August Food and Drink News Round-Up – I can’t believe that our summer will soon be over: the new school year is on the horizon and students will be preparing to head to university, many for the first time. But we can still enjoy our Indian summer before the autumn weather starts. In the meantime, here are some really interesting new products that have been brought to my attention this past month.
There’s no better way to start the day than with a healthy breakfast. And what could be nicer than delicious combinations of natural ingredients sweetened with pure, mouth-watering honey? Honey Heaven sells a range of organic honey exclusively sourced from small, artisanal Hungarian beekeepers. The pristine Hungarian countryside is an area of unspoilt natural beauty with stunning landscapes, criss-crossed by a network of springs and rivers, untamed Acacia forests and lush wild-flower and lavender meadows. The organic honey they make is extracted using traditional methods which are sustainable and work in complete harmony with nature. The honey has won numerous Great Taste awards, is very delicious and available here. I think one of my favourites is the Cinnamon Honey. And while you’re on the website do check out the great recipes here
I’m already a fan of Vadasz products, and the new Hot & Sweet Jalapeño Relish is a great addition to the range. It perks up sandwiches, wraps and salads. It can be added to hummus or mayonnaise to spice it up, and it is a great accompaniment for a BBQ. What’s more, it’s good for you, as Jalapeños are full of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants, the capsaicin in jalapeños provides spice, and when eaten regularly, can help boost metabolism. The relish contains sweet pickled jalapeños, green peppers, apple, onion and spices; and joins the Vadasz range in Waitrose which includes: Raw Kimchi, Raw Garlic and Dill Sauerkraut, Fresh Red Onion Pickles, Fresh Garlic & Dill Pickles, Super Beet Kimchi and Pineapple & Turmeric Sauerkraut. Vadasz Hot and Sweet Jalapeño Relish, 400g (RRP £4.75) is available from the chiller in selected Waitrose stores
I’m a great fan of Japanese food but have always been rather hesitant to cook it myself. But now, with the help of Kikkoman, it’s much easier! In addition to producing the UK’s best-selling soy sauce, Kikkoman has launched a trio of Japanese seasonings. Mirin-fu (a sweet style cooking seasoning that has a rich mellow taste and a hint of sweetness), Toasted Sesame Oil (100% pure toasted sesame seeds and nowt else, adds nuttiness to dressings, marinade and lots more) and Seasoning For Sushi Rice (a special rice vinegar specially developed for making sushi, but adds umami to salads, gravies, dips etc) might sound quite specialist, but in fact, they’re so versatile you’ll use them again and again. In handy 125ml bottles, from Ocado at £1.85
I recall a clever advert many years ago, for Vinho Verde, saying that ‘one swallow makes a summer’. It’s always been a favourite wine of mine and I love its slight petulance. Portugal’s northern coast is famous for both its incredible seafood and these beautifully refreshing white wines from the region of Vinho Verde. Produced from a blend of local grapes, this is an aromatic white wine bursting with lemon sherbet and green. This Por do Sol Vinho Verde, is available from Tesco at 9% abv, £5.25 giving apple flavours, with a slight spritz.
With the start of a new school year looming, parents need not worry about any Jiggery Pokery in packed lunch drinks ingredients, as these drinks are ideal. The school-approved kids’ Fruit Waters from Cawston Press are available in four fruity flavours: Cloudy Apple, Apple & Mango, Apple & Pear and Apple & Summer Berries.
The Fruit Waters contain no added sugar, no sweeteners, no shortcuts, and No Jiggery Pokery. The sweetness from each carton comes entirely from pressed fruit, purees and water. The fruit is pressed at maximum ripeness when it’s bursting with flavour. All Cawston Press Fruit Waters contain at least 50% fruit juice, which is then simply blended with spring water, and are gluten-free and vegan-friendly. Available from Asda, Morrisons, Ocado, Tesco and Sainsbury’s for around £2 for a pack of three x 200ml cartons. (with paper straws now too).
There are recipe kits and recipe kits. And I’ve now found a company that takes you on a fabulous global gastronomic voyage. Naksha Collections is manufactured in the UK, but the company originated in Dubai, where founders Nisha and Sam were living prior to relocating back to the UK. Their avant-garde food business champions an eclectic portfolio of savoury and sweet meal kits representing authentic cuisines, offering unusual recipes outside the mainstream realms of Indian, Thai and Mexican food. Customer favourites include Jamaican Curried Goat, Lemak Cili Padi (a creamy Malay-style curry from Singapore), Ropa Vieja (Cuba’s iconic yet little-known national dish) and milk chocolate blondies made with Lebanese tahini. The range is available at Whole Foods Market, John Lewis, and Harrods. The kits include easy recipe cards and specialist ingredients such as spice blends, herbs, grains, noodles, sauces, and other extras. The fresh items that one needs to complete the dish are easily obtainable as part of a normal weekly shop The savoury Naksha Recipe Kits serve two or 6-8 the baking range serves six. Prices range from £7.99 to £11.50.
Silver Reign is a new English sparkling wine. It comes from organically cultivated vines nestled deep in a process ideally suited to producing light, fresh Sparkling wines. A blend of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, (the grapes used in champagne production) this is a delightful English sparkling wine filled with delicate aromas of Elderflower, white hedgerow flowers, pear and apricot. A fine mousse leads to a refreshing finish with lingering flavours of citrus and ripe stone fruit. It is also suitable for vegans and vegetarians. This is an English Charmat at an affordable price. Light and fruity, it’s less sweet than its sparkling counterparts Prosecco, Cava and Crémant. It’s available online from good wine suppliers including The Wine Caverns here