Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Why does Wine Taste Better After Being Allowed to Breathe?

There are some wines that benefit from being allowed to ‘breathe’.  Oxygen can affect wines in a number of ways and it is important to understand this process and how it could benefit the wine you are drinking.
open bottle

Remember that wine drinking is about personal preference and it is a good idea to get advice on the best ways to store and serve wine from experts and wine sellers.  It is important to taste wine and compare different methods as this will help you discover just how you prefer your wine and which kinds of wines tickle your taste buds.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Easy Breakfast - Recipe Idea

The perfect lazy day breakfast of scrambled eggs on toast topped with crispy bacon and roasted tomatoes.  Serve with a nice cup of coffee (tea for me please) and after eating this you'll be all set and ready to do absolutely nothing for the rest of your lazy day.
Well in my case, till lunch time - always hungry am I.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Easy Croque Monsieur Recipe - Sandwich Idea

Croque Monsieur is basically a grilled ham club style sandwich, with a lovely cheesy béchamel sauce poured over and popped under the grill to melt and brown. 
Delicious as a snack of with a few thick cut chips and salad.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Weight Watchers Breakfast Biscuits - Review

 As we all know eating breakfast really does help to set us up for the day.  Unfortunately, due to our busy lifestyles which are becoming increasingly busier, it can sometimes be hard to find the time to eat! 
But clearly this isn't a good thing for our health!  These Weight Watchers Breakfast Biscuits made using wheat and oats, with a combination of B vitamins and iron and designed specifically to be enjoyed for breakfast on-the-go.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Chicken with Parma Ham and Goats Cheese

Simple to make and good to eat.  Lovely moist chicken with a slight saltiness from the Parma ham but also a bit tangy from the goats cheese - what's not to like?
Arm yourself with a shallow baking tray or one of those amazing tin foil trays which are disposable but you can re-use them as I do.  Just pop into a dishwasher or soak over night.  Okay, they go a funny colour but it's all okay.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Possible Breast Cancer Prevention - Through Diet

Can the food we eat reduce the risk of breast cancer?  
I have to say I'm a bit of a believer that with most forms of cancer there sadly doesn't seem to be (to me) very much you can do to prevent it.
  But after reading this book about what we eat, and how that might have some impact on preventing breast cancer, then I'd say it's well worth considering and perhaps changing our diet a little.
  About the writer, Julia B. Greer, MD MPH:
Julia is an epidemiologist whose work focuses on pancreatic, ovarian, and breast cancers. She was educated at Phillips Exeter Academy, Princeton University, Mount Sinai Medical School, Georgetown University Hospital, and the Graduate School of Public Health in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 
In addition to being a physician and an accomplished writer, she is presently a faculty member of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition.

Considering breast cancer is the third most common type of cancer diagnosed among women in the UK.  It is second only to lung cancer as a leading cause of cancer death in women. 
In 2011 there were 11,633 women that died from breast cancer.
The really scary part is, anyone can get cancer. There is no single diet, food, or nutrient that will keep you from getting cancer.  However, in the same way that wearing a seat-belt may protect you from being injured in a car accident, eating certain types of food may help to protect you from developing many cancers, including breast cancer.

Now for My Bit:
 The Anti-Breast Cancer Cookbook is certainly very interesting and informative.  This paperback book doesn't have any fancy pictures of food for the recipes, nor is it in colour.  What it does have, is more than 250 recipes that are easy to follow and have no need to buy any fancy cookware.  
It is very well written and presented.  Recipe ingredients aren't anything outrageous or expensive, and they aren't things you (well I) can't pronounce like there are in some cookbooks!  Although some of the ingredients are American brand items, us lot in the UK can very easily find the same UK alternative.  

Love the simple no fuss style of book inside:
   The recipes in this cookbook are packed with power antioxidants, super easy to follow and the ingredients are readily available.
Every recipe shows the nutritional serving information, number of calories, grams of fat, salt, fibre content.  Many of the recipes are are Vegan, Vegetarian, and over half are Gluten-Free
 From breads, breakfasts, dips, sauces, side dishes, soups, salads, sandwiches and burgers to more formal dishes for dinner parties.
Oh and in case you were wondering, desserts and beverages haven't been missed out either!

Considering the UK has the 11th highest incidents of breast cancer in the world, I'd say this book is well worth buying.

Big thank you to Mat over at PGUK Publishers Group for sending me a copy to review.

All opinions and thoughts are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.  I only ever post reviews on products I like the look of, and therefore would buy myself.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Patatas Bravas with Chicken and Chorizo

 Oh my word you must give this a go, it was truly delicious.  Armed with no recipe whatsoever but knowing Patatas Bravas was a potato dish with a spicy tomato sauce I went for it.  
Okay, I've since discovered the potatoes ought to have been roasted or fried in olive oil - but hey ho this works and tastes good, so who cares! 
 Fancying more than just potatoes I added chicken and chorizo - always a winning combination in this house.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Attention all Coffee Lovers - Puro Brand Fairtrade Coffee

Oooh lucky me - what a lovely lot of Puro products I've been sent!
Not all coffee drinkers readers will have probably heard of Puro before as they don’t have their own cafes and their products can't be found in supermarkets.
However if you are a coffee drinker, chances are you will have enjoyed  
Puro Coffee without even realising it.
 Every National Trust site uses Puro coffee and restaurants such as Gourmet Burger Kitchen and The Real Greek, large offices such as Innocent Drinks (the smoothie company), opticians like Vision Express, hairdressers such as Headmasters and golf clubs like Wentworth all serve Puro coffee.

Piquanté Pepper and SunBlush Tomato Flatbread

 This very moreish flatbread made with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, topped with a Tomato Sauce, Piquanté Peppers and SunBlush Tomatoes - certainly does the trick if your looking for a bread to go with any Pasta Dish or my Patatas Bravas with Chicken and Chorizo.

Having been set a challenge to do something with bread dough by Mermaid Cookware for National Bread Week (16th-22nd April) - here's my invention!
I've tried and tested a few Mermaid products before and this baking sheet lived up to all my expectations.  The baking sheet is made from Hard Anodised Aluminium which evenly distributes heat to avoid hot spots.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Pasta and Wine - The Perfect Combinations

For many Italians, just as you would never eat dry pasta, the idea of eating any pasta dish without wine is unwelcome.  
A fine wine, and there are plenty of fine wines from Tesco and other supermarkets to choose from these days, complements pasta far better than fizzy juice and other alcoholic drinks such as beer.  It doesn’t have to be a lot; one glass can be enough. But which wine to choose?  There are no iron rules, but here are some recommendations, for accompanying five popular dishes.

Spaghetti con pomodoro e basilica:
This simple classic of a tomato and basil sauce, sprinkled with parmesan, is served best alongside a white carrying something to match the acidic quality of the tomato.  Sticking to Italy, a light Frascati is an excellent choice for its citrusy and apple elements.

Fusilli con zucchini e gamberetti:
A creamy sauce with courgettes and prawns, this is one of the best seafood pasta dishes for quick cooking without the work of dealing with shellfish.
A lunchtime favourite, it has a smooth flavour and works well again with an easy drinking, dry white wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon Blanc.

 Tagliatelle con polpettini e salsa di pomodoro:
The general rule with richer, meatier pasta sauces is that they need to be matched by a wine with stronger flavourings. For this meatball dish made with either beef mince, pork, or veal and plenty of herbs with tomato sauce, a rich red such as a San Giovese is a great choice.
Tuscan vineyards tend to use this grape, and a Brunello will serve you well. For an alternative, go to Argentina which not surprisingly given its meat tradition has many fine stronger reds. One made from the Malbec grape would do well

Pasta con salsiccia picante:
A spicy sausage pasta, as with its cousin the pizza, has an unmistakeable flavour but one that puts the palette’s sensitivity in some jeopardy. To counter this, you should combine it with a crisp, distinctly fruity red.
Two great examples are the Nebbiolo wines produced in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, or a Rioja.  Aged for up to four years in oak barrels, the tannins from the wood invest these wines with plenty of bite.

Pasta al pesto:
A simple and much loved dish, the basil and pine nuts in the classic ‘Pesto Genovese’ is best complemented by a simple, crisp white such as a Pinot Grigio, perfect for bringing out the nutty flavours in the dish.
These are only suggestions, and for each of the dishes there is more than one alternative if you stick to the general principles.
Above all, have fun experimenting. Buon appetito! 
  
 This is a guest post on behalf of Tesco Wines.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Vintage Long Neck Case from First4Hampers - Review

Last week this lovely hamper from First4Hampers arrived for me to review.  The Vintage Union Jack case with faux leather handles was packed full as you can see with a range of Gourmet food and three bottles of wine. Including a selection of Handmade, Artisan and Organic and Fairtrade food products.
First4Hampers have a huge range of gift hampers for every occasion and are available in price ranges to suit your budget. 

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Fruit Gift Basket from First4Hampers - Review

Having been very kindly sent this 'Detox and Relax' Fruit Gift basket from First4Hampers to review, I have to say I'm totally impressed. 

 The fruit basket was perfectly packaged and I know it was only ordered for me on Thursday afternoon (just before 1pm) and it arrived the next morning.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Pan-fried Pork Steaks with Lemon and Chilli

Easy and quick to make - pan-fried pork loin steaks.  There's no need to fuss marinading the pork for any length of time first, just get on and cook it.
Now this can only be a good thing in my opinion, since it means you're nearer to eating!
 So simple there isn't even a real recipe, but if you really must have one then please continue reading!

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Over-Stuffed Cheesy Bacony Jacket Potatoes

Stuffed Jacket Potatoes with Melty Cheese, Tomatoes and Bacon Pieces - totally delicious. 
Great as a side dish or as a meal served with a nice green salad.
  So what variety of Potatoes should you use?
First off you must start with the right kind and size of potato.  You need a floury variety. Maris Piper, King Edward or Marfona will do the trick.  
Waxy potatoes just don't work. 

What's the difference between Waxy and Floury Potatoes?
Waxy potatoes are translucent and feel moist and pasty. They are good at staying firm and keeping their shape so make great salad potatoes.
Waxy Potato Varieties include: Charlotte and Maris Peer.

Floury potatoes are brighter and more granular in appearance with a drier feel. They're better for dishes such as jacket potatoes, chips and for mash.
Floury Potato Varieties include: Estima, King Edward, Maris Piper or Marfona.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Judge 2 Stage Knife Sharpener - Review

Every good chef knows that it’s important to keep their knives honed.  
This new 2-Stage Sabatier Sharpener from Judge Cookware makes the job really easy.

The pull-through device makes it easy and quick to sharpen steel knives.  There's a two-stage pre-set carbide blade and crossed ceramic stone, meaning you can restore a blunt knife edge, or simply refine/hone an existing knife edge. 

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