Renna's Discoveries

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Clonakilty's - What is it famous for ? Black Pudding

Black Pudding isn't something that you see that often, it's kind of hidden away on the supermarket shelves or sold in the butchers, but it's not a product that everyone has in their fridge. It's not like sausages and bacon, which most meat eaters have on a weekly basis. So, I'm going to tell you a bit about it. The brand Clonakilty is famous for it's Black Pudding and is one of the most popular Irish brands.

The history of Black Pudding dates all the way back to 800 BC and was originally called blood sausage. No one really knows who made it first, it could have been in Africa, or Europe, but what we do know is that it has traveled around the world and the recipe has slightly changed depending on the country. Different countries have different spices and fillers, like oatmeal or rice but ultimately, it is using up the different parts of the animal that is only suitable for a sausage.

It was made for the rich and the poor, and was a favourite of King Henry VIII at his banquets. It is now incredibly popular to have it for Breakfast alongside your fry up and is now in Michelin Starred restaurants served with Scallops. I used to grill it or fry it it years ago when I worked in pub and hotel kitchens and some people who were the regulars used to ask for extra black pudding, as one slice was never enough!!

Clonakilty's Black Pudding is made the traditional way of combining beef, oatmeal, onions and beef blood with their own concoction of spices and the White Pudding is made the same way, but with Pork.

Clonakilty is actually a seaside town in West Cork, in the South of Ireland, and by looking at pictures, it looks absolutely amazing and actually won best town in Europe in 2017, so, even more of a reason to visit and eat Black Pudding whilst sitting on the beach.
 Years ago in Clonakility households would make black pudding and sell it to their local butchers to make some extra money, and Edward Twomey had his own butchers that he took over in 1976 and really didn't want to make his own black pudding as he felt is was a chore. However, in 1980 he decided to make more of an effort with it, and started a roadshow to celebrate the Clonakilty Black Pudding and more and more people tasted it, then the demand was so high that even supermarkets started to stock it. In 1986 they kept the same recipe and methods, but made White Pudding with Pork instead and this has become equally as popular. So with no surprise in 1989 they won first prize at the Butchers Association National Awards for their Black & White Pudding and have continued to win awards ever since.

Clonakilty's now have a range of products including different types of sausages and bacon. So I've been having fun tasting some of it with friends and family. Of course with everyone - we all have different tastes and enjoyed different products. 
My husband loves the black pudding and I prefer the white pudding. We've all loved the bacon, as it's not salty, but full of flavour. I will be buying a lot of the bacon. The Ispini sausages, my husband thought were a little too salty, but I loved them. To me, I thought they tasted like traditional sausages full of pork flavour and not hidden by herbs or anything else to bulk it out with. So I would recommend to try them all and see what you think and have a proper Irish Dinner. 

The puddings are both easy to slice, although I was using my Magic Knife which slices through anything, but you can make the slices as thin or a thick as you like, although Clonakilty recommend nice big slices. You can fry, grill or dry fry it, and can even slice it up and add it to stews, or actually, there are loads of ways you can use black pudding, I've a few options below ...

This is Ian Rankin's Stoneground Irish Wheaten Bread lightly toasted with Spinach and Black and White pudding on the top, with the added beauty of a poached free range Golden Irish Egg.

This is a wholemeal thin with crushed Avocado and Black and White pudding on the top, with a poached free range Irish Egg.

Finally, I added White Pudding to a pasta tortellini dinner, with dry fried spinach, red peppers, tomatoes and mushrooms
Obviously, you can just slice it and fry it and add it to whatever meal you are having really. There are no limitations on how you can use it. 

The Ispini sausages which I loved, cook really nicely fried or oven baked, personally I prefer to oven bake sausages so they get an even colour and the risk of burning them is minimal... We had these with the puddings and with chips, and even with a salad, and then we also just had them with dipping sauce. They are a very versatile little sausage and my son and I literally had to fight over them...

The Bacon, which really is amazing, I had with sliced Avocado on Ian Rankins Stoneground Irish Wheaten Bread. This bacon is too good to slice up and add to a dish, it needs to be appreciated as a proper rasher of bacon.

To complete any Irish meal, you have to have a few Lily O'Brians -

Have you ever eaten Black Pudding before ? If not, it's definately one to try, and from an Irish friend of mine ...... Clonakilty make THE BEST !!!! She always has it in her fridge.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Ugly Drinks - Fruit Flavoured Sparkling Water

Ugly drinks have nothing ugly about them, they are literally just a sparkling water fruit drink with no added ugly nasties. That's it !!! There's No Sugar, No Sweetener, No Calories, No Nothing, and it's all natural oils or flavourings from the fruit the water is infused with. 
I love the bright funky packaging, and the way ugly is written. It's fun and inviting. I also love the fact that all the cans are made from recycled materials and can be recycled again and again, so it's great for the environment and its healthy for us too.
There are four Ugly Drink flavours at present, Lemon & Lime Ugly, Orange Ugly, Tropical Ugly and Triple Berry Ugly. Something for everyone. 

 There are four flavours at present, Lemon & Lime, Orange, Tropical and Triple Berry.
The flavour is very subtle, almost like an after taste of fruit, but very refreshing served chilled, and perfect for these hot days, or an after workout drink to cool you down. They are fine for everyone in the family and are great for those people who just can't stand water ..... you can even give these to the kids in their packed lunches with no guilt attached. No nasty E numbers and no nasty chemical sweeteners.

Ugly can be bought is many health shops and Tesco's and Sainsburys, and you can also buy online on their own website.
However, prices seem to vary depending on where and how you buy Ugly.
Ugly Website : 24 Cans in a box are £19.99 which works out at 83p a can
Amazon Website : 24 Cans in a box are from £22.00 which works out at 91p a can
Tesco: 6 Cans in a box in Tesco supermarket for £3.99 which works out at 66p a can.
Individually, the RRP is 99p
So, I would suggest that you try it and then if you enjoy it, buy it direct from Tescos.
If you are a sparkling water lover, then I would definitely recommend in tasting this and letting us know your thoughts unless you are already an Ugly addict !!

Best part....It's a London Drink, and all made and produced in the UK.

Follow them Here : Facebook , Instagram & Twitter #TheUglyTruth

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Wild & Game - Exquisite Game Straight from the British Countryside

In the cooler months, I like to eat more homely foods, like stews and pies and anything with gravy really. It warms you up after a long cold day and is actually generally very healthy. I love a good stew, and a bonus is when the stew is placed inside a pie !!!

Years ago the pie crust was used purely to hold the meat stew, or to keep the stew encased and safe, which meant it was easy to travel with. Originally, they say the Greeks invented the pie, which is a genius way of eating. No plates required, just the pastry. Nearly everyone ate pies, as it really was the only way to eat in many parts of the world.

Nowadays, we love pies. We have a massive variety of fillings, from beans, to vegetables, to meats, to fish. However a proper pie is with a base and a lid, if it is a casserole with just a pastry lid - it is NOT A PIE, it's a casserole with a lid. Many people will argue over this, but it's true.

I was sent a few items from Wild and Game to try out, as I absolutely love pastry and they supply Game Pies. Game is meats from sustainable wild animals. You have different categories such as Winged Game, Ground Game and Large Game. Winged game is Quail, Pheasant, Duck, Pigeon, Grouse and Partridge. Ground Game is Rabbit, Hare and Squirrel and Large Game is predominately Venison, which is different types of Deer.

Wild and Game would like more people to eat Game not just for their benefit, but actually for ours. I think it's a great idea, and Game is so much more easier to buy from the butchers and specialised Game Food producers these days. I actually agree with Game Meat, because the animals are of course Wild animals. They've had the freedom they deserve to roam the forests, fields and mountains. They haven't been bred purely to be kept in a pen with no natural lighting, or taken away from their parents or branded. They are not used to work the fields, in fact they are not used in any way by humans. They are free to do as they please. Which is why Game meat is probably the best meat to eat, plus it's super lean and organic in every way. Game was always classed a high class meat, and many upper class used to go out to hunt and supply meat for dinner. In fact our Royals still do. Now we also have trained huntsmen to gather the meat from the forest and treat it with the respect it deserves. So, although our diets are changing and people are becoming more aware of how farm animals are treated, game is becoming more and more popular.

Wild and Game sent me a few items to try out and I have to say, I was very impressed. They all had so much flavour, we were trying to work out all of the ingredients, as these are not your ordinary flavours. There is so much more to each of the products. The richness of the game meat really comes through and just makes them so much nicer.

Steak & Pheasant Sausage Roll was by far our favourite. The puff pastry was flaky, melt in your mouth delicious and the filling was very fine and easy to eat. These are £2.54 each, so I would recommend at least 6 !!

 Country Chicken & Pheasant Mushroom Pie with a shortcrust base and puff pastry lid. They had so much meat in there, I would have preferred larger chunks and not so much shredded meat, but chicken tends to shred very easily when there is so much. So, there's the bonus that it isn't bulked out with a load of unnecessary extras. Great quality pastry too. Each individual pie is £2.79

Country Steak & Pheasant Ale Pie. This is their Best Seller, for obvious reasons ..... it's amazing. The taste just literally punches around your mouth, with really good chunks of meat. It's deliciously rich and very tender. This also has a shortcrust base and puff pastry lid, and each one sells for £2.79.

 Country Game and Cheesy Mash Pasty with Turkey, Bacon & Pheasant. This was really good, and it was so filling, you really don't need to eat it with anything else. It had the perfect amount of filling and the pastry was delicious. Definitely one to cook and take with you. This is the traditional way of eating, who needs plastic wrapping when you have a pastry wrapping ?! These are £2.99 each and well worth it.
They all arrived frozen, and you can defrost them overnight or cook from straight from frozen.
Defrosted dishes are approx 20 to 25 minutes and frozen dishes is 35 to 50 minutes depending on the dish.

So if you want something slightly different or for a special occasion, get your orders in. You can order direct from their website and it is delivered within just a couple of days. You'll notice from their website that they have a great selection of pies with different fillings, but for me, the pasty and the sausage rolls win, purely for the ease of cooking and storing.
Have a look, and let me know what you think.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Kids Pass - A Great Way to Save Money

Kids Pass sounds absolutely awesome !!

It's a fabulous way to save money all year round, but especially brilliant in the school holidays. Taking the kids out and keeping them entertained can turn very costly and almost make you not want to take them out at all. Yes, we have our parks and our woods but as a nice treat, it is so nice to take the kids out, I just don't fancy being absolutely skint for weeks afterwards.
With the kids pass you pay £3.99 a month and this entitles you to save many many offers that include:

Up to 57% off 1000's of the top UK attractions including theme parks, bowling, play centres, soft play, go karting, aquariums, just like, Go Ape, Drayton Manor, Diggerland, Bounce Below, City Cruises and even Kidzania in London,

Up to 40% off at over 500 nationwide cinemas for both adults and children 7 days a week, 52 weeks in the year - now that's a lot of movies !!

Kids eat free at thousands of family friendly restaurant chains including Giraffe, Bella Italia, Prezzo, Sizzling Pubs, Hard Rock Cafe, Papa Johns, Garfunkels and Handmade Burger Co

And ..... Up to 50% off UK and European holidays !!!!

You can also pay annually which is just £39.99 and you only need One per family not per child. BONUS !!!

Here you can find out more with Kids Pass Youtube Video.

With the membership, you download an App and you can book and make all your savings in one place. The best part is NOTHING needs to be printed off, so long as you have your App and it can be scanned, it's happy days for everyone.

It is so easy, I have used mine in Prezzo where Kids eat for £1 and I've also taken the children to Gourmet Burger to eat for free. My latest saving is with Haven Holiday!!

 Click below to get your own and START SAVING !!!!

Just a pound to start your savings journey !!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Essentials AA Skincare Collections

It's finally Summer and time for our skin to see the sun more. In the summer we definitely get out a lot more, we do a lot more day trips out and over night stays. However this also means taking more stuff out with you, or at least having a collection of useful 'just in cases' stuff stored in the car.
Toiletries are always required though arn't they. We all get hot and bothered and sometimes, you just want a quick wash and to refresh yourself. So it's always handy to have a few products around.
Amphora Aromatics have some great products that I want to share with you, which are great to carry around with you in your handbag, or to use when staying at a festival or just anywhere really.
Firstly the soothing cleansing wipes are useful on an every day basis.They can just stay in your handbag, gymbag, overnight bag and be used anywhere, There are 25 wipes per pack, and they have a very subtle scent and definitely leave your skin feeling really clean. The reseal sticker on the front is really good and will absolutely make sure it doesn't leak or dry out. They are biodegradable too, which is fabulous news, so they are great for the skin and for the environment.

You can use the toner afterwards or just throughout the day if you are having make up free days. It is so refreshing but you do need a flannel or cotton wool to apply it. Although .... I have to say, that if it's a really hot day just give your face a spritz of this to wake it up. It's lovely and smells amazing.
After you've cleansed you can use the Lavender Gel, which is the perfect 50ml bottle. It's cute and doesn't take up much room, plus this can be used for many purposes. You can use on your skin to hydrate it, to calm it when it's seen to much sun and also for any cuts and bruises. So an all rounder gel, and great for the whole family. It has added anti-inflammatories such as Comfrey, Rose Geranium and Calendula to make it even more calming. I really like this and it is in my handbag all the time at the moment. 
Now, I've been reading a lot about shampoo bars lately, due to the fact that it is less plastic in the environment and great for travelling around. These used to be really popular many years ago and I am so pleased they are making a comeback. This is so easy to use, just use it like soap in the shower and rub the bubbles into your hair and rinse out. This one in particular is a lemon and bergamot scent which smells Really clean. I can not believe these are not in all of the shops and promoted more. They are brilliant. There is nothing to throw away and it's all natural.

I'd love to try out the rest of the collection as they have literally everything you need. Cleansing water, cleansing oils, deodorant, face lotions, face masks, and they are all in very cute but very secure bottles so they are all fabulous for travelling around with as well as just using them at home. They have something for everyone. Plus as the have collections, they make for really lovely gifts and at a super price too !!

Have a look at their website and let me know what you think.

"We've got more than 30 years experience sourcing the best quality essential oils and natural ingredients. Creating innovative products at affordable prices, our aim is to keep your skin happy and healthy. From young, teenage skin to more mature or sensitive skin, our naturally effective products will help look after your skin's wellbeing"

All AA Skincare products are Paraben Free and Made in the UK

*I was sent these products to review, but all opinions are my own, and I'll definitely be purchasing from this brand in the future. 

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Jim Jams - Why we need to watch our sugar intake

In support of National Smile Month JimJams Healthier chocolate spreads has conducted a poll of 1,000 parents with children aged between 7-15 to see how families are managing their sugar intake. 

Worryingly over 90% of those interviewed didn't know the daily government recommended sugar allowance for their children.
73% of parents are worried about their child's sugar intake 
76% of parents polled were actively trying to reduce their children's sugar intake (especially at breakfast)
26% of parents interviewed believe their children are ADDICTED to sugar 
Only 42% of those polled checked food labels for sugar content 
Only 2% knew that 'high sugar content' is 22.5g and above per 100g on a food label
Only 20% of respondents said they didn't find food labelling confusing
Only 1% knew the shocking amounts of sugar contained in leading brands of chocolate spread (up to the equivalent of 56 sugar cubes in a standard jar)

Parents across the country are being failed by successive government campaigns to educate them on safe sugar amounts for their children. The lack of knowledge surrounding sugar content of popular breakfast products could mean that children are consuming their whole allowance at breakfast.
JimJams' dentist Dr Vee Shathur comments: 'Having healthy teeth and gums isn't just about brushing your teeth, it's about the foods and drinks we put into our mouths too. The problem with the food industry is the saturation of products available to us these days, it's no wonder parents are both overwhelmed with choice and confused about what's best. Sugar is hidden everywhere, even places we don't expect it to be, especially foods falsely marketed as 'healthy'. This is a growing concern for dental professionals as we see younger and younger patients each day with more dental decay. The World Health Organisation advises that sugar in a child's diet should make up less than 10% of their total energy intake, not just for their oral health but their overall health too!'

When asked how much sugar leading brands of chocolate spread contained, parents thought Nutella only contained 16 grams of sugar per 100 grams, it's actually a whopping 56.3 grams.  They also underestimated the sugar content of other leading brands of chocolate spread stating they contained 17 grams when it's over 50 grams per 100g.  

Kellie Bath, founder of JimJams and mother of two children aged 8 and 11 commented: 'the government need to come up with a clear, simple strategy to educate parents about sugar consumption and get that information right under their noses (relying on parents to search through complicated government website pages is clearly not cutting it).  High sugar brands should also be more mindful of how they portray themselves; chocolate spread is one of the worst offenders for containing a high sugar content and yet children are its biggest consumer.  Our own children were the inspiration behind our products; JimJams 83% Less Sugar Chocolate Spreads are kinder on teeth because they use a naturally sourced sweetener that doesn't promote tooth decay making them perfect for kids.


Have a read of my own sugar comparison in chocolate spreads  where I compared Jim Jams to Nutella and Supermarket brands

*press release