Biscuit Heaven with Lotus Biscoff

I was absolutely delighted when I received this box full of Lotus Biscuit goodness! Like most of you, I know and love the sweet little red biscuits that so often come with a cup of coffee – but I had never tried the now famous Lotus Biscoff Spread, or the new Chocolate Lotus Biscuits. So the last few weeks have been absolute biscuit heaven as I’ve munched my way through this box of biscuit joy.

Lotus Biscoff Biscuts and Biscoff Spread

A box full of biscuit treats

I’ve found that enjoying my morning coffee with a Lotus biscuit really brightens the day, making me feel like I’m somewhere far fancier than my home office.

The handy Biscoff Pocket Packs and little packs of Chocolate Lotus Biscuits have been fab to pop in my bag for busy days too. Here I am enjoying them on a recent train journey to London…

Lotus Biscoff with Chocolate

A treat for the train journey

I guess many of you will want to hear about the Biscoff spread, which is known to be so addictively good that I’ve even heard it referred to as ‘crack in jar’. After sampling both the smooth and crunchy varieties of the spread, I can indeed confirm that it is that good – you’ll go in for a tiny teaspoonful as a treat and it won’t be enough…you find yourself stopping at the third spoonful and that’s before you’ve even spread it on anything. It is super sweet, so works well on bagels and fruit toast, as well as on a pancake.

The ridiculously tempting Lotus Biscoff Spreads

The ridiculously tempting Lotus Biscoff Spreads

I was intrigued about possibilities for cooking and baking with the spread, that sweet caramelised flavour could work so well in a range of desserts…cheese cake, bread and butter pudding, tiramisu to name a few. I visited the Lotus Biscuits website and was pleased to find a whole range of recipes to choose from, so this weekend I got my bake on and attempted some chocolate brownies with Biscoff centres. I (loosely) followed this recipe from the website.

Brownie Mix, which you then add balls of Biscoff to!

Brownie Mix, which you then add balls of Biscoff to

I chose a nice simple recipe that I knew would go down well. Essentially it was a case of making chocolate brownies in the usual way and creating some Biscoff balls out of the spread to dot into the brownie mixture. You create the balls by adding powered sugar and I used a little flour too, so that they form a dough like texture. Once baked you get lovely gooey brownies with a tasty Biscoff centre! Mmmmm….

Tucking into a tasty brownie with a Biscoff centre

Tucking into a tasty brownie with a Biscoff centre

The biscuity brownie smell that filled the house was amazing!

There were plenty more recipes on the website, I particularly liked the idea of using it in cheesecake or cake icing. As I’ve still got some spread left (a real exercise in self control!), I’ll definitely be having a go at a few more recipes too. Watch this space for more.

Take a look at www.lotusbiscuits.co.uk to explore the full range of Biscoff goodies and where to buy them from.

…Right, I’m off for my daily cappuccino and Biscoff break now xXx

 

Fabulous Frozen Food from COOK

Recently I was lucky enough to be sent some frozen ready meals from COOK – creators of ‘remarkable food for your freezer’. I was intrigued and immediately visited their website where I learnt that COOK chefs simply prepare tasty meals using the same ingredients and technology that you would at home, freeze them and deliver. So simple – but what a brilliant business idea! It reminds me of how mums’ send students off to uni with a hearty homemade lasagne for the freezer and I liked that, it’s just a lovely concept I think.

What appealed to me was the fact the meals from COOK really were homemade and not full of numerous, nasty ingredients that you can’t understand.

I was thrilled to be offered some samples to try, after a good browse I settled on some of the OMG Pots – a range of  smaller meals with less than 400 calories and 14g of fat each. With dishes like Prawn Tom Yum, Moroccan Spiced Chicken and Japanese Salmon they sounded delicious and seemed ideal for a fast day dinner or tasty lunch on a normal day. Needless to say I was very excited on a wet and windy Tuesday to receive this package full of scrummy sounding meals….

A bundle of frozen meals from COOK

A bundle of frozen meals from COOK

That evening I sampled the Moroccan Spiced Chicken and served up the Chicken Pad Thai to my other half Tom. We both really enjoyed our dishes, what I liked was how full of flavour my dish was. I’m a fan of anything Moroccan spiced and this didn’t disappoint. It was warming, tasted fresh and yes, home-cooked. It being under 375 calories was a nice bonus too! Tom polished off the Pad Thai pretty quickly, so that was a definite winner as well. I will add, these are quite small meals and probably more suited to lunch than an evening meal but for a quick, light dinner they would be perfect.

I couldn’t believe how simple it all was to have a nice,  nutritious, homemade meal. I just popped them in the microwave and ping, done!

Terrible photo! But the Moroccan Chicken really was lovely

Terrible photo! But the Moroccan Chicken really was lovely

It’s not just healthy, light meals on offer from COOK either, there’s a whole range of tempting sounding meals from classic fish pie, to curries, family meals and food for entertaining. I’m certainly going to be trying out a few of the other dishes! Whilst I do enjoy my attempts at cooking from scratch, it isn’t something that’s possible every night of the week and it’s great to have a nutritious, natural option in the freezer for these occasions. And for people who live alone, I think COOK meals are a simply a fantastic idea – no need for gross supermarket ready meals that costs a bomb, look nothing like the picture and are full of unrecognisable ingredients!

If you’d like to find out more about COOK and the meals they offer visit there website: www.cookfood.net.

Thanks to the guys at COOK for the samples and introducing me to the range!

Healthy Seafood Lasagne

Here’s a very rough recipe for a hearty, but fairly healthy dinner I made earlier in the week. It’s a seafood lasagne!

Ingredients:

Tinned tomatoes
Reduced fat cream cheese
Mixed seafood (I used prawns, scallops, mussels and shrimps)
Creme fraiche
Dill (I used dried)
Lasagne sheets (I just used the standard shop bought variety)
Reduced fat cheddar cheese
Parsley (optional for a topping/garnish)

So all did was to fry the garlic in a little olive oil and add in the tinned tomatoes, followed by the cream cheese (about half of small tub) and mix them together. The sauce was a little pink in colour, but it tastes great. Once the sauce seemed thick enough I added the seafood in and made sure it was all well mixed.

Setting that mixture to one side, I then added some of the remaining cream cheese to the creme fraiche and mixed some dried dill. For extra creaminess you can add in a little ricotta here too

After that it was a simple case of layering the seafood mixture in baking dish, covering with lasagne sheets and repeating this to end up with a covering of lasagne sheets on the top. I then covered the top with the creme fraiche mixture and finished with a topping of the reduced fat cheddar and some chopped parsley.

Here’s the resulting dish straight out of the oven…

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My reduced fat seafood lasagne

How many is too many roast potatoes?

Well for a family of four, the answer is this many…

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A huge plate full of my dad's amazing roast potatoes

These are my dad’s famous Christmas Day roast potatoes and fabulous though they were, I think this was the first year we didn’t manage to polish them all off! The remaining roasties didn’t go to waste though, they went very well in sandwiches and with cold meats the next day. I’m also a big fan of using them for a soup, along with the rest of the left overs from the big day and creating a lovely thick ‘roast dinner soup’. I love hearing about what other people do with their Christmas Day left overs – any unusual recipes…do let me know!

The big day itself was a wonderful occasion spent with my family, eating, drinking, gift giving and generally being merry. And aside from some transportation issues with a bit of bird cage/smart car drama, I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas.

Thank you to my amazing family for a brilliant day, for welcoming my crazy parrot into your home and for all the fabulous gifts I received! A special shout out goes out to my Dad and his sublime Christmas Dinner – excellent as always!

xXx

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The festive spread

Prawn, Salmon & Mushroom Lasagne

Here’s a yummy pescetarian recipe I mish mashed together in the kitchen this evening and it turned out to be quite delightful…

Prawn, Salmon & Mushroom Lasagne ingredients (not that many!)…

– Cooked & peeled prawns (you could cook up raw ones or use frozen)

– Mushrooms (obviously!)

– Creme Fraiche

– Garlic salt

– Dill (dried is fine)

– Smoked salmon pate (you could use actual Smoked Salmon – this was all I had!)

– Marscapone cheese

– Splash of white wine

– Parmesan cheese

– Pre-made lasagne sheets

You can probably guess what to do just from looking at the list above, but here’s how I cobbled them together…

Firstly I fried the mushrooms in a little butter, white wine, dill and garlic salt, then mixed in the Creme Fraiche to make a creamy consistency and added the prawns at the last minute. Then I layered the mixture  in a baking tray with the lasagne sheets, adding smoked salmon and marscapone cheese to the other layers and topping off with Parmesan cheese. Popped it in the oven until the cheese was golden brown (about 25 mins) and then Tom and I promptly demolished it!

Festive Eating Continued…

It was a four day weekend for me this week, with plenty of festive foodie moments to savour. It’s just a lovely time of year for friends, family and food – and I’m making the most of it!

My Friday evening may sound a little sad but actually it was a dream, although I was home alone while Tom braved his work Christmas party, I had my own little Christmas party. A few mugs on Winter Pimms and some favourite films saw me through the evening after wrapping a heap of presents. It was also time to do the ‘Christmas Shop’ – you know…the excessive,  wildly indulgent, you’ll-never-eat-that-much, heart attack in a trolley festive food shop? Well I did mine online  with Ocado in an effort to be a little more conservative (didn’t go so well) – suffice to say I’ve now got an assortment of alcohol that would put any cocktail bar to shame – including Baileys Biscotti, Ameretto (for my new favourite – Ameretto and Cranberry – you must try it!), fruity red wines for more mulled wine, St. Peter’s ales and Kopperberg Fruit Ciders. I tried to be a little less spend-happy with the food, preferring to pick a lot of it up at the local farm shop and farmers market.

Time to be merry...

Saturday afternoon saw me repeating the festive food shopping experience, this time in a real supermarket with my little sister. We’re both spending Christmas Day with my parents and decided that as grown ups – we’d do the ‘nibble shop’ for my mum and dad. The trolley was laden with cheese straws, mince pies, Yule log, Christmas cake, nuts and lots of miniature food favourites – Christmas Day is going to be good!  Loose fitting clothes advised.

Hello festive food

Saturday evening I met with some good friends for mulled wine and other drinks and thoroughly good catch-up. With one friend staying the night at mine, we enjoyed a bit of Baileys Biscotti as nice night-cap – a lovely way to end the evening.

Ultimate night cap

I spent the next day braving the busy streets of Winchester, buying gifts from the art and design market and enjoying yet more mulled wine and some sweet crepes with a dear friend at the Christmas markets. We wandered till it was dark and our fingers froze before wishing each other a Merry Christmas and retreating to the warmth of home.

I couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday evening than dinner at The Black Rat with Tom. We haven’t been there for ages, but it’s always been amazing…and it didn’t disappoint!  Every course was deliciously interesting. I couldn’t begin to tell you exactly what I had in as much eloquent detail as the menu itself, but I had a delightful crab starter and monk fish with curried leeks for a main course – and of course cheese to finish…although I could have been tempted by almost all of the desserts on the menu. Needless to say the Black Rat is the foodie highlight of the week for me!

Possibly the best Sunday evening ever at The Black Rat...

That about rounds up this extended weekend’s eating really…all that’s left is to cook up a curry for tonight’s tea.

My weekend in food

It occurred to me that I do my most interesting eating at the weekends, whether I’m out and about or attempting to create a little of my own kitchen magic. So I thought I’d start to report of my weekend nourishments, foodie moments and culinary catastrophes…and as it’s a Sunday, I’m starting now …

Friday’s used to be all about going out for me, but now I long for the opportunity to stay in and cook something lovely, possibly watch a film and wash it all down with a glass (or bottle!) of something equally lovely. So this Friday saw me and Tom creating that most indulgent of comfort meals, home-made burgers. The nearby shop stocks local minced beef, which I blended together with finely diced red onion and a few herbs and spices. Isle of Wight cherry tomatoes helped me make a salsa to spread on a lovely wholemeal bun, with salad and cheese…oh and a little extra indulgence, garlic mushrooms! I wish the film we watched had been as good as the burgers…

The Saturday was more of a wishful, food wanting day. As I wandered into Winchester, with the Christmas lights on the famous Christmas market now open, the city was absolutely crammed, with everyone of its eating establishments packed out with people – but I did manage to squeeze a quick visit to the newly opened Caracoli – an excellent coffee shop with amazing foods. I am big fan of it’s well-established Alresford branch, so popped into to the new Winchester to store to pick up one of their artisan scotch eggs as a treat for Tom.

Saturday night saw us catching up with a few friends in The Bridge at Shawford, where the boys enjoyed a rich winter special of pheasant with sweet potato mash and I had a rather nice piece of salmon. What was also great was the interesting selection of beverages behind the bar including Kopperberg fruit ciders and Liefmans fruit beer – just right for the walk between The Bridge and The Bugle Inn!

I’d like to say that night ended quietly there, and not that we ended walking home at 5.30am…but, we did, and that about brings me up to date on weekend food, aside from this morning’s bacon and mushroom sandwich (hangover heaven).

What’s next…well Tom’s pushing for a Rimjhim’s King Prawn Coconut Curry – we’ll see.

***

-Update, he’s just brought me a cup of Earl Grey – love him.