Christmas Food Nibbles

As Christmas is a time of festivities this means that food is often one of the most important parts. However after the rigmarole of cooking a Christmas dinner for the entire family, in the days that surround Christmas, sometimes nibbles and quick meals are a good solution to keeping everybody happy, but without the huge exertion of repeating the Christmas dinner.  We love food here at The Amazing Blog, so we have been sampling lots of tasty treats that we think should be in your cupboards this Christmas. Today we want to share with you some wonderful nibbles that are sure to keep the entire family happy.  



We heard about food company, Eat 17, after the huge success of their first product Bacon Jam (yes we know, sounds amazing!) So when we heard they were launching new flavours we just had to try one out. We have been tasting the wonderful Eat 17 Onion Jam, and I have to say from the moment we opened the jar the smell was simply intoxicating. The jam tastes sweet but has a fantastic tangy (think pickle-like but not too acidic) taste as you swallow it. I think this is perfect with cheese, especially as an accompaniment to Camembert with some crusty bread. The jams can also be used as burger condiments, and in cooking, such as adding them to stews or on bangers and mash, so this is a truly versatile product that will make catering for the family a doddle this Christmas. If you want to see what all the fuss is about, visit the Eat 17 website where you can purchase the Jams or from Waitrose stores where they are retailing for £3.59 per 110g jar.

biscuit tinIt just wouldn’t be Christmas without a tin of biscuits to pass around the living room, so we have been tasting plenty to find the perfect tin for you and your family to enjoy. We have found a delicious collection from Fortnum & Mason that features a range of scrumptious biscuits that are presented in the most beautiful merry-go-round musical tin. There are a whole range of wonderful biscuits inside, including Clotted Cream Digestive Biscuit, Luscious Lemon Thins and Chocolate & Macadamia Nut Biscuits.

We think this flavoursome selection is the perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of tea on a wintery afternoon and will be sure to settle the appetites of your relatives. The Fortnum & Mason Merry Go Round Musical Tin is available from their website costing £25.

trio packs snowdoniaChristmas is the perfect occasion for cheese and wine parties, or even just a cheese board after dinner with family or friends, so we think it is very important to always have an interesting range of cheeses at hand during the Christmas period. We love the cheeses on offer from Snowdonia Cheese Company, because they have such a wonderful range of flavours that are much more exciting than a supermarket cheddar. There are eight different flavours on offer, all of which are unique and delicious. Snowdonia Cheese Company are offering the chance to try their three bestselling and award winning cheeses in their Trio Gift Pack, containing 200g truckles of Little Black Bomber, Red Devil, and Green Thunder. Little Black Bomber is a classic extra mature cheddar, Red Devil is a spicy option, it is red Leicester with chillies and pepper and lastly, Green Thunder is a mature cheddar with garlic and herbs. These delightful cheeses will be sure to steal the show on any cheeseboard this Christmas. The Trio Gift Pack is available from the Snowdonia Cheese Company’s website for £12.



With two members of The Amazing Blog Team being Spanish, Chorizo is always a firm favourite product for lunch in the office. However, used in the right way, we think that it is a perfect product to keep in your fridge over Christmas as it is just so versatile. Three Little Pigs, a Yorkshire based pig farm believe that their pork tastes so good because of the high quality of the meat on animals and their quality of life. All of their pigs are reared outside in free range conditions where they are given high quality food and kept in family units to ensure the animals have long and happy lives. We think that the Three Little Pigs Chorizo would be a fantastic ingredient over Christmas time as it can be used in a variety of way such as with a cheeseboard, in your Christmas stuffing, of in pasta dishes. If you’d like some chorizo inspiration, Three Little Pigs have some recipe ideas for you that are sure to wow your guests. You can order this award winning chorizo from the Three Little Pigs website starting from £8.99 including delivery.


Sometimes with all the busy preparations we undertake ready for the big day, cooking can be the last thing on our mind, especially after a busy day of Christmas shopping or peeling potatoes for the Christmas dinner. Times like these call for something very fast that takes minimal effort to prepare but still tastes great. We have been lucky enough to try out the Itsu Instant noodle pots, we tested the Thai Spicy Noodle Pot, and instant version of the delicious noodles served up at the Itsu shops and restaurants in London. Please cast aside all your thoughts about the dreaded Pot Noodle, because this is a superior product with great ingredients and taste. The Pot contains three packets, one of the chunky udon noodles, a packet of spicy broth and lastly dried Italian vegetables. All you have to do is pour the packets into the pot and just add boiling water so you will have a filling and healthy meal in an instant. Plus eating straight from the pot with the cleverly designed spork means there is no washing up and you can get on with your preparations. The Itsu Instant Noodle Pots can be purchased from the Itsu website where they cost £12 for a pack of 6 pots.





Foodie Festive Finds Week

We thought we would start December off with 5 days of festive finds to get you in the Christmas spirit. Today is day one and what better way to start than with food. It’s December, which means it’s nearly Christmas, which also means it’s time… It’s time to stuff our faces with everything and anything edible and bad for us in sight. Here at The Amazing Blog, we are very considerate of our readers so forced ourselves to test out flavoured marshmallows, creative chocolates, and biscuits, just for you. Ok, I’m lying, we very much enjoyed trying out all these wonderful treats and have found a bunch of great foods that you should definitely have around this Christmas. It’s fine because calories don’t count during the Christmas holidays, do they? new marshmallowist

The Marshmallowists are challenging our traditional views of marshmallows as in the past they haven’t had a reputation for being full of flavour. However, that is soon to change as The Marshmallowists have flavours like Turkey and Cranberry, Christmas Pudding and Mulled Wine. These Christmas inspired ingredients are probably more appealing to the adult population, I know when I was little I wouldn’t have been brave enough to try them.  At first glance they may look a little strange but they really aren’t. They are interesting which is something a lot of people tend to look for with food because we are always able to eat the same old flavours, so why not mix it up a little? You can enjoy them by the fire on a cold, wintery evening and team them with a hot drink. They have plenty of flavours if these Christmassy ones don’t look too appetising to you, and you can browse them here. They are £6 for a box and certainly worth a try. They would be a great, quirky little gift to intrigue your friends and family this year as they are interesting and great for sharing.

Kingdom new

Chocolate is the one thing most of us can’t say no to this month. There are temptations everywhere. Advent calendars in the kitchen to make us think of chocolate as soon as we wake up and gifts at work, there's no escape. We might as well give in and enjoy some of the tastiest chocolate around and Kingdom has a flavoursome collection of melt in the mouth chocolate for you to get your teeth into. Try and have a read of these delectable flavours without getting chocolate cravings, there is Double Choc Dark Mousse, Dark Chocolate & Orange with a Marmalade Centre, Milk Choc & Cappuccino, Milk Choc & Peanut Butter Centre, Dark Choc with Lemon & Lime and then the Milk Choc Rhubarb & Vanilla Centre. We genuinely took no longer than a day to demolish the lot in the office. The inviting and unique flavours made it so difficult to decide which to open first, so obviously we concluded that the fairest thing to do was open them all at once. We just won’t step on the weighing scales for a while…  They are all delicious, definitely a stocking filler that won’t disappoint. They are available in store or online at www.waitrose.com, you can even find them on Amazon.

l-white-snowmen montezumaIf white chocolate is more your thing then don’t worry, we have found something for you as well.  The Montezuma White Chocolate Snowmen are packaged in a sweet little box which would look great as a stocking gift or under the tree to add a little extra excitement for Christmas morning. These Snowmen are delicious and the perfect size to nibble at throughout the holidays without making yourself sick. With these there are the Montezuma White Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls, yes, they do exist and yes they are as incredible as they sound. You may have noticed I am very fond of peanut butter chocolate, but it’s not just me, we all are, so they are bound to be popular with your family. They are described as ‘milk chocolate salted peanut butter truffle wrapped in a white chocolate shell’, that’s all I need to say… If you want to trick your subconscious into thinking that you’re having a healthy Christmas then try the Montezuma Christmas Mixed Fruitswhich are filled with flavour. We found them so tasty that they soon became the ultimate procrastination food in the office, with lots of ‘oh what flavour have you got there?’ and ‘That sounds nice, maybe I’ll try one’. You can find their prices and lots of other tasty things here.

Christmastreebox newOur last chocolate favourites are from Demarquette and we are very excited to introduce you to their festive collection this year as they never disappoint. The festive chocolates are plentiful and there’s no shortage of mouth-watering selection boxes to share around the house or buy as gifts for friends and family. They are packaged beautifully and with care so again they would be great presents. One of my personal favourites is the Chocolate Christmas Tree Gift Set, for £25 you can purchase this chocolaty and colourful treat. It comes with a chocolate tree and flavoured caramel baubles. To make this even more of a pleasant experience, some of the baubles are Cornish Sea Salt Caramel which is a scrumptious addition to the flavour.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAThe East India Company is the perfect 'go to' this Christmas if your looking for entertainment snacks. If we aren’t spoiling our taste buds rotten with chocolate then you will find us munching on biscuits elsewhere. Biscuits are great to have around in December as you never know who will be popping round to wish you a merry one. These can be to nibble on in the evening after a gigantic roast, or to have as party treats for all to enjoy.  Interesting biscuits are bound to be a crowd pleaser and the East India Company has some really brilliant flavours. The Cherry, Choc Chip & Chilli flavour is delicious, an infusion of exciting seasonings will no doubt impress your guests. Similarly with the Sea Salt & Caramel, which we absolutely devoured. Last but not least, something to satisfy our British food cravings is the English Stilton Cheese filled biscuits. Cheese and biscuits come out every Christmas, and these have to be in the mix, they are delightfully creamy and bursting with flavour. There are dozens of different biscuits, each as stimulating for our taste buds as the next. Take a look on their website where you can purchase them also, prices starting from £4.95. They all have a huge range of other delicious products so take a look.

Cotsworld cupcake kitFinally we have something a little different, still on the topic of food but not edible itself. For £10 you can get hold of this Meri Meri Jingle All The Way Cupcake Kit from Cotswold Trading. This is a very sweet little kit, ideal for the little ones (and adults as I’m definitely getting one of these) this Christmas. It comes with cupcake holders, and Christmassy decorations filled with glitter and fun. Just seeing the box has made my excitement for this festive month step up a notch. I love cupcakes and decorations, it’s the perfect combination. It is just the kit, so no ingredients involved, but that means you can pick whichever cupcakes are a success in your household and decorate those. They look great on a cupcake tower in the kitchen, even if they are only there for 5 minutes before being devoured. It’s time to put on some Christmas music, get the kids in the kitchen and get creative.

 Tomorrow we will have some presents to treat your four-legged friends this Christmas.

David Oliver Fine Foods

There never seems to be enough time in my life – it’s my eternal moan. So when it comes to cooking and feeding just myself, it needs to be instantaneous. However, I have a great aversion to ‘ready meals’ - to me there is always a bit of a strange after taste (could it be the detergent from the food vats?) Anyway, I’m  always extremely suspicious when it comes to food items that you ‘just pop in the microwave’. But when I recently went to a shopping preview evening with Really Wild Clothing I got chatting to a very affable fellow called David Holliday  who, along with fellow chef Oliver Shute have launched their very own David Oliver ‘ready meals.’ David told me “Ah but these are different… I’ve produced a range of fine foods that are traditional dishes – all of which are restaurant quality and can be prepared in your own home for the fraction of the price of going out to eat. Go on please try out our meals, and tell me what you  you think.” OK so that sounded like a good challenge to me! So as promised, I eagerly brought a selection back into the office for us all to try...

The David Oliver range consists of three classic country meals based on game and wild foods; the Classic Venison Stew, Rabbit and Flageolet Beans and Guinea Fowl and Lentils. David Oliver insist on sourcing the finest and freshest ingredients from the best producers of game and wild food and use traditional slow cooking methods to give the dishes their rich flavour and authentic restaurant-quality. Unlike traditional ready meals who often skimp on their meat content, the David Oliver dishes are packed with hearty chunks of game and the type of rich sauces we’ve come to only expect from restaurant cuisine. And as all the dishes are free of any additives, preservatives or stabilisers. I'm also very happy to report in that we all at The Amazing Blog thought that each of the different dishes were absolutely delicious AND quickly added, I couldn't taste any strange artificial after-tastes!

Thanks to their recent success, the range is now expanding to include four new ragu sauces including slow-braised British Pork with Red Wine, Smoked Bacon and Rosemary and Venison with Red Wine and Juniper Berry sauce which can be used as an accompaniment to pasta, topped on a jacket potato, or simply served with crusty bread and a green salad for a quick and satisfying meal - yum! After a busy and stressful day in the Amazing PR office it's such a relief to know that we have the helping hand in the kitchen from David Oliver, safe in the knowledge that not only is every meal mouthwateringly tasty, it is also balanced and complete, nutritious and healthy. The meals even provide two of your five-a-day and all for less than 300 calories… ahem, please note that these are certainly not your traditional ready meal...

David Oliver ready meals cost £5.99 and are available from selected Waitrose shops and from Ocado. Ragus cost £3.70 and are available from Ocado, and all their products can be purchased online here with delivery nationwide.

Riso Gallo Risotto Zucca

While I certainly don't see myself as the next Nigella, it's fair to say that my kitchen skills have improved dramatically since my uni days. Back then, beans on toast or Super Noodles  were considered a satisfactory supper and there was a rather unfortunate incident with gravy and a sieve (ahem) that my housemates have never let me forget. However, while I can now cook a mean spag bol and have perfected my Step-dad's famous mash, one dish that I've always struggled with is risotto. Something to do with the constant stirring and my inability to cook rice without burning the bottom of the pan has left me at a loss with it, and I'm always envious of friends who seem to whip it up without a moment's trouble.

Thankfully, The Amazing Blog has sourced the rather wonderful Riso Gallo, and given that they were established in 1856 and are Italy's first choice when it comes to risotto; we know we're in good company!

During winter, pumpkin risotto becomes a staple dish for hot-blooded Italians, with the sweetness of the pumpkin perfectly complementing the creamy risotto. And thanks to Riso Gallo, this winning combination can now be yours in a mere twelve minutes. Recently launched, the ‘Pronto Zucca’ (that’s pumpkin risotto to you or me) provides a hassel-free meal for two and is bursting full of flavour and delicious ingredients such as diced pumpkin, herbs and spices – perfect for those pressed for time or lacking the confidence to cook from scratch. Simply add water, bring to a boil, simmer for 12 minutes, and you have yourself a scrumptious meal.  And if you’re feeling adventurous, you can still add a personal touch by including some of your favourite ingredients.  I gave it a go on a particularly dismal day last week, and had it with a green salad, a knob of butter and a sprinkling of parmesan, and it went down a treat!

What’s more, Riso Gallo ‘Risotto Pronto’ has less than 2% fat, no artificial colourings, MSG or hydrogenated fat. So if you’re looking for some kitchen inspiration as winter draws in, or are simply after a quick and easy meal after a long day at the office, look no further than Riso Gallo, available at Waitrose.


Pastis Henri Bardouin

With the end of the Summer around the corner, at The Amazing Blog we've been enjoying the summer parties the French way with Pastis Henri Bardouin, 'le Grand Cru du Pastis'. It's the only pastis produced in Forcalquier, an area of Provence famous for its herbs and anise. At the beginning of the last century there were 10 distilleries in Forcalquier producing pastis, but only one remains today: Distillers et Domaines de Provence, an independent company founded in 1898 which is still produces the finest pastis named after its founder Henri Bardouin. Pastis Henri Bardouin is a complex of 50 natural Provencal herbs and imported spices rich in aroma and flavour such as: mugwort, bluebonnet, sage, star anise, cardamon, black and white pepper, tonka bean, grains of paradise, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. These spices and herbs are purchased directly from the growers surrounding the region or from specialist spice importers. Each ingredient of Pastis Herni Bardouin is individually infused in 96% alcohol to extract the aroma and flavour for 3 months. After that and in a month time, the blend takes place and the final result is bottled with a 45% of alcohol.

Pastis Henri Bardouin is recognised in France as the ultimate pastis, to be enjoyed as an aperitif or as a thirst-quenching drink mixed with water, which only requires one part of Pastis and 5 or 6 part of water. Pastis should be poured into a glass first and then add water from a jug containing ice - putting ice in the glass isn't recommended as it will kill the aromas of the pastis.

The taste of Pastis Henri Bardouin is intense and refreshing, the largest selling spirit drink in France, where over 6 million cases are consumed annually over vodka and whisky.

At The Amazing Blog we really enjoyed mixing Pastis Henri Bardouin with cola to make our own Mazout cocktail and enjoying it in the sun.

Pastis Henri Bardouin is available in Harrods, Waitrose and Independent Retailers at £20.75.