Saturday, 30 August 2014

Wisdom for Home Preservers, review and giveaway

Robin Ripley author of Wisdom for Home Preserves has developed a "go to" book for those who love to make home preserves. Now, I have made the occasional strawberry or fruit jam and onion chutney but I have discovered preserves are much more than this. Preserving food is nothing new, in fact it goes back to 12,000 BC, presumably to store foods. Most of our grandmother's generation preserved foods for insurance, as there were no 24 hour supermarkets like today and there would be guarantees that a large amount of food would be available. These days, (or in my case) preserves for a wonderful accompaniment to dishes.  This book offers a comprehensive guidance on to store a wide range  of ingredients 500 tips for pickling, bottling, curing, smoking and more. The whole emphasis on this book is sharing tips that are needed so we can become kings and queens of home preserving; here are my top favourite tips from this book as featured in the book. Tip 3 Understand why foods spoil, Tip 9 Prepare what you have and what you love, Tip 27 Regularly inspect and rotate stored food, Select a pressure cooker with the newer safety features and  Tip 96 Let jars rest for 24 hours.


There are 8 chapters in this book including :

  • Chapter 1 Getting Started: which includes before you begin, Get Organised
  • Chapter 2: Bottiling: Preserving Basics, Fruits and Vegetables and Jam, Jellies and Spreads
  • Chapter 3: Freezing:  Freezing Basics and How to freeze.
  • Chapter 4: Drying: Drying Basics and Drying Foods
  • Chapter 5: Fermenting: Understanding Fermenting and Fermenting Foods
  • Chapter 6: Salt Curing and Smoking: Curing and Smoking Basics, Equipment and Supplies
  • Chapter 7 : Cold Storage: Getting Started with Cold Storgage, Cold Storage Produce
  • Chapter 8: Beyond The Basics : Branch Out, Become a Pro and The Home Preserver's Kitchen.


My only critiscim of this book is that I would have liked a recipe and a photograph to go alongside these wonderful tips.

The lovely people at The Quarto Group are offering three readers of Food Glorious Food copies of this book.




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  • The competition is open to UK residences only.


  • a Rafflecopter giveaway

    xxx

    Wednesday, 27 August 2014

    Minced beef pizza

    I love mince. Every now and then it's nice to treat myself to a nice piece of sirloin steak, but more often than not I eat beef in the form of mince. What's not to love about mince? It's eaten in the nations well-loved dishes such as lasagne, spaghetti bolognose, chilli con carne, burgers and my new favourite Bobotie. But in a new twist on an ingredient favourite, beef mince is used in a classic pizza recipe. The recipe looks a bit involved, with the many ingredients but trust me, you will have this on your table in less than an hour.  More importantly, the flavours of the mince topped on the crispy pizza base will make this dish a firm family favourite. So, next time you have a packet of mine and unsure what to use it for than a flavoursome pizza is the way to go.

    Here is how my minced beef pizza from All Minced Up:
    Minced beef pizza baked



    Tomato base

    Topping on pizza pre bale


    Minced beef pizza
    Serves 2 
    Prep time for 20 minutes
    Cook time approx 30 minutes

    Ingredients
    Olive oil, for brushing and drizzling
    175g fresh beef mince
    1 small onion, finely chopped
    1 garlic clove, finely chopped
    1 tsp ground cumin
    55g chargrilled red pepper or use any vegetable topping you like.
    1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander 
    4 tbsp tomato puree
    115 g mozzarella cheese sliced
    Salt and pepper

    Pizza dough
    175g self raising flour,  plus extra for dusting 
    Pinch of salt
    25g butter
    100-125 ml milk

    Method 
    Preheat the oven to 200c/400F/gas mark 6. Brush a baking sheet with oil. To make the pizza dough, sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter and rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Pour in 100 ml of the milk and mix with a round bladed knife to a soft dough, adding the remaining milk if necessary. 
    Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently. Roll out to a 25 cm round and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.  Push up the edge slightly all around to make a rim.
    Put the beef, onion,  garlic and cumin in a nonstick frying pan and cook over q medium heat, stirring frequently and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon,  for 5-8 minutes,  until evenly browned. Stir in the red pepper and coriander and season to taste with salt and pepper.
    Spread the tomato puree over the pizza base. Cover with the beef mixture, top 4th the Mozzarella and drizzle with oil. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minute until the crust is crisp.  serve immediately.


    Enjoy xx 

    Monday, 25 August 2014

    Serenta Chocolate Hamper, review and giveaway of £30 to spend on their products

    I was recently contacted by Serenata Flowers and was asked whether I would like to review a product from their website. After having a good browse on their website, I promptly stated yes. There are many different online retailers that specialise in luxury foodie goodies but often this means a high cost per product, this is not the case for Serenata Flowers. Serenata Flowers specialise in next day delivery of a wide range of flowers such as birthday flowers, summer flowers, occasional flowers and new baby flowers and plants.  My personal favourites from their site are the wines, chocolates and hampers which are all perfect for birthdays and the Christmas season such as the 2011 Mannucci Droandi Chianti  retaiing at £44.99 (as I love red wine) and also the Bordeaux Gourmet Gift Box  retailing at £39.99 as nothing beats cheese and biscuits. As many readers of the blog know, I love chocolates so it was the most sensible decision to review a chocolate hamper so what better way of reviewing the Chocolate Temptations hamper.
    Chocolate Temptations

     Doesn't the hamper look delicious? The hamper is packed in a sturdy box and each item are delicately presented.  The Chocolate Temptations Hamper includes luxury chocolate coated peanuts and raisins which went down well with me and my family, for those who love chocolates and peanuts, it was a double delight as the flavours of both came through in the little morsels of delight.

    My favourite item included in the hamper are the luxury Beligian chocolates, each chocolate has a distinctive flavour combination and the white chocolates in particular were my favourites.


    The hamper also includes many more delights such as the dark chocolate meringues and other goodies such as the truffles.

    I  will definitely be purchasing a couple items from this site, especially as I have a couple of birthdays coming up as well as Christmas presents for my foodie friends. 
    The lovely people at Serenata Flowers are offering one reader from my blog to spend up to £30 on their website on any product they like. If you would like to enter, please follow the instructions on the rafflecopter.

    •  Follow the instructions on the rafflecopter widget.
    • Join my blog (click on the left hand corner of the site and join using Google friend connector), leave a comment on my blog and Like my Facebook page. These are an ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT. 
    • For additional entries, followfoodgloriousfoodx on Twitter and SerenataFlowers
    • All entries will be checked and verified. 
    • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
    • The competition will run from 25.08.14 - 28.09.14
    • Winners will need to respond within 7 days of being contacted.
    • Serenata Flowers will dispatch the winners chosen item.
    • The competition is open to UK residences only.
    a Rafflecopter giveaway
    Disclaimer: I received the Chocolate Temptations Hamper courtesy of Serenata Flowers, I was not required to write a positive review. As always, all opinions are my own.

    xxx

    Wednesday, 20 August 2014

    Caribbean Explosion Cake

    I love Caribbean inspired sweet dishes, cake and treats. I have fond memories of eating grata cake and regularly sampling my nan's West Indian fruit cake during family holidays. I wanted to create a cake that reminded me of the Caribbean which uses celebrated Caribbean flavours but does not include rum. Not that I'm adverse to rum, I do like it in cakes but I wanted to be light but have a fiery undertone. All the flavours of the Caribbean are found in my cake, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, all spice and coco which creates an tangalistic taste explosion with every bite. I have always been intrigued with the chili and lime combination that is frequently used on cake topping. I can't say this topping is widely eaten in the Caribbean, but chili and lime are certainly Caribbean flavours. Instead of probably doing the home baker thing of making my own butter cream, which I should add, I frequently do this (please see my previous cake posts) I brought a couple of packets of flavoured butter cream from http://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk during my visit to Cake International  which I have been meaning to use for some time.
    This cake is incredibly easy to make,  light, fluffy and spicy and even easier to eat. Eat outside whilst we have some sunny days still left with an optional pina colada (see you get the rum somehow) and enjoy.
    Here is how my Caribbean explosion cake turned out:
    Caribbean Explosion cake cut

    Caribbean Explosion cake



    Slice of Caribbean Explosion cake

    Caribbean Explosion cake mixture

    Caribbean Explosion cake pre bake

    Caribbean Explosion cake baked
    Chili and Lime buttercream flavour

    Caribbean Explosion cake topping 

    Ingredients for Caribbean Explosion cake.
    240g self-raising flour
    240g butter
    220g dark muscovodo sugar
    1 tbsp cinnamon
    1tbsp nutmeg
    1 tbsp ginger
    1 tsp all spice
    1 heaped tbsp coco
    3 eggs

    For the topping
    1 packet of Sugar and Crumbs lime and chili butter cream flavour.
    200g butter
    Chocolate sprinkles

    Method
    Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Line two sandwich tins with baking parchment and grease lightly.
     In a clean bowl, combine the butter and dark muscovodo sugar until all the sugar is dissolved with  a hand held or free standing mixer. Add the spices to the mixture and add a couple of tablespoons or so of flour with one egg at a time; this to ensure the egg does not curdle the mixture. Repeat this process until all the flour is thoroughly combined with the mixture, the mixture will be slightly heavier than a typical sponge; if it needs loosening, add a tbsp of water to the mixture. Equally divide the mixtures in two lined cake tins and bake in the middle shelf for 30 minutes.
    After 30 minutes, remove the cake mixture from the oven and leave to cool on a cake rack.  For the topping use one packet of chili and lime butter cream add the butter and make up according to the packet instructions. Top the cake with chocolate sprinkles.

    Enjoy

    I am sharing my cake to a couple of blogging challenged this month. First up is Jibberjabberuk whose hosts a monthly Love Cake hosting challenge, this month's theme is savoury, which as my cake includes ginger, all spice and chill, I can sneakily enter my cake into this blog hop.

    I'm also sharing this recipe to Bake of the week  which is a new weekly challenge that I have discovered by the lovely Helen who blogs at Casa Costello. This week, the challenge is guest hosted by Hay in a Day and I'm more than happy to show off my cakey bake.
    I'm also sharing this cake to the Tea Time Treats  which is jointly hosted by Karen from http://www.lavenderandlovage.com and Janie from http://hedgecombers.com. This months theme is picnic food and I would certainly love a slice of this cake during a warm summers day.
    I'm on a roll this month with these blog hops, I am sharing my Caribbean Explosion cake to Celebration Cakes and Bakes  hosted by Jenny from Mummy Makes Cakes who shared her wonderful cakes and bakes on her blog.



    Thursday, 14 August 2014

    Turtle Bay Caribbean restaurant

    I love Caribbean food, it's the food that I grew up on as a child and often with foods of our childhoods, they bring back fond memories. Caribbean food has recently seen a revival in the UK with Levi Roots putting the cuisine on the map, alongside featuring Caribbean flavours on talk shows. Turtle Bay is the first (to my understanding) chain of Caribbean restaurants in the UK, what a welcome this has been throughout cities in the UK. I have visited two of their restaurants in Leicester and also in Birmingham and I hope there is a restaurant soon opening in my local city, Wolverhampton. 
    Vibrant scenery with Caribbean art work, tasteful Caribbean music. The restaurant in Leicester is somehow superior to the restaurant in Birmingham as there are two floors. The deco is bright, which is perfect for not only not having to squint but also to share beautiful pictures from the restaurant. 
    Staff are attentive, able to offer choices, friendly a real Caribbean atmosphere.
    It was only right that I share the foodie delights from my two visits, and will share more dishes during my next. I definitely feel that if you have not tried authentic Caribbean food, Turtle Bay is the place to go for authentic food and drinks and you will soon fell you are in Jamrock (or Jamaica if you have never heard of the Damian Marley song Welcome to Jamrock).

    Let's start with drinks; there is a fabulous deal at present, 241 (£6.85) cocktails during happy hour, first up rum punch, a Caribbean classic, perfect for those who like their cocktails heavily dosed with rum. Another cocktail I tried was a koka colada , a cocktail that must be related to pina calada, creamy and rich this is perfect drink to go with the spicy meals.
    Rum punch
    Koka Colada
    The first visit at Turtle Bay was lunchtime and I went the whole hog, ordering a Caribbean platter (£12.95) for my friend and I. This scrumptious platter includes: jerk chicken wings, pepper roti, sweetcorn fritters and garlic and herb flat breads.
    Caribbean Platter
    Caribbean platter
    All lunchtime menus are a barginous £6.95 and I chose the Jamaican classic, jerk chicken with rice and peas, spicy succulent and tender wings paired with the mellow rice n peas and crunchy slaw. My friend chose pulled pork brioche bun which was served with fries. I'm not sure how authentic this dish was, but it certainly looked appetising.

    On my second visit, I ordered the curry, shrimp and mango curry (£9.65) which was a flavour explosion. Th tenderness of the shrimp paired beautifully with the sweetness of the mango and the fiery flavour of the curry. The accompaniment of the rice and peas ensured this was a true Caribbean delight.

    As I love food, I mean really love food and vast quantities of it, I love to order side dishes and I'm a fan of sweet plantain (£2.35).

    On to desserts or puddings or sweet treats as we may call them: all are a reasonable £4.85. I've tried two puddings from their menu, the rum and raisin pudding and banana and toffee cheesecake. The rum and raisin pudding won,hands down I absolutely adore the rum and raisin pairing, rich, decadent, fruity and sweet this was a pudding that should be crowned as a must try dish.

    Pros: Delicious authentic Caribbean food, good value for money, attentive staff and hearty portions.
    Cons: There was a slight delay in receiving our main course at Birmingham restaurant.
    Overall: I'm due to visit in September, I loved it so much.


    Turtle Bay on Urbanspoon Turtle Bay on Urbanspoon

    Disclaimer: I chose to review this restaurant as this restaurant is the real deal.
    xxx

    Sunday, 10 August 2014

    Mango, feta, smoked salmon & avocado salad with fresh lime juice

    Summer is still in the swing of things and haven't we had a wonderful summer this year? I only recently realised how versatile salads are for lunches as I usually associate salads as a side dish. Gone are the days of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber, salads can be exotic and tasty as you like. I really like the idea of sweet and savoury together such as the mango and smoked salmon, it does something to the taste buds, it's like your senses are trying to figure out what flavours are coming through. I also like the fresh lime juice drizzled over salads, I first discovered this in Cuba where I observed the locals topping their salads with lime juice. I made this salad for my lunch and was pleasantly pleased and satisfied. In fact, it has become a regular occurrence for my lunch which makes a change for the usual lunchtime sandwich.
    Here is how my salad turned out:
    Mango, feta, smoked salmon & avocado salad


    Recipe adapted from Lorraine Pascale Fast Fresh and Easy 
    Time from start to finish 20 minutes
    Serves 4
    ingredients
    2 x 250g packs of ready prepared or 2 large ripe mangoes
    200g feta cheese
    4 radishes
    1 rip avocado
    A drizzle of a really good extra virgin olive oil
    1 lime
    smoked salmon pieces
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Method
    Tip the mango onto a large serving platter or if using whole mangoes,  slice the two cheeks off either side of the stone. Cut them in half and then run the knife through the flesh close to the skin to peel it, as you would with a melon.  Dice the flesh into bite sized pieces and scatter onto the big serving platter. I like to go back and slice off the remaining shinny bits of mango and do the same thing with them so as not to waste any.
    Crumble the feta cheese over. Top and tail the radishes and then slice then as fine as you can get them before scattering them over also.
    Cut the avocado in half and discard the stone. Then carefully leek away the skin and slice or dice the avocado and add to the salad.
    Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with oil and finish by squeezing the lime juice over.

    xxx

    Wednesday, 6 August 2014

    Waitrose BBQ Off

    When the lovely people at Waitrose asked me whether I wanted to host a BBQ off, I happily obliged. As much as I am a relatively experienced cook I have never held a barbecue. In fact, I've never flipped over a burger on a barbecue so this challenge was a great experience for me. Also a new thing for me was shopping at Waitrose; many say that this store are expensive but I found the meat offers, three packets of barbecue meats for £10 very reasonable.
    There is a superb range of BBQ recipes from the lovely Heston Blumenthal which I used in the barbecue, as you will see from the photographs in the post such as ribs, corn on the cobs and the chosen item for the BBQ off the juicy burger.  The idea of the BBQ bake is one dish to be chosen, in this case the burger and a winner is chosen based on how they assemble and top the burger. But before I share the winning burger I had to share that the products that I tried which was served at the BBQ, such as the maderia cake, burgers, bread rolls and sun dried tomatoes is the best rich quality of food I have ever tried in a very long time. This proves there is quality over quantity.  My favourite dish from the barbecue was the smokey beef burgers which tasted moist, meaty, tender and were hearty. I certainly would make these burgers again as they incredibly quick to make and were a real crowd pleaser. I'm quite a planner but wanted to keep it relatively simple and easy for me, I loosely based my menu on the following gorgeous dishes.
    Here is my BBQ menu planner:
    Roasted tomato & Wensleydale tart
    Smokey beef burgers
    Heston's Asian-style ribs
    Corn on the cob

    Smokey burgers, smoking

    BBQ spread
    BBQ spread inside 

    Wensydale and cheese tart


    Asian style ribs


    Me with the dessert, my big fat trifle from LP  Home Cooking .

    As part of the BBQ challenge one of my lovely guests had to make their own take on a chosen dish, which in this case was the smokey burger. I chose this delicious looking burger as it was piled high with guacamole, salsa and coleslaw. It also reminded me of my nostalgic trip to Brazil where burgers are sold on the streets with an abundance of toppings and the high and full a burger is, I'm a happy bunny. 
    Winning burger

    Disclaimer: I received vouchers from Waitrose, I was not required to write a positive view. Of course, all opinions are my own.
    xxx