From the Lavender and Lovage Christmas Kitchen:
A Luxury Hamper, Puddings, Yule Logs and More…..
It’s that time of the year, and month, again, when I invite you to view some of the beautiful ingredients and products that have made it into the Lavender and Lovage Kitchen over the last few weeks…….with Christmas fast approaching, and it’s mainly been about Christmas this month, I’ve been sent some wonderful items to test and review, and all with a capital “L” for luxury. First up, is the hamper I received from Harvey Nichols; they were generous enough to send me one of their luxury festive hampers from the Christmas Hamper range. I was asked to choose from part of the range and I decided on the Season’s Eatings Hamper (RRP:£65)……the clue is in the name, it’s a “foodie” hamper filled with the some of the essentials for the Big Day!
It is beautifully presented in a traditional wicker hamper, tied with a wide red ribbon and lined with a Harvey Nichols Foodmarket linen sleeve; the hamper comprised:
Marc de Champagne Christmas Pudding
Cranberry Sauce with Burgundy
Darjeeling Tea x 25 Tea Bags
Breakfast Blend Ground Coffee
Shortbread with Chocolate Chips
1 x bottle off Rouge 2012
All of the items have obviously been picked for a day of speciality dining, which takes you from an early morning cup of tea, to lunch and then on to an evening of snacks with a glass of wine. The Christmas Pudding needs a special mention, as it is wrapped in Knot Paper – Harvey Nichols Knot Paper is a 60 x 60cm fabric square, based on the traditional Japanese concept of Furoshiki, the art of wrapping gifts and items in specially printed fabrics – and on untying the knot paper, the pudding revealed a unique “sixpenny” lid, which was a great touch on the packaging side. The hamper contains all of the extras that you might need, such as cranberry sauce, brandy butter, tea, coffee as well as a bottle of wine and some sweet and savoury treats. It’s not bad value for £65, as all of the ingredients are luxurious with added booze in lots of them. I would have no hesitation sending to this to a close friend or family member, and for an extra £7, you can name the delivery date for convenience.
Following on from the hamper, we have an artisanal home-made pudding by Figgy’s Puddings; the lovely people from Figgy’s Puddings sent me a medium-sized pudding (RRP: £15) to review. Richie and Jo Evans, a husband and wife team (plus two small helpers) are based in Devon. They’ve always made their own Christmas Puddings, and having received such glowing feedback, they decided to sell them, and I for one am so pleased they did! They still hand make, wrap and dispatch all their puddings, in small batches, so you can be sure you’re buying a Christmas Pudding that really is just as you’d make yourself at home….and having TASTED the one they sent us, I can report back that my husband was convinced that it was one of my own home-made puddings! Each pudding is made and sold in a CERAMIC pudding basin, and the main ingredients in their puddings comprises:
Ale and Brandy:
Hanlon’s Port Stout
10 yr old Somerset Cider Brandy
Californian raisins which are sun-dried on the vine.
Glace cherries that are coloured with fruit juices
Home-made breadcrumbs, using fresh bread from the bakery next door.
English Bramleys, from a local greengrocer.
Oranges and lemons are all freshly squeezed and zested by a local company and not from concentrate.
The pudding was light, boozy and fruity and I was very impressed; as I say, I always make my own Christmas Pudding using my much-loved Traditional Victorian Christmas Pudding Recipe, but, this was a delicious home-made pudding that was just as good, although it pains me to say! If you fancy trying to win one of TWO Figgy’s Puddings, then I have a giveaway here: Giveaway: Win one of TWO Award Winning Figgy’s Christmas Puddings. Before I go on to the next product, I must give a shout out for all the awards these puddings have picked up……check out their awards here: The best of Christmas Pudding
I was really delighted with this next review item, it was sent to me from Herefordshire, a county I used to live in, from Certainly Wood, a company who provide 100% BRITISH logs to their customers. Okay, it’s just a log in a box, but in reality it’s much more than that, it’s a box full of tradition. The box came with a “Yule Log” wrapped in a bow, along with a box of handmade “Flamers”, Certainly Wood’s natural firelighters, and some kiln-dried kindling to make lighting the fire simple and straightforward. There’s also an accompanying scroll, which tells the age-old story of the Yule Log, plus instructions on how to light it in keeping with tradition, with some wassail recipe ideas, and an old wassail poem too……it was a charming and very unique gift and I can’t wait to light my Yule Log on Christmas Eve. Tucked amongst the Yule Log were some pine cones, which was a lovely idea, which also work well for starting a fire…….I was captivated with the whole package and I hope that these Yule Log kits (RRP: £25 inc P & P) are successful with all of Certainly Wood’s customers this year.
Following on from logs, the next item that was sent to me got me into a bit of a fluster – I was sent a much sought over box of chocolates from the Queen’s chocolate makers, Prestat. One of their The Red Christmas Chocolate Boxes (RRP: £16:20 for 210g) hit my doorstep a week ago, and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in! According to the blurb on the site, this is what this box of chocolates is all about…..
A roaring log-fire, the family dog, candles aglow and Great Aunt Maude comatose in her armchair together form the archetypal family Christmas tableau. Celebrate the festive scene with our fabulous new Christmas Chocolate Box in glorious Santa red full of classic English favourites.
One of the most timeless and delicious classic chocolate assortments evoking memories of our own childhoods. Those dowagers of chocolates, Rose and Violet Cremes, sit aside their racier cousins the Passion and Raspberry Fondants, the classic Hazelnut cluster mingles near its South American cousin the Darkly enrobed Brazil nut, The Walnut Marzipan competes for space with the Rice Crisp and the Honey nougats, the cassis jelly and heat of the finest enrobed ginger compliment the truffles and the childhood favourite fudges.
Rose & Violet Crème facts: Sandra Bernhardt commissioned an inverted violet crème, sadly a long lost recipe. One of Agatha Christie’s victim’s is poisoned by a box of violet crèmes; Poirot solves the mystery when, on closer inspection of the deadly chocolates, he see that their tops and bottoms have been put back the wrong way. In the 1950s, they were the seduction chocolate of choice for London’s debutantes (according to our mother).
Jumping from an after dinner treat to breakfast, I was also pleased to receive a rather generous amount of breakfast biscuits from beLvita Breakfast Biscuits last month. I was sent a selection of their tasty biscuits that included: Choc Chips, Yogurt Crunch, Apricot as well as Honey and Nuts. I normally have a fresh egg, porridge or fruit for breakfast, but I was happy to try these for a change, and one thing I noticed was JUST how full you feel after eating a portion. My favourites were the Apricot ones, they were full of texture with a lovely pronounced apricot flavour, but they were all very tasty and they keep you from snacking all the way through to lunch time. If you fancy winning a TWO month supply of these biscuits, along with a fruit hamper, then why not enter my giveaway here: Giveaway: 2 Months belVita Breakfast biscuits & Fruit Basket RRP: £60
It’s onto something SPICY now, and a big thanks to The Spice Tailor who sent me the most amazing hamper full of their sauces and chutney. I WILL be featuring their fabulous range over the next few months, as I use the range they sent me, but for now, just feast your eyes on the hamper than I was sent……..
The sauce collection comprised: Southern Pepper Curry, Original Tikka Masala, Punjabi Tomato Curry, Rustic Rogan Josh, Keralan Coconut Curry and Spiced Spinach Curry. I was also sent some chutney and pickles that included: Green Papaya Chutni, Mama’s Lime Chilli Pickle, Mint Leaf Chutni, Peanut and Tamarind Chutni and Tomato, Garlic and Chilli Chutni.
Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of Doves Farm flour, but I am very excited to be testing their new grains range, which they sent to me a few weeks ago. I was also fortunate to visit Doves Farm and meet Clare and Michael Marriage a week ago, and I will be sharing my day there, as well as some new recipes using their produce next week. The fascinating grains that they sent me to play with comprise: Gluten Free Buckwheat Flour, Gluten Free Buckwheat Grain, Gluten Free Organic Brown Rice Flour, Gluten Free Organic Chickpea Flour, Gluten Free Organic Maize Flour, Gluten Free Organic Millet Flour, Gluten Free Organic Millet Grain, Gluten Free Organic Quinoa Flour, Gluten Free Organic Quinoa Grain, Gluten Free Potato Flour, Gluten Free Teff Flour and Gluten Free Teff Grain.
And finally, its back to tea! Who can resist this cheeky PG Tips monkey that was sent to me a few weeks ago? Resplendent in his towelling robe and with a BIG box of PG Tips, this brightened up my day no end on receiving it. Mr Monkey now sits on the mantelpiece in my parent’s house, as my mum STOLE him from me, and the tea bags are already being enjoyed……as you can see from the photos! This limited edition monkey is on sale in most supermarkets for £5, so why not rush out to buy him and a box of PG Tips tea bags……
…..With a BIG thanks to all the companies who sent me this wonderful booty of goods, fuller reviews and recipes will follow on some of them later. Karen
Disclaimer: I was sent these products free, and with no request to share them on Lavender and Lovage; all views and opinions remain my own.