Cake Pops with Rangemaster

When you get home from a long day at work and find this waiting for you, it can only put a big smile on your face, can’t it?  Well…. what was inside? Do you want to see?
This is what was inside.  A recipe sheet from Rangemaster and pretty much all the ingredients needed to make a batch of cake pops, including butter, flour, vanilla extract, icing sugar, cocoa, cake pop sticks, chocolate and sprinkles. Just add egg, a bit of love and an oven.

Obviously (but sadly) the box wasn’t big enough to fit a Rangemaster oven in, so my own kitchen one had to do! Although they did send me a brochure full of their ranges which I could only dream of buying. The brochure was strategically left open and marked at the relevant page for hubby.  Soon be Christmas, don’t ha know! Haha!

The recipe sheet and instructions were easy to follow, so I stood back and allowed my daughter and her friend to create these fabulous looking cake pops.  They didn’t last long, and I’m lucky that I actually managed to photograph four of them before they were devoured!

Thanks to Rangemaster for sending me the box of ingredients, not to mention giving me green eyed envy at what my kitchen NEEDS to continue to help me create plates of amazing (but easy) food. 

Food Review – PG Tips ‘The Rich One’

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Have you seen the new teas from PG?  Did you take the quiz to see if you’re ‘Mellow’, ‘Rich’, ‘Fresh’ or ‘Strong’?  I did and apparently I’m RICH!  Er…. hello, have you seen my bank account, not yours, Monkey?! LOL!!
Well, a little while passed after I took the quiz and I came home to find this ‘tea chest’ in my hallway, waiting my arrival.

Now, if you’re like me, you get straight in there, none of this delicately unwrapping the goodness that’s contained inside; No siree, I just jump straight in!  Not very ‘Mellow’, nor in the sophisticated realms of being ‘Rich’, but I found myself more of the ‘Strong’ type as I ripped the tape off and opened up the box to see the contents with a pair of ‘Fresh’ and excited eyes.
And greeting me was this lot of goodies:  A silky, smooth and decadent dressing gown in which to relax after using my Molten Brown shower gel, whilst my feet slip into my Marks & Spencer Per Una slippers as I sip my PG Tips ‘Rich’ tea from my delicate Royal Albert cup and saucer whilst waiting for my sparkly Essie nail polish to dry on my finger nails.
Not content to allow me to drink my tea in peace, this little cheeky chimp, Monkey, decided to have fun with the boxes of tea, initially being very well behaved and sitting nicely to have his photo taken.

He rapidly decided that that was too much effort and was soon found laying down on the job.

Before hiding behind the boxes, threatening to knock down the tower of tea and create mayhem!  Cheeky boy!

Thanks to Unilever and PG Tips for sending me my ‘Rich’ box; it’s very much appreciated, by me (and Monkey!)

Easter cocktails, mocktails & chocolate?

The clocks have changed to British Summer Time which means the days are getting longer, the nights are getting lighter and the weather is getting warmer. This weekend sees two bank holidays in celebration of Easter, giving us a long weekend, so what better way to enjoy and celebrate than with a cocktail, a mocktail or a drink with friends and family? (Not forgetting enjoying some chocolate of course!).

Aldi sent me a hamper full of goodies with which to celebrate the season.

A dark, rich Pinot Noir (£4.49) which went beautifully with our lamb roast on Sunday.

A lovely, creamy white chocolate Easter Bunny that I couldn’t help but nibble on as I took my photos (oops!)

Another nibble on the bunny’s ears and I was ready to assemble all the ingredients to prepare a cocktail from their dark Hopking Rum (£9.99) and the Cocobay Caribbean White Rum & Coconut blend (£4.99).  Shaken (not stirred) with some ice and fresh double cream in my new cocktail shaker. Wow! What a combination.
For those that don’t like either cocktails or spirits, why not try a bottle of their Orchard Cider (£0.99) served cold and poured over ice for a refreshing, longer drink? Or a glass of cold, fresh sparkling Chardonnay (£6.99).

However you celebrate the Easter season; I wish you & your family good weather, good friends, happy families and amazing memories. Cheers!
The Aldi hamper and contents was sent to me free of charge from their PR company.  I was under no obligation to review the contents.

Virtual Come Dine with Me with Russell Hobbs and Chicken Liver Pate

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I was invited to create and share the first course of a ‘Virtual Blogger Come Dine with Me’ event for Russell Hobbs using one of their exciting, newly launched, Illumina range of kitchen equipment.  I was sent the 3-in-1 Hand Blender with has an RRP of £49.99 to try out.  This is a sleek and stylish looking black and stainless steel gadget that packs a powerful 700w punch of power.  Add this a coloured illuminated ring with colour coded speeds which you choose and nothing can be simpler!  It includes the stick blender; great for purees, smoothies and shakes.  The whisk that you can whip up a decadent topping of cream for any dessert or your smoothies, for a (not so calorie free) treat.  The 1000ml beaker supplied is great to use with the stick blender to make your smoothies in, whilst the 750ml chopping bowl is perfect for breadcrumbs, herbs, vegetables and fruit.

Using this easy to create recipe for my Chicken Liver Pate, I’m kicking off this week’s cyber Come Dine with Me party.  I can’t wait for the main course that Carmela’s creating for you on Wednesday and of course, as every girl loves, the dessert which is being created by Julie on Friday!

4 Shallots
100g Butter, unsalted
1tsp Oregano
1tsp Sage
1tsp Thyme
400g Chicken livers
2tbs Madeira
Salt and Pepper to taste

Peel the shallots and cut in half.  Place in the hand chopping bowl and pulse on speed 3 (green – Purees/Chopping) until roughly chopped.

Wash and trim the livers then cut into evenly sized pieces.

Melt the butter in a non stick frying pan over a gentle heat and cook the shallots until transparent. Be careful not to burn the butter.

Add the herbs, livers and Madeira.

Cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until cooked through.

Allow to cool for a few minutes then tip into the beaker.

Using the stick blender on speed 3 (green – Purees/Chopping) puree the pate until smooth.

Tip into an earthenware dish, decorate with fresh bay leaves and chill until cold and set.

Serve with crackers, a bit of fresh salad and some of my homemade Apple & Sultana Chutney with a Chilli Kick.

So, now you’ve seen what I started the meal with, please go and see what Carmela has cooked up for the main course for you on Wednesday.

The obvious beauty of a non-TV version of Come Dine with Me is that there’s no strangers sitting on my bed, opening my cupboards and looking through my drawers!

Thanks to Russell Hobbs for sending me the Illumina 3-in-1 Hand Blender to review and also for the Sainsbury’s shopping voucher to compensate for the time and ingredients for this event.