Friday, 31 March 2017

Grenada: My 5 favourite things about the island

I will shortly be making my third visit to the Caribbean island of Grenada. My first visit was two years ago when I was invited to experience the Grenada Chocolate Festival, then in it's second year.  I had been to the Caribbean before but I was not expecting to fall in love with this spice paradise like I did.

The island is a very complex place and it's impossible to narrow down the reasons that I love it there so much, however I thought I would just list a few. In no particular order they are as follows:-

Chocolate: Grenada has three main chocolate producers, all of them growing the cacao, harvesting the wet cacao beans and processing them into top quality, world class chocolate.  The future of the chocolate on the island is championed by Magdalena Fielden who has organised The Grenada Chocolate Festival to educate, enlighten and inspire generations of future Grenadians and visitors alike.  This year is the 4th Annual Grenada Chocolate Festival will include some of the familiar events and some exciting new ones as well.  Click here to check it out.

Spices: Grenada is a spice paradise on earth.  You don't need to look far to find nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, turmeric, vanilla to name but a few and all growing in abundance on the island.  One of my goals was to pick my own nutmeg.  As well as a visit to the Grenada Nutmeg Processing Plant in the small fishing village of Gouyave I had the immense pleasure and opportunity to pick my own nutmeg from a nutmeg tree on the Crayfish Bay Cocoa Plantation as well as stuffing my pockets with the ones that had already fallen on the ground.

The local spice market in St Georges is an explosion of colours and smells to treat all your senses.
I visited the home of a local man who had turmeric growing on his land,
and cinnamon trees.  He and his wife showed me how to remove the bark from the cinnamon tree with instructions to lay it out on our balcony for the rest of our stay and it would dry and curl and look like the cinnamon we know.  On the trip home the smell in my suitcase was intoxicating!
People: Generally I have found that the people who live in Grenada are warm and friendly. The residents of this paradise island want you to enjoy your time there. If you ask anyone for information or help in finding somewhere they will go out of their way to get you there.  Grenada is not a wealthy island for most of the inhabitants however they take great pride in the jobs that they do whether it is supplying bananas they have growing on their property to the hotels or a family ice cream company.
Beaches: Grenada has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world! Grand Anse beach is often considered one of the top 10 beaches in the world.  Over 2 miles of beautiful white sand - you can walk the whole length dipping into the calm and warm waters to cool off at regular intervals!
Food: The focus on food is freshness and local, simplicity yet innovative, intricate and innovative!  There is a plethora of high end restaurants, small food bars and street food available.
We stopped by the side of the road to chat to this young lady who was cooking corn on the cob from her home garden and selling to passing motorists.
Then markets have piles and piles of fresh produce all locally grown, bananas, coconuts, limes, breadfruit and more.
And of course don't forget the rum.  Rum is my spirit drink of choice, on it's own with an ice cube, a splash of Coca Cola or local pineapple juice, mmmm!!

I was not paid to write this post. All opinions and photos are my own. No photos may be reproduced in any manor without my written permission.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Show The Love This Mother's Day

Once a year we celebrate Mother's Day or Mothering Sunday to recognise the one special person in everyone's life that is always there for them no matter what. (well most mothers anyway).

It is a special day to go out of your way to treat mum, perhaps with a meal out or you could cook the Sunday lunch.  It is also an opportunity to give mum a special little gift to say how much you appreciate her.

Here are a few things I have been sent lately which would make a great Mother's Day gift:-

TKMaxx is a must for me to pop into whenever we go into the city centre.  They always have something I cannot live without!  I had a look around for some ideas for Mother this year.  Enamel is very big so I was really pleased to find this enamel coffee pot (which fits perfectly underneath my filter coffee cone) and keeps the coffee hot for longer. I also found this enamel mug filled with chocolate from Hasslachers filled with Columbian chocolate discs which you can whisk into warm milk for a creamy, chocolaty drink.  In their produce section I was thrilled to find some Peanut Butter Cup flavoured coffee!  And to finish the treat Pfeffernusse (little sugar coated ginger bread cookies that melt in your mouth) - all this to make a lovely morning coffee or chocolate to treat mum.
Aldi have a range of gifts for the home or garden for the Spring.  I was sent a lovely throw blanket which I will probably put on the spare bed as well as a garden ornament duck and a lovely candle holder for the patio. 
Aldi also have a range of special treats for Mother's Day.  A few of the specials are a frizz-taming hair dryer,
lunch tote perfect for mum to take to work or even a little girl who wants something special.  I was also sent a Cocktail Set - everything you need to create your favourite cocktails - all you need now is the alcohol and the ice!
And what better to toast Mum than Aldi's Prosecco!

Aldi's range is on a 'buy it when you see it' basis so check them out quickly before they are all gone.

If you are wanting to bake mum a cake for her special day this fab Wham Cook cake tin. It's Teflon coated so completely non-stick and I am sure any mother will love that it is heart shaped!
Rococo Chocolates whose main shop is at 5 Motcombe Street in Belgravia London has an exquisite range of gifts for Mother's Day this year. Their chocolates are perfect for any occasion however couldn't be more perfect a treat for Mum.  This box of chocolates contains a selection of delicate fillings of Rose, Violet, Geranium and Lavender.  These centers are inside a 65% dark chocolate.  Their chocolate can be bought in their shops or on-line.
So raise a glass to your mother whether she is near of far and tell her you love her.  Cheers Mum!!

I was sent a selection of products to show your for Mother's Day.  I was not paid to write a positive review. As usual all opinions and photos are my own.  No photos may be reproduced without my written permission.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Pancake Day: A Compendium of Pancakes

As I am an American pancakes to me are round, thick and fluffy usually covered in maple syrup.  In fact in the USA any day is Pancake Day!!

As I live in the UK I have also come to love the traditional Pancake Day, the day before Ash Wednesday the start of Lent.  I am not very accomplished at making the British versions of a pancake so this year I decided to do a round up of pancakes available in the supermarkets at the moment.

I was sent some Flavorking plums from South Africa. They are available only from M&S, sweet and taste like candy and are only around for 3-4 weeks - a very short season indeed.
I griddled some plum halves sprinkled with brown sugar and put them on top of some freshly whipped double cream.
Aunt Bessie is well known for her frozen roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings so I guess it makes sense that she also makes frozen pancakes.
Gluten free is very much the buzz word at the moment with a large amount of producers now making a gluten free version.  Crumbles is already a well established producer of gluten free bakes (I love their coconut macaroons!) and this year have a mix you add water to and ladle onto the hot pan.

There are a few of the plastic containers called pancake shakers that you add water to a fill-line, replace the cover and shake vigorously until thick. Pour into the hot pan and continue as directed.
Morrison's Plain Pancakes are made with buckwheat and are very much like the Staffordshire Oat Cakes we used to get when visiting relatives in the Manchester area. They are fantastic heated in the frying pan after cooking the bacon!
Because they work so well with a savoury partner I made a cheddar cheese sauce with mushrooms and smoked ham to pour over the warmed pancakes.
And finally who remembers those little frozen pancakes filled with a cheese sauce, folded over and breaded then fried. They were made by Birds Eye and were really popular when I was first married but seemed to disappear from the freezer compartments.  Well hurrah they are back.  I took a little trip down memory lane and served them to Mr R with a side salad.
Which ever way you enjoy your pancakes have a great Pancake Day. I would love it if you would leave a comment below to say your favourite pancake topping or filling.  Cheers.

I was not paid to write this post. All opinions and photos are my own.  No photographs may be reproduced without my written permission.