Little Yummy Snippets …
We love this traditional range of Greek & Mediterranean products from Odysea. With their sleek modern packaging they would also make an excellent gift. We’ve especially liked the Gigantes Beans (butterbeans in a rich herby tomato sauce with olive oil) which are a store cupboard essential for a mezze style lunch, the roasted red peppers, umpteen types of olives & honey as well as very good quality olive oil. I’m also converted to the balsamic drizzle, ideal for salad dressings, or add a squeeze to slightly under ripe berries to bring out some sweetness. Most products are in the £2.99 – £3.99 range and there is free P&P if you spend £15. Twitter @odysea_ltd
Delishfish is from Milnes of Peterhead, a family with five generations of history in fishing. It’s a mail order service, providing a wide range of fish and seafood straight to your door from one of the great wholesale fish markets of the UK; Peterhead, in Scotland, where much of the North Sea catch is landed. But Delishfish aren’t just offering fresh fish, they also sell smoked fish and seafood.
We tried four different types of hot smoked salmon steaks – mustard, Thai chilli, Drambuie and orange (winner of Best New Product in the Grampian Food Awards), and honey roast, and struggled to find our favourite as all were excellent. All were nicely smoked, without being overly fatty that you often find in some of the (more commonly found) cold smoked salmon. The salmon kept its structure, with big flakes; we found it perfect for a summery supper accompanied by a leafy salad and a dollop of mayo. As well as the smoked, we also tried two uncooked salmon fillets, which were delicious when cooked very simply. All products froze well.
There’s a really wide range of fish available, from cod and haddock to rockfish, halibut and monkfish. The majority of their catch is MSC certified. A Delishfish hot smoked selection box containing 6 fillets is £20, and if you spend £50 P&P is free.
One of the struggles for the home baker is that much of the equipment used in professional bakeries is better than is found at home; the oven used is one example of this. For those of us baking bread, steam is the secret to a good crust and bakeries have the advantage of steam ovens which can produce the perfect environment for oven spring. In our ventilated home ovens, it’s far harder to create this level of steam; there are a number of options but none of them are actually as good as the real thing. Spraying the inside of the oven, or baking inside a Dutch oven or casserole, or a step up from that is to use a ceramic cloche.
But now there is a newer option: The Spring Oven. This is a ceramic baking dome that has a channel around the baking surface for water. You pre-heat the Spring Oven before baking, turn out your loaf onto the baking surface and then fill the channel with water (we use boiling water to minimize thermal shock), this water boils away during cooking to fill the Spring Oven with steam. There’s a small hole at the top so that the pressure doesn’t build up, but the inside of the Spring Oven remains impressively steamy, shown by the fact that water remains in the channel during the 20 minutes cooking that we keep the lid on. We’ve had some impressive results, with great oven spring (hence the name); it’s also a great design, looking crisp and modern. Currently the company are raising funds using a Kickstarter campaign that finishes at the end of July. Twitter @thespringoven
Ed and I brewed our coffee every way possible, be it pod machine, stove top espresso maker, espresso machine or cafetière, and have gone full circle to the traditional pour over drip filter (or a cold brew pot in summer). Pact Coffee’s mission is to make it easy for you to get great, fresh coffee. Simply sign up, let them know who much coffee you drink and they do the rest. All coffee is ground and packed within 7 days of roasting, so you can be sure it is fresh, and you receive the perfect grind for your brew method. From £6.95 for a 250g bag of premium coffee, currently 7 to choose from. Twitter @pactcoffee
You may remember I mentioned Meat Porter a few years ago? The company has gone from strength to strength and has rebranded as Market Porter as they are now selling cheese, charcuterie and chocolate. They sent us their new steak and bacon box (£59.50) to try. They source their meat from hand picked British farmers, which is carefully butchered by their butchers (I believe that is as important as the actual meat) before it is sent out. Both our thick cut rump steaks, and thinner sirloins were tender, full of beefy richness and had intensely flavoured fat. The bacon made for a very satisfactory bacon sandwich. Packaging (a bugbear of mine) is minimal, the meat comes in a cardboard box insulated with bubble wrap, shredded paper and a cool pack. Twitter @MarketPorterUK
I love music whilst I work and although we have a Sonos system installed in the bedroom and sitting room there is no music in the kitchen. An iPhone/Pod speaker is really not up to the job, so we were delighted to be sent a BlueTooth speaker from DKnight. This little speaker (17cm long) is pretty powerful for its size, with excellent quality sound and no distortion unless you crank it up to full volume, but small and light enough to balance on top of an upside down mug. Its rechargable via a USB cable (so no batteries) and has about 10 hours of play per charge. Ideal for taking on holiday with you too. On offer at £49.99 from Amazon (RRP £159.99).
A packet or pouch of ready cooked rice or grains is a store cupboard essential, the majority of the time I will cook from scratch, or have some ready cooked in the freezer, but it is so useful to have something that can be ready in 2 minutes. When we order a takeaway curry these days we save a few pounds by skipping the rice and using a pouch of Veetee instead, which cooks in the microwave in just 2 minutes. I also used it in a recipe for baked rice filled samosas last year. The folks at Veetee have just launched a recipe book and I have a hamper, containing a selection of rice, a copy of the book and some very pretty rice bowls to be won. For a chance to win the hamper, or one of 5 runners up prizes of copies of the book follow the instructions below.
Win Veetee Rice Hamper
How To Enter
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- Closing date Midnight 5th August 2016
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Thank you to Veetee for the prize and samples, and all the other brands mentioned for samples. All opinions our own.