Wishing for some Italian sunshine flavours

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It’s been so miserable for so long that even as a non-sun worshipper I am craving some sunshine. And even though we saw about ten minutes worth today I still need something sunny. And we are not talking Sunny Delight. Do they still even make that stuff?

 

Sicilian Blood Oranges - get them whilst you can for a taste of sunshine in mid winter

 

So I think it means good and interesting citrus, and this is the right time of year for it. I particularly love Natoora for bringing slightly more unusual citrus to us, like the Sicilian Blood Oranges. Such a short spell when they’re available but my word, to see that juice, just so worth it.

Or a bowl full of Amalfi lemons would just be amazing. To be honest, I could just look at them and sniff them each day, let alone use them. It would just be like sunshine sitting in the middle of the table. And I’ve never heard of a Cedro before, which has the most amazing looking peel. I love making candied peel, this looks incredible for that.

Of course I could stock up on clementines and Sevilles, but lovely to have a lot of variety. Bring on the sunshine!

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Continuing the British theme

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Best of British

 

Just a quick post to say Natoora are offering 10% off their top 10 choice for British Food Fortnight over on the website now, with some great choices. British strawberries may be coming to the end of their season, but is there really any other type to eat? Then there’s Colston Bassett Stilton, one that definitely gets fridge space here, or Montgomery’s Cheddar for a great sandwich.

The other items are really around things that grow really well here in the UK, like purple sprouting broccoli or Cox’s apples, and then great things like smoked salmon and mackerel. Worth taking a look as can definitely see some good dinners brewing there! Prices are already discounted on the site so no codes needed.

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Where do foodies register for their wedding?

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Where would foodies register? What to buy food lovers for their weddings

Being of the nosey/curious type, I love looking at the search terms people have put in to get to the blog. There’ve been all kinds of weird and wonderful ones, not to mention some very err, creative, spellings. But this one seemed an entirely appropriate question, and the sort of thing I would want to know the answer to! So, here’s a few thoughts from me:

1. How about seeing if your favourite local deli or wine shop will run a list for you? In fact, I am surprised not more local specialist stores have got into this lucrative business. Sadly, not even Ocado seem to have a listing facility.

2. Thankfully some of the wine retailers do seem to have caught onto this, so if you’re foodies who love wine, then this might be a good route for you. As one would expect, Berry Bros & Rudd will run a list for you, to which you can add wine, spirits, accessories, wine tastings and even wine courses at their school. For something with more national coverage, then Majestic also offer a wine list service. They have everything from fine wine through to champagne, beers and spirits, so you could really lay down a very interesting, and quaffable cellar.

3. Natoora offers a really wide selection of goodies from Europe, from fresh stuff through to tinned, cheese through to meat and all kinds of veg. They don’t offer a wedding list service but your guests could buy gift certificates that you could have an awful lot of fun spending after the wedding! As an alternative, check out Forman & Field who also do gift vouchers, and there’s a great choice of stuff that you could spend it on.

4. A wedding would seem the perfect opportunity to upgrade your kitchen equipment. I would be really happy to have a list at Divertimenti and would not only load it up with great stuff for the kitchen, but also with classes at the cookery school. If you wanted things for all the house but still really good, not to mention good looking, kitchen stuff, then Heal’s would be another good choice, or you can register a wishlist at Habitat. And, of course, there’s always John Lewis!

 

I'd put it on my list!

 

5. Not on the High Street is one of my favourite sites, and you can register a list with them. There would be fabulous things for the kitchen and dining room, like beautiful cake stands, stylish coffee machines and funky personalised mugs. There are also some interesting food options as well, with everything from an Over Indulgence Hamper (how lovely to come back from honeymoon to this) to organic chocolate, great oils and interesting mustard.

6. I do love my cheese, but yet to find someone with a listing facility. Paxton & Whitfield offer gift vouchers, so I guess you could run your own list and ask for those. You could then spend them as you needed cheese. Or have a look at the Cheese Club from Teddington Cheese (great cheese shop, unlikely location), where you could ask people to buy you one of each theme, which covers selections suitable for St Patrick’s Day, Halloween and Christmas, as well as one for each month of the year. The Fine Cheese Co in Bath also offer something similar, and people could buy you a whole year’s worth of deliveries.

7. You may have also gathered that I have a reasonably big cookbook addiction. Which would have made listing with Amazon a perfect choice for me. It would enable you to explore the far reaches of your food reading and cooking desires. You can explore old and new, rare and not so rare. I guess Amazon is almost like a huge department store now, so you can also list for lots of equipment too. Just don’t forget the books.

So, that’s a few suggestions for a couple who love their food as much as they love each other! Happy listing!

Interesting wedding cupcakes taken by clevercupcakes on Flickr.


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Spring bargains on the foodie front

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Just a quick post on online retailers of good foodie stuff with good offers, in case you need a gift but with some cash left for day to day eating! Here goes:

Kissing Birds Free Gift from Thorntons

1. Thorntons have a free gift on offer for orders over £15  between now and the 14th, so a great one for the one for them, one for you principle. The free gift is the Kissing Birds, which is cute looking, and possibly tasty. I really like the chocolate blocks they have done, colourful and tasty. Enter code THKS at checkout to qualify.

2. I love how Majestic announce their offers: 25% off South Africa. Apparently it does just mean the wines! Great saving though when you buy two bottles. Possibly champagne discounts will follow next week if Valentine’s Day sales aren’t as good as they were hoping!

3. I do like my coffee, but good coffee. If you’ve got a caffeine freak, then how about joining them up to the Coffee Tasting Club from Coffee Cavern. It’s now available for £22.50 for 3 months, rather than £30, for which they will send 4 different coffees every month from single estates and co-operatives, along with tasting notes. A perfect pick you up gift.

4. Natoora is a great source for continental goodies from Italy and France amongst others. If you need to plan a big shop, then right now they are offering £20 off when you spend £80. The offer runs until 28 February, and you just need code HT785KE at checkout. Not sure I know where to start, but I would certainly be looking at their interesting wine and beer selection, and some San Daniele ham for sure.

5. There can never be enough fabulous chocolate in a home, and Chocolate Trading Co is a great source for finding great stuff. Just to ease some of the guilt, there is 10% off everything at the moment with code love, and it’s valid through till the end of this month. Deep joy!

6. If it’s too cold, or there’s still snow, then stay warm and safe and shop at the Virtual Farmers Market. Great selection of all kinds of producers from around the UK, and for all of February delivery is completely free, so got to be worth a go. And worth staying in for! Check out goodies from Gower Cottage Brownies, South Devon Chilli Farm and Upton Smokery amongst many other tasty choices!

Six great choices of places to shop, six great discounts. Happy shopping/cooking/eating!

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What’s new for Spring?

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Just having a quick virtual browse round to see what’s new for Spring for the foodies, and here’s just a few of the things that have caught my eye:

 

Gluten Free Fishcakes. Only free from gluten, not great taste

 

* From The Fish Society, a tasty treat for those needing a gluten free diet. Norcakes are fishcakes from Norway that have seen neither potato (so you get more fish) or a breadcrumb (so you get no gluten). Great sounding flavours, either Pollock & Lemongrass or Salmon & Dill. Perfect standby comfort food for me.

* I love TheDrinkShop.com, it’s such a great source of such a huge variety of different drinks, the stuff you don’t necessarily see in the supermarket. They’ve just listed SW4 Dry Gin, which I have yet to see on sale round here, or make it into my glass, but it sounds great. And I’m intrigued by the Bitter Truth Pimento Dram, which is pimento and rum. Could make for an interesting evening!

Light my Fire, with chocolate, from Jamie Oliver

* Always a sucker for chocolate, I like the cheeky bars that Jamie Oliver is doing, which include Light My Fire (dark chocolate with mandarin and ginger) and Get Fresh (dark chocolate with a hint of mint). The flavours are nothing new, but the chocolate is 72% cocoa solids, as well as organic and fairtrade, so on top of that to have great looking packaging is a real positive. Cheer someone’s day up, any day, with one of these.

* I know this won’t tick the local box, but it is seasonal. Natoora have Wild Pink Radicchio in from Verona, which they say is very nice grilled, and I would be tempted to try it in risotto, having made one before with “normal” radicchio. I am expecting this to be slightly less bitter than the red version.

* The Eden Project is one of my favourite places, but it’s a bit of a drive from here in the East Midlands. Pleased to see their online shop suddenly looking really snazzy and interesting with some great things on it. For the foodies, then there is the Olive Lovers Gift, which has an olive sapling, and a jar of their own marinated olives. This is going to be one of those taste good, do good gifts, going to support the ongoing work at the Project. They’ve got some great chicken houses too, if keeping your own is on your to do list this year.

So just a few new things that have caught my eye, that I’ll be storing away as ideas for great gift ideas for someone, at some stage, this Spring. What’s caught your eye? I’d love to know.

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Let the foodie bargain hunting begin!

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Not how I want to do my bargain hunting!

 

I think it’s possibly a little later than last year, but there seem to be a lot of last minute offers flying in from my favourite online sources for great foodie gifts. Rather than a raft of short posts I thought I would pull them all together in one post, so that you could get everything out of the way at once. Look, it’s that or face the crowds, and I know which I would rather do!

1. For foodie stocking fillers, I would check out Getting Personal for things like personalised Food Lovers calendar, a personalised Great Taste Award winning chocolate pudding or a personalised apron. This is a great place for fun, but not tacky, stuff for all members of the family, and friends, and price range means you can get something interesting for under £10. If you spend over £100, then you get 15% off, enter FIFTEEN at checkout.

2. For a huge range of unique, unusual and tasty foodie gifts, then check out the Deal of the Day page over on Big Barn. From beef boxes to vegan chocolate cakes, Loch Leven tablet to meaty sausages, there really is something for everybody. The other plus point would be that your gift would be supporting artisanal producers around the country, which is a great gift for everyone. Check in daily for new offers.

3. I really love the collection put together by the team at Jamie Oliver, and right now if you spend over £35 delivery is free. These are a bit different to things available under Jamie’s name elsewhere on the High Street, and there’s some great choices. For under £10, there are some very stylish tea towels and notebooks, and for under £20 I love the worm food compost bucket, and the I Love Olives gift set. Even though I don’t!

4. It wouldn’t be Christmas without chocolate, and Chocolate Trading Co is one of my favourite sources for unusual, good quality chocolate. They are offering 10% off between now and December 8th, enter code santa in the shopping basket.

5. Not so much a gift for someone else, but a gift to whoever is responsible for the lunch on Christmas Day, the Christmas meal boxes at Natoora are fabulous. All the thinking is done, the recipe is there and right now there is 10% off the boxes and everything else that you order when you put one of these in the basket. Valid until 20 December, so it would ensure you don’t go hungry on Christmas Day, and you can stock up on great gifts, such as Rococo Chocolates, some Prosecco on standby and a huge piece of Parmesan.

 

So 5 sources of bargains that would hopefully keep you in the warmth at home, rather than heading out into the cold to battle with the crowds. Possibly more to come though I would guess before the festive season is upon us.

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Christmas in a box with Natoora

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Get Christmas sorted with Natoora

 

I really like Natoora, great for shopping for continental goodies without the jet lag. And now they are offering Christmas in a box, bringing great taste to the table without the queue! Each box gives you the ingredients for a main course, dessert and wine, plus a recipe card from a top chef such as Theo Randall.

Want to do the traditional route? Well, as well as a turkey from Moen & Sons, in the turkey box you get chipolatas, seasonal veg, everything you need for stuffing, plus Christmas pudding, a bottle of Champagne and two bottles of wine. No hassle, no queueing in Tesco for hours, and all delivered to your front door. There’s 10% off all these boxes right now, so all this is yours for £175.50. Of course, it’s not rock bottom cheap, but it’s high quality food, and you don’t have to go to the supermarket! That’s worth something!

Want something more unusual? Well, have a look at the capon or goose box. Equally well stocked and perfect for the smaller Christmas gathering. Delivery is free as well, so this is looking like a very easy route to an easy Christmas.

Now, if they can just send someone round to cook it…..

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Foodie gifts as they should be

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After a couple of days of foodie gifts where taste may not be the absolute first priority, I thought it was time to have a break and write about real foodie treats! Really this was prompted by an email from Natoora, rather than continued loathing over the Blueberry Vodka Glass Slipper!

 

Selected by Neals Yard to reflect some of the best in British Cheese

 

I really like Natoora, I wish there were more online sources like this for great food delivered to where you are. They’re really good at French and Italian stuff that you think you can only get on holiday, but also at the unusual stuff from around the UK, and the really good stuff. I can’t imagine many cheese loving foodies turning down the British Cheese Selection: Colston Basset Stilton (local to me, and darn fine Stilton it is too), Montgomery’s Cheddar, Kirkham’s Lancashire and one I haven’t tried, Tunworth. At a tad under £25, this feels like a lot more food for your money than the Selfridges Xmas pud and brandy butter.

Artichoke is one of those things I tend to order in, and associate with, Italy, and don’t often cook it here. That said, I am quite tempted to keep a jar of the artichoke pate in the cupboard, it could make a very good standby for bruschettas and as a quick pasta sauce. I’d also be tempted by the charcuterie counter, but mainly for Italian stuff you don’t see everywhere, like Speck and Coppa di Parma, not to mention two types of Lardo.

And I’ve always thought it would quite entertaining, not to mention tasty, to buy someone a whole Parma or Bayonne ham. Imagine their faces when they see that one wrapped up! Do you think they’ll guess what it is?

Delivery is pretty good: next day in 2 hour slots within selected London postcodes, 24 hour delivery to the rest of us. Even better, there’s 20% off any order over £50 between now and 31 August with code AUG20OFF, so worth shopping in bulk or clubbing together with like minded foodie friends. Although if you get into investigating their great wine and beer selection that £50 will come up quite easily!

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