Tag Archives: Christmas

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


Christmas Bloggers Bake Off: Mincemeat Flapjacks

Hands up, who has a jar or 1/2 jar left of mincemeat in your cupboard? I did and I am sure many of you do too. This year I was determined to put my leftover mincemeat to good use. With a baby due any day now (hopefully ASAP!!) I have been looking for easy to make filling snacks that I can eat while chasing round after a toddler and a newborn baby. This fits the bill nicely and I think it proves that mincemeat is not just for Christmas but can be used all year round to make delicious treats!

Mincemeat Flapjacks (makes 12-16 small squares)


  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 300-350g mincemeat
  • 350g jumbo oats
  • 100g glaice cherries, chopped


  1. In a saucepan, put the butter, golden syrup and mincemeat and heat gently until melted. Turn off the heat.
  2. Stir the oats and glaice cherries in until well combined. Then pour into a foil Traybake tin (from Lakeland) or a well lined small roasting dish.
  3. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 30-40 minutes until golden brown on top.
  4. Allow to cool completely then cut into squares. Eat and enjoy!

Thank you to Jenny from Mummy Mishaps and Helen from The Crazy Kitchen for hosting the Christmas Bake Off.


#bloggersknowbest – 3: Christmas: Traditional Honey Glazed Gammon

Sorry I am really late with my entry into #bloggersknowbest -3: Christmas. This is the monthly recipe linky I host dedicated to the Hairy Bikers. The joys of being heavily pregnant and getting ready for Christmas and the new baby at the same time leave little time or energy for blogging. The baby can make an appearance whenever it likes now as I have cooked the Christmas dinner, had bubble & squeak, had turkey curry and made my traditional Boxing Day gammon which are my food traditions every Christmas.

This year, for my Boxing Day gammon I adapted this recipe from the Hairy Bikers. I kept the cooking method the same by boiling and then roasting the gammon with the glaze on. However, I added a couple of extra mustards to the glaze including wholegrain and a Dijon mustard with honey already in it. I roasted the gammon with the glaze for about 40 minutes, adding more glaze on top at regular intervals. Once cooked and cooled, I took the gammon to my mom and stepdad’s, they said it was my best Christmas gammon yet so I will definitely make it again soon!

There is still a few days left to enter into the linky so if you have cooked anything from the Hairy Bikers this Christmas, then why not take part. More information and the linky here.


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.


Hairy Bikers Bloggers Know Best #3 – Christmas

Hairy Bikers badge

Many thanks to Madhouse Family Reviews and Garden, Tea, Cakes and Me for taking part in the last challenge. Your support is greatly appreciated and I hope you will take part this time.  The theme of this linky is ‘Christmas’. This may seem quite early to start a Christmas themed linky, however I am due to give birth in early January so will be doing most of my Christmas cooking and baking in early December. The Hairy Bikers have a Christmas book which they released a couple of years ago called The Hairy Bikers’ 12 Days of Christmas: Fabulous Festive Recipes to Feed Your Family and Friends (affiliate link) which I shall be using for my recipe inspiration. I am sure they will have a Christmas special too.


This linky will run from now until 3rd January 2014 so you have loads of time to take part. Here is a reminder of the rules:

    1. You cook any recipe you like from the Hairy Bikers as long as it is related to the theme
    2. You must not copy the recipes word for word onto your blog posts. Quite a few of the recipes are already online so please link to them if they exist or put the book and the page number on your blog post so other people can find the recipe.
    3. If you make a couple or more adaptations to the recipe then please put the new version of the recipe on your blog if you want to, but always link to the original recipe in the same way as described in 2.
    4. You can submit the recipe to other blogging challenges as long as the other challenge allows it.
    5. It must be a new post published in the month of the linky. You are allowed to reblog old posts if you want to.
    6. You can enter the linky as many times as you like
    7. Please link to the post announcing that month’s linky in your blog post or to the Hairy Bikers Bloggers Know Best page on this blog if someone else is hosting the linky.
    8. You must display the badge (see below) on your blog post
    9. If you are on Twitter, please tweet about your post using the hashtag #bloggersknowbest and include @Jos_Kitchen in the tweet. I will retweet any that I see.
    10. Please try and comment on a couple of the other entries in the linky. I am sure your fellow bloggers will appreciate the visit.
    11. I will add all the entries to my Hairy Bikers Bloggers Know Best Pinterest Board
    12. Any questions, please email jo@joskitchen.co.uk

Please grab the badge and tell all your friends!!!

Jo's Kitchen

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.



Christmas Dinner Disaster!

Yorkshire Pudding Aliens!

Last year, I had a bit of a disaster with Christmas dinner. The Yorkshire Pudding recipe that I have used for the last few years failed on me for the first time ever! They looked and tasted more like muffins than Yorkshire puddings.Not one of my finest moments. My husband said they looked like Aliens and has teased me about ever since.

This year, I will be cooking Christmas dinner at nearly 38 weeks pregnant. Am I mad? Probably. Although I would rather be cooking in the kitchen then running around after a hyper two year old on Christmas day.  I will leave this to my husband, my Dad, Mother in Law and my Nan. This year, I am taking a few little shortcuts and letting Aunt Bessie’s Roast Dinner dishes take some of the strain, especially for my Yorkshire Puddings after last year’s error. I also cooking a turkey crown instead of a whole turkey as they are quicker to cook. I was the only person up at 7am on Christmas day last year as I had to start the turkey cooking. I want to still be in bed sleeping this time. We are also not going to have Christmas pudding afterwards either. I always buy one and no one ever eats it. This time we are just having ice cream which I know everyone likes. All these little shortcuts will make cooking Christmas dinner much easier for me. I just hope that cooking Christmas dinner this time does not bring on Labour!!!

Disclosure: There is a sponsored link and video in this post. However the story is true and all words are my own.

Christmas Product Review: Rudolph Potatoes

With Christmas very nearly upon us, I was very happy when I was contacted and asked if I would like to try Rudolph Potatoes. They are great for roasting, baking and mashing, making them the ideal potato to accompany your Christmas dinner. The potatoes have red smooth skins with a creamy white inside.

As I have limited time at the moment, I have not had chance to test out the Rudolph potatoes roasting potential however as the advice I was given was to keep them in their skins, I decided to make potato wedges for an easy after work supper one night this week. I could not decide what to serve them with so ended up with a bowlful of them on their own with lots of garlic mayonnaise. The recipe below is loosely based on the recipe on the website but feel free to make up your own based on what is in your kitchen.

Spicy Potato Wedges

Ingredients (serves 2 people as a side or 1 hungry person on their own)

  • 2 large or 3 small ruldolph potatoes (washed and skins left on) cut in half then into 4 wedges each half
  • 1tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Couple of tablespoons olive oil


  1. Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly until everything is evenly spread all over the potatoes
  2. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees (200 degrees fan oven)
  3. Put the potatoes, herbs, spices and oil onto a baking sheet in one even layer and place into the oven.
  4. Cook for 30 – 40 minutes until golden and crispy, turning at least a couple of times during cooking
  5. Once cooked, remove onto kitchen paper and allow to drain for 30 seconds. Add more salt and pepper if required and serve. Enjoy!!!

Overall, I was very impressed with Rudolph potatoes. They crisped up to perfection and they were some of the best potato wedges I have ever made. I will certainly be buying them when I next go to the supermarket!!


Disclosure: I recieved some Rudolph potatoes, a roasting tray and some oven gloves for the purpose of this review


Planning your Christmas Dinner With Farmer’s Choice

Image from Farmer's Choice

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Christmas will be with us before you know it and I am sure that like me, you are already what, how and when you are making your Christmas dinner and over the festive season in general. For me, preparation is the key and I get as much done as I can the day before. Fortunately, Farmer's Choice have everything you need for the perfect free range Christmas dinner and it can all be delivered to your door, so you do not even have to go to the shops and battle your way round the supermarket trying to get all the Christmas food you need

My vague Christmas dinner plan is as follows:

23rd December: buy vegetables and other general items needed for the Christmas season

Christmas Eve:

  1. collect meat from butchers,
  2. peel and chop potatoes, carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and leave in a saucepan full of cold water with a lid,
  3. make Yorkshire pudding batter,
  4. start making gravy using giblets, chicken stock and vegetables.

Christmas Day:

  1. cook turkey,
  2. parboil and roast the potatoes and parsnips,
  3. make pigs in blankets and stuffing,
  4. put all vegetables in steamer,
  5. cook the pigs in blankets, stuffing and Yorkshire puddings,
  6. finish off gravy with turkey juices and thicken if required,
  7. carve turkey,
  8. eat dinner
  9. finally sit down and relax with a glass of wine or six!!

I am sure I have probably forgotten something but this is my plan at the moment. What are your Christmas dinner plans? Any tips that you would like to share that helps make cooking the Christmas dinner easier?

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Christmas Present Review: Joseph Joseph Bowl Set

I was recently sent a Joseph Joseph Bowl Set from Find Me A Gift. It is a really useful set that would look great in any kitchen and as everything fits together in the largest bowl, it is perfect for the smallest kitchen too! The set contains:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl with pouring spout
  • Colander
  • Sieve
  • Measuring spoons

The set is really well made and is excellent quality. I loved the colours in the set. It really brightened up my kitchen.


This Joseph Joseph Bowl set is currently retailing at £25.99 at Find Me A Gift and is according to the website available for next day delivery meaning it will be here in plenty of time for Christmas


Many thanks to Jo for sending me the set to review. It is greatly appreciated


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