Saturday, 27 August 2016

Granose Meat-Free Mixes - A Review & Give-Away

Granose Meat-Free Mixes
I generally like to make most meals from scratch, but sometimes it's good to have a few convenience products to fall back on. I hadn't tried packet mixes for a while, so was interested to see how the new range of Granose Meat-Free mixes, from Symington's would compare to ready-made products.

In the UK, we have access to a wide variety of processed, chilled or frozen vegetarian products, but sometimes, it's useful to have a standby in the cupboard. Maybe you're a not vegetarian but occasionally have veggie friends or family over, or maybe you need a product which doesn't need to be chilled. For example, when camping or on Duke of Edinburgh type expeditions, or to take on holiday to countries where vegetarian products are still hard to find, such as France. They would also be great for students going away to university, who might have limited fridge and freezer storage.
"Granose has a 100 year history, making it the natural choice when it comes to providing dried mix meat free meals that are healthy, hearty and delicious. What’s more, they are easy to prepare and designed entirely with your convenience in mind. Granose means goodness, for all the family.
There are 6 products in the range, Meat Free Lincolnshire Sausage Mix, Meat Free Burger Mix, Meat Free Bolognese Mix, Meat Free Savoury Mince Mix, Falafel Mix and finally the Soya Mince."
With this in mind, I tried out some of the products to see how they compared to ready-made products.
All of the products are labelled as vegetarian, but actually appear to be vegan too. The mixes were really easy to prepare as you basically add water, stir well and leave to firm up, before shaping into burgers, sausages or balls (I used my burger press). You then bake, fry or barbecue.

The joy of packet mixes, is that you can add extra ingredients, such as herbs or spices to vary the flavour, so if you like your falafels spicy, you can add some extra chilli! One thing I will mention, is that I found I needed a little less water (just a few tablespoons less) than stated on the packet, so don't add it all at once. I brushed my burgers and sausages with oil and barbecued them; they held together surprisingly well.

The finished products all tasted pleasant, but had a different (less meaty) texture to ready-made products which my teens were a little dubious of! Once we'd added the required amount of ketchup, relish etc, I think they tasted pretty good. Maybe not as succulent, but certainly a good, convenient alternative.

If you want to try out the products yourself, they are available at Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Holland & Barrett.

You also have a chance to win a selection of Granose products. Just leave my a comment, telling me your favourite vegetarian/vegan convenience product and fill in the Rafflecopter entry form. 
UK ONLY, closes midnight 3rd Sept. 2016. 

 Integrity Statement
 I received the products pictured in consideration for a review  and giveaway. All views expressed are genuine.



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Monday, 15 August 2016

Very Green Salad with Rocket & Watercress

Salad with Rocket & Watercress
As you may have noticed from my previous post, I've been growing my own fruit and vegetables in raised beds this year, in an attempt to avoid the destructive deluge of slugs and snails. I must say, it's been pretty successful and I haven't had to buy any salad leaves for quite a while. As I'm now over run with rocket (arugula), I've been adding it to every salad I make, but haven't really allowed it to be the star of the show.

This very green salad is a great way to use up a glut of rocket and is a good source of vitamins, iron and calcium. The quantities are deliberately quite fluid, as you can use a mix of any salad leaves you have to hand, or need to use up.

Serves 4 as a side salad
  • 2 handfuls/cups of bitter salad leaves (rocket, watercress etc.)
  • 1 handful/cup of sweet salad leaves (lettuce, spinach etc.)
  • ⅓ cucumber, sliced
  • ½ green pepper, sliced
  • 50g/2oz green olives
  • 50g/2oz walnut pieces or pine nuts
For the dressing - mix these ingredients together in a cup or small bowl.
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (I used my Cretan Olive Oil from Arnaud Gillet)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste
 NCRWash the salad leaves and blot dry.
Toss all of the salad ingredients together in a bowl.
Pour over the dressing and turn lightly to coat the ingredients.

Chill until needed. 

Keeps for 1-2 days in an airtight container in the fridge.


I'm entering this recipe to this month's No Croutons Required Challenge, co-hosted by Jacqui at Tinned Tomatoes and Lisa at Lisa's Kitchen

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Friday, 5 August 2016

My Kitchen Garden

This summer I've created my own kitchen garden in raised beds. I bought the raised bed kits from Wickes and built them myself; OK, with a little help from Mr.O! I filled the beds with a lasagne (layers) of peat-free bought compost, soil from the garden, garden compost and barbecue and bonfire ashes.

In an attempt to thwart the millions of rampaging slugs and snails which inhabit my garden, I surrounded each bed with about 20-30 cm of gravel. This does seem to be doing the trick, but I still need to pick out the little blighters which do make it across.

I'll admit that I've rather overcrowded the beds this year, but everything still seems to be growing well. I've planted just a few plants each of: runner beans, green beans, broad beans, courgettes, butternut squash (grown from seeds which I dried and saved from a shop-bought squash), tomatoes, herbs and chillies.

I've also been growing mixed salad leaves including lettuce, rocket and watercress.
As we eat a lot of salad and I like a bargain, I've come up with a thrifty way to grow salad leaves for the price of a couple of bags of shop-bought leaves.
  • Lettuce: Buy a 'growing' pack of mixed lettuce for £1-2 from your local supermarket, split them up and plant them out, you can start picking the leaves within 7-14 days and can be harvested for over a month if you keep them well watered.
  • Watercress: Just plant a few odd sprigs of left over watercress from a bag of salad. Look out for the pieces which have little roots attached to the base of the stems. Again, with a few weeks, they'll have spread and will be ready to start harvesting. I was quite amazed that watercress doesn't need to be grown in water!
  • Rocket: This is really quick and easy to grow from seed. Just sprinkle a row of seeds every couple of weeks and pick the larger leaves off as soon as they're ready.
My courgettes have just started fruiting and my runner beans won't be far behind, so look out for more recipes featuring my kitchen garden harvest.

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