Saturday, 15 August 2015

Flahavan's Organic Oats

I just love wandering in supermarket and discover new products. During one of my weekly shopping I've found this Irish brand Flahavan 's, making organic oats for porridge. Out of curiosity I've picked one packet and tried at home.  Its twice milled oats have got a special texture and they are quite creamy adding a twist to normal porridge.
Flahavan's has been around for over 200 years and it is a family business with the seventh generation working  on bringing a delicious product, full of healthy benefits. But don't think that with Flahavan's porridge oats nothing else can be done apart from a good breakfast. I've found some yummy recipes on their website and some for next Christmas so if you are start practising now you can master it when you will need it.
Dark Chocolate, Ginger and Hazelnut Oaty Biscuits, so what you need to do? Pre heat the oven to 180C/Mark 4 and line a large baking tray with baking parchment.
Combine 150 grams of Flahavan's Irish Organic Jumbo Porridge Oats with 100grams of buckwheat flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, a teaspoon of cinnamon and 50 grams of chopped hazelnuts. In a saucepan mix together 200 grams of hazelnut butter, 120 grams of tahini, 90 ml of coconut oil 60ml of ginger syrup, from stem ginger and 60ml of maple syrup. Gently melt everything over a low heat until everything is combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir, slowly folding in  90 grams of stem ginger finely chopped. Roll the mixture into 18 small balls and placing on the baking tray. Gently flatten each ball with a fork and bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes or until brown on the edges. Once cooked, allow to cool for 15 minutes on the baking tray before transferring to a cooling rack. While the biscuits are cooling, melt 100 grams of dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of hot water, making sure the bowl doesn't touch the water. Drizzle the chocolate over the biscuits using a teaspoon and allow the chocolate to cool and set completely.
Delicious with roasted meat the Flahavan's Pork, Sage and Cranberry Oaty Stuffing Balls. You will need to pre heat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4  and finely chop 12 sage leaves, then in a frying pan add a little of olive oil along with the chopped sage, 70 grams of Flahavan's Irish Organic Porridge Oats, 1 celery stick finely chopped, zest of an orange, 1 red onion finely chopped, 60 grams of pine nuts and saute until soft. Allow to cool then add  400 grams of pork sausage meat and 50 grams of dried cranberries, mixing to combine. Shape the mixture into 12 evenly-sized balls and place them on a baking tray lined with parchment. Lightly coat other 12 sage leaves in olive oil, then top each stuffing ball with a sage leaf. Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. remove from the oven when golden brown and enjoy.
At the end a nice spicy, flavoured porridge, the Christmas Spiced Chai Porridge. Enjoy this special breakfast by adding 350ml of semi skimmed milk,  3 juniper berries.spice berries 1 thin slice of ginger peeled and chopped, 1 cinnamon stick, a quarter of teaspoon of nutmeg, a pinch of ground clove, the zest of a clementine and bring to the boil very gently over a low heat. Once boiled, remove the milk and allow the spices to infuse for 10 minutes. Strain the milk and spice mixture through a sieve and pour into another saucepan. Add 50 grams of Flahavan's Irish Porridge Oats and 2 tablespoon of maple syrup to the milk mixture and bring to the boil. Once boiled simmer for 4 to 5 minutes until creamy. Top with a spoonful of cranberry sauce and a sprinkling of cinnamon. This serves one.
For more recipes go to www.flahavans.co.uk




Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Flavoured Oils by Tenuta Bianco

Food trade fairs are a mine for finding extraordinary products, often from family run business. At the Speciality & Fine Food Fair I have attended I came across the Tenuta Bianco extra virgin olive oils and I've fallen in love with them. A part from a story of heritage and family values, the girls who run this company, set in a beautiful part of Italy, in Apulia, from the farm established by their grandparents, have got guts, firmness and a knack for revamp their products.
This is part of the flavoured extra virgin olive oils range. I love them all and they are very versatile in the kitchen. They make these oils using the produce from their olive trees and adding 1 % of essential oils cold pressed from spices or juice extracted from fruits. But their products are not only flavoured oils but the classic extra virgin olive oil is a stalwart in their catalogue and they 've got delicious olives in jars and pate.

The Lavender Oil is my favourite. You just shake this lovely tin in order to mix the essential oils e then you give life to a plate of boring boiled potatoes. Only a drizzle and this very sad meal becomes a gourmet dish thanks to the lavender scent of this fabulous oil.
The Flavoured Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Mint essential oil is another deliciousness from Tenuta Bianco. It can jazz up the capricciosa pizza that you buy at the supermarket and mint is delicious with lamb and with artichokes. So I've tried it with pizza but if you grilled some lamb chops and then you season them with the Mint oil you are in for a real treat. Or try it with an artichoke salad.
The Lemon Oil is great with fish and salad. Just to make a quick bite, I've simply seasoned a rocket salad with the Tenuta Bianco Lemon Oil and I must admit it was a perfect combination between the peppery taste of the salad and the oil with a citric hint.   Drizzle it on top of salmon fillets or on a grilled beef steak.
One thing I really like is dipping nice bread in extra virgin olive oil, sometimes I do that and I treat it like dinner. So when I've bought some nice fresh bread from Tesco, the Olive one, I've thought to dip in this Ginger Olive Oil by Tenuta Bianco and the result has been yummy to the third degree. Look how beautiful the colour of this oil is. It is pressed only once in order to preserve all the good stuff in it. Now talking about the practical things, you will wonder that if the oil is Italian you can't find it here but luckily the great girls at Tenuta Bianco thought of design a website with an English version as well as a e-shop so that you can buy their products who will arrive by courier in no time. Check it out at www.tenutabianco.it/en  and I hope you will become a fan like I am.




Thursday, 29 January 2015

Holland & Barrett

Holland & Barrett is the first and only port of call  where you can find brands and products that you can't find anywhere else. With all the food intolerances creeping up inside us, it is great to have somewhere to go to buy free from anything we are allergic and still have a good and tasting meal. As well as these kind of food products Holland & Barrett is a treasure cave of supplements, beauty and sport related products.
This is a fantastic "Pick and Mix" found in some of the branches at Holland & Barrett. A selection of nuts and dried fruits that you can choose at your heart content and be healthy doing something "naughty" like picking delicious goodies instead of sugar laden candies. At £ 2.00 per 100 grams you've got plenty of snacks to last all your week at the office.
Beautiful jars of extra virgin olive oils and vinegars and flavoured oils. This other DIY counter at Holland & Barrett will give you the opportunity to prepare your own dressing oils. You pick a bottle from the shelf, fill it and pay. The oils come from Italy, Spain and other countries where its production is well known. Balsamic and wine vinegars are there as well and all of them are clearly labelled with provenance and characteristics.
I am a tea and herbal tea lover, I drink gallons of them and I've got quite a nice selection in my kitchen cupboard. So I was very happy to sample the Higher Living brews, an independent British family owned label, made in UK. They've got a delicious catalogue of flavours. For me that I love sweet, my favourites are "Sweet Dreams" with lavender, peppermint and cinnamon, "Vanilla Chai" with chai tea, vanilla and honey and  the " Good Mood" with raspberry and Sunflower petals, but I must admit that all of them are very tasty. It is difficult to make a choice and you end up buying more than expected. www.higherlivingherbs.com

Linwoods produces a vast range of seeds, nuts and berries. Its mixes can be used for healthy breakfasts or added to soups and other food or just as a snack like the Whole Sun Dried Goji Berries. All the products are Gluten Free with no Added Sugar, so you've got only natural sweetness. Seafood chowders, fruit crumbles, meat, smoothies or pies will have that extra twist just adding something from the Linwoods range. At Holland & Barrett you can stock up on them and start from small steps a healthy diet. www.linwoodshealthfoods.com
Among many beauty brands at Holland & Barrett Skin Doctors  is one I've known well for a while. Its Youth Cell products are fantastic anti ageing creams with visible results and a very affordable price tag. www.skindoctors.co.uk Its ingredients attack wrinkles and sign of ageing improving your skin in 4 weeks. For more Holland & Barrett products and to check which branch has got an Oil Bar or a Pick'N Mix counter go online at www.hollandandbarrett.com




Sunday, 18 January 2015

Lakeland in the Kitchen

Bake at home TV shows are very popular with a choice over several TV channels. ideas and yummy cakes are baked for everyone  delight and at the end everyone wants to try and make something similar at home. Here Lakeland is vital with all its kitchen tools and gadgets. especially with the new year we all want to try something new and baking is one of the most popular choice.
The Pinata cake set is a very bright tool for baking surprise cakes and biscuits. In February in few parts of the world is Carnival and everyone is dressing up with costumes, a bit like our Halloween. I could see at a children Carnival party a very colourful cake filled with chocolate buttons and small biscuits inspired by the Mexican Pinata dolls.
Cupcakes are very popular and I must admit that most people try their first baking experience with cupcakes. Lakeland has got everything needed to bake perfect cupcakes from colourful cases, icing, sprinkles and bakeware.
This is for the kids but I'm sure that adults will find it amusing and maybe they will use some over 18 liquids as well for gummy sweets. I've sampled these jellies and they are delicious, the set comes with a giant bear as well and three recipes. Just add your creativity.
When I bake at home I like to have tools and other essentials in lovely colours. Mixing bowls, rolling pin, cups and more. Lakeland has got such a great selection of everything you might need in the kitchen. I love this vintage style range.
For all the Hello Kitty lovers this Hello Kitty Cake Pop maker has to be a must in the kitchen. Lakeland has got a whole range about this character  including a cupcake maker, cake stand, cupcakes cases and other branded essentials for the perfect cake. For more ideas and to stock up in great tools for your kitchen go to www.lakeland.co.uk it will be difficult not to buy something or check where is the nearest store if you prefer to browse through shelves finding the latest items.





Saturday, 20 December 2014

Tesco Last Minute Shopping

The variety of party food at Tesco is always great. I don't say this because I write about it but every Christmas, given that I stay here instead of travelling and I spend these days on my own I always stock up on Tesco party food, even few weeks before the holiday and then I will defrost all those delicious nibble and I eat them with pleasure instead of cooking away. After all is a time of rest for me as well.
These fiscakes with lime and chilli dipping sauce are going to be on my table on the 24th of December, for Christmas Eve because  tradition wants that you don't eat meat on that night so fish is hugely popular with salmon, prawns, lobsters and other varieties. I've got these fishcakes and then I will put in the oven a selection of different kinds of prawns in order to have a very delicious platter.

A Ham joint is a traditional choice for the Christmas meal and at Tesco  you can find quite a few options both cooked or not if you want to experiment in the kitchen or you are a top class cook. You can either go online or in store and do a last minute shopping in case you don't have enough room in your freezer and you prefer your meat to be fresh.
If turkey is the choice for Christmas but you want something a bit different try the Frozen Turkey wrapped in bacon and with a fruity stuffing. It is delicious and the bacon will prevent the turkey to become dry, seeping its fat in the bird's meat.
Dry fruit and nuts are a must at the Christmas table. The huge selection in store will make possible to arrange a nice display on a plate with  the offering they've got, from dates, to dry mangoes, apricots and then walnuts, hazelnuts and a range of seasoned mixed nuts.
Lovely sweet mini top iced fruit cakes. Great as a table placing and see if anyone can resist the end of the meal or they are going to be nibbled in between courses. At Tesco you can find a good selection of sauces and other creams to dress your fruit cake or Christmas pudding. There are quite  few options of Christmas puddings at Tesco for any dietary requirement or just if you prefer brandy or cognac or any other tipple.
Last but not least dress your table for Christmas. At Tesco there is a great range of tableware  and decorations in order to feel the festive mood. Go online at www.tesco.com to check the opening times for this week and to place an order for the last bits and pieces before the big day.




Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Thorntons Chocolate for pure indulgence

Thorntons is one of the favourite chocolate brands by every one. Who hasn't spent at least half  hour in one of its stores just smelling the chocolate flavours and buying at the end something in order to bring home a bit of its magic? I did it countless times. For this Christmas the chocolates choice is delicious and perfect for Christmas stockings, trees, a box if visiting somebody or just a stash of goodies to be enjoyed at home in front of the telly.
These truffles are some of the huge selection at Thorntons, all filled with creamy hearts of fruit mousses or nuts or caramel, just to name some flavours. you can customise  your chocolate box choosing the flavours you prefer. I know it is difficult but don't be greedy.
Please don't start salivating over the keyboard. I know these boxes of delicious "Dreamy Desserts" are too good to resist and as soon as you will finish to read the post you are heading to the nearest Thorntons store. White, dark and milk chocolate for these delectable little treats filled with mousses or nuts bits layered  in sweets syrups. Perfect to serve with a small cup of  espresso.

To celebrate Thorntons 60th birthday, a Continental Collection Box include some of the truffles made with recipes from the old times. For the chocolate lover this will be the perfect gift ever.
The name says it all " Irresistible" is the Thorntons range with these boxes where the chocolate are all individually wrapped and available in Belgian Truffle, Irish cream, Gooey Caramel, Nutti Praline and the Limited Edition Smooth Coconut. Nice to arrive at somebody's place with one of these boxes dangling from a finger.

Christmas treats at Thorntons with lots of nice chocolate to fill a Christmas stocking or to hang on a Christmas tree. Children will love the snowmen and the Santa Claus in white and milk chocolate. You can bribe the children to be good so at the end of the meal they can have a snowman as a prize.
Say it with chocolate. At Thorntons you can buy a slab of chocolate and write your own message on it. Surprise in a sweet way your loved one.
I love this Christmas themed box from Thorntons, it is not only beautiful to look at but it is scrumptious and delicious to eat. This is the perfect gift to bring when invited to a Christmas meal. There is nothing better that gift a chocolate box when visiting somebody. I still have to find one person who doesn't like chocolate.
Now in my Christmas wish list at the first place there is the Chanel 2.55 but sure enough at the second place this Thorntons Christmas Box with a selection of Continental, Classics and Dreamy Desserts with 100 chocolates to be enjoyed during the festive days is my dream gift. I can just picture myself in a warm pyjama a mug of hot chocolate and this box in front of me while watching a Christmas classic. Now this is pure bliss. Check online at www.thorntons.co.uk to see which one is the store closest to you or to order online in time with the Christmas delivery.



Thursday, 11 December 2014

Osprey London

Thinking about Osprey London in 27 Regent Street SW1Y 4NQ you would think that it is only about fashion. But on the basement, as well as a delicious Saddlery bar where you can sample some great food you can find gifts for the house and food gifts. I've picked my favourites you can go and discover more.
Honey is one of those products that should always be in the kitchen cupboard. Great to sweeten teas or porridge or yogurt or more it is one of the most ancient food ever. At Osprey London you can find jars of St Albans Honey and Shenley Honey locally produced.

This One extra virgin olive oil comes from Crete, especially bottled for Osprey London. The aroma and the taste are of a superior product perfect either for cooking or for dipping fresh bread in it. Giving a gift like this to a foodie friend will put you in a the top list of the top presents for this year.
I love these butterflies leather place mats. They are an original way to dress up your Christmas table or they are a perfect present  because place mats and coasters are never enough and the choice of colours male it easy to find   what it is best for the receiver. Go online at www.ospreylondon.com to check your nearest store or to place an order in time for Christmas.