Tasty Treats

Mon Dessert - Macaron Masterclass

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Regular readers will know that at The Amazing Blog we love trying new foods from superfoods to protein-filled snacks. But what we especially love are desserts because life is about balance, right? Since it’s a Friday, we decided to treat ourselves to the highly anticipated Mon Dessert Macaron Masterclass. Being surrounded by the aroma of dessert and freshly made macarons is honestly the ideal way to spend two hours of a Friday night in the heart of London’s food network: Borough Market.

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During the Masterclass, which has a different seasonal theme each month, you learn how to make macarons from scratch following a recipe straight out of Paris. You also gain first-hand knowledge of tips and tricks that you can bring to your own kitchen if you’re brave enough to try making them on your own. The class has a wide variety of flavours and colours for you to create a box of personalized macarons that will impress your family and friends when you leave. Overall and most importantly, the class has a fun, light, and uplifting atmosphere that radiates from the delicious desserts to everyone baking in the kitchen.

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Mon Dessert is a luxury at-home dessert company that holds classes like the Macaron Masterclass and sells kits to make your own desserts at home. Macarons kits allow you to take your skills from the class into your own flat and provides the necessary ingredients, recipe, equipment, and fashionable storage tin for you to be successful every time. The company also offers a delicious-looking speciality dessert kits, which help you make a professional-looking and tasting éclair, cannoli, and crème brûlée with ease. Vegan-friendly recipes, kitchen appliances, and many flavours from caramel to rose are available.

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If you’re an avid foodie or someone who doesn’t shy away from desserts, the Macaron Masterclass is a must for you. It runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Le Pain Quotidien every second Friday of the month and is £50 per person. You can sign up for a spot in the class here.

ChicP - Houmous

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Houmous. It’s a food that dates back to as early as the 13thcentury in Egypt and something we at The Amazing Blog have devoured since it became a trend with the likes of Whole Foods. What we adore about this food is it makes a hearty and healthy snack that leaves you satisfied for hours unlike a bag of crisps. With our tastes for houmous in mind, we were interested to try two flavours from ChicP 

The company was founded by Hannah McCollum, who worked predominantly as a private chef, on the‘passionate commitment to reducing food waste’. All of ChicP’s five colourful houmous flavours are made with raw vegetables that were discarded due to their irregular shape or size. Supermarkets reject approximately 40 per cent of produce because of these qualities and nearly 1/3 of UK produce goes to waste because people don’t eat it. McCollum wanted to combat this with ‘houmous made from imperfect veggies’ to promote better choices for your health and the environment. 

We were drawn to not only the company’s ethos, but also the delicious taste of its houmous. This houmous is much lighter than any others we’ve tried and is creamy, satisfying, and flavourful. The first flavour we tried was the Carrot, Ginger & Turmeric  The spread immediately tastes like you’ve dipped a carrot into an ordinary blend of chickpeas, saving you the extra step of doing it yourself. While the carrot taste is evident, the ginger and turmeric follow after and linger yet don’t overpower. This flavour works splendidly as a dip, but we liked putting it over baked chicken and pasta. We felt the second one we tasted would be more suitable as a midday snack or sandwich spread. Herby is true to its name and has a strong veggie taste, as 16 per cent of the recipe is spinach and parsley. However, lemon juice concentrate, vinegar, and garlic purée increase the flavour’s depth and tastiness. 

The houmous here is vegan and contains no additives or added sugars. Carrot, Ginger & Tumeric and Herby also only have 113 calories (469 kJ) and 127 calories (526 kJ) per quarter pot, respectively, and are reasonably priced at £3 for 170g. Additionally, there are three other flavours available in ChicP’s collection: Beetroot, Horseradish & Sage, Chilli Pumpkin, and Banana Chocolate. You can purchase their houmous here, or at one of the retailers listed here.

Boost Protein Balls and Butters

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During a busy day here, some of us have so much on our to-do lists that we don’t always have time to take a lunch break. Realistically speaking, most of the time we at The Amazing Blog are surviving off of quick snacks that we keep at our desks. However, during these hectic days we try not to compromise on our healthy eating. Step forward our new delicious pick-me-up, Boost Protein Balls let us introduce you to our new nutritious discovery…

Essex-based Boost Ball launched its range of protein balls with the idea of ‘less ingredients, more protein.’ Available in four different flavours, their Boostballs are made with seven natural ingredients and are entirely gluten, soya and refined sugar-free. They are instead high in protein and contain natural sugars for a healthy snack perfect for boosting your energy for either a day at the office or a gym workout. A new twist to a protein bar, each Boostball is enriched with Vitamin A, B, E, B12, Calcium, Iron and Zinc. The raw ingredients are not baked or refined; they are cold-pressed making these protein balls an indulgent snack - without the guilt. The first flavour we tried, Lemon Drizzle Cake, contains Dates, Rice Protein, Cashews, Cashew Butter, Coconut, Maple Syrup, Vanilla Extract and Lemon Oil  making it a great zesty snack. The Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Boostball contains a whopping 23.3 g of protein and a mixture of gooey and moreish. Next, we tried the tropical and creamy Coconut Fudge Cake flavour which was by far one of our favourites out of the four.  The last of the Boost Ball flavours, Maple & Cinnamon Roll, was a great spice-filled yet sweet snack for those extra-long days at the office.  The Boostballs are available to purchase on here for £17.99 for  x 12 packs of 36 Boostballs.

We mustn’t forget to mention that Boostball has JUST released a new line of Palm-oil free protein butters, Boostbutter. These are to put on any snacks or foods you desire (or to eat straight from the pouch!) The Protein Nut Butters currently are available in Caramel, Chocolate Brownie and Sweet Maple and are each packed with 11 grams of protein and offer a healthier, smoother and more flavourful alternative to something like peanut butter. Conveniently in a squeezable pouch, we’ve been spreading the protein butters on toast, porridge or adding them to our smoothies. Yum! As of now they are not available but will be coming soon on www.boostball.com.

Oumph!

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With the average global temperature at an all-time high, at The Amazing Blog we’ve made it our goal to be more conscientious in the products we use and consume. We’ve already begun the shift towards using paper straws, reusable shopping bags and even reef-safe SPF but now we’ve taken on the challenge to switch to a more earth-friendly, plant-based diet that’s tasty yet easy to cook. That’s where the vegan company Oumph! comes along.

Based in Sweden, Oumph! has aimed to make meat substitutes and other vegan frozen foods that are low-impact to the environment. All of Oumph’s six plant-based frozen foods are made with a mixture of soya beans and organic herbs and spices combined into a flavourful vegan substitute. In addition to being gluten and dairy free, Oumph!’s high protein and fibre levels along with its sources of iron and folic acid make sure you’re getting your daily nutrients without having to eat animal by-products. We got to try all six of Oumph!‘s food varieties which we can say made our goal towards plant-based eating much easier (and tastier).

The first product we tried was the award-winning Oumph! Kebab Spiced. Seasoned with spices classically found in kebab, the plant-based strips are a great alternative to the English favourite. Next, we tried the Pulled Oumph! to spice up our weekly Taco Tuesday. Marinated in a vegan BBQ sauce, these Oumph! chunks placed in a taco shell with veggies and some salsa had us feeling moreish. Want a basic Oumph! to add your own seasoning? The Chunk only contains soya beans, water and salt for a perfect base to any dish you want. We tried The Chunk by using one of their recipes for a Tikka Masala on their website, and all we can say is yum! Oumph’s other two plant-based meats Thyme & Garlic and Salty & Smoky were an excellent substitute for a just ass hearty breakfast. If you’re craving a more cheesy alternative, Oumph!’s brick-oven Pizza topped with veggies, vegan cheese, herbs and pieces of Oumph! is a easy and tasty Friday dinner. To join the #greenproteinshift, see Oumph! for stockists, it can be found in the frozen food section at your nearest Whole Foods Market or Tesco.

Mindful Bites - Nut Butter

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Who doesn’t love a good snack? Yup and it’s generally naughty little things like crisps that are our bad habit at The Amazing Blog We have been looking to substitute this potato addiction with ‘good snacks’, which is where Mindful Bites comes in. Founded in 2014 by Stephanie Peritore, Mindful Bites aims to change the way people snack, not on empty calories but on protein rich butters ‘one bite at a time’ they want to promote intentional eating.  We are finding that Mindful Bites' Nut Butters are the perfect vegan and gluten-free solution to our snack cravings.

Mindful Bites is built on the company’s four pillars of mindful eating (Intention, Attention, Gratitude, and Pleasure) and these pillars are reflected in the Nut Butter. The thick and creamy texture of the product slowly releases delicious flavours, which allow you to savour what you're eating. The carefully selected ingredients, including a blend of superfoods and high-quality nuts, also have you actively thinking about what you put into your body. However, it's not just the tasty and nutritious flavours that have us drawn to the Nut Butter; it is the way it makes us feel after eating it. The plant-based protein, made with no added sugar or sweeteners and palm oil, is a game changer for reinvigorating yourself during a mid-afternoon slump. Spread sparingly on some oatcakes  (in our case) it is filling and delicious and has made our cravings disappear resulting in a better, more energetic mood here in the office.

We had the chance to try all four of their  Nut Butter flavours (Hazelnut & Berries, Brazil Nuts & Cacao Nibs, Almond & Maca, Cashew Nuts & Baobab). Our personal favourite was Hazelnut & Berries. It has a rich taste of hazelnut, not dissimilar to Nutella, but with a yummy hint of a berry flavour which stays gently with you. However, if you want a more intense chocolate flavour, we suggest trying Brazil Nuts & Cacao Nibs. While nut butter is traditionally eaten on toast or straight from the jar with a spoon (not so good for an office share!) Mindful Bites suggests adding it to a smoothie, porridge, or yogurt for a protein boost.

You can purchase a single jar (185g) of their Nut Butters here for £6.99 or a box of all four for £25 here.