Archive | February, 2016

WOK-COOKING WITH CHING HE HUANG’S LOTUS WOK FROM JML

WOK-COOKING WITH CHING HE HUANG’S LOTUS WOK FROM JML

Posted on 26 February 2016 by Chris Ford

I’m a complete wok virgin so in my quest to get better at cooker and expand my abilities I was quite excited when JML invited me down to the launch of their new wok developed in collaboration with tv chef Ching He Huang.
The carbon steel wok combines the benefits of authentic wok cooking with modern science to produce something extraordinary. Ching He Huang’s Lotus Wok from JML takes its inspiration from the lotus leaf; just as water beads roll off the hydrophobic leaf, moisture rolls off the surface of the wok ensuring your meals are cooked perfectly every time. One benefit of this is you need next to no oil when cooking as Ching demonstrated to us, and less oil is always good when trying to produce healthy meals.

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Using the lotus concept, the Lotus Wok from JML has been developed with a nano-silica coating that acts as a barrier so sauces and liquids cannot permeate the lotus leaf-like surface. This self-cleaning ability ensures the Lotus Wok is super easy to clean and also helps prevent vegetables from going soggy, so you are left with beautifully crisp, fresh tasting food.
Ive had a week or so to use the wok now and its just so easy to cook with, it holds the heat really well and is very easy to just wipe clean when done, in fact I haven’t just been cooking stir-fry’s in my wok ive cooked steaks, chicken breasts and all sorts in it this last week , I’m a complete Wok convert!

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One massive bonus that’s included with the Lotus Wok from JML is Ching He Huangs new book Ching’s Eat Clean which alone is worth £16.99 and is very easy to follow even for a wok novice such as myself.
On the preview Day Ching kindly cooked a few dishes for us to demonstrate the wok, I have included here my video of my favourite dish and also a copy of the recipe below

Smoked Tofu with Dinosaur Kale

Introduction

This is a healthy recipe packed with greens and protein.

Dinosaur kale, or cavolo nero, is high in protein (for a vegetable) and fibre, as well as being a great source of vitamins A and C and minerals that people often don’t get enough of, such as calcium, magnesium, and iron. It is antioxidant-rich and tastes delicious when dressed with the lime juice. Limes contain flavonoid compounds that have antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.
They are also and excellent source of vitamin C, one of the most important antioxidants – it neutralises harmful free radicals and is fantastic, but is also full of protein and low in saturated fat.

Make sure you buy organic tofu for maximum nutritional benefits.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed, peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon freshly grated peeled root ginger
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
150g/5oz duinosaur kale (cavolo nero), washed and sliced on an angle into 1cm/ ½ inch pieces
100g/ 3 ½ oz smoked sunflower seed tofu sliced into 1cm / ½ inch thick rectangles
1 teaspoon mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine for cooking)
1 tablespoon low-sodium light soy sauce or tamari
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
Juice of 1 lime

Method

Heat a wok (or pan) over a high heat and add the rapeseed oil. Give the wok a swirl, then add the garlic, ginger and chilli and stir for a few seconds. Add the kale pieces and toss, cooking for less than 1 minute. As the kale wilts, push it and the aromatics to the side of the wok and add the tofu pieces, then toss together for 2 minutes.
Season with mirin, soy sauce or tamari and the sesame oil and toss well.
For acidity and a sour note, season with the lime juice, mixing well, and cook for a further minute.
Once the kale has softened (but still has a bite) and the tofu is heated through, take it off the heat and it’s ready to eat.
Serve it on its own for two as a healthy carb-free dinner, or with brown rice and other stir-fry dishes to share.

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Ching He Huang’s Lotus Wok from JML is priced at £49.99 available now at JMLdirect.com
the Set includes the following:
• Carbon Steel Wok
• Dome lid
• Steamer rack
• Ching He Huang’s wooden spatula and chopsticks
• Free copy of Ching’s Eat Clean recipe book (worth £16.99)

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Famous Furniture in Film and TV

Famous Furniture in Film and TV

Posted on 26 February 2016 by Guest Post

Iconic furniture in Film and TV

 

guest post provided by www.oldrids.co.uk

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Smeg go small for Mothers Day

Smeg go small for Mothers Day

Posted on 19 February 2016 by Chris Ford

Smeg you may know from their big retro fridges, you know the ones that look super cool but
you think is that practical for my one bedroom flats tiny kitchen? yeah those…

 

Well now you can get involved with some awesome retro styling from Smeg no matter how small
your kitchen is as just in time for Mother’s Day Smeg have released a range of cool retro styled appliances whether it’s for an on-the-go mum, cake baker or tea lover, the collection of stylish appliances feature an iconic Italian design, and add class and colour to any worktop.

Smeg Blender – for a quick smoothie fix

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www.euronics.co.uk

£149.99

 

Smeg Kettle – for that essential brew

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www.euronics.co.uk

£99.99

 

Smeg Stand Mixer – for having your cake and eating it

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www.euronics.co.uk

£349.99

 

Smeg two-slice Toaster – for breakfast in bed on their special day

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www.euronics.co.uk

£99.99

 

 

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5 Singles Holidays for Solo Adventures

5 Singles Holidays for Solo Adventures

Posted on 18 February 2016 by Guest Post

For many adventure seeking singletons, the thought of traveling alone for the first time can seem somewhat daunting. Cast any fears aside as Health and Fitness Travel, the leading specialists in healthy holidays worldwide, round up their top 5 solo adventure trips. From jungle trekking in Bali to white water rafting through national parks in Costa Rica you can guarantee this will be an adventure you will never forget. With endless ways to take in the breath-taking scenery and experience the diverse cultures of some of the world’s most beautiful countries, you’ll wonder why you’ve waited until now to travel solo.

Turkey

Discover a whole new dimension to vibrant Turkey with a choice of tour and excursions on this solo friendly adventure. Explore the natural wonder of Pamukkale as you take a dip in the natural hot springs, where the calcium-rich waters cool and harden as they flow over small cliffs, creating a glistening white landscape. Immerse yourself in the rich Turkish culture and enjoy a performance by whirling dervishes, in a traditional Sema ritual that is a form of active meditation. Recover from your adventures at a wellness retreat, for a revitalising conclusion to your healthy solo adventure.

Bali

With striking coastlines and picture perfect landscapes, the beautiful island of Bali is the perfect destination for an adventurous singles holiday. From jungle trekking and volcano hiking to guided village cycling and snorkelling, there is no end of exciting ways to explore the island. When you’ve finished exploring, recover with therapeutic spa treatments and re-energise as you enjoy holistic activities such as yoga, Pilates and meditation alongside a whole range of other exciting fitness classes and activities.

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Costa Rica

From white water rafting through a volcanic national park to zip lining through the treetops, explore the beautiful tropical rainforests and unspoilt coastlines of Costa Rica on a solo travel adventure. Get to know other single travellers as you hike across the unique volcanic landscapes or take a dip in natural hot springs. Before you head home, recover at a luxury wellness retreat where you can unwind with a yoga class or enjoy a refreshing surf in the Pacific Ocean.

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Morocco

Discover the eclectic culture, picturesque landscapes and delicious cuisine of Morocco on a solo adventure in an exotic land. Marvel at snake charmers on a guided tour of Marrakech, explore the Atlas Mountains on a mountain bike tour and learn traditional Moroccan cooking methods on a cookery course. Once you have sampled Morocco’s rich culture, take time to recover with yoga and surfing at a luxurious beachfront wellness retreat.

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Philippines

Boasting dramatic landscapes, beautiful historic towns and miles of unspoilt, sandy beaches, escape to the Philippines for an exciting singles holiday adventure. Experience the vibrant, eclectic city of Manila on a guided city tour, discover the hidden valley and swim in the stunning natural pools, before experiencing Filipino culture first-hand at a traditional fiesta. Recover on a wellness breaks with endless ways to relax and unwind on this adventure-filled singles holiday.

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For advice, guidance and booking visit www.healthandfitnesstravel.com or call 0203 397 8891

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Chiquito Launch new Street Food Menu

Chiquito Launch new Street Food Menu

Posted on 15 February 2016 by Chris Ford

The trouble with chain restaurants is we often assume we’ll get average-quality, mass-produced food which is microwaved to order or produced in a central kitchen somewhere. Sure, we go to them when we need a quick bite but it’s not uncommon to hear them talked about with snobbery.
Chiquito is one of those big chains, but one that seems to want to stamp out that mass-produced fast-food style image. With that in mind, this week they launch their brand spanking new menu, a selection of which I was invited to sample last week.
It was explained to us the that the Chiquito team had taken things very seriously, travelling to Mexico, to sample the best food and drinks the country has to offer to find inspiration for their new dishes.
In addition to an authentic approach to Mexican cuisine, the Chiquito team stressed that all this new food would be prepared from scratch in-house at each restaurant.
Having tasted the food on offer, each paired with a tequila cocktail, I think they have certainly pulled off transporting the flavours of Mexico to a rainy London evening.
Here’s what we had, each dish was paired with one of Chiquito new Mexican influences cocktails :

 

Tortilla chips & fresh guacamole ( whats left of them in photo (opps!) , in fact they even make their tortilla chips freshly in house hence I didnt even get the chance to take a photo before they were nearly all snapped up!

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Empanada
Crispy tortilla parcel filled with roasted vegetables & feta

Gran Centenario Plata Batanga
Owned by Jose Cuervo, this is an exceptional quality 100% agave silver Tequila with a subtle palate and long, smooth finish

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Taco
Tortilla topped with chipotle cod loin, baby gem lettuce
and sweet pink onion

1800 Classic Margarita
In a recent blind tasting of over a dozen Margaritas, this is the drink that scored the highest. 1800 Blanco brings the perfect balance of sweetness and earthy notes to the drink. A fantastic Tequila from the Tequila Highlands.

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Sweet chorizo croquette
Homemade sweet potato croquette, filled with chorizo and sweetcorn with a jalapeño jelly

Jose Cuervo Tradicional Blanco Paloma
Tradicional is made to celebrate the agave plant in its most natural form. The Blanco has a sweet and herbaceous aroma, with a sweet honey flavour.

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Chocolate churros
Luxurious churros with a pot of chocolate
Patron XO Café

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The Chiquito Street Food menu is available now. Inspired by the traditional Mexican markets, these small plates named antojitos, mean ‘little cravings’ in Mexico are perfect for sharing with prices as little as three dishes for £12.95.

www.chiquito.co.uk

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The London Craft Beer Festival 2016

The London Craft Beer Festival 2016

Posted on 11 February 2016 by Chris Ford

Taking place from Friday 12th August till Sunday 14th The London Craft Beer Festival located in a disused Pickle factory in London’s trendy Bethnal Green has all the hipster credentials but has none of the snobby nature of some events I have attended in the past. Last year there was a great mixture of couples, beer enthusiasts and friends just along for some quality craft beers.

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To me its the ultimate festival for Craft beer fans in London whether you be a newcomer or experienced Craft beer drinker you are covered in my opinion and here is why, once you are in the beer is paid for, yes all taken care of which means you can experiment away with all the amazing beers on offer from the UKs top breweries yes it has the potential to get messy but honestly I saw no trouble there last year and nothing but good times were had as we quaffed some amazing brews chilling to some great tunes laid on by the DJ throughout the event.
Last year there were over 26 breweries with numerous selections on offer and while nothing has been announced yet of this years lineup I’m excited to see the list.

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Tickets are on sale now with a special Early Bird price starting at £25.00 , but be quick I hear they are nearly all gone although to be honest even at full price this event is excellent value for money.

www.londoncraftbeerfestival.co.uk

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Get fresh with label.men Cologne Hair & Body

Get fresh with label.men Cologne Hair & Body

Posted on 08 February 2016 by Guest Post

You’ll l be familiar with multi-tasking hair and body washes but how about a hair and body scent? Yes, that’s right, a spritz not just for your bod but for your bonce too… That’s exactly what label.men have created with their Cologne Hair & Body. It’s also the first men’s fragrance to be introduced as part of TONI&GUY’s award-winning male grooming range, label.men.

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If like me you’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring in the UK then you’ll be ready for this refreshing and uplifting scent. Now’s the time to forget heavy, wintery scents in favour of a zestier fragrance that’s designed to stimulate the senses. The first thing you notice is a punch of lemon, but this sophisticated and relatively understated blend also reveals top notes of bergamot and cardamom. Underneath there’s with just a hint of woody musk, courtesy of the aromatic galbanum resin.

label.men Cologne Hair and Body

Label.men Cologne Hair & Body is part of a collection of nine products developed by the award winning TONI&GUY International Artistic Team, led by Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck, Global Creative Director. It’s presented in a smart clear glass bottle and a metallic-finish box, and is one of the products used backstage at London Fashion Week and London Collections: Men.

 

label.men Cologne Hair & Body 75ml/£29.99 is available globally at all label.m Concept, TONI&GUY and essensuals salons.

 

Guest Post by Jonathan R Jones – jonathanrjones.wordpress.com

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If Carlsberg Did Shopping Trollies

If Carlsberg Did Shopping Trollies

Posted on 03 February 2016 by Chris Ford

Carlsberg in an extension of their If Carlsberg did …   series  have today launched what is probably the best shopping trolley in the world, working with car customisers Yiannimize to create a motorized trolley complete with an electric engine, a beer cooling system and satellite navigation.

Problems  such as struggling to find the right food aisle, being forced to purchase warm crates of beer and struggling with wonky shopping trolley wheels have been addressed to create the ultimate shopping experience for the Carlsberg customer.

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The Day we took down a Drug Cartel – With Sicario

The Day we took down a Drug Cartel – With Sicario

Posted on 02 February 2016 by Chris Ford

Sicario is the new movie starring Emily Blunt as an FBI agent enlisted by a U.S government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border with Mexico. The film features the team raiding a drug den. So to celebrate the release of Sicario on DVD and blu-ray a few of us were invited to experience a similar raid for ourselves…

TM & © 2016 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Elliott Gill, Eg Photography, www.elliottgill.com

Hosted by the team at Stirling Airsoft we first were dressed in the proper gear to look the part, boiler suits, mock bullet proof vests and helmets, once all the gear was on it certainly started to feel real!
We were then given a briefing on the day by the team of dedicated ex-special forces instructors, explaining what we were about to experience would be a realistic scenario that would challenge us both physically and mentally.

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Elliott Gill, Eg Photography, www.elliottgill.com

Now briefed and kitted up we were taken to an old disused factory where we spent the next few hours being shown how to safely enter a building as a team covering all angles and not getting shot by the bad guys. To me this was the most interesting aspect of the day, it’s not a case of just running in like a cowboy and actually takes quite a lot of concentration and teamwork is key. It’s also a tonne of fun!

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Elliott Gill, Eg Photography, www.elliottgill.com

After a brief lunch we were then shown how the airsoft weapons worked, shooting small white balls. I’d love to spend more time playing with these; they do sting a bit if one hits you though!
Then came the actual raid, some of the instructors would be somewhere in the building to play members of the Mexican drug cartel and it was our job to enter the building, clearing the rooms as we went in search of the main man top drug dealer, his friends might try and stop us though….

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Elliott Gill, Eg Photography, www.elliottgill.com

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Elliott Gill, Eg Photography, www.elliottgill.com

We approached the building in style, we all loaded up into a armoured personnel carrier which honestly was like a roller coaster inside, I don’t know how the professionals do it on a regular basis!
We all piled out and entered the building as we were trained, most remembered the training, some turned into Rambo, and others like me just forgetting half of what we were told but it honestly felt so realistic and my heart was pumping as I went against all I was told and just fired blindly down the hallway at the baddies, but hey, it was amazing fun.

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Elliott Gill, Eg Photography, www.elliottgill.com

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Elliott Gill, Eg Photography, www.elliottgill.com

After all that we debriefed and then had a chat about the day, I also realised how truly unfit I am, I think I’m still aching from the events of that day. Kudos to Emily Blunt!
For more info on Stirling Airsoft our hosts for the day head over to http://www.stirlingairsoft.com
SICARIO is out now Blu-ray, DVD, and digital platforms courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment

TM & © 2016 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved

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