Your Last Mouthful

Cardiff based food blog

Category Archives: Food product review

To The Door- February

Jordan’s Cereal

Thanks to the kind people at Performics I have been sampling some Jordan’s Granola and Absolute Nut Bars.  I am already a fan of Jordan’s and often buy their granola but I had never tried this particular variety- Super Fruity.

It was packed full of raspberries, redcurrents and pomegranate and the tart flavours worked very well with the sweet taste of the honied oats. For me this is an excellent flavour combination.

I also enjoyed the Absolute Nut Bars. As a snack these were filling and packed full of nuts and soft oats. The best thing about them was the fact that they had whole almonds in them so you could really taste them and got a good crunch in contrast with the oats.

Jordans

Sweet Mandarin Sauce

I was sent three dipping sauces from Sweet Mandarin; Sweet and Sour, Sweet Chilli and Barbeque. Sweet Mandarin have recently launched in Sainsburys. All are very nice and are gluten free which appealed to me. I wanted to try them because I am often left wanting with gluten free products but these were very good and I wouldn’t have guessed they were gluten free.

I was sent some recipe cards with the sauces which I didn’t get around to trying, I prefer to make my own recipes but I did make a very nice salmon dish with the sweet chilli sauce (which is my favourite) and I used the barbeque sauce on ribs which worked very nicely.

I was also sent some cocktail recipes. If you like a Bloody Mary, you might be interested in the Bloody Barbeque Mary:

2 part vodka

2 part tomato juice

1 part Sweet Mandarin Barbeque Sauce.

Pour into a cocktail shaker with ice and serve.

If you try this I’d be interested to know what you think.

Sweet Mandarin

Rapeseed oil

After a Twitter conversation about rapeseed oil being used as a substitute for ghee, Mr Hughs were kind enough to send me some of their rapeseed oil to try. I am in fact already a convert. I love the nutty flavour of this oil and it really does work very nicely in place of ghee. I also use it in place of olive oil because I love the flavours in cooking and drizzled over a dish to finish it off.

Rapeseed Oil

Rachel’s Rhubarb and Strawberry yogurt

Fat free but not lacking in flavour, this Rachel’s Organic yogurt had plenty of chunks of fruit running through its usual creamy texture. Obviously it isn’t as thick and creamy as the full fat version but for a low fat yogurt, it was very good and one that I would buy in future. The flavours worked very well together with the strawberry taming the tartness of the rhubarb.

Rachel's yogurt

Love Pickle

Another Twitter conversation led to the arrival of a jar of Premium Chilli Tomato Pickle by Love Pickle. It is available in different variations of heat and I asked for extra hot. Aside from liking things spicy, I asked for extra hot because so often I am disappointed with products when they are described as ‘hot’ and in fact turn out to be relatively mild.

I’m pleased to say, this pickle was extra hot. It has a lovely bitter savoury taste reminiscent of the traditional lime pickle enjoyed as part of Indian food. The flavours were excellent with a fine texture. I enjoyed this with poppadoms and with some cheese and biscuits.

Love pickle

Thanks to everyone who sent me products this month. It is much appreciated.

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To The Door- A Festive Edition!

With the build up to Christmas and all, I thought I’d do a festive edition of my To The Door post in honour of all the products I’ve been sent recently. It’s a thank you to the producers who have been kind enough to send me things to try and it will hopefully give you some ideas for stocking fillers and Christmas goodies!

Selection of stocking fillers from Storm Communications

Storm sent me some products from their ‘Seven of the best stocking fillers for foodie lovers’. All products are under £9.99.

New Zealand Honey Co’s Manuka Honey With Root Ginger-This was a very tasty honey and the addition of the ginger gave it an interesting and unique taste. It reminded me of a natural cold remedy. So if like me you always end up with a cold at Christmas, this is ideal!

Marshmallow Fluff– I became quite fascinated by Marshmallow Fluff when I tried it as a student and this brought back memories. For something so sweet and sticky, it’s surprisingly low in calories too.

Nakd Bars and Trek Bars– I’ve tried Nakd Bars before but I was sent some new flavours; Apple Pie, Rhubarb and Custard and Gingerbread. I’d never tried Trek Bars but they are very similar to their Nakd friends. I was sent Cocoa Brownie but it was significantly lacking in the naughtiness you’d expect from a brownie I have to say. Nice as a healthier snack though.

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Steenbergs ‘Spice it up’

Steenbergs fair trade gift box was nicely presented and contained four organic spices; Cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and 4 colour peppers. Perfect for making muddled wine, it retails at £6.99.

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Bombay Sapphire

My favourite spirit and my favourite brand of said spirit. I was very pleased to receive this in a presentation box with a list of cocktails to try. Here is one that I took a liking to:

Bombay Sapphire Golden Wonderland

50ml Tuaca Liqueur,

200ml ginger beer

200ml cranberry juice,

1 lime cut into wedges.

Fill a jug with cubed ice and squeeze in the lime. Pour in the Bombay Sapphire, Tuaca and cranberry juice and stir. Finish with ginger beer and garnish with a mint sprig.

A bottle of Bombay Sapphire this size retails at £19.99

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Drambuie

I was pleased to unwrap 20 miniature bottles of Drambuie. For me Drambuie is a Christmas drink but I find it a little too strong on it’s own even though I love the flavours of the honey and spices. However, I tried this cocktail which was delicious!

50ml Drambuie Original

150ml Pressed Apple Juice

1 Cinnamon Stick

4 Cloves

20ml Sugar Syrup

25ml Lemon Juice

2 Orange Twists

Heat all the ingredients together except the Drambuie. Add the Drambuie to a teacup or handled latte glass, then, strain in the warm apple juice mixture. Garnish with a lemon slice and a fresh cinnamon stick.

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Popkakes

I thought cake pops were going to be the next big thing but I haven’t seen that many around recently so a delivery from Popkakery was very welcome! The ‘Popkakes’ came beautifully presented in a colourful gift box and each pop had a label with flavour and ingredients.

I had red velvet, bling bling and chocolate noir. All were very nice with a rich cakey centre and thick crunchy chocolate shell. My favourite was the bling bling because the sparkly sprinkles gave it extra bite.

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Tio Pepe

Sherry is the Christmas drink of choice for lots of people. My family only have Sherry at Christmas so it certainly says Christmas to me. This is a dry sherry and personally I prefer a sweet one but at £9.99 a bottle, if dry sherry is your tipple, this is a good option and great for an aperitif.

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Bottle Green

I am already a fan of Bottle Green cordials but I was very impressed by this Spiced Berry Cordial which is to be enjoyed warm. It can be added to wine to drink like mulled wine but the cordial on its own with hot water was lovely. A real taste of Christmas and a great non alcoholic alternative to mulled wine.

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Rachel’s Apple and Cinnamon yogurt

I eat a lot of Rachel’s yogurt and it’s always good but I think this in one of my favourites. Apple and Cinnamon is a great flavour combination. Delicious! Perfect for Christmas.

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Thanks to everyone for sending me your Christmas inspired goodies!

A Lesson In Honey With Jeannie From Fields and Hedgerows

I get to sample lots of products through writing this blog and I get to meet lots of passionate people which is the part that I love the most. I love to listen to creative people who love what they do and who get excited about the products they’ve created.

Passion and enthusiasm for her product was definitely what I got from Jeannie, owner of Fields and Hedgerows but rather than creating a product, Jeannie farms hers and it was fascinating to hear about the processes behind extracting honey and how the bees work.

As we sipped coffee in Arboreal in Cowbridge, Jeannie talked to me about how she discovered her passion for honey and how she came to own 42 hives and a dedicated honey kitchen.

It all started when Jeannie’s husband unfortunately suffered two heart attacks. As a fit and athletic man, this came as a surprise so Jeannie put him on a strict healthy diet. He wouldn’t give up bread so she made her own bread and swapped fat for oil and sugar for honey.

With Jeannie’s subsequent interest in honey, she joined a bee keeping association and became fascinated by the idea of keeping hives. Her enthusiasm was certainly catching as she explained how the sight, smell and sound of the bees in the hive excites her. She loves the organisation, the fact that all the bees have an individual job to do and that they are so busy getting on with it.

Jeannie sells her honey in many outlets but she will only supply to one shop in each town in order to support local businesses by making sure they get repeat trade from customers loyal to their brand. Keeping things local is very much Jeannie’s motto who believes that keeping things counter global is better for you even if it costs a little more.

Along with retail outlets, Jeannie runs a Honey Club which is how I got a taste of her honey in the first place. The club is run within a 10 mile radius of Cowbridge and jars are hand-delivered. For £40 a month members receive a jar of honey a month for a year. Each delivery comes with an explanation of what is happening in the hives and a picture.

Members also get a pollen analysis so they know more about each honey. Jeannie has this down to a fine art and can tell which plants the bees have been pollinating by observing the colour of the pollen in the pollen baskets as the bees bring it back to the hive. Bees are loyal to one plant at a time and don’t switch crops mid-forage. They collect the pollen, drop it off for the house keeping bees and then head back out again. I found this totally fascinating and would love to learn more.

I certainly enjoyed my honey samples. I had three samples and each one was surprisingly different. I didn’t realise how ignorant I was about honey and how much it can vary with each harvest. I certainly appreciate it more now I have thought about the amount of work the bees put in.

The first honey I tried was a creamed honey. Jeannie’s pollen analysis showed that it is predominantly rape but that it most likely has willow pollen and dandelion in it and that it was collected in the spring. It was very smooth and sweet with a light taste.

I also had a summer forage which was also creamed but runnier than the first one. Lastly, my favourite was a darker honey extracted this September so it has nectar and pollen from all four seasons including ivy. It wasn’t as sweet as the other two and had a nice earthy flavour.

Jeannie’s USP is that her honey is never the same twice. It is just as nature intended which really appeals to me. Jeannie’s hives are static and the crops rotate around them so there is always a different balance, taste and colour. I love a surprise and the fact that two will never taste the same has definitely sold it for me.

It was a pleasure talking to Jeannie about her bees and sampling her honey and it has wet my appetite for both trying more honey and for finding out more about bee keeping. Jeannie has also branched out into candles which you can find for sale in And So To Bed in Cowbridge.

Jeannie is also available for talks to schools. She de-constructs a hive and puts it back together again while explaining the function of the parts and the life-cycle of the bees – fascinating and fun.

Honey

To The Door In October

One of the perks of being a food blogger is that I get sent lots of lovely things to sample.  I like to review products that I think are relevant and interesting to my readers but I can’t possibly review everything so from now on I will do an occasional run down of the things I have been sent so they still all get a mention. Some of the following products will be or may have already been reviewed, so please have a look.

Boursin Cheese– I was very kindly sent a box of Boursin cheese containing new flavours; Fig and Nut and Sun Ripened Tomato, Onion and Chive along with the classic garlic and herb variety, Black Pepper flavour and some Boursin minis. As popular cheese brands go, Boursin is one of my favourites. I really enjoyed the new flavours, especially the fig and nut variety as it was sweet and earthy with a crunchy texture. The tomato flavour was quite unusual but for me, you can’t beat the original garlic and herb.

Flavrbox– I have already reviewed Flavrbox and you can read it here. I loved getting a whole box of different products. Very exciting!

Honey– Jeannie from Fields and Hedgerows sent me some of her beautiful honey. I will be writing a review about this so I won’t give too much away here. Watch this space!

Moon cake– My current favourite Chinese Restaurant .CN recently celebrated The Chinese Moon Festival and were kind enough to deliver some Moon Cake for me to try. Made with bean paste, this cake was seriously good. It’s not too sweet and should be enjoyed with a good green tea. My kind of cake!


Kallo products– I was very lucky to be sent a selection of products from Kallo including chicken stock, beef stock and vegetable stock, gravy granules and some corn cakes. I’ve been using the stock when making my winter soups and snaking on the corn cakes. They are similar to rice cakes and are very low in calories and taste a bit like popcorn!

Pu erh Tea– I was very touched this week because one of my Twitter followers @cyberjourney gave me some tea Pu’ erh tea to try that he brought back from his holiday in China after reading my recent blog post on tea. He also gave me some Yak jerky!

Thanks to everyone who was kind enough to send me their products to sample. I am very grateful.

Flavrbox- A Monthly Treat For Foodies

For me, subscription food and drink companies are an exciting prospect. Having a box delivered to my door containing a selection of products appeals to the glutton in me, the fact that the contents is a surprise excites the child in me.

After discovering Flavrbox on Twitter, I was very keen to see what they offered so I was delighted when they sent me a tasting box to sample. Flavrbox was established as a way of giving people the chance to experience some of the best food producers in the country. Once a month, subscribers receive a tasting box to their door containing a hand-picked selection of products including snacks, cooking ingredients or condiments, and a booklet telling the story behind each one.

As I’ve said, I love the concept of subscription food and Flavrbox offers such a wide variety of products. I had to collect my box from the post office because I wasn’t in when it was delivered and it was far too big for the letter box. I was very impressed with the contents and the booklet introducing the producers was a nice touch.

Flavrbox

The box was packaged nicely and contained items from five producers. I’ve included a short run down of what I received but of course it will vary each month:

Flavrbox

Hands on Coffee – Nicely packaged, this was a lovely smooth roast with a slight nutty flavour and a nose of vanilla, especially at the moment you open the bag.

Bailey’s Real Food Jackson Bars – I had four of these healthy cereal bars in various flavours. Made without any refined sugar, additives or preservatives, they were soft, oaty and delicious. My favourite was The Naughty Jackson Bar with chocolate, marshmallow and seeds.

Flavrbox

Bacon Jam – This bizarre sounding condiment was my favourite item in the box. A combination of onion jam and smokey bacon, I found no end of dinners and snacks to add this too. It went especially well with oeufs en cocotte.

Mr Popple’s Chocolate – I had two of these vegan chocolate bars made with raw cacao. Free from dairy, refined sugar, gluten, soya, and CM ingredients, these weren’t my thing but I wouldn’t expect to love every product in every box, that’s the gamble you take. Flavrbox does offer a replacement if you aren’t happy with a product which I thought was excellent customer service.

Bendy Legs Cereal– Healthy, unprocessed and delicious, I’m already a Bendy legs convert so I was happy to have a pack in my box.

Flavrbox Tasting Boxes cost £16 per month if you sign up for a year, £18 per month if you sign up for 6 months and £20 on a monthly plan. Each box will contain products from 5-6 producers. Producers are selected based on three criteria; taste, ethics and availability and many have won awards such as The Great Taste Awards. The products selected are generally not widely available in supermarkets so that they are new to subscribers.

I absolutely love the concept behind Flavrbox. I love trying new foods and I love surprises so this is right up my street. However, for the average person, it isn’t cheap if you don’t sign up for a year. I think that for people on a budget, this might be a luxury that they can’t afford. Having said that, if you do have a bit of pocket money to spare and you love trying new products, this does work out to be pretty good value. I added up the cost of the products separately and the box boasts quite a saving.

Flavrbox also have a shop on the website where you can buy products directly if you have sampled something you particularly like. It also gives you an idea of the products you might be sent.

My Last Mouthful was: The Bacon Jam

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Rachel’s Organic Strawberries And Cream Yogurt- Perfect For Summer

Summer has been pretty poor this year, I’m sure you’ll all agree. My miserable pale skin hasn’t really seen the light of day and I can’t really see much changing anytime soon. When we can’t experience the summer sun, thankfully, we can still eat summer food and what says summer more than strawberries and cream?

Rachel’s Organic are the producers of some of my favourite yogurt and to my delight, they often send me some samples to try. You can read my previous review which includes a recipe and my thoughts on some products I have been sent including the delicious Greek Style Coconut Yogurt. On this occasion, amongst other products I have already reviewed, I was sent the Limited Edition Strawberries and Cream bio-live yogurt.

Rachel’s yogurt is always deliciously creamy but this one was more so than any of the others I’ve tasted. It was so thick and creamy, it was somewhere between a custard and a yogurt and was generously interspersed with large chunks of sweet strawberries. I have to say that I wasn’t overly excited about a strawberry yogurt and would usually consider it to be one of the more mundane options but this one was delicious and I would definitely buy it again.

My ratings are based on this product and the others I have sampled in my previous review.

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The Preservation Society- So Good There Is A Waiting List

If you are a cheese monster like me, you will most likely be a chutney monster too. Both are things that I try not to buy too regularly because otherwise I spend too many hours with my grubby mits in the fridge ‘just having a little bit’ until I am too full to enjoy dinner.

Having said that, as a treat or an indulgence, cheese and chutney is as good as chocolate for me. Throw in some crunchy bread and I’m in heaven, all be it with a tummy ache!

You can probably imagine that I was very excited on my way to meet Angharad of The Preservation Society in anticipation of what she had for me to try.

I first tried Chepstow based Preservation Society’s products at a pop up kitchen event in Rudry where her chilli jam was being sampled. It was wonderful so I was keen to find out what else she had been making. When I arrived for our meeting at Cocorico Patisserie, Angharad and her gorgeous little baby girl were already waiting for me with a table full of jars and some little spoons!

I wasn’t expecting the array of products, there was certainly a good range with chutney, jams, sauces and vinegar. Angharad sources all of her produce locally where possible and supplies some local businesses, sells at fairs and through Rudry Kitchen.

All products are made at home and they all have that lovely fresh homemade taste. They are also beautifully packaged with simple labels and quirky names. They looked especially attractive all together because of the wonderful colours in each jar or bottle. None of your browish unidentifiable goo here. The colours were bright but natural, a testament to the fresh produce used.

I started off (of course) with the chutney. I tried the Scrummy Scrump Jelly with Three Saints Cider and Sage, the Chunky Chutney with Untapped Ale and the Plum and Cuban Rum Jelly. All were delicious. I find that sometimes chutney with alcohol in them can be overpowering and drown out the other flavours but these all had a great balance.

I particularly enjoyed the cider one. Along with the plum, I loved it’s jelly-like consistency. It was beautifully sweet but the accompanying cider vineger cut through the sweetness giving it an edge. Beautiful. The other two were lovely too. I think the plum one would go especially nicely with duck or a gamey meat.

Chunky Chutney with Untapped Ale

After the chutney, I had another sample of the delicious Chilli Jam I had tried before along with some Preserved Lemons. I have tried all manner of rubbish chilli jams in my time, many of them in restaurants but this one was excellent. A fresh, bright orange colour with real seeds and a bit of a kick. The preserved lemons were also very good and after two weeks in Morocco recently and lots of tagines, I can confirm that they were very authentic.

Moving onto the sweet options, I tried some Rhubarb Coulis made with homegrown rhubarb which Angharad told me would go very nicely with greek yogurt and almonds. I also tried some Sassy Strawberry Preserve and an Apricot Almond and Ameretto Preserve. The strawberry preserve had chunks of fruit in it and wasn’t too sweet which was good but I personally prefer a thicker jam when it comes to strawberry without lumps, but that is just my preference, it was still very good.

The Apricot preserve however, was fantastic! The Ameretto was subtle with chunky apricots and crunchy almond flakes. It was a great combination to have the soft jam with the crunchy nuts. This was my favourite of the sweet preserves.

Next was a real treat. Anghrard’s fantastic Ravishingly Raspberry Vinegar. I had this at the pop up event in a Bellini which was beautiful but straight from the bottle it was even better. It is so delicious and so versatile. It would work perfectly on a duck salad and Angharad also said it goes great with goats cheese or in a gin and tonic, two more of my favourite things!

Much to my delight, I was given all of the products I tasted to take home except the raspberry vinegar which is in such demand it was the last bottle and there is a waiting list for more! I’m really not surprised and need to be added to that list.

I was very impressed with The Preservation Society and would definitely buy some of these products at a market or fair. For £2.50 a jar or 3 for £6 and £4 for the bottles, the price is right too.

Tempting me with some of my favourite things and then bringing along a cute baby was always going to make for a successful afternoon. I wish Angharad every success with her business and recommend her products.

My last mouthful was: The Ravishingly Raspberry Vinegar

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This months competition starts tomorrow with the chance to win a gift box of Preservation Society goodies!

One Mile Bakery- Great Concept With Food To Match

I try no end of good food thanks to Your Last Mouthful and it is not unusual for me to have a delivery of some kind of delicious produce, but I have never been delivered bread before and I am yet to come across a concept as brilliant as One Mile Bakery.

The brain-child of Elisabeth Mahoney, One Mile Bakery was born after two years of preparation and stems from a genuine passion for good, simple food made with local or homegrown, quality ingredients. The concept is simple, The One Mile Bakery delivers handmade bread, soups and preserves within a one-mile radius of its kitchen in Cardiff.  Everything is made using seasonal produce and traditionally milled organic flour, and delivered to local addresses in Pontcanna, Llandaff and Canton on foot or by bike.

Elisabeth arrived at my door with a rustic basket housing two loaves of bread, a jar of jam and a large container of soup, all bearing the One Mile Bakery logo. As we chatted and unpacked the goods, Elisabeth explained that instead of buying individual items, customers pay for a monthly subscription and receive a weekly delivery providing they are in the one mile proximity of her kitchen. There are many subscriptions to choose from but I was trying the bread, soup and jam subscription at £23.50 per month. This would mean a delivery of two loaves of bread and a container of soup per week and a jar of jam with the first batch of the month.

Now you should know that bread and butter is my weakness. I suffer from IBS so as I rule I avoid bread and try not to buy it but looking at the loaves on my kitchen table, this was going to be worth the pain!

Each week, customers receive a different type of loaf and soup depending on the produce available. My delivery consisted of Harira Soup, a Rye, Wheat and White Sourdough and a Multi-seeded and Honey Loaf with a jar Rhubarb, Strawberry, Vanilla and Elderflower Jam.

I’m ashamed to say that the minute Elisabeth walked out of the door I tucked into the bread. Starting with the sourdough, I covered it in lashings of butter and sank into my armchair while I drifted into my bread and butter heaven. The sourdough was beautifully soft inside with a lovely crunchy crust. The contrast between the bread and the crust was just right and I throughly enjoyed it. This lasted very well too. I still have some left 5 days later and it is still delicious toasted.

With dinner simmering away on the hob, I intended to just have a small piece of the Multi-seeded and Honey Loaf with some of the jam. Ten minutes later I had eaten half the loaf! I can honestly say this is some of the nicest bread I have ever tasted. It was just so deliciously soft and sweet. It had a real dense, spongy texture with a beautiful soft crust. I could eat it without butter and if you knew the extent of my bread and butter addiction that is saying something!

Not only was the bread delicious but it didn’t actually make me ill. Elisabeth said that it because everything is natural  and fermented for such a long time, it is easier to break down and digest. You don’t know how happy this makes me.

Not to be out done by the bread, the jam was also fantastic. I do love jam but it’s something I never really get around to finishing but on this occasion, it is nearly gone. This is definitely not your average strawberry jam. Strawberry was the dominant flavour in my jar but there were clear and complimentary undertones of rhubarb and vanilla. I’m afraid the elderflower was a bit lost but it was still beautiful nonetheless.

For me, the best thing about the jam was the texture. It was very thick and quite jelly-like which I really enjoyed although Mr V said that he would have prefered it to be softer. He didn’t dispute the delicious flavour though.

I managed to control myself and save the soup for lunch the next day. The container of soup provided two very generous helpings. If you’re not a big eater, I think it would have done three days with bread. The Harira soup came with herbs and lemon and some rose harissa that could be added according to taste. Packed full of noodles, chick peas and lentils, this was a very filling chunky soup, perfect on a rainy day.

I haven’t got a bad word to say about One Mile Bakery. The food is fantastic, the price is right and the concept is brilliant. The only problem is, I don’t live within the one mile radius. My house is on the market though and this could well become a deciding factor when choosing our new house!

Even though I totally buy into this concept, I think that what really sold it to me and would keep me coming back for more if I lived in the area is Elisabeth. One of the great things about having my website and blog is that I get to meet people who are so passionate about what they do and it is just so inspiring. One Mile Bakery has only been up and running a few weeks and already Elisabeth has been inundated with orders and I fully believe that it is not all about the food (although it is fantastic). For me the personal touch and the love that goes into something like this is just so important and Elisabeth certainly has this.

Elisabeth told me stories about her childhood and how she enjoyed cooking with her Mum who grew everything herself and the love for Italian food she developed from a childhood friend. Many of Elisabeth’s recipes have been handed down from her Mum and I love this as it is something that is so often lost these days as people stop cooking for themselves. Elisabeth has been able to take her Mum’s recipes and others that she has found along the way and tweak them to make them her own, creating simple but beautiful food.

Elisabeth doesn’t believe she is very creative when it comes to cooking but recognises the importance of good quality ingredients and wants people to experience the food she loves. Her creatively comes through with her business model. Creative or not, she certainly knows her stuff. Elisabeth is a food and travel writer when she isn’t baking and has even been a food critic in her time. With an extensive career in food, this seems like a logical step and one that I hope continues to develop as Elisabeth has lots of ideas for extending the product range and for cookery classes. I wish her every success.

My Last Mouthful was: The multi-seeded and Honey Loaf

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Beyond Vegetarian Week- The Best Veggie Dishes!

Having just celebrated vegetarian Week, I thought it would be fitting to share with you some excellent vegetarian dishes that are available on the menus of some of our Green Spoon Businesses.

Vegetarian week certainly introduced me to some excellent dishes this year and it’s good to know that there are quality vegetarian dishes available all year round.

ffresh

Ffresh have two starters that they would recommend and they are made with local produce. Both are available on ffresh’s bar menu.

Roasted Mushroom and Basil Pate with Spelt Bread

The pate is produced by Wales the True Taste winning supplier Capital Cuisine and is accompanied by another Wales the True Taste winning product Jones Organic Spelt Bread.

Roasted Mushroom and Basil Pate with Spelt Bread

Perl Lâs Blue Cheese and Elderberry Port Mousse with Pea Shoots and Candied Walnuts

The cheese is supplied by Wales the True Taste winning supplier Caws Cenarth and is made from organic cow’s milk in Carmarthenshire.  The port is supplied by Wales the True Taste winning Celteg.

Hodge’s Restaurant- Mercure, Holland House

Spring Vegetable and Pearl Barley Risotto

Spring Vegetable and Pearl Barley Risotto

Joseph Procak, Executive Chef at Mercure Holland House Hotel & Spa has a vegetarian risotto on the menu currently.

It is a risotto with a difference made with pearl barley and seasonal ingredients. The Spring Vegetable and Pearl Barley Risotto is served with sautéed seasonal greens, torn basil and soured cream.

I have actually been lucky enough to try this one and can confirm that it is very good indeed.

Laguna Kitchen and Bar- Park Plaza

Laguna Kitchen and Bar at Park Plaza recommend a dessert as part of a vegetarian option and they have even included a recipe for you.

Perry Jelly and Summer Fruits with Elderflower Ice Cream

Ingredients

For the elderflower ice cream

300ml/½ pint whole milk,

6 medium free-range egg yolks

100g/4oz caster sugar

300ml/ clotted cream,

200ml/7fl oz elderflower cordial

For the Perry jelly and summer fruits

4 gelatine leaves

500ml/18fl oz Perry (sparkling pear cider)

75g/2¾oz caster sugar

125g/5oz mixed berries, such as blueberries, raspberries and wild strawberries

Preparation method

1.For the elderflower ice cream, bring the milk to the boil in a heavy-based saucepan, then remove from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl, pour in the milk and whisk well. Return to the pan and cook over a low heat for about five minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk. Do not boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and elderflower cordial. Leave to cool, then churn in an ice cream machine (according to manufacturer’s instructions) until thickened. Decant into a clean container and place in the freezer.

2.For the perry jelly and summer fruits, immerse the gelatine leaves one at a time in a shallow bowl of cold water and leave for a minute or so until soft. Bring 100ml/3½fl oz of the perry to the boil in a medium saucepan, add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Drain and squeeze the gelatine leaves, then add to the hot perry and stir until melted. Remove from the heat, add the rest of the perry and stir well. Put the pan of jelly somewhere cool, but do not let it set.

3.Divide half the berries among four individual jelly moulds, or use one large mould. Pour in half of the cooled jelly. Chill for an hour or so to set, then top up with the rest of the berries and unset jelly. (This ensures the berries stay suspended and don’t float to the top.) Return to the fridge to chill until set.

4.To serve, turn the jellies out onto plates and place a scoop of the elderflower ice cream in the middle of each one

There will be more vegetarian posts this week including a review of a vegetarian 3 course meal.

For more reviews, competitions and events, please see my website- www.yourlastmouthful.com

Baked By Mel- Cakes Crying Out To Be Eaten.

As you well know, I get very excited when someone offers to send me a box of cakes to review. Beautiful cupcakes appearing on my desk is definitely a perk but it is even more exciting when I get to meet the people behind the cakes and have a chat.

Last week I was thrilled to have tea with the lovely Melanie behind Baked By Mel at the wonderful Pettigrew Tearooms. I instantly liked Mel, she was bubbly and fun and her enthusiasm for her business and love of tea and cake was infectious. I could have chatted and eaten cake for hours.

Mel told me about her business and how she had set it up so that she could be at home with her young children and how well it is now doing. It was great to hear that she enjoyed it so much and how she was staying true to what she loves. Mel believes that a cake should be all about making you want to eat it. While cupcakes can be beautiful, they still need to make your mouth water so Mel experiments with flavours and keeps her designs simple (but still lovely to look at) so that they are not just too pretty too eat, they taste great too.

I agree fully with this ethos but for those of you who read my reviews regularly you will know this so I won’t bang on about it. I will just say that I was pleased to hear this and for me a cupcake can look like a work of art but flavour should not be compromised.

Digging into Mel’s cakes, I can assure you flavour was high on her list of priorities. The cakes were delicious and very imaginative. They came packed in a colourful box, perfect for a gift and each cake had a unique design.

Black Forest Cherry

Black Forest Gateaux has never been at the top of my list of desserts so I wasn’t expecting to like this one as much as I did but it actually turned out to be my favourite. The cake had a rich, dark chocolate flavour made incredibly moist by lashings of brandy and cherry and topped with the most gorgeous light fluffy perfectly white icing. Mel explained that the butter icing was beaten for 8 minutes and included lots of fluid to make it so light and airy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Crunch

Topped with a piece of snickers and a moorish chocolate fudge topping, this chocolate cake was filled with peanut butter. The combination of sweet and salty is something that I am loving at the moment so I enjoyed this one.

Lemon and Poppy Seed

You can’t go wrong with lemon, it’s one of my favourites. This one was very strong and the bitterness of lemon was matched perfectly with the sweetness in the sponge and the poppy seeds gave it an extra dimension adding a bit of crunch. Again this was lovely and moist and topped with that light icing again.

Strawberry Jam

This one certainly looked very cute with a cake heart on top. It was a very traditional combination of vanilla sponge with strawberry jam inside. The jam was also handmade by The Preservation Society.

Strawberry Cheesecake

Topped with a fresh strawberry this cake was a moist vanilla sponge with soft butter icing and a layer of cream cheese in between the two. A clever idea and very tasty although as a cheese fiend, I would have liked a bit more cheese.

At just £1.50 per cake Mel’s prices are very competitive and would make a great gift or just a guilty pleasure for a Sunday afternoon. I am looking forward to seeing what new creations Mel comes up with in the future and hope to meet her again soon.

My Last Mouthful was: Black Forest Cherry Cake

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