Giveaway - OXO Good Grips Kitchen Products

The nice people over at OXO are giving the chance for one lucky reader to win two of their lovely kitchen products.  Total prize value of £28.00
The OXO Good Grips Herb Mincer worth £12.00 as I have one of these myself I can highly recommend this product - pop over and read my review. 

Preparing fresh herbs is simple with the OXO Good Grips Herb Mincer. Its stainless steel blades quickly chop fresh leafy herbs like parsley, basil, coriander and more. A soft, non-slip grip keeps hands away from blades while cutting. Use the front end as a scraper to gather herbs into a pile for more efficient mincing. The Mincer opens partially to wipe the blades free of collected herbs and separates completely into 2 pieces for easy cleaning. The Herb Mincer is dishwasher safe.


Le Méridien Hotels Creates éclairs from Inspired Destinations with Chef Iuzzini

As part of a rebranding campaign, Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts have been working with award-winning chef Johnny Iuzzini.  Their plan is to better define the brand and align it with the culture and cuisine surrounding each of its properties.

Johnny is a pastry chef, author, motorcyclist and world traveler.  Through his partnership with Le Meridien he is unlocking destinations around the world.


How to Make your Kitchen Work Harder

Keeping a family fed and watered is no easy task, so it’s important that your cooking area is up-to-scratch. If you think your kitchen could work harder and you’re keen to improve this part of your property, take a look at the following simple but effective design suggestions.

Create extra storage;
Clutter and chaos are the scourge of any cooking area, so it’s vital that your kitchen benefits from bags of storage. Standard units may not be enough to house all of your items, so you might need to rethink your current storage solutions.
Bear in mind that specialist suppliers like Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets offer a host of products, meaning you won’t struggle to find the perfect solutions for your home.

From full height cabinets to handy corner units that squeeze maximum use out of these awkward areas, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Include plenty of workspace;
Plenty of workspace is a must in any busy kitchen. If you’re lucky enough to have help with meal preparation, the last thing you want is to end up fighting for surface space with your fellow cooks. If you’ve got the square footage, an island unit might make a great addition to your kitchen. This is by far the most effective way to increase the available space.

You can also free up extra surface area by reducing the number of items you keep on your worktops. For example, storing things like food mixers and condiments on your shelving or in your cabinets rather than on your surfaces can give you more room to manoeuvre.

Choose the perfect appliances; 
Be savvy in your selection of appliances too. For example, if you don’t already have one, it could be the time to invest in a dishwasher. These useful products can shave hours off your weekly chores, and as long as you fill them up properly before switching them on, they can be more energy efficient than using the sink.

A decent sized oven and a spacious fridge can also help to take some of the stress out of family catering.

Make those all-important finishing touches;
Don’t forget to make those all-important finishing touches either. For example, if you’re replacing your worktops, you might benefit from getting steel hotrods fitted in your new versions. These handy pan stands can stop you from burning your surfaces when you’re cooking up a storm for your household. Meanwhile, utensil hooks can make reaching for tongs, spoons, mashers and a host of other kitchen essentials quicker and easier.

By bearing simple design ideas like these in mind when you’re revamping your kitchen, you should be able to ensure it’s more than up to the task of helping you feed your family.

This is a sponsored post.

Mexican World of Flavours Cookware Range by KitchenCraft

Now without sounding like an advert (that's not my intention) but it has to be said, the World of Flavours cookware range by KitchenCraft is, in my opinion simply stunning.
I love the style and bright colours, just look how good everything looks. Of course the build quality is excellent too.

First up is the Nacho and Dip Serving Dish which of course not only looks good but is practical too and certainly draws attention of guests. 

Also part of the range is this gorgeous Burrito Dish - fantastic of course for baked burritos but if you fancy Italian then a nice big lasagne wouldn't look out of place.

I'm loving this Serving Bowl it's available in two colour options - this shown and lime green and turquoise.  Please note the colours are exactly like the burrito dish above but since the sun came out when I was taking the picture, for the life of me I couldn't get the colour to show properly!

I wrote before about how easy it is to make your own tortillas with a tortilla press (also by KitchenCraft)    and this Ceramic Tortilla Warmer is just the thing to keep them warm without drying out.  Now, this can also double as a shallow casserole dish so it's fantastic value for money.

The World of Flavours range isn't all Mexican you can choose from Italian, Indian, Mediterranean, Oriental or Stateside.

Nacho and Dip Serving Bowl:  30cm is dishwasher safe and oven safe to 150C/302F

Burrito Dish: 27cm x 19.5cm x 6cm is dishwasher safe and oven safe up to 220C/428F

Serving Bowl: 18cm x 9.5 cm and is dishwasher and microwave safe

Ceramic Tortilla Warmer/ Casserole Dish: 23cm x 10cm and is dishwasher, fridge, freezer and microwave safe and is oven safe to 220C/428F 

To see these and more great products and to find your nearest stockist pop over to KitchenCraft.

Thank you to Sarah at KitchenCraft for sending me these to review.

Disclaimer:  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.


GIVEAWAY - Perfect Mother's Day Gift from Judge

As you may have seen in my previous post, I reviewed this very nice Glass Hob Top Tea Pot.
Well, the nice people over at Judge Cookware are giving one lucky reader of this blog the chance to win one of these Glass Hob Top Tea Pots AND a set of Two Glass Cappuccino/Teacups the prize is worth a total of £53.50

The 250ml glass cappuccino/teacups match perfectly with the glass tea pot - both are very stylish and would make the perfect Mother's Day Gift.

The cappuccino cups are part of a new collection ranging from tumblers to coffee mugs, by Judge which employs a thermally insulated ‘air pocket’ design to create the ultimate drinking experience.

Hot drinks remain hotter for longer, while the outside of the glass remains cool to the touch.  Cold drinks can be as icy as ever you wish, and yet the outer glass will stay condensation-free. Both of these points mean that you no longer need clutter your coffee table with coasters.

Made from scratch-resistant borosilicate glass, and carefully crafted for a comfortable lip, each vessel is individually mouth-blown by artisan glass makers meaning that every single item in the range is unique.
Despite their delicate appearance and handcrafted formation, all Judge Double Walled Glasses are dishwasher safe, for your convenience.

The glass tea pot of course can be used to make herbal or fruit teas too as shown above.  The tea pot is suitable for ALL hobs types including Induction - for more details you can read my review here.

You can find out about these and more great products by popping over to Judge Cookware (Twitter @JudgeCookware)

The Prize and How to Enter:
The Prize consists of 1 x Glass Hob Top Tea Pot and 2 x Cappuccino cups which of course can be used as teacups.  Every effort will be made to get the prize delivered in time for Mother's day but due to the post this can not be guaranteed.

Entries must be via the Rafflecopter widget:
Please note the prize can only be sent to the UK 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 as will anyone that says they have left a blog post comment but really hasn't!  

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 along with the terms and conditions.


Hob Top Glass Tea Pot - Judge Cookware

This rather nice and very stylish tea pot from Judge Cookware has cloud-resistant glass and can be used on all hob types including induction to boil water and keep tea warm.  Having been sent one to review here's how it went....

It has a capacity of 500ml-900ml so will make between two and five cups of tea or two big mugs.  I'm thinking this would make an ideal for a Mother's Day gift.    


Five Fun Facts About Mother's Day

They gave birth to us, they raised us and before long they couldn’t wait to pack us off.  Now it’s their turn to receive a little love and attention.  Are you planning a great gift, a sweet surprise? Here are some quirky Mother’s Day facts to get you thinking:

Image by Tobias von der Haar, used under the Creative Commons license.

Mother’s Day is heaven for retailers;
You might be shocked to learn how much people spent on darling mummy.  The American National Retail Federation estimated that U.S. consumers spent nearly $20 billion (that’s just under 13 million pounds) celebrating Mother's Day in 2014

Mother’s day and Mothering Sunday are not the same;
Although celebrated in the same way as Mother’s day is elsewhere, Mothering Sunday is a Christian holiday that has been celebrated in the UK since the early 16th century.  It falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent and is also known as Refreshment Sunday and Pudding Pie Sunday. Mother’s Day, however, is a modern American holiday dreamt up by a lady called Anna Jarvis in 1908 as a memorial to her deceased mother. She later campaigned for an annual day of tribute to mothers everywhere and thus Mother’s day was born.

Cards and Flowers say I Love You;

141 million Mother's Day cards are exchanged annually in the U.S and here in the UK, sales of cut flowers increase by an average of 40% around Mother’s Day, making it a very busy period for florists.
Mothers Prefer August;
Did you know that August is the most popular month in which to have a baby?

The Best Way to The Heart is Through The Stomach;

Buying an expensive gift for Mum isn’t always the best plan of action.  She probably doesn’t want you to spend your money on her but what she definitely does want is a bit of your time. Why not spoil her with a homemade breakfast?  Think French toast with bacon and maple syrup, a full English or eggs benedict.
If she’s not a breakfast kind of lady (or she’s a vegetarian) give her a box of homemade cakes or chocolates. If you can’t cook there are plenty of other things that you can do for free.  You could make her a special card or paint her a picture, take her for a walk or go out dancing together. Mum’s love dancing!

Find out more cool Mother’s Day facts by taking a look at this Mother’s Day infographic.

Disclaimer: This is a collaboration post.

Vanilla Table Book - Giveaway

I'm delighted that the lovely people over at Jacqui Small Publishing are giving one lucky ready of this blog the chance to win a copy of this lovely book.

Vanilla Table; The essence of exquisite cooking from the world's best chefs is written by Natasha MacAller. 
You might think there are only so many ways vanilla can be used in the kitchen but Natasha is ready to change your mind and take you on a journey to discover the many wonders of one of the most versatile ingredients in your pantry.

With the help of 33 outstanding chefs, who have each contributed a ‘vanilla plate’, international chef Natasha MacAller has created a truly global compendium of vanilla expertise, showcasing this most exotic and yet everyday spice in over 100 vanilla dishes, sweet and savoury.

By Natasha  MacAller
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth
Foreword by Peter Gordon
19th March 2015 | Hardback | £25.00
Published by Jacqui Small 

Now for the Giveaway - How to Enter - Entries must be via the Rafflecopter widget:
Please note the prize (one copy of the book Vanilla Table, can only be sent to the UK 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 as will anyone that says they have left a blog post comment but really hasn't!  

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 along with the terms and conditions.


Mexican-style Rice - Knorr Flavour Pot Product of the Year Challenge

The lovely people at Knorr have just collected First Prize in the Sauce and Seasoning category for this year’s Product of the Year awards for their innovative Flavour Pots.  To be honest I'm not at all surprised since flavour pots are a really easy way to infuse your cooking with the flavour of fresh herbs and spices just by stirring one into your dish whilst cooking.  Simple to use and with great results.

Along with some other bloggers we asked to join in the Knorr Flavour Pot – Product of the Year Challenge!

Blueberry Bio Yogurt Drink with Goji Berries

You have no idea how much I'm loving the Next Generation Optimum 9200 Power Blender - it's already become my little helper in the kitchen!

So far I've made Piri Piri Sauce in a flash (seriously must have taken me 30 seconds to blend) I've chopped or rather pulverised carrots (just to test the machine) I've made a couple of smoothies and made some ice cream. Of course I'll be doing more recipes to show you but for now here's my healthy and extremely good for you, Blueberry Yogurt Drink with Goji Berries.

Goji Berries can be bought in any health shop and all good supermarkets. They contain high levels of iron, B vitamins and carotenoids - Iron and vitamin B12 contribute to immune function.

Blueberries are rich in natural pro-anthocyanin pigment anti-oxidants - Just 100 g fresh berries amount to just 57 calories and are among the highest anti-oxidant value fruits.  They contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron and zinc.

Bio Yogurt is like Live yogurt (it has been fermented with live culture bacteria) but Bio yogurt has additional 'friendly' bacteria added to it.  It has a mild flavour and a particularly creamy texture.
Please note if you don't have an Optimum 9200 or other power blender you may have to soak your goji berries before blending.  Doo check out my review post here.  

Print Recipe

You will need:
30g Goji Berries
60g Blueberries
500g Natural Bio Yogurt

How to do it:
Pop all of the ingredients into your blender and (if using the Optimum blender) blend on slow for about 30 seconds and you're done - simples! 
Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link.

Next Generation Optimum 9200A Power Blender

Oh my goodness, I have a new toy in the kitchen!  Please let me introduce the Next Generation Optimum 9200A Power Blender.  Now this isn't just a blender, it's a multi-purpose high-performance blender which is suitable for both home and commercial use.

We are talking power here - Oh yes, this is bees knees of blenders!  
A heavy-duty, professional quality blender with high speed of 44,000 RPM (revolutions per minute) and a 2,611 watts motor.

Along with a small group of UK food bloggers I have been sent one of these fantastic machines to play with and keep.  I've joined the Froothie Ambassador Program and will be sharing my recipes as I get to know this machine better.  It also means that if you are tempted to buy one through the links on this website I will get paid a small commission.

Vegetable Spaghetti - Microplane Spiral Cutter Review

Let me tell you about this new Microplane Spiral Cutter - it's easy to use and easy to clean too. This spiral cutter allows you to make spiral cuts out of fresh vegetables. So yes, you can now make your veg look all  posh!

Courgettes, carrots, cucumber all work well and also I'm thinking beetroot would be good too although I haven't tried it - could be a bit messy?!   To use the spiral cutter, just hold what ever it is you're cutting at a slight angle making sure the whole side of the vegetable touches the blade and twist.

The two different size barrels are for different size veg - the larger one being perfect for cucumber and the smaller for carrots.

The blades are really sharp and slice through vegetables with ease.  I have to say I couldn't get the spirals quite as long as I'd have perhaps liked without some breaking - probably just me not getting the hang of it.  Don't get me wrong the spirals still looked good and it's great for stir-fries, creating garnishes or to make a more interesting side salad a bit different from the norm.    

The soft-grip exterior makes it comfortable to hold and easy to use and fits easily in your hand and it's also dishwasher safe.

With a RRP of £9.95 I think this is a reasonable price.
To buy a Microplane Spiral Cutter (available in Green or Black) please pop over to Steamer Trading

Many thanks to Steamer and PBM Marketing for sending me one to review.

Disclaimer:  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review. 


Sponsored Video - AMOYzing Meals in a Minute

Chinese New Year is just around the corner and this year in 2015 is the year of the Goat. I don’t know about you but I find all the stuff about Chinese New Year amazing - I’m actually quite fascinated by it but more about that in a bit.

I absolutely love Chinese food, it's colourful, full of different textures and packed with flavour.  It's hard for me to pick a particular dish but I do like Kung Pao Chicken, it’s just too nice for words.  I love the tingly heat you get from Szechuan pepper (although Szechuan isn’t actually pepper) it is in fact, a dried berry for a type of ash tree.  So if you didn't know that, you do now

AMOY has partnered with International TV chef Ching-He Huang and in a series of videos she shows you how to create authentic Asian meals with just a handful of fresh ingredients and a dash of Amoy expertise. So if you love Chinese food take a look at this trailer video 'AMOYzing Meals in a Minute then simply follow the link to Amoy to see the recipe videos.

More about Chinese New Year:
This year 2015 is the 4712th Chinese year and there are 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac.  
In order the animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

These 12 different animals were chosen after many revisions - the zodiac animals are either closely related to ancient Chinese people’s daily lives, or they have symbolic lucky meanings.

The Ox, Horse, Goat, Rooster, Pig, and Dog are six of the main domestic animals raised by Chinese people.  Apparently a traditional saying includes the phrase ‘the prosperity of the six domestic animals’ symbolizes a thriving family, which is why these six animals were selected.

The other six animals: Rat, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, and Monkey are all loved by the Chinese people and the dragon is a legendary animal with the symbolic meanings of good luck and power in Chinese culture.

Chinese people believe that the first king of China was the Yellow King (he was not the first emperor of China).  The Yellow King became king in 2697 B.C - therefore China will enter the 4712th year on 19th February 2015.

What's your favorite Chinese dish?

Disclaimer:  This post is sponsored by Amoy - all thoughts are my own.

Chicken Tagine with Chickpeas - Simple Recipe

A Tagine is historically a dish from North Africa and is the name given to the actual earthenware pot that the dish is cooked in.  Because the domed or cone-shaped lid of the Tagine pot traps steam and returns the condensed liquid to the pot, a minimal amount of water is needed to cook meats and vegetables.

Moroccan tagines are savoury stews typically made with meat, poultry or fish along with spices and vegetables and often fruit is added.  The result is melt in the mouth meat or poultry which is tasty, warming and proper feel good food.
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