General Ramblings

General posts about life

I always have a big box of eggs in my fridge. I find them so versatile and use them all the time. There are so many quick and easy meals that can be made with eggs when you are in a hurry. An omelette with salad is one of my favourites, so easy to make when you are tired. Eggs also make an appearance in many of the cakes I bake and some fruit breads. They also make excellent sandwiches when cooked and hard boiled eggs are great for taking on picnics. I use eggs so often I decided to see if I could dig up a few facts about them and these are some of the things I found out.

EggsFascinating Egg Facts

  • A hen will produce around 300 eggs a year. Each egg takes a hen 24 – 26 hours to create.
  • To tell if an egg is fresh you can place it in a bowl of cold water. If they sink and lie on their side they are very fresh. Standing on one end at the bottom of the bowl means they are still fine to eat but if they float they should not be eaten.
  • Have you ever wondered why some eggs are brown and some are white. The breed of the hen laying the egg determines the colour of the egg shell. Apparently some hens produce blue eggs and some produce olive green eggs.
  • The colour of the egg yolk depends on a hen’s diet. If it is fed grain with orange and yellow plant pigments in then the yolk will be more vibrant yellow in colour.
  • Have you ever boiled eggs and put them in your fridge, then are not sure which are the ones you cooked. You can tell the difference if you spin it, hard boiled ones spin easily but raw ones wobble. Just make sure they are not likely to fall on the floor.
  • To keep eggs fresh they should be stored below 20C. The best place is in their box in the fridge.

Egg Recipes

If you are looking for some egg recipes I have pulled together a few here. These would be great for an evening supper or a special breakfast. There is even a salad recipe which would be lovely for lunch on a hot day.

Brunch Scrambled Eggs

Brunch Scrambled EggsServed on muffins, the mix of eggs, bacon, spring onions with tomatoes and mushrooms makes brunch scrambled eggs ideal for a late morning brunch.

Bacon and Egg Cups

Bacon and egg cupsIf you are looking to impress try bacon and egg cups.  The cups are formed from bacon and filled with egg to make a tasty and filling bite which is ideal for parties.

Huevos Rancheros

Huevos rancherosFor a warming and satisfying meal Huevos Rancheros or ranch style eggs is ideal. This dish is filling with a bit of spice and can be eaten any time of day. You can easily imagine cowboys eating this before starting rounding up cattle.

Bacon, Egg and Mushroom Salad

Bacon Egg and Mushroom Salad

For an impressive looking lunch this bacon egg and mushroom salad is lovely and tasty, perfect for a hot day.

Before cooking with eggs you should be aware that a small percentage of people will have an egg allergy, so you you are cooking for guests you should check if there is anything they are unable to eat before hand.

What is your favourite egg recipe? I would love to know.

I am being sent an egg boiler in return for this post which I am intrigued to find out more about, but all the opinions and images are my own.

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Braun have recently launched the Braun Face Beauty Edition which allows you to both deep clean your pores and remove unwanted hair with one handy tool. Luckily there is no chance of getting your cleansing and epilation routines muddled up, the tool has interchangeable heads so you can choose the correct one for the job. As I get older I am finding that my skin is starting to show signs of age, and I am doing all I can to counteract this. I have always looked after my skin with a cleansing and moisturising routine but wanted to find out what this tool could add to my beauty regimen.      

Braun FaceJessica Alba is the face behind the Bruan Face and claims the gadget makes her confident enough to step outside make up free. In my case it is more of a surprise if I step outside with make up but I am always looking for ways to improve my skin.

Inside the box

On opening the box I found that the Braun Beauty Face is a nice size,  quite compact. It runs off one AA battery which is included in the box. You do need a coin to open the battery compartment located on the bottom of the gadget but once you find one the battery slots in easily.

Braun FaceThe gadget itself has two interchangeable heads and the epilation tool has a protective cover. There is also a little brush for cleaning the gadget.  The heads slot on and off with ease and click firmly into place.

Braun faceA nice touch is the handy carrying pouch for storing the Braun face in. This is a really nice soft bag which is big enough to hold everything and seems waterproof. It would make it easy to take the gadget away if you were going anywhere. Also included is a pocket mirror with a light.

Braun FaceThe mirror is a magnifying mirror which makes it really easy to see stray hairs. It is also a bit scary looking into it and seeing your skin close up, but that is another story.

Braun face

Epilation Tool

Epilation is not something I have ever tried before and I was a bit scared it would be painful. The tiny epilator is designed for tidying up eyebrows or removing unwanted facial hair on the upper lip or chin. It can remove hair 200 times faster than manual tweezing which is pretty impressive. The process itself was not painful, there was a gentle tapping motion and that was it. It was really easy to use.  The tool promises up to four weeks of smooth hair free skin which means it does not need to be used that often.

Braun FaceCleansing Brush

Braun Face cleansing brushThe cleansing brush is meant to work 6 x better than manual cleansing and will give you a smoother, fresher and more flawless complexion. Having sensitive skin I was a bit worried that the brush would be rough but the action was really gentle and you can change the brush direction using the button. It exfoliates, removing dead skin cells and allows the skin to rejuvenate. After use my face felt much smoother and cleaner than with my normal cleansing routine. The Braun Face is waterproof so you can use it in the shower if you wish. Having been using this for a while now I can definitely see an improvement in my skin.

I really like the Braun face and it is now an established part of my beauty routine along with the Braun Satin Hair that helps keep my hair frizz free.. It is available from Boots RRP £69.99

I was sent the Braun Face in return for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There is something about the Winter that make hot chocolate obligatory. On a cold dark night with the wind howling outside and the snow fallling gently outside there is something comforting about wrapping your fingers round a warm mug of hot chocolate. A mug of hot chocolate topped with cream and marshmallows is food for the soul, that first sweet sip warms you up and makes you feel whole again. Breathing warmth into icy cold fingers and numb toes and making you able to face the world. Did you know that Gu Puds now have added Gu hot chocolate to their range? Neither did I until they asked me if I would take on the challenge of making an edible cup to serve their new hot chocolate in. I love a challenge and have taken part in a few in the past like making chocolate brownies. I had a feeling edible cups might be more of a challenge though. I decided to try and make cups out of gingerbread.

Hot chocolate in gingerbread cups

I thought that gingerbread would go very nicely with the Gu hot chocolate and had the idea of using muffin tins to make the shapes for the cups. The idea was to use baking parchment so they would not stick and when they cooked they would take on the shape of a cup. It worked to some extent, the gingerbread rose and I did have to hollow out the finished cups a little bit to make the right shape. When it came to pouring the hot chocolate into the cups it did work well, only one of them leaked and that was due to it being hollowed out a little too much.

Gu hot chocolateWhile my first attempt at edible cups did not look the most pretty, they were certainly tasty and perfectly complemented the Gu hot chocolate. I think with a bit more practice and bigger muffin tins I could make them look really pretty. They could be filled with icing sugar as a waterproof lining and decorated with icing and sweets on the outside which would make a lovely presentation.

Edible cupsGu hot chocolate is a lovely luxurious hot chocolate, it comes in three different types, Hot Chocolate, Mocha Flavour Hot Chocolate and Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. I tried the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate and it was gorgeous, very chocolatey and smooth with a hint of salted caramel. You can find Gu hot chocolate in Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s or Booths. It is a 750ml carton in the chilled aisle near the milk. I was quite pleased with my edible cups experiment and so was my son who enjoyed demolishing them after I had taken photos. Galina at Chez Maximka also took part in the challenge and  made some lovely looking chocolate cone cups whilst Cheryl at Madhouse Family Reviews used an apple to make her pretty cups

Gingerbread Recipe

and Lilinha at Lilanha Angel’s World made gorgeous chocolate cups with edible snowmen,

Gingerbread for gingerbread cups
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Ingredients
  1. 350g plain flour
  2. 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  3. 2 tsp ground ginger
  4. 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  5. 125g butter
  6. 175g light soft brown sugar
  7. 1 egg
  8. 4 tbsp golden syrup
Instructions
  1. Sift the flour, cinnamon, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl.
  2. Add the butter and rub in to form crumbs
  3. Add the sugar and syrup and mix to form a dough.
  4. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge to cool for ten minutes
  5. Preheat the oven to 180C, Gas Mark 4
  6. Roll the dough out and cut into circles with a cutter
  7. Place the circles into a muffin tin lined with baking parchment
  8. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until firm
  9. Leave to cool then hollow the centres out to form cups
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
I was sent some vouchers in order to purchase the ingredients for this challenge

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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.

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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.

 

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