If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration on what put in your shopping trolley over the festive season, here’s a quick round-up of some of the bits and pieces i’ve been trying out over the last month…
Ferrero Rocher booze and choc matching
We felt like we’d scored an invite to the ambassador’s party when two huge hampers turned up – one full of Ferrero Rocher chocolates and one of booze along with a tasting guide of what was best to drink with which chocs. It proved to be a really fun dinner party activity working our way through the different types of chocolate and seeing how they worked with the various types of drink. Here’s what we learned:
Raffaello By Ferrero are an almond and coconut affair – we enjoyed them with a glass of fizzy Martini Asti NV (not seen by me since the 1980s) and while I wouldn’t drink this kind of fizz on its own, it did really compliment this type of sweet.
Next up were the Classic Gold Ferrero Rocher – you know, the ultra nutty ones. These were offered up with a glass of spicy dessert wine Croix Milhas Rivesaltes Ambre. I loved this wine, but I’m afraid there were just too many nuts going on so it’s an experience I wouldn’t repeat. If you’re a huge nut fan though, this is one for you.
Finally we tried a darker chocolate treat, Ferrero Rond Noir, with a spot of Dows Finest Reserve Port – now this was the winning combination for all of us. The cherry notes from the port cuts perfectly through the velvety dark chocolate – REALLY good!
Further wine matching tips
- Wine must be at least as sweet as the foods for a good match
- Pair chocolate and wine according to the darkness of the chocolate: the darker the chocolate, the darker the wine should be
Innocent Bucks Fizz with a twist
Those friendly folks at Innocent sent me a bottle of Chapel Down’s equisite sprarkling wine, along with a couple of bottles of their Innocent orange juice for me to come up with my own take on the Bucks Fizz. Well to give it a festive flourish I added a dash of ginger syrup from an old jar of stem ginger that had been lurking at the back of my fridge – orange, ginger and fizz – merry Christmas I say!
If you need a festive cocktail with a bit of warmth to it, then this will work well as an arrival drink for party guests.
Asda Christmas Extra Special
This range is Leith’s approved, and therefore standards are ridiculously high, which may surprise some supermarket snobs as it did me when I first tried it last year. The turkey flavoured crisps disappeared in seconds, the sausage rolls were universally adored by little and big people and we’re saving the gorge looking mince pies for Christmas Eve with a nice tipple.
And talking of tipples, their Extra Special range of wines are also pretty top notch… if you’ve not been to Asda lately I’d really recommend a gander around the aisles.
Aunt Bessie’s canape shortcuts
I was invited along for a cooking day at Food at 52 – a cosy and funky cooking school in London to hear all about Aunt Bessie’s range of frozen roast dinner helpers. I’m afraid I’ll never be converted to roast potatoes out of the freezer unless it’s a roast dinner emergency, however I was hugely impressed with the idea of using mini yorkshire puddings as shells for canapes.
We chopped and fried shallots, mushrooms and chestnuts with fresh herbs and then stuffed the mixture into yorkies and topped them with a hunk of brie – oven baked and then finished with a little cranberry sauce – DIVINE!
Christmas Turkey ideas from Knorr
Knorr very kindly sent me a lovely box of Christmas food from Forman & Field. The turkey has gone straight into the freezer, but will be brought out at the weekend so I can defrost it in time for the big day. I’ll be having a look at Marco Pierre White’s recipe on the Knorr website for Roast Turkey with Orange and Smoky Bacon Baste – the key is to keep the bird as moist as possible and I love the sound of these flavours!
To save stress and oven space I’m going to roast up my bird on Christmas Eve, so all i’ve have to do on the big day is cook up the trimmings and heat up the turkey. I only have a single oven so it’s always a juggling act doing a roast dinner.
Kingsmill sent me a loaf of bread from their new range – it’s toast with a twist of fruitiness that is a real breakfast treat spread with butter on a chilly winter morning. It’s also great with a cuppa after a marathon shopping sesh… The kids loved it too.
Thanks to everyone for sending the samples for us to review…