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.

Degustabox Review… A Savoury box

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My review of the October box is being typed on the day the November box is being delivered due to a problem with my laptop, now fixed. Phew!

September’s box had been a very sweet one, and the October one was by contrast rather savoury. But very yummy! There were a few items in this one that I had never heard of but will definitely be buying in future!

As I’m sure you know by now from my previous reviews, Degustabox is a fantastic monthly subscription box which delivers a surprise box full of delicious food and drink products, many of which you might not have tried before. It costs just £12.99 per month with DPD courier delivery included in the price, and the items generally add up to around double the cost of the box so you are getting an absolute bargain. They have very kindly given me a discount code for you to use to try them for yourself, but more about that later. First, let’s see what was in this box…

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  • 9 BAR …  I’m starting with my favourite. I had never seen these before and I had never tried carob either but I will definitely be getting these again. The packet contained 5 bars which were sooooooo tasty. They are high fibre seed bars covered in a carob topping. I actually really liked the carob, which is a chocolate alternative. These bars are brilliant for allergy sufferers as they are gluten, wheat, egg and yeast free. (They do contain soya and sesame though). They have an intriguing motto which is ‘Good Energy, Twice’. As well as providing the person who eats them with lots of energy, 9 Bar works closely with SolarAid who provide solar lights to families who would otherwise use dangerous kerosene lamps. Every 9 Bar that is sold gives a child in Africa a night of safe solar light. So as well as being good for you, you help someone less fortunate every time you buy one. Bonus! And did I mention how delicious they are? Amazing! The RRP is £ 2.49 for 5 bars.

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  • LORINA … Another new one for me. Lorina is a premium French lemonade which uses 100% natural ingredients, with no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. I received a coconut and lime flavour which was so refreshing. I drank most of the bottle chilled and really really enjoyed it. I thought it would also make a good mixer with a shot of rum, so tried that too (purely in the name of research of course… hic). It did. It has a beautiful taste, not too sweet like some lemonades can be. this might sound daft but you can taste the quality. Gorgeous, and another product I will be looking out for. The RRP is £1.49. Definitely worth every penny!

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  • CIRIO … There were 2 products to try from this brand, chopped tomatoes and passata. I buy the tomatoes regularly so knew exactly what they would be like. I must confess to not using passata much though. I used both in this tomato soup recipe and thoroughly enjoyed it. What I notice with Cirio chopped tomatoes compared to other brands is you don’t get so many of the hard stalky ends in there, which is great! Obviously these 2 items have a million and one recipes you can use them in, making them great store cupboard essentials. The RRP for both items together is £2.25.

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  • GEETA’S … Again, there were 2 products from this brand. A Korma curry paste and a lime and chilli chutney. We’re not huge lovers of korma in our house. We tend to find it a bit bland, so we weren’t greatly looking forward to trying this one. I have to confess though it was really tasty. It was very mild so my other half added a bit of heat to his, but I ate mine as it was and did enjoy it. The chutney, on the other hand, packs quite a punch! It does warn you on the jar that it is hot though. We ate some with poppadoms, and mixed some with a bit of salad dressing to spice up some salad leaves. Very tasty. The RRP for both products is £3.10.

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  • THE SNACK ORGANISATION … Another new brand for me, The Snack Organisation present a range of snack products. This was part of their rice cracker range. I received the Sweet Chilli crackers, but you can also get Lightly Salted or Teriyaki varieties. They had a nice little kick to them. Not enough to make your mouth numb but enough to warm your insides as you eat them. They are baked rather than fried, are gluten free and are suitable for vegetarians. They are the perfect snack for dipping, and I was really impressed with how many you get in the packet. Brilliant for when you have guests round. Equally impressive is the RRP of just £1, available in Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

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  • THE SNACK ORGANISATION…  I also received a product from their Freeze Dried Fruit range. I received the Apricot variety, but you can also get Strawberry, Apple or Pineapple. As you can see from the picture, the pieces are quite big, which was a nice surprise. What I most love about freeze dried fruit is the texture. It almost melts in your mouth after an initial crunch. I find normal dried apricots far too chewy but really enjoyed these. Freeze drying preserves all the nutrients and flavour too, making these a tasty healthy snack. There are no oils or artificial ingredients. In fact the ingredients list just says 100% apricot. They are perfect crumbled into porridge or yoghurt. They are gluten free and suitable for vegetarians, and 1 packet counts as one of your 5 a day portions. The RRP per pack is £1.
  • LIBERATION FOODS… I received Oven Baked Salted Cashews and Peanuts. Also available though are Oven Baked Chilli and Lime Cashews with Peanuts and Roasted Corn, or Oven Baked Mixed Peppercorn Peanuts with Cashews and Habas Fritas. Liberation Foods is a Fairtrade nut company which is largely owned by smallholder farmers in Africa, India and Latin America. Back to the product I received. I really don’t like salted nuts. I just don’t like salt, so these didn’t excite me too much. However my other half Del ate them and said they were delicious. They must have been judging by the speed he ate them!! I do feed him, honest! The RRP is £2.

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  • NUDIE SNACKS… These produce premium toasted coconut chips which are made from 100% natural ingredients. I received the Original and the Salt and Vinegar varieties, but you can also get Thai Sweet Chilli. I don’t know what I was expecting when I opened these. As they are snacks I was expecting bigger pieces. A lot of the pieces were tiny as they break so easily, so I’d say they are best used as an ingredient rather than as a snack. One of the packs does suggest trying in home baking, blending in smoothies, or sprinkling over cereal, fruit or desserts. The original variety was really delicious. Lovely and crunchy, with a beautiful strong coconut flavour. I was sad when the pack was finished. I feel bad saying this but the salt and vinegar one was just not nice. I really don’t think that flavour goes well with coconut. The recommendations for desserts etc were on that pack but I can’t see why anyone would put salt and vinegar products on a cake or cereal. None of us liked that pack so unfortunately it went in the bin. Don’t let that put you off trying the other flavours though. The original was very very good and I will be looking out for that again. And that one would be amazing in baking or sprinkled over fruit! The RRP per pack is £1.29.

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  • CHIP STRIPS… These were delicious! They are a newly launched product which gives long strips of potato snacks in a range of 10 flavours. They are the perfect shape for dipping or just eating as they are. I received 2 packs, Sweet Paprika and Sour Cream and Onion. They were both packed with flavour and very tasty. The other flavours are Simply Sea Salt, Cheese and Onion, Bacon and Onion, Smokey BBQ, Tangy Ketchup, Sea Salt and Vinegar, Chilli and Paprika, and Wasabi. I will definitely be looking out for these in store. The RRP is £1 per pack, which is great value as you get loads!

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  • PRÉSIDENT… As Degustabox does not store or send chilled products, they sent a full price voucher for this butter, which I used immediately in my local Tesco. I have used Président butter before and find it to be very light and fresh tasting. I used this one in cakes and found it easy to work with and made a lovely textured and tasting cake. It is important for me when baking that I use only the best ingredients, and this butter is up on that list. The RRP is £2.

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  • KABUTO NOODLES… Last but by no means least was this absolutely delicious pot of Chicken Ramen noodles. I thought it would be like a Pot Noodle (which I’m not a fan of) but then I saw the ingredients and thought it would be like a posh Pot Noodle. It had chicken, ginger, chilli, coriander and spring onion and lovely fine noodles. Lots of them! I added hot water and waited as the instructions told me to do, and the smell was mouth watering. It was a gorgeous warming lunch one cold day, and I will definitely be buying this in future. I’m a sucker for quirky advertising and packaging so loved the fact that the instructions are written for Samurai warriors with a nice touch of humour. I also liked the way the barcode was made to look like noodles on chopsticks. Little things like this please me 🙂 There are lots of other flavours available… Beef Pho, Miso Ramen, Chilli Chicken Ramen, Prawn Tom Yum, Chicken Laksa, Chicken Pho, Vegetable Laksa, Thai Red Vegetable Curry, and Thai Green Chicken Curry. The RRP is £1.99.

What a lovely box that was! The recommended total price of that box was almost £23, but they only charge £12.99 including postage! But as an extra bonus, they have given me a huge £6 discount code for you to use so you can try a box for only £6.99 including delivery!

To take advantage of this amazing offer, enter the code BLDEG15 at the checkout by clicking HERE to go to their site. I hope you enjoy it! Let me know what you think of them. I’m sure you’ll be delighted 🙂

 

I was kindly sent this box to review. All opinions are my own and are honest throughout. 

Cream of Tomato Soup Recipe using Passata

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As part of October’s Degustabox I received two tomato products from Cirio, a can of chopped tomatoes and a bottle of passata. As soon as I saw them I could hear a tomato soup begging to be made. It was a particularly miserable day weather-wise and so what better way to feel warm and cosy than to tuck into a bowl of freshly homemade soup.

Because this recipe uses passata and canned tomatoes rather than fresh, it is a quick and easy meal. Most of the ingredients are things you would have in your kitchen anyway so it is a really convenient recipe to use. You don’t need to do the swirl of cream on the top, that was just me trying to be fancy 😉 You know the type of plastic lidded containers that some takeaways come in? This recipe made enough to fill 3 of those to the brim, with a little bit left over. I hope you enjoy it!

CREAM OF TOMATO SOUP

1 large onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1 tbsp olive oil

400g can Cirio chopped tomatoes

540g bottle Cirio passata

200ml chicken or vegetable stock

1.5 tbsp sugar

Half teaspoon celery seeds

Half teaspoon dried basil

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

100ml double cream

  • Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat, then add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is softened but not brown.
  • Add all of the other ingredients except the cream, and stir well. Cover, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and using a hand blender, blend until smooth.
  • Care is needed for this step… if you add the cream straight into the soup, chances are it will split or curdle. The way I’m describing here will prevent that from happening. Put the cream in a jug and add 2 tbsp of the soup to the cream in the jug. Mix well. Add another 2 tbsp of soup and again mix well. This stabilises it and it now won’t split when you add it to the soup. Slowly add the cream mixture to the soup in the pan, mixing well as you add it.
  • Place the pan back over a low heat to warm through again but do not let it boil. Season to taste with black pepper, and enjoy.

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Sweet Surprises… Degustabox – Review of September Box

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I was very lucky to again be sent a yummy Degustabox to review on my blog. I loved the one I had received in August so was very excited to see what would be in the September box. Well it was even better than the month before. I’m a bit late putting the review up… preparation for an operation I had recently left me behind on things, but I’ve caught up now 🙂

If you didn’t see last month’s review, Degustabox is a monthly subscription box full of food and drink surprises, many of which you might not normally come across on your weekly shopping trips. It usually costs £12.99 per month, but the very lovely people who create these amazing boxes have kindly given me an extra special treat for you all. More on that at the end. The products are worth more than the cost per month, and delivery via DPD is included in the price! Well worth trying!!

So what did I get in the September box? I’ll show you…

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  • REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS x 2… I have to admit I had never tried these before but have heard people say how yummy they are. I was sent 2 packs which each had 3 cups in. If you’ve never tried them, they are basically peanut butter covered with Hershey’s chocolate. I love peanut butter, I love chocolate, so I loved these! I even used them to make a peanut butter and jelly cheesecake which was AMAZING, even if I do say so myself. The RRP for these is 85p per pack. My verdict is 10/10.

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  • UP & GO x 2… Another new product for me. These are breakfast drinks very much like milkshakes, ideal for busy days when you don’t have time to sit down to eat breakfast. You can just grab one and drink it on your way out. One of these contains the same amount of protein, fibre and calcium as a bowl of bran flakes with milk, and is fortified with vitamins and minerals. They are low in fat and made with wholegrain oat flour, so you feel satisfied after drinking one. I was sent 2 flavours to try, chocolate and vanilla. The vanilla one is now a regular purchase for me, I loved it so much. They were both delicious but the vanilla one was my favourite. It tastes like custard! Mmmmmmmmm! The RRP of these is £1.39 each, although I did find them in Sainsburys for £1 each not long ago. Definitely a 10/10 from me.

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  • MALLOW AND MARSH… I received a pack of 3 huge fluffy raspberry marshmallows and these were the first things we tried from the box. There are 3 of us in our house so we agreed we would have one each. These are absolutely divine! They are the softest fluffiest marshmallows i have ever tasted, made with real raspberries so the taste was amazing. They are not overly sweet like some marshmallows can be as they are 100% natural. Just perfect. I would love to use these in some recipes, but then again they are too good to mess with. Gorgeous! RRP is £2. My verdict is a huge 10/10.

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  • MAYNARDS WINE GUMS… Carrying on the sweet theme this month with these wine gums. Everyone I know always goes for the red and black sweets in packets. The poor old yellow and green ones get left behind. Well Maynards have solved the problem by bringing out packs of just the blackcurrant and strawberry ones. Hooray! I tried a couple and loved them. The packet then disappeared into my Other Half’s work van, never to be seen again. The RRP is £1.50. My verdict is 9/10.
  • BASSETTS JELLY BABIES…. Like Maynards, Bassetts have realised most people prefer the berry flavours, so have brought out a packet containing just the blackcurrant, raspberry and strawberry ones. We love Jelly Babies in our house so these disappeared very quickly. I used some to make these cookies before they all went though. Another yummy idea to use these with is a lot more grown up. Place some in a bowl, cover with vodka, and leave for at least 12 hours. The Jelly Babies absorb the vodka and you are left with very boozy babies. That doesn’t sound at all right… I mean the jelly kind! They’re a bit fiddly to pick up as they go slippery, so grab a spoon and try one. Remember though, they are then full of alcohol and yes, you can get drunk on them!!! The RRP is £1.50. My verdict is 10/10.

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  • PORTLEBAY POPCORN… I was sent 2 flavours to try, cappuccino and sweet & salty. These are hand popped in Devon using rapeseed oil and unrefined raw cane sugar. I love popcorn so did enjoy these. There was just the right balance of flavour and the perfect amount of crunchiness. The sweet and salty was my favourite of these 2 flavours. Very tasty. The RRP is £1 per pack. My verdict is 8/10.

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  • TG GREEN TEA… I was sent 2 flavours of these to try; Ginseng, and Mandarin and Ginseng. With only 30 calories in a bottle these are great for people on calorie-controlled diets. They are low in sugar but high in flavour. I really enjoyed these. Extremely refreshing and I felt revitalised after drinking them. I will definitely be looking out for these in shops, especially the mandarin one. The RRP is £1.80 per bottle. My verdict is 10/10.
  • SWEET SALLY TEA… This Winter Spice flavour tea is absolutely delicious. It is perfect for these Autumn days. It is made using Ceylon black tea, Spanish oranges, Sicilian lemons, organic sugar, cinnamon and cloves. You can imagine from that list how good it smells too! Thoroughly enjoyed this. It would be great to use in tea loaf recipes too! The RRP is £2.40. My verdict is 10/10.

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  • THE GOOD CIDER OF SAN SEBASTIAN… I received 2 flavours to try, apple and pear. My Other Half was very excited to see these as he loves cider but had never heard of these ones. I had a sip of each while he drank the rest. I preferred the pear but he preferred the apple. These Craft Ciders are also available in peach, and wild berries flavours. Del said they were very refreshing with a perfect flavour. The RRP is £1.50 each. Our joint verdict is 10/10.

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  • COMPETE ENERGY BITES… I was a bit dubious about these at first. I’ve tried so-called energy drinks before and have felt no difference in energy levels, so was expecting the same from these. I tried one in the days leading up to my operation when I needed extra energy to keep me going while I was running round getting everything sorted for a stress-free recovery when I came home. I have to say, I was impressed! They are mocha flavoured square chocolates, and you get 6 in a pack. They are individually sealed so no worries about having to use them all within a set timeframe. There are 44 calories per chocolate, and one chocolate gives you the equivalent amount of caffeine as one large premium coffee, or 135mg of caffeine to be precise. The packet contains lots of advice about recommended use, and warns that these are not for children or pregnant women. They recommend 1 chocolate for moderate energy or 2 for maximum effect. I had one and I actually felt the benefit! It gave me the boost I needed to get everything done when I was starting to feel tired. The RRP is £4.49 per pack of 6. My verdict is 9/10.

As you can see from everything I received you get a lot of products for the price. £12.99 is very tempting for all of this isn’t it? Well as I said earlier, I have been given an amazing deal to offer to you. In last month’s review I was able to offer you a discount of £3 off your first box. The lovely Degustabox folk decided that they could go better than that too! So how does £6 off your first box sound??? Fantastic I know!

All you have to do to take advantage of this brilliant discount is click HERE to register, and enter the code BLDEG15 in the payment option section. You’ll then receive your first box for just £6.99 including delivery! What a bargain!!

I would love to hear what you think of it if you do sign up, so let me know 🙂

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies Recipe – Zombie Jelly Babies

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I seemed to enjoy PB&J treats this month! First the no bake cheesecake, and now these cookies. I was sent these Bassetts Jelly Babies in the September Degustabox (review for that coming later) and thought they would be perfect in a cookie. My first attempt went terribly wrong. I discovered that Jelly Babies have a knack of disappearing when you cook them, leaving a jelly stained hole where they had been. I refused to be beaten by a Jelly Baby though so I finally have the recipe for you. If you cook them whole, Jelly Babies vanish. Cut them into pieces and they just melt. Perfect! I wasn’t going to put a Jelly Baby in the melted jelly but my son Luke said it would look as if they were either melting or forming out of the jelly, so we decided we would call these Zombie cookies. As you can see by the picture though, the black ones had mostly already been gobbled up by this point so we only managed one black jelly zombie. Oops! Anyway, these are very quick and simple and great fun to make with children, and would be a perfect treat for Halloween. Here is the recipe:

PB&J THUMBPRINT COOKIES – ZOMBIE JELLY BABIES

70g unsalted butter, softened

70g golden caster sugar

1 large egg, beaten

200g plain flour, sifted, plus a bit extra to help roll the cookies

2 tablespoons smooth peanut butter

20 Jelly Babies

  • Preheat the oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Add the flour and peanut butter and mix well until thoroughly combined. The cookie dough will be a bit sticky but stiff.
  • Knead the dough together briefly then divide into 8 portions. Dust your hands with a bit of extra plain flour, then roll each portion into a ball. Place on to the baking tray and lightly flatten each ball. Dip your thumb (hence the name) into water, then press into the middle of each flattened ball. You want a nice round hollow, but make sure you don’t go through the bottom of the cookie.
  • Cut 12 Jelly Babies into quarters, then place 6 quarters into each thumbprint hole. Place on the middle shelf of your oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden.
  • Remove from the oven and place one whole Jelly Baby carefully into the melted jelly of each cookie. Leave on the baking tray for 10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

If you do make these with children, please just remember that melted jelly is extremely hot and sticks to skin, so make sure little fingers are careful when placing the whole Jelly Babies into the baked cookies.

Happy Halloween!

No Bake Peanut Butter and Jelly Cheesecake Recipe with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

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I was lucky enough to receive another yummy Degustabox in September and one of the scrumptious food items was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. (We’re still getting through the other items but my box review will be up when we’ve tried it all).

I was lucky enough to receive 2 packets of these peanut butter cups, and each packet contained 3 cups. I must admit, I had never tasted them before so was excited to try them. Chocolate covered peanut butter… heaven! Well, I liked them so much I had to buy more for this recipe!

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I was wondering what I could make with them and decided that as Reese’s is an American company, I wanted to try the favourite American combination of peanut butter and jelly. I had to spend some time Googling this… should it be jelly like we eat in trifles, or jelly as in jam? What flavour should it be? I discovered that it is jamlike, and traditionally grape flavoured. However I couldn’t find grape jelly/jam anywhere here so I used strawberry. I think any berry jam would work just as well. In this recipe I used 8 peanut butter cups and the peanut butter taste was strong but delicious. If you want a more subtle taste I would use 5 or 6. You can always add more if you want it stronger. Also, I like quite a deep cheesecake as it’s a really indulgent creamy dessert, but if you like a thinner one, just use half of the ingredients. I made this in an 8 inch deep cake tin. Anyway, enough waffling, here’s the recipe:

NO BAKE PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY CHEESECAKE

250g digestive biscuits

80g unsalted butter

1 tbsp caster sugar

560g cream cheese

250ml double cream

80g icing sugar

5 to 8 Reese’s peanut butter cups, depending on how strong you want the flavour

3 tbsp strawberry jam

  • Line a deep cake tin with foil, getting rid of any big creases by pressing them down. Blitz the digestive biscuits in a food processor, or crush in a sandwich bag until there are no big chunks left. Mix in the caster sugar.
  • Melt the butter and then pour on to the biscuit crumbs. Mix well and then transfer to the foil lined tin. Spread it all over the base and press down firmly with the back of a metal spoon. Place in fridge for 30 minutes to harden.
  • Place the Reese’s peanut butter cups in a heatproof bowl and either melt over a pan of barely simmering water making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water, or heat in the microwave checking every few seconds so they don’t burn. Stir the chocolate and peanut butter mixture well until it is all combined and is one colour.
  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the icing sugar and continue to beat. Add the melted Reese’s cups and beat well until it is all combined. Add the cream and beat until the mixture thickens. Alternatively you can beat the cream in a separate bowl until soft peak stage, then fold it into the peanut butter cheesecake mixture.
  • Pour the mixture on top of the biscuit base and spread evenly.
  • Very gently heat the jam until it just starts to go liquidy, then sieve to remove any lumps of fruit. (You just want the “jelly”). Use a teaspoon to drop little blobs of the jam on top of the cheesecake, then use a cocktail stick or skewer to make a swirly pattern. Place in fridge and chill for at least 4 hours until set.
  • To remove, gently lift the foil out of the tin, peel away from cheesecake and serve.

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Fat-Free Tea Loaf using Williamson Ginger Grove Tea

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I was lucky enough to be sent some Williamson Ginger Grove Tea as part of August’s delicious Degustabox (see last blog post for my review). As soon as I tried a cup of it I knew it would be perfect for using in a tea loaf recipe. This is a fat-free recipe and you can also choose whether you want it sugar-free or almost sugar-free. I have a very sweet tooth so included a sprinkling of sugar on the top of mine. This gives it a lovely crunch as well as a little extra sweetness. The fruit provides the main sweetness.

You can use whichever dried fruit you prefer. I used a mix of sultanas, raisins and glacé cherries, but you can add apricots, currants, cranberries… anything that takes your fancy.The key is to let the fruit soak in the tea for a very long time, preferably overnight. This makes the fruit swell up and makes the loaf lovely and moist with very juicy fruit in each bite. It is a very simple recipe to make, so I hope you enjoy it.

FAT FREE TEA LOAF

300ml black tea, made using 2 teabags (leave teabags in)

270g dried fruit of your choice

320g self raising flour

1 large egg, beaten

demerara sugar to sprinkle on top, optional

  • Allow the tea to brew for 10 minutes so the ginger flavour really comes through. Keeping the teabags in the tea, pour over the dried fruit. Mix briefly, then leave until cool. When the tea is cold, cover the bowl with clingfilm or a plate. Leave for at least 10 hours, but preferably overnight.
  • After this time, preheat the oven to 170C. Lightly grease and line your loaf tin. Remove the teabags from the fruit mix.
  • Sieve the flour into a bowl and then pour the fruit and tea mixture on top. Mix until just combined, then add the beaten egg. Mix again, then pour into the prepared loaf tin.
  • Sprinkle the top with a spoon or two of demerara sugar if desired.
  • Bake in the centre of the oven for 50 minutes, or until risen, golden, and cooked through. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack.

This is delicious warm with butter spread on it. You can eat that guilt-free as there’s no butter in the bake! Bonus! It is also scrumptious cold on its own, or with butter, or with jam. Enjoy!