Duerr’s Marmalade Review

Duerr’s Marmalade Review

When it comes to breakfast sometimes I like to shun the coffee and go for something a little more British…a nice cup of tea. To go with my cuppa I love to pair it with toast slathered with the king of breakfast preserves – Marmalade. When I was asked to write a Duerr’s marmalade review I put a brew on and fired up the toaster… Ah the smell of toast so indicative of morning time, combined with the anticipation of the kettle completing its water boiling duties, they conspire to tease you into the day with the promise of good things to come. My toast popped out as I like it, well done thick white bread, then heavily buttered transforming the dry surface into something much more luxurious and ready for a heavy coating of Duerr’s classic thick cut Seville marmalade. Breakfast can be a metaphor for life, the tea a once exotic beverage which has become the mundane and every day, the marmalade reminiscent of melancholic bitter sweet memories… OK enough already! YES I love marmalade and unlike a certain bear I DO much prefer it on toast rather than sandwiches. I have tried many, many brands over the years and now it’s time to see how Duerr’s stacks up against the best of them. Duerr’s Marmalade So what to look for in a good marmalade? Sweetness, orangey bitterness, a good firm texture from the cut peel (especially true of thick cut of course!) and finally how the combination of these work in harmony to become more than the sum of their parts. Well the marmalade has a good...
Baxter’s Hearty Soup Review

Baxter’s Hearty Soup Review

Although like the rest of the UK I’m very familiar with the brand, I hadn’t tried any of Baxter’s Hearty Soup before. So when Baxter’s got in touch with me to sample a selection from the range, and taking into consideration the weather, I jumped at the chance. Yes at this time of year as the dark, cold and damp take over, I think I’m right in saying we all like to have a stock of tinned soups in the store cupboard for a quick warming lunch or even as a snack. With a long shelf life and super convenience it’s no wonder canned products have been with us for over a century and it doesn’t look like they are going to leave us anytime soon. Baxter’s Hearty Soup range has been around for a while, sold as a little more chunky and substantial than the regular kind, they sort of fill a gap between soup and stew. Containing 2 to 3 portions of your 5-a-day it’s more of a meal in a can. So what did I think of the flavours I got to try? Read on! Chicken & Country Vegetable It was a pleasant surprise to find the chunky vegetables that had good bite and texture, not like a lot of soups which have hunks of  veggies that instantly turn to mush in your mouth. It was pleasant tasting but the chicken flavour seemed to be lost somewhere. Even though the ingredients don’t mention tomato I could swear I got that flavour coming through. Whatever it was something was knocking the balance out of kilter. Tuscan Style...
belVita breakfast biscuits – Time to get up!

belVita breakfast biscuits – Time to get up!

Get up, get ready and get out. You know what it’s like in the morning it’s rare to get a decent breakfast inside you before hitting the rush hour. That’s where belVita breakfast biscuits come in. Designed as a replacement to your breakfast cereal they can be eaten on the hop, with or without that essential cup of morning coffee. I’m sure you have seen these around as they have been advertised on TV and are available in all major supermarkets, but have you tried them? As belVita sent me a few samples I’m here to tell you what I think. Firstly let’s check out the packet, more specifically the nutritional information. I won’t go into detail (I’m not a scientist!), but what I can immediately see is the amount of energy packed into these little biscuits. Bulking up on carbs and sugars is not usually condoned, but in the morning these things are essential to launch you into the day. We can see they have the ingredients needed to get your day off to a good start… But what about the taste? The Milk & Cereals biscuit is sweet with a satisfying crunch and just like a bowl of cereal it has a milky aftertaste! These may be the ‘plainest’ of the ones I got to try, but I enjoyed them as they are kind of reminiscent of bowls of cereal I used to have as a kid. Next I tried the Honey & Nuts biscuits, they have the same crispy crunch but you get an instant deep taste of nuts (you can see the little pieces in the biscuit)....
YUU Kitchen London – Review

YUU Kitchen London – Review

It’s always great to find new places in London, so I jumped at the chance to visit YUU Kitchen when they invited me to their launch party. Created by the owners of the Icebar, the concept is not entirely new but it’s a set-up I like – good beer and wines (even fizzy white wine on tap!), served along with small plates of Asian style tapas in a relaxed atmosphere. From the bird cages hanging all over the ceiling to the unique manga-esque artwork adorning the walls that Asian influence in clear from the moment you walk in. So to the food… We tried a great variety of veggie, seafood and meat all with a definite Asian vibe and some with a leaning to fusion style. Take the Southern fried chicken in bao with kimchi – crispy butter milk chicken in a soft folded bao and kimchi was tasty but for me the kimchi didn’t have that hit of chilli spice that I crave and love about kimchi. The vegetable spring rolls were great, the first plate we tried were a little light on seasoning, but the second plate that came round rectified this and the ingredients held within the crispy exterior really came to life! To be honest the seasoning seemed to be hit and miss, but this was the launch party so there are bound to be a few teething problems. A plate of steak turned up and it was absolutely spot on, soft and really tasty it left me wanting more. It went seriously well with a beer too! We had a short talk from the owners as to how...
New Baxters Deli Toppers

New Baxters Deli Toppers

I’ve grown up enjoying Baxters fantastic range of soups and know them well, so I was interested to hear about a new range called Deli Toppers. Baxters have been making pickled and preserved products for years and the Deli Toppers are a culmination of that experience, created to give a convenient way of garnishing various foods with a distinct burst of flavour. As you can imagine there are lots of recommended ways to serve these products, but I wanted to taste them all in the same way and for me it had to be something that needs, and can take, a good jazzing up – the humble hotdog. First up we have Spicy Slaw which has a really interesting flavour, slightly exotic with a little mild heat in the background. Sweet and crisp this would be the perfect accompaniment to a Bánh mì (Vietnamese sandwich). The word slaw makes me think creamy and I wondered how this would work mixed with a touch of mayonnaise… I’m pleased to say surprisingly well! On your first taste you immediately know the Red Onion is going to be seriously versatile, its sweet oniony flavour will compliment just about anything. I can definitely see this joining me at Christmas with a cheese and cold meats plate. It’s essentially a sweet, mildly pickled onion with a bit of tang and plenty of crunch. They call it Red Slaw (main picture) but for me is more like a relish with a bit more texture. This again would go amazingly well with a cheese plate but I would try it with sandwiches, sausage and mash and...
A tempting trio of Calabrian preserves

A tempting trio of Calabrian preserves

Everyone loves Italian food so when I was approached by Artimondo to try a tempting trio of Calabrian preserves produced by Sirianni, a family business founded by Agostino Sirianni in 1999 and located in Cittanova, a small hamlet south of the Aspromonte mountains, in the province of Reggio Calabria (Italy) I jumped at the chance. These are a range of pates and condiments which have a whole host of uses, adding interesting new flavours to your antipasto and beyond! First up is their confettura di cipolla. This is essentially classic onion marmalade with added Italian flair. It gives you a really sweet and deliciously intense oniony flavour. This is obviously a perfect partner to cheese and cold meats but I would be more than happy to use this across a wide variety of foods from a falafel wrap to sausage and mash. The next jar I tried was pate d’aglio e pepperoncino it’s a mildly spicy garlic condiment, something I have not had or heard of before. It’s interesting and tasty but I don’t think is has the versatility of the other two, although I would love to be proved wrong! The one thing that sprang into my mind is that it would work well thrown onto a plate of plain spaghetti with a few flicks of grated parmesan for a quick meal that would excite the taste buds. I deliberately saved this one for last. I knew I was going to love it. The Spilinga Nduja spicy salami sausage spread is a similar product to one a large upmarket pizza chain uses as a spicy, exotic way to give a...
Putting on the Ritz – New Crisp & Thin

Putting on the Ritz – New Crisp & Thin

Ritz, yes they of cracker fame, have launched a new range of delicious baked potato snacks called Crisp & Thin. I was lucky enough to be invited to their very swanky “Putting on the Ritz” themed launch party which was hosted by Radio 1 DJ and major foodie Alice Levine and mixologist extraordinaire Richard Woods. The venue was an ultra cool penthouse apartment with views right across our beautiful city of London. Four scummy flavours are available – sea salt & black pepper, cream cheese & onion, sweet red chilli and sea salt & vinegar. They devised an excellent way of showing off these new Crisp & Thins at their best by creating four different scenarios to match the each crisp BBQ, picnic, date night and even mate night! By dressing each area with nice design and cleverly pairing each flavour of crisp with a specially created dip by Alice with a complimenting cocktail by Richard, they managed to elevate a humble crisp into something far more special, showing how with a little effort you can turn relaxed snacking into true entertaining. I love the fact that armed with some recipes, a few simple ingredients and a little time in the kitchen you can really wow your family, friends or even a potential partner and make a magical day or night to remember. As the Crisp & Thins are baked the texture is really crispy (yes they live up to their name!), meaning not just their shape but their firmness makes them perfect for dipping. The crisp’s seasoning is bold enough to offer great flavour without being overpowering, always...
The Tea Makers London – review

The Tea Makers London – review

Tea is not just one thing, we take for granted when we ask or are asked “Would you like a cup of tea?”, as there are so many varieties and blends available the question is an odd one, it can sometimes mean the tea you have to hand or it will then be followed by a list of available types by name. I love a cup of tea…let’s face it who doesn’t, and we all have our favourite styles, even brands, of tea. The Tea Makers is a company that’s new to me so when they suggested I try there Darjeeling and Supreme Sencha green teas I jumped at the chance. Darjeeling has always been a firm favourite of mine, not as light and floral as Earl Grey, but with a distinct flavour which always makes me think of summertime afternoon tea on the lawn. The Tea Makers Darjeeling comes as large leaf loose tea and satisfyingly unfurls as its steeps in hot water. It has an excellent balance of tannin bitters and floral aroma making for a subtly bold (if that’s possible!) flavour. This is a really nice Darjeeling with a bit more oomph and complexity than most of the brands I’ve tried. Very refreshing with an excellent aftertaste, you really won’t go wrong so give it a go. The Supreme Sencha green tea has a rich cloudy colour and an earthy, grassy fragrance as it brews. You can almost smell all those antioxidants being released and get a real nasal sense that this is going to be very, very good for your physical being. It tastes great...
Teapigs – A tale of two very different teas

Teapigs – A tale of two very different teas

When teapigs contacted me to try out some of their teas I immediately thought of the various herbal and fruit teas they are famous for. Yet when I looked down their huge list of products the ones that stuck out for me were their ‘everyday’ tea (I didn’t even realise they did a regular tea) and an interesting looking green tea power powder! Let’s start with the everyday tea as this is something we all drink, well, everyday… The packaging is their familiar style and opening up the pack you immediately notice the teabags themselves look a cut above your average brand. Made from a tactile, silky, bio-degradable material you know there must be something special inside. I eagerly waited for the kettle to boil and once I heard it click off it was straight in to the cup with the water at full boiling point, the little teapigs bag brewed quickly and efficiently. Now I like my tea to be of the ‘builders’ variety, so I brew a little bit longer than most, about 4 minutes. With some high street brands brewing for this long can cause your tea to suffer from a tannic overload. I am pleased to say the teapigs tea didn’t and gave me a strong, well brewed cup of tea that tasted smooth and clean. When it comes to flavour the teapigs everyday brew gives a good balance of fragrance and depth making it a very refreshing cuppa. Simply put this is a nice, well thought out blend that I would be more than happy to serve all day long. Next up we are...
Cañadu, Malaga – Review

Cañadu, Malaga – Review

In a country where tins of kidney beans include pork, it sometimes feels as if  Spain has no sympathy for the vegetarian. Luckily this isn’t true. As my partner is veggie we are always on the look out for good vegetarian restaurants, on a recent trip to Malaga we found such a place. Cañadu wasn’t hidden away in some back street only to be frequented by the most devout veggies and kept secret lest they be discovered and mocked by a pork eating crowd. No this place is right in your face on the square next to the Picasso museum! This flagrant tactic seems to work as we got there when it opened and within a scant few minutes the place was packed, and as I found out for good reason too. They had a regular and specials menu, both great value, with the specials taking the prize for defending the Euro in your pocket. I opted for the regular and my partner the special to mix things up a bit. I started with mushroom croquettes which managed to capture all the soft, meaty umaminess you would expect from a good croquette with a perfect crisp coating. If the rest of the meal is this good I’ll be a happy man. My partner had gazpacho which was perfectly executed and such a great refresher in the blazing sun. It was a little heavy on the garlic for my taste, but my partner loved it saying is was right on the money in her book. As she had the special she got 4 courses against my 2, so a huge...

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