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!

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In Nature’s New Red Rose Tea – My Review

I think you all know how much I love tea, so I was absolutely delighted to be contacted by the lovely people at In Nature, who make high grade pure flower tea. They’ve just launched four new teas and very kindly sent me a box of their brand new Red Rose Black Tea to try. And what a beautiful box it was! I was like a child at Christmas when the post came…

What a lovely treat to find in the post…a beautiful box of tea!

Opening the lovely box to reveal the bag loose leaf tea inside was rather exciting and made quite an occasion of making a nice weekend cup of tea, especially with the five detailed steps to follow on brewing the perfect cup of tea. Yes, the tea also came with a little printed leaflet all about tea and a guide to brewing – it even taught me a thing or two! For instance, I had no idea that making a second cup of tea from the same tea leaves a the first cup actually tastes even better, but I gave it a try and found this statement to be true, what a wonderful discovery!

I opened the box to find some fragrant loose leaf tea and an interesting little leaflet all about tea

I could write more about the interesting little leaflet, which came with all sorts of extra information including the many health benefits of tea, but I guess I should get down to business and talk about the tea itself…

Brewing my cup of In Nature’s new Red Rose Tea

The Red Rose Tea had an intense earthy aroma that reminded of being in a garden on windy day and inhaling the scent of a variety of flowers and plants. It had a wonderful dark, but sweet flavour, quite rich and full-bodied (yes I just described a tea as ‘full bodied’ – just go with me on this!). As it was a black tea I had mine with a little bit of skimmed milk, but if it didn’t necessarily need this, if you drink your earl gray black you’d enjoy this tea black too. Overall I found this fragrant tea very soothing to sip on wet and windy evening.

Ahh…lovely tea

Now I must advise that this tea will be a little different if you’ve only ever enjoyed tea made with standard teabags before. In Nature teas are all imported directly from China and are completely pure, with nothing added and this definitely comes across in the flavour of the tea. If you’re unused to loose leaf teas or more traditional tea from China, the taste may be a little strange at first but it is quite pleasant, you get a real sense that you are drinking something natural and good for you. My partner Tom does business in China and is sometimes given tea to bring home and there’s just something about the taste of the tea, it’s like you’re tasting hundreds of years of tradition in a cup.

Tradition in a cup

I urge you to try give proper pure Chinese tea a try if you haven’t before. Before the people at In Nature contacted me I wouldn’t have known where to buy such high quality tea from China, but now I’m happy to recommend them – so check out their website to find out more. They’ve got quite a variety of special blends, even the famous Puerh Tea (drunk by Victoria Beckham for it’ health properties!). Right now there’s even a special offer on – throughout October you’ll receive a free box of Floral Oolong Tea with every order!

So go forth tea lovers and enjoy…I think I might just indulge in a little tea shopping  spree myself at www.innteas.com

Off to put the kettle on!

xXx

Try Sakura – Winchester’s First Teppanyaki Restaurant

Winchester folks have you noticed that Cellar Peking has gone? Remember the Chinese restaurant on Jewry Street down all those steps? Well it’s no more and in it’s place is Sakura, a Japanese restaurant serving teppanyaki. I was lucky enough to try it out last weekend and it was excellent.

Firstly the whole place has been completely refurbished, with a contemporary Asian themed interior and of course a central teppanyaki griddle. If you have not experienced teppanyaki before, it essentially involves watching an amazingly skilful chef cook your food in front of you on a flat top grill, while you sit around the grill and enjoy the whole theatrical foodie experience. Meats, vegetables and rice are all prepared on the grill top and it’s great fun, as well as very tasty.

On the menu, there’s also sushi, sashimi, salads and soups as well as set menus incorporating a little of everything. I was impressed to see Sake and cocktails on the drinks menu too.

Sake!

A mojito had to be sampled of course

The sushi menu

On to the food! We started off with some mixed sushi which was delicious and beautifully presented. We followed this with teppanyaki steak, king prawns and scallops to share – we finished the lot!  The ingredients were fresh and cooked to perfection.

Teppanyaki steak and vegetables

The staff were excellent too, helpful and ready to explain anything we didn’t understand on the menu. The restaurant itself was very quiet, although it was a Sunday and I think as more people find out about what a hidden gem the place is the atmosphere will certainly pick up. All in all I’m very much looking forward to going back and sampling more of the menu!

Dinner of teppanyaki steak, prawns and scallops being devoured!

If you haven’t been I recommend you try it out, the number is 01962 864178 (there’s no website set up for the place as yet, so contact details are a little hard to come by).