Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Even though I will still infuse myself into a nice cuppa when it's warm, I can only do so in the morning.  The office where I work gets so bloody hot in the afternoon that no one wants to travel downstairs to the boiler and pour themselves a steamy cup of hot tea and climb back up the stairs to heat city.

It's just too hot.

But I need a tea fix..... I need some brew in the evening...


Let's face the facts.  The weather in the UK has been lovely, nice and sunny, really warm and generally not very British.  All around me people are eating ice creams and 99s, after a few days of these myself, I was a bit sick of them.

I fancied an ice lolly but didn't fancy the sugary crap drenched versions that cost the earth.  As usual, I decided to combine my want of tea, with a craving.  It's the same old story...

So join me in a pop of tea...  A nice and refreshing one too!

Just a nice little tip here, you can make a nice ice tea by freezing the Orange & lime into ice cubes and adding it to the tea.  Perfect for after work!

A lolly mould
about 500ml water
2-3 teaspoon loose leaf earl grey (Or about 2-3 teabags)
Juice of 2 large oranges
Juice of 1 lime

If you are aiming to cold brew your earl grey (I recommend, tastes much less bitter which is nicer for ice lollies) Place your leaf (or bags) into a jar of cold water.  Shake it up and leave it in the fridge for 6-8 hours.  Strain the leaves, and it's now ready to use!

Juice the orange and lime, I used my electric juicer, but a hand held one will work just as good.  Fresh juice is the nicest thing to use with this recipe, it's sweeter and contains lots more goodness, but if you don't have the time or resources to juice your own, then use about 1/2 cup shop bought orange juice and 2 tablespoons of lime juice.

Mix the orange and lime juice into the tea and pour into your lolly moulds.  Pop into the freezer for roughly 3-5 hours to freeze.  When they're frozen, pop them out and enjoy!

These lollies were some of the hardest things I've ever had to edit / photograph, but trust me when I say in real life the results are beautiful!

Hope you have a great week, see you Friday!

Friday, 25 July 2014

On the 3rd of August, I turn 25.  The big quarter of a century.  This gives me the fantastic ability to now lean back in my rocking chair and complain about things I don't understand.  I get that there are hot topics that we need to incorporate into our blogs to gain some views, but here's a few food trends that I just do not get the full extent of.

1. Bacon Worship.  Do we need bacon lipsticks? Bacon toothpaste? Poems about bacon?  Bacon handbags?  What is this madness?!  I once saw bacon lube in a shop.  A bloody knickers shop at that.  Like do you really want your ding-dong to smell like cooking meat?  Is that sexy for you? 

2. Cake pops.  Are you supposed to lick them?  Bite them?  Put it all on your mouth at once?  Or are they for decoration?  I JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND.  They are like mini works of art, I don't want to eat them!?

3. Posh versions of junk food.  This usually means "A smaller portion of a food you want a lot of"  Healthy versions of junk food I'm on board for though, as long as it tastes good.

4. Deconstructed meals.  So basically, I'm paying 10x more for you to not assemble it in the first place?  I really don't understand!

5. Weird tableware in restaurants. Remember when I joked about how in real life I don't eat out of mason jars or off chopping boards?  Someone didn't get that memo in the restaurant business.  Do you have any idea how hard it is to eat a pasta dish off of a chopping board?  Or pour cream out of a jar with no spout? I'm all for being a bit different but when it makes it impossible to eat off of?!  Not impressed.

6. Sriracha.  I had some.  It tasted like hot sauce, I don't get how it's better than the rest.

7. Umami.  I actually have no idea what this is but it's popping up everywhere, it literally just reminds me of ross from friends and nothing else.

8. Dissing others lifestyles.  Why do we have to validate our lifestyle choices by making others feel rubbish about theirs?  Let vegans be vegans, let meat eaters be meat eaters and if people post sugar free recipes, be grateful for the ideas!  Why can't we all just get along and agree that cooking is awesome? 

9. Calling food slutty.  What did those brownies ever do to you?

10. Gender based foods.  Burgers for blokes.  Pink shimmery cocktails for ladies.  Any weight loss foods aimed at women and their awful ad campaigns.  Fecking 'man crisps' and 'delicate ladies chocolate bars'  Get over yourselves food industry.

11. Chocolate pizzas.  I'm sorry but I just don't get it.  Maybe the one I had was pants or something but to me it was just an expensive chocolate slab with chocolate on top.  Okay so you can't complain about the chocolate part, but it tasted like cheap chocolate.  Nasty stuff.  Plus it was really hard to eat like a pizza.  -Hello chocolatey fingers-

ON THE FLIP SIDE:  Here's some food trends I am totally on board with.  Let's end on a positive note.

1.  Hidden vegetables.  Amazing.  Avocado chocolate mousse, Courgette bread rolls, Beetroot chocolate cake.  These are all delicious recipes I have tried and LOVED.
2.  Do it yourself.  I love that making your own sauces, meat rubs and bread is back in vogue.  These are awesome life skills to learn.  There is no shame in not knowing them but they are brilliant to have on hand.
3.  Alternative grains.  Everyone is sick of hearing about quinoa and chia, but damn, they are awesome and if no one was talking about them, they wouldn't be appearing in my local markets right now, which I love.
4.  Juicing.  Sorry but I'm not sorry.  Juicing is awesome and I have at least one a day.  Have you ever tasted just made orange juice or apple juice?  Or carrot juice?  It tastes a gazillion times better.
5. Flourless pizza base recipes.  Pizza can never be bad, but pizza without the bloat, gut ache and pizza pounds?  Ten times more awesome.
6. Bloggers writing cookbooks.  It's ever more popular for your favourite blogger to create a cookbook.  How awesome is this?!  I have several saved on my wishlist.
7. Bakers twine.  Not overused thank you very much.  Wrap me up in it, make a dress out of it, whatever you need, that twine makes stuff look awesome.

What are the food trends that you love and hate?  Do you disagree with me? Comment below!

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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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