Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Cafepod and Friends

Passionate about coffee? I love it. I start my day with a cup and after several during the day I end my day with a cup. I have Mr R well trained!

"Friends" television series about a group of 30 somethings meeting in a New York coffee house hit our television screens 20 years ago with many a conversation or pouring out of a heart over a cup of coffee. What was your favourite "Friends" moment?

Cafepod, a nespresso compatible coffee capsule is celebrating the "Friends" milestone with a chance to win a trip to New York!  There are other prizes to be won too. To find out more and have a chance to win visit www.cafepod.com/friends  #Friends20th
If you are indeed passionate about coffee, Cafepod has a wide range with something for every taste.  The strongest is a number 10 Ristretto, fine Arabica beads from South America and full-bodied Indonesian coffee for a bold and strong coffee experience.  Ristretto Espresso is perfect on its own or as a base for a latte or capuccino.

Thanks to Cafepod for sending me a selection of their coffee capsules to try. I shall be entering the competition to win a trip to New York myself!!  As usual all opinions and photographs are my own.


Monday, 22 September 2014

British Tabasco Oyster Opening Championships

How many times do you find yourself saying “no thanks, I’ve had enough” to champagne or oysters.  I don’t say this often, however, attending the recent Tabasco British Oyster Opening Championships I found myself in this enviable position.
This year there were 11 candidates, happily two of them were women and although neither of the women won it was great to see us women represented. Each contestant had 30 oysters to open in timed trials and of course we had the hard job of eating them.The winner of the competition goes on to compete in the next leg, the finals in Ireland.
There was plenty of Tabasco original sauce to sprinkle liberally onto your oysters – they don’t taste right without it.
My friend Val tasted  her first ever oyster and she loved it!
I am a great fan of Tabasco which is weird because for years I had one solitary bottle in the fridge and didn’t often use it.  Since I have been blogging and working with TabascoUK , I now add one of the four in the range to whatever I am cooking.  I even have a tiny bottle to take with me on my travels! My favourite is the Smoked Chipotle which I get through at a really fast rate and in fact if I haven’t used any I say the food is very bland!
Many thanks to Tabasco for the oysters and fun and to Pommery for all the lovely bubbly to wash them down!
What food do you sprinkle Tabasco on? Leave me a blog comment below and let me know. Keep reading the blog to see what else I get up to with my bottle of Tabasco pepper sauce.






Saturday, 20 September 2014

Frozen Clearspring 100% Organic Fruit Puree Ice Pops

My previous experience of Clearspring has been ingredients to prepare and cook oriental food, it is a UK company, established over thirty years ago and specialising in premium quality Japanese, Oriental and European foods.  

Another side of Clearspring is authentic fruit purees which are 100% organic.  One pot is 1 of your 5 a day without any preservatives or additives. I was sent a selection of both the pots and the new squeezy pouches.  the pouches are perfect for lunch boxes and pic-nics, convenient and easy to eat with no mess.  The pots make a great pudding either on their own or mixed with greek style yoghurt or fromage frais.
I wanted to see how they would make ice lollies for the grandchildren.
First of all I just put the puree straight into the lolly moulds - simple and easy, you could even ask the children to do it themselves.
Secondly to make them a bit creamy I mixed the fruit purees with equal parts of Greek style yoghurt.
And now for the experts!!

Even daddy liked them (son-in-law)!

Thanks Clearspring for the organis fruit purees, as usual all opinions and photographs are my own and I did not receive any payment for writing this post.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Juicing with Bella

Many years ago I had a juicer complete with centrifugal force but lent it to someone who never gave it back.  Ever since that time I have longed to replace the machine but somehow never got a chance.

Recently I was invited to attend the launch of Bella Brand, a US brand which has arrived in the UK just a couple of months ago.  It is a small kitchen appliance expert and making its UK debut with four essential pieces, hoping to make the kitchen a fun place to cook and entertain.
There is a stainless steel kettle, matching four slice toaster and expresso coffee maker but my favourite is the high power, whole fruit juicer!

The juicer is a powerful 1000W that takes the whole fruit eliminating the need to peel or pre-chop. It doesn't have loads of parts and is easy to take apart an clean. Although dishwasherable I was it all by hand as I don't have a dishwasher and it really only take a few minutes to wash in warm soapy water, dry and re-assemble. Everything is compact and closed making it fun and safe for help from little hands.
I have been juicing a couple of times per week since I got the machine and on both days of the weekend.  I have been experimenting with different fruit and vegetable combinations, so far liking them all.
Using a juicer is a great way to make sure you get some quality fruit and vegetables on a regular basis and is a great way to get goodness into even the most fussy child. I have been making my fresh juice 3-4 times per week lately and although I cannot see a difference in my skin I can certainly say it feels softer and smoother, one of the benefits of drinking fresh juice several times per week.

My grandchildren think it is extremely funny to add kale and/or spinach, carrots and celery before we start on the fruit! These are foods they would normally not want to eat but you can't really taste the individual veggies!

I tend to start with the healthy things; kale, spinach, carrots, celery, beetroot before adding apples, oranges and depending on what is available in the market on Saturday peaches, pears, pineapple and more along with a small piece of ginger (no need to peel or chop up) which gives the finished liquid a lovely warmth.

Because I am a keen gardener I hate wasting any fruit or vegetable peelings subsequently all of the residue from the fruit we use for the juice will be put on the compost heap at the allotment.  You could however, if you corred the apples and pears and took out any woody pieces you could use the fruit as the base for a crumble or the vegetables to thicken up a soup or casserole!

This indespensible kitchen favourite will retail at rrp of £149.99 and is only available from Argos stores.

Many thanks to Bella (part of the MPL Home Group) for my juicer.  I was not paid to use this machine or to produce a positive review and as usual all opinions and photos belong to KitchenTalk.




Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The Print Room -Covent Garden

I was attending a food blogger conference in London over my birthday weekend earlier this summer. I was also asked to review The Print Room, a popular bar overlooking the square at Covent Garden (open daily from 17:00-01:00) that Saturday night (my birthday) and Mr R agreed to meet me there and have an evening out together.
The Print Room entrance is right on a corner of the market and a winding staircase later you emerge to a crowded, bustling bar.
We were given seats outside on the balcony overlooking the piazza which was especially welcome on a warm, sultry evening.
Mr R was very happy with his glass of red wine (Rioja) and I started with a glass of Prosecco (they have Prosecco on tap which made for a happy me!)
There is a bar menu although if you are looking for a meal downstairs is the restaurant 21. However on this lovely evening we were happy to sit outside, sipping our drinks had eating from the bar menu.
We had olives to nibble on and shared an order of calamari, beautifully cooked and tender.
We both had a pizza, huge with a thin traditional crust, just how I like them (not a great fan of the deep dish so popular these days).

They have a Prosecco fountain which I must admit to sampling from a few times!! It is a great drink after all!
We just sat and enjoyed the atmosphere going on below us in Covent Garden square astonished by how busy the other bars and restaurants were as well.

Mr R and I were guests of The Print Room which is located above their sister restaurant 21  on the corner of The Market Covent Garden. 

I was not paid to review this bar and as usual all opinions and photos are my own.











Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Play time with the kids with Asda.

Asda asked me to have a look at a couple of their range of fun mixes and who better than my panel of experts to help me!

I enlisted the help of Miss Lizzie (age 6), BoyG (age 5) and BabyG (age 2) who just happed to be my three grandchildren.  We were all together because it was BabyG's 2nd birthday last month.
You have not had true fun till you have watched three wide eyed children push sticks into marshmallows, decorate them till they looked like sheep and pigs (well sort of looked like them) and seen their faces shine!
And the best bit as far as they were concerned was eating them, both during the making and after!
Such concentration!
The finished masterpieces!! Can you tell which were the sheep and which were the pigs?
After we finished making the marshmallow friends we proceded to make some lemon cupcakes.  BabyG got bored and could be heard walking around the living room saying "Xbox on! Xbox on!" to no effect!

The two cuties shared putting the cake cases into the holders.
Mixing the cupcakes,
And the best part - licking the bowl!!
BoyG doesn't like icing so we decided not to ice the cup cakes. I was going to take a photo of the finished cup cakes but they didn't last long enough!!
I usually make cakes and cup cakes from scratch but if you need something quick to take their minds off something by all means grab an Asda cake mix.
I did not receive any payment to try these mixes and as usual all opinions and photos are my own.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Mr R goes on holiday - A weekend in Brighton

Two things came together causing Mr R to have a lovely weekend break in Brighton.  Firstly I was invited to review a Travelodge and picked the Brighton Central and secondly Mr R needed a break preferably near the sea.
You can read my review of the Travelodge here: http://heidirobertskitchentalk.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/travelodge-brighton-central-review.html

Mr R starts his holiday break!
Lunch at Casa Don Carlos, the best tapas in town according to the locals. We thought it was pretty good too!

Keeping the streets clear.
A sign of the times past in the Lanes.
Choccycoccydoodah - a cake lovers chocolate palace!

The old ........
and the new, along with a new friend too!
Famous smoked fish with Jack and Linda - the arches on the shore, a must try.

A morning latte at Bite.
Plenty of squares to spend some time
and pubs to meet friends and make new ones.

Lunch - as we passed the burgers looked fantastic so we decided to stop for lunch at Lucky Beach before getting our train.
And they were great!
And no trip to the seaside would be complete without ....... Punch-n-Judy!

The weather was fine and the sun was shining most of the time. We walked a lot and really felt we had discovered loads about Brighton.  We certainly want to go back again.

All photos and opinions are my own. No one asked me to write this post.