Monthly Archives: December 2010

Leith’s launches free Xmas cookery iPhone app


Another Christmas cookery app has been launched; this time it’s a goodun, and it’s free -yipee!  The Leith’s app is in the form of a quiz and is a great way to test your family members on their culinary knowledge over Christmas, and see who really is the cooking expert!

The app has a mixture of seasonal and technical questions, many of which are used within the school to test the Leiths Diploma students. Example questions include; when are brussels sprouts in season and what is forced rhubarb, to general cookery questions, such as, what does En Papillote mean?

Each quiz contains 10 questions which are randomly selected by shaking the app to mix up the questions in an animated blender.  There are 36 questions in total and at the end of each quiz you find out whether you are a Head Chef or a Comis Chef with your score.  If you made mistakes, fear not as the app allows you to review your responses to see what you got wrong and find out the correct answer.

The app also comes with five free seasonal recipes, taken from Leiths many cookery books.  Even better it will be updated throughout the year to reflect each season, so you can keep learning new nuggets of cookery info; additional seasonal recipes will be updated as well.

The app is currently available from the iTunes store, and as I mentioned before it’s free, so happy downloading!


Spirits make easy Christmas presents


Choosing Christmas presents can sometimes be impossible, so rather than a tie or pair of socks that will only get pushed to the back of the drawer, if you know what their favourite tipple is, why not get something they will definitely use and like instead.

I have recently come across a few drink brands that have launched special editions for the Christmas market.  They are all available from highstreet shops, and none of which will break the bank – perfect!

My personal favourite (“hint hint”) is for the gin lover and cocktail enthusiast.  Tanqueray‘s new limited edition gift pack includes a bottle of Tanqueray gin and a snazzy stainless steel, fully functional three piece cocktail shaker. It is available from Oddbins, Nicolas and other specialist retailers, and is priced at £17.99

Johnnie Walker Black Label has a limited edition gift pack, which contains a Gold Pass invitation offering exclusive access to the stylish and sophisticated world of Formula 1!   Priced at £23, it is available from all major retailers and whisky specialists

Also, Grand Marnier, which is undergoing a revival after 130 years in business, has designed an exclusive new Ruby limited edition bottle, black with a ruby-red jewel, aimed at women. It is available from Selfridges, Oddbins and Nicolas, and is priced at £19.99

If you’re looking for more of a stocking filler, (and I can think if a number of people who would love this) there is the Single Malt Whisky Flavour Experience Gift Pack. Priced at just £12, it includes four miniature contrasting whiskies together with The Flavour Map, which is a guide on tasting single malt whiskies.  It is available from Tesco, and other selected convenience and specialist retailers

Talisker has two different gifts this Christmas.  The RNLI Seascape Pack where each limited edition bottle of Talisker 10YO that is sold raises money for the RNLI, and Talisker 57° North which comes protected in practical flask, together with two natty little drinking cups. The RNLI Seascape Pack is priced at £32 and is available from Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrison’s and AsdaTalisker 57° North is priced at £65 and is available from whisky specialists

Happy shopping!

Annabel Karmel launches iPhone cookery app


Annabel Karmel, expert in feeding babies and toddlers, is launching her first iPhone app this month, just in time for Christmas.

The app, which I am sure will sell like wildfire, is a simple guide that will help parents make nutritious and delicious meals for their babies, from six months through to toddlers.  It provides helpful videos illustrating cooking techniques and offers informative tips and advice on preparing your baby’s first foods.

It has voice activated page turning, important to avoid sticky fingers on your pride and joy, an interactive meal planner and the option to create a shopping list with the ability to delete items that you already have in your kitchen.  You will also be able to search through recipes by criteria, such as the age of your child or the ingredients you would like to cook with.

Annabel Karmel comments: “This App will be bringing my recipes to life. Not only will it offer parents 70 of my favourite recipes but also advice and guidance on simple cooking techniques to help make their lives easier and provide good, nutritious food for their babies and toddlers.”

As soon as it launches, you will be able to download it from your iPhone App Store for just £4.99.

Bringing millet to the western masses

Having just spent five wonderful weeks in India, I wanted to highlight a fantastic brand I came across earlier this year.
Conscious Food is an Indian organic food company, set up by eco-nutritionist Kavita Mukhi in 1992, and ‘discovered’ by entrepreneur Kristina Locke on a trip to India in 2006. I found out about the company when it was just about to launch a new range of millet ‘power snacks’ in Selfridges.
Millet flour is an ancient, resilient and gluten-free grain, and because it needs no chemicals to thrive, it promotes bio-diversity in the areas in which it’s grown. Yes, I’ll admit to being hesitant about millet, “isn’t it that boring tasteless grain”, I thought but I have to say I was really impressed, not just by the enormous health benefits of the product, but by the great taste of Conscious’s power snacks. But millet is not just great in power snacks, it can also be used as a fantastic alternative to pasta, couscous and quinoa.
The grain is vastly undereaten in the west (hardly produced in the UK anymore) but in India it’s wonderfully abundant. Millet grows next to rice in paddy fields and needs no tending to, it is cheap and is sustinable to grow. Indian women actually wean their babies on it and being an alkaline grain means it is incredibly easy to digest. Its medicinal properties are valued in Ayurvedic medicine and it is known as a ‘sattvic’ food, which means it is naturally balancing.
What impresses me most is that the snacks are still made by hand, by a small team using family recipes and traditional baking methods; using no artificial ingredients or additives, no baking agents or yeast, just pure natural ethically traded ingredients, that are all sourced from small organic farming holdings and co-operatives found all over India. What’s even better about Conscious is that many of the products come from very small farms that wouldn’t otherwise earn a living. The millet and other ingredients are bought at 30-80% over the market price, which helps to ensure the survival of the communities that depend on these traditional farming techniques for a living, Conscious also works with cooperatives, NGOs and communities helping with schooling, medicine, women’s rights, etc.
Mumbai is where the tiny head office of Conscious Food is based, but the workshops, millet farms, and smallholdings where these little artisan health snacks are made, are all based in the Indian countryside. Using only natural ingredients such as millet, ginger, sesame and jaggery (palm molasses), to name a few, the conscious products are some of the most unpolluted on the market. Many of the farms they use are based in places as remote as the Himalayas, so you can only get to them by foot and can only use bullocks and carts, no modern machinery or pesticides.
As I have recently found out for myself, India really is a fantastic country, full of so many wonderfully friendly people, so please do your best to support companies like Conscious.
The products are available in Selfridges, Planet Organic, and other health food shops around the country, they are also regularly on tour at various health and food shows. Just think, they’ll make fantastic stocking fillers!
Just to whet your appetite, the savoury range includes:
  • Pearl Millet Crackers, with mint and garlic
  • Sesame Soya Sticks, lightly spiced with cumin
  • Sorghum Wheat Crackers, with parsley and black pepper