Corn Again Popcorn
The first gourmet popcorn of this post, Corn Again was started by Catherine and Richard Furze in 2008 in Consett, County Durham. We found them interesting and strongly flavoured. Other flavours are available and they have a popcorn tasting club with new flavours each month as well as pop at home products. Like all the new popcorn offerings, they’re low in fat. A 40g bag is £1.
Garlic & Herb – Powerful garlic kick. Big, bold, ballsy flavours. Slightly sweet.
Chilli Fennel – Strong chilli. Very nice length from the fennel.
Bloom’s currently comes in two varieties: Sweet and Salty – made with Maldon sea salt, so you get delicious bursts of salt in amongst the sweet coated popped corn kernels. Peanut Butter – Sweet and peanutty. Good. The first gourmet popcorn we’ve had that’s flavoured with nuts.
Mr Hugh’s Oil
From being the bete noir of the countryside with its fields of livid yellow, rapeseed is now the darling of the foodie world. A lighter alternative to olive oil, the low food miles of domestic rapeseed oil compares well in terms of food miles to importing olive oil from southern Europe, and it can have a great clear, grassy taste all of its own. Mr Hugh’s is a brand from Norfolk, with two types of oil on offer: an extra virgin cold pressed and Gourmet, a single variety cold pressed rapeseed oil. Both have the light flavour common to rapeseed, and the very high smoke point that gives extra versatility. Great for roasted vegetables and baking with the lighter one. The extra virgin costs £2.69 for a 250ml bottle, while the gourmet oil is £3.89 for the same size.
Rather than going with the usual brew, we tried some Mirabilia Olive Leaf Tea for a change. Olive leaf tea has been drunk in Italy for hundreds of years, and we found it a light, refreshing alternative to our more usual cup. It’s organic, caffeine free and available in plain and pomegranate flavours. A side benefit is that it’s an extra crop from the olive trees, so helping to preserve the ancient groves. Best kept as a treat: a 30g bag is £4.69.
My Boutique Chocolates
My Boutique Chocolates are a company offering hand made chocolates with a range of interesting flavours: pomegranate and lychee, basil truffle, or mango, for example. We found the flavouring subtle and restrained, with the predominate taste being that of the chocolate. We actually would have preferred a stronger taste of the various flavourings. However, we did like the fact that the packaging doesn’t use any plastic – but we felt that the box might benefit from some sort of inset, as the chocolates had slid around in post and got a little bashed. A box of 20 chocolates is £20.00
Gran Luchito is a smoked chilli paste from Mexico, made from rare chillis, and it’s our new wonder discovery. Great smeared onto cream cheese on a slice of toast, or to add an extra flavour layer to a Mexican/Indian fusion dal, its a smoky, spicy treat (which really reinforces the point of how much we like things that have been smoked). The website has a further eclectic range of suggestions, from a crusted steak to a prawn cocktail via a bloody benito cocktail. Well worth trying. a 110g pot costs £5.00
Hodmedod’s are a quirkly named brand of UK grown dried peas and beans, currently selling three products: split fava beans, whole fava beans, and Kabuki marrowfat peas. However, the range is due to expand soon to include blue peas, yellow peas, split green peas, split yellow peas and black badgers (maple, or carlin, peas). Great to add to soups and stews to add body and texture, or as the starting point for dals, and falafels.
We tried the split fava beans; after a short soak, these cooked really quickly and we enjoyed them in a dal. Perfect for a quick lunch. We do like the packaging, with beautiful illustrations and the clue about the company’s name – in Suffolk, a Hodmedod is a snail, while in Norfolk, it’s another name for a hedgehog. This is most definitely a company based in Norfolk. As such, we do also like supporting a company selling produce from the UK. A 500g bag costs £1.90.
Emma Bridgewater for Comic Relief
Emma Bridgewater fans will love her new homewares for Comic Relief. Available from Red Nose Day official partners, brands-for-less homeware HomeSense stores and TK Maxx.
Many thanks to all the brands for samples. Image credits to Emma Bridgewater, Hodmedods & Mr Hugh’s.