Wednesday, 23 July 2014

When I was 12 years old, every Friday night I would travel to my local sports centre to enjoy the swimming pool.  It's been knocked down now, but back then, it was a chlorine filled mecca for pre-teens like me.  We would all meet up, swim around for a bit, annoy the lifeguards and dare each other to go dive in the deep end.

The deep end is a big deal for me.  When I was 12 I was even bloody shorter than I am now, so when I was dared, I said no.  I couldn't dive, I couldn't see the bottom and I wasn't doing it.

"I will buy you a Slush-Puppy if you do it"  said a friend of mine.  " extra large one"

The large ones were the prize.  No one would buy THEMSELVES an extra large.  That was an extra £1, and it came in a bucket!  It was crazy enough of an offer for me to accept.

One disastrous belly flop later, and a big telling off from a lifeguard, I cradled my prize at the little diner on site.


My love of slushies pretty much starts from there.  For years it was my go-to if I saw the little whirly dispenser behind a counter.  Then as the years went by it got more and more 'age inappropriate' to buy them.  Finally, a few years back when I decided to change my diet (for my health and because I was quite fat) they started to taste to artificial for me.  It sucked.  You know when your memories of something are better than the actual thing?

Yeah, thanks a lot brain.

Then like everything else, I discovered that making your own is so much cooler.

So what's with this one?  Well, I caved and bought one from a coffee shop and the damn thing was so sugary, sour and artificial that it burned my tongue and made me feel a bit sick.

The flavours were such a good concept though that I decided to nick it and try and make a version of it myself.  For adults.  (aka, put it in a cocktail glass and pretend you actually know what you're doing)


Takes me right back to slurping up a slushy back at the leisure centre, complete with brain freeze and sensitive teeth pain.  It's tangy, refreshing and contains no artificialness, no sugar or sweeteners and the best thing is that is also contains tea.  Proper tea.  So it's like an ice tea, but with slushy-ness.  God I love tea.

And it only takes 2 minutes to make.  Bargain.  This makes 2 cocktail glasses worth.

1 pint glass of ice cubes
1/2 pint of boiling water
Either 3 teaspoons of loose leaf green tea or 3 green tea teabags.
Juice of 2 limes
Juice of 1/2 lemon
handful of mint leaves


EARLIER ON: Brew your tea (or tea bags) in the hot water for 2-3 minutes.  Then filter out the tea leaves (or take out the tea bags) and pop in the fridge until cool.

Load up your blender with your ice, pour over the lime juice and stuff in the mint leaves.  Next pour over your tea.

Pop your lid on, put it on the ice setting (if you have one) and let it blend for about 30 seconds, or until all the ice is crushed.

Pour into glasses, add cocktail stirrer and serve immediately.  DAMN that tastes good, huh?  You know what would make this tastes even better and more adult?  A little slosh of gin.  I won't judge if you won't.

IE: a little tip, if you infuse the brewing tea with 1 or 2 fresh basil leaves it gives it a lovely kick.  Just make sure you take them out before you put it in the blender!  The basil is a good herb to use for decoration too, cause it smells damn good.

Enjoy the hot weather while it lasts!

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Monday, 21 July 2014

Disclaimer and stuff:  Caledonian hampers sent me this hamper to try, but have not paid me for my time or opinion.  So rest assured, all pictures and words are mine and of those that helped me eat/drink it.

Last week the people at Caledonian Hampers offered me a cider hamper to try and I jumped at the chance.  First of all, because it was Scottish and I love Scotland and secondly because it was free food.  I'm not saying I'll do anything for free food, but I'm saying it's a way of getting me to listen to you.

So let's get down to business.  I asked the fabulous and wonderful Georgie to help me review it, as she loves a good hamper as much as the rest of us.  We all acquainted?  Let's do this.

Since the weather was so beautiful that day, we set up a blanket in my unfinished back garden, and sampled the hampers delights al fresco.  Enjoy.  PREPARE TO SEE A LOT OF TARTAN.

Okay so these pictures are INSIDE, but have you ever tried to take pictures in unmown grass?  Crickets galore, hopping all over everything, flies buzzing in your face.  It's a right pain.

We all know that it isn't just the stuff in your hamper that makes it special, we need a good bit of presentation.  When this arrived at my desk last week, I was impressed.  For a wee food hamper, it came in a decent reusable box, with everything nicely arranged, like so:

Obviously, being the big head that I am, the first thing I loved was the personalised Cider bottle.  What a great gift this would be for someone!  I mean, I have no idea who sent me mine and I already like them a lot.  Fantastic idea for a present, and really makes the whole thing just a little bit more special.

The contents
The contents of a hamper are equally as important as the presentation.  I felt a little pang of nostalgia as those little packets of biscuits were left in our hotel room on our honeymoon.  So what's in this hamper?

  • Giant bottle of personalised cider
  • Apple & Ale Chutney
  • Caramelised red onion chutney
  • Tomato and red pepper chutney
  • Tin of haggis
  • Pack  of oat crunch biscuits
    Pack of belgian chocolate biscuits
  • Scottish Fudge
  • Macaroon
  • Scottish Tablet
  • Cheese oatcakes
  • Plain oatcakes
So how did they go down?

We set up shop in the garden, and got to the hard business of drinking the cider.  It was lovely.  We served it chilled with lots of ice and glaring sunshine on our faces.  Perfect cider drinking weather.  It went down a bit TOO well really.

The first glass was gone in a few minutes.

The second glass went not long after that.

Then we basically just started drinking it straight from the bottle.

Okay, I started drinking it straight from the bottle.

So let's get down to the food.  Everything was of Scottish origin, so naturally I was expecting a bit of tartan, some walkers and something flavoured with haggis.

Wasn't expecting a tin of haggis, but that was well received by Georgie, who took it home with her.

So, I have to go back to the cider, it had a lovely little story on the back that I forgot to photograph.  This specific type of Scottish apples, apparently are known for being the best in Scotland.  I'm really sad that I forgot the story because it was quite sweet.

Everything was very scottish.  I mean, look at the haggis.  


The sweets were traditional fayre.  My husband made good work on those.  The cookies reminded me of my honeymoon, and the macaroon was incredibly tasty (didn't get much of it but I suppose I did hog the cider.)  However, the winner, in my book were the oatcakes and chutneys.  I love a good chutney.  We dipped the plain oatcakes into the caramelised onion one, and it was delicious.  There were hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. (I'm not being a douche, you could really taste those hints and it made a massive difference.)

We shared out the fudge between us all, though I much prefer toffee (and cider apparently.)  I saved the tablet for my dad, that sort of thing is right up his street.

By this time the cider was doing it's work.  Oh look, I'm back talking about the cider again.  Guys, I'm not joking, this cider was lush.  It was a fizzy cider, quite refreshing.  Not overly sweet, which I prefer.  I was pleasantly surprised as I've not been overly impressed with alcohol in hampers before, but I really enjoyed it.  Can you tell?


Anyway, after I had literally drained the bottle of it's glorious elixir, we realised that we had actually made out way through all the food and were a little sad.

So overall, I would recommend these little hampers.  They have a pretty awesome range, and whilst I can't comment on the other alcohols in their range, I can vouch for the cider.


Cheers Caledonian hampers for providing us with a nice afternoon of scottish treats.  If you're interested in checking them out, their website is here

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Friday, 18 July 2014

When I first started earning my own money, I went a little mad.  If I saw any little random thing I wanted, I'd buy it.  I didn't have responsibilities, I lived at home, and had no other outgoings.  So I would pretty much spend my entire wages on beer and weird stuff from the internet.

Then we got a house, a mortgage, a car, a family of animals and then we got married.  So those weird things from the internet did not tempt me as much as say, eating or having heating.  I'm funny like that.  I like to eat and be warm.

But I still like to pretend that I have the money to spend on stuff I don't need.

Which is why my amazon wishlist is a weird weird place to go.

I mean who ever really checks on that stuff anyway?  I have years of wishes piled back up in there.  Most of them are kitchen related.  I have a WHOLE FRICKEN FOLDER of cookbooks.

I still want most of them.

I regret nothing.

So here's a collection of the strangest things I found on my amazon wishlist and I'll finish it off with a few of the most awesome cookbooks.

Because yay, it's Friday!

WARNING: The story behind wanting this is so stupid, that only the people that were there believe it.  Yes, it's THAT strange.  It was about 3 years ago, and we were driving to work.  I was in the car, moaning because I was so hungry.

"Kris I'm starving..."
"You are not starving..."
"I am! I am so hungry, I could eat a horse..."

We pulled up to work (we work on an estate filled with shops and factories,) and sat there, not 10 feet away from us next to a kitchen workshop....  WAS A BLOODY HORSE.  Just staring at us like we were evil.

Let's take a moment here, because of all the prayers I've made that COULD have been answered...  Like the times I wanted Scarlett Johansson's arse, or wanted to do well on exam, even a mini prayer that I won't fall over today.....  The horse prayer.  That's what got answered.

Turned out it all had a very logical explanation.  First it was a donkey... so I can't even identify basic animals, and secondly, it belonged to a group of travelling gypsies which has set up camp in the car parks behind the estate.  Their donkey horse had got free and wandered into the units.

But still, it's a joke that continues to this day, where I cannot say "I could eat a horse, for fear that one will magically appear like last time."

But anything that even remotely reminds me of this story?  WINNER.  Also I love pasta.

I saw this and laughed for about 20 minutes.  Who the hell would not want a jug shaped like a chicken?  You know what's even better?  A chicken jug where the stuff pours out of her beak.  Maybe I'm just easily amused but that would perk my day right up...

"Why yes thank you..."
-Pours milk out of chicken-

I think it would liven up sulky rich people tea parties if this was included in their tea sets.  Maybe they wouldn't all look like they just took it up the bum, maybe they don't need flashy cars and estates and helicopters.  Maybe all they have been missing in their lives is chicken jugs.  That sentence was weird.  I could erase it but then that would be taking it back and I stand by my statement.

Chicken jugs for life.  In the wishlist it goes.

Earlier in the week, The sugar hit posted an awesome doughnut recipe, and I was majorly envious of her perfect looking doughnuts.  "How do I get mine to stop coming out like monkey butts?"  I asked.

The answer is apparently good dough and a doughnut cutter.  So I went searching.  You wouldn't think there would be much variety in  them but man, people get pretty passionate about doughnuts.  Some of the cutters had awful reviews, and if I'm ditching my monkey butt method, I need the alternative to work.  I don't want to go from a butt to a hula hoop.

I still wasn't sure of my decision so I put about 5 different types in my wishlist.  Which looks a little strange.  Like I'm an avid collector of doughnut cutters or something.

Why wouldn't I want something that combines three things I love?  Drinking tea, Doctor who and pouring liquid out of weird vessels (see chicken jug).  Plus it matches my kitchen.... and the mug I already own.  Man I love doctor who.  If it matched I would not be ashamed to have Doctor who bedsheets.

But it just sits in my wishlist because I can't justify buying another teapot when I already have so many.

Sad face.

I'm not sorry, I am addicted to oversized novelty items like this.  It's hilarious.  I would buy just so I could say  "I'm just sharpening my carrots" Which isn't even funny.  That's what this brings out in me.

However, I got a spiralizer earlier in the year and this just lost all it's appeal.  Still in my wishlist though?

Of course.

I.... I don't actually know.  It's in there with an inflatable palm tree so I'm guessing it was for my 21st birthday party (it was a tropical theme) but then I just don't know.  I really really don't.

Cool though.

Avocado Saver and Holder

It might look like a weird sandal, or a backpack for a turtle, but a pretty cool gadget for saving your avocados.  I eat a lot of avocados.  They can be expensive.  I'm not wasting them.

So I've come to that point in my life where I start adding actual helpful stuff to my wishlist, things that would make my life easier, rather than inflatable bananas and pasta measurers in the shape of a horse.

This slightly depresses me as it means I am becoming 'A Real Proper Grown Up' who wants to save her vegetables, but doesn't know if she quite wants to part with a fiver to do so.








The other thing I noticed in my wishlist was the amount of cookbooks I have saved.  Some of them look amazing as well!  ONLY THREE WEEKS TO MY BIRTHDAY.  I NEED SOME OF THESE IN MY LIFE.

All the pictures are linked up, have a peek, there are so many awesome cookbooks out there!

What's the strangest thing on your amazon wishlist?  Comment below!

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