Review and Giveaway: Ten Acre Crisps and Popcorn

Win a hamper of Ten Acre Crisps and Popcorn

Vegan cheese and onion crisps? Surely the stuff of myth and legend? But, no, they actually exist, thanks to Ten Acre Crisps. I’d heard about these crisps but never got the chance to try any as they’re not widely stocked in bricks and mortar shops. According to myth and legend though (okay, various vegan Facebook groups), they’d been spotted popping up now and again Loch Ness Monster stylee in TK Maxx but on a visit to my local store, I returned empty crisp-handed.

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Giveaway & Review: The Vegetarian Italian Kitchen by Veronica Lavenia

The Vegetarian Italian Kitchen by Veronica Lavenia

The Vegetarian Italian Kitchen cookbook has only one thing about it that annoys me – Veronica Lavenia uses a few cheeses that are NEVER vegetarian and not once does she suggest a vegetarian alternative*. I don’t know what will happen when/if we leave the EU and whether we can happily sod their laws and make our own cheese and call it what we want but, at the moment, as any self-respecting vegetarian can (and will) tell you, Parmesan/Parmigiano-Reggiano is an EU Protected Designation of Origin product and has to be made using calf rennet, therefore making it unsuitable for vegetarians. And if you don’t believe me, you can read The Vegetarian Society’s cheese fact sheet which also points out that Gorgonzola (also used in the book) is never vegetarian either.

[*The author, Veronica Lavenia, has seen this post and here’s her reply:

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Tofuture Tofu Press and Tofu Making Kit Giveaway

Tofuture Tofu Press

It has come to my attention there are people out there who don’t press tofu. If you’re one of these people, then please read on because you NEED what I’m giving away today. If you’re someone who’s seen the tofu light and already presses your tofu, then you should also please read on because you probably press your tofu by balancing books and other heavy shit on top of it and therefore you also NEED this tofu press. If you’re one of the people who read my review the other week and have already bought one of these presses, you should also read on because you probably know someone who doesn’t press tofu and therefore you can give them this tofu press and be their best friend forever.

Or you can just flog it on ebay.

Tofuture tofu press

Either way, this giveaway is for A Very Good Thing Indeed. You might have seen me gushing about the Tofuture Tofu Press a couple of weeks ago but if not (or if you want to refresh your memory), you can read my review of it here. And not only am I giving away a Tofuture Tofu Press, Tofuture are also chucking in one of their tofu making kits too, which contains:

  • 500g soya beans
  • 35g nigari
  • 2 cheesecloth squares
  • a set of instructions
Tofuture tofu making kit
That strange looking substance is nigari – don’t try to smoke it

See that bag of white stuff in the photo? I thought Tofuture had also chucked in a bag of crystal meth for me, but that’s the nigari – a coagulant used in making tofu. Although, obviously I was disappointed not to get the chance to recreate a scene from Breaking Bad (ideally with a semi-clad Jesse), it was probably just as well, as I would have no idea how to declare Class A drugs on my tax return.

Tofu press

Anyway, semi-clad Jesses aside, what makes this tofu press different from others (not that there are many; I’ve only seen a couple, and they’ve only been available from the US) is that this press completely contains the tofu (middle container) and the water it’s pressing out (container on the left), so once you’ve pulled the bands down over the hooks (the container on the right goes on top of the middle container holding the tofu, squeezing the water out into the container on the left), that’s it.

Then you can put the press out of the way in the fridge and you don’t have to worry about having to keep adjusting the springs or putting it on a plate or in the sink to catch the water. After you’ve pressed your tofu, you can then use the container to marinate it in. Genius.

This tofu press is brilliant and you NEED one.

The Tofuture tofu press fits neatly in your fridge

Win a Tofuture Tofu Press and Tofu Making Kit 

Tofu press and tofu making kit
The prizes (your tofu press will be in a box the same as the one at the top of this post)

Do you want to win one of these Tofuture Tofu Presses and Tofu Making Kits and promise to do tofu justice by pressing it, therefore improving the texture and its capacity to soak up all the lovely flavours of whatever it is you’re cooking it in/with?

You do? Okay then, you can enter via the Rafflecopter thingybob below. Good luck!

p.s. I don’t condone the use of drugs.

p.p.s. Not crystal meth, anyway.

p.p.s.s. Not that I’ve had it.

p.p.p.s.s. I’m going to stop here before I get myself in trouble. (Actually, I’m going to stop here because I don’t know if p.p.p.s.s. is correct and I can’t be bothered to look it up.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Many thanks to Tofuture for providing the prizes. For more information about Tofuture, their tofu press or their tofu making kit, visit the Tofuture website. They’re also holding their own competition to win one of their presses, which you can check out here. If you can’t wait to get your hands on one of these presses, you can:

a) buy one direct from the Tofuture website for £25; or

b) buy one on Amazon for £25.

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Riverford Recipe Box Review & Giveaway

Back in November, I reviewed Riverford’s vegetarian recipe box. The meals were tasty, quick to prepare and didn’t create much washing up, so when Riverford asked if I’d like to try another recipe box, I wasn’t about to turn it down.

Along with Riverford’s usual recipe boxes are boxes created by guest chefs. The latest chefs to be featured are twins David and Stephen Flynn, who own The Happy Pear shop, cafe and restaurant in Co. Wicklow, and it was this recipe box Riverford sent me to review.

The ingredients for the Mexican leek and black bean chilli
The ingredients for the Mexican leek and black bean chilli

As with all Riverford recipe boxes, everything you need is sent to you in one big box – all the fresh, organic, seasonal vegetables, tinned goods (tomatoes, beans, coconut milk, etc.), with all the herbs and spices pre-measured. Recipe cards with preparation and cooking time and step-by-step instructions are included. You really can’t go wrong with a recipe box.

Happy Pear Mexican leek and black bean chilli
Happy Pear Mexican leek and black bean chilli

The first recipe I made was a Mexican leek and black bean chilli. The recipe card said it would take me 25 minutes to prepare and cook and as I had a cold and really couldn’t be bothered to cook anything, it sounded perfect.

This vegetarian (it had honey in it, otherwise it would have been vegan) chilli was definitely a good choice for a lazy day as it didn’t require much more than a bit of chopping then chucking everything in a pan and letting it simmer for a bit. It made far more than two servings – I served the chilli on top of jacket potatoes and there was enough left over for another two servings.

Happy Pear Spanish chickpea and potato bake
Happy Pear Spanish chickpea and potato bake

I must have been feeling livelier the next day as according to the recipe card, this vegetarian (easily veganised by leaving out the honey and cheese) Spanish chickpea and potato bake with sundried tomato pesto would take 70 minutes to prepare and cook. Given how slow a cook I am, I took this to mean two hours, so I started it early.

Again, the recipe card said it served two but it was huge and could easily serve four. I thought the Happy Pear guys must be the size of the Two Fat Ladies or The Hairy Bikers but, nope, there’s not an ounce of fat on either of them.

This chickpea and potato bake came with a beetroot and pumpkin seed salad but I had it with my own vegetables instead.

Happy Pear puy lentil coconut dahl
Happy Pear puy lentil coconut dahl

Unfortunately, the last recipe of puy lentil coconut dahl was a bit of a disaster. In the instructions, it says to add more water if the dahl is becoming too thick but it should be reasonably dry. I could have left this to simmer for a year and it still wouldn’t have reduced down to ‘reasonably dry’; it was swimming in liquid.

I’d like to say that despite the wateryness of it, the vegetables and lentils were tasty enough but I’d be lying. To be fair, the potatoes were okay but the lentils didn’t do anything for me.

Still, two meals enjoyed out of the three isn’t bad (and because the portions were so large, I’ve got enough leftovers to heat up and have again another day) and on the whole I’d definitely recommend the Riverford recipe boxes. They’re tasty, healthy and easy to make.

The Happy Pear recipe boxes were for a limited time only and are now no longer available. However, the usual Riverford recipe boxes are available in:

  • Vegetarian
  • Original
  • Quick

For current prices and more information, visit the Riverford Recipe Box page on their website.

Win a Riverford Recipe Box

If you’d like to win a Riverford recipe box of your choice, enter my giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Please note: Although Riverford deliver to lots of locations around the UK, they don’t deliver everywhere, so you might want to check they deliver to you before entering the giveaway to avoid any disappointment, as there is no cash alternative.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Review & Giveaway: Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han

Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han

Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han

I bought The Meat Eater a copy of Booze for Free a few years ago. Not because he’s a big drinker but because I thought he’d like to make wine and stuff from things in the garden, and then I’d have a load of booze for free. So far he’s made elderberry wine (disgusting and got poured down the sink). cider (a disaster and got thrown away before it had finished fermenting or whatever it is it does), plum wine (lovely) and blackberry wine (even lovelier).

Although I’ve drunk everything he’s made (and I mean everything – he doesn’t like wine), I haven’t made anything myself because it involves buckets and demijohns and funnels and tablets and a whole bunch of other things that look complicated. So, when Emily Han’s publishers asked me if I’d like a copy of Emily’s book – Wild Drinks and Cocktails – my first thought was, ‘god no, I can’t be doing with all that faff’.Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han

However, the drinks and cocktails in this book are faff-free and use only a few ingredients which you’ll either find in your garden, on a foraging expedition, local market or supermarket. For example, the only ingredients you need for the Rosemary Wine recipe are rosemary and wine and you can’t get much more simple than that.

Hibiscus cooler

The book isn’t just about alcohol though – there are plenty of syrups and cordials too. I had planned to make Cranberry Mors (cranberries, water, honey, lemon juice) but I don’t have a cranberry bush in the garden, and then I found out Tesco don’t sell fresh cranberries, so I scrapped that idea and made Strawberry Squash instead.

Rather inconveniently, strawberries don’t generally grow in UK gardens in November, so I bought some from Tesco (and although I said strawberries don’t generally grow in UK gardens in November, they grow somewhere in the UK in November as the strawberries I bought were British).

Strawberry Squash recipe (makes about 470ml)

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup (235ml) water
1 cup (200g) sugar
3/4 pound (340g) strawberries, hulled and quartered

Combine the lemon juice, water, and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Stir in the strawberries. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer, gently pressing on the strawberries to extract the liquid without forcing the pulp through the strainer. Discard the solids. Store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

The squash was delicious and, with it being Saturday evening, I made a Cava cocktail with it.

Strawberry and Cava Cocktail
Strawberry and Cava Cocktail

The next day, I diluted the squash with water, which made a light, refreshing drink. I imagine it would be great with lemonade, too.

I love this book. There are so many drinks I want to try, such as Dandelion and Chicory Chai (water, ginger, dandelion root, chicory root, black peppercorns, cardamom pods, clove, cinnamon, milk and honey), Apple and Mint syrup (mint, apples, sugar, water), Figs and Vanilla Rum (figs, vanilla bean, rum) and Apple and Sage Wine (apple, sage, honey, vodka, wine).

As you can see, there’s a wide variety of drinks here and Wild Drinks and Cocktails will definitely appeal to foragers, but if foraging’s not your thing, you should be able to find the ingredients easily enough in the shops.

Giveaway: Win a copy of Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han

If you’d like a copy of Emily’s book, just enter below via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wild Drinks and Cocktails by Emily Han is published by Fair Winds Press with a cover price of £14.99.

Thanks go to Fair Winds Press for my copy of the book and also for providing one to give away.

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Review & Giveaway: Riverford Vegetarian Recipe Box

Riverford recipe box
Riverford vegetaran recipe box
Riverford vegetarian recipe box

You’ll all know Riverford from their organic vegetable box deliveries, but did you know they also do recipe boxes? You know the type I mean – where you receive a box containing everything you need for a recipe, right down to the exact quantity of herbs and spices you need, whether that’s a bunch of thyme or 1 teaspoon of cumin.

I’ve always been intrigued by these boxes but haven’t tried any for myself as, although I can see the benefits in time, convenience and the chance to try out a recipe you might not have thought of making yourself, as well as not wasting money on buying a whole jar of spice, when you only need a tiny bit, I’ve always thought they were a bit uneconomical. Recipe boxes aren’t particularly expensive – especially when you take into account what I’ve just said – but I’m in the habit of cooking so cheaply (my jaw hits the floor when I watch those programmes where families say what their weekly food shop is. £200 a week? Mine’s more like £20 a week), I kind of baulk at spending £5 on one dish at home (even if I don’t bat an eyelid at spending £15 on one delivery pizza).

So, when Riverford asked me if I’d like to try out their vegetarian recipe box, I eagerly accepted their offer. I say ‘eagerly accepted’ but because the recipe boxes change each week and you can see the previous week’s box, as well as the current week and the box for the next week, I had a look to see if there was anything I or The Meat Eater wouldn’t like. As far as I could tell, the only questionable item was olives – which I love, but The Meat Eater hates – but they were going on a tart, so all that meant was more olives for me, yay.

The box turned up while I was out, but it was left in my ‘safe place’, wrapped up in a protective covering to keep it dry.

Inside the box is everything you need to make three meals:

  • A list of contents (categorised into loose ingredients, middle section of the box, cool bag)
  • Three recipe cards (one for each meal)
  • All the ingredients you need to make the dishes (except oil, salt and pepper)
Riverford recipe box
The contents of the Riverford recipe box
Riverford vegetarian recipe box recipe cards and box contents
Recipe cards and box contents

Because I received my box on a Wednesday, and Friday night is chippy night and I don’t generally cook at the weekend, I was pleased to see everything had a longish shelf life of 5 days, which meant I could save the last meal for Monday and wasn’t going to end up having to throw anything away.

My three recipes were:

  • Leek, olive & wootton millstone tart, with toasted pine nuts
  • Roasted kabocha squash with pepper & bean chilli & lime soured yoghurt
  • Beetroot latkes with red onion spelt, apple & horseradish creme fraiche

and because I was feeling tired and lazy the day I received my recipe box, I decided to make the leek, olive & wootton millstone tart, because it looked the easiest and I’ve made something similar plenty of times before.

Ingredients for the leek, olive & wootton millstone tart
Ingredients for the leek, olive & wootton millstone tart

I was pleased to see the Wootton Millstone goat’s cheese clearly labelled as vegetarian. I’d never have guessed it was, as it’s a hard, stinky (in a good way) cheese. It also stated on the label that it’s made with unpasteurised sheep’s milk, which struck me as odd, but I’m not a cheese expert, so maybe goat’s cheese is made from sheep’s milk?

Because the cheese was so stinky, I thought it might be too strong on the tart (I love blue cheese but when it’s cooked it can be overpowering) but it wasn’t at all. As I’d thought, the tart was quick and easy to make – on the recipe sheet it says preparation and cooking time is 30 minutes and I’d say that was accurate, even taking into consideration I’m a slow cook.

Leek, olive & wootton millstone tart from the Riverford vegetarian recipe box
Leek, olive & wootton millstone tart (potatoes my own – salad provided by Riverford)
Leek, olive & wootton millstone tart from the Riverford vegetarian recipe box
More olives for me!

The next night, I made the roasted kabocha squash with pepper & bean chilli & lime soured yoghurt.

Ingredients for the roasted kabocha squash from the Riverford vegetarian recipe box
Ingredients for the roasted kabocha squash

This recipe was slightly more fiddly as unfortunately, Riverford don’t send someone round to chop the vegetables for you. I’ve never had a kabocha squash before – the only squash I’ve had is butternut and that usually ends up in a soup, so it was with some trepidation I tried this.

I needn’t have worried though – we both enjoyed this and it was very filling.

Roasted kabocha squash with pepper & bean chilli lime soured yoghurt
Roasted kabocha squash

I’m afraid the last meal – beetroot latkes with red onion spelt, apple & horseradish creme fraiche – didn’t go down too well. The beetroot latkes were okay but I managed to mess up the spelt as it was revolting. Bitter, hard little bullets that got left uneaten.

Ingredients for the beetroot latkes from the Riverford vegetarian recipe box
Ingredients for the beetroot latkes
Beetroot latkes with red onion spelt & horseradish creme fraiche
Beetroot latkes

You can’t win them all though and on the whole I’d recommend the Riverford Recipe Boxes. The meals were tasty, interesting and easy to make.

The recipe boxes are available in:

  • Vegetarian (3 meals for 2 people) at £33.95
  • Original (3 meals for 2 people) at £33.95
  • Original (2 meals for 2 people) at £29.95
  • Quick (3 meals for 2 people) at £33.95

For more information, visit the Riverford Recipe Box page on their website.

Win a Riverford Recipe Box

Riverford have kindly allowed me to give away one of their recipe boxes and, because I am also kind, I’m not even going to restrict it to a vegetarian one, so you can choose whichever box you like.

Please note: Although Riverford deliver to lots of locations around the UK, they don’t deliver everywhere, so you might want to check they deliver to you before entering the giveaway to avoid any disappointment, as there is no cash alternative.

Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Corkers Crisps Giveaway – Winner Announced!

Corkers crisps

Corkers crisps

I’ve run out of Corkers Crisps so I wish I could win my own competition but alas, a) I didn’t enter it; and b) me winning my own competition might look a bit dodgy.

So, I’m pleased to announce the winner of the Corkers Crisps giveaway of a box containing 8 packets of crisps is:

Michelle 

Well done, Michelle. I’ve emailed you so check your inbox!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway – I loved reading your suggestions for new flavours – and thanks to Corkers Crisps for the prize.

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Giveaway: Win a Box of Corkers Crisps

Corkers Thai Sweet Chilli Flavour Crisps
Corkers Thai Sweet Chilli Flavour Crisps
Thai Sweet Chilli Flavour

I reckon the busiest aisle in my local supermarket is the crisp aisle and, in my opinion, this is rightly so. Yeah, okay, so we’re turning into a nation of fatties and this isn’t a good thing, yada yada but… crisps… Crispy, crunchy, wonderful crisps.

Corkers sussed I love crisps, and asked me if I wanted two boxes of theirs – one for me and one to give away. Obviously, being a) a glutton; and b) of sound mind (no sane person would give away their crisps), I wanted to keep both boxes for myself but I showed some restraint, thanked them for their generosity and asked them to keep the winner’s box to one side to stop me from eating them all, therefore leaving the winner with only a few crumbs in an otherwise empty box, which would probably breach a few blog giveaway guidelines.

Corkers crisps
Don’t panic – the pork sausage flavour ones are vegetarian

I’m now going to pretend you haven’t scrolled down to the bit where I give away the crisps, but if you are still reading this, here are few facts about Corkers:

  • The crisps are made in the fenlands in Cambridgeshire.  Not only are the potatoes grown on the family farm but the factory is also located there and all the crisps are hand-cooked on site.
  • The Naturalo potato has a unique flavour from being grown in the rich peaty fenlands – it makes crisps with a unique crunch.
  • They have just won Potato Grower of the Year by UK Growers and been named Best Regional Supplier by Waitrose (they also have a host of Great Taste Awards).
  • The company was set up by best friends Ross and Rod in 2010, who had the idea whilst they were on a ski-ing trip but Ross’ family has been farming on the land since 1800s.
  • The crisps are currently stocked at National Trust properties, the Tate, selected Waitrose stores and also Waitrose.com.

Although I haven’t eaten my way through the whole box yet, I’ve had a packet of the Thai Sweet Chilli Flavour and I can confirm that this is a quality crisp – firm, crunchy and full of flavour. Much better than that Walkers thin splintery rubbish.

Win a box of 8 packets of Corkers crisps 
Win a box of 8 packets of Corkers crisps
Win a box of 8 packets of Corkers crisps

If you’d like to win a box of 8 packets of Corkers crisps (feel free to donate them back to me if you do win), just leave me a comment below letting me know what flavour crisp you would invent if you were in charge of inventing crisp flavours. I think I’d like cheese and baked bean flavour.

Terms and conditions 

I can’t guarantee which flavours will be in the box, but they will all be vegetarian.
One winner will be chosen at random using a random number generator after the closing date of Saturday 31 October 2015.
The winner will be emailed, so make sure you leave a working email address (it won’t be shared with anyone).
UK entries only.

For more information about Corkers:

Visit their website
Follow them on Twitter
Like them on Facebook

 

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