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?