Traditionally enjoyed over the Christmas season in the West Indies, sorrel, fresh homemade sorrel that is, is a wonderful surprisingly fruity, spiced drink that is as refreshing as it is pretty in colour. Fill a glass with ice, pour the drink in, sit back and enjoy.
Which is why Semaj’s DIY pack version is such a disappointment. Firstly, the substitution of whole cloves, an essential ingredient in for sorrel, with fennel seeds is inexcusable. If you can’t trust the ingredients list printed on the packaging, it will be difficult to trust the end product. Fennel seeds also tend to be cheaper than cloves, so it also makes me question the ‘value’ of the value pack.
That said, the product was easy to make, and adding cloves from my own spice cupboard, as well as other flavours made a difference. But having to source the spices defeats the object of buying this product.
As a quick introduction to sorrel, this drink had potential as a mixer. However as a stand-alone product, especially with the errors in the ingredients list, this drink cannot be described as authentic and in no way compares favourably with the real sorrel drink.
For day 3 of Caribbean Food Month, it’s time for a review. Coconut milk is one of the stables when it comes to Caribbean cookery. This versatile ingredient can be used in sweet and savoury dishes and lends itself to a multitude of international culinary treats. It also serves as an alternative to dairy.
Dunn’s River Coconut Milk has a thick, smooth texture with a light coconut flavour, meaning that it will work well with tea and coffee. It doesn’t have that sometimes clawy aftertaste when sampled on its own, although it does have a tendency to separate. But a quick stir with a spoon soon resolves that issue.
As a product in its own right, I can’t find much to fault it. As the saying goes, it say’s exactly what it is on the tin. As an ingredient, it works well without any problems, responding to heat well. It’s a great product to have in your pantry.
Rating 4.5 out of 5
Tomorrow’s blog includes recipe ideas featuring Dunn’s River Coconut Milk. Please return to find out more. Thanks for reading and if you’re in the UK or Spain – try to stay cool. I adore the sun, but 38 degrees is my limit. The thought of having to work in potentially 48 degree heat, makes the mind boggle. Best of luck!
August is Caribbean Food Month, on Champagne Twist
August. The 8th month of the year, the summer holidays are in full swing and the temperatures, for once, rival that of many a West Indian island.
So, in celebration of the new month, summer and the relaunch of the Champagne Twist website, August has been designated Caribbean Food Month.
Caribbean Cuisine despite its popularity amongst holidaymakers, has been omitted from the fashionable culinary radar in the UK. Elements have on occasion had it’s 15 minutes of fame, such as ‘Jerk Chicken’, ‘Jerk Pork’ and ‘Jerk just about everything else’, but it hardly matches the success of other culinary greats such as Italian, Chinese, Japanese or Indian food.
When attempts have been made to delve into the genre of Caribbean food, the results have been misleading at best. Adding coconut or pineapple to fish and chips doesn’t make a dish traditional West Indian fare. Nor does eating rice and peas with everything constitute Caribbean style.
So in an attempt to put this right, over the next few weeks there will be new recipes, product reviews and a few surprises, in celebration of this undervalued cuisine.
All starting from tomorrow, here on Champagne Twist.
Apple juice. It’s sharp, tart and tongue-twistingly sweet. Coupled with the often odd, unnatural looking colourisation, which let’s be honest can be mistaken for something else, apple juice is usually best avoided where possible. Or so I thought until I tried the cold pressed Golden Delicious apple juice from Coldpress.
As it’s namesake suggests, the apples are cold pressed rather than heat treated to extract their juice resulting in a clean, fresh, refreshingly enjoyable drink.
The ingredient list is reassuringly short, just apple juice and added vitamin C. An added bonus, the usual saccharin sweet flavour associated with some apple juice drinks, has been usurped by a true apple taste that can only come from apples, in particular, the Golden Delicious variety.
Instantly impressive it is clear to see how the cold-pressed process has enhanced this juice, to produce a product that can be regarded as a healthy alternative to sugary soft drinks.
Straight out of the fridge cold is the best way I believe to enjoy this apple juice, and beyond the obvious thirst quenching qualities, as an ingredient, this drink could prove ideal for cooking and baking recipes, such as smoothies, apple pies, cocktails and apple bread. At around £1.40 for a 250ml bottle, the price isn’t bad either.
Being the best apple juice I’ve tried since I can’t remember when, the only fair score I can give this drink is a full 10 out of 10.
Hope you are all well this on March chilly day. Spring is around the corner, so I thought it would be a good time to post a video about some of the culinary treats to look forward to when the weather finally warms up.
The Beast from the East may be making a snowy return, but that shouldn’t stop you from looking forward to the super hot summer weather* and the delicious foodie treats that will be heading their merry way to an eatery near you.
*May not be strictly true, but we can dream.
As diners steer more and more from alcoholic drinks and seek healthier alternatives to sugar-laden soft drinks, mocktails are fast becoming the trendsetter in the drinks industry. Using colourful and unusual fruits and vegetables as the base, drinks are set to be not only healthy but fun too.
2 Caribbean cuisine.
There are been so many dawns and false starts with this culinary masterpiece, but 2018 is set to be the year, finally, for West Indian food and drink. This oft-overlooked cuisine is making a mark this year as the food to look out for. And it’s not all coconut-based either.
Yes, of course, I was going to add this one, it’s my favourite after all. But tea as we know it is going to have a serious makeover in 2018 and not before time too. Herbal teas, fruit tea and even iced tea will all be on trend this summer.
4 Plant-based food.
The trend for Vegan and Vegetarian food shows no sign of abating, as increasing numbers are seeking alternatives to meat-based diets. Who would have thought 10 years ago that beige food would be referred to meat pie!
5 Floral flavours.
Elderflower, lavender, rose, chive blossoms, violet, hibiscus and pansy. Prepare to see these floral favourites and more, everywhere, from cakes to teas, from cocktails to salads.
I recently reviewed the Vita Coco coconut water and thought I should give the pineapple version a try.
I actually prefer this to the plain coconut water, for 2 reasons. 1, this product, unlike the coconut water only version, doesn’t contain any sugar. I was surprised and disappointed to discover the addition of sugar to to the Vita Coco coconut water, and admit it has made me conscious as to how healthy these coconut water products really are.
2, the flavour is simply lovely – like sipping a non-alcoholic pina colada on a golden beach on a hot summer’s day. The sweetness is provided by the pineapple, adding a fresh flavour dimension without the saccharine aftertaste. I found it very easy to polish off half the 1L carton in one sitting.
Have you tried this drink? What do you think? Please comment below.
This is the ultimate battle of the brand leaders of the coconut water –
Innocent vs Vita Coco.
Which will win?
The Innocent coconut water was sent for me to try. However I purchased the Vita Coco version out of my own pocket.
Coconut water has become the staple beverage for healthy eaters for a few years now. It’s increase in popularity has sprouted a number of companies, all claiming their water is the best.
Coconut water boasts many attributes – it is a source of potassium, which contributes to healthy muscle function, and there are claims that it aids hydration – although I would suggest that most drinks aid hydration, but I won’t split hairs.
But, is there any real difference between one brand of coconut water and another? Isn’t 1 glass of coconut water pretty much the same as another glass of coconut water? Now it’s time to get to grips with these 2 leading brands of coconut water, and find out – let the battle commence.
Contents: 100% pure coconut water, from 4.5 coconuts
Shelf life after opening: 2 days
Taste: Nice, clean refreshing taste.
Comments: It is definitely worth adhering to the shelf life date, as I detected a slight bitter aftertaste after the 3rd day of opening.
Price: 1L carton £3.69 (Ocado)
Brownie points: 10% of Innocent’s profits goes to charity.
Contents: 99% coconut water, 1% fruit sugar, vitamin C
Shelf life after opening:
Taste: Like Innocent, a nice, clean refreshing taste, but with a sweet aftertaste.
Comments: This is slightly sweeter than the Innocent brand, however after 3 days, I didn’t detect a bitter after taste.
Price: 1L carton £3.49 (Ocado)
Result: Score Draw.
Overall, I couldn’t detect a huge difference in taste between the 2 coconut waters. However, if I had to pick I would choose Vita Coco based on the fact I could get away with using this on the 3rd day after opening and it’s about 20p cheaper.
But that slightly troubles me, Vita Coco seems to last longer because of it’s sugar content. Do I really want to add to my sugar consumption? As much as I like the taste and the convenience of a longer lasting coconut water, I’m wondering if perhaps the Innocence version is the healthier alternative.
What do you think? What’s your favourite coconut water and why. Please leave your comments below and don’t forget to subscribe to champagnetwist.wordpress.com for more.
As it’s summer in the city … ahem … I thought it was about time to get the cocktail shaker out. Or at least a big jug to make a refreshing summer time drink. Here’s a little recent invention of mine, the Elderflower and Pineapple Refresher. Let me know if you try it and what you think of it.
Elderflower and Pineapple Refresher – recipe
1/2 cup elderflower liqueur (try St Germain)
2 cups elderflower presse
2 cups fresh pineapple juice
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Ice, to serve
A slice of lemon per glass, to decorate
In a jug, mix the liqueur, presse and juices until well combined.
Fill 4 glasses with ice, and equally divide the drink between each glass.
Add a slice of lemon to each glass and serve immediately.
To remind us that it is actually summer, here’s one of my videos from last year. Hopefully, it will kickstart the heat wave.
Thanks for reading, and please don’t forget to like, subscribe and comment – links below. See you soon!