Thursday, 31 December 2015

Rum Laced Rocky Road

EAT THIS BEFORE YOU START YOUR NEW YEARS DIET. I almost made a month without posting something chocolate related. Almost, but not quite. This time of year, our home is filled with rum, dark and white, all hailing from Jamaica (as we used the Havana Club rum some time ok), alongside other over indulgent food goodies. I often want a quick chocolate and alcohol hit, but do not fancy anything cakey. This is where no-bakes come in, because you can quickly create an over indulgent chocolate treat that is quick to prepare and even quicker to eat. The rum gives this rocky road a warmth and additional depth, for me, this makes rocky road ridiculously addictive. I struggled to stick to one square and I'm sure you will too. 

100g soft butter
100g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
3tbsp dark rum
300g chocolate digestives
2 tbsp milk
80g marshmellows 
3 tbsp golden caster sugar
50g dried apricots

Melt the butter and milk chocolate in the microwave in a 30 second blast, add the rum. Put the chocolate digestives in a freezer bat, bash the biscuits with a rolling pin - you want a combination of biscuit pieces and crumbs. 
Fold the biscuits in the butter-chocolate mixture, add the milk marshmallows, sugar and dried apricots.
Tip into a lined baking tin, flatten with a wooden spoon, leave to set for at least 1.5 hours. 

Enjoy and have a wonderful New Year.


Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Bargain Fox: Win £150 Tesco Vouchers

This time of the year, after the overspend of Christmas, everyone, including me will be tightening our  purse (or wallet strings). I'm all for saving a pound or two and will say I am not ashamed to use Internet sites to find many deals, whether this is for eating out, spa breaks and trips abroad. Many of my bargains have been featured on this site and I certainly think before you book anything, you need to try out Internet saving sites. There's a new voucher site on my blog, one which I want you to go and check out, it's called Bargain Fox. Bargain Fox have a wide range of vouchers, discount codes and deals from food, to fashion, to travel. There is also a handy page where you can search all deals which are expiring soon, alongside new deals and also a handy organisation profile. As a foodie, they currently have a number of deals by supermarket giants Tesco with a number of money off offers. With such an exciting money saving website, the lovely people at Bargain Fox are offering one lucky reader of my blog £150 Tesco Gift Card, so you can start your saving on a high note.

To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is:
  •  Answer the question below and follow Bargain Fox on Twitter.
  • The competition will run from 29.12.15 - 20.01.16
  • Bargain Fox will pick a winner at random.
  • Bargain Fox will be responsible to sending out the gift card.
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway. 

Win £ 150 TESCO Gift Card
Make sure to use TESCO promotional codes on check out screen when shopping with TESCO in order to save even more money.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Roast Pork Belly with Shrimp and Apple

It's almost Christmas, Yay.  What do you eat during the run up to Christmas? Do you start going all festive  on the 1st December, during the Christmas week, or are you only festive on the actual day? Are you one of those that have dinner parties during December or perhaps a special Christmas Eve meal. There are so many incredible seasonal festive recipes during the run up to Christmas. I think this time of the year, is not only indulgent, the fact that we say the majority of us tend to over indulge on the day, but meats and ingredients which are can be deemed as a special treat are frequently eaten.
I wanted to share a recipe that I recently tried, after the lovely people at Stoves Kitchen asked me to recreate one of their festive recipes. I could have opted for a lighter soup, but being the winter season and the season for indulgence and winter flavours, I decided on cooking Glynn Purnell's Roast Pork Belly with Shrimp and Apple. I love pork belly so this was an immediate choice. Pork belly is an economical family favourite, readily available from butchers and supermarkets. I've never had pork belly with shrimp, it never crossed my mind to combine pork with shrimp, an ultimate twist on the surf and turf. The oven does the majority of the work in this dish, which is perfect if you don't want to be hovering over the stove. Also the delicate flavours that  come through to the melt in your mouth pork belly and the light crunch of the prawns is a wonderful combination. I served this wonderful dish with crispy roast potatoes and green beans.

Take a look on their site, there are such a wonderful and diverse range of recipes from our well loved and trusted chefs and have a #StovesChristmas.

  • 1/2 boneless pork belly
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/2 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 tbsp baby capers
  • 100ml apple juice
  • 1 large English Bramley apple, diced
  • 500g shrimps , peeled and blanched (I used prawns) 
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped sage
  • 1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Splash of cream
  • Knob of butter
Pre-heat oven to 190°C.
Place the pork on a roasting rack, stab all over with a roasting fork. Put salt and black pepper over the pork.
Cook for 2 hours, leave to rest.
Add the shallot to the juices in the tray over heat, and when soft add the capers and apple juice and reduce. 
Add apple, shrimps, chopped herbs, splash of cream and knob of butter.
Carve the pork then serve the shrimp stew all over the pork. Eat with a dollop of mash or crispy summer cabbage.
Disclaimer: Stoves Kitchen asked me to participate in this challenge.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Redder Than Red Cranberry Sauce.

It's that time of year again whereby blogs are flooded with mouth-watering Christmas recipes and ideas. Although I am inspired by the abundant of recipes, the likelihood is that I will only try one or two new recipes or ideas this Christmas. Of course, in an ideal world, I would try all the salivating Christmas recipes and feed my family this on Christmas day - although we would have enough food to last us until the New Year. The new recipes that I do tend to try, all hail from the queen of cookery, Nigella and her cookery book which is a must have to the season: Nigella Christmas. In Nigella Christmas there is a comprehensive guide to a stress-free and culinary guide to Christmas; there are recipes to inspire even the most radical Scrooges. The recipe that I decided to try this year, is the Redder than Red Cranberry Sauce. To be honest, Christmas isn't really Christmas without cranberry sauce. And to add to that, you haven't really tried proper cranberry sauce until you have tried the homemade cranberry sauce. Nigella has a cracking recipe and once you've got your hands on fresh cranberries- which are currently in season, you can't go wrong with this plump, rich and luxurious cranberry sauce.

The recipe for Redder Than Red Cranberry can be found by clicking on the link


Friday, 11 December 2015

BBC Good Food Show Winter 2015

A couple of weeks ago I headed to the BBC Good Food Show. This is a staple on my food calendar and the show seems to get bigger and bigger every year. In an ideal world, I would visit twice during the 4 day event. I always looking forward to seeing familiar faces (Simply Vintage, Foxs Spices) alongside some new faces (Spice Kitchen) and the shows (Supertheatre and Hotpoint stage), this was a foodtastic weekend. I wasn't able to attend any of the shows, in part because of I was busy nibbling on the samples and discovering new food products. I was also able to have a cheese tour at The World Cheese Award that are also held at the BBC Good Food Show thanks to Barbers Cheese. I'll let the food pictures do the talking.

Until next Summer.......
Disclaimer: I received press passes.



Saturday, 5 December 2015

My Favourite Cookbooks of 2015 plus Christmas Giveaway #4

This is a post that I have been looking forward to for many months. In fact, it's my first post where I am sharing my favourite cookbooks in a year. Cookbooks are very close to my heart, not least because it really opened my eyes to the diversity of cooking when I was a student, but also with every dish created, a memory of your own is created. It seems that almost everyone has wrote a cookbook  this year from celebrity chefs, bloggers and TV presenters. But, what makes a good cookbook for me is not just one which the recipes work (this is of course incredibly important), but also where there is real passion shown across each page and a story. I love a good food story, I want to know why you have decided to include this recipe in your cook book, what makes it work and whats the history behind this. There has been a bumper collection of cookery books this year, one of the perks of being a blogger is that I am often sent cookbooks to review. I also treat myself every pay day to a cookbook or three. Oh and when I go abroad, I always have to buy a cookbook from that country. Needless to say, I have a ridiculously growing collection of cookbooks. But this year there has been some gems, beautiful food writing, inventive and colourful recipes and most importantly dishes that taste sublime. So without further ado, here are my favourite cookbooks of 2015 (in no particular order).

The Picnic Cookbook
I love the idea (and in a ideal world I would spend my spare time) of having a picnic, but this something I rarely do. But why is this one of my favourite cookbooks of the year, entitled The Picnic Cookbook, considering I don't really do picnics: I love how Laura Mason has revolutionised the concept of picnic, of which many think involves sandwiches. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the history of picnics from the Victorian era to today. For every occasion, there is a picnic dish to prepare and eat with loved ones. I also loved the recipes which incorporated world foods such as the delicious Cypriot feast and also Koftas and Naans. The photographs are simply stunning and the food looks mouthwatering. 

A Lot on Her Plate
Rosie Birkett is one of the UK most exciting voices in food. I knew that she would be releasing a book as I follow Rosie on social media. There was extensive of media coverage upon her book release back in April. What makes this cookbook and become one of my favourite this year, is that her recipes are incredibly inventive, versatile and comforting. In an era were a lot are focusing on "clean eating", Rosie shows the reader how to make wholesome, fulfilling and inspiring dishes. I also like her frugal/flush approach, showing that good food can be eaten whatever your budget may be. Rosie's book also shares her story and her food experiences from a child up until now. As shared in my review post, this a cookery book for the seasoned cook and one to stretch your imagination. Of all the books in this round up, this is the one that I have cooked the most from.

Vanilla Table
Perhaps it's my naivety or not really understanding the power of vanilla, but I was positively astounded with the versatility of vanilla. It helps that this cookery book is elegant in design and the photographs are stunning. Prior to this book, I have primarily used vanilla in sweet baking. However, with 9 chapters from starters to drinks, to brunch and to snacks, vanilla can be included in every meal, any time of the day. I love reading Natasha' love affair of Vanilla, alongside the chefs contributions to this cookbook manual. The Spiced Lime Smoothie that I made is one which I have revisited on many occasions, alongside many of the brunch recipes. 

I'm sure the debut book for Olia Hercules will be featured on many cook book round up posts this month. Olia has shared the cuisine of her culture and heritage which is shared through her evocative food writing. Ukranian food is not something that is, well, exactly popular in the UK, but in Mamushka, the diversity of recipes eaten across the Ukraine and beyond are beautifully shared. I love the vibrant and exotic recipes and you will be pleased to know that the majority of the ingredients can be found in supermarkets. From the Georgian Garlicky Poussins to the Prague Cake or the Pork Ribs and Dumplings, I wanted to bookmark every recipe and I'm sure you will too.

Caribbean Modern
A round up would not be complete without a Carribean cookbook, I always like to read recipes from other Caribbean islands. This one, by Shivi Ramoutar showcasing lighter, brighter and colourful recipes. I loved the inclusion of many Trinidadian recipes, the accessible recipes, the easy to follow recipes. Above all, I've made a number of recipes, all of which tasted delicious. I loved the bag baked sea bass with black bean salsa. 

The lovely people at Octopus Books and Pavillion books are giving one reader a copy of Mamushka and a copy of The Picnic Cookbook. Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.
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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Porridge & Muesli Book Review

I LOVE breakfast. I love brunch too. There's something comforting about breaking the all night fast whilst I have been asleep and I truly believe that the first meal of the day is the most important. Often, breakfast can become a bore. Perhaps not for the adventurous, but I know many who have the same cycle of breakfasts: boiled eggs on toast, avo on toast, cereal and for some they eat nothing. I'm a little adventurous and am always keen to try new breakfast ideas from around the world and also to transform every day  ingredients into something spectacular.
When the word porridge comes to mind, more often that not I think of the Scottish rolled oats porridge or the Caribbean cornmeal porridge, often served with tropical fruits or seeds (the former rather than the latter). So when I heard of The Porridge and Muesli Book I was intrigued a whole book dedicated to porridge. What this book is a revolutionary take on a breakfast classic. What really opened my eyes is that porridge is so much more than oats; it can be made with oat flour, pudding rice, buckwheat and rye flour. The recipes in this book are really inspiring and some of my favourites include Christmas Porridge with Wholemeal Grits, Porridge On The Go, Creme Fraiche Porridge and Porridge Bread.

The chapters include the following:
  • Oat Porridge Recipes: recipes to try include Oat Porridge Melba and Toasted Oat Flour Porridge.
  • Barley Porridge Recipes: stand out recipes include Barley Porridge with Oats and Christmas Porridge with Wholemeal Grits.
  • Rye Porridge recipes to try include: Rye Flour Porridge, Blueberry Porridge and Creme Fraiche Porridge. 
  • Wheat Porridge recipes, stand out recipes include: Blueberry and Raspberry Porridge and Semolina Porridge
  • Different Porridge recipes, perhaps my favourite chapter, stand out recipes include: Davos Porridge, Millet Porridge and Classic Christmas Porridge and Baked Apple Porridge.
  • Porridge Bread recipes: recipes to try include Porridge Bread and Easy Soft-Crust Porridge Rolls.
  • Muesli and Granola, good recipes to start with include: Toasted Basic Muesli, Crispbread Muesli and 
  • Fruit and Jam: Recipes to try include strawberry and rhubarb compote. 
Baked Fruit

Pajala Porridge

Pajala Porridge

Pajala Porridge

Pajala Porridge
Recipe for Pajala Porridge
Pajala Porridge
Serves 4-6
4-6 stoned prunes
4-5 dried apricots
30g linseeds
30g raisins
1/2 tsp salt
900 ml - 1 litre cups water
40g oat bran
80g rolled oats with bran
Raspberry jam and milk, or gooseberry jam, honey and an oat drink to serve.

Chop the prunes and apricots into small pieces. Mix hem with the linseeds, raisins, salt and water in a stainless-steel pan. Leave to stand overnight.
The next day, add the oat bran and roles oats. Bring to the boil, then simmer the mixture for 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add a little more water if the porridge is too thick.
Serve with raspberry jam and milk, or with gooseberry jam, honey and an oat drink.
Tip: Make a big batch of porridge. Quickly cool down what you don't eat straight away, then cover it and store it in the fridge for a maximum of four days. To serve, divide into portions and heat up in the microwave for a few minutes on Medium when you are ready to serve.

Many thanks to Pavillion Books for my review copy.
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