A Strong Coffee

Friday, 27 March 2015

Degustabox March Review and Giveaway!

degustabox march

Well what can I say. Each month, I get excited as my text arrives to tell me that my Degustabox delivery is on it's way. This week March's box arrived and I was not disappointed. A fantastic selection of products which we have loved tasting. Here are my thoughts.

Jordans Lighter Granola: We have tried this before and I like the fact that it is 30% less fat than standard granola. It would be fantastic in plum crumble.

Juiceburst: I really enjoyed the cranberry drink and would look out for this when I am out and about.

BBQUUE: We were given the original flavour and as we were having ham I marinated it in this. The taste was quite subtle. I will be making chicken skewers for the BBQ next and will add more sauce.

Lindt: Easter is not Easter without a Lindt bunny, but these mini eggs make a close second. I love lindt chocolate and I really enjoyed these. Look out for the chocolate brownies I have made with these coming up next week.

Bassetts: Jelly Babies Berry Mix. Genius! All my favourite flavours of jelly babies without the yellow and green ones that I usually end up giving the boys.

Sour Patch: I am not a particular fan of sour jellies but if they are your thing then they taste good.

Crabbies Fruits: I turned my nose up at these at first. I then opened the Raspberry and Rhubarb and did a u-turn. Lovely, refreshing and I will be buying these in the future.

Kent's Kitchen: This is a brand that has been in previous Degustaboxes. I have always enjoyed them and hope that this will be as good.

Natvia: As chance has it I have just reviewed this product. You can see the 3 ingredient chocolate cake that I made.

Brioche Pasquier: These French Bread croutons have a flavour and are a great new snack idea.

If you would like to try Degustabox for yourself, I have a discount code which gives you a £3 discount on your first order. Just enter the code CKMTL to get your box for £9.99

As my little blog has turned 3 this month they have also offered me a box to giveaway for April. Just complete the Gleam widget below. Good Luck! Full terms and conditions can be seen on the widget but please note that all entrants need to be resident in mainland UK (excluding Northern Ireland and Scottish Highlands and Islands) and over 18.

Degustabox April

www.theprizefinder.com - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/degustabox-1#sthash.sAlitSJ5.dpuf

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Thursday, 26 March 2015

3 Ingredient Chocolate Cake with Nativa

gluten free chocolate cake

I have to start by saying I was very doubtful over this recipe. How can you make a cake without flour and butter? Well it turns out I have a lot to learn. Especially when it comes to sugar free cooking. The recipe is simple and worth a try if you have any gluten free friends coming over.

You can find the full recipe here. I took a 150g of Dr Oetkers dark chocolate and melted it for a couple of minutes in the microwave at 400W.

I then separated three eggs and added the yolks along with 2tbsp of Nativa to the melted chocolate.

I whisked the eggs until they were stiff.

egg whites

I then folded in the chocolate mixture and transferred to a baking tray and cooked at 180C for approximately 20 minutes.

Whilst these aren't the same as the calorie laden chocolate brownies that I am used to, they give you a chocolate kick when you need it and I found they tasted even better the next day.

Nativa is a natural alternative to artificial sweetner with a whopping 95% fewer calories than sugar. I could certainly do with reducing my sugar intake but I think some practice in getting the recipes right is required. I had a go at making cupcakes and the results weren't great. Luckily there are a number of recipes on the Sweeter life club website to help you get started. There are also hints and tips on the Nativa site.

At the moment, I am on the fence over Nativa. I like the idea of reducing my sugar intake, I just need to try some more recipes to see which ones work for me. So in short, watch this space and I will update you on any good recipes that I devise! In the mean time I think I will be trying out the low carb Mojito recipe.

Sponsored by Nativa

Wednesday, 25 March 2015


My favourite post of last year lists what you need to know if you are expecting a boy. In short they are messy, muddy, and obsessed with collecting sticks. I put the latter down to primal instincts regarding the need for fire. As far as I can tell, boys aren't as emotionally complicated as girls. They will randomly play with others in the park. There is no need to even know their name. It will often involve racing, finding sticks or a ball. What you see is what you get. There is no hidden meaning to anything. As long as you keep them fed and watered they are happy. I believe that the collective term is a bundle of boys.

a bundle of boys

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Kids Cook French Review and Giveaway

kids cook french cookbook

When I recieved this book I have to say I initially panicked about what I had agreed to review. I opened the book and inside was a recipe in French. Now whilst I miraculously managed to gain an A grade at GCSE, I must admit it was a few years ago and I am a little rusty. Thankfully I then looked to my left and saw the same recipe in English. Phew!

french and english recipe

Flicking through the book I was really impressed. The recipes are aimed at being easy enough for children to follow, but they are also tasty too. I am really keen at teaching my boys to cook. They enjoy it and all of them are happy to try something new if it is something they have cooked themselves. Recipes range from croque monsieur to roasted cauliflower to apple tarts with almond frangipane. However, it was the cheese fondue that really caught my eye and I decided to order in the ingredients so that we could make this.

The recipe was really simple.

Big man grated 250g of comte and 250g of gruyere cheese.

boy cooking

We melted 45g of butter in a pan and added 2 cloves of chopped garlic.

Next we added a cup of white wine, 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock and then the grated cheese.

Some salt and pepper finished it off.

I cut up some cubes of baguette and we tucked in.

cheese fondue

It was a success with everyone.

We will certainly be making some more of the dishes in the book.

The book is £12.99 from Amazon and I think it is a lovely book for any child that is keen on learning to cook. I have also been offered a copy to giveaway to one of my readers. Just complete the Rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


UK competitions at ThePrizeFinder - See more at: http://www.theprizefinder.com/content/kids-cook-french-book#sthash.nyj5xcDr.dpuf

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Friday, 20 March 2015

What Are Your Dirty Secrets?

Spring is finally here! Well I have a few crocuces in the garden at least. Therefore, it is time for some Spring cleaning. So what are your dirty secrets?

I have been known to watch "How Clean is Your House" or similar programmes and rate my house as pretty tidy in comparison. I am unsure that having such houses as a standard of comparison is a good thing.

I have also been know to invite people round my house in order to make myself have a big tidy. I sometimes think we should have people over more often!

When I was at university a friend gave me a load of Winnie the Pooh paper plates. I used these so I had less washing up to do. Just to clarify this was 20 years ago and I don't do it now, unless it is a children's party.

Method have recently shared their survey of 2000 adults dirtiest cleaning secrets with me and I have to say I am feeling good about myself again. Their dirty secrets included:

reusing using unwashed plates

buying new bed sheets instead of washing old ones

letting dogs lick the leftovers from their plates

using a hairdryer to dust the bedroom

reusing dirty gym clothes

cleaning skirting boards with socks....whilst wearing them!

The lovely people at method gave me a bundle of their products to help with my spring cleaning. It is really handy to have the daily shower cleaner to hand to keep the shower nice and clean. I also like the air fresheners as they are aerosol free. Method uses naturally derived, biodergradable ingredients, making them less harmful for a family home. You can purchase method products at most of the leading supermarkets and online. They have also kindly offered a bundle like mine to giveaway to one of my readers. Just complete the rafflecopter below. Good Luck!

method cleaning products

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Lemon, Raspberry and White Chocolate Easter Egg Pinata Cake

Lemon, Raspberry and White Chocolate Easter Egg Pinita Cake

When the Co-operative challenged me to make an Easter centerpiece I had a think about what Easter meant. To me it is a time to be spent with family and signals new beginnings. A Spring style dessert would be fresh and exciting. To my children Easter is all about the chocolate eggs. I therefore decided I would try and combine the two with this more adult looking cake from the outside but with a surprise chocolate egg middle.


For the Cake:

1lb of Co-operative unsalted butter
1lb of Co-operative self raising flour
1lboz of caster sugar
8 Co-operative medium free range eggs

Lemon curd

3 bags of Co-operative solid milk chocolate foiled easter eggs

For the frosting:
8oz of Co-operative unsalted butter
300g of icing sugar
150g of white chocolate

To finish:
1 packet of Co-operative raspberries
1 bar of Co-operative Fairtrade dark chocolate

You will need to start by making four 8 inch round sponge cakes.

sponge cake ingredients

Mix the eggs, caster sugar, and flour together with the butter. I find it easier to melt the butter. Divide the mixture into four and bake at 180C for approximately 15 minutes. Once cooled you will need to cut holes in three of the sponge cakes.

Making a whole in the piniata cake

Place the three layers on top of each other with a generous layer of lemon curd sandwiching them together.

lemon curd layer cake

Fill the hole with foiled Easter eggs before placing the last cake layer on top.

hole filled with chocolate eggs

To make the frosting you need to cream the butter and icing sugar together. Next heat the white chocolate in the microwave at 400W for 2 minutes. Take out, stir and repeat for 20s intervals if necessary. Mix the white chocolate into the butter icing.

white chocolate frosting

Using a blunt knife spread the butter cream all over the cake.

buttercream on cake

Next I melted half a bar of Co-operative fairtrade dark chocolate and poured it into an icing bag. I cut a small whole at the end and piped the chocolate on the top.

piped chocolate

Lastly I added the raspberries with some more drizzled chocolate.

easter cake

And when you cut inside....

easter pinata cake

Will you be making an Easter centrepiece dessert? If you are looking for some baking inspiration then take a look at the recipes on the Co-operative site.

If you liked this or any of my other food posts, please consider voting for A Strong Coffee in the Brilliance in Blogging Food Category.


I was provided the ingredients for this post by the Co-operative Food.

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Serenata Hamper Review and Giveaway

bordeaux and artisan cheese hamper

Last week I was lucky enough to be sent a hamper from Serenata Hampers. There is a hamper to suit everyone, from sweet treats, to a time for tea trug to a girls night in. As my husband and I are rather partial to red wine and cheese I chose the Bordeaux and Artisan Cheese selection.

Delivery was quick and easy and you can choose a day for delivery (often at no extra charge.)

The picture on the website slightly glamourises the contents of the box (adding in a cheese board and grapes) but you can see what is in each hamper by clicking on the details tab. I think this is always important when buying hampers and/or flowers as often the picture shown doesn't quite correspond to what you are buying. Here is the box we recieved:

cheese and wine hamper contents

I have to say I was really impressed by the hamper. The wine was good, the crackers were nice and the cheeses were fantastic. We both particularly liked the hand waxed Worcestershire Gold Mature Cheddar. This hamper costs £45.99 delivered. There are often special offers on a selection of hampers so it is worth looking out for a good deal.

cheese and wine

If you like the look of this hamper too, I am pleased to say that Serenata Hampers have kindly offered one of my readers a Bordeaux and Artisan Cheese Selection to try for themselves. Just complete the Gleam Widget below. Good Luck!

Bordeaux and Artisan Cheese Hamper

If you liked this or any of my other food posts, please consider voting for A Strong Coffee in the Brilliance in Blogging Food Category.


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