Spice Kitchen are a online company specialising in homegrown spice mixes. They recently sent out a request for bloggers to review their spices, which I put my hand up for.
I received a parcel from them containing a selection of their spice mixes. Before I even opened the package, there was a really strong aromatic smell coming from the package. This indicated to me that the spices used by Spice Kitchen must be of a high quality as you normally can never smell anything until you’ve opened the packet or jar!
Spice Kitchen sent me 8 of their spice mixes in small resealable pouches. The mixes I received were:
- Garam Masala
- Ras El Hanout
- Chinese 5 Spice
- Panch Phoron
- Sri Lankan Curry
I’ll admit some of these I had never came across such as Baharat & Panch Phoron but that just made me excited to try out something new! Once I’d had a good sniff of the mixes, I put my thinking cap on to figure out what I could make with a few of these mixes.
I opted for Jamaican Jerk Chicken made with the Jerk seasoning. In my recipe for the Jerk chicken, I opted to be conservative & use 2 teaspoons of the Jerk seasoning for the marinade. In my opinion, this was enough to get the nice smoky flavour associated with Jerk cooking. The seasoning is also not relatively spicy which makes it family friendly with the option to add more spice (like I did) if you desire.
The Panch Phoron, which is like an Indian 5 spice blend, I’ll admit I was unsure what I could use it with as I always use garam masala for curries. After a quick search, I came across a few ideas for bombay potatoes which went well with my idea for a “fakeaway” Saturday night feast. When sprinkling the spice mix over the potatoes, I honestly wished I was able to capture the smell for you as it was so aromatic & as strange as this may sound, smells exactly like what you would expect from Indian food. The potatoes were a hit! You can find the recipe here.
As a keen cook, I would definitely recommend the Spice Kitchen boxes as a unique gift for someone who likes to experiment in the kitchen. They provide sets of the spices in small pouches similar to the picture above that I received or if you’re looking for a more refined gift, they also provide cute wooden boxes with small jars of the spice mixes. And as I noticed when I was writing this they also have recipes if you’re stuck for ideas!
Disclaimer: Spice Kitchen provided the spice mixes for free & the review, suggestions & recipes as of my own accord with no outside influence.
It’s getting to that time of year where Christmas is getting closer & you are thinking about gifts for people. And don’t we all have that one person (or people) who have everything & you just don’t know what to get them. I’m in the same situation this year & will be doing a hamper gift as it’s (hopefully) a better gift than getting someone something for the sake of it that they don’t really want.
Caledonian Hampers recently sent me one of their personalised hampers for me to review. I’ve never been too keen on pre-made hampers since they are a bit impersonal & often have loads of products you wouldn’t use often like lemon curd or weird & wonderful sauces.
I have to say I was impressed with the gift box I was sent. Presentation-wise there wasn’t much to shout about as the products came in a yellow box sealed with a ribbon & were cushioned in straw. However, the range of products in the gift box made up for it.
The company pride themselves on only including Scottish food & drink producers in their gift boxes, with a total of 60 producers supplying products. This made the hamper quite niche for me as it contained goodies such as Borders biscuits, Scottish rapeseed oils, seasoning from Simply Add Chilli & packets of oatcakes to name but a few products (see below for the full list). I would go as far to say that I liked 95% of the products supplied in the hamper!
With the hamper you can also choose to have a personalised bottle included. In the hamper I was given, there was a personalised bottle of Cairn O’Mhor cider, which is something I often pick up at the farmers market so it was a pleasant surprise!
Although the large hampers similar to the one I received are £50-60 each, given the amount of produce included as well as a personalised bottle of your choice, I think it’s good value for money. Especially when you compare it to hampers in stores this time of year where you get 5 pots of jam & some oatcakes for £25 because it’s a Christmas gift! One area that would be good would be the choice of what goes into your hamper. I know that’s a logistical nightmare for small companies but it would make that personalised gift all the more personal.
For all readers, Caledonian Hampers have provided an exclusive 10% off code until the end of November. When ordering, just use the code stuffnov to receie the discount!
Disclaimer: UK Gift Boxes provided the gift box free of charge
Throught the wonderful world of Twitter, I was approached by IceDelight & asked if I would like to review their iced dessert products. I would’ve been silly to turn that down!
For those who haven’t heard of IceDelight before, it’s a natural, fat-free (yes FAT FREE) dessert created from natural ingredients by Belhaven Fruit Farm. All of the fruit is grown on the land & then turned into the iced dessert.
I picked up my tubs of IceDelight, which come in 5 flavours: Strawberry, Raspberry, Blackcurrant, Lemon & Elderflower & Gooseberry. Having never tried the latter as a flavour combination before, I decided to try that first. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised given I wasn’t sure if I would like it. It didn’t have an overly sour taste that gooseberry can give. Instead you get a wonderful combination of slightly sour yet sweet taste of the gooseberry followed by the perfume of the elderflower. It may not sound great when put into words but you have to taste it to understand! Texture-wise, it is very soft & I would go as far as to say it is in-between the texture of a sorbet & ice cream.
I tried all of the other flavours as well. The raspberry did not have as strong a flavour as I was expecting, not that it’s a bad thing! It still has a distinct raspberry taste to it, as did the strawberry which has a taste quite like a strawberry & cream lollipop! The blackcurrant was a tad strong for my liking but I’m not the biggest blackcurrant fan so slightly biased there! The biggest surprise for me was the lemon dessert. I am not big on citrus flavours, yet despite this being quite tart, I really enjoyed it! I decided to have it with some wholemeal pancakes & it went very well with them. Perfect for Shrove Tuesday next week!!
Overall, I would say that IceDelight have something very unique & wonderful available. The best part for me was how natural & full of flavour the desserts are without being chock full of calories. In fact, 100ml of each dessert is around 90 calories, YES 90 calories! I couldn’t believe it when I read it either!
You can pick up IceDelights in Waitrose as well as individual delis such as Peckhams in Glasgow. A full list of stockists can be found here.