Over the last month I have been sampling some new food products and ingredients as well as a cook book. There are, as always, many other products I could have accepted to review but I do only say yes to things I genuinely think I would like. This month I have a small but good selection, starting with………..
The Chia Co
Chia is an ancient seed that is supposed to be “nature’s superfood”. Eating them will increase your daily fibre , aid digestion, give you extra protein and boost your Omega 3 levels. The seeds and oil are 100% natural and chemical free. I have noticed loads of people on Instagram are adding them to their daily green smoothies (the go to breakfast of the super healthy) so I am giving them a go by adding them to my cereal in the morning, sprinkling them on my salads, mixing them into my flatbreads and muffins and pouring a little of the chia oil into my vinaigrette.
The Chia Co is an Australian brand based in Kimberley, Western Australia where the seeds are grown in farms with ideal growing conditions for them. I was sent the chia oil, white chia seeds, ground chia seeds and chia shots so I can pop a few seeds on the go. The packaging is gorgeous. It’s orange and bold, as is the text and the logo. I am selling these little seeds to my kids as brain food and they are happy to munch on a spoonful in the morning.
Chia Oil 280ml £15.69
Chia Shots 10x8g £4.95
Chia Seed White 150g £4.95
Chia Ground Seed 350g £11.15
You can read more about them at The Chia Co
A Good Helping Recipe Book
Rebecca Morris got in touch with me about her cook book ” A Good helping” which she created together with the help of several celebrities and celeb chefs to highlight the charity SHINE. Rebecca suffers from a very rare neurological condition Intracranial hypertension. The book was originally printed in December 2012 but over the last 2 years Rebecca has had to undergo three major operations hence she has only recently been able to raise awareness about the book and the charity.
Rebecca’s operations have caused her major upheavals but they were absolutely essential to save her eyesight. The problem with rare illness is that often people don’t understand or appreciate what you are going through, leaving the sufferer feeling isolated. So, for Rebecca the charity Shine has been her biggest help, offering support and friendship during her tough times.
What impressed me most was how Rebecca had the strength of character to fight her illness and then go on to create this cook book. In her own words ” I am determined to get my life back. I still have challenges to face but I will not let my illness win and this recipe book has even me a purpose to work for”. Go Rebecca!
The book has a “Main course” and a ” Desserts and Baking” section with so many familiar names. Rick Stein, Beth Tweddle, Hugh Bonneville, Gary Rhodes, Eric Lanlard and Brian Turner. My favourite dish in the book is the Parmigiana di Zucchini by Antonia Carluccio. Baked courgettes with Taleggio and a tomato and basil sauce. There also happens to be a recipe for my favourite dish ever, crab linguine. I would probably round off the main course with a slice of Elizabeth McGovern’s brown sugar whisky brownies or a little pot of lemon surprise.
If you would like to support this charity cook book then you can do so here at shinecharity.org.uk
Eco Green Store
I was asked by the Eco Green Store of I would like to try out some of their products.
This is what they are about:
“Eco Green Store was started in 2008 with a mission to bring healthy living, Organic, Fairtrade and dietary need products to customer. We want to be the one stop shop for everything you need from a specialist online retailer. We are a true online speciality supermarket. We also have a very strong emphasis on community, with 50% of our staff being long-term unemployed or youth unemployed”.
There is an enormous amount of produce available on their site. Much of what I searched for seemed to be reasonably priced and they stock a range of products from reputable sources such as Clearspring, Biona and Suma. I opted for:
Vitalife organic Japanese matcha tea 30g £8.49
BonPom raw organic coconut oil 500g £11.04
Big Tree Farms organic raw cacao powder 311g £8.15
Bear in mind that there is a 15% promotion on their prices at the moment so they will cost more once the offer ends.
You can see that I am going for a theme on my choices here. They are ingredients that I will be adding to my healthy smoothies along with the Chia products. All these things are good for you but also happen to taste good. This is important in the life of a food blogger and cookery tutor to prevent the piling on of pounds and kilos.
Coconut oil is something I now use when I am making curries. It works particularly well in dhal but I have also used it in place of oil when I make granola. It works well in soups and when making flapjacks too. You can find lots more coconut oil inspired recipes over at The Kitchn.
I keep seeing pictures of match lattes everywhere at the moment and this matcha coconut latte made by love and lemons is something I am going to try.
Cacao Powder provides and intense bitter hit of chocolate which I love. Like a chocolate version of an espresso coffee. A little hit is all you need. I noticed this on the packaging….
“Cacao has been clinically proven to contain graceful ageing properties. Add to your smoothie to start each day and watch the wrinkles go away”. A bold call. A facelift in a drink!
Marks & Spencer
I was provided with all the ingredients I needed to make a Gluten Free Chocolate Torte Cake recipe by M&S. The cake was baked then decorated with additional melted dark and white chocolate and given to a friend for her house warning gift. We all shared in a slice with a few glasses of fizz and I do have to say the cake was as good as a chocolate cake can be. The cake only took minutes to make and seconds to eat. A recipe that would suit beginner cooks as much as it would pro bakers. Here is the recipe of you would like to try it for yourself……..
If you would like a copy of the recipe feel free to email me: lauraDOTcooksetcATgmail.com.
Thanks to The Chia Co, Rebecca Morris, Eco Green Store and Marks & Spencer for all of my gifts this month.