Tried & Tested is the brainchild of Andrew Mellon, who is researching exciting new food trends for a British TV show in commissioning stage (see here for original post). I was lucky to receive a Holiday Box from the Tried & Tested Team to review. The box came nicely packaged (see featured image) with a range of goodies. I have been using them over the past week, in sweet and savoury dishes.
I adore chocolate, and I was keen to see Rococo Chocolates‘ exciting take on chocolate and salt. Tanzanian single origin chocolate pearls infused with Exmoor Caviar Salt hand-crafted in Rococo’s chocolate kitchen sounded good to me. The pearls can lean more towards salty, but still deliver a dark chocolate hit. I recommend using these as a topping sprinkled on vanilla frosting for cupcakes for a special twist. Or if you like salted caramel, then use the pearls in salted caramel laced crème patisserie in profiteroles for a surprise crunch.
Now, there is something magical about edible crockery. It reminds me of that scene in Willy Wonka (1971) where Wonka starts nibbling on his teacup. I couldn’t wait to try the Tried & Tested Incredible Edible Spoons and Munchbowls bowl. It’s an innovative idea, makes for a fun talking point, and you can really customise the set. I loaded my bowl up with BBQ shredded chicken, lashings of sour cream, sprinkling of smoked paprika, dollops of guacamole and spicy salsa. I got the idea from a traditional nacho bowl, and the great thing is at the end, the juices had just about started to permeate bowl, which made for extra tasty munchies to enjoy. I stuck some spoons into the bowl too, for those who wanted to avoid sticky fingers.
I loved the versatility of the edible spoons. Two flavours I received were poppy-seed and coconut, the latter which I loaded with a melon-ball scoop of salted caramel ice-cream, topped with dark chocolate shavings. For the poppy-seed spoon, I lightly whipped cream cheese with a crack of black pepper, dash of sea-salt, sprinkling of feathery dill, then put this delicious concoction onto the spoon. Beetroot infused Scottish smoked salmon was the crowning glory, and made for tangy, oakwood smoked morsels.
I have a sweet tooth and love desserts; my Christmas tree is bedecked with a few edible candy canes. It’s nice to walk by, grab a sweet, then enjoy, you know? Juliet Stallwood’s biscuit was laden with Christmas spices and beautifully iced. I almost – almost – didn’t want to eat it, it was very pretty. Instead, I placed the cute Christmas jumper biscuit on my tree, by looping the red twine into a circle and hanging it so that it nestled on the branches. I have already made a note in my phone to place an order from Juliet next year (more about being prepared for next Christmas in a standalone post).
Good roast potatoes are so important on the big day, which is why I was looking forward to trying Ross & Ross’s Roast Potato Oil. It is Cotswold rapeseed oil infused with smoke, rosemary and garlic. I love the flavours of smoke and garlic, so I was already two thirds there to liking it. I parboiled potatoes, bashed them around in the colander for a bit, then drizzled over the oil. The oil yielded a lovely burnished exterior with crisp skin that was a joy to eat. Yes I know it may be just a humble potato, but little touches like Ross & Ross’s infused oil makes a difference.
Now, you will either be in the pro-brussel sprout brigade (I am), or loathe it with the intensity of a thousand suns. I can appreciate why the haters gonna hate, but I think with most ingredients (never sweetbreads), if cooked right, can be delicious. Up until a few years’ ago, I equated boiled vegetables to hospital- or school-dinner fayre – over done, under seasoned and not something you’d want to put in your mouth. I started experimenting with lightly steaming vegetables, leaving them slightly al dente, and they were delicious. I think I’m traumatised by mushy vegetables (thanks Deane School) and now have them more on the crunchy side.
For this Christmas, I pan-fried brussel sprouts in beurre noisette for four minutes, then finished off with a sprinkling of Ross & Ross Brussel Sprout Dust. It’s a ginger, garlic, chilli, cumin, coriander, cardamom and paprika concoction, which really lifted the humdrum brussel sprout to give it a cool Middle Eastern kick. I know it’s labelled brussel sprout powder, but it’s versatile too. I used a sprinkling to spike mayonnaise, and as an added extra to fajita seasoning. It’s a big value for money jar too, because you only need the tiniest amount, and a small pinch will yield big flavour.
I have yet to try Jackpot Peanut Butter, which I’ll use during a baking session; I envisage peanut butter frosting for some Valentine’s Day cupcakes. I have earmarked Salthouse’s Iburi Shio Cherry Salt for when I cook chilli chicken ramen, as I think this salt will go well with Oriental food. And last but not least, I shall be cracking open the NYETIMBER bottle rather fittingly on New Year’s Eve, so watch out for my social media posts for these.
I’d like to say a big thank you to Andrew and the Tried & Tested team, I had great fun experimenting and tasting the delicious ingredients. If you wanted to check out products mentioned in this post, here are a list of their Twitter handles.
Juliet Stallwood Cakes & Biscuits
Munch Bowls (not Twitter, but website instead)
All the best for the festive season, see you next year!