National Sandwich Week with the Central Co-Operative

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Having previously managed the payroll for a very large food manufacture of about 100,000 sandwiches a day many years ago, the invitation from the Central England Co-Operative to create a great sandwich combination using tasty ingredients that could be found in your local store to celebrate National Sandwich week was was right up my street!

As the weather has been very changeable recently, including snow, hailstones, ice, wind and sunshine (and all in one day too!) I decided on a combination of a hot, toasted, sandwich and a lovely salad to go with it. I bought a variety of ingredients including a pack of sandwich thins, Mozzarella cheese, tomato pesto, mixed salad leaves, beautifully sweet Piccolo tomatoes, sweet baby peppers and some delicious mixed root vegetable crips to make my lunch.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
After preparing a really quick salad using the leaves, peppers and tomatoes, I simply tipped some of the root vegetable crisps into a small bowl and set about preparing my toasted sandwich.

Drain the Mozzarella and slice about 5mm thick.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
The Sandwich Thins are pre-sliced so it’s very quick and simple to separate the two halves.  Place a couple of generous teaspoons of the tomato pesto on one side of the bread.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Spread the pesto over the bread into a relatively even layer.  Repeat with the other sandwiches as required.  I made two for lunch today; one each for my husband and myself.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Tear the mozzarella slices into strips and cover the pesto.  I’ve left a small gap around the edges to stop the cheese oozing out (and being wasted) on to my sandwich press. Top with the other half of the Sandwich thin.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Preheat your sandwich maker (I have an Antony Worrall Thompson for Breville flat sandwich press that I’ve had for many years).

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Place your sandwich onto the sandwich maker and close the lid.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Toast for a few minutes until the top is nicely browned and the mozzarella has started to melt.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Slice diagonally using a sharp knife.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Serve with a helping of salad and some of the root vegetable crisps.

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative
Tasty (the sandwich that is!)

British Sandwich Week 2016 with the Central England Co-Operative

I was sent a voucher from the Central England Co-Operative to buy my ingredients to participate in the creation for National Sandwich Week.

Hot Cross Bun & Butter Pudding

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It’s Spring and the weather is starting to heat up a little. Flowers are starting to show and share their beautiful colours with the world as they awaken from winter. It’s Easter this weekend; a time for rebirth, and the clocks ‘Spring forward’ giving us lighter nights to enjoy.

I’ve not quite joined the cold pudding club yet, as the nights can still give us a chill, so I’ve decided to choose an old favourite for my recipe creation with the Central England Co-Operative and bring you a twist on a bread & butter pudding, but using hot cross buns instead, and adding extra fruit.  These red berry hot cross buns are absolutely delicious and I’m really glad I didn’t use both packets when making my recipe as I know I’ve got spares to enjoy toasted with butter and a coffee tomorrow evening.  This is how I’ve made my Hot Cross Bun & Butter Pudding.  All my ingredients are Co-Operative own brand products:

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Unsalted butter

6 red berry hot cross buns

1 punnet blueberries

4 large eggs

300ml double cream

30ml milk

Dark chocolate infused with orange oil

Custard to serve

 

1. Preheat your oven to 160°C.

2. Slice your hot cross buns horizontally and butter both of the cut sides.

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3. Butter the inside of an ovenproof dish.

4. Place the bottom slices of the buns, buttered side down, into the base of your dish.  Cutting them to fit the gaps.

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5. Sprinkle the blueberries over the buns.

6. Using the cross on the bun tops, cut the bun tops into strips about 1.5cm wide. Make a cross with these, cut side down.

7. Cut the remaining pieces into chunks and place them around your cross, cut side up to give a contrast.

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8. Beat the eggs, cream and milk together and pour over the hot cross buns.

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9. Allow this to soak into the buns for 5 minutes.

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10. Break the chocolate squares into smaller pieces and use to outline your cross.

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11. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the egg and cream mixture has set.

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12. Serve with custard.

This recipe was created for the Central England Co-Operative. I received vouchers to purchase my ingredients to create this recipe.

Valentines Cocktails & Mocktails – Strawberry inspired Bellini

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Christmas is over, and in a flash, I see all that is romantic and lovely in the shops awaiting the lovers of this world to embrace the season.  Not to be outdone by the festivities, even though I’ve been with my husband for *cough* 32 years this year (I know, I know; I don’t look it do I, but I was VERY young when we met! HAHA!) I jumped at the challenge work with the Central England Co-Operative and create a Valentine’s Day Cocktail (or non alcoholic Mocktail).   What I did end up with is one very tasty and very versatile drink which can be made either way, to your preference. Just a few simple ingredients and you have a delicious drink to toast your loved one.  Here’s how:

One Bottle of Cava (Sparkling Elderflower and White Grape juice for the non-alcohlic version).  Alternatively you could choose a bottle of Prosecco.

1 Lemon

One punnet of strawberries

A little bit of caster sugar

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Chill your Cava (or Elderflower and Grape juice) until very cold.

Using a very sharp knife (I love mine from I.O.Shen), slice up 6 ripe, juicy strawberries and add these to a mini blender with a squeeze of lemon juice and 2tsp caster sugar.

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Blitz until you get a smooth syrup.

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Pour the strawberry syrup into a champagne flute up to about 1/3 of a glass.

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Top up with Cava (Elderflower and White Grape juice).

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Slice a strawberry to decorate your glass.  It’s always pretty to leave the leaves and stalk on as decoration, don’t you think?

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Enjoy with a cheeky square (or several) of Co-Operative Fair Trade Truly Irresistable Ghana milk chocolate with toffee and red Himalayan Salt.

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Much love and cheers to you all!
imageRosie xx

I was provided with vouchers from the Central England Co-Operative to purchase the ingredients to create my cocktail/mocktail.

Christmas Cheat Treats with the Central England Co-Operative

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When invited by the Central England Co-operative to work with them again to bring you tips on how to make Christmas easy and stress free, then what better way to do this than via the dessert table? Using some bought ingredients, along with a just a little, easy, home made preparation, I’m bringing you not one, but four sweet cheat treats to make your Christmas entertaining a breeze!

I bought:

* frozen puff pastry and used some homemade mincemeat (you could buy a jar of mincemeat to make it even easier on yourself, but I had some already made).

* jelly and a bottle of Prosecco to make a grown up, fizzy wobbly treat.

* cappuccino swiss roll, dark and milk chocolate with a tub of double cream to create the most deliciously easy chocolate ganache covered Yule log.

* ready made Christmas pudding and some butter and icing sugar to make the perfect rum butter pudding.

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To make your Yule Log, firstly you need to make a ganache.  Simply take 200g dark chocolate and 100g milk chocolate and break/cut this into small pieces (the smaller the better as it’ll melt quicker).  Place this into a large bowl.  Pour 250ml double cream into a saucepan and heat very gently until hot, but not boiling, then pour this over the chocolate pieces.  Leave to sit for a couple of minutes until the chocolate starts to melt, then stir until fully melted.  At this stage I added a couple of tablespoons of Amaretto to my melted chocolate and cream mixture as I’d bought a cappuccino swiss roll and was going to make a tiramisu inspired Yule Log, but you can leave the alcohol out of yours, if you like.  Leave your Ganache somewhere cool for about 30 minutes to start to set and firm up. Don’t allow this to set hard or it’ll be too difficult to work with and to cover your swiss roll. Gently and slowly pour a couple of caps full of amaretto over your Swiss roll, allowing it to soak into the sponge (again, omit the alcohol if you want to share this with the kids!)

When your ganache is cool, and has started to thicken, spread it thickly onto your swiss roll and roughly leave a ‘bark/knot’ pattern in the chocolate to represent a log.

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To make the grown up fizzy jelly. Following the packet instructions, break/cut up the jelly into small pieces (I use scissors and cut it into small pieces as they dissolve quicker).  Pour over up to 200ml boiling water and stir until the jelly has dissolved.  Carefully open the bottle of Prosecco and use this to make the jelly up to 500ml. Pour into serving dishes or glasses and leave somewhere to cool and set firm.

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For your mince pies, preheat your oven to 200°C onto a floured board, roll out your pastry evenly until it’s about the depth of a pound coin. Using a cutter that’s larger than your tart tin, cut 12 rounds of pastry and use these to line the tin indentations.  Place a generous teaspoon of your mincemeat into each of the pastry rounds.  Using the leftover pastry, cut stars or other shapes to top your mince pies.  Brush the tops of the pastry with beaten egg to glaze, being careful not to allow it to drip down between the pastry base and the tin as this will cause your mince pies to stick.  Bake for 15-18 minutes, until the tops are golden and the pastry has puffed.  Remove to a wire rack to cool, then sprinkle with icing sugar to give them a festive dusting of ‘snow’.

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To go with my Christmas pudding, I’ve made a delicious rum butter.  This is one of the easiest things to make as it only takes three ingredients: unsalted butter, icing sugar and rum!  Allow your butter to reach room temperature as this will make it easier to mix. The rule of thumb here is to use twice as much icing sugar as butter, therefore for 250g butter, you’d need 500g icing sugar.  Using an electric hand mixer, beat the softened butter and the icing sugar together gently (adding the icing sugar in small amounts until combined, to avoid you, the house and entire neighbourhood being covered in a sweet, white dusting of sugar).  When fully combined, turn up the speed and whip it until it becomes light in texture.  Add a couple of capfuls of rum (or your preferred spirit), then beat again to incorporate it fully.  Taste and add more rum if you like.

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So, there you go; four tasty treats, all of which have a little cheat attached to make your dessert table one to be envied and for you to enjoy as you’ve had a little help to make each of them stress free.

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Wishing you a very Merry ‘stress free’ Christmas from the Central England Co-Operative, my family and myself.

Rosie

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I was provided with vouchers from the Central England Co-Operative to purchase ingredients to take part in this campaign.