Sunday
May042014

What to start doing this week ...

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Thursday
May012014

A salad even men will love 

'That's girlie chick food.' He said not without force. 'I don't do salad! Where's the steak.'

We'd been talking about salads I've dinner and my chums boyfriend was adamant not to touch it. He was a big fella, as tall as he was broad, and no stranger to a rugby ruck.

Smiling I passed the meat platter, then the salad bowls made the rounds. He took several pieces of meat, just to prove his point of being a confirmed carnivore. Then he began to scoop out of the bacon bowl.

The bacon wasn't alone. It was snuggles between pieces of lightly steam broccoli and ruby red tomatoes.

'This bacon stuff is good' were his only comments as he are his way throughout of my bowl of Bacon, Broccoli and Tomato Salad. And, he wasn't the only man eating from this bowl.

Yes men eating salad. Now of
Course it had bacon. Bacon. Emmmmm. Good bacon makes everything taste better. But beside the bacon were florets of broccoli and Its a superfood! It wasn't hidden not dressed in oil. Just a grind of pepper, a splash of cider vinegar, a grating of garlic and a dash of honey.

This salad serves two as a main course or three to four as an accompaniment.

Boy's Salad

Ingredients

1 head of Broccoli cut into small florets
1 punnett of baby plum tomatoes halved
1 packet streaky or back bacon cut into small lardons (buy the best bacon you can afford)
1 tbsp Cider Vinegar
Grind of Pepper
1/2 tsp Runny Honey
Tiny clove garlic crushed

Method

1. Steam the broccoli for two minutes in salted boiling water then immediately drain and place into cold water.

2. Fry the bacon until very crispy

3. Place the tomatoes and broccoli into a large bowl, add the hot crispy bacon, then the cider vinegar and honey, and pepper. Leave to sit to a few moments then toss and serve.

4. A rolled omelette of eggs and a cities herb such a coriander makes a great accompaniment.

There you have it salad for the boys.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Ps Girls love this salad too!

Monday
Apr282014

The Past 

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Thursday
Apr242014

Cleaning the Beach

The Lough shimmed in the mid morning light. As the sun hid behind the clouds stretching and peaking through every now and then. Reminding us Spring will soon move to summer. Faces up-tilted toward the sun we enjoy the glimpses heat as it warms weary bones.

Joining around 100 others at the Loughshore this morning to take part in Marks and Spencer Big Beach Cleanup, We all enjoyed being outdoors. There were scouts and Grannies, push chairs, dogs and mums and tots, teens and Dads, all taking part with the common aim of cleaning our beaches.

There's something worthy and mighty in taking time out to clean up our land, to clear the beach of junk & allow its natural beauty only to remain. Rubbish kills and destroys life and poisons fish.

Marks and Spencer have dedicated themselves as a company to Plan A and cleaning beaches around the UK and Ireland this Spring. You can still join in and help with this important project.

If your in Northern Ireland head to Ballyholme Beach, Co Down this Sarurday at 11am to join lots of others to clean the beach.

Marks and Spencer provide gloves, grabbers, bags and a yummy BBQ lunch.

How could you beat it - doing your bit for our planet then being rewarded with succulent sausages, and juicy burgers. Go with your family, get a gang of pals and head out. It's a good way to start your wkd.

Let me know how you get on - I'm sure you'll enjoy the Marks and Spencer Big Beach Clean Up as much as me.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Thursday
Apr242014

You Are ...

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Friday
Apr182014

Glue

Friday, the day he said, 'it is finished' taking a last wretched breath as a human.

Then his heart stopped. He died.

For his friends and family, watching in horror, confusion and pain, there was no guarantee that, Sunday was coming. There was nothing to hold onto but grief.

He was gone.

The cross reminds us grace isn't, wasn't, can never be cheap. It took a raw, brutal death.

There was no glue but faith. A belief it wasn't for nothing.

There is so much pain in life.

Heartbeats stop early. Grief engulfs as glue sticking to everything. Lifting eyes let alone a head takes every piece of energy. Of will.

Nothing seems to have hope, to hold the promise 'Sunday is coming'. We wonder where is He, where was He when death came too soon.

We ask 'where is Jesus' in our anguish. As we watch life unfold, glue dissolving in front of us.

Where was Jesus, when this happened?

The answer ...

Christ He was on the cross being crucified.

Life raw, brutal, beautiful finds meaning at the cross.

...

Today I'm linking up with www.lisajobaker.com and her wonderful Five Minute Friday Community, where we come from across the world, with our words, our five minute words, on one theme. Won't you join us there, you'd be so welcome.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Thursday
Apr172014

Our Favourite Easter Eggs from Marks & Spencer

Dulche de Leche speckled egg

Marks and Spencer The Collection Luxury Easter Eggs are the most beautiful chocolate eggs on the High Street this Spring.  They are not just chocolate eggs, these are objects of beauty, in their own right, with ornate designs, and much thought put into their development. 

The flavours are luxurious, without being overpoweringly rich, the chocolate breaks with a firm sharp oh so satisfying snap, and the taste is smooth, silky with a good depth of flavour.

These little praline eggs wrapped in sparkling gold are one of my favourites to serve with coffee after lunch.

These eye-catchingly beautiful eggs are made in Ireland.  As a big fan of Irish food producers, I love how Marks and Spencer, work with Lir the Irish chocolatiers, and use them to create their 'The Collection' range of the highest quality chocolates.  

 

Rich dark chocolate has had embedded pieces of pistachio, bringing immediately a salty bittersweet contrast to the egg, matched by pieces of candied Sicilian orange and soft sweet white chocolate to round off the flavour. The egg comes with caramel coulis truffles which are a rich metalic bronze, and little balls of rich intense flavour on the tongue.

I love how the chocolate used in these eggs is of the highest quality, and gives such a spine tingling snap, when broken.

Opening the box of this milk chocolate egg with 30% coco soilds I was met with a warming hit of soft sweet chocolate.  There is immense pleasure in just smelling this egg, and letting it breath before biting into the creamy chocolate.  Its softly swirling chocolate wrap looks so fluid, almost as if chocolate is moving before your eyes dancing in the wind.  With gold and pale grey print, the egg welcomes you to eat it.

The Egg comes in a firm clear box, which feel very expensive.  It is after all, 'All about the packaging'

What a perfect gift this assorted Egg Nest makes, I don't normally share packaging with you on my blog, but with these eggs I had too, as I was very taken with their quality presentation.

These metallic, marbled, white, milk, dark, and embossed eggs make wonderful place settings for your Easter table.  Just set the egg in a small sherry glass, and hang like I have an egg name tab, made out of brown paper.

I just enjoy gazing at these eggs, not sure which to start with.  I love their contrasting styles, colours, textures and tastes.

They even work well in set in a small bowl lined with sparkling gaze, surround a candle, as a table centrepiece.

These eggs have been my favour go to Hostess Present this Easter Season - much more stylish and seasonal than a box of chocolates.

FairTrade Chocolate is very important, as are FairTrade products in general.  One of the Marks and Spencer product developers told me recently that they specifically developed a Fair Trade Easter Egg in response to customer feedback asking for one.  

This egg comes surrounded in tissue in a golden open topped box wrapped with a simple duckegg blue ribbon.  Simple, Stylish and sublime.  

A blind taste test with my team of life confirmed chocoholics were unable to tell the difference between this Marks and Spencer dairy free egg, which is rich, dark and bittersweet, alongside regular dark chocolate eggs. The chocolate on this egg is so good!

 Marks and Spencer have truly trumped their cards with this brilliant range of Easter Eggs this year.  They are the perfect gift for someone special, and because they are not all dark chocolate, children will love the Dulce de Leche one especially.

Happy Easter.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

Salt & Sparkle were guest tasters of Marks and Spencer The Collection Easter Eggs