Thursday, 26 November 2015

Dreamweaver Shiraz 2014 - Wine Review

We first tried this Australian red wine about 4 months ago, and we've bought it again several times since.
I guess that says a lot about what we think of this Shiraz. We like it!


On the nose there are intense aromas of earthy damson, and cocoa.
On the palate lots of delicious red berries, blackberries, a touch of coffee, and chocolate.
It's a fairly full-bodied wine with decent hard tannins.
Dreamweaver Shiraz 2014 is a really nice wine, and definitely one we will be buying again.

Haven't had this before. 🍷🍷🍷DREAM WEAVER. SHIRAZ. AUSTRALIA 2014. #Shiraz

From the label
''To dream is to wish, to hope, to aspire, to live life with optimism, faith and expectation.''
Dreamweaver Shiraz 2014
A rich jammy Australian Shiraz with warming red berry notes. Hints of blueberries, mulberries and blackberries round out the palate giving it a lovely soft, supple mouthfeel. The lingering persistence makes it a great match with chargrilled meats and game. Drink now to five years. 13% vol.

Mr.R does all of our food and drink shopping, so I'm not sure how much we paid for this wine, or where he bought it. I think he bought it from Asda, and I'm guessing it's only about five quid a bottle.
Wherever he purchased it, and however much it cost, it's very tasty, and I recommend you try it for yourself.
Have you tried Dreamweaver Shiraz 2014?
What did you think of it?

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Porridge with Raisins, Coconut, Banana, Maple Syrup, and Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds

I love porridge, it's the food I eat for breakfast most often.
And this morning was another tasty porridge oats day.

Porridge, with banana, raisins, coconut, maple syrup, and chocolate covered sunflower seeds. Mmm! πŸ˜‹

First thing this morning I took Barley, our rescue Lurcher, for a nice long walk, it was fairly cold out with temperatures hovering around 1 degrees centigrade. When I got back to the house Mr.R had Barleys breakfast all ready and waiting for him, and as I was also very hungry I made a lovely warming bowl of porridge, with a few extras.
I added raisins, coconut, and maple syrup to my porridge as it simmered on the hob.
Then when my porridge was cooked, I chucked a chopped-up banana in the bowl, over which I dished-up my porridge, and then I drizzled some more maple syrup over it, and finally I sprinkled a few dark chocolate covered sunflower seeds on top.
It was seriously tasty - hot, sweet, chocolatey, and delicious.
Are you a porridge lover?
What's your favourite way to eat your porridge oats?

The Co-operative Vina Gala Rioja - Wine Review

This Co-op Vina Gala is a very nice Rioja, and a bit of a bargain at under five quid a bottle.
I think we paid £4.49, it was reduced from £5.49.

The Co-operative Vina Gala Rioja - no year? Hmm, weird 😏

On the nose there were aromas of cooked cherries, cherry stalks, leather and tobacco.
On the palate were flavours of sour cherry, blackberry, raspberry, sweet spices, pleasant tannins, and a velvety smooth finish.
Moorish and absolutely delicious!

The Co-operative Vina Gala Rioja - no year? Hmm, weird? 😏

From the label -
This wine is made from 100% Tempranillo which gives it oodles of raspberry flavours and spice character. A beautifully balanced wine at exceptional value from Bodegas Muriel in Elciego. 13% vol 
Have you tried The Co-operative Vina Gala Rioja?
What did you think of it?

Kallo, Belgian Dark Chocolate, Organic Rice Cake Thins - Review

I like rice cakes, and I like dark chocolate, so when Mr.R recently received a big box of organic food stuffs that he'd won, I was pleased to see a packet of Kallo, Belgian Dark Chocolate, Organic Rice Cake Thins included amongst his haul.

I hadn't tried this brand of rice cake before, but they sounded nice, so I wasted no time in ripping open the packet to taste them.
Actually that's not true, but it sounded a bit more dramatic that what I actually did, which was nothing.
Well, not for a while anyway.
Mr.R unpacked the box of food items, and the Kallo chocolate rice cakes were put in the larder. And that's where they stayed for ages, until I saw them one day and fancied trying them.
I still didn't hastily rip open the packet in my desire to scoff them though, no, I put them in the fridge.
I thought the dark chocolate would taste really nice if it was cold.
A few days after I'd put the packet of Kallo chocolate rice cakes in the fridge, which I'd obviously forgotten otherwise I would have eaten them much sooner, I finally remembered and opened the packet to try them.

I can't stop eating. These are very nice, and they were free. I blame the cold weather for my insatiable hunger. πŸ˜œπŸ˜‹

I'd made a nice hot cup of green tea, and fancied something to eat with it, so I bit into one of the chocolate covered rice cakes, and it was as delicious as I was expecting.
The rice cakes are as stated in the description, thin, and they are topped with a generous amount of tasty dark chocolate.
I definitely think keeping them in the fridge was a good decision, the rice was nice and crispy, and the dark chocolate was perfectly firm.
I really enjoyed my first Kallo dark chocolate rice cake, and I've eaten a few more since I finally opened the packet, but I've still got a few left. They are a decent size, adequately satisfying, so I only ate one at a time.

I'm not sure what else to say really, as I already seem to have rambled on quite a lot about these tasty squares of rice cake and chocolate, so I think I'll leave it at that.

From the packet - 

There was a chocolate owl, Who only came out at night.
He was the shyest bird in the forest, 
He was never spotted in flight. 

“Why are you always in hiding?” 
Said the woodpecker, tapping a beat. 
“Because I’m made of delicious dark chocolate, 
And I’m ever so splendid to eat.”

The Low Down -

  • 55 calories per rice cake thin 
  • A source of fibre 
  • Made with Belgian chocolate 
  • No artificial colours, flavours or preservatives 
  • Vegetarian and coeliac friendly 
  • Gluten Free 

Ingredients and allergy information -
Ingredients: Organic dark chocolate (59%) (organic cocoa mass, organic cane sugar, organic cocoa butter), organic wholegrain brown rice.
Allergen Advice: Made in a factory that handles soya, sesame seeds and milk.

Nutritional Information -
Typical values                    per 100g                  per rice cake
Energy                               2039KJ/488Kcal       229KJ/55Kcal      
Fat                                     24.1g                      2.7g
of which saturates              14.6g                       1.6g
Carbohydrates                   57.2g                       6.4g
of which sugars                 23.4g                       2.6g
Fibre                                 7.4g                         0.8g
Protein                              6.8g                         0.8g
Salt                                   trace                        trace

So, Kallo Belgian Dark Chocolate Organic Rice Cakes, my verdict - they're absolutely delicious!
Have you tried Kallo, Belgian Dark Chocolate, Organic Rice Cake Thins?
What did you think of them?

McGuigan Classic Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 - Wine Review

I can't find a photo of this Australian wine, I'm sure I shot one, but it seems to have vanished.
Oh well, it's not important, so I'll get on with my wine review.

Wine. Red wine. Wine glass.

We drank this bottle of McGuigan Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 quite a while ago, but I do remember what I thought of it, so here goes - 
It was a lovely smooth red, with aromas of blackcurrants, cassis, spicy black pepper, and a hint of floral fragrance.
On the palate there were flavours of dark cherry, a touch of chocolate, a hint of liquorice, a slightly acidic aftertaste, and finally a velvety tannin finish. 
All-in-all an enjoyable tipple. 

Wine. Red wine. Wine glass.

From the label -
We have carefully crafted this range of wines as a tribute to four generations of classic Australian winemaking by the McGuigan family. It takes inspiration from the central symbol of the family crest - the lion which represents the courage and commitment to continually create truly flavoursome Australian wine. 

Lovely flavours of rich, intense, cassis fruit combine perfectly in this full flavoured Cabernet Sauvignon. It is best served at room temperature and is a terrific accompaniment to herb crusted lamb cutlets or traditional roast beef.
Best enjoyed within 2 years of purchase, drink within 2 days of opening. 

Have you tried McGuigan Classic Cabernet Sauvignon 2014?
What did you think of it?

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The World Needs More Love - Lots More Love, Love, Love

Instead of focusing on what you don't want, you'd be much better off if you focused on what you do want.
Seriously! Concentrate on what you want, ignore everything you don't want.
Positive thinking!

The World needs our love.
It's all upside down. We've got it all wrong.
We shouldn't be marching for an end to war, we should be marching for peace.
We shouldn't be marching against the cuts in student fees, we should be marching for free education.
Free education!
We shouldn't be marching with placards ''Save our NHS!'' we should be marching with banners exclaiming, ''We love our NHS!''

I could go on, but I'm sure you get what I'm saying.
Love really is the answer, whatever the question - love is the answer.

The World needs more love, much much much more love.

Heart, stone from the beach. πŸ’›
Heart stone from one of our local beaches

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. 
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. 
 - Martin Luther King, Jr

What do you think the World needs?
More love?
Or lots and lots and lots more love?

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Cano Toro Alta Expression 2011 - Wine Review

This is another delicious wine from Lidl. I think it was about £7.

Cano Toro Alta Expression 2011 is made using 100% Tempranillo grapes. 14% vol.
It poured a deep deep red in the glass, with aromas of sour cherries, raspberries, toast, wood, cacao, a hint of spice, and vanilla.

CaΓ±o Toro Alta Expression, Tinta del Toro 2011

On the palate, rich dark berries, chocolate, a touch of herbs, and a slight taste of wood.
It had a pleasant long and smooth finish.

CaΓ±o Toro Alta Expression, Tinta del Toro 2011

From the Label - 
This elegant wine is dark cherry in colour with purple highlights and is rich in complex aromas of berries with a warm spiciness. it has a well-structured palate with velvety tannins and is an ideal accompaniment to starters and roasts. 

We really like Spanish wine, and we enjoyed our bottle of Cano Toro Alta Expression 2011.
It's a nice fruity wine, reasonably priced, and we would definitely buy it again.
Have you tried Cano Toro Alta Expression 2011?
What did you think of it?

Monday, 9 November 2015

Whole Earth Golden Organic Cornflakes

I can't remember the last time I ate cornflakes.

Well, I mean apart from the box of Whole Earth Golden Organic Cornflakes that I have just finished.
They were very tasty.
I'd completely forgotten how enjoyable it is to eat a bowl of cornflakes, with lots of lovely ice cold milk.
I used almond milk on the cornflakes, but having read some more information about the ingredients of the almond milk, I won't be consuming that again.
Maybe I'll write a blog post about the dodgy ingredients of the almond milk in the future.
Or I probably won't, because I am trying to be more positive....... Hahaha!

Right, anyway, where was I?
Oh yeah - I hadn't tasted these Whole Earth brand cornflakes before, but I'd definitely eat them again, they were lovely.
Even better was the fact that they were free.
Mr.R won a hamper of food goodies recently, and this box of cornflakes was just one of the many items he received.
Even better still is that Mr.R doesn't eat breakfast, well, very rarely, and he isn't particularly keen on cereal, so I got to eat the whole box of cornflakes myself.
Not in one sitting.
I managed to summon up just enough willpower to stop myself from scoffing more than one bowl of cornflakes at a time for my breakfast.

Mmm, cornflakes! Haven't had them for years, I'd forgotten how nice they are. And they were free, so even better. πŸ˜œπŸ˜‹πŸ˜¬
Mmm, cornflakes!

There's not much else I can say, I mean, they are cornflakes, so they taste like cornflakes - crispy little flakes of corn.
They stayed crispy more or less to the end of each bowlful, which considering the amount of milk and maple syrup I sloshed all over them, was pretty impressive.
The fact that they are organic cornflakes is a good thing, probably. Or not. I guess it depends on what you think about the benefits of organic food versus non-organic food - but that's too big a topic for this post.
I thoroughly enjoyed the Whole Earth Organic Cornflakes, and am very pleased we have another box to eat - the Whole Earth Maple Frosted Organic Cornflakes. I shall write a blog post about them too, once I've tried them.
Have you tried Whole Earth Organic Cornflakes?
How do you eat your cornflakes? 
With cows milk? 
Goats milk?
Coconut milk?
Hemp milk?
Almond milk?

Friday, 6 November 2015

Casa Luis Carinena Reserva 2009 - Wine Review

We've had this Spanish wine quite a few times, but I don't think I've written a review about it before.

Casa Luis Reserva
Casa Luis Carinena Reserva 2009 - A tasty Spanish bargain!

Casa Luis Carinene Reserva 2009 is a very drinkable decent value wine, £4.79 from Asda.
It has pleasant aromas of rich dark fruit, with lots of black cherry, cassis, a touch of pepper, a hint of vanilla, and oak on the palate.
It's a well-balanced wine with a smooth structure and nice finish.

As I said, we've had this wine quite a few times, and we'd definitely buy it again. A real bargain.

Casa Luis Reserva
We were too busy quaffing to photograph the actual wine ;)

From the Label -
Black cherry and blackcurrant fruit flavours with vanilla and spice on the palate leading to a smooth, lingering finish. 
Try with pork dishes or stir-fried vegetables. 

Have you tried Casa Luis Carinena Reserva 2009?
What did you think of it?

Bulmers Original Cider - Cider Review

Cider used to be my favourite drink whenever I went to a pub.
I'm talking about many many years ago, before cider was as popular as it seems to be now.
I mean, cider was popular, with serious cider drinkers, but it wasn't as mainstream as it is now, there weren't as many adverts on TV etc.

Now I'm not such a fan of cider, mainly because I live up North, where it's too cold. Haha!
Seriously though, it is very enjoyable to sup a pint of deliciously cold cider on a lovely warm sunny day - of which we get few here. Hehe!
Well, other people may consider the weather warm, possibly in the Summer, but as I am always cold, it never feels warm here to me.

Bulmers cider 🍏🍺

Anyway, I'm rambling.......

Bulmers Original Cider is one of the most popular ciders in the UK.
It's not an artisan cider, so when Mr.R bought some a while ago, we weren't expecting to be overly impressed with it.
Having said that, apart from the colour, which is slightly scary because it looks so fake. Surely it's not that colour from apples? It looks quite horrible and full of nasty chemicals. Despite the intensity of the colour, it tastes alright.

We hadn't drank Bulmers cider for a long time, but we enjoyed it. It was a lot better than many of the common ciders available today.

Bulmers Original Cider isn't overly sweet like so many of them are, and it was very light, crisp, and refreshing.
The label says Estd 1887, so presumably Bulmers do know a little bit about producing a drinkable cider, and this was exactly that - a pleasant drinkable cider.
It smelt of apples, no surprises there, and as I said it is very light, a bit like apple flavoured water, I don't mean that in a bad way - it slipped down very nicely.
I'm not sure if we'd rush to buy/drink Bulmers Original Cider again, but we enjoyed the bottles we bought.

Bulmers cider 🍏🍺

From the label -
Bulmers No9 
We use big apples, small apples, juicy apples and bittersweet apples to make the well-balanced and medium-sweet flavour of Bulmers Original cider that you know and love. 
Enjoy poured over ice for ultimate refreshment.  

Do you like cider?
Have you tried Bulmers Original Cider?
What did you think of this cider?

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Fog, Beach, Dogs, Chillies, Homemade Chicken Pie, and Love

Bright and early this morning, no, early this morning; it wasn't bright it was still quite dark and very foggy, we took the dogs to one of our local beaches.

The beach we chose to go to today is only about a ten minute drive from the house - even driving slower than usual due to the fog.
The weather was random, some of the journey there was thick fog, and other parts of the same road it was more or less clear.
Anyway, we arrived at the beach, parked the car, and got the dogs out. They were both keen to get moving, eager to get down on the sand and run.

See the sea? Nope! It was a bit foggy when we walked in the sand dunes down to the sea this morning. 😐 Lovely calm morning though. 😊
Foggy walk in the sand dunes

The walk down to the beach from where we park the car, leads through the sand dunes, which were not looking as lovely as they do when the sun is out.

Rose hip. Nice bit of red in the sand dunes. 😊
Rose hips, a splash of red in the sand dunes

As soon as we were on the beach we had a good look around to make sure it was safe to let the dogs off their leads.
Well, we had as good a look as was possible considering we couldn't actually see particularly far into the distance.
Thankfully we had a decent stretch of sandy beach to ourselves.

Fishing net and rope wrapped around a piece of plastic pipe. And the sea, which you can't see, cos - fog. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜
Beach debris - fishing net wrapped around a piece of plastic pipe

I had the dogs football in the rucksack so I ran ahead of Mr.R and the dogs, which is what I usually do, so that the dogs get at least one good long run before we have to put them back on their leads; if other dog walkers let their dogs come running at ours etc. 
Mr.R had let Porter off lead a few seconds before he released Barely, as he wanted to give Porter a bit of a head start. It worked, well, briefly, as Porter came running full pelt towards me, just before Barley zoomed along and caught up with him. As they were almost next to me I booted the football even further along the beach, as the dogs sped past to catch it.
Porter managed to get to the ball first, and then he ran around with it for a while, before letting Barley grab it.
Then Barley ran with the football, zooming all over the beach in huge circles before he relinquished the ball for Porter to run with.

Porter, in front, full of energy. Barley, seriously tired, lagging behind. πŸ•⚽️πŸ’¨πŸ•πŸ’€
Porter, full of energy - Barley lagging behind

The dogs continued to run, chase the ball, and enjoy themselves for a while, before it all got too much for Barley. 
He was unusually tired, and didn't have the energy to run at top speed like he usually does, and so we made a slow stroll back towards the car.
Porter was also tired from running, but that's normal for him because he's always trying to keep up with Barley.

Same, but different. Porter, in front, full of energy. Barley, seriously tired, lagging behind. πŸ•⚽️πŸ’¨πŸ•πŸ’€
Same but different - Porter with the ball, Barley with his tongue hanging out

The drive home was slightly less foggy, and we were all pleased to be back in the house - shutting the dull weather outside. 
After I'd fed Barley and Porter their breakfast, and eaten some breakfast myself; Mr.R didn't want anything to eat, he very rarely eats breakfast, I got to thinking about lunch. 
Yes, I'd only just finished my breakfast and I was already thinking about my next meal. 
It's not that I'm greedy, although I am constantly thinking about what I'm going to eat next, it was that I'd offered to make lunch. 
It must have been a brief moment of madness, I don't usually do the cooking, Mr.R does it all. But I had mentioned a while ago that I fancied making a pie.
Mr.R went food shopping yesterday, and one of the things he bought was some chicken - for me - to make a pie. I took the hint.

First things first, the pastry.
Before I did anything for the pie filling, I quickly made some shortcrust pastry. And I do mean quickly.
Until recently I had always thought I a person who did things fairly quickly, but lately I have realised that the exact opposite is true. I am slow. I am slow at doing pretty much everything I do, whether it be cooking (albeit a rare occurrence), vacuuming, washing-up, or even showering. I take ages to do everything.
But, I was quite tired, and my shoulder is very painful (damaged rotator cuff, thanks to Barley - but that's another story), so I wanted to knock up some pastry and sit down for a while before doing anything else.
I know shop bought pastry is pretty decent, but making pastry is so easy I'd rather make my own - plus it tastes much nicer. 

So, flour in a bowl, I chucked in some chunks of butter, rubbed it all together with my fingertips, (no machinery was used) and that was it. Pastry. Proper homemade pastry. 
I wrapped the pastry and bunged it in the fridge.

Chicken pie. πŸ˜‹
It ain't pretty, but it was made with love

After a little rest I started to make the pie filling.
Now, this pie is not a typical, or traditional, chicken pie.
Initially I thought I'd make a chicken and leek pie. 
Then I thought I'd make a chicken, leek, and mushroom pie. 
And then I thought I'd make a chicken, leek, mushroom, and various other ingredients we like pie.

Chicken pie. πŸ˜‹
As I said, it's no looker, but its taste - seriously gorgeous

So, I started by sauteeing a leek, once it was lovely and soft I added loads of garlic, some turmeric, loads of black pepper, and a couple of chillies.
Yep, chillies! We are obsessed with chillies, we put them in almost everything we eat. 
Once everything was cooked I added carrots, peas, and mushrooms. I cooked everything for a while longer and then I added some chicken stock.
Cook, cook, cook, simmer, simmer, simmer, and that was it - apart from the chicken.
I chopped up some fresh chicken, and sauteed it in a pan.
Then I added the chicken to the other ingredients, rolled out the pastry and topped the pie dish.
I sploshed the pastry top with some olive oil. We haven't got a pastry brush; keep forgetting to buy one, and we don't have milk in the house, and I don't believe in using an egg - it's a waste of an egg. ;)
Pie assembled, Mr.R put it in the oven. 
I'd also put some potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower on the hob to slowly steam. 
And that was it, my kitchen activity was over for the day. 
I retired to the living room. Mr.R took over the kitchen duties.
I am not good at taking things out of the oven, so I asked Mr.R to finish off lunch, which he did.

Chicken pie. πŸ˜‹
Chicken, leek, mushroom, and 'various other ingredients we like' pie

How did our chicken, leek, mushroom, and various other ingredients we like pie taste?
It was absolutely delicious, nice big chunks of succulent chicken, lovely sweetness from the leeks, carrots, and peas, and a tasty hit of heat from the chillies. Perfect!
I love homemade pies, and this was very enjoyable.
Do you like homemade pies?
What's your favourite savoury pie filling?

Friday, 30 October 2015

Beautiful Homegrown Flowers - Lovely Surprise from a Neighbour

A few days ago as we returned to the house after walking the dogs, we saw a neighbour; from a nearby street, walking towards us.
He also has two dogs, and they're as lively as our two, so we don't usually get too close to each. Hahaha!
As he was a little way up the road from us, we just waved and said 'Hi!'.

We came in our back gate and were busy taking the dogs leads and collars off, when our neighbour suddenly appeared at our gate holding a bunch of flowers, which he promptly handed to us.
We had a little chat about the homegrown vegetables he's been growing on his allotment, grow your own food, and the flowers etc. and then as quick as he'd arrived, he left to finish his dog walk.


I can't remember what he said the flowers were, and I'm not a flowery person, but they were a mixed bunch of brightly coloured blooms, which he'd grown on his allotment.
Beautiful flowers, and completely unexpected. Absolutely lovely!

An empty jar, a bit of water, and our kitchen was instantly brightened.
Beer (our own) is just sat waiting for room in the fridge - we have limited storage.

It's not everyday someone gives us flowers, and it was a very pleasant surprise.
When was the last time someone gave you flowers?
Was it a special occasion, or a random - just because?

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Hellfire, The Durham Brewery, Russian Imperial Stout - Beer Review

I love stout, and I love chili.
Combine the two, and I can't resist.

Hellfire from The Durham Brewery is a seriously good Russian Imperial Stout, marrying the breweries Temptation ale with lots of lovely Naga chillies.
It was a limited Christma beer, a batch of 1,000 bottles, brewed in 2012.

We all need something to believe in - I believe I'll have another beer. 😜 Hell Fire, seriously good naga chilli beer. #TheDurhamBrewery #DurhamBrewery #beer #chillibeer #NagaChilliBeer #stout #darkbeer

It poured a dense black in the glass, with a thin brown foamy head which quickly vanished.

There were aromas of dates, coffee, treacle, and chillies

The first sip delivers a nice 10% abv, followed by a very pleasant hit of spicy warming chili - Bam!
Flavours of roast malts, dates, prunes, dark chocolate, and liquorice, and fruit; dark berries, also came through, ending in a pleasantly smooth finish.

I enjoyed this stout, it was seriously moreish, I could happily have drunk a lot more of it - shame we'd only bought one bottle.
Mr.R was equally impressed by this fiery brew, and he also wished we'd purchased more bottles.

Hellfire, Russian Imperial Stout, from The Durham Brewery is an excellent full-bodied, full-flavoured, brew with delicious chili. Perfection!

So good, it deserves a second shot. πŸ˜‹ Hell Fire. Naga Chilli beer. #TheDurhamBrewery #chillibeer #DurhamBrewery #beer #darkbeer #stout

From the label -
Hellfire, a marriage made in hell.

Temptation and chili in an erotic embrace of sumptuous sweet malt and throat burning fire.

The definitive winter warmer - brewed for Christmas 2012.

This beer is bottle-conditioned.
There is a live sediment which continues to mature and develop the flavour and character. 

Store upright and pour gently to avoid disturbing the sediment.

Natural; not filtered.

Serve at 10 degrees C.

Contains water, barley, wheat, hops, yeast and chillies. 
3.3 alcohol units.
Alc 10% vol. 

Label designed by Dan Walls

Limited edition 1000 bottles.

The Durham Brewery Ltd,
Unit 6a,
Bowburn North Ind Est,
Bowburn, Durham DH6 5PF.

If you like stout, and you like chili, this beer is definitely worth a try - if you can still find a bottle.
Have you tried Hellfire, The Durham Brewery, Russian Imperial Stout?
What did you think of it?

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Mango Hefeweizen 5.8% The Durham Brewery - Beer Review

We visited The Durham Brewery a while ago, and left with a big box full of various beers, this Mango Hefeweizen was one of them.

Mango. 🍺 It was alright, but I wouldn't buy it again. πŸ˜• #TheDurhamBrewery #DurhamBrewery #beer #Hefeweizen #MangoBeer

We have really enjoyed all of the beers we bought from The Durham Brewery, all except this one.

The aroma had a subtle fruitiness to it, but it wasn't particularly mango scented.
The flavour was extremely bland, tasting of little more than slightly sweet water, and there was absolutely no mango flavour, which was surprising as it is made using real mango juice. And we couldn't taste the typical wheat flavour of banana and cloves.

German Hefeweizen traditionally has a pleasant yeasty depth to it, but this brew was sadly lacking.
It's not a beer we'd buy again.
We do like all of the other beers we've tried from The Durham Brewery, so no doubt we'll be buying more in the future.

Mango. 🍺 It was alright, but I wouldn't buy it again. 😏 Hefeweizen. The Durham Brewery

From the label -
Cloudy wheat beer combined with real mango juice creating a refreshing summer drink.
A sweet, fruity aroma of mango and banana is followed by a smooth creamy expression of mango and spice. Wheaty fullness develops into thirst quenching mango in the finish. 

This beer is bottle-conditioned.
There is a live sediment which continues to mature and develop the flavour and character. 

Store upright at cool room temperature.
This beer is intentionally hazy so gently invert the bottle before opening.

Natural; not filtered.

Serve chilled.
This beer may be lively so have a glass to hand when opening. 

Contains water, mango juice, barley, wheat, hops and yeast.
Suitable for vegans. 
1.9 UK units. 
Are you a fan of Hefeweizen, traditional yeasty beers?
Have you tried The Durham Brewery Mango Hefeweizen?
What did you think of it - did it tickle your tastebuds?

Monday, 26 October 2015

Ukala, Sydney, Low Boots - Review

I purchased a pair of Ukala, Sydney, Low Boots, from Amazon UK around March 2015.

Ukala, Sydney, low boots.  Sheepskin boots.  Sand colour.

They are actually boots, to be worn outside, but I bought them to wear as slippers - indoors only.
I know sheepskin Ugg style boots are popular, and I see lots of people wearing them outside, but I really don't like the look. I think sheepskin boots look huge, and seriously scruffy, so I'd never want to wear mine outside.
That's not to say I am particular about my appearance, on the contrary, all of my clothes are 'dog walking clothes' and as such are covered in dog hairs, mud, sand, and slobber. Classy I know.

Anyway, boots, as slippers.
I chose the sand colour boots, although there are other colours available - chocolate, black. and chestnut.
I paid, £31.44. The price varies, depending on the size you order, and when. I have seen them priced as high as £65.
I noticed that the price for my size changed quite a lot during a short period of time - when I was trying to decided if I wanted to order them - OCD and indecisiveness meant it took me a while to finally place the order.

Ukala, Sydney, low boots.  Sheepskin boots.  Sand colour.

The boots themselves were instantly comfortable, straight out of the box.
They fitted perfectly, they were lovely and warm, very comfortable, and they didn't rub.
The back of the heel is firm, so even after a lot of wear, the boot isn't all squashed, which is what often seems to happen with sheepskin boots.
The soles were very slippery, but I thought they would be, so I simply roughed up the bottoms very slightly, and they were fine - no more fun slip-sliding all over the kitchen floor.
The other thing about the soles is that, because they are actually boots made for outside, and not slippers made for indoors, are thick and when they were brand new they were quite rigid, but they soon softened up.
The hardness of the sole meant that they more or less completely crushed the super thick and fluffy carpet we have in our house, but obviously that's not a fault of the boots.

Ukala, Sydney, low boots.  Sheepskin boots.  Sand colour.

It's near the end of October 2015, and I have worn my Ukala, Sydney, Low Boots, every single day without fail since they arrived. Yep, even through the Summer.
Well, we live in the North of England, and I'm always cold, so I've never felt that my feet were too warm.
And sheepskin is excellent at keeping cold feet warm, and warm feet cool, so they really are suitable to be worn every day of the year.
I am as pleased with the boots now, after wearing them a lot, as I was when I first started wearing them.
The only negative thing I have to say is that within a day or so of wearing them the stitching around the top of the left boot came unravelled in one area, and a day or two later, the same happened on the right boot.
The thread only unravelled in a small area, and it hasn't unravelled any further. It's obviously from where I pull them on, and I could easily repair them, if I could be bothered - which I can't.

Ukala Sydney Low Boots

The exterior of my Ukala 'slippers' are still in pretty good condition, even after wearing them every day since March of this year, and with my two, often clumsy, and sometimes dirty pawed, dogs standing on my feet.
The interior condition is also pretty good too, with just a little bit less sheepskin fluff than when they were new. During the first few days of wearing them, when I took my feet out of them at night, a few small pieces of sheepskin fluff came out too.

Ukala, Sydney, low boots.  Sheepskin boots.  Sand colour.

The dog always thinks anything the postman delivers is for him - usually it is - but not this time. Ha!

I am very pleased I decided to purchase the Ukala, Sydney, Low Boots.
I think they are worth thirty quid, but I wouldn't pay £65 for them.
I really like my Ukala boots (slippers), and I'd happily recommend them, but only as indoor slippers.
As I haven't set foot outside in them, I have absolutely no idea how good they'd be.
Do you like sheepskin boots?
Have you tried the Ukala, Sydney, Low Boot?
Do you wear them as slippers?

Monday, 5 October 2015

The Durham Brewery, Bede's Chalice Belgian Tripel 9% - Beer Review

We visited the Durham Brewery a while ago, purchased lots of lovely beers, one of which was Bede's Chalice Belgian Tripel 9%. And rather unusually for us we took our time drinking them.
When I say we took our time drinking the beers, I really mean I did. Mr.R would happily have quaffed them straight away. Usually I too never say no to a beer - or three.
The reason the box containing lots of bottle of beer sat untouched for so long was simply because at the time we purchase them I was suffering from almost constant headaches, and as I didn't want anything to decrease my enjoyment of the beers, I wanted to wait to taste them all.

Bede's Chalice Belgian Tripel 9%

Anyway, for some unknown reason we then completely forgot we had a large cardboard box full of beer from The Durham Brewery. Shocking I know! And ever so disrespectful to the beer.
But eventually, long after my days and nights full of horrible headaches had passed, we remembered the beer, and chucked some of the bottles in the fridge to chill.

Durham Brewery, Bede's Chalice, Belgian Tripel, 9.0%. Beer. Ale. Real ale.

Oops I seem to have rambled on about nonsense and still haven't said anything about the actual beer. Ha!
Right, yep, beer! What can I say about Bede's Chalice Belgian Tripel from The Durham Brewery - well firstly it was a very lively brew.
Mr.R opened the bottle and the beer almost didn't make it into the glass, but thankfully we didn't end-up in tears as none was spilt on the floor.
This beer poured a lovely golden amber colour in the glass, with a generous foam head.
It has aromas of peaches and bread, sweet malts, and strong alcohol.
On the palate there were delicious sweet fresh flavours of peach, mango, orange peel, coriander, and a touch of spice, ending with a pleasantly smooth finish. Very nice indeed, and definitely a beer we'd drink again, and again.......

Durham Brewery, Bede's Chalice, Belgian Tripel, 9.0%. Beer. Ale. Real ale.

From the label -
Bede's Chalice celebrates the Venerable Bede.

Maris Otter malt and American centennial hops magically combine to give an aroma of lychees and peaches with a full fruit body of spicy orange and coriander. 
Warming high alcohols finish with smooth caramel.

This ale is bottle-conditioned.
There is a live sediment which continues to mature and develop the flavour and character. 
Store upright and pour gently to avoid disturbing the sediment.
Natural; not filtered.
Store at cool room temperature and serve at 10 degrees C.
This beer may be lively so have a glass to hand when opening.
Food match: Duck and Orange.
Contains water, malted barley (gluten), malted wheat (gluten), hops, orange peel, coriander seed and yeast.
Suitable for vegans.
4.5 alcohol units.

The Durham Brewery Ltd,
Unit 6a,
Bowburn North Ind Est,
Bowburn, Durham DH6 5PF.
Are you a real ale fan?
Have you tried Bede's Chalice Belgian Tripel 9%?

Lyle's Black Treacle - My Craving Resulted in Delicious Flapjacks

I'm not sure why, but a while ago I had a sudden craving for black treacle.
I hadn't eaten black treacle for many many years, but I needed to eat it now.

Anyway, as Mr.R does all of our food shopping, I asked him to buy me a can of the black stuff.
Once I had a can of Lyle's Black Treacle I wasn't exactly sure what to do with it.
So, hoping for inspiration, I opened the can and took a deep breath of the delicious contents.
Then I took a teaspoon and gently dipped it into the can, taking a tiny amount of the black treacle and tasting it.
It tasted exactly how I remembered it.
Don't you love it when that happens; you fancy something you haven't eaten for a long time, you remember exactly how it tasted, and when you eat it again, it tastes how you remembered. Excellent!

Mmm! πŸ˜‹ #LylesBlackTreacle #BlackTreacle #treacle #food

From the can -
Lyle's Black Treacle adds a distinctive rich, dark flavour to traditional recipes like Christmas pudding, parkin, treacle toffee and gingerbread. 
It also tastes great in savoury foods, try it as a glaze for salmon.
For quick and simple recipes visit

Mmm! πŸ˜‹ treacle

So, I'd fancied the black treacle, but hadn't thought about how I was going to eat it - apart from maybe scoffing it straight from the can, but after my tiny taste test when I first opened the can, that didn't seem like a particularly tasty treacle-y treat.
So I pondered about what to do with the can of black treacle.
I had a quick look in the larder, spotted a packet of porridge oats, and that was it, I decided to make flapjacks - but with treacle instead of honey which is what I usually use.

Flapjacks. Ready to eat. πŸ˜‹ Never made them with treacle before - they're delicious! #flapjacks #food

My black treacle flapjacks came out great.
They tasted really good, with strong flavours of bitter chocolate and coffee liquor.
They were a lot different to my usual flapjacks but seriously tasty, and I think I prefered the black treacle flavour to the honey sweetened flapjacks.
Are you a Black Treacle lover?
How do you eat black treacle?
Have you made black treacle flapjacks?

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Bombay 106 Original India Pale 7% The Durham Brewery - Beer Review

I liked this beer, Bombay 106 Original India Pale 7% from The Durham Brewery.
Usually I'm not a serious lover of Pale Ale, but this was good, and Mr.R is a big fan of Pale Ales and he liked this brew very much.
I thought it was pleasant, it had a nice bitterness, and a hint of spice and pepper in the finish.
Mr.R said it had a decent bitterness, with a touch of citrus, and a pleasantly long finish, he gave it 7/10.

Bombay 106 Original India Pale 7%
I haven't got a photo of the actual beer, just the bottle 
The beer vanished in the blink of an eye - odd ;)
Or was it the tilt of a wrist? Slurp! Burp! Gone!

From the label -
Named after the 106th Brigade of the East India Trading Company who later became the 2nd Batallion of the Durham Light Infantry. This type of beer was drunk in India at this time.

Very pale Maris Otter Malt and traditional English Goldings hops replicate the original pale bitter.
Bitterness is robust but well rounded with a spicy peppery finish and heady alcohol esters.

This ale is bottle-conditioned.
There is a live sediment which continues to mature and develop the flavour and character. 

Store upright and pour gently to avoid disturbing the sediment.

Natural; not filtered.

Store at cool room temperature and serve at 10 degrees C.

This beer may be lively so have a glass to hand when opening.

Food match: Curries and other heavily flavoured foods. Also steak and chips.

Contains water, barley, wheat, hops, and yeast.

Suitable for vegans.
3.5 UK units.

The Durham Brewery Ltd,
Unit 6a,
Bowburn North Ind Est,
Bowburn, Durham DH6 5PF.
Have you tried Bombay 106 Original India Pale 7% from The Durham Brewery?
Well, what are you waiting for? Go and get some!

Chicken Rogan Josh, with Mashed Potato - How Very English!

Lunch today was another delicious meal cooked by Mr.R.
A seriously tasty chicken Rogan Josh, served with sweet potato mash; with lots of lovely creme fraiche, cabbage, carrots, and an aubergine, onion, and garlic concoction.

Chicken rogan josh. Mashed potato with sweet potato and creme fraiche, cabbage, carrots, and a garlic, onion, and aubergine concoction. πŸ΄πŸ˜‹

See, I can keep it short. Unlike the blog post I uploaded a little while ago (the post before this post), which was also a food post. Chicken, in fact.

That just goes to show you can't judge by first impressions, or you can, but maybe you'll misinterpret the facts.

We do not eat a lot of chicken. We do not eat a lot of meat. Actually a lot of our meals contain no meat at all, not that we're vegetarians, or vegans, we just like to have variety in our diet - it's the spice of life.

Spice! That's one thing we do eat a lot of.

Oops, I'm starting to rambling, and now as is pretty evident, this is no longer the first two sentences that I originally intended to write.
I'd written them in my head, and honestly thought I'd sit down type them, add the photo and that would be it. That would be the shortest blog post I've ever written. Ha!
Oh well, this is still pretty short, and it is probably the shortest one ever anyway.
Unless of course, I just keep typing.......
I'm finished!
Other than to ask -
Do you eat a lot of chicken? Or any other meat?
What about spicy food, do you love it?
What's your favourite chicken dish? 
And finally, have you ever eaten chicken Rogan Josh with mashed potato? ;)

Roast Chicken. Roast Potatoes, Carrots, Red Pepper, Brussels Sprouts, Spinach, and Peas - It's What's For Lunch!

It would be an exaggeration, (although only a teeny-tiny one), if I said I am always thinking about food.

It would be completely true, if I said I am almost always thinking about food.

I think about food a lot.
Usually as I'm eating breakfast I start to think about what's for lunch, and those thoughts turn quickly to what's for dinner.
I can't stop myself. Not that I want to. I mean what's wrong with thinking about food almost always? 

In fact most evenings I'll ask Mr.R what we're having for lunch the next day. And that's often long before I've even eaten that nights dinner, or the next mornings breakfast.

Food, food, glorious food!

Mr.R is a really good cook. He makes us delicious meals.
Unfortunately I am seriously crap at photographing food.
I blame the bad light in this house, which is kind of the reason my food photos are bad, but not the whole reason because in fact this house is really light inside.
I think the main reason the photos I shoot of food are not good, is simply because not only am I always thinking about food, I am always hungry, so as soon as my food is served, I want to eat it - not faff about taking cool photos of it.
Ironic really, as I can actually take good photos, of food, of anything, because I studied photography. And I achieved excellent results. And I worked in the photographic industry for many many years.
Oh feck! This blog post is not about my life, well, it is, but it's not. This blog post was purely meant to be one photo of a plate of food cooked by my husband, Mr.R. The photo was supposed to be accompanied by a short paragraph about the meal, and my crap food photos. Hahaha!

Seriously tasty lunch yesterday. And seriously huge too. 😳🍴🐷😜😬 Roast chicken. Roast potatoes, roast carrot, roast red pepper, Brussels sprouts, spinach and peas. Yum!
Seriously tasty lunch. And seriously huge too. 
Roast chicken. Roast potatoes, roast carrot, roast red pepper, Brussels sprouts, spinach and peas. Yum!

I feel I'm doing a disservice to the lovely food cooked by Mr.R with my bad photos.
Oh well, whatever! Here's the food shot - above - obviously.
Do do think about food a lot?
Are you always hungry?
What's your favourite meal?

Seriously tasty lunch yesterday. And seriously huge too. 😳🍴🐷😜😬 Roast chicken. Roast potatoes, roast carrot, roast red pepper, Brussels sprouts, spinach and peas. Yum!

Fun for the Dogs on Crimdon Dene Beach, County Durham

We really appreciate the fact that we have several good beaches very close to our house, not because we are beach people, but because the dogs love to run free on the sand.
I've mentioned it in previous blog posts, but I'll say it again, we have two wonderful rescue dogs, a Lurcher and a Rottweiler. Being a sighthound, our Lurcher absolutely loves to run, and where he goes our Rottweiler follows - at a slightly slower speed. Hehehe!

Three. πŸ˜πŸ‘±πŸ•πŸ•☺️
Mr.R (in the distance) Barley (Lurcher) and Porter (Rottweiler) 

A few days ago, bright and early one morning, we took the dogs to Crimdon Dene beach, and as often happens we had the whole beach to ourselves, which meant the boys could enjoy running off lead without us having to worry about other people, dogs etc.

Two. πŸ•πŸ’¨πŸ•πŸ’¨πŸ˜Š
Barley and Porter

When we first let the dogs off of their leads they usually spend a few minutes play fighting, and then the real fun begins - ball chasing.
They both love to run after balls, which they'd happily do for as long as we have the energy to continue to throw them - thank god for tennis-ball launchers; you know those long plastic scoop thingys.

Porter. Sea spume. πŸ•πŸ’¨πŸ˜Š
Porter enjoying the spume

Anyway, on this particular beach day, the sun was rising, the sea was quite calm, and it wasn't raining - hooray!
There had obviously been some rough weather though, as the evidence was scattered along the high-tide line - lots of seaweed and seashells etc.
There was also a lot of spume, it looked like there had been a foam party, not in a club in Ibiza (for example), but on a beach in County Durham with seafoam.

Barley. Sea spume. πŸ•πŸ‘…πŸ˜Š
Barley catching his breath before he zoomed off again

We all walked, well me and Mr.R walked, the dogs ran, for quite a way along the beach in the direction of Hartlepool. It was a very pleasant morning, and excellent exercise for the dogs, who, once we got back to the house, spent the next few hours sleeping - very very deeply.

Happy boys. πŸΆπŸ’¨πŸΆπŸ’¨☺️
Barley loves zoomies, and he even lets Porter catch-up with him - sometimes

Obviously I'm biased because we live right next to the sea, but I truly prefer dog walking on the beach, compared to wandering in the woods or countryside.
We also have lots of countryside, fields etc. by our house, and we do walk the dogs there as well, but I think they prefer the beach too.
Do you have a dog?
What's your prefered dog walking location, beach, countryside, or city?

Monday, 14 September 2015

Dreamtime Ridge, Australia - Wine Review

I've got millions (very slight exaggeration) of wine review blog posts in my draft folder waiting to be completed and published. Some of these blog posts are so old I can hardly remember writing them, let alone what I thought of the wine.
But this wine, this blog post is freshly written today, and the impression the wine left on me is as fresh as if I'd drank it today - I actually drank it about a week ago.

Cheap as chips and twice as tasty. πŸ·πŸ˜‹πŸ‘ Dreamtime Ridge, Australia. 🍷 Smells like chocolate liqueurs, taste like liqueur and port. Nice! 😊

So, what did I think of this Australian wine.
Well, firstly I'll say I'm not particularly keen on Australian wines, not usually - but this wine.......
This wine was so good, I'm definitely interested in trying more wines from Oz in the future.
It's not that we don't drink Australian wines in this house, it's just that we tend to buy more French, Spanish, and Italian wine.

Anyway, this wine, it was seriously nice, it had a pleasantly strong aroma of chocolate and those chocolate liqueurs that are popular at Christmas, and it tasted more like a liqueur than a wine, and reminded me of a light, young, port.
Now, I know that food can influence how wine tastes, so I thought that maybe I was loving Dreamtime Ridge wine so much because of what I'd eaten, but no, Mr.R had eaten something completely different to what I'd had, and he also liked this wine a lot, and agreed with me that it tasted like a liqueur and a young port.

Cheap as chips and twice as tasty. πŸ·πŸ˜‹πŸ‘ Dreamtime Ridge, Australia

From the label - 
Fresh, fruity, easy drinking red.
Great with pasta, pizza or grilled meats. 
13% vol

That's so typically Australian isn't it? The wine label description I mean; short and to-the-point.
No messing. No using one hundred words when 12 will do. Excellent! Hahaha!

Anyway, we loved this wine. It's cheaper than chips, and twice as tasty, and a bargain from Asda for £3.50.
Although it's probably only a quid in Australia. Joke!
Have you tried Dreamtime Ridge, Australia?
Did you love it?