Thursday, 23 June 2011

Happy 140th birthday, Ben Shaws!

Ben Shaws, the soft drinks manufacturer who brought the distinctive taste of Dandelion and Burdock – amongst others - to the people of the UK, is 140 years old this year.

To celebrate this landmark, the company has embarked on a tour of the country’s county shows where not only will visitors get a chance to sample the flavours of Cloudy Lemonade, Bitter Shandy, Cream Soda and the famous Dandelion and Burdock, but to vote on which one is their favourite. 

What’s more, back in the days when the Miss World competition was a global phenomenon, Yorkshire had its very own version – Miss Ben Shaws. Each year a girl who was seen to embody all the qualities of Ben Shaws – fun, sparkling personality, plenty of fizz! – was crowned the winner each year and given a free crate of Ben Shaws soft drinks every month for the year of her reign.  The title was much sought after and hundreds of girls entered every year.

Now, as Ben Shaws celebrates 140 years of business, the firm is to pay homage to the old days by looking to crown a number of contemporary Miss Ben Shaws. “Each and every one of our new Miss Ben Shaws will be given a year’s supply of our soft drinks each,” added Sundeep.  “We’ve had tremendous support from the fans of Ben Shaws over the years and we want them to come and celebrate this landmark birthday with us.”

The company was founded in 1871 by Ben Shaw himself, who used the family shire horses Bonny, Blossom, Cherry and Dick to deliver his soft drinks via horse and cart.  In later years the firm used what became known as the Ben Shaws “pop van” and the drinks came in glass bottles that when returned were a popular way for children to earn pocket money.  And for a shilling an hour, Ben Shaw’s grandchildren would watch the bottles coming off the production line, checking for specks of dirt, making sure very bottle was perfect.

“We’re very excited about it all,” said a spokesman.  “140 years is a long time to be in business and it’s great to see that the original four flavours are as popular as ever.  It’s a brand that has stood the test of time and is as popular now as it was all those years ago.”

As part of Ben Shaws’ birthday celebrations, they can be found at:
Eccleston County Fair 16-17July
Southport Air Show  23-24 July

For more information, visit either or

Ben Shaws® was started in 1871 in Huddersfield by Ben Shaw himself, beginning by bottling and selling natural mineral water from the Pennine Hills.  Ben Shaw then expanded into making soft drinks in his own, purpose-built factory, and distributed his drinks to various shops in the Yorkshire area via horse and cart, using his family’s Shire horses Bonny, Blossom, Cherry and Dick.  In later years the firm used what became known as the Ben Shaws “pop van”. 

The drinks came in glass bottles that when returned were a popular way for children to earn pocket money.  And for a shilling an hour, Ben Shaw’s grandchildren would watch the bottles coming off the production line, checking for specks of dirt.  Every bottle had to be perfect.

Those descendents followed him into the business, and in 1959 the company became the first in Europe to invest in the can – the very latest in soft drinks technology.

The name Ben Shaws is synonymous with premium quality, and the Ben Shaws’ range of soft drinks comprises the well-loved Dandelion and Burdock, Cloudy Lemonade, Bitter Shandy and Cream Soda

Cott Beverages purchased Ben Shaws in 2005 and has upheld its pledge to maintain the company’s standards and reputation.

(EDITOR: Still tastes just as good!)

That's Green: Noted Powys restaurant and hotel earns green award...

That's Green: Noted Powys restaurant and hotel earns green award...: "Britain’s smallest town and popular tourist destination for UK family holidays, Llanwrtyd Wells, famous for its bog snorkelling and man vers..."

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Domino's offer an extra-special good deal from today

To celebrate its new Domino’s Stuffed Crust(TM), Domino's has announced two social platform initiatives to spread the word – a location-based offer integrated with Facebook® Deals and internet-based treasure hunt, Domino’s Stuffed Crust Quest.

The Facebook Deals promotion starts today, Thursday (June 23, 2011) and offers a free garlic pizza bread when Facebook users check in to any UK Domino’s store and order a Domino’s Stuffed Crust. To claim, customers need to present the check in screen on their mobile to the order taker. By checking in with their Facebook account, pizza lovers can publish it back to Facebook and share it with friends.

For treasure hunters, Domino’s Stuffed Crust Quest will launch later this week. The interactive quest challenges Domino’s fans to follow clues around the internet during a limited time period to collect a series of letters. The letters will spell out a secret code redeemable for tasty Domino’s Stuffed Crust bounty. The quest has been integrated with Domino’s Facebook Page, where the first clue will be released over the next several days via a special status update.

Simon Wallis, who has the enviable job of sales and marketing director at Domino’s, said: “We’re delighted to announce the integration with Facebook Deals and Domino’s Stuffed Crust Quest to generate additional buzz across social platforms and encourage pizza lovers to get onboard with our new product. We know that our Facebook fans love to interact with us and hope these activities will really help to whet their appetite for our new Domino’s Stuffed Crust.”

Domino’s Stuffed Crust features mozzarella cheese with a hint of garlic and herbs in Domino’s famous fresh dough. Domino’s Stuffed Crust is now available on all medium and large pizzas in stores across the UK.

Get yourself a tasty deal by checking in via Facebook or start treasure hunting with Domino’s Stuffed Crust Quest at

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Violet liquer to be a hit this year

Gorgeous to look at as well as to taste, The Bitter Truth Crѐme de Violette is made from wild violet blossoms that grow in the Alps which are then added to the finest grain spirit. The Bitter Truth Violet Liqueur captures the delicate elegant flavours of this fragile flower in a very impressive way and it is just as happy to be sipped over ice or mixed up in classic cocktails such as The Aviation or the Violet Julep. To taste it is slightly sweet and flowery however the violet aroma is very unobtrusive and all natural.

 Liqueurs date back centuries and are historical descendants of herbal medicines, primarily prepared by monks. Liqueurs were made in Europe as early as the 13th century when medical scientists brought the knowhow of distillation with them from the crusades. The consumption of liqueurs was later required at all treaty signings during the Middle Ages.

The Bitter Truth liqueurs are prepared by infusing only the best natural ingredients like fruits, flowers and spices in either water or alcohol (maceration), and adding sugar. With an ABV of 22% they have a lower alcohol content than spirits.

The lovely luminous colour is derived from the delicate flowers from which it is made and which provides its hint of sweetness with a top floral note. With The Bitter Truth Violet Liqueur it is possible to mix classic cocktails like The Aviation and The Blue Moon and including ingredients as listed in the original recipes dating back to early twentieth century times, but it’s also equally good in more modern concoctions such as the Violet Fizz.

How to make a Violet Julep:

50ml Barcelo Gran Platinum Rum
20ml The Bitter Truth Violet Liqueur
20ml Lime juice
10ml Sugar syrup
Mint leaves
Muddle mint with rum, add other ingredients (except Violet Liqueur), ice and stir. Float with violet liqueur and garnish with mint leaves.

Available from Harvey Nichols nationwide and prices from £20.82 for 500ml bottle, 22%abv.

Hot spring means bumper crop for wild fruit jam makers

Jam-makers are excited after an expert predicted what could be the best ever year for wild fruit and berry harvests in the UK.

Leading foraging expert Chris Bax said the warmest spring on record has filled the nation's trees and bushes with blossom, which points to a bumper fruit harvest.

Wild raspberries and strawberries are already starting to show and there are good signs of a fantastic blackthorn crop; meanwhile, commercially grown strawberries are already 150 per cent up and grape harvests set to create new records.

All of which is music to the ears of the nation’s jam-makers. Once considered the preserve of older generations, it's enjoying a renaissance thanks to celebrity jam-makers like Kate Moss and Zoe Ball who have helped jam jars sales double in the last 12 months.

Mr Bax, who runs Taste The Wild and is an advisor to British cooker manufacturer Stoves, said: “We’ve had optimum growing conditions with a harsh, cold winter and a spring with little frost and the warmest ever temperatures – a perfect climatic event for our nation’s wild fruit and berries.

“I expect the country to be laden with fruit, and with wild species such hawthorn and wild cherry in abundance, it’s great news if you want to make your own jam with free fruit.”

To capitalise on the bumper fruit harvest and the appetite for jam-making, Stoves has commissioned Mr Bax to produce an iPhone app showing how to collect free wild fruit and berries with recipes for home-made jam.

The ‘Wild Jam Maker’ app lists fruits and berries growing wild in the UK and recipes include Sea Buckthorn Jam and Wild Cherry Jam. The free app can be downloaded from the Apple App store.

Jane Rylands, Stoves’ brand manager, said: “Jam-making is very much in vogue at the moment and with such a bumper crop of fruit this year, our free app will help Britain’s jam-makers find new and interesting recipes using ingredients direct from the land.”

Free fruit is bursting not just from the great British countryside, but also in our towns and cities too – you can pick rowan, blackberry and cherry plum in urban areas.

The world’s biggest jam festival – the WI Stoves Real Jam Festival – will take place in October this year. Last year’s event attracted more than 500 entries from men, women and children across the

For more information on Stoves follow @StovesUK on Twitter and

Founded in 1920, Stoves is one of the UK’s best loved cooking brands. It is also one of the only major kitchen appliance brands still committed to manufacturing in the UK with 100% of its freestanding cookers, built-in ovens and hobs and range cookers assembled at its Merseyside headquarters. All products are designed and built in the UK specifically with British cooks in mind. Visit to view the full product range.

(EDITOR: When foraging for fruits always ensure you are legally entitled to do so. For example, it's best not to encroach on private land, without the permission of the owner)

Bio-Synergy goes Skinny Mouse

Bio-Synergy would like to introduce the newest product in the Skinny range. The lowest calorie and healthy dessert on the market, Bio-Synergy Skinny Mousse.

The new guilt free indulgence Bio-Synergy Skinny Mousse will hit the chillers in the Dairy aisle at the start of July. This low calorie dessert is enhanced with chromium which contains naturally occurring amino acids which helps suppress your sugar cravings.

Bio-Synergy Skinny Mousse comes in two delicious flavours Chocolate less than 80k/cals and Caramel less than 50k/cals , both of which are low in, fat, sugar and carbohydrate. This mouth wateringly tasty treat can be eaten every day without feeling like you need to hit the gym for a week!

Each delicious mousse is an excellent complement to any meal, as well as after a workout or as a low calorie snack. Perfect to fit into a healthy eating regime.

By the way, Bio-Synergy Skinny Mousse will launch with a promotion with Gossip Girl Season 5 to win an exclusive trip to New York.

Well known for Bio-Synergy Skinny Water that has come out top in countless surveys carried out by national media – it was voted number one in a ‘no diet, diet’ test for News of the World’s Fabulous magazine, and scored nine out of ten in a weight loss poll for the Daily Mirror. In addition, it has been voted top product by Women’s Fitness and Slim at Home magazine.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Make sure your strawberries are Good Natured!

Did you know about 27,000 kilos of strawberries are eaten during the Wimbledon Tennis Championships every year?

The Wimbledon Tennis Grand Slam Tournament has become almost as well known for the strawberries as for the tennis.

Here at Good Natured they have been very busy preparing their pesticide residue free Succulent Strawberries (grown as Mother Nature intended) using an environmentally friendly production system to keep the produce healthy and free of bugs, like greenfly and aphids, which spoil the fruit . Their Succulent Strawberries taste delicious whether you’re at Wimbledon on centre court or in your home.

Strawberries feature in some of Britain’s favourite summer dishes from Eton Mess, Trifle, and Pimm’s to, of course, strawberries and cream. Tempted, yet? Their strawberries are available nationwide in selected ASDA and Morrisons stores, and you'll also find them in Tescos in Scotland, in their funky and fully recyclable, biodegradable and compostable punnets.

If you’re after hints and tips on how to recycle, build a compost heap, and even start your own worm farm, find out more at

For more good news about Good Natured Fruit please visit:
For information about recycling and their packaging visit
Follow them @Good_Natured on Twitter and Good-Natured on Facebook.

Make washing and preparing your vegetables part of your everyday routine with OXO

As we in the UK become more vigilant about washing and preparing vegetables in light of the recent tragic E.Coli outbreak, many of us are turning towards our favourite kitchen gadgets to make light work of everyday cooking tasks.

OXO’s universally-designed salad spinner will wash and dry leaves in next to no time. Whether a full head of romaine lettuce, pre-prepared bag or a juicy tomato, we cannot be too careful.

Simply wash your leaves in the removable plastic basket, which doubles as a nifty colander, and add to the salad spinner to dry. OXO’s innovative pop-up handle allows you to spin with just one hand, while the non-slip base ensures that the spinner stays put on your work surface. A push button break mechanism brings the spinning to a quick halt. (So you can chat to friends and family as you wash the salad! Fantastic!)

For those who enjoy snacking on cucumbers or create a refreshing salad but feel somewhat wary given the recent health scares, OXO’s Y peeler is ideal for removing a wafer thin layer of skin. With its trademark, soft-grip handle, OXO’s Y peeler quickly and efficiently peels all manner of vegetables, removing just enough skin to leave behind all the vital healthy vitamins and nutrients. Also available in the range is a serrated peeler for tackling soft fruits like peaches and this is also ideal for tomatoes, too.

OXO’s UK Marketing Manager, Tracy Carroll, points out: “We have all become much aware of our everyday food preparation practices given the recent health scare. With many of us busy juggling work and family lives, everyday tasks such as washing or peeling vegetables often fall by the way side, but now we are all becoming stricter in our regimes.

“Our salad spinner can wash and dry lettuce, tomatoes, even fruit and has been universally-designed so that it is easy to use for the largest spectrum of people, even those who have limited manual dexterities.“

Salad spinner: £25.53
Little salad & herb spinner: £18.38
Y peeler: £5.62
Serrated peeler: £5.62

Designed to make everyday living that little bit easier, the OXO Good Grips range offers over 200 stylish, yet practical tools for the home including kitchenware, organisational tools, bathroom and cleaning products. The company has also now extended into the nursery with the launch of OXO Tot, an exciting new design-led collection of baby equipment including essential feeding and weaning tools in three bright colours, handy cleaning tools and a super stylish, ultra functional highchair.

Available from Lakeland, Selfridges and Amazon. For stockist details visit or call 0114 290 1455.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel announces Aiden Byrne to open third restaurant within their hotel

Macdonald Craxton Wood has announced that Aiden Byrne will be launching his third restaurant on July 29th 2011. Working in collaboration with Macdonald Hotels, Byrne is to take over the operation of the 120 seater restaurant at the 72 bedroom Craxton Wood Hotel on the Wirral, Merseyside, where he will showcase his cooking in a new 'British Grill' concept that will carry his name.

Byrne who currently operates the 3 AA Rosette Church Green Pub in Lymm, and The Collingwood in West Kirkby, confirmed his pleasure with the collaboration with Macdonald Hotels and the hotel in Chester.

Byrne also pointed out he will be looking to introduce the style of dishes already established in his other two establishments. “The 'Aiden Byrne British Grill' concept is going to pick up the breezy comfortable style of cooking that has thrived at The Church Green and The Collingwood,” said a spokesman.

Byrne explained: "It's a venue for everyone. We're looking to enrich the dining experience by blending traditional British cooking with a relaxing venue in tune with what the public want."

The 'Aiden Byrne British Grill' will begin trading as new refurbished restaurant on the site of the Craxton Wood hotels former dining room; The Garden Room. David Guile, CEO of Macdonald Hotels, is keen to confirm another headline chef to work alongside the Macdonald brand.

Byrne continued: "The food and beverage culture within the collection has been particularly strong in recent years. Bringing Aiden onboard allows us to diversify with unique skills we know our hotel guests will find memorable and ultimately enjoy."

Aiden Byrne, is very experienced and was previously head chef at the famed Dorchester has enjoyed a stellar career having enjoyed spells working alongside Tom Aikens, Paul Rankin and David Adlard.

His numerous TV appearances have enabled audiences to explore his dynamic cooking on shows like Master Chef, Saturday Kitchen plus the highly popular Great British Menu.

Macdonald Hotels won AA Hotel Group of the Year in 2007 and over the last 5 years has become a self-styled industry leader in the hotel dining market. In 2010 it boasted 40 AA Rosettes across its collection, nationwide.

Food and beverage director Alan Swinson said: "There are locations around the UK which lend themselves very well to joint ventures with top chefs. Delivering added value to our hotel guests is key to what we do."

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The art of Japanese Whisky revealed

The meticulous attention to detail and the blending of art with nature were revealed at an Omotenashi – ritual tasting – of Suntory Japanese whisky at the Saatchi Gallery on June 13.

Showcased were the Yamazaki 12 year old and Hakushu single malts and Hibiki 17 year old blended whisky during a tasting led by Mike Miyamoto, Suntory Global Brand Ambassador.

Suntory whiskies have earned over 60 awards in the last eight years alone. Recently Yamazaki 1984 year old single malt was named Best Malt Whisky in the World, while Hibiki 21 year old was named Best Blended Whisky in the World.

In 2010, Suntory was named Distiller of the Year, the first time such an honour was awarded to a Japanese distiller.

Suntory has been working to perfect the art of whisky making since the first whisky distillery in Japan was built by founder Shinjiro Torii in 1923. The whiskies were originally created to match the delicate Japanese palate and to complement the cuisines of Japan.

Often Japanese whiskies are drunk at mealtime straight, on the rocks, as a Highball or blended with water as a mizuwari.

While Yamazaki, Hakushu or Hibiki and a delightful partner to sushi or nigiri, it was shown that the whiskies marry well with British and Western style cooking, also. They were matched with fish and chips, burgers and shepherd’s pie.

Another side to the versatility of Suntory whiskies was revealed in a menu of cocktails celebrating the 24 Japanese Seasons. Mixologist Zoran Peric has created a unique collection of Suntory cocktails.

“A Japanese cocktail is about philosophy, nuance and refinement in which the final product inspires the imagination and triggers the palate”, he explained.

The art of the east and the art of the west meet literally at the Saatchi Gallery where Suntory is a corporate sponsor. Suntory has a long history of association with the arts, said Makiko Ono, President of Suntory London. “Our founder, Shinjiro Torii firmly believed a third of Suntory’s profit from all our business operations should be returned to society to enhance the Arts and Culture”.

Ms Ono added: “ I cannot emphasise enough how important the UK market is for Suntory. The Japanese have the highest respect for the United Kingdom and since 1971 London has been the hub of all Suntory operations in Europe”.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Sweet Alternative to Sugar- The Groovy Food Company's Agave Nectar

The Groovy Food Company Agave Nectar is 100% natural, organic, plus cholesterol and fat-free too. And if that wasn’t enough here’s some more sweet news. Agave Nectar is lower in calories yet 25% sweeter than sugar, so you can replace every spoon of sugar with a quarter less of Agave. Because you can use less, you’ll cut calories too. The Groovy Food Company Agave Nectar comes in two equally tasty types:

• Agave Nectar Light & Mild (RSP: £3.09, 250mls) Filtered for longer and runnier than honey, this light and mild version is perfect for adding to hot or cold food, stirring into drinks and for use in baking.
• Agave Nectar Rich & Dark (RSP: £3.09, 250mls) requires less filtering than the golden, Mild Agave. Its smooth maple syrup-like flavour is perfect for drizzling over food or adding to cooking.

Agave nectar contains 76% fructose (fruit sugar). Fructose is a slow-release carbohydrate which the body absorbs more slowly so it doesn’t need lots of insulin to break it down. Because agave nectar is low GI (Glycaemic Index) it helps keep your blood sugar levels balanced, too.

Nutritionist Fiona Hunter says: “Choosing a healthy diet doesn’t have to mean denying yourself the foods you enjoy. Making small changes like replacing sugar and honey with Agave Nectar can make a real difference and will help to make sweet foods better for you - so you really can have your cake and eat it without feeling too guilty.

“The main advantage of Agave Nectar,” Fiona continues “is that it is low GI. A growing body of research suggests that choosing foods with a low GI can help improve insulin sensitivity and bring a number of genuine health benefits. The fact that agave nectar is sweeter than sugar which means you need to use less is another real advantage.”

The sweet nectar comes all the way from Mexico where it lives in a spiky plant called the Blue Weber Agave. The milky white juice is collected from the plant and then filtered where the juice turns to Agave Nectar concentrate. There’s no unnatural meddling, it tastes great and your body will thank you for it!

Agave Nectar can be added to almost anything and you can be sure it will only make it tastier! It’s ideal for all your hot and cold favourites such as; cereal, toast, salad dressings, sauces, ice cream, teas, coffees, smoothies and is great for baking.

It's available at Sainsbury, Waitrose, Tesco, Asda, Holland & Barrett and independent health food stores. For more information visit or call 0333 240 2947.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

“It's What We Do” says Domino's Pizza

Domino’s Pizza is launching a branding campaign to point up the passion behind each and every pizza that it delivers.

The campaign focuses on what it describes as its “key areas” like only ever using high quality ingredients, the fact that all pizzas are freshly made for each order and that it delivers to a vast range of locations no matter what the weather.

As mentioned in the title of this article this new campaign features the newly created end line ‘It’s what we do’ which was developed by Domino’s long-standing creative agency, Big Communications, with with Arena Media.

Domino’s new brand campaign launched on last weekend with 30 and 40 second TV ads appearing at half-time during the England v Switzerland Euro 2012 qualifier and the Britain’s Got Talent final.

The ad was been directed by Stuart Rideout of Ridley Scott Associates, with the voice of famous modern performance poet John Cooper Clarke and featuring the music track ‘Hunger’ by upcoming Sunderland band, Frankie and the Heartstrings.

Said Simon Wallis, who has the enviable task of sales and marketing director for Domino’s Pizza: “Domino’s has been in the UK for over 25 years and while our marketing activity in the past has helped raise awareness and promote specific pizzas and offers, we wanted to use this campaign to remind consumers what we stand for.

“Domino’s has an extraordinary commitment to quality, service and hospitality and our aim is to deliver the ultimately convenient, feel good food. We wanted to highlight some of Domino’s core values that make us different from other pizza companies and to show we’ll always go the extra mile to deliver more for our customers – it’s what we do.”

The first TV ads will air on Saturday on ITV1, followed by further digital activity and press ads. For more information on Domino’s, visit

Cheeses for your barbecue

Due to the dreadful weather, That's Food and Drink has decided to extend its barbecue feature. We continue with a look at cheeses for your barbecue.

As well as serving cooked foods for the barbecue, a lot of thought has to go in to providing special accompaniments to the cooked foods.

Fresh salad leaves are great (make sure they are thoroughly washed, or better yet, grow your own) but one of the best foods you can serve as part of a perfect barbecue feast are some nice cheeses. In fact so long as you do not over cook them, you can even barbecue cheeses. Generally a short time on a flat griddle  will be sufficient.

Classical cheeses that are perfect for serving with a barbecue (not necessarily  barbecued) are Galbani Dolcetta Classico, President Rondele goat's cheese and President Brie. Now, your editor is not, it must be admitted, generally a fan of goat's cheese. But President Rondele goat's cheese tastes so perfect that even he has to express delight in its lively yet clean taste. And of you think you are a fan or an admirer of brie, just wait until you have tasted President Brie. It's soft yet not runny with a distinctly creamy taste that makes you realise that no matter how much you buy you are always left thinking: "Perhaps I should have bought some more?"

And then we go on to Seriously Strong Cheddar, which is one of the Kings of this type of cheese. Strong in flavour yet lacking in the harshness of  some types of allegedly strong Cheddar cheese, this has got to be a top favourite for being a very important part of the cheeseboard for your next barbecue party. And all your subsequent barbecue parties, for that matter.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Eat out for less this month with, the online provider home to money-saving deals for over 800 ltop restaurants and retailers, has introduced new deals to help UK diners enjoy eating out on a budget in June. The website is giving people money-saving deals at the Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Prezzo and Cafe Rouge. often gives deals to UK consumers to help them save at top restaurants, at the moment of the top names is famed Italian diner Prezzo. The latest choice of offers available online includes a Prezzo voucher for getting 2 main meals for just £12 - ideal for enjoying some value for money pasta and pizza.

Gourmet standard beefburgers can be had without having to spend a fortune this month! That's thanks to the new choice of offers. One of the most popular places to eat out on the UK high street, the Gourmet Burger Kitchen is offering savings due to a new Gourmet Burger Kitchen voucher which allows diners to eat any burger for £5.95.

But it's not just burgers and pasta. Fantastic French dining can be yours on a budget too in the ever-popular Cafe Rouge. Deals available via includes Café Rouge vouchers where you'll be able to munch through 2 main meals for the price of 1. And that sounds like a great deal!

Claire Hayes, spokeswoman for, says: “Our mission is to help you save money at as many retailers and restaurants as possible. We're pleased to be able to help people save!"

And as well as the ability to much lunch at a discount, they also offer consumers money saving deals with top high street brands and specialist retailers, and holiday firms and hotels.

For details on how you can start cutting down on your spending without imapcting your lifestyle, visit

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Is this the future of barbecuing in the UK?

(That's Food and Drink continues its Barbecue Week feature with this story from the Stone Bake Oven Company. Has the traditional barbecue had its day? Read on. And please let other readers know your opinion by commenting on the story.)

‘Out with the old BBQ and in with a wood fired oven!' Say many lifestyle magazines, and why not? With the ability to grill, roast, sear, bake and more, it seems the BBQ might be losing its charm as outdoor pizza ovens start to replace them in the market place for the ultimate al fresco dining experience. 

With the Stone Bake Oven Company proving how easy wood fired cooking can be, with online recipes, cook along videos, hints, tips and more, the fan base of pizza ovens seems to be growing.

Once seen as an expensive Italian luxury, the Stone Bake Oven Company feels it has now made these as affordable for every budget, with a range of stone bake ovens for sale, varying in size and for outdoor and indoor installation. The Stone Bake Oven Company are proving to be a one-stop-shop for ovens, wood fired accessories, advice, and stocks a range of iron cookware.

Thinking of junking the BBQ? The Stone Bake Oven Company feels this makes sense, a wood fired oven can cook a broader range of food items, act as an outdoor heater, meet the grilling demands of a BBQ and what's more, exceed them with exceptional flavours, too.

Tom Gozney is the company founder and expresses himself to be amazed at the popularity of their most affordable oven, the Primo, “it seems everyone wants one! They are taking the market by storm as they are both affordable and compact enough to fit virtually every outdoor space.”

By burning only wood, wood fired ovens are seen as a greener alternative to conventional cooking means, and appear to be a natural progression for alfresco dining in an increasingly green conscious world.

For details, recipes, ovens and accessories visit them at

Tesco Real Food says we have the biggest and best English strawberry crop in twenty years

Tesco Real Food has announced Britain's spring heat wave (EDITOR: I can remember that! Just!) has led to the biggest and best quality English strawberry crop for two decades.

The glut of English strawberries – considered by experts to be the best in the world – will result in an estimated 50 per cent reduction in UK retailers bringing in imports.

Experts point out Britain's warmer than usual March and April heat wave produced perfect growing conditions resulting in the crop being at least two weeks earlier than usual and the extra sunshine has also increased sugar levels making the current crop much sweeter and juicier than normal.

Tesco strawberry buyer Paul Jones said: "The unexpected great weather means an abundance of top quality, sweeter than normal English strawberries - of the standard normally associated with Wimbledon fortnight.

"As the quality is so high we've taken far more of the English crop than we usually do at this time of year.

"From the start of May we will be predominantly selling just English strawberries and the need not to import Spanish imports allows us to keep the price down.

"This is fantastic news for the English strawberry industry and should see them getting an unexpected windfall from increased orders from UK retailers."

One of England's largest strawberry growers, R and V Emery, based near Southampton, Hampshire, said it was the earliest start to the English strawberry season for about 20 years.

Vernon Emery, who runs the business with his brother Richard, said: "Our production yield is up by 150 per cent on recent years and if the good weather continues and we get some rain too we could be heading for a record year.

"The extra warmth helped boost sugar levels but equally important have been good levels of light which have helped the fruit set and encouraged bees to pollinate the plants.

"The great weather has also been consistent without dips in temperature which would have hampered the quality."

Since the start of the English strawberry season Tesco has sold 50 per cent more home grown strawberries than it did over the same period last year.

(EDITOR: It's market day, today! I'll be off to the fruit stalls to check on the strawberries!)