Welcome to the first Food News which I hope to make a regular feature with news of all the latest products to hit the shelves and a review of what I thought of them. Here are some products in the order that I recieved them.
Food Thoughts Cocoa
First up was the 100% Fair Trade Organic Cocoa from Food Thoughts which is produced in the Dominican Republic. My son was quick to put this to use in his first ever Eggless Chocolate Cake which was divine. Without making the same cake with various different cocoa powders I couldn’t really compare the taste but it made an intensely chocolaty cake which we all enjoyed with a dollop of ice cream. Then it was my turn to use the cocoa in some Chocolate Brownies for Mother’s Day. A good sign was that my mother asked what cocoa powder I’d used as she really noticed the intense hit of cocoa. Indeed the Brownies were spoken about for days after – job done!
Food Thoughts Cocoa is available in Sainsbury’s at £2.20 for a 125g tub.
The Artisan Kitchen – Damson & Raspberry Jam – Blood Orange Marmalade
Next I was sent some beautiful preserves from The Artisan Kitchen. Trained chef & passionate foodie Sarah Churchill set up her one-woman business The Artisan Kitchen in 2011. Based in Gloucester Sarah creates delicious award winning preserves, marmalades, pickles and chutneys, they are all lovingly homemade in a large copper pot bubbling away in her small kitchen
What struck me first was the beautiful packaging they arrived in along with a dinky little wooden serving spoon. Aesthetically pleasing so far but would the product be equally pleasing? My first port of call was the Damson and Raspberry Jam which is a flavour combination I have never tried before – this called for scones! Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever had such a refreshingly fruity and delicious jam before. It tasted like the fruit had just been picked and made into jam, it was that good. Even my berry avoiding husband loved it and when I gave him the option of having another jam a day later, no he wanted the new Artisan one!
Then for breakfast a few days later it was the turn of the Blood Orange Marmalade – this called for crumpets. I wouldn’t necessarily have known that it was Blood Orange in there as there was also a hit of lemon but it was a lovely sharp marmalade perfect for waking you up in the morning. Come to think of it I’ve never had Blood Orange Marmalade before so have nothing to compare it with.
The 227g jars retail at £3.50 and can be found on The Artisan Kitchen website where you’ll also find a list of stockists.
Bomba XXX Tomato Puree
When I was told about a new tomato puree called Bomba XXX I was very keen to try it as it’s an ingredient I simply couldn’t live without! Well this was no ordinary tomato puree and was created by Laura Santtini, the woman behind Taste #5 Umami Paste. It was like having a delicious chef prepared base for a meal in a tube indeed it includes soffrito the classic onion, celery and carrot base of Italian dishes as well as a splash of red. The richness it imparted to my sauces made them taste like they’d been cooked slowly and the flavours allowed to mature even when they were made in a hurry! At £1.99 a tube Bomba XXX is not cheap but because it was so intensely rich I think you can use less of it and even a mediocre dish can come to life.
I added it to my usual tomato based pasta dishes and my ratatouille and suddenly they took on a whole new flavour dimension. Everyone noticed the difference, it was like an Italian chef had now given my dishes a culinary makeover and popped in a splash of red wine.
I even created Bomba Bites from some leftover puff pastry which I rolled out spread with Bomba XXX, grated Cheddar and Parmesan then rolled up and cut into pin wheels. I baked them for about 10 minutes at 200°C and they were delicious. I would never have done this with ordinary tomato paste as I just find it bitter and fairly tasteless unless its cooked into a sauce
Nudo Fine Italian Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Nudo comes as a duo pack of traditional First Cold Press Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil with Real Lemons. I immediately thought these would make a lovely foodie gift as the tins were so very pretty. The Extra Virgin Olive Oil had a clean and subtle flavour which personally I found just a bit too subtle.
The Lemon Olive Oil on the other hand was simply sublime and bursting with flavour and I hadn’t even expected to like it. It is made using the ‘agrumato’ method – pressing lemons together with the olives. It lends itself to so many culinary uses with fish and chicken being particularly good bed fellows. I knocked up a salad dressing using it with balsamic vinegar and it really perked up a warm chicken, bacon & tarragon salad. It says on the packaging to just add salt and pepper for a lazy salad dressing which I’m sure would be fab too.
Available at Waitrose £9.99 for duo pack (250mls each)
If you’d like your product to be included in the next Food News then just drop me a line via my contact form!
NB: All the above products were given to me, all views are my own and no payment was received.