The JM Posner Snow Cone and Slush Machine is Just the Best!

During warm weather, there is nothing better than enjoying a slushie or another ice-cold beverage. As a matter of fact, this can be more refreshing than anything you’ve experienced when you’re roasting. The only thing that could be better than a refreshing ice-cold beverage is an air conditioner or a water fight and let’s be honest, both of these won’t seem like good options for most people. On the other hand, a slush machine could be amazing to have in the summer.

As a child, I used to love snow cones, slush puppies and water fights when the weather was half-decent. However, now I feel too lazy and perhaps a little grown up to do most of these things. My kids however, love all of these things and sometimes I join them when let off a little bit of steam during the summer. Last year, the summer was lovely and warm but it seems like every year, the weather seems to be getting hotter and hotter. While last year, we relied on buying these kinds of icy beverages and ice-lollies from the supermarket, this time I thought I’d prepare myself a bit better.

As a result, I bought the JM Posner snow cone and slush machine this spring. I decided on this because it just seemed like a product that did everything that I wanted it to do. The product description page seemed to show that this was a fairly well built product that was convenient to use as well. In terms of difficulty, this 2-in-1 machine was pretty easy to use as well. The most important thing was that the reviews were great and most previous users found that the machine surpassed their expectations. Considering the price tag wasn’t too high, I decided to take a plunge and to be honest with you, I’ve been absolutely delighted.

This is an excellent slush machine.

I’ve just about used it for a month now and we’ve already used it a dozen times even though the weather hasn’t even got as hot as it will later on in the middle of the holiday months. I’ve even managed to make snow cones for the kids and myself and the ease of usability is surprising considering how affordable this slush machine actually is. It is equally as easy to make a slush puppy drink because all you have to do is use some ice and switch on the right setting. Once you’ve done this then everything will be done for you.

The main advantage is that the entire process of making these frozen drinks is absolutely rapid. The drinks will literally be ready within minutes because of how quick this home slush machine crushes ice. On top of this, it looks something special while being placed on the kitchen counter. You’ll be surprised how many friends and family members have seen it on my kitchen counter and have purchased one for them.

Another advantage that I found with this slush puppy machine was that you actually get two bottles of syrup that you can start making the drinks with. This will be especially important if you’ve never made these before and don’t really know how to get started. But generally it’s quite a simple machine to use and I’ve even managed to make some delicious cocktails using it.

Once buying this kind of product, you’ve always got to make sure that it will be easy to clean when you’re done. This home slush machine can actually be taken apart and this will be a huge helping hand when you’ve made the slushie and snow cones and want to clean everything up quite quickly.

If you’re in the exact same situation as me and fear the worst this summer then you should definitely invest in this, as I consider it to be the best slush machine and snow cone maker at this moment in time. It will definitely get your children excited because it’s just the best thing ever!

Using an Electric Soup Maker for Baby Food at Home

Making baby food is hard especially for new parents who probably have no clue on how to get started. But like everything else that comes with a new baby, it’s all about going through the preparation stage in the right manner. If you do this, then everything else will go smoothly.

You have probably heard of the importance of using fresh ingredients and having fresh foods in your diet. This is even more important when it comes to feeding a baby. You must make sure that you end up buying the freshest and most natural ingredients that you can get. This is especially the case for meats and dairy, which are susceptible to bacterial growth. This means that you should use fresh ingredients and not keep them stored for too long.

Using an electric soup maker or a similar machine is ideal to make baby food. It should certainly be used over a traditional large blender. Handheld blenders are usually the best when used for this task. This holds several advantages over a large blender. The main one is the fact that you can literally stick the hand blender into the pot where the food was cooked and mash it up to turn it into baby food.

An electric soup maker can be very useful in making baby food.

In comparison, if you were using a big blender, you’ll have to cook the food then throw it into the blender afterwards. While this isn’t really a tough task, it’s just inconvenient and can cause a lot of mess. A handheld blender or electric soup maker can be easier to use and definitely easier to clean. The good thing is that you can make baby food but you can also blend all sorts of other things in small quantities.

The good thing about buying the best soup maker is that you can mash the food and cook it at the same time. All you’ll need is fresh ingredients that will need to be mashed. The machine will then cook that food and at the end you’ll be left with delicious hot baby food. Obviously you’ll need to cool this before the feed.

At this moment, you’re probably wondering which soup makers would be perfect for making baby food. To be honest, most of them will do the job but there are some that can do multiple jobs and wouldn’t be used solely to make baby food. These types are the ones that you should aim for.

Take a look at the Vonshef Automatic for example. It’s quite affordable but is till capable of doing all kinds of cooking tasks. It’s a multipurpose cooker that can blend and make soup along with sauces and all kinds of other things. For example, there is even an egg boiler function in this machine. The only issue is that this is quite a big blender. It has a 1.7 litre capacity, which is a lot more than what’s normally associated with a traditional baby food maker.

It’s quite good for making baby food and it definitely makes great soups. However, the only issue is whether you actually want a multipurpose cooker like this. It’ll however cost you less than £50 so it’s worth giving it a try but again, it’ll depend on if you want a specialised baby food maker or not!

If you’re struggling to find the best electric soup maker for baby food, ReviewInsider UK is a good place to start. There are lots of different products that can be used for making baby food and ReviewInsider UK has listed all of the best ones in terms of cost and functionality.

Strawberry, Lime & Rosewater Mocktail

This mocktail was extremely flavourful and is perfect for parties.Alcohol is overrated. Don’t get me wrong – I do enjoy a glass or two (or three) of wine occasionally but over the past few years, I have really started noticing the after effects of alcohol on my health and wellbeing. Headaches, bad breath and lethargy are all nasty symptoms of the self-inflicted hangover.

Considering its only winter right now, I’m definitely a bit early but still, I’m already looking forward to the summer. I am eagerly anticipating weekend BBQs with friends and regular picnics at the beach. Keen to ditch the alcopops this year, I have started experimenting with mocktails.

About a month ago, I had dinner with some friends at a very chic little restaurant in Oxford called the Red Lion. Their drinks menu was to die for and from it, we sampled a pomegranate, rosewater and cardamom mocktail that tasted like nothing I have ever experienced.

Ruby red pomegranate pearls swimming in a sweet, aromatic liquid packed with ice and served in a gorgeous tall cocktail glass. It was one of the most expensive non-alcoholic drinks I have ever purchased at £6, but worth every penny.

Strawberry & Lime is one of the most delicious flavour combinations out there, and one of my favourites, which is why I decided to base my first attempt at a mocktail around these flavours.

After my visit to the Red Lion, I started researching ways to make rosewater at home, and experimenting with sugar syrups. There are a number of great methods online for making rosewater, and I was surprised at how simple it was. If you need help with this, have a look at this guide.

Sugar syrup is also super easy to make. It is basically an equal amount of sugar and liquid added together. You then add whichever flavours you want to infuse your syrup with (mint, lime zest, vanilla pod, etc) to the mix. Once that’s done, you simply boil it until the sugar is dissolved and then set aside to cool.

To make 4 servings of the sugar syrup, you need to do the following:

In a small saucepan, bring to boil ½ a cup of rosewater, ½ a cup of water, 1 cup of caster sugar and two cardamom pods. Once the sugar has dissolved, set aside and leave to cool.

Once cooled, remove the cardamom pods. The syrup will last up to two weeks in the fridge in an airtight jar.

To make 4 servings of the Mocktail, you need to do the following:

Place 1 cup of hulled strawberries into a blender with a ¼ cup of water and blend until smooth. Then, pour it through a sieve into a bowl to remove any seeds or lumps. Add the juice of two limes and a cup of the prepared rosewater syrup – mix well to combine.

Place 3-4 hulled strawberries into the bottom of each glass and cover with ice. Then, simply divide the strawberry mix evenly between glasses, top up with soda water and garnish with fresh lime wedges, kaffir limes leaves and juicy strawberries.

Pumpkin & Basil Tart

I am so very poor at the moment. I’ve been working incredibly long hours sending query letters, writing pay-per-view web articles, reading textbooks and searching for stories – this is the life of a freelance writer. Needless to say, the pantry is looking very bare and so is the fridge. Never one to shy away from a culinary challenge and not wanting to disappoint my loyal followers, this morning, I delved into the depths of my fridge and this is what I found:

– One very sloppy cucumber;

– Some extra hairy kiwi fruit;

– Half a pumpkin looking very lonely in the crisper – nearing its expiry date but still good;

– Half a jar of delicious basil pesto;

– A jar of tomato paste; and

– Two sheets of puff pastry.

The only useful ingredients in the group were the basil pesto, pumpkin, tomato paste and pastry. Because it has been so long since I went grocery shopping, most other items were unrecognisable. Anyway, I managed to come up with a delicious recipe that I hope you enjoy.

Pumpkin & Basil Pesto Tart – to make 4 delicious servings, you need:

– 1 sheet puff pastry;

– ¼ pumpkin, sliced thinly;

– ½ cup basil pesto;

– ½ cup tomato paste;

– Salt & cracked pepper;

– Small handful of fresh basil; and

– 1-2 tablespoons milk

How to Cook?

This Pumpkin & Basil Tart recipe is quick and easy to make.Preheat oven to 180°c.

Place the pastry sheet on baking paper and score 1-inch thick border around edges with a knife. Then, mix some tomato paste and basil pesto together and brush onto pastry (keeping inside the scored edges).

Layer pumpkin slices evenly (make sure these are thin or they will not cook through) across the pastry sheet, again keeping inside the edges. Brush the edges with milk and
drizzle pumpkin with olive oil.

Sprinkle it with salt and freshly cracked black pepper and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until pastry has risen and is golden.

Make this tart a little bit more special by adding bocconcini or feta cheese before baking.

Sprinkle with fresh basil to serve.

If you’re looking for a delicious side dish to go along with this, have a look at this tasty recipe for Maple roasted pumpkins with lemon butter.

Pearl Couscous with Rustic Country Vegetables, Toasted Almonds & Honey

I’ve spent the last few days searching for inspiration in Middle Eastern cookbooks and watching food/travel documentaries. I had intended to post a recipe for a traditional Moroccan dish of chickpeas and fava beans called Harare today, but when I made it last week, it turned out to be a culinary disaster!

Not prepared to waste the hours I spent sitting cross-legged on the shop floors, searching through boxes of old utensils to find suitable props, I decided to create something original with a Moroccan/Middle Eastern twist.

The result was a delicious pearl couscous with rustic country vegetables, toasted almonds and honey.

This dish is an interesting fusion of classic country and Middle Eastern flavours. The contrasting textures of the crunchy toasted almonds and tender couscous make it fun to eat and the flavours of rustic seasonal vegetables roasted in aromatic spices and olive oil, fresh parsley and honey all work together wonderfully, with the curry powder adding just a touch of heat.

This dish can be eaten as a main or served as a side. Be adventurous with your vegetables. I used what I had on hand but I think mushrooms would take it to a new level. You could even add some baby spinach leaves and cherry tomatoes and serve cold for a salad with a twist!

Pearl Couscous with Rustic Country Vegetables, Toasted Almonds & Honey – to make 4-6 delicious servings, you need:

– 1 cup pearl couscous;

– 2 cups vegetable stock;

– 1 saffron thread;

– 3 cups of your favourite vegetables, roughly chopped (I used pumpkin, sweet potato, leek, onion, garlic cloves, cauliflower, carrot & onion);

– ½ cup blanched almonds;

– Handful of flat leaf parsley (or to taste);

– 1 teaspoon cumin;

– 1 teaspoon paprika;

– 1 teaspoon madras curry powder;

– Salt & cracked black pepper;

– Olive oil; and

– 1 tablespoon honey

How to Cook?

First, preheat the oven to 200°c.

Then, place the chopped vegetables onto a roasting tray and sprinkle over cumin, paprika, curry powder, salt and pepper.

Drizzle with olive oil and toss gently with your hands to coat. Then, bake the vegetables in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until they are golden and tender.

Place the pearl couscous into a saucepan with vegetable stock and saffron thread. Bring to boil and cook on high for 1 minute, then remove the pot from the heat pop on a lid and leave to rest.

After a few minutes, the couscous will absorb all of the liquid – they will be soft and plump. Meanwhile, scatter almonds on an oven tray and toast in the oven for 5 minutes.

Keep an eye on the almonds because they will burn quickly if you leave them in the oven for too long, they will become golden brown and aromatic when ready.

Place the prepared vegetables, couscous and almonds into a large bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of honey, a handful of roughly chopped flat leaf parsley and extra salt and pepper to taste if you desire.

Serve hot or cold as a main meal or as a side dish.

Couscous is very tasty and this is a nice side dish to make for dinner.

Maple Roasted Pumpkins & Lemon Butter

I had a very pleasant weekend in the country with my family picking citrus fruits, riding horses, eating a vegetarian counter meal at the local pub and attending my primary school centenary celebration.

It was a wonderful way to spend the last weekend before School starts again and I picked up a few little homegrown goodies while I was there.

I’ve always liked those cute little fruit and veg honesty boxes that you find scattered along the sides of the road in the country. Well, let me tell you how very excited I was on the drive home when I spotted a mountain of pumpkins waiting ever so patiently on the side of the road for someone to take them home – me!

We quickly pulled over and my Mum and I jumped out of the car, popped our £3 each into the money tin and grabbed ourselves a couple of little pumpkins to add to our citrus haul (collected earlier that weekend). I couldn’t wait to get home and into the kitchen to start cooking these.

As this is the first official post on this blog, I have included two recipes, one for maple roasted pumpkins and another (which is my Grandmother’s recipe) for lemon butter, made with the fresh lemons I picked from her garden over the weekend.

Lemon butter is delicious on toast with a hot cup of tea or baked in mini tart shells and served with whipped cream.

Maple Roasted Pumpkins – to make 3-4 delicious servings, you need:

– 1-2 pumpkins;

– ¼ cup maple syrup;

– 2 tablespoons olive oil;

– Cracked pepper & sea salt; and

– 1 tablespoon of maple syrup & melted butter to serve

How to Cook?
First, preheat the oven to 180°c.

Then, peel and cut the pumpkins, discard the seeds, but leave the skin on. Place the pumpkins and all other ingredients (leaving out only the syrup and butter to serve) into a large mixing bowl and toss to coat.

Place them on an oven tray and bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden. Finally, remove from the oven and brush with melted butter and maple syrup before serving.

This is a really good recipe for maple roasted pumpkins.

Lemon Butter – you need the following:

– ¾ cup sugar;

– Juice and skin of 2 lemons;

– 3 tablespoons butter; and

– 2 eggs

How to Cook?

Place all ingredients into a glass bowl and whisk well.

Bring a saucepan of water to the boil on the stove, reduce to a simmer and sit glass bowl on top (just as you would when melting chocolate). Alternatively, you can use a double boiler.

Heat the mixture until it thickens (this will take around 15-20 minutes), stirring occasionally. Once the mixture has thickened, allow it to cool slightly before pouring it into an airtight jar.

You can store it in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Adding some fresh lemon butter to your dish is a nice touch.