Sunday 23 November 2014

Waitrose Three Bird Roast Wrap

I'm a complete sucker for anything seasonal and Christmas is my favourite time of the year - I love all the flavours and spices you get around this time of year and I love trying all the stuff that is out for such a limited time.

The flavour of this wrap was really exciting for me but the other thing I loved was the amazing packaging that looks like a Christmas cracker! It's such a cool and attractive wrapper and I love the fact to open you pull both ends like a real cracker! Even the colour scheme is beautifully festive with a lovely simple red and white design that is understated but reminds me of Nordic knitwear.

Getting out the wrap, it was a really good size and better yet remained intact. Often with wraps they aren't very tightly rolled and the fillings spill out and get very messy. There are no such problems here - even when I cut it in half and when I was eating it, it remained whole. This makes for a nicer eating experience as you get all the flavours and filling in each mouthful for a nice rich taste.

The wholewheat wrap is soft and tender and complements the abundance of filling. There's roast chicken, turkey and duck in this wrap and you get a lot of each for a really delicious, generous and meaty taste. All three work together and are enrobed in a delicious cranberry sauce and a spiced mayonnaise. The cranberry adds a little fruitiness, which we all know works well with poultry and it's not sugary sweet either. Apollo lettuce provides a bit of crunch in the soft wrap.

It was a really tasty eat and I think I'll definitely be getting another one of these before Christmas 2014 is over.

Sunday 9 November 2014

Marks and Spencer Peanut Butter with Maple and Pecans

As good as it sounds. I'm a complete nut butter nut anyway but even I recognize this as being particularly special. I love trying new nut butters - Meridian is a brand I particularly like with their almond and hazelnut butters - so the inclusion of pecans here instantly piqued my interest. They also seem so right at this time of year - perfectly Christmassy and autumny.

This is predominantly made of peanuts and isn't one of those healthy, pure natural with no added ingredients nut butters I usually buy. However, it is absolutely gorgeous. The little added sugar and salt enrich the flavour and this made a lovely treaty Sunday breakfast.

I generously slathered this on seeded bloomer bread and topped with banana. It's quite sticky and thick so isn't the easiest thing to spread but this only adds to it's indulgence.

The pecans are plentiful and noticeable, providing a slight toasted savouriness that works with the maple syrup. Pecans and maple syrup are a well known combo for good reason. Honey and cinnamon add further complexity and sweetness. All the flavours and spices just gel so well together. Nothing dominates and yet you can taste them all. This is perfect for special breakfasts and a great winter alternative to regular peanut butter.

Saturday 8 November 2014

A classic pitta lunch with M&S Seeded Pittas

Pitta bread always provides a great base for a healthy, vibrant lunch or snack. It may be getting cold and wet but these Mediterranean doughy pillows help transport me to sunnier times.

I simply toasted the pitta for one minute, split in half and filled the warm, doughy pockets with a classic filling.

Chopped up morsels of delicious falafel, cool, creamy houmous, fresh spinach leaves and little chunks of fresh vine tomatoes - nothing innovative or off the wall but it's a traditional combo for good reason - it all complements each other wonderfully.

The only slight twist was that I used these seeded pittas from Marks and Spencer's. They're enriched with extra virgin olive oil, linseed and sunflower and chia seeds. As well as all the health and wellness properties, it gave my lunch some extra bite and texture.

The bread was beautifully soft, providing a great blanket to nestle all the tasty filling together. It made a much more interesting lunch than your standard sandwich

Thursday 6 November 2014

Waitrose Ginger and Wasabi Popcorn

Popcorn is one of my go to healthy snacks. So long as you pick the right one and it's not utterly bathed in sugar, then it's a really light snack that makes you feel like you're getting a lot and satisifies that need for mindless grazing we all get sometimes but without all the calories you'd get if you did it with a box of chocolates or a sharing bag of crisps.

However, whilst I want low calotie and goodness, I also want it to be exciting. I never buy plain salty ot sweet popcorn as it's like eating air with nothing particularly striking. Things like Propercorn's Vanilla and Coconut popcorn are much more my style - exciting, modern flavours that tickle the tastebuds.

This ginger and wasabi popcorn from Waitrose was right up my street. I've had wasabi popcorn before - M&S' delicious one they had out this summer - but I was interested to see what ginger would add to the table.

It's an unusual but tasty take on popcorn. The wasabi on this had significantly less heat than the M&S one. I personally adored the M&S' nose clearing version although everyone else who tried it found it too hot. This might be more suitable for those who want a subtle and tempered spice. Ginger gives it a lovely, warming feel and the whole thing has a very subtle sweet edge that curbs those afternoon cravings. It feels very fresh and really awakens your senses. You notice every mouthful, which is just what I want from snacks.

Tuesday 4 November 2014

Weetabix Inspiration

As I've mentioned several times, I'm a bit of a breakfast fanatic. I'm properly addicted to granola, muesli, porridge and shredded wheat. It's my favourite meal of the day and I love how you can customise it and mix it up to start each day with a difference.

Weetabix is another one of my staples. It makes a wonderful, blank canvas for whatever toppings you're in the mood for.

This was simply

2 Weetabix
A sprinkling of flaxseed
A handful of beautifully blue and plump blueberries
A chopped up apple
A mix of dried fruit and seeds - I used pumpkin and sunflower seeds, dried banana chips and sultanas

A smashing mix of texture, flavour and colour. It's full of healthy ingredients and tasted as good as it looks. All it needed to be finished is being adorned with a lashing of cold, organic milk.

Monday 3 November 2014

The Dip Society Sweetbeet Dip

After being recommended this by a friend and also trying it at theirs, I had to get my own pot of this delicious dip. This is simply a beetroot dip with honey and mint but it's so fresh and natural tasting, it's unlike any other dip I've had.

They seem to be a small, independent company, which I always like, and furthermore this is a really healthy product that is totally natural and full of good stuff. It's 77% beetroot so you're getting a good source of veg and the other ingredients are simply creme fraiche, honey, mint and lemon juice. There isn't even any salt, which is fantastic! Furthermore, 50g (or a third of the product) is a mere 40 calories. You could eat the entire tub and it would still be less than a few spoonfuls of some fatty dips.

It's utterly delicous if you like beetroot. It's deep, earthy sweetness is accentuated by the honey and mint and lemon provide a bit of zing and sharpness. It's rooty with a delicous, creamy texture and full of vibrant flavour. The flavour is as bright as it's stunning colour! It was perfect for dipping some carrots and Ryvita Thins for a lovely, guilt free snack.

Sunday 2 November 2014

Marks and Spencer's Stottie

I'll be upfront and admit I've never eaten a Stottie before. It's a bread that is extremely popular in the North East - so much so that Gregg's who sell them up North receive multiple requests for them to have it in their Southern stores as well.

According to Wikipedia, it's a flat and round loaf with a heavy mouthfeel that is reminiscent of dough. Having gone far too long in life without sampling this delight that is so close to people's hearts and incites real passion amongt its fans, it was great to be able to try one of these from the M&S in store bakery.

It looks quite a plain roll but it really is glorious. I warmed mine slightly, but didn't toast it as I didn't want it to lose its softness. Traditionally, stotties are split in half and filled. I imagine it would work fantastically with breakfast items like scrambled eggs or bacon as the bread's softness would complement the fillings so well. I, however, just spread mine with butter and had it with some homemade pumpkin soup.

It has the most divine texture. It's sublimely soft with a padded mouthfeel, It absorbs butter beautifully, enhancing the flavour and has just the right amount of salt. It's so simple but it works so well and I could happily eat this by itself. It's so doughy and comforting and on a wet day, like today, it's the culinary equivalent of a hug for your mouth.

I can't vouch for its authenicity but I can safely say it's utterly delicious and quite unlike any other roll.

Saturday 1 November 2014

Marks and Spencer Veggie Pumpkin Sweets

Halloween may have been yesterday but I'm still feeling the need for spooky treats at the moment. As they only come around once a year, it makes sense to completely over indulge in them whilst you can before they disappear until next October. Whilst browsing in M&S these Veggie Pumpkin sweets caught my eye.

I'm not a vegetarian - although I probably do have 3 meat free days a week and consider myself flexitarian - but vegetarian sweets are for everyone. Frankly, if you can make delicious sweets without the need for animals, you might as well always choose them. The packaging looked suitably spooky with some nice images that really stand out.

But it's the appearance of the actual sweets that really deserve a round of applause. Often with novelty shaped sweets, they don't actually really look like what they're supposed and is just manufacturers being lazy and putting a seasonal spin on a shape they use throughout the year. These, however, do look like mini pumpkins and considering how small they are, I found it really impressive. Perfectly round in the correct shape and even adorned with the little stalk thing you find on pumpkins, they look seriously cool.

Taste wise, effort has also gone in. They're similar to fruit pastilles but with a softer texture. They're really fruity and the sweetness isn't just pure sugar either, there's a lot of really intense flavour going on that really is delicious. Perfect for the Halloween weekend.