Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Cook - John Lewis

In the summer I was in my local John Lewis, browsing in the kitchen department,  when I saw a magazine called Cook, it was lovely, full of inspiring recipes, crockery, kitchen linens, and useful utensils.  The focus in the summer was salads and fish, and there were a few things that I bought for my house in Brittany.

In the Autumn there was a second edition, full of warm colours and more inspiration, and now the third edition has hit the shops and it's jam packed full of great ideas for Christmas, including lots of suggestions for homemade foodie gifts.

I was delighted to be asked to try some of the recipes, and sample some of the gift ideas.

A beautifully wrapped box arrived at my house.  As well as the magazine, it contained a  selection of goodies, My daughter and I had a lovely time trying the cookie press and the Home Baked stamp.

We decided to make the Christmas Spiced Truffles (an Edd Kimber recipe), we were really impressed with them.  They are rich and unctuous, and will make a perfect gift for Christmas, We plan to make another batch (we had  plenty of chocolates from this recipe), use some of the gorgeous John Lewis packaging and give them to teachers, friends and neighbours,  along with some of my Peppermint Bark, you can find my recipe here.

Thank you to John Lewis for sending me the baking goodies, and a gift voucher to cover the cost of the   ingredients in the cooking.

If you don't have a local John Lewis you can still read the magazine as it is now available on The Newstand, at the App Store, just search for John Lewis Cook.(You'll find the Autumn edition there too, just incase you missed it!)  You can find all the useful tools and packaging either in the shop or online at John Lewis.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Doves Farm - Gluten Free Flours and Grains

A few weeks ago I was asked to sample some of Doves Farm's range of gluten free flours and grains.  As I use their flours in my baking anyway, I was happy to try the selection they sent.  It would be good for me to learn how to bake with gluten free produce, as more and more often I meet people with a gluten intolerance and I would always wish to welcome visitors to my house with home baked produce.

The samples were sent in little tubs, which are perfect for storage, and also appropriate as I wasn't sure which grains/flours I would get on with.  Some of them such as quinoa and buckwheat are already familiar, I use buckwheat in France for both pancakes and for my Soda Bread, quinoa is something I often use as an alternative to rice or lentils, with fish and vegetables.  Others were new, and therefore extremely interesting.

I decided to bake a couple of the recipes which are featured on the flour tubs, choosing millet flour and teff flour, the recipes  have been researched and tested by the company and I therefore felt they would work well.  I baked two biscuit recipes, and was delighted with both, they were delicious, and were a hit with both my husband and daughter, I would be more then happy to bake a batch for anyone with an allergy or intolerance to gluten.

I have since used the chickpea flour, when I was making flatbreads to accompany a vegetable curry, and the grains in various dishes.

It is wonderful to learn that Doves Farm are investing time and money in both growing and researching alternatives to wheat, and I believe that if you look at their website, which you can find here,  you'll be impressed with both the range of produce and recipes that are available, as well as learning about their food philosophy.

I would like to thank Doves Farm for sending me the samples, and asking me to review them.  I was not paid for the review. 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Christmas Shopping - Little Treats

Some of the summer press shows had goodies from more then one company, and here is a selection of things I'll be looking out for this Christmas.

I particularly enjoyed seeing the Christmas range from Dunelm, sadly an out of London company, their nearest shop to me is in Croydon.  Fortunately they are online so I hope to buy a few bits and pieces from them via their website.

The Mason and Cash Petite Beurre Baking set is lovely.  My daughter really loves chocolate petite beurre when we are in France, and I know she'll enjoy baking her own version.

The Kilner mugs are great fun, the lids are perfect for parties, and without the lids, they are great for warm punches and ciders.

And every child loves Lego, I am not a hundred percent sure about Lego Friends, I don't like girls to be pressurised into pink and 'girlie' play, but on the other hand, I know that my daughter (who is pony mad) will love this stable.