Monday, 15 December 2014

Donald Russell Delivery and an Interactive Turkey Guide

Donald Russell is well known for it's great quality meat, poultry and seafood but also their extensive range of other fantastic foods too.  In fact Donald Russell the butcher has a Royal Warrant to supply gourmet meat to Buckingham Palace.  Ordering from them is easy online or you can also order by phone, email or fax.

I was recently sent a Free Range Turkey Crown along with some Pigs in Blankets.  Turkeys from Donald Russell  are Free-Range turkeys, from the Loué farmers of France.  Slow-grown turkey fed on natural cereal-based diet.  The great thing with a turkey crown is there isn't any waste - if you're not keen on drumsticks (dark meat) then a turkey crown is the way to go.  A crown is also really easy to carve too.
I received a small turkey crown that says it will serve 4-5 people - well I'm sure it would, but there wouldn't have enough leftover for turkey sandwiches so I'd recommend ordering a larger one since turkey sandwiches are always a good thing especially on Boxing Day or for that matter for leftover Turkey Curry.

The pigs in blankets (chipolatas wrapped in streaky bacon) were the best we've ever tasted.  Fantastic quality too, meaty and in no way greasy.  All Donald Russell meat is sourced, where possible, from local suppliers or reputable farms across the UK by their experienced team of buyers.
You may well wonder why there isn't a picture of the cooked turkey - well I have to admit as soon as it arrived (frozen) I automatically put it straight into the freezer without thinking that I was supposed to have cooked it for this review.  I am sure it will be delicious once cooked on Christmas day.

Turkey size and Breed:
If you're not sure which size Turkey you need or can't decide between a whole bird or a crown to order pop over and take a look at Donald Russell's Interactive Turkey Guide.

Delivery and Packaging:
All items are professionally shock frozen and arrive very well packed in a polystyrene box with bubble wrap and packs of dry ice.

I was told my delivery would arrive on Friday and I received an email telling me how to track my parcel.  I was impressed as I discovered that my turkey would arrive between 1.15pm and 2.15pm and I could even request a to receive a text message when I was to be the drivers next stop - Marvelous!
However, by 4pm I discovered by looking couriers online  tracking service that my delivery was delayed and that it wouldn't arrive until Monday - well I know it's well packaged but the poor turkey and sausages wouldn't remain frozen that long - dry ice wouldn't save them that long.
Fantastic Service from Donald Russell Customer Service!
And so, I rang Donald Russell and couldn't fault the brilliant service I received.  There was genuine concern that my package hadn't arrived and the woman I spoke to said she would see what could be done about it still being delivered that day.  Less than 15 minutes later she rang back but said that unfortunately the delivery people (an outside company that Donald Russell use) were so behind with deliveries and that it would certainly be delivered the next day.

I was concerned that the turkey would have started to defrost but since the packaging was so good it arrived still frozen solid despite that by now the pack of dry ice had evaporated.  However, the pigs in blankets had de-frosted and although they were ice cold they of course couldn't be re-frozen.
No worries for me since I was going to cook the next day but had they have been for Christmas this wouldn't have been good.

Please note:
With all that said, of course none of this was any fault whatsoever of Donald Russell - the product was packaged very well and even had a big green note on the outside instructing the courier company  'Perishable Goods - DO NOT return to depot - MUST be delivered or ring this number'.

Disclaimer:  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Eating Out - Fine Dining in Dubai

A friend of mine recently went to live in Dubai and I have to say although the lifestyle looks very appealing and Dubai certainly looks like a really nice place (but because I have food at the forefront of my brain at all times) I was a bit/lot concerned that she perhaps wouldn't like the food there and would starve!  Okay I realise that’s a bit extreme and with that said, I’d never really looked into food and eating out in Dubai. 

Well how wrong was I?  The other day she was telling me about this place called Pier 7 - a signature building with seven different restaurants on each of its floors. Okay, now I’m interested, tell me more!

In a word, Pier 7 is all about fine dining and each floor apparently, offers an adventure in culinary art and a contrast in both tastes and presentation.  The building is as you can see, amazing to look at; its circular design provides stunning views of the city skyline and the Arabian Gulf via wraparound views from each of its seven floors.

Diners can choose to dine indoors, or indulge in a unique al- fresco dining experience with spectacular views of the Dubai Marina.  Oh my word, it sounds amazing!

Opening hours:
Pier 7 is open for lunch, brunch, dinner or after hours, Pier 7 is the place to see and be-seen every day of the week and offers 7 ways to dine:

Atelier M - the vision of Mohammad Islam, one of the culinary world's brightest and critically acclaimed talents who is back in the UAE after successful tenures in some of America's most celebrated restaurants such as the Mercer Kitchen and Chateau Marmont.

Asia Asia - Inspired by restaurateurs Dean and Geremy Lucas' renowned Spice Market in Melbourne.

Abd el Wahab - Taking its name from a street in Beirut and is now a hugely successful, upmarket chain of restaurants. 

The Scene by Simon Rimmer - A resturant, lounge and terrace that serves British Pub Classics. 

Cargo - For an exciting adventure with an Asian twist.  

O Cacti - Mixing Mexican flare for arts and culture.

Fumé - Where vintage is the new cool!

So, you can see this looks like an amazing place to visit!

Contact Pier 7: 
You can either email them or telephone them on;  00971 4 436 1020

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Review of Sip and Learn - Become a Wine Expert

It has to be said I'd never heard of Sip and Learn until just recently when they kindly sent me a box to try.  Every month they send customers 2 bottles of wine around a specific theme. Sip and Learn source wine from small producers which means it's great value for money. 

We think it's a fantastic idea and of course it would be a great gift idea for wine lovers.
The wine arrived very well packaged as you can see, and comes with an educational booklet.

Sip and Learn say:
We have created a comprehensive 12-month wine-tasting program that covers the basics.
During the first 6 months you will discover the 3 main elements that make a wine:
The grape variety, the climate and the wine-making process.

For the following 6 months, we will take you on a journey to not only deepen your understanding of these 3 elements but also to discover specific regions or grape varieties, as well as the influence of the terroir on wines whilst continuing to develop your library of smell and educate your palate.

Of course, there is so much to learn about wine, the journey doesn't end after 12 months!  We are developing a program to go into more depth on the complexity of wine as well as a program for experts.

We say:
We were sent Box #1 which included a Sauvignon blanc and a Chardonnay. 

We've always wanted to learn more about wine but whenever we've picked up a book about it we've switched off after the first page as they tend to get too complicated too quickly for our liking.  But we found the Sip and Learn booklet is actually fun to read! 
First there's a quiz to see what you know about the wines in the box.  Then you learn about the basics and how to taste wine.  Look, smell and taste and where the wine comes from.  Also the ideal serving temperature.  You learn about grape variety and what foods is the particular wine best served with.
The booklet isn't boring in anyway, we both found it actually very interesting.

So for £30 a month you get two nice bottles of wine and you get to learn about wine.  Considering you can pay good money to attend an evening class to learn about wine, I think Sip and Learn isn't a bad price considering you get to learn in the comfort of your own home and at a time to suit you.

Having had a good look at the Sip and Learn website it seems you can just try it by ordering just one box without needing to feel you have to subscribe straight away.  Or you can order a box or a subscription as a gift which would be fantastic for any wine lovers to if anyone's stuck for something to buy me and all that - just saying!

Many thanks to Sylvain and Marie-Anne for sending us a box to try.  To find out more pop over to Sip and Learn.
Please drink responsibly.

Disclaimer:  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, 12 December 2014

MyProtein Fresh Meat Delivery - Review


MyProtein is currently Europe's number one sports nutrition brand.  An online store with just about everything  for those into fitness and bodybuilding and covers both womans and mens fitness.
You'll find a huge range of Protein, Creatine, Amino Acids, Carbohydrates, Healthy Ingredients, Blends and Formulas, Tablets and Capsules, Bars, Drinks and even clothing and accessories.

Recently MyProtien have added Fresh Meat to their range and having been asked to review the delivery here's how it went.

Ordering is really easy, just browse the store and do the usual click and add to basket.  I noticed they have offer codes so be sure to look out for those - if you have one just add the code at the end of your shopping, you can go wrong it's really simple.

Please note delivery of fresh meat is different than that of other products on the site and I can only comment on fresh meat delivery since that's all I ordered.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Virtually Fat Free Minced Meat - VonShef Premium Meat Grinder Review

We all know how versatile minced beef is when it comes to cooking - burgers, bolognese, cottage pie, beef chilli to name a few.  Of course minced pork is also good and I don't know about you, but I always use half and half mixture of the two when making bolognese.  But I'm always concerned about actually what goes into minced beef no matter where you buy it from.
Standard minced beef in the UK is 20% fat but you really should read the label since you'll find it can also contain all sorts of bits and pieces I'd rather not talk about!

Lean minced beef - labeled 5% fat and there's also 10% 12% and even 15% available - complicated or what?  In fact it gets even more so, have a read of this article by the Daily Mail and you might well be convinced it's a good thing to get a meat grinder and mince your own meat products.
Now if you have a meat grinder you can of course mince your own choice of beef, pork, chicken or turkey using prime cuts and at least you know what went in it!

Port and Redcurrant Glazed Roasted Root Vegetables - SCANPAN Review

My Christmassy Roasted Root Vegetables glazed with Port and Redcurrant Jelly are, in a word, delicious. Perfect for Christmas dinner or of course the usual Sunday roast.  So very easy to do too, and as long as you have a good non-stick pan you can't go wrong.

Usually I'd recommend you use a disposable foil tray since the honey can be hard to clean from a regular non-stick roasting tin.  But having been sent this beautiful Scanpan I put it to the test - would it be easy to clean afterwards?  Answer is yep it was a doddle.
Scanpan not only looks good but performs really well both in the oven and on the hob too.

Scanpan products are made in Denmark and the Scanpan roasting pan has a non-stick ceramic titanium coating and is metal utensil and dishwasher safe.  This roasting pan is multi-purpose too since it has a base like a frying pan and it can also be used in the oven, under the grill and on the stove top.

Great Way to Buy British - Food Discovery Box Review

Let me introduce you to Food Discovery Box - a great way to buy British and discover new and rare foods from Britain's most exclusive producers.  Having recently been sent one of their boxes to try you can see it's like opening a treasure chest of new and exciting food products! Well they were all new to me anyway.   

I was instantly drawn to the Yorkshire Drizzle - Fig and Orange Balsamic Vinegar, having tried it I can say  stuff is GOOD!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Giveaway - Free-Range Christmas Turkey Box

How do you fancy having Christmas Dinner sorted - sounds good?  Then read on....
You may remember a short while ago I reviewed a Meat Box from Meat Porter which I found to be faultless and fantastic quality - I'm sure their Christmas Turkey Box will be equally as good.
Well the lovely people over at Meat Porter are supplying a Free-Range Turkey Box as a giveaway!

I also have a Discount Code so if you would like to place an order from Meat Porter readers can receive 20% off of any Christmas Box by entering the code MERRYCHRISTMAS

About the Prize:
There is one prize of a Turkey Box - worth £79.00 and contains the following:
1 x 4.5-5kg Free Range East Anglian Bronze Turkey with Giblets
1 x 1lb British Smoked Streaky Bacon
1 x 16 Classic British Premium Pork Chipolatas
1 x 500g Premium British Sausagemeat Stuffing
1 x 150g Free Range British Goose Fat
1 x Recipe book and cooking guidelines
Serves 7-8

All pork products are from  outdoor-bred, out-door reared, Free-Range, rare-breed pigs from Lakehaven farm in Devon.

Important Information Please Read BEFORE Entering:

There are a small handful of postcodes that Meat Porter can NOT deliver to:
Meat Porter delivers everywhere in Great Britain, with the exception of the postcodes below:
IV, KW, AB, PA40, Scottish Islands and Northern Ireland.

The winner can choose delivery on either Saturday 20th or Tuesday 23rd December ONLY - If you are the winner I will ask your preferred date.  These dates can NOT be changed so please be sure you can be home to receive the delivery if you are the lucky winner. 

How to Enter - Entries must be via the Rafflecopter widget:
Please be sure to read the important information above and the delivery terms. To see a short video on how easy it is to use Rafflecopter click here.
*Inappropriate comments will be deleted and entry/entries to the competition removed as will anyone that says they have left a blog post comment but really hasn't! 
For information on how to find the URL of your tweet click here - Entries that do not show the URL of the Tweet will be removed.
There is one main way to enter and several ways to get bonus entries, including bonus daily entries.
Competition end time is as shown on the Rafflecopter widget along with the terms and conditions.

Disclaimer:  I will also receive a Turkey Box from Meat Porter for running this giveaway. 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Fantastic Giveaway - Roast Dinner made easy with Judge Cookware

Like everything having the right tools will make any job easier and the Great British Roast Dinner is certainly made easier with the right equipment!
The lovely people at Judge Cookware are giving one lucky reader of this blog the chance to win this rather fancy Top Quality Roasting Tin and V Rack - AND a Yorkshire Pudding Tin.
Combined RRP of £88.00

This 35cm Roast Tin and V Rack is made from Heavy Carbon Steel with a Non-Stick coating has been designed to cook meat to perfection.  The tin provides even heat distribution, while the rack has been fashioned into a V to allow fat to drain away from the joint, giving you a crisper, healthier cut.  The excess oil can then be poured away, or used to make gravy.
Non-stick and dishwasher safe with a RRP of £72.00

Yorkshire Puds are always part of the Great British Roast Dinner and again having a good quality tin is vital if you're going make a good job of them. This Yorkshire Pudding Tin from Judge Cookware is just what's needed.  It has a 3 coat Non-Stick inside and out heavy duty steel with rolled edges and is dishwasher safe.  RRP of £16.00

Time for the giveaway!
First of all please note I am ending this in what 'should' be time for the winner to receive the prize before Christmas but this can not be guaranteed.

How to Enter - Entries must be via the Rafflecopter widget:
Please note the prize can only be sent to the UK only.  To see a short video on how easy it is to use Rafflecopter click here.
*Inappropriate comments will be deleted and entry/entries to the competition removed as will anyone that says they have left a blog post comment but really hasn't!  

For information on how to find the URL of your tweet click here - Entries that do not show the URL of the Tweet will be removed.
There is one main way to enter and several ways to get bonus entries, including bonus daily entries.
Competition end time is as shown on the Rafflecopter widget along with the terms and conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway