Thursday, 27 February 2014

Buy A Gift - Giveaway

The nice people over at Buy a Gift have offered the readers of this blog the chance to win one of the following prizes listed below.
 

Option 1 - Three Course Meal and Cocktail For Two - Marco-Pierre-White-Restaurant

Option 2 - London Gastro Tour with Celia Brooks

Option 3 - Afternoon Tea at Harrods for Two

Option 4 - Sushi Making Workshop with YO Sushi for Two

Option 5 - Traditional Afternoon Tea for Two

Option 6 - Tasting for Two

Option 7 - Table for Two - Dining Experience

Option 8 - Afternoon Tea for Two - available at Classic Lodges Hotels

Information and How to Enter:
   Everything listed above along with a huge range of other gifts and experience days can be found over at Buy a Gift.

How to Enter:


One lucky reader of this blog will win their choice of ONE of the prizes listed above - subject to availability.
 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!


3 Recipe Ideas For Easter

With Easter approaching and the weather remaining wintry, it seems as though we'll all still be eating hotpots when it arrives.  However, it only takes a few days for the outlook to change dramatically.  With that optimism in mind, I've devised a light menu for Easter to avoid simply having a roast dinner.

Starter
Source: Wikimedia

It's only right to give a tip of the hat to the traditions of the season by including egg in your meal and this delicious 'breakfast salad' is the perfect way to do that. 

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Pancakes with Summer Berries and White Chocolate

I was recently asked to try out three different Tefal frying pans and to come up with a pancake recipe for Pancake Day.  With spring around the corner and really hoping to see some sunshine soon, I came up with these pancakes filled with summer berries which I drizzled with melted white chocolate.


The three lovely pans Tefal sent me were quickly put to the test and all did a great job of making perfect pancakes as they all heated up quickly and are non-stick.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Find Me A Gift - Giveaway

The lovely people over at Find Me A Gift have offered the readers of this blog the chance to win one of the following prizes:
 
http://www.findmeagift.co.uk/

   TV Dinner Gumballs
 Frying Pan Kitchen Clock
 Have a Nice Lunch Bag
 Mini Chopping Boards
 You Are My Cup of Tea Poster
 Peanut Butter Maker
  Camper Van Toaster
 Star Wars Espresso Set
 Lucky Skull Teapot
A British Dialect Mug
Bento Lunch Box
 Pop Up Hot Dog Toaster

  Everything listed above along with a huge range of other gifts to suit every occasion can be found by popping over to Find Me A Gift.

How to Enter:

One lucky reader of this blog will win their choice of ONE of the prizes listed above - subject to availability.

 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, 12 February 2014

Old El Paso Products and Casserole Recipe Mixes

I have to say I quite like the Old El Paso range of products and we particularly like their fajita packet spice mix.  Me being me, I can't help but deviate from what you're 'supposed' to do and as the spice mix is included in their fajita meal kit I took it out and dabbled.  
I cooked sliced chicken fillets in a little oil in a hot frying pan.  The chicken becomes glazed and is smokey and delicious.  Add sliced peppers and onions to the pan stirring for a couple of minutes and serve with shredded lettuce, cucumber and top with either soured cream or guacamole then tuck in.


One Pan Rice Meals 'Chilli and Garlic' for Chicken - all you do is add sliced pepper, onion and chicken.  There's also a Family Friendly, Extra Mild One Pan Rice Meal too which is great if you don't like it hot! 

Samsung Combination Microwave MC28H5013AK - Review

 The choices are endless when looking to buy a new microwave oven - do you simply want microwave only, microwave with a grill or a combination oven?  Combination microwaves allow you to use convection mode to cook food in the same way as it would in a traditional oven and microwave is not used.  Of course you still have the option of using microwave only or microwave with the grill to brown food as its cooks.
 
This rather stylish Samsung Combination Microwave Smart Oven - model MC28H5013AK is excellent value for money and it is really dead easy to use.  For me, it has to be a combi microwave since I can then use it as an extension of my usual traditional oven (a bit like having two ovens) which really comes in handy when we have friends round and I'm cooking a variety of dishes or a large meal.

Simple Recipe Ideas - using Maille Vinegar Mustard and Oil

Maille are are famous for their outstanding range of mustard's, vinegars, oils, dressings and pickles and they recently sent me a few products to try.  
I'm already a huge fan of Maille Dijon Mustard, Wholegrain Mustard with White Wine and Black Olives and also their Balsamic Vinegar. 


I must admit I'd never tried Maille Tomate Séchée - Sherry Vinegar with Sun-dried Tomatoes or Maille Ail et Citron - Mustard with White Wine, Lemon and Garlic and I couldn't wait to give them a go.

So what to make using these lovelies from Maille?  
  I marinated chicken pieces in Maille Ail et Citron Mustard (mixed with a tiny splash of olive oil) for about 30 minutes before threading onto skewers along with red and yellow bell peppers.  I then char-grilled them on a very hot griddle pan - Simple, and very tasty.


Of course I also wanted to try the Tomate Séchée.  I rather fancied some sauteed peppers, onions and tomatoes so I added a splash of the tomato vinegar during cooking which really gave the pepper mixture a lovely slightly tangy taste.  In a separate pan I added a little olive oil and over a high heat, stir-fried some cubes of ciabatta bread to make croutons which I then tossed through the cooked peppers, onions and tomatoes.  The whole thing took under 15 minutes, if that.


  Maille Velours de Balsamique - This Balsamic Vinegar Glaze is perfect for making a balsamic dipping oil for bread.  Just mix together 1 part Maille Balsamic Glaze with 2 parts of extra virgin olive oil and serve with chunks of ciabatta along with a few olives.  A perfect pre-dinner appetizer. 

  
Maille products are easily available in the UK and they’ve even opened their own Mustard Boutique which can be found in London’s Piccadilly Arcade.  Or you can pop over Maille and order online.

This post featuring Maille products was commissioned by Maille for a fee.  I was sent the Maille products mentioned to try.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, 10 February 2014

TV Programme - Searching for Budding Entrepreneurs

    Are you a budding entrepreneur - do you have a fantastic idea and want the world to know about it? Well in that case, read on!
Samsung have joined forces with the UK’s hottest talent to give people with a passion for food, film, music and photography, the opportunity of a lifetime. ‘Launching People’ will see pop-up chef and Sunday Times cook Gizzi Erskine, award-winning actor and producer Idris Elba, singer-songwriter Paloma Faith and portrait and fashion photographer Rankin, search for undiscovered British and Irish talent.  They will act as mentors as they help food lovers, budding film makers, musical game changers and picture takers launch their brilliant ideas.
  The mentors, together with Samsung will be scouring the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland to find people with extraordinary potential and original ideas.

Take a look at Gizzi's story and the kind of person she's looking for:




  What happens next?
The chosen candidates will work with one of the four inspirational mentors to collaborate on a unique project.  Their journey, from meeting the mentors to the launch of their project, will be documented in a television series which will air later this year.

 

 Gizzi Erskine says: “I want to see someone that has a serious passion for the industry – I want to understand their passion and be able to see and feel it. I want to show that you don’t have to be conventional to be successful. I’m looking for someone who’s happy to break the rules – and maybe teach me a thing or two along the way.  The simple ideas can be the best.  But a simple idea with a bit of glitter on it is far more exciting.” 


Watch this short video to find out a bit more about the mentors and what they're looking for:



Film: Idris Elba, award winning actor, producer, and DJ
“I want a story that’s inspiring.”

Music: Paloma Faith, singer-songwriter,
performer and actress
“I’m really looking for something we’ve not
seen in a British artist before.”

Food: Gizzi Erskine, leading pop up chef and food writer
“The simple ideas can be the best.”

Photography: Rankin, world famous portrait
and fashion photographer
“I want to know what they do that’s different, that’s interesting

How to Enter:
If you have a great idea and think you have what it takes to impress our talented panel of mentors, then pitch us your project via www.launchingpeople.co.uk between now and Thursday 6th March 2014

Gizzi, Idris, Paloma and Rankin will each choose one person to work with one-on-one, helping to bring their ideas to life and launch their project.  Each of our mentors will be looking for outstanding potential in the person and idea they choose to support.

Up for Grabs - Two Opportunities for Everyone!
The mentors will select four candidates with whom they’ll work one-to-one. The chosen protégés will spend 2-3 weeks together, working closely with their mentors in a house fully furnished with Samsung’s latest technology on their personal projects, building towards a grand launch event and making their ideas and ambitions a reality.
And the public will get to vote for one winner in each category to receive £500 for personal tuition and Samsung technology up to the value of £2000.
Best of Luck Everyone!

This is a featured post.

How to Make the Perfect Sunday Roast

No matter how busy or hectic your week might be, the perfect Sunday roast is a highlight to look forward to, and one with a lengthy tradition. Whether you go with a juicy, succulent joint of beef, or maybe a roast chicken with all the trimmings like roast potatoes, there are some things that just can’t be messed around with.


To make sure you create the Sunday roast you've been dreaming of all week, here are a few things to think about:

Friday, 7 February 2014

Easy Chicken Casserole - Stellar Cookware Induction Hob and Pan

 Here in this video I make a really easy chicken casserole - it's nothing fancy but it's tasty and is the very thing for this horrid weather we have here at the moment.  All you need to serve is either mashed potatoes or you could have some nice crusty bread.
I'm using an induction hob from Stellar Cookware and the pan I used is the Stellar 5000 induction saute pan which is suitable for all hob types.  I wanted to use the timer function on the hob which I did and it works a treat.  I stirred the casserole from time to time and to check how it was going.


About the Pan and Induction Hob:
The Teflon Platinum Pro triple-layered non-stick.  Mirror polished high quality 18/10 stainless steel, Cast stainless steel riveted handles, with anti-slip, stay cool, soft grip handles. Dishwasher and oven safe up to 180ºc, Stellar lifetime pan guarantee, with a 10 year non-stick guarantee. 

I absolutely love this pan and have used it a good few times now.  The pan I was sent it 28cm and is a good size.  So very easy to clean and although it is dishwasher safe I have so far just needed to wash in hot soapy water, rinse and dry.  Nothing seems to stick to it, it's brilliant.  Although it is a little heavy I found it easy to lift due to the extra helper handle.  The glass lid allows you to see what's happening to your cooking and is ventilated too. The pan is available in 24cm too if 28cm is too big for your needs.  There are 12 items in the Stellar Induction 5000 Cookware range, saucepans, frying pans and a stock pot and casserole.   

For anyone that hasn't already seen my review of the Stellar Touch Control Portable Induction Hob you can see it here.

Where to Buy:
Available at Harts of Stur, all good cook-shops and Amazon


Many thanks to Stellar Cookware for sending me the Induction hob and pan.  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.

How To Make An Authentic Italian Coffee Tiramisu

 Most of us regard tiramisu as the quintessential Italian dessert. And yet it only appears in cookbooks as an official recipe from the 1960s onwards, so it seems to be a relatively recent creation. Still, the classic tiramisu, meaning 'pick-me-up' or 'lift-me-up', is something that's rarely messed with apart from a few subtle changes. And with good reason. It's sponge ladyfingers, dipped in coffee and layered with egg yolks, egg whites, cream and mascarpone cheese, is a delicious concoction.


What you'll need
Most of us will probably have sugar, eggs and cocoa hanging around in the cupboard, and if you've got these ingredients handy, you're not far off having everything you need. Get a couple of packets of long, sponge ladyfingers or Pavesini cookies, which make sponge nice and springy when dipped in the right amount of liquid. Make sure you have some mascarpone (you can also use ricotta if you like a slightly lighter tasting cream), and some strong coffee. And then you'll just need a bit of chocolate. Try bitter-sweet cocoa powder or grated chocolate.

Knorr Gravy Pots Awarded Product of the Year

Knorr Gravy Pots have been awarded 'Product of the Year' in the Gravy & Stock category.
Product of the Year is the world’s largest consumer-voted award for product innovation.  Saving time and money Knorr Gravy Pots are a great hit with consumers. 


To celebrate this fantastic achievement I was sent a lovely Sunday Roast hamper along with some gravy pots.


Available in Beef, Chicken and Onion.  Just add one Knorr Gravy Pot into 280 ml of warm water.
Stir continuously with a whisk and slowly heat up the gravy.  Let it boil for 1 minute and the gravy is ready to serve!

Now, looking at this plate of food you may wonder where the broccoli and parsnips are that were included in the hamper - fear not I will use them today.  In my opinion, roast beef isn't the same without swede and cauliflower!


 Personally for me, I found the gravy wasn't thick enough and so using a little less water would be better, but it's just what you're used to.  I added the roasting juices from the beef and the gravy was ready in next to no time. 

Gravy Pots are free from artificial preservatives and artificial colours and they have no added MSG.  But you can read more about gravy pots and of course other Knorr products over at the Knorr website. You'll also find a great range of recipes too.

 I'm a huge fan of Knorr stock pots and stock cubes and I use them all the time.  Have you tried gravy pots or stock pots? 

Many thanks to Knorr for sending me this lovely Sunday Roast hamper and the Gravy Pots.

Disclaimer:  I was sent a Sunday Roast hamper for the purpose of this post, all opinions and thoughts are my own.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Continental Tasting Heart - Chocolates from Thorntons

    This lovely heart-shaped box of milk, white and dark chocolates from Thorntons is in my opinion, seriously good quality and excellent value for money.  Don't forget Valentines Day is almost here!


This huge Continental Tasting Heart Collection contains 48 chocolates (570g) and is priced at £19.99

 Allergy, Intolerance & Recipe Info from Thorntons site:
     Suitable for vegetarians
     No gluten-containing ingredients
     Contains added nuts
     Contains added milk
     May contain egg
     Contains added soya
     Free from artificial colour
     Free from artificial flavouring
 Inside the box:  
A beautiful selection of creamy pralines, mousses and tasty truffles.
As readers of this blog will already know I'm not a chocolate kind of person, so Paul (the husband and chief taster of all things chocolate) had to taste test this box of chocolates almost to himself and he couldn't wait to tuck in!

He loved all of them and found it too hard to pick a favorite.  He munched his way through all 16 choices from the Panna Cotta, Tiramisu, Ganache Au Marc De Champagne to the Sicilian Lemon Mousse to name a few.  I did get to taste a few though and my favorite was the Diplomat - smooth milk chocolate with roasted almonds and hazelnuts.


Many thanks to Thorntons for the chocolates.
 Disclaimer:  I received these chocolates from Thorntons with no request for a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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