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Friday, 18 July 2014

Lactofree Shakes #SayYestoSummer

The next in my #SayYestoSummer challenges with Lactofree was to create some summer shakes using Lactofree products. There is a shake for every taste, whether you like it full of berries or maybe even banana and peanut butter.

Lactofree #sayyestosummer

For my first shake I was inspired by one of my favourite cakes, the carrot cake. Carrot cake is full of so many flavours so why not bring these flavours into a milkshake - so simple yet so tasty.

carrot cake milkshake

I used a ready made slice of carrot cake but you might want to make your own to ensure that it's lactose free. It was topped with a cinnamon cream cheese frosting which makes it really indulgent and not for those counting their calories.

carrot cake milkshake

Carrot Cake Shake 

1 slice of carrot cake - approx 100g
200ml Lactofree milk
handful of ice cubes
75g Lactofree soft cheese
75ml Lactofree cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
walnuts (optional)
  • Place the carrot cake, milk and ice cubes in a blender & blend until smooth
  • Whisk the soft cheese with the cream and cinnamon until it forms soft peaks
  • Pour the carrot make milk into a glass and top with the cream cheese frosting
  • Top with crumbled carrot cake and walnuts

carrot cake milkshake

The second shake was a little more on the healthy side, with less indulgence and more fruit. This one combines the summer fruits of strawberry and rhubarb along with vanilla.

rhubarb strawberry milkshake

Strawberry and Rhubarb Shake

1 stalk of rhubarb
1 vanilla pod
1 tbsp demerara sugar
handful of strawberries, hulled and halved
handful of ice cubes
200ml Lactofree milk
75ml Lactofree cream

  • Cut the rhubarb into 2cm pieces and place in a small baking dish with the seeds from the vanilla pod and demerara sugar
  • Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 10 minutes
  • Add the strawberries and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the fruits are tender, allow to cool
  • Once the fruit is cool add it to a blender with the ice cubes, milk and cream
  • Blend until smooth and serve in a sundae glass

rhubarb strawberry milkshake

The final two involved less preparation and can be made in seconds.

lactofree shakes

Banana and Raspberry Shake

1 banana
handful of frozen raspberries
200ml Lactofree milk
  • Blend everything together & serve

Vanilla Iced Coffee

1 shot Espresso coffee
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
200ml Lactofree milk
handful of ice cubes
  • Blend everything together and serve

You can find more Lactofree summer recipes here, and also check out the Lactofree Facebook page for giveaways and inspiration.

I'm working together with Lactofree to provide inspiration and recipes over the summer. For this second challenge I was provided with a fabulous cool bag of products. 

lactofree #sayyestosummer

What to do and see around Hampton Court

Are you thinking of visiting Hampton Court? Here are some of the exciting things you can see and do there.

Visit Hampton Court Palace

Although Hampton Court Palace is still a royal palace, the last time the royal family lived there was back in the 18th century. It is one of the must see places in London and worth setting aside some time for.

The palace was the favourite residence of Henry VIII and there is an exciting display where you can enjoy the sounds and the sights of the court and explore the splendid grandeur of the state rooms. The Great Hall is breathtaking and has been witness to many important historic events. Its walls are hung with some of the best tapestries of Henry VIII. Creep There is also a haunted gallery which leads to the Baroque Palace which features the Stuart and Georgian era.

Other important things to see there are a reproduction of Henry VIII’s Crown; the 450 year old Chapel Royal where you can still attend religious services; the largest Tudor kitchens in England; and the Chocolate Kitchens which date back to the 18th century when Thomas Tosier was King George Ist personal chocolatier, There are also some wonderful gardens to visit.

The Great Vine

You will find the Great Vine in Hampton Court gardens, and it shouldn’t be missed. It is believed to be the world’s largest grape vine and it was planted in 1769, making it 245 years old.  The circumference of the base is around four metres and the largest branch is around 40 metres long.

The vine fills a greenhouse and it has produced crops of black desert grapes as high as 383 kilograms. If you happen to be visiting the first three weeks in September, then  you will find these delicious grapes are on sale.

 photo great-vine-gill-314x205_zps9bdb74ad.jpg

Get lost in Hampton Court Maze

Although not quite as important as it was back in the eighteenth century, Hampton Court Maze is still worthy of a visit. It has been described as the most important maze in the world, however it is certainly the most famous one.

Getting lost in the maze is quite simple, especially if you take the advice of Harris in Jerome K. Jerome’s novel “Three Men in a Boat”. His advice was to simply keep on taking the first turning on the right. It doesn’t work as the maze design is multicursal, which means that there are many choices of which path and direction to take. Keep turning right at every possible opportunity and you will be in there for a very long time indeed.

 photo HCP-maze5_zps3668265c.jpg

Hampton Court Flower Show

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Hampton Court Flower Show takes place between the 8th and 13th July 2014. This is the largest flower show in the world and includes an abundance of show gardens, floral pavilions and marquees, along with a packed programme of talks and demonstrations. The show is differentiated from the Chelsea Flower Show by its focus on growing your own produce and on environmental concerns.

 photo HCP-gardens34Photo-Sam-Styl_zps38712442.jpg

Some special highlights of this year’s show include the Ocean Spray Garden which combines water features with growing cranberries;  the 50 Years of Bloom feature which features horticulture, the environment, and community; the Invisible Garden that features various fungi, insects and other invertebrates and plants that you can observe through a microscope.

You can make a weekend of it too with hotels and ticket packages to make sure you can take it all in and enjoy the local area and river too.

In collaboration with Superbreak
image source

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Seasonal Recipes - Pimms Pavlovas

I do enjoy a glass (or jug) of Pimms in the garden in the summer, and last weekend I decided to use a drop or two of my Pimms to create a dessert. This is perfect to serve at a dinner party as they can be fully prepared in advance, as well as looking a little bit special, which will impress your friends.

They may not look that easy to make, but trust me, they are a lot easier than they look. As long as you have a food mixer or electric whisk they won't even take much effort.

For the full step by step recipe you can find it here, on the Great British Chefs website.

Pimms Pavlovas Pimms Pavlovas Pimms Pavlovas Pimms Pavlovas

Olive and Rosemary Focaccia

When I need to make bread and I don't have a lot of time for kneading and second proving, my go-to recipe is Foccacia. It has to be the easiest bread that I've ever made. There is no kneading involved so you don't even need to get your hands dirty. You do really need a food mixer though as I can't imagine how much beating by hand it would take if you didn't.

Rosemary is one of my favourite flavours to add to the bread, and this time I added some olives to the dough too. It's a lovely soft and light bread that is great for tearing and sharing.

Olive and Rosemary Focaccia

Olive and Rosemary Focaccia

350g strong white bread flour 
7g yeast
7g salt
1 tbsp caster sugar
75ml olive oil 
280ml cool water
few sprigs of fresh rosemary 
150g mixed olives
  • Mix the flour, sugar, yeast, salt & oil and half of the water together in a food mixer
  • Add the rest of the water with the motor running until you get a thick cake like batter, adding more water if necessary
  • Mix for approx 5-10 10 mins on high speed
  • Put dough in a large oiled silicone baking pan & cover with clingfilm - I used 2 square silicone pans
  • Leave in a warm place to prove for approx 2 hours
  • Gently make some indentations with your fingers and drizzle over a little olive oil, sea salt and pop some sprigs of rosemary in some of the holes
  • Bake in a 200 C oven for approx 15 minutes until golden on the top
Olive and Rosemary Focaccia Olive and Rosemary Focaccia

I was recently sent some olives along with a copy of Olive it!- the essential olive recipe book, which is packed full of tasty looking recipes using olives, as well as information on the Olive it! campaign, history and healthy facts.

The book contains many inviting recipes for marinades, tapenades and tapas and plenty of colourful photos to tempt you.

olive it! cookbook


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