Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Giveaway #602 : Win 3 x 2 jars of Macabella Macadamia & Cocoa Spread - closed - winners Rebecca Nisbet, Jane Pritchard, Dawn Samples

Get ready for a toast revolution ! Having recently arrived in Sainsbury's stores nationwide, Macabella is no longer Australia's best kept secret. 

Seldom does a packaged food truly taste like heaven, but the UK is just discovering Australia’s 2016 Product of the Year for the Spreads category, thanks to the launch of Macabella Cocoa & Macadamia Spread into Sainsbury’s. Your morning toast is about to get a whole lot more seductive as the mouth-watering product comes in a Crunch and Velvet (smooth) option.

The first of its kind in the United Kingdom, Macabella is a macadamia nut infused cocoa spread made with quality ingredients. The creamy Belgian recipe delivers a cocoa blend that, when paired with the finest roasted macadamias, creates a premium taste.

Macabella features the highest percentage of nuts in the supermarket spreads category with a minimum 19.5% macadamias in every jar of Macabella Crunch and 15% in the Velvet. The ingredients are a big draw card to many consumers, with 45% citing the unique ingredients are what attracted them to Macabella the most (Source: Consumer Research, Australia, 2015).

With all key ingredients sustainably sourced and guaranteed to be of premium quality, Macabella promises a luxury spread at an affordable price.

Now you can look forward to spreading Macabella (aka the Casanova of spreads) onto croissants, crepes, fruit or breakfast toast. Or simply spoon it into your mouth direct from the jar. Because, who are we to judge?

RRP £3.00

Macabella Crunch and Velvet are available now from Sainsbury’s stores throughout the United Kingdom

For more information, visit @macabellaspread #SpreadTheSecret

Macabella have kindly offered to send some jars of their delicious spread (one each of Velvet and Crunch) to three lucky Madhouse Family Reviews readers. Fill in your entries via the rafflecopter widget below.

UK only. Closing date : 15/12/16

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray !

You may also like to enter my other giveaways :
Competitions listed on

Teletubbies GoGlow My First Torch review

Pierre used to love the Teletubbies when he was younger, but, now at the ripe old age of seven, I wasn't sure if he'd be too old to want to review something from their fabulous new range of gifts and merchandise. Well, I think his face in the picture below answers that question ! (And if you look closely, you can see that his new front teeth are finally starting to put in an appearance - he might get them for Christmas after all !)

We received the Teletubbies GoGlow My First Torch, which is a fully-working torch but made of a soft, squishy fabric so it is toddler-safe. It is so cuddly that children can take it to bed with them, which is reassuring if they are worried about getting up in the night to go to the toilet in the dark, for example. It has a wide flat base which means that it can be stood on the bedside table when not in use. The soft material also gives it extra padding to protect it when it gets knocked on the floor too.

We did have a problem inserting the batteries because the holes for removing the screws are very small and above all, very deep set (you can see them on either side of the bulb in the yellow casing) so you will need a very small, thin screwdriver. It requires 3 x AAA batteries and we did think it was a shame that they weren't included, especially while we were hunting all over the house for a suitable screwdriver to use !

Pierre had no such worries though and he was excited to take it to bed with him. It's very easy to use with a big yellow button that serves as an on-off switch. It's not overly bright, which is a good thing for a torch designed for small children, because they invariably shine it in their own or other people's eyes.

Time for tubby bye byes - sleep tight Pierre !

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £12.99

available at Argos, Amazon, ELC

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

Madhouse recipe : Bacon-wrapped leeks with hollandaise sauce

Endives au gratin, or ham-wrapped chicory, is a traditional dish from Northern France/Belgium, but they have quite a bitter taste so, although the grown-ups love them, they're not always so popular with the kids. I decided to tweak the dish a little and try it with leeks instead of endives, wrapping them in bacon then pouring over cheese sauce, sprinkling on some grated cheese and baking them in the oven.

My plan changed slightly when I discovered some Hollandaise sauce in this month's Degustabox. Hollandaise sauce is a creamy, buttery sauce usually flavoured with lemon, so I wasn't entirely sure how it would work, but it was actually lovely. I'll definitely have to try this again with cheese sauce too though, because that would definitely work really well too.

Bacon-wrapped leeks with hollandaise sauce

ingredients :

5 leeks
a pack of bacon rashers
ready-made Hollandaise sauce

or if making your own Hollandaise sauce :
2 egg yolks
1tbsp lemon juice (or extra, to taste)
pinch of salt 
pinch of Cayenne pepper
1/4 cup salted butter

Top and tail the leeks and peel of the first couple of outer layers to reveal the soft, vibrant leeks beneath. (You might not need to do this if they haven't been lingering in the kitchen as long as mine !)

I used a large frying pan so that it was big enough to fit the leeks in whole. Fill with boiling water, add a pinch of salt then cook the leeks, turning every now and then, for about ten minutes, until they are soft when stabbed with a sharp knife. Drain in a colander while you cook the bacon, to let as much water out as possible (and also so you can handle them without burning your fingers !)

After grilling or frying the bacon (leave it soft as it needs to be bendy and will also continue to cook in the oven), take each leek and wrap one or two bacon rashers around it. Lay them in a single layer in an ovenproof dish.

If making your own Hollandaise sauce, beat the egg yolks, lemon juice, salt, and cayenne pepper together in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth, then slowly stream melted butter into the egg yolk mixture while whisking to incorporate. Heat in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds, then whisk, adding a little water and whisking again if it separates. (There are more complex and traditional recipes if you go and google Hollandaise sauce !) Alternatively, squirt ready made Hollandaise sauce all over the leeks.

Put in a hot oven for ten minutes to warm the sauce and serve as they are, or with rice if you want a heartier dish.

Adding to this month's #KitchenClearout linky as it used up some leeks that were starting to look a bit wrinkly !

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The Christmas Degustabox review

The latest Degustabox has just arrived and this special festive edition provoked as many oohs and aahs as the kids' stockings on Christmas morning !

Here are the contents of this month's box and it featured a lot of sweet snacks, which is why it was so popular with the Madhouse kids !

Starting with the drinks, there were a trio of glass bottles, containing two alcoholic options and one soft drink. 

The Good Cider (2 x £1.50) is a brand that I've tried before and enjoyed in previous Degustaboxes. This time I got two flavoured ciders, Wild Berries and Strawberry-Lime, both of which are refreshing, zingy, fruity drinks that reminded me somewhat of the alcopops I used to favour in my early drinking days. They can be drunk over ice in a glass or straight from the bottle, after being chilled in the fridge.

J20 Glitterberry (£2.49 but can be bought as a 4-pack for £4) is a wonderful addition to your festive dinner table or New Year's Eve party. It is a unique grape and cherry spiced flavour drink, with echoes of mulled wine. The real wow-factor comes when you shake the bottle though, because it's like a snowglobe in drink form, containing edible glitter that sparkles when the bottle is shaken. This led to the question of whether you'd end up with glittery wee if you drank too much - answers on a postcard !!

Continuing on the sparkly theme, the kids were delighted to discover a duo of Hartley's Glitter Jellies (2 x 75p), which also contain edible glitter for a sparkly effect. The Degustabox recipe card this month was for a fun blue glitter jelly snow globe, that we will definitely be making once I've stocked up on snowflake cake decorations. You can't have too much glitter at Christmas as far as I'm concerned, and that includes on your plate !

There were both sweet and savoury snack options this month, which appealed to the whole family.

Butterkist Choc Mallow Popcorn (£1.49) is an indulgent snack that I found slightly too sweet but the kids loved it. I preferred the Butterkist Sweet Cinema Style Popcorn (28p - this is the multipack size, which costs £1.69 for 6) and I like the single portion size, which makes it perfect for snacks on-the-go or lunchboxes.

Pipers Crisp Co put their newest flavour into this month's Degustabox - Atlas Mountains Wild Thyme and Rosemary crisps (£2) are crunchy and tasty, with a sophisticated flavour that appealed more to the grown-ups than the kids.

Ahmad Tea Pear & Cinnamon Strudel Tea Pyramids (£4) were the alternative option to the alcoholic drinks, depending on your Degustabox preferences. Sophie squealed as soon as she saw them and flicked the kettle on, but she found that the taste of the black tea overpowered the fruity dessert flavour and she needed to add a fair amount of sugar to get the taste she wanted. If you're a black tea fan, you'll like them though and there are five other dessert-inspired flavours to try.

The Appy Kids Co Golden Apple Juice (£1.49) got a big thumbs up from the Madhouse kids, both for the sweet flavour and the Gruffalo-themed packaging. They are 100% natural with no added sugar and are sweetened with plant stevia, making them a lunchbox-friendly option.

I was intrigued by the Hollandaise Sauce by Christian Potier (also available in two other varieties - £2.50), which comes in convenient single serve sachets that offer a no-waste option because each pouch has enough for one plate. They can be heated in the microwave for 10 seconds or incorporated into whatever dish you're preparing.

I poured the contents of two sachets over some bacon wrapped leeks (full recipe coming up on the blog later in the week), which was lovely. Hollandaise sauce also goes nicely with poached eggs, fresh asparagus and fish.

Ryvita are always handy options for smorging or putting on the side of a festive cheeseboard. Their Caramelised Onion Flatbread Thins (£1.89) are great for dipping in guacamole, cheesy dips and salsa but also boiled eggs or soup. The Cracked Black Pepper Crackers (£1.29) can be topped with anything from cheese, tomato and smoked salmon to pâté. Ideal for light suppers when you've been overdoing the turkey and Christmas pud !

Broderick's Crunchy Slam-Dunk Peanut Chunk (£1.20) is a thick, delicious and totally indulgent bar that we all enjoyed, despite cutting it into five mini slices so that we could all try it ! It contains whole roasted peanuts, crunchy rice krispies, chunky peanut butter and a marble top of Belgian white and milk chocolate. Yum !

Jules Destrooper Butter Crisps (£1.19) are a deliciously rich, crispy biscuit that can be enjoyed on its own or topped with banana, ice cream and caramel sauce for a naughty but nice dessert.

And finally, Michel et Augustin 4 Cookie Squares (89p) was another unanimous hit - easy to share, clean to eat with the chocolate in the middle and decidedly moreish.

As a Degustabox blogger, I got to sample all of the products that went into this month's boxes but subscribers received a slightly different combination of products depending on their preferences when they signed up.

A subscription to Degustabox costs £12.99 per month including delivery, with each box having a value of much more than that, but the great news is, I have a discount coupon code for you which now gives you a whopping £7 off the price of your first box, so you'll get it for just £5.99 - just enter code 0BS6T at the checkout.

for more information :

Also now on Instagram @DegustaboxUK 

Disclosure : We received the box in order to write an honest review. As a Degustabox blogger, I receive all of the products that go into the monthly boxes, but subscribers may not get exactly the same selection.

Globecooking recipe : Banana ketchup (Philippines)

For most of us, if we hear the word ketchup, we automatically think of tomatoes, but in my Philippines-themed Kitchen Trotter box, there was a surprising recipe for banana ketchup. It was actually supposed to be a bottle of ready-made banana ketchup but their suppliers had had a problem with the delivery, due to a tropical storm, so they gave us the recipe to make our own while waiting for the bottle to turn up. It's a bit of a strange one - my first impression was not very positive, because I could taste all of the different flavours (banana, vinegar, curry, garlic) separately, but after leaving it to stand for a while, all the flavours mingled and it did taste better. It worked really well in the java rice, a recipe that I'll be sharing later in the week, and it could be used to liven up salads and meat or fish dishes, if you fancy something completely different.

Banana ketchup

ingredients :

2 bananas
150ml water
100ml vinegar
50g caster sugar
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1tbsp maple syrup
1tbsp curry powder

Roughly chop the garlic and onion.

Add the bananas - chop them into slices if they are firm but I was using overripe ones so I didn't need to.

Add the remaining ingredients and use a stick blender to liquidise it all.

I found the texture to be a little bit too runny so I added in a mashed banana to give it a firmer consistency.

Leave it to stand for at least half an hour for the flavours to mingle.

It works very well in java rice but I was slightly at a loss to know what to do with the rest of it - I headed to google and discovered that it is used in assorted dishes in the Philippines, including omelettes, hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, fish, charcoal-grilled pork barbecue and chicken skewers and other meats, as well as in Filipino-style bolognese sauce, which is sweeter than the traditional Italian one. I was surprised to learn that it is also coloured red when it is sold in bottles, to resemble regular tomato ketchup. I'll have to experiment !

If you fancy trying some more Philippine cuisine, how about turon or sinigang soup?

Adding to this month's #KitchenClearout linky because it used up my overripe bananas.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Giveaway #601 : Win Drumond Park's Dig In! - closing date 10/12

*** Click through to read our review of Drumond Park's Dig In! ***

Dinner party, birthday bash, drinksnight, festive family gathering…disguise it as you will… but what tonight is really about is an excuse for you, your friends and family, to roll up your sleeves and  Dig In!

New Dig In! (rrp £19.99, by Drumond Park Games) is a fabulously easy, but deceptively challenging and frantically fun game, suitable for all ages (ideally 8+). This hectic, hilarious and brilliant new table-top game can be learned in a minute; each turn is played in 15 seconds – and you can play it anywhere, any time.

What’s great about this game is that the concept is ridiculously simple – dig into a bowl of colourful everyday items to find the six objects pictured on your card. Now, how easy is that? Child’s play surely? Well yes, children love it too…

And once adults see the bowl filled up and ready and waiting, they too will be itching to get their hands in! After just one fast and frenetic round, they’ll find it incredibly hard to tear themselves away!

for more information :

Drumond Park have kindly offered to send a Dig In! game to one lucky Madhouse Family Reviews reader. Fill in your entries via the rafflecopter widget below.

UK only. Closing date : 10/12/16

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray !

You may also like to enter my other giveaways :
Competitions listed on

Drumond Park Dig In! review

Labelled as "the great game of frantic finding fun", Drumond Park's latest offering Dig In! is the perfect game for all the family to enjoy this Christmas.

Inside the box, you get four bags of coloured plastic pieces, a plastic dish, some games cards (with things to spot) and a 15-second timer.

The plastic pieces represent everything from trees, boats and stars to, the kids' favourite, a toilet !

You empty the four bags into the dish and mix them all up, dish out the cards and you're ready to go.

Press down the timer and you get fifteen seconds to rummage through with both hands and try to find the items on your game card. It's easier said than done and the time seems to go so quickly !

Then it's time to pass it on to the next player until everyone has had a go.

This is where things get totally hectic - now it is time for a free-for-all where everyone tries to grab the final missing pieces from their cards using just one hand. Be prepared for lots of squealing and complaining when someone mixes up all the pieces just as another player is about to grab their final piece ! 

You can see how fast-paced it is from how rubbish my photos are - it made us laugh because every time I was just ready to take a photo, the timer buzzed and everyone stopped playing ! 

As with all good games, you can adjust the rules depending on the age and number of players. We found it was just as much fun and saved lots of arguments if people joined up into groups of two, to balance out big age differences (although the younger players actually seemed to find more than the older ones, much to their delight !).  

On the backs of the cards are black and white versions of the things to spot so if you want an easier and less fraught version, you can use that side and allow players to pick the items in any colour.

The game is designed for players aged 8+ according to the box - I would assume this is due to the danger of very young children putting the pieces in their mouths because apart from that, younger players could certainly join in. It's an enjoyable game for all ages though and the grown-ups definitely had just as much fun as the kids !

If you like playing board games together as a family on Boxing Day (or any other time of the year), look no further ! Also, don't miss my giveaway, coming right up, where you can win a copy of the game in time for Christmas.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £19.99

for more information :

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

A week full of soup-er suppers from Heinz (review)

There are a certain number of store cupboard basics that you will always find if you open my kitchen cupboards - basic ingredients like onions, potatoes, rice and pasta, dried or canned beans and a few tins of soup. I tend to always buy the same go-to varieties of soup though - chicken, mushroom and tomato usually, for the tinned variety - so when Heinz sent through this soup-er selection of their tinned soups, I was surprised to see just how many different varieties were on offer (and this is just a selection - there are many more).

The old favourites that always remind me of my childhood are still there - vegetable, minestrone, tomato and chicken - but there are some that I'd never tried before, including lentil and oxtail, which I thought I'd hate but actually really enjoyed. I must admit, I do usually add herbs and spices to tinned soup to perk it up a bit, so I was delighted to discover the new range of black label soups that are 'supercharged' (or souped up ?!) versions of the classics. They have Cream of Tomato with Fiery Mexican Spices, Cream of Tomato with a Kick of Chilli, Cream of Chicken with Aromatic Thai Spices, Cream of Mushroom with Wild Porcini Mushrooms, Cream of Tomato with Spanish Chorizo (my new favourite - I love the little nuggets of chorizo in each spoonful), Carrot & Coriander with Warming Moroccan Spices, Lentil with Fragrant Indian Spices and Rich Beef Broth with Smokey Paprika. I don't even need to raid my spice rack any more !

You can't beat a bowl of soup on a cold wintry night and, as I have lots of after-school meetings coming up, I know I'll be relying on tinned soup to offer an instant meal when I (finally) get home. As well as being the ultimate comfort food, it counts as one of your five-a-day and helps keep you fuller for longer, which is great news if you're trying to limit the damage to your waistline over Christmas ! I also love using soup as an ingredient in my cooking though, as it offers a lovely rich and creamy base to work with with zero effort.

An American recipe, Chicken & Mushroom Hotdish, is always a big favourite with the kids and is also a great way of using up leftover chicken after the Sunday roast. Mix the chopped chicken with some mushrooms, add a can of chicken or mushroom soup and top with frozen hash browns, then bake in the oven until golden brown and delicious. (Click through for the full recipe.)

Green Bean Casserole, a traditional Thanksgiving side dish, is ideal if your kids pull a face when you try to get them to eat their greens ! Mix tinned or cooked green beans (or mixed veg) with chicken or mushroom soup, top with bacon bits and/or dried onions and bake until thickened.

Tomato soup is also great in cooking, as a quick base for pasta bake or in cheesy spicy sausage surprise, which is a great family-friendly meal made from nothing but store cupboard basics.

What's your favourite soup? Do you have any recipes that use canned soup as a base?

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