Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Carrot Chutney version 2

In an attempt to make the perfect carrot chutney for Christmas I tried to iron out the mistakes I made last time.  I used a finer grater, and halved the amount of vinegar.  Then used caster sugar rather than the brown sugar - so it at least stayed orange this time, rather than muddy brown.

500g carrots, peeled and grated
 1 medium onion, chopped very finely
2 bay leaves
200g caster sugar
100ml white balsamic vinegar
200ml boiling water

I peeled and grated the carrots, and then peeled and finely chopped the onion.  I popped the onion and the carrot in the pan to sauté, in a small amount of olive oil.  When the veg had cooked for 20 mins I added the bay leaves, the sugar, vinegar and boiling water.

I let that all cook off, until the mixture was sticky, and no liquid spilt out when I ran a spoon through.

The result was a stickier less vinegary version than last time - but it's very, very sweet.  Tasted pretty good with some cheese though!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Mushroom and Pea Risotto

150g arborio rice
1 litre vegetable stock
leftover wine
Onion, finely chopped
squeeze of garlic

Phil chopped the onion finely and sautéed in olive oil with a squeeze of garlic.  When the onion had cooked off for a few minutes I added  the arborio rice to the pan and then the wine.  I'd say it was about a quarter of a bottle, so probably a glass of wine.  I let the alcohol cook off while Phil chopped the mushrooms, then they were added to the pan, along with a small amount of stock and a generous sprinkle of dried thyme.

I kept adding the stock, a small amount each time, until the liquid had cooked off.  With the last addition of stock I added the frozen peas.

We served it with some bread, and a good helping of grated cheese (Phil doesn't eat parmesan so I don't have any in the house).

It was delicious, warming, gooey and tasty.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Sweet Potato Curry

I adore sweet potato, I could eat it most meals.  One of my favourite quick curries is sweet potato and pea, which during the week when I'm working I'll use a curry paste for - but if I have the time I'll do it from scratch. I did have one lazy bit to this though - I used lazy chilli, so I didn't have to chop one up!  Phil heated this up for me and forgot to add the peas, so this is a pea-less version.

2 sweet potatoes
4 small potatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
tbsp turmeric
tsp cumin seeds
tsp ground cumin
tsp ground coriander
squeeze of lazy chilli
squeeze of garlic puree
coconut milk
half pint vegetable stock
corn flour

Chop the onion finely while the cumin seeds are heating in some oil in a large pan.  When they start to sizzle add the onion, the garlic and the chilli.  Let those cook off while you peel and chop the sweet and normal potatoes.  Add the spices to the onions and coat them well, then add the potatoes to the pan and let them cook off for a couple of minutes while you make up the vegetable stock.  Pour the stock in and then cook the potatoes for 20 minutes until they're soft.  Add the coconut milk for the last five minutes of the potatoes cooking, and if the curry needs thickening add some cornflour to thicken.  I would normally add peas for the last couple of minutes, and if I have it, serve with fresh coriander.  We had this with a naan bread, I love dipping in the sauce.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Swizzles Spooky Sweets for Halloween

I was sent some Swizzles Spooky Sweets to review.  I'm trying my best not to open them and get stuck in - once I get started with sweets I find it hard to stop!  I'm going to use some of these as decorations for some Halloween cupcakes, but while there's still work going on in our house I can't do too much baking - it's very dusty here today!

These sweets will be great for dishing out to kids coming round for Trick Or Treating - we get lots round here.

Spooky Halloween sweets
British confectionery giant and king of the trick or treat season, Swizzels Matlow Ltd, is gearing up for the Halloween season with a range of ghoulish party delights.
This year's terrifying treats include special treat bags and tubs of Swizzels Matlow's perennial favourites, including Love Hearts, Drumsticks, Fizzers, New Refreshers and Fruity Pops. There are also big bags and tubs of treats for party goers or families to share, including Trick or Treat Lolly Mix, Monster Treats and Spooky Treat or Trick Mix.
Mega Drumsticks now have a black and orange wrapper, while Double Dip becomes Spooky Dip, with a blackcurrant flavour leaving tongues black!            

Products are available in a host of national supermarkets.

Sarah-Louise Heslop, marketing manager at Swizzels Matlow, said:
"This year's Halloween range is perfect for any hellish Halloween parties. Our lollies, dips, sweets, tubs and packs are all adorned with creepy packaging - ideal presents for hungry trick or treaters. Don't forget to stock up for fright night!"
Swizzels Matlow is the UK's largest family-owned independent sugar confectionery business and one of the few confectionery companies to still manufacture sweets in the UK. The company makes a range of well known products including Love Hearts, New Refreshers, Drumstick Lollies, Rainbow Drops, Double Lollies and Fruity Pops.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Press Release: Yo Sushi, York

I don't normally like to put up press releases, unless I've either been invited to go to the opening, or I've been sent the product to review.  But I'll make an exception with this one - because I'm really excited about it opening.  I adore Yo Sushi, it's one of my favourite places to eat when in Leeds.  I know it shouldn't be, with it being a chain, and I should be supporting local independents.... but I love watching the dishes go round that conveyor belt and then making a grab for one as it comes past!


YO! Sushi is delighted to announce the opening of its newest restaurant in the heart of York.

Set within the old Ponden Mill retail outlet, the finishing touches are being put in place at the

2 storey, 3000 sq ft restaurant on Church Street, ready for the grand opening on Thursday 18th

October at 12noon.

YO! Sushi has something for everyone, with a range of over 90 hot and cold Japanese inspired

dishes customers can choose from a variety including delicious soups, Yakisoba noodles and

Katsu Curries along with some of their signature sushi and sashimi dishes ranging from £1.80

to £5 - as well as a wide range of Japanese beers, a carefully selected wine list, Sake or soft

drinks to accompany your meal.

Simply choose a seat next to their world famous ‘kaiten’ conveyor belt, take a dish, eat and pay

– it really is that easy. Or you can order from the menu and watch your dish be prepared in

front of your very eyes in just a few minutes.

The new restaurant is located on the busy Church Street and designer Philip Watts has

described its unique design as “a beautiful building in a conservation area packed with great

restaurants so we wanted to design something that felt peaceful, modern and minimal and to

use materials that were in influenced by the existing building. Then we added a few YO! Sushi

touches to give the restaurant a new and fresh feel that gently nods to our original urban Tokyo


Laura McMahon the new Assistant Manager, has lived in York since she was 6. She said:

“York has always been a great place for restaurants and I’m delighted to be involved in

bringing YO! Sushi’s fantastic range of Japanese inspired food to the City I grew up in.”

To celebrate this brand new opening, YO! Sushi has planned lots of fun activities to encourage

locals to join in the fun that YO! Sushi intends to bring to this cultural and historic city. YO!

Sushi’s friendly casual dining experience has something for everyone, making it the perfect

place for a quick bite or a leisurely dinner with friends and family.

YO! Sushi York will be open from Thursday October 18th at 12.00. Opening times will then be

Friday - Saturday 12pm-11pm and Sunday - Thursday 12pm-10pm.

YO! Sushi York

15-17 Church Street,



Tel: 01904 966663

Issued on behalf of:


For further information, contact Lauren Felber at Chocolate PR, lauren@chocolatepr.co.uk,

0113 2361835

Monday, 8 October 2012

In search of the perfect Parkin

I love bonfire night, not just for the excitement of the fire and fireworks, but for the food too.  Pie and peas, jacket potatoes and parkin - who could want more?

I'm going to use Parkin for one of my upcoming Clandestine Cake Club events, so I'm trying to get my recipe perfected.  I think Parkin can be quite individual - I like mine to be quite spicy and very treacley and sticky.

My first attempt of the year was using a waitrose recipe but I used oats rather than oatmeal, and increased the amount of flour - the mixture seemed too runny.  Predictably I got quite a dry cake.  For my next attempt I'll keep to the 200g of flour, but will use wholemeal instead, and use 200g of treacle and 100g of golden syrup.

Do you have a special Parkin recipe?

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The quest for the perfect carrot chutney

My favourite Marks and Spencer sandwich is the Wensleydale and Carrot Chutney.  I could eat it every day.  I decided many, many months ago that I really wanted to try and recreate that carrot chutney for myself, so I could include it in mini hampers for my friends at Christmas.

Fast forward several months and I still hadn't given it a go, so last weekend I bit the bullet, found a recipe to tweak and off I went.

I used this recipe as the basis for my chutney but made some alterations:

600g carrots, peeled and grated
Squeeze of lazy chilli
half an onion, chopped very finely
2 bay leaves
200g demerera sugar
100ml white balsamic vinegar
100ml rice wine vinegar

I sauteed the carrots and onion in with a squeeze of lazy chilli for 30 mins - I added a splash of water to keep everything moist because it was sticking to the pan, then added the sugar and both the vinegars.  I let the liquid all cook off, simmering until it was sticky.

Whilst all of that was going on I sterilised my jars, washing them in soapy water and then putting them in the oven at 150 for 20 mins to dry out.

When the liquid had evaporated from the mixture I spooned it into the warm jars, popped the lids on and then turned them upside down - as the recipe I was following stated to do.

I managed to fill 5 of my small jars (Lakeland), I've had one jar for testing, given another jar to my boss at work for testing and will give another to my parents.

Upon tasting it I wasn't fully happy with the results - for a start it's too vinegary, and then I didn't reduce the sugar accordingly - so it's far too sweet.  Lastly, using the brown sugar made my carrots look murky, which doesn't make them look very appetising.

My next batch will use one full onion, have only 100ml of vinegar, with 200ml of water and use caster sugar.  I'll also use a finer grater for the carrots - the feedback I had was that it's too chunky.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Jordans Super Berry Country Crisp

I was sent some Jordans cereal to review. Jordans are one of my favourite breakfast cereal brands, I usually pick the red berry one, so I was interested to see what the Super Berry had to offer.

The Super Berry cereal is a granola with blackcurrants, cranberries and blueberries - and it's delicious!  I've had a bowl every night so far this week... Jordans also do cereal bars, but I haven't tried any just yet.