Thursday, 31 July 2014

Announcing event ~Lets Prepare Summer Drinks


With the hot sweltering temperatures that we are experiencing in the UK , I think it would be a good idea to run an event about  all about summer drinks. In this event I am inviting all foodies out there to create any summer drinks hot or cold and link them to this event.

To Participate:

1. Prepare any summer drink hot or cold,  please link your post using the linky below by entering your Dish Name and Post URL
2. Please link this event announcement with your entry, this is mandatory. (Any entries sent with out the mandatory link will be disqualified.)
3.Use of logo is  not mandatory but it helps to spread the word if you can use it.
4. Multiple entries are allowed, archived are only allowed if reposted and updated with this event link.
4. In the event of problem using linky you can email me the entry at simplysensationalfood@gmail.com

Please use this format:
Your Name: Recipe
Name Recipe URL
Image no larger than 300 pixels.
Event Ends 31st Aug 2014

Friday, 25 July 2014

Morrisons ~ on line Shop



I want to make the most of the sunshine while it lasts so creating free time to spend time with family and friends after work and at weekends is a priority. Amongst household chores, the weekly shop takes a big chunk of my time; so when Morrisons started their home delivery service and asked me if I wanted to trial it I jumped at the chance to place my first on line order. 

It was very easy to create a login using my email address and the site was simple to navigate. The “find a product box” made life easy, as all I had to do was type in the key word of the product I required and it was easily found. I also liked the fact that if the product was in an offer, the site prompted you so that you did not miss out on the deal. For those people who like bargains you can also click on the “offers” tab which will show you all the products that are currently on offer. If you selected a product that was out of stock, the site immediately suggested another similar product to save you hunting for it; I found this very useful.

I always make a shopping list so whizzing through the site picking all the products on my list was very straight forward and I completed my whole shop in less than 20 minutes. The delivery option was simple too and cost only £ 3.00. I was able to pick a time slot convenient to me and the delivery was guaranteed within an hour of that slot. Furthermore, Morrisons sent a text message to let me know my shopping was on its way. My shopping arrived in time and the driver was cheerful and friendly, there was only a slight hiccup where one of my shopping bags went missing. As soon as I realised, I phoned customer services and the driver immediately returned with the missing items.

Checking through my shopping, everything was in order. I am very particular about my fresh fruit and vegetables so I was a little worried whether they would meet my expectation, I need not have worried as it was all selected and packed to my satisfaction. The home delivery service was very efficient and I would definitely use it again.

I found the products at Morrisons great value for money and I was able to create an al fresco dinner for four people for under ten pounds. My menu for my dinner was rice with peas, red kidney bean curry, spiced bulgur wheat salad, green salad, pitta bread and fresh galia melon for dessert.



Many of the products I selected were value products and came in packs. I did not use up all the ingredients in those packets to create my dinner and I used some of my own store cupboard ingredients such as oil and spices to flavour and cook my meal.

My shopping list for my meal for four was under ten pounds:

500g Tilda Basmati Rice
£ 2.25
400g Birds Eye Frozen Peas
£ 1.00
Carrots
£ 0.30
Cucumber
£ 0.49
Tomatoes
£ 0.34
Iceberg Lettuce
£ 0.49
Pitta Bread 6 pack
£ 0.49
Kidney Beans 2 tins
£ 0.23
Onions
£ 0.42
500g Bulgar Wheat
£ 1.09
Mixed Peppers
£ 0.99
Galia Melon
£ 0.99
TOTAL
£ 9.31


All the views and opinions in this post are my own and unbiased, Morrisons had compensated me for my shopping bill by giving me £ 80.00 on line shopping voucher.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Taste Sensation Experiment.


Sensory scientists have revealed it is strawberries and the smell of freshly cut grass that is this summer’s sweetest taste sensation. I recently learnt about an experiment  that the sensory scientists at the university of London conducted to show that listening to different sounds while eating berries can actually alter the taste of them. The scientists found that listening to happy, summery sounds, the taste of the berries amplified and the fruit tasted fruitier.
I was so interested to read and learn about this experiment that I agreed to take part in a sensory experiment to see for my self if this was indeed true or not.

Control

I placed the strawberries in a white bowl , smelt the strawberries , looked at the colour, felt the texture, and the taste and noted it down. The berries  looked normal and very juicy and had a tang to the taste.

Experiment 1-Colours

Did you know that sweetness is linked with colours??

I transferred the strawberries to a red bowl,  and I listened to soothing music from here whilst I enjoyed the strawberries. The strawberries looked juicier and really inviting and even appeared sweeter. This shows that there are links between our senses, and that certain sounds, shapes and colours will actually affect how something tastes.

Experiment 2 -Summer Garden Party

In this experiment, the idea was to recreate a summer tea party sensation with background music that reminds us of summer garden parties. I made a cup of tea to drink and listened to a tape that played garden party sounds from here, whilst I ate the strawberries and drank the tea.
The aroma from the tea and the garden party sounds of jazz music made me feel I was outdoors and it really affected my taste buds of how the strawberries tasted and looked.

Experiment 3- Picnic

In this experiment, the idea was to create a grass smell and give your senses a taste of open air and picnics. The mood was created by lighting a grass scented candle and rubbing my fingers with some blades of grass, whilst listening to picnic music from here. When the strawberries were eaten the scent of the grass from the candle and on my fingers reminded me of picnics, open spaces and the strawberries tasted as if they were freshly picked.

Experiment 4- The Beach

In this experiment, I rubbed sun cream on my fingers and played beach music from here. I also wore sunglasses.Whilst eating the strawberries, the scent from the sun cream evoked happy holiday memories and consequently this transferred into the taste and aroma of the strawberries.

Conclusion: It was found that we associate taste with smell, sounds and colour.
Sensory expert from the University of London, Professor Barry Smith, said:
"More than any other sense, smell can evoke powerful, emotional memories.'
"Strawberries have been shown to trigger nostalgic summer memories, because people usually see them as a seasonal treat.  

To take part in this experiment I was sent a red bowl, a cup, a teabag and a tube of sun cream with a voucher to purchase some strawberries. I really enjoyed trying this experiment and all my opinions are unbiased and true of my experience.

If any simply food readers try this experiment do drop by and share your findings in the comment section below.I would be most interested to find out  and read your experiences with this experiment.


Monday, 21 July 2014

Tomato Chilli Jam ~ Secret recipe club 21st July 2014



This is my assignment with the Secret Recipe Club.The aim of the club is that you are allocated a blog from which you have to select a recipe and try it and blog about it. My assigned blog was Authentic Suburban Gourmet. The blog is written by Lisa who describes herself as  " a successful business executive by day and food blogger at night."There are many wonderful recipes on Lisa's blog,  I actually tried two recipes from her blog the tomato jam and the brown sugar cookies. For the secret club I will write about the Tomato Jam recipe. I followed the recipe as per Lisa's blog, however having Indian roots Ilove my spice so I added a red chilli pepper and a sprinkling of chilli powder to the tomato jam to make it Tomato chilli jam.The jam was so delicious and I did not even get a chance to fill a jar, it was eaten the same day, next time I will double up the recipe to make extra.

Tangy tomato chilli jam with a spicy kick

Ingredients:

240g  tomatoes cut into quarters
1/2 cup sugar
1 red chilli pepper de-seeded and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
Zest of half a lemon 
Juice of half a lemon



Method:

1. In a heavy bottom pan add the tomatoes, sugar and the rest of the ingredients.
2. Bring the mixture to a slow boil and then reduce the heat and simmer the tomato mixture on low heat, stirring intermittently for 30-40 minutes.
3. The jam is ready when the tomatoes have broken down and the mixture has thickened and looks glossy.
4. Leave the jam to cool slightly and then transfer to sterilised glass jars.




Thursday, 17 July 2014

Tidbits from my pantry.

I love having new food in my pantry so here are a few foodie items that I have received this month that are definitely worth a mention.



I received some nuts from Mr Filbert's- The three bags of nuts I received were:
French Rosemary Almonds
Peruvian pink peppercorn cashew nuts and peanuts
Italian herb hazelnuts and peanuts
All the nuts are hot air roasted using a unique process which means they have a lower fat content than most other nut brands and potato snack companies who deep oil fry.These nuts are lovely for snacking on and serving at dinner parties with a glass of wine.Our favourite was the Pink peppercorn cashew nuts and peanuts.The bags retail at £2.99 each.




The next item in my pantry this month was an assortment of crisps from Fairfields Farm. All the potatoes used to make the crisps are grown on the family farm in Wormingford, Essex, before being prepared, cut, cooked and packed in the farm's purpose-built factory. I liked the fact that all the flavours used in the crisps were natural and sourced throughout the East Anglian region

There are many flavours in the Farmfield range such as Lightly Sea Salted, Sea Salt & Aspall Cyder Vinegar, Sweet Suffolk Chilli, Suffolk Farmhouse Cheese & Chive, Wicks Manor Smoky Bacon & Sunday Roast Potato, Butter & Mint and Parsnip Crisps with Essex Honey & Black Pepper, Parsnip and Sweet Potato, Chilli and Lime, Chorizo and Sunblushed Tomato and Sour Cream & Onion.

The flavours that we sampled were:
Sweet potato with chilli and lime
Lightly salted Parsnip 
Sea Salt & Aspall Cyder Vinegar
Sour Cream & Onion.
All  flavours in the deli range are available in delis and farm shops nationwide in 40g bags with an RRP of 85p.
We loved all the flavours however the Sweet potato with chilli and lime was voted the best in our family.

Thankyou to MrFilbert and Fairfield farm  for sending us samples to review all, views and opinions expressed are our own.


Monday, 14 July 2014

Cheats Chocolate Mousse


Chocolate mousse that's light creamy and super delicious, low fat and low in calories, dairy free. If I said this would you believe me??? This chocolate mousse is exactly that, made with  just three ingredients it is a quick dessert that is super delicious and guilt free.

Ingredients:

2 overripe bananas
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons honey (optional)
4 cherries for garnish.

Method:

1. Peel the bananas and cut them into chunks and place them on a tray in the freezer overnight.
2. The next day place the frozen bananas, cocoa and honey in the Optimum 9400 blend on a low speed , increasing it to fast for 60 seconds.
3. Spoon the mixture into shot glasses and serve immediately or chill and serve later.Garnish with cherries.





To read about the Optimum 9400 check my review post here. The blender is currently on a special offer at £329.00 with a thirty day money back guarantee with free postage if not satisfied. You can order yours here.









NB-This recipe works best with over ripe bananas.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Orange and Carrot Smoothie


I am really enjoying using my new mean machine from Froothie- Optimum 9400. Breakfasts have never been so easy and I have got my whole family involved in our smoothie challenge, trying out new combinations of ingredients. Having tried various combinations, we discovered that keeping the smoothies simple with the use of 2-3 ingredients makes the flavour more balanced and the smoothies more tasty.
Today we tried a simple Orange and carrot smoothie.

Ingredients:

3 oranges peeled and cut into quarters.
2 large carrots tops removed and cut into chunks.
8 Almonds
2 tablespoons clear honey (or sweetener) to taste.
Glass full of ice cubes
100ml water

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients into the blender and whizz the ingredients for 60 seconds, starting on slow speed and gradually increasing the speed.
2. Pour the smoothie into beer tankards  or any glasses of choice and enjoy with a carrot garnish.

I wrote about the The Optimum 9400  in my previous post where I shared my peach and apple smoothie. It is a very versatile machine that not only blends and whizzes smoothies but chops, grates and whipps, makes nut butter and nut milk. It creates icecreams and soups to in a jiffy too.

Best of all  unlike many gadgets that are a pain to clean, to clean this  beauty is easy as 1,2,3. All you do is put a drop or two of washing up liquid in the jug, fill it a quarter with water and whizz for 15 seconds. Pour away the soapy liquid and rinse and its all set for using again. How easy is that, no messy blocked blades and mesh work to clean.

Currently it is on special offer for £329.00 and also comes with a 30 day money back guarantee so if you purchase it and you are unhappy you can send it back postage free. Do check it out here. 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Peach and Apple Smoothie



Being a vegetarian, eating fruit and vegetables and incorporating them in my daily diet is a lifetime habit and not one that is hard for me, however when it comes to kids sometimes making sure they have their five a day is more difficult as they don't always like all fruit or vegetable that's good for them. In these instances my best plan of action is to hide them amongst fruits and vegetables that that do like in a form of a smoothie.

I made this delicious Peach and apple smoothie in my new Optimum 9400 that Froothie sent me and I am in heaven. Smoothies have now become my regular breakfast on the go ritual, they are healthy and my whole  family can get their 5 a day without any fuss.

Peach and Apple smoothie(with hidden ingredients shhh!!)

Ingredients:

2 ripe peaches stoned and cut into quarters
1 apple core removed and cut into quarters
4 prunes
1 teaspoon chia seeds
Handful of dried cranberries
1 generous tablespoon honey(add more or less to taste and sweetness of fruit)
I large glass filled with icecubes
100 ml water (or almond/soya milk)

Method:

1.Add all the ingredients into the Optimum 9400 and start to blend, starting at a low speed and gradually increasing the speed for about 60 seconds.
Serve the smoothie  immediately in tall glasses or bottles with pretty straws for children. For my family I fill up insulated cups on the go to keep the smoothies chilled and easy to take away.

NB- I added water but you can add almond or soya milk to make it into a milkshake.

With the smoothie done let me  introduce you to my new love the Optimum 9400-Not just a blender .There are many blenders on the market ranging in prices from £ 25.00 to £600.00, majority of the cheaper models will be more hassle than helpful. Most will  need the fruit skinned, chopped, deseeded and will not crush ice which is a real pain and to clean them after is another story.On the other extreme the expensive ones are the ones that will crush ice and the fruit and vegetable they pulse needs minimum attention but not everyone can afford them at prices up to £600


Froothie have come up with a powerful mean machine called Optimum 9400 which will blast any ingredient and blitz it to a delicious purée in moments, furthermore it crushes ice like it cutting through butter, it chops, grates, grinds and whips and you can use it with wet or dry ingredients in it without buying a separate jug. It also makes instant icecreams for the summer and warm soups for the winter so you can make use of  it the whole year around.
The best bit about the Optimum 9400 is that it looks sleek and smart has all the qualities of a robust and powerful blender at half the price.


The jug is made from Eastman Tritan copolyester which makes it BPA safe. It is totally leak proof and comes in a choice of 2 colours. At the moment  the Optimum 9400 is available at a special offer introductory price of £329 which includes a 30 day trial so that you can return it back postage free if you are not totally satisfied with it. I love options like this because I feel that if I do invest in a gadget I want peace of mind that I can be100 percent happy with it.






I am really looking forward to my regular smoothies now and am already thinking of some more secret ingredients (ssshhh) that I can sneak into my smoothies. If you have any suggestions do share them in the comments below and I will try them out on my unsuspecting family :)

Thankyou to Froothie for sending me the blender, all views and opinions expressed in this post are genuine and not biased.


Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Round up of Lets cook for Fathersday



Thankyou to everyone who participated in this event , here is a collection of all the lovely entries.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Announcing event~Lets Cook with Strawberries


The Strawberry season has started in the UK and they are now available in abundance, this month I am making the Lets cook event all about Strawberries.

To Participate:

1. Prepare any vegetarian dish sweet or savory with Strawberries (eggs allowed),  please link your dish using the linky below by entering your Dish Name and Post URL
2. Please link this event announcement with your entry, this is mandatory. (Any entries sent with out the mandatory link will be disqualified.)
3.Use of logo is  not mandatory but it helps to spread the word if you can use it.
4. Multiple entries are allowed, archived are only allowed if reposted and updated with this event link.
4. In the event of problem using linky you can email me the entry at simplysensationalfood@gmail.com

Please use this format:
Your Name: Recipe
Name Recipe URL
Image no larger than 300 pixels.
Event Ends 31st July 2014


Giveaway Free Tickets for Foodies Festival Feast at Battersea Park


Foodies Festival, the UK’s largest celebration of food & drink returns to Battersea Park on the weekend of Fri 15th, Sat 16th & Sun 17th August this year. Each year thousands of visitors come from the surrounding areas to feast on a vast array of culinary activities, making Foodies Festival the social event of the summer.  Visitors will see top chefs cooking in the Chef’s Theatre; sample  wine, beer, and cocktails in the Drink’s Theatre and  join top pastry chefs in the brand new Chocolate, Cake, Bake and Preserves Theatre, and kids can learn to cook too in the Children’s Cookery Theatre.

The festival will have a Feasting Tent where visitors can enjoy eating with chefs, friends and family at long banqueting tables.

This year there is the introduction of the Vintage Tea Tent that will hold daily tea dances, alongside a Vintage Kitchen Market allowing visitors to pick up beautiful pieces to add to their own kitchens at home.
For the people who enjoy a little bit of beer or cider the Real Ale and Cider Farm will be offering visitors a special area to chill out on hay bales and strike up a conversation with our beer and cider expert Melissa Cole and fellow beer lovers.  There’s a guitar behind the bar for those in the mood to get a sing-along started.

A new Chilli Food Market will excite those with a love for spicy foods with a range of chilli growers and artisan producers of sauces, sweets and jams. For those who can handle the heat a Chilli Eating Challenge takes place at 5pm daily.


Foodies Festival tickets are on sale now,  to purchase your tickets  you can Click here to buy tickets

How To Enter:
  • Simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below to verify your entries
  • Entries can be via blog comment, Facebook, Twitter etc.
  • Leaving a blog comment is mandatory and failure to do so will void any other entries.
  • Closing date - 31st  July  2014 12.00 am
 *Terms and conditions
1. This competition is open to UK residents only who are over 18 years of age .
2. Complimentary tickets are valid for one day only at the London Show.
3. Tickets are non transferable. One pair of tickets per winner only.
4. Complimentary tickets obtained through this offer may not be duplicated.
5. All tickets will be scanned on entry to the show

How Rafflecopter works:

·        You will need to complete the mandatory entry first – usually making a blog comment. You can do this by clicking on leave a comment at the bottom of the post and leaving your reply in the comment box.Please note your comment will not show immediately as it needs to be moderated however rest assured it will appear on the site, so carry on with rest of entries.
·        Login to Rafflecopter – click to see what the question is. Make a comment answering the question on the blog.
·        Go back to Rafflecopter and click the green button to tell me you have made a comment, this will unlock all the other options. All entries are checked to see that the mandatory question is answered, if its not all bonus entries will become void. 
·        Rafflecopter will tweet, like and follow on your behalf.
·        For information on how to find the URL of your tweet click here
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