Wednesday, 31 August 2011

I Love My Lunchbox –Total Greek Yogurt Event

Sunday 28th of August (Bank Holiday Weekend) my friend Mandy and I caught a train from home to London Bridge and following a leasurely stroll down Tooley Street we arrived at Potter’s Fields a lovely park within sight of Tower Bridge to attend the Total Greek Yogurt ‘I love my Lunchbox’ event hosted by Nick Coffers accompanied by his young son Archie  ( ) and Total Greek Yogurt ( )
I had won tickets to this event and wasn’t exactly sure what to expect . When we got to Potter’s Fields we saw a large white marquee and milling about inside a gated area was a very tall Zebra and Cow.  They were greeting everyone as they came in and dancing with the children and hugging the parents.  A very warm welcome indeed.

I introduced myself to Nick Coffer who was presenting the event and demonstrating recipes using the Total Greek Yogurt to make lunchboxes more healthy in the run up to ‘Back to School’ this week. Nick put everyone at ease as we waited for the demos to start.

To get us into the festive mood we were entertained by ‘The Yummettes’, three lovely young ladies who treated us to some well known post war hits.  They were true professionals even when the children took to the stage and wanted to help them perform.  They welcomed them all to their performance.

Nick and his young son Archie demonstrated how to make yummy blueberry muffins, savoury spinach-feta-bacon muffins, savoury filo pastry triangles and several more recipes using the yogurt as a main and important ingredient.  The yogurt helps to keep the recipes lighter and healthier and cuts down on the need to add sugar.  Archie kept the audience amused with his own take on grating cheese and adding ingredients into his dad’s recipes.  Nick stayed calm and pointed out these recipes were quick and easy and not amount critical so if a bit got spilled or missed the bowl it didn’t matter.

After Nick was finished the behind the scenes team brought out lots of food for us to try that Nick had quickly demonstrated.  There were also six work stations set up, each with everything you needed to make a different one of the recipes so guests could try them out themselves and see how easy they were – encouraging everyone to plan to make them at home for the family.

When we were ready to leave we were given a ‘goodie bag’ – a Total Greek Yogurt branded cool bag with samples of the plain, 0.2%, plain with honey and plain with blueberry compote yogurts that had featured during the event, a gel pack to freeze to keep your lunch cool and all the recipes from the event.

It was a lovely day with views of the Thames, Tower Bridge, The Tower of London, HMS Belfast and loads more London landmarks and as I travelled home on public transport I was glad I had entered the competition and won the tickets.

Some Lunch Box Tips from Totally Greek Yogurt:-
1.       Include starchy food for energy & concentration – keep it varied by trying sandwiches, wraps, pasta, bagels etc.

2.       Add protein to help keeps kids fuller for longer – try egg, cheese, tuna, ham and beans

3.       Finger food is always good so slice up raw veggies and pack a portion of dip – try yogurt dip or hummus.

4.       Do small varieties for small hands like mini muffins.

5.       Don’t forget a sheet of kitchen roll for messy fingers.

6.       To keep food cool, freeze the drinks bottle or carton which will act as an ice block throughout the morning.

7.       Pack a note for your child or partner to read.  It could contain a picture like a smiley face or simply write ‘I love you’.

Here is one of the recipes Nick Coffer made with the help of his son Archie, at the event,

Blueberry muffins:-
If you have a few fresh blueberries to hand, feel free to throw them into the mix as well.

Prep time:- 5-10 mins
Coking time:- 25-30 mins

You will need:

2 pots TOTAL 0% Greek Yogurt with Blueberry
250g self-raising flour
120g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
3 Tbsp mild
6 Tbsp vegetable oil


Preheat your oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4

Mix together the dry ingredients – the flour, sugar and baking powder

In a separate bowl mix the egg, Greek yogurt, the blueberry ‘compote’ from the pots of yogurt, the milk and vegetable oil.

Gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  You don’t want to over mix or your muffins may be a bit heavy.

Grease your muffin tins and fill each mould to just below the top.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the muffins have risen and are golden.  Leave to cool a little before removing from the tins.  They should keep for 2 days in an airtight container.

Makes 10-12 muffins depending on the size of your muffin tin or approximately 24 mini muffins.

Peanut Butter & Yogurt Dip

This dip takes no time to prepare and you could use crunchy peanut butter instead of smooth for a different texture.

Prep time – 5 mins

You will need:-

3 Tbsp TOTAL Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter
A sprinkle of ground cinnamon
A drizzle of honey
Slices of fresh fruit to serve


Mix the yogurt, peanut butter and honey together in a bowl.
Top with ground cinnamon and serve it with the fruit slices to dip.

Other recipes were Chocolate Mousse, Spinach and Cheddar Muffins, Feta, Bacon & Greek yogurt Filo Triangles, Lamb Gyro with Tzatziki, Red Berry Smoothie, Roasted Vegetables, Bacon and Pasta Salad and Marinated Chicken Wings.  If you would like to try any of these let me know and I will include them in another post.

Friday, 26 August 2011

The Coupon Queen

Hi – I am the self appointed coupon queen.  I love a bargain and spend loads of time searching them out.  So I thought that really I should share some of my finds and tips for getting the most out of your hard earned Pound.  I have therefore decided to post on the last Friday of the month anything noteworthy on the subject.

If you have any good tips you want to share you can email them to me at and I will include them in the next post.

This week I want to tell you about getting extra value from your supermarket points.  When I go to Sainsbury’s or Tesco (and even Boots) I always keep a look out for the BOGOF (Buy one get one free) but you have to follow a few rules. 

  1. Always check the deal.  Sometimes it is not the best purchase, for example the size might not be a large as an ordinary priced product so always look at the fine print.  Or perhaps the mince seems cheaper but it has a higher fat content and you wouldn’t ordinarily but that one.

  1. Only buy it if it is something you will use or had previously wanted to try.  It is not a bargain if you won’t use the free one. Or get together with a friend and split the deal. You both win!

  1. If it is non-perishable and you will use the product and have adequate storage available  it is often worth buying two or three and getting the extra two or three free, for example Fairy liquid or toilet rolls, dog or cat food etc.  That way you are halving your overall shopping costs.

  1. If the BOGOF is for melons and you don’t eat a lot of melons then DON’T take up the offer.  It is not a bargain if you end up throwing lots of it away.

Now these big supermarkets also offer you points, both on the actual value of your shopping and often extra points on certain earmarked products.  If you shop there regularly make sure you get your points.  You can also get extra points cards for other members of the family so you accrue those points faster. There is no logic if one member of the family is always getting their petrol from Sainsbury’s for example and never getting the points because they don’t have a Nectar card.  Also be aware of other places that will give you Supermarket points, such as BP petrol, EON energy supplier and others.

You can spend your points for face value in the shops on your food but it is often worth saving them up and using them for other things.  For example Tesco upgrades their points to triple value if you use them for a Hilton Hotel stay.  We recently stayed at a Hilton Hotel for two nights and used £50 worth of Tesco points upgraded to £150 towards the Hilton.  That meant we had a two night stay for FREE.

If you drink a lot of canned drinks, Beer, coke, lemonade etc Tesco will give you one point for every two cans you recycle.  That doesn’t seem like a lot but if you save them up and recycle them three or four times a year that is quite a lot of points towards your next hotel stay!!

Sainsbury’s Nectar points can be used for Easyjet flights.  I currently have enough to fly to Barcelona early next year for a break for both my husband and I.  Not a bad deal.

Total petrol stations do not give points but if you fill up with £30+ petrol they give you a voucher which after registering on line you exchange for money off treats.  At the moment you can get a voucher for a BOGOF at Pizza Hut on any size pizza (eat-in) so for example two of you can each have a large pizza and salad (salad bar now comes free) for £15.00.  Not a bad meal at £7.50 each.  There are other treat vouchers on the web site which is on the voucher you receive with the petrol spend.  This is better than 5p per litre off from other petrol stations which equates to around £4.00 saving for a car with a large capacity tank.

Next month I will be telling you about some more deals to look out for and including any tips the readers have sent me.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

When life gives you lemons

The old saying is “When life gives you lemons – make lemonade”.  But when you get a glut of tomatoes what do you make – tomato sauce of course.

I had a bowl of tomatoes fresh from the in-law’s garden so decided to turn them into a fresh, summery sauce.
I started with a knob of butter and a glug of sunflower oil which I heated.  I then added some finely chopped onion, three sticks of celery and three cloves of garlic finely chopped and let them cook until they just started to brown.  At this point I added 2-3 Tbsp tomato puree and stir then cooked for 5 minutes till the colours started to turn a bit brown.

I cut the tomatoes in half and took out that hard bit in the middle with a small sharp knife.  I roughly chopped the tomatoes  and added them to the onion mixture. 

 This all cooked for about 10-15 minutes till they started to go pulpy.  I dissolved a vegetable stock cube in about 3oz of boiling water and added to the sauce.  I let this all bubble gently for about half an hour before adding 2 Tbsp pesto.

Just before adding the vegetable that I had roasting in the oven whilst making the sauce I strained the sauce to get out the tomato skins. (you could peel the tomatoes first but I think you get more flavour if you leave them in during the cooking process).

We had this served over spaghetti  with grated parmesan cheese on top. It was certainly yummy and Clive wants to take the leftovers to work for lunch tomorrow.

By the way whist I have been typing this I was eating my pudding which is a lemon posset made with Mango Mojito Dessert Sauce ( . I will be giving the recipe for this very soon.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Cheesy Chorizo Bean Dip

We were invited to a friend’s house for an evening of food and fun.  I offered to bring a dip.  I decided to try this ‘Cheesy Chorizo Bean Dip’ which I found in the new Autumn-Winter 2011 Season’s Best Cookbook from The Pampered Chef (

As a Consultant for the Pampered Chef I demonstrate a couple of recipes (with the help of the guests) at a cooking show and so I thought it would be a good idea to try this recipe at home before I tried it in front of an audience.  This rich and spicy dip is served warm served with slices of crusty bread, pitta bread or the flatbread that I used.   I warmed the flatbread in the microwave for about 1 minute 30 seconds and this was more than sufficient.

I have to tell you that this was absolutely delicious and everyone went back for seconds and sometimes thirds! The recipe follows below:-

Ingredients: -
1 tsp sunflower oil
150g chorizo sausage (diced)
75f mature cheddar cheese
½ onion
1 fresh green chilli (deseeded)
½ green pepper (deseeded)
2 cloves garlic (peeled)
1 can (410g) borlotti or haricot beans
1 can (230g) chopped tomatoes in juice
Tortilla chips or corn chips to serve

Preheat oven to 200C/fan 180C/Gas 6.  Heat sunflower oil in frying pan over high heat 1-2 minutes or until hot; add chorizo and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking into smaller pieces.

Meanwhile grate cheese (using Ultimate Mandoline fitted with grating blade) set aside.  Finely chop onion and chilli using Food Chopper.  Finely slice green pepper on Cutting Board using 13 cm Santoku Knife.  Rinse beans with cold water in colander, drain well.

Ultimate mandoline
Add onion, chilli and green pepper to frying pan.  Cook 1-2 minutes or until tender-crisp.  Slice garlic into pan using Garlic Slicer; cook 30-60 seconds or until fragrant.  Add beans and tomatoes to pan; coarsely mask together with Mix-n-chop. 

Cook 2-3 minutes or until hot, stirring occasionally with a Bamboo spatula.

Transfer bean mixture into Mini Baker using Bamboo Spatula; level surface.  Sprinkle grated cheese evenly over top of dip.  Bake 10 mins or until cheese is melted.  Remove from oven. Serve warm with tortilla chips, if desired.

Chorizo is a Spanish pork sausage flavoured with garlic and smoked paprika that give it a distinctive, rich flavour and colour when cooked.
To try this and more fun and easy recipes from The Pampered Chef ‘Season’s Best Recipe Collection – Autumn/Winter 2001’ contact me through my web site:-

Or even better book a cooking show for you and your friends and we can make this and another great, family recipe. September is the launch of our new Autumn/Winter 2001 products and October we have our annual 'Help Whip Cancer' promotion with a limited edition of pink products which help raise money for Breast Cancer Research UK.
("At The Pampered Chef®, we feel it is crucial to promote the importance of breast cancer research. To support this effort, between 1 October and 31 October, independent Pampered Chef® Consultants raise funds for Cancer Research UK from the sale of pink limited-edition products and Help Whip Cancer® Fundraiser Cooking Shows.")