Although February is the shortest month, this year it seems to have dragged on for some time. Not necessarily a bad thing as it has given me plenty of time to munch (and drink) my way through all sorts of different products that have appeared in my kitchen this month. If you’re looking for new snack ideas, there are several to check out in this post alongside a bottle or two of wine and some lovely frozen fruit and vegetables.
I do like a good old crisp. Ready salted, salt and vinegar or cheese and onion are my go to flavours but it’s always interesting to try something new. As you can see I had a whole host of flavours to try from Corkers. Three types of vegetable crisps: sweet potato with chilli, parsnip with honey and black pepper and simply salted beetroot, parsnip and sweet potato. For the potato flavours: sausage and english mustard, duck and hoisin sauce, sweet Thai chilli, salt and cider vinegar, salted, cheddar cheese and chive and salt and pepper. I’ll be honest and say that I liked them all but the flavours that I particularly enjoyed were the parnsip, honey and black pepper (like a batch of home roasted parsnips) and the sweet Thai chilli (not too hot, a really nice flavour). I have seen corkers in a few pubs so if you fancy something different with your pint or G&T, give these a try!
When wine and food are paired well it really makes both the meal and the vino shine. These two wines from Pays D’Oc IGP were suggested to be served with a pea, feta and avocado salad. So we’ve got two wines; one sauvignon blanc and one chardonnay and a meal which has sweet, fresh, salt and creamy flavours and textures. I tried the Le Clandestin 2014 (Sauv, £7.94 from Matthew Clark) with the pea salad and it worked really nicely, the classic grassy SB flavours complementing the peas, the acidity cutting through the avocado and balancing the feta. A lovely Saturday lunch. For the Louis Max (Chardonnay, £7.60 from Wine 2 You) I went off piste and made a beetroot, goat’s cheese, lentil and rocket salad (still sweet, fresh, salt and creamy but with a little earthiness too) and the wine did go with it very well. It was slightly fresher and brighter than other Chardonnays which was a nice change. For me, these wines are very reasonably price and for less than £8 a bottle I thought they were great. I’m always experimenting with wine and food so it was interesting to see how the wines went with someone else’s suggestion; success all round I’d say!
Coconut is all over the place at the moment. I was looking forward to trying these Coconut Curls from Ape as they were savoury rather than sweet in flavour so they were a bit different to anything I’ve had before. Of course, they are very coconut-y in taste and the salt or pepper works well. The first few mouthfuls you have to remind yourself that they aren’t crisps or sweet snacks, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but as an alternative to crisps (they are brilliantly crispy) they make a nice change and are also a good low calorie option too. Because they are higher in fibre and protein than traditional crisps they kept me fuller and you get an awful lot of curls in 20g!
When I go away I love a good look around a supermarket in another country. I like to see what they have in their fridges and on their shelves, especially cakes and biscuits! I remember Twinkies from the first time I went to America so I was curious to see what they were like now compared to then. I was sent three flavours: chocolate, original and banana. They were bigger than I remember them which I wasn’t expecting; a bit larger than a mini roll. They had a slight saltiness to them which was again unexpected but added to the overall flavour. I liked that they were individually wrapped, the chocolate was my favourite of the three. They are very sweet so I wouldn’t recommend having three in quick succession; unlike the OH who did just that and then had too much energy for a lazy Sunday!
Back onto an alternative snack are these fruit crisps from Nim’s. They are air dried so they are crispy but not quite as crispy as a traditional fried potato crisp. I liked that the skins are kept on and each pack counts as one of your five a day. The flavours are interesting too: apple, orange and melon, pear and kiwi and pineapple and mango. You get loads of fruit in each bag and because they are dehydrated versions of fresh fruit they are full of sharp, fruit flavour which I really liked. Again, I liked that these are high in fibre and offer something different when I’m looking for a lunch snack.
These lentil waves from Burts are different again. They have an almost nutty flavour and the three varieties; Thai sweet chilli, sour cream and chive and lightly salted all work really well with the lentil taste. They are really crunchy and a good low calorie option. The flavours are big with these so you don’t really notice any difference between these and ‘normal’ crisps, and you get plenty of waves in each bag. Again these were great to have as something different for a take-to-work snack; sour cream and chive were my favourite of the three.
As I don’t have a freezer I don’t dabble in frozen food. However these frozen wild mushrooms and fruit sounded so good I asked my Mum if I could borrow a shelf in her freezer so I could give them a try! The packaging that these came in from Donald Russell was great. It was all beautifully wrapped in tissue paper and individual boxes along with solid carbon dioxide to keep everything cold. These were outside all day, in the sunshine for some of it, and everything was completely frozen when I unwrapped it. The three wild mushrooms: ceps, chanterelles and morels have been used in a casserole (morels), on toast (chanterelles) and fried before adding to an omelette (ceps) and the flavour was great. The four fruits were used in a crumble (the apple and sour cherries), the apricot and plum are yet to be used and my Mum got her hands on the wild blueberries and cooked them with a little sugar to have with yoghurt for breakfast. It was really nice having these around to inspire a bit of cooking that otherwise wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t been there. If and when I get a freezer I would certainly get my hands on some more of their food.
We will have to wait and see what next month brings!
All opinions expressed are my own. Thanks to Corkers, Pays D’Oc, Ape, Twinkies, Nim’s, Burts and Donald Russell.