Entries in Marks and Spencer (74)

Monday
Nov232015

A beautiful party

I was at a beautiful party the other night.  It had everything a wonderful party should have.  Delicious food, sparkling conversation and flutes of champagne.  There were comfortable seats, shimmering decorations, graceful table settings, twinkling lights and intimate conversation.

Plates of sublime chocolates, glasses of red or white, prosecco crisps, and wow oh wow truffle cashew nuts.  There were groups of Christmas trees with lights and decorations, selfie sticks and cameras.

This was the sort of party we all wish we could have.  But the thing is we can have it because this was a Marks and Spencer party.

Life for me has been incredible frenzied lately - not my favourite way to live - but there we are, we all have a but of madness in the smooth.  Christmas is always a busy time, and I while I love being busy look for ways to make that busyness easier because I want to enjoy life, not live it as a slave.

However I want it all.  Are you surprised, it was me after all?  I love to have my cake and eat it too.  Therefore I want to have wonderful parties, and run 27/7/365 at 100 miles per hour.  I want to have these parties in my home, where I can share my joy in offering hospitality to friends and strangers.  That's the thing with strangers you never know when they are angels in disguise.  And with Marks and Spencer - I can do it, because I am not trying to do it alone.

I love how with a little help from Marks and Spencer, I can come in from a mad day of work, fix my lippy, and then serve on some of my favourite platters and plates bite sized pieces of mac and cheese, breadcrumbed mozzerella balls, smoked salmon and wheaten bread, carmelised onion and brie tartlets.

You my dear readers who have read and listened to my words for so long, know how much I love to cook, and have people in my home.  But you also know that gathering people around my table is much more important to me than tying myself to the stove all day.  I love to cook, I will say it again, I love to cook, but I am not precious nor do I pretend that sometimes I need a little help, and my favourite tpe of help comes at Christmas from my friends at Marks and Spencers.  Where I know I can buy and serve products that have been carefully thought through, that have been made using great, and often local ingredients, where farmers are paid a fair wage, and the money I spend not only helps them but helps the economy of my country.  

This Christmas may you cook and enjoy it, may your home be filled with laughter and joy, the sound of carols and the giggles of children, may light light your way and fill your home with warmth, may you feel the peace that comes after advent and may you all know how deeply you are loved.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

MERRY CHRISTMAS ...

 

 

 

Sunday
Oct112015

Pizza and Prosecco

Marks and Spencer have a new range of authentic Italian pizzas with an excellent sourdough crust. I wrote about these pizzas when they were first launched.  The dough for the base is made with 00 Italian flour and it makes all the difference to a good pizza, because the secret of good pizza is not only great ingredients, but excellent dough.  
Which when cooked at the highest heat possible the dough should be chewy, olivey and slighty dry.  This new range of pizzas does not disappoint.
The dough for this range of pizzas is handstretched, and woodfired, which means when they are heated in a conventional kitchen oven they have a crisp, light crust.  I still believe these pizzas from Marks and Spencer are the best pizza available on the high street.  
There are eight different types of pizza available.  The Salami Napoli Diavola stands out for me because of the salty sweet salami, with smooth creamy mozzerella and the sharpness of the chilli peppers.

Pizza is a food that can be enjoyed family style, home alone, and at any time of day.  It as my American friends at university that introduced me to their great culinary tradition of pizza at breakfast.  It is a very socialable food and it is great to eat with friends when you are watching the Rugby World Cup, as we are all doing at the moment.  There is nothing better than gathering a large group of people cooking lots of pizza and offering glasses of wine, or prosecco because let's face it a little bit of fizz just makes a sweet celebration of the everyday, and it is so important for us to celebrate the normal day.

Marks and Spencer have a range of wines available to drink with the pizzas.

The Marks and Spencer Conte Priuli Prosecco made by Winemaker Simone Casazza is a gentle slightly sweet prosecco with a creamy finish, its aromas are of peach and honeysuckle.  It is light and refreshing, perfect with pizza.

Have you ever heard such a sweet sound as the the words Pizza and Prosecco make.  Maybe it is the alliteration, or perhaps it is the fizzy sharp wine, that cuts through the oily cheese, highlighting the tomato flavours, and intensifying the pleasure brought from both eating pizza and drinking prosecco.  Either way it is a winning combination. 

You have just read the day nine in the series 31 Days of Eating, read Day One Vegan Chocolate mousse and day two Leek and Potato Soup, day three Saturday Reading, day four, Brownies for a tenderheart, day five Birthday Cake, day six Vegan Tagine, day seven q&a with Karen Daly founder of WOW sausages, day eight Vegan Red Wine Chocolate Cake, day nine Bone Broth,  and day 10, 21 things you can do to find space.

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt and Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

Saturday
Sep262015

Chipotle Red Onion Lime Salad

 Onions especially red one's can be very tough to eat, as they spend some time rumbling in our tummies.  This simple salad which is brilliant to serve with Nachos, Tortillas, casseroles or any Mexican food as a side dish, overcomes that, by lightly pickling the onion in salt and lime juice. This large flake Chipotle salt from Marks and Spencer brings a smoky depth to the sweet onions and tart lime juice.

 It is important to slice the red onions as thinly as possible, I would suggest using a mandolin or the finest blade on a food processor.

 Onions tossed in chipolte salt and lime, sprinkled with coriander left for a hour, then served - perfect simple and sensational.

 

Chipotle Red Onion Lime Salad recipe

serves 4 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • 3 red onions finely sliced
  • 1 bunch of coriander finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon of Chipotle Salt

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients except the coriander, toss well leave for one hour covered at room temperature
  2. Before serving scatter with chopped coriander
  3. Serve as a side dish or scattered over nachos

 

That's it for now ...

 

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Friday
Sep252015

How to make Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup is glorious.  

Oh yes, this soup is all about the toppings.  Hot Chicken broth poured over nachos with a range of vegetables to be added, fresh peppers, avacado, tortila chips, pieces of tomato and chill scattered with cheese.

 I made this soup using Marks and Spencer Chicken Stock and Lightly Salted Tortillas.  This is a very filling soup that is great to serve to children as they can choose their own toppings.

Tortilla Soup Recipe

Serves 4 

  • 7 cups Jewish Chicken Soup or Marks and Spencer Chicken Stock
  • 2 bags Marks and Spencer Tortilla Chips
  • 3 tomatoes chopped
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper slices
  • 2 advacados sliced
  • 3 limes cut into wedges
  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • 1 red onion really finely sliced
  • 1 bunch coriander chopped
  • 1 cup cooked corn

Method

  1. Pour cooked hot soup into warm bowls filled with a handful of tortilla chips
  2. Place all other prepared ingredients in little bowls in the middle of the table allow people to choose their own toppings

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

Thursday
Sep242015

How to make simple Nachos

Good Nachos are tasty delicious and morish, they are perfect to serve on big plates for people to nibble on while the Rugby World Cup is on.  Using the Jalapeno chips from Marks and Spencer, I added cheese, and freshly chopped tomatoes, placed under the grill until bubbling, and served.  Perfection!

And they are oh so simple to make, so you won't miss any of the game.  Serve them with Marks and Spencer Salsas and a classic or grapefruit Margarita.

 Serve with lime wedges and Marks and Spencer Classic Tex Mex dip selection. 

 

Nachos Recipe

serves four as a snack - this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled, or made in batches

ingredients

 

  • 1 bag Jalapeno chips from Marks and Spencer
  • 1 cup grated Montery Jack Cheese
  • Four tomatoes deseeded and chopped
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander 
  • Lime wedges
  • selection of salsas and guacamole

These Nachos can also be made served with Beef Chilli to make a more substancial meal

Method

  1. Layer nachos, cheese and tomatoes in a baking tin
  2. Place under the grill until the cheese has melted and bubbled
  3. Scatter with coriander and lime wedges
  4. Serve with your choice of dips

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

 

Wednesday
Sep232015

Tortilla Chips and Salsa

Marks and Spencer have a new range of Tortilla chips and salsas in store now.  

And, it is brilliant.

The developers have worked really hard to create authentic chips, such as these restaurant Cantina Chips, which are a simple classic.  Made with only three ingredients corn maize, sunflower oil and salt these chips are a good base for salsa, guacamole or to be eaten alone.  They are great if you need something salty.

 Marks and Spencer range of salsas are not only in house but a selection from some of the best independent producers such as this range from La Fundidora a Brooklyn NYC based firm.  It is brilliant to see Marks and Spencer bring this authentic range of salsas to the UK and Ireland.

The green salsa is my hands down favourite made with fresh tomatillos and select serrano chiles, it is cool, vibrant and refreshing.  Fresca has lots of the brightest notes and a heady fresh aroma, it pairs well with fish, and while meats, as well as in Mexican Breakfast eggs. 

 

 

There are three La Fundidora salsas available from Marks and Spencer -

Spicy Fuego

Vibrant Fresca

Smoky Humo

 

Marks and Spencer Red Salsa is spicy and rich with good chunky tomatoes and jalapeno peppers.

There is nothing better than serving big bowls of Tortilla chips with salsa, drinking a margarita and enjoying the company of friends and family.  Marks and Spencer food developers have created the most authentic Mexican and Tex Mex range of chips and dips on the High Street.

Marks and Spencer sweetcorn chipolte salsa is smoky, sweet and spicy, a great combination.  Eaten with Marks and Spencer Tex Mex Burrito Bean Chips it makes a fiercy mouthful.  These Bean Chips are baked with pieces of ancho chilli, lime oil, peppers, spices, garlic and cloves are very crunchy and morish.

These Habanero peppers available from Marks and Spencer are fiercy and perfect to add to nachos, stews and chillis.

 

La Fundidora’s salsa available from Marks and Spencer most complex offering is a tomato-based red Humo salsa with select chipotle morita and pasilla chiles.

The deep taste and allure of smokey chilli make this an ideal salsa to pair with beef, beans and Mexican foods. It adds richness and umami notes to stews and sauces, and can be whisked into a dressing or folded into roasted potatoes for a kick.  La Fundidora was created with the intention of reviving the lost art of small-batch traditional salsa-making.  They craft their salsas by hand in small batches, usiing absoluteley no chemicals, sweeteners or needless acidifiers in order to be able to stand by the taste and quality of every one of their jars.

 

 

The husband-and-wife duo behind La Fundidora have used traditional Mexican techniques producing their salsa's in Mexico with Mama overseeing the production, have combined innovative knowledge, the best Mexican ingredients to create salsa using fresh ingredients with no preservatives or artificial flavorings. Their line of salsas are 100% natural, vegan, gluten-free, and certified kosher.

Fuego Salsa is a rounded earthy red salsa made with tomatoes, tomatillos and select guajillo and arbol chiles. Fuego delicately balances the sharpness and spice of arbol chiles and green tomatillos, with the more notes of guajillo chiles to create a uniquely versatile salsa experience.  Fuego’s fire produces a warmth that envelops the palate. 

 Marks and Spencer Mexican dips come in a set of three a very mild oniony salsa, a rich sour cream and a mild guacamole.  Serve them with Marks and Spencer Nacho Cheese Tortillas made with a corn masa and flavoured with red peppers, mature cheddar cheese, spices and garlic.

 Put the salsas in little bowls which makes them easy to scoup up with chips.

Marks and Spencer Jalapeno Tortillas are a sweet fiery chip, baked with pieces of green jalapenos, lightly salted tortillas are a simple chip with a different texture to the Cantina chips.  All of the new Marks and Spencer salsas and chips are authentic, with interesting flavours.

Serve Chips and Dip with a classic or grapefruit Margarita.

How do you like your chips and dip?

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

 

Wednesday
Sep232015

How to make Classic Margarita's

More than one person has claimed to have invented the margarita but one thing is for certain since the drink was first mixed it has been a hit anywhere it is served.

Simple, zesty, and refreshing the Margarita mixes earthy Agave silver blanco tequila with, triple sec, lime juice and ice.  That's it, couldn't be easier.  The most important thing is to use a really good Tequila like this Marks and Spencer Cazcabel Silver Tequila one of the finest Tequilas on sale today.  The aroma is fresh and clear, the taste is citrus earth which is spicy, finishing with a touch of black pepper. 

 Juice lots of limes, the heady scent will leave you feeling refreshed.

  Marks and Spencer Pierre Ferrand Triple Sec for the perfect smooth sweetness that these tart earthy tequila cocktails need.    

Pierre Ferrand Dry Orange Curaçao available from Marks and Spencer is based on a 19th century recipe.  A a traditional French “triple sec” – three separate distillations of spices and the “sec” or bitter, peels of Curacao oranges blended with brandy and Ferrand Cognac. The result is a rich, complex and balanced liqueur.

Note tt is also delicious straight up or on ice.  Aromas of orange blossoms combined with candied orange zest as well as toasted wood notes reminiscent of aged Cognac.

 I love to serve a pitcher of Margaritas at parties or as an afternoon drink with chips and dips.

 Pink glasses because I like pretty.  Use lots of ice never scrimp on ice, ever.  It is a cardinal sin of cocktail making.

Classic Margarita Recipe

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

 

 

Method

 

  1. Rim glasses with salt then roll on a saucer of salt
  2. Combine tequila, triple sec, lime and ice in a large jug stir until blended, add agave syrup to your taste (recommend 1 tbsp)
  3. Serve in salt rimmed glasses with a wedge of lime
  4. To make frozen margarita's combine tequila, triple sec, lime and ice with 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a blender, mix on high until smoothie consistency is achieved, serve ice cold alternatively this can be frozen in the freezer in a sealed container, to serve simply blitz in the blender
  5. Enjoy with friends

 

How do you like your Margarita?

That's it for now ...

Nics

Salt & Sparkle = Life Remarkable

 

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