Entries in Marks and Spencer (74)

Friday
Sep212012

And the WINNER of the Marks & Spencer Coffee Set Giveaway for MacMillan Cancer Support is …..

The WINNER of the Marks & Spencer Coffee Set Giveaway for MacMillan Cancer Support is …

 


PAUL JERVIS 


Congratulations Paul, you will receive the amazing Marks & Spencer Coffee Morning Set

 

Thank you, to everyone who entered the Giveaway, it was delightful to meet you, and I hope we will hang out more in the future.   Thank you, also to everyone who tirelessly retweeted about the Giveaway, told their friends, and encouraged others to enter.  The response has been fantastic, and we here at Salt & Sparkle have been delighted to support MacMillan Cancer Support, who do an absolutely phenomenal job.  

We had a wonderful response to the Marks & Spencer Giveaway for MacMillan Cancer Support with people not only entering the competition, but pledging money to the MacMillan Cancer Support World's Biggest Coffee Morning, and others planning there own coffee mornings.

I know some of you are still planning your coffee mornings, and have asked for some recipe ideas, so please watch this space over the next week for a plethora of coffee morning recipes, and thoughts!

Thank you again for entering, and Congratulations again to Paul for winning.

Thank you also to Marks & Spencer for giving us the amazing giveaway, it is an amazing, amazing selection of goodies.

Paul if you would drop me a line to claim your giveaway that would be awesome.  Thank you.

Have a wonderful weekend.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

Wednesday
Sep122012

Have you entered my GIVEAWAY for a MARKS & SPENCER Coffee Morning Kit?

HAVE YOU ENTERED MY GIVEAWAY? It's quick and easy and the prize is a fantastic Marks & Spencer coffee morning kit in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support.

For 22 years MacMillan have been held an event they call 'The World's Biggest Coffee Morning'.  It is their biggest fundraising event of the year, last year some 51,000 people got involved, raising £10 million.  This year the event is on Friday 28th September, I am getting involved, and I hope you will too, either by hosting a coffee morning or going to one.

Marks and Spencer are MacMillan Cancer Support's offical corporate sponsors for 'The World's Biggest Coffee Morning' and they have a fantastic range of cakes, baking kits, and bakeware all perfect to help you host or go to your own coffee morning.

The Giveaway will contain

  • M&S cafetiére
  • M&S cake stand
  • M&S ground coffee
  • A selection of M&S baking products

To enter into the draw to win this fantastic prize you need for you to share this blog post on either Twitter or Facebook. When you share it, please be sure to include this link http://www.saltandsparkle.com/home/2012/9/7/marks-spencer-macmillan-cancer-support-giveaway-for-the-worl.html to this post or drop me a note in the comments to say you have shared the post so that I’ll be notified you are taking part.  I will arbitrarily select the winner. The give away opened 7 September 2012 will close on Friday 22 September at 8:00am. I will notify the winner through a post on this blog.

I really hope you will help MacMillan Cancer Support raise money to help cancer sufferers and their families by either hosting a coffee morning or going to one on 28 September 2012 as part of the 'The World's Biggest Coffee Morning'

PLEASE ENTER - the giveaway is fantastic - I hope you win!

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Friday
Sep072012

Marks & Spencer & MacMillan Cancer Support 'Giveaway' for The World's Biggest Coffee Morning

Last year my Uncle died from cancer. 

In the past few months two people I know have been diagnosed with this disease. 

1 in 3 people get cancer.

Right across the planet no one has to look very hard to realise they are connected to someone with someone who is suffering from cancer, or who has died.

MacMillan Cancer Support provide practical, medical and financial support and push for better cancer care for cancer sufferers.  They are a reamarkable charity, constantly working to make lives better for those who suffer.   Offering a huge support network right across the UK who fund specialist cancer nurses and other specialist health professionals; they build cancer care centres, they provide everything from a lift to hospital for a cancer sufferer, to financial help with the extra costs cancer sufferers have to deal with.

For 22 years MacMillan have been held an event they call 'The World's Biggest Coffee Morning'.  It is their biggest fundraising event of the year, last year some 51,000 people got involved, raising £10 million.  This year the event is on Friday 28th September, I am getting involved, and I hope you will too, either by hosting a coffee morning or going to one.

Marks and Spencer are MacMillan Cancer Support's offical corporate sponsors for 'The World's Biggest Coffee Morning' and they have a fantastic range of cakes, baking kits, and bakeware all perfect to help you host or go to your own coffee morning.

Marks and Spencer have kindly donated to Salt & Sparkle an awesome Marks & Spencer coffee morning kit for our latest giveaway.  Thank you M&S. 

The Giveaway will contain

  • M&S cafetiére
  • M&S cake stand
  • M&S ground coffee
  • A selection of M&S baking products

To enter into the draw to win this fantastic prize you need for you to share this blog post on either Twitter or Facebook. When you share it, please be sure to include this link http://www.saltandsparkle.com/home/2012/9/7/marks-spencer-macmillan-cancer-support-giveaway-for-the-worl.html to this post or drop me a note in the comments to say you have shared the post so that I’ll be notified you are taking part.  I will arbitrarily select the winner. The give away opens today 7 September 2012 will close on Friday 21 September at 1700 GMT. I will notify the winner through a post on this blog.

I really hope you will help MacMillan Cancer Support raise money to help cancer sufferers and their families by either hosting a coffee morning or going to one on 28 September 2012 as part of the 'The World's Biggest Coffee Morning'

Over the next two weeks, I will be posting brilliant recipes like this or this to help you decide what to bake for your coffee morning.  I'd love to hear from you about what you are planning to make so please drop me a note to the comments.  I am looking forward to swapping and sharing recipes with y'all.

 

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable 

Please note, the actual prize may differ from what is shown in the pictures.  This blog post picture copyright Marks & Spencer, all rights reserved.

Monday
Sep032012

Pizza -It's all about the dough

 

The secret to good pizza without doubt is the 'dough'. Which when cooked at the highest heat possible should be chewy, olivey and slighty dry. A bad base, makes for a puffy pizza, full of air and no substance. Pizza - simple and yet sophisticated, get one thing wrong and the whole experience is ruined forever. Get it right and the pleasure is nothing short of heavenly.

I took my first bite of pizza, when I was seven.  Instantly I was in love, and its a love affair, that's lasted.

'Eat it with your fingers Nicky! No not with a knife and fork, with your fingers.' said my Uncle.  Copying him I did the unthinkable and lifted food off my plate with my hands. It felt dangerous and exciting. I bit in. A slightly tangy tomato sauce met a crispy base, topped with grilled cheese. It tasted forbidden and eating it with my hands, added to the illicitiness of the experience.

Since that first taste I have been addicted to good pizza.

Good pizza is surprisingly difficult to find. I've looked for it in Sicily, hoped I'd find it in New York City, dreamed about it in Hamburg, searched for it in London, given up my search in Belfast, been disappointed in Barcelona and found close to perfection in  Charleston, South Carolina. In the past 20 years pizzas have been bastardised, deep fried and generally abused. Cheap nasty ingredients, pungently chemical tomato sauces, soggy bases and greasy cheese make for a downright horrible experience. Sadly, pizzas like this abound in supermarkets, takeaways and restaurants. I recently had a pizza served to me in a restaurant, that was literally swimming in a pool of grease, with a base that hadn't seen a hot oven in it's life.

 Santa brought me my first pizza cookery set and since then I have been on the quest to bake perfect dough. There is something very connecting and soothing for me about mixing a mound of flour, olive oil, yeast, and salt with water to make an elastic dough. The simple process of kneading and rolling, knocking and and bringing the dough together, then flipping it between the palms of the hands to make thin circles is almost a spiritual pursuit.

Sadly time is not always on my side, and making dough becomes a luxury rather than a necessity. With my love of pizza never waning I have trawled shops to find good cook at home pizza because sometimes well a lot of the time in my case you want pizza. You want it to be good, and you want to be able to pop it in the oven, toss a salad, pour something sparkling then eat, at home maybe at the table. Possibly on your lap while sitting on the sofa watching a movie. Or maybe to share with a pal over a beer. It's that idea of pizza without fuss or fret. For years I have searched for this rather elusively I must admit. But I am delighted and excited to announce I think finally I have found it. It's not the perfect pizza, but the dough is nothing short of astounding.  

May I introduce you to Marks & Spencer Woodfired Pizzas. In my opinion the best pizzas to have made it onto the high street shelves in a decade. I tasted the three pizzas listed above.

The Chorizo, Sweet Peppers and Manchego Cheese was my favourite.  The combination of spicy sausage, sharp cheese and succulent sweet peppers was very morish. The flavour was rich, and warming, and needed only a tossed salad to accompany it.

But it is the crust that takes the biscuit, wins all the gold medals and does a jig. I have never tasted a home cooked shop bought pizza with such a base. In fact there are few pizzas served in restaurants with such a good base.

The crust is not too thick, or so thin the ingredients slide off,instead it has a chewy and crispy texture, with a good flavour of a grassy olive oil, and a hint of salt. For me it is the perfect dough, I think I could eat it right out of the bowl.  Seriously, it is that good!

I asked Serena Vickers, the M&S Pizza Expert about the dough, she told me, 'The base is key in creating authentic pizza. Ours are made with only the finest natural ingredients; water, flour, yeast, salt and olive oil. These ingredients are then married together in a secret combination, and the dough is slowly fermented overnight using traditional methods. To deliver a wonderful flavour as well as the perfect texture.'

I shared the pizzas I tasted with several friends. Asking each of them 'What makes this pizza stand out for you?'

The reply was without waiver 'the dough'.

In fact the crust was so good I would love to be able to buy just the wood fired base, maybe dusted with rosemary, crystals of sea salt and anointed with olive oil. Or even scattered with roasted garlic and chilli flakes. Or even a base on its own for me to cook as I wished.

Pizzas need heat. Hot! Hot! Hot! ovens. Temperatures the average cooker will never reach. To ensure the dough cooks the instant it finds the heat and the toppings follow immediately afterwards. Wood fried ovens abound in good pizzerias across the world. I remember standing beside one in Sicily, where the dry heat coming in waves from the oven felt like a sauna. Pizzas took minutes to cook. How can results like this be possible with a cook at home range?

The secret is two fold, first the wood fired pizza that will be cooked at home has already been wood fired "the pizzas are baked through a scorching hot open flame stonebed oven. The oven bed is made of lava stone, formed by the solidification of magma on the surface of the Etna Volcano in Sicily! It's the unique porosity of this stone which means the heat is retained within the stone itself which cooks the pizza to give the perfect crispy base." Serena said.

This means when the pizza gets to our ovens it only needs a short blast at a high heat, which will work the toppings into each other, and heat the base through, adding an extra layer of crispiness.

Serena told me about the stores research journey to create this pizza, saying that the search took their 'team of experts over a year to develop with lots of research and visits to pizzerias all over Italy and the UK ... an extensive trawl of Italy's finest pizzerias.' Learning from generations of Italy's expert pizzaiolas, the M&S team took in Da Michele in Naples; featured in the film; Eat, Pray, Love, and Antica Forno in Rome.

M&S's research has clearly paid off because these pizzas, especially the crust are delicious.

The pizzas are currently on a 3 for 2 offer in M&S stores throughout the UK.  Have you tried them? I'd love to know what you think?

Tell me how do you like your pizza?

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

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