Wednesday, 16 August 2017

It's Always Summer With Cider at Ember Inns

I'm always up for trying new experiences, especially when this involves food or drinks. I recently received an invite to check out the new range of ciders on offer at my local Ember Inn pubs. Now, when I think of cider, I have memories of watching teenagers drink bottles of cider being swigged in a field near my school. I've never envisaged cider to be a drink which is considered to be classy or even taste nice, but this changed when I sampled some of the cider drinks available at my local Ember Inn pub, Dog & Gun. My friend and I ordered the Smirnoff Passion fruit and Lime and the Raspberry & Pomegranate Cider. I was pleasantly surprised with how sweet and fruity the ciders were. The passion fruit gave the cider a tropical element and the lime offered a sharp kick to the cider. My friend who sampled the raspberry and pomegranate cider shared that this was sweet and refreshing. Having sampled the fruity and sweet ciders, I am a cider convert.

My local Ember Inn pub have a fantastic evening set meal deal, 3 courses for £11.49 which offers amazing value for money. For starters my friend and I ordered the King Prawn Cocktail (£1 supplement) which was served in a Marie Rose sauce on a bed of crisp leaves with wholemeal bread and butter and the Home Fried Nachos topped with melted cheese, guacamole, sour cream, spicy salsa and jalapeƱo peppers. The king prawns were plump and the nachos were hearty and the nachos were crisp.

For our mains, my friend and I ordered the Sweet Chilli Chicken Noodles - chargrilled chicken with dressed egg noodles, shredded crispy vegetables, coriander and spring onions and the 8oz Rump Steak (£1.50 supplement), served with seasoned chips, a grilled flat mushroom, garden peas, battered onion rings and half a grilled tomato. My friend said the sweet chilli chicken noodles were light and flavoursome. The rump steak, which I ordered was delicious, perfectly served medium. I ordered the borderlaise sauce to accompany the steak which was rich and complemented the steak well. 

The desserts were such a delight, I ordered one of my ultimate favourite puddings: sticky toffee pudding: which is described as an indulgent pudding served with custard and my friend ordered the Belgian Chocolate Brownie served warm with ice-cream and chocolate sauce. My Sticky Toffee Pudding was amazing and everything which I expect a sticky toffee pudding to be: rich, indulgent and gory. My friend shared that she found the chocolate brownie to be a tad too rich for her, however when I tried this I enjoyed it.

I would definitely recommend a visit to Ember Inns to check out the Summer Ciders and great value for money meals. I plan on visiting by the end of the month to enjoy a Sunday roast and also to sample some more ciders.

Thank you to Ember Inns for the invitation.


Friday, 11 August 2017

The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

The classic ice-cream book by David Lebovitiz, The Perfect Scoop has been reissued by Jacqui Small publishing and what a delight this Summer book is. Although I own almost 200 cookbooks, I only own one ice-cream book. The Perfect Scoop wa posted through my door at an ideal time as I wanted to use more of my ice cream maker during the British Summer.  The Perfect Scoop is a critically exclaimed book and considered to be one of the better ice-cream books.

Making ice-cream is incredibly easy especially with an ice-cream maker, but what makes this dessert book so different is the range of flavour combinations. The Perfect scoop not only covers ice-cream recipes, but also recipes for sorbets, granitas and sweet accompaniments. The author must have been eaten a lot of frozen desserts as this is a very comprehensive book on how to make the perfect ice-cream , such as how to make the perfect ice-cream custard and how to increase flavour combinations such as alcohol and fruit. Flicking through this book, I really like David's enthusiasm and chatty approach. So far, I've made a couple of the recipes, the peanut butter ice-cream and the pineapple sorbet, the first is like a taste of heaven.

The chapters in this book are divided into the following chapters:
  •  Basics, In this chapter, key ingredients are covered, extracts and equipment. 
  • Ice Creams- My favourite chapter, recipes to try include Peanut Butter Ice-Cream, Milk Chocolate Ice-Cream, White Chocolate Ice Cream, Coffee Ice-Cream, Green Tea Ice-Cream, Butterscotch Pecan Ice-Cream, Tiramisu Ice Cream and Peach Ice Cream. There are also a number of frozen yogurts in this chapter including: Blueberry Frozen Yogurt and Vanilla Yogurt. 
  • Sorbets and Sherbet, stand out recipes include Mango Sorbet, Pear Sorbet, Strawberry Sorbet, Pineapple Sorbet and Pina Colada Sorbet and Papaya - Lime Sorbet. 
  • Granitas, delightful looking recipes include: Plum Granita, Nectarine Granita, Champagne Cassis Granita  
  • Sauces and Toppings, lots of  recipes for luscious sauces including Chocolate Fudge Sauce, Salted Butter Caramel Sauce  and Blueberry Sauce.
  • Mix-ins, recipes to try include: Peanut Brittle, Fudge Ripple and Marshmallows. 
  • Vessels, great accompaniments for ice-scream, stand out recipes include Crepes and Chewy-Dense Brownies. 
Recipe for Peanut Butter Ice Cream
180g smooth peanut butter
180g sugar
660ml single cream
pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract

Puree the peanut butter, sugar, single cream, salt and vanilla in a blender or food processor until smooth. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

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Monday, 7 August 2017

Hotel Chocolat Chocs to Chill Sleekster Review and Giveaway

A lovely parcel arrived at my home a couple of weeks ago from my favourite chocolate company, Hotel Chocolat. Hotel Chocolat have a range of seasonal chocolates which make the perfect gift for yourself or as a present.  The Summer Season is all about ice-creams, milkshakes and smoothies and the lovely people over at Hotel Chocolat have in-cooperated Summer flavours into their Chocs to Chill Sleekster chocolates. With flavours including Chocolate Milkshake, Vanilla Truffle, Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream, Pink Lemonade and Coconut and Mango Smoothie the chocolates are a Summer flavour explosion.

There is a retro feel to some of the flavour combinations features and for the best results, it's best to chill the chocolates 30 minutes in the fridge before serving, if you can wait that long.  My personal favourite is the Coconut and Mango Smoothie, the flavour is soo exotic and luxurious. Retailing at £22.50, this is an affordable small taste of luxury which you can indulge yourself in.

The lovely people at Hotel Chocolat are giving one lucky reader a Choc to Chill Sleekster. If you want to be in with a chance follow the instructions.

  • Follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget. 
  • Join my blog and leave a comment (click on the left hand of the ride side of the website using Google Friend Connector) this is an ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENT. 
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  • All entries will be checked and verified.
  • Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random.
  • The competition will run from 7.8.17 - 3.9.17
  • The competition is open to UK residents, aged 18 or over.
  • Hotel Chocolat is responsible for posting the chocolates. 
  • Please feel free to share the giveaway. 

Saturday, 5 August 2017

July 2017 Monthly Eatings

July is another bumper month food wise, I've visited a number of fabulous restaurants which i'm pleased to share with you.

Mughale Azam - Birmingham - full review will be on the blog shortly

Casaba - Birmingham 

Ginger and Co Shrewsbury


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Calaloo and Cheddar Tart

I love calalloo a leafy green leaf, similar to spinach, originating in West Africa and eaten throughout the Caribbean, it has such a robust flavour.  This tart is perfect for the Spring and Summer months and is incredibly light. I love serving this for picnics and al fresco dining alike. Serve with a leafy garden salad.

You will need: mixing bowl, dried beans and  9 inch flan tin
Preparation Time: 10 minutes plus cooling time.
Cooking Time: 45 minutes.

Fry light for greasing
1 quantity of shortcrust pastry or (1 shop brought ready rolled shortcrust pastry)
1 orange pepper, thinly sliced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 green birdseye chilli, thinly sliced
3 eggs
125 ml semi-skimmed milk
100g mature cheddar cheese
280 g tinned calaloo or (200g fresh spinach,  washed and finely chopped)
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6. Lightly grease the flan tin with a couple of sprays of fry light. Lay the shortcrust pastry over a flan dish place a baking sheet with dried beans and blind bake for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the orange pepper, spring onions and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the 3 eggs, milk and 50g of cheese, until everything is well mixed. Open the tin of calaloo (or spinach if using), place in a colander and rinse.

Remove the flan tin from the oven and remove the baking paper. Add the peppers, spring onions and calaloo in the tart case, try to smooth evenly. Add the egg-milk mixture over the flan tin and top with the remaining 50g cheese. Bake for around 30 minutes on the top shelf, or until golden brown. Leave to cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

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