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Monday, 28 October 2019

[AD] Best of British Artisan Food Hampers

Winter is fast approaching, and Christmas is just around the corner. I'm ashamed to say that I'm one of those annoying people that has already started the Christmas shopping, but most years I start off really organised in October, it starts to go downhill in November, and then I panic buy throughout December!

The British Hamper Company have the perfect solution for the less organised of us, whether it's for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries or just because. 

The Tod family business from Lincolnshire focuses on sourcing great food from artisan and independent British food producers, then packaging them in lovely gift boxes. The selection of hampers can be sent worldwide, with each product clearly showing the cost, including delivery to the selected country, and delivery date, without having to go hunting the site for this information.

ARTISAN CHOCOLATE SELECTION £35.97

Many of the carefully selected foods included in the hampers are 'Great Taste' award winning and Fair Trade certified, and most of all they're delicious. I've sampled a few of the products from the hampers and so far my favourites are the Skinny Coated dark chocolate almonds by Mighty Fine, and the Kent & Fraser Cherry, Pecan & Poppy Seed Toast, both in the Gourmet Produce of London Gift hamper. I also loved the inclusion of a couple of bars of Willie's Cacao chocolate in the Artisan Chocolate Selection as, despite following Willie Harcourt-Cooze's chocolate making journey on tv over 10 years ago (Willie's Wonky Chocolate Factory if you've not heard of it), I've never actually tried a bar of the chocolate, and it didn't disappoint.

GOURMET PRODUCE OF LONDON GIFT £44.97

Everything in the hampers I received are the types of products you would find at artisan food markets or in farm shops, and the hampers would make great gifts for lovers of gourmet UK produced foods. I also particularly liked the strong boxes, printed with a uniquely British design, that the foods were presented in as they can be re-used for gifting or as storage or memory boxes. The larger box has a removable lid and the smaller ones have a magnetic closing folded lid.


Overall the hampers are a lovely choice of gift for gourmet food lovers. They are not a cheap option (ranging from £40 up to £800!) but they definitely have that touch of luxury, and are an extremely convenient gift especially if you're sending overseas.


Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Wine and Food Pairings : Prosecco & Antipasti Pizza #AD

I've not shared too many recipes on here recently, due to one thing or another, but I intend to rectify that now I've got a little more time on my hands, and the days are getting a little longer, making it easier to take photographs in the evening.

Anyone that knows me knows that I like to enjoy a drink from time to time. I don't drink often but when I go out with friends I do like to let my hair down a little, and sometimes have trouble finding my off switch [don't judge!] My drinks of choice are usually lager or Prosecco, and sometimes both, although I have been known to regret that decision.

Recently I got to choose myself a few different bottles of Prosecco from Mill├ęsima, along with some champagne, which is a bit of a luxury for me. If you're a big wine connoisseur then you're sure to be excited by Mill├ęsima's huge stock of more than 2.5 million bottles of fine wine that they age slowly in their cellars in Bordeaux, including 100-250 en-primeur wines. Now I don't claim to be a wine expert by any means so I did have to research what 'en-primeur' wines are, and discovered that it's a method of buying wines early, whilst still in the barrel; offering customers the chance to invest before it's bottled. There are many reasons for buying 'en-primeur' including investment and securing wines that may be limited in quantity, but mostly because customers want to obtain great wine at the best price.



I received a gift card to purchase my wines, which arrived beautifully packaged in a black ribbon tied presentation box, along with a very comprehensive catalogue of wines from many regions, including a handy guide showing whether particular vintages are 'to drink' or 'to age'. Putting together my own 'tasting case' of wines, from the large selection of single bottles, was simple, and the checkout was straightforward. My tasting case arrived in around 2.5 weeks, and I decided to pair one of the bottles of Prosecco with one of my favourite food pairings - pizza.

As Prosecco is often the drink of choice at parties and celebrations, and pizza makes a great party food, then it's a no brainer that they would be paired together. The ideal Prosecco to pair with savoury foods such as pizza and antipasti is the 'Brut' style, as confusingly 'extra dry' and 'dry' are sweeter in taste, and may better suited served with cake and desserts, at an afternoon tea, for example. For this particular food pairing I selected a bottle of Treviso Brut Prosecco from Mionetto to pair with my Antipasti Pizza topped with salty cured ham and creamy Italian cheese.




Home made pizza is really easy to make, and best of all, you can top it with all of your favourite ingredients. For this one I chose to top the pizza dough with fig jam instead of a tomato sauce as the sweetness of figs goes really well with Italian cheese & Prosciutto. Topped off with a scattering of thyme leaves and rocket (Arugula) and a drizzle of lemon extra virgin olive oil finishes off this sweet, salty & creamy pizza with a touch of pepperiness.

I find a pizza stone to be the best way of cooking home made pizzas to make sure that the base is cooked evenly. You need to preheat the stone in the oven, and by doing this the pizzas only take around 10 minutes to cook, so whilst one is cooking you can prepare the next. I've recently bought some wooden pizza paddles which makes transferring the pizza on & off the pizza stone easier

Antipasti Pizza - makes 4 small pizzas 

400g pizza dough - I have a recipe here
flour and/or semolina for rolling
4 tbsp fig jam
200g mozzarella, sliced
100g ricotta
150g garlic marinated artichoke hearts, sliced
1 burrata cheese
85g prosciutto
a few sprigs of thyme
handful of rocket
drizzle of lemon extra virgin olive oil

  • Preheat the oven to 225 C and if you're using a pizza stone place it in the oven
  • Divide the pizza dough into 4 pieces and roll out on a floured work surface to about 3cm thick
  • Top the dough with 1 tbsp fig jam & spread evenly
  • Add slices of mozzarella and artichoke and spoon small amounts of ricotta on
  • Bake on the hot pizza stone for approx 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the pizza crust has browned
  • Serve with small amounts of burrata dotted on top, prosciutto, some thyme & rocket leaves and a drizzle of olive oil





 

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