Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Iceland for Christmas

This year Iceland  has prepared a range of delicious products to make your Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day Lunch just perfect. As well as fresh meat, vegetables and fish in shelves, its range of frozen food is outstanding with prime cuts of meat, game and Canadian lobsters just to name a few. I've sampled some of Iceland offering and I can tell you that its great price value and its quality go hand in hand. They are both top of the league.
This Zuppa di Pesce has been prepared in Italy and frozen straightaway keeping the flavour intact. It is very easy to prepare and it can be served as an appetiser in small bowls with a slice of bruschetta underneath.  At £ 3.50, the packet can serve 2 very easily. Chilled white wine is a must.
The Luxury Lobster Termidore Tails are sourced from Canada and the pack of 2 is sold with a packet of mature Cheddar Cheese, a cream, white wine and mustard sauce  and a sachet of cheese crumb topping. So technically you can claim this dish as your own. The lobster meat is perfect and this could be an idea for a very intimate Christmas Eve dinner. I would buy another pack and keep it for S. Valentine. At £ 12.00 you've got a main course for two sorted.
A tempting centrepiece for your Christmas Day lunch this Luxury Fillet of Beef Wellington that can be put in the oven from frozen. The  21 day matured beef is topped by  a duxelle of portobello and dried porcini mushrooms and wrapped in  delicious puff pastry. It is priced at £ 15.00.

You can't resist this pack of 2 Luxury Garlic & Herb Seafood Medley Shells. There are king prawns, scallops, squid and salmon and they are dressed with garlic and herb butter, lemon and vegetable oil. They can be put in the oven from frozen so perfect in case of unexpected guests. A pack of 2 costs £ 3.50 so keeping a couple of packs in the freezer is a smart move.
Do yon want to change your menu for this Christmas ? Serve this scrumptious Easy Carve Duck with Cherry Glaze. The duck is boneless, infused with cherry flavoured butter and it comes with a sachet of cherry glaze so that you can finish off the serving dish with a bit of choreography. Priced at £ 10.00 it can be cooked either frozen or defrosted cutting time of cooking from nearly 3 hours down to nearly 2 hours.
Among the many vegetables and trimmings offering at Iceland I've picked these mouthwatering Luxury  6 Bacon Wrapped Asparagus Bundles. I know that asparagus are not in season in December, but thanks to Iceland power of freezing  its products as soon as they are picked, you can taste the full flavour of these exquisite vegetables. They can be served as a starter or next to your main course and priced at £ 3.50 it is a very affordable  yet elegant side dish.
Cheese can't be missed during the festive season. A cheese board, some grapes and red or white wine depending on the cheese is a must. If big dinners are not your thing, or you don't have the space to accommodate many seating guests, a party  with few drinks and nibbles is the best solution. The Blacksticks Blue Truckle has got this creamy but tangy taste, it is a British classic and a great centrepiece for your cheeseboard.
A Macarons Christmas Tree could be a lovely decoration but it would be eaten straightaway leaving your home decor empty. So it is better to put these yummy macarons on a tray. At Iceland you can find a pack of 12 macarons in 6 flavours at £ 3.00: vanilla, praline, chocolate, lemon, raspberry and pistachio. It takes 30 minutes to defrost them at room temperature of 45 minutes in the refrigerator, allowing you to entertain your guests before serving them with a cup of tea or hot chocolate.
If you love chocolate you can't leave these Luxury Glittered Chocolate Baubles in store. You have to take them home and never mind if your guests will never eat them while you've probably finish them all in front of the telly. They are chocolate mousse with a chocolate flavoured sauce centre sitting on a cocoa almond sponge and  chocolate almond biscuit base and then sprinkled with gold dust. They are heavenly. I've sampled them and still my mind goes back to their creamy and rich taste. A box of four costs £ 4.00.
Let's end this meal with another fantastic centrepiece, the Luxury Penguin Igloo. It is a frozen dessert made with a biscuit base, mascarpone mousse and Belgian chocolate mousse. The centre has got a Madagascan vanilla and creme brule centre and it is decorated with white chocolate velvet layer. It is not yet on sale on the website but you can ask about it and as soon as it will hit the shelves you can buy it. It is very festive and different. Check all the other appealing offers at www.iceland.co.uk









Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Perfect Coffee from Dualit

Coffee has become recently much more appreciated and I 'm not talking about the classic Americano, but the real espresso, that despite its strength has become a favourite and brands of coffee have appeared on the supermarket shelves. But to make a great coffee it is not easy that 's why there are so many small kitchen appliances  around. Dualit has thought of a range of coffee machines and accessories.
This is the Dualit Cafe' Cino Capsule Machine, as you can see it is very narrow so it will save up space on the worktop. It works with the Dualit NX Coffee and Fine Tea Capsules as well as Nespresso ones. Its design is very sleek and sophisticated and it will be perfect in any kitchen. Great for an office as well.
The Dualit Cafe' Lusso Cino Capsule Machine has got a built in milk frother so that you can serve  that espresso " macchiato" to perfection as well as delicious cappucino and latte. Using the same Dualit NX Capsules this is a great gift for the coffee lover.
Beautiful in stainless steel  the Dualit Classic Capsule Machine can prepare a great espresso and its design matches the Dualit Classic Kettle and Toaster if you like to keep the same style for your small appliances in the kitchen. This coffee machine has got a compact size so  it will fit in any small worktop.  Compatible with the Dualit NX capsules it is not only a great Christmas gift but works as a wedding gift as well.
These new Dualit Compostable Coffee Capsules have been launched recently and they can be placed, once used, in authorised collection scheme food waste bins. They are not suitable for home composting or for garden waste collections. The green box is the Dualit Single Origin Sumatra Mandheling and it is a 100% ground Arabica Fairtrade Coffee.
The red box is the Dualit Single Origin Indian Monsoon, sourced from a group of small farms and it is made from three different Indian coffees for a great blend. Initially these capsules will be available online from www.dualit.com Make sure to add a box of each if gifting one of the coffee machines  above. It will be a lovely touch and also they can be use straightaway.



Sunday, 4 December 2016

Ideas for Christmas: Multicolour Gifts for the House

I love surrounding myself with bright colour in my flat. Even my computer keyboard is orange and I've got a purple netbook. I've picked few items for the house some of them are quite important but I can see that most of the time we use Christmas gifts to revamp our places with new appliances. So there you go with a list of things from very affordable to high end luxury.
Le Creuset has got a gorgeous range of cookware in a choice of beautiful and bright colours. It is one of the most instagrammed brands because its kitchen essentials are superb and they complement any food blogger picture. This Signature Cast Iron Round Casserole is a classic now and it is available in 19 colours so that Le Creuset products can match any kitchen interior. All the best department stores and shops stock them or you can go to its website at www.lecreuset.co.uk to start filling your own wish list and for that special gift for your food lover friend.
Bialetti is the most famous coffee pot brand. In Italy it is an iconic brand with heritage dating back to more than 80 years ago and  there is a shop just with Bialetti products and coffee pots of all sizes. It is very popular all over the world and they always come up with new and trendy products still retaining their original design.This  Bialetti Mini Express Coffee Pot Gift Set with two cups I've found at John Lewis  is a great gift for the coffee lover. It works like a normal Moka Express, so you fill the bottom tank with water, you add the coffee ground in the funnel and then you screw the lid. Place the two cups under the spouts and when the coffee will bubbles up it is poured directly in the coffee cups. Paired it with a nice packet of Italian coffee. www.johnlewis.com 
Give reality to one of the new year resolution by gifting a slow juicer. This beauty by Witt  cold presses fruit and vegetables and you can keep the juice for up to three days in a light proof and airtight container, giving you the chance to make juices for more than one day saving time and energy. As you can see from the picture it is very narrow so it won't take up much space on the worktop and it is available in red, white or silver grey. Check all details and where to find it at
www.witt.zone
Dualit has been supplying with small kitchen appliances our houses for the last 70 years. The combo Toaster and Kettle from the Lite range have got that vintage design with curved lines and a choice of 9  colours including these pastel  pink rose, blue sky and green pistacchio. The body is in stainless steel with coloured details. The Toaster has got the Peek and Pop feature so that you can check the toasting progress without interrupt it and also has got a defrosting feature and wide slots for bagel. The cordless  Kettle  has got a large heathproof knob so you won't burn your fingers and a rapid boil element that heats the water quickly.  Available in all the best department stores, you can check the whole range and choice of colours at www.dualit.com
This beautiful glass tumbler reminds of the Caravaggio rich palette whose exhibition is now on at the National Gallery and which this item is part of the products dedicated to this event . Revamp your table or choose  a set of these glasses as a gift. You can buy the number of glasses you want to create the perfect set. Museum shops are full of beautiful things that are not available in other stores making them quite unique gifts, and also buying at a museum shop contributes in keeping the entrance free for all. www.nationalgallery.co.uk

Radiators are essentials in any house so why not having radiators reflecting the style of the interiors or the colour palette ? I came across Bisque, a company that is specialised in gorgeous radiators and the choice of styles they've got is amazing. This one for example is the Lissett model but if you are keen on something more classic you can find all the sizes and either for central heating or electric.
Also the range of colours you can choose is huge, we are talking about 2000 shades and finishes. Their aluminium radiators are made from 100% recycled materials. If you want to revamp your house and you've decided to use your Christmas bonus, this is the right moment to contact them.
www.bisque.co.uk
The Master Baker in the house will be thrilled to receive this Kenwood Patissier MX 313. Brightly coloured and with a choice of 5 shades, this is the perfect kitchen gadget for mixing delicious cakes, pastry and bread. Its retro design, with its  curves makes it a lovely addition to the worktop. Find Kenwood products in the best department stores and electrical shops. www.kenwoodworld.com








Friday, 2 December 2016

Next for the Food Lovers

When thinking about Next, one of the most successful high street labels, fashion is the first thing that comes up to our minds. But Next has got a great Home department and when it's Christmas is full of nice and trendy ideas for the food lover as well. I've picked few items perfect for presents that will be very well received.
These Four Stacking Mugs in geometric designs are a great present for somebody who just moved to a new flat. You know, mugs are never enough and these ones are very stylish. Add some nice coffee or tea and it will be one of those gifts that will be used forever. Also they are dishwasher and microwave safe. Their price is £ 16.00 so adding some tea or coffee takes you to £ 20.00 and you've got a nice present to give.

For the Master Baker in the making this set comprising a heartshaped Dish and Custard Jug plus a spice mix for a crumble, is a well thought present. The dish and the jug are in white ceramic, with the dish deep enough for a great crumble pie. It's priced at £ 16.00 which is great value.
Another lovely idea for the kitchen that saves up space on the worktop and it is essential for the chef of the house. These Three Stacking Ceramic Pots for salt, pepper and chilli keep these ingredients at hand without opening up cupboards  while cooking. This set includes already pepper, salt and chilli flakes as well as a  wooden serving scoop. Priced at  £ 10.00 it is a lovely gift for anyone, perfect for those Secret Santa parties.
Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil has become a staple in every kitchen and Next has prepared for this Christmas this set of three little bottles with three  little ceramic bowls for dipping that are  lovely. The garlic infused oil, the chilli infused oil and the balsamic vinegar and oil mix are great as a starter serving them with pieces of ciabatta bread to be dipped in the little bowls. Once finished, you can top up the chilli oil and the garlic oil with your favourite brands leaving garlic and chilli in the bottles.  Its price is £ 14.00 and you can use the flavoured oils to season the pasta as well. Look for more ideas and visit a Next store as well to stock up on gifts, wrapping papers, decorations and a party dress.
www.next.co.uk





Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Master Baker Mauro Morandin and his Panettone

Panettone has become a popular cake for Christmas in UK as well and all the supermarkets and delis have got their own brands or they  import them from Italy. At some delis you will find many artisan brands. Unfortunately, one of the best panettone I ever eaten is not yet available on these shores but if you happen to go to Aosta or to Saint Vincent in Italy at the border with France you must visit Mauro Morandin bakery workshop. Believe me you won't regret the stop.
Mauro Morandin 's Panettone has been declared the best panettone in Italy in 2011 by the jurors of the " Gambero Rosso" an Italian food and wine magazine and  publishing group that every year issues  a guide with the best wines, restaurants and products  in the food and wine industry. This Panettone is made with the best and freshest ingredients around from the water, to the butter and everything is made in the workshop like the orange  and cedar peels with fruits from Calabria and nothing else apart from water and sugar . The result is a soft, fragranced panettone that  only writing about it makes me feel hungry.
Mauro Morandin doesn't bake only Panettone. He grown up in the shop established by his father and step by step he learnt all the secrets of the trade  and now his catalogue is so extensive and he has become one of the master baker with an international reputation. Among his hundreds of products I've sampled these jams which are delicious. All made with fruits sourced locally, you must try the chestnut preserve which is heaven on a spoon and the strawberry jam is out of this world.
This jar has got  some of the best candied black cherries around. They are perfect for a Black Forest Cake for example or on top an ice cream. Mauro Morandin produce chocolate pralines and confectionery as well as supplying other bakeries with ingredients like candied fruit peels, chocolate  blocks and more. Recently Mauro Morandin has introduced the savoury Panettone made with olives or truffles.
This is another delicious products by Mauro Morandin, dry figs in a sugary syrup that will be the perfect top to any slice of cakes or ice cream. Actually you can eat them on their own to better taste the amazing flavour and texture. If you are in Aosta go to Via Porta Praetoria 3 or Saint Vincent in Via Chanoux 105  go and indulge in a spot of shopping. If  you are not there visit his website to check if it is possible to order online and maybe teaming up with a group of friends you can stock up on some tempting and exquisite  sweet things. www.mauromorandin.it




Friday, 25 November 2016

Christmas Countdown: Baubles

Today marks the 1 month to Christmas and maybe it is time to start thinking about decorating the house. Let's start from the Baubles. It is nice to buy at least one new bauble a year in order to have a Christmas tree like in the old days with mismatched decorations  where visitors would spend a certain amount of time viewing them all.
These Toadstools decoration have got a vintage feel and the pack of 4 available at Tesco can be the start for a Christmas tree different from the ones that now are all  with matching baubles and colours. I remember these decorations on my grandma's tree and I'm sure  that they are still in some boxes at my parents' cellar. www.tesco.com
At the Wyevale Garden Centres  there is a vast selection of replica trees, real trees and decoration for the house and the garden. Among all this huge choice I've picked this Purple Sequin filled Bauble, that with the lights on the tree it will shine with beautiful purply shadows. www.wyevalegardencentres.co.uk
At Liberty's head to the Christmas department and you will find a corner where you can order transparent glass baubles ready to be personalised  with initials using a Liberty patterned letter. Decorate your tree with your family initials and give a bauble as a gift  to be cherished.
www.libertylondon.com
At Paperchase there is a great selection of Christmas decorations and this Gold Glitter Diamond one is a novelty that will give a sparkly look to any tree. A set of diamond shaped glass baubles are also available. www.paperchase.co.uk
Sparkly and glittered Jingle Bells in yellow and rose gold and silver can be bought at HomeSense. A box of these sweet decorations will give points of light on those dark little corners of the Christmas tree. Or make yours this idea and put them in a festive bowl for a nice centrepiece. www.homesense.com
Go to Sainsbury's for its extensive Christmas decorations selection. This rich purple bauble with the motto " Meet me under the Mistletoe" from the Midnight collection is another of those baubles that should be on a Christmas tree. www.sainsburys.co.uk 
I love going to museums' shops because you always find something which is not in other shops. Heading to the National Gallery shop this opulent Red Shiny Sultan Bauble is a homage to the Caravaggio exhibition now on show. The top is decorated with crystals and beading and it is a great piece for your tree. Buying anything from the National Gallery will help keep the museum entrance free for all. www.nationalgallery.co.uk

This Mercury Droplet Bauble is in glass with flower detail and silver, glitter and mercury finish to make it shiny. Matalan has got this and many more to choose from in order to decorate your Christmas tree at its best.  www.matalan.co.uk





Monday, 21 November 2016

Ideas for Christmas : Rose Gold Gifts for the House

Rose gold is very on trend at the moment. Wherever you look at, there will be something in this warm shade. In the kitchen the choice is endless, given that in the old times, copper was  a staple in this part of the house with pans and ramekins. Now this beautiful colour has taken on more than the traditional items. If your kitchen is black, or white or any other natural colour, a flash of rose gold will be very stylish, and this is said for each room in the house.
These stainless steel copper plated canisters are from Lakeland and you can buy them singularly or the three of them to store tea, sugar and coffee. They will add a touch of opulence in the kitchen as well as having an airtight seal to keep the ingredients fresh. www.lakeland.co.uk 
Don't leave the Lakeland  website until you've got to the Boska Copper Fondue Set page. This is a great gift for the food lover. It is the perfect idea for a different dinner party, itr is possible to melt cheese or chocolate or sauces as well as oil  or broth for the ultimate fondue bourguignonne . This set is for 4 . www.lakeland.co.uk
Morrisons knows how to put a festive mood  on things and this series of copper tools are absolutely stunning. The can opener, the nutcracker, the corkscrew and the garlic press have got a new look with this innovative colour. They will be in store soon and they would be a great idea if added to a hamper made by yourself, together with a bottle of wine, or a basket of mixed nuts.  www.groceries.morrisons.com
Head to Dobbies  Garden Centres  to buy this lovely Tree Tealight Holder in Copper metal where you can put your tealights safe or it can be gifted to the candle lover together with a supply of tealights. It will cheer up any corner of the house or it will be a great centre piece for the table. www.dobbies.com 
Tesco has got a great range of copper party items, and this hammered wine cooler will jazz up any table with its warm colour.  A cocktail shaker, an ice bucket and more items are available in order to have the full set. www.tesco.com
The Tom Dixon cake stand in copper and glass is a true beauty and one that will go down well with any lover of cake  baking. This is the  item that everyone wants , a real treat, to be used as soon as it has been unwrapped to present the guests with a Christmas cake or some mince pies or a cake baked  for an afternoon tea. www.tomdixon.net
At Currys stop at the small kitchen appliances and look for the beautiful Curve VTT787 4 Slices Toaster by Breville. It is white with copper details and it has got a gorgeous shape. It will stand out in any kitchen. The toaster has got a defrosting feature and extra wide slots among other very useful functions. www.currys.co.uk

Still at Currys the matching VKT018 Kettle  by Breville has got a rapid boiling time so you don't waste much electricity and together with the Toaster they complement any kitchen with style. The copper details are on the handle and the on switch. In order to save money buy them together. www.currys.co.uk