Thursday, 19 January 2017

Amish Sugar Cookies (#ReadCookEat)

Sense and Sensibility by Sarah Price, Jane Austen's spin-off


There is a whole sub-genre of spin-offs of Jane Austen's works - sequels, prequels, adaptations of the classic stories as retold by different protagonists. Most of it is mediocre. Some of these books are amusing, and are a decent homage to the genius of Jane Austen.
Sense and Sensibility by Sarah Price is an Amish retelling of Jane Austen's classic. I have found this book in a charity shop, and just had to buy it. I have read a couple of books by Sarah Price in the past, so I was familiar with the Amish romance genre.
If you assume that's a bit of an improbable setting, think of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which gained lots of fans...

The Dashwoods - Elinor, Marianne and Margaret - become Eleanor, Mary Ann and Maggie Detweiler. Three sisters and their mother are forced out of their family home by their step-brother John and his unbearable wife Fanny. Their distant cousin offers them a chance to move to a run-down cottage on his land.
Eleanor, practical and sensible, falls in love with Fanny's brother, Edwin Fischer. Mary Ann, impulsive and immature, becomes infatuated with handsome Willis who is set to inherit his aunt's farm. She is the opposite of her older sister, as she is not able to hide her emotions.
As in Austen's novel, sisters' lives go through heartache before they manage to find their happy end. The relationships in the book are pretty close to the original, but the setting is very different.
Sarah Price has skillfully transferred Austen's story to blend with the Amish way of life.

I tend to read novels, looking for food descriptions and references, and this book didn't disappoint. I had quite a choice of quotes to pick from the novel, deciding which recipe to recreate.

"Perhaps, Eleanor said, you would like to come inside. Maem prepared some fresh meadow tea and sugar cookies for your arrival". She said the last part directly to Henry, a smile still on her face...

While the rest of the family enjoyed the fried chicken, corn salad, and sliced tomatoes, fresh off the vine, Eleanor had merely picked at her food...

Shortly after Saturday's supper, a simple fare of fresh bread, pasta salad, tomatoes and meatloaf, Mary Ann stood by the open kitchen window, her face turned to the breeze...

She tried to focus on baking chocolate chip cookies and double fudge brownies to donate to the local firehouse for their fund-raiser.

Sense and Sensibility by Sarah Price, Jane Austen's spin-off


I started looking up Amish sugar cookies recipes, but they all seem to be catering for big families or events. They also seem to differ from author to author: some use butter, some oil, or a mix of oil and butter.
Then I remembered that I have downloaded The Best Amish Baking Recipes book by Jamie Smith a while ago, when it appeared as a freebie on amazon.
I halved the amount of every ingredient, and even then I got over 40 cookies. All the amounts are converted from cups into grams. I had to add more flour, as simply halving the original recipe made for a very runny batter, not suitable for cookies.

Amish baking recipes


Amish Sugar Cookies
Ingredients:
280g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
180ml vegetable oil
250ml buttermilk
2tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
2tsp vanilla extract
1/2tsp cinnamon, ground
500g self-raising flour

In a big mixing bowl beat the eggs with caster sugar. Add the oil and buttermilk, baking soda, salt, vanilla and cinnamon and sift in the flour. Mix well.
You will need to bake these cookies in batches. Place the foil over the cookie trays, and place spoonfuls of the cookie dough on the tray, leaving about 4-5cm space between the cookies because they expand quite a bit. Sprinkle brown sugar on top of each cookie and flatten it a bit with a glass.
Bake at 180 for about 12+ minutes until golden in colour. They will still be very soft when you take the trays out. Once cooled a bit, carefully place cookies on the cooling rack, and later in a cookie tin.
These cookies are soft and chewy, and lovely with a cup of tea.
They will keep well for a few days in a closed container.

In this recipe I used two types of Tate & Lyle sugar - caster sugar and brown sugar with stevia (which is made from the natural extract of the stevia plant. 1 tsp provides approximately the same sweetness as 2tsp of sugar). If you are using just the brown sugar in the recipe, halve the amount of sugar for the cookie dough.



Have you read a book recently which inspired you to run to the kitchen and cook to your heart's content?

I hope you are inspired by books to join in the #ReadCookEat challenge.

The idea is to choose a book, either a world classic or modern fiction, or even memoirs and pick up a dish mentioned or described in that book and then recreate it in a recipe. Please say a few lines about your chosen book, and maybe even do a quote from the book.

If you decide to take part, please add the badge to your post and link up back to me, and either use a link-up tool or add the url of your post as a comment. Alternatively, email me with the link to your post (my email is sasha1703 at yahoo dot com).

I promise to Pin all blogs posts taking part in this challenge, as well as RT and Google+


Garden Vistas no.2 - Summer breeze 500pc jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger


I find jigsaw puzzles very therapeutic and relaxing. When I'm feeling stressed, puzzles help me to unwind. And if I also have a cup of tea and some chocolates to go with my hobby, I am on cloud nine.
Garden Vistas no.2 - Summer Breeze 500pc jigsaw puzzle is the second in the series of garden scenes, created by British artist Anne Searle.

jigsaw puzzles,

It depicts a wonderfully vibrant garden scene, a real paradise of blooms and flowers. The garden is glorious - with lavender, roses, pinks and lilies adding enticing aromas. Then there are colourful hollyhocks, poppies, irises, foxgloves, clematis and Sweet William. The path and the lawn lead to the rustic shed, which is framed by conifers. Imagine sitting in such a beautiful garden with a book and a cup of tea!
This jigsaw puzzle consists of 500 pieces. All cardboard pieces are made of high quality cardboard, and are easily slotted together. The cardboard has a linen finish print to minimise glare on puzzle image.
The puzzle is suitable for ages 10 years and up. It is quite compact in size - 49x36cm.


Ravensburger puzzles, garden scenes


I have a couple of friends who love puzzles as much as I do, and I often pass the puzzles to them, once I have finished assembling. They, in their turn, offer them to their friends. I like the idea that several people will enjoy those puzzles.
This beautiful puzzle will make a lovely gift for any puzzle fan or keen gardener. 


Disclosure: I received the puzzle for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are my own.


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Foil-baked feta with caper berries and Greek basil

feta recipes, baked cheese


I already have enough cook books to last me a lifetime, but could never resist a temptation of buying more. Especially when I find interesting cook books in charity shops, or if they are on good offer at Book People. A few months ago I was browsing a shelf or discarded library books, all hardbacks priced at £1, when I spotted Flavour: a world of beautiful food by Vicky Bhogal. This book is all about fusion cuisine.
I have bookmarked a few recipes including a delicious-looking foil-baked feta.

I have adapted the recipe, first of all by halving the weight of ingredients. I only cooked two blocks of feta (200g each), as my kids don't like the taste of feta cheese. Even that was quite a lot for two. A half of one block per person is plenty, especially if you have it with chunky bread.
Also I couldn't find fresh oregano, and used Greek basil instead. I have added big sized caper berries to the baked feta rather then small capers.

baked cheese


Foil-baked feta with caper berries and Greek basil
Ingredients:
2 blocks of 200g feta cheese (I used Odysea sheep & goat's milk feta)
4tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
a good pinch of paprika
a handful of fresh Greek basil
2 medium tomatoes, skinned and chopped
a handful of caper berries

for an onion slaw:
1 big sized red onion, thinly sliced
1/2tsp paprika
1tbsp balsamic vinegar
1tsp brown sugar
a good squeeze of lemon juice
a pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 200C. Make two foil pouches with biggish squares of foil.
Boil the water, and dip in two tomatoes in it for a minute, then rinse under the cold water and peel off the skin. Finely slice tomatoes, mix with chopped herbs, paprika, finely chopped garlic and olive oil.
Divide the mix in two, and spoon into two foil pouches. Dip the feta blocks in the tomato mix, put them on and spoon a bit of tomatoes on top. Loosely fold the pouches. Put them in the oven for 15 minutes.
Serve hot with fresh crusty bread.
It was absolutely delicious, and so easy to make too. Feta has mellowed and softened.

baked cheese

Vicky Bhogal also adds a finely sliced onion to the feta pouch.
I decided to make a red onion slaw separately. In fact, you will need to start first with the slaw, as it takes time to infuse. It is even better made overnight, but even one hour will do.
Slice one big red onion as thinly as you can. I used a mandolin. Then squeeze and scrunch the onion rings in a medium sized bowl, to soften them a bit. Add brown sugar, paprika and balsamic vinegar. Also add a good squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Let it infuse from 1 to 24 hours. I am personally happy to eat this slaw in any cheese sandwich or with any rice dishes. Of course, if you are going on a date, skip it.


onion side dish or appetiser


baked cheese, Greek style recipes

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Trolls 100pc jigsaw puzzle from Ravensburger


best puzzles for kids, gifts for kids, Trolls

After taking the big screens by storm last year, Trolls are everywhere these days - on birthday cakes for children, in toys shops, on bottles of shampoo etc. Trolls are new Minions, with millions of young fans all over the world. Since I try to avoid most of the children's animation with too much annoying enthusiastic singing (think Chipmunks etc), we didn't go to see the film in the cinema.
But as Eddie's been pestering me to buy him a Trolls DVD, I suppose I won't be able to avoid it altogether.
Recently Ravensburger has added a Trolls 100pc jigsaw puzzle to its extensive range of puzzles for kids. It is aimed at children aged 6+.




This bright colourful puzzle consists of 100 big chunky pieces, which are easy for young children to sort and hold. It measures 49x36cm.
As always with Ravensburger puzzles, the jigsaw pieces are made from high quality cardboard, fit together snugly and have a matt finish. They are strong and durable.
The puzzle features all the main characters from the animation.
Eddie's taking after me when it comes to jigsaw puzzles - we are both great lovers of this wonderful hobby.
He loved assembling Trolls puzzle. It took him about 20 minutes to finish it. That's my boy!


childrens' puzzles, Trolls

Once the puzzle is assembled, it is easy to put it back in the box until the next use.
Jigsaw puzzles are great on so many levels. I find them relaxing. For younger children they help with motor skills and brain.
This lovely jigsaw puzzle will make a great gift for any Trolls fan.

gifts for children aged 6+

It is worth following @RavensburgerPC on Twitter, as every Friday they host a new giveaway.


Disclosure: We received this jigsaw puzzle for the purposes of reviewing. All opinions are our own.

gifts for children, puzzles for children, Trolls

Friday, 13 January 2017

Ricotta cheesecake (torta di ricotta)

Italian cakes, gluten free dessert, gluten free cheesecake


Every time we go to Italy, I return home, inspired by Italian recipes. An Italian cheesecake - torta di ricotta - is a lovely dessert. It is not as rich as, for example, New York cheesecake, because it doesn't have the crushed biscuit base and uses less sugar.
I haven't baked a cheesecake for ages, and wanted to cook it ever since we came back from our trip.

Ricotta cheesecake (serves 6-8)
Ingredients:
zest of 1 lemon
150g caster sugar
75g softened butter
450g ricotta cheese (almost 2 tubs)
2 medium eggs
1tsp baking powder
1tsp vanilla essence
3tbsp cornflour
75g sultanas
icing sugar, to sprinkle on the top

Depending on which sultanas you're using, you might want to soak them in hot water for quarter of an hour, if they look too dry. I still have some of sultanas left from before Christmas, when I bought a big bag to make mincemeat. They are quite plump, so I didn't think they need soaking.

Grate the lemon zest into a deep mixing bowl, add the caster sugar, softened butter and mix well. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the ricotta, baking powder, vanilla and cornflour. Finally add the sultanas and mix well.

Pour the cake mix into an oiled spring cake tin, place the tin into the oven preheated to 180C. Bake the cake for an hour. When you take the tin out, the cake might still look wobbly, but it should be cooked. Let it cool for 15 minutes before taking the cake out of the tin.

Italian cake recipe, gluten free cheesecake


Sprinkle with icing sugar before serving.

Italian dessert recipes, gluten free desserts


Italian dessert, gluten free cake

Since I managed to use some of the sultanas (not finished yet the bag), I'm adding this recipe to #KitchenClearout linky run by Cheryl from Madhouse Family Reviews.



Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Roast beef with brown sugar, rum & mustard glaze

best roast beef

The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on 7 January, following the old Julian calendar for religious events and holidays. While many celebrate Christmas on 25 December together with most of the western world, Russians are happy to use any excuse for a holiday with a feast.

A proper Russian Christmas eve is a day of fasting, when you would eat very simple fare like a dried mushroom soup or sochivo (a dish of wheat soaked with dried fruit and honey). The next day you eat to burst. The meal traditionally consists of 12 dishes to represent 12 disciples of Jesus.
As it happened, I didn't serve 12 dishes, but we had plenty of food and drink.

Last Saturday we invited friends over for dinner. I often tend to cook a roast chicken as a main meal, but this time fancied a different roast. The starter was a simple Russian dish of mushrooms baked in ramekins with lots of cream.
I cooked the beef with a glaze of brown sugar, rum and mustard, and it was a lovely combination of flavours.


Roast beef with brown sugar, rum & mustard glaze
Ingredients:
1kg beef roasting joint
2tbsp mustard powder
1 and a half tbsp brown sugar
3tbsp rum
1tbsp olive oil + more for the veg at the bottom of the tray
1 and a half tsp sea salt with thyme
1 fennel bulb
1 medium carrot

Make a paste from mustard powder, brown sugar, rum, salt and olive oil, and rub it all over the beef joint. Let it marinade for at least 3 hours, or leave overnight, wrapped in cling film.
Take the beef out of the fridge at least half an hour before cooking. Preheat the oven to 200C.
Slice the fennel bulb and carrot into big chunks and put them into a deep roasting tray. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
Place the beef joint over the vegetables. Put the tray in the oven and cook the way you like it.
According to Delia, you give it 20 minutes at the start, afterwards lower the temperature to 190C and cook for 15 minutes per pound/450g for the rare beef. Add 15 minutes for medium rare, and 30 minutes for well done.
Baste the beef a few times during the cooking. Pour a dash of rum over the beef, as it cooks.
Once the beef is roasted to your liking, remove the tray out of the oven and let it rest for 15-20 minutes before carving.
Serve with roast potatoes & other vegetables, gravy, or mustard or horseradish sauce.

In this recipe I used Tate & Lyle brown sugar with stevia (which is made from the natural extract of the stevia plant. 1 tsp provides approximately the same sweetness as 2tsp of sugar).


Since I managed to finish a little pot of mustard powder, as well as a bit of rum (a bottle which will last me ages, I guess), I'm adding this recipe to #KitchenClearout linky run by Cheryl from Madhouse Family Reviews.


Sunday, 8 January 2017

Roasted and Stuffed Butternut Squash with Brown Basmati, Quinoa & Goat's Cheese

gluten free recipes, vegetarian recipes


There are many reasons why people pick January to set up new resolutions. And then not stick to them, or stick for a little while to abandon later. I don't want to run with the crowd and have given up on taking resolutions a long time ago.
I do know it would be much better for me to cut down on caffeine, chocolate and generally reduce the calorie intake, but I also know that I won't stick to any particular plan. Ideally I'd love to lose some weight, so we'll see, but no resolutions...

If, however, you decided to eat healthier and get more fibre, you might have thought of alternative grains like quinoa. If you take brown rice, it houses more fibre than white rice, while quinoa wins with even higher content of fibre.
Quinoa has quite an acquired taste. While appreciating its health benefits, I am not that keen on pure quinoa. But if it is mixed with the other grains or rice, plus added vegetables, then the quinoa takes on their flavours.

Tilda rice has a selection of steamed basmati and quinoa like brown steamed basmati rice & quinoa, quinoa pumpkin & sunflower seeds steamed basmati rice as well as vegetables & quinoa.

Last week I have tried a wonderfully moreish recipe for Roasted and Stuffed Butternut Squash as created by Dr Sarah Schenker for the Tilda Genuine Goodness initiative. It was so delicious, that I am going to cook it again soon.

gluten free recipes, vegetarian recipes


Roasted and Stuffed Butternut Squash (recipe courtesy of Tilda rice)
Serves 4
Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 1 hour 15 mins
Ingredients:
1-2 pouches of Tilda TSB Wholegrain Roasted Vegetable or Wholegreain, Quinoa, Pumpkin & Sunflower
1 large butternut squash
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2tbsp butter
drizzle olive oil
75g walnut pieces, roughly chopped
200g goats cheese, diced or mashed
2tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped (or dried)
1tbsp honey

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 190C. Cut the squash in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds and soft fibres. Place on a baking tray, add the garlic and 1tbsp butter to each cavity. Drizzle with oil, season well and place in the oven. Bake for 60 minutes until the flesh is soft.
2. Scoop out some of the cooked flesh and juices into a large bowl, leaving a 1cm layer of squash attached to the skin so the squash keeps its shape.
3. Heat the rice according to pack instructions.
4. roughly mash the butternut, stir in the rice with the thyme, most of the walnuts and cheese, season with salt and pepper.
5. Spoon the filling back into the squash halves and scatter the remaining cheese and walnuts.
6. Drizzle with honey and bake for another 15 minutes.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now that's how I cooked it. It's not very easy to cut a butternut squash, as it is pretty hard. The way I do it is wrap the squash in foil whole, and cook in the oven for half an hour at 180C. Take it out of the oven, let it cool and then cut in half and scoop the seeds and fibres. Much easier.
I then spread the minced garlic, olive oil and salt mix over the open halves, and put back in the oven to cook for another 25 minutes.
Take out of the oven, scoop the soft flesh into a bowl, leaving a 1cm rim around the squash, to make a container for squash and rice mix. Add the chopped walnuts, dried thyme, goats cheese and mix well. Ladle the contents back into the squash halves, back in the oven for 15 minutes. Drizzle with honey before serving.

vegetarian recipes, recipes with quinoa

The butternut squash I used was about 900g in weight, it wasn't big enough to use two pouches of Tilda rice. Depending on the size of the squash you choose and the number of people you are cooking, you might want to increase the amount of rice, or reduce it.

recipes with quinoa, vegetarian recipes


I used Tilda Brown Basmati & Quinoa which includes natural brown basmati rice, natural yellow and red quinoa, sunflower oil, vegetable stock powder (rice flour, salt, onions, parsnips, carrots, olive oil, turmeric, parsley). Like all Tilda products, it is free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives. Quinoa adds a bit of crunch and nuttiness to the rice mix, but doesn't overpower it.



If quinoa doesn't rock your boat, any Tilda basmati rice would work in this recipe. We love the coconut flavoured basmati rice mixes from Tilda, and jasmine (dry rice, not steamed) is fabulous too.

steamed rice

You might have seen Tilda rice ads in the magazines recently. Just this weekend I spotted them in the Guardian and Observer magazines. They show brand new Genuine Goodness packaging, expressing all the goodness of naturally gluten-free, low GI basmati.
I like the new design of packaging, with stylised hands made of rice. The new designs are colourful and modern-looking.

For more hearty recipes and information on the Genuibe Goodness initiative, visit Tilda where you can download the Big Hearted cookbook, created by Sarah Schenker exclusively for Tilda.

Disclosure: I received a selection Of Tilda rice for the purposes of testing the recipe. All opinions are our own.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Lego Santa's Visit Christmas Seasonal Set

Lego Christmas sets


We love seasonal Lego sets and minifigures. Actually we just love Lego. Full stop. We can't get enough of it. This Christmas we had plenty of Lego to play with, thanks to generous grandparents, well, and thanks to me too.
As Eddie is obsessed with Nexo Knights and loves playing the game on ipad, I bought several Nexo Knights sets on Black Friday, and took them with us to Italy to put under the Christmas tree as gifts for Eddie.
As if that was not enough, I couldn't resist buying a Lego Santa's Visit Christmas Seasonal Set (40125) in Sainsbury's. I thought it would be a lovely seasonal toy, small enough to put in the suitcase with us. Little did I know that Nonno and Nonna would splash on Lego big time.
Eddie was so Lego-ed on Christmas day, and so ecstatic to find his favourite Nexo Knights under the tree that he hardly paid any attention to Santa's Visit.
So, I built it myself. When we were resting after Christmas lunch, I quietly enjoyed myself with Lego.
It is available on amazon for £14.99, but I definitely paid £7 in Sainsbury's, and that's about the right price for it.



It is a lovely festive scene - a living room with a fireplace, armchair and Christmas tree. The armchair is set on a rotating base. There is a minifigure of Santa included, as well as a little cat. I loved the little table with a cup of tea and mince pies (not sure if they are mince pies, they do look more like choc chip cookies).
The attention to detail is impeccable.
There are two Christmas stockings and a wreath hanging over the fireplace, the flame of the fire and Christmas tree decorations.
It is easy to assemble, with clear instructions, and is a real pleasure to play with.
This charming seasonal set will make a lovely gift for any Lego fans.

Christmas Lego sets

Monday, 2 January 2017

Degustabox Winter Box

The last Degustabox of the year was delivered as were sitting downstairs, waiting for the taxi to take us to the airport. I only had a quick peek before we were off, but it certainly looked good.
Degustabox Winter Box is full of festive seasonal treats.

We are always looking forward to our Degustabox delivery, which arrives every month and is full of foodie surprises. This monthly food and drink subscription box is an excellent way to discover products which have only just appeared in the shops or those which might have been around for while, but you haven't had a chance to try them yet.
Thanks to Degustabox, I have found new favourites to add to our shopping list, including some products which I probably wouldn't have tried otherwise.
Each time the box arrives, it's a total surprise, as you don't know what you might find there. You get a good selection of foods and drinks.
If you haven't tried Degustabox subscription box yet and would like to have a go, I have a whopping £7 off discount from your first box (and you can unsubscribe any time) - just use a code 8EVI8 when you place an order.
What did we receive in Winter-themed Degustabox? Let's have a peek.

food box delivery

I'll start with sweet treats:
Lebkuchen are traditional German gingerbread cookies. You can buy them in the UK before Christmas in most supermarkets.
Bahlsen Akora spiced lebkuchen-style cakes with fruit filling and dark chocolate are our favourites. I always buy them before Christmas. They are delicious - soft inside, with a gooey jam, and are covered with dark chocolate. Very moreish, and you can't just stop at one...
Bahlsen Lebkuchen Mischung is a mixed selecrion of gingerbread spiced cakes, glazed with sugar icing and chocolate. They look very festive and taste just like Christmas itself.

German gingerbread cakes

Bristows Oh Fudge will make a lovely gift, for any occasion. It is available in three flavours. We have sampled Apple & Cinnamon fudge. This is a fudge from Devon. Apples and cinnamon in fudge is a combination of flavours I haven't come across before. It is certainly different from the classic fudge flavours.

Devon fudge

Nutri-Brex Gluten Free Coconut & Crispy Rice is packed with the tasty ancient grain Sorghum. Naturally gluten free, fortified with vitamins and high in fibre. It promises a tasty breakfast, with its coconut and cinnamon flavours.
There are 24 cereal bricks in a pack. Calorie-wise, it is 201kcal per serving (3 bricks).

gluten free breakfast


Hoots Snacks are an exciting new range of multigrain snacks. They make a healthier alternative to crisps, as they are baked, not fried, and are a good source of fibre. Other bonus features: no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives are used. These snacks are suitable for vegetarians and vegans too.
We received two flavours of Hoots - Salt & Vinegar and Salt & Pepper.


These crunchy crispy snacks make perfect croutons for soup. I served carrot lentil soup with Hoots salt & pepper snacks, and it was a lovely combination of flavours and textures.

homemade soup

Bite + Multi Grain Flakes are a new concept in snacking. They are multigrain cereal flakes, seasoned with savoury flavours. We received a Sour Cream & Onion flavour. These crunchy cereal snacks contain less than 3% fat, no artificial colours, GMO, MSG or preservatives. They are also a good source of fibre. One pack is 2 portions, at 111kcal each.

healthier snacks

Gallo is one of our favourite Italian brands. I often buy their risotto rice (arborio) to keep in the pantry.
I haven't tried their Expresso variety before. They offer a selection of authentic Italian recipes.

risotto rice, arborio, Italian rice

Today for dinner we had a chance to try Gallo Expresso Risotto Al Quattro Formaggi (four cheese). I followed the recipe on a packet, which is very easy, and also added fried mushrooms and about 50g of goat's cheese (leftovers from new year's eve party). I served it with a bit of Grana Padano grated over. One pack is enough for two people. You can cook it for 2 minutes in a pan on the hob or 3 minutes in microwave.

Italian risotto

Maggi 3 minute noodles are available in chicken, beef and curry flavours. Chicken noodles pot contains 275kcal. This will come handy on one of the school days, when I won't have much time to cook anything for my own lunch.



Moving onto the drinks. I have written about a2 long life milk over a year ago.
Noone in my family has digestive problems due to lactose or A1 protein, so we tested a2 milk purely for its taste.
a2 milk is easier to digest than the standard milk. Research has shown that the A1 protein breaks down more slowly in the body, and for some people this could bring on uncomfortable symptoms which are quite similar to lactose intolerance. a2 milk is not suitable for anyone who is allergic to cows milk protein.
It is a tasty milk, which keeps well.


Newton's Apl Fizzics is a refreshing fizzy drink, made from apple juice and sparkling water. All natural, with no added sugar or sweeteners, it also has 40% less sugar than apple juice on its own.

What a Melon is a new watermelon water, which hydrates like coconut water, with extra anti-oxidants and amino acid citrulline.

Degustabox drinks

Eisberg  Sauvignon Blanc is a non alcoholic white wine, fresh and aromatic, with hints of gooseberry and fruit. It is low cal, only 28kcal per 125ml serving. I used this wine to make a cranberry sauce to serve with baked ham on new year's eve.
Cranberry sauce with white wine was absolutely delicious.



Disclosure: We received the latest Degustabox for the purposes of testing and reviewing. All opinions are our own.