Wednesday, 30 July 2014

How to spice things up with Tabasco this summer

I was invited to attend an event put together by Tabasco and which was held at The Cookery School (at Little Portland Street) in London.

We were assembled ready to prepare a meal using the fab range of Tabasco sauces, Mild Jalapeno, Original, Smokey Chipotle and Fiery Habanero – one pepper sauce would be featured in each dish, even the dessert!
On arrival we were given a lovely cold glass of wine and some spicy mixed nuts to nibble on. The nuts were still warm, salty and with just the right amount of spicyness.

I made these at home and they are incredibly easy, effective for nibbling outside on a Summer evening with a cold beer or glass of wine.
We went on to make Grilled Spatchcooked chicken - Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce style
Herb grilled catch of the day - Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce, with Salsa Rossa -Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce
Vegetable Kebabs - Tabasco Pepper Sauce
Tangy Bar-B-Que Sauce - Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
Oven roasted Sweet Potatoe Chips - Tabasco Pepper Sauce

And finally ... Chilli chocolate strawberries - these really surprised me.  They were made using the hottest Tabasco Habanero Pepper Sauce sauce which I thought would be far too hot for me.  Surprised because they were really smooth with just a bit of warmth showing through. The Hananero might be the hottest of the range but it also has a lot of fruitiness in it which brings out the fruitiness of the strawberries under the cloak of the velvetty chocolate!
All of the recipes were made under the watchful eye of Gary (a Tabasco sauce) and the staff at The Cooker School whilst we worked in teams.
When all the cooking was done, and surprisingly all at the same time, we sat down to eat what we had created.
As usual Tabasco Pepper Sauce was the star of the event and just intensified my addiction.

I was not paid to attend this event although I am appreciative of the generous goodie bag!  As usual all opinions and photos are my own.
Many thanks to Tabasco and The Cookery School for a lovely, relaxed evening cooking and eating what is now one of my favourite ingredients.  As usual all opinions and photographs are my own.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Adult Ice Cream time!

Watching the grandchildren with their home made smoothie ice lollies and fruit juice ice treats got me thinking - what about the adults?

I came up with a cunning plan after I bought a nice lolly mould reduced in the supermarket! 
Which liqueurs or spirits would work well in a nice lolly ?

At a recent food blogger conference we were served copious amounts of Patron Tequila and in our goodie bags to take home was a miniature bottle of Patron Cafe Tequilla.
Here is my first attempt at adult lollies.

35ml Patron Cafe Tequilla
125gm melted dark chocolate 
2Tbsp finely chopped walnuts or pecan nuts (these cab either mix through before freezing or use to coat the outside before serving!)
1Tsp chocolate or coffee essence
300ml double cream

Melt the chocolate in the microwave stirring every 20 seconds until almost melted then stir until smooth and melted

Add the chocolate to 300 ml double cream

Add the coffee essence and cafe tequila until the consistency is creamy
(you can either add the chopped nuts now or wait and coat the outside of the lolly before serving)

Pour or pipe the mixture into ice lolly moulds and freeze overnight.
Take out of the freezer about 5 minutes before eating so that the lolly will easily slide out of the mould.
Rich and creamy, coffee & chocolate tequila ice lolly


Enjoy responsibly!!!
I did not receive any payment to write this post and as usual all opinions and photographs are my own.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

How to make the perfect Mojito at The Snug Bar St Albans

Following our recent review meal at The Snug Bar in St Albans, Mr R and I were invited back, this time for a Cocktail Masterclass.

After assembling we met Ryan our Bar Teacher for the evening, firstly giving us a lesson in pouring. Pour too much and you are giving away your profits - pour too little and you are cheating the customer. We were all very adept (or lucky) and picked up the 'Pour', graduating from water to the real thing.
First up we split into two groups of three and were shown how to make the perfect Mojito. I love Mojito so was in my element making this cocktail. It's all about the mixture, the muddling of the mint, the ice, the rum and the shake!!

After learning how to pour without measuring and how to make the classic Mojito we sat down to a selection of the fabulous and delicious snacks The Snug have to offer.
We went on to make another cocktail using Jack Daniels called A Cherry Jack due to the inclusion of Maraschino cherry juice. This was a bit on the sweet side but considering I don't really drink Jack Daniels it was really nice!

The next cocktail was an 'Old Fashioned'.

As we were doing all this behind the bar and it was open to the public we were getting some funny looks! I didn't really like this one and gave it to a customer waiting at the bar to get served.  Her face when given a free cocktail was lovely.
The Snug Bar in St Albans runs the Cocktail Masterclasses at various times throughout the year and they are perfect for corporate events, hen and stag nights and just a fun adult family evening.

Many thanks to The Snug Bar St Albans for inviting Mr R and myself to have an evening of fun, food and cocktails!  All opinions and photos are as usual my own.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Summer Perks - Week 2!

Perk!er is a small UK company with a passion to create a range of gluten free treats that are tasty and nutritious with nutritious breakfasts, indulgent treats and delicious breads.

As part of Perk!er's 'Perk up Your Summer' campaign I get a surprise box each week in July with something to make our summer time more enjoyable.

Last week I received the fabulous pic-nic hamper so what could be better? What could be a load of fun?

The simple answer is a huge water soaker!! I shrieked out loud when I opened the box!
What a perfect thing to create a bit of mayhem!  It was my grandson's 5th birthday last weekend so what could cause more laughter and chaos than a giant water soaker gun!
I wrapped the gun up as part of the birthday presents and presented it at the appropriate moment.  His little eyes nearly popped out of his head.
'Me Too' (who will be two next month) looked at the gun and said "My gun?".  His little face beamed into a huge smile when I gave him a mini water pistol, just right for his little hands. "My gun!"
The rest of the party was spent getting everyone wet and trying not to get wet yourself!

Being able to perk up our summer (#summerperks) with a convenient and healthy snack was a great idea, but with a water soaker it was even more fun!!
Thanks to Perk!er for the water soaker and samples of treats. I will be perking up our summer this week. I can hardly wait to see the next surprise!

All opinions and photos are as usual my own.

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Friday, 18 July 2014

CafePod - Clever Coffee Capsule

We do love our coffee in this household and Mr R especially loves his Nespresso machine. This machine uses little sealed capsules to ensure you get the perfect fresh cup every time. The only drawback is that the capsules are not sold in shops which means you either have to order on line or by phone or pop into one of their exclusive shops in London.

Recently a few coffee companies have started producing capsules which are 'Nespresso Compatible' and are more readily available.

I have been sent a range of Cafepod capsules to try with our Nespresso machine.  I was sent four different strengths to try.
I will say that they do deliver that lovely, inviting 'coffee shop' smell when you make them!

Cafepod capsules are individually sealed to maximise freshness, ensuring you enjoy your favourite blend at home as their Master Roasters intended time after time.
The Cafepods come in five different strengths and are suitable for most occasions during the day when you need that special taste of freshly brewed coffee.

I drink my Espresso Ristretto when I am needing some fortitude to keep going when I am on a roll writing for my blog! This is a strength 10, strong but not bitter.
Breakfast time is perfect for the Espresso Smooth, a taste strength of 5, perfect to start the day!

The Espresso Aribica Lungo (strength 4 - medium and smooth) went perfectly with my Pecan Pie that I my sister made for me to bring home from the States!
Thanks to Cafepod for sending me a selection of their coffee capsules.  I did not receive any payment for this and as usual all opinions and photos are my own.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

How to Turn Courgettes into Courgette and Pecan Muffins

When I went to stay with my sister in North Carolina I asked Mr R to keep an eye on the courgettes on our allotment and to pick them as they were ready.  The last week I was away he didn't have time to pop up to the allotment and I came home to quite a lot of very large courgettes (zucchini).

I am making loads of recipes such as courgette 'spaghetti',
courgette stuffed pepper,
courgette relish and loads more but today I made some really tasty muffins with a couple of the courgettes and some fresh pecan nuts I brought home from North Carolina with me.
Courgette & Pecan Muffins

2 cups Self Raising Flour
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbsp grated lemon peel
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped raisins
2 medium eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup shredded courgettes (zucchini)

* Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon peel and nutmeg,
* Stir in the nuts and raisins,
* In a separate bowl beat together the eggs, milk and veg oil,
* Stir in the courgettes (zucchini),
* Add to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined; do not overmix,
* Fill well greased muffin tin or use paper muffin cases 2/3 full with the batter,
* Bake in a preheated oven, 170oC/375oF for 20-25 minutes.
* Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan or taking the paper wrappers off.

Makes 12-14 muffins

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

How to get addicted to Patron Tequila

At this year's Food Blogger Connect there was a plethera of food and drink stalls for use to visit on an unlimited basis throughout the conference (as there usually is!) .

The one that surprised me was Patron Tequila! This was the first time I tried this brand, thinking that tequila was for rough drinks and drinkers! I learned that there are tequila and tequilas! Silver Patron is one of the smooth ones, I tried a straight shot and was impressed with the taste, smoothness and lack of fire coming out of my nose!
On arrival at the conference held in the beautiful, old Battersea Arts Centre, we started on the tequila cocktails!  
We had them with ginger beer, tonic water, vegetable juice (first one Saturday morning was a tequila Bloody Mary at 10:00 am!) and of course neat!!
Patron also make a cafe tequila liqueur! This is sensational over ice and sipped but started mind reeling with thoughts of cafe tequila cake icing or jelly or even a steak sauce!!
The two guys serving us all weekend were great fun any seemed to enjoy helping us to keep the veins topped up with Patron tequila the whole time!
I had only ever had a Bloody Mary made with vodka, making it a first time I had one made with tequila - I might add that we started on them at about 10:30am on the second day! Boy were they good. After an early start to get there in time they went down really really well!!

Thanks Patron for keeping us hydrated all weekend!! What will Food Blogger Connect surprise us with next year?

All opinions and photos are my own as usual.