Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A Spanish Hamper from The Foodies Larder

A hamper packed with Spanish produce, delivered to your door? Er, yes please... 

It seems that you can get a hamper for almost anything these days. A champagne breakfast hamper for a special anniversary? You got it. Christmas hampers? Yep. But what about a hamper that's packed full of Spanish produce, things that you can't readily get over here in the UK. Cue: The Foodies Larder. 

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Valdeón Cheese, from The Foodies Larder 
The Foodies Larder is a business that's based out in Andalusia, Spain - and they'll send you over a box packed with Spanish goodies. The foods in the hamper differ from month to month, depending on what's seasonal and available at the time. They sent me one to try out last month and the box contained Extra Virgin Olive Oil (from Catalonia's coast), Fuet - a coarse salami-type sausage, also from Catalonia - and Valdeón cheese - made from a mixture of cow and goat's milk in the Valdeón Valley. There was also some Organic Hot Chocolate and A 'Pinchitos' spice mix - great for making pork burgers or meatballs I found - and some Xamfaina chutney - a cool ratatouille-style mixture of peppers, tomatoes and aubergines. The label suggests that it's good with roast lamb - and I can testify to that - but we also loved it alongside some deli meats and cheese. 

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Fuet from The Foodies Larder
 One of the things I found with this hamper was that although it could be considered a bit pricey - the price ranges from £30 per month (on a pay as you go basis) to £165 for a 6-month period - it does make you think differently about Spanish food. 

Sure, pimentón and chorizo are available in most supermarkets now, and it's easy to think that you could add a pinch of one and a chopped up piece of another and you've pretty much nailed Spanish cuisine. That's not true. Previous hampers have included gems like Fig Bread with Walnuts, Turrón and Rosemary-infused Olive Oil. Also Rose Petal Jelly and Porcini Mushroom Paté. It really opens up your eyes - and taste buds - to the real flavours of Spain, beyond the mass-produced chorizo and the thick potato omelettes. 

Hamper from The Foodies Larder
March 2014 hamper from The Foodies Larder

Visit The Foodie Larder's website for more details and to see what they've put in previous months' hampers, too. 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

News: I'm a Moderator for The Paleo Mom Community

You may have heard me talking a bit about paleo diets and the autoimmune protocol recently. And that's because of two things. The first is that I have been trying to fix my autoimmune problem through diet - something doctors said was impossible to do. It turns out it is possible, but it's blimmin' hard work and you have to avoid a lot of modern and processed foods to do it. But I'm nearly there. 

And the second reason is that I really believe that comfort food can be enjoyed on any diet - it doesn't matter how restrictive. 

Well. I'm thrilled to announce that I've been asked to be a moderator for the Paleo Mom Community - a forum dedicated to learning about, discussing and providing support on the paleo and AIP diets. 

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I'll be on hand (along with the other moderators) to help give advice about the diet and provide support. It's a real honour to take part - and if you're following the AIP or paleo diets then why not head along and start up a conversation. 

Are you following the autoimmune protocol or paleo diet? 

My New Book - Argentina: It's Not All About The Beef

When I told friends I was going to Argentina last year, they got very excited for me. And they only ever talked about two things: the beef and red wine. And while it's true that Argentine beef is among the best - my husband will argue that it is the best - in the world, and the wines are known and popular the world over - there really is so much more to Argentine cuisine than just beef and red wine.  

And on the plane back home, gliding through the air somewhere above Rio de Janeiro, I started to write a blog post entitled: Argentina - It's Not All About the Beef. I wrote about Argentina's love of seafood - of calamares and fish like hake and corvina. I shared all the experiences I'd had visiting people's homes and eating asado - the Argentine equivalent of a barbecue. I talked about empanadas and flans and pancakes thickly spread with dulce de leche. And chimichurri and salsas and choripan. And then I realised that this was going to be too long for a blog post. 

So I put it all in a book. 


Argentina: It's Not All About the Beef is a collection of the foods I ate in Argentina - with descriptions of the foods, and when and where they're eaten. There's also a description of some of the traditional customs associated with food and drink - including the right way to drink mate, Argentina's national tea. So when someone hands you an ornamental cup filled with green tea leaves with a metal straw popped in it, you'll know exactly what - and what not - to do. I also explain how to pronounce the trickier words, which is handy if you're not fluent in Spanish (like me). 

I hope that it will give you a deeper understanding of Argentine food and drink - and demonstrate that there's so much more to it than beef and red wine. It'll be good too as a travel companion - fancy some garrapiñadas and don't know where to get them? I'll tell you. Don't know your facturas from your pasta frola? I'll tell you that, too. 

It's out now and available worldwide - to download on the Kindle at Amazon. Click on the image to go to the book in the Kindle bookstore. 


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