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Monday, 27 June 2016

Reduced Sugar Lemon & Strawberry Cake

I haven't done much in the way of baking recently, mainly because I'm trying to cut out sugar as much as possible (which is a bit ironic really when I have a handmade marshmallow business), but when you have a handful of strawberries not looking their best, there's really only one thing to do with them, and that's throw them in a cake! 

Reduced Sugar Lemon & Strawberry Cake

I've reduced the sugar in this by over a third, but with the sweetness of the strawberries, and a sprinkling of sugar on the top, you really wouldn't notice.

Reduced Sugar Lemon & Strawberry Cake

Reduced Sugar Lemon & Strawberry Cake

175g butter or margarine (I use Stork for baking)
100g caster sugar
zest of one large lemon
tsp vanilla extract
3 medium eggs
175g self raising flour
85g ripe strawberries, sliced

  • Set aside 1 tsp of caster sugar
  • Beat the butter, remaining sugar and lemon zest together until pale & creamy
  • Add the vanilla and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition
  • Fold in the flour, until well combined
  • Pour batter into a 20cm loose bottomed cake tin
  • Scatter the sliced strawberries on the top of the batter and sprinkle on the reserved caster sugar
  • Bake in a preheated 170C oven for approx 45-50 minutes, until golden brown on top and springy to the touch
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely
Serve warm or cold, on it's own or with a drizzle of cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Reduced Sugar Lemon & Strawberry Cake Reduced Sugar Lemon & Strawberry Cake

Pictured are gorgeous recycled cotton napkins and bamboo cutting board, received from A Slice of Green, the home of ethical products to help you live more sustainably.

Napkins £5.00 for a set of two
Bambu cutting board with coloured edging £16.00

Friday, 24 June 2016

Riverford Recipe Box by Guest Chef Sarah Raven

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I've reviewed Riverford recipe boxes on my blog previously here and here, and what I really liked about them was the abundance of fresh salad and vegetables in the boxes. I do love my salad and veggies and always use them to bulk out family meals, so it was great to see so much green in my delivery of the limited edition guest chef box from Sarah Raven.

Riverford Recipe Box by Guest Chef Sarah Raven

As per previous boxes, the chilled items are packaged in an insulated bag, and all of the smaller items are in the centre sections, divided for each recipe.

Recipes included were for :

Sangria Chicken
Sweet & Sour Vegetable Curry
Tomato & Poppy Seed Tart

the limited edition boxes are available for 3 more weeks, with different recipes each week, and cost £36.95 for 3 meals for 2 people.

The first dish that I made was the curry, which came with a side of red rice. I've not tried red rice before, but it was a lovely nutty addition to the curry, which mostly consisted of sweet potatoes and spinach, both of which I love in a curry. It comes with whole spices that are to be heated and ground to a powder, which could prove a little tricky without the right equipment, but once ground it makes enough curry powder for a few more dishes, so I'll definitely be making this again.

Riverford Recipe Box by Guest Chef Sarah Raven

The second dish I tried was the Sangria Chicken, which required overnight marinating.

Riverford Recipe Box by Guest Chef Sarah Raven

Look at those colours!

The roasted fennel and celery was so full of flavour, and the sauce was delicious poured over the accompanying red rice.

Riverford Recipe Box by Guest Chef Sarah Raven

I haven't yet tried the Tomato & Poppyseed Tart, but I'll be sharing a picture over on Instagram when I do.

Although the Sarah Raven boxes are limited edition for the next 3 weeks only, Riverford still have a great selection of recipe boxes each week including their vegetarian, quick and original boxes starting at £24.95 including delivery.

About Sarah / Twitter: @srkitchengarden

Sarah Raven worked as a doctor at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton before becoming a broadcaster, teacher and writer. She has cooked all her life for family and friends with an emphasis on goodness, and commitment to healthiness and general wellbeing. Sarah runs her own cookery and gardening school at Perch Hill in East Sussex, and has established a mail order gardening company with 80,000 active customers. She has made regular appearances on the BBC’s Great British Garden Revival and Gardener’s World; and she is the author of Sarah Raven’s Food for Friends and Family, Sarah Raven’s Complete Christmas, Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook (which was the Guild of Food Writers’ Cookery Book of the Year 2008) and The Cutting Garden. 

About Riverford

Riverford began in Devon in 1987, delivering organic vegetables to 30 local homes. Word spread, and with it came the challenge of how to meet demand without compromising a commitment to local growing and employment, supporting local farmers and keeping a close link between grower and consumer. The solution was to team up with sister farms who share the same ethos, growing and delivering to their local areas. There are now four Riverford sister farms in the UK: the original Wash Farm in Devon, growing and delivering to homes in the South West and South East; Sacrewell Farm in Cambridgeshire covering East Anglia and the Midlands; Home Farm in North Yorkshire covering the North and Upper Norton Farm in Hampshire covering central Southern England. Together, the four sister farms deliver to around 47,000 homes in the UK each week. Riverford also has a farm in France where they grow crops to plug the ‘hungry gap’ around May and June, when the UK winter crops have reached an end and the summer crops are not yet ready. The company has won many awards including Ethical Product of the Decade at the Observer Ethical Awards 2015, Best Retailer at the same awards on five previous occasions, Best Independent Retailer in the RSPCA Good Business Awards and numerous Compassion in World Farming Awards. Guy Watson has a regular column in The Telegraph, and has been named BBC Farmer of the Year twice. In addition, its restaurant the Riverford Field Kitchen won Best Ethical Restaurant 2010 and 2009 in the Observer Food Monthly Awards. Riverford’s first book, the Riverford Farm Cook Book, won Best First Book and Best Work on British Food at the Guild of Food Writers Awards 2009. In 2014, Riverford teamed up with the UK’s only Soil Association- certified organic pub, The Duke of Cambridge, to launch London’s first farm-owned pub. In 2015 they released their series of Riverford Companion books with Spring & Summer Veg and Autumn & Winter Veg.

I was provided with a recipe box for the purpose of this review

Monday, 20 June 2016

WIN a Morsø Casserole Dish worth £139

Every kitchen needs a set of good pans. I've had some of my pans since I bought my first home in 1998, and many others I've collected along the way. Some have bitten the dust due to being cheap and flimsy and others have been disposed of due to not being compatible with my induction hob. By far, my favourite pans are of the cast iron variety due to the versatility of being able to use them in the oven and on the hob, as well as looking good when you serve straight to the table.

I've teamed up with Morsø to give away a fab cast iron 3.1 litre casserole dish to one of my lucky readers. 

Morsø have been around for over 162 years, starting with the production of stable windows, grave crosses, tools and pots & pans. Around the turn of the century they then began producing tiled stoves and woodburners, and only more recently, in 2015, turned their hand back to making black cast iron kitchen equipment.

WIN a Morsø Casserole Dish worth £139
The Morsø casserole, with its satin polished handle on top, really is a beautiful pot. It will be a treat for both the eye and taste buds of your dinner guests.
The casserole can be used in all sorts of ways and provides the ideal cooking conditions for simmering dishes, soup, whole-roasted chicken and quick pasta dishes, while also keeping the food hot for a long time.
The simple lid with elegant handle made from satin polished steel completes the compact shape. The size of the casserole is ideal for families of 4.  Suitable for all hob types (including induction), ovens, and grills

To be in with a chance of winning this gorgeous cast iron pan just complete the Rafflecopter widget below.

this post has been commissioned by Morsø

How Having a Balanced Diet Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

With summer fast approaching, it can be easy to fall into the fad diet trap and forbid yourself from certain foods in a bid to shed some pounds. Whether you want to maintain a healthy weight, power yourself for some extra workouts or shed some pounds, we’ve rounded up the top reasons why sticking to a balanced diet is the best way to achieve your health goals.

Goals become more achievable
Sticking to a balanced diet is a realistic and achievable way to reach your goal, and it’s a diet that you can maintain. Fad diets require you to limit yourself to certain food groups, which is very difficult to do and maintain for extended periods of time and usually ends in failure.

You won’t miss out on important nutrients
Sticking to a balanced diet is the best way to ensure you’re consuming the essential nutrients and minerals that your body needs. The government recommends you consume five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and two portions of oily fish a week to get the right nutrients for your body.
You’ll have more energy
A truly balanced and varied diet can have a great impact on your energy, and you won’t have to rely on coffee and caffeine to get through the day. Only 30% of adults manage their five-a-day fruit and vegetable recommendation, so up your intake to see a natural boost to your energy and mood.

You’ll look and feel great
A balanced diet can contribute to weight loss and improve the appearance of your skin and hair. By consuming the right nutrients your body needs, you can improve your appearance and boost your confidence.

You won’t get meal envy
There’s nothing quite as annoying as watching a friend tuck into a cheesecake while you’re stuck with an apple. 90% of diets fail because they’re not sustainable and they too restrictive, so sticking to a balanced diet means you can enjoy a treat and still be healthy.

Food can inspire you
Limiting yourself to certain food groups or meals isn’t great for your health, and it doesn’t do much for your motivation, either. By allowing yourself treats and making sure you’re getting enough food from each food group, you can feel inspired every meal time. Why not try some food from a different culture, or experiment with a traditional dish and give it a modern twist?

You will future-proof your health
By restricting yourself to certain foods and depriving your body of important nutrients, you could be damaging your body. By dropping your daily intake of fat below the recommended 20%, for example, you could develop poor vitamin absorption, experience depression or develop high cholesterol. By sticking to a balanced diet, you’re giving your body a consistent supply of nutrients and energy which will help you fit off illness and disease.

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You can tailor it to your needs

A balanced diet is not a one-box-fits-all way to lose or maintain your weight, but sometimes it can be difficult to work out what your body needs. Prestige Boot Camp offer holiday-like retreats and have chefs who will offer education on nutrition and teach healthy meals and tips to continue when you leave. Whether you want to lose weight or increase your body muscle, a balanced diet can be tailored to you.

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