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Friday Favourites - Summer Cookbooks

 

Today The Amazing Blog wants to share with you some of our #amazingfinds with four new cookbooks that have encouraged us to create some fantastic international dishes for our friends. Our gastronomic journey starts with India moves onto to Morocco and then the Philippines and returns back to the UK just in time to put the BBQ on!

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Let’s kicked off by something of a whirlwind of inspiration in the culinary prowess of Asma Khan, who moved to the UK in 1991 from Calcutta without any knowledge of how to cook, but a firm belief in the power of food to bring people together, and the opportunities created through this to forge new friendships, learning of different cultures and traditions along the way. Although it was British constitutional law which focused her attentions to begin with, having finished her doctorate in 2012, she turned her entrepreneurial talents towards the kitchen, and has been gaining awards and garnering attention ever since. As a descendant of the ancient Rajput Suryavanshi Bargujar clan on her paternal side, and pioneering tea planters in Darjeeling from her maternal ancestry, Asma’s heritage is undisputed, and her book ‘Asma’s Indian Kitchen’ is a delicious romp through India’s rich history, and culinary voyage. “Your food should feel like an embrace” she tells us, and such warmth emanates from the pages. Beautifully photographed and with anecdotes peppered throughout, her book really is a delight to enjoy in and out of the kitchen! Her Shahi Kofta - or lamb meatballs in a rich gravy - are a sensation, as are her stuffed bell peppers - or Bharwa Simla Mirch to use the correct terminology … useful to know, especially if you fancy trying out her award-winning restaurant Darjeeling Express in Soho. Published by Pavilion Books for £14.99  and available here .

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If Morocco is more your thing, then Nargisse Benkabbou is offering up “Casablanca - My Moroccan Food” to encourage us to whip out that tagine, and start making magic with the amazing flavours of her culture, but often with a mix of Western dishes too. Again, here we don’t just have a culinary manual to enjoy, but rather more an introduction to how these foods fit within the gloriously colourful culture and traditions. Nargisse began sharing her feasting knowledge originally through a highly successful blog, ‘My Moroccan Food’, and this book is the natural result of those posts. If you are partial to a spot of marinating - and who of us aren’t - then try the Sweet Chermoula Seared Beef, which promises a ‘flavour bomb’, and we love the idea of a dish taking us to far-flung places with the aromas of Casablanca which are promised in the Amlou Rolls.So many temptations to try, and written with a warmth and friendliness utterly reminiscent of Morocco herself. Octopus Books have brought us this one, priced at £20 and available here 

 

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Perhaps the Philippines as a gastronomic destination gets your taste buds going? The New Filipino Kitchen is another huge spectrum of different tastes and flavours from the myriad of islands with so much to explore, and brought to us digitally thanks to Jacqueline Chio-Lauri who has edited a collection of fascinating stories, giving extra meaning to each recipe from a wide ranging assortment of cuisine masters - and all for us to try from the comfort of our laptop. Describing the chapters under the heading of simply ‘seafood’, ‘meat’ or ‘desserts’ feels a little like short-changing this extensive jaunt around those 7000 or so islands which make up such a vibrant nation. However, the ‘New Filipino Kitchen’ is a serious contender for our attention if culinary escapism is your thing. Quite unique with the information it relays, this book could send us into a frenzy - imagine if you will ‘Stuffed Fish Grilled in Banana Leaves and Eggplant Salad with Toasted Pancetta’, or to translate that properly and pay due homage, ‘Inihaw Na Isda At Ensaladang Talong’ … Well Imagine it no longer, simply turn to page 36, and enter Tasting Heaven! Both digital and hard copies are available on Amazon here from £15.18

 

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Now, it would seem churlish not to include a cookbook with origins a little closer to home, and of course there is an enormous library of titles to choose from, but one which stands out with an irresistible edge is the “Fresh Veggie BBQ” by David & Charlotte Bailey,encouraging us to embrace the outdoor option of serving up a meal from a vegetarian friendly barbecue menu. Completely eschewing any notion that vegetarian food has to be less colourful or indeed tasty, David and Charlotte give us 60 recipe options like ‘Caramelized Bananas with Vanilla Ice Cream’, ‘Rosemary Sweet Potato Chips’ or - and this one is seriously tempting ‘Wild Mushroom & Artichoke One-Pot Pie’ to dispel those myths completely. However, this time of course our kitchen is found in the great outdoors through the tradition that is ‘barbecue’ which of course is a culture within itself. With advice on the different options open to us, from using dutch ovens to the very impressive discipline of burying our ingredients in hot ash and embers - otherwise known as ‘rescoldo’, we have an encyclopaedia of vegetarian goodies to try out -and with the weather back here at home offering us it’s most favourable conditions (Ok well that was in July perhaps not August!) We can’t be the only ones twitching to get those charcoals burning! Published by Pavilion Books with an RRP of £14.99 here the ‘Fresh Veggie BBQ’ is a must.

…And with all these delicious ideas, we’re preparing to cook up a storm this Bank Holiday weekend!

Ashley Juhl - Anti-Ageing Range

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We’re always on the lookout for the latest and greatest in woman’s skincare, especially when it comes to anti-ageing techniques. The Amazing Blog came across Ashley Juhl Skincare, a luxury American skincare range formulated by medical aesthetician, Ashley Juhl. Ashley opened her first skincare clinic at 24 years old and has devoted her career to helping people attain beautiful skin. Her dermatologist-formulated and tested skincare range is designed to have clinical results. Each product includes medical and botanical ingredients and is intended to correct, restore, and protect the skin. We we fortunate to have the opportunity to try four of their products.

Firstly, we gave the Ultra Benefits Firming and Brightening Moisturiser a go. This is an antioxidant-full moisturiser that helps to prevent and reduce visible ageing changes. As well as its hydrating and evening skin tone abilities, this moisturiser contains Chromabright, which decreases the appearance of age spots and uneven pigment. It also contains peptides that help to strengthen the skin’s collagen and reduce the appearance of fine lines. The added bonus? It has a lovely floral-scent.

Next, we tried the Advanced Retinol Wrinkle and Skin Tone Corrector. This serum is packed full of retinol, phospholipids, and glycolipids, ingredients which help to firm skin and reduce the look of wrinkles and pores. What makes this serum unique is the use of lipids, which do wonders to decrease dryness and repair the skin’s moisture barrier, preventing dry and irritated skin. This serum also contains advanced retinol, a combination of retinol, bioidentical phospholipids and glycolipids. Hello, younger-looking skin!

Ashley Juhl’s Vita Soothe Protective Replenishing Serum effectively smoothed our skin, giving it the extra plumping that it sometimes needed. This serum contains vitamins E and F which provide the skin with a beautiful glow. It can be used on all skin types, including acne-prone skin. One of its most important ingredients is the lipochroman antioxidant which protects the skin from ageing caused by UV rays, toxins, and pollutants. We loved the silky feel of this serum on our skin.

Lastly, we tried the C-Stem Concentrated Anti-Ageing Serum. The lilac stem cells help to lessen inflammation and give the serum a light floral scent. The vitamin C and marine extracts help to brighten the skin, as well as diminishing deep lines and pores by decreasing the skin’s ageing protein. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution to slow down ageing, then this is the serum. What caught our attention, is the ability for this product to reactive genes, once again helping with the production of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin.

If these products sound like they could help you, then they can be purchased here. You can also use the code AmazingB15 for 15% off when you purchase a skin system, or 3 or more products. Happy shopping!

Eleni and Chris Bio-Cellulose Age Renewal Face and Eye Mask

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As regular readers of The Amazing Blog will know, we're big advocates of Scandinavian skincare. Today we're featuring the latest #amazingfind from one of our favourite the beauty brand Eleni and Chris. They were kind enough to send us their brand new revolutionary Bio-Cellulose Age Renewal Face and Eye Masks to try. Which of course, contain the purest Scandinavian ingredients to help give our skin the extra love and care it deserves. In the past, we've enjoyed using their other masks: Glow, Hydrate and Detox Sincell Face Masks. So it's safe to say we had high expectations for these new Age Renewal Masks

The first key skin-loving ingredient found in both the Face and Eye Mask is the Cloudberry extract. This powerhouse ingredient increases cell production by 22% within 24 hours, which in turn encourages the skin to be noticeably smoother, plumping up any wrinkles or fine lines. The Scandinavian Glacier Water used in these masks is carefully sourced from remote mountainous regions for its purity. This ingredient helps to maintain osmotic balance for more refreshed and invigorated skin. The Caviar extract here is essential to improving the elasticity of skin, which significantly helps to reduce the signs of ageing. These luxurious masks are perfect for every skin type; what we particularly like is that they don’t use any perfumes, preservatives or mineral oils which typically irritate the skin. We used these masks 1-2 times a week before bed for around 15-20 minutes, making sure to massage all the pampering liquid ingredients into our skin afterwards. The effect resulted in a firmer (NB: Not tighter!) more moisturised complexion, we really liked the way it made our skin look and feel.


The Bio-Cellulose Age Renewal Face Masks are available here for €19 each, or you can purchase a 6-pack here for €95. The Eye Masks are available here for €8 each or you can purchase a 6-pack here for €44.

Organii Arnica Gel

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Getting out of bed in the morning is difficult enough, and when you have sore muscles and stiffness, it becomes quite the mission. We here at The Amazing Blog have found the solution to all your bodily aches and pains with the Organii Arnica Gel. This miracle in a bottle has us no longer fearing those days of sore muscles after a tough work-out, which is why we couldn’t wait to share it with you. In the past, we tried Organii's Shea Butter Shower Gel and Aloe Mouthwash what we love this brand is its dedication to producing natural and organic products. Organii places importance on obtaining their ingredient from similar ethically minded manufacturers so that they can produce highly effective and affordable products that are suitable for the whole family.


The key ingredient in this gel is Arnica Montana Flower Extract, which has been used medicinally for hundreds of years because it has a powerful ability to soothe aches and pains and reduce inflammation. But the benefits of this gel don’t stop there; it also helps to reduce bruising as well as pain from arthritis and osteoarthritis. All you need to do is apply the gel to the injured area and massage in well. The gel will be quickly absorbed into your skin and you will notice its soothing effects. The Soothing Arnica Gel leaves skin with a light Arnica flower scent that smells absolutely delightful. It’s also certified organic and vegan and uses 100% natural ingredients. If you are a bit accident prone, this gel will be perfect to keep in your bag to prevent and reduce any swelling, bruising or pain throughout your day. You can purchase a 50ml tube of the Soothing Organii Arnica Gel for £3.95 here and rest easy knowing it’s got your back.

Infuse My. Colour Wash

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Keeping your hair colour vibrant and your hair healthy is somewhat of a task, as it requires both time and dedication. Fortunately, we at The Amazing Blog were lucky in discovering the Infuse My. Colour Washes, designed to refresh and add strong tones to coloured hair.

If you’re wanting to brighten and revive your coloured hair easily and quickly (and relatively cheaply!), these shampoos are worth looking into. We know the feeling well when your coloured hair loses its vibrancy, or the colour starts to turn an off shade or tone. These shampoos are simply great for prolonging the wait time in between colour appointments.  They are gentle on the hair and smooth the hair cuticle to seal in colour, leaving your hair silky and bold. What’s even better is that they are 100% vegan and biodegradable, and free from sulphates, silicones and parabens.

The shampoos come in Ruby, Gold, Copper, Platinum and Cobalt, and the idea is that each shampoo will work as a toner depending on the colour you’d like to achieve, so that you can rock your coloured hair with confidence. Copper adds warm tones to strawberry blonde, copper, auburn and brown hair. Ruby highlights brightness in red hair, or can add a fun pink tone to bleached blonde hair. Platinum neutralises brassy and canary yellow tones in pale blonde and white hair, maintaining a cool grey undertone. Gold adds sunshine back into honey blonde hair and Cobalt maintains cool dark blonde and brown hair.

Luckily for you, these shampoos are very easy to use; just sud up your hair and and wash out for an immediate result. Purchase the Infuse My. Colour shampoos from Boots in store or online for £9.30 - usually the product is £13.95 but Boots is offering 1/3 off currently.