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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Spider Web Cupcakes + New Dr. Oetker Products

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Dr. Oetker have some new decorating products available and they're rather good! I've been enjoying their bright food gel colours, which can be used in icings and cakes. I mixed a little red with the yellow to get a vibrant orange for the spider web cupcakes.

Dr Oetker 3305

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Spider Web Cupcakes
Not really a recipe but here's how to decorate:

Make some cupcakes and cover with a generous helping of chocolate ganache (equal parts of dark chocolate to double cream).
When the ganache has set, pour 2-3 cups of icing sugar into a bowl, mix with a little water and colouring until you have a slightly runny mixture that can be piped. Put the coloured icing into a piping bag fitted with a no. 2 nozzle and pipe circles onto the cupcakes. Drag a cocktail stick through the icing to make it look like a web.

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The new range includes soft gold pearls and soft shimmer pearls - far nicer than those rock hard silver decorating balls. I really liked the cake release spray, which worked a treat on my bundt tin and although I haven't tried it yet, there's a gold shimmer spray which is suitable to use on cakes, chocolate and icings.

The little sugar decorations are perfect for cupcakes, my favourites were the blue and white polka dots which ended up on a birthday cake. The cute sugar butterflies and tiny sugar flowers are easy to sprinkle and come in lovely pastel shades.
Although the alphabet letters are fun to use, they are rather fiddly and it's quite time consuming to go through all the letters for a message or name. Children on the other hand might enjoy choosing letters for their cakes, I stopped after decorating one cupcake...

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The Dr. Oetker range is growing quite nicely and can be found in most of the larger supermarkets.

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With thanks to Sarah at Brando for Dr. Oetker, who sent me these products to review.

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2011 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved..

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Hungry? - Book Review

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Banana & chocolate cookies, perfect with a glass of milk

I was recently sent a rather interesting cookbook called Hungry? written by the people from Innocent. Innocent are well known for their smoothies and juice drinks, but did you know that they also make veg pots and fruit tubes?

So why did I find the book so interesting? Well, not only are the recipes easy and fuss free, they are also healthy AND tasty! Hungry? has been written with little tummies in mind - the recipes are kid-friendly - your kids will want to get involved and even make some of the recipes themselves. There's lots of really quirky pages with notes and drawings to make you smile.

There are chapters on breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, sides, puddings, things to make and bake, plus a chapter on drinks which includes milkshakes and a recipe for 'boozy milk'!

You'll find the usual classic family favourites and some of the recipes include variations. Well laid out and written in a way that even a novice cook can understand, Hungry? is one of those books that will get your creative juices flowing and may tempt you to invent your own version of a recipe.

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Cookies ready for baking

I made some tiny banana and chocolate cookies (page 300) and was impressed. The cookies are 'egg-free, wheat-free, banana-full and chocolate packed', along with a handful of cranberries to give them some sweetness.

Other recipes that caught my eye include sweet potato beanie bake- page 132, veggie burgers- page 116 , quick St. Clement's trifle- page 266 and frog-in-a-ditch- page 165.

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Just out of the oven

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Inside view of Hungry?

Here are 3 short, fun videos (from Innocent) showing how easy it is to cook with your kids in the kitchen, the recipes are from the book.







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My rating for this book is 8 out of 10.

The book can be bought from Amazon and all good book shops.

Hungry?
£20.00 / Hardback, 352 pages
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Division: HarperPress
May 2011
ISBN: 978-0-00-741680-6

With thanks to Josephina at The Big Shot.

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2011 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.




Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Farmison.com Launch

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To celebrate their nationwide launch, Farmison.com held a very special lunch at Koffmann's restaurant in Knightsbridge, and as Jules from the Butcher the Baker couldn't go, I went in her place. It was an amazing lunch, the food was awesome and I am now a definite fan of a new online food delivery site!

Farmison.com logo

What is Farmison.com?

In short, Farmison.com - 'farm produce is on-line' - is an internet shopping site for food lovers, where small producers with excellent food to sell (but little or no expertise in marketing and internet retailing) can do business with consumers looking for a convenient, but delicious, alternative to supermarket shopping.

In long, Farmison.com is the brainchild of John Pallagi and Lee Simmonds, two old friends and colleagues who share a passion for really good food. They set up Farmison.com following a fiasco with an order for some speciality meat from a supermarket Christmas brochure.
Farmison.com, backed by former ASDA chief executive Andy Bond, delivers the finest British produce directly from farmers who traditionally supply our great British chefs and award winning restaurants. They offer one of the largest ranges of exquisite seasonal ingredients from traditional farmers, growers and artisan producers across the British Isles - a wealth of delicious produce available in one simple delivery from the online butcher, greengrocer, cheesemonger and traditional pantry. It will represent over 75 of the best independent British suppliers including 31 butchery farms offering 23 different breeds, over 30 fruit and vegetable growers and exclusive access to over 50 British farmhouse cheeses, more than 60% of which are not available anywhere else online.

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The greengrocer boxes can be ordered with or without dairy products

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Some of the cheeses on offer - they even have 'pregnancy friendly' cheese!

Ingredients used in top restaurants, including Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck, the Yorke Arms, Northcote Manor and Raymond Blanc's Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, are now available from Farmison.com, meaning ordinary food enthusiasts like you and I can try the produce in our own homes.

At the lunch, we were served a five course tasting menu using Farmison.com ingredients. The menu was specially created by Pierre Koffmann and Jeff Baker and was hosted by Brian Turner.

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Table set in Koffmann's private dining room

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We started with some little fishy nibbles

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Feather light brioche rolls

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Cheese with English leeks
Strathdon blue cheese from I J Mellis Cheesemonger
English leeks grown by Davis Townsley, Marsh View Farm, Preston

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Roast Pork with Salad, Cobnut Dressing & Quince
Rare Breed Middle White Pork from Huntsham Farm
Salad leaves grown by Alison Dodds nr Thirsk

The pork was melt in the mouth tender, with exquisite crackling. I had not had quince before, but it went perfectly with the pork.

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Lamb Cannon with Puy Lentils & Creamed Celeriac
Simon Glyn Riley's Isle of Man Rare Breed Manx Laughton from Lorne House Farm
Celeriac grown by Jack Bucks

The lamb was cooked to perfection, the lentils and creamed celeriac adding a little something extra to the dish.

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Braised Beef Cheeks with Red Kale & Desirée Mash
Native Breed Belted Galloway from Frank Carr's Lee Gate Farm in Yorkshire
Red Kale from Molyneux Farm in Lancashire

I was a little nervous of the beef cheeks as beef is something I have avoided for many years. I was thinking that if there was ever a time and a place to try the best beef cooked by a renowned chef, then this would be it... and it was! It was sublime. The teeny onions added a delicate sweetness and I could have licked the plate clean!

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British Artisan Cheese Board
All cheese from I J Mellis Cheesemonger
Organic Whole Finn - Dorstone Herefordshire
Blue Rind Goats Cheese Golden Cross - Lewes East Sussex
Blarliath Mild Cheddar - Tain Rosshire
Dunsyre Blue - Carnwath Lanarkshire
Stag Water Biscuits - Stornaway Isle of Lewis
Traditional Spanish Quince
Ormskirk White Celery
Muscat Grapes - France

Having a vegetarian son and a non-meat eating husband means we regularly eat our weight in cheese. I'm always on the look-out for interesting cheeses to cook with or to serve after dinner and can honestly say that the cheese selection I tried at the lunch was fabulous.

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My plate of delicious cheeses

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Crisp Stag Water Biscuits

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Fonseca unfiltered, LBV Port 2005 to go with the cheese

If you love quality and want to know where your food comes from, take a look a the Farmison.com website. The greengrocer boxes are quite comparable in price to other vegetable box delivery services, and although the meat is more expensive, you can be sure it is of the highest quality and traceable back to the farm - and you're also helping to keep the small suppliers in business. The farmers are passionate and committed to providing only the best produce. If you run a supperclub or want something different for a special occasion, birthday or Christmas, give Farmison.com a try - delivery is free on orders over £50.

I J Mellis Cheese, Farmison.com 2951 R

I would like to say a big thank you to Jules from the Butcher the Baker, who kindly recommended me to the PR team, and to the Farmison.com team for putting on such a fabulous lunch.

Farmison.com at Koffmann's 2972 R

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2011 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

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