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Thumbs Up January Collage

Here’s a round-up of some my favourite new foods and drinks (mainly drinks to be honest) I’ve tried this month…

Mr Trotter’s Proper Potato Crisps

mr trotter crispsWe don’t buy all that many crisps in our house, as I’ve made a conscious effort to cut back in recent years. But on those occasions when I am in the mood for a salty potato snack, I will be reaching for a lovely big bag of Mr Trotter’s Proper Potato Crisps. Thickly cut and incredibly moreish, they are fried with the skin on and taste almost meaty, although they are suitable for vegetarians. I guess that comes from the yeast extract, listed as one of the ingredients in Mr Trotter’s ‘original seasoning’. My children loved them too but I reckon they are too good for little ones, and next time I’ll wait until they’re in bed before opening another packet.

You’ll find Mr Trotter’s range of crisps and pork crackling in Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Fortnum & Masons, Chatsworth House and a growing number of pubs, farm shops, delis and garden centres. You can also buy them in bulk online.

Korean Ginseng Drink

korean ginseng drinkThis Korean ginseng drink arrived in a recent food box from Kitchen Nomad celebrating Korean cuisine. This was one of my favourite products in the box, along with a jar of delicious Kimchi, a traditional fermented vegetable side dish.

I haven’t actually tried drinking ginseng since I was a child and I recall being rather unimpressed back then. This time I wasn’t sure at first. It smelled a little like boiled parsnip. But when you get past that, it tastes ever so good. Sweet and honey-like, almost like a non-alcoholic mead. What’s more, ginseng is apparently very good for you and a brilliant energiser.

Available from Tradewinds Oriental Shop and all good oriental supermarkets.

Elements for Life Spiced Raw Hot Chocolate

raw hot chocolate spicedThis spiced hot chocolate from Elements for Life is quite simply divine. Featuring cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla, it gives just the right hit of spices without overpowering the luxuriously creamy chocolate.

I make mine with warm milk but the chaps at Elements for Life recommend using oat milk for the ultimate thick and creamy hot chocolate. And since it contains low GI/GL coconut palm sugar, it is also ideal for diabetics due to the slow release of energy from the sugar, unlike most hot chocolates that contain refined cane sugar.

Admittedly it’s not cheap, coming in at £6.75 for a 175g tins but I reckon it’s worth it for an occasional treat.

Elements for Life products are available from a growing number of health food shops, farmers markets and delis across the country (see the list online) and you can also order direct from their website.

Mere Fish Farm Smoked Trout Terrine

mere fish farm smoked trout terrineThis delicious smoked trout terrine is one of the specialties of Mere Fish Farm in Wiltshire, and I think I might be addicted to it. I bought it last week from their stall at Wells Market and had it with a jacket potato that evening for supper, and I simply couldn’t get enough of it. All the next day I kept eating more of it on hot buttered toast, and my daughter Jessie insisted of having some in a roll for her school packed lunch. Honestly, it’s just too good for words.

The terrine is mixed to Mere Fish Farm’s own special recipe, using trimmings from their cold smoked trout, unsalted butter, low fat natural yogurt, lemon juice, fresh herbs and spices. It tastes rich and indulgent without being at all heavy.

If you are based in the West Country, or visiting this part of the world anytime soon, I thoroughly recommend you try to get hold of some. For details of stockists, visit their website. I’ll be back to their stall next week, I think, to sample more of their products and, of course, to pick up some more of this terrine.

Pixley Berries Cranberry & Apple Cordial

pixley berries apple and cranberry cordialThis gorgeous cranberry and apple cordial from Pixley Berries is as good to drink as it looks. It boasts more than 60% fruit, none of which come from concentrates, and not a single artificial ingredient either. It’s a wonderfully refreshing cordial, soft and sweet yet with a marvellous twang from the cranberry.

My children loved it too, but while they liked drinking theirs with chilled water, their Daddy and I rather liked ours poured over iced vodka once they were safely tucked up in bed.

You can find Pixley Berries range of cordials at Waitrose, Ocado and other independent retailers – full details on their website.

Yumchaa Chilli Chilli Bang Bang

chilli chilli bang bang rooibos teaThis rooibos tea from London-based Yumchaa is the perfect cuppa when you need a bit of a pick-me-up. Caffeine-free, Chilli Chilli Bang Bang not only has a fantastic name but delivers a fantastic punch of flavour from cinnamon, ginger, red thistle, sweet red pepper corns, and chilli flakes. It isn’t a fiery brew but it does deliver packs of taste, yet manages to be a lovely soothing tea at the same time.

You can pick up a bag of this, or any of Yumchaa’s fine teas and tisanes, from one of their London shops or market stalls. Full details on their website.

Disclosure: I was sent complimentary samples of Mr Trotter’s Proper Potato Crisps and Pixley Berries Cranberry and Apple Cordial for review purposes. No money exchanged hands and all opinions expressed are my own.

Thumbs up for…

Here’s a round-up of some of the tasty titbits I’ve been sent recently and marvellous morsels I’ve discovered for myself.

Mr Trotters Collage

Mr Trotter’s Great British Pork Crackling

I’m prone to tutting when we’re down our local and my husband buys a bag of pork scratchings. While I might surreptitiously steal one or two, they’re not usually the most pleasant experience – unless munching on deep-fried hunks of grease is your thing. However the pork crackling from Mr Trotter’s is in quite a different league and unlike anything you’d find on offer in your average pub.

Mr Trotter’s ‘revolutionary’ British pork snack was the brainchild of food writer Tom Parker Bowles, Great British Menu judge Matthew Fort, and Cotswold farmer Rupert Ponsonby. Unlike most scratchings made from imported Danish rind, it is cooked from 100% British pork, and uses no added MSG. Mr Trotter’s are triple-cooked for a fantastic crunch, and seasoned with natural yeast and sea salt. The Original variety is pretty good, but it’s the Jalapeno Chilli version that really floated my boat and I reckon it’s the perfect accompaniment to a pint of lager. Not too greasy, they’re light and crunchy, and very, very tasty. Not the healthiest snack in the world either but ruddy lovely nonetheless.

Gran Luchito Honey

gran luchito honey

You might have gathered I’m something of a chilli-head and so I was rather intrigued and quite excited to discover this pot of Gran Luchito Honey flavoured with smoked Mexican chillies in my latest recipe box from Kitchen Nomad.

I only had a small pot and all of it was used in a Chilli Honey Crumble, which was absolutely delicious, but I do wish I had some more as I think it would be wonderful simply spread on hot buttered toast. Fellow blogger Kelly Anderson mentioned recently on Instagram that she likes hers “drizzled over chocolate croissants” and I can imagine that working too.

It has a heavenly smoky sweet flavour, spiked with occasional bursts of intense chilli heat.

I must get my hands on more of this stuff. And soon.

Tomato Paste Collage

Olive Branch – Sun Dried Tomato Paste

I received a pot of this sun dried tomato paste from Olive Branch in my goody bag at Food Bloggers Connect back in the summer. Featuring sun dried tomatoes mixed with garlic, fresh basil and oregano, the paste packs a tasty punch and is bursting with flavour. We’ve been enjoying it smeared on bruschetta and it’s the perfect way to create a simple pasta bake, with the addition of black olives and mozzarella, for a quick and easy supper.

French’s & Frank’s RedHot recipe books


While I’ve yet to buy a single Christmas present (and I plan to spend as little as I can this year by making as many gifts as possible), I think these neat little cookbooks would make fun stocking fillers for the fellow foodie in your life.

I haven’t tried the BBQ sauce, but I am rather partial to Frank’s RedHot sauce and, although French’s Classic Yellow Mustard isn’t a patch on our own very fine English mustard, it is a must when you’re enjoying American-style hot dogs.

Available from newsagents and most supermarkets, these pocket-sized cookbooks are just £2.99 each and provide a wide range of recipe ideas based on these three sauce brands. The recipes are pretty simple and while they won’t revolutionise your cooking, there are some good ideas for spicing up everyday meals. In particular I’m looking forward to trying Frank’s spicy cheese toasts and French’s easy peasy ribs.

Cool Chile Co – Diced Chile Ancho

Cool chile co - chile ancho

I think I might be addicted to this ancho chilli from the Cool Chile Co. It is a fairly mild chilli but one that gives a full-flavoured, smoky and fruity intensity to your Mexican dishes.

Apparently it’s an indispensable ingredient in Mole Poblano (a rich chilli, nut and cocoa sauce), although I’ve been using it in black bean soup and rajas tacos, two more recipes from this month’s Mexican Kitchen Nomad box.

But to be honest I think I could eat practically any dish if it comes with a handful of toasted ancho chillies sprinkled on top!

Disclosure: I was sent Mr Trotter’s Great British Pork Crackling and French’s & Frank’s Red Hot recipe books for review purposes. No money exchanged hands and all opinions expressed are my own.