Jamie’s Italian: The buyers guide to olive oil

In a world full of choices especially when it comes to food, you’re basically spoilt with choice. This can sometimes make buying the most simplest of things difficult. 

Olive oil is something that I’ve onlyrecently discovered  funnily enough as I have never previously thought about cooking with it. I always assumed it was used for dressings only. However, when I started looking into it, olive oil has a multitude of uses but you need to first figure out which kind you need.  For example, extra virgin olive oil is best for dressings and dips, not for cooking or baking. 

Jamie’s Italian came up with fun and useful infographic which breaks down the different kinds of olive oils available, the types of tastes and flavours they have and where the majority of the good stuff comes from. 

I mainly use pure olive oil as I mainly use oil for cooking/frying/sautéeing and rarely for anything else. I am yet to purchase extra virgin olive oil for dipping bread and drizzling on salad although I may have to think about doing so as salad dressings can be very calorific whereas a simple dressing made up of olive oil, lemon (or basalmic vinegar) and black pepper is not only tasty, it’s also cheaper, easy to make and healthier. 

Olive oil: thebuyers guide

Greenwich Mummy Blogger | Olive Oil Buyers GuideIf you liked the infographic above, don’t forget to share it! 

Infographic: courtesy of Jamie’s Italian

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Review: Mister Paste’s new sweet and sour mango sauce makes vegetarian cooking easy!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Mister Paste New Vegetarian Mango Sauce Review
Photo source: MisterPaste.co.uk

I don’t always make vegetarian meals even though I did wish I made more of an effort to. LO is not a big meat fan – unless it’s oven cooked (fish fingers/chicken nuggets/turkey drummers), or meatballs with spaghetti you couldn’t get him to even touch it with a barge pole.

When the founder of Mister Paste, Ian (you can read more about Ian and his company in an interview post I wrote here) got in touch last month to inform me of his new sauce I was more than intrigued to try it out. Mister Paste’s vegetarian line of food had been recently accredited by the Vegetarian Society and was exhibiting at the Just V Show in Olympia.

So let’s talk about the mango sauce… it’s a lovely rich sauce that reminds me of Nandos’ mango and lime marinade (due to the kaffir lime leaves and mango sauce) and the consistency a Chinese sweet and sour sauce. It’s rich, sweet and tangy sauce is delicious, on the recipe printout included in the pack mentions that you could add fresh mango chunks but the sauce has so much flavour (made from real mango puréed, you don’t need to). I had made two dishes with the sauce; one for myself with Quorn cubes and the other with pan-fried salmon for the family as they’re not a big fan of Quorn.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Mister Paste New Vegetarian Mango Sauce Review
Quorn chunks with vegetables and egg noodles

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Mister Paste Vegetarian Mango Sauce Review

The Greenwich Mummy Blog - Mister Paste New Vegetarian Mango Sauce Review
Pan-fried salmon with veggies and egg noodles

The sweet and sour mango sauce and other ingredients come in vacuum-sealed bags. All I had to buy was my choice of protein (salmon and Quorn), one red pepper, fresh coriander and lemon. I added in fish sauce instead salt as well as black pepper for seasoning and taste. I loved the chilli flakes that came with the pack so much that I bought extra. 🙂 I didn’t add all the flakes because otherwise the children and Daddy P wouldn’t have been able to eat it so it was more of a sweet and tangy mango sauce than a spicy one. But that suited our taste buds just right.

I had also originally planned the dish to be made with jasmine rice but we had egg noodles left over from when I was planning to make salmon teriyaki so we used that as a sub instead. I imagine that the dish would’ve been just as delicious with rice but somehow it felt a bit healthier and lighter with soy-tossed egg noodles. Daddy P who was initially sceptical about a fruity and savoury sauce admitted that he enjoyed it. I certainly did and so did the kids and my sister who was over for dinner.

Mister Paste’s sauce packs are literally an all-in-one product. The packs provide you with not only the sauce but the ingredients to go with it (all measured out for you) and comes complete with instructions on how to use it which is quintessentially the recipe on how to make the dish. Any ingredients that may be an allergen are highlighted in bold so you know exactly what goes in it.

I am very thrilled that the company’s vegetarian line has been recognised and accredited with an awarding body. It’s a statement to show everyone that Mister Paste really knows his stuff and can deliver high-quality sauces and pastes to vegetarians, non-vegetarians and those in-between like me! 🙂

Healthy fizzy drinks for the family with the SodaStream Fizzi

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Lizzie King x SodaStream

Last month I was invited to a wonderful event. SodaStream had just launched their new range, the Fizzi and had linked up health chef Lizzie King to put on an evening soiree for guests to sample her delicious sugar-free cocktails (and mocktails). As a non-drinker I was a bit unsure if it’d be wise for me to attend but then thought why not?! Just because I don’t drink alcohol doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a beverage. I was also very intrigued on what type of mocktails could be made sugar-free as they are usually loaded with sugar.

The event was held at the Clerkenwell Grind. A lovely urban place to go for drinks and nibbles. The event was held downstairs in an intimate little bar area. I was treated to a lovely drink on arrival – I picked the Watermelon Cooler and all I can say is WOW! It tasted amazing!! Fresh watermelon juice, a hint of mint, all topped up with sparkling water from the SodaStream Fizzi machine. I literally downed my drink, it tasted that good. I also met another mummy blogger there and we started talking. She was also a non-drinker so I felt much better. 🙂 We chatted away about babies, blogging and had a good laugh.

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | SodaStream Lizzie King Event

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | SodaStream Lizzie King EventThen a second round of mocktails came, this time it was a peach bellini.  I was sceptical if it’d be nice and… I was right. It didn’t taste nice. The combination of fresh peaches juiced (which was heavy and bitty) with light sparkling water was something I wasn’t used to. I was not a fan of this combination especially after having the watermelon one. I didn’t finish my bellini mocktail but politely drank enough.

Lizzie King floated about the event, looking amazingly polished in a beautiful white dress teamed with red lips and natural makeup. She looked absolutely stunning. I’ve had a look at her cookbook on Amazon called Lizzie Loves Healthy Family Food and it’s got some really nice recipes that I’d like to try out.

Halfway through the event, Lizzie thanked everyone for coming and spoke a little bit more about her recipes including the mocktails. She explained that she wanted to create something the whole family could enjoy which wasn’t loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients. The #sparklingsummer drinks recipe book has 5 interesting recipes to try including the two I tried (the watermelon one and peach one). There’s also a cocktail and mocktail guide at the end of the booklet to show you how to get the best mix.

The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | SodaStream Lizzie King event
The Greenwich Mummy Blogger | SodaStream Lizzie King event

Before the end of the evening, I had a bit of fun with all the different SodaStream machines. I tried the entry level range, the Fizzi (pictured above) which was super easy to use and I loved the traditional push button function. All the other machines had an automatic button function. The sleek design of the Fizzi would look great on anyone’s kitchen worktop. At the end of the event, I received my very own SodaStream Fizzi complete with a #sparklingsummer drink recipe book to try out at home. I was over the moon!

A month on, all I can say is that I am still in love with my Fizzi machine. It’s like having sparkling water on tap! 🙂 The kids still love their water and squash with water but now LO can ask for “fizzy juice” (sugar-free dilute squash with sparkling water) and I don’t have to feel guilty about giving it to him. I’ve hardly had soft drinks since I started my health and fitness journey but now I can enjoy a little bit of fizz without feeling guilty.

With our Fizzi machine, we use it on a daily basis. We just can’t get enough of it! I’m yet to host a house party to show off my mocktail skills but I’m very happy that in the meantime I can offer friends and family both still and sparkling beverages. All of the machines have a gas canister that needs to be changed when it runs out. I have used mine daily and I think there’s still quite a lot of uses left which makes the Fizzi an economical purchase. The canisters are available from Argos and I’ve been told by the SodaStream team that empty canisters can be returned to the Argos stores for safe disposal.

If you’re looking for a new useful gadget in the home and are a fan of sparkling drinks, I highly recommend purchasing the SodaStream machines. Prices start from £99.99 for the new ranges but I’ve found older models on Google from just £40… a bargain. 🙂

Let’s talk FOOD: An interview with Mister Paste

Last month I wrote a review on two Mister Paste’s curry pastes that I tried out and boy were they tasty. This month I’m launching my new series “Let’s Talk…” which is all about interviewing small businesses to help support them, raise awareness for their business, and learning more about them.

To kickstart my series, we’re discussing about food so what better way that to interview the founder of Mister Paste, Ian…

1. Tell us a little bit more about yourself

“Spend most of the my working life in computing but then owned a Singaporean restaurant in the city for 4 years and following that ran a frozen yoghurt booth, creating my own flavours, inside a deli.”

2. Why did you decide to start up Mister Paste?

“When strapped for time, i used to use bottled sauces but I got fed up with the gloopy sauces and not being able to really tailor the taste to my liking. Knowing that they already pasteurised (i.e. cooked) and full of preservatives to be able to sit in a warehouse or on a shelf for up to 1.5 years, I started thinking about a way to get raw and preservative free sauces to the time strapped cook at home to really give that “made at home” taste. I also got fed up not knowing just how spicy a sauce would be and thought it would be good to be able to control that at cooking time. I then happened upon vacuum sealing at home and saw this as my route to getting raw clean food to the market. I could then make the paste, vacuum seal it for freshness and then also package sachets of added ingredients like chilli so you can control the heat to your level.”

3. How authentic are your pastes in terms of taste?

“As with all recipes, they are particular to the recipe writer and close as
 possible to the authentic taste. If you search out a recipe on the internet you will find tens of “authentic” recipes for the same dish that are all different.”

4. Where do you get your inspiration from for your paste recipes?

“I looked at what are the most known dishes ordered in restaurants and used them for the basis of my initial range of curry pastes. As for the sauces, I’ve not seen them in any restaurants so they are ones I have found and Developed the recipe for my own taste and hope that many will also share my taste. I’m lucky that i have friends who are Thai and Indian who were willing to taste test and comment my recipes.”

5. What’s your favourite paste (from your range) and why?

“It’s hard to choose a favourite curry but if i would like eat beef, I’d choose rendang and for chicken I’d pick vindaloo. For the sauces, I’d choose the spicy,sweet and sour mango which is due to be launched soon.”

Bonus Question: Do you have any other plans for Mister Paste in the future?

“Future plans at the moment are a) to get more people to visit and buy from www.misterpaste.co.uk  and b) to add more recipes and also add some snacks like prawn crackers with a home made sweet chilli sauce.”

A part of my new ‘Let’s Talk’ interview series

Review: Fresh curry pastes and sauces delivered straight to your door with Mister Paste

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Mister Paste Review

Love a good curry but don’t know how to make your own paste? Or maybe, like me, you just don’t have the time? 

Fear not because help is at hand. I love all these companies that deliver fresh food straight to your door – Hello Fresh, Fresh Fitness Food, and a new fresh curry paste company that I discovered last week called Mister Paste.

A former work colleague told me about Mister Paste (it’s her partner’s business) and she asked if I would like to try out some of their products – of course I said yes! 🙂

1) because I love food and 2) because helping out other small businesses is a good thing

She sent me a link to her partner’s website and I checked out the large range of pastes and sauces available. The site was really easy to navigate around and I was surprised with how cheap the pastes were as they’re made fresh. I chose the portion option for two people as I knew LO and Baby Girl would just be eating from our portion.

So I chose two curry pastes that I am very fond of; Thai Green Curry and Rogan Josh. For me, the balance of spices, sweetness and saltiness has to be on point in order for me to consider the recipe being a fantastic one. I had very high expectations for these curry pastes that I was going to try.

The kits arrived really quickly, around 2 working days, and there was a message on the packaging that said to refrigerate as soon as they’d arrived which I did. I originally wanted to save my Thai Curry for when I bought seafood but we only had chicken breast in the fridge that day so I made a chicken green curry instead. Continue reading “Review: Fresh curry pastes and sauces delivered straight to your door with Mister Paste”

Two simple & healthy recipes for you to enjoy this Pancake Day!

The Greenwich Mummy Blog | Pancake Day 2017
(left) Oat pancakes with yoghurt and berries, (right) Chocolate protein pancakes with mint ice cream and chocolate drizzle

It’s Shrove Tuesday today aka Pancake Day and what better way to enjoy this day than bake up a fresh batch of pancakes to enjoy with the family… or all by yourself. 🙂

I’ve got TWO amazingly simple recipes for you today; the first one is a chocolate protein pancake one that I’ve dressed with a low-calorie mint choc ice cream and dark chocolate drizzle, and the second is a simple oat pancake with coconut yoghurt and berries. Yum!!

Both of the pancakes came out super fluffy. I added baking powder but I am sure they would still be quite fluffy without it. Out of the two, I think the chocolate protein pancake was the best – I have a sweet tooth so to be able to enjoy something sweet but in a healthy way is a wonderful win-win situation haha!  Continue reading “Two simple & healthy recipes for you to enjoy this Pancake Day!”