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Good Food and Gifts Blog

  • When is Caviar not Caviar? When it’s Cavi·art®!

    I have to admit, I am partial to caviar, particularly at Christmas. This is when I like nothing better than a plate of smoked salmon topped with delicious black caviar pearls  served with a chilled glass of champagne.

    However, my caviar days may now be behind me as I have discovered a fish-friendly alternative - Cavi·art®

    Cavi·art® is made from seaweed but looks just like the real thing. It even supplies the caviar "pop" sensation in the mouth!

    Cavi·art®  has a number of benefits over caviar:

    • Is great as a garnish because it doesn’t ‘bleed’ colour.
    • Can be used cold or hot as it withstands high temperatures.
    • No need to refrigerate
    • Unlike caviar which has to be chilled after opening and consumed within 2 – 3 days, Cavi·art® lasts 3 months at room temperature after opening.

    Here is a recipe to get your taste buds watering!

    Avocado with Cavi·Art® and Prawns

    (4 servings)

    2 avocados
    1 jar Cavi·art® of your choice
    100 g prawns
    200 ml créme fraîche
    1 tsp lemon juice
    1 tsp ketchup
    salt and white pepper

    Stir créme fraîche with lemon juice, ketchup, salt and pepper. Add the prawns and Cavi·art®
    Dice the flesh from the avocados and then add it to the mixture.
    Leave in the fridge for 1 hour and then put the mixture back into the avocados.
    Serve with baguettes.

    So go on, give it a try and impress your friends. Visit our Cavi·art® Shop at http://www.goodfoodandgifts.co.uk/cavi-art-uk/

    caviartblacklumpfish_1                      caviartred100g

  • Ebleskivers - a Danish Delight!

    Æbleskiver aebleskivesr or ebleskivers, (pronounced able-skeevers) are originally from Denmark, and are often referred to as puff pancakes. Traditionally they are served during holidays and at celebrations. The great thing about ebelskivers is their versatility. They can be served in the place of pancakes for breakfast, made savoury for an afternoon snack or tasty appetizer or made sweet for an interesting dessert. They can be served unfilled or filled - the range of offerings is limited only by your imagination.

    Making ebelskivers requires only a few simple basic ingredients – milk, eggs and flour. Key, however, is the unique pan in which they are cooked. It is like a frying pan but has seven wells into which you put the batter. You can also find rectangular pans with nine wells. Traditional pans are made from cast iron and require seasoning to prevent the batter from sticking. Modern pans can be made from cast aluminium and there are also non-stick varieties. The batter is very easy to make and cooking is equally simple.

     The Batter

    This batter is suitable for sweet and savoury ebelskivers.

    155 g all-purpose flour

    1 ½ teaspoons sugar

    ½ teaspoon baking powder

    ¼ teaspoon salt

    2 large eggs, separated

    250 ml whole milk

    2 tablespoons unsalted melted butter, slightly cooled

    1. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
    2. In a small bowl lightly whisk the egg yolks, then whisk in the milk and melted butter.
    3. Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture, stir until well blended. The batter will be lumpy.
    4. In a clean bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until stiff.
    5. Using a silicone spatula, fold one-third of the egg whites into the batter, then fold in the rest until no white streaks remain.

     

    The Cooking 

    1. Brush the wells with melted butter using a pastry brush and place over a medium heat for a few moments.
    2. When the butter begins to bubble, using two tablespoons add 1 – 3 spoonfuls into each well, depending on the recipe (usually 1 tablespoon for filled and 2 - 3 tablespoons for unfilled.
    3. If you are using a filling, carefully drop it onto the batter and top with another spoonful of batter to enclose the filling.
    4. Cook for 3 – 5 minutes until bubbles appear.
    5. Using 2 short wooden skewers on opposite sides of the pancake, gently turn them over.
    6. Cook the other side for about 3 minutes.
    7. Transfer to a plate and finish according to your taste. We like unfilled ebelskivers simply dipped in jam and sugar. Delicious!

    To buy your ebelskiver pan along with a cookbook providing more than 40 recipes, visit

    http://www.goodfoodandgifts.co.uk/danish-food-direct/non-food-items/

    ebleskivers2

  • A Danish Jul

    A Danish Jul 

    Christmas is a special time in many countries but never more so than in Scandinavia. 

    Here is a taster of what makes my Danish Christmas so very special. 

    Christmas starts on 1st Dec - Many Danes celebrate Advent and have a special round wreath with four candles, one for each Sunday in December which only gets lit on those days. The wreath is often decorated with fir & berries.

    Candles

    A calendar candle with the numbers 1-24 gets lit everyday but care is taken to only burn one number at time and forget your tacky chocolate calendars, traditionally Danish children get a gift calendar, with 24 presents attached, home bought and wrapped, one for each day up until the 24th Dec. 

    There is also a Children’s Christmas special television series each year which is divided into 24 episodes and shows one each day up until Christmas Eve.

    Santa Lucia 

    On 13th Dec Danish schoolchildren take part in The Santa Lucia tradition, celebrating the martyr Santa Lucia. The tradition originated in Sweden but was adopted by the Danes many years ago and feature a procession of girls and boys, the girls always dressed in long white robes, singing The Santa Lucia song. The Lucia Bride leads the procession and carries a wreath with 4 candles on her head.

     As well as walking the corridors of schools the children often also go to old people homes and hospitals with their procession.

    The picture below is of my own daughter when it was her turn last year to be the Lucia Bride.

    Julebryg

    The Danes love partaking in Christmas lunch parties during December, which feature traditional Danish faire as well as snaps and a variety of the special Danish Christmas beers produced by the breweries each year, like for example Tuborg’s ‘Julebryg’

    Julebryg

    A trip to cut and collect the Christmas tree is also a tradition that many families often do together with friends followed by a get-together afterwards with mulled wine and warm œbleskiver (Apple dumplings).

    pancakes

    Nisser

    Danes love their ’Nisser’, little mythical creatures from Scandinavian folklore, these little creatures protect us from misfortune so we decorate our homes with lots of them during Christmas time.

    Nisser

    Baking

    We love baking lots of Christmas cookies in December, most which feature cinnamon, nutmeg or cloves, all lovely warming spices, the most traditional are Brunkager, Pebbernoedder & Vaniljekranse.

    pebernodder

    24th Dec - Christmas Eve is our main day of celebration

    On this evening it is said that the animals can speak so we give them extra treats to make sure they don’t speak ill of us !!

    Christmas Mass in Denmark

    We like to wrap up warm and attend an early Christmas Mass at our local Church. This is more a get-together and about getting in the Christmas Spirit and singing carols than a religious event.

    The Christmas tree

    Our Christmas tree always have a Star at the top and is decorated with Danish flags, small music instruments, pine cones and plaited paper hearts which get filled with sweets. Traditionally we have real candles on the tree which give a special lovely atmosphere and glow but this is definitely not for the faint hearted so most probably use electric now. This picture is from Christmas 2014. My tree still always has decorations made and handed down by my maternal Danish grandmother, including walnut shells painted gold and with string attached to hang on the branches.

    tree

    Christmas dinner 

    Roast pork is the most traditional faire on Christmas Eve but goose and duck are also common. We serve the pork with plenty of crackling, boiled potatoes, caramelized potatoes, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts and a lovely meaty/creamy gravy.

    dinner

    Dessert is a tasty rice pudding folded with whipped cream, full of chopped almond and served with a hot cherry sauce. There is always one whole almond added and the person who gets the almond gets a special gift. This is traditionally a marzipan pig.

    Presents and dancing

    Dinner is normally served quite early and after we all gather at the Christmas tree which has all the wrapped presents under it. We sing more hymns and carols, one child reads the nativity and we dance hand in hand around the lit tree whilst we sing. Then we open presents and eat sweets made from marzipan and soft nougat.

    Christmas doesn’t end here though; we Danes love to eat and drink and there is always a big family Christmas lunch on Christmas day and often also the day after, with any leftovers and plenty of smørrebrød, beer and snaps.

    Mala Cawasjee Nee

     

  • Ta Da...The Good Food and Gift Co are proud to present....

    bottle1

    ITS HAPPENING!!! After all these months and all of your support The Galleria Launches on 30th of October!

    A revolutionary new way to buy and sell food and the first on-line shopping mall that allows consumers to source the finest and most specialist foods from a range of partners using only ONE checkout.

    Because we really care about both consumers AND producers the Galleria provides an excellent platform that cares about everyone in the food cycle.

    The future of food lies with those producers and suppliers who go the extra mile and we have been searching the globe for products we want to champion.

    To celebrate and kick start the Galleria we are holding a launch event on the 30th of October. Mark Lancaster, MP will get to cut the virtual ribbon in front of an audience of the very best representatives from across the food industry.

    If you want to know more please contact Lara on 01234 240666 or you can reserve a place (s) by clicking HERE  

  • Be Prepared…for any order

     

    Scouts

    Last week we had an emergency phone call from the scouts.

    The troop who were about to go an adventure had just been let down and had no ration packs.

    Knowing that a scout troop marches on its stomach the whole team went to action, with our Nathan at the helm.

    We were able to turn the order around straight away and the happy faces in this photo that District Scout Troop Leader John sent made it all worth while.

    Our very best wishes to the Royal Kingston District Scouts. If anyone else needs rations for an adventure just let us know – we at the Galleria are always prepared!

  • Fly The Flag!

    Did you know that every year, as a nation, we celebrate our great British food? And this is that time of year. The British Food Fortnight runs from 19 September – 4 October. It is a time when hundreds of shops, pubs and restaurants across the country take part with special menus and promotions. It also coincides with Harvest Festival, and so many schools use this as an opportunity to teach children about the diverse variety of food that Britain produces.

    It is a great opportunity not only to celebrate British food, but to come together as communities. So check out your local events and see what your local shops, pubs and restaurants have planned.

    But you can make a contribution by yourself. Here are some ideas:

    - Shop locally in butchers, greengrocers, farm shops and markets – not only are you supporting your local producers but you will learn where the food comes from and even the names of the suppliers

    - Pick your own and grow your own – ensuring any seeds / seedlings are British. Both of these activities are very satisfying and can be enjoyed by all the family

    - When in a pub ask for British ales and wines and combine with a local speciality – ask the staff to suggest local dishes. This is a way to reflect the character of the area

    - Cook a British meal for friends and family – delicious and patriotic! Here are some ideas:

    Cottage Pie (Vegetarian version can be made with Quorn and / lentils)

    Sausages and Mash (Vegetarian sausages are easily available in shops)

    Fish and Chips

    Lamb Lancashire Hot Pot

    Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding

    Toad-In-The-Hole

    Classic Summer Pudding

    Victoria Sponge

    Bakewell Tart

    Bread and Butter Pudding

    So fly the flag and celebrate the joy of British food!

    cottage pieSummer pudding

  • When he must have a muffin....

     

    cheese and mustard muffins

    On an almost daily basis, and since discovering @QuesoMuffin my husband has been asking for a cheese muffin. This weekend I decided to give in to his requests (winging)

    The results...why not try it and judge for yourself...

    Ingredients:

    • 250g plain flour
    • 2.5 tsp baking powder
    • 1 tsp salt
    • A massive dollop (yes that is a measurement) of SOD mustard (that' what it is called - grow up!).
    • 150g strong cheese, to keep the Danish theme I used a mixture of Danbo Gamle Ole and cheddar.
    • 50g of Butter
    • 250ml milk (add slowly until you have the right consistency)
    • 1 egg
    • a handful of raisins
    • some red pesto to top

    Rub in the butter to the flour, baking powder and salt. then add the cheese and fork through to mix.

    Add the egg and milk to form a soft batter like mixture.

    Finally mix in the raisins and the sweet mustard before putting the mixture into muffin cases (or making them from baking paper like did trying to show off!)

    Just before putting them in the oven I dropped on a small dollop (see I used it again) of red or green pesto alternative you could add some cheese to decorate.

    Cook at 200C or gas mark 6 for 12-15 minutes or until they are fluffy cheesy clouds.  Makes about 12 muffins and in my case - 1 happy husband!

    Lara Norris

  • I Feel The Need – The Need For Mead!!

    pears

    In my garden I am lucky enough to have two apple trees and one pear tree. Each year I am able to gather my apples in October – loads of them – so much so I put them in a box outside my house and say “Help Yourself”. But never have I collected any pears – they always fall off the tree before I can get to them and there they rot (making the blackbirds drunk J).

    So this year I took my colander down the garden along with secateurs and, after many snips – my colander runneth over. Now I know that there are many innuendoes about pears…… but I shall be very adult and refrain. Instead I am going to share with you a wonderful recipe. Here it is. Honey Baked Pears.

    4 large nice pairs, peeled, halved and cored

    4 Tbsp lemon juice

    4 Tbsp brandy*

    125 ml / 4 fl.oz. clear honey

    ½ tsp ground cinnamon

    Pinch nutmeg

    25 g / 1 oz butter, cut into small pieces

    *You can use brandy but I used mead bought from our Mead Shop (Dansk Mjød), which adds more honey flavour but also hints of hops and hibiscus – yum!

    All you do is to arrange the pears cut-side down in a greased baking dish. Warm together the lemon juice, brandy and honey take off heat and stir in the cinnamon and nutmeg – pour over pears. Dot with butter and bake in oven at 180o C / 350o F for 30 – 35 minutes until pears are tender but still firm ………

    Serve hot or cold with cream or ice cream.

    Enjoy!!

    Julie x

  • Averting A Supper Date Disaster!

    imagesWe are extremely busy here at The Good Food & Gift Co at the moment. So I am using this as an excuse as to why I had forgotten that I had invited a friend for supper…..The doorbell rang, and there she is, an expectant smile on her face and a bottle of wine in hand. Whilst giving her a great hug, and uttering “great to see you again!”, I was mentally trawling my cupboards trying to find something with which I could create some sort of edible meal!

    Luckily I had a number of stand-by products and a cheeky more exotic one. This supper-saver was white truffle oil which I had purchased from one of the shops on this website – Gourmelli.

    The result of my frantic cupboard foraging was a Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognaise, which actually, I shall make again as it was delicious. Here is the recipe. I recommend that you try it, whether planned or otherwise.

    Ingredients

     1 tbsp olive oil

    1 large red onion, chopped

    1 red pepper, finely chopped

    1 400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes

    1 400 g / 14 oz can lentils (or pre-cooked)

    1 tbsp tomato paste

    1 tsp dried Italian herbs

    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    spaghetti, cooked according to packet instructions (or any pasta that you may have)

    2 tbsp truffle oil

    Preparation method

     Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry gently until softened.

    Add the red pepper and fry for 4-5 minutes to soften.

    Add the tomatoes, lentils, tomato paste and herbs, bring to a simmer and continue to heat gently for 20-30 minutes.

    Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

    Add the cooked spaghetti to the tomato sauce and mix well.

    Spoon onto warm plates, drizzle liberally with truffle oil and serve with a side salad if you have some – luckily I did. Enjoy!

    A funny story by Julie Gostick

  • Lovely Lavendon...Inspiration for Good Food

     

    scarecrow2

    scarecrow3

     

     

    scarecrow1

    Most of the Galleria team are based in the beautiful village of Lavendon. We are situated next door to The Horseshoe and opposite the Green Man – what a brilliant location!! Anyway we are going to have a great weekend because it’s the Lavendon Show Saturday 12 September which was originally started during World War 2

    This year it incorporates the Scarecrow Fun Week, and what fun the villagers are having making their very ‘creative’ exhibits. It’s not very often you see pirates in a quiet cul-de-sac or a grave digger having a rest in the church grounds. The buxom young wench in the field next door also caught our eye, as did a couple of workmen in the garden of a pretty cottage just down the road.

    We’re also looking forward to hearing the schoolchildren’s mini-concert, seeing their fancy dress creations and checking out the fruit and vegetable stalls.

    For us of course it is all about the drinks and refreshments that will be available, We love all things food. Its why we do what we do. Bring the very best in food to the very best taste-buds, whatever your needs.

    The show will be open all weekend and so too will the pubs!

    By Julie Gostick and the Galleria Team.

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