Caramel and Popcorn Cream Slices with Monin Popcorn Syrup

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I am a HUGE fan of Monin syrups. I have a big selection of them now and I use them in my bakes and in drinks. There is such a massive range of flavours available making them perfect for every occasion. The wonderful people at Monin know how much I love them, so very kindly sent me some samples of one of their latest ones to try… Popcorn Syrup. This syrup was exclusive to Costa during the Summer, where they used it in their Popcorn Cappuccino. Luckily for us it is now on general sale to everyone! Wahooooooo!!!!

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The first thing I do when I get a new bottle of Monin syrup is open it and smell it. They always smell so beautiful, and this one is no exception. Imagine a bowl full of freshly made caramel popcorn, still warm. That is exactly what this syrup smells like. It is also exactly what it tastes like, liquid popcorn! I have to say I think this is one of my favourites. It is perfect added to milk for a delicious milkshake, or added to hot chocolate, and I even mixed some in a rice pudding. Dreamy!

As it is popcorn flavour, I immediately decided that I would bake something with caramel too as the two flavours are a perfect combination. I also wanted to make something very easy and quick, so that anyone could make it themselves with no stresses. They need very few ingredients too. These cream slices are extremely simple to make the way I did them, but you can make them more difficult if you insist. I used a ready made puff pastry sheet, as even top bakers say life is too short to make your own! The shop bought variety is delicious so no need to bother spending hours making it yourself. I also used a ready made caramel sauce for the topping. You can make your own if you want but as I said, I wanted this to be an easy dessert that anyone could make with no chance of anything going wrong (and believe me, I’ve seen some disastrous caramel sauce stories). I used Carnation’s Cook with Caramel which is a scrumptious product to have in your store cupboard for last minute desserts and bakes!

You can choose how many slices to cut the pastry in to, but I made 6 big ones. If you wanted to make some for a delicate afternoon tea, just cut them into smaller slices.

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CARAMEL AND POPCORN CREAM SLICES

1 sheet ready made puff pastry

2 tbsp Monin Popcorn Syrup

300 ml double cream

300 g caramel sauce (I used Carnation Cook with Caramel)

Popcorn to decorate (I used Butterkist Salted Caramel popcorn)

  • Preheat your oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. Carefully cut the pastry sheet in half across the width, making 2 equally sized rectangles.
  • Place one of the halves on to the baking sheet, prick it all over with a fork, and place a clean baking sheet on top. (This is to prevent it rising too much). Bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, then remove the top baking sheet and bake the pastry for a further 5-10 minutes until lovely and golden all over.
  • Slide the pastry on to a cooling rack.
  • Place the second pastry half on to the lined baking sheet, prick it all over with a fork, cover with another baking sheet and bake as before. Cool this one on a cooling rack too.
  • While they are cooling, whisk together the double cream and the Monin Popcorn Syrup until it forms soft peaks. You don’t want to whisk it past this stage as it will naturally thicken further as you pipe it.
  • When the pastry is cooled, place them on top of each other and carefully cut both pieces in to the desired sizes. I cut mine in to 2 inch by 4.5 inch rectangles, and it made enough for 6 slices (2 rectangles per slice).
  • Spoon the whisked cream into a disposable piping bag and cut the end off, making an opening about 1cm wide. Place half of the pastry rectangles on to a board or plate, and pipe the cream on each of them. Place the other pastry rectangles on top.
  • Spoon the caramel sauce in to another disposable piping bag and cut the end off, making a smaller opening than you had for the cream. Pipe the caramel on top of the pastry slices. Dip a small spatula in boiling water, then use it to spread the caramel evenly across the slices, filling in any gaps.
  • Decorate with popcorn, and enjoy. These keep well in the fridge for a couple of days, although the popcorn decoration might need replacing, so only decorate them when you are ready to serve them.

I have to say they taste heavenly. I will be making these many times from now. Friends and family will be so impressed if you serve these to them, and they will have no idea how easy they were to make. I won’t tell if you don’t ūüėČ

To find out more about the gorgeous Monin syrups available, click HERE to go to their website.

 

DISCLAIMER: I was sent the Popcorn Syrup for free to use in my bakes. This fact in no way has any bearing on my opinion of it though. I believe in honesty at all times and will only recommend products I genuinely love. And I genuinely love this!!!

 

 

A Girl’s Night In with Butterkist

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I was very lucky recently to be invited to have a wonderful Girl’s Night In courtesy of Butterkist. I’m at that age where all of my friends are married/cohabiting with children, and free time is hard to find with everyone’s family and work commitments. Before I had my son, I was out with friends constantly or working in a pub in the evenings after work for extra money. But then Luke came along and something strange happened. I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving him with babysitters while I went out, I just wanted to be with him all the time. In the 9 years since he’s been born, do you know how many nights out I’ve had without him? You’ll be shocked. Just two. Two!!! Entirely my choice. A couple of friendships fell by the wayside as a result. The party girl side of me vanished without a trace and the calmer settled side became the new me.

There are millions of great things about being a mum, and one of those is the new friendships you make with other mums at playgroups, schools, and clubs. I am so thankful and feel so blessed to have made some very special friendships this way. One such friend is Tracey. I hadn’t seen her for a while. Life has been busy for us both so it’s been a case of communication by Whatsapp for a few weeks. The good thing about technology is it lets you stay in touch with people when you can’t see them. Nothing beats sitting down together having a laugh and a chat though. Tracey was feeling a bit low due to personal family issues, so when Butterkist sent me a big box of goodies, I invited her for a Girl’s Night In.

Butterkist knew EXACTLY what would make a perfect night in. I received a big box containing heart shaped marshmallows and Sweet Popcorn Belgian hot chocolate sachets from Options, along with Butterkist mugs to make them in. There was also Creamy Coconut Face Masks, a 2 month Now TV Sky Movies Pass, and lots of yummy popcorn with special cartons to put it in.

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My Other Half and Luke were banished upstairs so Tracey and I could enjoy our girly night. No boys allowed, apart from our very cheeky puppy who wouldn’t leave us alone.

I made our hot chocolate drinks in our lovely new mugs. Butterkist had wanted to send some squirty cream but Royal Mail had said they couldn’t, but that is one thing that I always have in my fridge. Tracey just wanted marshmallows on hers without cream. I went the whole hog and piled cream, marshmallows and popcorn on mine! While I made the drinks and opened the popcorn, Tracey got the film ready for us to watch. We had chosen an old classic…. Bridget Jones’s Diary. A girly night needs a girly film, and what better than Bridget Jones! I lit the tabletop fire and we were good to go.

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We laughed and cried together. We’re both soppy and romantic and cry at everything, which is why I had a box of tissues ready too. The famous scene with Bridget and her big granny knickers had us talking about embarrassing dates we’d ever had. There were plenty! I won’t embarrass myself by telling you lot though hehe!!!! Ok I’ll tell you the least embarrassing of mine. I went on a blind date many years ago with a man called Jason. He took me to the cinema to watch The Horse Whisperer (that shows how long ago it was)! There was a premiere room in the cinema with waitress service to your reclining seat, where you could enjoy alcoholic drinks and snacks. I put my seat back and settled down for the film. I was really tired after a very late night the night before but thought I was hiding that fact well. There’s a scene in the film where there’s just lovely music and shots of the beautiful landscape. I can’t remember what else. I was so comfortable in my reclined seat I fell asleep and missed the rest of the film. Jason was not impressed as he had paid extra for us to watch it in that room, and he grumbled about it for quite a while! I did see him a few times after (surprisingly), but that led to a much more embarrassing date which I am NOT telling you about and which was the last time I saw him!! Ahem!

Anyway, back to our girly night. Butterkist had sent sharing bags of their latest flavours to try: Salted Caramel, Choc Mallow, and Coconut and Raspberry.

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They were all absolutely scrumptious but we both agreed the Choc Mallow was our favourite. You can really taste the chocolatey marshmallow. The pack says there are only 106 calories per 25g serving, the same as for the Coconut and Raspberry. The Salted Caramel only has 81 calories per serving. All 3 are a source of fibre as they contain wholegrains, so the fact we ate copious amounts of them must make us extra healthy, right? Well in my ideal world it does ūüôā The Salted Caramel was the perfect blend of sweetness and saltiness. I find some salted caramels far too salty, and I’m really not a salt fan, but this popcorn was beautiful. I had received 2 packs of that flavour, so I was kind and let the boys take one upstairs to enjoy. The Coconut and Raspberry was amazing too. Some pieces seemed to have a stronger coconut flavour with a hint of raspberry, and some were the other way round, ¬†but the overall taste was beautiful. All 3 flavours had wonderful aftertastes too. I will definitely be buying all of these. We often have “cinema nights” in our house at weekends, so I will stock up with these for those nights too.

We decided to put our face masks on after the film so that we could enjoy the film without having to stop it to rinse them off. (This slightly scared my puppy who must have thought 2 ghosts had appeared with our white faces, but then he tried to lick them off, so we moved from the sofa to the table so he couldn’t jump up to our faces). The hot chocolates had long disappeared and we had moved on to Baileys over ice. The Choc Mallow popcorn went really well with that! Both lovely creamy tastes. We chatted about life, the universe and everything and put the world to rights. It was such a special night with all the ingredients of perfection… scrummy food, indulgent drinks, good film, a bit of pampering, and lots of laughter.

Butterkist, you gave me the perfect excuse to spend quality time with a fab friend, and when she left at the end of the night we both agreed we had really needed that! So thank you.

So now I have a month and a half left on my Movies Pass, which means lots more popcorn-fuelled nights coming up! Heaven ūüôā

DISCLAIMER: Butterkist kindly sent me all of the products used for free in exchange for a report of my girly night. This in no way influenced my views though as I believe in honesty in all my posts. I would never recommend something I did not like or approve of. 

A Festive Degustabox… Eat, Drink and Be Merry

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I was so excited when the festive¬†Degustabox¬†arrived in November. It contained so many yummy treats… chocolate, alcohol, glittery jelly, those all important Christmas pickles… the list goes on. Even the actual box itself was festive!

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In case you haven’t read past posts about them,¬†Degustabox¬†is a monthly subscription surprise food box which costs just ¬£12.99 a month and that includes delivery! Bargain! The goodies you receive are actually worth around double the cost and are often things you might not have heard of or tried before. It has introduced me to quite a few products and brands I wasn’t aware of before, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The price is fantastic, especially considering the amount and quality of treats, but as an added bonus they have very kindly said if you use the code¬†BLDEG15¬†at checkout, you will receive a ¬£6 discount on your first box! So that makes it just ¬£6.99 INCLUDING delivery! Click¬†HERE¬†to go to their website so you can try it yourself.

Oops, you’ll need to know what types of goodies you can expect to receive! Well, here’s what came in the Festive November box:

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  • BOURNE & WALLIS:These are a British pickling company using vegetables sourced mainly from East Anglia. I received a jar of delicious pickled onions which was perfect as I always buy some anyway for Christmas. Can’t have a turkey sandwich without them! These ones were extremely flavoursome. ¬†Sharp but sweet. Just as they should be. I will definitely look out for this company’s products in future. RRP is ¬£1.40.
  • BRANSTON: We all know Branston for their famous pickle, but I had never tried this product before. I received Orchard Fruit Chutney. It is a spiced chutney made using apples, sultanas and dates and they recommend serving it with Stilton or pork. Well I had Cheddar and I had a ham so tried it with both of those. Amazing! Sweet with a bit of a kick. (Sounds like me!!!) I really enjoyed this. RRP is ¬£1.49.

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  • RYVITA: There were 2 products from this well-known brand, neither of which I had tried before. The Green and Black Olive Crackers were nicer than I was expecting. There were 4 packs of 6 crackers in the box, so a lot of value! They are low in saturated fat, and each cracker contains just 24 calories, so great for a healthy snack. The serving suggestion on the pack is to try them with feta and sun-dried tomatoes. I had neither so tried them with cream cheese. A pleasant surprise. These have a RRP of ¬£1.29. ¬†The other product was Cheddar and Cracked Black Pepper Thins. I really really really liked these! In fact I liked them so much I was sad when I ate them all. They are perfect for dipping, and I had them with houmous, and with a relish. But mostly I ate them straight from the packet as they were so moreish! They leave your mouth tingling from the cracked pepper but that’s a good thing. They are a source of fibre, and have 25 calories per flatbread. Delicious! The RRP for these is ¬£1.89.

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  • BUTTERKIST: There were 2 treats from this brand too. First was their Discoveries Salted Caramel Popcorn, which was very tasty. There was just the right amount of flavour and were very light. The other product was their Sweet and Salted Popcorn. This was delicious. This flavour can often be too salty for my liking but this was perfect. I didn’t get to eat much of these 2 treats though as my Other Half and my son tucked in and ate them before I had chance to blink!! The RRPs for these are ¬£1.49 and 55p respectively.

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  • TEISSEIRE: I received 2 packs of Gourmet Drops, one Caramel and one Vanilla. These are naturally flavoured coffee syrups with no added sugar. We recently bought a Tassimo coffee machine, so tried these in hot chocolate and in coffee. You only need a tiny bit as the flavours are very strong, but we all loved them. I tried a couple of drops in buttercream for cupcakes too and it was yummy. I had never heard of these before so was really happy to be introduced to them. The RRP is ¬£2.79 each.
  • TUCKEY’S: I received Proper Digestives. Tuckey’s believe that classic biscuits are not the same as they used to be, so their biscuits are inspired by the original recipes. No inverted or modified ingredients, just “proper” ones. The result is a biscuit which doesn’t taste as sweet as a well-known brand’s version but is still delicious. The box contains 4 stay fresh packs of 4 biscuits, so they keep well in a cupboard. These are perfect for dunking into a cuppa, or eating with cheese. Also perfect for cheesecake bases and rocky road style treats. One of the most versatile biscuits. The RRP is ¬£1.80.

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  • JIM JAMS: I received Hazelnut Chocolate Spread, which I was very excited about! I love a certain well-known other chocolate spread brand so was curious to see how this compared, as this one is a no added sugar version. I did a taste test with a teaspoon of each for all 3 of us. We all preferred the Jim Jams spread! Even though there is far less sugar than the other brand, it still tastes sweet and full of flavour. To be honest, comparing the sugar amounts of both, I was absolutely shocked by how much is in the other brand. Jim Jams proves it is completely unnecessary! It is sweet and creamy and chocolatey and nutty all in one. Gorgeous! It is gluten-free and uses fat-reduced cocoa too. This was my favourite item this month, as I know I will use it in many many bakes in the future, and I won’t feel guilty eating it or giving it to my son. I just need to buy some more first!! My personal serving suggestion for this would be treat yourself to a luxurious Choc Dip (remember them from childhood?), grab some breadsticks, open the jar and have fun! I can only find this to buy online and in some garden centres, and the price seems to be around ¬£3.99. Well worth every penny!
  • DIVINE: I received the 70% Dark Chocolate and Raspberries bar of chocolate. Divine by name and divine by nature! This was my very own treat just for me, as no one else in our house likes dark chocolate. It was so rich and just beautiful. Divine is a Fairtrade company which is 44% owned by the smallholder farmers in Ghana who supply the cocoa. I’ve read a lot of horrific articles lately about the detrimental impact that palm oil production is having on rainforests and especially orangutans. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge animal lover and hate to hear about any threats to habitats, wildlife etc. Why am I going on about that? Well Divine don’t use palm oil in any of their products, and that makes me happy as quite a few chocolate brands do. It is suitable for vegetarians and has a RRP of just ¬£1.

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  • BELVITA: I received the Breakfast Red Berries Soft Bakes, and what a gorgeous start to the day these provided. There were 5 individually foil wrapped bakes in the pack, and you can also get them in Golden Grain, or Chocolate Chip varieties. I’m glad I had the berries ones as they were delicious. They are soft but chewy, and packed with goodness. They are made with 5 wholegrains, and are a good source of fibre, vitamin B6, folic acid, magnesium and iron. They have 191 calories per bake and make a perfect grab-and-go breakfast on a busy day. I will be buying these in the future. The RRP is ¬£2.79.
  • NIM’S FRUIT CRISPS: I received the Pineapple and Mango variety. These were beautiful. They are different from freeze-dried fruit snacks, as these are pure fruit which has been just sliced and dried. They have a beautifully crispy texture and a very fruity flavour. There are many flavours including Apple and Strawberry, and Pear and Kiwi. These are ideal for children’s lunchboxes, and are high in fibre and vitamin C and count as 1 of your 5 a day. The RRP is 99p.

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  • HARTLEY’S: I received a black cherry jelly which was full of juicy fruity flavour as you would expect, and a strawberry glitter jelly! Yes you read that right, I did say glitter jelly. I was ridiculously excited to try that in particular as I had never seen it before and love anything glittery! I thought glittery jelly was too special to make in a normal bowl or jelly mould so decided to make it in one of my Nordic Ware pans, the snowflake one. This is a cast aluminium pan so had to be quickly dipped in warm water to release the jelly but the effect was so worth it! Look how pretty and sparkly this jelly looked…

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I already buy the different flavour jelly cubes and love them, and I will definitely buy the glitter jelly again. It is also available in raspberry flavour. These jellies have a RRP of £1.29 for both.

 

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  • REKORDERLIG: I received the Dry Apple Cider. Amazingly I haven’t tried this yet as I am saving it for¬†this Nigella Lawson recipe¬†and just haven’t had chance to make it yet. I shall very soon. It is a lovely light colour, and I’m looking forward to a sneaky little glass as there’ll be 80 ml spare. Perfect! The RRP is ¬£1.49.
  • BAILEYS: The very lovely people at¬†Degustabox¬†gave us all a miniature bottle of Baileys as a little Christmas present, so I don’t know what the RRP is for this. I was over the moon to see it as I absolutely love Baileys! As a drink, poured over ice cream, mixed with buttercream, I’m really not fussy. I just love it! This size bottle is perfect for my¬†Chocolate and Baileys Mousse recipe¬†as you only need a few spoonfuls for this. Or just pour over ice, and enjoy! Thank you for the treat Degustabox. I loved it!

The combined RRP total for all these products was over ¬£27 and that’s not including the Baileys. To think you can have them for just ¬£12.99 is brilliant, but then amazing when you take into account the ¬£6 discount code! You could have a similar box for just ¬£6.99 including delivery. Don’t forget to use code¬†BLDEG15¬†at checkout¬†HERE.

 

DISCLAIMER – I received this box for free to review but all views are my own honest opinions and not influenced by anyone else. I don’t believe in giving dishonest opinions as they are not helpful to anyone and completely against all I believe in. Thank you for reading.