Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Buyers Guide to Olive Oil

I do love Olive Oil and use it almost daily one way or another; either for cooking, making a simple salad dressing or mixed with a little balsamic vinegar for dipping bread.

With so many different kinds of Olive oil available it can be confusing to choose the best match for what you are going to use it for.  For example, did you know that Extra Virgin Olive Oil isn't the best oil for cooking and as it's the most expensive olive oil it is actually a bit of a waste?

So if you're not sure which oil to choose check out this very useful infographic by Jamie's Italian and you'll see that different olive oil's are suited to different foods too; oh yes, there's a lot more to olive oil than you might have thought!


Disclosure:  All thoughts and opinions are my own. I received a small payment to cover my time writing this post. 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Strawberry and Prosecco Jam - Tate and Lyle Recipe

Making jam isn't really a difficult thing, it can't be because if I can make jam anyone can!  Of course using top quality fruit is pretty much vital for good results and the type of sugar you use is going to make all the difference to your jam.  Tate & Lyle Jam Sugar is definitely the hero ingredient for making jam happen since it has the perfect balance of sugar and pectin.

I was recently sent a jam making kit from Tate & Lyle which included Jam Sugar and four lovely jam recipes including this one and since we both LOVE strawberries I set about making Strawberry and Prosecco Jam.

Jam making

Fruits with a high pectin level work best such as blackcurrants and redcurrants, cooking apples and damsons - Oooh and by the way, I think damsons make the most amazing tasting jam (just saying).

Fruits with medium pectin levels include raspberries, tayberries and apricots.  The lowest pectin levels are found in strawberries, cherries and rhubarb so therefore they are more difficult to set and of course jam isn't jam if it doesn't set.


Apart from the wonderful jam you'll have another good thing about this particular recipe is you only need what amounts to a small glass of Prosecco which leaves the question; what to do with the rest of the bottle?.......silly question; hic!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Thai Fish Cakes with Mango Salsa - Philips AirFryer

Week 3 of the 4 week #AirFryerTakeIn challenge given to me by Philips.  Using the AirFryer the plan is to swap a takeaway and get cooking using the AirFryer.

As the Philips AirFryer uses very little oil if any in many recipes (including these fish cakes) you can cut the calories without compromising on taste.

AirFryer recipe

I must say I think the AirFryer is a most marvelous invention. Yep I'm really loving this gadget as it can cook many things other low fat fryers can not cook and I'll be writing a detailed post on that soon.

So far in the #AirFryerTakeIn challenge I've cooked Ricotta and Basil Balls and Mini Chorizo Empanadas and both were totally delicious.


These Thai Fishcakes are just 57 calories per Fishcake with Mango Salsa and Philips say a takeaway version (on average) would be 70 calories.

So how does the AirFryer work?
By using very little oil and something called Rapid Air Technology.  Rapid Air technology makes the hot air circulate very rapidly around the ingredients in the basket.  This heats up the ingredients in the basket from all sides at once, making it a healthy, fast and easy method to prepare tasty food. Food prepared in the Airfryer is crispy on the outside and without being dry on the inside.

Now I'm just saying, from my personal experience I say the non-stick Philips Grill Pan that isn't supplied with the AirFryer is seriously worth buying as my fishcakes did stick to the bottom of the supplied wire basket but the grill pan is non-stick and works perfectly.  Of course it's also useful for cooking many other food items too.

AirFryer no oil

There was no oil used to make these fishcake - the recipe is in the book that is supplied with the Philips Viva Collection AirFryer along with a good selection of other recipes that include a chocolate cake.  Oh yes CAKE made in the AirFryer!! 

Check out this and more Philips products over the Philips website.

Disclosure - I was sent the Philips AirFryer to take part in the #AirFryerTakeIn challenge along with a gift card for ingredients. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not required to write anything positive. 

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Cadbury - Obey Your Mouth House

Chocolate Lovers - Check this out!
Cadbury recently opened the doors to the 'Obey Your Mouth House' to celebrate the new Cadbury singles range.  The Obey Your Mouth House is a brand new immersive experience, giving fans the chance to experience five exciting rooms, all relating to different Cadbury chocolate bars.

Obey Your Mouth House has already been to London Southbank, Wireless Festival, V Festival back in June.  But fear not; the good news is there's still time to pop into the house at the Glasgow Summer Sessions 27th-28th August.

After walking through a giant mouth, guests will explore and get to know five of the chocolate bars –Cadbury Crunchie, Cadbury Double Decker, Cadbury Twirl, Cadbury Wispa and Cadbury Boost with fun activities inside each.

Step into the wonderful world of Cadbury Wispa where you’ll be surrounded by millions of the tiniest bubbles, jump on the giant slide as you exit the Cadbury Boost room, and get that Friday feeling, whatever day is, in the loud Cadbury Crunchie room, which will include live DJ!

The Cadbury singles campaign Obey Your Mouth is encouraging fans to focus on the taste sensation in each individual chocolate bar.  So whether you are looking for something loud and crunchy or smooth that melts in your mouth, the Cadbury singles range has a treat available for everyone – and all the delicious Cadbury singles bar are also now under 250 calories*.

The Cadbury Obey Your Mouth House will be available to visit for lucky festival goers at Glasgow Summer Sessions.

To find out more visit www.facebook.com/CadburyUK 
Twitter @CadburyUK using #freethejoy.

* We are incredibly proud of the products we make, and all of our bars can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced diet. We have a responsibility to help address public health concerns and for that reason all of our Cadbury singles bars are now within the 250 calorie cap.

Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by Cadbury.

The Palomar Cookbook - Review

Much excitement as today sees the launch of The Palomar Cookbook!

The Palomar restaurant opened its doors in summer 2014 - situated opened in the heart of Theater land and Soho London.  Since then the restaurant has continued to go from strength to strength, offering amazing food from modern-day Jerusalem with dishes influenced by the rich cultures of Southern Spain, North Africa and the Levant.

For me this book is truly inspiring; the food looks amazing and there are over 100 recipes with stunning photography.  The recipes look quick and simple to create without any 'chefy' stuff and are perfect for the home cook.  I must say everything looks truly delicious, I really don't know which I should make first.  You can take a sneaky peak inside the book over at Amazon.

Recipes include Scallop Carpaccio with ‘Thai-bouleh’; Velvet tomatoes; Kubenia (Lebanese steak tartare); Pork belly with ras el hanout, dried fruits and Israeli couscous; Labneh kreplach tortellini and Cod chraymeh (North African fish stew).

Mezze dishes to share with sweet and savoury pastries, simple dishes for a quick fix and more complex dishes for a main meal.

I'm loving the look of this Fattoush Salad (page 110) bread-based salads are a great way to use up stale bread and mixing it with fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, cucumber, onion and sumac.

Photo supplied by Octopus Publishing - Photographer Helen Cathcart.   

The Palomar Cookbook is broken down into the following chapters:
What's in the Cupboard
The Meal Before the Meal 
Raw Beginnings 
The Main Act
The Pastry Room

So is it worth buying?
Well, it's a big fat YES from me!  
Great photography, printed on high quality paper, easy to make recipes, nothing too 'chefy' lots of veggie recipes.  No weird and wonderful ingredients either, everything can be easily bought in any good supermarket; for the odd thing you might have trouble finding The Palomar Cookbook has that covered as they show a recipe how to make it yourself which is I think is brilliant.

Available to buy from 25th AUGUST 2016
RRP is £25.00
Published by Octopus Books
Photography by Helen Cathcart

Twitter @Octopus_Books

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book for review purposes.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not required to write anything positive.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Rocktanium Frying Pan from Stellar Cookware

I do love a nice frying pan and I have a fair amount of what I call proper good ones, but I can honestly say I am totally impressed with this Rocktanium pan, new from Stellar Cookware.  It not only looks good but performs well too; by the way I'm loving the pebble dash look.

Quantanium is a new titanium-based formula and is free from PFOA and has the toughest non-stick coating I've ever come across.  It is harder and more durable than conventional non-stick, scratch-resistant and guaranteed for an impressive five years.  After testing this frying pan for a few weeks now I highly recommend it.

A good non-stick frying pan is essential; not only will it make cooking easier but it also ensures healthier cooking results since you only need to add  the tiniest amount of oil (if any) and cleaning is a doddle.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Mini Chorizo Empanadas - Philips AirFryer

Okay folks; this is week 2 of a 4 week challenge given to me by Philips which was to swap a weekly takeaway meal every week for a month and to join in the #AirFryerTakeIn
Last week I made Ricotta and Basil Balls which I have to say were really easy to make and oh so good to eat!

Next up I made Mini Chorizo Empanadas which the recipe says are AirFryer Take In calories of 153 per one large empanadas (except they are not large nor are are they meant to be) since they're called 'Mini' compared to a Takeaway of (on average) 245 calories.


The AirFryer works by using very little oil and something called Rapid Air Technology.  Rapid Air technology makes the hot air circulate very rapidly around the ingredients in the basket.  This heats up the ingredients in the basket from all sides at once, making it a healthy, fast and easy method to prepare tasty food. Food prepared in the Airfryer is crispy on the outside and without being dry on the inside.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Ricotta and Basil Balls - Philips AirFryer

Philips recently set me and a few other bloggers a challenge which is to swap a weekly takeaway meal every week for a month and to join in the #AirFryerTakeIn.  So the AirFryer arrived last week along with a fantastic selection of recipe cards for inspiration and Ricotta and Basil Balls just had to be made pretty much immediately - we do LOVE cheese!

Ricotta and Basil AirFryer

Now we all know that fried food tastes good but we also know it really isn't good for us!  But that's where the AirFryer comes to the rescue making fast, tasty fried food without using the traditional frying method of frying.  I think you'll agree these Ricotta and Basil balls look like they were fried but they wasn't.  The Philips AirFryer cuts the calories by using very little oil but give the appearance of fried food.