Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Review. Show all posts

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Express Sausage Casserole using Tefal Cook4Me Multicooker

The Tefal Cook4Me is a Multicooker which means it can brown, cook, reheat, steam, pressure cook, or cook 50 different pre-programmed recipes or be used manually to create your own thing.  All in all this really is a brilliant invention.  Having been sent one to review (you can read about the Cook4Me in more detail here) and also see how easy it is to make a dish such as Beef Madras in just 20 minutes.

Well today let me tell you about this seriously quick and very tasty Sausage Casserole with cooking time of just 9 minutes.  No fancy ingredients either, in fact I used a shop bought cook-in sauce in order to show just how very easy and simple this multicooker really is.  

 
The Cook4Me as I said come with 50 pre-programmed recipes and to create your own recipe is just find a similar recipe, in this case it was Sausage and Bean Casserole.  Now, none of the recipes are difficult at all nor do they require any fancy ingredients.  But the pre-programmed recipe called for dicing a carrot and a red pepper and a glass of red wine.  Okay that's nothing tricky as I say but what if you actually can't be bothered to even do that?  

So, armed with a jar of sausage casserole cook-in sauce 'Homepride' if you must know!
I chopped an onion and a few mushrooms which you don't have to but doing so will of course give more flavour.  I then selected the sausage and bean stew recipe on the Cook4Me and browned the sausages and onions as instructed. Then I poured in the cooking sauce, closed the lid and waited a whole 9 minutes for it to cook!  Now, this caught me out a bit since the mashed potatoes weren't ready.  All my fault as it does tell you at the start how long or should I say quickly it will take to cook. Please note the cooking time of 9 minutes is to serve 4 people - to serve 2 people the cooking time is less and just 6 minutes!


Anyway, no need to fuss since the Tefal Cook4Me automatically switches to keep warm.  Food can be kept warm for up to 90 minutes.


 Up next time is soup using a pre-programmed recipe but I can't decide between Butternut or Leek and Potato, what do you reckon?

To find out more on this and other great products pop over to the Tefal website.

Disclaimer:  I was given the Tefal Cook4Me multicooker for the purpose of a review which can be read by following the link mentioned earlier in this post.  All thoughts are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Express Beef Madras - Tefal Cook4Me Multicooker Review

 Imagine being able to cook a Beef Madras Curry with a cooking time of just 20 minutes?  Fantastic, but only of course if the beef is juicy, tender, full of flavour and tastes good.
 Well, this Beef Madras using casserole beef (braising steak) actually did cook in 20 minutes and it was seriously good.  Oh yes we're seriously impressed with the Cook4Me Multicooker from Tefal.



 Having recently been asked if I'd like to review the Tefal Cook4Me Multicooker the answer was of course yes please.  I wasn't really sure what to expect since I've never had a multicooker before and wasn't quite sure how they worked.  So, armed with lots of questions as soon as it arrived I wanted to use it!
I'll answer all of my questions and of course if you have any please leave a comment and I'll answer it.

 Picture of Cook4Me supplied by Tefal since it's so shiny I found it almost impossible to take a picture that didn't show myself  and my kitchen in it!


 Does is really cook meals in super quick time and if so, are they just as tasty as you'd expect?
Can someone that really isn't into cooking (such as Paul the husband) be able to use the Cook4Me to create a proper meal without any stress?
  •  How does Cook4Me work?
  • Is it easy to use?
  • What kind of foods can you cook in it? 
  • Do the pre-programmed recipes actually work?
  • Can you make up your own recipe? 
  • Is it easy to clean after use? 
 About Tefal Cook4Me and how it works:
 Cook4Me comes with 50 pre-programmed recipes and it guides you step by step to cook meals for 2 to 6 people. With just the push of a button you can cook a variety of meals in next to no time - great if you want to spend less time in the kitchen. 
The pre-programmed recipes include Starter and Side dishes, Main dishes and desserts.  I haven't tried any desserts as yet but will include one in another post.  I have to try the Molten Chocolate Puddings, don't you think?
Five cooking settings allow you to pressure-cook, steam, brown, simmer, or reheat your meals.
    There's no need to stand watching it either as when the meal is ready, the cooker automatically switches to keep warm until it's time to eat.

The display menu is both easy to read and understand: 
Ingredients, Recipes, Manual and Favourites. By selecting one of these takes you to the following:  Meat and Chicken, Fish and Shellfish, Rice and Cereals.  The OK button is like a select button, you turn it to your chosen category.  The arrow button is like a return button and takes you back to the last menu.  In a word, it's really simple to use.  Yes tried and tested - Paul (the husband) actually made Chicken Tikka Masala all by himself - let me tell you that really is something! 

What other kinds foods can you cook: 

You can of course set it to cook a specific ingredient such as Rice, Quinoa, Bulgar Wheat,  Apples, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Carrots, Potatoes, Peas and Spinach to name just a few.  Everything you want to cook the Cook4Me guides you as to how to cook it.

Do the pre-programmed recipes work:
I've used mine a good few times now and have found it really easy to look for a similar recipe and adapt it to your own recipe.  So far I've cooked Chicken Tikka Masala, Beef Madras, Carrots and Cauliflower and every time the result has been perfect.  The Chicken was really tender as was the meat in the Beef Madras.
Just following the instructions on the screen - select how many you are cooking for and it will display the recipe for you to follow.


Can you use a similar pre-programmed recipe in order to make your own:
Yes you can , just find a recipe that's similar to what you want to cook and use your own ingredients rather than those suggested.  For example there is a pre-programmed recipe for Sausage and Bean Stew.  But since I didn't have all the ingredients to make it I chose to make a Sausage Casserole using a jar of shop bought cooking sauce. It turn out just perfect and since this post is already getting quite long I'll include that in a later post.
     
What about Cleaning:
      At first glance of the instructions you could think that cleaning looks a bit of a bother - only due to the fact that you have to remove the pressure valve and wash the drip tray.  Take it from me this honestly takes a couple of minutes in total to remove, clean, dry and reassemble.  The removable pot and steam basket are dishwasher compatible.  The removable pot is non-stick and a doddle to wash by hand in sudsy water so personally I can't see the need to put it in the dishwasher.

All in All:
  Okay, this muliticooker isn't cheap (RRP £249.99) although at the time of writing I see it's now £220.00 but with that said I wonder if cheaper multicookers on the market would perform as well.
Cook4Me is available from Lakeland instore and online - you can also buy it through Amazon too. 
 I'd go as far as to say it really is worth investing in - especially if you work and have a family to feed.  None of the recipes are tricky nor do they require many ingredients either.  Easy to clean and easy to use.  Since it lots of recipes cook in extra quick time - it will of course save you money too.  Remember the beef madras used casserole steak/braising steak which usually requires cooking slowly for at least 3 hours took just 20 minutes in the Cook4Me. Personally I'd recommend this to anyone.

50 pre-programmed savoury and sweet dishes with a maximum of six ingredients
    Keeps food warm for up to 90 minutes after cooking
    Easy to clean - the ceramic- coated bowl is non-stick, removable and dishwasher safe
    Tell it the ingredient and weight and it will automatically suggest the best way to cook your food
    36.5 x 36.5 x 32cm H. Watts 1300 Capacity 6 litres



Many thanks to Tefal for sending me the Cook4Me to review.

Disclaimer:  I was given this multicooker for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.


Sunday, 24 August 2014

EcoCook Energy Efficient Cookware and Bakeware - Review

The EcoCook range of saucepans, frying pans and bakeware from Premier Housewares are very light in weight and therefore heat up extremely quickly which of course uses less energy - the mineral-based white ceramic coating combines non-stick and brilliant thermal conducting properties. 


 New to the range this year are lovely lime green and black.

 PTFE and PFOA-free they are able to withstand serious heat (up to 280°C or 536°F) without the risk of blistering or cracking and they are non-stick.

 Having tried and tested an EcoCook frying pan and a baking dish over two years ago I can say they last a long time.  Bearing in mind, mine were used probably more than the average person, and only just recently the coating lost its lovely white colour and shine making them not so non-stick and sadly had to be declared as ex-pans.  That said after over two years of working hard they really are excellent value for money - prices from £14.99 and £32.99 - I'd recommend them to anyone wanting good quality, nice looking pans at a great price.


EcoCook is suitable for use on gas, electric, ceramic and halogen hobs.  Pans over 20cm are also suitable for use on induction hobs.  Easy to wash too, either by hand or pop in the dishwasher.

To find your nearest stockist pop over to Premier Housewares.

Disclaimer:  I was sent this product for review purposes.  All thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

OXO Good Grips Clean Cut Pizza Wheel - Review

New from OXO Good Grips is this rather ingenious pizza wheel. The Clean Cut Pizza Wheel is comfortable to hold and easy to use and the large (approx 4 inch) stainless steel wheel cuts though pizza thin or thick crust effortlessly.  As the Good Grips name suggests it really does give non-slip grip.


The blade guard makes it safe to store since it doesn't fall off easily which is a good thing but it pulls off quite easily when you're ready to the pizza wheel.  I love the slim-line design which makes it suitable to store in a kitchen drawer.  So it was out with my old and rather bulky pizza wheel and into my kitchen drawer with this one!
 

Cleaning:
It opens a bit like a CD case allowing the blade to be completely removed for easy cleaning and is dishwasher safe too.


Yep, I say this is yet another excellent product from OXO Good Grips and with a RRP at £10 - I say it's well worth investing in one.

You can see many more of my reviews on OXO products by clicking here.

Many thanks to Zara and OXO Good Grips for sending me this product to review.
Disclaimer:  All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.  I only post reviews on products I truly like and therefore would but myself. 

  

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Meat Box Delivery from Meat Porter - Review

There's nothing quite like a good sized English Breakfast to keep you full pretty much all day long.
Of course good quality ingredients are essential.  Proper bacon (smoked back bacon is the only way to go in my opinion) and nicely seasoned meaty sausages  - both have to be just right.
Okay that's the meat sorted so now for the mushrooms, I love these baby portobello mushrooms.  A nice big tomato is essential, baked beans are good too and any leftover cooked potatoes are perfect - just fry them till they start to brown along with the rest of the breakfast.  Another essential is a lovely golden yolked fried egg or two.  Pop some fresh crusty buttered bread on the side of the plate and you're done.
Having recently been sent a rather nice box of meat from Meat Porter, a full English breakfast just had to happen.


Meat Porter is an online artisan butcher, sourcing and delivering high quality fresh meat to your door. We source from the same producers as top London restaurants, guaranteeing you that gourmet experience every time you dine.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Fro-Fru Frozen Fruit Dessert Maker - Review

Frozen Fruit (Fro-Fru)
This refreshing pineapple sorbet was made in less than a minute (after freezing the fruit beforehand) thanks to this great little gadget 'Fro-Fru' from Judge Cookware.  
Of course you can use whatever fruit takes your fancy, bananas, strawberries, blackberries, peaches, raspberries - the list is endless.  Dairy products - milk, cream and yogurt can be used to conjure up a delicious dessert in no time at all.  Kids and adults alike will love this little machine! 


 Here's a few proper pictures of the Fro-Fru from Judge Cookware:




Saturday, 28 June 2014

Chicken with Chorizo and Chilli - Ragu Pour Over Sauce

As someone that really enjoys cooking I don't often use ready made sauces.  That said, of course I do if I'm in a hurry or on a day when I simply can't be bothered.  Ragu have recently launched a new range of pour over sauces and I was sent some to try.  The sauces can be used with meat of your choice, chicken, fish or of course over pasta. 


There are four sauces in the range (although only three are shown in the lovely hamper I was sent) because one pot had sadly met with a bit of an accident in the post!



Each pot serves 2-3 and comes in a microwavable 370g pot and is ready to serve in just 2 minutes. With a RRP of £1.69 a pot I think that's excellent value - the range consists of:
Arrabbiata, Primavera, Sun-dried Tomato and Black Olive and Chorizo and Chilli.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Strawberries and Ice Cream Eton Mess Dessert

Now this dessert came about since I couldn't wait to try out the Strawberry Huller - new from OXO Good Grips and of course the Berry Bowl.
Perfect for summer this Eton Mess style dessert takes no time at all to make and makes perfect eating whilst watching Wimbledon! 



First things first - you need good tasty strawberries and it has to be said these strawberries (kindly sent to me from Berry World) were seriously the best we've ever had.
 The 'Sweet Eve' is a truly British born-and-bred strawberry. They were so, so sweet and juicy and really didn't need anything else with them.  But I was asked to make a dessert and so I did!

The new Berry Bowl from OXO Good Grips is really handy and just the right size to hold a full punnet of strawberries.  There's a colander so you can wash and drain your berries before removing the hulls with this neat Strawberry Huller, also from OXO Good Grips - more about that in a bit.

Wine Collection Hamper from Harrods - Review

I was recently asked if I'd like to review a hamper from Harrods.  I chose this lovely Seasonal Wine Collection Hamper containing a mixture of red, white and rose wines.  Just as you would expect from Harrods, the hamper arrived in perfect condition and I must say the packaging is impressive - it looks so good I don't want to throw the box away!


Inside the outer 'Harrods' box was the hamper box itself, the two gold coloured ropes made the hamper easy to pull out.
All six bottles of wine were very well protected, encased in molded polystyrene and there was a Harrods Corkscrew too.

What about the wines?
Since I'm most certainly not an expert on wine at all, I've taken the text taken from Harrods website to give you more of an idea about each wine than I could.  One quick word though before ordering - since this is a seasonal collection of wines, you may want to check as the contents may vary from those listed below.

*Nadaria Syrah:  An impressive wine displaying plum and damson combined with hints of blackberry bush and leather.

Aliança, Quinta da Garrida Reserva:  Combining classic Portuguese characters with modern wine-making, the 2007 has juicy black cherry appeal.

*Gouguenheim Pinot Noir:  A high quality wine from a unique terroir in the Andes foothills of Argentina.

*Borsao Selección Blanco Campo de Borja:  Possesses a yellow straw colouring with powerful aromas of citric and tropical fruits. 75cl.

*Aotea Nelson Sauvignon Blanc:  With lovely fruit characters, the 2011 Aoetea Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and refreshing with a clean finish.

*Circumstance Cape Coral Mourvedre Rosé: A beautifully dry, mineral and firm wine.



This Seasonal Wine Collection Hamper along with a fantastic range of food and wine hampers including gift boxes to suit all occasions and budgets are available from £19.95 to £2,000

Disclaimer:  Many thanks to Harrods for sending me The Seasonal Wine Collection.  All thoughts are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Tefal Fresh Express Cube and Stick - Review

Chopping, slicing, grating, sticks and cubes of all kinds of vegetables and fruit are rustled up in next to no time with this marvelous must have kitchen gadget from Tefal.  It can cope with pretty much everything from apples, aubergine, beetroot and bananas to potatoes, carrots, celery, cheese, pineapple and many more.


 This and many other kitchen appliances are available from Tesco Direct.  It comes with five easy to change coloured cartridges which are stored in a transparent cartridge.  Just select the cartridge that corresponds to the desired use - each one is easy to identify simply by looking at the type of blade.  That said, the instructions for this product are excellent and you'll find an easy to follow chart on which colour cartridge is suitable for which food item and tips on how to use it.   

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

The Bakers Dozen James Martin Bakeware by Stellar - Review

Stellar Cookware have recently launched a truly lovely range of bakeware by James Martin 'The Bakers Dozen' consists of 13 essential bakeware essentials.
 

 A spring form cake tin
2 good sized baking sheets
2 baking trays
 2 roasting tins
2 loaf tins
a square loose base cake tin
a Swiss roll tin
a fluted flan tin 
and a muffin tin

Having been sent the Large Roasting Tin to try (which was perfect for a Sunday roast) I must say I'm seriously impressed.  I've tested many roasting tins over the years but so far this has to be the best.   Made from heavy grade carbon steel which gives it even heat distribution.  All surfaces of this sturdy roasting tin are double layer non-stick too.  It's dishwasher safe, although having cooked a roast chicken and then roast potatoes in mine I found all it needed was to be washed by hand in nice hot sudsy water -  it was effortless.
Oven use up to 240C 475F or Gas 9 but can also be used on the stove top on a low heat making it great for making the gravy.

The RRP of Large Roasting Tin  is £26.00 - okay at the time of writing I've only used it a couple of times, but I really believe this product will stay perfect for ages.  All products in the range come with the Stellar lifetime guarantee and 5 year non-stick guarantee.     


You'll find a James Martin recipe printed on each pack of Bakers Dozen products too!
For more information on this and other products including a list of stockists pop over to Stellar Cookware. 


Disclaimer:  Many thanks to Stellar Cookware and Pam for sending me this to review.  Although I'm already a big fan of Stellar products, all thoughts are my own and I wasn't required to write a positive review.

Friday, 2 May 2014

Food Preparation - Right Tools for the Right Job

As we all know whatever it is you're doing having the right tools for the job helps you get it done easier and quicker.  This is especially true in the kitchen - for example, every good cook needs a good knife, chopping board, mixing bowls and a measuring/pouring jug to name but a few.  Having the right equipment makes for better results too.


 I'm a huge fan of OXO Good Grips since their products actually work and do the job they say they will.
Having recently been sent the Batter Bowl and the Large 3 Piece Bowl and Colander set to review here's how it went.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Tefal Optigrill - Bacon Wrapped Chicken with Pineapple Pepper and Chilli Salsa

Having recently been sent the Tefal Optigrill I wondered if it really would be as good as they say it is.
But in the short time I've had it I've used it to cook all sorts;  Bacon, Chicken, Burgers, Pork Steaks and Corn on the Cob and every one has turned out perfectly - yep this grill is excellent. 


 The Tefal Optigrill uses sensor technology to measure the weight and thickness of different meats to decide how long it will take to cook them.  For steak, the grill alerts you when the meat is rare, medium and well done.  Fantastic as you can take out a rare steak while leaving the rest to continue cooking. 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Rachel's Organic Greek Style Lemon Yogurt - Review

 If you haven't discovered these already, let me share with you - Rachel’s latest addition to the Greek Style range of Organic Bio-Live Yogurts.  
The new Lemon flavour is in our opinion, totally and utterly delicious.  Having been sent 6 large tubs to try I have to tell you they've gone - yes we seem to have eaten them all. 
Seriously creamy, smooth and very lemony with just the right amount of sweetness.
  

Is it wrong that I ate a whole tub to myself?!
Rachel's organic range contains the yogurt cultures Lactobacillus acidophilus & Bifidobacterium.
They are suitable for vegetarians too.
 
Typical values Per 100g
Energy 582kJ/139kcal
Fat 7.5g
of which saturates 4.7g
Carbohydrate 14.8g
of which sugars 14.3g
Protein 3.1g
Salt 0.1g

  I was pleased to see the whole of the packaging is suitable for recycling which is great stuff.  
Available now from Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Ocado priced at RRP £1.99 for a 450g pot.

Many thanks to Rachel's for sending me some to try.  
Disclaimer:  All thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, 10 March 2014

ChefAlarm Cooking Thermometer and Timer - Review

  The ChefAlarm from ETI (Electronic Temperature Instruments) is a professional cooking thermometer.  It has a count up and down timer which simultaneously displays the count up and down time.  The current temperature or your food item is displayed and it has high and low alarms which you can set to display the minimum and maximum temperature you want before the alarm sounds.


The timer is fully programmable and you can set the count up/down time to 99 hours, and 59 minutes. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Aldi - Nice Wine at a Good Price

Now it has to be said I do like a nice glass of wine!  If you're looking for a proper wine review with all the fancy wording as to whether or not a particular wine has hints of damson, chocolatey undertones and all that, then you've landed in the wrong place - I really don't know very much at all about wine at all.  Apart from it either tastes good or it doesn't (to me) is about the limit of my knowledge.  But if you're just looking to discover some good wines at good prices then please read on.

 
 Recently I was sent four bottles of wine from Aldi to try.  I'll be honest as always, I'd never looked at the wines in Aldi, mainly because I tend to stick to the same couple which are Hardys Stamp of Australia or Banrock Station Shiraz Mataro - another Australian wine.  Although I do like wines from Chile and South Africa too. 


So now you know, I'm only speaking about how I personally found the wines and my opinion is most definitely not one of any real knowledge of wine whatsoever.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Silicone Oven Mitt Range - Judge Cookware

Let me tell you about the new range of Silicon and Textile Oven Gloves, Mitts and Pot Holders from Judge Cookware. 
They're made from nice soft quilted cotton coated in silicone and are heat resistant up to 240°C 


 Having tried the traditional oven mitt and the pot holder myself I must say they are the first oven mitts I've ever felt really comfortable using.  I will admit I almost always pick up a tea towel to remove pans from the oven as I feel more secure and less lightly to drop a tray or pan.
But the Judge traditional oven mitt isn't bulky like some are and doesn't feel too big.  The silicone gives a really firm, non-slip grip and I've used mine every day since it arrived.

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.

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.

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