Strong Roots Frozen Food Products - Review

New to the market from Strong Roots are these lovelies and in case you haven't discovered them yet I'll tell you a bit about them. The full range includes: Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries, Kale & Quinoa Burgers, Garlic Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes and these amazing Ripened Frozen Avocado Halves which I got particularly excited about - why because I've fancied making guacamole but had every ingredient except avocado.

A Range of Frozen Products from Strong Roots

These Peruvian Avocado Halves (RRP £5.29) are perfectly ripened, pitted and freshly frozen.  With with a bag or two of these in the freezer it means smoothies and guacamole can be made at anytime along with anything else that requires avocado.

The Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries (RRP £2.99) are coated in a gluten-free rice flour which gives them a firm and crispy texture.  I say these are the best frozen sweet potato fries ever; oh yes, definitely sweet potato heaven!

Kale & Quinoa Burgers (RRP £2.99) are low in sugar and low saturated fat.  They have a crispy crunchy quinoa crust and contain nutritious mixed vegetables.  You could even serve them as a veggie burger between a bun and yes, they are big enough. I have to admit I didn't think I'd be over keen on these, but I was wrong! I imagined they would taste bland but they really are very tasty and nicely seasoned; can't fault them at all.

The Garlic Roasted Sweet Potato Cubes (RRP £3.99) are a mix of sweet potato, garlic, onions with some added herbs. Lovely and crisp and I say perfectly seasoned; yep we love these.

Official Cobnut Season is Here

Cobnuts are my favourite kind of nut!  When I was a kid we used to go and stay at a farm in Wales and pick cobnuts; that's not all we did, I'm just saying.  My dear dad who's sadly no longer with us, absolutely loved cobnuts so I when I see them I think of him and he'd have loved this little lot that were kindly sent to me from Potash Farm in Kent.

It might be just me but I hardly ever see cobnuts in shops other than in Waitrose last year; hopefully they will have them again this year. Actually official cobnut season starts on August 22nd, St Philibert’s Day and the arrival of the August Bank Holiday normally signals the beginning of the cobnut-picking season but many crops are already ripe this month!

Kentish Cobnuts

Native to Kent, cobnuts, a cultivated hazelnut, were favoured by the Victorians who enjoyed them as an after dinner accompaniment to vintage port. They have been grown around St Marys Platt in Kent, since the early 1800s where Potash Farm is situated, and by the turn of the century an estimated 7000 acres had been planted in orchards known locally as plats.

Potash Farm attends regular shows throughout the year such as RHS Taste Of Autumn held at Wisley, 16 Farmers Markets on a monthly basis where pot-grown cobnut, almond, sweet chestnut and walnut trees can be bought or ordered, as well as the other Potash Farm products.  You can read more about
Potash Farm over at kentishcobnuts.com.

Smart Bacon Express - Review

Bacon!  We LOVE bacon in this house, as long as it's smoked and crispy any bacon is good. For the life of me I can't understand anyone not liking bacon done all nice and crispy.  Anyway, let me introduce you to the Smart Bacon Express - a little machine that cooks bacon to perfection.  Not only that but it's a healthier way to cook bacon too.

 
Before I go on though, let me show you the lovely crispy bacon this produced - Check this out!


Nice ah?  Of course if you really don't like your bacon done so much you simply turn the dial down.

Breakfast in a Jar - Overnight Oats with Berries

As we all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day but so many people skip it because they say they don't have time. Totally understandable in this day and age (been there done that) but I can not function without breakfast.  Always hungry am I so actually I can't function without lunch, or dinner either for that matter.

Anyway, back to breakfast and I say breakfast in a jar is the way to go and is far better for you than a piece of toast. You could even eat it straight from the jar whilst on the train to work 😋 but if you drive to work, this is never going to be a good idea so please don't attempt it!

Breakfast in a Jar

Transform your breakfasts and make them not only wholesome and filling but healthy too.

Rolled Oats - Porridge Oats, what's the difference?
Porridge oats, usually, are not just flattened, but also ground so they are broken up into smaller pieces. The whole oat is still there, but the result is more powdery.  Rolled oats are good  for making a chewier and larger-textured porridge, and take slightly longer to cook. Oh yes, full of knowledge me.

So for this reason I say rolled oats such as Scott's or Quaker work better simply because after soaking they don't end up mushy. But with that said if you prefer mushy then go for porridge oats.  Just for goodness sake don't use Ready Brek or you'll end up with a jar of glue.
  • Fill a 500ml jar to just below half way.  Now add milk until the oats are covered plus a tiny bit more. You can of course use soy milk, almond milk or whatever it is you fancy.
  • Add a squeeze of of runny honey and throw in some berries such as raspberries and blueberries.
  • If you don't like honey, try adding cinnamon to sweeten.  You can also add a dollop of yogurt and a few nuts if nuts are your thing.
  • Put the lid on and pop the jar into the fridge.

Overnight Oats with Berries

If you really don't have time to eat it now you can eat it as soon as you get to work.

Top Tips!
You can make ahead a couple of jars at the same time, so tomorrow and the next days breakfast are sorted. But with that said this really does take two minutes so I'd say do it the night before for the next morning.

Prepare and leave in the jar for at least an hour but overnight for best results.  But actually you can eat rolled oats straight away as you don't have to cook them. In a list of questions and answers Quaker say 'Yes, you can eat rolled oats without cooking them as during the milling process they are cleaned and heat treated'.

If you don't like the idea of cold oats just pop the jar into a microwave (without the lid if it's metal of course) for a minute or so, remember they are already soaked so they just need warming.

You can add frozen berries if that makes life easier for you; whatever works for you, do it.

You can use any jar really as long as it's thoroughly washed and squeaky clean; but I like to be all fancy so I use Kilner or Mason  jars.

Coffee Caramel and Hazelnut Poke Cake

Poke cake is so called because once it's baked you simply poke holes in it!  Then you pour a delicious runny topping into the holes; and when the cake is fully finished you can't see the holes as they are covered with more topping.  Then when you cut it, everyone gets to see the scrummy gooey filling in every slice.    

Coffee Caramel and Hazelnut Poke Cake

See what I mean - sticky, gooey caramel oozing from the cake and of course the more holes you make the more filling there will be; but with that said don't go too mad or the cake might fall apart!

Inside a Coffee Caramel and Hazelnut Poke Cake

Just recently the lovely people over at Spiller and Tait sent me some of their freshly roasted coffee to try.  When the delivery guy arrived at the door you could really smell the lovely aroma of coffee; he even said, no guessing what's in this parcel!

On opening the lovely smelling parcel I was amazed to see on the packets the day of roasting (might be just me but I've never seen this before), anyway this coffee was fresh, it was roasted no more than 7 days ago. The secret to good coffee is it should be fresh and apparently Spiller and Tait only roast weekly in small batches so every packet you buy from their website arrives to you with full flavour and aroma.

Beef Chilli with Dark Beer and Chocolate

As everyone knows there are a trillion billion 'Best Beef Chilli' recipes out there and many include the addition of chocolate.  Chocolate goes so well in any good beef chilli recipe, but until now I'd never added beer. Well let me tell you this was good stuff and I'll be making it again!

I know there's a long list of ingredients but half of them are just spices; I say this is the perfect make ahead recipe too which means it's a great meal to cook for friends. Whether you serve it with rice or potato wedges and a side salad, or even tortilla chips it's bound to be a hit.

Beef chilli made with beer

Purity Brewery are based in Warwickshire and very kindly sent me some of their Saddle Black beer. I was asked to make a recipe using it along with a few more cans to drink which made the husband pleased as it meant he dinner and beer!

Expedia have come up with this lovely 'Beer Map' of the UK and Ireland's Best Regional Breweries;
Take a look to see which breweries are nearest to you.

All the beers and ales shown on the map are not only great to drink but also to cook with too.  After reading about Purity Saddle Black I discovered that the roasted malts used to craft it give it a taste of chocolate is how my Beef Chilli with Dark Beer and Chocolate recipe came to mind. So yes, beer is not only good for drinking but for with cooking too!

Warm Potato Salad with Spinach Asparagus Tomatoes and Gremolata Dressing

We love potatoes in our house, especially new potatoes. I say new potatoes are just the best thing ever since you don’t even have to peel them!

Now that the baby potato season is now in full swing I was pleased to be asked to try 'Taste the Difference' British Gems Baby New Potatoes which are available right now until the end of August from @Sainsburys - give them a go, we're now hooked on them. Grown by British growers and freshly dug every day before being washed and packed and making their way to Sainsbury’s stores within 48 hours. They have a lovely buttery flavour and are perfect simply boiled and served with a nice salad.


Just recently we've also been trying to eat more spinach and so for my recipe I just had to include it in my warm salad with a gremolata dressing; extra vitamins and all that healthy stuff!

Cheese Tomato and Spinach Stuffed Peppers

Spinach is good for you; yes I know that, we all know that but do we eat enough of the green stuff? I can't say I'm a massive fan but recently I've taken to adding it into things like cottage pie and mashed potato or in a pasta sauce.  So now spinach is my thing!

We eat more peppers in this house than you can shake a stick at!  So with Roasted Stuffed Peppers already on my mind for dinner, I had a thought and decided to tuck spinach in among the tomatoes and the not so good for us cheese.  But the spinach will counteract all the fattening cheese right?

Cheese Tomato and Spinach Stuffed Peppers

I served these with pan fried chicken which I'd coated with smoked paprika for a lovely colour and slightly smoky taste.

Spinach is available all year round but is in season during the spring (March - June) and as I say it's well known for its nutritional qualities and has always been regarded as a plant with amazing abilities to give us energy, increase vitality and even improves the quality of the blood.

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Strong Roots Frozen Food Products - Review

New to the market from Strong Roots are these lovelies and in case you haven't discovered them yet I'll tell you a bit about them. T...

A GLUG OF OIL