Scarlett & Mustard product reviews with recipes

I was asked by ‘My Foodie Heaven’ to try out and review some products made by Scarlett & Mustard. I’d already heard of the company and had seen some of their products with their quirky labelling in the shops so I was keen to see what they were like.

I received a parcel containing the delightfully named ‘Rudolph’s Left Overs Curry Sauce’, an English rapeseed oil flavoured with truffle (oil, not chocolates!) and a blackcurrant and star anise curd.

When I’m asked to review any food product, rather than just sticking my finger in the jar, tasting it and rating it out of ten, where possible I try to create a recipe that will really bring out the flavour. At the moment, we’re in the middle of moving from Surrey to Norfolk and so it’s slightly chaotic in our house . However, we still need to eat but as my kitchen facilities are now rather basic, any food I prepare has to be quick and easy.

With that in mind, I came up with two recipes using the Left Overs Curry Sauce and the truffle rapeseed oil and decided to test the blackcurrant and star anise curd out as part of a traditional afternoon tea.

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‘Rudolph’s Left Overs Curry Sauce’ is an oil free dressing full of fruity, tangy flavours and it will, quite simply, transform your left overs from one meal into a tasty dish for another. You don’t have to limit yourself to using it for left overs though: I used it to make a light ‘coronation’ style sauce to have with chicken which was delicious. By mixing Greek yoghurt with Rudolph’s in a 2:1 ratio, I had a simple sauce which was far superior to the heavy ‘coronation chicken’ dish I recall from the 1970s (which was basically curry powder mixed with mayonnaise). What I liked about Rudolph’s is that you could actually taste the fruit in it (mango chutney, apricots and sultanas) and the heat from the ginger and curry powder was subtle.

Coronation chicken S and M


Scarlett & Mustard also recommend Rudolph’s with roasts (including your Christmas bird if you plan to have one), on rice and peas, on potatoes and even on salads. What you do with it is only limited by your imagination. I’m sorry the photo of my chicken dish isn’t brilliant – my ‘staging’ props for my photos have been packed away but you get the idea.


For the English truffle rapeseed oil, I thought a potato recipe would be in order as it would be blending two wonderfully earthy flavours together. Readers of this blog will be aware from previous posts that I love the versatility of the humble spud and for this recipe I turned once again to Maris Pipers but you could use any floury potato for this dish.


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Truffled Crushed Potatoes

Ingredients – for 2 servings

300g Maris Piper potatoes

150mls semi skimmed milk (or use soya milk for vegan option)

I twig of fresh rosemary

1 tbsp Scarlett & Mustard English Rapeseed Truffle Oil

3 tbsp single cream (or use vegan cream)



  1. Cut the potatoes into chunks and put in a large saucepan with the milk and add a little water to cover. Season with a little salt if required. Once boiling, allow to simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until tender. Add the rosemary twig about 5 minutes before the end so it infuses the cooking liquid.
  2. Drain the potatoes leaving a little of the cooking liquid but throw away the rosemary.
  3. Using a potato masher, gently crush the potatoes to break them up. You aren’t looking for mashed potatoes so go carefully!
  4. Add the truffle oil and the cream to the potatoes and turn them gently to coat.
  5. Tip the potatoes into an ovenproof dish and place under a hot grill for a few minutes to brown the top.
  6. If you’ve made the potatoes to eat later, you can reheat them in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes at 180 C / 200 C fan or gas mark 6 until the top goes golden.
  7. Eat and enjoy.

I’m afraid there isn’t a photo of this dish as it was demolished as soon as it came out of the oven!


Finally, for the blackcurrant and star anise curd, I used it to fill Viennese whirls and I also sampled it on a scone with butter. I was apprehensive about how the star anise would affect the flavour of the blackcurrant but I have to say that it’s an inspired combination. The blackcurrant is not over-sweet or sugary and the star anise gives it a real warmth without overshadowing the fruity flavour.


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I used my friend Kevin’s recipe for the Viennese whirls – you can find it on his blog – and dipped them in white chocolate and sprinkles. Bit of a girly moment!


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I can confirm that based on my tasting of the products I was sent, Scarlett & Mustard are purveyors of excellent foodie items and I recommend you look out for them in your local shops. They’d make ideal Christmas presents and would look particularly stylish in an elegant hamper.


All Scarlett & Mustard products can be found on their website:



Disclaimer: I was sent a package of Scarlett & Mustard goods to review and I was not paid. My review reflects my honest opinion of the items I was given.




Borderfields Rapeseed Oils – A review with recipes

image1 - Copy (25)When I was growing up in the 1970s, the only cooking oil I remember my mother using was an unnamed generic vegetable oil that was pale yellow, rather ‘thin’ in consistency and very bland.

Fortunately culinary oils have moved on in the past few years and now there is a huge variety available which then begs the question, which one do you choose? As we don’t fry food in our house and my husband has a heart condition, he likes extra virgin olive oil and swears by its healthy properties i.e. the Mediterranean diet. I find olive oil too rich and so I hunted around for an alternative: a lighter oil that was also good for you. What I eventually chose after some research (how did we ever manage without Google?) was gloriously golden rapeseed oil, which has less than half the saturated fat of olive oil. I’ve tried a few brands over the years and personally prefer it now to olive oil.

I was therefore very pleased to be asked by ‘My Foodie Heaven’, the Artisan & Speciality Food online magazine, to review ‘Borderfields’ cold pressed British rapeseed oil and a couple of their infused rapeseed oils. I was provided with a selection of oils and asked to review them honestly and come up with a couple of recipes if I was happy with the product. Luckily, I loved the product and had a lot of fun creating recipes with it.

Firstly, I’ll cover the technical stuff: Borderfields has a near perfect blend of Omega 3 and 6 which are considered to be essential fatty acids because the body cannot manufacture them, plus Omega 9. In fact the omega 3 content is ten times more than you find in olive oil. Borderfields is also a good source of Vitamin E which is known for its antioxidant properties. Borderfields rapeseed oil can be used as a healthy replacement for butter and when baking as well as for dressings, dips, roasts and stir fries.

image2 - Copy (19)I was keen to devise some recipes which would allow the flavour of the oil to shine through without overpowering the other ingredients so what I did first was to test out the garlic infused rapeseed oil on the humble potato. Many people swear by using goose fat for the best roast potatoes but of course vegetarians and vegans can’t eat that and even though I eat meat, for some reason I’m a little squeamish about using goose fat.

So last weekend, I part boiled some Maris Piper potatoes, cut them into chunks and tipped them into a baking tray of hot garlic infused rapeseed oil, tossed them around and put them in a 200 degree C / Gas mark 7 / 400 degree F for 30 minutes. I then turned them over in the pan and put them back in the oven for another half hour. The result was the perfect roastie: soft and fluffy inside and crispy on the outside with a beautiful golden colour and a buttery taste that make you want to dive right in.

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Later in the week, I made spicy garlic potato wedges, also using the garlic infused rapeseed oil. Again, I part boiled the potatoes and cut them into chunky wedges, placed them in a tray of hot oil then sprinkled Barbecue Spice and chilli flakes (from the supermarket) over the top. These needed less time in the oven (same temperatures as for the roast potatoes) so I gave them 20 minutes, then turned them, then gave them 20 minutes more. These definitely had a kick to them and were crunchy and delicious. I found it hard not to keep taking one to ‘test’!

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One evening, we weren’t particularly hungry but fancied something light and flavoursome to eat. I thought a simple bruschetta would be a good idea as we were somewhat overwhelmed with tomatoes in our kitchen and we had some French bread that needed using up. Here’s what I came up with using Borderfields basil infused rapeseed oil:


image3 - Copy (6)Half a French stick, cut diagonally into 1 cm pieces

I clove of garlic, peeled and left whole

Borderfields basil infused rapeseed oil

3 large, ripe tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped

I small red onion, peeled and finely chopped

I small red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)

½ teaspoon of dried red chilli flakes

½ teaspoon caster sugar

Salt and black pepper to taste

A few small leaves of fresh basil

  1. Mix the tomatoes, red onion, red pepper (if using), chilli flakes, caster sugar and salt and pepper together in a bowl and set aside for 30 minutes to allow the flavours to blend
  2. Toast the French bread slices and when slightly cooled, rub the clove of garlic over one side of each slice. Place 3 or 4 slices of the toast on a plate and drizzle a little of the infused basil oil over them
  3. Spoon some of the tomato mixture onto each slice in a little pile and drizzle over a little more of the basil oil.
  4. Artfully place two or three small basil leaves on or around the bruschetta to garnish then serve.

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The infused basil oil in this recipe adds a subtle basil flavour to the dish and enhances the flavours of the rest of the ingredients. Basil and tomatoes is a traditional combination but the addition of some chilli gives the dish a little twist. The bruschetta is great on its own as a grab and go snack but if you add some Italian cold meats and a glass of wine like we did, it’s even better!

Finally, to continue the Italian theme, I decided to create a pesto sauce with the Borderfields cold pressed British rapeseed oil. I like making things that can be kept in the fridge for a while and whipped out to make a fast and tasty meal, as I’m usually pretty pooped by the time I get home from work. Most pesto recipes require you to use pine nuts, which are lovely but expensive and also a bit ‘fatty’ in taste. Also, if you keep them a little too long in the cupboard, they go rancid. I therefore chose to use walnuts as a lot of people are likely to have them in their food cupboards and they are reasonably cheap.


40g walnuts (halves or pieces)

2 medium cloves of garlic, peeled

35g grated parmesan cheese

25g fresh basil leaves

¼ tsp black pepper

¼ tsp salt

175mls Borderfields cold pressed British rapeseed oil

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  1. Place walnuts and garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped
  2. Add the basil leaves, salt and pepper and pulse again until finely chopped
  3. With the food processor running at a low speed, slowly add the rapeseed oil through the feeder tube until incorporated. Turn food processor off.
  4. Add the grated parmesan cheese and the lemon juice and pulse a few times until blended in. You should have a reasonably thick pesto sauce that has a bit of texture.
  5. Put the pesto mix into a small glass jar and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

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You can use the pesto on pasta, tomato and mozzarella salad, potatoes and anything else you fancy!

You’ll see that I had a great time trying out the Borderfields rapeseed oils and I’d certainly recommend them for both flavour and versatility. It’s also great that they are produced in the UK and available all year round.

You can find out more information about Borderfields products (including other infused rapeseed oils like chilli and lemon)  on their website:

You can find out more about ‘My Foodie Heaven’ at their website – do go and have a look:

Disclaimer: although I was given samples of Borderfields products to review, my opinions represent my honest feedback on the goods provided.  I was not paid to write the review nor did I receive any other financial incentives.

How I Became a Food Blogger

I was off work last week due to minor surgery on my toe which was accompanied by a rotten cold so I was feeling rather miserable. However, sitting at home on the sofa with my foot elevated for a couple of days did allow for some time for contemplation.

I’m inherently quite a curious (alright, nosey) person and I love hearing about how people ended up doing the jobs they do or leading the lives they have. I then started to think about how I came to set up my blog because I find the history of such things fascinating. Bloggers all have different stories to tell about how they began so I thought I’d share mine.

Two and a half years ago, I was sitting on the same sofa with my leg elevated but for a far more serious reason. In March 2013, I was hit by a car as I was running across a road (after my dog which had scarpered during a walk in the park) and subsequently suffered a badly broken right leg and a head injury. I think the fact that I’m quite a generously proportioned lady of a certain age (!) and therefore quite robustly built was what ensured that I wasn’t killed (the driver must have been doing at least 50 mph in a 30 mph zone) because apparently I was thrown through the air and landed in the middle of a crossroads. I don’t remember the impact or the landing – as I was knocked unconscious and the next few days were a blur due to the vast amounts of morphine I was given. At least the dog was OK.

Only a few months before the accident I’d set up my small home baking business (to run alongside my day job in HR) having registered with my local Council, completed an online Food Hygiene course and given my new enterprise the name of ‘The Little Pink Kitchen’ because my kitchen is quite small and the walls are pink. I attended a cupcake decorating workshop run by the 2011 Great British Bake Off winner Jo Wheatley and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was the first time I’d really played around with cutters, moulds and sugar paste and I was hooked from the start. Orders were steadily coming in and I did a few bake sales and got my name out there locally. All things considered, I was feeling rather good about things at that time.

But then, the accident changed my life. I got over the head injury relatively quickly – although I must say that you do get quite a bad headache when your head comes into contact with a road from a great height! The leg took longer as initially I had a ‘tibial nail’ holding it together (basically a titanium rod from knee to ankle – with screws in) but the bone didn’t heal so after 6 months it was removed and I had a plate put in, which on the X-ray looked like a long piece of meccano. (If you are under the age of 40, you’ll probably have to google ‘meccano’.)

With these surgeries came a lengthy recuperation period involving crutches, no weight-bearing with no cast, then light weight-bearing with a cast (I had a pink one!) then an air boot all followed by months of physiotherapy learning how to walk again. It took almost two years for life to get back to a relative ‘normal’ state. My poor husband didn’t know whether he was coming or going as he had to look after me and the dog as well as trying to do his job. It was a very difficult and emotional time for both of us.

Although I couldn’t do any baking or cooking for several months, I kept my hand in with the cakey bakey world via Twitter (mostly) and other social media using my trusty iPad. Well, it was a better option than watching day time television – I think that really would have finished me off.

I was delighted to find such an active online baking community on Twitter. I made contact with a lot of home bakers and people who had started their own baking and cake businesses, both on a small and a large scale. I was surprised to find that people who wrote blogs could make serious money by doing it. I remember thinking that it must be wonderful to earn a living doing something you love. I work in HR dealing with the problematic side of people management, things like disciplinary hearings, poor performance and absence so a lot of what I deal with on a daily basis can be quite negative and it definitely drains you. Making cakes and pottering around the kitchen makes me happy and the worst thing for me about the accident was that I couldn’t do it for months.

As time went on, I got back into the kitchen and started baking again, just on a small scale for pleasure. I found baking to be very therapeutic: it took my mind off my troubles and there was something nice to eat at the end. At the same time, the thought of returning to my job was not making me feel particularly happy. It was a very large company with over 16,000 employees and there had been a lot of changes while I’d been away. I think my managers were wondering if I’d ever come back given the recovery time after the operations and I sensed that their sympathy was waning, which to be honest was quite hurtful. Anyway, an opportunity came for me to leave in mid 2014 when there was a restructure and I took it because financially it was worth it and it felt like a great relief.

Since then, I’ve found alternative HR work that I enjoy and I’m now baking and cooking much more often and feeling a lot happier. I’ve attended courses at Squires Kitchen and a celebration cake decorating course at Konditor and Cook at Borough Market and I highly recommend both. Late last year I started writing monthly articles and recipes for a local newspaper but this offered only limited opportunities going forward. It was at that point that I had a ‘light bulb moment’ when I realised that if I set up my own blog, I could write about anything I liked, with no limits.

So what did I like? Well, cakes and baking obviously but I also love trying out new kitchen gadgets, visiting food festivals, cake and baking shows, developing recipes, reviewing books, products, cafes, tea shops and so much more. So was born earlier this year after a brief time writing under a WordPress heading.

Recently I’ve been actively making new foodie contacts and networking as although I write my blog for pleasure and don’t make any money from it (one day perhaps…..) I would like it to contain things that people really want to read about and find entertaining. I have some projects in the pipeline which I’m very excited about and have been sent some items to review so I’ll be getting around to that very soon.

What’s the selling point for my blog, I hear you ask. Well, I’m an all-round foodie (as my waistline makes only too clear) so I cover quite a range of topics which adds variety to my blog. I’ve received feedback that I have an engaging style of writing with a quirky sense of humour that comes through in my posts. I’m not paid to write posts so my opinions are my own which means I can be totally honest although I would never be unkind or malicious. (See my earlier post on ‘blogger blackmail’ for an insight of what can happen when bloggers are unreasonable.)

I’ll finish by saying that it’s been interesting for me to reflect on events over the last two years and I can honestly say that if the accident hadn’t happened, my blog probably wouldn’t exist and I wouldn’t have made friends with some wonderful people via Twitter, especially the Sunday Baking Club crowd.

You all know who you are. Thank you for your on-going friendship and support.

The Cake & Bake Show – London 2015

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I was lucky enough to be allocated a Press Pass for this year’s Cake & Bake Show in London and despite having a cold that was getting worse by the hour, I toddled off to Excel on the morning of Friday 2nd October 2015 full of excitement. My journey via bus, tube and two lots of the DLR (Docklands Light Railway for non-Londoners) took a fair while but it’s worth it when you end up at a marvellous event like the C&B Show. I have to say that I’m always amazed by the amount of work that goes into setting up these events. The venue is huge – it’s vast like an aircraft hangar when you walk into the main doors at Excel – and there are so many stands, cakes and people that it takes your breath away. The first photo in this post is of the official Cake and Bake Show cake – it really was a stunner.

I came prepared this time with a plan of what I’d do first and seeing the competition cakes was a must. Going earlyish on the first day of the Show means that the judging is still under way so you don’t know who the winners are until later on. I did catch sight of celebrity chefs Phil Vickery and Rosemary Schrader judging some of the ‘Children’s’ Story’ themed cakes, with their heads down, deep in judgely conversation.

There were lots of people desperate to get a good view of the competition cakes made by professional and amateur bakers alike and so I couldn’t always get a good photograph as I’m not the sort of person who elbows others out of the way! Here are some of the ‘ Childrens’ Story’ themed cakes that caught my eye:

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After escaping from the bustling crowds around the competition area, I headed for the stands to see what goodies were available to buy. It’s fortunate that visitors to the show are issued with a floor plan of the venue because it was very easy to get lost there! One of the first people I saw was Steven Dotsch from The Speculaas Spice Company – Steven’s spice mix contains a mixture of nine organic spices including cinnamon, cloves, ginger plus 6 other secret spices and can be used in sweet dishes as well as savoury. Steven kindly gave me a sample of his spice mix so I will be using it as soon as I can in a cake or biscuits. Here is Steven at his stand:

Steven Dotsch

I then spotted the very attractive stand – lots of pink! – of ‘Scrumptious Sprinkles’ which despite its name doesn’t just sell sprinkles. While there are indeed sprinkles for all occasions and a beautiful selection of some that can be classed as more sophisticated than the generally child-orientated hundreds and thousands, there were cake tins, cupcake cases, biscuit cutters and a lot more. I bought a set of Christmas biscuit cutters which represented my first purchase this year of a festive item. The stand was very busy and it clearly was proving hard for the shoppers to limit themselves to buying just one pot of sprinkles. You can buy online too at Here is a photo of Niki one of the lovely ‘boss ladies’ who didn’t really want her photo taken!


One of the things I really like about going to cake or food shows is that there are always tasters available. If you plan your circuit well, you could probably do without lunch and just go around the stands trying out various things. The Cake and Bake Show is good because there are non cakey food suppliers there too. I sampled quite a lot of cheese, some olives, biscuits, marshmallows, oils & vinegars, fudge so I definitely didn’t need any lunch!

One of the stands with samples available was “Arapina” – At first, I thought it was simple jam but I was told that the ‘teaspoon desserts’ – a symbol of Greek hospitality – were created to preserve fruits, vegetables, nuts and flowers. The name comes from the habit of serving them on a small plate. By using a few simple ingredients such as fruit, sugar, herbs and a touch of lemon, the raw material keeps its original shape, colour and flavour as well as its nutritional properties. I particularly like the sour cherry and the walnut varieties so I bought a large jar of each. I could see them being used as toppings for ice creams or other desserts, porridge and yoghurt as well as for making cakes. Arapina also makes gluten and dairy free cakes – have a look at their website for more information. Here is a photo of the Arapina ladies:


I made sure I said hello to the people at one of my favourite suppliers ‘Sugar and Crumbs’ who sell a range of naturally flavoured icing sugars and cocoa powders. I’ve used their products previously and have written about them and created recipes for their blog. Again, their stand was very busy so I thought I’d better nab a couple of packets of the Christmas flavoured icing sugars as they clearly were in demand. I’m looking forward to trying them out, especially ‘Santa’s Snowball’ which has the flavour of white chocolate – one of my favourite things. (I’m a child of the 1960s and I still remember the television adverts with the Milky Bar Kid. I think that’s what set me off down that route…..). I recommend that you have a look at their website both to purchase some items but also to look at the recipes that are there –

I can’t list all the stalls I visited but my some of my favourites included: Baker & Maker, Cake Craft World, Drury & Alldis oils and vinegars, It’s a Baking Thing, Purple Cupcakes, Simply Vintage Designs and Snowdonia Cheese Company.

Of course, the supplier stands are just part of the Cake and Bake Show. There were also demonstrations and classes going on over the three days and so you could have seen people like Eric Lanlard, John White, Lisa Faulkner, Jo Wheatley, Rosemary Schrager and lots more. I dipped in and out of a few demos which were all very well-attended although I was a little disappointed that on the day I was there, Eric Lanlard wasn’t!

However I did bump into Edd Kimber, who won the first Great British Bake Off back in 2010. He’s written three books to date and I mentioned that I’d recently made his lemon madeleines from ‘Patisserie Made Simple’ , to which he replied that was his favourite book of the three. He also added that he was working on book number four so that will be something to look forward to in 2016. I cheekily asked him to pose for a photo which he kindly did but I can’t help thinking that I look like his grandmother.. Note to self: consider dyeing the hair!image1 - Copy (23)

In summary, if you want a great day out surrounded by cake and foodie people, the Cake and Bake Show is an essential place to go. I’d suggest sturdy shoes as there’s lots of walking involved when the venue is as large as Excel, a couple of strong bags to carry home your goodies (a shopping trolley would be even better), and a credit card that can take a bashing because you will buy too much! If you can’t get to London, there are also shows in Manchester and Edinburgh so wherever you are in the UK, you should be able to experience one.

The Flavoured Shortbread Bakery – purveyors of very special shortbread

Shortbread 2When I attended the BBC Good Food Festival at Hampton Court last month, I met a lot of food (and drink!) producers and sampled various goodies, some of which I’ve already written about on this blog.

Another stand that I saw, I liked and I tasted at was run by Rayo Earls who makes a variety of flavoured shortbreads. Now you may think that shortbread is shortbread and that’s it but Rayo’s products took it to another level. I’ve had lavender shortbread before (which I have to say isn’t to my taste) and some with nuts in but that’s about as far as my shortbread experience goes. I tend not to make it at home as we aren’t a particularly ‘biscuity’ family.

Rayo had samples of several different shortbreads on offer and of course, I couldn’t write about them without having a nibble first! Rayo flavours her shortbread with a combination of herbs, spices, fruits and nuts and while some combinations may be well known, others are quite different for instance ‘walnut & fennel’, ‘cardamom & pistachio’ and ‘juniper, gin and lemon’. The shortbread itself is made from only butter, flour and sugar and so the flavour combinations are not dulled by additional ingredients or additives (and all ingredients are sourced from the UK with a preference for local suppliers).

Shortbread 1 Shortbread 3

I was interested to find out how Rayo’s company came about. She told me that she had taken a career break from working as an engineering consultant before starting her baking business. Like many people, Rayo baked to relax and after successfully testing some flavoured shortbread on a group of friends, the idea grew from there.

Rayo bases her flavour  combinations on things she thinks will go well together and does a lot of trialling with willing volunteers (I must give her my address!) before finally selecting a flavour that will go on sale. Her target market is quite simply people who love shortbread and enjoy experimenting with new and potentially unusual taste sensations.

At the moment, Rayo has a regular stall at the monthly Farmers’ Market at Walton-On-Thames (9.30am to 2pm on 1st Saturday of the month) and has plans to supply independent shops and farm shops and thus get the shortbread word out there.

If you’d like to read more about Rayo’s company and her variety of flavoured shortbreads – which you can order by post – please visit her website:

I hope to work with more small, independent foodie producers to review their products on my blog. If you know of any that wish to get their name ‘out there’, please point them in my direction!

Disclaimer: I did not receive any freebies from The Flavoured Shortbread Bakery nor was I paid or asked to write this review. 

Chilling With A Coole Swan

Given that I’m not a big drinker, it’s quite ironic that the two items I came home with after the BBC Good Food Festival at Hampton Court at the weekend were both bottles of alcohol! Well, you have to enter into the spirit (pun not intentional) of the event and there were quite a few stands promoting and selling a variety of alcoholic tipples. It would have been rude not to buy something!

I’ve already posted about the gin I bought so now I’m going to fill you in on the joys of ‘Coole Swan’ which is an Irish cream liqueur. I’ve tried quite a few cream liqueurs in my time including Baileys, Carolans and some supermarket own brands and they were all reasonably similar in taste, colour and ‘mouthfeel’. With some, there is a strong aftertaste of the Irish whiskey and with others it’s the creaminess that lingers.

The Coole Swan bottles are quite eye catching with the blue writing contrasting elegantly against the pure white of the liqueur. As other Irish cream liqueurs are often somewhat beige in colour (due to the addition of caramel colouring), this was something different. Moving closer, I noticed that the ingredients consisted of single malt Irish whiskey, cocoa, vanilla and double cream. Now other cream liqueurs have similar ingredients but the gleaming whiteness of the Coole Swan made me want to dive right in. Well, I simply had to taste it and the helpful young people manning the stand poured me a small one. If it hadn’t been so popular, I may have had a larger one but you can’t have everything!

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As I’ve made clear elsewhere on this blog, I’m not able to quote phrases bandied about by connoisseurs within the drinks industry as I generally only drink a couple of times a month when I go out with friends. I also can’t say how a single malt may be better than any other. What I can say about Coole Swan is that it’s quite light and by that I mean it doesn’t thickly coat your tongue like some others do. It has a very smooth texture, almost velvety, and the alcohol doesn’t hit you between the eyes. The mellowness may be due to the fact that real chocolate is gently melted into the cream which for me is a match made in heaven. But please don’t think that you can’t taste the whiskey – you can!

I bought a bottle of Coole Swan at the Food Festival for a special show price and last night I chilled a small glass in the freezer and poured in a small measure of the chilled white stuff. It was a delicious end to a very wet and uninspiring August Bank Holiday. If you like Irish cream liqueurs but want something a bit different, I suggest you try Coole Swan. Look at the beautiful bottle – go on, you know you want to!

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Please note that I purchased a bottle of Coole Swan and was not paid or asked to write a review of it. I am enthusiastic about the product and this post reflects my honest opinion. For more information on Coole Swan Irish cream liqueur, please look at the company’s website –

In The Pink With Pinkster Gin


As readers of this blog will know, on Saturday 29th August 2015 I attended the first day of The BBC Good Food Festival at Hampton Court. I promised I’d write in a little more detail about some of the goodies I saw and thought I’d start with Pinkster Gin. Because it’s PINK! And also because it tasted rather good so deserves a special mention in a post of its own. I should add that I bought a bottle of the pink stuff with my very own credit card and Pinkster did not ask me or pay me to write a review.

I’m not a big drinker at all and so on the rare occasions I do imbibe, the product needs to really hit the spot and satisfy my not very complicated and usually alcohol free taste buds. I was very interested to see how the steeping of raspberries in gin would affect the flavour. It gives the gin a delicate pink tinge which is visually very appealing but how would it taste?

At the BBC Good Food Festival, there were two charming young chaps at the Pinkster stand and they were offering small tasters. They did ask if I’d like to try a sample ‘neat’ so I did! I only took a small sip but it packed a lot of flavour and wasn’t bitter. Here are the two chaps in question. They did look awfully fetching in their pink shirts and stylish black aprons.

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As I’m not a regular drinker I can’t comment too much on the ‘bouquet’ or any other such stuff so my review is comparatively simple. What I found was that although I didn’t pick up a strong raspberry flavour – rather a subliminal hint – there was no bitter aftertaste that I’ve noticed previously with other gins, (bitterness is apparently down to the juniper). I then tried Pinkster with some Fever Tree Indian tonic water and I have to say I thought it was delightful: refreshing, smooth and not heavy. I could see Pinkster making an excellent base for cocktails although as I’m no mixologist, I’ll leave that to the more creative individuals. Actually, there are cocktail recipes on the Pinkster’s website so that’s a good place to start!

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According to Pinkster’s website, they make small batches and hand-steep fresh British raspberries in the spirit at their headquarters in Cambridge. Pinkster’s is “a premium gin made up of five botanicals” and it launched in 2013. All I’d add to that is: it tastes awfully good. As the Colonel would say – pip pip!