Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Marks and Spencer Count On Us and Fuller Longer Meals - Review

I was recently asked to review a selection of Marks and Spencer ready meals from their Count On Us and Fuller Longer ranges.  The Count On Us range of meals are all under 400 calories which means you can still enjoy curries, puff pastry pies and risottos without feeling guilty. 

Chicken and Slow Roasted Mushrooms and Baby Onions in a Rich Red Wine Sauce with a side of Vegetables:
I think you'll agree this colourful and tasty looking dish doesn't look like it's only 252 calories does it?
I must admit I really wasn't expecting either of the Count On Us meals to be big enough or taste too amazing (purely because they're healthy if you know what I mean) but I was wrong.
The red wine sauce was really rich and tasty, the chicken pieces were a good size and were extremely tender.  The vegetables - carrots, swede, parsnip and cabbage, were cooked perfectly too.




Sunday, 26 January 2014

Judge BioChef Eco-friendly Kitchen Tools - Review

Take a look at the new Judge BioChef kitchen utensil range - the 100% Biodegradable handles are made of Corn-based Bio-plastic.  Yes, CORN! 


The rest is a combinations of nylon and a little bit of silicone.
Attractive, practical and Eco-friendly they are heat-resistant to 210°C, and dishwasher safe too.
The Judge BioChef range includes a turner, slotted turner, spaghetti fork, slotted spoon, ladle and serving spoon.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Save Money on Supermarket Shopping

Now, it has to be said since we all have to eat, it's fantastic to be able save money on food, but of course we also want it to be good food.  There aren't really any veg markets neaby that are convenient to go to as they would almost certainly be cheaper than in a supermarket.
Aldi have just opened a store near us so yesterday I popped in to see what it was all about.  I'm not going to talk about anything other than vegetables since that's all I bought, but I was amazed at how good the quality is, and just how cheap it is compared to other supermarkets.
Just as an example this is my shopping:


Items listed below marked with a star had 30% off and that price is shown in the cost I've given.  Now they were in first class condition and didn't appear to be 'sell by that day'.  I say 'they didn't appear to be' because the odd thing is I can't see any sell by or best before dates on any of the items.
*Stew pack containing a swede, parsnip, carrots and onions weight 1.5kg - cost 97p
Net of 4 good sized onions - cost 89p
Pack of 3 mixed bell peppers - cost 99p
*Celery - cost 48p
*Pack of 3 Leeks - cost 62p
250g Chestnut mushrooms - cost 62p

Total Cost was just £4.57
The cost before the 30% reduction of some items would have been £5.11

Compare this with one of the top big supermarkets in the UK, I added the same items to my 'shopping basket' online......
However, there was 1 onion less (they sell them in packs of 3 not 4) and 0.5kg less veg in their stew pack.  As you can see the total cost came to £7.55
Please note although it says 'guide price' this was the actual price as all discounts had been taken off - it always says guide price as it's not sure if you want it delivered or are going to pick it up or if there are any other discounts to be applied - in this case there wasn't.

  

Total Saving on this small amount of shopping was £2.98
So, it just goes to show with a little shopping around you can save money.  Do you have any Money Saving Tips for Supermarket shopping?

Disclaimer:  I was not approached by Aldi to write this post, I just felt it would be informative news to share with my readers.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Latest Recipes - Food Products and Kitchen Gadget Reviews

Check out what I've been cooking in my kitchen catch up on the latest kitchen gadgets and food products I've been reviewing.  If you have any great new food products or kitchen gadgets you have discovered lately I'd love to know about them. 




Watch my short video of the Stellar Portable Touch Control Induction Hob in action and pick up a money saving tip at the same time!
A fantastic piece of kit the pan heats up and not the hob - FAST to reach 240°C  in next to no time.

Okay, I know Pancake day isn't until March 4th this year, but as far as I'm concerned pancakes are good any day of the year.  Caramel sauce with sliced banana, whipped cream and chocolate flake, easy to make and with a couple of products from OXO Good Grips make the job a doddle.


If you don't happen to have a Valentine you can have this sent to - why not enter to win anyway and have it yourself!


This year Chinese New Year is on 31st January.  How about rustling up my Vegetables in Chinese Brown Sauce or Chinese Chicken Curry and it really is just like it is from the takeaway, add Sesame Prawn Toasts and you have a right good feast!



Shropshire Blue Welsh Rarebit 

Shropshire Blue Welsh Rarebit is of course perfect for topping toasted bread which is more on the traditional side.  But for a change how about spooning it over a hot jacket potato and the addition of Lea and Perrins makes it extra tasty!





Honey and Apple Cider Glaze

There's nothing quiet like pork belly that's cooked in a water oven.  Sous vide (pronounced soo-veed)
means “under vacuum” in French, and sous vide cooking is a gourmet culinary technique long used
by chefs worldwide. 





One lucky reader of A Glug of Oil will win this gorgeous box of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat!




Yes another Sous Vide recipe, can you tell I love my SousVide Supreme!  This time I tried gammon and made a Cumberland sauce to go with it the result was perfect.





Looking for a Healthy Dessert?

How about these Baked apples stuffed with dates, orange and ginger.  This recipe uses Flora Pro.active and not only easy to do but it's delicious too.






Slow Cooker Recipes

When you're not in hurry use your slow cooker and cook up some mouthwatering meals.  This chicken curry is seriously good.  I titivated a Gordon Ramsay curry dish - take a look at my recipe here.



Twice Baked Cheddar Souffl├ęs

Now these souffl├ęs are good - made with Barber's 1933 Vintage Reserve Cheddar they are nice and tangy and deliciously moist and very easy to make.




How about a Raclette Dinner Party?

A raclette grill is just so much fun and once the bits and bobs of yummy ingredients have been prepared everyone cooks their own dinner!  Fantastic for a relaxed evening with the family or a few friends and it works out as a cheap meal too which can only be a good thing.


Potatoes!

From these amazingly tasty Bombay-style Potatoes (a Jamie Oliver recipe) to my Patatas Bravas with Chicken and Chorizo, a step by step recipe for Fondant Potatoes to how to cook the perfect jacket potato. 


Stellar Portable Induction Hob - Video

Regular readers would have already seen my review of the Stellar Portable Touch Control Induction Hob.  But here, in this short video I'll show you how fast is at getting to a high temperature.  And how to make a nice Toasted Cheese Sandwich, without the need to buy a fancy sandwich toaster, so this is indeed a Money Saving Tip too!

If you look at it like this, take the cost of a sandwich toaster off of the price of this Induction Hob and what's already a good price, becomes a real Billy bargain!


Where to buy:
Harts Of Stur, Amazon and all good cook-shops.  
  

Many thanks to Pam and Stellar Cookware for sending me this induction hob model SEA22
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. 

Banoffee Pancakes - Easy Dessert Recipe

Light fluffy pancakes filled with caramel sauce, bananas, whipped cream and topped with flaked chocolate can only be a good thing.  Since they can be eaten cold and still look and taste every bit as good later on the same day, why not make them before dinner cover the plate in cling film for a no fuss delicious dessert.


 Having been sent a couple of  OXO Good Grips products and set a challenge of coming up with a pancake recipe here's how it went.  Okay, I'm a bit early as Pancake Day isn't until 4th March but yesterday I was in a pancake making mood.  In any case it doesn't have to officially be Pancake Day to enjoy pancakes!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Gift For Her Basket - Valentines Giveaway

I'm really pleased to be able to offer my readers the chance to win this lovely gift basket from Spicers of Hythe.  Established in 1926 they supply a great range of gifts and luxury hampers to suit a variety of occasions.
Even though this may be a 'Gift for Her' don't forget you can always enter to try and win it for yourself - why not?!


The contents of the Gift For Her Basket are as follows:
 Les Condes Chilean Savignon Blanc 2011 37.5cl
CocoaBean Chocolate Enrobed Caramels with Pink Ribbon 100g
Mr McKenzie's Almond & Vanilla Biscuits 150g
Mrs Bridges Blackcurrant & Blueberry Preserve 113g
New English Teas Rosehip & Hibiscus Tea 10’s

How to Enter:
One lucky reader of this blog will win a box of 'Gift For Her Basket' from Spicers of Hythe

 Entries must be via the Rafflecopter widget.  Please note the prize can only be sent to the UK Mainland only and you must be over 18

 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.
Also, if you already like/follow please comment via the Rafflecopter widget and let me know to get your entries.
 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! 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Valentines Day Giveaway - Hotel Chocolat

Yes once again Valentine's Day is just around the corner (February 14th) for anyone that doesn't know! Thanks to the lovely people over at Hotel Chocolat, one lucky reader of A Glug of Oil will win this gorgeous box of chocolates.


  'Open Your Heart To Me' is a heart made of mellow milk chocolate delicately decorated with dark chocolate are a total of six hidden Passion Fruit Truffles, Caramel Pralines and Strawberry and Rose Truffles in a fabulous array of heart-shaped and ingot shells.
You can find a full range of beautiful Valentine's Day Gifts over at Hotel Chocolat.

How to Enter:
One lucky reader of this blog will win a box of 'Open Your Heart To Me' chocolates from Hotel Chocolat worth £26.00
 Entries must be via the Rafflecopter widget.  Please note the prize can only be sent to the UK only and you must be over 18
 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.
Also, if you already like/follow please comment via the Rafflecopter widget and let me know to get your entries.
 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, 13 January 2014

Shropshire Blue Welsh Rarebit Recipe

Shropshire Blue Welsh Rarebit is of course perfect for topping toasted bread which is more on the traditional side. But, it's also totally delicious spooned over a hot jacket potato.  The addition of Lea and Perrins Worcestershire sauce adds a lovely warming tang to any variation of the a Welsh rarebit recipe. 


As long as you use a nice strongish tasting cheese it will do the job, you can use Stilton or of course a nice extra matured Cheddar, any cheeses in that category that takes your fancy should be good.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Sous Vide - Pork Belly with Honey and Apple Cider Glaze

There's nothing quite like slow cooked pork belly cooked sous vide.  The meat is so tender it melts in your mouth.  Pork belly with a sticky honey, apple and cider glaze can only ever be a good thing whether slow cooked in the oven or not.  But it has to be said, when cooked sous vide it takes on a whole new level and personally I don't think cooking it any other way can beat it. 


The idea for the glaze came from my reading the packaging of ready cooked pork belly in Marks and Spencer. So, making it up as I went along adding a bit of this and a bit of that I have to say the result was good and turned out as I expected.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

SousVide Supreme - Gammon with Cumberland Sauce

Cumberland sauce is a fruity sauce, perfect with cold non white meats such as gammon, ham, lamb or venison and fits the bill nicely with game pie too.  Created in the late 19th Century of The Duke of Cumberland, variations of the sauce exist but the most common ingredients are port, redcurrant jelly, mustard, ginger and orange.


Not wanting to cook a whole gammon joint, mainly for fear of ruining it, I experimented with a couple of slices and the result was tasty, moist gammon that would go perfectly with the old fashioned dish of Gammon, Pease Pudding and Carrots.  In any case, I decided the gammon needs to be sliced to serve so why not slice it before cooking!  Also as gammon joints vary in size the cooking times would vary, but if you slice the gammon before popping it into the cooking pouch everyone will know where they are as the cooking time should be the same as mine.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Stellar Portable Touch Control Induction Hob - Review

This is just the first of a few posts on this rather stylish Portable Touch Control Induction Hob from Stellar Cookware (model SEA22) In the coming weeks I'll be doing a recipe or two and even a video (when I've had my hair cut)! to prove just how easy and efficient this hob is to both use and clean. 
 

Fast, efficient heat up:
This 2000W induction hob is fast to heat up and reaches 240°C fast!  You can start frying in a matter of seconds.
With 8 accurate temperature settings from 60°C to 240°C (60°C, 120°C, 140°C, 160°C, 180°C, 200°C, 220°C and 240°C) 


Sunday, 5 January 2014

SousVide Supreme - Mediterranean Style Cod

 Having experimented quite a bit now with The SousVide Supreme water oven, I've had a go at Starter Courses and Party Food and Everyday Dinners but until now I hadn't tried cooking fish apart from salmon fillets.  Cooking in the SousVide Supreme keeps vegetables vibrant and meat and poultry succulent, juicy and totally delicious but what about fish? 


Personally I'm not keen on salmon cooked sous vide, probably it's just a matter of taste but I found the salmon lost texture and became slightly mushy despite trying different temperatures and cooking times.  That said, it must just be me as others have been successful with salmon.
Cod fillets however are not only a doddle to cook sous vide, but they came out perfectly cooked and flaked beautifully and were full of flavour.  My photo really doesn't do this dish justice - hurry up the brighter weather I say.  Since I made this dish up as I went along I was so pleased with it I will make it again.

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