Posts filed under ‘reviews’

OXO stocking filler ideas for your favourite foody

I’ve been really organised about Christmas this year (versus last year when I was pregnant) and thanks to on-line shopping from my phone while baby naps I will not need to join any last minute scrums in town this week. If you feel like you’re running out of shopping days/energy/inspiration here are some suggestions for you from the fabulous OXO Good Grips range (and with 2 days left for next day delivery too!).
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I like to gift practical items that can be loved, used daily or passed on. Sometimes we make edible gifts to enjoy and share (no time for that this year sadly but there’s a terrific Christmas Pudding truffles recipe here!). When the OXO elves sent us this lovely selection of pressies to try out I immediately thought of simple every day uses to bring something tasty to the Christmas table. We used our apple corer, stainless steel bowl mixing bowl, heat resistant silicone spatula and lemon squeeze and store to make a fruit and nut filling for baked apples. The house smelled delicious and baby L was able to share the apples with us. If you have gluten free guests at your Christmas table these would make a simple mince pie alternative (with a big dollop of cream on the side I’m sure they wouldn’t even mind the missing pastry).
collage-baked-apples-dec-2016
The 4 cup angled measuring jug featured in my stocking fillers review a couple of years ago and is still one of our favourite kitchen essentials. I use it most days and unlike every other plastic measuring jug I’ve ever owned it hasn’t cracked from pouring boiled water into it time and time again. This week alone I’ve used it for making gravy, coconut milk from powder, vegetable stock, measuring rice and cooling boiled eggs. E’s favourite use of course is for melting jelly cubes. Yesterday we used it as a receptacle for scooping salt and flour out with our measuring cups. Ours is a 1 litre jug but it’s also available in 1 cup 250ml size and a 2 cup 500ml size.
measuring-jug-copy
I’ve always wanted a set of measuring cups to save the time I spend converting recipes using cup measurements into grams. The arrival of this lovely set was timely as the battery has run out on my kitchen scales and E had asked about making salt dough christmas tree decorations. We used Mommypotamus’s salt dough recipe which was simple with our 1 and 1/2 size cups. Whether upsizing or downsizing recipes these cups are fab – the largest is 1.5 cups and all 6 cups have a convenient half line measurement inside. There’s a handy spreader for ensuring an even level for dry contents which doubles up as the hook for hanging your cups away afterwards.
photogrid_1482186902577You may have noticed the stainless steel mixing bowl in both our makes. We’ve reviewed it before here and it really is the one-man-band of mixing bowls. E no longer wears it as a hat but it’s only a matter of time before L does. I’m sure he’ll happily turn the bowl and spatula into a drum kit soon.  It’s my number one recommendation for a kitchen gift for Christmas, birthdays or weddings.
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I know what you’re thinking, a mixing bowl will not fit inside a stocking. In which case my ultimate stocking filler buy would be the lemon squeeze and store and deserves a mention all of it’s own (especially as I forgot to add it to my picture selection above).photogrid_1482228456583

It’s just £4 and strains seeds and pulp while directing the lemon juice out of the holes and directly onto your salad, fish, cooking pan, water and more. When you’re done, the Squeeze & Store will hold the other half of your lemon, keeping it protected until the next time you need a splash of citrus.

All items are available from the OXO website (use links above for details) except for the Stainless steel mixing bowl which is available from several other cookware suppliers. The photo used in my review is from Mamahome.com.  There are a whole heap of other kitchen gadget gifts in the Good Grips range.

Disclosure: I selected these items to try.  I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

 

December 20, 2016 at 10:35 am Leave a comment

making courgetti and squoodles

courgetti-on-fork-for-blogWhen I was pregnant with Luca I felt constantly hungry and found myself reaching for starchy carbohydrates to fill me up and calm the acid reflux that fired as soon as I ate anything vaguely wholesome.  7 months on from birthing my 9lb something boy I’m breastfeeding, sleep deprived and carrying him back and forth on the school run so I haven’t been too careful about what I’m eating and make poor food choices when I’m tired (which is most of the time!)   My  baby weight is creeping up rather than down so I’ve resolved to rely less on sugary foods to get me through the day and get back to a healthier way of eating.spiralizer_courgetti-for-blog
I’ve been trying to use vegetables more to replace lazy bread and pasta options.  I was using a vegetable peeler to make courgetti but finding the result rather mushy.   A cheeky plea to my friends at OXO Good Grips to try their 3 blade spiralizer has since resulted in this divine dish;  made in minutes from just a few simple ingredients (a friend’s home grown squash, spinach, sunblush tomatoes and parmesan cheese).  What’s more E was able to help make the ‘squoodles‘ and I found they were better for being made ahead and left to dry out a bit (which was just as well after spiralizing every vegetable in the house created enough noodles for 3 meals).
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The OXO Good Grips spiralizer comes with 3 different blades for two sizes of noodles and one for slicing.  It’s really simple to set up and has a suction pad underneath to help secure it to the table.  I felt happy to let E use it alongside me as the vegetables felt securely attached and it’s operated by turning a handle so small fingers and sharp blades are kept well apart.  We did find that half way through it tipped and lost suction and moved but this may have been due to our technique with E’s body weight coming at it from a different angle than a standing adult would.
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We worked our way through courgettes, squash, cucumber and carrots and there’s a video here for other vegetables to try it out with (onions, apples even cauliflower to make a low carb alternative to rice).
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spiralizer_lunch-with-halloumi-copy
We also tried the OXO Good Grips hand held spiralizer which is brilliantly simple to use and clean and takes up hardly any room in the drawer.  It’s much more affordable at £15 but a bit more work than the £40 three blade spiralizer.
collage_hand-held-spiralizer
Although the pictures suggest it can be used for harder vegetables like carrots and beetroot I didn’t find it as good.  I think spiralizers are the sort of products where the cautious among us would opt for the cheaper hand held version and not be disappointed by it’s effectiveness but also not realise the endless possibilities and ease that comes with buying the table top spiralizer.  I vowed to only keep one so will be passing on the hand held one to a friend.
squoodles
Tonight’s spiralized butternut squash for squoodle bolognese..

Disclosure: I was sent the spiralizers to try. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

November 29, 2016 at 9:37 pm Leave a comment

when life gives you lemons…

..make lemonade.  And it couldn’t be simpler when you have an OXO Good Grips citrus squeezer in your drawer.  Chief Taster E happily squashed and squeezed our lemons before mixing in some sugar and sparkling water.
”mmm delicious Mummy.  Can I make apple juice now?”.
So we did.
Cold pressed apple juice and plenty of arm exercise to boot!
collage-oxo-lemon-squeezer-copy-4bIn the days before children I would have happily made all sorts of things to try out my new lemon squeezer. For today making lemonade will suffice but other favourite recipes where it would certainly come in handy are:  lemon cream surprise, gluten free lemon drizzle cake , lemon curd sponge cake, Quinoa tabouleh and Elderflower cordial.


Disclaimer: With thanks to Oxo Good Grips who sent us this lemon squeezer to try.
I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

October 10, 2016 at 3:52 pm Leave a comment

making cookie pressed biscuits

Chocolate cookies 4BMaking biscuits for friends on Day 3 with the Kindness Elves was so simple thanks to our Oxo Good Grips Cookie Press.
Cookie press butterflies 4B
Dozens of perfect-every-time mini cookies easily pressed into a range of 12 different shapes using a one-click handle that even a 3 year old can manage.
Collage - cookie press 4B
The secret to perfect biscuits is all in the dough, made by following the recipe in the booklet provided to the ounce.  Substituting any of the ingredients (like thinking self raising flour will do in place of plain the first time you use it) will be courting disaster.
Trust me, I know!
cookie press dough 4B
chocolate cookies colling on rack 4B
Disclaimer: With thanks to Oxo Good Grips who sent us this cookie press to try.
I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

January 5, 2016 at 12:10 am Leave a comment

refreshing Taylors Tea ice cubes

Taylors Tea x3 boxes 4B
Gloucestershire is a long way from Yorkshire which could be why I’d never heard of Taylor’s tea before. I have my friend Jennie to thank for the wonderful discovery of Taylors Sweet Rhubarb tea when we caught up recently.
Taylors logo
We nattered for so long my tea was cold by the time I finished it. I could easily have mistaken it for a delicious rhubarb cordial if I’d not seen Jennie boil the kettle to make it.

A quick visit to the Taylors Tea website reveals their herbal infusions are created in partnership with the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew and use only natural ingredients and no added sugar. The tangy sweet flavour of the natural rhubarb in this blend is partnered with refreshingly sharp apple and the peppy zing of blackberry leaf.
Taylors Tea ice cubes 4B
Inspired by cold tea and a preference for giving E herbal teas instead of juice or squash I decided to make Sweet Rhubarb ice cubes. One teabag in a mug of tea left to stew and cool easily filled two small ice cube trays. We simply covered our ice cubes with water the first time before experimenting with sparkling water to create a home made version of our favourite thirst quenching bubbly drink.
Taylors Tea ice cubes_trays 4B
Taylors Tea - E tasting 4B
We also sampled Spiced Apple tea from the new herbal tea range. The lusciously fruity apple pieces blended with aromatic star anise, punchy ginger root and the warming sweetness of cardamom and cinnamon was evocative of the sweet smell of Chai tea. It’s become a firm favourite as a caffeine free alternative – I love the Chai like spice blend but dislike the black tea used in other blends (don’t tell anyone but I still sometimes add a drop of milk to this fruit blend!). Taylors tea bags 4B
Finally we tried Green Tea with Strawberry and Vanilla. I’m not a fan of green teas but drink them in a medicinal kind of way on the two days I’m at work (ie. I hear they’re good for you but I can only tolerate the blends that have had some fruit thrown at them). Taylors Tea Green Tea has a distinctly fresh and natural strawberry flavour and smells delightful. Sadly for my palatte it’s still a little too green to buy it again. Nevertheless it’s not going to waste – I’m still making a medicinal morning green tea by pairing it with one of my other fruit blends or mixing some cocoa powder into it!
about-flavour
Disclosure: Taylors Tea sent me 3 tea blends to try. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

August 23, 2015 at 7:55 pm 1 comment

cooling down with a Cawston Press slushy

BLOG_slushy ice 4BWe’ve taken to making slushy drinks in a bid to stay cool in this balmy weather and encourage E to drink more. He’s a bit of a camel when it comes to getting by on little water but has always loved eating ice! No two slushy’s are ever the same and latest flavour combinations have included the fab fizzy addition of a Cawston Press sparkling juice can. There are two new flavours this summer – Elderflower Lemonade and Ginger Beer.
Slushy drinks 4B
We loved the light blend of fragrant elderflower, sharp lemons and sweet apples. I say we, E barely took breath as he slurped his drink, only accepting the need to share when he got brain freeze from drinking too fast. So we let a few days pass before sampling number two. I’m a big fan of anything gingery so I hoped E might be put off when ”fiery root ginger” was the answer to his ”What is it?” question as his lips hovered over the straw. Who was I kidding. The verdict of our try-anything-once 3 year old reviewer?

”I love your spicy bubbly drink Mummy, I’m going to gobble it all up”. 
Slushy drinking E 4B
”The spicy bubbles goed up my nose, it tickles!”
Slushy drinking E 2 4B
Cawston Press combinations – always a hit!
Cawston Press cans
pssst, don’t tell anyone, sparkling Rhubarb and Apple still our favourite though.
It’s a bit special, go track some down it out if you haven’t yet tried it!Cawston Juice 4B
Previous review for all these flavours here

Disclaimer – We were sent these two new flavours to try. We were not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

July 19, 2015 at 7:00 am 1 comment

farm fresh air (JCB Kids Dig the Adventure)

16-5-15 - Farm cottage_G and E looking at the Black Mountains 4B 16-5-15 - Farm cottage_black mountains view 4B 16-5-15 - Farm cottage_G and E looking at view 4B15-5-15 - Farm Cottage_E walking with hat 4B16-5-15 - Farm cottage_E walking on trunk 4B16-5-15 - Farm cottage_G and E bug inspection 4B We had a blissful time staying on a farm in Herefordshire last weekend for George’s 40th birthday. Daily ambles out to see the sheep included chats over the fence with the cows and collecting eggs from the hens for breakfast. We found bugs, a pond, sticks galore and oh, the excitement of cow pats! Such a lovely way to spend quality time as a family. 15-5-15 - Farm Cottage_boys poking cow pat 4BYou won’t find cow pat poking on any ”10 outdoor activities for the weekend’‘ list but there are plenty of other suggestions from JCB Kids as part of their Dig the Adventure campaign to encourage families to get outdoors.  Chalk drawing would certainly be in my top 5 (but then you know that from our back yard art posts). 17-5-15 - Farm Cottage chalk drawing 4B We received E’s green ‘Build It’ t-shirt and ‘Joey JCB’ hat for taking part in the JCB Kids Dig the Adventure challenge.  E loved wearing both and anyone with a toddler will know if it’s not love at first sight you’ll run out of steam trying to persuade them long before they consider wriggling into it!  The hat was nice and roomy for E’s mop of curls – he only removed it when the wind picked up and he tired of holding it on. 16-5-15 - Farm cottage_wearing Joey JCB hat 4B It was breezier than the sunshine suggested most of the weekend so E’s second JCB Kids T-shirt was only uncovered on our return home.  The ”Build It” slogan was as appropriate indoors as out as he occupied himself building lego creations while we unpacked and sorted out the washing. 20-5-15 - E in red stripey Tshirt 4B I rather liked the outtakes too – such a comedian our funny, sunny boy.
JCB tshirt collage 4B
Disclosure: We were sent these clothes from the George range at ASDA. We were not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

May 26, 2015 at 6:37 am 2 comments

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