Category Archives: Competitions

WIN! A hamper of foodie goodies from Marks & Spencer

M&S competition hamper

Well, it’s officially Autumn. I realised when I decided to have an al fresco lunch on my offices’s roof terrace last week, only to spend my time shivering in my shirt sleeves. I’ve started looking longingly at 120 denier tights and gigantic fisherman’s jumpers. I’ve even started to contemplate putting the central heating on. Bye bye Summer. We had a good run.

But hey, if you’re going to sit around feeling miserable because you can no longer go drinking in a beer garden without getting rained on, you may as well do it in style. Which is why I’m offering Little Red Courgette readers (pssst…that’s you) the chance to win M&S Food and Drink hamper. This little number contains everything you need to make a night in chaining episodes of ‘Scandal’ on Netflix that little bit better, and contains:
  • Classic claret Bordeaux
  • English mint dark chocolate buttons
  • Metropolitan biscuits
  • British raspberry soft set jam
  • Oat, cheddar & nigella seed biscuits
  • Slow baked oatmeal shortbread
  • Slow baked walnut shortbread
  • Luxury gold teabags
The hamper has been donated by those nice people at Marks & Spencer Simply Food Prescot based in Merseyside, which opened on Wednesday 1st October. The 8,500sq ft store will create 57 new jobs for the area and will provide customers with more than 4,500 quality M&S food and drink lines along with a selection of flowers, cards, and gift wrap. Customers can also look forward to a new in-store Bakery and 50-seat Café.
To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the following question in the comment box on this post:
How many seats will the M&S Café at the new store have?
a) 40
b) 50
c) 60
You’ve got until noon on Friday 10th October to enter, so hop to it! (And good luck!)
THE LEGAL BIT
1. One winner will be selected at random after the closing date of Friday 10th October.
2. The winner will receive an M&S Food and Drink hamper.
3. Prize not transferable, no whole/part cash alternatives, delivered within 28 days of competition closing date.
4. No photocopies are allowed.
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Strawberry & Thyme Galette with Honey Ricotta (with bonus competition!)

Strawberry Galette

When I was a kid, I managed to convince myself that I was allergic to strawberries. I’m not entirely why I came to this conclusion – I think it was probably due to me becoming violently ill after greedily eating two punnets of the things at once. Either way, I spent a large portion of my teenage years refusing to touch the things for fear of a repeat performance, adding it to the litany of  food items (including bananas and grated cheese) that I developed bizarre phobias of.

Then I entered adulthood and decided to pull myself together. I’m not entirely sure when I decided I liked strawberries again. I just know that I decided to live dangerously and put a dollop of strawberry jam on my toast one morning and became hooked all over again. I love them in jams, I love them in cakes, and I simply adore them smothered in thick clouds of clotted cream. I love how the sweetness of strawberries plays off against so many other different flavours – the tang of vinegar, the sizzle and pop of pepper, and – as I’ve recently discovered – the punchiness of thyme.

This Strawberry & Thyme Galette is the perfect thing to bake if (like me) you still have a minor phobia of making pies containing soft fruits for fear that they will explode all over your oven, leaving you scrubbing bits of burnt on goo off it for the next six months. The dough comes together in minutes, it’s an absolute cinch to roll out and – joy of joys! – there’s no fiddling about with pie tins. Instead, you merely fold a deliciously scented crust over strawberries which have been macerated in lemon juice and a whole lot of zest. I think that the thyme adds a divine slightly savoury note, but if it’s not your bag, just leave it out. It’s the kind of bake which can stand up to a whole lot of fiddling (I’m already contemplating making a version where the strawberries are macerated in ginger cordial.)

The thing which brings it all together though is the honey ricotta. I’ve become slightly addicted to making my own ricotta at the moment (it’s all part of my five year plan to become the kind of woman who can bench press her own body weight and make her own cheese) and making it will make you feel like a super cool urban milkmaid. Something which I personally feel we need more of.

To celebrate the fact that I managed to make a pie and homemade cheese with no major incident, the nice folks at OXO kitchenwear have provided me with a free strawberry kit to give away to one lucky winner. It contains a strawberry huller, a set of berry bowls for all your Summer baking needs, and two punnets of strawberries from Berry World. They’ll also stick you in a prize draw to win a year’s supply of strawberries. Pretty sweet, huh? To enter, just leave a comment below saying what you’d bake with a punnet of strawberries. You’ve got until 15th July to enter, so good luck!

Strawberry Galette with Thyme Crust (Slice and jar)

 

STRAWBERRY & THYME GALETTE WITH HONEY RICOTTA (Serves 6 – 8 people)

Inspired by Food 52

You will need:

For the thyme pastry

  • 300g plain flour (plus extra for rolling)
  • 150g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme (add 1/2 tsp more if you are using fresh)
  • 2 tbsps demerara sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 50ml ice-cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten, for glazing the crust

For the strawberry filling

  • 1 punnet of strawberries
  • 35g demerara sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

For the honey ricotta

  • 2 pints full fat milk
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp good quality honey
  • You will also need a jam thermometer and some cheesecloth for straining (although you could probably use a clean tea towel for this at a pinch)

Make It!

  1. Preheat oven to 200° C/Gas Mark 6
  2. Mix together the dry ingredients. Rub the cubed butter in with your fingers until fully combined, and the butter has broken down into pea-sized pieces. (alternatively, if you have a food processor, just blitz the ingredients in this.) SLOWLY add the ice water until the dough JUST begins to come together. Turn the crust mixture out onto some clingfilm, wrap it up and flatten it into a disk. Refrigerate for 10 minutes while you prepare the strawberries.
  3. Hull and slice the strawberries, before combining them with the sugar, flour and cornflour. Add the juice and zest of the lemon and mix well (you’ll see the strawberries beginning to break down slightly, but they will be OK so long as you use them right away.)
  4. Lay a piece of baking paper which is just large enough to cover a baking sheet onto a flat surface. Remove the chilled dough from your fridge and unwrap it on this. Dust with flour, and roll it out until it is the thickness of your index finger. Spoon the strawberry filling into the centre of the crust, and spread it out, taking care to leave a 2-inch border.
  5. Carefully fold the crust border over the filling (don’t worry about making it look pretty, you want this to look a bit haphazard!) Brush the crust with beaten egg, and sprinkle well with the leftover demerara sugar.
  6. CAREFULLY slide the galette, still on the baking paper, onto your baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and leave to cool for ten minutes.
  7. While the galette is baking, make your ricotta following this method from The Kitchn. You only need to drain the ricotta for ten minutes, as you want it to be quite soft and fluffy. Once drained, add the honey and leave to one side until the galette is baked.
  8. Once the galette is cool, serve immediately with a large blob of the honey ricotta. Both the ricotta and the galette should keep for around five days.

 

 

 

 

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WIN! A pancake hamper from Abra-ca-Debora

Happy Pancake Day

As you can probably guess, I am a huge fan of Pancake Day (so much so, that a few years ago I set out on a one woman mission to find the best pancakes in Liverpool.) So, when the lovely people at Abra-ca-debora decided to deliver a gigantic hamper filled with everything I needed to make my Pancake Day extra special, I was thrilled. Particularly when I realised that all I had to do to prepare them was microwave them for 30 seconds before smothering them in a sweet topping of my choice. For while I may enjoy being creative in the kitchen, I am also very very lazy.

Abracadebora pancakes

My prep skills of Abra-ca-Debora’s pancakes haven’t yet stretched as far as making one of the delicious recipes on their website (their Chocolate and Salted Caramel Stacked Pudding looks incredible). However, I can tell you that their ‘Diddy Dutch Pancakes’ taste heavenly when microwaved for 30 seconds and smothered in golden syrup. Particularly if you’re eating them for breakfast while suffering from a lethal red wine hangover and attempting to write up a gig review.

Abracadeborah hamper

To celebrate Pancake Day (and the gloriousness of pancakes in general), Abra-ca-Debora have been kind enough to provide me with a pancake hamper to give away to one lucky person. Each one is packed with everything you need to satiate your pancake cravings any day of the week, including two packs of Abra-ca-Debora sweet pancakes, two packs of Abra-ca-Deborah Diddy Dutch Pancakes, a bar of Green & Blacks Sea Salt Milk Chocolate, a jar of Green & Blacks Lemon Chocolate and a jar of English Provender Company Lemon Curd (which is so good, you can just dive into a jar face first.) While it won’t reach you in time for Pancake Day, it’s just the thing for a lazy weekend breakfast, or post Sunday-lunch treat. After all, pancakes aren’t just for Pancake Day!

To win, just leave a comment on this post telling me your favourite type of pancake. Perhaps you’re a fan of Japanese Okonomiyaki? Maybe Vietnamese banh xeo float your boat? Or do you just like to keep it simple with a sprinkle of lemon juice and sugar? Whatever it is, you’ve got until Friday 7th March to enter. Good luck!

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