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

It’s Cheaper To Be A #MorrisonsMum!


I have a confession to make, despite doing most of my food shopping at a major supermarket beginning with a 'T', my favourite supermarket is actually Morrisons. However, I have about five of the 'T' supermarkets (Express and Extra branches) within 10 minutes drive of my house while my nearest Morrisons is 20 minutes away, therefore you can guess who mostly gets my business. I was very happy when Morrisons started doing home delivery recently and I am trying to do most of shopping through them that way.
I was very happy recently when Morrisons in partnership with BritMums sent me some vouchers so we could try out their new 'I'm Cheaper' promise. Morrisons have cut prices on over 1000 products and if it says 'I'm Cheaper' then it is staying cheaper forever. We loaded Thomas and Daniel in the car and went shopping on the Saturday morning of Bank Holiday weekend to our nearest large Morrisons in Rubery, South Birmingham.
The Shopping Experience

We started our shopping trip with a trip to the store cafe and a Full English Breakfast (the hubby and I had been out the night before!!) and were amazed at how fresh and delicious the breakfast was. We will go back there again for a meal that's for sure!
As ever at Morrisons, I was very happy with their large range of seasonal vegetables and the excellent way the fruit and vegetables are kept fresh by a water sprayer. On our way round the store, we saw fresh bread being baked and cakes being finished and packed in store too. The 'I'm Cheaper' shelf labels were everywhere too. All the staff were polite, helpful and very friendly. The baby changing area was very clean and the parent & toddler spaces were well signposted.
The Food
The meals we had were (cost per serving in brackets):
Sausage Sandwich (£1.60)
Chicken Noodle Stir Fry (£2.50)
Roast Chicken Sunday Dinner (approx £3)
Salmon, New Potatoes & Salad (approx £3)
Asparagus and Poached Eggs (£2.23 – I used the entire bunch in 1 serving)
Chocolate Brownie Tart (£1)
Overall, we were very impressed with all of our shopping. Everything was fresh and delicious. The roast chicken, salmon and chicken breasts were all purchased as part of the 3 for £10 deal. This means that if you have a meat-free night and used leftovers for a couple of nights then you could get all your families meat for a week for £10. A bargain!! The salmon portions were slightly small but the chicken (both types) was fine. Our total shopping bill came to £98 and that included a couple of bottles of wine, some store cupboard essentials and some steak for the freezer. I would love to go back to Morrisons when we have a big meal planned as I am sure we would save loads! The last bank holiday weekend was spent doing DIY so hence the lack of interesting meals!
Shopping is exhausting for some!!

Disclosure: I was sent vouchers to pay for my shop. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review

 

#teamhonkbakeoff – Mr B’s Hidden Red Nose Cake

You may remember that a little while ago, I took part in the Team Honk relay and was one of 200 plus bloggers taking a baton from Lands End to John O'Groats. Well my, Great Bloggers Bake Off friends and I decided that we would like to help Team Honk in the only way we can and host another bake off to raise funds for Sport Relief.

So, without any further ado, I present my 'Mr B's Hidden Red Nose Cake'. Mr B was the nickname the baton was given as he travelled across the country. The cake is a Victoria Sponge Cake with glacé cherries inside (the red noses!) sandwiched together with strawberry jam and decorated with a picture of Mr B, with three stars to represent England, Scotland and Wales. Here is how I made it:

Mr B's Hidden Red Nose Cake

Ingredients

  • 175g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 175g Self-Raising Flour (take a tablespoon of the measured flour out into a separate bowl and mix the glacé cherries with it)
  • 1 teaspoon baking power
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 100g glacé cherries
  • 3/4 jar of Strawberry Jam, for the middle and to help stick icing
  • 750g red fondant icing
  • Icing sugar, to help roll out fondant icing
  • Selection of coloured icing for the decoration including blue for the baton and yellow for the stars

Method

  1. Grease and line two 8 inch sandwich cake tins
  2. In a bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar together. Add the eggs and the flour and mix lightly until combined. Gently fold in the baking powder, vanilla extract and cherries. Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for about 25 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when inserted into middle of both cakes
  3. Leave the cakes to cool completely in their tins. Once cooled, sandwich together with the majority of the strawberry jam. Leave behind a bit to stick the fondant icing to the cake.
  4. Once sandwiched together, using a pastry brush, cover the cakes in the remainder of the jam.
  5. Roll out the red fondant icing, using icing sugar to prevent sticking to a round circle bigger than the cake. Using the rolling pin, place the icing over the cake and use a cake smoother to smooth out the icing. Trim away any excess.
  6. Using the other fondant icing colours, cut the out the shape of the baton and long strips of different coloured icing for the ribbons. Use a star cutter to cut out the three stars. Stick them on cake using a tiny bit of water. Admire your handiwork, eat and of course enjoy! Feel great about yourself for supporting a much worthy cause!!*

*the cake was decorated at 11pm at night after 3 hours sleep the night before, and after the bedtime from hell routine from Thomas followed by two glasses of wine! It is probably not my best work but I am very happy I made it and supported the amazing work of Team Honk again :-)

Mummy Mishaps

 

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.

 

 

 

The Perfect Coffee Moment

CoffeeDaydream with me for a few minutes. Imagine you are sitting on a balcony with me in Modena, Italy admiring all the Ferraris going past below as they leave the factory nearby, going to their new owners all over the world. As we sit on the balcony, we are both eating a generous portion of tiramisu and have a large cup of coffee to wash it down with. The sun is shining on our faces, we are wearing sunglasses and are just generally enjoying the watching the people and the city around us.

The coffee we are enjoying is from Caffe Cagliari, an Italian company with over 100 years knowledge and experience making the finest Italian Espresso. Every single cup is an exquisite masterpiece, the result of more than 100 years of knowledge and tradition. The qualitative and sensory standards of the Espresso have been certified by the Italian Espresso National Institute (I.N.E.I.), which protects and promotes Italian Espresso.

Stop daydreaming now. You are at home with your children and after a rough night with the baby and early start from the toddler, by mid morning you are starting to suffer and are in desperate need of a break. You sit down, put the Caffe Cagliari Nespresso compatible capsule into your machine and cut a large slice of chocolate cake. You do not need to go to Italy to enjoy a Caffe Cagliari coffee anymore, Italy and it's finest coffee can now come to you. You ignore what the children are doing for a few minutes and enjoy the perfect coffee moment. Five minutes to yourself, an excellent cup of coffee and a large slice of chocolate cake.

Disclosure: there is a sponsored link in this post, however all words are my own.

jk sponsored

 

Feel Good Fruit Cake

Hello everyone. Sorry for the lack of blogging recently. I have not been feeling myself. I will not go into much detail here but you can read my post on my parenting blog here if you like.

When I am not feeling 100%, I retreat to the kitchen and bake. Today I have made something I have wanted to bake for a while. When I was a child, I used to go to my Nan's after school, she used to give me a slice of Mr Kipling's Farmhouse Fruit Cake. I loved it and it is a real memory of childhood for me. I recently tried some again after many years of not having it and although, it tasted ok, I was disappointed to see that it contained dried egg, dried milk and a few other non-appetising sounding things so I decided I could do better and make a better one myself.

I adapted the recipe here. I added an extra 30g of dried mixed fruit and 50g of glacé cherries. In my fan oven, the cake took just over an hour in my fan oven. The cake looks and tastes better than I remember from childhood. I will make it again soon!

 

 

Five Recipes To Spoil Your Mum (Guest Post)

Mother’s Day isn’t the only time you can look after your mum. After all of the pack lunches, teatime snacks and home-cooked dinners your mum has prepared for you over the years, why not spoil her with some gourmet cooking that shows her just how much she means to you? Cooking for her will always be a welcome treat – whatever day of the year it is!

Whether you’re a budding Delia Smith or can’t tell your puree from your jus, these five recipes should be simple enough for everyone to attempt.

1. Eggs benedict

There are few more indulgent ways to start the day than with a decadent plate of eggs benedict.

Simply slice a lightly toasted English muffin in half, butter each slice, place crispy bacon on top, add a poached egg to each half and then top with hollandaise sauce. The bacon, eggs and muffins are all easy to prepare and you can pick up good quality, readymade hollandaise sauce in most supermarkets if you don’t fancy making your own.

2. Pancakes

Another great way to treat your mum is with pancakes. Easy to make – simply mix flour, milk and eggs – and delicious to eat, pancakes can be sweet or savoury depending on your mood.

Toppings can include everything from sugar, lemon and chocolate to cheese, ham and tomatoes – so why not give your mum the choice and cover your dinner table with an array of enticing options?

3. Mediterranean tart with goat’s cheese

If it’s lunch that you’re treating your mum to, this delicious, light recipe is the ideal midday meal.

For the tart, simply unroll some readymade puff pastry and place it on a baking tray. Place some sliced onions, courgettes, cherry tomatoes, goat’s cheese and olives on top and finish with a few dollops of pesto and a sprinkling of good quality olive oil.

Pop it in the oven for about 25 minutes and serve with salad and new potatoes. It’s guaranteed to be just as good as anything your mum enjoys at her assisted living accommodation – or anywhere else for that matter!

4. Pavlova

When it comes to teatime treats, it doesn’t get much better than a generous helping of creamy pavlova, so why not spoil your mum with this Antipodean classic.

Whisk egg whites and sugar into a meringue and bake in the oven until crispy. Once cooled, top with whipped cream, chopped strawberries and raspberry coulis and your mum won’t know what’s hit her!

5. Roast dinner

If you’re cooking your mum a special dinner, the recipe options are pretty much endless. However, there’s nothing like a classic roast to show off your cooking skills.

Simply choose your mum’s favourite meat and roast in the oven along with potatoes, carrots, parsnips and onions. Serve with fresh green veg, Yorkshire puddings and a generous helping of gravy for a spectacular evening meal.

Whatever you decide to cook to show your mum how much you love her, she’s sure to love the effort you’ve put in to make her feel special.

 

 

Cooking with Lea & Perrins: Easy Sausage Casserole

Worcester Sauce is one of my most well used condiments in the kitchen. I use it to flavour stews, casseroles, chilli con carne and I cannot have my cheese on toast without it. Now Sorted Food and Lea & Perrins have got together to show you what other dishes you can make really tasty with the addition of Worcester Sauce. Their video for lasagna is below and I have also given you my easy sausage casserole recipe using Worcester Sauce too.

 

Easy Sausage Casserole

Ingredients (served 2 hungry people)

  • 6 good quality sausages
  • Tablespoon of vegetable/sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 50ml white wine
  • 350ml chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon each of dried thyme, sage and parsley
  • 2 tablespoons of Worcester Sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon of Tomato Ketchup
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Handful of finely chopped fresh parsley to finish

Method

  1. In a large oven and hob friendly casserole dish, fry the sausages in the oil until browned, then remove and set aside
  2. Next fry the onions and garlic in the oil until softened. Add the wine in and cook it out until the alcohol has burnt off. Usually 1-2 minutes .
  3. Add in the chicken stock, dried herbs, Worcester Sauce, Tomato Ketchip and salt and pepper, then stir well.
  4. Put the casserole into an oven preheated to 180 degrees C for about an hour and a half until everything is cooked through and the sauce is thickened. If the sauce needs more thickening, add 2 teaspoons of cornflour to a splash of water, mix well and add into the casserole. Allow it to cook until desired thickness is achieved. Finish with the parsley, just before serving with mashed potatoes and spring greens.

Disclosure: this is a chargeless courtesy post

 

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.

 

Meal Planning Monday (10th March 2014)

A very short and sweet post this week as I am writing this while I have two sort quiet children! We mostly stuck to the meal plan last week. I just moved a couple of things round and did have a cheeky extra takeaway!! This week, I am trying to use meat from the freezer as it is getting so expensive these days. Here is what we are eating:

Monday: Steak, chips and pepper sauce

Tuesday: Glazed chicken and rice

Wednesday: Sausage casserole and mash

Thursday: Pork chow mein (A Hairy Bikers recipe for #bloggersknowbest. More information here.)

Friday: Homemade pizza

Saturday: Takeaway

Sunday: Chicken casserole and mash

Linking this up to #mealplanningmonday on At Home With Mrs M

 

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