Franklin’s Drinks Review

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Franklin’s Drinks Review, a thorough honest look at Franklin & Son’s soft drinks and mixers, with a fabulous mocktail and boozy sorbet recipe included.

FF Franklin's Drinks Review
Franklin’s Drinks Review Sicilian Lemonade with Elderflower so refreshing.

Firstly, I really need to say that this was one of the best reviews I’ve ever undertaken.

Carrying out the Franklin’s Drinks Review has been an absolute pleasure. Not only were the company a delight to deal with their product completely wipes out the competition in terms of taste, variety and drink-ability.

FF Franklin's Drinks Review
Franklin’s Drink Review who remembers Dandelion and Burdock from their childhood?

Gone are the sticky, sickly sweet soft drinks that line supermarket aisles. In their place we have a company founded by three brothers in 1886, creating soft drinks and mixers using real fruit juice. Each soft drink and mixer easily drinkable on it’s own, or with the mixers a multitude of cocktails, classics and creative new possibilities abound.

Franklin & Son’s is a British Company producing the very best drinks using natural ingredients. No artificial additives, preservatives or colours are allowed into their drinks and they taste all the better for it.

FF Franklin's Drinks Review
Franklin’s Drinks Review the perfect G & T with Franklin’s Natural Tonic Water.

I was sent 5 different flavours of soft drink and 3 different mixers. It should be noted before I go any further that, I have never liked tonic water – until now!

Franklin’s Soft Drinks:

Sicilian Lemonade and Elderflower with crushed juniper – ooh if you like lemonade you will love this. The juniper hits your nose as you breath in the tantalising aroma. Once sipped, the tart lemon, which in my humble opinion should be how all lemonade is made, immediately awakens your tastebuds. Mellowed and softened by the hint, I could detect no more, of elderflower, creating an incredibly refreshing drink. I imagine, this drink alone would make a wonderfully balanced sorbet. Just how lemonade should taste, a firm 9.5 out of 10.

Dandelion and Burdock with star anise – the drink of my childhood, the reason I wanted to carry out this review. Unlike any other drink, dandelion and burdock has a unique, fruity, spicy flavour. This drink has a deeper, more complex flavour than the others with layers of flavour lingering on the palette as it is drunk. The slight anise flavour from the star anise could be too overpowering, yet again, the balance is perfect. Exceptionally delicious, not too sweet, not too spicy. I cannot find fault, not that I’d want to, so a firm 10 out of 10.

Ginger Beer with malted barley and a squeeze of lemon – this is the ginger beer of old. Intense, throaty, warming as you drink it and yet refreshing at the same time. Although not a mixer, I could see this pairing with a really good rum. Likewise, as the weather turns cooler, I have reserved a bottle for making ginger pudding with. True ginger in taste, the barley adds a slight softness, although it was hard to detect any lemon. This drink does not disappoint. A firm 9.5 out of 10.

Apple and Rhubarb with cinnamon – my personal favourite. This very more-ish drink reminds me slightly of the rhubarb in rhubarb and custard sweets, without any artificial flavour coming through at all. The balance of apple and rhubarb is exquisite. A very faint hint of cinnamon is present when the drink is poured, although I could not detect any specific cinnamon flavour on my palette. If I had to pick one drink, that I had to drink for a whole year, this would win. Again the freshness of the fruit flavour, without being lip puckeringly tart is perfect. A very easy 10 out of 10.

Strawberry and Raspberry with a twist of black pepper – oh my, this drink is utterly delicious. Freshly poured the smell of cracked, black pepper hits your nose and lends a spicy aroma to the strawberry and raspberry. When drinking, the perfect fruit combination is balanced by the black pepper and the lack of over sweetness. A beautiful drink both in appearance and taste, this gets a firm 9.5 out of 10.

FF Franklin's Drinks Review
Franklin’s Drinks Review my personal favourite Apple and Rhubarb.

During this Franklin’s Drinks Review not one single soft drink disappointed. The fruit juice and complementing flavours, even if I couldn’t detect them, meant they were extremely well balanced.

I thoroughly recommend Franklin & Son’s Soft Drinks, for their natural flavour achieved without an ingredient list as long as your arm. The truth is in the taste. No obscure chemical after taste was present in any of these drinks.

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Franklin’s Fruity Summer Drink perfect to drink all day long.

 

Why not see how I made this Franklins Fruity Summer Drink, using Franklin’s Soft Drinks. It’s alcohol free but tastes suspiciously like another, famous, British Summer drink!

Franklin’s Mixers:

To say I felt vastly under qualified to review a drink I didn’t even like, would be an understatement. I am of course, talking about tonic water – or so I thought.

I received 3 mixers to try, Sicilian Lemon Tonic, Natural Tonic Water and Light Tonic Water. I won’t be giving them scores out of 10 as I feel that would be a little unfair, simply my views on their taste.

It took one glass on Natural Tonic Water, over ice to convert me! Such a refreshing drink, especially with a slice of lime or lemon. Maybe more importantly it made THE BEST gin and tonic, my new favourite tipple.

The Light Tonic Water, was just that, lighter in flavour, however, I was just as happy to drink it in a G & T, or over ice with a slice!

Sicilian Lemon Tonic, oh how I wish there had been more bottles of this in the box I received. Utterly delicious, it is key to giving the Franklin’s Fruity Summer Drink just the right balance of flavour.

I shall be ordering more soft drinks and mixers, especially as I want to try Franklin’s signature drink 1886 a mix of sloe gin and their Sicilian tonic water. Perfect for warm summer evenings, or cool Autumn nights.

Me being me I wanted to try and create a sorbet using Franklin’s Natural Tonic Water. I decided to make my own Fresh Strawberry Simple Syrup add a couple of measures of good gin and see if it would work!

FF Franklin's Drinks Review
Franklin’s Drinks Review Strawberry Sorbet with Gin & Tonic.

This Strawberry Sorbet with Gin & Tonic was an absolute success. Perfect as a grown up dessert, or let it melt a little and you have a rather yummy, adult slushy!

To Make Strawberry Sorbet with Gin & Tonic:

600mls Natural Tonic Water – from

200mls Fresh Strawberry Simple Syrup – see here

Double measure of Gin – I used Bloom Gin

  • Pour the tonic water into a jug and allow to sit for a couple of hours, until almost flat.
  • To the flat tonic water add the strawberry simple syrup and gin. Stir to mix.
  • Churn in an ice cream machine until the mixture has a slushy-like consistency.
  • Pour the sorbet into a freezer proof tub, pop on a lid and place in the deep freeze overnight.
FF Franklin's Drinks Review
Strawberry Sorbet with Gin & Tonic ready for the freezer.
  • To serve, remove the tub from the freezer 10-20 minutes before serving. This allows the sorbet to soften slightly.
  • Scoop balls of sorbet and serve in a martini glass for an elegant dessert. Alternatively, you could wait a little longer and serve the sorbet as an adult slushy in double shot glasses!

I have had so much fun carrying out this Franklin’s Drinks Review. Not only will I be ordering more delicious drinks, I have plans to keep experimenting with them too!

If you have enjoyed this Franklin’s Drinks Review you may also like these:

Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet

FF Franklin's Drinks Review
Refreshing Tropical Fruit Sorbet

Mr Sherick’s Milkshake Review

FF Franklin's Drinks Review
Mr Sherick’s Milkshake Review

Whatever you do this weekend, remember it’s not a party unless there are Franklin’s Soft Drinks available. Perfect for those who cannot, or choose not to drink alcohol.

Sammie xx

Franklin’s and Son’s sent me a selection of drinks to review. All opinions, views, content and photographs are my own. I was not paid to write this review, please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies

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Who doesn’t love a delicious brownie? I know I do. So, when I received a small selection of fudge to try out, I knew where the vanilla version was heading, straight into these very tasty Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies.

FF Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies
Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies dots of gold fudge throughout the brownie.

The Vanilla Fudge from Fudge Angels, is creamy with a definite vanilla taste, not just sweetened sugar and cream. So I kept with a deeply chocolate brownie recipe, allowing the fudge to ‘sing’ as it hits your tastebuds.

Also, I received a delicious Strawberry Pavlova Fudge, which was very popular with our eldest daughter, in truth a little too sweet for me, although it did leave a delightful strawberry flavour in my mouth. In contrast, the Smooth Ginger Fudge was delicious. So, if you love ginger, which I do, then you will enjoy this fudge. I can imagine using it in some ginger cookies, if I don’t snaffle it all beforehand!

FF Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies
Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies topped with the perfect complimentary ice cream.

These Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies are perfectly delicious on their own.

However, here at Feasting is Fun, I wanted to turn them into a fantastic dessert.

Brownies And Ice Cream – A Great Dessert Combo

What goes better with brownies than ice cream. And not any ice cream, one created to perfectly compliment the flavours found within these Vanilla Fudge Brownies, Dark Chocolate Chip Vanilla Ice Cream.

See how good I am to you!

While they are both perfectly delicious on their own, bring them together and we have a taste bud party starting baby 😉

FF Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies
Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies – how will you eat one 😉

Such an easy traybake, turned into a jaw dropping, beautiful dessert!

Finally, a drizzle of white chocolate on top of the brownies echoes the flavours of the vanilla fudge within. So you can be assured, if you have no desire to make your own ice cream, that the brownies are still, one hundred per cent, top class.

Our youngest daughter gave these a 10!

I wish there was a way of putting that in BIG FLASHING LIGHTS. Because she rarely awards a 10 for my efforts. I am literally cock-a-hoop with joy.

Did I mention the 10?

Ok I’ll leave it for now.

TEN OUT OF TEN – yup I’m done 😉

Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies

Also, something else I should tell you before you make these, is that all the preparation, mixing etc. is carried out in a saucepan. And (I know your not supposed to start sentences with and – but I got a 10!!!), you line the swiss roll tin with foil, so there is very little clean up.

You’re welcome xx.

Recipe: Makes 15 Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies

275g/10oz Dark Brown Muscavado Sugar

150g/5oz Unsalted Butter

50g/2oz Cocoa Powder

150g/5oz Plain White Flour

1tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

1/4tsp Salt – I use Maldon

1tsp Vanilla Bean Extract or Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

4 Large Free Range Eggs

100g/4oz Vanilla Fudge – from Fudge Angels

50g/2oz White Chocolate for drizzling over the top

Making The Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4, 350F.

  • First of all, line a 28cm x 20cm x 5 cm (12″ x  8″ x 2″) swiss roll tin with aluminium foil.
  • Place the butter, sugar and salt into a large heavy bottomed saucepan, over a medium heat.
  • Gently melt the butter and sugar together, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until melted.
  • Move the saucepan from the heat and add the cocoa powder. Stir in immediately and the cocoa will combine easily with the melted sugar and butter.
  • Add the flour and bicarb and mix in.
  • Crack the eggs into a jug and add the vanilla bean paste. Beat lightly with a fork to combine.
  • Pour the egg mixture into the warm chocolate mix in the saucepan stirring constantly. Don’t worry everything will come together into a smooth batter.
  • Tip the brownie batter into the foil lined swiss roll tin.
  • Lift the tin and rap it hard against the worktop a couple of times. This brings any bubbles within the batter to the surface – remember brownies aren’t cake, so we want to encourage density in the bake.
  • Break off small pieces of the vanilla fudge and dot them on to the top of the uncooked brownie.
FF Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies
Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies ready for the oven.

Baking The Brownies

  • Place the brownies in the centre of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  • Halfway through the cooking time, open the oven and rap the tin against the oven shelf. Again this stops the brownies from rising and becoming cake like.
  • The brownies are cooked when the surface has a sugary sheen and has a very slight wobble in the centre.
  • As soon as they are baked remove the Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies from the oven.
FF Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies
Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies you can see where the fudge has baked through brownie.
  • Allow the brownie to completely cool in the tin. I actually left this brownie, once cooled, wrapped in foil for 2 days post baking, due to illness and it kept beautifully.
  • As soon as they are cooled remove the big slab of brownie from the tin and place on to a board.
  • Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in the microwave, taking care not to overheat it.
  • Pour the melted chocolate into a small, disposable piping bag. Snip the very end off to create a small hole.
  • Drizzle or pipe the top of the brownie slab, however you like, with the melted chocolate.
  • Finally, place the brownie to one side to set. In very warm weather pop the bake into the fridge to allow the chocolate to set.
FF Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies
Once set cut the brownies into 15 squares.

To serve, use a pallet knife to slide beneath the base of the brownies and the foil. This ensures that any fudge at the bottom of the brownies sticks to the brownies, not the foil!

Serve the brownies as they are or with a delicious scoop of ice cream on top.

FF Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies.
Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies deliciously topped with homemade ice cream.

An easy traybake transformed into an elegant dessert.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies you may also like these:

Blackberry Nectarine Tart

FF Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies
Blackberry Nectarine Tart topped with vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites

FF Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies
Chocolate Fudge Brownie Bites

Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble

FF Vanilla Fudge Chocolate Brownies
Almond Blackberry Pear Crumble gluten free

I love dual purpose bakes. For example, creating these delicious brownies and then turning them into a fabulous dessert. And with the weather looking good for a few days, why not have a go at making your own ice cream? So, you too can adorn your delicious bakes with homemade ice cream too. Because Feasting really is Fun!

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

Fudge Angels sent me 3 different types of flavoured fudge to try. All opinions, views, content and photographs are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Growing Vegetables Week 5

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Welcome to Growing Vegetables Week 5 with Bob and Sammie. This past week has been very exciting as we have taken on a new experiment, more on that later and we are also starting to harvest courgettes! Enjoy reading about our adventures in the garden.

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Growing Vegetables Week 5 Glossy Green Courgettes.

It was such a thrill to capture the shot of the bee happily pollinating our courgettes. Bee’s and other pollinators are vital to the success of our vegetable growing adventure. Without them the Gartenpearle  tomatoes you see below, sown from Groseeds seed, would not be forming, in fact none of our vegetable flowers would produce fruit.

FF Growing Vegetables Week 5
Growing Vegetables Week 5 Gartenpearle tomatoes forming.

It is true, some vegetables are wind pollinated. Sweetcorn is the first one that springs to mind. They are grown in blocks so that as the wind blows, it blows the pollen from one plant to another. We are hoping to grow sweetcorn next year.

I love seeing the bees, butterflies and hover flies, not forgetting moths our nighttime friendly pollinators. Bob and I were also really pleased to spot a couple of frogs, hiding in the damper parts, behind the plants, as we were gardening this week. We have not had a problem with slugs or snails for a while now, so all the new plants we potted up this week have not had any slug pellets on them.

Any slug pellets that were used earlier in the season were at a height where the frogs could not get them. Whilst trying to grow as organically as we can, our garden was full of snails, hiding in and under containers. We manually dispatched as many of them as we could, however, all of our efforts to grow our our vegetables would have been in vain, had we not used slug pellets on the first seedlings. Now we have fewer snails and are happy for frogs and hedgehogs to munch on them.

Yes we have some snail damage on our plants, but we can live with that!

FF Growing Vegetables Week 5
Growing Vegetables Week 5 Baby runner beans starting to form.

After initial concerns that our runner beans weren’t setting – due to the hot weather – I was pleased to see these two baby ones this morning. Painted Lady, the variety we are growing, have always been reliable in both containers and the ground. A good straight bean that isn’t stringy! I definitely recommend them. We will be sowing a second lot, straight into the pot for runner beans into Autumn.

FF Growing Vegetables Week 5
Growing Vegetables Week 5 the Chilli and Borage plants have settled in well.

Chilli, borage, basil which is flowering, all in the front garden and settled. Lots of bees were buzzing around as I took the above photo.

A quick update on jobs carried out this week before I tell you about our exciting experiment:

  • Lettuce/Wild Rocket/Radishes that had bolted and run to seed – tubs emptied on to the compost heap. We are hoping to sow more over this weekend.
  • Picking courgettes as soon as they are 3 inches long. This helps increase the yield from each plant and stops enormous marrow-like monsters that are tasteless and reduce yield. Also whilst checking over the courgettes we remove fallen flowers and yellowing leaves – this prevents mould from forming and spreading.
  • Picking ripe long beans, our variety is Purple Queen and they are going to be eaten with dinner tonight!
  • Daily watering – we have had very little rain since before the heatwave. The Chilli’s in the front garden are watered twice a day now and that should be reduced to only once as the weather dictates.
  • General clearing, light pruning of Spring flowering shrubs and dead heading roses.
  • Tomato feeding – now the Gartenpearle tomatoes are setting a light feed is given once a week – we are also giving a weekly feed to the courgettes and will feed the Chilli’s in the front garden when they start flowering.

An Exciting New Project With Greenhouse Sensation.

Yes, I know we don’t have a greenhouse, but the Quadgrow that was sent to us by Greenhouse Sensation can also be used outside. It holds four plants in large containers that are sat on top of a reservoir.

FF Growing Vegetables Week 5
Growing Vegetables Week 5 the Quadgrow fully planted and photo bombed by our dog!

At the outset we decided to make our Quadgrow planting an experiment. Four equally sized Roma Tomatoes and again four equally sized Orange Habonero Chilli Plants were selected. These had all been grown from the same packets of seeds from Groseeds.

Two of each plant have been planted in the Quadgrow and 2 of each plant have been planted in deep polystyrene containers, using compost, water retaining granules and a scoop of slow release fertiliser.

We will compare the yield from each plant and it is going to be so much fun seeing if there is a difference – a couple of things to note – we are late planting, this will affect yield and we are not growing a control, two of each plant in the ground with regular watering.

The Quadgrow system is so easy to set up. It is lightweight but very sturdy. Each planter has absorbent cloth that is thoroughly wetted, inserted through the bottom and is pulled up until it is level with the top of the planter. This same absorbent cloth then is pushed through a hole, where it sits on the Quadgrow reservoir. The idea being that it draws water and nutrients from the reservoir into the planter, as they are needed. The cloth then moistens the surrounding compost and the plant is feed and watered automatically, eliminating the need for regular watering.

FF Growing Vegetables Week 5
The Quadgrow set up incredibly easy.

This Quadgrow system, from what I understand about gardening, should stop the compost becoming compacted from frequent surface watering, allowing the roots to grow deeply in an airy, yet moist environment. Deep roots will ensure the plant is stable and water/nutrient uptake is maximised, promoting great plant health and healthy plants produce a greater yield.

After setting up the Quadgrow it is watered with a can so the compost is moist and then left for a few days until the top feels dry. We will cover the reservoir and feeding in next week’s post.

Next two chilli’s and two tomato plants were planted in deep polystyrene containers. The Roma tomatoes were staked and tied in and both containers were given a good soaking just as it started to rain! Not much but every drop is welcome.

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Growing Vegetables Week 5 Planting in polystyrene boxes.

Bob is loving the experimental aspect to our growing venture. It is teaching him more science than he realises. I’ve always found I learn far more by watching and doing, than simply sitting and listening. Perhaps that’s why day release suited me, I was learning the science one day a week, behind what I was practically doing for the other 4-5 days.

Finally……

FF Growing Vegetables Week 5
A gorgeous bright orange Canna Lily blending with my hanging basket.

This beautiful, purple leaved Canna Lily has the most stunning blooms. Our hanging basket was planted to coordinate with it.

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Growing Vegetables Week 5 yes I have snuck a few tomato plants in this bed too!

I had the opportunity to buy some Black Cherry Tomato ‘blight resistant’ plug plants, so knowing that blight is a big possibility, I took a chance and planted them in between the Canna Lilies and Verbena Bonariensis. The later has purple frothy flowers that contrast beautifully against the Canna Lilies and butterflies and bees absolutely love it.

I see no reason why vegetables, herbs and flowers shouldn’t happily be grown alongside each other. Our front garden is south facing and gets very, very windy. The Canna Lilies provide initial protection for the tomato plants, as they get their roots deep into the soil and start growing. The Verbena Bonariensis attracts pollinators, yet to me the bed is also about beauty. Deep, dark, cherry tomatoes, the colour of the Canna leaves, will only enhance the beauty of this bed.

Beautiful and productive. These are not mutually exclusive in our garden.

If you have enjoyed reading Growing Vegetables Week 5 you may also like these posts:

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Growing Vegetables Week 2

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FF Growing Vegetables Week 5
Growing Vegetables Week 1

I hope our efforts have shown you the fun side to gardening? Finding frogs, becoming more aware of the bees, butterflies and wildlife that can be found in an ordinary back garden. Listening to the birds and finding old nests, more on that next week.

Even if you only have a small area, or a windowsill herbs can be grown. I have Basil in our front garden, yet I still have a couple of pots on the small, kitchen windowsill as I use them so frequently in cooking and salads.

Wherever you are, whether you have a garden or not, it is good to get outside and look for wildlife. It is closer than you may think.

Until next week happy gardening.

Bob and Sammie xx

Groseeds provided the majority of the seeds for our gardening project, however, this is not a sponsored post. Greenhouse Sensation kindly sent us the Quadgrow to try out. All opinions, views, content and photographs are my own (Sammie). I do not get paid for writing or reviewing products, please see my Disclosure Policy.

Any advice given is from Sammie, an amateur gardener and should be taken as such, at your own risk.

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Hawkshead Relish Review

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I have thoroughly enjoyed carrying out this Hawkshead Relish Review. Using a trio of fantastic, handmade preserves as ingredients was a challenge and that is what I thrive on.

FF Hawkshead Relish Review
Hawkshead Relish Review Red Onion Marmalade delicious as a condiment.

Traditionally I have used chutneys and Red Onion Marmalade as a condiment. Now I was tasked with incorporating three separate preserves in new recipes!

I was sent three different, savoury preserves by Hawkshead Relish.

  • 2 Jars of Red Onion Marmalade – deliciously different to usual onion marmalades. Cooked with balsamic vinegar and added pine nuts, I adored both the flavour and texture of this marmalade. This is not a sticky sweet marmalade, it is packed with deep onion flavour, punctuated by occasional sweet sultanas and the nutty flavour of pine nuts. As an ingredient 10/10 as a condiment 10/10!
  • I Jar of Windermere Pale Real Ale Jelly – gloriously pale gold, clear jelly. Sweet but not overwhelmingly so, as the ale taste really comes through and the slight bitterness tempers the jelly. A real surprise, as I’d not tried a jelly like this before. Made using ale made at the Hawkshead Brewery, light and fruity in flavour, it was a dream to use. As an ingredient 10/10 as a condiment 9/10 dropping a mark as I prefer a more textured accompaniment.
  • 1 Jar of Hot Garlic Pickle – packed full of garlic cloves in a hot spicy sauce. Personally I would not eat this as a condiment, however, if you are a real garlic lover, then this is the perfect pickle for you. When used as an ingredient this pickle transforms into the most wonderful rich, hot, spicy, garlic flavour, that can be as intense as you want. An absolute dream to use as an ingredient 10/10 as a condiment 5/10.
FF Hawkshead Relish Review
Feta Red Onion Marmalade Quiche utterly delicious.

My first venture was making this Feta Red Onion Marmalade Quiche. The different layers of flavour in the quiche are so exciting on the palette. Warmed, the Red Onion Marmalade flavour itself becomes more vibrant, contrasting beautifully with the mild, slightly salty feta cheese. This quiche has become a firm favourite in our house.

Hawkshead Relish Review
Red Onion Sausage Plait perfect for picnics or as a tasty mid week meal.

Red Onion Sausage Plait is so simple to make, yet the finished flavour will have your tastebuds singing. Can tastebuds sing 😉? It is so important to use good quality sausage meat, as the meaty flavours work so well with with the flavour and texture of this delicious Red Onion Marmalade.

FF Hawkshead Relish Review
Roasted Ale Jelly Tomatoes unbelievably good.

These Roasted Ale Jelly Tomatoes are so simple and yet this has to be my favourite recipe, if forced to choose. Please don’t make me choose? 

To make: Roasted Ale Jelly Tomatoes

  • Cut a dozen, or thereabouts, medium tomatoes in half. I used economy tomatoes from the supermarket.
  • Place them on a baking tray cut side up.
  • Spoon 1/2 a teaspoon of Pale Ale Jelly on top of each tomato.
FF Hawkshead Relish Review
Very firm, not particularly flavourful tomatoes.
  • Drizzle over a little olive oil, sprinkle lightly with sea salt flakes (I use Maldon ) and freshly ground pepper.
  • Place into a preheated oven at 180C/160C fan, gas mark 4 and bake for 1-1.5 hours until softened and slightly caramelised.
  • When cooked remove from the oven and serve on a platter with some shredded basil leaves. Eat smeared on to some very fresh baguettes, or alongside quiche, sausage plait, chicken, fish.
FF Hawkshead Relish Review
Hawkshead Relish Review these Roasted Ale Jelly Tomatoes have become my new favourite side dish.

Warning once you’ve made these Roasted Ale Jelly Tomatoes once you will find more and more reasons to make them. Such a simple recipe, yet it turns even underripe, flavourless tomatoes into a taste sensation. I cannot wait to try it on our home grown tomatoes later this year. A tasty side to many meals.

Another brilliant use for the Real Ale Jelly was adding a couple of spoonfuls to a beef cooked in ale casserole. Added right at the end, just before serving, the sweet, fresh flavour of the jelly lifted the casserole and balanced out any bitter notes from the cooked beer.

Finally to the Hot Garlic Pickle. To be truthful this pickle was indeed a pickle for me! I was stumped as to what I should make with it. The weather was very hot and whilst I knew the spicy garlic would be wonderful in soups, stews and curries, my heart simply wasn’t into cooking a large, hot meal. During the summer we practically live on salad.

Also, to be honest, the strong, pungent aroma of the pickle wasn’t inspiring me. Until one day. I had some pretty hot chilli’s and I figured I’d go with the hot, spicy, garlic flavour, rather than trying to tame it.

FF Hawkshead Relish Review
Hawkshead Relish Review Hot Spicy Garlic Cheese Straws.

Thus, my Hot Spicy Garlic Cheese Straws were born. Whilst not overly  keen on the pickle as a condiment, used in these delicious cheese straws, alongside spicy Parmesan cheese and hot jalapeño peppers, the flavour shines. These are THE best cheese straws I have ever made and it is worth having a jar of this pickle on hand simply to make these!

Recipe: Hot Spicy Garlic Cheese Straws makes 16-18

500g Homemade Perfect Butter Shortcrust Pastry

1 Free Range Egg – beaten

3tsp Hot Garlic a Pickle from – Hawkshead Relish

75g Finely Grated Parmesan Cheese

1 Jalapeño Pepper – membrane and seeds removed and finely diced

Method: Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7

  • Line a large baking tray with a silicone baking mat or baking parchment.
  • Lightly dust a clean worktop with flour and place the pastry on top.
  • Roll the pastry into a rectangular shape – roughly 35cm x 25cm (14″ x 10″).
  • Ensure the pastry can move and is not stuck on to the worktop.
  • Trim the edges with a knife and then brush egg over the surface of the pastry.
  • Spoon 3 teaspoons of the Hot Garlic Pickle over the pastry and spread to create a thin layer.
FF Hawkshead Relish Review
Hot Spicy Garlic Cheese Straws in the making.
  • Sprinkle over the grated Parmesan cheese and finely chopped chilli.
  • Fold the bottom half of the pastry over the top half. Gently run a rolling pin over the top to ensure both halves are pressed together.
  • Cut just over 1cm (1/2″) strips using a sharp knife and make sure it cuts all the way through.
  • Transfer the cheese straws to the lined baking tray.
  • Place in the top of a preheated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until golden and crispy.
FF Hawkshead Relish Review
Hawkshead Relish Review Hot Spicy Garlic Cheese Straws.
  • Once the cheese straws are baked remove from the oven.
  • Enjoy the inviting, warm garlic and cheese aroma!
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving immediately.
FF Hawkshead Relish Review
Hawkshead Relish Review Hot Spicy Garlic Cheese Straws.

These Hot Spicy Garlic Cheese Straws are incredibly good served warm (my favourite) or cold. Perfect for sharing with friends over drinks, at parties, or snacking on whilst watching your favourite game, on the telly, with the family.

I really urge you to use the pastry recipe given. These cheese straws are somewhere between flaky and shortcrust pastry. This texture really adds to their flavour, however, if you aren’t keen on pastry making, I would use bought, all butter puff pastry as a substitute.

Carrying out the Hawkshead Relish Review has been a challenge, but a challenge I have enjoyed. Each product I reviewed imparted so much flavour when used as an ingredient, I will definitely be using more of their delicious chutneys, marmalades and jellies in future recipes.

I have also learnt not to judge an ingredient on first appearance. The Hot Garlic Pickle completely transformed once cooked and everyone agreed the cheese straws were the best they’d ever tasted. Layers of Red Onion Marmalade in the quiche created an amazing flavour sensation and lastly but by no mean least, the Pale Ale Jelly. Wow! The roasted tomatoes were incredibly good. Slow roasting and the addition of the jelly meant intense, but not overwhelming flavour.

If you have enjoyed my Hawkshead Relish Review you make like these recipes:

Easy Crusty Baguettes

FF Hawkshead Relish Review
Easy Crusty Baguettes

Asparagus Prosciutto Ham Tart

FF Hawkshead Relish Review
Asparagus Prosciutto Ham Tart

Mini Sparkenhoe Red Leicester Tarts

FF Hawkshead Relish Review
Mini Sparkenhoe Red Leicester Tarts

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, I hope this post has inspired you to Embellish With Relish? A phrase used by Hawkshead Relish to inspire people to be more creative with their products.

Sammie xx

Hawkshead Relish provided me with the relishes listed for the purposes of this revie. All opinions, views, content, recipes and photography are my own. I was not paid to write this review post, please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Mr Sherick’s Milkshake Review

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Who doesn’t love a thick, creamy, ice cold milkshake? I know I do! So when asked to try a few shakes made by Mr Sherick’s and maybe create a recipe or two I leapt at the chance. Enjoy my Mr Sherick’s Milkshake Review, plus a bonus GIVEAWAY!

FF Mr Sherick's Milkshake Review
Cookies and Cream shake with cookies of course!

The very nice people at Mr Sherick’s sent me 5 different, luxury shakes to try. They were packaged well in a cool bag with an ice pack.

Cookies and Cream – A creamy, thick, luxurious vanilla shake with real pieces of cookie and belgian chocolate chips.

This was the first milkshake I tried, I also happened to have baked some Rolo Chocolate Cookies which accompanied it perfectly. Thick, creamy, vanilla shake with real pieces of cookie and chocolate in the shake. Absolutely delicious with great texture, this shake was a little rich – that didn’t stop me from finishing the bottle though 😉. A firm 9/10

FF Mr Sherick's Milkshake Review
Hint of Mint Milkshake churned into ice cream!

Hint of Mint – A creamy, thick, luxurious, chocolate shake, made with real chocolate and mint choc chips added.

After a quick taste of this thick, chocolate shake with delicious pieces of mint choc chips, I knew I wanted to turn it into an ice cream. The shake has a deep chocolate flavour that allows the mint to be, as the label suggests, a hint. Very refreshing. Turning it into Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream takes it to another level, with the mint still coming through after the initial chocolate taste.

Whether drunk as a shake or turned into ice cream, Hint of Mint is my personal favourite amongst all the flavours I tried. No question a definite 10/10.

FF Mr Sherick's Milkshake Review
Strawberry Pavolva Milkshake with real pieces of meringue.

Strawberry Pavlova – Made with real strawberry juice and pulp this luxuriously thick, creamy shake contains real pieces of meringue.

I have to say that this Strawberry Pavlova shake is so pretty to look at. I don’t know how they do it, but if you look in the glass there really are pieces of meringue suspended throughout the entire shake. Of all the shakes, this for me was the sweetest and tasted exactly like strawberry milkshake should. Whilst I enjoyed the sensation of meringue pieces in the shake, it was, just a tiny bit too sweet for my palette. So a firm 9/10, only dropping a mark for the extra sweetness.

FF Mr Sherick's Milkshake Review
Choc Chip Latte delicious with chocolate drizzled shortbread cookies.

Choc Chip Latte – Coffee flavoured, luxurious thick, creamy shake with Belgian chocolate chips.

Ooh if you like coffee then you will love this shake. Luxuriously thick and creamy, with a strong, yet not overpowering coffee flavour, added Belgian chocolate chips simply send this shake over the top. I imagine this shake would also make a very good ice cream or gelato. No question about it a firm 10/10.

Finally as part of my Mr Sherick’s Milkshake Review I wanted to try something new. Having made a lot of ice creams this summer, all made with a custard base and churned, I decided to make a gelato. This was a huge gamble for me. I had one bottle of milkshake left, what if it didn’t work?

Read on to see what happened and how you could win a cool bag full of Mr Sherick’s utterly delicious, luxury shakes.

Pot au Choc – Luxuriously thick, creamy, deepy chocolate milkshake, made with real chocolate and added Belgian chocolate chips.

Pot au Chocolate Gelato – an incredibly creamy, rich chocolate ice cream, that’s made without using an egg custard base and does not need churning in an ice cream maker.

Recipe: Make approx 1l Pot au Chocolate Gelato

250ml Bottle Pot au Choc Milkshake made by Mr Shericks Shakes

300mls Double Cream

397g Tin Condensed Milk – I used Carnation

50g Dark Belgian Chocolate finely chopped

Method: You will need a 1 litre plus freezer proof tub with lid

  • Pour the condensed milk into a large bowl.
FF Mr Sherick's Milkshake Review
Mr Sherick’s Milkshake Review making the Pot au Chocolate Gelato.
  • Add the double cream and whisk until it starts to thicken.
  • As it starts to thicken, with the whisk still running, slowly pour in the Mr Sherick’s Pot au Choc shake.
FF Mr Sherick's Milkshake Review
Mr Sherick’s Milkshake Review, whisking in the Pot au Choc Shake.
  • Continue whisking until the mixture can hold a figure of eight for 5 seconds. The unfrozen gelato will be thick and airy, but not as thick as whipped cream.
  • Pour the gelato mix into a freezer proof container.
  • Add two thirds of the chopped chocolate and swirl through using a wooden spoon handle. Then add the remaining chocolate to the top.
FF Mr Sherick's Milkshake Review
Mr Sherick’s Milkshake Review Pot au Chocolate Gelato ready for the freezer.
  • Pop on a tight fitting lid and place in the freezer for 24 hours.
  • 24 hours later, once the gelato is frozen, remove from the freezer and allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
  • Scoop the Pot au Chocolate Gelato into jazzed up ice cream cones. And enjoy 😉
FF Mr Sherick's Milkshake Review
Pot au Chocolate Gelato ooh so good.

Yes this gelato made with Mr Sherick’s Pot au Choc Shake is absolutely phenomenal!

FF Mr Sherick's Milkshake Review
Mr Sherick’s Milkshake Review Pot au Chocolate Gelato easy to make and easier to eat!

Having tasted the Pot au Choc shake prior to making this gelato, I found it to be rich, creamy and deeply chocolatey, with little nuggets of Belgian chocolate. It is  a firm 10/10.

My advice with this Pot au Choc or any of the shakes is to buy two bottles. One to drink straight away, as they are outstanding shakes and another to turn into ice cream or gelato at home.

Mr Sherick’s Shakes are the epitomy of milkshake luxury. Delightful, creamy flavours with added texture, they are by far the very best shakes I have ever tried.

If you have enjoyed my Mr Sherick’s Milkshake Review, especially the ice creams, here are some other recipes you may like:

Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

FF Mr Sherick's Milkshake Review
Blackberry Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream

FF Mr Sherick's Milkshake Review
Strawberry Ripple Ice Cream

Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

FF Mr Sherick's Milkshake Review
Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

If you could have any flavour milkshake what would it be???

Ooh this is so exciting. Mr Sherick’s are running a giveaway to win a cool bag filled with their luxurious shakes. Please read below for details and I wish all of you the very best.

Sammie xx

Mr Sherick’s  supplied me with 5 bottles of their shakes for this review. All opinions, views, content and photographs are my own. I was not paid to write this post and the giveaway is the reponsibility of Mr Sherick’s. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

Giveaway T’s & C’s

This giveaway is open to UK residents only.

For your chance to win a Mr Sherick’s cool bag filled with shakes you need to retweet the pinned giveaway posts of both @sammiefeasting and @MrShericks on Twitter.

The giveaway will run from 7pm GMT today 13/07/2016 until midnight on Sunday 17/07/2016. No retweets after the deadline will be included.

The winner will be chosen at random by Mr Sherick’s. Their decision is final and responsibility for this giveaway is theirs alone. For more information please see Mr Sherick’s website.

 

 

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Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones

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For someone who genuinely did not like scones, I have been baking rather a lot of them recently. I have concluded that homemade, or well made bakery scones, are a million miles away from the prepackaged, heavy, scones of my past. During my recent scone bake-a-thon I adapted my Super Light Scones recipe to create an all butter version, which makes the most delicious savoury scones. Welcome my Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones.

FF Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones
Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones fabulous served warm.

These Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones are incredibly tasty and two out of our three children loved them. Let me add that they would not eat blue cheese on a cracker. A massive win for me as a mum!

FF Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones
Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones perfect for lunch, picnics or just because they are so good!

Truly though, their taste is a reflection of just how much delicious flavour is packed into these scones. The salty melted Beauvale Cheese, against an all butter scone, with the crunch of toasted walnuts and balanced with just a hint of honey.

I bet you didn’t see that last ingredient coming?

Because blue cheese and honey pair beautifully together, I was going to caramelise the toasted walnuts in honey. Finally though, I decided that I wanted the sweet honey to be no more than a kiss on our tastebuds.

FF Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones
Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones a buttery cheesy scone with added crunch.

Beauvale Cheese is a soft blue cheese, that doesn’t have the intensity of Stilton. Beautiful eaten with bread or crackers and served on a cheese board, this cheese comes alive when baked in the scones. Warm and melted, it has a rounder, salty and buttery flavour that blends nicely with the toasted walnuts and that little hint of honey.

Try these Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones, they are incredibly simple to make and are perfect for using up leftover cheese.

Recipe: Makes 12-14 Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones

50g/2oz Walnut Pieces or Halves

450g/1lb Plain White Flour

3tsp Baking Powder

75g/3oz Very Cold Unsalted Butter

125g/4.5oz Beauvale Cheese – mine was from Pong Cheese

250mls/9fl oz Milk – Whole or Semi Skimmed

3tbsp Milk for glazing the tops of the scones

3tsp Runny Honey

1/4tsp Sea Salt – I use Maldon

1/4tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method: Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7

  • In a dry iron skillet or frying pan add the walnut pieces and place over a medium until lightly toasted. You will just be able to start smelling the wonderful walnut oils. Remove from the heat and set to one side to cool.
  • Into a large bowl sift the flour and baking powder.
  • Add the sea salt and pepper.
  • Using the large grating side of a box grater, grate the very cold cheese straight onto the flour – I find it easier to have my bowl on digital scales.
  • Cover the butter with flour, using a butter knife and separate any clumps, so that the butter is evenly distributed.
FF Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones
Grated cold butter covered in seasoned flour.
  • Next break off chunks of the Beauvale Cheese and drop them into the bowl.
FF Beauvale Cheese Scones
Golden Beauvale Cheese with a ripple of blue.
  • Using a butter knife flick the flour over the cheese so that it is covered. This will stop it from clumping together.
  • Chop the walnuts roughly and add to the bowl. Stir with the butter knife to distribute evenly.
  • In a jug add 2 teaspoons of honey to the milk. Whisk briefly to disolve the honey.
  • Make a well in the centre of the bowl and pour the milk/honey mixture in.
  • Use the butter knife to briefly stir the ingredients and then use your hand to bring them together into a rough dough.
  • The trick to creating the lightest scones is to handle them as little as possible and only very lightly flour the worktop on which you roll and cut them out.
  • On a lightly flour dusted worktop tip out your scone dough and flatten with your hands so that it is 5cm/2″ deep.
  • Use a rolling pin to gently roll the dough to 2.5cm/1″ thickness.
FF Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones
Gently roll the scone dough out.
  • Line a large baking tray with baking parchment or a silicone baking mat.
  • Using a 7cm/3″ cutter press straight down and cut out the scones. If you twist the cutter as you cut the scones it can cause uneven rising.
  • Add the last teaspoon of honey to the milk, stir and then brush the tops of the scones.
FF Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones
Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones ready to be baked.
  • Place the scones in the top of the preheated oven and bake for 20-25minutes, until they are risen and golden brown in colour.
  • As soon as the scones are baked remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack – be careful as they will be hot!
FF Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones
Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones inhale their wonderful aroma as they come out of the oven.

These utterly delicious Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones are perfect served warm, split with butter, a little extra cheese (the contrast between the cold and baked cheese is delicious), or just on their own. Also they taste great cold and so are perfect for packed lunches, picnics and afternoon tea.

Since these scones have higher fat content, they will last 3-4 days in an airtight container. Also I have successfully frozen similar scones for up to one month. To refresh, defrost and place in a warm oven for 5-10 minutes and they’ll taste as though they’ve been freshly baked.

FF Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones
Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones a delicious savoury treat!

 

If you have enjoyed this Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones recipe here are some others you may also like:

Asparagus Proscuitto Ham Tart

FF Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones
Asparagus Prosciutto Ham Tart with Goddess Cheese

Feta Red Onion Marmalade Quiche

FF Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones
Feta Red Onion Marmalade Quiche

Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins

FF Beauvale Cheese Walnut Scones
Goddess Cheese Pine Nut Muffins

There are so many wonderful ways of using cheese in cooking and baking. Over the next few months we will discover together, wonderful sauces, dinners, recipes and bakes.

Pong Cheese has a wonderful selection of cheeses on their website. I look forward to widening my cheese palette and creating recipes with all the different cheeses.

I hope that you will join me on this creative journey and together we can have fun discovering new ways to make and bake with cheese in our kitchens? Having fun along the way as we cook up some cracking feasts.

Sammie xx

Pong Cheese provided the cheese for this recipe. All opinions, views, content and photographs are my own. This is not a sponsored post. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream

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So this this summer I’m having lots of fun making different flavoured ice creams. Yet would I be able to turn a Mr Sherick’s Hint of Mint shake into one? Well, you know me, always up for a challenge. This one is not good, not great, but, awesome. A delicious creamy Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream!

FF Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream churning Mr Sherick’s shakes into ice cream.

I do apologise for the poor lighting in the photographs. Once this ice cream was made, chilled, churned, frozen and served the light levels were low. If I’d have waited another day I would have had a riot at home. Everyone was desparate to see how the milkshake had turned into an ice cream!

FF Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream a delicious twist on a milkshake.

When most people are given a milkshake or two, they tend to drink them. Oh no, not me. My brain starts whirring as to what can I make with them. I knew I wanted to try an ice cream recipe.

All of Mr Sherick’s shakes are thick, creamy and very luxurious, so I was pretty confident the ‘Hint of Mint’ shake would work well.

FF Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream soooo good!

What I was not prepared for was just how good the ice cream would turn out. Unbelievably creamy and smooth, with just the right ‘Hint of Mint’ against a light chocolate background. This Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream is seriously good. A massive hit with the whole family giving it a very firm 10/10.

As many of you who read this blog regularly will know, anything above an 8.5 is very hard to attain from our youngest daughter, so Mr Sherick’s you should be very pleased with a top score.

Whilst making the ice cream I resisted the urge to add some extra chunks of minty chocolate. I am so glad that I did. This ice cream is so smooth and dreamily creamy. Yes there is a place for mint chocolate chips in ice cream, but not in this recipe.

FF Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream

    Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream smooth and refreshing.

 

Recipe: Makes 750ml Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream 

1 x 250ml Hint of Mint Milkshake by Mr Sherick’s

300mls Double Cream

50ml Whole Milk

4 Large Free Range Egg Yolks

5tbsp Caster Sugar

1tsp Corn Flour – I use Waitrose

Method: For photographic step by step instructions see Very Vanilla Ice Cream.

Note: Ensure the frozen bowl part of your ice cream maker has been in the freezer for 8 hours or according to manufacturers instructions.

  • Pour the milkshake, milk and cream into a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat.
  • Bring to scalding point – a rim of small bubbles will form, just before the liquid boils.
  • As soon as the liquid has reached scalding point remove from the heat.
  • Into a large bowl add the egg yolks, sugar and corn flour.
  • Whisk until pale and creamy.
  • With the whisk on slow gently pour in the scalded cream/milkshake mixture.
  • Once combined pour the contents of the bowl back into the saucepan on a low/medium heat (custard base). Stirring continuously.
  • When the custard base has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Pour the custard base through a sieve into a clean bowl.
FF Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream base cooling.
  • Place cling film directly on top of the custard base to stop a skin forming.
  • Leave to cool and when just warm place in the fridge to chill until cold.
  • Once cold the custard base is ready to be churned into ice cream.
  • Set up your ice cream maker according to the instructions given by the manufacturer.
  • Switch the machine on so that it is churning and carefully pour in the custard base.
  • Churn until the ice cream is softly frozen. Stop the ice cream maker.
FF Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream softly frozen in the ice cream maker.
  • Remove the paddle from the ice cream maker and scoop all of the ice cream off into a freezer proof tub. Use a silicone spatula to scoop the remaining ice cream out and into the tub.
FF Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream
Softly frozen Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream ready for the freezer.
  • Pop a lid on the tub a place in the freezer until frozen solid, ideally overnight but you can check after 4 hours.
  • To serve your Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream, remove the tub from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.
  • I scooped balls of the delicious ice cream into premade (not by me!) brandy snap baskets and garnished with a little fresh mint.
FF Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream a classy dessert.

One bottle of ‘Hint of Mint’ milkshake makes a smooth, elegant dessert for 4-6 people, depending on how generous your portions are. In our house it was split between 5 people.

I am utterly thrilled that I was not only able to turn a shake into ice cream, more so that it was a very, very good ice cream. The hint of mint was still there and this proved to be a very smooth and refreshing ice cream. Perfect after a spicey meal, or in a cone in the garden whilst enjoying the sun.

Why don’t you churn your Mr Sherick’s shakes into ice cream?

If you have enjoyed the recipe for this Mint Chocolate Milkshake Ice Cream here are some others you may like to try:

Chocolate Honeycomb Ice Cream

FF Chocolate Honeycomb Ice Cream
Chocolate Honeycomb Ice Cream delicious in these toffee cookie cups.

Lemon Ripple Ice Cream

FF Lemon Ripple Ice Cream
Lemon Ripple Ice Cream just add a spoon!

Chocolate Orange Ice Cream

FF Chocolate Orange Ice Cream
Chocolate Orange Ice Cream with a chocolate ganache ripple.

Creating new flavours using my new Andrew James Ice Cream Maker is so much fun. Using milkshakes from Mr Sherick’s to successfully create delicious ice cream is a creative achievement for me.

If you’ve been inspired to churn your shakes into ice cream please let me know? I love reading your comments and seeing your photos on Twitter and Instagram. Talking of which, keep your eyes open for a Mr Sherick’s giveaway coming very soon.

Have fun making, baking and creating in your kitchens and remember food always tastes better when it’s shared.

Sammie xx

Mr Sherick’s sent me some of their shakes to try. All opinions, views, content and photographs are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Silicone Baking Mat Review

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When baking there is one disposable item that I use very frequently, baking parchment. So when  GOLDENSPOON  sent me 2 Premium Silicone Non Stick Baking Mats I was interested as to how they would perform. Also, carrying out a Silicone Baking Mat Review was going to be interesting and fun!

FF Silicone Baking Mat Review
Silicone Baking Mat Review would my gooey cookies come off easily?

Setting Out The Silicone Mat Review

After some research as to how hot Silicone bakeware can be cooked at. Since they are safe to bake up to 250C, I decided to test these vibrant green edged mats in three ways.

  1. First of all, bake at a high temperature – for this I choose to bake a puff pastry tart.
  2. Also, bake my most gooey and sticky recipe – for this I choose my Rolo Chocolate Cookies.
  3. And finally, use in place of baking parchment for setting messy melted chocolate – for this I covered some strawberries in chocolate to decorate a cake.
FF Silicone Baking Mat Review
Silicone Baking Mat Review 2 mats.

I received 2 Premium Silicone Non Stick Baking Mats, dimensions 27cm x 40cm. Following a quick wash in warm, soapy water, a quick dry and they were ready to use. And I was very pleased to find that they fitted nicely inside my two biggest, most used, baking trays.

First Test – Baking The Silicone Mat In A Hot Oven

Because puff pastry is baked at a high temperature, I decided to make a quick Asparagus Prosciutto Ham Tart.

Recipe: Asparagus Prosciutto Ham Tart serves 4

320g Ready Rolled Puff Pastry

10-12 Asparagus Spears – washed and trimmed

1 Medium Egg – whisked with a teaspoon of milk fit the egg wash

3 Medium Tomatoes – sliced

6 Slices Prosciutto Ham

Approx 50g Soft Cheese – I used Goddess Cheese from Pong Cheese. Alternatively you could use Brie, or mozzarella cheese.

Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper.

1tbsp Olive Oil

Basil leaves to garnish

Assembling and baking the tart:

First of all, preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7, 425F.

Place one Premium Silicone Non Stick Baking Mat on to a baking tray.

Un roll the pastry and place directly on to the mat – removing the paper it is rolled in.

Use a pastry brush to lightly cover the pastry in egg wash.

Place the asparagus and sliced tomatoes on to the pastry and season with salt and pepper.

FF Silicone Baking Mat Review
Silicone Baking Mat Review see how perfectly the pastry fits on the mat.

Place the baking tray in the top of the oven for 15 minutes.

After the baking time has elapsed remove the tray from the oven.

Break off small chunks of the cheese and scatter around the tart. Then lay the Prosciutto ham over the tart, in the same direction as the asparagus. Add a small drizzle of olive oil.

FF Silicone Baking Mat Review
Asparagus Prosciutto Ham Tart easily assembled on the silicone baking mat.

Place the tart back in the oven for 10 minutes to crisp the ham and finish baking.

FF Silicone Baking Mat Review
Asparagus Prosciutto Ham Tart

As soon as the tart is baked remove, from the oven and scatter over some whole basil leaves.

Remove the tart from the silicone baking mat before cutting.

The finished result is a delicious tart, that baked beautifully on the non stick silicone baking mat. It slid off the mat easily. The mat had a quick wash in warm soapy water and was as good as new.

Fantastic! These Premium Silicone Non Stick Baking Mats cook at a high temperature with no affect on taste and no change in appearance to the mat 10/10.

Baking Rolo Cookies

Next the gooey, sticky test. I used my Rolo recipe for this test. The cookies were prepared according to the recipe and baked using both mats, instead of baking parchment, as instructed.

This recipe requires the cookies to cool on the baking trays before removing.

Once cooled the cookies removed easily, with only a little of the melted caramel staying on the mat. This is usual with baking parchment too so I had expected it. A quick wash and the mats were clean and ready to use. A firm 9/10.

Finally Test As A Baking Parchment Substitute

Now for the melted chocolate test!

FF Silicone Baking Mat Review
Silicone Baking Mat Review with messy melted chocolate.

The strawberries were dipped in chocolate and left to set on the silicone baking mat. Once set they removed easily and were used to decorate a beautiful cake. Another quick wash in warm soapy water and again as good as new! A firm 10/10.

In conclusion I am thrilled with these Premium Silicone Non Stick Mats and thoroughly recommend them. Since they are so easy to use for a variety of baking and cooking purposes. Also they take up very little space, I store them flat in the bag they came in on top of some tins in a cupboard.

While also reusable and in my opinion better than baking parchment, these have to be a great choice, not only for our kitchens but also our planet!

If you have enjoyed this Silicone Baking Mat Review you may like these recipes to bake with your mats:

Blackberry Nectarine Tart

FF Silicone Baking Mat Review
Blackberry Nectarine Tart perfect for cooking on a silicone baking mat.

Red Onion Sausage Plait

FF Silicone Baking Mat Review
Red Onion Sausage Plait next time I bake this will be on a silicone baking mat!

Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers

FF Silicone Baking Mat Review
Chocolate Dipped Viennese Fingers had I used a silicone baking mat most of these would not of stuck to the cooling rack!

Strawberry Vanilla Chocolate Drip Cake

FF Silicone Baking Mat Review
Strawberry Chocolate Vanilla Drip Cake are what the chocolate covered strawberries decorated.

Having carried out this Silicone Baking Mat Review I am now a complete convert to baking with silicone. I wholeheartedly recommend every kitchen, where baking takes place, to switch to these silicone baking mats. Over time they will pay for themselves and are more environmentally friendly than using baking parchment.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchen, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

GOLDENSPOON provided me with the 2 Premium Silicone Non Stick Baking Mats for the purpose of a review. All views and opinions are my own, as are the recipes, photographs and content of this post. I was not paid to review this product. Please see my  Disclosure Policy.

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Wilko Gardening Product Review

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Welcome to a new section of this blog called GROWING YOUR OWN FEAST IS FUN! Bob, my son and I are planning to grow vegetables, salads, herbs and flowers, mainly in containers, in our garden. So to kick off this new addition to my blog I’d like to invite you to my Wilko Gardening Product Review.

FF Wilko Gardening Product Review
Wilko Gardening Product Review planters and transplanters.

Having carried out a bakeware review before – see Wilko Product Review. I was excited to review a different aspect of Wilko’s, so I agreed to a Wilko Gardening Product Review.

I was asked to choose 3 items from a list sent to me, the set of 3 Bee Hive Plastic Planters immediately caught my attention. With drip trays underneath, all that I needed to do was punch through the drainage holes in the base, which I did easily with a screwdriver.

Next I asked for a transplanter trowel, because honestly, any gardener will tell you that you can never have too many of these. Fortunately for me the garden sign that was my third choice, must have been out of stock as I received 2 transplanters. This was so thrilling as it meant Bob and I could have one each.

FF Wilko Gardening Product Review.
Time to get planting, I find it’s best to have everything to hand.

I ordered compost and some Dahlia tubers from Wilko. No lugging heavy bags of compost home, for a small fee order on line and have everything delivered!

As you can see from the photograph above, the base of each Bee Hive Plastic Planter was filled with some broken polystyrene. As we have our meat delivered, the polystyrene boxes themselves make useful planters and the lids are great for breaking up. This adds drainage to the base of the container and helps the plants grow better. You can also use broken terracotta pots, however, polystyrene is light and means the pots can be easily moved.

FF Wilko Gardening Product Review.
Adding water retaining crystals and slow release plant food granules ensure the plants are feed and watered even during dry spells.

On top of the drainage fill the pots, almost full with compost. I then added some water retaining crystals and slow release plant food granules. These are then mixed throughout the compost in the pot.

By adding water retaining granules, even on really hot days, when the tubs have been watered first thing in the morning, the roots will not dry out. Similarly adding slow release plant food granules ensures that after 6 weeks, when the natural nutrients in the compost have been used up, plant food and nutrients are still slowly being released.

During the long Summer and Autumn growing season, I will not have to worry about feeding the Bee Hive Planters provided for the Wilko Gardening Product Review!

FF Wilko Gardening Product Review
Wilko Gardening Product Review I wanted Pretty and Productive.

Whilst Bob and I want to grow lots of different salads and vegetables, I still want the garden to look pretty. So I added some Dahlia tubers, that will grow up through the courgette plants to give height to the planters. We will also be sowing and growing companion plants and flowering plants that will attract pollinators.

Making a deep well in the largest planter I spread out the Dalia tubers and planted them so that the dried stem, at the top of the bulbous tubers, was level with the top of the compost. Then I planted two courgette plants either side. The courgettes will spread and hang over the side of the planter. Growing courgettes in containers has many advantages, the courgettes are free from the soil and predators, such a slugs and snails. Although growing French marigolds will attract pollinating bees, it also makes hand pollination possible – something I will address in future posts.

FF Wilko Gardening Product Review
Whilst the Bee Hive Planter may look a little bare, the courgettes will soon fill out and the Dahlia will grow above the lower vegetable leaves.

This planter’s compost top will be completely covered within a couple of weeks and a few weeks later we should be harvesting our own, homegrown courgettes. Perfect for kebabs, stir fries, sliced thinly in salads. Courgette flowers are also edible, small and raw, or covered in batter and deep fried. There will be plenty of new and interesting recipes coming from GROWING YOUR OWN FEAST IS FUN.

FF Wilko Gardening Product Review
Wilko Gardening Product Review all three containers planted.

The second largest Bee Hive Planter was planted with herbs bought with my shopping from the supermarket. Both Coriander and Curly Parsley. I split the shop bought herbs in half and planted the parsley and coriander around the edges. Although a little bedragled, within a couple of days they had settled in and perked up.

Using the transplanter trowel for this Wilko Gardening Product Review made life very easy. Planting the smallest Bee Hive Planter with small, mixed lettuce leaves, the transplanters moved the soil and transplanted the pre-grown mixed lettuces into their holes. Pressing gently with my hands, around the planted lettuce, herbs, marigolds and small courgettes settles and firms them into place.

FF Wilko Gardening Product Review
Wilko Gardening Product Review time to give these planters a good soak.

Finally give the Bee Hive Planters a gentle but thorough soaking.

They have been placed in an area of partial sunlight as all the plants suit this condition. Daily watering and snail and slug patrol are important. Placing Vaseline around the tops of the containers will help deter slugs and snails. Also placing the planters on some wire mesh works as a deterrent.

I am really impressed with the size and decoration of the beehive planters. The transplanters are sturdy and very comfortable to hold. I look forward to seeing our produce and flowers flourish, with regular watering there really shouldn’t be anything else to take care of, except for picking courgettes and cutting herbs and salad leaves as they grow.

FF Wilko Gardening Product Review.
1 week update on the Wilko planters already the herbs have filled out and the courgettes are growing fast.

Wilko sell a wide range of gardening products. I have a nemesia, that I bought from Wilko many years ago and it still blooms with tiny pink flowers ever year.

I hope this post has given you the basics on how to plant containers and encouraged you to try growing a few of your own herbs and vegetables.

Whilst I am by no means an expert, I have been gardening for as many years as I have cooked and baked. So if you have any relevant questions, please either leave a comment or send me a tweet and I will do my best to help.

Bob and I hope you enjoy GROWING YOUR OWN FEAST IS FUN and the journey we have started together?

Sammie xx

Wilko sent me the Bee Hive Planters and transplanters for the purpose of review. All other items mentioned were purchased by me. I was not paid to write this blog, all content, photographs, views, opinions and advice are my own. I do not take responsibilty for anyone acting on the advice gien in this post. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

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Today is the first day of Spring! As the sun shone this morning I listened to birds chirping in the garden. While people are outside in the sunshine mowing their lawns I was inspired to create a cupcake that celebrates the passing of Winter. So here are my gluten free Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes.

FF Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

Sarah at Heavenly Marshmallows sent me a selection of her homemade, artisan marshmallows. Since the selection included nine mango and passionfruit flavour I decided to use them in a recipe.

Because the mango and passionfruit marshmallows are gluten free I decided to make a gluten free cupcake, with mango in the cake batter.

HM Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes
Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

While making gluten free cupcakes was first for me, I also wanted to incorporate the delicious mango and passionfruit marshmallows into the frosting. Since I had seen lots of different marshmallow frosting’s on Pinterest and after reading through a few different recipes, as usual I decided to come up with something of my own.

Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes
Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

The Gluten Free Taste Test

So, for these Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes I decided to make two cake batters. The first batch are gluten free and can be seen in the photos on the yellow background. Also the cupcake wrappers are yellow floral, perfect for Spring.

While the second batch are in the orange wrappers and are made using plain flour, that is NOT gluten free. Since no one in our home is gluten intolerant, my wonderful family were to serve as ‘taste testers’, in a blind taste testing.

FF Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes
Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

Each batch of cake batter had some mango added to it. Because I didn’t have any fresh mango, I used mango from a pot in juice. Mashing up the mango with a fork and adding it to the cake batter. And, in both bakes, the mango stayed evenly distributed throughout the baked cupcake. Finally, I had successfully made gluten free cupcakes, with a good texture.

Marsmallow In The Frosting?

The Success Of Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

Next came the frosting, which wasn’t as daunting as I’d imagined. While the hardest part was saying goodbye to each of the 8 mango and passionfruit marshmallows as I put them in a heatproof bowl, over a double boiler.

Effectively this dreamy marshmallow frosting is buttercream, with melted marshmallows added to it.  While there’s a bit more to making it than that, it is no more difficult than making a chocolate ganache, that is then whipped and piped.

FF Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

Rather than the sticky, sweet, frosting I’d imagined, the opposite was true. Resulting in marshmallow frosting that is the stuff of dreams, where fairies and unicorns live and rain falls like glittery sprinkles. I took myself off into my dream world there. And the result is amazing. Because, the melted marshmallows lighten the buttercream frosting. Resulting in a mallow, sponginess, that doesn’t set hard and melts, almost like sherbet on your tongue.

Recipe: Makes 12 Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

Note: These cupcakes can be made with regular wheat flower. Simply the same quantity of plain white, wheat flour instead of gluten free flour. Method and cooking times are exactly the same.

For the Mango Cupcakes

100g/4oz Unsalted Butter-at room temperature

100g/4oz Caster Sugar

2 Large Free Range Eggs

1tsp Vanilla Extract – I use Nielsen-Massey

100g/4oz Gluten Free White Flour – I use Doves Farm

1tsp Baking Powder – Waitrose Cooks’ Homebaking baking powder as it is gluten free – check yours not all brands are gluten free.

1/4 tsp Salt – I use Maldon

75g/3oz Fresh or Tinned Mango – any juice strained off and mango mashed with a fork.

For the Marshmallow Frosting

Heavenly Marshmallows Mango and Passionfruit flavour marshmallows – see note at bottom of post Art of Mallow

1tbsp Glycerine

300g/11oz Icing Sugar – sifted

150g/6oz Unsalted Butter – very soft

3tsp Boiling Water

Sprinkles of your choice

Making And Baking The Mango Cupcakes

  • First of all, place 12 cupcake cases in a cupcake or muffin tin.
  • Add the caster sugar,vanilla and butter into a medium sized bowl and whisk/beat together until pale and creamy.
  • Sift in the gluten free flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Add 2 eggs.
  • Whisk/beat until all the ingredients have come together and the batter is smooth.
  • Always take care to not over mix the cake batter.
  • Add the mashed mango and fold into the cake batter.
  • Spoon the cupcake mixture evenly into the cupcake cases.
HM Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes
Mango Cupcakes ready for the oven.
  • Bake in the middle of the oven for 25-30 minutes. The low slow cooking will ensure flat tops, perfect for frosting.
  • The cupcakes are baked when they are golden brown and spring back from a light touch.
  • As soon as the cupcakes are baked remove from the oven.
  • Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin.
  • Remove the cupcakes from the tin and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
HM Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes
Gluten Free Cupcakes cooling on the rack.

Making The Marshmallow Frosting

  • First of all, place the marshmallows into a heatproof bowl and place over a saucepan of barely simmering water.
HM Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes
Mango and Passionfruit Marshmallows starting to melt.
  • As the marshmallows melt it is important to keep stirring continuously.
  • As soon as they are melted remove the bowl from the saucepan and set to one side to cool.
HM Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes
Heavenly Melted Marshmallows!
  • While the melted marshmallows are cooling make the buttercream.
  • Add the softened butter and boiling water into the bowl of sifted icing sugar.
  • Whisk on a high speed until light and creamy.
  • Add the glycerine and whisk into the buttercream.
  • Pour the warm melted marshmallows into the buttercream, whilst the whisk is still mixing.
  • Continue mixing on a medium speed for 5 minutes.
  • Resulting in the lightest frosting to pipe onto your cakes.
HM Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes
Light, creamy, marshmallow frosting.

Piping The Marshmallow Frosting

  • Fit a large piping bag with a large star tip – I used Wilton #1M
  • Place the bag inside a sturdy jug or glass, folding back the sides of the bag.
  • Fill the bag with the marshmallow frosting.
  • Pipe swirls (like ice cream in cones) or roses see here.
  • Finally, sprinkle over the topping of your choice.
FF Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes
Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes

These Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes are completely delicious and in a blind taste test the gluten free cupcakes tasted exactly the same as the regular ones! Since, no one could tell any difference and happily ate both cupcakes.

Also, one part that was declared “exceptional” was the marshmallow frosting. So, this is a frosting that I will definitely be making again. Since both taste and texture are most definitely worth the extra step!

If you enjoyed this recipe for Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes You May Also Like These:

Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes

Smartie Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes
Raspberry Ripple Almond Cupcakes.

Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

HM Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes
Springtime Vanilla Cupcakes

Maltesers Popping Candy Cupcakes 

FF Marshmallow Frosted Mango Cupcakes
Maltesers Popping Candy Cupcakes

If you make these, or indeed any of my recipes, please post a photo, if you are able, on Twitter or Instagram and tag me in. I love seeing your makes and bakes.

So, whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun preparing and sharing your feast.

Sammie xx

Heavenly Marshmallows  provided me with the marshmallows for this recipe. All content, photographs and recipes are my own. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

Unfortunately Heavenly Marshmallows are no longer trading. So, I suggest Art of Mallow  Mango Passion Fruity Mallows, which I have tested using this recipe and are an equally good alternative.

 

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