Little Yummy Snippets …
These jarred sauces are perfect for those wishing to make tasty curry at home without needing to invest in all the spices. We really like them. Tasty, rich and deeply flavoured they taste of a curry from a good Indian restaurant, but at a fraction of the price and, as you cook it yourself, without all the fat that can be in a takeaway. No additives or nasties too. For sale from selected outlets throughout the UK, I hope to see them more widely available. Stock up if you see them. Twitter @Masalamountain
Cuba is a largely forgotten corner of the coffee world, but Alma de Cuba are helping to rebuild the country’s coffee reputation. The coffee is darkly roasted in small batches, and has a rich, rounded flavour, with hints of fruit. Available as ground or beans, £15 a 250g tin or a much better value £30 kg bag. Twitter @almacubcafe
Delicious hand toasted peanuts, with and without skins. Very tasty and with no nasty additives either. Also in the range is toasted corn, plantain and sweet potato crisps. Very morish, @chikasfoods
I was pleasantly surprised by both the range and quality of the kits from Old El Paso. In general the spicing is rich and full and portions are generous. Like all these meal kits they are vastly improved by a little embellishing, and adding more ingredients that what is suggested on the packet. Recommended for less confident cooks – I can see these going down a storm at a student cook it yourself Mexican night, or they would be very useful to pack for a weeks self catering. Available in most major supermarkets.
Tea Storks offer boxes of tea sent by post. There are 8 selections on offer each containing 5 bags of 3 teas, I tried out the Softer Touch and really enjoyed the teast. We love that the company is thinking about the environment, FSC paper and card, biodegradable tea bags and 10% of profits are given back to charity and tea growers. The boxes are a perfect present to send to a tea lover and I think it is the perfect present to send someone to work – if they are having an especially busy time. Twitter @teastorks
As much as I enjoy popcorn I am often put off by the vast buckets on offer at the cinema. With gourmet popcorn popping (get it?) up everywhere it was only a matter of time before a major cinema chain got in on the act. Selected Vue cinemas are now trialling Thomas Tucker Popcorn available in a range of flavours in pretty pastel coloured bags. At 30g a go you will not be annoying your neighbours by crunching through the whole film. We really enjoyed the coconut toffee flavour.
Any initiative to teach children more about thee food they eat and where it comes from can only be an excellent thing, I am shocked by statistics such as fewer than 10% of 7-14 year olds achieve their five-a-day target & a third of children believe that cheese comes from plants. With supporters including Diabetes UK, the National Farmers’ Union and the Children’s Food Trust it is hoped that 1m school children will take part in Farm Trails in the first year. Tesco are supporting with their Eat Happy Project and £15M.
Plan Bee are much more than the honey which they produce. The Scottish company offers community or corporate involvement in the whole process of making honey and keeping bees. You can be as involved in your hives as you like, or Plan Bee can carry out all your hive maintenance and look after your bees. With bees in decline I think this is an excellent scheme and one I’d like to see across the UK. I tried three jars of their honey, heather, blossom and regular, and was struck by how different they were and will be enjoying them on toast for breakfast. Twitter @planbeeltd
The folks at Heck kindly sent some sausages to my parents for review. My mother says that she liked the both different colours of the packaging- making them easy to recognise when shopping, and also the serving suggestions. She also noted that the gluten free information was very clear.
- Heck 97% Pork – were good with a high pork content making it quite a dense sausage. We also very much liked it cold sliced thinly. Would recommend.
- Heck Chicken Italia – Another enjoyable sausage – although with the spicing it was quite meaty and not obviously chicken. A perfect sausage for those who do not eat pork.
- Heck Fair & Square – Square sausage patties – perfect for a sausage sandwich and delicious served between two slices of butter bread with a side salad.
With 7 types of sausage there should be one that is perfect for all sausage lovers. Twitter @heckfood
Sea Island stock an exciting range of exotic coffees. Their Jamaica Peaberry Blue Mountain was both smooth, rich and full of flavours – perfectly suited to our preferred brew method of a drip filter. Organic and sustainable One Love Marley coffee was floral and fruity providing the perfect weekend wakeup call. Twitter @seaislandcoffee & @marleycoffee
Many thanks to all the brands featured for samples. All opinions are our own.