Maille Culinary Challenge: Hazelnut Aioli

#MailleFlavours Challenge: Hazelnut Aioli

I was recently invited to take part in the Maille Culinary Challenge – Maille are offering bloggers some of their products to create inspiring and exciting recipes with. While Maille are known for their range of mustard, it turns out that they make a huge range of other interesting products, which you can browse through on their website.

The first of two products I chose to try was their Hazeln…

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Closer shot - hello Spring, I am eating you.

Pistachio-coated asparagus with feta from Joy the Baker. Thanks Joy!

Best Chippy Chips in Scotland, 2014. Best have some then!

This post was made possible by Sainsbury’s, who sent me some of their Easter range to try. The opinions in the post are, as ever, mine, and the review is honest. 

Well, Easter is upon us! The traditional time to consume enough chocolate to kill a horse and watch films on telly in the afternoon. Here’s a glance at some of the treats Sainsbury’s have on sale to round out your Easter weekend:

They have a Taste the Difference carrot cake, a bramble and vanilla flavoured rioja, pretty honeycomb decorations (can also double as background in photographs), and Belgian chocolate eggs AND egglets. Egglets! Meep!

You may remember when I was sent a heap of chocolate to try out – the Belgian chocolate in Sainsbury’s eggs is of an equally high quality – sweet and creamy, with a great snap when you crack into it. The praline in the egglets is a little nutty and extremely smooth, a lovely contrast to the crisp milk and white chocolate on the outside. Plus they’re called egglets and I’m pretty stuck on the cuteness of that.

The tea is strong and full of flavour, just the thing to kick start your day. I brewed up a single cup, rather than a pot, and it has a hefty tannic kick to it. I tend to dilute my tea with milk and sugar in a way that would surely curl any true tea enthusiast’s toes, but what can I say? That’s how I roll. Both the tea and chocolate are, admirably, Fair Trade products – many of Sainsbury’s products are now labelled Fair Trade, and you can find out more about this on their website.

As well as this huge stash of presents, Sainsbury’s sent me two books to give away! Yippee! I’ve only ever done one giveaway before so I’ll have to dust off my giveaway skills…

Here is the prize – a great cake decorating book, with recipes for a sponges and icings, loads of instuctions on how to bake, slice, ice and decorate, and three sections of fun and beautiful cake decorating ideas. Here are some pictures to give you a good idea of what to expect:

The cook is hardback, and really full to bursting with great ideas and lovely colour photos, showing step by step instructions as well as the end results. It’s a thing of beauty, and I’m excited to send two copies out to two Rock Salt readers!

So, the rules:

  • this giveaway is open to UK residents only. I’m sorry, but it’s a heavy wee book!
  • to enter, either leave a comment on this post, write a tweet mentioning the giveaway and @ThisIsRockSalt, or leave a comment mentioning the giveaway on the Rock Salt Facebook page. Each one of these things counts as one entry, to a maximum of three per entrant
  • the giveaway will be open until Tuesday 29th April, when the winners will be drawn using
  • winners will be contacted and announced on Wednesday 30th April
  • I think that is all

Good luck! I look forward to posting one of these beautiful books out to two of you very soon.

Sainsbury’s Cake Decorating Book #Giveaway - free stuff! This post was made possible by Sainsbury’s, who sent me some of their Easter range to try. 

I’m off gallivanting again! This time I’m in Manchester for a week with some chums, for a great deal of nonsense and a great deal more hilarity. Or perhaps that’s the other way round? In either case we’re having a simply marvellous time, so much so that I skipped my usual Wednesday post. However, I did take a stroll down Market Street yesterday and find that there are street foods available Thursday to Saturday. If I had posted on Wednesday I’d have missed the opportunity to share some impromptu photos from my walk around, so perhaps I subconsciously knew.

Probably not.

Anyway, here is a peek at some of the delights Manchester’s street food had to offer:

I opted for the two foods I was least able to get hold of at home – Caribbean and dim sum. To wit, goat curried with rice and peas alongside siu mai, steamed buns. I know, an odd pairing – there were two of us, so we went for a kind of fusion sharing vibe.

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Dim sum

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Goat curry

I swear, this was one of the best meals I’ve eaten for ages, eclectic as it was. The curry was exactly the right spicy, and paired with a ginger beer it was even better. The dim sum hit the spot exactly; the buns were fluffy and soft with savoury-sweet pork inside:

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All in all, a tremendously successful experiment.

Thanks Manchester!

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Rock Salt on Tour: Manchester I’m off gallivanting again! This time I’m in Manchester for a week with some chums, for a great deal of nonsense and a great deal more hilarity.

Can’t beat a Lidl picnic.

Still don’t feel comfortable with the apostrophe in mother’s. Still ignoring it.

The now-traditional Mothers Day high/afternoon tea took place on Sunday past, and was as much a triumph as ever. Here’s this year’s table:

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Look there’s my feet! Miss J came in to the kitchen to find me taking this photo. I think she might stage a blogging intervention soon. I’m like, hey, Joy the Baker does it all the time!

Here is the slideshow of delights:

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Miss J and I made and served treats as follows:

We also had Kir Royale in teacups, which is perhaps the finest way to have Kir Royale.

I have a little more detail for a couple of those – first up, the muffuletta. I made one of these for a birthday picnic a while ago, and had equal if not more success with this, my second attempt. This time I started with a homemade ciabatta loaf (I’m getting good at bread), filled with rocket, tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, salami, griddled courgette and turkey. It’s amazing how far you can compress a sandwich – if I hadn’t crushed it and bound it up in clingfilm overnight, this would have been a towering Scooby snack.


Note the method of turkey placement – very important business, getting the straight edges to the outside to offer maximum bread coverage. I brushed the bread with oil before filling it up, and I finished with a layer of mustard on the underside of the lid.

It’s become a personal tradition to make a different kind of deviled eggs every year. This year I tried beet pickled eggs, having seen them online. They are a beautiful purple colour, and the flavour of vinegar imbues the white and the yolk. I didn’t follow a recipe, and I’m working on developing my own method using less vinegar and hopefully imparting more of the earthy beetroot flavour that pairs so well with rich egg yolk. However, for a first attempt (and a freestyle attempt, at that), these turned out well.

I let the hard boiled eggs rest in a jar with red wine vinegar, juniper berries and hibiscus salt for three days. After this, I drained it out and replaced it with water. For the last two days, I replaced the water with beetroot puree – I wasn’t happy with the depth of the colour on the outside of the eggs, and I figured that beetroot puree will stain anything and everything, so it should do the trick! Just before serving, I deviled the yolks with mayonnaise, dijon mustard, mustard cress, paprika, salt and pepper – the trick was to balance the vinegar with creamy and savoury flavours in the yolks. I think I nailed it.

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The yolks take on some of the beetroot colour, making them a pretty rose gold.

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All gone!

Thus ends the tale of Mothers Day 2014 – we had a lovely afternoon grazing on all the snacks, and there may even have been a cocktail taken…

Love you mum!

Mothers Day High Tea 2014 (and Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs) Still don’t feel comfortable with the apostrophe in mother’s. Still ignoring it. The now-traditional Mothers Day high/afternoon tea took place on Sunday past, and was as much a triumph as ever.

Foodie Penpals March 2014

Foodie Penpals March 2014

I’m late! What a terrible example to set! Posting more than once a week is something I used to take in my stride, but these days that stride has to encompass many other things and is also hampered by stray wool. I knit now, did I tell you? Knitting is cool.

Anyway this preamble is a pathetic attempt at an excuse for not having my Foodie Penpals post up yesterday, as I should have. My apologies,…

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Oh hello interesting purple eggs…