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Kitchen Bites #16 July 2016

Hello! Happy British Summertime – hope everyones enjoying the sporadic sunshine and frequnt showers! Just a quick Kitchen Bites for you all this month.

We are lucky enough to review a lot  of lovely tea brands on this blog, and this month sees another brand that’s new to me; The Tea Makers of London. Founded by a Sri Lankan Tea expert, they pride themselves on sourcing exceptional tea from around the world. To them a perfect cup of tea is a science as well as an art and there are many things that go into creating that perfect cup.

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Being mostly fans of black teas, The Tea Makers sent us some samples of both their English Breakfast Tea Triunes  – pyramid shaped bags, and also a caddy of their  Ceylon Earl Grey Supreme which is a loose leaf version.

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The English Breakfast Triunes are a lovely blend which I am really enjoying. It’s quite full bodied for me, but a little milk makes it perfect for my tastes. The Earl Grey is from the most celebrated tea growing estates in the Nuwar Eliya and Dimulla regions of Sri Lanka and is a really lovely aromatic version and I am loving a cup of this to relax in the early evening.

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Certainly one of the best quality tea brands we have tried in recent times, and with classical and elegant packaging these would also make really lovely gifts for a tea lover. Find them at http://www.theteamakers.co.uk


Next this month so new products from condiment giant Heinz. They have recently launched both their Seriously Good Mayonnaise – for which you can see a recipe here on my blog and also a pair of New York Deli Style Mustards.

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I have really got on board with the mayonnaise and think it tastes pretty superior to other brands and even their regular version, it just seems more creamy and smooth, and if you look at the ingredients list it’s much more simple too.

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I’ve never been he biggest fan of mustard, but my husband has been the main taste tester for these and he has given the new Mild and Honey versions a thumbs up. I’ve also tried some of the honey version on a hot dog and actually found due to the sweetness from the honey I find it much more palatable  – so maybe I’m a convert! So even if you’re not usually a mustard fan I’d urge to you give these two a go and you might be surprised.

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Both the mustards are available in the large supermarkets with an RRP of just £1.69


Lastly this month the guys at Vita Cocoa sent me a lovely gift basket of goodies to celebrate their coconut oil. I really like using coconut oil in my cooking, it’s natural properities make it so versatile, and you can even use it on your skin and your hair (no , really!)

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Amongst the goodies they also included a lovely new cookbook – The Mighty Spice Express, which I am really enjoying flicking through – there are some great things in their to try using different spices and covering a range of different cuisines.

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That’s it for this month!


Disclsoure: Samples above were sent  as gifts or  for consideration of review. If you are a brand that would like your samples featured in my Kitchen Bites posts, please get in touch – thefoodiecoupleblog@hotmail.com.

 

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Devon Foodie Round-Up

Whilst on our trip away to Devon it’s fair to say we ate like Kings and Queens. As eating out and discovering new exciting places to eat is one of our hobbies, we rarely eat in on holiday, even when in the UK, thus scrimp and save so we can book lots of lovely lunches and dinners while we are away. Over the next few weeks the blog will bring you full reviews of lots of fabulous places to try in Devon including  The Oyster Shack, The Millbrook Inn, The Seahorse, The Crabshell Inn and The Treby Arms, but here is a round up of some of the other foodie experiences we had in Devon that weren’t quite long enough to get their own page!

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Rockfish Dartmouth

I’d heard that this casual bistro style restaurant in Dartmouth owned by Mitch Tonks did ‘the best fish and chips in Devon’ so who were we to resist the pull of this title. We popped in for lunch on our rainy day in Dartmouth and it certainly was a haven from the elements. There was a ton of fabulous sounding fish dishes on the menu, but we had come for the fish and chips so this is what we were going to have!

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Lee was please to see a great range of beers to try including some local ones – he loved this Devon Rock Lager. IMG_9518

Fish wise, Lee had Haddock while I had the Cod, both came with chip shop style chips and homemade tartare sauce and I can’t say Ive had many fish and chips in Devon recently, but these were superb. If you could manage it, you could top up on chips for no extra charge. We tried a few sides of some jalepeno tartare sauce and their homemade curry sauce which were also great.
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Thurlestone Hotel

This opposing hotel in Thurlestone has been going in Devon for a long time and is a pretty exclusive place, with indoor and outdoor pools, spa, tennis courts and even a golf course. I stayed there once when I was very young but I think the place has rather evolved since then! Maybe one day we could afford to stay there again!

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Anyway, on one beautiful afternoon during our week we wanted a really good Cream Tea, and thought that this place must be one to try. We sat out on their terrace overlooking the countryside and enjoyed a traditional, yet a little pricey, Devon Cream Tea!

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Salcombe – Ice Creams & Hot Chocolate

Salcombe is THE place to go in South Devon. They have their own brand of Ice-cream and needless to say we indulged in a fair few over the week! We also spent a windy morning on the terrace of the Wardroom watching the boats sailing around and warming ourselves up on rather indulgent hot chocolates!

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The Winking Prawn

Located at North Sands Beach, this restaurant and cafe was always packed to the rafters. We had lunch there one day, a couple of decent salads, mine with Chicken and Mango and Lee’s with Mackerel and Beetroot. Nothing to really write home about but it filled a hole after a long walk!

The Beachhouse

This beach shack on the side of the road at South Milton Sands is nothing to look at. It’s tiny with only a couple of inside tables and picnic benches outside but boy did the food hit here a good note. It was testament to it that it was fully booked every night for dinner so we only managed a bite a lunch time, but a good bite it was!

I had a huge dish of Shell on Prawns with Chilli and Garlic which were juicy and plump and just brilliant while Lee chose their Beach House Burger with Celeriac Slaw.

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Have you eaten out in Devon? Where would you recommend we try next time?

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Win Afternoon Tea at The Balcony, Selfridges Birmingham

Afternoon Tea is somewhat of a British institution, and I love that it’s becoming more and more popular. It’s such a lovely way of spending a couple of relaxing hours with friends or family. There are lots of places in Birmingham that now offer an afternoon tea, and I’m lucky enough to have tried a fair few of them.

One place that serves Afternoon Tea that you might not realise is The Balcony, located on the 4th floor of Selfridges in Birmingham. It has a stunning view over the Bullring and is a stylish yet relaxing hub in the heart of the very busy shopping centre.

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I’ve reviewed the food at the Balcony before, back when they first opened in 2014 but have been back since and always enjoy it there, and previously had their afternoon tea as well. Recently the ‘Styled by Searcys’ Afternoon Tea has been give a bit of a new look and comes served in this fantastic bright hat box!

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With layers of seasonally changing sandwiches, and mini pastries, scones and sweets it’s quite a sight to behold. There are various flavoured or classic teas, or the option of champagne to accompany it too – a perfect treat on a Birmingham day out!

 

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The tea is served from 3pm everyday, and booking is a must at the weekends. It costs £18pp or £28 with a glass of bubbly.

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Today I’m happy to be able to bring all you guys a chance of winning Afternoon Tea for 2 at The Balcony , so if you fancy it (and who wouldn’t?!) then follow the link below to enter!

—————-> a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions

  • The prize is afternoon tea for two people at The Balcony, Selfridges, Birmingham.
  • The competition will run  from Sat 23rd July to Sunday 31 July 2016 at 12am.
  • There will be one winner, chosen at random when the competition closes.
  • The winners details will be passed to the Balcony PR to arrange details of the prize
  • The Balcony serves afternoon tea from 3pm until 7pm daily, with limited availability and booking required on weekends.
  • The prize excludes Saturdays and must be redeemed within one month.
  • The exact time and date will be subject to availability and must be booked directly with The Balcony 0121 600 6869.
  • The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative will be offered.
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Chicken Caesar Salad Bites with #HeinzSeriouslyGood

There’s just something about miniature versions of things that make everyone oooh and ahh isn’t there – think small animals, baby clothes etc. Well for me the same certainly applies to food – there’s something ever so appealing about a canapé! So when Heinz challenged us to come up with a recipe for their newly launched Seriously Good Mayonnaise that would fit on a spoon it sounded like a great thing to do!

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Given that it’s summer, we’ve been eating a lot of salads and one of our favourites here is a Caesar Salad, pimped up a little with some chicken and bacon, so what better than to serve some spoon sized portions of this to impress your guests at a party!

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Homemade Caesar dressing is really easy to make – and tastes so much better than shop bought stuff. All you need is some mayonnaise, garlic, anchovies, parmesan and vinegar. Heinz Seriosuly Good Mayonnaise we’ve found is perfect for this, as its so rich and creamy and they use the best quality ingredients with no added colours, flavours or artificial thickeners.

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  • 1 head of Romaine or Cos Lettuce, washed and roughly torn into small pieces
  • about 50g  of parmesan cheese. 20g finely grated for the dressing and the rest made into thicker shavings with a potato peeler
  • 12 anchovy fillets (2 for the dressing, the rest chopped in half for the salad)
  • 2 slices bread – what ever you have left is fine. Remove the crust then cut into 1cm cubes to make croutons
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked thoroughly, cooled and refrigerated then chopped into roughly 1/2cm cubes
  • 8 rashers streaky bacon, cooked until crispy, cooled then broken into shards
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1.5 tbsp cider or white wine vinegar
  • 6 tbsp Heinz Seriously Good Mayonnaise

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Method

  • Make the Caesar dressing firstly by putting the mayonnaise, minced garlic, 2 of the anchovies the 20g of finely grated parmesan and the vinegar in a blender and whizz for about 30 seconds.
  • Pop the cubes of bread on a preheated baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Cook at about 180 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
  • Put the cut up chicken in a bowl and mix with the caesar dressing, keeping some to drizzle over the top of the spoons if you wish.
  • You are now ready to assemble your masterpieces – pop onto the spoons a piece of lettuce, small amount of the cut up chicken in dressing and a parmesan shaving then top off with a little morsel of anchovy, a crouton and a shard of the bacon. Drizzle more sauce over the top if you chose to reserve some!

Happy eating!🙂

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Do you have some great ideas of things that you could serve on a spoon? Well if so, why not take part in the challenge over on the Heinz Website. Come up with a #heinzseriouslygood recipe that fits on a spoon and share your recipe on social media using the hashtag and they will pick their favourites!

If you’re looking for inspiration, have a look through these other seriously good spoonfuls!

Disclosure: This recipe was commissioned by Heinz, all opinions and words are our own.

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Out & About in South Devon Part 2

The very first day of our holidays started in mean moody fashion with thanks to the weather. We had planned a day in Dartmouth – visiting the castle and wandering around so decided to plough on despite the rain and mist. We started at the castle, which actually possibly was made all the more dramatic due to the weather, and there were some great views down the estuary into Dartmouth itself.

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We booked ourselves onto a steam train ride – from Dartmouth to Paignton and back – it was a good way to escape the rain, but also get a little bit of culture and take in the Devon countryside whislt staying dry!

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Luckily the weather then started to clear a little and we were bel to wander round Dartmouth and take in the shops and galleries – it’s a really pretty town. It was early evening when the sun fully came out and we were treated to the beautiful views across the harbour.

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We spent another day exploring the coastline to the south of Dartmouth and back round to Salcombe. There is a fabulous shingle beach at Blackpool Sands.

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And then we drove down through Start Bay, and although we didn’t stop, the Start Bay Inn is supposed to serve the biggest Fish & Chips in the area!

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We were lucky enough to spy this majestic swan looking after her batch of fluffy babies!

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We also drove round to Gara Rock, right at the edge of the estuary where it meets the sea – there are some spectacular views up here from the coast path out to see and a little  further round back across the estuary to Salcombe.

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This holiday really reignited my love the of the Devon countryside and I certainly don’t think I’ll leave it as long to visit again!

Have you been to Devon? Where are your favourite places to go?

Roz🙂