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.

Russell Hobbs Allure Espresso Machine Review

As a coffee lover, I was excited to be sent an Allure Espresso Machine to review from Russell Hobbs.  The brushed stainless steel and black finish is elegant as well as easy to keep looking clean & stylish.
This compact machine packs a whopping 15 bar pressure through its’ pump and comes with a measuring spoon/coffee grounds tamper as well as both a single and a double espresso coffee grounds holder.
They’ve thought of everything a coffee maker needs, so you can find a cup holder/warmer on top of the machine.
The machine incorporates a 1.5 litre on board water tank which you can either fill in situ, or remove and fill from the tap.  It’s capable of making espresso, latte or cappuccino coffees as well as being used as a hot water facility or just a milk frother for your hot chocolate drink.
 
Using the machine couldn’t be easier either.  Simply select whether you’re going to make one or two cups of espresso, and place the relevant holder into the handle.  Scoop one/two spoons of your coffee into the holder and gently tamp it down, making sure to clean off any stray coffee grounds from around the edges of the holder, to ensure a good seal to the machine.  It’s also able to work with the ESS coffee pods that you can buy. In this case, just ensure that you do not leave any of the paper frill outside the holder that would prevent the seal being made to the machine.
Lining up the handle with the left hand corner of the machine, insert the handle into the base of the coffee machine so the lugs slot into place.
Turn the handle to the right until it’s at right angles to the front of the machine.
Switch on the machine using the bottom rocker switch.  You will hear a noise initially as the 15 bar compressor starts up. 
Place your cup(s) on the drip tray underneath the nozzles. Turn the top rocker switch to the ‘two drip’ (water) setting and rotate the large centre switch to the right towards the image of the cup & saucer.
Fill your cups to approx 1/3 full.  Rotate the centre switch back to the left to the ‘X’ to stop the flow of water.  Your machine will continue to purge the water held in the system.
Rock the top switch to the left towards the steam icon.  Place a tall jug of milk under the frother arm & rotate the centre switch to the left towards the two drip/steam icon.
Making sure you keep the frother nozzle under the surface of the milk, allow the steam to go through it, which both heats and froths it.
From my finished cappuccino below, I’m sure you can understand why the barristers of this world are in no way worried about their job being stolen by me when you can see my attempt at ‘coffee art’!
To clean the machine couldn’t be easier either.  Pull off the black milk frother attachment.  Be aware that this may still be hot, depending on how long it’s been since you made your coffee.  Wipe the stainless steel frother tube to remove any milk residue.
Pull the drip tray forwards.
Lift the drip tray grill.
Remove the insert at the back of the drip tray, pulling it forwards and then upwards.
Wipe over the base with a damp cloth.
I was recommended to try Lavazzo coffee by an Italian friend of mine & I’m glad that I did.  It’s a rich coffee which produces a lovely smooth crema on your espresso and works perfectly with the Russell Hobbs Allure Espresso machine.
The machine is simple to use but I found that I needed to hold my coffee cup in position when making it as the powerful compressor has a habit of vibrating the cup away from underneath the outlets.  It’s not a silent machine either due to the power, but then again, I didn’t expect it to be; it’s not overly noisy or offensive sounding and certainly wouldn’t deter me from using it.  It’s simple to clean and doesn’t take long to get it ready for your next drink.
Would I be disappointed with this machine if I’d bought it?  No, I wouldn’t.
Would I recommmend it to fellow coffee lovers? Yes, indeed I would.
The machine was kindly sent to me by the PR company of Russell Hobbs.  I have not been paid for this review and the views expressed are a reflection of how I found the machine during operation.