Saturday, 27 February 2016

Culinary Captures - February

A frosty February has seen us swoon over Valentine's Day, toss those pancakes high on Shrove Tuesday and for some, they are still coming to terms with the news that James Martin is leaving the BBC's Saturday Kitchen show.  A short month, but a fully packed one nevertheless.

As always, I've come across a few new foodie things on my travels which I'd love to share with you.  Hope you like them!




BB Bakery
Source:  BB Bakery website


If you're looking for an alternative to afternoon tea in plush hotels, then look no further!  A friend of mine came back raving about her time in London recently where she had afternoon tea on a traditional red bus!

The bus travels round the capital taking in all the sights (although no commentary is given) whilst serving afternoon tea in its true form.  Veggie options are available and alcohol can be consumed. 

Combining the Britishness of a London bus with quintessential afternoon tea, this option sounds like good fun and is great for tourists with a time limit!

http://www.bbbakery.co.uk/afternoon-tea/afternoon-tea-bus-tour/


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Strawberry, Cream & Champagne Cheese - The Cheshire Cheese Company

Source: The Cheshire Cheese Company website


Originally one for the Valentine's Day cheeseboard, this limited edition cheese wrapped in a waxy heart shaped cover has been extended until after Easter, so plenty of time to check it out.

Although I've not tasted this myself, this pink cheese has certainly made me curious!  Anyone had any already?

http://www.cheshirecheesecompany.co.uk/mothers-strawberries-cream-champagne-cheshire-heart-150g-p-31.html 


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National Trust Kitchenware


Photos Source:  The National Trust website

I'm a big fan of the National Trust and they have some lovely ceramic mugs and kitchenware on their website and at their shops right now.  By purchasing from the National Trust, you are supporting the good work they do to help preserve some of the UK's most historic properties which are open for all to enjoy.

http://shop.nationaltrust.org.uk/


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Note:  All items/services featured have been personally selected and I have not received any incentive or compensation to feature them. 
 

 







 









 

 





 

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Borderfields #isBetter Challenge & Pesto Recipe

 


I love those April/May days when driving through rural lanes and you see a vista of bright yellow rapeseed crops in the fields all around you, I find it quite mesmerizing to be honest.   And as stunning as they may look, one has to remember that one of their raison d’etre’s is to create rapeseed oil for cooking and eating.

I’ve always been a fan of rapeseed oil as it does have a pleasant, gentle taste.  So having the opportunity of trying out Borderfields’ range for their #isBetter challenge, was a pleasure to do.
 
 

A little about Borderfields themselves – their range of cold pressed rapeseed oils and infusions only uses the finest culinary rapeseed grown in British fields.  Each selected batch of rapeseed is gently pressed and filtered 5 times to achieve its subtle flavour.  Containing half the saturated fat of olive oil, with a near perfect blend of omegas 3, 6, and 9, it also has a high ‘smoke point’ which means it maintains its natural benefits at high temperatures (when frying, roasting etc).
 
Firstly, I trialed the Borderfields standard rapeseed oil.  I used it in my pancake mixture and I drizzled it over roast potatoes and it gave (especially the potatoes), a softer almost sweeter taste than standard vegetable oil.
 
Photo:  Word In Veg Ways
 
Moving onto the Borderfields Infusions range, My Carnivorous Husband (MCH) adopted the Borderfields Chilli infusion oil (as I’m allergic to chillis) and used it fry his steak in.  He said the  red tinge in the oil gave it a difference and although not a strong chilli taste in the oil itself, it did offer subtlety  to the cooked meat.



Photo:  Word In Veg Ways

 
I liked the Borderfields Lemon Infusion oil which I used when frying sliced mushrooms and it enhanced the extra lemon juice and salt that I added to them.  The mushrooms were then added to my pasta dish, which is always good pairing and a bit of a fav in my house.

I made a very gentle, smooth pesto using the Borderfields Garlic Infusion oil.  With just a hint of garlic it is perfect for those that like the essence of garlic but don’t like having it too strong.  I used this pesto for pasta, but it would also work well for covering potatoes, soup or gnocchi.

These are a great range of oils which showcases the British rapeseed crop really well.  The versatility of the oils means that they lend themselves for all manner of cooking methods, as well as the bonus of possessing a number of positive health benefits.  Also, the infusion bottles and their size mean that they can transported quite easily and would be ideal for camping, picnics, BBQ’s and/or  just as drizzling oils and would complement any condiments table.

Stocked at Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda amongst others, they are widely available for you to begin experimenting with for yourself!
 

What will you make with yours?
 
Photo:  Pasta with Pesto

 

 
 Spinach & Cashew Pesto

 
20g Cheddar Cheese (or a vegetarian hard cheese)
A drizzle of Borderfields Garlic Infusion Oil
2 handfuls of Fresh Spinach Leaves
25g salted cashew nuts

 
·         Place the spinach leaves in a bowl and add a splash of hot water from a recently boiled kettle.

·         Mix so that the spinach leaves wilt slightly.

·         Drain any excess water.

·         Place the spinach leaves in to a food processor.

·         Add a drizzle of Borderfields Garlic Infusion Oil.

·         Add the cheese (in small chunk pieces).

·         Add the nuts.

·         If using non-salted nuts, you may wish to add a grinding of salt, but only do this is the nuts are not already salted.

·         Switch on the processor until all the mixture has blended together completely.

·         The pesto will a little more vivid in colour than jarred pesto and perhaps less grainy, but do not let this put you off!

·         Use as you would any pesto for pastas, soups, gnocchi or potato dishes.

 
 
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Disclosure:    This post has been written following receipt of complimentary samples of Borderfields Oils.  This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR /policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website. 

 

Monday, 15 February 2016

Review: The Fuzzy Duck - Nuneaton


Other than taking my mother for a day out to Arbury Hall many moons ago, I’ve never visited Nuneaton otherwise, so when offered the opportunity of sampling some of the fayre at one of the town’s newly(ish) re-launched gastro pubs – The Fuzzy Duck, I was keen to see what it had to offer.


The Fuzzy Duck Exterior



In easy driving proximity of the M6 and right on the A444, The Fuzzy Duck has the appearance of a country style pub nestled in the middle of suburbia.  Eight months on from its re-launch, I could see that its popularity is such, as our mid Sunday afternoon visit saw the pub full to the rafters with diners varying from couples to larger birthday gatherings.


Interior of The Fuzzy Duck


Contemporary with bright, airy d├ęcor, it very much captures a gastro pub vibe.  With plenty of artwork, object d’art and soft furnishings dotted around, these were all supported by many quotes and sayings painted on the walls  each with a foodie slant.  A comfy seated drinks area is available for those that want informality and an extended conservatory style room provides more dining space.


Sofa/Drinks Area - The Fuzzy Duck



Steak Sirloin
My Carnivorous Husband (MCH) joined me as my dining partner and it was great for us to round the weekend off by popping out for a late lunch/early dinner.

In true MCH fashion, he opted for the 9oz Steak Sirloin & Peppercorn Sauce with Goose Dripping Chips, Flat Field Mushroom, Tomato & Onion Rings.  He said the portion was a good size and the steak was cooked as per his specification.  The peppercorn sauce came in a standalone pot which held an ample quota and there was enough to pour over onto the non-steak items as well.  With the goose dripping chips (fowl dripping being very much on trend right now), he commented that they bore quite a resemblance to roast potatoes which worked well.  Overall, a good wholesome steak meal.


Mushroom & Spinach Wellington


I on the other hand opted for the Mushroom & Spinach Wellington with Mixed Salad & Feta.  I also ordered a side dish of Sweet Potato Fries to accompany it.    I didn’t get the taste of spinach through the wellington as much as I had anticipated, however the mushrooms were nice and plump with a sauce covering and packed in a hearty pastry case.


Sweet Potato Fries


I imagined the salad would appear as a garnish on the side so I was pleasantly surprised that it arrived in a cereal-sized bowl and was packed with a colourful mix of salad items including peppers topped with feta.  Although the salad was good to have as an addition, I felt it needed an extra dimension, something hot to go with the hot wellington so hence I ordered a side serving of Sweet Potato Fries.  A modern option seen a lot these days instead of standard chips, it was just what the dish needed.  A suggestion perhaps would be to have the portion as half salad, half fries or potatoes.



Tiramasu

Dessert wise, MCH couldn’t resist one of his favourites – Tiramasu.  It was a home-made version with a berry fruit garnish and a fluffy sponge.  He enjoyed it and remarked that it had a pleasant coffee aftertaste without the harsh strength that some coffee based foods have.


Pot au Chocolate

Equally, I leaned towards my personal go-to of chocolate and I chose the:  Pot au Chocolate with Home- made Shortbread and Strawberry Sorbet.    It was mousse based and possessed a rich chocolate taste which when contrasted with the icy, fruity content of the sorbet and berries made for a delicious textured dessert.    The biscuits were buttery and crumbly and were enhanced when dipped into the chocolate pot.



Bar - The Fuzzy Duck

The drinks menu was quite varied and alongside beers, wines and spirits, there were a variety of soft drinks as well as cocktails on offer plus mocktails for those that prefer the non-alcoholic form.


Piano Area - The Fuzzy Duck

All in all, a lovely pub-restaurant with a relaxing atmosphere and perfect for all the family, for all occasions and well worth a visit.  The menu choices are quite broad incorporating traditional favourites with contemporary offerings.  






From a vegetarian viewpoint, the menu had 5 options which was encouraging – with two of them being a burger and a pizza dish.  The vegetarian main courses however revolved around the ingredients of mushroom and spinach and were a variation of the two.  There were two risotto dishes, both had mushroom as their base, plus the wellington was founded with mushroom and spinach (which was what I had).  It would be nice to see other creations with other ingredients to offer variety, for both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike (who may fancy a meat-free dish for a change).  

With a new chef on board, I was told there were menu revisions in the pipeline, so I look forward to seeing what The Fuzzy Duck have to offer in the future!

One of the Wall Quotes - The Fuzzy Duck
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Disclosure:  This post was written following a complementary invitation to dine at The Fuzzy Duck.  This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website. 






















Saturday, 6 February 2016

Review: Yutaka Soybeans With Pods


I’ve made reference to Edamame soy beans in previous blogposts and as a little legume that I enjoy eating from time to time, it was great to have the opportunity to try Yutaka’s latest offering of Edamame Soy Beans With Pods.

Photo:  Source: Yutaka

This much loved  Japanese appetiser, is stocked in supermarkets as a frozen goods item thus meaning you have the added bonus of being able to help yourself to them with a degree of leisure as they have a lenient ‘use by date’ as opposed to if you bought them fresh where the ‘use by date’ is quite short.

Pods in the Pack

Taking the amount you need from the frozen batch, let them defrost, pop the beans from their pods and then they are ready to eat.    NB: As they have to be defrosted first, then ensure you allow adequate time for that to occur prior to eating.

The pod encasings seem to retain the soy beans’ freshness which is the product’s USP, but the pods themselves need to be discarded once the beans are retrieved as they are not for consumption.

One word of warning – when you pop the beans from the pod, make sure you do so gently and carefully into a bowl or onto a plate as they fly out with great speed!

They possess a nutty, crunchy yet smoothy/waxy texture which offers an interesting contrast when paired up with other ingredients.  On a nutritional front they boast a low calorie count, are a good source of iron and calcium with a generous protein level and contain all nine amino acids.
Edamame Soybeans with Quorn mock Chicken slices
 

I’ve enjoyed using them on this occasion and I have found they seem to be compatible for most dishes.  Salads are the obvious choice for use and their bright green colour is quite striking when presented in a salad bowl against the redness of tomatoes for example.  Equally, I’ve used them in pasta dishes, stir-fries and I have simply just eaten them snack-style as they come! 
Edamame Soybeans with Aubergine Leftovers

Yutaka goods specialise in Japanese cooking ingredients, perfect for home cooking and are available widely.  With regard to Yutaka Edamame Soy Beans With Pods, these are now available in the frozen section in Morrisons supermarkets, priced at £2.49 for a 500g pack.

What will you make with yours?

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Other Yutaka Reviews:

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Disclosure:    This post has been written following receipt of a complimentary sample of Yutaka Soybeans with Pods.  Availability/pricing  at  Morrisons correct at time of this post going live.  This review was conducted honestly without bias and I was not required to produce a positive review.  For further details of my PR /policy, please see the Press, PR & Food Writing page of this website.