kitchen bites

Kitchen Bites #19 November 2016 & a Giveaway!!

Novembers Kitchen Bites post has been somewhat delayed as on 21st November I managed to fall down the stairs (not even drunk!) and dislocate and fracture my shoulder resulting in an operation and now 8 weeks in a sling! Who knew having the use of only one arm restricts you so much. So anyway this post is a bit of what’s been happening in our kitchen in the last couple of months.

First up we tried some coffee from Hackney Coffee co which started its life in October 2015. Lee really enjoyed this freshly ground blend and their shop is definitely somewhere we will head next time we are in London.

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If you want to see some proper coffee porn then their instagram feed is the place to be!!!


Next up we have tried a wonderful new drink called Zobi. It is made from the hibiscus flower and mint.  Sarah and Martin Belshah initially developed this drink after receiving some from her sister who was living in Senegal where a village chief gave her some hibiscus as a gift for her family.

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They launched the first flavour, Hibiscus & Mint, at the Barnt Green weekender a few months back and at the Alcester food festival and they also have 21 stockists- from farm shops (Hillers Farm, Beckett’s Farm), to garden centres (Singleton’s, Burcot), to Spas (wildmoor), cafes (Morso, Constance Wallace Barnt Green) and pubs (the Coach & Horses).

They are now developing two new flavours – hibiscus & ginger, and hibiscus & pomegranate.  All are made only with recognisable ingredients – no preservatives, additives etc.

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I loved the sweet tang of the Zobi and found it really refreshen too. I also tried a drop mixed with prosecco which was fantastic! I love the sound of the new pomegranate flavour so can’t wait to try that too. Find them at Zobi-hibiscus.com


I do like a new cookbook and this month was invited to the launch of the Cooks & Kids cookbook project. The  Cooks & Kids initiative, the brainchild of the National Fostering Agency, challenges children and young people aged 6-18 to create their favourite recipes for a chance to cook them with a top chef. I couldn’t get to the launch but had the chance to see a copy of the resulting cookbook, featuring such talents as Michel Roux Jr and Gregg Wallace.

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The book looks great fun and I look forward to trying some recipes.


Next up a very well known brand – Heinz. Possibly the nation’s favourite, they have a huge range of healthy soups which constitute to 1 of your 5 a day. I must admit when I’m ill I’m quite partial to a bowl of their classic tomato or chicken but have rarely tried many others. So when they sent me a selection of their classic soups and a few of their newer ones to try I wasn’t going to complain.

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 I particularly loved the lentil and bacon, but enjoyed them all and think they are great things to have in the cupboard for a quick and convenient meal.

 I’m a big fan of Debbie & Andrews sausages, having first discovered them a couple of years back at the BBC Good Food Show.
This year they sent me their festive garnish selection to try. A 24 piece Christmas selection of sausage delights including Perfect Pork Cocktail Sausages, Perfect Pork Bacon Wraps and Caramelised Red Onion Stuffing Balls.
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We cooked half the pack with a recent roast and the rest are in the freezer for Christmas. The quality of these is fab and all are  gluten, wheat and dairy free.  I really loved the stuffing balls, the caramelised onion just giving them a sweet hint that worked really well. There’s still a couple of days until Christmas so why not give them a try- you’ll find them in most major supermarkets!

Also this month we tried some salmon from the BigFish Brand frozen range. This was created to introduce simple, convenient and delicious salmon, accessible for everyone. They only use responsibly sourced salmon from trusted farms in Scotland and Norway, and make sure they have full traceability on all our products.

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I tried a range of their marinaded frozen fillets – Thai, Piri Piri and Sweet Chilli. I really enjoyed all three but the Thai was by far my favroutie. No surpirse their really given I love Thai food! The fact you can just poach them in the bag is so convenient too, a quick and easy meal. We had one pack with rice, another with a lovely salad and the last one with some courgetti noodles and all went really well. A great thing to have in the freezer.


Lastly this month we have been nibbling some  Prosciutto di San Daniele & Grana Padano cheese. Both have been awarded PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status. This EU Designation is reserved for products that come from a strictly designed geographical area and are produced using distinctive processing techniques steeped in the history and tradition of that place. A PDO logo guarantees high quality, authenticity and traceability by ensuring certain Production Specifications. 

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Both these products come from small Italian regions, San Daniele del Friuli is a perfect place for curing prosciutto where the breezes of the Adriatic Sea meet those from the Alps while Grana Padano was invented by Benedictine monks as a clever way of preserving surplus milk. Both products are really of the highest quality and this is obvious in the eating. If you fancy winning these products to try yourself head over to my instagram page now!!


 Disclosure: Products featured above were samples sent for consideration of review, no further payment was received. 

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