CaféPod Nespresso compatible capsules – good strong coffee delivered to your door
One of the best pieces of kitchen kit I ever invested in is my beloved Nespresso machine. It’s simple and fuss-free, which is just how I like my mornings to be. The low vibration of the machine kicking into action is like a gentle shake on the shoulder and a whispered “Hey, coffee’s ready”. Waking up to the aroma of a coffee brewing makes for a sublime start to the day. With this said, you can appreciate how eager I was to test out some Coffee capsules when the opportunity arose.
I am very excited to be holding my first giveaway, and can’t think of a better way to start off than with the new super fast Thermapen Mk4 digital thermometer! To sweeten the deal, there is even a Thermapen tea towel, which together come to a pleasing £65 worth of kitchen goodies!
Loved by chefs and home cooks alike, it’s no wonder the Thermapen is the UK’s best selling food thermometer. Accurate and speedy, whether being used to check the temperature of meat, tempering chocolate, or even jam making. This is one handy must-have tool that I can’t recommend highly enough.
SimplyCook Food Subscription Box
Over the past few weeks in January, Neil and I have enjoyed eating restaurant quality meals inspired from around the world and all ready in a timely manner. These weren’t microwavable meals (we rarely use a microwave) or in the form of a take away. It’s all thanks to SimplyCook, a food subscription service that has something different to add, in comparison to others on the market.
I like to be organised and meal plan but sometimes that doesn’t work out, either because something outside our schedule crops up or we’re just too tired. Naturally then, I am curious about food subscription boxes. Anything that offers a helping hand in the kitchen, whether it be a gadget or a cheaty shop-bought sauce is gladly welcomed.
Lynas Food Outlet Belfast
Neil and I are huge fans of supporting local businesses and buying local produce. Meeting the people behind the scenes and learning of their history, seeing the passion and time they’ve invested in producing quality products, and experiencing overall better customer service. In my opinion, nobody should begrudge paying that little bit extra for a friendly face and the knowledge that your money is staying within the community. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t bargains to be had, though. We like to meal plan and do often stock up the freezer when we see items at great prices.
We were therefore thrilled to be invited along to Lynas Food Outlet in Belfast, which opened its Belfast store last April. Located on the Montgomery road, just off the Castlereagh Road, it really wasn’t difficult to locate. The outlet store itself is quite a large building and would be hard to miss.
It seems rather odd to reserve the 19th of January for National Popcorn Day. You don’t have to look far to see the many detox recipes and fitness guides across the internet and magazines, as well as how we should be embracing the ‘clean eating’ trend. The whole thing makes me shudder just thinking about it. After all, January is miserable enough without making it worse by going dry, or suffering the latest fad diet. For this fact, I salute the punk that chose a day in January for National Popcorn Day.
Now I don’t particularly like the term “superfood”, because in my opinion all food is super, whether it’s a fresh green salad or a cheese burger and chips! I don’t believe in fad diets, and unless you have food allergies or medical conditions such as celiac disease, there’s no need to cut certain foods out of your diet. It’s also important to note that the term “superfood” is a marketing tool for food that supposedly has great health benefits. You might be wondering then, why I’m doing a review on a superfood product?
With modern science we are more aware than ever of the benefits of a healthy diet. The government recommends five portions of fruit and vegetables a day but a recent study suggests that should be doubled to ten a day
. Seriously?! It’s hard enough to get five, let alone ten! But this is where I think superfood powders can excel. We all lead busy lives and don’t always have the time to sit down to meals, especially in the morning. Whizzing up a smoothie only takes a few minutes and you can drink it on the go. No more sitting at the traffic lights in your car with a bowl of cereal spilling on your lap. (Yes, I have seen that).
A while ago, Minvita sent me some samples of their products. A full size tub of their Moringa powder and small sample size packets of Mulberry and Baobab powders.
Who are Minvita?
Minvita are a British health and beauty company that takes pride in knowing that its ingredients are naturally sourced and harvested in a sustainable manner. As consumers, we are becoming more aware of the impact farming can cause on the local environment, as well as artificial ingredients added to our food. It’s always comforting to know where your food comes from and how it was sourced.
250g tub of Moringa Superfood Powder
Minvita’s Moringa powder is made from organic Indian Moringa leaves. When converting the leaves to powder, at no point is heat used, therefore saving precious nutrients from the leaf.
Have you ever tried Moringa before? It has a strong earthy/bitter taste to it, so getting used to that can take a while. Many recipes disguise the flavour, usually with something sweet. Personally, I have enjoyed this in pancakes – recipe found here: Lemon and Moringa pancakes
and having it as a tea. I might pop up a recipe at some point for the tea!
The design of the packaging is simple but effective. The brand name and type of product is clear to read. I like their nature/earthy colour scheme of creams, browns, reds and greens – it fits with their message of using organic ingredients.
A 250g tub costs between £11.99 – £14.99 depending on where you buy it. It’s pretty good value, as you’ll only use around 1-2 tsp per recipe, so one tub should last you a long time.
I also received little sample packets of Baobab Superfruit powder and Mulberry Superfood powder. You can actually buy these sachets on their website too – a box of ten costs £5.49. Baobab has a tart taste and goes well with tropical flavours – perfect in a refreshing pineapple smoothie! Mulberry is bitter, quite like Moringa and also is green in colour.
I liked the products I tried, it was fun to experiment with them and I whole-heartedly believe in supporting local companies. You can buy Minvita’s products online or in some health food shops. I think their website would benefit from having a list of stockists, so people can check if there is a store near to them. It’s probably cheaper to buy from a store as well, seeing as there is no free delivery option on their website. (You can buy from Amazon too).
There will always be a debate around superfood powders, as to whether they really add any health benefits or not. I’m all for a little bit of everything in moderation. And I believe that if you want to kickstart a healthier lifestyle, or if you simply lead a busy life, adding superfood powders to your meals and snacks can only help in achieving that goal. Superfood powders are not a replacement for, but should be used in conjunction with fruit and vegetables.
What’s your view on superfoods?
With January being a typically gloomy and cold month, what better way to cheer yourself up than with a little chocolate treat?
Moo Free rice milk chocolates are perfect for kids, but that doesn’t mean you can’t let your inner child enjoy these treats too. They are dairy free, gluten free and suitable for vegans. They have a good range of products including: a selection box; advent calendar; easter eggs; chocolate drops; and chocolate bars. The chocolate bars come in two sizes, standard (112g) and individual bite size (20g). The standard bars come in four different flavours: Original Organic Chocolate; Crunchy Banana Chips; Caramelised Hazelnut; lastly Organic Cranberry and Hazelnuts. The bite sized bars also come in four different flavours: Original Organic Chocolate; Orange; Mint; and ‘Bunnycomb’.
I love the eye-catching packaging with different animal characters printed on the front and the bright colours really make it stand out amongst all the other brands. You can see how kids would love these based on the packaging alone. But it’s not just the packaging that shines, Moo Free have won quite a few awards too including Best Vegan Chocolate, Best Vegan Easter Egg and Best Free From Children’s Award (voted by children).
I picked up four from their range.
Original Organic Bar:
I tried this one first as I wanted to see what the rice milk chocolate was like with no extras. Good care has been taken when making this bar. The colour is the same throughout, the mould is clear with nice smooth edges. It has a distinct smell, intense like dark chocolate (though it doesn’t share the taste). This quickly melts in your mouth and tastes mild and sweet, so if you are a fan of dark chocolate this may not be to your liking, but anyone with a sweet tooth should enjoy it. Apart from tasting, my favourite part in a chocolate bar is the sound of the snap when you break a piece off, and this has a good sharp snap, which indicates high quality chocolate has been used. Admittedly, there is a bit of a lingering aftertaste, which high quality chocolate shouldn’t possess. However, this is probably more due to the fact that essential oils/extracts have been used. After all, it is an alternative to dairy! This didn’t distract me too much from enjoying the chocolate and I would recommend it to anyone as a scrumptious alternative to dairy milk.
The Bunnycomb Bar:
Think Cadbury’s Crunchie and this comes close. Made with vegan-friendly honeycomb toffee, this bar has a lovely crisp bite to it with plenty of Bunnycomb! Heaven.
The Crunchy Banana Chip Bar:
This is my favourite out of the ones I tried. I love chocolate with banana and they don’t skimp, big chunks of banana chips are placed throughout the bar. Again the chocolate melts in your mouth, leaving only the crunchy banana chips to chew on. The only problem is that you will want to eat it all in one go! Well, that’s how I felt anyway!
The chocolate drops are tiny, perfect for kids and small enough to fit in a lunchbox. These are handy if you have a sweet craving and only want to nibble on something small. I left these on a plate in the house and they weren’t long being gobbled up. I could see these being used in place of chocolate chips for baking as well.
If you have kids with certain intolerances i.e. lactose/gluten these chocolates are a great purchase so they don’t miss out on a chocolatey treat. Or if you are vegan yourself, let that inner child run free and grab a bar! You can get them in health food shops, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and on Amazon.
Remember! Everyone deserves a chocolate treat now and again!
Have you tried Moo Free before?
PS: Check out their ‘About us’
page on their website
. Each character has its own story – great for the kids.
I love mulled wine. So when myself and my companion were browsing through Donaghadee Garden Centre
I couldn’t pass up a free glass that was on offer. We both liked it very much and without much hesitation decided to pick up two manila packets on our way out.
They are produced by Old Hamlet Wine and Spice Company
who for over 30 years have been producing mulled wine and chilled drinks as well as sauces, dressings and dips for many retail companies in the UK.
Our packets came from their fair trade range. Blended sugars, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. All 100% fair trade.
Pour a bottle of red wine (I used cheap wine). Add the contents of the packet and heat gently before serving. (Boiling will only evaporate the alcohol and we can’t be having that!).
The description on the sachet says “simple and delicious” and I agree. This doesn’t taste like it came from a packet. It tastes of good quality. Flavoursome without being too sweet and warming for these cold days. I don’t think homemade mulled wine would tastes any better.
I’m definitely going to be purchasing more of their range the next time I visit the garden centre!
Are you a fan of mulled wine?
Wheatgrass juice is in my opinion the marmite of the juicing world; you either love it or hate it.
If you love it, then you’ll know it can be time-consuming to prepare. For a start, you’ll need to grow your own wheatgrass (fresh wheatgrass is unprocessed so it will always be more nutritious than the powdered versions). And then you’ll need to purchase a special juicer as wheatgrass tends to clog up a normal blender. Or if you’re like me, just too damn lazy to be bothered with such hassles (especially in the morning).
Now recently I’ve been reading up on green smoothies and their health benefits. Wheatgrass in particular is thought of as a ‘superfood’. It helps in the fight against obesity, indigestion and is a liver/blood protector.
This lead me to discover Squeeze Juice Cafe; the UK’s only juice producer of a Ready to Drink Wheatgrass shot.
I wanted to give it a try and ordered a 7 day pack from their website.
Within a few days my wheatgrass juice package arrived. Inside the box was individual shot-sized sachets (30ml). Well sealed for freshness, I needed a pair of scissors to open and then poured this lovely goodness into a small glass.
The smell is what I noticed first, a strong grassy smell, which is not particular pleasant (but don’t let that put you off!) The taste is of high quality as if you’d just freshly made it yourself.
So that’s all you have to do! Open and pour into a glass! No growing your own wheatgrass, blending or any defrosting malarky! And if you do want to add it to a juice/smoothie, you can just pour the sachet into a normal blender along with the rest of your ingredients.
If you are interested in adding wheatgrass to your diet, I recommend checking out Squeeze Juice Cafe. You can check their website HERE