I always love to know about other bloggers’ foodie finds – clever kitchen products, intriguing ingredients, homegrown produce, delectable goodies plucked from the local markets. Celia is the standard bearer for the “In My Kitchen” posts, so I hope she doesn’t mind if I join in.
Depending on what comes into my kitchen I hope to put together a monthly post combining what I’m growing (slug holes and all) and foraging, what I’ve found in the supermarkets and smaller independents/markets, what I’ve been sent to try, any gadgets that catch my fancy (and pass the ‘out and using’ test), and perhaps even tips that are making my cooking and blogging life easier. I might even try my hand at short videos if I can get my tripod to lock!
First up, I was recently sent a half dozen of “Skinnylicious” soups from Glorious! Foods. I won’t say I was sceptical before tasting, but Scots are known as much for their soups as their baking, and I have adopted the sniffy attitude to bought of both. But I was more than pleasantly surprised. Very. Not only were all of these soups of a good consistency (not thin, like some other ‘skinny’ soups) but every single pot was a distinct globally inspired recipe, ‘peppered’ with loads of spice, and containing proper ingredients that you would expect to find in a homemade soup. The Glorious! Foods brand are all well within the FSA 2012 salt guidelines, too – which is good to know as soups are notorious for being harborers of excess sodium.
I gave some away for others to taste, and got the thumbs up from both expert testers (my MIL Ann, and neighbour Kath – thanks ladies!). I will happily buy these when I know I have an extra busy week. My favourite one? Persian Hug. Available in most larger UK supermarkets.
Jerusalem artichokes, love them or not, these knobbly root vegetables are abundant in the farm shops and in most supermarkets right now. Known quasi-affectionately as the “fartichoke” (sorry if you are eating whilst reading), this prebiotic-containing tuber just loves British weather. So much so that a neighbour practically begged me to take 11 kg off her hands. I am sharing them at work next week, but have left a goodly amount for ourselves to use in this rather decadent risotto, soups and just roasted.
(first image) Here’s an oil I’ve been using a lot in my kitchen. I buy it from my local Marks & Spencer food hall. The gorgeous azure-blue bottle is what initially caught my eye, then I read the words ‘smoked olive oil‘ and knew I had to buy it. I’m on my third bottle… For drizzling not cooking, btw. You can also find this Spanish Arbequina olive oil through Amazon.
(middle image)The last time I was in the US I bought this grindable Sriracha seasoning by Dean Jacob’s. I know I didn’t pay full price for it – I just now found it online and KNOW I didn’t pay that price- so I think it must have been at TJ Maxx, or another discounter. If you see something similar, do get it if you like spicy popcorn, a flurry of spice on a more sober dip, or punchy poached eggs. It’s a notch up from other flavour blends I’ve tried, and it is sometimes good to have the distinctive sriracha flavour but without the added liquid.
(final image) And I love this new-to-me matcha tea from London-based company, Bloom Tea. Anyone who knows me (or follows my Instagram feed) knows of my fondness/weakness/obsession for matcha tea (cold, if you please). This pot has the perfect pick-me-up combination of matcha green tea, ginseng and ginger, but I note that there are 7 other intriguing blends to try (Brainboost has my name all over it). Love this. I bought mine at the Edinburgh Harvey Nichols Foodmarket, but you can also find it at Selfridges, Whole Foods, Planet Organic and order online through their website. My go-to everyday matcha usually comes from Teapigs or Vitalife.
Regular readers will also know that I am a big fan of turmeric. In fact, my most popular non-cancer specific post is for Spiced Golden Turmeric Milk. As a family we drink this very often, and not just if we feel we are coming down with something. I actually drink this more than I do hot tea or coffee (but not as much as I do cold matcha green tea). Not only does it seem to cure what ails you (only slightly hyperbolic), it tastes good too. I keep a stash of these little roots/rhizomes in my freezer, just peeling with a teaspoon when I want to use them (no need to defrost), and finely grating. I also throw them in some smoothies too.
“But I don’t like turmeric,” I hear some of you say: If you find dried, ground turmeric too harsh or bitter, fresh is much milder in taste, with a pleasantly earthy aroma. It’s really worth finding and using in this milk, in curry paste mixes, with oily fish, to mix with olive oil and black pepper as a bread dip, to flavour and colour savoury baked goods. I even use it in sweet things too (I add it to this lemon-berry polenta cake to boost the colour). I don’t really recommend supplements for most people but I do suggest using turmeric in some way, shape or form most days. Spiced golden turmeric milk is the quickest way I know. Plus it’s an excuse to drink cardamom!I was sent these stunning fruit crisps earlier in the year and I am ashamed to say I am only now telling you about them. They are not the cheapest of products but they literally have just the fruit that is named on the beautifully illustrated pack and a tiny smudge of oil. The result is an intense hit of the fruit and a deep satisfying ‘crisp’ crunch. The apple ones even have peel on them, as well as a few crunchy pips! My favourite flavour is the pineapple. If I had been sent three pack of pineapple crisps I still wouldn’t have any left to photograph! Perhaps it is just as well that they aren’t in supermarkets (available in many UK farm shops, and on-line).
Another nice little snack are these puffy, crunchy quinoa & seeds multigrain cakes from Kallo. I am familiar with most of the Kallo range but I spotted these attractively packaged newbies at the supermarket and, of course, had to buy them. In the interests of research mind you. They have a touch of sweetness, which is different to their mostly savoury range of wholegrain crackers. But only a little. One cake would be nice little lunchbox snack with a pot of yogurt and a dinky box of fruit.
Lastly, my favourite find of the month was not actually discovered this month, but rediscovered. I had first tasted these incredibly addictive fennel and cumin cheese sables (crackers) some time back at the Stockbridge Sunday Market. The makers, The Pea Green Boat, are a tiny artisan food company in nearby Cockenzie and have been attending various Scottish markets selling out of their Scotch eggs (they have glorious veggie ones), gluten-free brownies and tubs of these delicate, small-bite crackers. The sables are now stocked at Earthy Foods where I rediscovered their tongue-tantilising delights. It was very very hard not to scoff the lot in one sitting (they are so light, who could blame me). Now I don’t have to wait until Sundays… Fun fact: Maddy Corbin, who founded and runs The Green Pea Boat, is the daughter of Pam “the Jam” Corbin (author of two River Cottage handbooks. I have – and love – this one.). Good food is obviously in the blood.
I’ll be back soon with a recipe. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions of healthy, or healthy in moderation, products, do let me know. I can’t guarantee to cover it (especially if it isn’t available in the UK as I would need to try it for myself) but I will look at all suggestions. Thanks!
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