Category Archives: Product Review

Spooky Carrot Soup and Soup Maker Review

This post is slightly belated but this recipe will be great if you are having a bonfire night party this coming weekend or you can make it at anytime of year without the spooky bit! Pumpkins are the main source of everyone’s enthusiasm at this time of year and although they look great as lanterns, they are quite fiddly to prepare and there are only so many ’50 ways to use up leftover pumpkin’ posts that I can read.

Therefore, I would like to draw your attention to the humble carrot. In the UK, We produce 700,000 tons of carrots per year (source here) and I wonder how many of those get thrown in the bin? I used to buy a bag of carrots from the supermarket then use 3/4 out of the bag and throw the rest away. I am sure I am not the only one who has done this. Anyway, I have the solution to this problem, my simple carrot soup recipe. The recipe is below and my simple carrot soup recipe has been made even easier by being sent a VonShef Premium Digital Soup & Smoothie Maker 

VonShef Soup Maker

VonShef Soup Maker

Until I had one, I always thought that soup makers were a gadget too far. I mean how hard is it to make soup really? However, in the two weeks that I have had the soup maker, my views have been transformed. A soup maker is basically a blender that cooks. You add in all the ingredients, add the stock, turn on and 40 minutes later you have hot puréed soup ready to go. I have been using it to make soup for me to take to work and heat up in my Crockpot Food Warmer.  It is a great way of using leftover vegetables and saves money too.

The only downside I have found to soup maker is that when I fried onions and garlic in it before adding the other vegetables and stock (which it says it can do in the instructions), it fried them very fast and burnt them, leaving a nasty taste in the soup and tiny black specks in the soup. However I discovered the soup maker has enough power to cook everything, just by putting all the ingredients and the stock in and leaving it to cook. The soup maker blends as it cooks so you do not even have to touch it when it is has finished unless you want to purée it more.  The soup maker can cook eggs and rice too (although I have not tried these functions yet).

Tell me, what gadget did you think you could live without in the kitchen but then once you had it, you discovered it was the most useful appliance ever? I would love to know!

Spooky Carrot Soup

Ingredients (make 2 large or 3/4 smaller portions)

For the soup

  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 8-12 carrots (depending on size), peeled and finely chopped
  • 600ml vegetable stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the spooky bit

  • 2 Babybel cheeses per soup bowl, packaging and red outer bit removed
  • 1 black edible ink pen

Method

  1. (In a soup maker) Add all the soup ingredients into the soup maker. Turn on to low heat mode and allow to cook for allotted time. Serve with the eyes, as described below
  2. (Without a soup maker) In 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, fry the onions and celery until softened then add carrots, vegetable stock and cook until the carrots are cooked through and soft. Season to taste then using a hand blender, blend until it reaches desired consistency.
  3. (For the spooky eyes) Draw a black eye in the middle of each Babybel cheese. The pen might stab into the cheese a bit so the do the best you can. Float cheeses on top of soup, eat and enjoy! Boo!!

Disclosure: I was sent a VonShef Premium Digital Soup & Smoothie Maker  for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review

Tasty Tuesdays

recipe-of-the-week

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Product Review: Thornton’s Red Wine Hamper

I was recently contacted by Thornton's asking if I would like to try one of their new ranges of hampers. Being a bit of a fan of chocolate, I obviously said yes! I was even happier when I discovered that you could chocolate and wine together in a hamper.
I decided to try the red wine hamper as I was curious to know if red wine and chocolate complimented each other or not. The wine is a 2013 Berri Estates Merlot and it is sent with two packs of Viennese truffles, perfect for sharing as a couple while you enjoy the wine. The truffles were very rich and I could not of eaten many of them on their own. The Merlot cut through the richness of the chocolate and complimented it perfectly. The wine has a deep berry fruitiness and has hints of cocoa too, making it ideal with the chocolate. Although it is really early, I highly recommend this as an ideal Christmas gift for any chocolate and wine loving couple you know!
Disclosure: I was sent a red wine hamper for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review

 

Product Review: ‘Cheese’ Chocolate Pizza From Qwerkity

As I have said on this blog many times before, I love pizza and have eaten it in Italy and America. I love chocolate too so when I was offered a ‘Cheese’ Chocolate Pizza from Qwerkity (formerly Presents For Men), I was intrigued and eagerly awaited the package.

The pizza came well packaged in a pizza box, wrapped in red paper and held in a sealed plastic holder ensuring that it arrived in one piece. I was impressed with how pizza like it looked. The white chocolate cheese, the chocolate ball olives and the toffee chunks really added to the effect and were delicious too. The Belgian chocolate base was rich and creamy and was complimented beautifully by the differing textures of the chocolate balls and the toffee chunks. I would recommend a chocolate pizza for the pizza lover in your life who would like to receive something with novelty value.
Presents for Men offer a couple other chocolate pizzas and as the name suggests, plenty of gifts for men!
Disclosure: I was sent a chocolate pizza for the purposes of this review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review

 

 

 

A Brazilian Feast With Magimix

Moqueca & pão de queijo

Unless you have been living on Mars, you cannot have failed to notice that there is a lot of football on the TV at the moment. The world cup has been hosted in Brazil this year and as a result of that, I was recently challenged by Magimix to make a 4 course Brazilian feast using a Magimix CS 4200 XL Food Processor. This is a perfect meal that you could make all or part of to feed your mates as you watch the world cup final this weekend. My recipes below are not truly authentic but they do bring the taste of Brazil to your kitchen.

Magimix CS 4200 XL Food Processor

Magimix CS 4200 XL Food Processor

I have lusted after a Magimix food processor for ages so when I offered one for this task, I was on cloud 9! I have been using it for around three weeks now and am already completely in love with it. I have used as many functions as I can in the following recipes but I have hardly scratched the surface. I cannot wait to cook with it more soon. The food processor comes with a box of tricks which includes:

  • Extra large feed tube
  • 3 bowls
  • knife blade and a mini one for the smallest bowl
  • Blender mix
  • dough blade
  • egg whisk
  • 2 sizes of slicing discs
  • 2 sizes of grating discs

The food processor feels really solid and as long as I treat it with care, I am sure I will have it for a very long time. I am already eyeing up buying the creative kit and the dough bowl kit for it to extend the many kitchen jobs it can already do! Anyway, on with the recipes!

Pão de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

Tapioca flour is quite chewy. The end result may not be to everyone’s taste. My husband loved it but I was not so sure. These are gluten free though which may make someone’s night!

Ingredients (makes 12 small buns)

  • 170g tapioca flour
  • 1 egg
  • 100ml whole milk
  • 50ml olive oil and extra for greasing tin
  • 70g hard cheese, e.g. cheddar
  • 1tsp English Mustard Powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees C and grease a cupcake/muffin tin with a bit of oil
  2. Grate the cheese in the 4mm grater and set aside
  3. Put all the ingredients in the main Magimix bowl and then blend using knife blade until combined
  4. Pour into cupcake/muffin tin and fill 3/4 way full
  5. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until crisp on the outside but soft and chewy in the middle
  6. Serve warm with Moqueca (recipe below) or on their own as a pre-match snack!

Moqueca (Brazilian Fish Stew)

This recipe is not traditional as it does not contain coconut milk. However this recipe has a real fresh feel and the lime juice added in at the end, gives it a zesty kick!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled
  • 1 large pepper, colour of your choice with seeds and white bits removed
  • 1 jalapeño chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 150ml fish stock
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 500g cod loin, skinned and cut into 2-3 inch chunks
  • 300g prawns, peeled and de-veined
  • large bunch of coriander eaves and very tops of stalks, chopped
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  1. Using the small slicing disc, chop up the onion and the pepper in the Magimix medium sized bowl and set aside for a minute
  2. In a large pan, add the oil and allow to heat up. Add the onion and the pepper, and fry until softened.
  3. Once softened, add the garlic and the chilli and fry for a minute more.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes, fish stock and paprika.
  5. If you would like a smoother finish to your stew, you could use the blendermix on your Magimix now before you add in the seafood.
  6. Once blended (if desired), bring back up to heat and then add the cod loin into the stew. Put the lid on and allow to simmer gently for a few minutes.
  7. After a few minutes, add in the prawns and allow to cook through for another couple of minutes.
  8. Once cooked, turn off the heat and add in the lime juice, coriander, salt and pepper then stir gently so you do not break up the fish too much. Serve in big bowls, eat and of course enjoy!

Churrasco Steak with Salsa and Coriander Rice

Churrasco Steak with Salsa & Rice

Churrasco Steak with Salsa & Rice

In Brazil, Churrasco (BBQ) is very popular. Usually after being cooked on the BBQ, meat is dipped in a salt brine. This recipe gives this feeling but with a less salty taste as the meat is marinated before cooking.

Ingredients (Serves 2)

For the steak

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1 lime
  • 2 steaks (I used sirloin)
  • salt and pepper

For the Salsa

  • 1 onion, peeled
  • 1 large tomato or 3/4 smaller ones
  • 1 pepper, colour of your choice
  • small bunch of coriander
  • 1 lime
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

For the rice,

  • 150g long grain rice, cooked according to packet instructions
  • small bunch of coriander, chopped

Method

  1. In the small bowl of the Magimix, blend the garlic cloves and the salt together until they form a fine paste. Add the olive oil and lime juice and blend them again briefly until combined. Pour over the steak and set aside at room temperature to marinate for an hour.
  2. Using the large grater attachment of the Magimix, chop up the onion, pepper and tomato(es) and then put in another bowl and add the lime juice, olive oil , salt and pepper. Set aside until ready to serve.
  3. Remove any excess marinate from the steak and cook on a preheated BBQ, griddle or frying pan for 3/5 minutes a side (depending on size of steak) for medium, remove and set aside to rest.
  4. Cook the rice according to the package instructions, then using a fork stir through with chopped coriander. Serve with the steak, salsa and a large glass of red wine!

Brazilian Inspired Strawberry & Lime Cheesecake Pots

Strawberry & Lime Cheesecake Pots

Strawberry & Lime Cheesecake Pots

This recipe is Brazilian inspired. It uses condensed milk which is a traditional Brazilian ingredient in desserts teamed with cream cheese to make the filling. The lime zest cuts through the richness of the condensed milk and turns it into a refreshing summer dessert. This recipe contains raw egg white so it is not suitable for pregnant women

Ingredients (Makes 4 little ramekins)

  • 12 digestive biscuits
  • 50g unsalted butter, melted
  • 100g condensed milk
  • 100g cream cheese
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 lime
  • 4 strawberries, hulled to decorate the top

Digestive Biscuits in the small bowl of Magimix

Method

  1. In the small bowl of the Magimix, break up the biscuits until they are a fine crumb. Add in the butter and mix again until combined. Put in the bottom of the ramekins and press down with a spoon to form a smooth base. Put in the fridge to set while you make the filling.
  2. Using the small bowl of the Magimix again, mix together the cream cheese and condensed milk until blended. Remove and set aside.
  3. Using main bowl of the Magimix and the egg whisk, whisk the egg white until thick and frothy. Gently fold into the egg white into the cream cheese and condensed milk mixture. Add the zest of 1 lime and then pour into the ramekins.
  4. Put in the fridge and leave until set. It will not set completely but there should not be much of a wobble. Top with a strawberry and enjoy!

The egg white being whisked in Magimix

I really enjoyed making these recipes and I hope you will too, whether you make them for the world cup or for a summer inspired feast, anytime in the year. The Magimix did make the job of creating these dishes much easier, however I designed them so they are easy to make, whether you have a food processor or not.

Saúde! (Cheers! in Brazilian Portuguese)

For more Brazilian recipes made with a Magimix, please see Kavey Eats:

Bolinhos de Laranja e Limão

Brigadeiro

Disclosure: I was sent a Magimix CS 4200 XL Food Processor to keep for the purpose of this post. All recipes and opinions are my own.

Tasty Tuesdays

#recipeoftheweek

Product Review: Jus Rol Croissants, Pain Au Chocolat and Garlic Bread

I was recently contacted by Jus-Rol to see if I would like to try a selection of their products. I always use their pastry whenever I make pies, tarts and so on as I am really bad at pastry. It is my one major weakness in the kitchen!! Therefore, I decided to try other products within their range. I decided on the Pain Au Chocolat, Croissants and Garlic Pizza Bread.


I tried the Pain au Chocolat and croissants one morning when a friend came over. You have to get the dough out of the tin and roll the croissants and Pain Au Chocolat yourself. This was very easy and only took a couple of minutes before putting them in a pre-heated oven. I slightly overcooked them as I was chatting to my friend but they were still very flaky, buttery (not sure if this is a word!) and delicious! I would definitely cook them if I had people staying over and needed to cook them something delicious as the smell of them cooking would wake them up happy I am sure.
I tried the garlic pizza bread a few nights later with Stuart. We were impressed with the quality of bread. It tasted nearly like homemade pizza however we were very disappointed by the lack of garlic butter that actually stayed on the bread. Most of it ended up on the baking tray unfortunately and the bread ended up being quite dry. It was very easy to cook and I am sure I would use it again if a way could be found to keep the garlic butter on the bread. Could they change the shape perhaps or create a crust on the bread to help keep the butter in? Stuart suggested pricking the bread with a fork so there are holes there already which the butter can seep through.
What do you think of a Jus-Rol products?
Disclosure: I was sent some vouchers to try the products. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

Family Fever

Product Review: Easter Eggs from Marks & Spencer

Easter is only a few days away and if you are still looking for the perfect Easter egg for a loved one, then Marks & Spencer's might be able to help. I was recently sent a couple of Easter Eggs to review, a Percy Pig character shaped out of white chocolate and a decorated milk chocolate egg (no image available) from 'The Collection', their range of luxury Easter eggs.

Percy Pig is a well known brand from Marks & Spencer's. He is well loved by children and adults alike. Percy Pig has evolved this Easter into a Percy Pig flavoured white chocolate shape with sprinkles for shorts. The white chocolate is flavoured with dried raspberries and strawberries. The flavouring is far too intense for me however die-hard Percy Pig fans will love it I am sure. It is very sweet and the shape is very appealing to children. The perfect novelty gift for children who are bored of 'normal' Easter eggs!

'The Collection' decorated milk chocolate egg is probably my perfect Easter egg. The decoration on the egg is simple but enough to make you feel it is a luxury product. The chocolate egg is thick and very smooth and creamy. I nearly ate it all in one sitting!!

Disclosure: I was sent two Easter eggs to review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

 

 

Product Review: Knorr Gravy Pots

I love Sunday dinner but sometimes the cooking of it can cause great stress to many people. For some reason, gravy can sometimes be hard or stressful to make as you make it last and you are worrying about keeping everything else warm while you are doing it. However, Knorr have come up with the answer to reduce stress in the kitchen and still have a great tasting gravy to go with your dinner.


Knorr's new Gravy Pots are little shots of flavour that when mixed with some water and/or meat juices gives you great tasting gravy without the fuss. They have recently been voted Product of the Year in the Gravy & Stock category. Product of the Year is the world's largest consumer-voted award for product innovation.
We tried the beef gravy with our roast dinner (pictured above) and we very impressed with the flavour. With added extra roasting juice from the beef, it tasted completely homemade and very yummy. The only issue I had with it was that it did not seem to make that much gravy for the three of us. I was very tired when I was cooking due to being up half the night with Daniel so I might have read the package wrong for how much water to add. I will try again and make I triple check the instructions for the right amount of water this time!!
Disclosure: I was a sent a roast dinner hamper and some Knorr Gravy Pots in order to do this review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

Product Review: Vintage Holly Christmas Hamper from John Lewis


I was recently contacted by John Lewis and asked if I would like to try one of their Christmas hampers. A few days I received via courier a Vintage Holly hamper. The hamper was well packaged in an outer box and the items were well secured in the box pictured above with lots of polystyrene balls which went all over my living room as I opened the box the wrong way. (Muppet LOL!!) The hamper contained the following items:

  • Brookford Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon, 75cl
  • Brookford Chardonnay Semillon, 75cl
  • Edinburgh Preserves Shortbread with Cinnamon & Demerara, 160g
  • Maxwell & Franks Christmas Pudding with Cider, 454g
  • Chocca Mocca 100% Real Belgian Milk Drinking Chocolate,150g
  • Buiteman Cheese & Sesame Crumbles, 75g
  • Cartwright & Butler Cheese Biscuits, 75g
  • The Dormen Caramelised Almonds, 95g
  • Lily O’Briens Sticky Toffee Chocolates, 110g
  • The Original Cake Company 4″ Round Top Iced with Gingerbread Star
  • Rural Foodies Vanilla Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Discs, 90g
  • Cottage Delight Mini Mince Pies with Almond Topping

I was very impressed with the selection in the hamper and most of the brand names in the hamper were well known to me beforehand. I am looking forward to trying the Christmas pudding on the big day itself and my friends and I loved the mini mince pies on our coffee morning. The Christmas cake is very sweet and is the perfect size for a treat for a couple of people. The toffee chocolates, cheese biscuits and shortbread will give you plenty to nibble on over the festive period. I think this hamper would make a lovely gift for a foodie couple or one lucky person if you do not really know what to buy for them this Christmas.

Disclosure: I received a John Lewis hamper for review. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

Product Review: Christmas Hamper from hampergifts.co.uk

Hamper 1

A short while ago, I was sent a Christmas hamper from hampergifts.co.uk. As I am pregnant I decided to try a non-alcoholic hamper called The Noël. We were very impressed by the speed of delivery (via courier) and how well packaged and presented the hamper was. Everything is held in place with cellophane and there is a large bow on top suggesting that there are lots of treats inside.

Hamper 2

The hamper contained:

  • Olives Et Al Chilli & Garlic Olives 150g
  • Dark Chocolate Coated Marzipan Loaf 100g
  • Cottage Delight Spicy Mango and Ginger Chutney 340g
  • Edinburgh Tea & Coffee Co. Fresh Ground Breakfast Coffee 56g
  • Large Christmas Fruit Cake 500g
  • Milk Chocolate Coated Almonds 150g
  • Alice McPherson's Petticoat Tails Shortbread 150g
  • Olive and Sesame Savoury Breadsticks 100g
  • Triple Chocolate Gourmet Cookies 100g
  • The Wooden Spoon Cranberry and Orange Sauce 113g
  • Walkers of London Milk Chocolate Fruit & Nut 240g
  • Buchanan's Chocolate Russian Caramels 100g
  • English Breakfast Tea x 10

hamper 3

Overall, we were very impressed with the hamper. There are lots of well known quality brands inside and the contents was very varied so there is something that everyone will like in it. The free teddy bear that came with the hamper is a nice touch especially for a younger member of the family. I have not sampled every product that came in the hamper yet but I can confirm the triple chocolate cookies, shortbread and Russian Caramels are divine! This would make an ideal present for a family who likes foodie things but who you are unsure what to get them.

Disclosure: I received a hamper to review. All views are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

 

 

Product Review: Lindt Heavenly Hazelnut Easter Egg

 

I was recently asked by Lindt to try the Heavenly Hazelnut milk chocolate egg from their Easter Range. Initial impressions of the egg were good. It was packaged in a bright spring yellow box and the egg looked a generous size. We were not disappointed when we tried the egg either. The egg has one layer of chocolate on the bottom, then it is topped by hazelnuts and more chocolate has then been poured on top. It's a triple layer delight!

The chocolate is rich and creamy and highly addictive. The nuts provide an interesting texture and taste change. Nuts are not really my thing in massive quantities but I can enjoy them in this egg. One slightly disappointing aspect of the egg is the price. I did not know the price of the egg (£19.99) when I recieved it and when I tasted it. Although the egg is good, I do not think it is worth that much. However if you do like milk chocolate and hazelnuts and want a treat this Easter, then this is the egg for you!!

Disclosure: Lindt sent me this egg to review. All opinions on my own. I did not have to write a positive review.

 

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