Winning Recipes

You may remember some time ago my recipe for Singing Hinnies was one of six short listed to go into the Intu Great Taste Cookbook. The recipes then went to public vote, the three recipes from each region with the greatest amount of votes were chosen to feature in the recipe book. I was delighted to find out that my recipe was one of the ones chosen to feature in the book, which was available at all Intu shopping centres this weekend as part of the Great Taste weekend. I want to thank everyone who voted for my recipe.

I went over to the Metro Centre at the weekend to pick up a copy of the cookbook and find out what my recipe looked like when it had been professionally photographed. This is the page from the book.

Singing hinnies

It is really exciting to see my name in print next to my recipe. As a blogger I have to be a professional photographer, editor, features manager, seo consultant and many other things for my blog. I am learning new things every day and it is nice to know that a professional can take my ideas to a whole new level and make them look really great. The other exciting news I received over the weekend was that my Banoffee Pie Ice Cream recipe was a runner up in the Kelly’s Creative Kid’s in the Kitchen competition. My recipe was taken, made and professionally photographed by Kate Whitaker and I was sent the resulting photographs. I have to say I am really delighted with how my recipe now looks.

Banoffee Pie Ice Cream

Banoffee Pie Ice Cream

Banoffee Pie Ice Cream

I would love to know what you think. I would love to take a photography course, but will have to be content with learning as I go. In the meantime it is great to have these photographs to give me something to aim for.

Chicken Nachos

There are some days when you do not feel very much like cooking. Some days when you just need something that is ready quickly. Something you can pick at whilst sitting watching a film and relaxing. Friday nights are usually nights for this, a quick and easy supper and a good movie. Now the nights are drawing it is great to draw the curtains and put on a family film.

Nachos are the ideal meal to eat whilst watching a film, they remind me of being at a cinema, something about the smell speaks of the foyer where you buy your tickets and snacks. The crunchy tortilla chips make the meal more exciting than potatoes or rice and the spicy tang of the meat works well with the cheese and crisps to make a satisfying snack. I have previously made beef nachos and loved them. The arrival of my August Degustabox gave me an idea, I would try chicken nachos. The box contained Mexican Dave’s Tortilla chips and Schwartz Flavour Shots Mexican Fajita seasoning, all I needed was the chicken and the vegetables both of which I had in the fridge.

Chicken Nachos

Chicken breasts cut into pieces and mixed with peppers, onions, mushrooms and fajitas seasoning served on a bed of tortilla chips covered in cheese and grilled till the cheese melts. Ideal comfort food and filling enough for a cold night. I used Mexican Dave’s Tortilla chips which made the ideal bed for the chicken.
Mexican Dave's Tortilla chips

I grated some cheese over the tortilla chips and put them under the grill until the cheese melted. Keep your eyes on the grill, if you leave them too long the tortilla chips will burn so be careful. In a frying pan I gently fried some onions, red pepper, mushrooms and diced chicken breast. When the chicken was just about cooked though I added the Schwartz Flavour Shot Mexican Fajitas to it and gave it a good stir.
Schwartz Flavour ShotsThe chicken should then be placed on top of the tortillas and cheese. You can add salsa and sour cream as well for extra indulgence. A perfect quick and easy meal.

Chicken Nachos

Chicken Nacos
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Ingredients
  1. 3 chicken breasts
  2. 1 onion
  3. 1 red pepper
  4. 4 mushrooms
  5. fajitas seasoning
  6. 1 pack tortilla chips
  7. Cheese
Instructions
  1. Chop the onions, pepper and mushrooms into slices.
  2. Dice the chicken breast
  3. In a pan fry the onions, red pepper, mushrooms and chicken breast until the chicken is nearly cooked though.
  4. Add the fajitas seasoning and stir until the chicken is covered and cooked.
  5. Place some tortilla chips in a bowl.
  6. Cover with grated cheese and grill for a couple of minutes until the cheese melts.
  7. Add the chicken mixture to the top of the nachos
  8. Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired.
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
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Alphabet Photography Project: R is for …

Robin

Robin

A Robin is a very British bird, with their distinctive red breast and beady eye. They are inquisitive birds, quite happy to come and watch you and see what is going on. There is something almost cheeky about them, flying down and cocking their head to one side to see what you are up to. It was a Robin that revealed the door of the Secret Garden to Mary in the book, hopping onto one of the bushes to watch her as she weeded. It was all part of the magic of the story, bringing a new life to forgotten children.

There are Robins in other countries, the American Robin is a much bigger bird. Almost brash. The British Robin, to me, is much nicer. Small and endearing and featuring on Christmas cards, it has a character all of its own.

Recently when we visited Mount Stewart, in Northern Ireland we were wandering round the gardens. As we went up some steps this little robin appeared. It hopped around happily, near our feet, not the least bit scared. It then ventured into the water where it stopped and looked around for a while, quite happy to be observed. It was almost as if it was posing for a photograph. It stopped for a while then flew off, in search of worms and other things that make a robin happy. One little robin brought a smile to our faces as it splashed about happily.

I am linking up with the Alphabet Photography Project over on PODCast, why not pop over and see all the other photographs for R.

Q is for …
P is for …
O is for …

Limited Edition Ryvita Tin and Giveaway

I am a great lover of Ryvita, the range of crispbreads, crackerbreads and more are really versatile. They can be topped with a wide range of different things and are easily packed for lunch. I have tried a number of different recipes using Ryvita, the fish finger ryvita snacks were really tasty and a big hit with the family.

Ryvita Fish finger crispbreadsI have teamed up with Ryvita® and renowned fashion designer Ben de Lisi to offer my lovely followers the chance to win an amazing prize that will spruce up your kitchen! One of you lucky followers will win a hamper packed full of delicious Ryvita® products. The hamper of great tasting Ryvita goodies also includes an exciting limited edition Ryvita® tin that has been created by Ben! Ben’s bright and bold tin design reflects the exciting new changes occurring at Ryvita® as the brand moves into a fresh and dynamic new era.

Ryvita tinRyvita® and Ben de Lisi have teamed up to create this stylish new limited edition tin this autumn to celebrate the endless tasty combinations you can enjoy with Ryvita® – anything goes! I think it is lovely, it will really brighten up a kitchen and also solve the problem of where to store your Ryvita.

To get your hands on your very own limited edition Ryvita® tin (£7.49 including postage and packaging) you can visit the Ryvita tin shop. 

For your chance to win the hamper of Ryvita goodies and your own limited edition tin please answer the below question:

What renowned fashion designer has Ryvita teamed up with to create a limited edition tin?

  • Matthew Williamson
  • Ben de Lisi
  • John Rocha

Answer the question by commenting on the blog below. When you have done that then fill in the rafflecopter widget so your entry is registered. This is mandatory. You can get other entries by following on twitter, facebook and tweeting about the giveaway but these are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Rules

  • There is one prize of a Ryvita hamper and a limited edition tin – the prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
  • Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of Dragons and Fairy Dust
  • Closing date for entries is on 11:59pm BST on 6th October 2014
  • Only one entry per person
  • Entrants must log into rafflecopter and leave a comment on the blog answering the question.
  • Optional entry methods are to follow on twitter, facebook and tweet on twitter.
  • The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
  • Automated entries will be disqualified.
  • The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen.
  • The winner’s name will be available on request.
  • Ryvita is responsible for prize fulfilment. The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address.
  • This is a joint promotion between Dragons and Fairy Dust and Ryvita
  • Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

Degustabox Food Subscription Box August 2014

Degustabox is a food subscription box that aims to give you a box filled with 9 to 14 surprise products every month, at less than they would cost in the shops. The box costs £12.99 a month and you can cancel at any time. I tried the April  Degustabox previously and really liked the contents. I was interested to see how the August 2014 Degustabox would compare.

I was excited when I received my box, it is a bit like Christmas when it arrives and you discover the items inside. You never know if they are going to be well loved family favourites or something that will take you out of your culinary comfort zone allowing you to discover new things. I love opening the box and peeling back the layer of paper to find out what is inside.

The first thing I noticed was that this box contained something called Degustabox Fridge. The envelope contained a voucher for a full size Moma Museli Multipack which could be redeemed at Sainsbury’s or Waitrose. I am looking forward to trying this when I get a chance to visit one of these stores.

Degustabox FridgeHere are the contents of the box:

Mexican Dave’s Lightly Salted Tortilla Chips

Mexican Daves Tortilla ChipsI love tortilla chips and rather than eat these straight from the packet, which was tempting I hid them away in order to create some chicken nachos for tea. There were plenty of the tortillas left to try and they were very nice, lovely and crunchy with a great taste. They are free from artifical ingredients as well which is a plus. Mexican Dave’s Tortilla Chips can be found in Tesco.

Berry White Peach and Goji Berry Organic Drink

Berry White DrinkMy son pounced on this and after a sip told me that I really wouldn’t like it. It turned out he was just saying that so I wouldn’t want to try anything. It was really lovely, you could taste the top notes of the peach with the undertones of the more exotic ingredients. A really refreshing drink with no artificial ingredients. Berry White can be found on-line in Ocado and in Waitrose stores.

Schwartz Flavour Shots

Schwartz Flavour ShotsSchwartz Flavour Shots are a mix of herbs and spices in oil which can be added to meat and veg to create a quick and easy meal. There were two flavours in the box, Mexican Fajitas and Spanish Smoked Paprika Chicken. I used the Mexican Fajitas flavour in my chicken nachos and it was really tasty. I am looking forward to trying the other one soon.

Lindt Hello Chocolate Hearts

Lindt Chocolate HeartsLindt chocolate is always well received and this little tin of ten chocolate hearts is really nice. The hearts look really pretty in their pink wrapping and taste gorgeous. This little tin would make a great gift.

Cawston Press Apple and Pear Kids Blend

Cawston PressThis was another product my son wanted to try and with a name like kids blend I had to let him. He loved it. These little cartons are ideal for lunch boxes and the apple and pear fruit drink was lovely and refreshing. The Caswston Press Apple and Pear Kids Blend is a  mix of pressed fruit with water and has no artificial ingredients or added sugar.

 Brioche Pasquier 

 Brioche Pasquier Croissants and Pains Au Lait In the box were Brioche Pasquier Croissants and Pains Au Lait. These are ideal for breakfast and can be eaten straight from the packet or warmed in the oven. Ideal spread with some butter and jam. They make a nice change.

Dr Oetker Edible Wafer Cupcake Cases 

Dr Oetker Edidle cupcake casesI think these are a great idea, cupcake cases you can eat. I am really looking forward to trying these out. They would look really nice around my strawberry daiquiri cupcakes.

There are two versions of the Degustabox, if you like alcohol then you get the alcohol option which in this box was Caribbean Twist. The non-alcohol box has Fever Tree Ginger Beer and Tonic Water. I got both as it was a review box.

Caribbean Twist Strawberrry Daiquiri

Caribbean TwistCaribbean Twist Strawberry Daiquiri is a lightly sparkling alcoholic cocktail with real fruit. Perfect poured over ice at the end of a long day, it makes you feel Summer is here for longer. An instant cocktail without any of the mixing! This can be found in Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Iceland, Bargain Booze and Morrisons.

Fever Tree Ginger Beer and Tonic Water

Fever TreeFever Tree is an award winning range of mixers made with high quality ingredients from around the world. The Ginger Beer was lovely and refreshing without being overpowering. The Tonic Water was crisp and clean with a lovely taste. It would go perfectly with gin but is also nice drunk on its own for something a little different.

The Degustabox comes with a card explaining all about the products and has a couple of recipes on the back, one for Brioche and Butter pudding which sounds lovely. The other was for Spanish Smoked Paprika Chicken, which was on the Schwartz Flavour Shot as well. I liked all the products, they were all things I would use and some were little extra treats. The Degustabox is a lovely way to discover new products and I love the element of surprise.

You find find more information about Degustabox on their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

I was sent a box in return for an honest review.