The best food and drink for Christmas

Christmas is less than a month away and to celebrate the festive season I’m sharing my favourite food, drink and gifts in this huge bumper post. I love Christmas and in my house Christmas is the time when we try new foods and enjoy all the yummier items which are bought out for the festive time. I think Christmas and spending time with family and friends is a brilliant excuse to push the boat out a little and buy, and make, luxury items. And by luxury I don’t mean expensive, I mean luxurious in taste. There are lots of great products available which do not cost the earth but taste like they should.

Here are my favourite things for the festive season;

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 1 mackays jam

First up here are the gorgeous Christmas jam and marmalade from Mackays. The jam is gorgeous for breakfast and would be lovely to have on the Christmas day table. The marmalade is very special too and completely addictive. They are exclusive to the Mackays website but at an amazing price of £1.50 (jam) and £1.40 (marmalade) it’s worth ordering some quickly. It’s so tasty I’m sure they will sell out soon. It also works incredibly well as the filling for a cake!

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 2 Hope and Greenwood Sweets

For a sweet treat the gorgeous bags of sweets from Hope and Greenwood tick the box. They have fabulous and unusual flavours but of course are entirely addictive! The cranberry and orange jigger sweets are my favourite but for the more adventurous sweet fan the chilli and ginger sweets are rather fun. Their packaging too is so cute it would make a wonderful present for friends and family but also a nice present for yourself. I love Hope and Greenwood as I used to visit their shop a lot when I was little and have some lovely memories of going there and the yummy things I bought with my pocked money.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 3 Tate coffee

As you know I love my tea but of course I know there are people equally addicted to their coffee. As I like a Christmas spin on my food this Christmas coffee from Tate really hits the delicious spot. Their Christmas blend features flavours of chocolate, nuts and red fruits. I know it sounds weird to have those with coffee but it really works. The coffee of course is the strongest flavour but the hints of Christmas peek through and are very pleasing. Plus at £5.50 a bag it is an affordable drink and I’ve ordered some for my coffee loving relatives.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 4 party food Victoria eggs

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a party and the frozen party food from Sainsbury’s is fantastic. I bought mountains of the Sainsbruy’s frozen party food for my mum and dad’s wedding anniversary party in June and everyone loved it and no one believed it was from the supermarket. I love that it goes in the freezer and cooks from frozen. There is a huge range and I would really recommend the spring rolls and the satay skewers. Plus they are doing a fab offer of 3 packs of food for £5. Tasty and affordable. As well as chicken and spring rolls they also have Indian style bites, burgers, chocolates, puddings and vegetarian options too.

For a foodie present I’d recommend this gorgeous Christmas air-fix apron from Victoria Eggs. It is so adorable and the design is so cute. Plus the cotton fabric is incredibly thick perfect for keeping my clothes clean. I’m such a messy baker! I’ve noticed I’m being more cautious while baking as I don’t want to get anything on this pretty apron. Expect to see this a lot in the run up to Christmas.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 5 Figgys Chistmas pud

What is Christmas with the pudding! I love Christmas pudding and come from a family of addictive Christmas pudding eaters. We would it all year if we could! This gorgeous pudding from Figgy’s is a treat. They have won loads of awards and with one taste you can see why.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 6 Figgys Chistmas pud

I’m sure that steaming puddings on Christmas day might seem a bit long winded but the difference in taste from a steamed pudding to microwaved one is noticable. Steaming isn’t hard you just have to keep an eye on it to make sure it’s not boiling dry but you can get on and do other bits and bobs while it steams. Plus steaming makes the house smell amazing! This pudding was delicious and getting to enjoy it a month early was pleasure.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 7 mulled wine

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without mulled wine and this year I’m in love with the PG tips version of mulled wine. It’s brilliantly warming, tasty and easy to make plus it’s non alcoholic. I’ll put the recipe up this week. For a more tipsy making mulled wine I would really recommend the Sainsbury’s own brand bottle. Both work so well with warmed up with lots of fruit. Mulled wine and a panettone is a gorgeous Christmas treat.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 8 nuts

I don’t know why but nuts are always so popular at Christmas but it’s a tradition I’m happy to take part of. This gorgeous collection comes from the foodie website at the moment Yumbles. It’s a great website filled with makers and bakers who sell their edible products online and ready to order. This jar comes from The Nutty Lady seller at Yumbles and is made up of a mix of sweet and spicy almonds, walnuts and pecans. The chilli is certainly there as is the gorgeous caramel taste. I’m nutty about this mix.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 9 tea

I love tea and cinnamon tea is my Christmas favourite. Higher Living, Tea Pigs and Whittard all have gorgeous Christmas cinnamon tea flavours which are just incredible. If you like tea and cinnamon you are in luck. The apple and cinnamon tastes like what Christmas candles smell like. The gorgeous Christmas mug is from The Caravan Trail and takes such a huge portion of tea and the mug stays warm for a long time too. Delicious tea in a huge mug. Life is good.

  Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 10 entwine gift

I have a lot of posh wine and cheese family who love a good bottle red and a cheese platter. The company Entwine have bought out these fabulous gift boxes full of these two delicious things to make the perfect gift. The wine is beautiful and the cheese delicious. The bottle and cheese arrived in a fabulous carboard box which was printed to look like a wooden box. I loved that detail! It is a made to look and contain quality items which would work as a fabulous gift.
Plus there is 15% off all their boxes online this Christmas!

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 11 funkin cocktails

I love cocktails and will take any excuse to have one. Funkin cocktail mixers are a fabulous find for cocktail loves like myself. I’ve tried making cocktails but they’ve never been as amazing as ones made at cocktails bars. This brilliant mixer made incredible cocktails and it was so simple. Along with the mixer we added some lemonade and a measure of gin. Wow! They were amazing. Funkin have a good range of mixers and I’m looking forward to trying more.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 12 totally fudged

Fudge is a special treat for me and having now tried the artisan fudge by Totally Fudged I am now a lot more addicted. This gorgeous fudge is a handmade masterpiece. It tastes so good and if you love fudge you have to order some. I’ve already got my next order sorted.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 13 caravan trail

Keep warm with a cup of tea and in this huge mug from The Caravan Trail. I love the design and everyone who has seen it has loved it too. I love a big mug of tea and with this I certainly get it.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 14 whittard set

Whittard’s do make lovely gifts and these containers of tea, coffee and hot chocolates and brilliant to giveaway this Christmas. They are also very nice to enjoy for your self too. The Christmas tea is delicious and smells incredibly tempting.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 15 frozen puddings

Like I said earlier in the post I really like how easy frozen food is for parties. These gorgeous little cakes are all frozen and left to defrost and then served. There are little chocolate brownies from Sainsbury’s and chocolate cheesecakes from Marks and Spencer. These were a treat. The brownies can we heated in the microwave too, to make them warm and gooey to enjoy. I loved these a lot. I would suggest that if you get them to take them out of the packaging before they defrost too much. When they go soft they are so hard to release but frozen easy peasy.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 16 sweet treats

This plate of sweet treats is a wonderful collection of tasty items and makes a wonderful centre piece. The incredibly wonderful cake pops are made by Definitely Cake and are edible works of art. They are so detailed it seems almost criminal to eat them. I love the penguin and cheeky fox. On the plates we have the gorgeous cranberry and orange jigger sweets from Hope and Greenwood, fudge from Totally Fudged, the World War I chocolate bar from Sainsbury’s and mini Christmas pudding carrot cakes from M&S. This is a wonderful selection of treats and one that will be recreated a few times in the run up to Christmas.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 17 chocolate at home

A fabulous Christmas present for foodies this year has to be the brand new chocolate kits from Chocolate at Home. There is a wonderful collection available and they have kits for children and big bakers too. The kit has everything in it you will need and very easy to follow instructions. Check back on my blog soon for a review of these in full.

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 18 Hope and Greenwood

Back to the Hope and Greenwood again for this very cute Princess Shake sweet container. This is a gift that I would love to receive and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I love sweets!

Sew White Christmas 2014 food and drink 19 mince pies christmas eve

Last but not least Christmas needs mince pies and these from M&S have to be my favourite this year. Served with a cup of tea or glass of milk a mince pie is a very magic part of Christmas. Remember to leave one out for Father Christmas x

Where to shop;

Mackays jam and marmalade  www.shop.mackays.com
The Caravan Trail www.thecaravantrail.com
Hope and Greenwood www.hopeandgreenwood.co.uk
Tate Shop www.shop.tate.org.uk
Sainsbury’s www.sainsburys.co.uk
Victoria Eggs www.victoriaeggs.co.uk
Figgy’s www.figgys.co.uk
Yumbles www.yumbles.com/nutty-lady
Higher Living Tea www.higherlivingherbs.com
Teapigs www.teapigs.co.uk
Whittard www.whittard.co.uk
Entwine www.entwinegifts.com

Funkin Cocktails www.funkincocktails.co.uk
Totally Fudged www.totallyfudged.co.uk
Marks and Spencers www.marksandspencer.com
Definitely Cake www.definitelycake.com
Chocolate at Home www.chocolateathome.co.uk

Some of these items I was given or lent to review and others I bought. All opinions are my own. I only feature items I really love and have tried :)

Paddington Bear, His Suitcase and Marmalade Sandwiches

Blue wellies, a brown suitcase and marmalade sandwiches are all the incredible icons of one famous bear.

paddington bear 2014 film poster

Paddington Bear is back and staring in his own feature length film. Find out more here www.paddington.com . I have to admit I was a bit excited when I saw a new Paddington Bear film was coming out. I loved Paddington Bear as a child and even had my own P.B bear I used to cuddle up with. I have no idea where that teddy is now sadly. I really enjoyed the trailer for the new Paddington film and I can’t wait to see it when it’s released at the cinema this week.

Padding Bear film Sew White Robertson's Golden Shred Marmalade 1

To celebrate the release of the film I was incredibly lucky to receive a little Paddington suitcase of my own. As soon as the postman gave it to me I fell in love and my inner and outer child was very happy. Like Paddington I have blue wellies except mine have gorgeous white polka dots on so I had to photograph them with the suitcase.

Padding Bear film Sew White Robertson's Golden Shred Marmalade 2

Inside the gorgeous little suitcase was a Paddington Book, Paddington Bear toy, pin and the famous heritage brand Golden Shred marmalade. How cute! A wonderful gift and I am one very happy girl right now.

What did I do when I had the suitcase? I of course went for a little picnic in the garden of marmalade sandwiches like I did as a child but this time using the suitcase as a lunch box.

Padding Bear film Sew White Robertson's Golden Shred Marmalade 3

Thank you Paddington Bear for sending me your suitcase filled with marmalade to look after.

A November Country Walk..

… on Wimbledon common which is pretty much countryside I’m sure!

Sew White winter walk hip flask 1

It’s a lovely time of year to go for a country walk to see some gorgeous trees, blue skies and changing leaves. To take a little warmth for us I took this gorgeous hip flask. It is an unusual gift for a girl but one I think a lot of girls would rather like. I didn’t know if I would but I really do. It’s small and easily slipped into a bag. I put a little Jack Daniels Honey in this and it was lovely. Walking around Wimbledon common I got warm but also chilly round the edges and a few small mouthfuls really made the walk warmer and a little more fun. Plus lovely for a sore throat! I can see myself using this a lot when summer comes for cocktails and drinks at picnics. Expect to see this in more blog posts coming up.

I really like that the hip flask is girly and unusual and I would recommend it as a gift.
There are lots of lovely hip flasks available from www.buyahipflask.com including this one.

To be honest I am rather tempted to fill it with tea to see what happens – you all know about my tea addiction so this can’t come as a shock.

Sew White winter walk hip flask 2

I collected some gorgeous fallen red, orange and yellow leaves to use as a autumn arrangement on the dining table.

I also have these gorgeous new wellies I loved getting muddy in. Finally nice wellies which are comfortable and warm.

What a gorgeous way to spend a Sunday.

I was sent the hip flask to review. All opinions and comments are my own

Be Cycling Safe This Winter

I love cycling but with the joys of it getting dark so early and all this rain we’ve been having it’s important to stay safe. Helmets are a must, high visibility vests are important as are lights. I am always told by my dad be as visible as you can and always be careful. Good advice. High visibility tops are very stylish as we all know (not) but they are there to make sure you are seen.

LV= have bought out some lovely cycling graphics for winter which I thought I’d share. Cycle and be safe!

Cycling is good way to stay fit and get to where you need to be. Plus it’s nice in winter as it makes you toasty warm.

Lv+ cycling 1

I wish I had the ability to cycle with a hot drink! Note to self; I need to buy some waterproof trousers.

Lv+ cycling 2

Lv+ cycling 3

I know it’s mostly common sense things but it’s good to be reminded of things.

Happy cycling.

Two Mexican inspired dinners using Knorr and Quark

I love Mexican food and making my own which tastes authentic with a good spicy tastes what I’m always thriving to get. I’ve tried two different recipes this week. One using Knorr Mexican flavour pot and Quark cream mixed with spices.

Both were delicious to eat but one certainly won in the family tasting game.

First up the Knorr Mexican Flavour pot. I mixed 1 flavour pot with a few glugs of oil to make a paste and coated the chicken in it. I left it for 30 minutes and that was enough to give a really good taste. As it wasn’t too much of a wet sauce the flavour dried on to the chicken as it cooked and I didn’t need to add any more oil to the pan as it was in the mix.

Sew White Knorr mexican cube review tortillas 1

I cooked it with a loosely chopped red onion and yellow pepper. The Knorr flavour pot worked incredibly well and gave the chicken a lovely flavour. It was very easy to make and I would certainly make this again.

Sew White Knorr mexican cube review tortillas 2

Served on a wholemeal tortilla with fresh salad and chopped chilli (I love spicy chillies). It was a lovely meal and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. We all wished I’d cooked a bit more chicken so we could have had one more.

Sew White Knorr mexican cube review tortillas 3

I also tried a Quark take on Mexican chicken and it had a nice but different result to the Knorr flavour pot.
Here is the recipe from The Lake District Dairy Co and the Fabulous Baker Boys www.lakedistrictquark.co.uk/hot-and-spicy-quark-chicken . Check out all the other recipes that you can use this fabulous low fat cream cheese with. Warning you will be hungry!

If you haven’t heard of Quark it is the new wonder ingredient for baking and cooking. It’s a soft cheese high in protein, naturally fat free and low in salt and sugar. Yummy soft cheese but not as much of the bad things. I think that means we can eat more of it. wink wink.

Sew White Quark mexican review tortillas 1

Sadly although the flavours were really nice the heat of the pan caused the quark to curdle. Apart from the weird new texture it did work but it was a far less spicy and flavour filled Mexican for my liking. Having said that though my family who don’t like spicy food said it was delicious. I’m going to give it another go and hopefully it will work a bit better. Taste wise fine just a little weird looking but wrapped up in the wrap and filled with salad too it’s hardly noticable. If you try the recipe and like things a bit spicier add some fresh chopped chilli to the marinade or some dried chilli flakes.

Sew White Quark mexican review tortillas 2

Quark I’ve found has worked really well every other time I’ve used and I’m sure it was just a fluke. Next time I’m using the Quark to make cheesecakes. Apparently it works very very well for sweeter things. Look out for it being used for some Christmas recipes coming up soon.

Next up is to remember to make some rice to add to the tortillas next time. I love spicy rice!

The best Indian food in Wimbledon

I am very lucky to live in a fabulous area for Indian food. Two brilliant Indian restaurants in Wimbledon have just won awards at the English Curry Awards. I can certainly confirm these two companies do make amazing curry. I would eat at both of these a lot more if I could.

The fabulous takeaway K2 won Takeaway of the Year.

K2_logo_WL-01-e1414508095944

I’ve ordered take away from K2 a few times now and the food is always superior to anything else I’ve ever had from a takeaway. Even if I don’t think I’m very hungry as soon as I smell it I am very hungry and there has never been even a little left over.The sauces are always rich and full of identifiable vegetables (I’ve had veg curries from some places where I couldn’t tell what veg was in it).

My favourite things to order from K2 are chicken madras, vegetable curry and sag aloo. They also make incredibly good poppadoms and naan bread. I am really hungry writing about this food. The dishes are brilliantly priced and it’s easy to sneak an extra side dish on the order.

There is no other Indian takeaway for this family anymore. K2 is wonderful and I would recommend it a lot. I’ve order so many dinners from K2 already and they’ll soon be very regular deliveries come to my house.

Indian foodNot the best photo but trying to stop people eating this food is nearly impossible!

——

For an evening out the Khanage restaurant on Wimbledon Broadway is a good place to go.

The delicious Khanage won New Restaurant of the Year.

khanage-logo

Quality food and worth the little more bit more money per dish. The restaurant is lovely and the staff is brilliant for helping decide. They know their dishes and what compliments them. Khanage is the place I would pick for a posher dinner or out for a treat.

The smell of the dishes was overwhelming. Make sure you go hungry as you will eat everything. Plus they make amazing Naan bread!
The dishes are displayed and brought to the table in beautiful dishes which keep the food warm. There is a lot of detail in the whole restaurant and the food. It all works very well together and is a relaxing place to enjoy good food.

Sadly I didn’t get a photo of the food as the restaurant was a bit dark and it didn’t really look like a photo of anything.

Love curry!

A bit of exercise everyday (at least that’s the plan)

I’ve been trying to get a little fitter this year and I’ve found that trying to do a little bit of exercise everyday has been very good. I was given these fabulous bathroom scales to try and they’ve been very good for monitoring my weight.

Sew White Ozeri scales 2

I think having scales can be addictive so I’ve decided to check once a week to make sure I’m going roughly in the right direction.
This year I’ve lost a dress size and I think I’ve found my natural weight and size. Eating healthier and exercise hasn’t really reduced it more but I am happy as a size 10-12. I really love feeling healthier and doing a little exercise is actually a bit fun. My favourite 10 min work out to do is this Be Fit Funk one on youtube. It’s pretty easy but you feel muscles working which is good. Now I know the workout I tend to do bits of it when in the kitchen. I’m always dancing about!

Sew White Ozeri scales 3

The weighing scales are really luxurious and the dial is huge so you can see it without having to squint. They are light and very thin so easily tidied away. I really like that the weight is in pounds and kilos. I think the scales are really stylish too with a pale blue base (says white on the listing) and gorgeous shiny dial. It is a lovely item and does the job you’d want it to do plus at £20 on amazon it’s good value and will last.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00KO6616W

*I was given this product to review. I was not paid and all opinions are my own.

A few of my favourite drinks from the last month

I love a tasty drink and these are a few of my favourites from October.

First up are the lovely collection from Marks and Spencers. I know the pomegranate juice drink is a summer drink but luckily my M&S still has it for sale. The hint of rose is so strong and the after taste of the rose is gorgeous. It is delicious drink and is lovely to enjoy with all sorts of dishes especially with vegetable noodle soups. The orange, lime and juniper is my absolute favourite at the moment. It is has a strong and taste and really reminds me of Christmas. The juniper I didn’t think it would work with the orange but it really complimented it. The spiced apple is delicious and worked very well warmed up. It tastes like autumn and was very enjoyable to drink while it while watching fireworks.

Marks and Spencer's fruit jucies

Second up is this new flavour from Ribena. Mango and lime is unusual but rather nice to liven up a bit of water. The mango flavour is strong so if you like mango you’ll like this.

Ribena mango and lime

I’m not usually a beer fan but I really like these Leffe beers. the Ruby has a strong a red forest fruit flavour which makes it seem a lot lighter you’d expect. The nectar was sweeter and stronger than I expected and the honey tones were a surprise to find. These were both lovingly enjoyed while watching fireworks.

leffe ruby leffe nectar

My favourite drink of the last month has to be this Elderflower, Mint and Lime sparkling cocktail from Sainsburys. It is delicious. Refreshing, tasty and the little bit of alcohol makes it a little special. This goes very well with food but also by itself as a cocktail.

Sainsbury's elderflower sparkling cocktail

Apple, Ginger and Lemongrass Cake

This is a family favourite recipe and one of the first thing I ever baked at home economics at primary school.

It is a bit of a weird cake to make, it’s like making breadcrumbs and then adding the eggs but it tastes brilliant.
It is very easily and is a great way to use up apples. 

Pas it such a simple recipe it’s a great base recipe and works well with different cordials and with extra fruit too.

Sew White apple ginger and lemongrass cordial cake 1

Ingredients
– 50g stork margarine
– 150g self raising flour
– 50g light brown soft sugar
– 1 teaspoon of ground ginger
– 500g of chopped eating apples
– Grated rind of 1 orange
– 4 tablespoons of Bottlegreen Ginger and lemongrass cordial
– 1 medium egg

Method

- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (160 fan).
– Line and grease a 8inch cake tin
– Rub the butter and flour together to make bread crumbs.
– Add the sugar and ground ginger and stir in.
– Peel, core and chop the apples and to the mix with the orange rind.
– Add the egg and cordial and mix in well.
– Bake for 30-40 minutes until firm and golden brown.

Serve hot or cold

Sew White apple ginger and lemongrass cordial cake 2

Sew White apple ginger and lemongrass cordial cake 3

Quick Meals Recipe Book Review – Giveaway

Sainsbury’s has a wonderful new quick recipe cook book out and I am lucky enough to have a copy to review and 5 to giveaway!

Sometimes a quick and tasty meal really hits the spot and I think a lot of people have the misconception that quick meals don’t taste great but they can do! The 100 recipes in this book are split into 10, 20 and 30 minutes making times and after trying a few recipes I can say that the timings are true.

Sew White Sainsbury's Quick meals recipe book review 1

There is a great selection of recipes to choose from pastas to Asian inspired dishes, pizzas, fish and meat skewers and other delicious and easy recipes. All the recipes in the book I want to make and I’m sure I will be sharing more from the book soon.

My favourite of the recipes is the Bang Bang Chicken. It did take a little longer than stated as we cooked some fresh chicken to make the salad a bit warm for these cooler evenings.

Sew White Sainsbury's Quick meals recipe book review 2

The peanut butter sauce was delicious! It was lovely and fresh and the warm chicken was very satisfying. Cooking the chicken didn’t take too long and the whole meal took less than 15 minutes to make and only 5 to eat.

Sew White Sainsbury's Quick meals recipe book review 3

I have 5 copies of this wonderful quick and tasty recipe filled book to giveaway.

Enter through the rafflecopter form below.

Leave a blog post answering the question; what is your favourite quick dinner?

giveaway ends on the 17th November 2014

a Rafflecopter giveaway

- Cannot be exchanged for anything else or money
- I have 5 copies to giveaway, 1 book for 5 individual winners.
- UK only
- Giveaway ends on 17.11.14
– The one winner will be contacted by the 17th November. If the winners do not respond within 1 week a new winner will be picked.
– I will never give or sell personal details to any other companies.
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