 1.25ltr pudding basin with cling film making sure you have plenty over the side, this helps you to remove the pudding more easily when it is ready. Line the cling filmed bowl with bread, filling in all the gaps.

2. Put the blackberries and blackcurrants into a pan with the sugar and just enough water to cover the berries and no more.  Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved and the berries have started to release their juices, about 5 minutes.  Add the peeled and chopped pears and the raspberries and simmer gently for another 2 minutes. 

3.  Add 1-2 tsp of Chilli jam,  I used Galloway Chillies 'Special Edition' Chilli Raspberry Jam.  I found that 1 tsp wasn't really enough to give a kick, so I would recommend at least two, but it will depend on the type of Chilli Jam you use.  This is of course, optional!

 This is what the berries should look like, still whole and not cooked out.

4.  Fill the bread lined bowl with the berries and lay more slices of bread across the top.  Fold in the cling film.

5. Place a saucer on top of the pudding and weigh it down with something heavy like a tin.  Place it in the fridge overnight.
6.  Place the remaining juice and berries in a sieve and press through to get all the juice and pulp.

7. Add a tablespoon of Framboise (Raspberry Liqueur), Cassis (Blackcurrant Liqueur) or Creme de Mur (Blackberry Liqueur) - not all of them just one tablespoon!  This is optional, it will still taste gorgeous without the alcohol.

8. Unwrap the cling film from the top and turn the bowl onto a plate lift off the  bowl and remove the cling film.  I used a pastry brush to paint the bread with some of the sauce or you can spoon it on to cover any patches where the juice hasn't seeped through the bread.  

9. Cut into slices and serve with the remaining sauce and some pouring cream.  I was really pleased with the way the pudding cut and held together, it may have been the pear which helped to hold it all together.

I am entering this for Four Seasons Food   a  blog event featuring seasonal ingredients like the blackberries and pears that I have used here. This month the theme is 'Sliding into Autumn'. Four Seasons Food is run by Delicieux and Eat your Veg

I'm also adding my Summer Falls into Autumn Pudding for  Shop Local a new blogging challenge from Elizabeth's Kitchen as it features Chilli Raspberry Jam from local producer Galloway Chillies.
Galloway Chillies produce a range of delicious chilli jams and the Hot Chilli lemon Citrus has recently been awarded a gold star by the Guild of Fine Food at the Great Taste Awards.

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Sunday, 22 September 2013

Chocolate Crunchie Munchies

The way to my man's heart generally involves some kind of chocolate biscuit cake, although all cakes and biscuits are appreciated. These little Chocolate Crunchie Munchies are, not only a decadent and delicious morsel to munch on with your coffee, they are also a frugal make. Now that is bound to please your loved one!

I came home on Friday night and had a bit of a craving for something chocolatey, I knew there were no chocolates in the house but there was a bar of Rylands Dark Chocolate. I get this chocolate at the supermarket, it is about 89p for a 200g bar and tastes very much like Bournville chocolate. It's not in the league of specialist chocolate for eating, but it is excellent for baking and sweet making.

So I had the chocolate, now I needed to find something to mix with it. I rummaged around and found the end of a box of Special K, the flakes had gone a bit soft and chewy, but there is an easy way to rescue cereal, by putting it in a hot oven for 5-10 minutes. You need to use it up pretty quickly after that, but it crisps it up beautifully. As I was putting the oven on for supper anyway, this wasn't going to cost any more in fuel.

Special K being crisped up in the oven


I also found a bag with a few Amaretti biscuits in it and some sultanas.

Chocolate Crunchie Munchies

150g Dark Chocolate
50g White Chocolate
25g butter
225g cereal and/or crushed Amaretti biscuits
50g sultanas or small pieces of other dried fruit

1. Break up the chocolate and put it in a bowl with the butter, over a pan of hot water. Melt the chocolate being careful not to get any water into the chocolate or it will granulate.
2. Stir in the cereal crushed biscuits and sultanas and spoon into paper or silicone cases.

3. Put in the fridge for about 30-50 minutes.
4. Using a clean bowl, melt the white chocolate and put into a piping bag.
5. Drizzle the white chocolate over the Crunchie Munchies and return to the fridge for 10 minutes to set.

These little chocolate bites definitely hit the spot, you can adapt the recipe for any type of cereal or mixture of cereal and crushed biscuits, add nuts or seeds, smarties, M and Ms or anything that you like. Great for kids to make.

I received the heart shaped silicon cupcake cases in a lovely parcel from Dunelm Mill. I find that Dunelm Mill is a great place to get all your baking equipment, the prices are much cheaper than some of the specialist stores and there is a wide range of different products. I like to pick up items for food styling as well. As you can see I received a silicone madeleine mould, some large silicone cupcake cases, some silicone flowerpots and a Macroon Baking Set. The Heart Shaped Cupcake Cases are the first item I have had a chance to use but I am really excited about the Flower pots and the Macaroon Baking Set. I have made Macaroons before but they weren't very even and the set contains a baking mat which will keep my macaroons all the same size.

As this is a frugal recipe I'm entering it for Credit Crunch Munch the blog event run by Fuss Free Flavour and Fab Food 4 All. This month it is Elizabeth's Kitchen who is hosting the challenge.

I'm also adding this to Treat Petite, a NEW challenge from Cakey Boi and the Baking Explorer. This month the challenge is for any small cake or treat and The Baking Explorer is hosting.

I was sent these baking items by Dunelm Mill, I was not paid for this post and all my views are my own.

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Friday, 20 September 2013

Strawberry Tartlets with Breton Shortbread Crust and a Cook Book Review

Tartelettes aux fraises sable breton
from The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier

Clotilde Dusoulier of is not a vegetarian but has chosen to eat less meat and fish  and is always looking for new ways to cook what's fresh in the market. In the French Market Cookbook she takes us through the seasons in 90 recipes.

About the Author:  Clotilde Dusoulier is the creator of the award winning blog Chocolate and Zucchini and author of the book Chocolate and Zucchini and the guidebook Clotilde's Edible Adventures in Paris, she lives in Paris, France.

About the Book: The book is divided by season with a list of 'produce to play with' each season.

Spring includes Avocado and Radish Mini Tartines; Crunchy Lentil and Watercress Salad; Poor Man's Bouillabaisse; Asparagus Buckwheat Tart; Breton Shortbread Cookies (or Tart Dough) and Strawberry Tartlets with Breton Shortbread Crust.

Summer includes Goat Cheese and Rosemary Sables, Green Bean, Red Rice, and Almond Salad; Tomato and Tarragon Bread Soup; Zucchini and Apricot Socca Tart; Corsican Bell Pepper Stew and Peach Almond and Cardamom Clafoutis.

Fall includes Seaweed Tartare, Butternut and Celery Root Soup; Couscous with Vegetables; Mushrooms stuffed with plums and hazelnuts, Easy Fresh Fig Tart and Pear and Chestnut Cake.

Winter includes Assorted Savory Puffs; Curried Leek Tart Tatin; Spelt and Vegetable Pilaf; Savoury Pumpkin and Cornmeal Quick Bread; Apple Sugar Tart and Chocolate Berawecka.

The Essentials chapter includes Vegetable Stock, Yogurt Tart Dough, Olive Oil Tart Dough; Spelt Tart Dough, various Vinaigrettes, Harissa, Bechamel sauce and Lemon Pastry Cream.

Breton Shortbread Cookies
Makes 12 Cookies or one 10-12in 25-30cm Tart Crust

1/2 cup/70g unrefined blond sugar (also sold as evaporated cane juice) I didn't have any of this so just used caster sugar
6 tbsp/85g high quality unsalted butter, softened
1 small fresh vanilla bean or 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 large organic egg
1 cup/130g all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and butter. (Alternatively, do this by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon.) Split the vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the inside of the bean with the dull side of the blade, and add them to the sugar and butter.  Beat the sugar and butter at low speed until pale an fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add the egg and beat for 2 minutes.

2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, stirring with a whisk to remove any lumps. add to the mixer and mix at low speed for a few seconds, just until no trace of flour remains.  The dough will be quite soft.

To make the shortbread cookies
1. Transfer the dough to a container and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and preferably overnight.
2. Preheat the oven  to 350F/175C and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
3. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper to a thickness of 1/3 in / 8mm.  Peel off the top sheet gently and use a round cookie cutter, about 2 in /5cm in diameter, to cut out circles of dough.
4. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, giving them a little room to expand.
5. Gather the scraps of dough and repeat to cut out more cookies. As the dough warms to room temperature, it may become to soft to work with; place it in the freezer for 10 minutes to firm up before cutting out circles again.
6. Bake the sables until golden brown, 15-2- minutes.
7. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.  The sables will keep for a few days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Strawberry Tartlets with Breton Shortbread Crust
Tartelettes aux fraises, sable breton

Make eight 3 in/8cm Tartlets or one 10-12 in/25-30cm Tart (see recipe above)
1 1/4 lb/560g strawberries, preferably small, hulled and halve or quartered depending on their size
2 tbsp strawberry jam (optional)

For the Lemon Pastry Cream
1 large organic egg
3 tbsp unrefined blond cane sugar (also sold as evaporated cane juice) caster sugar should work here
2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch
2/3 cup or 160ml milk or unflavoured, unsweetened nondairy milk
Grated zest of 1 organic lemon
1/3 cup or 60ml freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar and cornstarch.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and lemon zest to a simmer over medium heat.  Slowly whisk the hot milk into the egg, and then pour the eff milk mixture back into the saucepan.
3. Return to low heat and whisk constantly for 1 minute as the mixture thickens to a custardy consistency, making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan regularly so the texture is even.  Dip a wooden spoon in and run your finger long the back of it: if the trace remains clear, the pastry cream is done.
4. Pour into a clean bowl and whisk in the lemon juice.  Cover, pressing a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard, and refrigerate for a few hours until chilled.  The pastry cream may be prepared up to a day in advance; whisk again before using.

To assemble:
Spoon the Lemon pastry cream onto the crust(s) and spread into an even layer.  Arrange the strawberries over the cream in a circular pattern, starting from the centre.
If desired, prepare a jam glaze to give the tartlets more shine:  In a small saucepan, heat the jam with 1 tbsp water until syrupy, without allowing it to boil  If the jam contains bits of fruit, strain it.  Glaze the strawberries lightly with the syrup using a pastry brush. Let set for 10 minutes before serving.

Here I have to confess that I didn't have time to make the Lemon Pastry Cream, I used some Creme Fraiche with added lemon zest!  It still tasted delicious.  As it is really the end of the strawberry season, I gently cooked my strawberries in homemade Elderflower Syrup for 5 minutes. 

Pros:  This is a delightful book full of gorgeous photographs by Francoise Nicol.  Each recipe comes with a little story, a bit like a blog post, painting a picture of Clotilde's past and present life, her likes and dislikes along with hints and tips for how to serve the dish. The recipes feature the vegetables rather than trying to recreate meat dishes. 

Cons: This is a real pot pourri of a book, difficult to pin it down as one thing or another, but full of inspiration for seasonal eating.

Ease of Use: The recipe I chose looks complicated but was actually quite simple to follow and the sables were gloriously tender, not quite crisp like shortbread with a little more of give in it, totally buttery and delicious.

Who is it for: Francophiles and anyone who likes to eat vegetables, whether with or without meat. 

The Verdict:  I will definitely be dipping into this book again as the recipes are varied and a little bit different from those that come from UK or US authors.  I would suggest you visit Clotilde's web site Chocolate and Zucchini to get a feel for the style of her cooking, if you like the look of what you see, then this book is one for you.

The French Market Cookbook  by Clotilde Dusoulier
Published by Clarkson Potter
Distributed in UK by PGUK
RRP £17.99

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Saturday, 14 September 2013

My First Cook Book and Croque Monsieur

I've posted about my first cook book before, but here it comes again courtesy of some nostalgic tweets and Facebook posts from Claire at Foodie Quine when she found was reunited with a copy of The Brownie Cookbook, her own first cook book. Claire and I have set up a Linky so that you can join in and tell us about your first cookbook too.

I thought I would make something from My First Learn to Cook Book by Ursula Sedgwick, illustrated by Martin Mayhew.  The book which was a gift from my Great Aunt and the illustrations are probably my favourite thing about it and probably why I still have it.   The book features a full range of recipes and includes a section on Safety in the Kitchen and Weighing and Measuring.

There is an eggsellent section on EGGS (sorry), Boiled, Fried and Scrambled, then on to the more exotic Ox-eye Eggs and Eggs in Tomatoes.  Then on to Egg and Egg Whisk with instructions on how to whisk an egg white, how to separate eggs and what to do with the yolks leading you on to make...Meringues, Apple Snow and Baked Alaska.  I used to read that recipe again and again, I must have made it too, as there is dried on egg white on the page!  The chapter finishes with a delicious Chocolate Mousse.

More Sweet treats follow with Crispy Crackolates, Peppermint Creams, Marzipan Dates and Coconut Ice.

Fat and Flour...make Pastry, and also Fruit Crumble, Zoo Biscuits (including how to make your own cutters), Quiche Lorraine,  Fruit Tartlets and Sausage Rolls.

Butter, Eggs, Flour and Sugar are for Baking this chapter starts by explaining basic techniques like creaming the butter and sugar, folding in and beating.  Greasing your tin and flouring the tin.  Oven Dos and Don'ts and how to tell if your bakes are 'done'.  Finishing by telling you how to get the cake out of the tin.  Reading this again, all I could think of was how useful this would be for contestants in the Great British Bake Off!
Baking recipes are Chocolate Drops, Fairy Cakes, Birthday Name Cake and Ice Cream Gateau.

 And so to Cheese and Meat are for Lunch or Supper.  Croque Monsieur was another one of the recipes I enjoyed reading and I loved the little cat with his French beret.  So I decided to make this recipe for my lunch the other day.

You will need:  bread, butter, cheese (Cheddar or processed Cheddar), slices of ham.
Spreading knife, slicing knife, frying pan

1. Butter the slices of bread on one side
2. Take half the slices of bread and cover them with thin slices of cheese.
3. Cover each with a slice of ham, and second slice of cheese and finally the top slice of bread - to make a sandwich.
4. Turn on the heat and leave on low.
5. Melt a small knob of butter in the frying pan.
6. Fry the sandwiches slowly, so that the cheese has time to melt,.  When one side is golden brown, turn and fry the second side.

I managed to slightly burn the bread, probably should have had the heat down a bit.  Anyway, it wasn't completely incinerated and I was able to eat the lovely oozing cheese with the salty ham and crispy toasted bread.  Remember there were no sandwich toasters or Pannini makers in the home when this book was written.

Other recipes in this chapter are Cheese Baked Potatoes, Pizza Pie, Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and Kebabs.

The final chapter is about Fruit with some more unusual recipes using fruit jams, fruit juice, fruit flavoured jellies and fruit itself.   Fruit Fried Sandwich, Baked Bananas, Lemon Fizz, Knickerbocker Glory and Fruit Salad.

Apart from the fact that the measurements are not in metric, this book has stood up well and would still be appealing to the child aged 7-12 it was aimed at.  All the basic cooking and baking techniques are there and it's presented in a really fun way.

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Thursday, 12 September 2013

Chocolate Chunk Melting Moments

Melting Moments are a classic biscuit/cookie that are really simple to make and you generally find that you have everything you need to make them. They are supposed to be topped with a piece of cherry like the ones in the Tea Time Treats badge below, however I didn't have any glace cherries in my baking supplies, at first I thought I'd leave them plain, then decided that everything is better with a little chocolate added so added a chocolate chunk to each biscuit. If I'd thought about it before I might even have replace some of the flour with cocoa powder, next time!
The theme for this month's Tea Time Treats is Flapjacks, Oats and Traybakes
Tea Time Treats is a monthly blog event run by Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Kate at What Kate Baked
Melting Moments (makes 18-20)
75g (3oz) soft margarine
75g (3oz) caster sugar
half a beaten egg
a few drops vanilla extract
25g (1oz) rolled oats
100g (4oz) self-raising flour
a handful of rolled oats to coat
50g (2oz) dark chocolate, cut into chunks
1. Heat the oven to 160C, 325F, Gas 3.
2. Grease to baking sheets or cut baking parchment to fit
3. Beat together the margarine and sugar until creamy, then work in the egg and vanilla extract.
4. Add the oats and flour and work until you have a soft dough.
5. Divide the mixture into about 20 pieces and roll into balls, you might find this easier if you slightly wet your hands.
6. Roll the cookie dough balls in rolled oats and place 5 cm (2in) apart on the baking sheets. Flatten each piece of dough and place a chunk of dark chocolate in the centre of each.
7. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the biscuits are pale golden brown.
8. Cool on a wire rack

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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Sweet and Savoury Snacks on my Kitchen Table

I've heard about Cobnuts, but live a long way from Kent and have never had the priviledge of tasting them. A Cobnut is a type of hazelnut traditionally grown in Kent. They are harvested in their green state form mid August and with brown shells and husks by mid October. All the Kentish Cobnuts are sold dehusked from November onwards.  I still haven't tasted the fresh green cobnuts but I can certainly recommend this Handmade Chocolate and Kentish Cobnut Fudge which was sent to me, for review, by Potash Farm.  The fudge has a smooth creamy texture with lots of small nut pieces through it and a rich chocolate flavour, it was a big hit with my husband.

Potash Farm have a range of nuts, fudges and brittles, chocolates, biscuits, preserves and sauces sold from their website. A 200g bag of Handmade Chocolate and Kentish Cobnut Fudge costs £5.25


I'm a big fan of olives and Oloves is a new way to eat olives as an 'on the go' snack.  The little foil pack contains 30g of flavoured olives and there are four different flavours: Lemon and Rosemary, Basil and Garlic, Chilli and Garlic and Chilli and Oregano.  The Oloves were very tasty and the flavourings tasted natural.  One of the big pluses for this way of presenting olives is that there is no oil or brine in the packages and they are only 50 calories per pack.  Holland and Barret are currently selling packs of Oloves for 99p with two for £ 1.48.

 I also used one of the packs as part of my homemade pizza topping which worked well,  they stayed moist and added a great flavour to the pizza.

I was given a pack of this locally produced In House chocolate for my birthday.  I've tried the Green and Blacks Spice Chilli chocolate, but this little bar packs a much bigger punch.  It has real pieces of dried chilli in the dark chocolate and a small piece is quite sufficient to give you a real buzz of chocolate and leave your tongue tingling from the heat of the chilli.  I loved it!

In House chocolates gained 6 Gold Great Taste Awards and 2 Shortlistings in the Scottish Food Excellence Awards, renowned as the Food Oscars of the Scottish food industry.  All the chocolates are made by hand in Scotland and they run chocolate workshops and have an online chocolate club.

On my kitchen table today was: Handmade Chocolate and Kentish Cobnut Fudge provided to me for review by Potash Farm, I was not paid for this review and all opinions are my own.  I received two packs of Oloves to review and was not paid for the review , all opinions are my own.  The In House Chilli Chocolate  was purchased and given to me as a gift and my opinions on this product are my own.

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