Strawberry and Passion Fruit Wimbledon Cocktail

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The sun is shining and tennis is on TV. It is the wonderful first week of The Championships at Wimbledon.

To celebrate I have been making up some glorious cocktails to enjoy in the sun. I give you the delicious strawberry, passion fruit Wimbledon cocktail. It is refreshing and sweet and had a relaxed alcoholic buzz perfect in the warm weather.

I used Aldi’s Tamova vodka and as it has a slight sweetness to it, it works very well with the fruit. It’s only £9.99 a bottle too which a bargain for such a tasty drink. The vodka is premium vodka is produced from the finest grain and is triple distilled.

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-2 passion fruits

-2 litres of lemonade
-200g strawberries chopped plus a few to serve on the glasses
-small bunch of mint leaves
-400ml vodka (add more to taste) works well with Gin too

-In a large jug pour in the lemonade.
-Add the passion fruit seeds, chopped strawberries and mint.
-Add the vodka and give it a good stir.
-Pop it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
-Serve with ice and enjoy.
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In the jug ready for drinking. It also looks gorgeous in jam jar glasses if you’re outside or on a picnic.

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Summer Apple, Carrot and Walnut Salad

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This is a fabulous salad. It’s fresh, crunchy, juicy and perfect for a warm evening. Plus it’s so easy to make and it will wow your friends and family. I love the addition of fruit in salads and apple has to be my favourite.

-200g mixed salad (a mix of crunchy and soft leaves work well)
-1 carrot
-1 orange pepper
-1 Royal Gala apple
-50g walnuts
-50g baby tomatoes
-Lemon juice

-On a large plate sprinkle out the mixed salad.
-Chop up the tomatoes and pepper. Add to the salad.
-Using a peeler, peel the carrot and keep peeling all the way through to make lovely strips.
-Cut the apple and remove the core. Thinly slice the apple. I used the mandoline to get them beautifully thin. Sprinkle with lemon juice to stop it browning. (The lemon juice on the apple works incredibly well with the salad dressing below.)
-Add the apple to the salad.
-Chop up the walnuts and sprinkle them over the salad.

Salad dressing
-60ml olive oil
-20ml balsamic vinegar
-1 teaspoon of sugar
-half a teaspoon of mild/medium mustard

-Put all the ingredients in the bottle and give it a good shake.

-Have a little taste to see if’s right for you. I like a more vinegary dressing so I usually add a splash more of vinegar.
-Dress the salad and serve straight away. If you have any left over it will last in the fridge for a few days.

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If you are intrigued to try some more fruity yet savory salads here are some of the best from brilliant bloggers-

Pimms Summer Salad by Foodie Quine
Avocado salad with oranges, olives & watercress by Family Friends Food
Fresh Fig Salad with Cured Ham and Mozzarella by Supper in the Suburbs
Recipe: Kale, Chard, Watermelon & Avocado Salad by Fuss Free Flavours
Summer Figs and Mozarella by The Petite Cook
Mango, Pomegranate and Lemon Balm Salad by Rough Measures
Crab salad and Pomegranate with a Japanese Dressing by Nosebag NI

Rice Dream Milk Review

There is a new milk substitute in my fridge at the moment and it is the gorgeous collection of rice drinks from Dream. I was sent the collection to try and all four of them had been devoured within 5 days. I think it shows how much I liked it. I’ve now bought more. I really want to try this in pancakes.

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The flavours available are Original Organic, Original Calcium, Vanilla and a mix of coconut and rice milk. My favourite had to be the original organic and the vanilla. They had such a lovely taste and the consistency is like a slightly runny milk. I really like that it looks like milk. It makes it easy to completely forget that it’s dairy free.

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It tastes pretty good in tea and with cereals but the best use of the vanilla flavour was using it in fruit smoothies. Oh my it works incredibly well! Keeping it really simple and just blending bananas with the vanilla was delicious. I love vanilla and if you do to you must try this.

The mix of coconut and rice milk was so nice too. I made a mini Pina Colada with it. Yes that worked!

The original flavours are good for a milk replacement and even tastes nice in tea!

If you want to make it a little more special add a little Southern Comfort to the Vanilla flavour for a delicious nightcap. Oh wow.

Drink Maple – water review

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It’s time to try a new interesting water which comes from Maple Trees. I do admit I thought it was going to be sugary (thinking of maple syrup) but it’s a nice taste without being sweet.

The water has a distinctive taste which is rather oaty and earthy. It’s very lovely and feels more like a meal that a drink. It’s so unusual but really delicious. It works incredibly well as a base for smoothies especially ones with spinach.

Here are some facts about DrinkMaple;

  • It comes straight from organic maple trees in North America – it’s 100% natural, with nothing added.
  • Each drink has more manganese than a cup of kale and it;s packed full of 46 nutrients (including vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, antioxidants, electrolytes and prebiotics)
  • The water’s unique composition means that it’s great post work out as its natural potassium content is equal to what you’d sweat out in the average hour of exercise. 
  • Swapping your usual spring water for Maple Water means you get a mix of 46 nutrients, including an array of age-fighting antioxidants, essential electrolytes and vital minerals such as Calcium, Iron and Magnesium, with fewer calories than a stick of celery.

The drink is naturally low in calories, contains half the sugar of coconut water with no added sugar or preservatives.  Not only is it gluten free, dairy free, vegan friendly and non GMO, it’s totally harmless to the trees and is completely sustainable.

Maple water is so good, with it’s lovely taste and hydration it is definitely one to try.

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Make sure it’s cool when you drink it. It tastes lovely in the sunshine.

Black Truffle Chicken Wrapped in Parma Ham

 This is a gorgeous special dinner party dinner but it’s so easy to have and enjoy as a quickish meal for a family roast. The chicken takes minutes to prepare and cooks on a medium heat for about 1h30. I served it with roasted baby potatoes, tomatoes, green beans and peppers.

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The black summer truffle pesto is new from Sacla. It is incredibly strong both in smell and taste.
I describe it as a very grown up and posh taste. It goes very very well with chicken and the little pot from Sainsbury’s (£2.30) lasts a lot longer than you think it. I’ve used two thirds of pot and made 6 portions of this dinner.

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 To make the chicken truffle parcels cut a piece of  greaseproof paper and pop two pieces of Parma ham over lapping slightly. Lay the chicken breast over the top. Add one teaspoon of the black summer truffle pesto to the chicken and smear it over. Wrap the pieces of Parma ham over. Fold the greaseproof paper to make a little parcel and pop them on to a baking tray.

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 Wrapped up and ready for the oven.

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 Out of the oven and the parcels work so well to keep the chicken so succulent. The Parma ham holds in the black truffle mix and crisps up slightly so you get a lovely trio of tastes and textures.

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Ingredients – Serves 2

-2 chicken breasts
-2 teaspoons of black summer truffle pesto
-4 slices of Parma ham

-Preheat the oven to 160ºC, 150º fan.
-Place two pieces of Parma ham on a large square of greaseproof paper.
-Lay the chicken breast across the ham.
-Spoon one teaspoon of black summer truffle pesto over each of the chicken breasts and smear to cover the top side.
-Wrap the Parma ham round.
-Fold the greaseproof paper around the chicken and place the parcels on a baking tray.
-Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes.
Serve with a delicious mix of roasted potatoes and vegetables.

 I served the chicken parcels with roasted potatoes and vegetables. Delicious.

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 Parma ham always looks so gorgeous wrapped around the chicken. Here is one chicken breast ready to be folded in greaseproof paper and roasted.

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Suburban Wimbledon Cocktails Review

I’ve tweeted about it often enough but I really love cocktails with friends. I love how fun they are and they are a real treat. My favourite place to go is the Suburban Bar in Wimbledon. It’s a very special small bar full of amazing cocktail makers who know a lot about what they make. They are real artists and all the cocktails are made in front of you – I could sit and watch them making cocktails all day.

Here are a few of my favourite cocktails from my recent visits.

These are two from the new menu (I think) the French75 made of gin, prosecco and lemon juice. It was amazing. It’s a sharp and enjoyable drink full of sparkle. The second is the English Garden cocktail and it really was. It’s like drinking summer in the sunshine. It was gin, cucumber, mint, lime and apple juice. Stunning. I couldn’t recommend it more.

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Cocktail time! 

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This was my friends favourite and I’ve lost count of how many times she’s ordered it. The espresso martini is one I’ve been recommended by all my caffeine mad friends. I’m not the biggest coffee drinker but I can see what they were all talking about. It was very decadent and smooth.

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The raspberry daiquiri I think is my favourite. It sharp but sweet. Refreshingly wet but frozen. Like a really good adult slushy.

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Here you have the simple and delicious mojito. I love a lime filled cocktail and this is delicious.

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The My Drink is so fruity and is definitely one of the freshest fruitiness ones on the menu. The second cocktail is a Pina Colada. It’s a classic for a reason but feels more like pudding to me. You wouldn’t hear me complaining though!

Sew White Suburban Cocktails Wimbledon Review 6Please note all these photos came from many different visits and isn’t from one night out!

Bundt Tin Tomatoes GYO

I have lots of plant pots but sometimes using old cake tins work very well for gardening.

They are large enough to fit a few plants in and if you love baking but hate getting rid of old tins it’s nice to see them repurposed and still in use. I had an old NordicWare bundt tin which sadly lost it’s non stick so it wasn’t very useful for baking. I put it in the garden last year and my plan was to fill it with geraniums and have it as a nice table decoration but summer disappeared before I remembered I wanted to. So the poor tin sat through winter and became a nice home for some spiders until I ran out of plant pots for my little tomato plants. The tomato plants needed to be planted up from little shoots with more room to grow so the huge tin seemed a great place to help them grow up a little before being planted in the ground.

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This is what the tomato plants looked liked in the tin the day I moved them to the proper growing place in the vegetable garden. The pan was brilliant in making the plans easy to move and position for best sun. I didn’t drill holes through the tin so I had to be careful with watering but I think it worked wonderfully. The lip on the cake tin really helped keep snails and slugs off the plants which was a blessing. I hate slugs and snails!

I admit I didn’t move them on early enough and even though the roots are rather large but luckily they weren’t stuck together and were easy to break up into individual plants. As I used the bundt tin the roots moulded to the shape of the tin. You can really see the bundt shape in the picture below. It’s rather beautiful with all the roots.

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I really like using old cake tins for flowers. I need to drill a few holes in the tin for drainage but I will definitely be using this tin again.

I’ve seen other cake tins turned into clocks, tart tins turned into photo frames for the kitchen and so many other creative things. Spray painted tins can become lovely little pots for bits and bobs too. Bread tins can work really well as lovely storage containers for cutlery or napkins for the table. Flat baking trays can be painted with black board paint and made into lovely decorative and usable pieces for the kitchen. I still think using them for flowers is my favourite :)

Eggs Benedict South Wimbledon Review

Eggs Benedict South Wimbledon Review

There is a fabulous little cafe in South Wimbledon called Eggs Benedict and I was lucky enough to be introduced to it by some friends last weekend. The choice for breakfast was interesting and there was lots I wanted to try. As the name was Eggs Benedict and I should have ordered that but I went for the full English. The meal cost £10 for the breakfast plus a drink. The portion size was good and the sausages were delicious. The bacon was cooked well and didn’t have too much fat on. The portion of beans was a bit on the small side but it was nice to have to have scrambled eggs instead of fried. It was a lovely meal and I would recommend a visit if you’re in the area.

Chocolate Ganache, Strawberry and Passion Fruit Tart

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This has been described as the best dessert I have ever made. So it’s pretty good. The mix of chocolate bourbon biscuits as the base, chocolate ganache, strawberries and passion fruit is delicious and you will most definitely want more than one slice. This is a really easy pudding to make. It only takes about 30 minutes altogether and then can sit in the fridge happily for a few hours before serving.

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I love how shiny the ganache is. It looks almost too good to eat.

Ganahce is so easy to make and it works brilliantly well as a filling like this but also as a cupcake and cake filling/topping. It’s all the good things chocolate, double cream and a little butter to make it shine.

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Adding passion fruit is a winner as it gives a gorgeously tart taste which works so well with the sweetness of the strawberries and richness of the chocolate. I’d recommend decorating the tart with the passion fruit when you’re ready to serve.

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Makes a 24cm tart.
If you don’t have a tart tine a loose bottomed cake tin would work well too.

-400g bourbon biscuits
-140g unsalted butter
-200g plain chocolate
-100g milk chocolate
-250ml double cream
-2 teaspoon of unsalted butter
-1 passion fruit

-In a blender or food processor grind up the bourbon biscuits until the resemble bread crumbs. A rolling pin and a sandwich bag is slower but also works well to make crumbs.
-Melt the 140g butter and add to the biscuits and mix together.-Spoon the mix into the tart tin and push down to make the base and into corners to make the case.
-Pop it in to the fridge for 30 minutes while you make the ganache.
-In a pan warm up the double cream until it starts to bubble. Don’t let it boil.
-Add the broken up chocolate pieces to a bowl and add the 2 teaspoons of butter.
-Pour the cream over the top and slowly mix together until everything is melted and mixed together.
-Take the biscuit case out of the fridge and pour the ganache in.
-Stud the ganache with strawberries. I prefer putting the strawberries in whole so you get a good strawberry to chocolate ratio but adding them cut up works well too.
-Pop the dessert back into the fridge and leave for at least 1 hour.
-When ready to serve sprinkle the passion fruit over the top.
-You could serve it with a little extra cream, ice cream or strawberries but it doesn’t really need it.

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Ready to serve and it was so delicious.

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Here are some fabulous summer fruit and chocolate recipes from other brilliant bloggers.

Strawberry Banocolate Muffins by FabFood4All

Slower Cooker Raspberry Brownies by Baking Queen 74

Healthy santa hat brownies from Healthy Hungry Happy
Healthy Hungry Happy

Chocolate Cake Waffles, Lemon Curd and Strawberries by Tin and Thyme
tin and thyme

Chocolate Strawberry Pavolva by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary
elizabeth's kitchen diary

Strawberries and dark chocolate by From the Healthy Heart
from the healthy heart

Getting Summer Started – With Food!

Summer seems to have started and stopped a lot recently and I really wish it would just show up and continue for a while. Luckily even if the weather isn’t brilliant the delicious summer foods have started arriving in the supermarkets and the opportunity to change from hot meals to cooler ones with more salad, veg and fruit is one I rather like.

I have been asked by Sainsbury’s to write about my favourite summer food so this is a blog post dedicated to some of my most favourite food I have to get my summer started. All of these meals are repeated numerous times through the summer. You can never get bored of these delicious things.

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First up is the always winning and glorious combination of home made focaccia with fresh tomatoes and rosemary. I make it in a roasting tin which doubles as a brilliant carrier if you want to take it on a picnic. As much as I love a picnic I do love eating dinner in the garden. Any chance really to sit and enjoy the sunshine while eating tasty things I will take. I love a bit of cured meat especially the freshly sliced pieces you can get at the deli counter. I went for Etruscan pepperoni, peppered salami and saucisson sec. They all have delicious flavours and while the larger sliced ones were stronger they all worked perfectly with a mix of everything else.

You can never go go wrong olives, mixed antipasti, baby mozzarella and tomatoes. All great snacking items which everyone always seems to love. Plus they are always so easy to enjoy at a picnic!

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My super simple apple, carrot and walnut salad is one of my favourite ever salad to enjoy each summer. There is something amazing about fresh apple and long strips of carrots against the crunch of the walnuts in a salad.

Sew White bundt cake maltesers fridge bake

You can never go wrong with a bundt cake or maltesers fridge tray bake (yes those are micro Easter eggs – I had a few bags left form Easter and they work a treat). Both travel pretty well and easy to serve and eat.

Sew White cheesecake strawberries

Cheesecake is also a winner for picnics and summer at my house. It can be made a few hours before or the night before and if kept in a chiller box can last all afternoon at a picnic. It is always a winner with my friends and there is very rarely any left over.

I always make sure I have lots of salad and fruit in the house during the summer so fixing salads together for picnics and puddings is easy. I love fresh strawberries with a little mint and sugar for a summer pudding.

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Focaccia is an incredibly easy bread to make and you only need a few hours notice to get it made and cooked. I love fresh tomatoes and rosemary on mine but olives and chillies also work well.

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I love the frozen satay skewers from Sainsburys but sadly they didn’t have any left when I went shopping. Instead of the frozen version I bought the Taste Original Satay chicken from the cooler section. They were amazing and tasted rather delicious hot and cold. The mini pizza from the Sainsbury’s frozen party food selection are a brilliant thing to have in the freezer and since you don’t need to defrost them before cooking they easy. These are always a winner for parties and picnics with my friends and family. They taste great hot and cold!

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My gorgeous and colourful plate of delicious summer filled food. I love that summer foods are always so colourful. It’s a very happy plate of food.

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The Focaccia before and after cooking. So so good!

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Enjoy summer and all the brilliantly colourful and tasty items you can.