Saturday, 30 April 2016

Product Review: Propercorn Popcorn


Hi Readers!

Excited to have a product review to undertake this weekend.   A couple of weeks ago, I received a big orange satchel based box through the post, with a selection of six different bags of Propercorn.

For those of you who don’t know, Propercorn is “done properly”.  It’s made in Britain, is vegan friendly, GM free, gluten and wheat free.  Glad we’ve cleared that up as a starting point!

The brand was founded based on a Dad who was a hopeless cook but who could bash out a decent pot of popcorn. Thanks Cassandra, we appreciate you sharing your Dad’s great flavour combinations with us all!

I had a selection of sweet and savoury sent out to me.  I’m halfway through the box, having munched all the sweet bags and I’ll looking forward to trying the savoury bags as part of office packed lunches next week, when I’m back into a work routine after Italy (more of that to follow soon!)

Bags might weigh only 20g, but there’s lots of lovely munchy popped kernels inside every bag. The calorie content is lower than even a “healthy” bag of crisps, so there’s a guilt free snack if I ever saw one!

So, my thoughts so far… I’ve enjoyed all of the sweet varieties and was pleasantly surprised by the Sweet and Salted flavour.  I’ve heard loads about the revolutionary sweet and salty popcorns out there but never really felt the urge to try it.  Handy, when it lands on your door for a review.  Turns out its really moreish and odd as it sounds, works together.  My favourite so far was the Sweet Coconut and Vanilla.  Again, not something I’d automatically try…. The coconut sweets are always left in the box at Christmas, I’ve no idea why, childhood trauma maybe?!  However, I loved this! Sweet, but not too sweet… moreish enough to think “I’d enjoy that in share size”.

propercorn smooth peanut and almond

The brand junkie in me loved the care and attention put into getting the package out.  I received a £5 gift box in the mail – the presentation was great, I loved the fact I had a chance to try all the flavours and the bright, summery colours would look great out on the table at drinks with friends, or adorning the patio furniture for a summer barbeque.
propercorn popcorn

Thanks Propercorn… I really enjoyed the chance to try these nifty little snacks!  For more information, check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Disclaimer:  I was sent a box of 6 bags of Propercorn to review.  Any opinions expressed are my own.


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Gluten Free Banana Berry Muffins

Readers, I’ve got yet another gluten free bake for you.  My bag of Doves Farm appears to be endless, so I swapped regular flour for gluten free in the recipe.

These are a bit more crumbly than regular muffins – sort of a “caffin” hybrid – a cross between a cake and a muffin.  They are best eaten warm and these kept for around 3 days.  Top tip – heat up in the microwave for 15 seconds if you are eating the day after.  Makes for a bit of a less crumbly experience.

These are relatively low fat and the banana and berries at least help towards your 5-a-day…

Perfect for breakfast on the run or as a mid-morning snack.

Happy baking!              
gluten free banana berry muffin


Gluten Free Banana Berry Muffins

Ingredients (makes 10-12 muffins)

225g gluten free self raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g dark soft brown sugar
125ml vegetable oil
3 small/medium eggs
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 medium ripe bananas
½ cup frozen mixed berries - defrosted (juice squeezed out so only flesh is remaining)
Topping
Gluten free oats
Several pinches of dark brown soft sugar

 


Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200c/180c fan. Add the muffin cases to a muffin tin. 
  2. Add the sieved sugar, eggs and vegetable oil to a bowl and mix until combined.  Add the mashed banana and mix.  Add the mixed berries, discarding the juice and only adding the flesh. Mix to combine.
  3. Sieve in the gluten free flour, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda. Lightly mix together with the wet ingredients – the mix should just be combined and look lumpy.
    Lumpy batter isn't a problem!
  4. Spoon a heaped dessert spoon of mix into each muffin case until around ¾ full.
  5. Top with a sprinkle of gluten free oats and dark brown sugar (this will help to make a crispy topping).
  6. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until dark golden on top and cooked through.
    Decent rise on the muffins
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving. 
    gluten free banana berry muffins
    The finished article


Link up your recipe of the week

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Product Review: Fairtrade Geobars

Readers, I’m delighted to be doing a product review for you all today. It’s been a while!  I’ve been so focussed on trying to post recipes recently that I’ve not really had a chance to approach anyone or be approached for a review post.

Anyway, today I’m talking Geobars.   Why do I like them?  Well, the Traidcraft mentality and a global mix of Fairtrade ingredients are a good start.

Many of you probably remember these products, as they’ve been around for years.  I remember them from playtime snacks at school but they’ve recently had a bit of a revamp.  The recipes have been improved for an even tastier product.
fairtrade geobar

Geobars support Fairtrade growers around the world which I really like.  I’m not for exploiting people in less economically developed countries just because labour is cheap and crops are plentiful.  People should be a paid a fair price for the food they grow and the effort that goes into it.

The bars come in packs of 5 – so that’s your week of work snacks sorted and are a 35g serving.  Calorie contents vary between 120 and 134 kcal per bar, so not too bad for you.   I received samples of the Wild Apricot, Mixed Berry and Chocolate varieties.

Firstly, I enjoyed how chewy and fruity the apricot and berry bars were.  The raisin and chocolate bars are almost a guilt free chocolate bar if you are calorie counting.   They are over 10% of your daily intake of sugar per bar – so be cautious, one a day is enough – but I believe in everything in moderation and enjoying a balanced diet.

The side of each pack also lists the ingredients which comply with Fairtrade standards – so at least you know who you are helping as you eat.

Looking to buy?  You’ll find these online at the traidcraftshop.co.uk and Sainsburys and Waitrose also stock.  Prices vary from £2.00 to £2.50 for a pack of 6.

The new and improved recipes taste even more chocolatey and even more fruity – a win in my eyes.  They are also a great source of fibre and for the vegetarians amongst you, don’t worry, they are veggie friendly.
fairtrade geobar

If you’d like to find out more, visit lovegeobar.com or check out their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Disclaimer: Geobar sent me three boxes of bars to try.  Any opinions expressed are my own.


Sunday, 3 April 2016

Gluten Free Lemon, Raspberry and Blackberry Cake

Readers, it’s honestly only by chance that my last two bakes have been gluten free.  The bag of Dove’s Farm Self Raising is at the front of the cupboard and I’ve been keen to see if swapping a standard flour for a gluten free one has made any change to the recipe.  Turns out it doesn’t.  Hats off to the Dove’s Farm lot – your product does work.

Last night we had some friends over for dinner, including one who’s gluten intolerant.  Rather than shying away from anything cake-y we went for it and made it gluten free friendly. 

All in all, this took less than an hour to make from start to finish and an 8x8 size sponge would probably comfortably serve 6 people. This was very much an experimental dish which happened to work, so I’m happy to share it with you all.

Enjoy!
what claire baked uk food blog

 Gluten Free Lemon, Raspberry and Blackberry Cake

Ingredients (serves 6)

175g gluten free self raising flour
175g caster sugar
175g butter
3 medium eggs
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Handful of raspberries – crushed
200ml whipping cream
3 dessert spoons lemon curd
Raspberries and blackberries to decorate

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190c/170c fan/Gas 6
  2. Add the butter, sugar, eggs and flour to a mixing bowl.  Mix using a hand mixer until the cake batter is smooth and well combined.  Grate in the zest of the lemon and add the juice. Mix with a spatula to combine
  3. Wash all soft fruit and set aside.  Choose 10 medium sized raspberries and crush over the bowl containing the batter, so all juice adds to the mix. Once the flesh has broken up, add to the mix and use the spatula to disperse amongst the cake batter.  Transfer to an 8x8in silicone cake pan.
  4. Transfer to the oven and bake for around 20 minutes until golden.  Test using a skewer – if it comes out clean or only with a couple of crumbs, it’s ready.
  5. Leave to cool for around 20 minutes in the pan, so it retains its shape, before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
    Transfer to a wire rack to cool

    Trim the edges to form neat sides

  6. Once cold, slice each of the sides to create a neat edge.  Then, slice in half horizontally to give two pieces of sponge that can be sandwiched together.
    Slice in half horizontally
  7. Meanwhile, add the whipping cream to a bowl and use an electric whisk until it resembles stiff peaks.  Add the lemon curd and mix for another 20 seconds to combine.
  8. Transfer your cake base to a serving plate.  Spread a thin layer of the lemon cream on top of the base sponge and place the second sponge on top.  
  9. Add a layer of the cream to the top and around the sides, to cover the edges.
    Spread lemon cream over top and sides
  10. Finish with a pattern of raspberries and blackberries on the top of the cake.  Transfer to the fridge and store.  Before serving, slice up into equal pieces.