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.

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.

Wine Review – Central England Co-Operative – Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay & Pinot Noir

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This month for the Central England Co-Operative We Like Wine Blog, I’ve chosen to go for something with a little bit of fizz to celebrate what is finally summer; a Jacob’s Creek Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Australia.  Sparkling wines tend to be fermented twice, as opposed to once for still wines, where the second fermentation produces the bubbles that we all love!image

Britain first started to become aware of the emerging wine growers of Australia in the 1990s, and by 2008 we were consuming more Australian wines than we were French and that love of Australian wines continues to grow today. With the diverse terrain and temperature range that can be found in Australia, you will find many varieties of grapes being grown and therefore a diverse amount of flavours being available to you.

Champagne tends to be made from the Chardonnay and Pinor Noir grapes from the ‘Champagne’ region of France.  The Chardonnay grapes introduce a crisp, citrus flavour whilst the Pinot Noir grape tends to produce a lightly coloured, medium bodied, low tannin wine. This wine from Jacob’s Creek incorporates both of these grapes and all of the flavours of ‘champagne’ without the associated price tag.

Sitting in the garden as the sun was going down on a Saturday evening, whilst enjoying a delicious dinner of roast and sweet potato wedges, chicken breasts stuffed with basil and haggis then wrapped with proscuito along with a serving of roasted onions and peppers, was the perfect accompaniment to this beautifully chilled bottle of wine.

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I was sent a voucher with which to purchase this bottle of wine, which retails at £7.99. (Price as at 04/07/2015).

Father’s Day Dinner with Central England Co-Operative

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This year, in the UK, we find Father’s Day being celebrated on Sunday 21st June. Personally for me and my family, this isn’t the easiest Father’s Day to celebrate as my own dad is in hospital and is currently very unwell. As a result, he won’t be at home with us to celebrate his special day, but will be visited by mum, my sisters, brother and myself as well as his grandchildren where we will tell him he’s loved and wish him a speedy recovery to come home again.

Dad loves what he calls a ‘proper dinner’ and I know he would love this one and that his plate would be empty after he’s enjoyed his dinner. In honour and to respect my dad, this one is for him, with love from his baby girl…

Serves 4

5 Medium potatoes
2 Sweet Potatoes
2 Red onions
25g Butter
8 Lamb leg steaks
Beef stock pot/cube
15ml Mint Sauce concentrate

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1. Preheat the oven to 170˚C (150˚C fan).
2. Peel the potatoes, sweet potatoes and onions and slice thinly into 2mm slices.

image3. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a dish with the butter.
4. Place the potatoes in layers in the bottom of the dish.
5. Top the potatoes with the sliced onions.

image6. Arrange a layer of the sweet potatoes on top of the potatoes and onions.

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7. Lay the lamb leg steaks on top of the sweet potatoes.image
8. Add a final layer of sweet potatoes on top of the lamb leg steaks.
9. Make the stock pot/cube up to 500ml with boiling water and stir until fully dissolved.
10. Add the mint sauce concentrate and stir to mix.
11. Pour the stock and mint sauce over the potatoes and lamb.

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12. Cover the dish with foil.

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12. Cook for 2 hours until the potatoes are cooked and the lamb is tender.

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12. Serve with steamed cauliflower and minted Yorkshire puddings and gravy.

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