22 Dec 2011

Owen Potts Sauces and Condiments


Those on the look-out for a helping hand in the kitchen need look no further, thanks to the launch of a brand new range of top-quality sauces and condiments from Owen Potts – undoubtedly the food industry’s best kept secret!

A genuine culinary expert, Owen has been developing products behind the scenes for years – if you’ve ever bought a gourmet salad dressing, luxury sauce, chutney or condiment, you’ve more than likely already tasted one of Owen’s creations.

With his delicious new quick to cook range, you can add some flair to your cooking, bring a little something extra to everyday meals or introduce a touch of indulgence to special occasion dining – safe in the knowledge you’re in the hands of a real food guru.

The Owen Potts range uses the very best, natural ingredients sourced from around the world, and includes everything from store cupboard essentials such as chicken gravy and steak sauce, to classic recipes with a unique twist, such as a mouth-watering cranberry sauce infused with honey, a great-tasting mustard sauce with hints of tarragon and a delectable Spanish dressing blended with roasted peppers and pimenton.

The delicious store cupboard range – with a product suitable for every occasion – will be available in most major supermarkets this winter. 

I am looking forward to trying the Honey Cranberry Sauce with my turkey on Christmas Day, I sometimes find cranberry sauce a bit sharp and tarty so hopefully as honey has been added it should be a little sweeter and smoother, a perfect combination for our turkey and trimmings.

Also in the new year the first BBQ will spark up (we have BBQ'd in Jan before... as we are odd!), I can't wait to test Owen Potts' Maple Chipotle Barbeque & Grilling Sauce out on some chops.  I know I could use the grill but the BBQ gives a more authentic taste.

The lead products in the Owen Potts range are:
Maple and Chipotle Barbecue and Grilling Sauce – RRP £2.29
Chicken Gravy with White Wine and Thyme – RRP £1.99
Steak Sauce – RRP £2.29
Spanish Dressing with Roasted Red Peppers and Pimenton – RRP £2.39
Honey Cranberry Sauce – RRP £1.89
Mustard and Tarragon Sauce – RRP £1.80

The Owen Potts range is currently available in Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda and Booths, with RRPs ranging from £1.65 to £2.39.  

Whitworths Christmas Cake Kit

Whitworths Christmas Cake Baking Kit

Christmas Cake is like Marmite - either you love it or you hate it, I 'like' Christmas Cake, its not my favourite but its not Christmas without a cake to devour with cups of tea, port and cheese.

I have always fancied making my own, starting months before and then pouring alcohol over it to keep it moist (and very boosy) for weeks and weeks.  As always I forgot and so 3 days before the big day I am now embarking on making my cake.

To help me out I am using a Christmas Cake kit from Whitworths.  Inside is almost everything I need: Soft Brown Sugar, Mixed Fruit with Rum, Black Treacle, Chopped Almonds, Plain Flour, Mixed Spice and the recipe card.    You also need to provide yourself the baking tin, baking parchment, butter, 3 eggs and lemon zest and juice.
To make the cake just follow the instructions - simple :)  (I'll let you know how I get on)
I have read online to lower the temperature in my oven a bit as I have a fan oven and also to put a circle of baking parchment on top of the cake (not touching the mixture) so that the top doesn't get too brown.  The pack states 150*C so I'll knock it down to 140*C instead.  The total baking time is 3 hours so I will watch that too as it may cook a little quicker in my oven.

What annoys me is that the decorating kit has to be brought separately.   The cake kit is around £8 which is a lot cheaper than buying all the ingredients on their own (plus you have no half packets of ingredients hanging around or being wasted), then you have to buy a decorating kit (or all the icing sugar etc... to make your own) the icing kits are at least a further £5+ to buy.    

To be honest its cheaper and easier to buy a ready done cake .... but its not so much fun :)

Moon Sand Construction Set

Moon Sand Construction

Young lads will love this Moon Sand set, the kit contains a sand tray base,  roof, door, windows, brick moulds, detonator, shovel, construction worker, plus 2 colours of Moon Sand.  

Moon Sand is a play sand that easily sticks together and moulds without the need for water.  It can be played with inside as it isn't mucky and can easily be hoovered up if an accident occurs.

Up until now the Moon Sand range was mostly aimed at girls, the construction set is however for a more male market ... build it up and knock it down!

A great present this Christmas, one that's intended for the kids but Dads and Uncles will end up playing with instead.

Moon Sand Construction is just one of the many sets from Spinmaster Toys please take a look at the Moon Sand website link for more ideas.

8 Dec 2011

Man Wrap

Man Wrap

Man Wrap is a wrapping paper made from thick foil, basically it allows you to wrap a gift in seconds without the need for scissors or sticky tape.

I have to admit that although it is a snazzy idea and perfect for men .. its not entirely brilliant.

Great points:

  • Fantastic for wrapping odd shapes such as the bottle in the video above or erm... Easter eggs!  
  • It also looks shiny and is pretty simple to use.  
  • I have run my finger along the edges and so far I haven't been able to cut myself (which I was a bit concerned about).
  • Not only it is easy to wrap stuff, it is also easy to unwrap too :)  so great for people with arthritis or a disability who find wrapping or unwrapping a problem.
  • You do not need to struggle and muck about with sticky tape, in fact you could wrap 3 gifts in the time it takes to find the end of the tape on the roll.

Bad points:

  • The roll isn't very wide, it could do with being twice the length that it is to be able to wrap more items effectively.  
  • You only get 5m for the £5.99 rrp .. so at £1.20 per metre it is quite pricey.
  • Its basically thick tin foil!  You may as well just buy some extra thick Baco Foil and have the same effect, plus you can get it in extra widths for your turkey.
  • I have wrapped up Andy's Xbox controller (as it was next to me, that'll fool him later when he tries to find it) and it looks like a cruddily-wrapped melted Easter egg, not a brilliant look.
Oh course you can still tart up your foil wrapped presents with bows and ribbon if you wish too, but then that kind of defeats the object.

The foil comes on a handle which will help for wrapping upright stuff (not entirely sure what??) but I am sure it could be handy.

I am not entirely impressed with this product, as a Secret Santa fun present then it is fab!  But as a usable item, unless you have a special need and require help with wrapping .. its not worth the price and I would stick to traditional wrapping paper, even if you do get stuck together with tape and curling ribbon.

Available in red or blue, 5m for £5.99 (rrp).
Please visit www.themonsterfactory.com for more information.