Sunday, 27 July 2014

Tuscan inspired Chicken Dish - Easy to Make Recipe

Just recently Filippo Berio launched their premium Gran Cru range of Extra Virgin Olive Oils and having been sent them to try, I couldn't wait to use them.  For this dish I used Gran Cru Toscano - a chicken dish which just seemed to happen, purely because I happened to have some lovely peppers and tomatoes in the fridge but also because I was feeling inspired by the wonderful oils I'd been sent. 
Nothing but good fresh ingredients, it's easy to make and ended up as something quite wonderful. 
Tuscany is somewhere I've always really fancied visiting - in fact Italy in general really interests me and the food always looks so, so good. 

   
  Just for the record, I'm not claiming this to be authentic Tuscan food, just Tuscan flavours and something I made up as I went along.

 About Filippo Berio:
 Filippo Berio, of Lucca, Tuscany, has been dedicated to Olive Oil since the 1800s and selects the very best and most distinctive regional Italian oils. Filippo Berio is therefore a true expert, with oils ranging from their standard Extra Virgin Olive Oil to this super premium Gran Cru range. 



The Gran Cru range is a selection of three regional Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oils. Each of the three Gran Cru oils - Dauno, Monti Iblei and Toscano have their own unique characteristics.

Filippo Berio Gran Cru Toscano:  Produced in Tuscany from Frantoio, Pendolino and Leccino olives, this delicate green Extra Virgin olive oil has a strong aroma and a well-balanced flavour; a ripe, sweet and fruity taste with a peppery finish. The mainstay of many traditional Tuscan recipes, it is excellent with fish, soups, vegetables and fresh salads.  Perfect for pasta, pulses and barbecued meat too.

Filippo Berio Gran Cru Monti Iblei:  Produced in the Monti Iblei area of Sicily and made using Tonda Iblea olives, this Extra Virgin olive oil has an intense aroma, reminiscent of tomato leaves. It has a full-bodied, intense flavour and is excellent with salads, fish and shellfish.  Perfect with white meat and boiled or grilled vegetables, it is also spectacular on fresh Pecorino and salted Ricotta.    

Filippo Berio Gran Cru Dauno:  Produced in Puglia, in the heel of Italy, and made exclusively from Ogliarola and Coratina olives, this golden green coloured Extra Virgin olive oil is tangy, aromatic and intense. It is best suited to enhancing strong flavours such as game, bitter herbs, artichokes and turnips. It also goes well with vegetable soups and barbecued meat and fish.

OXO Good Grips Clean Cut Pizza Wheel - Review

New from OXO Good Grips is this rather ingenious pizza wheel. The Clean Cut Pizza Wheel is comfortable to hold and easy to use and the large (approx 4 inch) stainless steel wheel cuts though pizza thin or thick crust effortlessly.  As the Good Grips name suggests it really does give non-slip grip.


The blade guard makes it safe to store since it doesn't fall off easily which is a good thing but it pulls off quite easily when you're ready to the pizza wheel.  I love the slim-line design which makes it suitable to store in a kitchen drawer.  So it was out with my old and rather bulky pizza wheel and into my kitchen drawer with this one!
 

Cleaning:
It opens a bit like a CD case allowing the blade to be completely removed for easy cleaning and is dishwasher safe too.


Yep, I say this is yet another excellent product from OXO Good Grips and with a RRP at £10 - I say it's well worth investing in one.

You can see many more of my reviews on OXO products by clicking here.

Many thanks to Zara and OXO Good Grips for sending me this product to review.
Disclaimer:  All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.  I only post reviews on products I truly like and therefore would but myself. 

  

Friday, 25 July 2014

Hot Steak Ciabatta Sandwich with Mustard Mayo

Cooked correctly a good steak is something truly special.  Easy, simple no fuss cooking is all that's needed.  Oh yes this is thing of deliciousness.  But of course a good piece of steak and mine came from Meat Porter.  


Apologies to any vegetarians out there.  Personally I'm a fan of rump steak over sirloin - why?  Because it seems to have more flavour than sirloin.  A decent amount of fat around the edge is vital for cooking in a grill pan since it adds flavour and keeps the steak moist and tender.  Rump steak also happens to be cheaper than sirloin too!
Medium rare is the way to go, although being awkward I like my steak to be more rare than medium, if that makes sense - I know what I mean anyway!

Giveaway - Set of ZING Silicone Kitchen Tools

How do you fancy winning a this lovely set of kitchen tools?  Well one lucky reader will do just that in this easy to enter giveaway.  ZING silicone kitchen tools from Premier Housewares are already available in seven ZING colours but now they've added new Sunshine Yellow making a total of eight fabulous colours to choose from. Spatulas, spoons, whisks, colanders and sieves all feature as well as trivets, spoon rests, kitchen scales and rolling pins!


Made from silicone, the range is durable and heat resistant to 240 ᵒc so it not only looks good and performs better for longer.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Banana Caramel and Chocolate Dessert Pizza

The Italian Restaurant Zizzi recently set me a challenge to create a dessert pizza or any savoury dish that could be turned sweet.  I first came up with a possible of a Cinnamon and Caramelised Apple Lasagne but sadly although it tasted okay it wasn't somehow quite right and certainly didn't work photography wise.
I'm not one to give up easily and although I had to let it go this time, I'll work on it!


 If you'd like have a go at making my easy to make Banana, Caramel and Chocolate Pizza you can find the recipe here.

After an amazing meal at Zizzi and feeling inspired by the new addition to their new dessert menu - 'Strawberry and Chocolate Pizza' I took on Zizzi's challenge and made my own dessert pizza.  Banana and Caramel Drizzled with Dark Chocolate.  I was really pleased with the result especially because I very rarely make dessert and never know where to begin.  I must say that trying their new dessert really did inspire me to get thinking and have a go.  Hopefully after reading this post then you also might want to have a go yourself.

Here are a few snapshots of our visit to a Zizzi restaurant and more about their 
Strawberry and Chocolate Pizza: 
While we were in the restaurant, part of the challenge was to Tweet/ Instagram using #SweetPizza - it was so funny. We'd purposely gone to the restaurant earlier in the evening than we'd usually go since people would be wondering what an earth we were doing!

Please excuse my poor photographs as you will appreciate I couldn't take my proper camera and as you would expect restaurants just aren't set up with the correct lighting for food photography.

Since we were sitting directly in front of the chef I just had to ask if I could take his picture - it's okay he knew it would end up in this blog post and thought it was cool!


Our starter dishes arrived, we ordered different dishes so we could share and we absolutely loved this one - Fonduta Formaggi a pot of melted cheese, gorgonzola, gruyère and pecorino with baked dough sticks and focaccia bread for dipping.

To the side of the picture you can just see part of the other dish we had ordered, Arancini - Risotto balls with mozzarella, peas and a breadcrumb coating. There are three risotto balls and they're served with a chunky tomato peperonata dip. Warning - they are very moreish!
 

Now for the main course - Oh my word just look at the size the pizza Paul chose!
The Rustica Sofia pizza had lots of lovely spicy chicken, pepperoni, spicy sausage and mozzarella along with chilli and rosemary.  Yep he managed to eat the whole thing!  I was allowed a tiny bit to try it and we both really liked it.


 Here I am not quite knowing where to begin as the Spiedini Pollo (Roast chicken breast with red onions, courgettes and peppers) was as you can see, also huge.  It came with a side of Tuscan potatoes with a white wine and lemon sauce.  It was too nice and it had to be eaten!  The chicken was lovely and tender and the potatoes and sauce were a treat to eat.  But I was getting concerned by now, as we'd already eaten loads and still had to try the Strawberry and Chocolate pizza!


Now I must tell you about this dessert Pizza - Melting Marshmallows and Fresh Strawberries drizzled with Warm Chocolate and Hazelnut sauce - what's not to like?


Yes this is something that has to be ordered.  I must admit even though I'm not a fan of sweet things, this pizza wasn't too sweet at all and the base thin, crispy and light.  The strawberries work really well and take away the much of the sweetness so it isn't overly so and we both thought it was just perfect.

My one recommendation is that after eating a huge meal at Zizzi you seriously only need one of these pizzas to share between two people.  But us greedy pair just had to order the Chocolate and Banana Calzone as well as the pizza which you just see in the background of my picture.  Yes that was also seriously good although it was of course a lot sweeter than the Strawberry and Chocolate pizza which I personally preferred.  Paul however, is a huge fan of both desserts!

  Make sure you try out the ultimate sweet treat from Zizzi this summer.  You can find your local restaurant here.  If you're feeling inspired to turn more savoury things sweet, share your creations with #SweetPizza


  If you'd like more information on Zizzi pop over and visit them here.  

Disclaimer:  Many thanks to Zizzi in Shrewsbury and the fantastic meal and service from their staff.  I was set a challenge by Zizzi to create my own sweet pizza.  We were guests at Zizzi restaurant and I have been compensated for my time and the ingredients used.   All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Caramelita Ice Cream Sundae with Caramel and Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Along with a few other food bloggers, Mövenpick recently set me a challenge which was to create an Ice Cream Sundae using Mövenpick ice cream and I could add any additional non-ice cream ingredients I fancied.  But I had another challenge of my own, which was to try to take photographs before it melted!


That said, this Sundae made with Mövenpick Caramelita ice cream makes for perfect eating with the lovely hot weather we're currently enjoying here in the UK.

 Mövenpick Ice Cream is a luxury Swiss ice cream that doesn't contain any artificial additives or colours and tastes truly delicious.  It can be purchased at Ocado and besides Caramelita it is available in many other flavours.



Saturday, 19 July 2014

Meat Box Delivery from Meat Porter - Review

There's nothing quite like a good sized English Breakfast to keep you full pretty much all day long.
Of course good quality ingredients are essential.  Proper bacon (smoked back bacon is the only way to go in my opinion) and nicely seasoned meaty sausages  - both have to be just right.
Okay that's the meat sorted so now for the mushrooms, I love these baby portobello mushrooms.  A nice big tomato is essential, baked beans are good too and any leftover cooked potatoes are perfect - just fry them till they start to brown along with the rest of the breakfast.  Another essential is a lovely golden yolked fried egg or two.  Pop some fresh crusty buttered bread on the side of the plate and you're done.
Having recently been sent a rather nice box of meat from Meat Porter, a full English breakfast just had to happen.


Meat Porter is an online artisan butcher, sourcing and delivering high quality fresh meat to your door. We source from the same producers as top London restaurants, guaranteeing you that gourmet experience every time you dine.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Cherry and Chocolate Meringue Dessert

How can anyone resist a bowl of lovely cherries?  This simple dessert can be made in a flash - Meringue nests and whipped cream topped with fresh cherries and drizzled with melted chocolate.  


Did you know that tomorrow July 16th is National Cherry Day?  Cherries are so nice to eat but the pesty stone inside does make them a bit messy.  However, the new Cherry/Olive Pitter from OXO Good-Grips makes it a doddle to remove cherry stones without mess, making them so much nicer to eat and ready form some sort of dessert or make a sauce.

Here are a couple of pictures I've taken showing the Cherry Pitter in action:

Remove the stem from a cherry and pop it into the holder - stem side up.  Press down to remove the stone.  
 

The OXO Good-Grips Cherry Pitter also works on large cherries too.  Once you've finished just remove the splatter shield by twisting to clean.  Dishwasher safe but it really isn't necessary, hot sudsy water will do the trick. 

Why Cherries are Good for You - text from The Guardian Online.
Anthocyanins in cherries appear to have a marked anti-inflammatory action. Specifically, these compounds seem to be highly effective in treating gout, a condition that causes painful swelling in joints. Last year, a Boston Medical Center study reported that eating cherries reduces gout attacks by 35%. Cherries are also one of the few food sources of the hormone melatonin, which regulates sleep patterns. A study published in 2011 in the European Journal of Nutrition, reported that eating tart montmorency (or morello) cherries significantly raised levels of melatonin and improved sleep. Compared to most other fruits, cherries are low in sugar, which makes them an ideal choice for people who want to lose weight.

 To find out more about the Cherry/Olive Pitter and their other great products pop over to the

Celebrate National Cherry day and have a go at this dessert!
 

 Ps:  All the while I was typing this post I kept typing the word 'cheery' instead of cherry - but if they help you get a good nights sleep then that in turn will make you cheery!

 Many thanks to Zara and OXO Good-Grips for sending me this product to review.
Disclaimer: All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Fro-Fru Frozen Fruit Dessert Maker - Review

Frozen Fruit (Fro-Fru)
This refreshing pineapple sorbet was made in less than a minute (after freezing the fruit beforehand) thanks to this great little gadget 'Fro-Fru' from Judge Cookware.  
Of course you can use whatever fruit takes your fancy, bananas, strawberries, blackberries, peaches, raspberries - the list is endless.  Dairy products - milk, cream and yogurt can be used to conjure up a delicious dessert in no time at all.  Kids and adults alike will love this little machine! 


 Here's a few proper pictures of the Fro-Fru from Judge Cookware:




Sunday, 6 July 2014

Butternut Squash Chickpea and Spinach Curry

Looking at the ingredients list at first glance this may seem like a bit too much faffing about for your liking, but let me tell you the result is so worth it.
Panch Phoran is a bland of a few simple spices and doesn't require grinding - the spices are kept whole so it can be made very easily in just one minute.  Fantastic to keep in the store cupboard and will make a huge difference to any Indian style curry you make. You can see in a previous post of mine just how easy it is to make Panch Phoran - also known as Indian Five-spice.


The butternut adds lovely vibrant colour and a slightly sweet taste to this richly spiced curry.  Be assured that the word 'spiced' does not actually mean this is extra hot (as in spicy) this is just a lovely warming delicious and very tasty curry.  That said if you do want it hotter just add more chilli.

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