Review: Starbucks Barista Aroma Solo Monique Coffee Maker

starbucks-barista-aroma-solo-monique-coffee-makerThe Starbucks Barista Aroma Solo Monique Coffee Maker is a neat idea. Just brew up your coffee in the tumbler and then take it with you.

This is perfect for those on the go but it will also work well if you are single or are the only coffee drinker in your home.

The tumbler itself takes up to 16 fl oz (473ml) and keeps coffee hot for up to 2 hours.

What We Like

  • It has a 24 hour pre-programmable function which means you can set your coffee maker to have your coffee ready for you when you wake up in the morning.
  • When the brew is ready an alarm will go off and the timer will display a count down of the time since the coffee was brewed.

What We Don’t Like

  • The tumbler has to be fitted in the right spot before it will start brewing.
  • The tumbler is not dishwasher safe.

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Review: Breville Die Cast Panini Grill and BBQ

breville-die-cast-panini-grill-and-bbqYou don’t need to have those fun barbecues during summer with the Breville Die-Cast Panini Grill and BBQ . You can be grilling everyday of the year.

The grill has two plates – a ribbed plate and a flat plate and can be folded out flat so that you can use both plates at once for barbecue purposes.

When using as a close grill, the top lid can be height adjusted to up to six different settings. So you can have more pressure on certain foods than others.

breville-panini-and-barbecue-grill.JPGWhat We Like

  • The drip tray is dishwasher safe.
  • Brushed stainless steel body.
  • A light is lit when the grill hits the desired temperature.
  • It has a tilt function for low fat cooking as it directs the juices into a drip tray.
  • It includes a recipe book.
  • You can control the temperature -350F – 450F.
  • The non-stick surface is great for low fat cooking.

Other things to consider

  • The plates can’t be removed so it can be difficult to clean.

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The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

Chocolate Chip CookiesI just made chocolate chip cookies which is a bit of an event for me as I am not much of a baker. Not that I can’t do it, but I just don’t get around to doing it much.

I always like to look for easy recipes so when I was doing a bit of research for my Vollrath Cookie Sheet review I came across a recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies that everyone was raving about. Well, I had to give it a go as they all said it was a really easy recipe.

Well they were right about that. It’s a great one to make with the kids.

Chocolate Chip CookiesI found the recipe at the Nestle website but because I didn’t have the exact Nestle choc bits I used the larger type and broke them up into smaller bits. This is why my cookies in the photo above look nothing like the biscuits on their website…that’s my excuse anyway.

BUT they taste really good. I just had one and nearly burnt my mouth as of course I couldn’t wait for them to cool down.

So if you want the recipe then just head over the Nestle site – Nestle Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Royal Doulton Old Country Roses – Devilled Egg Dish

I love Royal Doulton’s Royal Albert Old Country Roses setting and have a full dinner setting for 8, plus various other dishes such as soup tureens, serviette holders, butter pat dishes, casseroles etc. So I am always on the lookout for new pieces to add to my ever growing collection.

One of the items I serve on a regular basis when entertaining is devilled eggs. So when I saw this Royal Albert Old Country Roses Deviled Egg Dish I knew I was just going to have to add it to the collection.

The Old Country Roses Deviled Egg Dish measures 11 inches in diameter and has indents to nicely hold the filled eggs.

The dish features the beautiful signature design of sprays of roses with gold accents.

My Devilled Eggs

  • Boil 12 eggs until hard ( use as many eggs as you need)
  • When the eggs are ready, run them under very cold water so that the shells peel away cleanly.
  • Peel the eggs and cut in half with a sharp knife.
  • Carefully scoop out the yolks into a bowl ( I use a teaspoon as this removes the yolks cleanly from the white)
  • Mix the yolks with a few dollops of good quality mayonnaise,  a couple of tsps of curry powder, some salt and pepper  and anything else you like.  I sometimes add finely chopped parsley.
  • If the mixture is too dry add some milk or cream until it is firm but not crumbly.

    Spoon or pipe the mixture into the egg white cases  and pop on the plate.

    Simple but tasty.

The Royal Doulton Company has manufactured its range of fine bone china and porcelain tableware and collectibles for almost 200 years.

Royal Doulton, was granted a “Royal Warrant”. These warrants are given to companies who have supplied members of the Royal Family with goods or services on a regular basis. The Royal Warrant is regarded as a mark of supreme excellence and quality and it cannot, be bought or sold.

In 1901, King Edward awarded the first of five Royal Warrants to Royal Doulton which then became known as  The Royal Doulton Company. Meaning that Royal Doulton now holds two Royal Warrants.

Royal Doulton’s brand Royal Albert also holds two Royal Warrants and their Old Country Roses is probably one of the most sort after and recognisable bone china tableware pattern in the world.

Cooking with Dill – How to Prepare and Use Dill in the Kitchen

dillJust about everyone has heard of dill pickles, but how many of us have experimented with using dill in other ways in the kitchen? If you haven’t tried cooking with dill, you’re selling yourself – and your cooking – short. Here are some tips for getting started with this fresh and flexible herb.

What Is Dill?

Dill is one of the oldest herbs that people have been known to use in cooking. Sprigs of herbs have been found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs and even in Neolithic settlements. This relative of parsley grows naturally in central Asia and around the Mediterranean Sea, but it can be cultivated anywhere where the summers are hot and it can get plenty of direct sunlight.

Dill can be used in cooking in four different forms: fresh dill leaves, dried dill leaves, dill flowers, and the dill seeds. The fresh leaves have the strongest and most pronounced flavor. The seeds taste similar to caraway and are often used in breads and other baked goods. Both the seeds and the flowers are used to make dill pickles.

How Does Dill Taste?

Dill leaves have a gentle, subtle flavor that can be described as tangy and fresh, but with a musky overtone. Dill leaves compliment other herbs well, making it a great addition to many meals.

Dill seeds have a stronger flavor and a crispy crunch. They have been compared with caraway seeds, and have a citrus tang and a slightly bitter taste.

Does Dill Have Any Health Benefits?

Dill is an excellent source of calcium, and can help to prevent bone deterioration with age. It also relieves stomach aches and is naturally soothing, helping to ease people to sleep. Like garlic, dill is an anti-bacterial spice, and it acts as an antioxidant.

Finally, dill seed makes a good substitute for salt. People with low-sodium diets can benefit from a healthy dose of dill in their foods.

Which Dishes Work Best When Flavored with Dill?

Dill Seeds:
Dill Seeds
are often added to potato and egg salads, and are used to make a delicious devilled egg. They can be added to the water while boiling potatoes for mashing to add tang to the dish. Dill seeds can be substituted for caraway seeds to make caraway bread. Dill seeds are also an important ingredient for making dill pickles.

Dill Leaves:
Blend dill with softened butter to create a delicious dip for breads or for seafood. Add fronds of dill to yogurt and serve with raw vegetables for a healthy snack. Dill leaves make a delicious substitute for parsley as a garnish for sandwiches. Toss some fresh leaves shortly before your fish is done cooking for delicious added flavor. Dill fronds also make a savory addition to hamburger meat.

Dried Dill:
Dried dill can be substituted for fresh dill, but be aware that quite a lot of the herb will be necessary, since it loses a lot of flavor in the drying process.

Dill Flowers:
Dill flowers can be harvested and used as an ingredient for dill pickles.

How Should Dill Be Used in Cooking?
Exposure to heat tends to destroy the delicious flavor of fresh dill leaves. To retain their taste, add them shortly before the end of the cooking process, or chop the leaves and use them fresh in salads.

Dill seeds, on the other hand, can withstand higher temperatures and longer cooking without losing flavor. They can be added to boiling water for flavoring potatoes or tossed into a potato salad to add both crunch and flavor.

In Summary
Dill is a harmonious herb that, like salt, enhances the flavor of the meals you prepare. Unlike salt, however, dill has a variety of beneficial properties. For people whose health conditions restrict them to a low-sodium diet or who simply want to improve their overall diet, dill is an excellent addition to their cooking abilities.