Distractions….

Doesn’t it get annoying when you plan things in your head to do and you never quite get to them? Distractions! There is always a distraction or two. A spreadsheet that needs writing or a phone that needs answering. Not to mention drive here then and everywhere shopping, visiting people and the like. Recently I have found myself distracted from writing on my blog.

I took the plunge at the weekend and bought myself a new notepad and I must say its made things so much easier. No longer does it take 20 minutes to start my blasted laptop up :0)

I suppose what I’m trying to say is don’t loose faith in me Ill be back to writing about food and all the wonders I discover. I have a box of treats under my desk at work just waiting for me to review haha. I cant wait to dig in. I also have to tell you all about the Eat Out Awards that I went to with work. Watch this space guys. I’ll be back to writing soon.

:0)

The Independent Authors International iAi holiday book special

You’re an awesome gifter — you got someone special a brand new e-reader. But what’s a great e-reader without great reads?

Just in time for the holidays — Independent Authors International brings four great books from four great, independent authors for just 99 cents each.

On Unfaithful Wings, by Bruce A. Blake —

Icarus Fell was alive, then he was dead, now he’s stuck somewhere in between. Icarus Fell is a harvester, brought back to Earth by the archangel Michael to collect souls and help them on their way to Heaven. If he gets enough of them before the bad guys do—if he does a good job—he can have his life back. But people he knew in life are dying, killed by a murderer’s knife, their bodies defiled, and the cops think he’s the killer. How does a man who no longer exists stop a psycho? Icarus Fell know he has to stop him before the killer gets to his son.
“Icarus Fell is officially my new favorite anti-hero.”

The Bones of the Earth, by Scott Bury — Eastern Europe, the Dark Age. The earth besets human civilization with earthquakes, floods, famines and new plagues that wipe out nearly half the population. Half of the mighty Roman Empire disappears. And the only man who can save humanity is one society rejected because he’s different.

“A marvelous read. I spent most of a day in The Bones of the Earth in spite of the things I had to do!”

Velvet Rain, by David C. Cassidy — Kain Richards is the last of his kind–and a man on the run. So when this mysterious drifter falls for a beautiful and sensible Iowa farmwoman, he knows full well the perils of getting too close. And yet, for the first time in his miserable existence, life feels normal … feels real. But as those around him soon realize, reality is not what it seems. For when a tragic accident forces Kain’s hand, his astonishing secret–and godlike power–changes their lives, and the world, forever.

“It took my breath away right from the first line.”

The Funny Adventures of Little Nani, by Cinta Garcia de la Rosa, illustrated by Almudena 
Romero Sánchez — Little Nani is a little girl who likes helping people, but when she does, the results are unexpected. Why? Because Little Nani is a witch! Or at least she wants to be a witch. She tries to cast spells to help her friends, but she didn’t finish the magic spell course. Little Nani’s extraordinary friends include funny ostriches, horses that love reading, super-fast turtles, grumpy zombies … Little Nani has lots of friends! You can also draw your own characters! Little Nani is willing to become a good witch. Will she manage to do it? Who knows? 
“Children will love this book of short stories and they will fall in love with the beautiful image.”

American Goddesses, by Gary Henry — When two small-town women find themselves with nearly unlimited powers of mind and body, their lives get complicated. Things turn nasty as a shadowy organization attempts to use Megan and Trish for their own evil ends, and destroy them, their town and the USA in the process. “A ton of girl power … Highly recommended!”

Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula, by Elise Stokes — Fourteen-year-old Cassidy Jones wakes up the morning after a minor accident in the laboratory of a world-renowned geneticist to discover that her body has undergone some bizarre physical changes. Her senses, strength, and speed have been radically enhanced.

After exploring her newfound abilities, Cassidy learns that the geneticist is missing and that foul play is suspected. Terrified that her physical changes and Professor Phillips’ disappearance are somehow connected, Cassidy decides to keep her strange transformation a secret. That is, until she meets the professor’s brilliant and mysterious fifteen-year-old son, Emery. An unlikely duo, they set out to find Emery’s mother and are forced to confront a maniacal villain willing to do anything — including murder — to achieve his goals.

“Elise Stokes ranks up there with other YA masterminds! This is a definite must -read book!”

 

Looking for more great fantasy from independent authors? Check out the eBooks Make Great Gifts book blitz from the Guild of Dreams fantasy authors collective.

iAi

Home Cooked Heaven….

You Will Need:

  • 2 fillets of any fish of your choice- firm fish works best but it can be anything from pollack, cod, haddock or salmon etc roughly 600g
  • 1 fillet of a smoked fish for flavour- about 200g
  • 2 Hard Boiled Eggs- peeled and quartered
  • 1kg Maris Piper Potatoes
  • Bechamel
  • 20g Orkney cheddar – grated
  • 1 egg- for egg wash

Court Bouillon:

  • 1 Lt water
  • 2 cups white wine
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bouquet garni  
  • Salt
  • Cracked Black Pepper

Bechamel:

  • 60g butter
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 2 tbsp Grain Mustard
  • 100g Orkney cheddar – grated

Preparation Method:

Hard Boiled Eggs

  1. Cover eggs with water and place over heat.
  2. Bring to a boil and take off the heat.
  3. Allow to sit for 10 minutes and then cool before peeling.

To make the béchamel sauce:

  1. First bring the milk up to a simmer in a small pot and set aside
  2. Next in another pan, melt the butter gently over medium heat, then add flour and stir until the mixture is smooth
  3. Now begin adding the milk a little at a time to avoid lumps. Keep adding milk and stirring, until you have a rich creamy sauce
  4. Allow to cook slowly for 5 minutes and then add the grain mustard and Orkney cheddar
  5. Mix well and set aside

Cooking the fish:

  1. Add all the ingredients of the Court Bouillon in a large deep sauce pan. Bring to a gentle simmer before adding your fish to gently poach. Remembering to poach the smoked fish last
  2. Once cooked through, remove from liquid, let cool and remove any bones and skin
  3. Flake fish into nice small pieces and set aside

To make the mashed potato:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.  Place the potatoes on a tray and bake in a hot oven until crispy and soft
  2. While still hot, scoop out the flesh, discard the skins and pass the potato through a drum sieve to remove any lumps
  3. Heat the milk used for poaching the fish previously and add 2 tbsp butter and fold through potato mixture. Season to taste

To make the pie:

  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5.  Butter a baking dish and start to make the pie by first spreading a small amount of bechamel on the bottom of the dish
  2. On top of that spread the poached fish and quartered eggs
  3. Spread with the remaining bechamel
  4. Top with the mashed potatoes and brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with grated cheese
  5. Place baking dish on a tray and put into a preheated gas mark 5 oven for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and bubblingfishy

 

A quick hunger fix…. Slim Sam’s Cakery

Lets be honest we all love cake! There is nothing better than having a nice cake and a coffee. Slim Sam’s Cakery have mastered beautiful cakes but with around 40% less fat than typical cakes!

Slim Sam’s cakes are made with locally sourced free range eggs, wheat flour, two types of sugar and a small amount of sugar-based sweetener and non-hydrogenated margarine. The recipe needs less fat and sugar than the standard cake which is how they reduce their calories. The cakes are only 170 per cake!!!

The cakes come in 6 flavours including – lemon, berry, banana, coffee, ginger and Jammy. The cakes all come in their own individual pot as this keeps the cakes fresher for longer.  The cakes are absolutely divine!! They are moist and so tasty, which surprised me as they have so little sugar in them. My favourite was the Jammy cake. You bite into the vanilla cake and then are greeted with Jam that oozes from the centre of the cake and all topped off with a strawberry on top of the cake.

cup

When the cakes were delivered to my desk at work I was so impressed with how they were wrapped. The six cakes cake individually wrapped with a bow on top of each. They were all packed nicely with black tissue paper surrounding them and were placed in a black box. I get a lot of cakes and food to be sampled, but it’s not often that such thought is put into how they are presented. They looked beautiful. They would make a perfect gift for someone to receive.

cake

As another added touch in each box there is a post card from Slim Sam’s Cakery which tells the story of how the company started. This was also personalised to myself from the company. A lovely touch!

pcard

I would very much recommend treating yourself or a friend to these cakes!

You can purchase at – www.loveyourlarder.com/slimsamscakery 

To check out Slim Sam’s Cakery for yourself please go to – www.slimsamscakery.co.uk you can also follow them on twitter @SlimSamsCakery. Slim Sam’s Cakery regularly tweet with news so it’s a great way of keeping up to date. Their latest claim to fame is that they are the winners of the food and drinks category in the Medway culture and design awards!

 

Crumb Corner…. Gypsy Tart

You will need:

  • 50g icing sugar
  • 500g all-butter shortcrust pastry
  • 410g tins of evaporated milk
  • 350g dark muscavado sugar

Preparation Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.
  2. Dust a worktop with the icing sugar and lay out the pastry, also dusting the top with the sugar. Roll this out so that it’s just larger than the tart tin
  3. Roll it around the pin, and unroll over the tin.
  4. Press the sides down and into the edges and then roll the pin over the pastry for a perfect scalloped edge.
  5. Press fork marks all around the base. Line with baking parchment and pour in baking beans.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the pastry edge is just beginning to turn golden.
  7. Remove the baking parchment and beans, and return the pastry to the oven for 5 more minutes to dry out the base.
  8. Meanwhile put the evaporated milk and sugar in a bowl. Using a hand-held whisk beat for 15 minutes.
  9. Pour this mix into the pastry case.
  10. Return to the oven, having reduced the heat to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6 for 10-15 minutes.
  11. It should have a slightly tacky surface and will continue to set as it cools.
  12. Leave to cool completely in the tin.

Serve and enjoy :0)

Home Cooked Heaven…. Lamb Chops

You will need:

  • Lamb chops
  • Two potatoes
  • Two carrots
  • Broccoli

Preparation Method:

  1. Firstly you need to bring your potatoes to boil for your mash this will take around 3o mins
  2. While this is cooking cook your carrots and broccoli, I cook them in the same pan which will take about 20 mins
  3. For your lamb rub salt and pepper each side
  4. Place your lamb chops into a hot pan with a little oil
  5. Fry each chop for approximately 3minutes each side (at most)
  6. By now your potatoes will be ready to mash, I like to add a little butter and a splash of milk when mashing.

Serve and enjoy :0)

A quick hunger fix….Goody Good Stuff

Goody Good Stuff is an all-new natural gummy candy range. The range doesn’t use animal-based gelatin, which most traditional gummy sweets. They also have taken out all of the artificial colours and flavours and use only natural fruit and vegetable extracts. They also do not use any fruit additives. Their range is fat free, meat free, dairy free, egg free, gluten free, nut free, soy free, wheat free and gelatine free. These sweets are perfect for Vegetarians!

There are so many great flavours in the range however I was lucky enough to try three of the flavours (obviously not all at once). I tried Strawberry Cream, Koala Gummy Bears and Coala Breeze. My favourite were Koala Gummy bears! They were even shaped like little Koala bears and had several flavours in the pack including orange, kiwi, apple and blackcurrant. Unlike the usual gummy sweets these were not sickly sweet instead they tasted just like the fruit! The ranges are split into two Gummies and also The Sours.

If you would like to find out more about Goody Good Stuff please check out their site – www.goodygoodstuff.com you can also follow them on twitter @GoodyGoodStuff

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