Wednesday, 31 August 2011

E Cloths review

Whilst I was away in Cornwall I got to review the e-towel . I wasn't going to use the dishwasher in the cottage as, I would have had to fed the electricity meter more £1 coins! So I set Mr T the task of looking happy while doing the drying up......




e-towel.









A happy Mr T using the e-towel.



A wet glass before using the E towel.





















The glass after using the e-towel




They might strike you as a bit pricey but it this day and age you get what you pay for. Cheap T- towel don't absorb much water , and just push the water around as you try to dry the dishes . And they don't absorb much dirt either but the E - Cloth T towel does and as they are machine washable they come up looking as good as new a defiant worthwhile investment . It is a simple item that will add pleasure to mine or more likely Mr T's washing up and save electricity as I will be using the dishwasher less. This product makes washing up less of a chore for all those use it. The e - towel is £4.99

The other product I got to test was the


E-Cloth Washing Up Pad
Contains one Washing Up Pad.
This e-cloth is fantastic for general washing up.
The special E-Cloth fibre side (yellow) cuts through grease and grime, while the scrubbing side (green) makes light work of stuck on food residue and stains.

And it was very good no more buying those packs of Non stick scourers from supermarkets for me!. The price of this item is £2.99




The special E-Cloth fibre side (yellow) cuts through grease and grime, while the scrubbing side (green) makes light work of stuck on food residue and stains.

Also there was the


Kitchen Pack






The great advantage to e-cloths is that they attract dirt which means you do not need to use any form of detergent, liquid cleaner, or whatever to get a great result. So you don't have to rinse off lots of suds and can save time and money on expensive cleaners.


Use a damp e-cloth to wipe over any surface and it pulls most of the grime away on one pass - if very dirty then you need to make the cloth more wet, and it's best to use a thicker weave for long-term dirt followed by one of the fine-weave polishing cloths to get the best finish.

You can then just rinse out the cloth under the tap and it's ready to use again. When they get very grubby you can machine wash them (don't use fabric softener though, because this interferes with how the cloth works).

It will take a bit of practice to get a really crisp finish on very shiny surfaces (especially glass or mirrors) I do have a lot of windows!.
This pack contains our two essential cloths at a small saving – our General Purpose and our Glass & Polishing cloths.

General Purpose Cloth

Ideal for the kitchen, this cloth will clean all hard surfaces, including thick grease. It is the ideal workhorse cloth for the kitchen and its versatility also makes it suitable for all household cleaning.

The thicker fibres and their wedge-shape construction give the cloth its extraordinary cleaning power. They also gives the cloth high and rapid absorbency.

Perfect when used in combination with the Glass & Polishing Cloth, which is ideal for taps, kettles, toasters, stainless steel and the final polish of worktops.

32cm x 32cm

Glass & Polishing Cloth

The Glass & Polishing cloth is our most versatile cloth. It will perform well on all light cleaning. It is exceptional on shiny surfaces and will leave taps, kettles, toasters and stainless steel completely smear-free. It will easily outperform specialist liquid cleaners on mirrors and glass.

The cloth has a different fibre construction and a different weave to the General Purpose cloth. This reduces overall absorbency and makes it less effective on heavy dirt. However, it increases the speed at which moisture is absorbed and its performance on light grease and dirt is excellent. This is what enables it to leave surfaces so shiny.
40 x 50cm

£9.49

These items can be purchased from

http://www.e-cloth.com/products/kitchen/

or any other good retailer.

(Disclosure I was sent these items for the purposes of review)

I've caught crabs a simple pleasure.....



‘Crabbing’ in Padstow has been the pastime of youngsters in the town for a million generations, one of life's simplease pleasures.I did this when I was 7 and I recreated this scene with my 12 year old. Next to Padstow Harbour when the tide is in  is a designated harbour fishing area where 99% of those ‘fishing’ are trying to catch crabs on simple hand-held lines. this simple activity comprises of a single fishing line, small weight to sink the bait, a juicy piece of bait (bacon rind, tinned mackerel in oil or, highly recommended – a fish head), no hook needed There are also large net bags available and these are humane as well. Our preferred bait was 'Every Little helps value bacon' mm I wonder which shop that was from?. Mums and dads a more than your average amount of patience  will be needed (and a camping stool is a god send for this)……….. but the children will love it !  


 1 : The kids will want to check their crabbing line every 60 seconds ….. leave the line for 5 minutes, which should give time for the crabs to come out, sniff around and then decide on whether to dine on your offerings or scuttle back under the seaweed……. 
A huge crab

 2 : Despite what others say, don’t be in a hurry to bring up your fishing line …..slowly and gently is the key …. Harbour crabs are very quick to sense excessive or unusual  movement and will go into defensive mode and let go of the bait if alarmed.

Care of the harbour crabs :
Harbour crabs are only small and are not edible. ‘Fishing’ for them provides endless enjoyment for youngsters who are keen to ‘catch..’ Treat these crabs carefully and gently. If you wish to keep any ‘captives’ in a bucket for an hour or more, please put some seaweed in as well because our little friends live at the darkened bottom of the harbour and are not comfortable with sunlight. When your ‘fishing’ is over, please return the harbour crabs to their home, gently and carefully.




Here is an excellant website that has some superb tips for crabbing http://www.littletrekkers.co.uk/fun-stuff-to-do-and-download/fun-stuff-to-do-with-the-kids-outdoors/item/go-crabbing.html

Monday, 29 August 2011

bottlegreen green tea & elderflower sparkling Presse review

When you are in the wilds of Cornwall ( or any where) with the rolling hills, sheep and the cream teas you need a light refreshing drink. bottle green has selected the finest handpicked elder flowers and combined them with infused green tea and lightly sparkling water to create the prefect summertime drink. Made with only natural ingredients with no added preservatives or sweeteners, bottlegreen green tea & elderflower sparkling presse brings together two traditional summer flavours in an unusual but tasty combination that provides instant refreshment on lazy days in the sunshine or at alfresco parties or from me and my family in a cottage in Cornwall.

Green tea and elderflower have well known benefits such as improved metabolism,healthy skin and a stronger immune system. Pour bottlegreen  & elderflower sparkling presse over ice and it makes the prefect accompaniment to summer feasts such as barbeque's or when sharing tapas with your closest friends and family. Alertantively for something with a little more kick,add a few shots of gin to a jug,add freshly cut limes and top up with the presse to create a delicious refreshing drink.



bottlegreen uses traditional win making methods of production to ensure the new bottlegreen green tea  & elderflower sprakling presse, along with its popular range of cordials and sparkling presses, are clean crisp with the flavours of natural ingredients retained.

bottlegreen green tea & elderflower sprakling presse contains no artifical colours ,flavours  or sweetners and is  available from supermarkets priced from £2.30

This is a pleasant alertnative to wine and its looks as expensive as the £48 bottle of wine I had on holiday !

bottlegreen green tea & elderflower sparkling  presse 


Follow bottlegreen drinks on twitter @bottlegreen and become a fan on facebook http://www.facebook.com/bottlegreen

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Patak's Masala Paste Review



So you have the Patak's Tikka Masala Paste:




I then chopped the onions













I measured 70g of Patk's Tikka Masala Paste.


I fried the onion in a little oil.
I added the Pataks Tikka Masala Paste


Then I should of added the chopped tomatoes but guess what Mr T had blooming well forget to buy them. I had left him clear instructions on what do do, when I went to the Post Office while he went to the supermarket to buy.....




1.Chicken.
2.Nan Bread
3. Single cream


I discovered at a crucial stage of my cooking he had not come back with what I had sent him in for...
He came back with the Chicken, Nan Bread, Creme freche ?? and Indian snacks ( I had not asked for Indian snacks)



So I made do with Organic baby plum tomatoes and a squirt of tomato sauce. The tinned tomatoes are made to reduce down and you add the water but as  Mr T had forgotten these I had to make do !

Patkak's pastes are easy to use and adapt as you can well see. So why not make them part of your cupboard's stock items and see what you can create.



Best Indian recipe in the country?

Are you a whizz in the kitchen with a flair for Indian flavours and cooking up outstanding curries?

Patak’s, official sponsor of National Curry Week, is searching the UK for perfect culinary candidates to take part in this year’s Signature Dish awards. The awards, judged by a panel of experts including Patak’s brand ambassador Anjali Pathak, will be split into two categories – traditional and innovative – to search the country for perfect Indian inspired recipes.

So, whether your Indian speciality is a brilliant balti, terrific tikka or something altogether more unexpected, get cooking and enter now!

Entries (full working recipe with a photo of the finished dish) to: National Curry Week, 33 Beresford Avenue, Surbiton, Surrey, KT5 9LH or by email togroveint@aol.com no later than 23 September. 



Good natured salad review

I was given the opportunity to review Good natured salad. I used to run a mile at the though of healthy living but with my weight gain I have to do something after all I want to be around for my son.










I washed the pepper and baby plum tomatoes.

I then chopped the pepper and add both the pepper and tomatoes to some rice and chicken to make a nice healthy crunchy salad.

The peppers and tomatoes cost around £1.60 from ASDA a bit pricey but as its Organic and pesticide free you pay for what you get. I don't grow my own vegetables though I really should start to my lovely friend Jane Willis over at her awe inspiring blog  and her  husband has the most amazing garden  blog.

Well Jane has provided me with a lovely recipe which I shall be using on the remaining vegetables I have left and adding a few myself Organic and pesticide free of course.


Sweet and Sour vegetable stir-fry serves 4

A  selection of  vegetables eg:
150 g sugar snap peas
150g baby sweetcorn, halved
1 bunch spring onions, sliced on the diagonal

1 tbs oil for frying

For the sauce:
2 tbs soy sauce
2 tbs white wine vinegar
2 rounded tbs tomato purée
Juice of 1 orange
1 rounded tsp cornflour
1 rounded tbs Canderel
100  ml water

Whisk together all the sauce ingredients except the water then gradually blend in the water.
Heat the wok and stir fry the veg until just tender. Add the sauce mixture at the end of cooking, stirring until it comes to the boil and thickens.

Serve with steamed rice as a light lunch. You can make it into a main meal by adding some chicken, tofu or prawns to the stir fry.


Photo Courtesy of Jane Willis
Disclosure (I was provided my vouchers to get The Good Natured Salad Items)

Monday, 22 August 2011

ProCook Glass Kitchen Scales a review

I was lucky enough to be sent some glass Kitchen Scales from ProCook.


Stylish and beautifully simple, these scales feature a clear, integral LED display and have an easy clean, hygienic glass surface. Touch sensitive ,they can weigh up to  5kg / 11 lb and a touch sensitive button selects either metric or imperial. Select 'on/ tare ' to set the scales to zero after each ingredient is added.

Finely tuned for accuracy, Procook Glass Digital Scales come complete with a battery so you can put them to work immediately. Available in white, black and red with rubber feet for stability, they measure 182mm x 203mm x 16mm tall.



Now I used to have a habit of just guessing quantities especially when it came to measuring rice. The rice instructions called for 50g per person. So I put the bowl on the scales press the button to zero and poured the rice in.

150g of brown rice =50g per person






The digital scales made it so easy to ensure that the I measured the correct amount out.

I was able to cook perfectly with no wastage.







ProCook Glass Digital Scales can be purchased from the Procook website at £14

My own fear is that you'll be wanting to style your kitchen around these stylish scales!.


Disclosure ( I was sent these scales for review ).



Thursday, 18 August 2011

Tilda rice (Mummy and me) at the Waitrose Cookery School! #MummyandMe


I was invited to go along to the "Mummy and me" Tilda taste Panel event event and at the Waitrose Cookery School it was aimed at children between 5 and 12 .

This next quote is part of the press release :

"Get Cooking with the new TILDA TASTE PANEL
 Tilda aims to make family mealtimes less stressful



Tilda, the UK’s number one dry rice brand, known for its 100% Pure Basmati rice, is helping mums across the country to make mealtimes into true family occasions, by introducing the NEW Tilda Taste Panel.



For over 40 years Tilda has been producing the finest quality rice for delicious cooking and now wants to make mealtimes even more enjoyable by showing mums how easy it can be to better incorporate rice into their daily family diet.



TIlda’s NEW Taste Panel is made up of three mothers, who are experts in food, nutrition and family life and aims to provide helpful ‘mother-to-mother’ advice on how to take the stress out of preparing healthy and delicious meals that the whole family will enjoy eating.



With the help of food experts Jo Pratt and Maunika Gowardhan you’ll be able to make quick, easy and convenient suppers in minutes!  Plus nutritionist Azmina Govindji will also be advising on how to make sure your loved ones eat a healthy, balanced diet.



With recent research showing that family mealtimes are becoming ever more difficult to manage on top of work life pressures, TV chef Jo Pratt has devised a delicious menu of quick ten-minute recipes featuring Tilda’s Steamed Basmati range.



What’s more you can even get your kids involved in the cooking and preparation, as each recipe has been designed to be as kiddy friendly as possible, giving mum an additional pair of hands in the kitchen! "






. When we got there J did say

"Make sure you get some cooking tips"


So how to cook with a child.....

You add a state of the art  kitchen ( any kitchen will really do....)



Study the wines very carefully....................


No I did not have any wine nor sadly was Tom Cruise ( aka Cocktail at the bar )




You need a snazzy apron...

J in his Tilda apron.

Me in my apron !!
Add in some rice !!!




We then moved onto the cooking arena , where we had various Tilda Rice recipes demonstrated to us.


This is Maunika Gowardhan.

Maunika Gowardhan  
Mother of a three-year old named Johann.

Maunika is the Indian cuisine expert for the Tilda Taste Panel. As a freelance food writer, blogger and private chef she is certainly a ‘foodie’.  Her well known blog Cookinacurry includes many authentic Indian recipes. Being born in Mumbai, India, has provided her with a wealth of knowledge about a variety of cuisine and different methods of cooking, which she hopes to pass on to other mums.



The demonstrations were out of this world and looked mouthwatering , they were so quick and easy, just what you need when you are a busy parent !






We then had to go and cook one of the recipes we had been shown by 'Jo Pratt' ourselves !

Jo Pratt 
Mother of two young children Oliver and Rosa aged four and two.

Jo is the Tilda Taste Panel expert ‘mummy chef’ and recipe creator (she has experience and understanding of the commercial and home kitchen). Having worked alongside Michelin starred chefs; she is able to combine this insight with creating easy to make everyday recipes that the kids can help to cook. Jo is also a food writer and was Food Editor at Glamour magazine for four years. 









J have fun cooing our meal which was the Fried Rice recipe shown below !



Jo Pratt’s Mummy and Me Recipes

PRAWN OR TUNA SPRING ROLLS
Makes 6-8

Ingredients
  • 1 pack of Tilda Steamed Basmati Egg Fried Rice
  • 100g small cooked prawns or 100g flaked tinned tuna
  • 100g carrot, coarsely grated
  • ½ red pepper, cut into small pieces
  • 1-1 ½ tsp sweet chilli dipping sauce, plus extra to serve (or tomato ketchup if preferred)
  • 12-16 square sheets of fresh filo pastry  
  • Vegetable oil for brushing 


Pre-heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.



Line a baking tray with baking paper.



Lightly massage the pack of Tilda rice to separate the rice grains. Tear the top of the pack 2cm across and cook for 2 minutes in the microwave.



Meanwhile, place the prawns or tuna in a mixing bowl with the carrot, red pepper and sweet chilli dipping sauce, then add the rice. Mix well and set aside.



Lay a sheet of filo pastry on the work top or board and brush lightly with oil. Place another sheet of pastry on top and lightly brush with oil. Turn the square so that one corner of the pastry is pointing towards you. Spoon some filling onto the corner nearest you. Fold this corner towards the centre and tuck under the filling.



Fold the two outside corners to the middle so it looks like an envelope. Brush lightly with oil then roll up to look like a sausage shape. Brush once more and sit on the lined baking tray. Repeat until you have made the rest of the spring rolls.



Place in the oven for 15-18 minutes until lightly golden and crisp.



Cool slightly before eating, with extra sweet chilli dipping sauce to serve.







SPECIAL FRIED-RICE


Serves 4 small portions or 2 adults portions

 
  • 1 pack of Tilda Steamed Basmati Egg Fried Rice
  • 2 chicken breasts, skinless
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil
  • 4 spring onions
  • 150g green beans, Tenderstem broccoli or asparagus
  • 75g sweetcorn
  • 100g pineapple, chopped (fresh or tinned in fruit juice and drained) 


Thinly slice the chicken breast, place in a bowl and stir in the soy sauce and honey. Leave to one side to marinade for a few minutes.



Finely slice the spring onions and chop the green beans, Tenderstem broccoli or asparagus into small pieces. Heat the oil in a wok then add the chopped vegetables. Stir fry for about minute before adding the chicken and marinade. Stir fry for a couple of minutes until the chicken is cooked through.



Add the Tilda Steamed Basmati Egg Fried Rice, sweetcorn and pineapple. Stir fry everything together for about 2 minutes until the rice is completely heated through then serve in bowls or on plates.



CHOCOLATE AND BANANA RICE PUDDING 


Serves 6

 
  • 1 pack Tilda Steamed Pure Basmati rice
  • 500ml semi-skimmed milk, plus extra for serving (optional)
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 medium bananas, peeled and sliced 


Lightly massage the pack of rice to separate the rice grains. Tip into a non-stick saucepan and add the 50g of sugar and 500ml of milk. Bring to a simmer and gently simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened. Keeping the pan on the heat, add the chocolate and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and add any extra milk to loosen if needed.



The bananas can now be either stirred into the chocolate rice pudding or served on top. Serve hot or if preferred the chocolate rice pudding is just as tasty served chilled.



PS…As an alternative to bananas, why not try other fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, mango or pear with the chocolate rice pudding.





The last member of the Tilda taste panel is Azmina Govindji 

Mother of Shazia and Bizhan, aged 18 and 20.       

Azmina is the Tilda Taste Panel nutritional expert. As a consultant nutritionist and registered dietician, she is able to offer top healthy tips and advice for meal times. As a media spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association (BDA) and NHS Choices, Azmina specialises in taking health/food scientific research and translating it into information which all mums can understand and benefit from. 


 

Visit www.tilda.com <http://www.tilda.com>  for a selection of great-tasting recipes.
Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/TildaRice and follow us on Twitter @Tildabasmati


About TildaTilda Pure Basmati is the UK’s number one Basmati brand by volume and value.  With over 30 years of experience in buying, importing and selling the highest quality Pure Basmati Rice, it’s a name that you can trust.

Tilda has a wide range of products ranging from Pure Basmati Dry Rice, new Tilda Stir Fry, and Tilda Steamed Basmati, available in a wide variety of flavours.

Basmati remains at the heart of Tilda and the company is committed to preserving the authenticity of the grain.  It refuses to blend with inferior grains, carefully removes broken grains, DNA tests every batch, consistently ages the rice for at least 9 months and works hand-in-hand with the farming community to ensure the quality of the final product.

Tilda remains a family business, employing over 200 people in the UK, and is proud of its reputation for uncompromising quality and commitment to sustaining the legendary status of Basmati.

About the Tilda Steamed Basmati range
The two-minute Tilda Steamed Basmati range offers a quick and convenient meal and contains the finest Basmati rice and quality ingredients. The extensive Tilda Steamed Basmati range, includes Sweet Chilli and Lime, Wholegrain Pilau, Lime & Coriander, Mushroom, Butternut Squash and Roasted Peppers & Courgettes amongst others. The Tilda Steamed Basmati Sweet Chilli and Lime has been awarded Gold in the Great Taste Awards, which is part of The Guild of Fine Food. 





Thanks to Tilda Rice and Waitrose cookery school for a fabulous after noon and for encouraging J to eat new foods like green beans,spring onions and flaked salmon !



Disclosure (Myself and my  son got to see the demonstrations and cook for free, we also received four pouches of rice and the recipes shown above. We  will also be receiving our own little cookery booklet)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Dog toy giveaway

Rollie was really pleased he won some toys in a competition , they were meant to be cat toys some how Rollie isn't going to fetch a Frisbee or play tug will a pull rope!








So just tweet  " I am in to win some dog toys with @needaphone over at http://ninjakillercat.blogspot.com/

End 11.59 18th August 2011 winner choosen by randomn org.



So a quick comp to give them to one lucky winner will be posted Friday

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The importance of Outdoor play despite the weather !



 Whatever the season there is no excuse not to go out and play outdoors!



It doesn't matter if it's too hot out there (put on a hat and sun cream) or if the leaves are turning brown, the conkers are looking ready to drop. It is raining ,when doesn't it rain in this country. It can be tempting what ever the weather to just plonk them in front of Cbeebies and run for your computer catching up on Twitter or Facebook. Though hopefully you are reading this at at sensible time when your little angels have got to bed after you've been playing outside.The weather is not an excuse not to get out and there and  play. You must have all seen the various government campaigns on the television at the moment encouraging your to take exercise of at least 60 minutes outside. And this doesn't even have to cost you any money in most cases.

At my school we have a canopy so they can play outside even when it is raining. We also have a welly shed and raincoats. So they can play in the puddles, stamp on those crunchy leaves, make mud pies and of course the child hood favourite making homes for wriggly worms. Though making their homes out of stones was not a good idea I discovered as a child !. You don't even need toys as they will produce their own toys from what ever is around them.

A canopy makes out door play accessible in all weathers.


Well of course that’s an appealing thought but what about all that outside play that the children got during the summer? Why let it stop just because it’s a bit colder! A few layers, a raincoat and trousers and a pair of wellies and they are all set. In the colder months you don’t even need to give them toys to play with as the changing seasons and the natural toys that they are producing will be enough to keep them entertained.

A sandpit is a marvellous addition to outdoor play just make sure it has a cover otherwise it will turn into a giant kitty litter. It doesn't even have to be an expensive sandpit it can be one you've made your self . Just cover it with tarpaulin.


(photo used with permission from @chocorange )who has a super blog here
http://chocorangecitymum.com/ and please read her very funny blog post on the joys of owning a sandpit


Just make  sure the children have suitable waterproof clothing on if they go to play outside when it wet.

If a child could design their outdoor space it would be naturalized with plants,flowers,dirt,sand,mud and insects,but would also be rich with a wide variety of play opportunities of every imaginable type.If children could design their outdoor play space then this would further enriching their developmental learning environment and they would want to stay all day. I know as its a hard job getting the reception children in from their outdoor play !



So before you reach for the safety of plonking them in front of a dvd, why not turn off the television get the wellies on( Hunter Wellies if you want to be a scrummy yummy mummy ), dig out a magnifying glass and go looking for insects?( No pulling the wings of fairies !!! ) Or build a den or a fort ?





If you don't get your child into the outdoors they are never going to build up their immunity and be able to fight off those coughs colds and other nasty bugs!

.
So get out in the outdoors and just have fun what ever the weather ! It is England after all.



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