What to Cook for a Mexican Tapas Party

One of the most popular cuisines, Mexican food combines the best of a wide array of vegetables and spices, including courgette, corn and tomatoes (red and green!).

Mexican food on a table
Image by © Can Stock Photo/lunamarina

World renowned for its chillies, enchiladas and tacos, authentic Mexican is naturally fresh, healthy and boasts a mix of superfoods. Native ingredients include avocados, cocoa, tomatoes, squashes and vanilla.

In more recent years, the cuisine has experienced some strong European influences, among these include meats such as beef and chicken, cheese and a host of herbs and spices.

If you’re planning a Mexican tapas party, you may be looking for a little inspiration. The good news is that most dishes are quick and easy to make, and you’ll also find you can reuse many ingredients which form staples of many dishes, which means excellent value for money. Mexican food is best served fresh, and the ingredients listed above feature in abundance, offering a delicious cuisine for your guests.

Whip it Up - Your Guide to Home Baking

Cake, it’s quite possibly everyone’s favourite sweet treat and we all know how much better a home-baked cake is compared to a shop bought one, so how do you get started with home-baking?

Guide to Baking

We’ve got your list to the essential baking equipment broken down into three easy to understand categories:

  1) Measuring, baking is a science so make sure you measure your ingredients accurately to avoid any catastrophes! You’ll need a jug for your liquid ingredients, measuring cups and a set of scales.

  2) Mixing, an integral part of the baking process, your ingredients should combine perfectly, for this you’ll need a strainer/sieve, a hardy bowl and a good mixer/whisk (electric is best).

  3) Forming. The all important final few steps, for baking your cake you’ll need a tray that is suitable for your bake a timer and a thermometer to help achieve that perfect finish!

Now that you have all your necessary utensils it’s time to ask the question that strikes fear into most home-bakers; ‘So, how do I know how long to bake my cake for?’. Now assuming you have good quality cookware/bakeware there are a few different factors you should consider…

  1) Oven type. Do you have a standard electric, fan, convention or gas oven? This will probably play the biggest role in how long your cake takes. Electric fan ovens tend to bake much faster but the best thing to do is to learn how your oven tends to bake, this may take some trial and error but that’s all part of the fun!

  2) Ingredients are key. The more liquid based ingredients like eggs, milk or melted butter generally the longer your cake will take.

  3)Your pan size! A general rule is that the larger pan size the lower the temperature (this stops the cake from burning around the edges and being raw in the middle, every baker’s worst nightmare!).

For a great guide take a look at the infographic below!

Infographic Time to Bake

5 Great Tips for a Successful Catering Event

With staff to manage, food to cook and a new environment to work in; catering is a challenging and exciting industry to be a part of. Here are some tips to make sure your next catering events goes off without a hitch.

Calendar with pen
 Image © Can Stock Photo / vinnstock

Plan, Prepare and Plan Some More: 
When you acquire a new booking, ask your client about the venue and the cooking space. Visit the venue if you have time to get familiar with what you have to work with on the day. If you have time to do this, it can give you notice you may need to overcome any challenges, such as a small kitchen, or a long distance to the dinner tables. A well thought out plan, with a detailed checklist is key for the success of any event. This will ensure you’ve packed everything you need and prepped the food you need to prep.

Food Festivals Worth Visiting in 2018

Although we’re now half way through the year, there are still plenty of unmissable food festivals left to explore. Whether you’re a meat eater, fan of fish or want to discover some new vegetarian or vegan dishes, there’s a festival for everyone. There are also some great family friendly food festivals, so if you fancy taking the whole family away for the weekend to enjoy something a little different. Below are a select few that are worth visiting, so why not pick one and make a weekend of it!

Food cooking in a wok
© Can Stock Photo / kasto

Plymouth Seafood Festival:
Now in its 7th year, this food festival celebrates locally sourced and sustainably caught, high quality seafood. This festival is fun for the whole family, with activities including children’s cookery fun, where they can touch and taste the local produce, it’s a festival for everyone to enjoy! Some of the most well known regional chefs will be making an appearance and showing off their culinary skills in the special Cookery Theatre. If this sounds like the festival for you, then why not book the Friday off work and make a long weekend of it and explore some more of the area.

Meatopia Festival:
A London based festival which takes place from the 31st August to the 2nd of September, Meatopia is the perfect food festival for the meat lovers. All the dishes are taster sized, so you’ll be able to sample a few, which is perfect for discovering something new. You also purchase Meatbucks, as you don’t pay with cash on the food stalls, which can be handy as these can be purchased with your ticket ahead of time. As this is a London based festival, it provides the perfect excuse to spend the weekend exploring the city and taking in some of the sights. There are some affordable London hostels nearby, which make for the perfect place to recover after all that food tasting!

The Big Feastival:
A great family friendly festival, The Big Feastival is a music and food festival, the perfect combination! Located in the idyllic settings of the Cotswolds, this is a rural festival with a lot to offer. With some impressive headline acts, there is also an extensive food line up too! With Alex James’ cheese hub, a street food line up, a collaboration kitchen with Tabasco (perfect for spicing up your day) and there’s also a food and drink market for you to shop some of your favourites. With so much going on food wise, you’ll be spoilt for choice on what to do! There’s a camping option available, which includes some a glamping option should you feel like upgrading your stay!

The Lincoln Sausage Festival:
One of the city’s most popular events, the Lincoln sausage festival draws in a big crowd, with over 30,000 sausages on offer and set within the grounds of Lincoln Castle, it’s not much of a surprise! Entry to this festival is also impressively cheap, so it makes for an affordable day out. There’s entertainment, cookery demonstrations and children’s performers to help keep your younger ones entertained too! If you fancy buying some of the produce, you’ll have plenty of opportunity as there’s a lot of award winning produce available from the local butchers showcasing their products. This food festival takes place in October, so you’ll have plenty of time to plan in a visit to this historic city!

Disclosure: I did not receive payment for this post. I believe it's something my readers will be interested in reading.

The Food Myths you shouldn't believe

Nowadays, dietary tips can be found anywhere and everywhere. However, how much of these are actually good advice or not? Facts and research change all the time - one day red wine is good for you, the next it’s not that great - which is why it is so hard to know what we we should be believing. Well, now it is finally time to put some of those myths behind us, give ourselves a little bit of a reality check and understand which common food myths to completely ignore.

© Can Stock Photo / monticello

Eating carrots helps you see in the dark:
This is a myth our parents always used to encourage us to eat more veggies as a kid - after all, what child doesn’t want the power to see at night? This carrot tale dates back years with so many of us believing it to this day. Although carrots have nutrients and vitamins in them to help boost eye health, they won’t give you night vision.

Mint Julep Recipe - Judge Bubble Crystalline Glasses

Now that the weather has 'hopefully' sorted itself out and is actually feeling like summer may be here at last it's a great excuse to make refreshing long drinks or tall cocktails.

But with that said, personally I don't actually like cocktails! But for some reason I fancied making Mint Julep which is a mix of fresh mint, crushed ice and Bourbon. Anyway I have a friend that likes a Mint Julep or two so I had a go at making it; actually it was an excuse to show of these rather nice Crystalline Tall Bubble Glasses from Judge Cookware.

Mint Julep in a tall bubble glass
Crystalline glass has wonderful clarity and strength making them dishwasher safe. 

Garject - The Best Garlic Press

Oh wow! This has to be the best garlic press ever invented and it is in fact the most awarded garlic press. No mess, no fuss, it just does the job perfectly and all in a couple of presses. I've tried to take photos but really the video show it in action and you'll see what I mean - I say it's a brilliant must have gadget!

Garlic press

Above photo supplied by Dreamfarm.

Designed by a company in Australia called Dreamfarm Garlic press scrape eject! Since we love garlic in this house, this already has been very well used. Life is too short to be messing with the usual garlic presses; all that trying to pick the peel out lark. Those days have gone. I'm truly loving the Garject 😊

How does it work?
As the Garject is opened it's spring-loaded scraper automatically scrapes off the garlic straight to wherever you want it. Push the 'peel eject' button to discard the peel into the bin; and that's it, job done!

Check out this video to see it in action:

A nice bowl of warm sudsy water, rinse and dry is all that's needed although it is top rack dishwasher safe.

For more info on this and a huge range of other gorgeous products by Dreamfarm pop over to Forma House. The Garject from Forma House has a RRP of £28 although I've noticed it can be purchased via Amazon at around £23

Disclosure: I was sent the Garject to try out. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not required to write anything positive.
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What to Cook for a Mexican Tapas Party

One of the most popular cuisines, Mexican food combines the best of a wide array of vegetables and spices, including courgette, corn and tom...