Thursday, 31 May 2012

Renshaw’s Limited Edition Great British Icing Pack review


Look at what we rustled up in The Madhouse Kitchen yesterday ! I wasn't sure how it would turn out - especially after having a bit of a disaster with the original cake base, as I told you here - but I was really pleased with the finished result. If you're having a Jubilee street party, this would be absolutely ideal and it's actually really simple, thanks to the Limited Edition Great British Icing Pack that Renshaw's kindly sent us through to have a play with.


The kit contains two packs of blue and one pack each of red and white ready-to-roll icing, so it's absolutely ideal for creating Union Jacks. (I should point out, I used a tube of liquid ready-to-squeeze white icing that I had in the cupboard rather than trying to cut out very thin pieces of white icing from the Rensaw's pack, purely as a time-saver because the kids were desperate to go to the park !)


This Union Jack design is what the box shows in the main picture, but you could also use it for topping cupcakes or biscuits in any other designs your imagination can come up with. It certainly shouldn't be reserved for Jubilee cakes !



As I was short on time after the earlier failed attempt, I cheated and used a bag of instant sponge cake mix. I always keep a couple of bags of this in the cupboard because it only costs about 20p and is perfect for when the kids want to knock up a quick batch of cupcakes.



Ten minutes later, I had the soft, fluffy sponge cake I needed - hurrah !


Now, I should have known that today was turning out to be a bad day for getting adventurous in the kitchen and just gone for simplicity but no, I decided to slice it in two and fill it with jam, which was almost another disaster because it started breaking up as I spread the jam. Breathe deeply ! Luckily, the great thing about ready to roll icing is that it hides a multitude of sins so you'd never know by looking at the top photo !!




The icing is soft and easy to roll out but I do have a few tips, learned through experience. I always sprinkle icing sugar on my rolling surface and rolling pin to stop the icing from sticking as I roll it out. The problem when using dark blue and red icing is that you can see the white icing sugar all over it - eeeek ! I saved the day by dabbing the icing sugar with a piece of slightly damp kitchen roll - not too wet though or the icing will start to melt ! I was worried the icing would be too sickly sweet so I rolled it out very thinly - don't overdo it though or it will crack and split when you transfer it to your cake. And don't throw the odds and ends of leftover icing away - they taste lovely as sweets apparently !

star rating : 4.5/5

 Renshaw’s Great British Icing Pack is available now from Asda, Morrisons, Lakeland and Hobbycraft priced at £2.99 (includes 4 x 200g packs – one red, one white and two blue).

For further baking inspiration and a full range of Great British themed recipes visit www.mybakes.co.uk.
 
Other reviews you may be interested in :
  
 

Stork Easy to Mix Baking Liquid recipe ideas

I've just reviewed Stork Easy To Mix Baking Liquid (here) and, as promised, am back to share with you the recipes that Stork sent through for me to try out. Enjoy and let me know how you get on ! I'll be trying at least one of these out myself so watch this space to see how they come out !

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Cherry and Almond Muffins

Servings:
makes 12 Preparation time: 10-15 minutesCooking time: 20-25 minutes

Ingredients:175g (6 oz) Stork Baking Liquid
175g (6 oz) golden caster sugar

300g (11 oz) self raising flour, sieved
3 medium eggs
5 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon almond essence
½ teaspoon baking powder
250g (9 oz) fresh cherries, stoned and quartered

Method:1. Place 12 muffin cases into a muffin tray
2. Add all the ingredients except the cherries into a bowl, and beat with a wooden spoon until the mixture is smooth
3. Reserve some cherries for decoration and fold the remainder into the mixture
4. Divide mixture evenly between the paper cases, and decorate the tops with remaining cherries
5. Bake in a pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes oven 200°C, 180°C (fan assisted), gas mark 6. Dust with icing sugar to serve

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Mini Golden Victoria Sponges


Number of Servings: 12-14

Preparation Time: 12 Mins

Cooking Time: 25-35 Mins


225g (8 oz) Stork Baking
225g (8 oz) castor sugar
4 eggs, medium
225g (8 oz) self-raising flour, sieved
1 teaspoon baking powder
Filling:
2 tablespoons jam
150ml Elmlea Whipping, whipped
Caster or Icing sugar, to dredge

  1. Place all cake ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat together until smooth. Divide in half and add coffee essence and walnuts to one half and mix well.
  2. Place heaped tablespoons of the mixes in 12 muffins cases. Bake in centre of pre-heated oven at 180° C, (fan oven 160-170° C), Gas mark 4 for 20-25 minutes. Turn out, remove paper and cool on wire tray. When cold remove the cakes from the cases and cut in half horizontally.
  3. For the Victoria cakes, fill with the jam and whipped Elmlea and a dusting of icing sugar.

Each serving contains:
Calories
Sugars
Fat
Saturates
Salt
351kcal
26.1g
19.9g
5.4g
0.5g
18%
29%
28%
27%
8%
of an adult's guideline daily amount


for more information and recipes : www.bakewithstork.co.uk


Other blogposts you may be interested in :

 

Stork Easy To Mix Baking Liquid review


British baking brand Stork has launched its first product in almost a century, namely Stork Easy to Mix Baking Liquid. They explain : "The new easy-to-use format makes baking with children a piece of cake and so is great for a summer of baking and celebrations! It's also suitable for vegetarians and vegans." Well, that sounded right up our street so I entusiastically said yes when they offered to send us some to try out.

As you can see in the picture above, it comes out as a thick yellow liquid. I poured some into the cake tin so that you could see what it looks like before I added the other ingredients, but it is a replacement for butter, not a ready to use cake mix, so you need to use sugar, flour, eggs etc with it.


The baking liquid is really easy to measure out because it comes in a bottle with a gauge on the side, which is really handy. The instructions say you should use 110ml of baking liquid for every 100g of butter or margarine. Stork did send me through some recipes to try out, but I needed to knock up a quick sponge cake to use as a base for my Union Jack icing (more about that in a moment) so I just adapted my usual recipe, throwing in some vanilla essence and lemon juice to liven it up because a quick taste of the raw batter tasted quite bland. I also added some dolphin and flower sprinkles to the mix to make it all more appealing to the kids !


I have to say, it was much easier to mix than when you have the arm-breaking job of creaming together butter and sugar. For busy mums, that's just a time-saving bonus but for anyone with a disability or anyone elderly who may not have much strength in their arms, it does take all the work out cake making.


I left the cakes to cook for the usual amount of time and they turned a lovely golden colour. However, they looked a bit strange and sunken in the middle.


They looked almost swampy in the centre so I thought they weren't cooked through but a knife blade inserted in the middle came out clean so I decided to bite the bullet and say they were done.


When I pushed out the round cake (from its silicon cake tin), I flipped it over to see what it looked like underneath and decided it certainly didn't look cooked enough.


As this close-up shows, the cake looks very buttery and greasy, so I decided to put it back in the oven upside down for a further ten minutes to see if this would sort it out.


I moved on to the square cake in a regular metal cake tin and it was stuck solid. Although the outer edges were lovely and crispy, the inside was a strange texture like butter-drenched breadcrumbs. As you can see, it stuck like glue to the spatula when I tried to dislodge it from the tin and came out in greasy lumps. Hmmm.



I left it to cool down completely, wondering if it would go more solid as it cooled but - as you can see - all I managed to do was dislodge the crispy edges of the cake in pieces. I think this is about the first absolute disaster I've had in the kitchen for a while so it was actually quite funny !


Pierre (in his funky orange shades and Cars baseball cap that I bought for this summer's holiday but that he has been wearing constantly since he found them !) and Juliette descended on the cake tin and enthusiastically started eating all the stuck bits of cake, mumbling "yummm" through mouthfuls of crumbs.


Sophie helped herself to one of the crispy corners and declared they were "really nice biscuits" ! I ate a bit and have to agree - they are chewy, buttery, gooey and have a lovely cookie texture and taste.


After a further ten minutes in the oven, I decided the other cake was as good as it was going to get. It has a very sticky, dense, buttery texture like honey cake, not the soft, light sponge cake I was hoping for, but the kids and Madhouse Daddy Mike polished off nearly the whole cake between them last night and today so it obviously got their seal of approval ! I refused to use this cake as the basis for the icing kit though because it would have been too much - it's already rich enough on its own and certainly doesn't need any extra sugar and sweetness from the sugar icing.

So - not sure really !! For ease of use, it's great. It produced a cake that was declared delicious by everyone but that absolutely didn't resemble the result I usually get with normal butter and the same recipe. The failed square cake leads me to believe that this would make absolutely wonderful gooey, buttery cookies. I think it would be good for smaller cakes like cupcakes and muffins too, that would cook through to the core properly and avoid the swampy centre that I got with the big cakes.

I still have half a bottle left so I'll experiment further and report back ! In the meantime, I'll share some of the recipes that Stork sent through. I think I'll try one of these next time to see how they come out. Fingers crossed ! (Although it appears that even the culinary disasters taste nice so it's not all bad !)

where we made lovely light Mini Golden Victoria Sponges ! ***

star rating : 3/5 for the moment, final verdict after another trial !

RRP : £1.59

for more information : www.bakewithstork.co.uk

Other reviews you may be interested in :
  

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Bloody Jubilee !


Don't worry, we haven't suddenly gone into Jubilee Overkill just before the big day ! Far from it, as you'll know if you've been following our blog recently. We've been throwing ourselves into all things Union Jack-related with a passion, including creating this rather fabulous red, white and blue Jubilee Sponge cake here with a Union Jack made out of blueberries and strawberries that even I was impressed with. I had another go today, making a different type of Union Jack cake and Sophie is going to be making Union Jack cushions too. (Blogposts to follow.)


The title of this blogpost refers to a rather unfortunate accident that Sophie had overnight involving a nosebleed and her beloved Union Jack pillow. She is subject to lots of nosebleeds, as I was as a child and as was my dad. I grew out of it around the same time I hit puberty so I'm hoping she will too. The school always freak out and phone me - in fact, a couple of weeks ago, I was quite annoyed because they sent her home three afternoons in a row because she had a nose bleed. Admittedly, she does have quite severe nosebleeds and they can last for quite a while so it can be scary if you're not used to them, but Sophie's not at all fazed by them and just carries on regardless. I have been to the doctor about them, at the school's request, and he said that funnily enough, in his family it's his son, his wife and his mother-in-law so it must be in the genes somewhere !

Having had lots of bloodstains to deal with, I know that they can often be really difficult to remove, often leaving a yellow stain after going through the wash. Luckily for Sophie, Vanish have a whole section on their website about the removal of blood stains and they will be sending me through some products to put through their paces, so watch this space for reviews. Fingers crossed !

for more information : http://www.vanish.co.uk/stains/other/blood

Other reviews you may be interested in :
 
101 Uses of a Can of Sterimar !
Bart's Diamond Jubilee Sponge
Our Pudsey Cake for Children In Need !

101 Uses of a Can of Sterimar !



When I was a kid, I remember my mum reading a book series called 101 Uses of a Dead Cat. I would sit, bemused, watching her dissolve into fits of giggles as she flicked through the pages looking at the drawings. When I was a bit older, I had a look myself and could see the funny side to the totally off-the-wall sense of humour and silliness.

Well, this got me thinking ... As you know, along with some other lovely bloggers, I've been chosen to be a Sterimar Mummy Ambassador because I was so enthusiastic about Sterimar in earlier blogposts, and part of our mission is to come up with some fun content for the brand new Facebook page. (Come over and join in here - we're all totally lovely and welcome all your comments ! There's currently a lovely competition that you can enter to win £500 by sharing a picture of your child's cute nose!)

Anyway, thinking back to the Dead Cat books made me wonder if I could come up with 101 uses of a can of Sterimar ! I always throw a can in my first aid kit because it's a great multi-purpose product (it's just pure sea water so can be sprayed anywhere with no risk, doesn't sting and can be used by anyone - newborn, child, pregnant or breastfeeding mum, etc.) Well, I'm sure I won't make it to 101 by myself but feel free to join in - come and add your ideas over on the facebook page and I'll add them to my list here too !

OK, here's how I already use Sterimar :

1) For flushing out my nose when hayfever kicks in.

2) For flushing out my eyes when they're irritated with pollen.

3) For doing a quick spritz over my face and hair to dampen down any rogue pollen.

4) For a refreshing blast of coolness on my face to beat the heat.

5) For washing sand out of baby's eyes, ears and nose when they've been to the beach for the first time and decided to smell, touch and eat sand !

6) For flushing dirt out of grazed knees at the park.

7) For staving off tantrums - if your kids are getting bored, spritz a bit in the air around them and they'll start giggling, thinking you're being really naughty !

8) Unclogging babies' noses, especially when a blocked nose is hindering breastfeeding.

9) For taking action before hayfever season begins, as it seems to help stave off symptoms before they kick in.

10) For flushing dust and pollution out of your nose after a trip to London or after spring cleaning - blow your nose on a white tissue afterwards, you'll be amazed !

11) For a routine bit of silliness before your toddler's bedtime - we sing Sterimar-ified songs like "Up goes the spray and washes the bogies out" (to the tune of Incy Wincy Spider) and "Raindrops keep squirting up my nose" (to Raindrops keep falling on my head) !

12) My dad was advised to use Sterimar after a recurrent problem with nasal polyps and it seems to help.

Well, not quite 101 but 12 is not bad for a start! Now it's over to you ... !


Disclosure : While this isn't a sponsored post, I do receive a financial contribution from Sterimar for getting involved in Mummy Ambassador activities on their facebook page and other social media platforms. I was using Sterimar long before they asked me to be an Ambassador though !

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Just Add ... Mint Drizzle review



On Saturday morrning, Madhouse Daddy Mike went to do the weekly shop after work. As usual, as I stayed home with the kids, he phoned me from the supermarket to ask what we needed. I told him the same as usual and gave him a short list of three or four things, including salad dressing, to pick up. On Sunday, Madhouse Daddy Mike did a barbecue for lunch. (I know, he's racking up the Brownie points at the moment !) While he did the caveman thing and carried around slabs of meat, I started making a variety of salads to go with it - coleslaw, tuna and potato salad, couscous salad, mixed green salad. I went to the fridge for the salad dressing and ... the cupboard was bare ! He'd forgotten it !

I had a look through the contents of the fridge but we were out of all the sachets of Just Add... salad dressings we'd been trying (that I told you about here), we were out of salad cream and I really didn't fancy smothering it in mayonnaise because that rather defeats the whole idea of eating salad! I toyed with the idea of knocking up vinaigrette myself but the last recipe I tried was horrible and nobody would eat it. (If you have a tried-and-tested salad dressing recipe to share, leave it in the comments box and I'll give it a go !)

Just as I was about to give up, I came across a sachet of Just Add... Mint Drizzle. Now, mint isn't something I'd usually think of for a salad dressing but I was also in the middle of preparing lemon, mint & parsley couscous so I thought it might work. The packaging says that it is designed for drizzling over potatoes so would it work with salad ?

Well, yes it did, and it was lovely. It was sweet and fragrant with a mint flavour that was perfectly dosed so as not to be overpowering. You don't get a powerful hit like you do with mint sauce, just a delicate minty freshness coupled with a sweetness that everybody, even the kids who aren't usually keen on salad, loved.

Looking at the ingredients list, it's a mixture of water, glucose syrup, sugar, cornflour, salt, acidity regulator, mint, natural colour and preservative. It only contains 1% mint which is why it's not overpowering and I was slightly surprised to see that sugar and glucose syrup are the top ingredients after water. Maybe using it on salad isn't such a good idea then, as that must surely raise the calorie count quite considerably.

Unfortunately, as I've mentioned in my other reviews of Just Add... products, the packaging and even the website is totally lacking in nutritional information, so your guess is as good as mine! I have brought this to their attention and they've said they'lll update the website to give more nutritional information in the future.

Judging it purely on taste though, it's a lovely light, sweet dressing that works well on salad or would go with cold leftover lamb, as well as being used as a drizzle for potatoes and vegetables as suggested on the pack.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : 65p for 30g

Other reviews you may be interested in :



Book review : Never Say Sorry - Rose Edmunds


Never Say Sorry is a fast-paced conspiracy thriller, bringing together the cut-throat worlds of financial trading, journalism and pharmaceutical research. The starting point is an old man all set to lift the lid on a 20-year-old scandal involving one of the big pharamaceutical companies quashing news of a successful natural cancer cure. To the non-initiated (and non financially involved), finding a cure for cancer would necessarily be a good thing, but to those who make a business out of selling chemotherapy and drugs designed to alleviate the symptoms, they would stand to lose a lot of money. Especially if the cure was from a natural source that couldn't be patented or ethically harvested because it's only available in the protected Amazonian rainforest.

This is the cynical, ruthless world that feisty, loud-mouthed journalist Claudia and debt-riddled public-schoolboy-turned-corporate financier Hugo find themselves thrown into following a chance encounter. They say that opposites attract and when Claudia and Hugo first meet at a speed-dating event, sparks fly - and continue to fly every time they get together - but they are nevertheless drawn to each other, especially as they realise someone - quite possibly the same person who bumped off the old man who first alerted them to the scandal - is out to get both of them.

The deeper they dig, the deeper they get themselves in hot water and the full scale of the corruption is revealed. It's an interesting plotline and the book is full of action and twists and turns. I did find it hard keeping tabs on who was who - all the corporate bankers and insider traders tended to blend into one which makes it a bit confusing - and the "bad guys" are a bit too one-dimensional.

The two main characters are a bit too caricatural for my liking too. Claudia has a chip on her shoulder the size of Ayers Rock and is just too gobby for her own good and Hugo is totally hopeless, both when it comes to looking after his finances and rescuing damsels in distress.

But ultimately it's an enjoyable read. The will-they-won't-they romance aspect may annoy hardboiled crime fiction/thriller fans who may think it detracts from the central plotline (and ultimately doesn't really go anywhere) but it does add some interesting character dynamics. I'd actually be interested to see the unlikely duo reappear in a future novel.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £9.99


Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

Other reviews you may be interested in : 
  

NHS Choices and talkhealth present an 'Online Clinic on Weight Loss' from 30 May - 8 June

Just a quick heads-up about talkhealth's latest online clinic, this time focusing on weightloss, which starts today.

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 Worried About Weight? Ask The Experts What You Should Be Doing!
    
NHS Choices and talkhealth have teamed up with Weight Concern to present an 'Online Clinic on Weight Loss' from 30 May - 8 June 2012.

The clinic will be hosted on all talkhealth sites, www.talkhealthpartnership.com, and leading weight loss experts will be on hand throughout the whole of the week to answer your questions. You will be able to communicate directly with the experts who include Mr James Byrne, Paediatric Dietitian's Lisa Holmes and Denise Kennedy, Fitness Instructor Mark Westbrook, Psychologist Jenny Radcliffe and Health Expert and Author Wendy Green.

Across the globe over 1 billion adults and 17.6 million children are overweight. In the UK alone there are 11.8 million obese people. Statistics on overweight children are also increasing with one in five boys and one in four girls overweight or obese in the UK. Recent estimations suggest that if this continues one third of all adults and half of children will be obese in the UK by 2020.

If you feel like one of these statistics then let one of our experts help you lose weight. Come to www.talkhealthpartnership.com/forum/ and ask an expert today?

Other reviews you may be interested in :


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

WeightWatchers Individual Carrot Cakes review


I told you last week (here) about the lovely hamper of goodies that I was sent through from Weight Watchers and I've already been sampling the Individual Carrot Cakes. The packaging says that they are reduced fat (with 30% less fat than standard carrot cakes) but that certainly doesn't mean reduced taste or reduced enjoyment - they are utterly divine !

The blurb on the box says that they are "deliciously moist, topped with buttercream and dusted with cinnamon". Doesn't sound like diet food, does it ?! They don't taste like diet food either. The cake part is beautifully moist and tastes buttery and sweet. The icing is soft and doesn't set with a slightly hard crust like fondant icing, it remains light and fluffy because it is made with soft cheese which makes it seem really fresh as if they've just been made.

The fact that the icing doesn't go hard means that it gets a bit squished in the box but this imperfect look just adds to the impression that you are eating homemade cakes. I could detect a hint of cinnamon behind the sweetness and creaminess which I thought was coming through from the cake part but is actually dusted over the icing.


This gooey, delicious, indulgent treat will only "cost" you 3 ProPoints which is incredibly good. For those of you who aren't on the ProPoints system, each cake contains 112 calories, 11.8g of sugar, 3.2g f fat, 0.9g of saturates and 0.2g of salt. One cake is the perfect size for an evening treat in front of the TV or an afternoon snack if you're craving sweet stuff.

The huge advantage of the Weight Watchers ProPoints system is that nothing is out of bounds, as long as you calculate the points and don't go over your daily and weekly allowances. I've been saving up a few points every day to allow myself a guilt-free moment of indulgence every evening in front of the TV. If I still manage to lose weight at the end of the week, I'll be majorly chuffed and it'll show that the system really works !

There is only one thing written on the box that I don't agree with and that's the part that says "ideal for sharing". There may be 6 individual cakes in a box but they're mine, all mine !!

star rating : 5/5

RRP : £1.80 for 6

for more information : http://www.weightwatchersfoods.co.uk/products/snacking/cakes/individual-carrot-cakes.html

Disclosure : I have been given a year's membership to Weight Watchers Online and receive monthly hampers of products in return for honest reviews.

Other reviews you may be interested in :



Mini Lalaloopsy Tales review


Well, she may be on the verge of going to secondary school but that didn't stop 10-year-old Sophie oohing with delight when she laid eyes on the Mini Lalaloopsy set that we were sent to review. These miniature collectible dolls have lots of tiny accessories and details that are as appealing (if not more so) to slightly older kids who appreciate the attention to detail.

We reviewed one of these Mini Lalaloopsy sets last year - a review you can read here -but they have been given a fairytale makeover in the new Mini Lalaloopsy Tales collection. Some of the adorable new characters include Little Bah Peep, who was supposedly sewn from Little Bo Peep’s bonnet on 20th February (Love Your Pet Day) and has two pet sheep; Curls ‘n’ Locks, who was sewn from pieces of Goldilocks’ dress on 29th October (National Oatmeal Day - there's a National Oatmeal Day ?!) and has three pet bears; Scarlet Riding Hood, who was sewn from Red Riding Hood’s cape on 18th May (Visit Your Relatives Day) and has a pet wolf; Tuffet Miss Muffet, who was sewn from Little Miss Muffet’s apron on 14th March (Save a Spider Day - really ?! They have to be making these up !) and has a pet spider; and Pete R Canfly, who was sewn from Peter Pan's hat on 12th August (International Youth Day) and has a pet crocodile. This is a great way to inspire kids to rediscover children's literary classics so that they understand all the references. The "birthday" aspect reminds me of the Cabbage Patch Dolls that were all the rage when I was a kid.


We received Pix E. Flutters and the back of the box tells you all about her. We learn that : "Pix E. Flutters is a wishful-thinker who always looks on the bright side. She loves to spend her day floating and fluttering about and she believes that everything looks better covered in glitter." She's said to have been sewn on June 24th from a real fairy's dress. Anyone who has ever watched the Lalaloopsy Dolls on TV will love learning more about each character. 

There are lots of characters to collect in the range, and each doll comes with a cute pet and several tiny accessories. The dolls have moveable arms, legs and head and the packaging doubles up as their house, which is good for promoting creative make-believe play. The miniature sets cost around £6 which makes them a great pocket money-priced toy for children to collect.

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £5.99

 for more information : www.lalaloopsy.com

 Disclosure : We received a Mini Lalaloopsy set in order to write an honest review.


   

Other reviews you may be interested in :  

 Mini Lalaloopsy Crumbs Sugar Cookie Doll review 
Adventures In Lalaloopsy Land: The Search for Pillow DVD review 
  Squinkies 

Just Add ... Salad Dressings review


The sun is out (and - dare I say it? - looks like it's here to stay) and I've got my slimming mojo back (as I told you here) so salads are featuring on the menu a lot lately. I tend to use the same basic recipe for salad most of the time - lettuce, cucumber, sweetcorn and cherry tomatoes - so I like to jazz it up and ring the changes by trying out different salad dressings. I've been having great fun working my way through the selection of Just Add ... salad dressings that I received to review.

As I told you here, Just Add... produce a wide range of cooking aids, not just salad dressings. We've already reviewed the Wedges Seasoning (here) and there will be more reviews on the way as I try out the other products.

The salad dressings come in convenient single serve sachets (which contain plenty for making one big main meal salad for 2 or a couple of days' worth of smaller bowls of side salads). On the days when we didn't use the entire sachet, I put the remainder in the open sachet in a glass so that it would stand upright in the fridge and not leak everywhere.

The range comprises several different flavours : Green Chilli, Coriander and Lime; Herb Vinaigrette; Honey & Mustard; Sweet Balsamic; Sweet Chilli, Ginger &amp Lime; Roast Red Pepper & Roast Garlic; White Wine, Lemon & Dill; Hot Chilli; Italian Cheese. We've tried out most of them over the past couple of weeks so I'll share our tasting notes with you !

Sweet Chilli, Ginger & Lime : Just Add... suggest : Try drizzling over King prawns, lamb's lettuce and salad greens. We used this to knock up a simplified version of Weight Watchers' Asian Beef & Mango Salad (that we blogged about here) and it was absolutely divine.

Herb Vinaigrette : This was lovely but didn't have a huge amount of wow-factor as it was similar to what we usually buy. It's perfect for adding to salad greens for a basic side salad that won't overpower the main dish.

 
Italian Cheese : Just Add... suggest : Try drizzling over Fusilli pasta, baby tomatoes, spring onions, sweetcorn, lamb's lettuce and salad greens. We added this to cold leftover roast chicken, chopped tomatoes and lettuce and it was very nice, adding some interesting flavour, although Sophie wasn't keen on the slightly lumpy texture that the cheese gave it.


Honey & Mustard : Try drizzling over grilled chicken, lamb's lettuce and salad greens. I used this to season a side salad to go with the Sunday roast and drizzled the remainder over my slices of chicken breast in place of gravy which worked well as a really light and summery alternative.

Roast Red Pepper & Roast Garlic : Try drizzling over grilled chicken, sliced mushrooms, baby tomatoes, lamb's lettuce and salad greens. Madhouse Daddy Mike knocked up one of his huge "Chef's Special" salads (that I blogged about here) with bacon, mushrooms, egg, tomatoes, cheese, olives and lettuce and this went really well with it. It would work well with pasta salad or over plain white rice too.

 Sweet Balsamic : Sophie's not usually keen on balsamic vinegar but this dressing has a lovely sweetness that won her over. Great on salad but would also work with strawberries.

The great thing about the single-serve sachets is that you can try out flavours that you're not overly sure of, safe in the knowledge that if you don't like them, you won't have a whole bottle to get through. It also gives you the opportunity to eat salads all week with totally different flavours so you don't get bored, which is great news if you're watching your waistline !

star rating : 5/5

RRP : not sure, I'll find out


Other reviews you may be interested in :


Monday, 28 May 2012

Giveaway #199 : Win one of three funky Villervalla T-shirts from Impkids - closing date 28/6


Impkids, founded by mum Liz Marsh, has launched one of the hottest Scandinavian brands, Villlervalla, into the UK market place, and I have got my hands on three of their T-shirts to give away.

Villlervalla is a brilliantly designed range of Swedish clothes for babies and children aged 0-8 that is full of colour, charm and Scandinavian chic. The great quality, pass-me-on items are also made from materials that are environmentally sound and ethically sourced. 
As a mum herself, Liz knows first hand that kids are by nature active, inquisitive, mischievous creatures - little imps in fact! They need clothes that are easy to get on and off and can be thrown in the washing machine time and time again without losing their shape or colour. 
 
When Liz had her first child and her partner's Swedish family bought Villervalla clothes for the baby, people stopped Liz in the street to ask where she had bought the clothes. 
 
The combination of style and practicality can be hard to find in the UK which is what makes Villervalla such an appealing brand” says Liz. “Villervalla tick all the practical boxes and also score high on style. So, functional – but also funky and fun!” 
 
Liz searched high and low for a stockist here in the UK but came up empty. This got her thinking. She knew Villervalla would be extremely popular if it was available in the UK and so a year later and after many trips to Sweden, Liz and her husband Per launched Impkids and brought Villervalla over to the UK.

You can view the Villervalla collection and buy on-line at www.impkids.co.uk.

Click here to enter this competition http://form.jotformpro.com/21452965675968 and leave me a message in comments to say you've entered. 

Other giveaways you may be interested in :
 

Giveaway #198 : 2 SeaFood DVDs up for grabs! - closed - winners @Hayley_Kinnaird @gumbie23


I've just posted our review of SeaFood here, which is released today on DVD and download to own and rent. The 88-minute feature film is full of fishy fun and frolics and is perfect family-viewing for the holidays.

I have two copies of the DVD up for grabs for lucky Madhouse Family Reviews readers to win.

To be in with a chance of winning, just do the following :

- Comment on one of my blogposts (other giveaways don't count !)

- Leave me a comment in the comments box with a way of contacting you (twitter name or email) and tell me which of my blogposts you commented on.

Bonus entries

You can do any or all of the following for bonus entries - just make sure you leave me one comment per entry so that they're all counted !

(1) Follow me on twitter (@cherylp59) and tweet about my competition. You can use the handy retweet button over in my side bar or write your own tweet but make sure you copy in @cherylp59 so I can track this.

(2) Like "Madhouse Family Reviews" on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/MadhouseFamilyReviews) and leave me a message on my wall


(3) I love reading your comments so leave me some extra comments on my other blogposts (maximum 5 - other giveaways don't count !) and I'll give you a bonus entry for each one. Just remember to leave me a comment here each time to tell me you've done so.

(4) Subscribe to my blog by email (near the top of the right-hand sidebar) so that all the new posts pop into your inbox in a handy digest every morning

(5) click on the google +1 button over in my sidebar

(6) add a +k klout point to @cherylp59 on Klout and tell me which category you added it to

(7) Follow my blog with Google Friends Connect (over in the right hand side bar)

UK only. Closing date : 11/6/12

Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter. If I haven't heard from you after a week, I'll have to pick another winner. 

Other giveaways you may be interested in :
    
 

Kids' DVD review : SeaFood


Today sees the release of SeaFood on DVD and download to own and rent and we were sent through a copy to review. The blurb says : "Come and join sharks - Pup and Julius - on a fun-filled adventure to a place filled with colourful characters and marvellous mystery! When poachers steal dozens of egg sacks from Pup’s reef, he makes it his duty to rescue his brothers and sisters. His mission becomes more difficult when he realises that he must venture above water and tackle a landscape filled with both beauty and danger. Afraid for Pup’s safety, his best friend Julius follows him, attempting to bring him home. Wearing an amazing ‘fish-suit’ which allows him to walk on land, Julius will also discover that sharks may not be the most frightening creatures in the world…"

The storyline, atmosphere and animation are very similar to other "fishy" films, such as Finding Nemo and Shark Tale - in fact, all the way through Pierre kept saying "Look ! It's Nemo !" - but it makes up for the lack of originality in the fun and frolics department. All three Madhouse Mini-testers (aged 2, 7 and 10) sat all the way through (it has an 88 minute runtime) and said that they really enjoyed it.

We all liked the way sharks were presented as the good guys for once. The older kids also appreciated the ecological issues that were touched on with the pollution storyline, saying it reminded them of Happy Feet and the pollution of the oceans. If a fun, family movie can lead to intelligent discussion afterwards, that has to be a bonus. It's got plenty of laughs too, with scenes involving Ninja chickens and sharks in shark suits.

In just a moment, I'll be posting a giveaway where you can win two copies of the film - perfect for the holidays so watch this space!

star rating : 4/5

RRP : £12.99