THE BEST MINCEMEAT PIES ON THE MARKET
Without a shadow of a doubt THE best mincemeat pies on the market today are ALDI’s Specially Selected Luxury Mince Pies. At £2.99 for six they are slightly more expensive than your average ALDI offering but by god they are worth every penny. I am not a lone voice either, the Independent judged them third best in their list of 15 great mince pies for 2015. For me what makes them super special is that they are not huge yet very deep filled, topped with almonds and somewhere in there, there is a smattering of marzipan. How can you resist. Well I haven’t which brings me on to the next thing on my list of shout outs for December.
BREVILLE BLEND ACTIVE SMOOTHIE MAKER
Well if one is stuffing one’s face with ALDI mince pies and squirty cream most nights of the week then it is wise to at least attempt to be healthy at the start of the day. My husband bought me a Breville Active Smoothie Maker from my birthday in November and it is one of the best things I have ever been given. It is simply the most quick, simple and clean ways to make a smoothie.
A blueberry and banana combo are top of the smoothie pops at the moment but I can also recommend going for banana, mango and coconut milk for a truly tropical taste.
If you say you don’t have time for breakfast then you must buy one of these bad boys. It is really a case of ‘blend and go’ with stylish little bottles which are great to shove in your hand bag/man bag to drink on the move.
MY SECRET KITCHEN
In November I was invited to a My Secret Kitchen event by my friend Vickie, who despite running around after three small kids, one big kid and running her own training business has somehow managed to squeeze another venture into the mix. As an agent for My Secret Kitchen she offers an extensive range of spice blends, oils, vinegars, tea blends and other yummylicious treats which are a delight to the senses.
I love cooking but I am also just a little bit lazy and therefore spice blends are ideal for me. Something that can transform Monday’s mince into a mexican treat bursting with flavour in the blink of an eye gets a huge thumbs up.
I would have liked to order pretty much everything displayed on the table at the party, however products as lovely as this do not come with a bargain price tag …….. but as my granny use to say, you get what you pay for. She possibly never said that but I am rolling with it.
In the end I ordered a bottle of Lime Oil – used liberally in a range of couscous inventions thus far. Fajita spice blend – used in a chilli, a smashed bean and lime tortilla and just sprinkled over a fried cheese flat bread sarnie. Finally I purchased a Shawarma blend which I have used in little lamb patties.
I also signed up to a rather exciting option called Flavour Stacks. Each month I will receive four mini pots of MSK products each with a recipe card. Thrilled by the idea of NEVER knowing what is coming my way.
I suggest having a little look at the website to view all of the amazing products on offer or contact Vickie if you are in the Fife/Edinburgh area. Vickie from My Secret Kitchen
RESTAURANT MARTIN WISHART – MICHELLIN STARRED RESTAURANT NO LESS
WOO HOO! Check me out frequenting Michelin Star restaurants this month. I actually thought that I was off out for a pub lunch and shoved my jeans on. “Is that what you are really wearing” chimed in my rather anxious looking other half. Though I thought he was very rude I changed into a skirt anyway. Turns out he had only booked us into Martin Wishart’s in the Port of Leith for a lovely spot of fine dining! He is racking up the brownie points at the moment, that husband of mine.
“Classically French, proudly Scottish,and simply delicious cuisine.”
So is it worth the hype. Well in a word YES. All of the dishes look heavenly as you might imagine and each meal has an intensity that you only find in a handful of restaurants across the country. You can also expect an explosion of flavour with every single mouthful at Martin Wisharts. The food was a joy!
We were presented with a lovely selection of amuse bouche prior to our main meal, and for me the stand out ‘bouche’ was the Beetroot Macaroon with Horseradish Cream. One word – clever and anther word how? Intense flavour and lovely textures with a delightful horseradish hit.
The Artichoke Veloute with the surprise layer of chestnut puree on the bottom was an amazing starter made even better with the addition of langoustines.
I am not a fan of ‘foam’ in my meals in any shape form or fashion. I do understand that foam is rather a benchmark of molecular gastronomy, but really I do find it a pointless and rather distasteful food trend. HOWEVER I could overlook the addition of foam on my main dish of cod due to the fact that the fish was cooked to perfection and the flavours surrounding it were superb. A fantastic delicate dish.
And to finish – a bitter dark chocolate tart with popcorn and salted caramel ice cream. Well what can I say. Stunning, absolutely stunning.
I took no photographs or notes (hence the vagueness of this review). It just didn’t seem the right setting to start clicking away. I regretted my decision towards the end of the meal when I spotted a woman with a camera roughly the size of her own head feverishly clicking away.
The lunch menu is only £28 which is amazing value for a restaurant of this standing. One or two wines however and you will soon see your bill rack up. So go along and have some lunch and water – it is a fantastic experience.
So off I go into the holidays where I shall no doubt gain several pounds eating multiple mince pies, chocolates, prosecco and anything else I can lay my paws on with the cry of “ach well it’s Christmas” seeing me through to the New Year , at which point I shall finally stand of the scales. After rocking and keening for a while I shall set upon a new diet and start the process all over again. Hurrah for Chirstmas!!