Blogger Cook Off Challenge : The Results

Blogger Cook Off Challenge : The Results

When the PR for the the Leeds Building Society’s Kick My Habits campaign got in contact about a blogger cook off challenge with a budget of £10, I knew this would be something that Steve would love to do. The Kick My Habits research found out that the average Briton spends £17.34 per week on evenings out…shocking, right? 

We were given £10 and challenged to create a fun meal in. It could be any number of courses but sticking to the £10 budget – by saving that £7.34 per week, people would have £382 of savings by the end of the year – just for forfeiting evenings out.

Not wanting to stick a theme of any kind, we wanted to prove that a budget can be utilised no matter what food you want to prepare. For this, we chose three of our favourite meals: a starter, a main and a dessert to prove that anything can be done on a budget. Some of the courses used items already in our cupboard but we didn’t factor these into the budget as they are cupboard essentials that most people have (homemade breadcrumbs, plain flour, sea salt, soy sauce and Chinese 5 spice). All ingredients were bought at Tesco and were generally the value brands.

If you would like recipes for any of these, please do let me know.



BAKED CAMEMBERT & CRANBERRY SAUCE

From the budget:

Camembert £1.65

1 egg £0.15

Cranberry sauce £0.50


From the cupboard:

Plain flour

Homemade breadcrumbs


SIMPLE CHOW MEIN


From the budget:

Chicken Breast £2.94

Spring Onions £0.75

Pack of white noodles £1

Pack of prawn crackers £0.75


From the cupboard:

5 Spice

Soy Sauce

Sea Salt

Dipping Sauce



CHERRY CRUMBLE


From the budget:

Fruit Filling £1,19

Crumble Mix £0.39


Okay, so perhaps this isn’t the healthiest way of doing a crumble…but on a budget and wanting to indulge? Treat yourself!

If my calculations are correct, we spent £9.32 – bringing us in 68p under budget. We did use a couple of shortcuts here and there – such as ready made crumble mix and tinned fruit rather than fresh but I still think we did incredibly well. If you love Chinese food, Indian food, Mexican food or just a good old bowl of crumble… you can easily do it on a budget.

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The Boyfriend Reviews: The Burger Recipe Book

The Boyfriend Reviews: The Burger Recipe Book
I really wanted to get this up before Christmas as I wanted to feature it in a gift guide but unfortunately I wasn’t able to test it out until recently. Over the Christmas period, Steve has been working pretty much every day and the majority of those shifts have been night shifts meaning he doesn’t eat dinner with us. Since this was an item for him to review, it seemed only right that he should!
 We were sent The Burger recipe book to review and within seconds of Steve arriving home, he was looking through the book for ideas! Not only does the package come with a recipe book but it also comes with cool cut out burger toppers and a burger presse – combined with Steve’s present from his parents, a George Foreman grill, we were very much looking forward to trying out some of the recipes.

 The other night, I left Steve in the kitchen to try out one of the recipes and to see how the burger press shaped up. He was very impressed, the press really did press down the mince and made them the perfect patties.

Steve umm-ed and ahh-ed for ages about what to make but finally settled for making a classic burger with a twist. There are some fab suggestions in the book including a pork and apple burger which I am insisting Steve tries next! Following the recipe book pretty much to the letter, the burgers he made were absolutely delicious. We often buy beef burgers from the supermarket but they aren’t a patch on these homemade ones. So impressed.

The Burger box set costs just £16 and is available here or on Amazon here.

Steve is very much the chef in our house – I can do the basics but Steve likes to experiment and his recipe book collection is growing by the second! What is your favourite thing to make and what recipe book is your favourite?

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Product was sent for review purposes

Pork with Cider & Dumplings Recipe: Guest Post

Pork with Cider & Dumplings Recipe: Guest Post

Hi, I’m Mel and I blog at The Diary Of A Jewellery Lover. I love blogging about the things that interest me which include food, travel, jewellery, food, restaurants, competitions, did I say food, fashion, and technology – oh and more food. So when Bex asked me to do a guest post I jumped at the chance to create a post for my new gadget, my slow cooker. This recipe is utterly delicious and is very easy to make. Let me know if you make it and what you think?!

Ingredients

A little oil for frying
4 pork shoulder steaks cubed and fat removed
1 large leek sliced and washed
6oz of button mushrooms cut into halves
2 tablespoons of flour (plain or SR)
300 ml ( 1/2 pint) cider
300 ml ( 1/2 pint) chicken stock
2-3 large carrots sliced into chunks or batons
2 dessert apples cored, peeled and  sliced into chunks
sage ( 2-3 leaves) or a sprinkle of dried sage
any other herbs (optional – e.g. thyme, rosemary)
salt and pepper

Dumplings

150g (5 oz) self raising flour
75g (3 oz) vegetable suet
Chopped fresh or dried sage
Chopped fresh or dried thyme
Cold Water

Method

Heat the oil in the pan and brown the pork all over.
Stir in the flour then gradually mix in the cider and the stock.
Add the leeks, apple, carrots, sage and any other herbs if used and salt and pepper.
Bring to the boil stirring until thickened.
Put the mixture into the slow cooker pot and cook on low for 6 hours.

Make the dumplings

Put the SR flour, suet, herbs and salt and pepper in a bowl.
Gradually stir in enough water for the mixture to come together and not be too sticky.
With clean hands take some mixture and roll into balls.
Make 6-8 dumplings.
Take the lid off the slow cooker and stir the mixture.
Add the dumplings on the top of the mixture.
Put lid back on and cook for another hour.
Serve with fresh steamed vegetables and Yorkshire Puddings.

You can find me at www.thediaryofajewellerylover.co.uk and also on Facebook and Twitter.

What do you think of this slow cooker dish? Do you have a slow cooker? If so what recipes have you made?

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Food | Discovering Discovery

Food | Discovering Discovery
For the Cinco De Mayo celebrations on May the 5th, Discovery sent us some lovely goodies to try out. I apologise for only getting this post up now, sitting down to find the time to include all the photos and recipes has not been easy!
We were sent a variety of items to use and Steve, being Steve, decided that instead of picking just the one recipe, he’d give them all a go and we would have ourselves a little Cinco De Mayo feast. 

 We picked up around 700g of chicken from our local shop; 450g for the All In One fajitas and 250g for our Cajun Chicken mix.

 For the chicken fajitas, we cut the chicken into strips before adding the Discovery Fajita seasoning. We then placed it in the frying pan and fried it until the chicken was well browned. Whilst doing this, we also started the Cajun Chicken wraps!

 We peeled off the top of the Cajun seasoning and added it to the chicken in the saucepan, in the meantime also keeping an eye on the fajita chicken, as seen below.

 Looking good, no?

 We then took the fajita chicken off the heat whilst finishing off with the Cajun Chicken by adding the sauce to the mix.

 Setting up for a Cinco De Mayo picnic in front of the telly 🙂

 The two chicken mixes!

 A little pot of salsa was included but the main star of the night was the new Garlic & Herb Soured Cream. I am a huge fan of garlic and herb flavourings so to see this included was fantastic! This will definitely be making its way onto my shopping list in the foreseeable future!

Thanks for a fantastic meal, Discovery Foods!
To find out more about the Discovery Foods range, just click here.
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PR Samples.

Sioux City Cherries & Mint

Sioux City Cherries & Mint
If you’re a long term reader, you’ll know how much I love Cybercandy and what they have to offer. I’ve written about them extensively in the past (all posts here), so when I was offered the chance to try one of their new sodas, I knew I was on to a good thing! 
Lulu from Cybercandy gave me quite an extensive list to choose from and it was very tough to whittle it down, however I finally picked the Sioux City Cherries & Mint as shown above. Cherry happens to be one of Steve’s favourite flavours and mint one of mine so I was interested to see how the combination of flavours would work together.

I am very impressed that this drink is caffeine free. All too often these days, you see drinks pumped full of caffeine and even nastier things. I love my caffeine as much as the next girl but it is refreshing to see a soda that isn’t like the norm.

What can I say about the flavours? It was an odd experience. Steve himself wasn’t too keen, he isn’t too fond of mint. I did like it, although as I said it was a strange experience…the mint definitely overpowered the cherry for me and although I would drink this again, I don’t think this would be the one I’d pick first. It is, however, a great drink for the upcoming summer and would be a great addition to any picnic.

What did I like?
*Caffeine Free
*Mint taste
*Price

What didn’t I like?
*Lack of cherry flavour – should have been a little more intense.

Have you tried any of Cybercandy’s new sodas? What would be your first pick?