Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Sainsbury's Easter basket


Sainsbury's are offering a fantastic range of Easter goodies this year. From table plates, napkins, cloths, craft activities and of course fabulous cakes and beautifully decorated Easter cakes and eggs. As a busy mum of four children, I have happy children busily making crafty items and gifts as well as a happy mum offering up slices of fruity simnel cake and tea. A little something for everyone. Come along and taste the difference this year at Sainsbury's.

Anyway,  I must rush off and prepare my paper-chains and table decorations for my Italian family Easter celebrations.

In the mean time here is one of my delicious vanilla recipes for you to try. Perfect for a gift.


Just before Christmas I decide to make some homemade 'Vanilla Extract', Initially to give away as a gift, but I run out of time. I made the vanilla and put it at the back of my baking cupboard to permeate and totally forgot about it. I use vanilla allot in my baking and in most of my Italian cakes, gelato, biscotti and desserts too. So clearly invaluable to any keen cook.

I came across my homemade vanilla yesterday whilst spring cleaning my baking cupboard, a lucky and very fragrant find indeed. So I quickly sterilised a small bottle and decanter the contents of my vanilla jar into my snazzy bottle with a new fresh vanilla pod to add a little more punch. I buy a small bottle of vanilla extract every couple of months for my baking, 118ml cost around £5.80, so I much prefer the though of making my own.

My vanilla was made using good quality vodka, plump fairtrade Nadali vanilla pods, love and patience. That's it, nothing else to it.
1 pint of vodka
6 large vanilla pods, cut length ways
2 sterilised bottles

1. Take your bottles, wash and ensure they are clean. Alternatively make one large batch in a large Kilner jar, and then decanter into smaller bottles when your vanilla is ready.
2. Cut your vanilla pods length ways.
3. Place equal pods into each bottle or jar.
4. Fill the bottles with vodka and seal.

If you want to make a larger volume, just double the quantities.

Leave for at least three months for the vanilla to permeate the vodka. A birthday or Christmas present.

Carmela x

Aldi - Treats for you and the family at Easter.

Chocs Away
-Delicious drinks and food pairings for you this Easter-

Aldi’s great value range has something for everyone this Easter. Whether it is cocktails to sip while you devour a chocolate egg, that perfect wine pairing for Sunday lunch or something to toast the four day weekend, feel confident with the drinks you serve this Easter without fretting over the prices.

As an Italian family we normally have an a delicious dish called Spitzatello which is a lamb dish using peas and eggs. It's simply delicious and would be perfect in my opinion finished off with a large glass of Gavi.

Dishing up fish?
What better way to enjoy Easter celebrations than with a glass of refreshing fizz? The Philippe Michel Crémant de Jura (£6.99, 75cl) is a fantastic alternative to Champagne made from Chardonnay grown in the Jura near the Franco-Swiss border. This crisp, apple scented wine has all the depth, complexity and looks of a wine costing twice the price.  The excellent acidity makes it great with smoked salmon and shellfish - perfect if you’re serving a traditional Good Friday fish supper or if you want to start the long weekend with a sparkle.

Or why not serve a bottle of one of my favourite Italian wines, The Exquisite Collection Italian Gavi (£5.29, 75cl). Produced from Cortese grapes grown in Piedmont in the cool foothills of the Italian Alps, this nutty and aromatic wine shows fresh flavours of tangy lemon; it is a real crowd pleaser which  pairs effortlessly with fish.

Give your lamb some love
Soft, smooth & fruity with rich red fruit aromas & lush berry flavours, the grapes in this French Pinot Noir (£4.49, 75cl) have been carefully selected from across France to produce this delicious wine. The lush fruit in the bottle complements spring lamb perfectly.

Something different with dinner
Not everyone is a wine fan so why not serve cider which is particularly good with pork, but also works well with creamy chicken dishes. Orchard Premium Apple Cider (99p, 568ml) is a traditional English cider made from the best quality apples – enjoy served over ice for extra refreshment.

Sweet treats
Aldi has created some cocktails especially to enjoy with your favourite Easter indulgences:
Why not try the Earl Grey Cup alongside a Hot Cross Bun (WS to share details), tuck into a White Chocolate Bunny (WS to share details) with a long glass of Rabbit’s Milk or sip on a Black forest Martini while you nibble on Choceur Marzipan Mini Eggs (WS to share details).

Here's a cocktail for you to try:

Blackforest Martini/ Choceur Marzipan Mini Eggs
·         45ml Amaretto Liqueur
·         15ml Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey
·         20 ml Double Cream
·         20ml Morello Cherry Juice (from jar of cherries)
·         Ice cubes
·         Finely chopped almonds, to rim glass (optional)
·         Morello cherry, grated dark chocolate, to garnish
1. (Optional) Put finely chopped almonds onto a saucer. Pour 45ml Amaretto into a shallow bowl. Dip the rim of the Martini glass into the Amaretto and then into the chopped almonds. Pour the Amaretto into cocktail shaker.
2. Shake all ingredients with ice.
3. Strain into your Martini glass. Garnish with a black cherry and grated dark chocolate.
The acidity of the cherries in the Martini balances the sweetness of the Choceur Eggs while the Amaretto and marzipan blend well through their almond flavours.