Monday, 19 September 2016

Use or Refuse: Easiyo Yoghurt Maker

First off I've decided to create a series called 'Use or Refuse', which I hope will be a collection of posts dedicated to reviewing new, popular and even quirky foodie gadgets. I hope you enjoy my first post in the series and let me know if you've heard of any interesting products you want me to review. 

Now on to today's post...

I think it's fair to say I was quite a danger when the Easiyo Yoghurt Maker was posted through the door earlier this month. I've been desperate to purchase it for such a long time, but I couldn't bring myself to invest in a product which I wasn't completely sure about. However, browsing the Lakeland website the a few weeks ago, I was thrilled to find it on offer for just £8.49! I decided to snap it up before I changed my mind. Here's my experience of the product, from how it looks to how easy it is to use.

My recipe for brioche french toast which I served with some lovely Easiyo yoghurt!  


Price

As you can probably tell, I'm ecstatic over the price I paid for the yoghurt maker, considering its original price in Lakeland is £16.99. Too keep it short and sweet, price-wise I'm super impressed.

Appearance

I decided to buy the red Easiyo Yoghurt Maker (purely because it was the only colour available). Ideally, I would have wanted a classic black/white one for the sake of it not 'sticking out like a sore thumb' in the kitchen, but again for the price I got it for, I can't really complain. It's incredibly lightweight as well, and not bulky like how I initially imagined it would be.   

Usage  

Many kitchen gadgets nowadays are pretty sophisticated, but with them come detailed complex instructions for usage. The truth is you can't use the Easiyo Yoghurt Maker wrong. you just pour the yoghurt packet mix into the included container, add tap water, shake, and pop it into the yoghurt maker half filled with boiling water. That's literally it.

Taste

And, of course, the most important verdict - the taste. It's far creamier than any supermarket yoghurt. It's economical, each pack makes 1 litre of yoghurt - that's over double the amount of yoghurt you get in a regular sized tub. It's filled with healthy live bacteria and filled with protein, calcium and essential vitamins and minerals. It's also suitable for vegetarians, although not vegans. Most importantly, it's delicious. There are tons of flavours available ranging from mango, to mixed berry and even creme brûlée!  So far I've tried: Vanilla Bean Smoothie, Greek Yoghurt with Coconut and Peaches & Cream!


Have you tried the Easiyo Yoghurt Maker?

Friday, 16 September 2016

The Perfect Choc Chip Cookie

An important baking staple, I've whipped up my perfect Choc Chip cookie recipe to share with you all today! What's more, this cookie dough can be frozen and used to make fresh, warm cookies whenever you fancy! If you're not a fan of dark choc chips (who isn't?), you can substitute these for white choc chips, glacé cherries or even funfetti sprinkles - have fun with it!


INGREDIENTS

  • 120g unsalted butter
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 60g packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1½ cups plain (all purpose) flour 
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt (omit if using salted butter)
  • ¾ cup chocolate chips


METHOD

1) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade. Microwave the butter for about 30 seconds to just barely melt it.

2) Using a stand mixer or electric whisk, beat the butter with the sugars until creamy. Add the vanilla and the egg; beat on low speed until just incorporated. Avoid over-beating the egg or the cookies will be stiff.

3) Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and salt, if using. Mix until the mix just starts to come together. Use your hands to press the mix together into a dough. Add the chocolate chips and incorporate with your hands.

4) Roll the dough into 12 large balls and place on a cookie sheet, slightly spread apart. Bake for 9-11 minutes until the cookies have spread slightly and are barely golden. Be careful not to let them overbake, as you will lose the distinct soft cookie texture.

5) Allow to cool on a cooling rack. These should stay soft for many days if kept in an airtight container, although you can freeze the uncooked dough for a cheeky warm cookie when you're feelin' peckish. Enjoy!


Would love to know if you tried these out!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Brioche French Toast ft. Mixed Berry Compote


If you've read my last post, you'd know that I recently went to a pick-your-own farm and got hold of some lovely fresh fruit. Inspired by the presence of such ripe produce at home, my mum asked me to prepare breakfast for the family the following morning - a chore for any other person, but a joy for a dedicated foodie like me. So, I got to work deciding the perfect recipe for a family breakfast feast, and this is what I came up with.


Brioche French Toast ~ Serves 4

4 eggs
2tbsps caster sugar
Few drops of vanilla extract
8tbsps milk
4x thick slices of brioche loaf

Mixed Berry Compote

200g assorted berries (frozen/fresh)
2-3 tbsps of caster sugar 
2 tbsps Lemon juice

First, make the compote. Put all the ingredients into a medium pan and heat gently until the berries begin to release their juices. Then, simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened and jammy.



To make the soaking mix, mix the eggs, sugar, milk and vanilla extract until the sugar dissolves. Thoroughly coat the brioche slices in the mixture and fry the slices in butter until golden brown. Serve hot with the mixed berry compote. Enjoy! Optional - this is also great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or yoghurt (how could you refuse!).


Would love to know if you try out this recipe!

Friday, 9 September 2016

Pick-Your-Own Farm ~ My Experience

Having planned a trip for quite some time, I finally went to a Pick-Your-Own Farm a couple of weeks ago. The concept of picking your own fruit and veg is something which is bang on trend now, as people turn towards fresher, greener and more organic foods. With the surge of health and fitness gurus promoting nutritious lifestyles taking social media by storm, I decided to see if Pick-Your Owns truly are worth all the hype? 


Despite the fact that it decided to pour with rain at various intervals during our trip, we were determined not to let the unpredictable weather get the best of us. We drove through farm, parking up every so often, managing to work our way through the entire field space. The variety was incredible with fruit and veg from cucumbers, to plums and even sweetcorn!  

However, I do want to bust is the myth that Pick-Your-Own produce is much cheaper than your regular fruit and veg from the supermarket. To be perfectly honest, I'm not convinced this is true. The fruits, in particular the berries, were pretty expensive.  


Something which really surprised me was how popular the farm was - it didn't occur to me how many people are actually interested in Pick-Your-Own produce. Personally, I wouldn't see myself doing this that often, one, because its quite far away and, two, it is just a lot quicker to buy from the supermarket. But, don't get me wrong - I loved the whole process of picking the fruit, it was fascinating to see it naturally grown and not packaged in plastic wrap. It's also a great activity for family/friends to do together and the atmosphere is wonderfully peaceful and relaxed.

Overall, I would recommend checking out a local farm - I truly did enjoy both the experience of picking my own produce, and eating it afterwards!

What are your thoughts on Pick-Your-Own Farms?

Monday, 5 September 2016

Book Review: My Street Food Kitchen ~ Jennifer Joyce


My sister was recently shopping for books and, coming across My Street Food Kitchen, asked me whether I was interested in purchasing it. Now, obviously asking a major foodie whether they want a cookery book is a bit of a trick question (?) - nonetheless I ended up buying it. 
I'm not going to lie, I've bought a ton of cookery books in the past which I've totally regretted buying, purely because they are filled with the old traditionalist recipes and structured in the same boring arrangement. Personally, I love reading books where the writer is fully engaged with their reader and is truly passionate about the subject of their writing - rightly so with today's book review.

Let me tell you why My Street Food Kitchen is such a winner:

1. It's authentic ~ down to crystal clear photography and imaginative arrangement, the whole vibe given off by the book is creativity with colours, flavours and textures.  

2. It's multi-cultural ~ the book is sectioned into different street food specialities, exploring menus from Japan, to India and even Mexico! It blends traditional true-to-roots recipes with unique ingredients and innovative twists.

3. It's engaging ~ as well as having great recipes inside, you're also treated to a host of the writer's culinary background, all adding to the inspiring and exciting feel of the book. As cliché as it sounds, you're truly 'taken on a journey'.

4.
 It's easy-to-follow ~ I haven't actually tried any of the recipes yet, but I can already tell following these recipes will not be an onerous task. It's clearly laid out with recipes of varying difficulty - the easier recipes seem just as enticing as the difficult ones!

5.
 You learn a lot ~ I've only read a few of the recipes from start to finish, and I've already learnt so much about new ingredients and fresh produce. It's pretty rare to find a cookery book nowadays not repeating the well-known classics which, although delicious in their own right, fail to branch out beyond your typical Sunday roast.



I totally recommend you giving this book a go - it's only £13.60 on Amazon and it's well worth it! Whether you're a total beginner or a dedicated foodie, My Street Food Kitchen is perfect for anyone!

I'll definitely be trying out some of the recipes from this book soon!

Friday, 2 September 2016

Simple But Tasty Savoury Biscuits

I've decided that as the ultimate treat on a lazy weekend morning, a couple of savoury biscuits and cuppa tea should hit the spot. But, it doesn't matter if those lazy mornings seem to be in short supply, they're also great for packed lunches, on-the-go snacks and even as appetisers at a dinner party. They're basically scrummy and uber duber easy to make. Here's how:

Recipe adapted from Great British Bake Off Book 2014 
Makes approx 32 biscuits 

Ingredients:
375g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
1tsp salt
125g/4½oz unsalted butter (if you use salted then omit the extra salt)
1 egg (plus extra for glazing)
40ml1½fl oz water

Additional Extras:
Sun-dried tomato and cheese - add 50g of parmesan and 1 tbsp sun dried tomato paste 
Cumin - add 1tbsp of cumin seeds
Poppy seed - add 2 tbsps of poppy seeds 

Method:




Put the flour, salt, butter, egg and water into a bowl and mix well for five minutes until you have a smooth dough (you can use a stand mixer but you don't have to). Divide the dough in to however many flavour variations you want to make.
On a lightly floured work surface, knead your chosen flavours into each piece of dough.



Using a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough on a lightly floured work surface to about 3mm thick.


Using a 7cm/2¾cm round cutter, cut out  rounds from each half of the dough, re-rolling as necessary. Place the rounds on a lightly floured baking tray.


Preheat the oven to 200C/180C(fan)/Gas 6.
Chill the biscuits for 15-20 minutes


Brush the biscuits with beaten egg. If you are making the parmesan and tomato ones, sprinkle them with sesame seeds.



Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack/serving dish. Serve warm or cold.


If you try these out, please let me know!

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