This is My Kitchen Sink, a place for me to let you know about the new products that I’ve been trying out. I’ve received some interesting samples this month, from Aperol cocktail and superfood powders, to crisps, Pimm’s and pies. Here are my thoughts on them!
I was sent a lovely hamper from Aperol, filled with everything that I needed to create their signature cocktail: the Aperol Spritz. This is a classic Italian drink, which is considered to be a ‘bitter’ like Campari. Commonly served as an aperitif, the Aperol Spritz is a familiar site in Italy, particularly in and around Venice.
This is a simple cocktail to make, as long as you remember the formula: 3 parts prosecco, 2 parts of Aperol, 1 part soda water. Pour over ice and add a slice of orange and you’re all set. It’s really refreshing and very orange! I quite like that you’re expecting something sweeter due to the colour, and then you get a pleasantly bitter-tasting bubbly and fresh cocktail.
I had friends over for a barbecue and I quickly made a batch of Aperol Spritzers. It took no time at all and I was able to get right back to entertaining (after a few photos!). The spirit is a subtle blend of bitters, orange, rhubarb, vanilla and herbs – making a nice change from the summer’s sweeter cocktails.
Aduna sent me a beautiful parcel of their baobab and moringa powders. I’ve really loved using the baobab powder, which I’ve mainly been adding to my smoothies in the morning.
This superfruit powder is 100% natural, nutrient-dense, raw and a rich source of vitamin C,
calcium, potassium and thiamin. It is almost 50% fibre and has one of the highest antioxidant capacities of any fruit in the world. So far, so superfood. I like the subtle sweetness that it adds to my green smoothies.
You can use baobab in porridge, pancakes, brownies… Aduna have a great selection of recipe suggestions.
When I worked in London I had a subscription to the Graze boxes. I loved the variety and fantastic-tasting treats hidden inside. Now Graze are available in supermarkets with their snack boxes. They sent me a load to try and they were fantastic.
The boxes were diverse, from BBQ nuts to chocolate pretzels. My daughter went particularly nuts for the lemon drizzle flapjack! I rather liked the herby breadsticks.
They’re fairly low in calories and are portable – my kids loved taking them for our days out. We sat on a picnic bench in the middle of a forest and tried a few delicious snack packs.
Follow Graze on twitter.
Amira sent me a parcel with all of the ingredients to recreate their Persian Jeweled Rice with Walnuts and Pomegranates. The Amira Superior Aromatic rice, with its longer grain, was really nice in this subtly-spiced dish. I’ve never before cooked tahdig, the Iranian way of cooking rice to give it a crispy, buttery, bottom, and it is absolutely delicious.
My sister and her family were visiting me from Canada when this parcel arrived, so we all sat down to this caramelised rice, infused with saffron, cinnamon, cardamom and cumin. It is then dotted with pomegranate seeds and dried cranberries to give a sweeter note to the spiced rice. It made a lovely side dish and there was TONS – so it was perfect for a big gathering.
You can get the recipe for Persian Jeweled Rice from Amira. Note that although the recipe says 40 minutes cooking time, I found that it took longer – and you don’t want to rush and miss that crispy tahdig bottom to the rice!
Ambronite sent me a parcel of their drinkable supermeal. The makers say that this nutritional shake can banish hunger for 4-5 hours and boy, are they right. Years ago the drinkable meal replacement market was full of sweet shakes aimed at the diet market, but Ambronite gives you all of your essential nutrients in an organic 500 calorie shake. Ambronite tastes pleasant – a bit oaty, fruity and herby and the sachets are portable – only needing to be shaken with water.
I like eating and cooking, but I can see how these would be great if you often find yourself skipping meals but know that your body needs healthy fuel. Instead of rushing out the door empty or stopping for something unhealthy, these would be a great alternative. The taste is pleasant and it includes spirulina, spinach, wild sea buckthorn, wild bilberry, oats, coconut, lucuma, rice bran, stinging nettle, almond, blackcurrant and loads of other healthy ingredients.
Each sachet has 30g of quality protein, loads of vitamins and all 14 essential minerals and fiber. It is also vegan, all-natural, GMO-free and has no added sugar.
Apparently it is used by airline pilots, nurses, doctors, teachers etc… and I can see how it is a healthy way to get energy and satisfy hunger for people who are busy and can’t always stop to make meals. Find out more from Ambronite.
Chippa sent me a range of gluten-free table sauces, which, as you can see, includes tomato ketchup, vegan mayo and brown sauce. Tomato sauce is a tough one, isn’t it? People are so used to Heinz that when you’re given a different brand it can be quite a disappointment. There’s a certain vinegar/sugar ratio that we’ve grown up with.
I can honestly say that we all loved this tomato sauce – not too sweet, not too vinegary. I have had a lot of house guests recently and anyone else who tried it really liked this range as well. Heinz doesn’t say it is gluten-free but doesn’t say that it isn’t either. They’re a bit ambiguous on their website, so those who are intolerant may not want to take the chance. This brand is the closest flavour match that I’ve ever had. Going gluten-free isn’t easy. Luckily I don’t suffer from an intolerance or coeliac disease, but I’m often baffled as to where gluten is hiding!
I’ve tried a few vegan mayonnaise brands lately as I’ve been eating vegan more often since I did Veganuary (eating vegan for January!). This one is lovely and creamy with just the right amount of tang. It’s now top of my list for vegan mayo. The brown sauce has also been a hit. I find HP sauce to be a bit too vinegary, so this one hits the right notes for me, with a nice fruitiness.
The 350g bottles of sauces cost approximately £1.50 each and are available at Sainsbury’s in the Free-From section.
I was familiar with Glorious SkinnyLicious Soups when they sent me vouchers to try some. These soups are never bland, and add a huge range of spices and flavours to make the soups punchy but low in fat and calories.
My favourite was the New England in Autumn, which is a butternut squash soup filled with cumin as well as carrot, paprika and a dash of mango chutney! Other flavours are equally inventive: Thai Tuk Tuk & Turmeric is a carrot soup livened up with coconut, ginger, chilli and lemongrass.
With the weather turning cooler lately, these warming soups are perfect for a quick meal. Even in the summer, I often have soup for lunch. It’s quick and a great way to get your veggies.
Glorious says: “We’re passionate about bold, unexpected flavours, and unearthing authentic recipes and ingredients from around the world.” That sums up the range nicely – they’re definitely bold and absolutely bursting with adventurous international flavours.
Glorious SkinnyLicious soups are available at most major supermarkets. Read more about the range on the Glorious site.
I’ve had many Higgidy Pies over the years. Store-bought quiches and pies used to be bland, conveyor belt convenience food that was best avoided, then along came Higgidy with fresh ingredients and lovely flavour combinations. So, I was delighted when Higgidy sent me a handy cooler bag and pies! Since they’re lovely cold as well as hot, these pies are perfect for picnics along with some olives, bread, cheeses and, of course, wine.
Higgidy have launched The Little Picnic Guide filled with tips to and recipes to enjoy a classic British picnic, even if it rains. There are lovely recipes like Pea and Pesto Potato Salad and Raw Slaw with Tahini Dressing.
When we try quiches, we usually go for a Higgidy Crustless Spinach, Feta and Roasted Red Pepper quiche, but I’ve recently also discovered the Little Sweet Potato and Spicy Tomato Pie which is fantastic. My husband likes to take their small quiches for his packed lunch at work.
Rawpublik sent me their cold pressed organic virgin coconut oil to try. I must say that as an avid consumer of coconut oil, this is one is amazing. It is soooo creamy. I’ve kept it out of the kitchen and have put it straight into the bathroom for oil pulling. Oil pulling is where you put a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth first thing in the morning and swish it about (never swallow it!) for 10-20 minutes before spitting it into the bin and brushing your teeth as normal. It is an ancient folk remedy and although there are myriad health benefits both espoused and doubted, I use it to whiten my teeth and cure hangovers!
Because Rawpublik coconut oil is so incredibly creamy, it has been perfect for this use. It is made differently to many other coconut oils, as it is made from fresh coconut, not dried. It goes from tree to jar in just 10 days, is certified organic, is unbleached, unrefined, undeodorised and unhydrogenated. It is chemical-free and natural.
Rawpublik is an interesting company who strive to work with local people, communities and charities from where they source their products to stimulate job production through supporting and creating local enterprise. The 450ml jar retails for £9.50.
Pimm’s kindly sent me a bottle of their new Special Edition flavour: Strawberry with a hint of mint. It is a little sweeter than original Pimm’s and is just as lovely. Pimm’s is such an iconic part of British summer. That first Pimm’s of the year is such a treat. The gin-based alcoholic drink is topped up with lemonade and the glass is filled with strawberries, cucumber, lemon and fresh sprigs of mint. This version takes two of those flavours and puts them straight into the drink.
My hamper not only had a bottle of spirit, but also two handy pre-mixed cans (I know these well – I’ve taken them on many picnics over the years!), as well as bunting and an insulted bag for the cans so they can stay nice and cold at the beach, camping and enjoying outdoors!
Pimm’s is not only great to drink, but I’ve also used it in desserts! Check out my Cucumber and Lemon Cupcakes with Pimm’s Icing.
Pimm’s is available at most supermarkets and off licenses.
Peppersmith sent me this great box of mints and chewing gum! They’re sweetened with xylitol – something I’ve been hearing more and more about. It sounds a bit scary, but actually xylitol is naturally derived from trees and plants and is scientifically proven to reduce plaque and the risk of decay.
So, chewing the gum and eating these mints actually help your dental health – great stuff. Peppersmith mints and gum not only taste really nice, but they are sugar free and don’t have any nasty aspartame.
I recently saw a documentary on xylitol in Finland and they give xylitol sweets to children daily to prevent tooth decay. It is interesting that this naturally-occuring sweetener that is good for teeth isn’t more widely used in the UK, but now Peppersmith mints are bringing this product to our shores. My kids happily at the mints and it was nice to know that this treat was doing them good.
Peppersmith mints are widely available for about £1.50 a packet. Find out more about Peppersmith.
The people from Vita Coco who make lovely coconut water, sent me their coconut oil to try. I am a massive fan of coconut oil, but I’m not partial to any particular brand. This one is nice and creamy and I’ve found that it hasn’t melted too quickly in the cupboard, even when it was really hot out.This brand is raw, organic, extra virgin and cold pressed. The flavour isn’t too strong so has been fantastic for cooking (pancakes, eggs, stir fries… ).
This package had a little travel-sized pot which is perfect as I use coconut oil for beauty uses as well as cooking. I use it to moisturise, remove makeup and condition my hair, so this pot was a great addition to my (mostly edible!) shelf of products in the bathroom cabinet. Follow Vita Coconut Oil on Twitter.
I was sent this Beets Blu Wireless Body Fat Scale. It uses bluetooth technology to automatically sync to an app on your mobile and analyses weight, body fat, muscle percentage and body mass index. It only took a few minutes to set up and all you have to do is insert the batteries, turn it on and off and download the free Beets Blu Smart Scale app. To use it you just turn bluetooth on your phone and step on the scale. It syncs quickly to the app and tracks your stats over time. The scale looks great and more than one person can use it to track their weight so it’s good for the whole family.
I’m really pleased with it. Up and running in minutes and great quality. Beets BLU Bluetooth Scale with smartphone tracking sells on Amazon for £55.95.
Disclosure: I was sent these products to try, however a positive review was not expected. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for my reviews. This post contains affiliate links.