Summer Refreshment

With the warm weather continuing I thought I might risk a summer-themed post rounding up some of the loveliest things to drink when the sun is shining. My apologies in advance if this post brings on the rain!

Red Zinger Tea
Top of my list of course is a good iced tea, while I do enjoy the varieties available in the shops it’s much more fun to make your own. Red Zinger Tea makes a great iced tea for summer – sharp, floral and fruity with a deep red colour it’s perfection with mint leaves, orange and lemon. See Martha Stewart’s recipe for Red Zinger Ice Tea here – it’s a real summertime win.

If coffee’s more your thing – you’ll love my next two choices…

iced coffee
It’s got to be an iced coffee for summer and one of my favourites is Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, which even comes in decaf and skinny varieties. I love the skinny variety, it still tastes creamy and satisfying despite being fat free and just 118 calories – every little helps with summer traditionally being the season for dieting and bikinis!

CocoCafeM
Okay so Coco Cafe’s Coconut Water Latte has already had a write-up on FoodTeaLife but I how could I not mention it in a post dedicated to refreshment?! It combines the natural refreshing hydration of coconut water with a strong espresso shot and reduced-fat milk. It’s caffeination and hydration all at the same time! The creamy coconut flavour of the whole drink is lovely too, adding a touch of tropical sunshine to caffeine consumption.

Liefmans Fruit Beer
Well now, who doesn’t enjoy a cheeky shandy on a hot summer’s day? For me a bottle of Belgium’s Liefmans Strawberry Beer is spot on for summer. It’s actually beer blended with natural the fruit juice of not just strawberries but also cherries, raspberries, billberries and elderberries – the result is a lovely sparkling blend that’s almost like a bellini.

bottle_elder
Sticking with the stronger stuff, the lime and elderflower variety of Kopparberg fruit cider is a definite barbecue must have – light and zesty it’s certainly a summertime refresher. I also don’t find it to be quite as sweet as some of the other Kopparberg varieties – so you can enjoy more than one!

Apple & Ginger
So that this post isn’t only booze and caffeine I must also give a mention to the lovely apple juices from local, Hampshire-based company Hill Farm Juices. Apple juice can be so thirst quenching and I love the wonderful selection from Hill Farm. I adore their apple and ginger variety which combines both Cox and Bramley apple juice in a deliciously sharp but sweet blend. It’s so good it’s even got a Great Taste Gold award!

firefly
I must have a bit of a thing for ginger because this next summer favourite is a blend of Lemon, Lime and Ginger from Firefly Natural Drinks. This stuff is incredibly refreshing, ideal for those mornings that follow a heavy night on the Pimms! Zingy and uplifting it’s the perfect summer pick me up.

So…feeling thirsty? What’s your favourite summer drink?

I’m off to get started on some ice tea!

xXx

Advertisements

Festive Food (part 1)

This week’s entry is all about the locally sourced festive treats I’ve enjoyed…I’ve really been getting into the festive spirit (well I’ve sort of  been in the spirit since November!)…but now my Christmas tree is up and the house is beautiful!

And what better accompaniment to Christmas decorating than mulled wine? I used Hambleden Herbs Organic Mulling Spices, with honey, sugar and dash or orange juice to make a lovely spicy cup-full (ok…whole bottle full) for the occasion. Truly delicious and soul-warming, certainly spirit lifting!

On the subject of winter warmers I also picked up some Whisky Toddy Spices as special little stocking filler from Suma Wholefoods – should go down very nicely with my dad!

It being a weekend in December, a few cheeky mince pies were of course consumed. My village stores stocks a pretty tempting range of locally produced mince pies which I’m slowly working my way through, in my own personal taste test (being the only mince-pie fan the house – it is a slow task – but one I take very seriously!). On test this week were some charming mince pies from Can Do Cakes – these were scrumptious, with lots of tasty filling and just the right texture and size…small and light enough to enjoy a few without feeling too greedy! Festive food heaven.

Other foodie highlights this weekend, include a fab dinner at my good friend Miss Penn’s house, a King Prawn Delight at Rimjhim – Contemporary Indian Restaurant , refreshing Rekorderlig Fruit Cider and Tyrell’s Lightly Salted Popcorn – which I cannot recommend highly enough, it is just too good.

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.