15 October 2014

Win a Specialist Olive Oil and Balsamic Oil Set - worth £49


Gresado have been supplying products to top chefs in London for over 40 years. Their top quality products are also used by home cooks and today in conjunction with them I am giving 1 lucky winner the chance to win a specialist oil and vinegar set.

This set, selected by Gresado chef Ben Tish, consists of a 5 litre tin of superior, authentically Italian Extra Virgin Olive oil by San Michele plus the Platinum Eagle gourmet balsamic vinegar. Both essentials for keen cooks.

De Negris – Platinum Eagle


- The classic shape of this bottle enhance the genuine qualities of the balsamic vinegar
- Platinum Eagle (65% must) Ideal for gourmet dishes, this balsamic vinegar has a high natural density. The refined and intense flavour works well with ice cream, strawberries and cheese.

San Michele – Extra Virgin

5 litre 

- The attractive tin makes a wonderful present and would offer an authentic Italian feel to any kitchen.
- Superior category olive oil obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means. Light fruity taste, yellow-green colour, medium sweetness and low spicy taste.

Would you like to win this fabulous set? 

To enter leave a comment at the bottom of this post telling me what your favourite Italian dish is and enter using the rafflecopter box below. There are more options for extra entries. This giveaway is UK only and will close on 31 October 2014 when the winner will be chosen.
Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more information on Gresado and their 'Great For Cooks' range visit www.gresado.com., Facebook and Twitter.

Disclosure: I am running this giveaway on behalf of Gresado, who sent me some of their products to try. I was not required to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.

13 October 2014

Creamy Butternut Squash and Tomato Soup


I love Autumnal flavours, but I don't love Autumn at all. 

Yes it can be very romantic. Strolling through a park on a crisp Autumn day,  all wrapped up warm while crunching through leaves. Everything is golden and we still have the fun of Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night to come.

But it's all just a distraction really. A distraction from the dark nights encroaching more and more into the daytime. A distraction from the damp weather, the dropping temperatures and people sniffing and coughing all around us.

I suppose we romanticize it just to get through it all. Through the damp, cold and dark days of Autumn and Winter. Spring seems so far away.

Oh jings I hope I haven't depressed you? I've depressed myself!

Maybe I should just concentrate on what the new season brings. There's butternut squash, beetroot, aubergine and fresh crunchy apples. There's cabbage and kale and interesting wild mushrooms. There's courgettes, leeks and wonderfully sweet parsnips.

Then there's mugs of creamy hot chocolate and big bowls of soup. And there's hearty stews and casseroles and pies. Yes, let's concentrate on that!

Let's start with soup. A deeply rich butternut squash and tomato soup.

print recipe

Creamy Butternut Squash and Tomato Soup
A rich and full flavoured Autumnal soup of roast butternut squash, onion and tomatoes.
  • 1 butternut squash, sliced, de-seeded and cubed
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • a glug of olive oil
  • 400 tin tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • a good grinding of salt and pepper
  • 1 pint/½ litre/2 ½ cups vegetable stock
1. Preheat the oven to 220c/200c fan/425f/gas mark 7.2. Toss the butternut squash, onion and garlic in the olive and spread across a roasting pan Roast for 20-25 minutes until soft and charred at the edges.3. Add the roast veg, tomatoes, tomato puree, spices, seasoning and stock to a blender and whizz until smooth. If you don't have a powerful blender like mine, you could heat in a pan and whizz with a hand blender or heat and mash. You won't get the same smooth finish, but it will still taste great.4. Serve and enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: Serves 4

photo: Food to Glow
Here are more butternut squash recipes for you to try:

I'm entering my soup into four challenges.

No Croutons Required, Credit Crunch Munch hosted by A New Addition, dreamed up by Helen’s  and Camilla, Simple and Season and Extra Veg hosted by A Mummy Too and dreamed up by  Helen over at Fuss Free Flavours and Michelle from Utterly Scrummy.

10 October 2014

Green Mango and Spinach Smoothie


I cracked it, I made a green smoothie that Cooper likes. YAY!!!

The last time I tried to persuade him he would love one by calling it Stegosaurus Smoothie and it had limited success. He did try it, but didn't get much further than that. It's a shame really as that is one of my absolute favourite smoothies.

This time, I had a tray of ripe mangoes, but I wanted to add some green in there, so I added spinach. I know, I use a lot of spinach, but it's great stuff and so good for you. This time I added a cube of frozen spinach to my smoothie. I also added half a ripe avocado to add a creaminess to it.

Of course I whizzed up my smoothie in my Optimum 9400. I'm sure you're sick of hearing about it by now, but if you're interested in getting one yourself remember to use my link and the voucher code "Special Ambassador Offer" to receive an extra 2 years warranty free.

So this time he loved the smoothie. How did I do it? Well I poured it into his metal dinosaur drinking bottle and popped it in the fridge. I told him it was there and he just kept popping into the fridge to have some. Of course I shouldn't congratulate myself too much, he couldn't actually see it was green. 

print recipe

Green Mango and Spinach Smoothie
A frothy green smoothie, with a fruity flavour and a creamy texture.
  • 2 mangoes, all the flesh and juice
  • 2 apples
  • 1 banana
  • ½ ripe avocado
  • 1 cube frozen spinach or a large handful of fresh spinach
  • 1 heaped tsp baobab powder (optional)
  • 500ml orange juice
1. Prepare the fruit. If you don't have a powerful blender like mine, cut the fruit into small pieces and use fresh spinach as the frozen spinach may kill the motor.2. Add the fruit to a blender with the baobab powder and the orange juice and whizz until smooth and well blended.3. Pour, add a straw and enjoy!
Total time:
Yield: serves 4-6

photo: Food to Glow

Here are a few more delicious smoothies for you to try:

Disclosure: I was sent an Optimum 9400 to review. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own.