Sanpellegrino Fruit Beverages – Mighty Fine When You Can’t Have Beer Or Wine.

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I received an email from PR firm Lily and Louis  about using Sanpellegrino Fruit Beverages in a cocktail. I think that is a mighty fine idea if you are drinking alcohol. It then crossed my mind that these lovely drinks are not very popular in New Zealand and although we often have a couple in the fridge, I had never seen any friends with them. I think they are a very European thing? I was sent a six pack of all three flavours above so that I may share and tell you what you are missing out on.

When we visited the UK  in the summer of 2016,  Sanpellegrino Fruit Beverages were everywhere. Pubs, restaurants, cafes and even the real greasy fry up cafes stocked them. We drank them on a daily basis and defiantly had more Sanpellegrino than tea.

Now, I am not going to pretend that these are some kids drink that you load up a fridge with, no, no, no…… these are special. I would say these are grown up drinks and my teenager coverts them and thinks I am fab when I let her have a share in mine.

Sanpellegrino Fruit Beverages are the answer to what to take to a party, BBQ or dinner party when you are not drinking. Carrying in a 6 pack of these is the way to be the cool sober driver and your host will appreciate any left over. I often enjoy one or half of one if the teenager got lucky with dinner. I find they go well with food of all kinds.

My  favourite is the Blood Orange, the Limonata is a close second. I hadn’t tried the Chinotto before, that is growing on me. I didn’t realise it was a special type of orange, it has a taste not unlike cola but is citrus tasting too.

We buy ours from Thorndon New World. They are rather hidden. If you stand facing the fizzy drinks isle, go to the furthest left and look down the bottom. All three of the above flavours are usually available. If they don’t have them in your supermarket, ask them to stock them.

Have you had any of the flavours before?

 

 

Crumpet French Toast, It Really Is A Thing.

 

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Today is Father’s Day here in NZ and that requires bacon being consumed for breakfast. I don’t like bacon, really, really.

I keep a few bits of bread in the freezer so I can have French Toast when the bacon fans do their bacon thing. This morning I decided to be different and try French Toast made with crumpets. This isn’t a sponsored post, I got the damn fine crumpets from the supermarket the other day. This brand is fairly new to the Wellington region and their crumpets are square and taste as good as fresh made ones. Making crumpets is one of those things I can tick off my bucket list and never do again. Button Family Crumpets taste as good and are far less work. These crumpets are square and delicious, I really do recommend them. They made damn fine French toast too.

With the French Toast I did what I would normally do. I would recommend 2 crumpets person and one egg for the mix per person.

Crack an egg into a bowl, lightly whisked.

Added a splash of milk and 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence.

Place crumpets in mix and turn a few times

Melted about 20g butter in a fry pan.

Add crumpets and cook until light brown , flipping a few times.

Serve with fruit and your choice of syrup.

It didn’t seem to make a difference which way up they went in the mix or the pan. They tasted damn fine and did require lashings of maple syrup.I would certainly French Toast my crumpets again, they were very good.

 

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Briscoes- A Really Fab Customer Service Story.

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A Tuesday night customer service story for you, the good kind. I work in retail and like to provide a 10/10 service and I love it when I get great service myself.

When I had the flu I some how managed to smash the lid of my favourite pan, I may have cried. This is the kind of pan you have forever and watch others carefully if they even look at it. This treasured pan is a Brabantia 24cm skillet with a glass lid, I love it and I set out on a mission to get myself another lid.

Today I arrived home to a parcel on the door step that contained my new lid and my mission was complete. I want to post about this mission because I had some wonderful customer service from Briscoes and the supply company , Premium Corporation.

At first I did the obvious thing and went and asked in a Briscoes store. I didn’t get any where and the universal lid didn’t work. After that I emailed Briscoes, got an apology and a marvellous member of the team, Chelsea P was on a mission to help. Along the way I was also in contact with Liz T who was equally fab. The pan lid was ordered through Premium Corp and was set to take a while as it was coming from overseas. It didn’t take that long before I got a lovely phone call from Paula to tell me it was in. All up, very impressed. The pan wouldn’t have cost the earth to buy another one but I just wanted a lid. It came in cheaper for the replacement even with postage.

So, thank you Chelsea, Liz and Paula. I love my lid.

I wanted to write this post as it is far too easy to talk about the negative, thanks for reading. Do you have any great customer service stories?

 

Sweet Enough Less Sugar, More Taste- A Great New NZ Baking Book.

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A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this lovely book. If you enlarge the photo you will see that it mentions my birthday buddy, Lucy Mutch from Wellington Foodies. She got to take all the wonderful photos as The Isherwood Sisters who wrote the book live in Wellington. You can find out all about the sisters and the books aim, to reduce sugar here.

Sunday afternoon Miss was baking for her week and I decided to help fill the oven and put a Monday smile on my colleagues faces by baking from the book. I chose the Wholemeal Ginger Crunch. The base has little sugar in and the icing is delicious. To top it all, it was very easy. I do enjoy a good one pot recipe. My colleagues enjoyed the slice.

You can arrange to sell the book for fundraising, I think that is a pretty nifty fundraising idea. So, order yourself the book and have a look and see for yourself.

 

Masterchef New Zealand – That Is My Friend Lily!

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MasterChef New Zealand is in the early stages and my friend Lily is through and one of the final 16.

Lily has become a very good friend over the past few years. We met because our husbands worked together and we both are known for our love of food. I am one of the very few people who will cook for Lily. She is a seriously amazing cook and her dinner parties are epic events.

Her table is always full of several huge dishes of varying cuisines, her macarons have perfect feet and you never leave hungry. You do often leave with left overs.

I am loving seeing this talent on TV as she progresses through MasterChef. Go Lily has become my mantra. The media has picked up on how direct Lily can be and I respect the guts she has to carry on being who she is on MasterChef. She has wanted to be on a cooking show for a long time, and now she is.

Guess what I am trying to say is, reach for your dreams.

SO GO LILY.

Taken from Masterchef's Facebook page.

Taken from MasterChef’ NZ Facebook page.

Gluten Free Ground Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies – Miss Muffin Made These Marvellous Morsels.

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Look at this wonderful photo, Miss Muffin (nearly 12yrs) took it. She has a keen interest in photography and has a far better eye than me. She is also coming along nicely with her kitchen skills and is still making the odd meal. She doesn’t want me to blog every one so I have respected that. These cookies need a mention though, these were so good that I could have eaten far too many. That is not like me, I am not a food binger. I had to get Mr Muffin to hide them from me as they were part of my baking for his work along with the Cherry Turnovers. You have been warned.

The original recipe can be found on Wellness Mamma.

Gluten Free Ground Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies- Muffinmum.com

  • Servings: around 16 cookies
  • Print

2 cups ground almond

1/4 cup castor sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

Pinch of salt

1/2  cup/115g of melted butter (can use the same amount of melted coconut oil)

1 large egg lightly whisked

1 cup dark chocolate chips (we used Whittaker’s 70% Dark Ghana)

Heat oven to 180c.

Line 2 cookie sheets with grease proof paper.

Mix ground almonds, castor sugar, baking soda and pinch of salt.

Add melted butter and stir until it forms a dough.

Then add egg and stir in, should become slacker.

Stir in chocolate chips until well mixed.

Make into balls that are roughly tablespoon size,

Place on prepared cookie sheet leaving a space of roughly 4cm.

Bake until tops are lightly browned.

Remove from oven and leave on the sheet to cool enough to touch.

When cool remove to a wire rack.

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Al’s Deli – at last !

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Eating my Al’s Deli Poutine Burger

A while ago I had a few days in Auckland to eat all the things. Al’s Deli was one place on my list that we just didn’t get to. When I found out I was going to Auckland for work I decided I must remedy this and test the place out for Mr Muffin. I am rather pleased I did, and I met up with a great bunch of people that I know mainly via Twitter, they all enjoyed their meal too.

Al’s Deli is one of those places that you either know about or are surprised about when you find out about it. It is at the top of Queens Street and on that little hill (City Road) that leads up the back of The Langham Hotel. It is decorated like a diner and has marvellous 1950’s tables. Order a Coke and it comes in a Coke glass, we all know that makes it taste better? I had the cherry coke in my special glass. I rarely drink Coke or fizzy drinks and really enjoyed the fizzy cherry bubbles.

The Al's Deli Poutine Burger.

The Al’s Deli Poutine Burger.

For my main I had the Poutine Burger, it is a burger bun with a delicious beef patty, fries, gravy and cheese curds. It was satisfying, the stuff of future dreams and I succeeded in eating it from the bun and not using cutlery. I did cut it in half after the photo was taken and would recommend this method.

Others had an assortment of food including chicken wings, fries topped with pulled pork pork, chicken burgers and falafel burger. There were moments of eating silence, which is always a good sign. There were also claims of being very full (including me) but most of us found our dessert stomach.

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Moose Ear with Nutella and Banana

On my last visit to Auckland I was very curious about the Moose Ears on the Sweet Treats section of the menu. I asked a staff member which version she recommended and the Nutella and banana topped Moose Ear was ordered. Others ordered the Banana Split, Moose Ear with bacon and maple syrup and lucky Wendy Wings got the last Apple Pie Fries. My Moose Ears were delicious and I really enjoyed trying something different, I liked the fried base and would have it again. It would make a good breakfast. I also got to try one of the legendary Apple Pie Fries, they were good too and I would certainly try to get a whole portion at some point.

Al’s Deli is certainly somewhere I would go back to and take the family. I really liked the diner style setting and the food. It is one of those places where you have to be prepared to eat fried things and leave very full. I look forward to my next trip and it worth the walk up Queens Street.

Silver Fern Farms – the fussy meat eater who ate all the animals and learnt all about the company

Silver Fern™ Farms

* all of the images featured belong to Silver Fern Farms as I was busy eating and talking.

A little while ago I received an email from Silver Fern Farms, it asked for participants for a market research event. I replied to this and didn’t hear anything for a while, and then I got the call. Sometimes I put my hands up for something and then spend a while thinking, why, why, why? I must admit, this was one of those occasions.

I am a fussy meat-eater. I was vegetarian for a very long time and only really started eating meat when we moved to New Zealand. As I kid I ate all my vegetables and left the meat, even Brussel sprouts.I hated going to other people’s houses for tea and once convinced myself I was a witch due to a kitchen fire where my most dreaded meal was about to be served.I must have been about 13 years old and was at a friend’s house and we were about to be served chops, tinned tomatoes and fried egg. The kitchen went up in actual flames, the fire brigade were called and dinner was forgotten. After that I decide to be vegetarian to avoid chops and house fires (there was no damage, my witching wasn’t that bad). That is why I was doubting myself and my decision-making and thinking, what have I done?

All-Packs

Back to Silver Fern Farms, on the phone I was asked a few questions and fitted into a Thursday evening Wellington group. I had no idea what to expect but I did know it would involve meat, lots of meat. I may have been mocked by my loving family for volunteering for this. When I came home and told them what the evening had involved and how much meat I had eaten, the they were filled with jealousy and envy.

I ate all the animals and enjoyed every single bite. There was venison, lamb and beef were all cooked to perfection. I had a venison medallion, beef meatballs with , lemon and thyme , beef sliders, lamb steak and a new cut, grid iron steak. Each portion was delicious and I wasn’t afraid of any of it. There were no nasty bits to avoid, no voice inside my head saying, ‘no, you can’t swallow that’, there was rather a lot of mmmmmmmm.

I wasn’t alone in my meat-eating, there were 4 other volunteers and Angela, the leader of the discussion. Much of the talking was around our perception of Silver Fern Farms and our previous purchasing. I was honest and said that it fell into the special meal for a reason category for me and my family. After learning more about the quality of the meat, this is something that will be changed.

I wasn’t brain washed but I had it explained to me that Silver Fern Farms pick the top 5% of meat available, so there is 95% of meat that they do not consider to be of their high standards. They employ a whole team of people to ensure quality and the master butchers even have to have their eyes tested every 8 weeks! I must say, I left very impressed and full.

It was great to do something like this and put myself a little out of my comfort zone. It was also a fantastic way to learn about a New Zealand company and the hard work they do. Expect some meat based blogging soon.

I do wish I had pretty pictures, I don’t. You can have a look at their very clever website and Facebook page.

Granola using Healtheries Black Chia Seeds – rather impressed.

Look! Golden granola.

Look! Golden Granola.

I feel rather old saying this, I love a bowl of granola with some fancy yoghurt for breakfast at the weekend. So does Mr Muffin, I never thought I would say that. We generally have a seedy one and on looking at the ingredients I noticed it too contained black chia seeds.

This got me thinking on using my Healtheries Black Chia Seeds and I investigated various recipes and created a granola suitable for us. I didn’t even have to buy anything to add to it, that made me happy.

It was my first attempt at granola and next time I will make an effort to have bigger clumps by stirring it a little less. I may add a little dried fruit while the granola cools, dried cherries would be good.

The Healtheries Black Chia Seeds add a nice crunch and texture. These little seeds are certainly finding their way onto my shopping list. Healtheries sent me the Chia as I am one of their Super Samplers.

Granola with Healtheries Black Chia Seeds - Muffinmum.com

  • Servings: enough to go around a group
  • Print

1 3/4 c oats ( I used quick cooking)

3/4 c chopped nuts (I used cashews and almonds)

1/2 c Healtheries Black Chia Seeds

1/2 c shredded coconut (unsweetened is the best)

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c honey

1/3 c canola oil

1 tbsp brown sugar (or your favourite sweetener)

1 egg white

Heat oven to 160c

Line your largest baking tray with grease proof paper

In a big bowl combine oats, nuts, chia seeds, salt , ground cinnamon and coconut

In a separate bowl mix the honey, egg white, oil and sugar

Add the wet mix onto the dry mix and stir, you want to give it a good mix

Tip onto the baking tray and spread out, leave some bits clumped together if you want lumps.

Bake for 15 minutes, check and stir gently

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden

Leave to cool in tin before tipping into an air tight tin, will keep for up to 2 weeks.

* you can add the nuts after cooking if you want them to remain raw.

Eat New Zealand Magazine – I have a recipe in the April Edition.

Eat New Zealand is an online magazine. It is published monthly and can be subscribed to. I have really enjoyed all of the issues and this month (April 2015) I have a recipe featured in the magazine. I am very proud to be part of this publication and a little impressed with myself. Thank you for the opportunity Jules van Cruysen and the push Lucy Mutch.

I am going to leave you to find my recipe and get sidetracked by the great articles.

If you haven’t signed up already, click on the link above and look forward to the next edition.

If you found me though the magazine, hello and have a good browse.

I have a recipe in here.

I have a recipe in here.