Saturday, 31 January 2015

Lollipop the question on Valentine's Day

You'll buy a card, true. And a nice Valentine's gift? Undoubtedly!

But what about something else? What about a special gift for the love of your wife, made in the shape of a delicious love heart lollipop, with an edible flower nestling within it?

They are truly stunning, you can buy them individually or as a special bouquet as a box of ten.

They cost £3.50 each (that includes postage and packing) and can be personalised, too, thus making them unique to the love of your life.

Moorish Humous and dips. They really are moreish!

Moorish Humous and dips. They really are moreish!

Apparently, my wife does not like humous. Or dips. But that was before we found Moorish dips and humous and my wife is now firmly converted in their favour.

I asked her why she had changed her mind? "Whenever I have tried humous before, it never tasted very good. In fact, some of them had no taste that I could identify, at all!

"But these Moorish smoked humous and dips are completely different! They are really, seriously delicious!"

Exactly how delicious are they? Before the That's Food and Drink taste test team could get together to test this range of products, somehow, the Devilish Chili Harissa smoked humous got 'accidentally' eaten., by my wife, who generally doesn't like chilli, either. "Sorry, but it was delicious! Tell them it was 10 out of 10!"

So, yes, dear reader, Moorish devilish chili harissa smoked humous earns a 10 out of 10 from my wife, which is an utterly stunning achievement, so well done Moorish. That kind of accolade from my wife is high praise indeed!

The Smokeyish original delicious smoked humous is a stunning revelation. I was under the impression that I had eaten and, to be fair, enjoyed the smoked humous produced by a different company some time ago.

I now realise that what I had previously thought of as smoked humous was nothing of the kind, that, compared to the smoked humous products from Mooorish, their rival's product was but a pale imitation of a smoked product, with the smoked flavour owing more to the workings of a scientist, rather nature.

Not so Moorish! The smoked flavour is glorious and obviously produced by the employment of an ancient genuine and venerable smoking process.

The Smoked Humous with Caramelised Red Onion was equally delicious, the aubergine smoked dip also passed muster and the lemon and dill smoked humous was another crowd (or rather, taste test team!) pleaser.

The Superdelish creamy red pepper smoked dip is really superdelish and a worthy member of the range.

As for the taramasalata dip? The last time I had any taramasalata to equal that it was at a Greek delicatessen in a suburb of London, many years ago.

Each pack of dip or humous comes complete with an easy to follow recipe, so you are not left on your own.

Who is behind Moorish Smoked Dips? The owner is a cook called Julie Waddell who is clearly very passionate and dedicated to the culinary arts and the art of perfection in everything she does.

To learn more please visit www.lovemoorish.co.uk for details of stockists, more recipes.

Please tell them That's Food and Drink sent you!




Heck of a good meal with Heck meats

Heck Meats proudly proclaim that "We do damn good sausages." Ands this isn't an idle boast, because Heck do really make some damn good sausages.

Years ago, almost anyone could get sausages like those Heck carefully and lovingly prepare. People would go to their local butcher (there were even specialist pork butchers who sold nothing but pork and pork products) and buy some excellent sausages, made on the premises under the skilled and careful master butcher who were carrying on a tradition that had run through the generations of their family for hundreds of years.

But even though some of these family butchers are being run by the grandchildren of those master butchers, the heart and soul has gone from their business and they might even sell nothing but factory produced sausages that have no taste whatsoever.

So, how do you get sausage and meat products like your parents or even your grandparents used to buy as a matter of course in the local high street? You turn to Heck!

Heck are producers and purveyors of fine quality sausages and sausage products.

My wife's favourite Heck product (so far!) is their Smoky Chorizo-style 97% pork sausages. I liked them well enough, but my wife raved about them for several days after we ate them. What was of equal importance for her was the fact that they are gluten free, so no uncomfortable tummy problems after a meal of Heck sausages. In fact, all Heck sausages are gluten free, so that's something to consider if you are cooking for someone with a gluten allergy or intolerance.

My own favourite was the Heck Fair & Square 97% Pork sausages. To my mind (and stomach!) There's nothing quite like a good, square sausage. They are great with rice, a nice salad, with mashed potatoes, chips or jacket potatoes, on a sandwich or even on their own. Also, try soda bread instead of standard bread, it's a divine marriage!

We also tried Chicken Italia, an extremely interesting and thoughtful combination of British chicken breast and thigh meat sausages carefully married with basil and  mozzarella cheese. Although Heck suggest slicing up and stirring into a creamy risotto, we had ours with a nice leaf and tomato salad, served with a handmade dressing that we quickly whipped up just prior to serving.

The next day we enjoyed another Chicken Italia, but these were absolutely delicious chicken burgers. once again seasoned with basil, tomatoes and mozzarella.

Where can you find Heck sausages? At Tesco or Asda branches (just check on the Heck website for the nearest branches) or you can buy direct from the delightful and very enthusiastic Keeble family who own Heck Foods, the mail order link is at the top of the page.

And to our delight, it seems that Heck's policy is not only to produce sausages to good, old-fashioned recipes, they also seem keen to charge prices that are a blast from the past, too! I mean, come on! Where else could you buy six family made Plump Pork and Apple sausages for only
£3.00?

Just visit www.heckfood.co.uk and make your selection. You will be glad you did. And please mention That's Food and Drink when you order online.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Newby English Breakfast Tea

Newby English Breakfast Tea is described as: "A rich amber cup that is brisk and full-bodied, followed by a prolonged, spicy and malty aftertaste."

Although the tea comes in tea bags it actually tastes as good as the finest quality loose leaf tea.

This is because Newby employs some unique natural fibre silken pyramid bags that are biodegradable which allows the full flavour of the tea to come to the fore.

Let's talk about the taste. There is a subtle hint of oriental spices in the overall taste and my wife identified a certain level of natural sweetness that permeated the tea. "It's tastes almost like honey," she pointed out.

And after a moment's quiet reflection and tasting I had to agree. Rather than maltiness we detected that sweet flavour as being more akin to honey. But individual tastes do vary. And either way, it is undoubtedly delicious.

There is also a hint of fruitiness to the finish.

This was very much to our liking and although it is billed as an English Breakfast Tea it is equally delicious at any time of day.

Newby teas are now available at Waitrose and Newby blends and retails a wide range of teas and tisanes.

To learn more visit www.newbyteas.com.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Chocolate just got even more Divine!

Divine Chocolate is owned by the cocoa farmers who grow the beans. And they are delighted to announce to the world's chocolate lovers that they have launched a fantastic new bar to their growing range.

It's a dark chocolate bar filled with the richest of rich, smooth caramels.

The Divine Caramel Dark Chocolate bar is 40g of pure and utterly ethical goodness and only costs £1.00 from Oxfam, Divine's own online shop and through good independent retailers, but more  stockists are being sourced!

It's launch is in time for Fairtrade Fortnight (23rd February- 8th March), it's a divine blend of rich dark chocolate with a soft, smooth, caramel filling.

Have you tried and enjoyed the Milk Chocolate Caramel bar? You'll be pleased to learn that the Dark Chocolate Caramel bar uses the same rich, buttery and utterly delicious caramel!

It's also completely palm oil free, which is an added bonus..

This new product follows the two latest additions to Divine's 100g range, 70% Dark Chocolate with Mango and Coconut and 38% Milk Chocolate with Whole Almonds. All Divine chocolate is made with the 'best of the best' Ghanaian cocoa grown by the company's farmer owners.

The That's Food and Drink view? "It's utterly delicious, the chocolate is perfect, as is the caramel. I tried to make the bar last as long as I could, as it tastes so wonderful!"



Saturday, 24 January 2015

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Echo Falls introduces a sparkling tisane

When I heard about the new Echo Falls drink their alcohol free sparkling tisane, I was intrigued.

It is not just a tisane or a sparkling infusion. It is sold in a Champagne style bottle and even has a real cork to seal it as it is a carbonated drink.

It must be served chilled.

When I poured my wife a glass or two we both remarked that it did look an awful lot like Champagne in the glass.

It was bubbly and my wife said that it had a soft, mellow taste. My wife thought it tasted similar to an elderflower sparkling wine, though of course there is no alcohol.

Whilst there was none of the "bite" (for want of a better word) that one associates with the presence of alcohol within the drink, it did have an incredibly good mouthfeel and had a pleasing aftertaste.

If you can't or just won't drink alcohol, or have a guest who doesn't indulge, then Echo Falls Sparkling Tisane will be a fine addition to your chiller.

And although there's probably no scientific reason for this, I must say that the drink did give me a little bit of a boost. And with no hangover the next day, you might just be pleased you decided to buy a bottle (or two!) of Echo Falls Sparkling Tisane.




The perfect romantic curry with the spice Kitchen

Although it is true that curried dishes are more of a British invention than anything other than a passing nod to the wonderful foods of the Indian sub-continent, the name curry is seen as shorthand for the culinary traditions of India.

Which is a pity because the thousands of years of Indian culinary traditions are so much more than that.

However, if you would like to dine like an Indian family would dine, then Spice Kitchen (they're based in Birmingham) will have all the spices and seasonings that you will require to cook like an Indian masterchef.  (Somewhat like my wife, though that's a different story!)

Just visit their website at www.spicekitchenuk.com to learn all about their fantasitc range of goodies.

Don't take your spouse out for a romantic Indian meal this Valentine's Day! Instead, order a Spice Tin from Spice kitchen and create your own masterpiece.

Their Spice Tins start at £19.95 and they come complete with bowls, spoons and all the spices that you could ever need to create a culinary masterpiece for the man or woman of your life.

Sanjay and Sashi are the people behind Spice Kitchen and you will be able to follow Sashi's (AKA Mrs A)  recipes with great ease as the list of ingredients is not long andthe instructions very clear and precise.

After trying a chicken curry to the recipe we have decided that we will prepare a nice Valentine's Day romantic meal using the same recipe.

Will we have chicken, again? Perhaps. Though we are seriously considering using fish, lamb or perhaps even Quorn to make a vegetarian dish.

Whatever we deciode to cook, we are fully aware that with the excellent fresh herbs and spices that Spice kitchen sells, that our romantic dinner will be a most excellent repast for the two of us.

And my wife has promised to cook some roti to go with it!

Apparently it is up to me to select the wine!

Romance is not dead with Abra-ca-Debora pancakes

Never thought of Dutch pancakes as being romantic?

Picture the scene. You and your honey, with a 200g bag of Abra-ca-Debora "diddy sweet Dutch pancakes" and a jar of honey to dip them in as you watch a romantic film together on Valentine's Day, along with a suitable bottle of wine?

What could be more romantic than that?

Or what about a pack of six Sweet Dutch Pancakes from Abra-ca-Debora to make the basis of a romantic Valentine's Day breakfast? Or a romantic lunch or tea, instead?

Apparently you have to consume the mini dipping pancakes within three days of opening. Although after eating these deliciously little morish treats, we are of the opinion that they are more likely to last you three minutes rather than three days!

The mini dipping pancakes don't have to be warmed (though there's nothing to stop you doing this) but you can cook the larger size pancakes. They are a very flexible friend as you can oven cook them, pan fry or even microwave.

We served ours with honey and chocolate hazelnut spread and they were absolutely delicious. In fact they are the only commercially cooked pancakes that I have tried that really could be taken as home cooked, but in the best possible sense of that term.

They are suitable for vegetarians, but not vegans

To learn more visit their website www.Abra-ca-Debora.co.uk and see a whole host of fantasitc recipe ideas.

Not only are these pancakes great for a Valentine's Day treat, they'll be perfect for Shrove Tuesday, too!

They should be available at your local supermarket. If in doubt, ask at your supermarket's customer service desk.


And don't forget about Easter, too!

INGREDIENTS
2 Sweet Abra-ca-Debora Dutch Pancakes
25g butter
50g milk or dark chocolate, broken into chunks
1.5 tbsp golden syrup
50g cornflakes
Bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs
METHOD
Place pancakes in a bowl. Melt the butter, chocolate and golden syrup in a saucepan over a low heat, or briefly in the microwave. Allow the mixture to cool slightly and then pour over the cornflakes. Mix with a wooden spoon.
Spoon the mix over one half of each pancake, fold over, allowing some of the mix to peep out.
Nestle the little eggs into the opening amongst the flakes

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Choc nibbles. What you should buy for the chocolate lover in your life

I don't think anyone would mind me saying that Choc Nibbles might not be the most sexy or the best best looking chocolates you have ever seen, but they will be amongst some of the best and most sexy chocolates that you or your beloved have ever tasted.

Sweetdreams have been making Choc Nibble products in the North East of England for three decades.

The are small pellets of chocolate that are all created to a unique and secret recipe dreamed up by the family who own the business way back in 1985.

Whilst they may look unusual (quirky is one term used to describe them) they will transport your beloved directly to chocolate Heaven as they are not so much moorish as utterly, irresistibly addictive! So be warned!

They make Original Choc Nibbles, Toffee Crumble, Orange Choc Nibbles, Mint Choc Nibbles and Choc Lick.

They are all velvety smooth, yet also with an understated yet perfect bit of extra bite, too. Except for Chock Lick, which is just velvety smooth and is ideal for just eating by the spoonful or for using to add oomph to your otherwise ordinary drinking chocolate or for adding to coffee to make a mocha that is so Heavenly you just will not believe how good it is until you try it for yourself.

The flavours of each of the products are nothing short of perfection in chocolate form and if you have to buy a Valentine's Day gift for a chocolate lover, if you really want to make them happy buy them several pounds in weight of a mixed batch of Choc Nibble products, but them in a big fancy heart-shaped box with a big ribbon on it and watch them enter chocolate Heaven. If you are lucky they'll perhaps share some with you, but perhaps they won't!

They are great value for money, a 200g grab bag costs a remarkably modest £1!

You can even buy them in giant 3kg jars!

So to ensure Valentine's Day goes smoother than ever, check out http://www.chocnibbles.co.uk.

If you can't find a local retailer they are available on line at www.amazon.co.uk and other on line retailers.

If you run a sweet shop, Sweetdreams are looking for new retailers, so please get in touch with them soon.