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Monday 24 June 2013

Tesco summer fruits cooking fun with Daddy

Last week dh and I went to a real food event at our local Tesco store. Surrounded by about another ten food and parenting bloggers and their plus ones we got to hear Tesco talk about their summer fruits. A blind taste test revealed to me that I like the strawberries from the Finest range, just as I thought I would. It also became apparent that I bought the right plus one with me in my husband, he is super knowledgeable about food in general and especially fresh produce. I suppose that is what becomes of buying industrial quantities of food for his award winning restaurant.

Tesco are wanting to hold more of these real food events and they want to get their regular customers involved in talking about their food, trying it out and giving feedback, it sounds like a good idea to me. It was certainly nice to meet some of the management of my local Tesco and to know I can call on them now if I ever have any issues.

We heard lots about the way Tesco source their berries, the farmers who grow them in England and the new varieties coming into store later in the year. We were sent away with a goodie bag of products so we could make the Summer berry tart with lemon cream. Well I was heading off to a conference so the kids got to make this with dh and from what I've been told it was a big hit. Instead of the berries going on top of the pie the kids got to choose which ones they particularly fancied and added them direct to their bowls on top of the lemon cream tart.

If you fancy making the tart or need some inspiration for cooking with berries then check out the ideas on the Tesco real food website.

Disclosure: Thanks to Tesco for inviting us to this event and providing a nice goodie bag.

Thursday 6 June 2013

Review: Russell Hobbs Easy Store Plug & Wind Iron

I've mentioned before that I enjoy ironing.  Put a good film on the TV and off I go.

I'm not one of those people who spend an hour over every shirt, the results do not have to be perfect, they just have to be good. I'm also not one of those people who iron socks and pants, the things I iron had to streamline once I had three kids, it takes enough time to keep us all looking decent without looking perfectly crisp too.

I iron at least twice a week for about an hour a time and thus I was pleased to be sent the Russell Hobbs Easy Store Plug and ind Iron to try out. Overall I liked this iron, it is not the best one I have ever used if I'm honest but then it is priced at £29.99 and that is so reasonable for the job it does.  I normally use a iron costing more in the region of £50 but this iron is good enough that I have sent my old Bosch one off to the charity shop.

Check out the features of the Plug & Wind Iron -

  • 2400W
  • 300ml water tank
  • 120g shot of steam / 45g continuous steam
  • Dry, steam, spray and burst of steam
  • Ceramic soleplate
  • Anti-drip function
  • Vertical steam and self cleaning function
  • Ergonomic design with soft touch handle
  • Temperature ready alert
  • Long 2.5m power cord
  • Cord wrap system with plug placement for a neat storage solution

I'd add to that list, easy to use, good angled-end for ironing between buttons, smooth glide, not too heavy but enough weight to iron easily, sturdy when standing on its end, easy fill water tank and filling just once lasted my whole hour of ironing and nice clear controls.

I asked dh to make a short video of me using the iron, so you could see what it was like in action. Do excuse the mess all behind me, that is the dreaded ironing pile about to be tackled!

I have used the iron for about 3 hours so far and I'll be keeping it an using it as my regular iron, as I mentioned my old one has gone off to the charity shops.  I've not tried out the in-built descale function as yet, when I do, I'll update this review.

This Russell Hobbs iron is stylish, easy to use and great value for money.  The cord storage is also really great, you even twist the plug to make sure it is tight and stays closed up. I'd happily recommend it a as budget buy to a friend.

There we go, job done!  That was an hours work.

Disclosure:  I was sent this iron free of charge for the purposes of this review.  I have not been told what to write and I remain honest.

Wednesday 5 June 2013

Homity Pie - fab for a Picnic

Monday this week I headed off to work to deliver a training course and dh stayed home with the kids as it was an occasional day. The summer seems to have arrived and thus dh headed out to one of our beautiful local parks and took a picnic for the kids. I had been lucky enough to receive a picnic hamper and some goodies so we used some of the products as a joint effort to make sure they had a scrumptious lunch packed.

On Sunday I took the Flora Buttery and made a pastry case for our family classic of Homity pie and then Monday morning dh (and Miss M) put together some easy pasta salads to go with it using Colman's BBQ sauce, Hellmann's classic mayonnaise and Maille Dijon mustard with honey.

Picnics are such fun and you can take so many more interesting foods with you, rather than sandwiches. Have a look at this recipe for muffin tin frittatas. 

If you fancy making a Homity Pie for your family, then check out how - 

Make yourself a batch of rich shortcrust pastry, I always make mine with half wholemeal and half white flour for a good nutty taste. Flora buttery gives richness to this pastry. Put the pastry in the fridge in clingfilm for at least 1/2 hr to rest.  Then bring it out and allow it to warm a little before rolling it on a  floured surface and lining a large flan dish, like this -

You need to bake the pastry blind for 20 minutes at 180 degrees, so cover it in greaseproof paper and use something like beans, lentils or rice and keep them to use again and again.

While the pastry is baking, peel your potatoes and chop them into 1cm cubes and peel and chop your onions.  I am totally rubbish at quantities so I just guess each time, I probably use about 6 medium spuds and 4 medium onions.

Par boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes.

Use some more of the Flora Buttery to saute the onions until they are translucent and tender, I like them with an extra bit of flavour and allow them to caramelise a little. Layer the onions into the par-cooked pastry case and then add some frozen peas and the cubed potatoes.

Mix a carton of double cream, 3 eggs and some grated cheese up together.  Then pour this all over the potato, onion and pea mixture - letting it drip right through. Put some more cheese on the top before you bake in the oven at 180 degrees for about 30 minutes.  You can leave it a little longer if you like a more browned and crispy top!

and voila vegetarian Homity Pie - it tastes so much better than it looks here.  I had some for my tea with a nice green salad.

I'm entering my recipe for Homity Pie for for @UnileverKitchen's #PicnicChallenge. Thanks so much for the fab hamper basket you sent through to us, I'm looking forward to using this a lot when we move to our new home in a couple of weeks - it will be perfect!