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since 07/09/2005


Danone Baby Food 27/09/2005

Danone Baby Fromage Frais

Danone Baby Food For my toddler, I usually buy Petits Filous fromage frais, but I wanted to try something different for my 6 months old, who has started on solids a few weeks ago. I came accross the Danone Baby fromage frais, suitable from 4 months. I was initially looking for fromage frais made from formula milk but didn't find any at my local Sainsbury/Tesco. Somehow I seem to remember that this brand of fromage frais, Danone Baby, used to be made with formula milk a couple of years ago. Funnily enough, Sainsbury's website still mentions this product is made with formula milk, but it's not mentioned at all anywhere on the packaging. Danone seems to have changed the recipe. Anyway I decided to press ahead with my purchase. ~.~.~ DESCRIPTION ~.~.~ This fromage frais is suitable from 4 months. It comes in packs of 6 or 12 pots. I went for a pack of 12 so that it would last about a week and it cost me £2.49. The outer packaging is a peach-coloured cardboard sleeve. On the left, it features a black and white picture of a baby looking very alert (see how good the product is for your little one!!). The right side features the Danone Baby logo and indicates the flavours available accompanied by a small picture of fresh fruit, namely banana, apricot and strawberries. On the whole the packaging is pretty blend, not very eye-catching. So much so that I could imagine having trouble finding it on the shelves amongst the other bright-coloured fromage frais. There are 3 flavours available: ...

Cheese Recipes 26/09/2005

Feta Feast

Cheese Recipes Feta Feast Feta cheese is usually thought as an ingredient for salads, but it's also delicious in hot dishes. Here are a few of my favourite recipes to eat warm. They're all low budget, fairly easy to prepare (though the tarts are not especially quick to make) and suitable for vegetarians. ~.~.~ TOMATOES STUFFED WITH FETA ~.~.~ Ingredients: 2 large tomatoes 100g of feta 3 tablespoons of breadcrumbs 1 medium onion, finely chopped 1 tablespoon of parsley (fresh if possible, but I use dried one) 2 tablespoons of olive oil Instructions: 1. Cut the top of the tomatoes and scoop out the pulp, being careful not to perforate the shell of the tomatoes. 2. In a bowl, mix the tomato pulp, the crumbled feta, the breadcrumbs, and the onion. Add the parsley and the olive oil. 3. Fill the tomato shells. 4. Place in the oven on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes at 200°C. I've never tried it but I don't see why you couldn't adapt this recipe to stuff peppers, large mushrooms and even chicken for those who can't make do without meat. ~.~.~ ROASTED VEGETABLE TART ~.~.~ Ingredients: 2 onions 2 tomatoes 1 courgette 1 red and/or yellow pepper 200g feta Herbs (optional) Puff pastry 1 beaten egg Instructions: 1. Fry the onions, then the vegetables until they are soft. 2. Allow to cool and then add the feta (and some herbs if you fancy it). 3. Roll the puff pastry until it's about 3mm thick. You can either make a big tart or like me cut the ...

Recipes for Desserts 19/09/2005

Tart alert: a rich shortcrust pastry

Recipes for Desserts OK, it's not a recipe for a complete dessert, but it can make a world of difference to the tarts you make. When you're aiming at making the most scrumptious tart, one sure way to spoil it is to use readymade pastry. The worst have to be the readymade pastry cases. Shop-bought pastry has a greasy texture due to the vegetable oil it contains and tastes pretty blend. Apart from being convenient, I can't think of anything nice to say about it! OK, OK, I'be been guilty of using shop-bought pastry myself, but once I rediscovered this recipe a couple of years ago (thanks very much, mum!), I've never looked back again. ~.~.~ PREPARATION TIME ~.~.~ It only takes 10 to 15 minutes to prepare the ingredients and make the dough. Add to that 30mn or so of resting time (well, not much effort on your part there…), plus another 5mn to roll. ~.~.~ INGREDIENTS ~.~.~ 200g of flour 125g of butter (take it out of the fridge a couple of hours beforehand to soften) 125g of caster sugar 1 egg Teaspoon of vanilla essence Pinch of salt This usually makes enough for a tart for 8 people (30cm wide mould). ~.~.~ RECIPE ~.~.~ 1. Beat the sugar and egg together in a big bowl with a manual whisk until smooth. 2. Add the flour, salt and vanilla essence and knead with your fingertips. 3. When the mixture has a crumbly texture, add the soft butter in chunks and continue to knead gently until it forms a ball. 4. Leave to rest for half an hour in the fridge. ~.~.~ A ...

Cien Soft Wipes 18/09/2005

Excellent all-around baby wipes

Cien Soft Wipes Having a 2 year-old and a 5 month-old, baby wipes are an essential part of my everyday life. Sad, I know, but it's a fact!! I have tried many brands (Pampers, Huggies, Johnson, Tesco own) in the past and haven't found one that I like better than the CIEN wipes, which unfortunately are only available at LIDL discount stores. *** PACKAGE *** The wipes are presented in a thick plastic sleeve (refill-type), which has recently been redesigned. It used to be bright blue and pink, but is now simpler and sleeker, looking less "cheap" in my opinion. The sleeve is a softer blue. The picture of a happy baby features on the top. The packaging also presents different possible uses for the wipes through images: cleaning hands, wiping baby's bottom and washing baby's body. Other images indicate that the pack can fit nicely in a handbag, explain how to use the adhesive tab (pull, take a wipe, close… no rocket science there!), and tell you not to dispose of the wipes in the toilet. Mind you, I have on occasion flushed one and never had a problem, but there you go, you're warned. At the back of the packaging, the product description is explained in many languages. Surprisingly there is also a use-by date. Oh well, according to my pack, looks like I have over 2 years to use my pack, there shouldn't be a problem! *** DESCRIPTION *** The wipes are rectangular in shape. I like them because they are fairly big (about 9x7in or 23x17.5cm), and one or two are enough to wipe those ...

Le Mans 14/09/2005

A charming town set in the heart of rural France

Le Mans If you hear « Le Mans », what does that evoke for you? Probably nothing… Or maybe the "24 hours of Le Mans", the famous car race… There is actually much more than that to this city. My parents now live there and I just spent two-week with them in the summer. Here is what I can tell you about this pretty medieval city. LE MANS is the second city of the "Pays de la Loire" region, with almost 200,000 inhabitants, and the capital of the Sarthe province. It is not necessarily a well-known area of France and it doesn't draw masses of tourists, but it certainly a charming area. ~.~.~ HISTORICAL CITY ~.~.~ The old town of Le Mans, formerly known as Le Vieux Mans, has recently been rebranded "La Cité Plantagênet" in a bid to sound posher. It has cobbled streets lined with 15th and 16th Century architecture interspersed with Renaissance mansions and is surrounded by thick Gallo-Roman walls dating back to the 3rd and 4th centuries. The walls are located by the river Sarthe and are amongst the best preserved and beautiful in France. No surprise then that it was the set where 'Cyrano de Bergerac' was filmed, as well as a host of other period films. The streets can only be explored by foot. I love strolling around the narrow streets and alleys and immerse myself into their historical atmosphere. I actually got married in that area in France and we chose the old town and its atmospheric streets for our wedding pictures. Awww (please don't be sick!!!!!!) The old town has ...

Braun MR430CA 14/09/2005

Top 300W hand blender

Braun MR430CA I'm the one who cooks at home and I'm quite peculiar about my kitchen appliances. My old BRAUN handblender let me down after years and years of use. After looking at other brands, I decided to stick with BRAUN. I needed one quickly as I was starting to wean my daughter. I used it extensivey to prepare babyfood, but also soups, sauces, smoothies, etc. I love the fact that this appliance makes so little noise. My son used to be scared of the noise my previous handblender made! It's very easy to use. You just have to press the switch, which is a rubber button. The appliance is very easy to clean. The shaft is detachable and can go straight into the dishwasher. To this day I'm still amazed at the absence of splashes! It only has one speed and a second one would be handy, but not an absolute necessity. I paid £14 for this blender. It's excellent value for money for a blender of this wattage (300W). I also don't see the need to pay more for a more powerful blender, this one does everything you need of a blender.

Magimix Gelato 2200 1.42LT 12/09/2005

License to chill

Magimix Gelato 2200 1.42LT Last spring, I decided I would try to make my own ice-cream. After all the summer was just around the corner. So I went on a quest for the perfect ice-cream machine. I didn't want to have to wait hours for the ice-cream bowl to pre-freeze, as is the case in a lot of ice-cream machines on the market. After a long search, I finally found a real ice-cream machine, the GELATO CHEF 2200. It has its own built-in freezer, therefore there is no need to find space for it in your own freezer. ~~~ LOOK and DESIGN ~~~ The Gelato Chef measures 29cm high, 34cm long, 24cm deep, therefore quite big, and weighs approximately 10kg. I have it in the white finish but it also exists in a satin finish, at a higher price. The appliance is quite elegant with rounded corners. The lid is partly transparent and has an opening looking down at the bowl at the front, which allows you to check progress and add e.g. chocolate chips or pieces of nuts during the making of the ice-cream. ~~~ HOW IT WORKS ~~~ The machine has a built-in freezer, which allows you to make as little or as much ice cream as you require (1.2 litre per batch). It gently churns and freezes simultaneously. It comes with two bowls, one fixed and one removable. Therefore it's possible to make two different flavours or additional batches. Since the removable one is easier to clean, that's the one I prefer to use. Be aware though that to use the removable bowl, you have to put liquid between the fixed bowl and the ...

Kenwood CH 180/A 09/09/2005

Chop Chop

Kenwood CH 180/A Here is a present which I thought was boring when I first received it a while back!! But it's so useful it never leaves my worktop now. - The bowl can contain 350ml/150g, therefore offering the possibility to chop/mix small- to medium-sized quantitites. - It's fairly easy to use, with a one touch control, even if fitting and removing the bowl can be a bit fiddly. - It's very safe to operate: there is no access to the blade during operation and the appliance is equipped with non-slip rubber feet. - The two-speed feature comes handy depending on what you're chopping/mixing. - It's very easy to clean: the bowl goes in the dishwasher, the motor can just be wiped clean. - It's so compact, it can easily be stored away in any kitchen cupboard. I use it mainly for chopping onions (say goodbye to tears!) and preparing mashed/puréed food for my baby. If I make big quantities of baby food which I then freeze, I prefer my handblender, but for smaller quantities, this minichopper is ideal as. It also have many other uses, such as: - nuts, hazelnuts - avocado for guacamole - herbs and garlic - bread crumbs The only real downside I have found to this little appliance is the absence of pulse function. In short, it's the ideal tool for any keen cook at home who wants to save time!!
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