Monthly Archives: October 2009

Marmite cereal bar to be launched by Unilever

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I have never been one to chomp on cereal bars, I find them too sickly sweet, but Unilever’s idea of Marmite cereal bars seems rather appealing to me.

People will either ‘love them or hate them’; personally I can’t be without Marmite, I even took a pot with me around South East Asia, so am looking forward to trying these out.

I can see them being especially good for those who want to munch breakfast on the way to work – just remember to brush your teeth before getting into the office, as Marmite breath is the worst!

If you try them, do please let me know what you think!

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Dentist says, “white wine no, cheese yes”

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According to Nutrition Research, drinking white wine can be seriously damaging to your teeth, but…wait for it…they recommend you eat cheese, yipeeeeee!

An article on the BBC website goes into more detail, but in short it is due to the PH levels of the drink, rather than the colour or the alcohol content.  According to Johannes Gutenberg University team, if you want to do some serious dental damage, hit the Riesling wines and other similar whites, mix them with fruit, then brush your teeth immediately after.

Red wines like Rioja are the least offensive, and if you add food to the cocktail, the saliva produced when eating helps neutralise the acid, and consequently lessen the damage.  The BBC article quotes Professor Damien Walmsley of the British Dental Association “If you’re going to have a glass of wine do so with your meal and leave a break of at least 30 minutes afterwards before you brush your teeth and go to bed.”

Most importantly though, according to the research team; “The tradition of enjoying different cheeses for dessert, or in combination with drinking wine, might have a beneficial effect on preventing dental erosion since cheeses contain calcium in a high concentration.”

So the moral of the story is to eat lots of cheese and avoid fruit…kind of…?

I can at least try to convince myself that in order to drink more wine, I need to eat more cheese, but given the amount I already consume, I am sure I will be causing some other damage to my body – humn, maybe the anti-oxidants in red wine will help?
White Wine on Foodista

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Jamie launches his own iphone app – 20 minute cook along meals

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Only yesterday it was cool to have your own fragrance, now it’s an iphone app!

Jamie is the latest celebrity to have a branded iPhone application, enabling users to download a 20 minute easy cook along demonstration.

Aiming to give people the confidence to cook in their own home, Jamie’s app offers a variety of meals, with step-by-step photos to help you shop for, prepare and cook all sorts of yummy meals.  The recipes are simple, the app is easy to use and apparently, the recipes really do take only 20 minutes to cook.  If you can’t manage to choose one, all you need to do is shake the phone and it will pick one at random for you.

Make sure that you aren’t just going to try it once though, because at £4.99 the app is not exactly cheap, however if you are going to cook all 50 of the new recipes, it works out at less than 10 pence a recipe.

Jamie’s website includes more information, screenshots and a natty little demo of the app in action, a knife skills lesson – Looks good to me, the only issue I have with it is how to keep my iPhone free from sticky fingers.

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British cheeses outsell the French at M&S

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At last, we have proof that our cheese rocks!  Just as I was longing for British Cheese week to come back again, I have found the perfect excuse to keep celebrating.  According to the Telegraph’s Harry Wallop, “British cheeses are now outselling French cheeses at a rate of two to one at Marks & Spencer, as consumers embrace local, regional specialities.”

According to the article, sales of British cheeses have gone up by 30 percent over the last year.  This might be a result of British cheeses being cheaper than their foreign counterparts as the Pound decreases against the Euro; or that we are prepared to support local businesses more during a recession, but I prefer to think it is because more and more people are realising we have a spectacular selection of delicious cheeses in the UK, and that they can’t get enough of it!

Men-tertaining: the new hot sport for men

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Are you a men-tertainer? What on earth, I hear you say – well apparently there is a new breed of man – a man who prefers to spend more time cooking for his friends, than watching the football.

According to a recent poll, undertaken by Glenfiddich, men are spending more time in the kitchen than watching sport, or admiring their gadgets and tools. Not only do they spend more time in the kitchen, but according to the survey, they believe they are better cooks than their female counterparts.

The study revealed that men tend to host around 30 soirees each year, 30 percent more than women, and on average they spend around £1,315, that’s £400 more than women, on their entertaining – How cool is that? Okay, so I am lucky enough to have bagged mine, (part and parcel of meeting my husband at a Leith‘s course) but very few of my male friends cook much more than a roast or a barbecue.

Guess what lads, the research revealed that 69 percent of women find you guys more attractive than your lager-lout counterparts – so get out there, wine and dine us, show us your culinary skills!

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The Co-op is crowned ‘People’s Choice Supermarket’ as it wins prestigious animal welfare award

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Last night, The RSPCA held its prestigious Good Business Awards ceremony in central London, which revealed the public’s favourite ethical supermarket.

The aim of these awards, now in their fifth year, is to encourage businesses to implement policies that will have a positive impact on animal welfare, so massive congratulations to The Co-op who is now crowned ‘People’s Choice Supermarket’, with 59 percent of the votes!

The Co-operative - Ian Burgess, Robert McBride picking up their award

The Co-operative - Ian Burgess, Robert McBride picking up their award

This year, The RSPCA partnered with daily newspaper, The Independent, who offered the public the opportunity to vote for their favourite animal-friendly supermarket – the one they felt was putting animal welfare first. The shortlist, chosen by a panel of judges, was announced in August and the public were able to vote for Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s or The Co-operative – I have included their principle achievements below, but the clear winner was Co-operative, making the biggest strides to improve animal welfare – Rock on Co-op!

Sainsbury’s should also be proud to have received the award for most improved supermarket, for its continued commitment to deliver on animal welfare values and principles, including having the largest range of Freedom Food labelled products.

David Bowles, Head of External Affairs for the RSPCA said, “Through the People’s Choice Award we wanted to give the public a chance to voice their opinions and reward the supermarket they believe has listened to them and made the biggest strides in improving animal welfare… in the eyes of the public the Co-operative was the clear winner taking over half of the vote. This is the fifth year of the Good Business Awards and we felt it was important to reward the efforts being made by supermarkets that go the extra mile to promote animal welfare and recognise that consumers haven’t left behind their concerns for good animal welfare practices in a quest for value.”

Here is a short summary of the three finalist’s achievements:

M&S

  • All whole and ingredient eggs free-range
  • All fresh chicken free-range, or higher welfare standards
  • All fresh pork outdoor-bred
  • Continental white veal banned in 2008

Sainsbury’s

  • All whole eggs free-range
  • Own eggs/chicken brand improves shelter for birds
  • Largest range of RSPCA Freedom Food products
  • All Scottish salmon sustainably sourced and Freedom Food approved

The Co-operative

  • All whole eggs free-range
  • All fresh and frozen chicken reared to higher welfare standards
  • First to adopt RSPCA Freedom Food in 1994
  • Own-label Freedom Food approved pork ranges

These are all fantastic achievements, but I had hoped that all supermarkets would be working to this level by now – clearly not – so shame on the others for not making it to the finals!

There were three overall categories, Cosmetics, Fashion and Food – I have pasted a list of the winners in the food category below, but details on the others can be found on the award’s website.

Food winners

Independent Restaurants

* Restaurant Alimentum Winner

Pubs

* The Duke of Cambridge Winner

* The Feathers Inn Innovation Award

Restaurant Chains

* McDonalds Innovation Award

Food Studies page

* Edge and Son Winners

* Abel and Cole Highly Commended

Supermarkets

* The Co-Operative Peoples Choice Supermarket

* Sainsbury’s Most Improved

Is it really nearly Christmas?

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Can you believe it’s that time of year already?  With only 11 weeks to go until Christmas, be prepared to start seeing festive displays in restaurants and stores across the UK.

The first festive idea I have come across is from London-based boulangerie-patisserie, Apostrophe, who has just launched a festive competition titled ‘Window Wonderland’. Apostrophe is asking competitors to design artwork which will be displayed in 11 of Apostrophe’s central-London sites, and the winner will receive a £1000 prize.  These kind of creative ideas rock, and just imagine how cool it would be to walk in, grab a sandwich and see your own design?

While the competition is open to everybody, it is primarily targeted at London’s art schools and creative community.  It launched on the 2nd October, but will run until Christmas – with winning designs on display from 16th November – 10th January, so get scribbling!

For more information, visit the Apostrophe website.

London Restaurant Festival starts in just two days!

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London Restaurant Festival is a citywide celebration of eating out, and guess what…? It starts in 2 days, running from the 8th-13th October!  We have fantastic restaurants in London, some of the best in the world, covering a diverse range of cuisines, so I am thrilled this festival has finally arrived!

To help Londoners celebrate the launch year of the festival, a number of restaurants are offering special deals and hosting exciting events – I have included details of some of the restaurant offers below, which I have taken directly from the Festival website – as you can see there are some great offers, so enjoy ;-).

While you try and work out which restaurant to head to first, tickets for the various events are selling out fast, so check out the events on the site and book your tickets ASAP to avoid disappointment.

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No Corkage at Fortnum & Mason Restaurants

During the festival, all Fortnum & Mason’s restaurants are offering wine at retail prices (bottles only). Restaurants include:

Argentinean Experience

Ten specially selected restaurants will be showcasing food and wine from Argentina during London Restaurant Festival. Meat courtesy of Argentine Beef and drinks from Wines of Argentina will provide guests with a unique experience of Argentinean flavours. Participating restaurants include:

Night At the Races at Frankie’s

To celebrate both London Restaurant Festival and the racing roots of the venue, Frankie’s at Chelsea FC is hosting A Night At The Races on Thursday 8 October.

The evening is hosted by legendary horse racing pundit John McCririck and, with jockey hero and restaurant namesake Frankie Dettori in attendance, it promises to be a raucous racing event!

Follow the link to Frankie’s Sports Bar & Grill for more information and booking details.

Tate Art Lunches

Experience a blockbuster art exhibition at the Tate Modern or Tate Britain and enjoy a two-course lunch afterwards for the special price of £23 per person.

Tate Britain’s Rex Whistler Restaurant Festival Menu includes a mutton pudding inspired by a recipe from the 1850s, when Turner and the Masters were active. And the Tate Modern restaurant’s pop-art themed lunch finishes with a “Marilyn Monroe” creme brulee. Follow the restaurant links below to book.

Royal Opera House Recital and Lunch Package

Experience the Royal Opera House (ROH) in full swing with recital, lunch and tour offers. Sample the modern British cuisine at ROH’s Amphitheatre Restaurant with the following special offers available:

  • £25 per person – includes morning backstage tour followed by a 2-course Festival Lunch Menu in the Amphitheatre Restaurant (valid 12 Oct only)
  • £15 per person – includes a 2-course Festival Lunch Menu at Amphitheatre Restaurant followed by an afternoon opera recital (valid 12 Oct only)
  • £15 per person – 2-course Festival Lunch Menu in the Amphitheatre Restaurant at ROH (valid on 8, 9, 10, 12 & 13 Oct)

Contact the restaurant or visit www.roh.org.uk for further details and to make your booking.

Eat Art at The Barbican

London Restaurant Festival-goers can take advantage of The Barbican’s Eat Art offer from now until 18 October.

For £40, you get a 3-course supper in the Conservatory and entry to The Barbican’s Radical Nature Exhibition.

Visit www.barbican.org.uk for further details and booking.

2 for 1 Gordon’s & Tonic Offer

At London Restaurant Festival, select restaurants will be offering 2 for 1 Gordon’s & Tonic.

Gin has a great connection to food being the typical English aperitif before a meal because juniper stimulates the appetite, so why not treat yourself and a friend to the perfect start of your festival experience.  Check the restaurant listings for your nearest participating restaurants.

The Singapore Sling propels its way to the UK

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So excited…I have found the first readymade, bottled cocktail that I actually like, love in fact, True Heritage Brew’s (THB) new Singapore Sling – and despite the fact that it comes in an ‘alcopop-style’ bottle, I have no shame in being seen with it, as the bottle has a pretty slick design too!

I was fortunate enough to be invited to Selfridges’s Taste of Singapore event, last week, where I was introduced to this bottled version of Singapore’s national drink. Taste of Singapore runs until the 9th October; so head down quick to catch the fab cookery demonstrations, and bag yourself some Singapore Slings.

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The drink, which is currently only available at Selfridges Food Halls, is promoted alongside, Tiger Beer and other Singaporean brands such as Prima Taste, Chye Choon Foods, Camel Nuts and Koka Noodles.

The bad news is Singapore Sling is only on sale until the end of this week, (boo hoo) until THB launches it across the UK, hopefully around Christmas time – However, I am sure that if enough people buy it at Selfridges, they might continue selling it – “pretty please, with cherries on the top ;-)”.

The original Singapore Sling was first created as a lady’s cocktail in the early 20th century between 1910-1915 by Hainanese bartender Mr Ngiam Tong Boon from Raffles Hotel. However, not being satisfied with inconsistencies in the drink’s flavour, Mr Chow, owner and founder of THB, decided the drink needed a definitive recipe and spent 20 years experimenting with the ingredients before producing his alcoholic premix of the classic cocktail.
For nearly a decade, the Singapore Sling alcoholic premix was supplied on an exclusive basis to Raffles Hotel, but has now been bottled, branded by THB and has made its way over the UK.

Mac Lee, President of Association of Bartenders Singapore, said: “We applaud True Heritage Brew for its vision, drive and passion in helping to propel Singapore into the minds of people all around the world through a signature cocktail that speaks volumes about Singapore’s culture and history. The new concept is definitely set to bring a new taste of Singapore to the world.”

“The Singapore Sling forms part of Singapore’s history and True Heritage Brew is making our very own efforts to help preserve and promote Singapore’s heritage,” comments Chow Hoo Siong, Managing Director of True Heritage Brew.

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ASDA makes a bid for The Queen’s custom

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The Queen taps her back pocket as she walks out of her local Asda branch (Clapham Junction, I believe); proud in the knowledge that tonight’s romantic meal with Philip cost her just £3.00.  Picking three courses from her favourite frozen food range for just £1 each – they would start with two frozen cheese omelettes, then a couple of tasty steak and onion slices, then round the evening off with a classy (or, did I mean classic?) Arctic roll.  Yah, maybe not…

Okay so I may be joking, but according to the News of the World, Asda’s Digital Director Mark Hodgkinson has in fact written to The Queen suggesting she starts shopping at Asda, instead of Waitrose, in a bid to cut down costs at the palace and lighten some of the extra load off taxpayers.

I would be interested to see her response, but either way, looking at Asda’s website, I am sure The Queen would be able to make significant savings by moving ship.  Good on Mark for having the guts to pen that letter, as I always say, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get!”