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?

sweets for my sweet

sweets for my sweet
When offered the chance to review some of All Occasion Sweet Shop’s yummy treats, how could I resist? I was actually partaking in a 2 week diet trial at the time of their arrival and had a fight on my hands to ensure I managed to try some of them for myself – but I managed to, even if only just.
I was sent four of their sweet jars* to review: the Flying Saucers Jar, Rhubarb & Custard, Refreshers and Haribo Happy Cherries. I gave Steve the pleasure of opening the parcel and he was audibly pleased at what we had received! Not only were there some old favourites included but they each come in jars akin to those from sweet shops of yesteryear – the ones that can stand upright or on their side. This was a big plus for us, especially me who believes packaging is part of the appeal when it comes to products.

I’m sure you all know how the above items taste but if not, let me tell you – they were delicious! Family and friends that happened to pop by all indulged in some sweets themselves and loved them. These jars retail at just £4.99 apiece and are perfect unique gifts for just about anyone in your life. 

It has come to that time where I am seriously starting to think about my wedding and I couldn’t help but notice that the All Occasion Sweet Shop has a section dedicated to weddings. I just may have to incorporate sweets into my big day somehow; I know they would definitely be a huge hit.

For sweet hampers, jars, gifts or just some old favourites, All Occasion Sweet Shop is definitely the place to look – offering a variety of options, you’re bound to find what you are looking for. See what all the fuss is about and check out their website here.

Keep up to date with AOSS on sweetie news, views and special competitions through Facebook and Twitter.

Homemade Banoffee Pie – Recipe

Homemade Banoffee Pie –  Recipe
Steve decided to rummage through our tin cupboard yesterday, to see just what was hanging around in there. He found a variety of things, had a look on Google to see what he could make with them and then stumbled across this recipe on AllRecipes and adapted it just a little to make it his own.
Ingredients
Base: 100g (3.5 oz) butter, melted
250g (9 oz) digestive biscuits
Filling: 100g (3.5 oz) butter
100g (3.5 oz) dark brown soft sugar
397g Carnation Condensed Milk
Topping: 4 small bananas
300ml carton of double cream, lightly whipped
Grated chocolate
Yummy! 
Preparation
Prep time: 20 minutes Extra Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
1. Grease a 20cm (8″) loose-bottomed cake tin.

2. To make the base, process the biscuits until crushed. Stir in your melted butter. Press the mixture into your cake tin, plus 4cm (1.5″) up the sides. Leave this to chill whilst making your filling.

3.Place butter and sugar into a non-stick saucepan over a slow heat. Stir until the butter melts & the sugar dissolves. Add the condensed milk and bring to the boil slowly, whilst stirring throughout. When the caramel starts to boil, remove from the heat and pour over the base. Leave to cool then chill for an hour, until it is firm

4. Serving time. Remove pie from tin and put on serving plate. Slice the bananas and fold half into the softly whipped cream. Spoon over the caramel layer. Decorate with the remaining bananas and grated chocolate.

Be aware that the prep time given above is what AllRecipes recommend, however we found that it took quite a while longer as heating the condensed milk and whipping the cream took a lot longer than you would expect. 

This was absolutely delicious, although I could only manage a few mouthfuls as it was so sickly! I’m such a lucky girl!

Are you a culinary whizz in the kitchen?

Classic Chocolate Cake {with a twist}: Recipe

Classic Chocolate Cake {with a twist}: Recipe
You should all know by now how fond Steve is of making yummy food and how fond I am of eating it all! He recently decided to try and make the Classic Chocolate Cake recipe from my Sainsbury’s Baking book(seen here) -however, we didn’t have all the right ingredients.

Here is what the ingredients should be:
FOR THE CAKE
200g unsalted butter, softened – 200g Sainsbury’s Fairtrade caster sugar (this can be substituted for any caster sugar, they only specify the Sainsbury’s brand as the book is by them) – 3 medium eggs, beaten – 200g Taste The Difference extra fine sponge flour, sifted – 60g Sainsbury’s Fairtrade cocoa powder – 2 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk

FOR DECORATION
150g unsalted butter or margarine, softened – 300g icing sugar, sifter – 60g Sainsbury’s Fairtrade cocoa  powder, sifted – Sainsbury’s sugar stars

We didn’t have the sponge flour, so substituted it for the same amount of self-raising flour. We also didn’t have any sugar stars, so left them out. The worst part is that we didn’t have any cocoa powder and none of our local shops had any either. So what did we use instead?

OPTIONS HOT CHOCOLATE SACHETS!

Seriously! Instead of 60g of cocoa powder, we used 100g of Options Belgian hot chocolate flavour. Be careful to remove some sugar from the mix though – don’t use all the 200g shown above if you are using hot chocolate sachets like us! Check how much you should put in on an online converter! We also used a coconut one with a Galaxy hot chocolate sachet for the icing. Yummy!

 ~ Obviously, when taking heed of these guidelines, remember that these are for if you have cocoa powder. If you are using hot chocolate sachets like us, remember to substitute ingredients ~

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas mark 4. Line 2x18cm round cake tins with cake tin liners – designed to give the cakes edges an attractive texture.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar, until light and creamy. Add the eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each one. Add some flour if the mixture begins to curdle.

3. Add the flour, cocoa powder/hot chocolate sachets and milk and beat until smooth. Divide the mixture between two tins and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 25 minutes until well risen. Remove from oven, lift out onto a wire rack and leave to cool completely in the liners.

4. Meanwhile, start making the icing! Beat the butter/margarine in a large bowl until fluffy. Add icing sugar and cocoa powder/hot chocolate sachets and continue to beat until smooth and creamy. As the mixture becomes a tad dry, add 3 tablespoons of boiling water and mix well.

5. Sandwich the 2 cakes together with half of the icing. Spread the remaining icing on top of the cake and create peaks, using the back of a spoon. Sprinkle with sugar stars.

What yummy goodies have you made recently? 

The Spice Tailor Curry Pouches – A Review

The Spice Tailor Curry Pouches – A Review
A few weeks ago, I was kindly sent some curry pouches, courtesy of the Spice Tailor range by Anjum Anand, to review. I had seen a few reviews on various other blogs and had thought they sounded great, so when given the opportunity, I was more than willing to give these a try. As some of you may know, I don’t claim to be a beauty blog nor a fashion blog, I write about what interests me – and being a huge curry fan, this definitely tickled my taste buds!

The Spice Tailor curry pouches(*) are designed to make ‘authentic, delicious Indian meals in just 10 minutes‘. The range includes such delights as the ever popular Korma, Tikka Marsala and Rogan Josh, but also includes less well-known sauces such as Mangalore Herb and Keralan Coconut. These are rarely found in Indian restaurants and takeaways across Britain, seemingly staying an Indian secret…until now. These two lesser-known pouches were the two I was sent to review.

Their packaging is bright and colourful, they would definitely catch your eye in a supermarket. Another great thing about the packaging is the fact that the spices are kept separate from the sauce in their own little pouch – handy to stop you from overloading on them.

The Mangalore Herb was tangy and spicy, just right for me, but not quite spicy enough for Steve. We had a little disaster in the kitchen with this one, as the instructions tell you to pour some oil in a pan and put the spices in. Steve did this and black smoke rose up from the pan. This black smoke, of course, was very spicy and we spent half an hour airing out the house before giving it another go. Let’s just say, we were a little more careful with the Keralan curry.

Yes, I have an extremely dated kitchen – I can’t wait until we can buy a place of our own and redecorate!

The pictures above are of the preparation of the Keralan Coconut curry. Learning from our mistakes with the Mangalore curry, we only added a small dash of the spice for this curry, preferring to add as we went along if needs be.

To prepare this curry, you need:
-300g firm white fish, prawns, pork, chicken, duck breast or vegetables (It’s your choice – we chose chicken)
1tsp vegetable or  olive oil

THAT’S IT. Everything else is tucked away in those little pouches. The instructions tell you to:
1. Heat 1tsp of oil in a pan, add spices and cook for 20 seconds
2. Stir in the sauce along with 50ml of water and bring to the boil
3.Add your choice of meat or vegetables and simmer until they are cooked through.

Simple, easy and ready in 10 minutes. So what did we think?

As mentioned before, Steve wasn’t a total fan of the Mangalore Herb curry so it was interesting to see how this one measured up to his expectations. It was a success. Being coconut based, we were expecting a taste similar to Korma and although it was alike in some ways, this wasn’t as sweet and felt less indulgent than a Korma. Although it wasn’t as sweet, it definitely left me wanting more and I have been keeping my eyes out for these pouches ever since.

Would you give these curry pouches a try? You can buy them here for just £2.89 which I think is a total bargain for such a great product. I will definitely be repurchasing as I’m often pressed for time and a ten minute meal is right up my street.

xo

(A * means I was sent this product free of charge for consideration of review. As always, my thoughts and opinions are 100% honest and always will be.)