Category Archives: Food

Five brand name bargains from Approved Food

Last week I ordered a giant box of food from Approved Food – the online discount food retailer who sell food near or slightly past their best before date. I bagged some tremendous brand name bargains, spending just £38.32 including delivery on a shop which would have cost me £93.67 in a supermarket, saving me a whopping £55.35!

Approved Food sell short dated food that brands and supermarkets won’t be able to sell in time, so their stock varies from day to day. What you find on their website today might not be available tomorrow, so it pays to be flexible about brand names and what you want to buy. 

Just to give you a flavour of some of the brilliant bargains I discovered on my last Approved Food shop, I’ve picked out five of the best bargains from my latest order (delivered on 23rd June 2017).

Five brand name bargains from Approved Food

1p Box of Maltesers

This was the bargain of the day, Approved Food usually highlight great bargains on their front page and it was impossible not to slip a 1p box of Maltesers into my shopping basket. The usual price for this box would be £2 in your local supermarket, so this was a massive saving and a nice treat for me.

10 Cans of Pepsi Light for £2

I’m a Diet Coke girl, but I do love a bargain. 10 cans of Pepsi Light for £2 was too good a price to pass up. These full sized cans would have cost me £6 anywhere else, but now they’re chilling in my fridge and I’m happy to give my usual brand a swerve to take advantage of this good price.

Seeds of Change Pasta Sauce, 2 for £1.50

I don’t normally buy jars of pasta sauce, but it’s sometimes nice to have a couple in the cupboard for a no fuss meal in a hurry. These Seeds of Change organic tomato and basil pasta sauces should have cost me £3.44, but were available for £1.50 for two. 

Knorr Vegetable Stock Cubes, 2 packs for £1

Stock cubes are a store cupboard essential for me. I cook from scratch a lot and go through packets and packets of stock cubes, so these bargain brand named stock cubes were a no brainer. Two packets for £1 when they should be £1.50 per packet make these a brilliant bargain.

Hellmanns Light Mayonnaise, 2 for £1.50

Mayonnaise is the favoured sauce in our house, so we go through quite a lot of it. We also tend to be a bit brand name fussy when it comes to mayo, so when I spotted Hellmanns Light Mayonnaise (432g) at 2 for £1.50 they went straight in my basket. Full price they would have cost me £3, so that’s a great saving for us.

Birds Instant Custard, 3 for 99p

I always like to have a few packets of instant custard in the cupboard for cake and custard emergencies (or which we have many). These Birds low fat instant custard packets would have cost £2.04 in a supermarket, but we’ve saved £1.05 and we’re stocked up ready for our next dessert emergency.

Five brand name bargains from Approved Food

Every time you shop at Approved Food you find new and different bargains including brand names and supermarket own brands. I’ve been on their website this morning and they’re got lots of new products at incredibly tempting prices. Plus they’ve got discount codes for delivery which makes it very hard to resist placing another order.

What’s the best brand name bargain you’ve had from Approved Food?

Read my review of Approved Food here.

How to slash your shopping bill with Approved Food

I often write reviews and write ups of new products and services on my blog, things we’ve never tried before, but today I want to share with you my experiences with Approved Food, a company we have been shopping with for years.

Approved Food  are a discount online company selling products that are near or just past their best before date. Everything they sell is fit to eat and is really cheap, with most of their products being sold at around 70% less than you’d find them in the shops. I discovered Approved Food several years ago on the Money Saving Expert forums and I’ve been putting in regular orders ever since.

Slashing your shopping bill with Approved Food

When we shop at Approved Food we tend to use it to stock up on store cupboard ingredients and we tend to buy in bulk, because it’s often cheaper that way. Last week they gave me £30 credit to spend in return for this blog post, so I logged into my account and went on a spree. You can get an awful lot of food for £30 at Approved Food.

Like with any shop, it’s best to have a shopping list before you start. They probably won’t have everything you want in stock, but if you have an idea of what you need then that’s a good start. My store cupboard wish list was fairly standard. Pasta, tinned tomatoes, baked beans, some things for quick puddings, kitchen towel, soups, noodles, mayonnaise, sweet chilli sauce and so on. I always make sure I add a sweet treat to my basket, because I know once I’ve unpacked and everything put away I will deserve a little something with my cup of tea.

The Approved Food website is really easy to use, it’s just like any online shop really, and the food is all neatly categorised – baking, breakfast, pasta and noodles etc. Their newest products and biggest bargains are usually highlighted on their homepage. On the day I did my shop you could buy a 120g box of Maltesers for 1p, so I did. 

Because Approved Food stock short dated food that brands and supermarkets won’t be able to sell in time, their stock varies from day to day. So if you’ve bought something one week and loved it, you might not be able to find it again on Approved Food for a little while. You’ll also find lots of your favourite brands and supermarket own brands in stock. You’ll see from my shopping list I’ve got Birds Custard, Branston Baked Beans, Hellmanns Mayonnaise, Knorr stock cubes, Napolina Pasta, Pepsi light, Seeds of Change organic pasta sauce, Whitworths figs and of course my bargain box of Maltesers. 

Slashing your shopping bill with Approved Food

Approved Food often label supermarket own brands they stock as “Perfectly Good Golden Breadcrumbs” for example. When I unpacked the box I’ve discovered they are actually Sainsbury’s own brand breadcrumbs at half the price I paid for them in the shop. Fantastic.

Slashing your shopping bill with Approved Food

I spent £38.32 including delivery and if I’d paid full price for my products in a supermarket it would have cost me £93.67, saving me £55.35.

Delivery was £4.99. I often balk at delivery prices, but this is about what I’d pay to have a supermarket deliver my weekly shop. It is well packed, all the glass jars are wrapped in bubble-wrap and the big box contains several smaller boxes where the products are neatly packed and stacked. My Approved Food shop usually arrives in better condition than my weekly supermarket shop. 

Slashing your shopping bill with Approved Food

If you want to stock up your store cupboard at a fraction of the cost of what you’d spend, even if you normally shop in a discount supermarket like Aldi, Approved Food is well worth a look. Stocking up my pantry on the cheap has got us through some tough financial times over the last seven years or so and as a result I’m very fond of Approved Food and recommend it (both on here and in real life) to anyone who likes saving money and eating well.

Visit the Approved Food website to see what bargains you can find.

I was given £30 credit to spend at Approved Food in return for this blog post. All images and opinions are my own. 

How to slash your shopping bill with Approved Food

Giveaway & Review: New Blue Dragon Frozen Ready Meals

Although I like to cook from scratch as much as I can, there are times when I just want a night off and we treat ourselves to a ready meal. I’ve had some truly dreadful ready meals over the years, but I’ve also had some very good ones. We like to keep a couple of decent ones in the freezer for when I want a night off from the kitchen. We were asked to put the new range of Blue Dragon Frozen Ready Meals to the test, so what did we think?

Giveaway & Review: New Blue Dragon Frozen Ready Meals

My favourite take away is Chinese and I regularly cook Chinese style dishes or a stir fry at home. Blue Dragon is a brand name I recognise and I have several of their sauces and packets of noodles in my cupboard. We were sent the following Blue Dragon frozen ready meals to try out –

  • Chicken Chow Mein with egg noodles
  • Sweet Chilli Chicken with egg noodles
  • Chicken in Black Bean Sauce with egg fried rice
  • Sweet & Sour Chicken with egg fried rice

Giveaway & Review: New Blue Dragon Frozen Ready Meals

The new Blue Dragon frozen ready meals come in colourful packaging with a fairly good representation of what the dish looks like on the cardboard cover. The microwave cooking time for the dishes varies, but it takes less than ten minutes to cook and serve the frozen ready meal. 

The meals are easy to heat up and the chicken is in a separate compartment to the rice or noodles. The noodles stand up slightly better to being frozen and reheated, as the rice was a little on the sticky side. We are very much a noodles instead of household, so that might sway our judgement.

Giveaway & Review: New Blue Dragon Frozen Ready Meals

The sauces appear to be the same Blue Dragon sauces that you’d buy in pouches to make your own meals from scratch, so they tasted quite delicious. There was plenty of sauce in each portion too, they were not skimpy with the sauce. 

My first thought was, if you don’t like chicken you’re out of luck with these meals. Luckily my husband and son love chicken, and each meal had lots of nice chunky pieces of chicken and vegetables in them.

The meals are quite a good size and were enough to fill my two hungry boys after a long day at work and school. The meals were tasty and were popular enough for me to want to buy some more for lazy days. The boys favoured the meals with noodles as the texture of the rice was a bit sticky for their tastes.

A ready meal is never going to compare well with your favourite Chinese takeaway, but these Blue Dragon frozen ready meals are a decent approximation of what you might make at home. It would be nice to see more options than just chicken, it would be even nicer to see some vegetarian meals in this range, so we can all eat something similar together as a family.

Blue Dragon frozen ready meals are currently available for £2 from Tesco. 

Giveaway & Review: New Blue Dragon Frozen Ready Meals

WIN a family feast from blue dragon

To be in with a chance to win four assorted Blue Dragon frozen ready meals, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will be sent four assorted Blue Dragon frozen ready meals.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 16th July 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Your email address may be passed on to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Preview: The International Cheese Awards 2017 + WIN Tickets!

On Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th July this year the good people of Nantwich in Cheshire will be bracing themselves for a celebration of all things dairy (but mainly cheese) as the 120th International Cheese Awards 2017 rolls into town for their annual cheese extravaganza – held in tandem with the Nantwich Agricultural Show.

Preview: The International Cheese Awards 2017 + WIN Tickets!

Tuesday 25th  is Trade and Judging day, but on Wednesday 26th the enormous cheese pavilion is open to the public. Browse and buy cheese direct from the makers, find out more about the dairy industry, sample some of the thousands of cheeses there or spot a famous face and join one of the celebrity chefs in the demo kitchen.

Preview: The International Cheese Awards 2017 + WIN Tickets!

Tickets for the demo kitchen sessions are limited, so if you’re heading off to the show then don’t forget to book before you go. Watch top chefs James Martin, Will Holland, Sean Wilson and Jonathan Harrison demonstrate their skills in the kitchen and learn how impress and delight your guests with some delicious cheese based cookery!

Last year’s International Cheese Awards attracted an amazing 5000 entries, making the International Cheese Awards the biggest and best cheese show in the world. Last year’s Supreme Champion and winner of the Westminster Cup 2016 was Treur Kaas for their aged Jerseyhoeve Schorren, with Waitrose scooping Supreme Retailer for 2016. Which cheese will come out top this year?

Preview: The International Cheese Awards 2017 + WIN Tickets!

The International Cheese Awards is a fantastic day out. The Nantwich Agricultural Show and the International Cheese Awards are a great way to spend a day out with the family at the start of the summer holidays. I go every year, and for the last few years I have been a cheese judge, which is the most fun ever!

For more information about the International Cheese Awards and to buy tickets to the awards and the Nantwich Agricultural Show, visit their website.

Win a family ticket to the International Cheese Awards 2017 & the Nantwich Show

To be in with a chance to win a family ticket (for two adults and two children) to the Nantwich Agricultural Show and the International Cheese Awards 2017 which takes place on 26th July 2017, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will win a family ticket (for two adults and two children) to the Nantwich Agricultural Show and the International Cheese Awards 2017 which takes place on 26th July 2017.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 4th July 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Your email address may be passed on to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Review: Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce

With barbecue season in full swing, I was sent a selection of Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce to sample. I confess that barbecue sauce is one of my favourite condiments and I often have a dollop with my chips, or on a veggie burger. 

I was sent the following sauces to try out:

  • Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce – Smooth Original
  • Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce – Full Flavor Smokey
  • Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Glaze – Smokey Sweet
  • Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Glaze – Tennessee Honey Barbecue Glaze

Review: Jack Daniel’s Barbecue Sauce

The Smooth Original sauce is a good quality standard barbecue sauce. It has the sweet and sour notes which make a good, well-rounded sauce. This is a good store cupboard staple and one you could happily dip your chips in.

The Full Flavor Smokey smells nicely smokey. It’s got a pleasing hit of hickory smoke but it’s not too overpowering. It has a slightly sweeter note than the Smooth Original and will add a smokey barbecue flavour to whatever you pour it on.

The Smokey Sweet barbecue sauce is for barbecue sauce fans who like a sweeter, stickier sauce. For me this is a slightly more American style sauce, but I really enjoyed the sweet, smokey flavour notes in the sauce. 

The Tennessee Honey Barbecue Glaze is delicious. This is made with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey Liqueur and is sweet and smokey with a big hit of salty soy. It’s very well-balanced and really hits the spot for me in terms of a good barbecue sauce. Use it to dip or pour, or you could use it to marinade chicken wings for the barbecue. 

Jack Daniel’s barbecue sauces are available from most major supermarkets. For more information visit their website.

Disclaimer: I was sent the four bottles of barbecue sauce for review purposes. All images and opinions are my own.

 Read my review of Jack Daniel’s hot & spicy barbecue sauces.

Review: Gousto Recipe Kit Boxes

This week we have been trying out the Gousto recipe kit boxes. We were sent a voucher code which got us a two meal box for two people to review. We have had and paid for Gousto boxes in the past, so we knew what to expect. 

When you order your Gousto box, you choose from the meals they have on offer that week. They have a broad range of recipes to choose from, all include nutritional information and have estimated cooking times. I’m a vegetarian and there were several interesting meal kits to choose from. I chose the Lentil Veggie Pie and the Egg Fried Vegetable Cashew Stir Fry. 

You can choose 2 or 4 portion options and they will box up virtually everything you need and deliver it to you. The ingredients they don’t include tend to be standard store cupboard things like salt, pepper and cooking oil. 

Review: Gousto Recipe Kit Boxes

My box arrived in great condition, it was packed with a cool pack and everything was fresh and vibrant. As I unpacked the box I checked everything off against the recipe card included. The recipe card for the stir fry had not been put in the box, so I tweeted Gousto and they sent me the link. Almost everything I needed for the lentil pie was there, save for the lettuce and the cheese. I’d not been able to check if everything for the stir fry was included. I discovered later that I was missing several key ingredients. 

The contents of the box, when stored correctly are good for up to six days. The day after the box arrived I decided to cook the lentil pie. I followed the instructions and put the pie together. I did end up adding some extra seasonings to boost the flavour – specifically mushroom ketchup and some chilli sauce. The box was also missing the cheese and I’d been sent 300g of potatoes and not the 400g specified in the recipe, so I had to use additional spuds. I was a little disappointed at this stage.

Review: Gousto Recipe Kit Boxes

Thankfully the lentil pie was an absolute triumph. It was utterly, utterly delicious. The portion size was more than ample for two people and even stretched to feed my six year old son who thoroughly enjoyed it too. We will be making this again!

 A few days later I wanted to throw a quick dinner together. I opted for the Egg Fried Vegetable Cashew Stir Fry. Using my iPad I looked at the recipe Gousto had sent me online and quickly realised I was missing both the rice and the honey. At this point I got a bit cross, but I had some basmati rice in the cupboard, but no honey which I had to substitute for agave syrup.

The recipe called for “fragrant basmati rice” and I wasn’t sure if the rice they should have sent would have included any flavourings or whatever, so I threw one of my own vegetable stock cubes into the rice as it cooked and hoped for the best. I followed the simple recipe online and produced a tasty stir fry. I very much enjoyed it but felt it needed more protein and next time I would have used two eggs instead of one. Or perhaps induced some tofu.

Review: Gousto Recipe Kit Boxes

It was a good stir fry and I enjoyed the crunchy cashews on the top. If I were to make it again I would change a few little things, more egg, some tofu, fractionally less chilli heat.

All in all I think I got a bit of a dud box. I was disappointed that so many key ingredients were missing. If I’d had the recipe card when I’d received the box I could have checked, but I’d trusted that everything I’d need, everything that was key to the recipe would be included and it wasn’t. I’d be pretty disappointed if I’d paid full price for the box and found so many things missing.

One other thing to note is that side dishes aren’t included. The lentil pie was just the pie. Any extra vegetables or accompaniments you might want on the side you will need to provide yourself. 

We have had Gousto boxes in the past. Last year my husband really wanted to cook some nice interesting meals for us. He tried a Gousto box for about six weeks and we really enjoyed trying new things and being a bit more creative with our meals at home. This is why this time I think I got a dud box, we’ve always been happy before.

Review: Gousto Recipe Kit Boxes

A Gousto box costs from £27.49 with free delivery. The cheapest box is for two meals for two people. It is not an inexpensive way to eat. But it is the kind of thing I would order if I was in a cooking rut and needed some inspiration, or if I were going on a self catering holiday and wanted some nice meals for a few days. It’s not something we can justify on a weekly basis, for us a Gousto box would be a treat.

Despite my disappointment with my last Gousto box, I would say that we almost certainly will order them again in the future. Like I said, falling into a cooking rut is a regular thing. I often cook the same family meals over and over until we are all bored stiff of them. A Gousto box is a great way to liven up your meal times. But you do really need to double check that they’ve sent everything they should have.

Grab a £20 discount on each of your 1st and 2nd Gousto orders, on any sized box, meaning the 1st & 2nd boxes could cost £7.49 each. The discount code to use is TORNADO. You can find out which meals are available this week on the Gousto website. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I was sent a voucher code to purchase a Gousto box, all images and opinions are our own. We were not been compensated for this blog post.

Three Meat-Free Monday ideas from Goodlife Foods

As the head chef in our house, it falls to me to put dinner on the table most nights. I’m a vegetarian, but the boys aren’t and I like to have a balance of meals through the week which suit us all. Maybe three nights a week they get something meaty and the rest of the time they will happily tuck into something we can all eat. I’m always on the lookout for meat-free Monday ideas to keep things interesting for us all.

This week we’ve been trying out some of the vegetarian meals from Goodlife Foods and in the process discovered some great Meat-Free Monday ideas.

Meat Free Monday ideas from Goodlife Foods

We loved this wholemeal pita stuffed with lovely crunchy salad and chickpea falafel with a side of slaw. These Moroccan style chickpea falafel from Goodlife are packed with spices and are just 39 calories each; making them perfect for a light meal. I always think falafel are really versatile, my freezer is rarely without a packet.

Meat Free Monday ideas from Goodlife Foods

Another favourite from the range was this Mushroom and Spinach Kiev. The Kiev is packed with mushrooms and spinach which hides an oozing creamy garlic and cheese sauce, and is coated in a crunchy seeded breadcrumbs. Although it’s not a stunner on the plate, it is absolutely delicious and just garlicky and cheesy enough. Served with some of our favourite veg – sweet potato mash, French beans and chantenay carrots, this was a cracking meal we could feel virtuous about. Each Kiev is 290 calories, so this was a good meal we didn’t need to feel bad about.

Meat Free Monday ideas from Goodlife Foods

My own personal favourite was the French Bean and Spinach sausages. They are so flavoursome, even my pork sausage loving boy tucked into them and demanded seconds. The sausages are filled with French beans, petit pois, fresh spinach, a pinch of nutmeg and a mild crumbly Wensleydale cheese. 

They are incredibly versatile. I served them with buttery mashed potato, French beans, garden peas and veggie gravy. They’d be fantastic in a wrap or sandwich, or thrown in with some creamy pesto pasta and they’re only 86 calories per sausage. They have lots of other sausage flavours too, I need to track down their beetroot and feta for a start!

Three Meat Free Monday ideas from Goodlife Foods

Goodlife Foods have been creating vegetarian sausages, vegan burgers, vegetable based kievs and falafels in the UK for over 25 years. They work with framers across the UK to sow, grow and harvest the best vegetables at their peak, so they know that their veg is fresh and tasty.

Whether you’re having a Meat-Free Monday, feeling flexitarian or you’re committed to a full-time vegetarian diet, Goodlife have a really interesting and tasty selection of frozen foods to help you mix things up and create great family meals.

Three Meat-Free Monday ideas from Goodlife Foods

I’ve been buying Goodlife products whenever I’ve seen them for years. You can find them in the freezer section in Booths, Waitrose, Ocado and Iceland, amongst other places. I’ve tended to keep them just for me; but now I’ve seen my boys tuck into them with gusto, I guess I’m buying them for the whole family now. It’s lovely to see such dedicated carnivores tucking into a very obviously veggie sausage and asking for more!

You can find out more about Goodlife Foods including finding your local stockist and their full range on their website.

Note: I was sent these products for review purposes, all images and opinions are my own.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

This week I’ve noticed a hint of spring in the air. The evenings are much lighter, the trees are starting to get blousy with blossom and everything just feels a bit hopeful. With a spring in my step, I met my friend Bob for lunch at Jamie’s Italian Manchester. He’s moved away, so we don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like, so we were ready for a proper catch up.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

We arrived at Jamie’s Italian Manchester, a huge grade II listed building on King Street in the city centre. Inside it’s imposing and grand, with dark wood and marble everywhere. It’s a beauty.

We were shown to our table and we checked out the Super Lunch menu. Since I was last in the menu has had an update to keep pace with the changing seasons. The super lunch menu is a hearty mixture of winter warmers and vibrant spring flavours. It’s keenly priced at £12.95 for two courses, or three courses for £14.95. It is available 12-6pm from Monday-Friday.

To start I plumped for the Tomato Bruschetta made with slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, buffalo ricotta, basil and extra virgin olive oil. I’m a sucker for ricotta, so this was a deliciously light start to the meal. My only tiny quibble was that the tomatoes still had some fresh from the fridge chill to them, I’d prefer them closer to room temperature, but that’s me being very fussy.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

Bob opted for the Fritto Misto, crispy fried sustainable fish & squid tossed in fennel-spiced flour with garlic and lemon aioli. This was a hit, the aioli was perfectly garlicky and the delicate fish well cooked. There wasn’t quite enough squid for his liking, but the plentiful helping of chunky fish made up for that. This is a dish he would order again.

Moving on to the mains, there were only two veggie options and only one I was able to eat, so that’s what I had, the Classic Super Food Salad, a combination of avocado, roasted beetroot, mixed pulses & grains, sprouting broccoli, pomegranate and spicy seeds with harissa dressing & cottage cheese. To say it was delicious is an understatement, every fork full was bursting with flavour, I couldn’t fault it and despite my initial hesitation over ordering this, I would do again in a heartbeat.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

Bob plumped for the Italian Steak and Fries, marinated skirt steak, flash grilled & served with garlic butter, aged Parmesan, slaw and fries. This had a £3 supplement. The skirt steak was heavily topped with garlic butter with one side seared on the grill, Bob thought it was a good steak, though not the best he’d had. However, the skinny fries were perfect, crispy without being overcooked and a good portion size. I snaffled a few and they were good.

I was stuffed after my salad, but we were determined to do the new menu justice, so pudding was ordered. Choosing the light option, I ordered the Blood Orange Sorbet, which was topped with fresh mint and lime zest. It’s not listed as suitable for vegetarians on the Super Lunch Menu, but I checked and it definitely is. The sorbet was so good, it was just about perfect and the flavours in the citrusy sorbet were enhanced by the mint and lime, and it was only 72 calories too.

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

Bob still had some room, so he ordered the Epic Chocolate Brownie with chocolate sauce, salted caramel ice cream and caramelised popcorn. It looked spectacular, he kindly let me try a corner. I’m not usually a fan of brownies, but it had a lovely crispy top and it was a very, very good brownie. I loved the ice cream, but the popcorn was the winner for me. It was a fine end to our lunch.

We had both had a cocktail, soft drinks, a three course lunch and coffee and our lunch time treat came in at a few pence over £56. We both felt it was really good value for what we’d had. I’ve had lunch at Jamie’s Italian Manchester with friends a few times now, and never been disappointed and always impressed with the value and service. 

Review: The Super Lunch Menu at Jamie’s Italian Manchester

You can find out more about Jamie’s Italian Manchester and the Super Lunch Menu on the website.

We were invited guests of Jamie’s Italian Manchester. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: Real Handful Snacks

Being the mother of a boy I sometimes struggle to fill his hollow legs. He’s hungry, always hungry, but he runs around like a dervish so he burns it off in double quick time. I’ve learnt to always keep a snack on my person for when he gets hungry. He likes dried fruit, so when I was asked to try Real Handful snacks I knew we would enjoy putting them to the test.

Review: Real Handful Snacks

Real Handful are little 40g packets of dried fruit with nuts and little bits of chocolate mixed in. They feel like a bit of a naughty treat, but are quite healthy and are just the right size to keep a small boy going until teatime. Each of the 40g packets of Real Handful contains around 160-200 calories per packet and are full of good things such as fibre, protein and good fats, as well as being one of your five (or is it ten) a day!

Review: Real Handful Snacks

There are six kinds Real Handful snacks available – 

  • Blood Orange & Dark Chocolate – blood orange flavoured sultanas, orange flavoured cranberries, dark chocolate and peanuts.
  • G0-Go-Goji Berries – a blend of nuts, raisins and seeds with goji berries and dark chocolate.
  • Blueberry Blitz – blueberries, blueberry flavoured raisins, jumbo flame raisins and whole cashews.
  • Strawberries & Cream – strawberry flavoured raisins, strawberries, cranberries, white chocolate and cashews.
  • Mixed Berry Crush – blueberry flavoured yoghurt covered raisins, strawberry, cranberries and whole almonds.
  • Mochacchino – a rich blend of coffee sultanas, cranberries, whole cashew nuts, dark chocolate coffee beans and coffee flavour chocolate drops.

We couldn’t get enough of these Real handful snacks, admittedly my son kindly donated the nuts to me and his dad, but the dried fruit and chocolate were a real hit. I loved the Mochacchino flavour, with its chocolate covered coffee beans. I really enjoyed the mix of fruit and nuts with a smattering of chocolate, these would be great with a mid-afternoon brew to keep me going until teatime, they really are quite filling.

Review: Real Handful Snacks

These are the perfect size to slip into your bag if you’re going out and about, or to keep in your desk drawer for when hunger strikes and are great if you’re wanting to snack a little healthier. 

You can buy Real Handful from Holland & Barrett, Ocado, Booths and Boots. Prices start from £1.29. Visit their website for more information.

Review: Real Handful Snacks

 

I was sent these Real Handful snacks for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

One of the best parts of a night or two away in a hotel is the breakfast. At home I rarely eat breakfast and if I do it’s usually just toast or cereal. A hotel breakfast is a real treat, and like most people I like a big breakfast to set me up for a day of shopping, sightseeing or adventure. This week we were invited to the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club to try out their award-winning breakfast.

In November 2016 the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club was voted as having the best breakfast in the North West by Trivago. We were invited down to put their breakfast to the test. It was a great excuse for a proper family breakfast to see us right for a wintery walk later that day.

Breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

Breakfast is served at the Grill in the Park from 6:30am -11am on weekdays, or 7am – 11am on weekends. Hotel residents can add for £10 upon check in for breakfast. For those not staying overnight, breakfast is available at £16 for the buffet and £12 for continental.

Breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

Breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club includes a selection of continental meats, cheeses and smoked salmon; fresh fruit and yogurts; muffins and pastries; cereals, toast and hot cooked breakfasts with a choice of freshly cooked eggs, local sausages, bacon and all the trimmings. They also have a chef on hand to whip up a fresh omelette for you and freshly made waffles, more of which later.

The Grill in the Park is a comfortable but stylish setting for breakfast, and on Saturday morning it was busy with families and couples having breakfast with plans to visit the nearly Trafford Centre, or Legoland, or like us got for a long walk in the country. 

Breakfast is self service, though a friendly waitress offered us tea and coffee and the small boy had a hot chocolate. The service was efficient, with waitresses clearing plates away and generally being very helpful. I chatted to the chef whilst he cooked my omelette and he and the waiting staff were great to chat to if you needed some advice about things to do locally.

Breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

Breakfast began with a selection of juices and fruit. Hubs went for a very lovely looking porridge with jam and bananas.

Breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

The small boy loves fruit, so he had a big bowl of his favorites with some yoghurt. They also had a good selection of cheeses, meats and smoked salmon; as well as bread, muffins and pastries for those wanting a continental breakfast.

Breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

I’d heard that the omelettes were excellent. They’re one of my favourite things, so I had to give them a try. There were about 8 different fillings to choose from, but I opted for cheese and tomato – all freshly cooked in front of me. When I got back to the table there was such omelette envy, we had to go back and get another for the boy.

Breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

My husband opted for the more traditional fry up. He particularly enjoyed the sausages and the poached egg. I had a slice of fried bread with baked beans – a rare treat. It was so delicious I was sad to finish it. The small boy, true to form opted for a side of sausages to go with his omelette. He said they were the best sausages ever!

Breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

A special mention must go to the freshly cooked waffles. I love waffles but I rarely eat them. I’m so glad I insisted we share a waffle and maple syrup (for breakfast dessert). It was the lightest, airiest waffle I’ve ever eaten. It was a joy. If you go to the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club for breakfast, you must try the omelettes and the waffles.

Breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

We’d eaten and eaten well. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we all felt that the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club had nailed it. It was very, very good, with lots of choice and everything was well made and well cooked. 

I can see why the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club won best breakfast in the North West. If I was staying in the hotel I wouldn’t hesitate to book myself in for breakfast, but it is the kind of place we’d pop in to fuel up for the day if we were passing on our way to another adventure. Delicious.

For more information about breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club, visit their website.

Breakfast at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club

We were invited guests of the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club and our breakfast was complimentary. All images and opinions are our own.