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Thursday, 30 June 2016

Streamline Celebrates Win in the Healthy Food Guide Food and Drink Awards 2016

Streamline’s Less Sugar Strawberry Jam has won the condiments category in the Healthy Food Guide Food and Drink Awards 2016. Winning products were chosen for their great taste and nutritional content.
Séverine Brault, Marketing Manager at Streamline Foods “We are so delighted to win this award. At Streamline, we believe that making healthier choices shouldn’t mean you have to compromise on taste. We’re passionate about putting flavour first, so whilst our jams have 30% less sugar than standard jams, they are packed with 40% more delicious fruit. So you can still enjoy your jam whilst watching the amount of sugar you consume.”

“It’s been a stellar year for healthy product launches,” commented Melanie Leyshon, Editor of Healthy Food Guide. “Not only are the supermarket aisles crowded with newcomers, from breakfast goodies to post-workout snacks and almost-as-good-as-homemade suppers, but leading brands have also been busy reformulating recipes, lowering sugars or adding protein to cereals and yogurts.”

Streamline jams and marmalades are available in Sainsbury’s, the Co-op, Tesco, Ocado, Asda and Morrisons with a RRP of £1.45 for a 340g jar. The range of flavours include: strawberry, blackcurrant, apricot, black cherry, seedless raspberry, thin cut orange, thick cut orange and diced cut orange.

For details on all the winners and the highly recommended products, plus stockists and nutritional values, see the July issue of Healthy Food Guide or visit healthyfood.co.uk

 

Monday, 27 June 2016

Beers of Euro 2016 - #6 Russia, Neon Beer, Baltika Brewery

#beersofeuro2016, Euro 2016, Russian beer, Baltika, Neon Bert
The next beer to step up in my #beersofeuro2016 is Neon Beer from Russia. In keeping with the short lived appearance from the Russian footballers, this review won't last long either.
#beersofeuro2016, Euro 2016, Russian beer, Baltika, Neon Bert
Russia were drawn in the same group as England, Slovakia and Wales and after opening their tournament with a draw against the English, they lost their next two games to become one of the first teams to leave the tournament.
#beersofeuro2016, Euro 2016, Russian beer, Baltika, Neon Bert
I sourced my bottle of Neon Beer for £1.89 from online beer merchant, Beers of Europe. Brewed by Russia's number one brewer, Baltika Brewery, who claim that Neon Beer isn't just a beer but an element of style. The marketing department have gone into overdrive to promote this speciality beer to a target market of young people aged 18 years old and over, who want a mild lager with medium alcohol content. A funky printed sleeve wrap completes the 'stylish' offering from Baltika and apparently the kids in Russia were very keen to try it out.
I'd love to hear what they said after tasting it! The Neon Beer poured with a very light straw colour, creating a huge light foamy head that disappeared in the blink of an eye. The beer had about as much going on in the glass as the Russian football team had on the pitch. There was no noticeable aroma from the beer and almost nothing of interest in the taste. It's not often that I pour beer away but after a couple of mouthfuls, I realised that I clearly wasn't the demographic that Baltika were chasing when they created Neon Beer. I'm annoyed that I selected this beer to represent Russia in my quest as the good people at Baltika do actually make some pretty good brews. Look out for Baltika Munchen Weizen, a cracking German style wheat beer brewed in St. Petersburg - it's a cracker!

Keep up to date with my progress on Twitter as I try to complete my challenge and you can let me know which Russian beers you would pick, using the hashtag #beersofeuro2016

 

Beers of Euro 2016 - #5 Iceland, Einstök Icelandic While Ale, Einstök Brewery

#beersofeuro2016, Iceland beers, Icelandic beer, Einstöck Pale
My #beersofeuro2016 campaign rolls on and tonight England take on one of the surprise packages in the UEFA European Championship when they play Iceland. Cristiano Ronaldo spat his dummy out when Iceland held Portugal to a draw in their opening group match but after a victory over Austria in their second match, the team from the Nordic Island proved that they deserved their place in the last 16. Icelanders like their beer and for a country with a small population there is quite a number of breweries dotted across the island, however there isn't a huge export market for their beer so sourcing an Icelandic beer isn't as easy as I thought that it might be. Fortunately, one of the main brands on the island, Einstök, is much easier to get your hands on so Einstök Icelandic White Ale was quickly called up to play.
#beersofeuro2016, Iceland beers, Icelandic beer, Einstöck Pale
Iceland were drawn in Group F with one of the tournament favourites, Portugal as well as Austria and Hungary.
#beersofeuro2016, Iceland beers, Icelandic beer, Einstöck Pale
I sourced my Einstök Icelandic White Ale from Beers of Europe for £2.59 although you can also source from good bottle shops and I have seen it stocked in The Trading House in Glasgow.
Information from the brewery website highlights that The Einstök Brewery is located just 60 miles south of the Arctic circle in the fishing port of Akureyri, Iceland. There, the water flows from rain and prehistoric glaciers down the Hlíðarfjall Mountain and through ancient lava fields, delivering the purest water on Earth, and the perfect foundation for brewing deliciously refreshing craft ales.
In reality, the beer didn't quite live up to the romantic vision above. The beer pours with a pale straw colour, although I expected it to be more like a wheat beer as the White Ale is brewed using the centuries old Belgian traditions. The pour created a huge foamy head that quickly dissipated leaving very little lacing on the glass. The beer advises that flavours of orange peel and coriander are there although I really struggled to identify any of this either on the nose or in the taste. One of the selling points of Einstök is that they use the purest water on earth but I felt that the water is perhaps too pure and as a result I felt that the beer lacked any real wow factor. Great for quenching a thirst on a hot day? Maybe and I would probably drink a bottle sitting in the sun but I probably wouldn't drink a second.
Keep up to date with my progress on Twitter as I try to complete my challenge and you can let me know which Icelandic beers you would pick, using the hashtag #beersofeuro201

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Beers of Euro 2016 - #4 Albania, Mythos, Mythos Brewery

#beersofeuro2016, Albanian beer, Greek beer, Mythos, Gerry's Kitchen
The group stages of the UEFA European Championship 2016 are almost over and it's time for me to open up another one of my #beersofeuro2016. Thanks to a bit of internet browsing, I managed to source bes from all bar one of the twenty four competing nations. The only country that I struggled with was getting a beer from Albania!
#beersofeuro2016, Albanian beer, Greek beer, Mythos, Gerry's Kitchen
Albania have been drawn in Group A with host nation France, Switzerland and Romania. As there is no export market for Albania's best selling lager, Birra Tirana, I have called up neighbouring Mythos from Greece. Jackie Charlton was famous for selecting players to play for the Republic of Ireland on the grounds that they had an Irish grandparent - I'm almost certain that there must be at least one Albanian out their with a Greek granny!
#beersofeuro2016, Albanian beer, Greek beer, Mythos, Gerry's Kitchen
The Mythos brewery is the second largest brewery in Greece and best know for the Mythos brand of beers. As a subsidiary of Carlsberg, the company also import a large number of non Greek beers into the country. The company is decended from Henninger Hellas, a Greek distributor of the German Henninger beer, was founded in 1970 before being bought by the Boutari Group in1992 prior to being renamed The Northern Greece Brewery Ltd as part of a strategy to turn the it into a genuine domestic Greek beer. With the launch of Mythos Beer in 1997 the transformation was completed when the company was renamed Mythos Brewery Ltd in 2001.

Mythos will be familiar to anyone that has had a summer holiday on the Greek Islands as it is the lager that is served in the majority of beachfront bars and Greek tavernas. Having spent summers in Kos and Crete, I have knocked back my fair share of this easy drinking Greek brew. Hopefully the Mythos makes a suitable replacement in my Albanian line-up.

Finding a bottle of Mythos prove fairly difficult but in the end I managed to source from Beer Cafe Glasgow for £3.95

The Mythos pours with a golden yellow colour and a foamy head. Average carbonation helps the lager look appealing in the glass and as a result the head hangs around for the duration of the drink. Clean barley and mild hops are easy to identify whilst a sweet malt aroma can also be detected. The Mythos tastes crisp with a little bite from the hops but nothing too complex, and as generic country beers go the Mythos is a very easy drinking beer. Like most holiday beers, Mythos offers crisp, cold refreshment with little fuss. Does that make it a poor choice? I don't think so, it's better than the mass produced beers available, in the UK in my honest opinion, and definitely a beer that I would source in the future.

Keep up to date with my progress on Twitter as I try to complete my challenge and you can let me know which Greek or Albanian beers you would pick, using the hashtag #beersofeuro2016

 

Monday, 20 June 2016

Beers of Euro 2016 - #3 Switzerland, 1936 Bière, Locher Appenzeller Bier

#beersofeuro2016, Euro2016, Swiss Beers, 1936 Biere
The group stages of the 2016 UEFA European Championship are almost over and I'm doing my best to drink my way through Europe. The next country to take part in my #beersofeuro2016 challenge is Switzerland. Over the years, Heineken and Carlsberg have been buying up small Swiss beer brands and now control over two thirds of the beers sales in the alpine nation. Fortunately, there is a healthy number of brewpubs, independent and micro-breweries working hard to make sure that the Swiss beer heritage lives on. Unfortunately for me, there isn't a huge export market for Swiss beer which meant that I had limited choice when it came to selecting my beer from Switzerland.
#beersofeuro2016, Euro2016, Swiss Beers, 1936 Biere
Switzerland have been drawn in Group A alongside tournament hosts France, Romania and Albania.
#beersofeuro2016, Euro2016, Swiss Beers, 1936 Biere
My beer from Switzerland was a bottle of 1936, sourced from Whole Foods Market Giffnock for £2.29
Produced by a small independent company based at the foot of The Swiss Alps, 1936 Bière, is brewed from the purest water, organic hops, and golden barley grown on the surrounding mountains.
The brewery is owned by the Locher Family who took over the brewery back in 1886 and it has remained a family business until this day.
The words Switzerland and Nuetral often go hand in hand so it's no surprise to see that the brewery is also a leader in the field of climate protection and is the first brewery in Switzerland to take an active lead in safeguarding the environment. In view of the fact that they are unable to prevent all emissions despite the implementation of environmental measures, they have committed themselves to balance their CO2 output in collaboration with myclimate.org, an internationally recognised non-profit organisation.
1936 pours with a light golden straw colour and foamy head that dissipates to leave a light lacing on top of the beer. Sweet citrusy aromas are easily identified as are notes of honey. To taste, the beer has flavours of toasted oats with a little vanilla coming through. For such a pale lager, the 1936 still managed to produce a nice bitter hops finish.
Overall, I liked it and would definitely drink 1936 Biere again, if only it were easier to source!
Keep up to date with my progress on Twitter as I try to complete my challenge and you can let me know which Swiss beers you would pick, using the hashtag #beersofeuro2016

Friday, 17 June 2016

Gin Cocktails Just Got Weird

Gin and Tonic, Coffee Gin and Tonic, CGandT, GandT, Fever Tree Mixers, Daffy's Gin
Gin sales are going through the roof! It's always been a popular drink but with more and more artisan gin distilleries opening almost every week, the demand for the juniper based spirit is pushing gin producers to their limits.
The classic gin and tonic has been around since the 19th century when British officers in India mixed sugar, water, lime and quinine with their gin rations. Since then, the gin and tonic has been unchanged however over the last few days I've read a few articles that talk about taking the good old G and T to another level by adding coffee to the mix. Now I love an Espresso Martini, especially after dinner but surely this talk of the CG&T is just sacrilege? I decided to put it to the test tonight.
Ingredients
Method


  1. Fill a gin goblet or large wine glass with ice
  2. Pour in the gin, coffee and top up with your desired amount of tonic - be careful, the drink will fizz up with a huge foamy head.
  3. To serve, garnish with a twist of orange zest

Gin and Tonic, Coffee Gin and Tonic, CGandT, GandT, Fever Tree Mixers, Daffy's Gin

I really didn't know what to expect but this drink works really well. Gin, tonic, coffee, what's not to like? Whilst an Espresso Martini is smooth and creamy, the CG&T has a little more life to it and definitely an after dinner drink worth considering.

Give it a go and let me know what you think.

 

Beers of Euro 2016 - #2 Romania, Timisoreana, Ursus Breweries

#beersofeuro2016, Romanian beers, beer review, Timisoreana
Next up in my #beersofeuro2016 campaign is Romania. I've never been to Romania and I know very little about their beers. Fortunately, the Internet is a wonderful thing and after a few minutes of Googling, I managed to source a bottle of beer for the challenge as well as gain a little background on the chosen beer.
#beersofeuro2016, Romanian beers, beer review, Timisoreana
Romania have been draw in Group A of Euro2016 alongside host nation France, Albania and Switzerland.
#beersofeuro2016, Romanian beers, beer review, Timisoreana
My chosen beer to represent Romania is Timisoreana Original which is brewed and bottled in the town of Timisoara, situated close to the Serbian border. Timisoreana is one of four brands owned by Ursus Breweries who in turn are a subsidiary of SABMiller. I purchased my bottle of beer from online beer merchant Beers of Europe for £2.29
Timisoreana original is a pale lager style beer with an ABV of 5%. The beer pours with a foamy head that dissipates quickly leaning a thin trace on the top of the drink. As your would expect from a pale lager, there's not a great deal of colour going on, almost a clear golden colour colour in the class. There's not much going on in the nose, an almost fake sweetness and not much else. It tastes better than it smells, with a malty bread taste in the mouth which is replaced with a mild bitter finish.
I'm not a huge fan of the mass produced generic lagers so Timisoreana Original didn't really do it for me. It tastes like a lot of other lager style beers without doing anything to differentiate itself from the others. It's not horrible but it's not something I will be revisiting.
Have you tried Timisoreana or any oth Romanian beers? If so, what were your thought?

Keep an eye on the rest of my challenge and feel free to share your own beers of Euro2016 on Twitter using the hashtag #beersofeuro2016

 

Marcus Wareing Unveils Front Cover

Marcus Wareing, cook books, Marcus At Home
With only four months left until official release, Marcus Wareing is delighted to unveil the front cover for Marcus at Home.

Marcus's 6th cookbook will showcase the food he loves to cook for his friends and family in the comfort of his own home - from a tasty Prawn Orzo Risotto, to a classic Sunday Roast and a mouth-watering Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Thyme Crumble, these simple yet delicious recipes will no doubt become some of your household favourites. Chantelle Nicholson, who's worked alongside Marcus for the past twelve years, once again joins him as co-author.

Marcus is incredibly excited to share with you what may just be his best cookbook yet...

Marcus at Home will be released on 20th October 2016 but is available for pre-order now.

Marcus Wareing, cook book, Marcus At Home

 

Jordan is Scotland’s contender for young chefs’ “Hall of Fame”

Athol Arms Hotel, Jordan Clark, Craft Guild of Chefs

Dunkeld’s Jordan Clark is flying the flag for Scotland in a competition to find the UK’s top young chef.

The Head Chef at the Atholl Arms Hotel, who studied at Perth College, is the only Scottish representative among 24 youngsters selected to compete in the Kitchen Graduate Award of the Craft Guild Of Chefs (CGOC).

Semi-finals of the Awards, described by the Guild as its ‘Graduate Hall of Fame,’ will take place simultaneously in London and Birmingham on 28 June where chefs under the age of 23 will undertake a series of culinary challenges. These include a theory paper, butchery and fishmongery tasks as well as creating a ‘mystery basket’ dish, classic main course and a dessert.

“I’m very excited, especially as I’m the only shortlisted competitor from Scotland” said Jordan, who will be 21 in August and will be taking part in the Birmingham event. “It will be a very exhausting day as we’ll be working for eight hours on the theory paper and various tasks under the eyes of judges who are among the UK’s top experts in their field.”

Christine Sinclair, who owns the Atholl Arms Hotel with her husband Neil, commented: “As our customers keep discovering, Jordan has amazing talent coupled with great passion for his job. We are very proud of him and wish him well in this prestigious award.”

Among other semi-finalists are those from Michelin-starred restaurants, a restaurant at the House of Commons, and contract caterers. Previous Graduates have gone on to gain Michelin stars, work in some of the world’s top restaurants, be part of the UK’s World Skills team and win the Young National Chef of the Year title.

The final takes place in London on 30 August.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Beers of Euro 2016 - #1 France, Wendelinus Blonde, Brasserie Meteor

#BeersOfEuro2016, French Beers, Brasserie Meteor, Wendelinus Blonde
We're at the end of the first week of the 2016 UEFA European Championship (Euro2016) which is taking place in France until the 10th July. Over the coming weeks, I will be attempting to drink a beer from each of the twenty-four competing nations and writing up my experiences.
#BeersOfEuro2016, French Beers, Brasserie Meteor, Wendelinus Blonde
The countries drawn in Group A of Euro2016 are the host nation France, Romania, Switzerland and Albania. Due to the lack of an export market for Albanian beer, I am calling up a beer from Greece as a suitable replacement. Jackie Charlton was famous for selecting players to play for the Republic of Ireland on the grounds that they had an Irish grandparent - I'm almost certain that there must be at least one Albanian out their with a Greek granny!
#BeersOfEuro2016, French Beers, Brasserie Meteor, Wendelinus Blonde
As France were the first team to kick a ball, I decided to toast the hosts by cracking open a bottle of Wendelinius Blonde by Brasserie Meteor, a brewery north of Strasbourg which is recorded as France's oldest historic brewery still in production. I purchased my beer from online beer merchant Beers of Europe for £1.99
Wendelinus Blonde is a Belgian style pale ale that packs a punch at 6.8% ABV. Despite being classified as a blonde beers, it pours darkest than I expected - almost a dark amber colour. The beer has a mid-carbonate it still manages to pour with a tall foamy head that sticks around, leaving a light lacing in the glass. There are notes of lemon, black pepper, nutmeg and sweet banana on the nose, most of these flavours carry on into the taste. Initially sweet to taste, banana and peach are evident but it doesn't take long for the spice and citrus to cut through to leave a light bitter hop finish. Having spent a short time in Brussels and Leuven before Christmas, I managed to drink a reasonable amount of Belgian pale ale and can honestly say that Brasserie Meteor's attempt at recreating this style of beer is very nice indeed.
I wanted to avoid the usual suspects when it came to choosing my French beer and am happy to report that I'm pretty chuffed with my selection. I look forward to drinking Wendelinus Blonde again in the future.
Keep an eye on the rest of my challenge and feel free to share your own beers of Euro2016 on Twitter using the hashtag #beersofeuro2016

 

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

5 Questions - Fred Sirieix, Creator/Founder of The Art of Service

5 Questions, Fred Sirieix, The Good Service Charter
Back in April, myself and Nicola spent an enjoyable weekend in London, partly watching my brother-in-law running in the London Marathon, but mostly eating and drinking in as many nice places as we could. Our last meal in the capital was at the one Michelin starred Galvin at Windows, located on the 28th floor of London Hilton on Park Lane, where head chef Joo Won served up a stunning meal. (Full review to follow)
We arrived early for lunch and were warmly welcomed and presented with a glass of champagne, compliments of Fred Sirieix, General Manager of Galvin at Windows. In recent times, Fred has become a bit of a celebrity following his regular TV appearances as the Maître d' on Channel 4's First Dates programme, however those in the business think of Fred as a true ambassador of the service industry. In addition to overseeing the slick service at Galvin at Windows, Fred created The Art of Service, an educational tool geared towards maximising the impact of staff members through a clear understanding of key principles of first class customer service. With over 25 years experience within the hospitality industry and countless awards for exception service within the restaurant sector, Fred Sirieix is the gold standard when it comes to customer service, consulting with international brands helping them to instil a first class service into the DNA of their business.

As if this doesn't keep Fred busy, he also co-founded Galvin’s Chance in 2008, a charity initiative to help disadvantaged young people get in education, training and full time employment within front of house in the best hotels, restaurants and bars in London. Fred launched on Christmas Day 2012 National Waiters Day to celebrate all Front of House staff and inspire people in hospitality careers.

5 Questions, Fred Sirieix, The Good Service Charter
Fred had meeting most of the day while we were in the restaurant but we did manage to chat with him for a few minutes before lunch, during which Fred agreed to answer 5 Questions for Gerry's Kitchen.
Here's Fred's story;

How did you get started?

It all started by watching my parents organise countless dinner parties at home with their family and friends. We always had people around the house. I guess that started my love of hospitality.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give anyone wanting to start working within the hospitality industry?

Just do it. Be clear about what you want. Have a vision, do not afraid of hard work, make efforts and believe in yourself. Believe in the beauty of rigour and discipline and you will be fine.

Where would you like to see your business (The Art of Service) in 5 years time?

I would like it to keep on growing and be as relevant then as it is now. Customer service and satisfaction is the only way to differentiate a brand from another.

If you could only be dine at one restaurant in the world, where would it be & why?

Le Gavroche. Why? . . . Because it is so good!

You can invite one person (living or dead) to your last meal – Who would it be and why? …and what’s on the menu?

Socrates. For fun and to learn from the master. Happy to eat and drink what he prefers.

5 Questions, Fred Sirieix, The Good Service Charter
Often referred to as 'The Service Guru' or 'The Service Jedi' by his peers, when Fred isn't dealing with the day to day running of Galvin at Windows, he is passing his skills and knowledge on to anyone who wants to learn from the best. The recently launched 'The Good Service Charter' is a framework that helps deliver a first class level of service to any business regardless of size. You can download the Good Service Charter here.

Fred's work doesn't stop there as 50% of the profits from each Charter sold will be donated to Fred’s new charity The Right Course, a new charity initiative to teach prisoners how to run restaurants straight in the heart of the prison.

I would like to thank Fred for taking time out of his very busy working schedule to answer 5 Questions and wish him well for the future.
You can keep up to date with Fred Sirieix on Twitter and Instagram.
5 Questions, Fred Sirieix, The Good Service Charter