It's been another busy few weeks in our kitchen, with all the Easter adventures and treats, as well as meals to cook and lots of 'party teas' and picnics. Here are some of the new products we've been sampling:
Keen readers will have spotted these fabulous Percy’s Vodka Iced Teas in our Easter posts, but they are so lovely I thought I'd give them another mention in case you missed them first time round. These are perfect for garden quaffing now the weather's better and would make a lovely gift for your host if attending a barbecue etc. Handmade in small batches, these quintessentially British drinks are free from artificial ingredients, sugars, flavours and preservatives. Only real fruits are used to flavour the teas, all juiced by the producer herself, and the lack of syrups and extras means the teas are not sweet and sickly, unlike some other commercially-produced drinks.
Percy's Vodka Iced Teas are available in four flavours: White Tea, Apple and Elderflower; White Tea, Pear and Raspberry; Black Tea Pear and Ginger: Black Tea, Apple, Lemon and Lime. They are available from the Percys website and online at notonthehighstreet.com.
New kid on the block is the Lupetta ’Nduja paste is set to be a store cupboard essential, a traditional Calabrian spread made with pork, extra virgin olive oil and the renowned Hot Pepper of Calabria giving it a spicy kick. It is gluten and dairy free, and can be spread on ciabatta or crostini to make bruschetta, or used in pizza and pasta sauce. Steve really liked it. RRP £4.99 for a 175g glass jar
Lupetta's authentic Italian tomato products include tinned San Marzano Tomatoes, RRP £1.75 for 400g. These strong, sweetly flavoured tomatoes are renowned worldwide for their flavour, firm pulp, uniform red colour, low seed count and easily removable skin. They are delicious, and make the best pasta sauce.
The Cherry Tomato Sauce, made from the best Sicilian tomatoes with full traceability from vine to bottle, and made with no preservatives, is perfect for a 10 minute dinner, and we will certainly be keeping our cupboard stocked. RRP £2.69 for a 330g traditional glass beer bottle; fun packaging idea!
The divine Lupetta Semi Dried Cherry Tomatoes are bright red little hits of Sicilian sunshine, full of rich, delicious flavour. (RRP £4.99 for a 200g glass jar) I must confess to having kept these largely for myself as they are so yummy. Perfect in a salad with spinach, mushrooms, Parmesan, croutons and fresh tomatoes.
Lupetta's Extra Virgin Olive Oil is sourced from a long-established Italian oil producer, who has been producing and packing oils for over 60 years in the beautiful town of Spoleto in Umbria. Made from 50% Sicilian extra virgin olive oil and 50% Puglian extra virgin olive oil it has a mellow flavour and is suitable for dressings, bruschetta etc. The Balsamic Vinegar is from a 120 year old Modenese producer that uses only the finest grape must, cooked and concentrated after being selected from defined Lambrusco and Trebbiano grapevines vinegar, aged for at least 10 years. A small percentage of fresh wine vinegar is also added. Both oil and vinegar retail at £2.99 for a 250ml bottle.
Unfortunately the concept of specific pastas for specific sauces seems largely lost on us Brits, but if you invest in the delicious Lupetta Pastas all that could change. Sourced from a long-established producer in Lombardy, they have a higher than average protein content of 14% due to the use of Kronos® wheat semolina. This higher protein content means that the pasta keeps its shape better when cooking, and has a perfect al dente texture. The pasta is extruded through a bronze die, creating a roughened, powdery surface to which the sauce sticks more easily. Priced at £2.29 per 500g box, the range includes: Fusilli Bucati, Strozzapreti, Tortiglioni and Spaghetti.
Fusilli Bucati are elegant corkscrew pasta shapes with holes in them, ideal for pasta salads as well as being perfect when dished up with a fresh Pesto alla Genovese or roasted red pepper sauce. A big step up from supermarket fusilli!
Lupetta Tortiglioni is a robust yet elegant pasta shape, most popular in Southern Italy. The tubular shapes with slanted ridges work particularly well with chunky sauces like ragu.
Strozzapreti is a popular pasta shape made by rolling small strips of dough, shaped like twisted cloth. The name can literally be translated as “priest strangler”, although why the inhabitants of Emilia Romagna, from where these shapes are believed to have originated, wanted to strangle priests is unknown! They are traditionally served with chunky tomato-based sauces.
Spaghetti is the world’s most popular pasta shape, and of course needs no introduction. Lupetta’s spaghetti is perfectly suited to tomato sauces, and works particularly well with pesto.
We highly recommend all the Lupetta products, a true taste of Italy and the source of many delicious meals. Perfect!
Following the recent negative media surrounding fruit juices and sugar, many people are moving away from that traditional source of vitamin C, a glass of orange juice. With a recent survey finding that only 31% of adults, and only 1 in 10 children, eat their recommended 5 a day, it seems that drinking a glass of juice has never been more important. A 150ml glass of orange juice counts as one of your 5 a day, and just 167 ml of Coldpress Valencian Orange Juice (equivalent to two oranges) also provides you with 100% of your RDI of Vitamin C. Orange juice also contains high levels of potassium, lots of fantastic antioxidants, and some studies even suggest that orange juice helps to lower cholesterol and improve blood pressure.
Coldpress juice is processed using the HPP method, as opposed to being pasteurised, so the juice retains much higher levels of Vitamin C and other anti-oxidants, plus it tastes great! Coldpress is available from Tesco, Ocado and Waitrose, priced £2.79 for a litre bottle.
And finally, on to one of Steve's favourite things in the whole world, Baileys. Not just a drink though, how about some amazing edible cocktails? With latest drinks trends showing a growing interest in edible cocktails, mixologists at cocktail inspiration website thebar.com have come up with these Easter-inspired Baileys delights:
Macaroons are still the height of cool and these little morsels of melt-in-the-mouth confection are real showstoppers. So why not impress your friends with some Baileys Macaroons, mixing the creaminess of Baileys Original Irish Cream rich, dark chcocolate - yum!
We made this creamy, rich, divinely chocolatey Baileys Cheesecake for friends the other day and it was gone in a flash (hence no photo!) With indulgent chocolate and Baileys mixed with mascarpone and fromage frais, this is certainly a rich and smooth show-stopping edible cocktail! A delicious and very indulgent dessert perfect for dinner parties and celebration lunches.
What's new in your kitchen this month?