Carnivore Club is the perfect subscription gift for the cured meat and charcuterie lover. This month’s box features 6 different meats from Cornwall’s Deli Farm where Martin and Jean Edwards started making their award winning charcuterie back in 2005. We enjoyed their both their crispy and sliced coppa with drinks and have been using chorizo and garlic salami on top of pizza. All beautifully tender with excellent spicing. Carnivore Club boxes are £32 per month and would make an excellent present as well as being a great way to support British producers. Twitter @carnivoreclubuk
We loved these traditional honey cakes from Czech brand Marlenka baked to an old Armenian recipe. The range varies from chocolate sponge balls containing a honey cream, to a lighter than air sponge layer cake. Just delicious – go and buy some from their webshop. Twitter @marlenkacakes
India Jane situated on London’s Kings Road is an Aladdin’s cave of treasures for the home. Carefully sourced, curated and styled there is something for everyone and to suit all budgets. You could practically fit out your entire home, or but a few statement pieces or just an accessory or two. I loved much of their tableware and am looking forward to buying some pieces as blog props. Twitter @IndiaJaneLondon
“Good for you, good for the world” is the tag line of the new yoghurt covered pomegranate and mulberry bars, Plant for Peace. So much more than just a bar, project was started in 2007 by James Brett who single handedly persuaded Afghanistan farmers to stop growing poppies (much of which ended up as heroin) and to start growing pomegranate and other cash crops instead. The bars cost £1.39 each or £3.99 for a box of 4. By buying them you are helping an Afghanistan family as well as taking a stand against drugs and all related crime. Additionally or every bar purchased a tree is planted to help grow the initiative. Twitter #plantforpeace
The burger of the month at Ed’s Easy Diner is the Bacon Blue’s Burger, containing of slice of the delicious full bodied by very creamy Castello Extra Creamy Danish Blue (this is the cheese that Ed and I can easily eat a packet of at a single sitting). If you cannot get to Ed’s to for the buger then you can make your own by buying a packet of 5 slices of burger blue for £2 from ASDA or Sainsbury’s (other supermarkets to follow). Twitter @eds_easy_diner / @castellouk
2015 is the Summer of Gin!
Firstly Nicholsons Pubs invited me to a tasting in one of their Gin Palace Pubs. Nicholsons has long been a gin business, supplying pubs with gin. Their pub chain slowly grew as pubs, which were their customers, defaulted on payment so Nicholsons moved in and took over the properties. In an early example of corporate sponsorship they bought the freehold to the pavilion at Lord’s cricket ground, and the colours of the MCC are still red and gold – the same as the Nicholson’s logo.
We tasted a variety of gins that the pub stocks; Adnams (better know for beer) is sweet flavoured with sweet orange, coriander seed as well as other botanicals. Chase distillery makes a gin from potatoes (7-8kg of spuds per bottle in case you were wondering), their gin is spicy and robust best enjoyed with a slice of ginger.
Opihr is an Oriental inspired gin with notes of cumin and cardamom, interestingly best served with ginger ale and a slice of orange. Classic Bombay Sapphire is best enjoyed with tonic or fresh from the freezer as a martini.
Nicolsons have lots of other gins on offer if you pop in too. Twitter @nicholsonspubs #itsallaboutgin
If you are having a holiday in Cornwall, or are catching the Brittany ferry this summer Plymouth gin have an exhibition From Plymouth to the World – the Voyage of Plymouth Gin from Birth to Legend, including this selection of old and new bottles, in Plymouth this summer at the city museum, ending on the 31st October. Entrance Free. Twitter @RefectoryBar
Beefeater Gin has launched London Sounds with very snazzy (and collectible) new packaging to match, and to celebrate London’s diverse musical heritage and of course London Dry Gin. Twitter @BeefeaterGin
My trip to Italy last year strengthened my philosophy on food “good ingredients, simply cooked“. We’ve been trying two bottles of Due Vittorie balsamic vinegar – the Oro for everyday use at £9.99 for 100ml and the 12 year old Tradizionale at £50 for 100ml. Before tasting it I would have never considered spending quite so much on balsamic but the Tradizional was sublime. Thick, intense, syrupy, rich, sweet with some balancing acidity. I thought it tasted of a rich amalgam of dark dried fruits but somehow better. A few drops go a very long way and we have been adding just a dribble to salads, onto cheeses and also with vanilla ice cream. That very special bottle is rationed.
The Oro is also good, similar to the Tradizional, but not as intense. It is still fairly thick and syrupy when compared to my usual brand (at a similar price) and I’ll be making the swap next time I need to buy some, a bottle will still last the two of us the best part of a year.
Both are available from Ocado. Twitter @DueVittorie
Many thanks to all the brands featured for samples and invitations. All opinions our own.