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since 23/01/2001


Purasia Black Bean 24/11/2008

Asian food in Minutes

Purasia Black Bean Purasia, as you would probably guess, is a range of packet sauces that allow you create Asian (Chinese, Thai and Indian) meals in your own home, in 3 easy steps. They produce 6 type of sauces at the moment, 2 of each cuisine. These are: Chinese - Black Bean and Szechuan Indian - Royal Korma and Tikka Masalla Thai - Green and Red Curry My review is of the Purasia Black Bean mix but the rest of the range work in exactly the same way. The packaging is eye catching, with cut-out sections on the front of the cardboard box that gives a tantalizing glimpse of what you are actually attractive plate of food is featured, along with the details that many of you will be wanting to know already - the nutritional details (see the end of the review!), how many it serves (3) and what it actually is - a trio of spices, oils and pastes for Black bean sauce. The back of the packaging details the contents: Ginger & Chilli aromatic oil; Onion, garlic, ginger and chilli paste; and Black bean stir-fry paste The additional requirements - 2 chicken breasts, stir-fry vegetables - it suggests mushrooms, green peppers and spring onions -but you could use whatever you choose. Then comes the three step guide to preparing your black bean dish: Prepare the chicken and spring onions, slice the onions, peppers and mushrooms. Heat your pan and add the contents of packet 1 - the ginger and chilli oil (17ml of sunflower oil, ginger extract, chilli extract and ...

Jamie's Ministry of Food: Anyone Can Learn to Cook in 24 Hours - Jamie Oliver 24/11/2008

Pass it on...or not

Jamie's Ministry of Food: Anyone Can Learn to Cook in 24 Hours - Jamie Oliver Jamie Oliver - the Marmite of TV chefs!! A cheeky geezer or a pain? I love Marmite - unfortunately I cannot say the same about Mr Oliver.....Nevertheless, I will endeavour to be objective about this latest offering from the a) marvellous Mockney or b) Orrible Oik (delete as appropriate). This book has been produced alongside his TV series of the same name, in which he went to teach the poor Northerners of Rotherham how to cook and eat properly - I think it came as a huge surprise to many of Jamie's loyal followers that BOTH gas and electricity were available in the poor North - I'm sure they were expecting coal fires, mines and tripe for tea.....NB I am from the North myself and live in the South so please don't get all 'regional' on me........I am not being regionalist! The book opens with a dedication to Marguerite Paton, one of the original Ministry of Food* girls and known to the older ones as amongst as one of the first celebrity cooks. * The Ministry of Food came into being shortly after the beginning of WWII to advise the nation about food and nutrition and to ensure there would be enough food to go around. Anyway, Jamie intends this book to teach anybody to cook within 24 hours. Once we have learnt a single recipe from each chapter, Jamie encourages us to 'Pass it on' to at least a couple of friends...if they then do the same, then pretty much everyone in the country will be able to cook the same meal in the very near future........I am not a recipe, I'm ... 19/11/2008

This time next year we'll be millionaires... Oh no I hear you all cry - not another survey site..........Well, yes it is, and a very straightforward site it is too! OnePoll is particularly simple to use - simply register in the normal way - that is, name, address, age, occupation and contact details, email address and password. You then receive an authorisation link and you are all set to begin earning real money. As a sign-up bonus, you will receive £2.50 to start you off - not a fortune but far better than a kick up the bum. Once you are in, you'll see a top line menu - Home (the page you are on!), About, Services, Why OnePoll, Press and Contact. I'll briefly run through what each of these menu items are about - not in great detail - I know you want to get to the money bits..... Home - Gives links to other survey and money making sites, such as Toluna, Cash Bin, Plum Prizes etc - worth a look if you want to make more cash or earn more vouchers. About - really just a bit of blurb encouraging you to enrol and letting you know that there are typically 20-30 surveys running at any one time. Services - aimed at companies and organisations that they can offer survey services (from as little as £1,150) and a contact number if you wish to use their various services. Why OnePoll - bullet points telling of the benefits to both members and clients. Press - Basically a list of clients and coverage received in the Press Contact Us - For both members and clients - simle contact us form with promise of 24 ...

New Covent Garden Soup Company Book of Soups-Wright - Clarissa Dickson Wright 05/11/2008

More Souper Soups

New Covent Garden Soup Company Book of Soups-Wright - Clarissa Dickson Wright Not quite why this title mentions CDW as she has nothing to do with this book!! Oh well, not a major issue I suppose. The New Covent Garden Food Co have produced hundreds of varieties of soup since its inception in 1988 using fresh, natural ingredients. They've learnt what works, what doesn't and their Book of Soups - New, Old and Odd Recipes provides a stunning array of soups that confirm to this description. Old favourites stand side by side with some decidedly odd and new soup recipes. The Book of Soups provides yet more sumptuous soups for you to experiment with at any time of year. I mentioned in my earlier review of Soups for all Seasons that my soup epiphany was at a dinner party when I was served a homemade Russian Vegetable soup. At first glance, it was rather disconcerting, a bowl of thick, green (very green!) liquid, with a rather artistic swirl of cream being the only visually attractive contribution. However, once I actually tasted the soup, I was well on my way to being converted. The flavours were intense, complex, balanced and, taken together, formed an absolutely moreish soup....For those of you wishing to try this stunning soup, you'll be pleased to discover that the recipe for this soup does appear in this particular New Covent Garden Company book...Hurray, I hear you saying! This delicious hardback book, with its cover pictures of green vegetables provides a wide variety of soup recipes, some simple, some more complex, but (of those that I've ...

New Covent Garden Book of Soup for All Seasons: Our Favourite Seasonal Recipes (New Covent Garden Soup Company) 04/11/2008

Souper Soups

New Covent Garden Book of Soup for All Seasons: Our Favourite Seasonal Recipes (New Covent Garden Soup Company) The New Covent Garden Food Co have produced hundreds of varieties of soup since its inception in 1988 using fresh, natural ingredients. They've learnt what works, what doesn't and this book - Soup for all Seasons - follows the soup-cooks year and allows you to create sumptous soups at any time of year. It wasn't until recently that I became a soup convert. My epiphany was at a dinner party when I was served a homemade Russian Vegetable soup. At first glance, it was rather disconcerting, a bowl of thick, seemingly gloopy, green (very green!) liquid, with a rather artistic swirl of cream being the only visually attractive contribution. However, once I actually tasted the soup, I was well on my way to being converted..the flavours were intense, complex, balanced and, taken together, formed an absolutely moreish soup....Unfortunately, the recipe for this soup doesn't appear in this particular New Covent Garden Company book...Sorry. However, this brightly coloured hardback book, seasonal vegetables on a tasteful orange background, provides a wide variety of soup recipes, some simple, some more complex, but (of those that I've tried) none disappoint in terms of flavour or in appearance. Other than your recipes, which we'll come to in a moment, the book has an extremely useful list of larder ingredients the soup maker will need - oils, vinegars, fruits, sugars, herbs and spices, beans and pulses, sauces, mustards, tomatoes and alcohol. Whilst not totally exhaustive, I'm ... 29/10/2008

Another cash paying survey site The first thing I have to say is that it is possible to make money on this research site - I haven't done to any great extent but I'll tell you why later in this review. I was invited to invite Vindale Research via email - looking for consumers to test websites/products and to be paid for doing so. I clicked the link provided and arrived at the home page and had a quick look around the site - very 'clean' looking, well-structured and easy to navigate. So far, so good. I visited the registration page and saw nothing unusual so registered my personal details - the usual name, address, email address, country and password. The next part of the registration then asked me to select from a menu offering different types of surveys/product tests: 1) Paid surveys - weekly email notifications to evaluate new products and earn between $5 - $75 2) Online studies - receive a few opportunities per week to complete simple online surveys to earn $1 3) Opinion polls - Fun surveys every few days to earn 25 cents 4) Newsletter - Fortnightly members email with new opportunities and bonus offers Of course, I selected all of these, as the website advised, to maximise potential earnings. As with most research sites, you have an account page which allows you track your earnings, ensure that your responses to various polls and tests have been verified, and more worryingly, if any of your earnings have been reversed due to fraudulent activity or other issues. As ...

Hand of Evil - J.A. Jance 28/10/2008

You need Hands

Hand of Evil - J.A. Jance This review is about a book not an audio book! For those of you who haven't heard of J.A.Jance, she regularly makes the New York Times Top 10 as a crime fiction author- although whether we should regard this as a literary achievement is a matter for debate….. Hand of Evil is the third in a series of novels in which Ali Reynolds, the plucky heroine we meet in the book is grieving for her TV news-reading job and her marriage, both of which have ended recently. To keep up with the times, and inspire those with similar problems, Ali keeps a daily blog. Just when it seems that life couldn't get much worse, she learns that the teenage daughter of a friend has disappeared..... At the same time, Ali is contacted by the benefactor whose generosity put her through college, and now wants Ali to write a book describing her families history. Of course, Ali offers to help both her friend and benefactor, using the investigative skills and contacts developed through her news-reading career (hmmm - amazing what reading an auto-cue can do for your transferable skills….). However, all is not as it seems, and she begins a search that eventually reveals a deadly ring of secrets and, not one, but two indiscriminating killers….. I have to admit I was taken in by the blurb on the cover - 'His hand trapped in the door of a speeding car, a man is dragged to an agonizing death. Starting with a crime so gruesome even prowling coyotes keep their distance, a killer begins criss-crossing the ...

Pfizer Champix 24/10/2008

Champix - My Drug of Choice

Pfizer Champix I had been a smoker for well over 20 years - I knew the damage it could do but I actually enjoyed the smoking sensation. I'd tried to give up on several occasions before, although somewhat half-heartedly it has to be said. As a result of an accident at home (sounds ominous doesn't it? - I cut my hand on a rusty nail - not very exciting I know!) and went to my GPs for a tetanus. While I was there, the nurse mentioned a brand new drug that literally had just become available for smokers via the NHS. My GP was keen to see if the claims made by the manufacturer were anywhere near true - I also later found out that the local Health Trust hadn't at that point authorised payment for this drug from their budget and that it hadn't yet been authorised for prescription in the UK but that's another story. So, I was introduced to Champix (generic name is varenicline). It works differently from other smoking cessation products. There is a two fold effect - firstly by physically reducing the craving for nicotine by blocking receptors in the brain and secondly by reducing the pleasure received from smoking a cigarette. The regime is also quite different. For the first 3 days, you take 1 x 0.5mg tablet, then for days 4 to 7, this is increased to 2 x 05mg daily, and from day 8 until the end of the treatment 2 x 1mg daily. In my case, the treatment last 9 weeks but it can be extended although 12 weeks seems to be the recommended treatment length. You are also 'allowed' to smoke ...

The Judas Strain: n/a - James Rollins 23/10/2008

Straining Belief

The Judas Strain: n/a - James Rollins I've read James Rollins before, and have to give him credit for delivering just about conceivable storylines..In the Judas Strain, we see a worldwide pandemic looming, blossoming from every type of benign bacteria known to man....causing symptoms of every disease known in its single disease pandemic from THIS author, no sirree!! Following in the footsteps of a great explorer, Painter Crowe, Commander Gray Pierce and Monk of Sigma force (what macho names) have to turn to their sword enemies, the sinister Guild for help...........the beautiful but deadly Guild assassin, Eurasian Seichan, running around the world with a leaking bullet wound helping Pierce at every turn. Also aiding in their quest is, of course, the obligatory Vatican representative (because the explorer was Italian, the Vatican had to be involved) and the Guilds head of scientific research, the dastardly Devesh. From a tomb in Venice, the explorer hides a secret that could shatter history....deep within the tropical jungle, ancient ruins conceal a deadly secret and hidden in our genetic code is a mystery like no other......(cue dramatic music). On the way to the solution........Grays' parents, a feisty mother and an alzheimers suffering father are captured by the evil criminal mastermind Nasser, a cruise ship is hijacked and hidden in an lagoon on an island populated by pirates and cannibals, a billionaire cruise ship owner aids the Sigma boys, a single man on a jet ski takes on ...

Twinings Infusions Fruit Tea: Stawberry & Mango 22/10/2008

Made in Heaven

Twinings Infusions Fruit Tea: Stawberry & Mango Nearly 3 years ago, I made the decision to stop smoking, a habit that I had for many, many years. It was due to a bout of pneumonia, and my children growing up and pulling no punches about what they thought of me smoking and the end result - i.e. my untimely death. This got me to thinking about the amount of caffeine I was pouring into my system and I decided to cut back on the coffee. This was nearly as difficult as giving up the cigarettes - in some ways, maybe harder, because I did have help in the form of the drug Champix whilst kicking the tobacco habit. I needed a replacement and I decided to try fruit teas. My favourites have varied but I keep coming back to Twinings Strawberry and Mango fruit infusion. These 'teabags' (although I'm not sure that they actually are tea....) come in a nicely compact cardboard (recyclable) box. You get 20 'teabags' with a net weight of 40g - working out at 2g per bag (or half the weight of my largest tortoise!!). At approximately 90p per 20 teabags, a bargain indeed! Not only do you get almost 2g of Strawberry and Mango infusion, you also receive a soft, multiply pierced bag in which to keep your tea! Making your tea couldn't be easier - allow one bag per person and infuse (put it in a cup or teapot and pour boiling water over it and let it stand for 2/3 minutes). It must also be noted that all of this comes, at no extra cost, with no caffeine. By careful infusion, your taste buds will believe they are being danced upon by ...

Dell Inspiron 1525 22/10/2008

Dell Uninspiring 1525

Dell Inspiron 1525 Not going to go into too much technical detail - because technically, this laptop is fine - more than enough RAM (2MB) for my daughters day to day requirements - Word,Excel, Powerpoint, Publisher, surfing the internet, Email, Messenger etc. A good sized hard drive at 160 GB but fails slightly on graphics - these are okay but not powerful enough for a dedicated games player. A built in DVD Rewriter means it's functions include burning CDs and its 15.4" Widescreen WXGA (1280x800) TFT Display provides clear and crisp graphics. It also comes in a range of colours, and is suitably sleek and lightweight at approximately 2.7kg. Like most laptops nowadays, it has built-in wi-fi capabilties as well as Bluetooth connectivity, both of which have been fully tested by my daughters. However, both of my daughters opted for these laptops. Both laptops have been stored in cases every night and treated with care. Both daughters have subsequently got laptops out in the morning, only to find the screen cracked and unusable. They haven't kept these in either cold or hot conditions, they haven't been dropped, had drinks spilled over them or in any way ill-treated. Both machines, at less than 1 year old (but, of course, screens are not covered under warranty). This apparently is not uncommon, (simply google the issue for more info). The issue seems to be a result of manufacturers constantly seeking to lower the weight and width of laptops - screens are now so thin that they are incredibly ...

The Six Sacred Stones - Matthew Reilly 22/10/2008

Six Sacred Stones - Six wasted hours

The Six Sacred Stones - Matthew Reilly First introduced to us in Matthew Reillys' Seven Ancient Wonders", the Rambo/James Bond/Indiana Jones based super- soldier Jack West returns along with the his always ready team of adventurers. But this time, they are confronted by an impossible (yawn.......) challenge. A mysterious ceremony has set off a catastrophic countdown, the climax of which being the end of all life on Earth (at least James Bonds' enemies simply want to rule the world!!). However, as you may guessed, there is one last hope - Jack West. Because, if Jack and his team can trace, understand and rebuild (with one eye on the rapidly ticking countdown clock complete with big, red numbers) a legendary ancient device known only as the "Machine" (so, how many points for originality here then folks??), they might just be able to prevent the impending Armageddon. Of course, it couldn't be that easy could it? Its location is held within the fabled Six Sacred Stones, which have (doh!!) unfortunately disappeared into the mists of time. (And perhaps the bowels of the Earth????) The search is on - from Stonehenge (and a fascinating, if not believable explanation of its real purpose), to the sweltering Egyptian deserts and the Three Gorges region of China, the hunt for the Six Sacred Stones will take you on an action-packed rollercoaster ride through history, incorporating all of the most up-to-date military hardware ever to be found just lying about waiting for Jack, and some of the fastest and most ...

Quaker Snack a Jacks (Salt & Vinegar) 12/10/2006

I don't care how hungry I am......

Quaker Snack a Jacks (Salt & Vinegar) I really wouldn't thank you for these. I'm talking about my kids favourite snack of the moment here, Quaker Snack-a-Jacks (Salt and vinegar flavour). So, according to Quaker 'Crispy Salt & Vinegar flavour Snack-a-Jacks are great tasting rice and corn snacks that are less than 10% fat. Ideal for lunchbox fillers and daytime snack attacks'. Hmmm, my view is that (and this my quote) 'Crispy Salt & Vinegar Snack-a-Jacks are bizarre tasting rice and corn snacks that are 90% cardboard. Ideal for filling large gaps in plaster and brickwork and punishing taste buds'. So, Snack-aJacks are presented in a nice shiny blue packet, complete with the famous Quaker logo (how dated is this!!!!) and requisite nutritional information and quality promise '....if the contents are unsatisfactory (IF????) etc etc. The standard pack, which is the one that I'm reviewing weighs in at 25g. A frightening aspect about the pack is that it gives an ominous warning - there are other types of Snack-a- Jack available - Caramel, Prawn Cocktail and Roast Chicken. In my view, one type is one type too many in this world. Why am I so down on them? I hear you ask. Well, if I want to put something in my mouth, I'd prefer it to at least look edible. Sitting here, Snack-a-Jack directly in front in me, I'm struggling to find the words to describe it........Ah, does anyone remember the infamous B-Movie, an early Steve McQueen feature as I recall, 'The Blob'? Well, an individual Snack-a-Jack resembles ...

Necroscope: The Touch - Brian Lumley 10/10/2006

All bad things come in Threes

Necroscope: The Touch - Brian Lumley I've been reading Brian Lumley's work for a good few years now and have seen him rise from humble beginnings to become, in my opinion, one of the major leaders in the horror genre. He's carved himself a unique niche in the horror and fantasy field with his stunning and often terrifying Wamphyri characters and his (originally human) hero, Harry Keogh, Necroscope. A bit of background may be appropriate here to bring you up to date with Harrys history. In a nutshell, Harry was a normal human being, who had the unique ability to talk to the dead. The dead responded to Harry as he became their confidante and protector. Harry worked for E-Branch, a collection of people with unique powers, including precognition, human lie detectors, a Gaia like person through whom the ills of nature were reflected in her physical appearance and so forth. Harry finds himself transported to Starside whilst investigation a secret Russian experimental lab and becomes in the struggle of gipsy like Szgany against the bloodthirsty and all-powerful Wamphyri. Through many struggles, Harry manages to overcome the Wamphyri, but not without cost……transformed into a Wamphyri, Harry becomes the hunted. Unable to return to E-branch, it seems that Harry has really gone for good but why should that be? Okay, that is a very, very brief piece of background - read the previous books to discover more - they are really well worth the effort. So, onto the latest in the series - Necroscope: The Touch. In ...

Dr Who Battles in Time Trading Cards 09/10/2006

Daleks, Cybermen, Slitheens - Guess Who?

Dr Who Battles in Time Trading Cards I know I'm not alone when I say that I've always loved Dr Who and anything associated with the series. I've got all sorts of memorabilia from way back in time to the present day and I've always loved to collect. So, you can imagine my delight when the new series of Dr Who spawned a brand new collectable item for me! So, what exactly is the cause of all this excitement then? Well, it's two things really - a new magazine and a set of lovely, glossy trading come top trumps style cards. I'll briefly mention the magazine as this was launch of the trading card set. If you're looking for a good read, this isn't it!! Aimed very much at the younger reader, it consists of fold posters, fairly simple Dr Who based quizzes, games and articles on the making of the new series. Each issue has the rules for a new game(s) to play with your card collection. With each issue, you get a pack of trading cards. Also, the first 9 issues come with various 'freebies' to delight the kids (and some bigger kids!) - a TARDIS storage case for your cards, an LED Dalek Timer, a folder for the magazines, a TARDIS lock etc etc. It's priced at £2.50 each fortnight, with 52 issues planned - nice because you know exactly how much this is going to cost you. Okay, to the trading cards themselves. The set consists of a total of 275 different cards (unsurprisingly, numbered 001-275). There are 231 Common cards, 28 Rare cards, 10 Super Rare cards and 6 Ultra Rare cards in the set. A packet of cards ...
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