Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Easy Chicken Recipe idea - Jack Daniel's Hot Pepper Sauce

Jack Daniel's Barbecue Sauces have a range of delicious sauces that are the perfect addition to any good BBQ, or of course they can be used to liven up meal times and even for dipping chips into.....naughty but nice! 

Time to try their new Limited Edition Hot Pepper Steak Sauce.  Of course you don't have to use it on steak, I fancied chicken and decided to pan-fry strips of chicken fillet in the sauce which takes just a few minutes.  And the result?  Perfect.

Made with real Jack Daniel's and blended with jalapeno chillies creates a lovely sweet flavour, nice and hot but sweet too which tastes seriously good!  
We're already fans of the 'Full Flavour Smokey Barbeque Sauce' which has hickory undertones and is perfect on burgers.
All the sauces are made with real Jack Daniel’s® Tennessee Whiskey in the distillery in Lynchburg.

New to the range existing Jack Daniel's Barbeque Sauce range is Hot Pepper Steak Sauce I used above and Extra Hot Habanero Barbecue Sauce.  Both available from Sainsbury’s and Tesco stores.

Thank you to Gemma and Jack Daniel's Barbeque Sauces for sending me some to try.
 All thoughts and opinions are my own and I only ever post reviews on products I love and therefore would buy myself.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Quesadillas from Weight Watchers Supper Club app

Weight Watchers have launched a really good Supper Club app on FaceBook.  There's a great range of recipes that are easy to make and don't cost much either but more importantly they are healthy and look delicious too.
The easy to follow Weight Watchers ProPoints plan means that being on a diet doesn't have to mean eating boring food. 

 It's very easy to browse the recipes - just pop over to the Weight Watchers Supper Club app and at the top of the page select 'Browse Recipes' where you'll find this recipe and many more.

Monday, 29 July 2013

BIG NEWS - Garrett Popcorn is Coming to the UK

Oh my goodness, now there's popcorn and there's POPCORN!  Having been sent a tub of Garrett Popcorn to try - our opinion is this really is the bees knees of Popcorn, and I really mean it!
This tub was shipped over from the USA and then overnight to our house.  It arrived still fresh as a daisy.....Yes this is something truly delicious.

Pictured above, The Chicago mix - loving the little scoop that came with it!

The 'Chicago Mix' is a blend of two flavours that compliment eachother beautifully - sweet 'CaramelCrisp' and savoury 'CheeseCorn'.
The Caramel crisp is buttery brown sugar with a cream brûlée crunch.  the Cheese corn popcorn flavoured with a melted sharp cheese and tastes amazing.


 Garrett, the Original Handcrafted Gourmet Popcorn which began in 1949 and has become a household name in Chicago and the rest of the USA and has since spread to the Far East and Middle East.

Garrett Popcorn is coming to the UK!
Garrett Popcorn is launching a UK Shop at the end of summer in London, which is fantastic news!

Many thanks to Emma for sending us some to try, we (myself and Paul the husband) are both well and truly addicted!

All thoughts and opinions are my own and I only ever post reviews on products I love and therefore would buy myself.

Quick and Easy Dinner - Lasagne

Much as I really love cooking, sometimes I simply don't have the time to spend in the kitchen.  I'm not usually a fan of those jars of ready made sauces but it has to be said I think they've come a long way from the over salty and sugary thick gooey sauces they were a while back.

So armed with a couple of big jars of Dolmio tomato, roasted onion and garlic sauce for lasagne and a large jar of their lasagne white sauce this lasagne was whipped up in no time and it tasted good.  

 No need for a recipe as it tells you all this on the jar - apart from my adding red wine, oregano and black pepper.  Using a mixture of pork and beef mince gives the lasagne much more flavour and I really urge you to try it.

Just brown a mixture of half pork and half beef mince, when that's nicely cooked just add the tomato sauce.  Stir well and continue to cook for about 10 minutes or so.  As I say, I couldn't help pouring in a small glass of red wine since I think it adds to the flavour along with a pinch of dried oregano and a good pinch of black pepper.

Using ready made fresh lasagne sheets (made with free range eggs) just layer lasagne, tomato sauce followed by a layer of white sauce and repeat making sure you finish with a lasagne sheet topped with the rest of the white sauce.  Grated cheese is necessary of course!  Cover with kitchen foil and bake in a preheated oven 200C/400F of Gas 6 for about 40 minutes.  Remove the foil and return for a further 5 minutes of so till golden and bubbling.
Top Tip!
You can of course freeze your cooked lasagne just as long as it's fully defrosted before reheating till piping hot it will be fine.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Flavour of Spain - Paella

As a lover of cooking and of course eating, there's nothing I look forward to more than going abroad and trying new foods.  I really love looking at different and exciting menus.  That said I know there are a lot of people that wont even try anything new.  If you feel like that, I'd love to be able to encourage you to just look at the delicious foods that countries such as Spain has to offer. 

Such wonderful colours, different textures and flavours a dish such as Paella has to offer.  Chicken, peppers, slightly spicy chorizo, peas and perfectly cooked flavorsome rice to name but a few.  

But as I say, I don't need convincing.  I just love the wonderful ingredients and flavours of the Mediterranean and their easy and relaxed style of cooking. Although Paella does seem to have a never ending list of ingredients, it's so worth giving it a go.  Everything ends up in one big pan I find it quite relaxing watching it cook and  adding another ingredient now and then giving it the occasional stir. 
But what if you really don't like one or more of the ingredients:
As with any recipe, if there's something that you really don't like, I say just leave it out!  Cooking should be a matter of personal taste and not fussing too much about following a recipe to the letter, cooking is an experiment.  Of course when it comes to baking you have to follow a recipe of your cake or bread wont happen which is why you wont find too much of that on this blog.  I've hardly ever followed a recipe properly in my life, just go with what you like to eat.

Paella has so many fantastic flavours but you can miss out the clams and mussels if you really don't fancy them.  My husband just doesn't like them and so I didn't add them - simple.

Here's a recipe for a traditional Paella which is really easy to make so you might want to try out at home.  Who knows, when you next book a city break to Barcelona, and the waiter asks what you'd like to order, you'll say 'I'll have the Paella please'!

Print Recipe

For a huge traditional Paella you will need:
170g/6oz chorizo, cut into thin slices
110g/4oz pancetta, cut into small dice
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
1 large Spanish onion, finely diced
1 red pepper, diced   
1 tsp soft thyme leaves
¼ tsp dried red chilli flakes   
570ml/1pint calasparra (Spanish short-grain) rice
1 tsp paprika
125ml/4fl oz dry white wine
1.2 litres/2 pints chicken stock, heated with ¼ tsp saffron strands   
8 chicken thighs, each chopped in half and browned
18 small clams, cleaned
110g/4oz fresh or frozen peas
4 large tomatoes, de-seeded and diced
125ml/4fl oz good olive oil
1 head garlic, cloves separated and peeled
12 jumbo raw prawns, in shells
450g/1lb squid, cleaned and chopped into bite-sized pieces   
5 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation method:
Heat half the olive oil in a paella dish or very large heavy-based saucepan.  Add the chorizo and pancetta and fry until crisp.  Add the garlic, onion and pepper and heat until softened.  Add the thyme, chilli flakes and calasparra rice, and stir until all the grains of rice are nicely coated and glossy.  Now add the paprika and dry white wine and when it is bubbling, pour in the hot chicken stock, add the chicken thighs and cook for 5-10 minutes.

Now place the clams into the dish with the join facing down so that the edges open outwards.  Sprinkle in the peas and chopped tomatoes and continue to cook gently for another 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil with the garlic cloves in a separate pan and add the prawns. Fry quickly for a minute or two then add them to the paella.  Now do the same with the squid and add them to the paella too.
  Scatter the chopped parsley over the paella and serve immediately.

Go on, give it a go and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

This is a sponsored post, all thoughts are my own.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Baked Fig and Goats Cheese with Parma Ham

This is one seriously delicious combination - tangy warm goat cheese, sweetness from the baked fig and a slight saltiness from the Parma ham.
 Oh yes, this is just perfect as a starter for any good dinner party.

Easy to make and no need for any fancy equipment - just a non-stick baking sheet or very shallow tray.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Sauce Bois Boudrin - Perfect for Steak

Fillet steak and sauce Bois boudrin are a perfect match.  So very easy to make and since it is best made in advance it's just perfect for a dinner party.

 Print Recipe

To make sauce enough for 4 you will need:
1 large shallot - finely chopped
150g small cherry tomatoes - halved
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
a squeeze of lemon juice
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
a glug or two of good quality extra virgin olive oil - say a tablespoon
small handful tarragon leaves - finely chopped

How to do it:
Just mix everything together in a small bowl - that's it job done, told you it was simple!

Top Tip:  
You can make this in advance (but no more than the day before) then keep covered in the fridge.
You will need to remove from the fridge at least an hour before serving.  If you make it the same day there's no need to put it in the fridge - just cover it till needed.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Ice Cream Trigger Scoop - OXO Good Grips

When you can't decide which flavour ice cream to have out of raspberry ripple, strawberry or vanilla, the best plan is to have a scoop of each!

  This ice cream Trigger Scoop from OXO Good Grips gives you perfect scoops every time. 

 In all this hot weather we're having lately, pictures of ice cream are tricky to take!  Let me tell you I had to take this picture at 6am this morning and still the strawberry ice cream at the back was melting.....good excuse to have to eat it quickly though!

 Simply scoop your ice cream from its container and press the lever to release.  The swing lever is really easy to use and the scoop is made from sturdy stainless steel.  The handle is made from plastic and is non-slip so it doesn't slip out of your hand in mid scoop!

    Easy to clean too, either in some nice hot sudsy water then rinse and dry, or you can pop it into the dishwasher.

Thank you to Cherelle and OXO Good Grips for sending me one 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.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

No-Bake Strawberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake

My no-bake cheesecake is perfect for an easy and cheap dessert since it serves 12 people and works out to just under £10 to make.  I used Lindt Excellence White Chocolate with Vanilla.

 Whatever you do, please don't use cheap chocolate as it just wont be the same.

Cooking with the Rayburn from AGA

A while back I saw a TV programme about Rayburn from AGA and I’ve wanted one ever since.  We live just down the road from where they're made in Telford and the program showed how they are ordered and shipped to many parts of the world and are especially popular the United States.  But sadly our kitchen is so very tiny that there wouldn’t be room enough left for so much as a salt and pepper pot never mind the kitchen sink!   

My friend has one and it’s brilliant, and like shes says it's British engineering at it's best and is designed to last a lifetime.  She gave me a demonstration which resulted in me really wishing we could move house so we could get one!   If I could have one, it would have to be the new ice cool white they’ve recently introduced to their range of colours. 

 The oven is cast iron and uses the principle of indirect heat which is kind to food and locks in moisture.  I will say one thing, I used to think that a Rayburn had to be on all of the time but they don’t.
They have a simple on/off switch and the hotplates are good to cook on in just 10 minutes.  In half an hour your oven is also ready to cook.  Another thing I wasn’t aware of is the hot plates can be set at different temperatures so you move your saucepans around to go from fast boil to simmer and back again if needed.

They have a huge amount of oven space which is fantastic for cooking for friends and family.  Because cast iron stores heat so well your oven burns off any bits and bobs stuck to it from cooking meaning the oven is self cleaning too!

If you watch this short video you'll see why I want one so much!

 Choose the right one to keep your house warm and provide your hot water too:
These days with the high costs of electricity and gas, everyone is concerned about how much energy their home uses and we’re all looking for ways to use less fossil fuel. Homeowners are looking at ways to use energy from renewable and sustainable sources.
There are many choices available so it can be really confusing to know how best to run a greener home.  AGA Rayburn, have created a portfolio of products to help you cut your energy usage.  This means you can easily choose the Rayburn that’s right for you.
They also hold demonstrations so you can learn how to use your oven to take full advantage of it.

This is a sponsored post, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Pamper Day for Two with Experience Days - Review

Having kindly been asked if I'd like to review an Experience Day, as soon as I saw the Pamper Day for Two, I jumped at the chance.  The opportunity couldn't have come at a better time for us, after weeks of being busy with work and general day to day stuff, a Pamper Day sounded just perfect!

Experience Days have over 1,000 experiences to choose from across England – so there is bound be be something for everyone.  Experience Days aren't just for those who want pampering.  They cover a wide range of activities, from Driving, Flying, Adventure, Gourmet Dining and Days out.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Giveaway - Oval Roaster from Judge Cookware

This lovely shiny bright Red Oval Roaster from Judge Cookware is perfect for cooking anything almost you fancy.  Not only can it go into the oven, but it can be used on the stove top too!
 Suitable for all hob types including induction and large enough to cook the biggest of chickens.

  Pop the lid on and your chicken stays incredibly moist during cooking and it will help keep your oven clean too!

With the lid on, does the chicken still brown during cooking?
In a word yes it does, I've tried it.  The dimples in the lid make it self-basting keeping your chicken nice and juicy as it cooks, leaving you to get on with the rest of the dinner.

Crafted from Carbon Steel;
 There’s a heavy enamel coating on all the products, additionally there’s a Teflon Classic non-stick coating on the interior of the fry pans and saucepans. 

 The 14 items that make up the Judge Induction range are not only designed to work efficiently on induction hobs, but are also suitable for all other hob types.  By the way, the stove-top pans have heat resistant Phenolic handles, for assured safety.    
Easy to clean and are dishwasher safe.  All items have a 5 year guarantee.

 This very attractive bright Red is part of the existing induction range which is already available in Cream, Green, White and Black.  Everything from Bread Crock to Stockpot and Oval Roaster, this beautifully styled collection allows you to completely co-ordinate, or mix and match, your kitchen content.

 Thank you to Pam and Judge for sending me one to review and offering to supply one to giveaway.  Judge is part of the Horwood group. 

Now for the Giveaway!
One lucky reader of this blog will win a 30cm Oval Roaster in RED.

 Entries must be via the Rafflecopter widget.  Please note the prize can only be sent to the UK or Ireland 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.  
 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.
Good Luck Everyone!

Monday, 1 July 2013

Tikka Masala Recipe - Jamie Oliver

Dead easy and seriously tasty, Jamie's Tikka Masala not only looks good but tastes good too.  A lovely colourful dish that, in my opinion just has to be served with naan bread to mop up the lovely sauce.

This recipe can easily be doubled and then once cooked it can be frozen - just don't add the toasted almonds or coriander. Of course you must make sure it's thoroughly defrosted before reheating.