Saturday, March 28, 2015

Easter Eggs and Champagne 2015

Lindt Luxury Heavenly Hazelnut Easter Egg

From the Lindt Master Chocolatier Collection is the Heavenly Hazelnut Egg. Luxurious smooth milk chocolate is rolled in roasted Piedmont hazelnuts and if that wasn't enough to please, the egg is then generously coated with a final chocolate layer.

Lindt Master Chocolatier Hazelnut Egg

Looks wise this is an unusual egg but it really is eggscellent quality, reassuringly with all Lindt products they never put style over substance, the egg is designed for adults who like something a little unusual.

Weighing 350g with a RRP of £19.99 from online and high street stores.

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Prestat, chocolatier to Her Majesty The Queen, present their Dark Chocolate Easter Egg filled with the finest truffles.
Prestat Dark Chocolate Easter Egg
Presented in a swirl design colourful box the classically elegant 70% dark chocolate egg is covered in gold foil, tied with a red ribbon and filled with luxurious handmade milk, dark and white chocolate truffles.

Weighs 170g Price £15 from online and high street shops.


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Veuve Monsigny Champagne Brut from Aldi

Aldi Champagne

Champagne in one hand, Easter Egg in the other and why not?

No wonder this champagne is multi-award winning, from presentation, to opening and yes it definitely goes with a loud and impressive pop.....the glass is filled with lots of tiny bubbles which stay long after pouring.  I love bubbles and this drink is smooth, crisp and impressive.

Priced at a very reasonable £9.99 from Aldi stores, subject to availability.

Disclaimer:  I was sent the above products for review purposes, all thoughts are my own.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Get Cosy at Social Pantry Cafe, London: Review


The Social Pantry Café is an institution in Battersea. It’s likely you’ll drop in for some homemade cake and a strong coffee during the day; but now it has flung open its doors for evenings and you’ll find yourself with a glass of wine or two instead.

When you walk in, you’ll notice that it’s a very intimate space with exposed brickwork, flickering candles on small tables and perhaps have the feeling you’re in someone’s kitchen with its tables overlooked by a wooden clock. This is all part of the charm.

It’s always quite a novelty for me going to places which take on a whole new appearance by night and the menus are often much more adventurous and compelling compared to the old 9-5 staple.

On our arrival we were seated by a friendly waiter, offered a ‘welcome drink’, which isn’t free but will delight those who enjoy a classic Aperol Spritz.

Group Food Shot The Social Pantry, Battersea

We were advised to choose 3-5 small dishes to share (it’s a little like British tapas). So with that in mind, we opted for a scotch egg with peppered sausage meat to share. It was served to us oozing a bright orange yolk and was a comforting treat (mmmm).

Next up was a shredded ham hock with cheddar cheese croquet and a minted pea puree. It was smaller than I expected but the fragrant peas gave this savoury combo a superb kick.

Our third dish was the one we had been most excited about, pork chop and fennel – strips of pork delicately cooked. It’s a lovely supper idea but something felt missing and I wonder if it could have benefited from some fiery mustard. The fennel was nice but not really memorable.

We then had a grilled wedge of broccoli topped with a scattering of roasted almond and lemon butter broccoli. I couldn’t help but order it after seeing it served from the kitchen. Unfortunately it was a little burnt on one side, which was a shame and so it lost its appeal early on.

Finally we had a plate of scrumptious cheeses served with plenty of crackers and washed it down with a Taylor’s port. It was at this point that we got excited because we saw Gary Lineker at the cafe. It just shows you don’t always need to be at an uber-posh restaurant to spot a celeb’.

Overall, we had a lovely experience, enjoyed the atmosphere and trying creative dishes from the new evening menu.

To find our more visit Social Pantry Cafe.

Disclaimer:  We were guests of @Social Pantry Cafe, all thoughts are our own.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Stellar Tate Casserole Review and Recipe

Stellar Tate Draining and stackable casserole

I've been sent a 22cm/3.5L Stellar Tate Casserole in stainless steel to review. The casserole is also available in 20cm and 24cm and with the unique design flat lid they are stackable and drainable. Stainless steel pans can easily get scratched if they sit inside each other and I really like the way this problem has been overcome.

Another useful feature is the see through lid that lets us keep a watchful eye on what is happening in the pan without having to remove the lid.

Inside the two handled pan there is a very useful measuring guide which is in both pints and litres. To one side of the pan is a pouring lip and when the two handled lid is in place then the casserole can be drained quickly and easily.

If you like to make soup in a pan and finish off with a stick blender this is the perfect depth - the measurements are:
Height 145mm
Overall length 310mm
Pan diameter 220mm
Base diameter 175mm

Can be used on all hobs.
Oven Safe to 180ºC.
The base is 'hot forged' for even heat distribution and when testing I found it performed well on the induction hob and also in the oven.
18/10 stainless steel.
Internal measurement guide is easy to read.
The lip on the base of the casserole pours cleanly.
When the lid is on the casserole it drains easily.
I found the handles had a good safe grip - always use oven gloves.
Cleans quickly and easily by hand, it can be placed in the dishwasher but I like to wash mine by hand.
Amazing Stellar Cookware Lifetime Guarantee.
Price £60 - the range is currently stocked at www.hartsofstur.co.uk

Tried and Tested: This clever casserole ticks all of the boxes on looks and practicality and has been carefully thought out.  A classic pan that will look fabulous in all kitchens.

I've tested the casserole making my Loads of Veg Pork Paprika Casserole..........

Making Paprika Pork Casserole
Loads of Veg Pork Paprika Casserole

Recipe - Serves 4
680g pork leg, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic infused oil
500g casserole vegetables, diced
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika or to taste
300ml chicken stock
3 peppers sliced
Salt and ground black pepper
thickening granules
200ml soured cream
fresh chopped parsley

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp garlic infused oil to the casserole. Add the pork, fry on a medium heat in batches until browned. Remove the pork from the pan and put to one side.
2. Add the last tablespoon of oil to the casserole and all of the casserole vegetables. Cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat until soft.
3. Sprinkle over the paprika and cook for a couple of  minutes. Return all of the meat to the pan, add the chicken stock, season and bring to the boil. Place the lid on the casserole and cook in the oven for 1½ hours or until the pork is almost tender.
4. Add the sliced peppers and cook for a further 30 minutes, uncovered. Place the casserole on the hob and stir in a few teaspoons of  the granules to thicken. Stir in the soured cream. Scatter over the chopped parsley, extra paprika and serve with rice or potatoes.

A stackable saucepan set 16/18/20cm with one handed draining are also available.


Disclaimer:  I was sent the casserole for review purposes.