Posts tagged Leicester Food Bloggers

Winter Degustabox 2014


It’s been a while since I last reviewed a Degustabox, so today I thought I’d share with you my thoughts on the Winter edition.

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The Winter Degustabox, received in November, included eight brands, and fifteen individual items, with a combined value of £20.94.  Each Degustabox costs £12.99, so this one saves you almost £8.00.

Lindt My Melting Moment (RRP £0.65 each)

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Once again I was pleased to see a Lindt Lindor treat in the box, this time in the form of five Melting Moments.  As usual, they taste delicious, are a good size, and have the same smooth and creamy texture that I love from Lindor.  They look great too, with a lovely snowflake shape and pattern.  One thing disappoints me though…  Considering this is a Christmas treat, I would have liked to see Lindor incorporate a festive flavour.  Ginger perhaps, or cinnamon, or even mincemeat!

Kent’s Kitchen BBQ Flavour Shots (RRP £1.85)

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These BBQ Flavour Shots by Kent’s Kitchen are one of my favourite items in the box this month.  The pack consists of four little pots of concentrated seasoning, which just needs to be stirred into meat a minute or two before serving.  I’ve used a couple of these so far, both with Quorn fillets, served them with rice, kidney beans and veg, and they are delicious.  The BBQ seasoning is intense, with a smoky but sweet flavour.  They make for such a quick and easy meal too, which is just what I want after a long day at work.  At £1.85 I’d definitely buy these again, and I’d like to try the other flavours too.

Cool Dawn Recovery Drinks (RRP £1.49 each)

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I’m not much of a drinker, so I haven’t actually tried these Cool Dawn Recovery drinks.  They’re herbal detox drinks which are supposed to prevent and cure hangovers, by drinking one before bed, and one in the morning.  They aren’t carbonated, and contain no stimulant ingredients, and though the citrus and liquorice flavour sounds intriguing, I’m not sure it’s a combination I’d enjoy the morning after a night of drinking!

Montano Cider (RRP £2.79)

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Montano Cider is an Italian cider made from apples grown in the foothills of the dolomites.  Apparently, ‘these orchards are the highest in Europe enjoying fresh mountain air and over 300 days of sunshine each year.  The result is a golden, elegantly sparkling, medium-dry cider with a refreshing, crisp finish’.  Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  I’m not the biggest fan of cider, but this one sounds that little bit more refined, so I may give it a go when the time is right.

Kettle Salsa & Mesquite Chips (RRP £2.19)

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Kettle reintroduced two old favourites as a limited edition over Christmas – Stilton & Port, and Salsa & Mesquite, which is the flavour I received in my box.  This was one of the original Kettle flavours way back in 1988, so it was nice to try a blast from the past.  As you’d expect from Kettle, the chips themselves are thickly cut, pleasantly crunchy, and the flavour is strong.  The salsa flavour shines through, and tastes very authentic, which makes these crisps oddly refreshing, if that’s even possible!

Pip Organic Cloudy Apple Juice (RRP £1.50 each)

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Pip Organic is a family run company based in London, which specialises in organic juices and smoothies.  In my box I received two small bottles of Cloudy Apple juice, which are the perfect size for lunch boxes.  The juice is made from 100% fruit, with no added sugar, water, preservatives or additives, and it shows.  The juice is thick, and has the sweet, sharp flavour that you get when eating an apple – very different to your bog standard supermarket juice.  However, at £1.50 for a small bottle, they seem rather expensive, and I’m not sure I’d pay that myself.

Branston Caramelised Onion Chutney (RRP £1.50)

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I planned on saving this new Branston Caramelised Onion Chutney for Christmas, but I ended up using it for packed lunches instead.  The chutney has a lovely sweetness to it that goes well with a variety of cheeses.  I tried it with a subtle, creamy Double Gloucester, and a strong, sharp Cheddar, and it complimented both.  I have plans for this chutney as I want to use it in tartlets with goats cheese, so check back in the future for a recipe post!

Holy Cow! Curry Sauces (RRP £1.69 each)

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Last but not least I received two Holy Cow! Curry Sauces – a Mughlai Korma, and a Madras Chettinad.  I’m yet to use the Korma, but I tried the Madras and it was incredibly tasty.  The sauce has a tomato base, but it’s the coconut, curry leaves and fenugreek that gives it a unique flavour.  The sauce is very hot, but the combination of the Indian spices with the coconut is out of this world.  It’s really easy to use too – just snip open the packet and pour into the pan with your meat and veg a few minutes before serving!

Overall, the Winter box is another impressive offering from Degustabox.  If you’d like to try Degustabox yourself, you can get £3.00 off your first box using the code ‘XI4CK‘.

Check back soon for my review of the December Degustabox!

Naomi x

PS. You can check out the rest of my Degustabox reviews here.

*This Winter Degustabox was sent to me by Degustabox for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*

Alternative Snacking: Leighton Brown


I love a bag of salty crisps and a big bar of chocolate as much as the next person, but when it comes to snacking I’m always on the look out for something a little bit different, and a little bit healthier, that at the same time is slightly more satisfying than a piece of fruit or veg.  As such, over the last few months I’ve been trying lots of different snacks, and I now have a few new favourites that I’ll be sharing with you over the coming weeks.  All of the snacks are also vegetarian and/or vegan, and ethical – two of my favourite things when it comes to food!

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Today’s recommended snack comes as a nice alternative to your average potato crisps.  Leighton Brown are a British company, run by three friends, who create gourmet vegetable crisps.  They pride themselves on using ethically sourced, natural ingredients, with no additives, and aim to provide high-quality luxury snacks, that are also affordable.  Their range currently only features three flavours – Parsnip & Manuka Honey, Beetroot, Horseradish & Dill, and Sweet Potato, Cheese & Jalapeno – but they have more flavours coming soon, and I can’t wait to see the range grow.

Parsnip & Manuka Honey

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Leighton Brown’s Parsnip & Manuka Honey crisps are made from British grown parsnips which, when combined with manuka honey, give the crisps a pleasant sweetness.  However, the sweetness is balanced with a subtle spice and saltiness, which make these crisps incredibly satisfying and moreish.  The crisps also have a lovely crunch (as do the other two flavours), that isn’t always present in vegetable crisps, which gets an extra thumbs up from me.

Beetroot, Horseradish & Dill

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As you can see, these Beetroot crisps are made from both purple and orange beetroot, which not only looks great but tastes great too, as the flavour of the beetroot is very powerful.  Crisps that don’t have much flavour always disappoint me, but these really get the tastebuds tingling with the warm tang of horseradish and the fresh herbiness of dill.  Perfect for anyone with a savoury tooth.

Sweet Potato, Cheese & Jalapeno

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These Sweet Potato, Cheese & Jalapeno crisps won a Gold Star in the Great Taste Awards in 2013, and I can see (and taste!) why.  I have a soft spot for sweet potato so these were always going to be my favourite, but they’re so much nicer than I even dreamed they could be.  The balance of cheese and jalapeno is just right, so they’re not too cheesy or too hot.  Rather, the flavours mingle to create sweet and savoury perfection with a hint of heat.  I love them!

Leighton Brown vegetable crisps are currently available in 130 delis, bars and coffee shops throughout the UK, so check out their interactive map to find out where to get them near you!  You can also find them in Fenwick Newcastle and Selfridges.

Naomi x

*These Leighton Brown crisps were sent to me by Leighton Brown for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*

Degustabox June 2014


It’s time again for me to review the latest Degustabox!  The June box contained fewer products than usual, with eight brands and only nine individual items (ten if you count the extra freebie), but a couple of them were higher value, bringing the combined total to around £20 – similar to previous months.

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Estrella Damm Lager (RRP Unknown)

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According to the Degustabox leaflet, ‘Estrella Damm is an authentic imported, award-winning premium pale Spanish lager known internationally as the ‘Beer of Barcelona”.  Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of lager, so I’ve given this can to my fiancé to enjoy instead, as I wouldn’t be able to give a fair review of it anyway.  I will have a sip of it however, just to see if by some miracle I actually like this one.  I’ll keep you posted!  Also, I’ve put this down as RRP unknown as the leaflet says the cans cost £4 each, which seems unusually high, especially as you can get 4 bottles for about a fiver in Asda.

Elizabeth Shaw Milk Chocolate Amaretto Flutes (RRP £2.59)

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I loved the dark chocolate cocoa nib version of these that were in the May box, and these are 100 times better!  The milk chocolate is incredibly smooth and creamy, and they have an authentic, and really quite strong flavour of amaretto.  Amaretto is one of my favourite liqueurs, which tastes like almonds or marzipan, but unusually these Flutes contain no nuts or alcohol whatsoever!  These little sticks of luxury would make a fabulous evening treat for yourself, or to share round after a meal.  Sort of like a posh After Eight.

BEAR Alphabites Cereal (RRP £2.69)

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I always look forward to breakfast, and I like to have a variety of options available each morning as I often fancy something different, so these BEAR Alphabites have made a nice little addition to my cereal cupboard.  Unlike a lot of breakfast cereals, these multigrain letters contain ‘no nonsense’, meaning they’re completely free of refined sugar, salt and additives.  Instead, they’re sweetened with coconut blossom nectar, which happens to taste nothing like coconut, and contain wholegrain wheat, oats, corn, rice, and wholegrain barley.  Because I’m so used to eating sugar-packed cereals, these took a bit of getting used to as they don’t taste like a conventional cereal, but once you get past the ‘different’ kind of sweetness, they’re actually really nice.  And healthy too!  They even have my rats’ seal of approval.

Veetee Basmati & Wild Rice (RRP £1.49)

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Degustabox describe Veetee as ‘a deliciously convenient range of microwaveable rice products’, and though I’m not a big fan of microwaveable rice, this was surprisingly decent.  I received the Basmati and Wild Rice, which I served with a Quorn chicken and vegetable korma.  The photo above shows half of the rice, which when served with the curry and a couple of poppadoms is more than enough, so one package can easily serve two.  The rice itself is nice and fluffy, and the wild rice adds a touch of texture and flavour.  Using this kind of rice is especially great when you want a quick meal, as it only takes two minutes to cook in the microwave or wok.  I’d love to try the egg fried and wholegrain brown versions too!

Strawberry Lambrini (RRP £3.29)

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Lambrini Strawberry is one of several new flavours to be added to the Lambrini summer range, and it’s really quite yummy.  My fiancé and I enjoyed this one evening after chilling it in the fridge, and it made for a light, refreshing treat.  The strawberry flavour is quite sweet, but still has an authentic fruity taste, and at only 5% alcohol volume it’s pretty easy to quickly finish the bottle!  This would be perfect served at a barbecue.  Other flavours include cherry, peach, apple and blackcurrant, and rosé, all of which I would like to try.

Be Fast Banana Breakfast Drink (RRP £1.00 each)

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Be Fast is a ‘breakfast on the go’ drink, which is very much like a milkshake, but low in fat and packed full of fibre and protein.  Now, I really don’t think one of these would keep me full until lunchtime, as I seem to get very hungry in the morning, so I’ve been having half a bottle with my breakfast as a bit of extra ‘filler’.  The drink is fairly runny, just a bit thicker than milk, and it has a nice, refreshing banana flavour that isn’t overly sweet.  It would’ve been nice to have two different flavours in the box to try – I bet the chocolate one is fab!

Urban Fruit Pineapple Snack Pack (RRP £1.09)

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I’m currently on a mission to eat more fruit, so this Urban Fruit Pineapple came at the perfect time for me.  The fruit is apparently baked gently to dry it out, and 20g counts as one of your five a day.  That’s great, but the bag contains 35g, so you don’t get two full portions.  An extra 5g would be nice!  I ate half of this bag as a snack whilst at work, and I had the other half on a bowl of overnight oats one morning (read on for my recipe!).  The pineapple has a lovely sweetness to it, and a nice texture – soft and chewy but not too tough, and I’ll definitely be repurchasing.

Dr. Oetker Madagascan Vanilla Grinder (RRP £4.99)

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This Dr Oetker Madagascan Vanilla Grinder is such a simple yet innovative idea, and when I found it in the box I was really excited as I do a lot of baking, and authentic vanilla makes cakes and suchlike taste ten times better!  The grinder is a little bit like a pepper mill, but has two grinding options – coarse or fine.  The vanilla itself has a very strong flavour, and a little goes a long way, so the contents of the mill should last a good while.  I’ve been using this in my overnight oats for breakfast, and overnight the flavour infuses into the milk and it’s delicious.  I will 100% be repurchasing this!

Seeing as the June box has a bit of a breakfast theme, here’s my recipe for tropical overnight oats, using the Dr Oetker Madagascan Vanilla, and the Urban Fruit Pineapple.  These oats are the perfect combination of healthy, filling, and delicious…

Tropical Overnight Oats



1/2 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup semi-skimmed milk

Dr. Oetker Madagascan Vanilla

20g Urban Fruit Pineapple

15g Aldi Tropical Granola


– Before going to bed, combine the oats, milk and vanilla in a bowl, cover, and leave in the fridge overnight.

– In the morning, top with half a bag of Urban Fruit pineapple, and a sprinkle of tropical granola.

– Enjoy!

Again, this is another winning box from Degustabox, and everything in it was delicious.  Will they ever disappoint?  Hopefully not!  Bring on the July box…

If you fancy giving Degustabox a go yourself, you can get a £3 discount by entering code UPOAW at the checkout.  You can also follow Degustabox on Twitter and Facebook for more exclusive offers.

Naomi x

PS. You can check out the rest of my Degustabox reviews here.

*This Degustabox was sent to me by Degustabox for review purposes.  All opinions expressed are honest and my own.*

Overnight Oats


A few weeks ago I spotted a breakfast craze on Instagram of something called overnight oats.  I’d never heard of them before, but they looked delicious and I couldn’t wait to give them a go.  Overnight oats is basically just cold porridge, made overnight in the fridge.  All you do is mix one part rolled oats, with one part liquid, sweeten it with whatever you choose, then leave it in the fridge overnight to do its thing.  The oats absorb the liquid, and in the morning you’re left with plump, moist oats that are ready to eat without any cooking.  You can then top it with whatever you want, and enjoy.  My basic recipe for one person is half a cup of oats mixed with half a cup of semi-skimmed milk, but I’ve seen people use juice and nut milks too.  Also, if you prefer your oats wetter or drier, you can add more or less liquid accordingly.

My favourite thing about overnight oats is how experimental you can get with them.  I’ve had oats almost every day this week, but each bowl has had a different topping, which has stopped me getting bored of my breakfasts.  They’re also really filling, and where I’d usually be feeling hungry by about 10:30am, I’ve been full until lunch, which for me is a big thing!

Here are a few of my favourite toppings so far…

Caramel Banana Crunch


Sweetened with: 1 teaspoon of sugar.

Topped with: Half a large banana, Lotus Caramel Biscuit spread, and granola.

Fruity Yoghurt and Blueberries


Sweetened with: 1 tablespoon of raspberry, cranberry, and blueberry yoghurt.

Topped with: Raspberry, cranberry, and blueberry yoghurt, and a handful of blueberries.

Choco Banana


Sweetened with: 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder.

Topped with: Half a large banana, and milk and white chocolate spread.

Strawberry Coconut Crunch


Sweetened with: Half a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

Topped with: Chopped strawberries, granola, and desiccated coconut.

I have quite a few toppings planned for future overnight oats too, including maple syrup and chopped pecan nuts, apple and cinnamon, and even Oreo biscuits and peanut butter.  Definitely more interesting than Cornflakes!

Have you ever tried overnight oats?  If so, I’d love to hear your recipe ideas!

Naomi x

National Vegetarian Week


This week, Monday 19th May until Sunday 25th May, is National Vegetarian Week.  All around the country individuals, companies, educational establishments, and communities are taking the challenge to go vegetarian, and in the process are having fun discovering new foods, and learning how to adapt their everyday favourites into easy vegetarian alternatives.  As a vegetarian myself, National Vegetarian Week is something that I completely advocate, and I hope some of you will be taking the challenge too!


I stopped eating meat, poultry, and food containing gelatine thirteen years ago when I was eleven years old, and a year later, aged twelve, I stopped eating fish.  The thought of mass animal slaughter sickened me, and I just couldn’t bring myself to support it anymore, so I made the decision to go veggie.  Luckily I didn’t find the transition too difficult, as my mum was very supportive, and to be honest I’d never liked meat anyway, so I didn’t (and still don’t) miss it at all.  In fact, I disliked meat so much that I was a fairly fussy eater as a child, and becoming vegetarian actually broadened my horizons and encouraged me to try new foods, and ultimately improved my health.

Since then I haven’t looked back, and I now spend my days experimenting with new foods and recipe ideas.  I use a lot of Quorn products in my cooking, and will often make traditional meat dishes with Quorn instead of meat, so I never feel like my options are limited.  Halloumi cheese is also an excellent ingredient to use if you want a meaty texture, and is especially great in the summer when grilled or barbecued.  Being vegetarian helps me save money too, as meat alternatives and soya products tend to be cheaper than meat, and you can get quite a few meals out of one packet/bag.  A definite positive when you’re on a tight budget!

As those who follow me on Instagram will know, I post a lot of images of my vegetarian creations, so I thought I’d share a few with you, just in case you’re taking the veggie challenge and want a bit of inspiration.

Veggie MealsAubgergine, Potato and Chickpea Curry (Vegan) / Sunday Roast / Quorn Moussaka / Grilled Halloumi with Mint and Coriander Cous Cous, and Tomato and Chickpea Salad / Courgette, Sundried Tomato and Mozzarella Creamy Pasta Bake / Jerk Quorn Chicken with Rice and Peas / Homemade Tomato, Basil and Olive Pizza with Salad / Christmas Dinner / Tempura Vegetables with Noodles and Sweet Chilli Dip

If you’re interested in getting involved with National Vegetarian Week, you can visit the official website here, where you can find out more, and download useful literature to help with your quest.  You can also check out what local vegetarian events there are in your area.  I’ll personally be visiting one of my favourite vegetarian cafés, who are offering a free dessert with every main course!

Also, keep an eye out later this week for another installment of my Vegetarian Eateries posts!  In the mean time, you can check out Vegetarian Leicester: Lunch, for ideas of where to get a yummy vegetarian lunch in Leicester.

Will you be taking part in National Vegetarian Week?  How are you doing so far?  I’d love to hear your stories!

Naomi x

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