Sunday, 27 May 2012

Stowells Light Wine - Low Calories and Low Alcohol

Stowells Light is not only low in calories it really is a lovely refreshing drink.  Serve chilled and it's perfect for this lovely hot weather we've been having lately!
 I was very kindly sent a bottle to try and the only problem I have is it's perhaps a little bit too nice!  Lovely crisp flavour and it is what is says on the label - refreshing and fruity.  
Made from Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc grapes it's also perfect to enjoy on it’s own.  Stowells Light is also available in a Shiraz Rose too. 
There's also an added benefit:
A glass contains less calories and alcohol than your usual glass of wine!  At 60 calories per glass, that’s 30 per cent less than a standard glass of wine.  
As it's also low in alcohol, a 125ml serving is less than one unit of alcohol too.
To find out more pop over to the Stowells website.  
Thank you to Inderdeep for sending me a bottle to try.

Carte Noire Coffee Tasting Experience

Enjoy the best Coffee Tasting Experience within the comfort of your own living room!
New research released today from Carte Noire Instinct shows Brits just how to enjoy the perfect cup of coffee.  And it's not in a trendy coffee shop as you might expect, but at home!
   The research, commissioned to mark the launch of Carte Noire’s new Wholebean Instant coffee, Carte Noire Instinct, and conducted by
MMR Research Worldwide.  They found that a relaxing break is the key to the perfect cup of coffee and the best place to enjoy it is at home.
Also forget the fancy croissants, flapjacks and finger cakes of today’s coffee shops, a good old fashioned Victoria Sponge is what really sets off a cup of coffee!
The research was carried out by sensory experts MMR and researcher James Gater says, “Because coffee has such a full flavour, the best accompaniment is something simple and light like a Victoria sponge, rather than cakes with a very rich taste or heavy texture.  The smooth mouth-feel of coffee, is best complemented by furnishings made of quality leather that have a silky feeling against the body, as opposed to something that is rough like wooden chairs or cold like marble tables.

In terms of sound, the seductive sound of saxophone jazz best enhances the intense aromas of coffee. Ultimately the research found that people consider the coffee moment as a relaxing daily ritual, so an uncomplicated but sophisticated porcelain mug is the perfect way to serve coffee, as opposed to the traditional cup and saucer.”

Taste expert Tristan Stephenson says, “The way the brain untangles and identifies flavour is a complicated thing and many more factors come into play than just our taste buds. Different environments, with different sounds, smells and temperatures all affect the way we perceive the flavour of the liquids we drink and the foods we eat.  Coffee has a bold taste and a strong smell, so the multi-sensory elements of flavour - such as colour, sound, smell and texture - are all vital to our enjoyment and appreciation of the product.”

Carte Noire Instinct will bring to life the research findings in an exclusive London event.  The Silk Rooms will be the world’s first optimised Wholebean Instant coffee tasting experience and will take guests on a multi-sensory journey, which will culminate in the ultimate coffee moment.
 To find out more about the event, the research, or new Carte Noire Instinct, please visit CarteNoireUK on FaceBook

About Carte Noire:
Carte Noire is a premium French coffee made from 100% Arabica beans.
Carte Noire Instinct is available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA and Morrison’s, as a 100g tin (RRP £4.99) and an 80g refill pack (RRP £3.49).
You can see my review on Carte Noire Instinct here.
Thank you to Alex for sending us some to try.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Saucy Fish.Co - Salmon with Red Pesto Style Dressing Review

Loving the sound of Red Pesto Style Dressing on Salmon, but did it live up to my expectations?  Oh yes it did - this was yummy indeed!
 The foil bake bag means you don't have to touch the fish, doesn't fuss me in the slightest, but I know a lot of people are put off fish for that reason.
 Seriously good for anyone that either doesn't like cooking or simply doesn't have time.
Just preheat your oven 170C for a fan oven.  Remove from the outer cardboard packaging and pop the sealed foil bag onto a baking tray and into the oven:
 Just 18 minutes later, remove the fish form the parcel and serve:
When it was cooking the house didn't smell of fish as it can when baking salmon in the traditional fashion.

All in all, there was just the right amount of saucy dressing too which tasted lovely.  Made from basil, SunBlush tomatoes, oregano, garlic and lemon and olive oil etc this really is the way to go if you want a really nice, tasty meal in a hurry.  Priced at just £4 it's a great price too - the rest of the Saucy Fish range is available in all large Tesco's.
I served ours with new potatoes and a side salad. 
  Nutrition for the Salmon with Red Pesto are as follows:
100g contains energy 951kj, 229kcal. protein 17.5g, carbohydrates 0.9g fat 17.2g 

The Saucy Fish.Co has Saucy now has 22 different fishy things in their range which includes fresh fish with sauces, foil bake bag fish dishes, saucy-center fishcakes and fresh standalone sauces.  

Seasoned Tuna steaks with Sweet Soy & Chilli Dressing is another foil bake bag dish that I'm having trouble getting hold of at the moment as our Tesco keeps selling out!
 Thank you to James and Alexandra for sending me vouchers to try this.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Baked Eggs with Leftover Chilli and Tortilla Wraps

Ever made too much Chilli con Carne and then wondered what to do with the rest?  I always make too much and have come up with all manner of things to do with it!  
 You can stretch it out further by adding a few other tasty bits and bobs, such as tomato, spring onion, jalapeno peppers and cheese - you must have cheese!  This particular concoction of mine even uses up the odd tortilla wrap you might have floating about somewhere too!
Please note the serving dish you use must be able to go into the oven.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Sponsored Video - Cube pop-up Restaurant in London

Wow, how exciting is this?  The Cube by Electrolux is coming to London! 
8 Michelin Stars between 6 Chefs and for just 4 Months only The Cube will offer a completely unique dining experience.

Imagine what looks like a piece of modern art on top of the Royal Festival Hall.  The Cube seats 18 guests around one big, long, modern looking white table.

 Overlooking the Thames and the London skyline including of course, Big Ben. 
From their table the guests will be able to watch their meal being prepared in the open plan kitchen equipped with top state-of-the-art Electrolux domestic appliances.  As part of the dining experience the chefs will offer tips on how to create restaurant quality food when entertaining at home.

Michelin starred chefs, from around the British Isles include Tom Kitchin from the restaurant The Kitchen in Scotland, Sat Bains from Restaurant Sat Bains in Nottingham.  Daniel Clifford from Midsummer House restaurant in Cambridge.
Opening on 1st June until 30th September this is brilliant news for anyone that simply loves good top notch food showing off everything London has to offer. 
Along with a fantastic atmosphere and tying in nicely with the London Olympics I can only imagine the Cube will be fully booked in no time at all.
Bookings are being taken now by calling 0207 288 6450 so I’d waste no time securing a unique dining experience at the Cube.

This post has been sponsored by Electrolux but all thoughts are my own.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Sausages a Book and a Quiz!

Wow!  I didn't realise until now that there were quite so many different sausages in the world.  This amazing book shows more sausages along with descriptions than you can shake a stick at!
 If you're wanting to know how to make your own sausages including Chorizo, this book shows you how.
What's more there are even some yummy looking recipes too!
 Cumberland sausages with roasted root vegetables - picture taken from the book:
 If you think you know all there is to know about Sausages then why not have a go at the 'Silly Sausage Quiz' over at the DK website.
However, you might want to brush up on all things sausage first in which case you can buy the book - available from Dorling Kindersley.
  Written by Nichola Fletcher and Published by DK Publishing.
Thank you to Freddie for sending me the book. 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Crispy Parmesan Crumbed Chicken Caesar Salad

Classic Chicken Caesar salad is yummy, but I wanted something a bit different.  So with that in mind I coated the chicken in a crispy Parmesan crumb and that did it, it became something truly wonderful indeed.
 You can read my previous post on how to make the Perfect Salad Dressing.

 Now, I know that to most (myself included) anchovies aren't the nicest thing in the world to eat.  But of course you can't make Caesar dressing without them and as they're so finely chopped up you wouldn't notice them apart from they are vital to the taste of a Caesar dressing so you can not leave them out! 

Thursday, 17 May 2012

How to Make The Perfect Salad Dressing

The Perfect way to Dress a Salad with 'Perfect Dressing' made by Trudeau.
There are three recipes printed on the side of the glass enabling you to create the perfect dressing easily and in just a couple of minutes.
 Just add the ingredients, shake and serve.
Easy to pour drop-free spout which closes to keep the dressing fresh.
The glass can of course go into the dishwasher or simply be washed by hand in hot soapy water, rinsed and dried.
 Add all the ingredients then snap the lid tightly shut.....
Give it all a good shake to mix and you have the perfect dressing every time.
 All in all this really is the way to go with salad dressings, it's stylish, easy to use, washes up nicely and there's no more guessing amounts as you just following the recipe on the side of the jar so you don't even have to hunt out a recipe! 

The Caesar salad dressing went perfectly with my Parmesan Crispy Coated Chicken.
For more information and to buy pop over to Top Gourmet
Thank you to Pam for sending me this to review.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Milk Matters!

Milk Matters
Nearly everybody has some milk in their fridge and it’s so common that it’s one of those most overlooked everyday essentials.  It’s a surprisingly versatile food, considering we think of it as a simply a drink.  It’s also a really important part of a healthy diet for kids, and doesn’t do us adults any harm either!  There’s a whole world of recipes that use milk and its one staple that features in nearly every cuisine across every continent.  In the UK today various rules and regulations affect the sort of milk that we can buy and how milk is produced. 
Milk Sources
In Britain there have traditionally been two main sources for milk; cattle and goats, although goat’s milk has only recently become more widespread in its availability and popularity.  Ewe’s milk and cheeses produced from it are also now available from delis and specialist suppliers.  Goat and Ewe’s milk tend to be characterised by their stronger flavour and are not to everybody’s taste, although cheeses made from these milks are growing in popularity.  The nutrition found in milk can vary for a number of reasons – these include the health or type of animal along with its diet. 
Green, Blue or Gold?
•    Whole Milk is more or less what it says on the carton.  Identified by a blue top (silver if you buy in glass bottles), whole milk does not have any of the fat content removed during the production process.  For children under two years old health professionals emphasise the importance of whole milk, but due to its higher fat content it is less popular today with adults.  
•    Skimmed or semi-skimmed milk is available in green top cartons (silver and red, in bottles).  These have the fat content reduced, but retain the important vitamins and minerals.  Generally this is the most popular type of milk bought for everyday use. 
•    Gold top milk is well known for its creaminess; Jersey and Guernsey cattle breeds produce this particularly creamy variety and although not part of an everyday diet, it’s a real treat on occasion and is still a popular variety. 
•    The majority of commercially available milk is pasteurised and homogenised.  The pasteurisation process involves heating the milk gently to remove bacteria and also lengthen the shelf life of the end product.  Homogenisation simply stops the cream separating from the milk.  The condensed or evaporated variety of milk simply undergoes further treatment to remove more water from the milk than in the standard production process. 
•    Raw milk is also becoming increasingly available, although normally only in specialist shops or suppliers.  This milk is untreated in any way and both health and government bodies vary in their advice as to whether it is ‘safe’.  It is not recommended for young children or pregnant women, and you should carefully consider the implications of drinking un-treated milk.

Staying Power   
Today dairy products are largely sourced from supermarkets or delis although the traditional doorstep delivery is not unheard of.  Despite competition this very traditional British sight remains part of the suburban street scene.  In order to protect their business some dairies have diversified into a wider range of products which means that doorstep delivery may be not so much a thing of the past as we might have thought!  Milk is a very basic, healthy food source that has withstood the test of time and is one of the few basic food items that has not at some stage been banned from our diets by scientific discoveries and health advisors.

One of the most basic and every day essential items our relationship with milk and the ways in which it is produced have changed over the years, however, dairy products and milk are one of the few parts of our diet that haven’t received negative scrutiny from scientists or health experts; providing the building blocks for healthy bones and teeth, packed with vitamins and minerals, milk is likely to remain one of our basic staple food sources.  

Author Bio
Charlotte Rivington blogs about food, recipes and eating out, covering everything from fine dining to recipes using organic milk.  When she’s not online Charlotte enjoys swimming, cycling and discovering new places to eat.
This is a sponsored post.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Spicy Crispy Crumb Chicken with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

Chicken fillets with a spicy, slightly herby crispy crumb coating served with a blue cheese dipping sauce.  
   If that isn't enough add a couple of jacket potato halves that have had the potato removed, add butter, season and then put back into the skins and baked till the top goes crispy.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Sweet Chilli Pork Patties and Mincing your own Meat!

This recipe came about as a result of trying out my shiny new Multi-function mincer by Judge.  I had to mince something to test it out and as pork came to mind - sweet chilli pork patties had to happen. 
    I never buy prepacked ready made burgers because you just don't know what you're going to get.  I always buy good quality mince but it has to be said there's nothing better than to mince your own meat so you know exactly what you're eating!

 To make 6 to 8 small patties you will need:
a glug of vegetable oil for frying
360g minced pork (approx 3 pork loin steaks)
3 spring onions - chopped
1 red chilli pepper - de-seeded and finely chopped
2 nice fat cloves of garlic - finely chopped
1 egg - yolk only and free range of course
2 teaspoons of Mirin - Japanese sort of sweet rice wine
2 teaspoons of Ketjap Manis - Indonesian sweet soy
salt and black pepper to season

How to do it:
Chop your ingredients and either mince your pork loin steaks in the Judge Mincer (after removing all the fat) or use ready minced pork with a low fat content.
Put the mince into a bowl along with the spring onions, chilli, garlic, egg yolk, Mirin and Ketjap Manis along with a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
Mix together well but don't over mix or the mixture will become 'over processed' and look quite horrid.

Shape into 6 or 7 small patties or of course 2 nice fat burgers - whichever takes your fancy.
Heat up a frying pan large enough to cook them all at the same time.
You can fry a tiny amount of the mixture and have a taste to check the seasoning if you wish.
Fry the patties until they're nicely cooked through.  The exact time of course will depend on how big you make them, so I'll leave that to you to decide.
Whatever, don't over cook as there isn't any fat they will soon end up dry.
I served my patties in warm pitta bread with salad and skinny chips.

 Well here's the mincer by Judge:
This easy to use hand powered rotary mincer by Judge has steel mincing plates giving you the choice of course and fine.  It also comes with a four-shape cookie press.

It is relatively easy to clean although the mincer isn't dishwasher safe and so personally I'd recommend using an antibacterial spray after washing and before rinsing again.

 And on to the test:
The mincer was easy to assemble. There's a clamp to hold the mincer in place whilst in use.  It will stick to many different work surfaces - I tried wood and that worked too.
 However, I found the rubber suction doesn't work for more than a minute or so without making the rubber bottom damp and the instructions didn't mention that.  Paul the husband that never ever cooks a thing, said it was obvious to him that you would need to make it damp.....Okay, well he was correct and the problem was remedied in a second!
Once the rubber bottom was made damp by wiping with a cloth the mincer wasn't moving for anyone until you released it by the clamp of course.
Ten out of ten for good grip!

And now the mincing:
 Too easy to use - cut your choice of meat into cubes trimming off any fat and pop into the top along with the plunger thingy.  This was one of the pork loin steaks I used to make the patties.   
Attach the handle, and away you go.
 Make pork patties knowing you're eating only good things.
This mincer retails at around £16 for more information can be found over at
Thank you to Pam for sending me this to review.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Creamy Spaghetti alla Carbonara - Easy Recipe

Adapted from Nigella Lawson's book 'Feast' this has to be the best Spaghetti Carbonara recipe ever!
The lovely creamy sauce with a slight saltiness of the bacon and perfectly cooked pasta - nothing more is needed apart from a glass or two of wine.