Saturday, 31 August 2013

Special Edition Blackcurrant Actimel smoothie recipes


I couldn't help but smile when we walked round Tesco's earlier in the week. All I kept hearing was "I'm buying these now but they're for the packed lunches when you go back to school so don't eat them yet" ! Yes, there's no escaping it, the school/work routine is about to kick off again. For us, that means that our breakfasts will be less leisurely affairs and anything that the kids can manage by themselves with little or no help from us will be precious timesavers. Actimel is one of our fridge staples - Pierre and Juliette are never very hungry first thing in the morning but I can usually tempt them with a little bottle of Actimel and a slice of brioche. If I can't, it's small enough to fit in my pocket for the school run.


I was therefore intrigued to hear on twitter that Actimel have just launched a brand new flavour and we all started guessing which fruit it would be. None of us got it right though - it's blackcurrant ! To mark the occasion, Actimel sent us through some of their new bottles, along with a fabulous smoothie maker with some apples and blackcurrants and some ideas for smoothie recipes.


The first idea is to combine the new Actimel with 120g blackcurrants, 1 banana and 1 apple.


The second idea is to combine the blackcurrant Actimel with 50g pineapple, some pineapple juice, 120g blackcurrants and ice cubes.

I'll be trying these out next week after I've picked up my fruit & veg at the farmers' market tomorrow so I'll let you know how we get on. In the meantime, I can tell you that the Madhouse mini testers all loved the new flavour. This led me to go and investigate just how many flavours of Actimel currently exist and I was quite surprised. We invariably buy the Original, Multifruit or Strawberry & Banana ones because they are the ones that the kids first tried and liked, but on the Actimel website, they have a list which also includes Apricot, Blueberry, Coconut, Mango & Passionfruit, Orange, Raspberry, Strawberry and Vanilla. I also didn't realise that there are three fat free flavours available - Original, Raspberry and Strawberry. I'll have to have a closer look at the Actimel aisle next time we go shopping because I had no idea there were so many varieties on offer!

Disclosure : Actimel sent us through some of their new blackcurrant variety, some fruit and a smoothie maker in order to try making Actimel smoothies. Watch this space to see how we get on !

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Kitchen Nomad Globe-Cooking Recipe #6 : Lemongrass, Beef & Vermicelli Herb Salad (Vietnam)


Two globe-cooking recipes in one day - can't get more exotic than that ! After the Greek Fig & Walnut Bake earlier on today, I've just made the Lemongrass, Beef & Vermicelli Herb Salad from the Vietnam Kitchen Nomad box. I was surprised to see a two star rating and a prep time of 45 minutes for a salad, but having made it, I can confirm that it does take that long - nearer to an hour actually, for me. It's quite simple but fiddly to prepare, with lots of different stages. You can see the full recipe, created by Vietnamese chef Uyen Luu, on the Kitchen Nomad website.


This recipe requires several ingredients from the Kitchen Nomad box : Rice Vermicelli, peanuts, lemon grass, birds eye chilli and fish sauce.


Plus lots of fresh ingredients : carrots, lime, mint, spring onions, garlic, marinated beef.


I'd never used rice vermicelli before so I wasn't sure what to expect. They're very similar to white, translucent, thin spaghetti but seem a bit more unruly - it was hard to separate what I needed from the pack and they seemed to ping all over the place ! They're very simple to prepare though - you just need to pour boiling water over the top and they cook by themselves.


Five different bowls of ingredients, plus the salad leaves and the vermicelli ! Anyone who has ever said that salads are boring should look at the ingredients list for this one - it's packed with contrasting flavours of sweet, sour and salty so each mouthful is an explosion of flavours.


The finished salad is lovely, but it is quite a time-consuming dish to put together. I tasted the separate elements as I was going and thought that some of the individual flavours were lost when they were all combined. I'll therefore be experimenting with the pickled carrots and marinated beef with less vibrant accompanying flavours so that they can shine as main ingredients in their own right because they're lovely.

Disclosure : I received a Kitchen Nomad box in order to write an honest review. 


Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Kitchen Nomad Globe-Cooking Recipe #5 : Fig and Walnut Bake (Greece)

Book review : Chris Carter - One By One


I love Chris Carter. (You can read my reviews of The Crucifix Killer and The Death Sculptor here.) So much so that I carefully saved my review copy of One By One to savour on holiday. I'm glad I did because he certainly hasn't lost his touch.

One By One is the latest novel featuring Detective Robert Hunter and his partner Carlos Garcia from the LAPD Robbery Homicide Division. This time, the cops didn't have to go out looking for the serial killer - he came looking for them. An anonymous phone call comes through asking Detective Hunter to log on to a website where the pair discover a macabre scene, with apparently authentic live images of a man trussed up in a big perspex box, with the killer ordering them to choose how he will be put to death. The scenes that follow are horrific but, sadly, are just the first in a series of similarly barbaric murders, with the subsequent killings asking internet visitors to vote for the method of death.

Chris Carter certainly knows how to work his audience. I read a lot of crime fiction, much of it more graphic and blood-thirsty than anything Chris Carter writes, but he adds a psychological element of suspense, playing with the reader so that it becomes almost unbearable to read. If I had been watching a film version of One By One, there was one scene where I would have had to close my eyes and hide behind a cushion because the build-up of tension got to me. Instead, I had to do the literary equivalent and skip a couple of pages to the next chapter. It's been a very long time since a book had this effect on me, which just shows how well written it is. But far from being sickened, I was impressed ! I felt like a mum, chastising her kids for being gross at the dinner table while secretly hiding an amused smirk. Chris Carter enjoys playing with his readers just as much as his serial killer enjoys toying with the detectives.

The book takes an interesting look at online behaviour too. The policemen are sickened to see how many people get involved in the voting, sending the victims to their deaths. The first time most of them probably assume it is a hoax, but for the later crimes, it is made clear by the media that these murders are for real and people still vote. This concept of all things online being totally separate to real life is behind a lot of online bullying and trolling incidents where people have a similar mentality.

Despite the elaborate murder methods, the plot is very realistic and believable, particularly when we uncover the killer's motives. While I wouldn't go so far as to say his crimes were justified, the motive does make us take a second to consider the concepts of innocent and guilty and what could push a "normal" human being to become a savage serial killer.

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £12.99

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (15 Aug 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0857203053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857203052
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 16 x 4 cm



Other reviews you may be interested in :


Kitchen Nomad Globe-Cooking Recipe #5 : Fig and Walnut Bake (Greece)


I've been itching to get back in the kitchen and try out some lovely new recipes - it's been fabulous travelling all over the place but I haven't cooked a single meal for the last month ! - so today, I grabbed my trusty recipe cards from Kitchen Nomad and decided to head off (gastronomically speaking) to Greece. You may remember that we tried out Youvetsi, a tomatoey lamb stew with orzo pasta, a few weeks ago and this is another recipe from Kitchen Nomad, created by Tonia Buxton, the presenter of the award winning ‘My Greek Kitchen’ TV series.


 You can find the recipe for Fig and Walnut Bake on the Kitchen Nomad website. It requires two ingredients from the Kitchen Nomad Greece box - dried figs and cassia bark.


My arrangement of figs and walnuts doesn't look quite as good as the one on the top photo but maybe that's because I only had an oval dish, not a round one !


The syrup was dead simple to reproduce - I love the cassia bark, which has a wonderful cinnamon flavour.


Ready for the oven.


And ta-da !

This can be served lukewarm or cold, as a dessert or for breakfast, accompanied with Greek yogurt if you so desire. The question is, which Kitchen Nomad box will I be dipping into for tonight's meal? I'm torn between Vietnam and Lebanon at the moment !

Disclosure : I received a Kitchen Nomad box in order to write an honest review. 

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Kitchen Nomad Globe-Cooking Recipe #3 : Mixed Fruits in Lemongrass Syrup (Vietnam)

Kitchen Nomad Globe-Cooking Recipe #2 : Bánh Xeo (crispy crepes) (Vietnam)

Kitchen Nomad Globe-Cooking Recipe #1 : Youvetsi (Greece)

Fab freebies of the week 31/8


I haven't done one of these posts for a while as we've been gallivanting about on holiday, so there are quite a few lovely freebies to catch up on !

Email enquiry.europe@LKK.com for a free healthy recipe booklet from Lee Kum Kee (from their newsletter)

Free sample of Douwe Egberts Smooth Caramel Coffee on their Facebook page

1000 bottles of Olay Total Effects up for grabs here

Estee Lauder Beauty of Night sample to pick up instore here

Five free Jamie Oliver recipe cards here (all gone)

Get a free followthethings shopping bag by emailing followthethings@yahoo.com and asking for one - can't get simpler than that !

You can see previous weeks' freebie roundups by clicking here but be warned, many of the offers are only valid for a short time.

You may also like to enter my giveaways :

Giveaway #318 : Win a megapack of Pampers Baby Dry nappies - closing date 13/9

Giveaway #317 : Win a funky Dribblebuster bib - closing date 12/9
Giveaway #316 : Win a photo book worth £30 - closing date 10/9

Friday, 30 August 2013

Nanobytes Sweets review


When I told the Madhouse Mini-testers that we'd be receiving some Nanobytes sweets to review before they even hit the shelves in September, they looked a bit confused, then asked why someone had made sweets for grandmothers when it's children who mainly like sweets. Yes, you've guessed it, they'd misheard me and thought that we'd be reviewing some grannie-oriented Nanna-Bites ! You have to laugh !


When they popped through the letterbox, we discovered that Nanobytes are small chewy sweets, about the size of midget gems, that come in three flavours : strawberry, bubblegum and cola. They have a slightly crunchy outer shell and a lovely chewy centre, although they're so small, you end up eating a handful at a time to make the most of the lovely flavour.

The sweets are gluten free, GMO free, suitable for vegetarians and I must admit, I have my eye on them as cupcake decorations too. All three of the flavours are available in a small 25g treat-sized pack, as well as a larger, re-sealable, metallic “space pack” (65g) from a range of stockists, including Amazon, Savers, The Factory Shop and The Works. I was impressed to see that the little treat-sized bags have a pocket money-friendly price of 25p. The 69p RRP for the bigger pack also seems quite reasonable, given the size of the pack, but it does work out more expensive than buying the smaller packs, which seems a bit odd !

The story behind the brand explains that some time ago, far far away in space, the sky was filled with edible planets drifting dangerously close to the stars. ‘Planet Nano’ collided with a star and exploded, filling space with lots and lots of little sweets, until Project-Nano astronauts (Nanonauts) were sent out to collect these rare, delicious sweets and bring them back to Earth for our enjoyment.

Not only will you be able to get your hands on Nanobytes as from next month, but a new website - www.lotsoflittlesweets.com - will allow Nanobytes fans to play as Project-Nano astronauts in special online games, as well as explore downloads, competitions, videos and other fun and educational content. A Nanobytes App will also soon be available for smart-phones on Apple and Android.

New fans will also be able to keep up-to-date with the latest news and win prizes by engaging with the Nano-nauts social media channels, liking the Nanobytes’ Facebook page and following the dedicated Twitter feed @NanobytesSweets. They don't have many fans/followers yet so you'll have a great chance of winning !

I was going to give you the calorie count for the sweets but there is no mention of any nutritional info on the pack. The ingredients list probably tells you everything you need to know though : Sugar, Glucose Syrup, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Acidity Regulators (E330, E296), Flavouring, Thickener (E414), Glazing Agent (E903), Colour (E162). That sounds like quite a lot of sugar and quite a lot of E-numbers but as an occasional treat, they're very nice and the small size means that you can control portion-sizes more easily.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : 25p for 25g, 69p for 65g

for more information : www.lotsoflittlesweets.com

Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Vanilla Velvet Crispello review

Baby RoyalTea Greetings Card review


Oh look, it's another commemorative souvenir to celebrate the birth of bouncing baby Prince George !


But I bet you didn't guess what the product would be this time. It's a greetings card - left blank for you to write your own message in - that comes with a little surprise.


You can pull out the little Kate and William cardboard figures and - ta da ! - they have a tea bag attached !


William looks very happy in his Royal Daddy of the Year T-shirt which I think he definitely deserves, after driving his little family home from the hospital himself and bragging about changing nappies !


The sticking-out arms allow you to prop the figure on the sides of the cup while the tea brews. I'm not too sure about their idea of putting it in a baby's bottle on the back of the card though - surely a fine bone china teacup and saucer would be more regal !

It's a lovely idea and follows on nicely from the Royal Wedding "KaTea and William" tea bags that they created. It does have a slightly hefty price tag (£4.50) but this is a little piece of history and is bound to raise a smile from any fans of the royal couple or anyone who has had their own baby recently.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £4.50

for more information : www.donkey-products.com

UK stockists include Liberty, Harvey Nichols, Conran Shops and V&A Museum

Disclosure : I received the product in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :


National Cupcake Week is on the way ! Posh Birds’ passion fruit and coconut meringue cupcakes recipe


National Cupcake Week is on the way again - this year it will be taking place from 16th-22nd September so that's only a couple of weeks away. Time to make sure your baking cupboards are fully stocked ! Posh Birds, the ultimate specialty eggs provider, have teamed up with celebrity chef and bona fide Posh Bird, Sophie Michell, to create a selection of decadent and delicious recipes designed to accompany the very best engagements that make up the British ‘Season’. (Look out for further recipes over the next couple of weeks.) Here's the one that she provided for National Cupcake Week.

Posh Birds’ passion fruit and coconut meringue cupcakes



Makes 12

Ingredients

For the cakes
110g softened butter
110g caster sugar
2 Posh Birds eggs
100g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk

For the passion fruit curd
4-5 large passion fruit
125g caster sugar
2 Posh Birds eggs + 2 yolks
75g unsalted butter, chopped

For the coconut frosting
350g caster sugar
2 tbsp of corn syrup
1/2 vanilla or coconut extract
2 Posh Birds egg whites
100g fresh coconut, cut into thin slivers

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C/gas mark 4. Line a 12-hole bun tin with fairy cake cases.

2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until light and fluffy. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, and gradually add to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well after each addition. Sift over the flour and baking powder and add the vanilla extract and the milk. Fold all the ingredients together.

3. Spoon the mixture evenly among each paper case. Bake for around 30 minutes or until risen and golden. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

4. Make the passionfruit curd. Halve the passionfruit and scoop out the seeds and juice. Measure into a bowl until you have around 175g. Put into a saucepan with the sugar, eggs, yolks and butter and place the pan over a very low heat. Stir the mixture until the butter melts. Continue to stir until the mixture thickens - this will take about 20 minutes. Be careful not to overheat otherwise the mixture will scramble. When the mixture has thickened pour into a plastic container to cool.

5. For the frosting, put the caster sugar, corn syrup and vanilla or coconut extract into a pan and heat gently to allow the sugar to dissolve. As soon as the sugar has dissolved, put a sugar thermometer into the mixture and cook over a medium heat until the temperature reaches 160°C.

6. Whisk the egg whites in a metal bowl (or in the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer) until stiff. Pour in the sugar syrup, whisking all the time. Place over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base doesn’t touch the water, and continue to whisk until the mixture is thick, white and glossy and is completely cool. This will take about 7 minutes.

7. When ready to assemble the cupcakes scoop a hole out of the centre of each one, then spoon in a teaspoon of curd. Spread a layer of frosting on top of each one. Toast the frosting with a blowtorch until just golden then push a couple of shavings of coconut into each one and serve!

National Cupcake Week is designed to help promote the popularity of cupcakes in order to help bakery businesses. In addition, the week aims to encourage bakers to raise money for their partner company CLIC Sargent, through fundraising during the week, or donating a percentage of their sales to the charity for children and young people with cancer.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

What's Cooking at The Madhouse next week ? menu plan 30/8

Thursday, 29 August 2013

What's Cooking at The Madhouse next week ? menu plan 30/8


All good things must come to an end and our month long travels in Morocco, Brittany and Hastings visiting the grandparents have finally drawn to a close. It's back home, back to school/work and back to routine, which means it's also back to menu-planning. I haven't cooked a single meal for a month so I haven't got a clue where to start really !

Friday

lunch - something on the boat - either a sandwich or a meal in the restaurant, depending on how rough the sea is !

dinner - there's lots of rushing around unpacking and picking up the dogs on the cards, so probably something quick like some soup from the freezer

Saturday

lunch -  spaghetti carbonara

dinner - Chicken Creole Curry with rice

Sunday

lunch - roast chicken dinner or maybe the last barbecue of the season, depending on the weather

dinner - nothing much - maybe a sandwich or a bagel

Monday 

dinner - Spiced Meat Flatbread Pizza (from the Kitchen Nomad Lebanon box) with salad 

Tuesday

dinner -  Toad In The Hole With A Twist & mustard mash

Wednesday

dinner -  Spiced Roast Vegetables (from the Kitchen Nomad Lebanon box) and I'm guessing Madhouse Daddy will want something meaty with it - either steak or ham

Thursday

dinner -  Cottage Pie With Butternut Thatch

Friday

dinner -  Sizzled Turkey Steaks With Leek & Turkey Gravy

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Kitchen Nomad are transporting us to Vietnam this month !

Have you thought about growing your own veggies this autumn?

I was just saying to Madhouse Daddy the other day that it was great eating our own homegrown cherry tomatoes and lettuces from the planters on our patio this summer and that we'll definitely have to do it again next year, but I hadn't thought about planting things now to grow over the autumn. I'm a bit of a novice when it comes to gardening ! Then this press release popped into my inbox from Seed Pantry and opened my eyes to some of the plants that can be grown now - sounds like a plan ! Have any of you green-fingered experts got any other ideas for foodie plants that can be sown now to enjoy over the autumn/winter months?

*********************************************


Autumn is a great time for seed sowing and Seed Pantry has launched three practical kits to grow your own fresh, organic vegetables. The Autumn Veg Seeds Starter Pack is a complete collection of seeds and equipment to grow pak choi, chard, Oriental spicy leaves and winter hardy salad onions. It contains all the eco-friendly equipment you need to start growing the seeds, including biodegradable pots, dibblets, mini compost disks and labels. Priced at £26.00, the kit is perfect for those new to growing and planting and makes a great gift for budding gardeners.

The Autumn Veg Taster Pack, £12.95, also contains seeds for pak choi, chard, Oriental spicy leaves and salad onions and comes with compost disks, labels, a growing advice booklet and Seed Pantry pencil.

The Autumn Veg Seeds Kit, priced at £5.75 also contains seeds for pak choi, chard, Oriental spicy leaves and salad onions. This kit is ideal for green-fingered growers who already have the equipment, pots and containers for planting and are just looking to replenish seed supplies for the Autumn season.

Seeds in all three Autumn kits grow well outside in sheltered positions and can be planted from August through to October for best results. All kits arrive in a stylish eco-friendly Seed Pantry gift box, made using recycled packaging and printed with vegetable inks. Boxes include easy-to-follow illustrated instructions, plus a handy notes pencil.

The kits are great for growing your own food at home and are perfect for small urban spaces, windowsills, balconies, roof terraces and courtyards as well as garden vegetable patches.

Seed Pantry founder, NeilWhitehead says: “Autumn is a great season for sowing and planting and our three new kits are ideal for those new to growing their own as well as for more experienced gardeners.

“Here at Seed Pantry, we firmly believe it’s possible to grow high quality, organic produce even in small urban spaces, allowing you to enjoy a range of fresh, tasty vegetables, salads and fruits. It’s a great way to teach the whole family about nature and how vegetables grow and it gives a great sense of satisfaction and achievement when delicious home-grown ingredients are added to recipes and meals.”

Douwe Egberts Enticing Chocolate Flavour Coffee review


The Madhouse Mini-testers have had a whole host of exciting new products to review over the summer, so it was nice to get one that just the grown-ups could enjoy ! : the newest flavour to join Douwe Egberts' The Flavour Collective. The gourmet coffee range already offered three different varieties - Smooth Caramel, Roasted Hazelnut and Delicate Vanilla - so the latest addition to the range was the obvious choice : Enticing Chocolate.

I'm not actually much of a coffee fan so I wasn't really expecting to be bowled over by the smell when I twisted off the top and had a sniff, but I was pleasantly surprised. You do instantly get a hit of coffee but there is a definite chocolatiness coming through as a rich undercurrent, making it much more appealing to those (like me) who often turn their nose up at coffee. 

It's totally simple to use - you just add a spoonful to boiling water then add sugar and milk or cream to taste or, if you want a more indulgent drink, you can try using it with hot milk or even as iced coffee. I think this would be lovely in cakes or spongecake filling too. 

So what does it taste like? Well, for those who like an intense coffee hit (like Madhouse Daddy with his tiny French cups of expresso) it's a bit too sweet and "corrupted", but for those who sometimes find coffee too bitter, it's lovely. I think this will be the product to reconcile me to drinking coffee.

Another huge bonus if you're watching your weight but are desperate for a chocolate fix, a teaspoon of Enticing Chocolate coffee contains just 2 calories. Can't say fairer than that !

Douwe Egberts have come up with a whole range of delicious-sounding recipes using their The Flavour Collective coffees, which I shared with you earlier in the year, so make sure you click through to try some of those out. The Whoopie Pies and Creme Brulée look gorgeous. You can also grab yourselves a free sample of the Smooth Caramel coffee from the Douwe Egberts Facebook page.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £2.99 for a 50g jar (25 servings)


Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Last of the Summer Recipes

I know that the summer holidays are drawing to a close and that we'll all be heading back to school and work in just a matter of days, but it was still a bit of a shock to find Halloween and even Christmas recipes landing in my inbox ! Well, the summer's not quite done and dusted yet, so here are a couple of lovely dessert recipes that you might like to try, using the summery flavours of vanilla, rose water and pomegranate.

Nielsen-Massey Rhubarb and Vanilla Fool



Serves 4
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

400g Rhubarb, roughly chopped
2-3 tbsp Golden caster sugar
1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste
250g Greek yoghurt
1 -2 tbsp Icing sugar, sifted
250ml Double cream
2 tbsp Pistachios

Directions:

Heat the rhubarb and sugar together in a pan with a splash of water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook
until the fruit softens. Stir in the Nielsen-Massey Vanilla Bean Paste and cool. Puree in a food processor.

Put the yoghurt in a bowl and mix in icing sugar. Gently whisk in the cream. Ripple through the rhubarb pulp and spoon into bowls to serve. Finish with a few chopped pistachios on top.

Nielsen-Massey Rose Water and Pomegranate Granita



Serves 4
Preparation time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

2-3 large pomegranates, seeds removed and whizzed in a food processor before sieving (reserve
2 tbsp pomegranate seeds)
50g Golden caster sugar
Juice of 1 large orange
Juice of ½ small lemon
1 tsp Nielsen-Massey Rose Water

Directions:

Bring the pomegranate juice and sugar to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir. Set aside to
cool. Mix with the orange, lemon and Nielsen-Massey Rose Water, pour into a wide shallow
container and freeze. Leave for 1-2 hours. Break up the surface with a fork every 30 minutes until completely frozen. Serve with a few pomegranate seeds on top.

Recipes provided by Nielsen-Massey.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Recipe : Roasted Summer Fruits

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Look what I treated myself to today !


If there's something I really don't need any more of, it's cookery books. So I didn't buy a new one when we went shopping today. I BOUGHT TWO !! In my defence, there is a fab selection of celeb chef recipe books on 2 for £10 offer at WHSmiths at the moment so they were an absolute bargain because they had a RRP of £20 each to begin with.

I started off looking at the Hairy Bikers Diet book and ended up getting their Mum Knows Best and Big Book Of Baking books, which is basically the opposite ! I've had a flick through and seen loads of recipes that I can't wait to try out. Yum !

Have you bought a new recipe book lately? I saw loads that I would like to add to my already overflowing cookery book shelf !

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Book review : Fun Food For Fussy Little Eaters (How To Get Your Kids To Eat Fruit & Veg)

A Little More vitamin-enriched drinks review


This summer saw the launch of a brand new range of kid-oriented, vitamin-enriched drinks called A Little More and we were very pleased to be sent some samples to try out. They immediately appealed to the Madhouse Mini-testers because the bottles look just the same as Fruit Shoots, making them easy and fun to drink from with their resealable sports caps.

The important thing is what's inside the bottles though. The drinks are a refreshing blend of natural fruit flavours and spring water, with no added sugar. They come in three flavours - Orange, Citrus or (my favourite) Mango - which all taste very nice. They are very sweet - slightly too sweet for my liking but they're probably ideal for kids' tastebuds -and they have a lovely fruity flavour.

The ground-breaking unique selling point of the range is that each flavour also corresponds to a different vitamin. The green-labelled, citrus-flavoured drink, is "Multivitamin", promising to "help growing bodies stay healthy" and each 330ml bottle offers 60% of the RDA of a whole range of vitamins and minerals : Vitamin C, thiamine (vit B1), niacin (vit B3) and Pantothenic Acid (vit B5), biotin (vit B7) and magnesium (to fire up your metabolism, making you feel less tired and more energetic), vitamins B6 and B12 (to support your immune system) and zinc (which helps you maintain healthy skin, hair and nails). The zingy lemon and lime flavour and low calorie count (just 5 calories per 330ml bottle) are also big plus points.

The red-labelled mango-flavoured drink is the "Vitamin D" one, helping to support growing bones. It contains 100% of your RDA of vitamin D and 15% of your calcium RDA, again for just 5 calories per bottle. And the orange-labelled, orange-flavoured "Vitamin C" bottle contains 100% of your vitamin C RDA for 4 calories and promises to support the immune system.

The whole range can be enjoyed by children over 3 years of age. They are a lower calorie alternative to many fruity drinks and the fact that they are enriched with vitamins and minerals would make me opt for these rather than some of the usual kiddie drinks when the Madhouse Mini-testers want a flavoured drink. The fact that they are made with still water is a huge bonus for Juliette too, because she doesn't like fizzy drinks.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £1.09 for 330ml

Available at Tesco's

for more information : www.moredrinks.co.uk

Disclosure : We received some samples in order to write an honest review.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Book review : Fun Food For Fussy Little Eaters (How To Get Your Kids To Eat Fruit & Veg)

Recipe : Roasted Summer Fruits

This is the perfect way of using up the last of the summer fruit and heading towards autumn. It's also a lovely low-calorie and low fat dessert option - I'll be back to watching what I eat from next week when we go back to work and school and can get back into routine !


Roasted Summer Fruits


Ingredients:
 4 nectarines or peaches, stoned halved or quartered
4-6 plums, stoned halved or quartered
4 figs
Cinnamon stick
Vanilla pod
200g caster sugar
2 tbsp water

To Serve:
Rachel’s low fat mango yogurt

 Serves: 4-6, Preparation time: 20 minutes

Method:

1.Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5

2.Take an ovenproof dish and place the fruit in the dish so it is packed tight

3.Add the cinnamon stick, split the vanilla pod slightly down the middle to release the seeds and flavour

4.Sprinkle over the caster sugar and water

5.Roast the fruits in the oven until the fruits are soft, starting to split and you have a delicious sticky sauce formed with the juices

6.Serve whilst still warm with a good spoonful of mango yogurt 

Tip: enjoy any leftovers for breakfast!

Recipe courtesy of  Rachel's.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Moroccan pastry recipe : Gazelle Horns

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