Tuesday 25 March 2014

Hotel Chocolat - The Easter Sleekster Selection

Easter is just around the corner and whilst many of my friends gave up chocolate for Lent I was unable to, as Hotel Chocolat had just asked me if I would like to review their Easter Sleekster Selection and it would have been very rude to turn them down. (well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!!)

When the chocolates arrived they were beautifully packaged in a large gift bag which was tied with a black ribbon and I couldn't wait to open the box and see what goodies would be inside.

The Easter Sleekster box is very smart and features an Easter egg design. The gold and blue colours work well together and make the box very eye-catching.

Once you open the lid you see a lovely selection of chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies. There are 28 chocolates and 10 different flavours contained in the box and there is something to suit everybody. 

The bunnies were a big hit with my sons as they looked so cute, they were almost too good to eat - but in the interests of research we managed. There were three different types of bunny, a caramel bow tie bunny - 40% milk chocolate filled with luxurious runny caramel, the praline bow tie bunny - a high cocoa white bunny filled with a smooth hazelnut milk chocolate praline and the orange bow tie bunny - a dapper dark chocolate bunny filled with a dangerously moreish orange and milk chocolate ganache. The boys didn't really have a favourite but the orange bow tie bunny was mine as there was just the right amount of orange and it tasted divine.

There were seven different types of egg, all with delicious fillings. Hotel Chocolat always put inventive fillings into their chocolates and we weren't disappointed with the Easter collection. Out of all the eggs my favourite has to be the Easter bunny cocktail egglet, this is a boozy chocolate cherry Easter treat and filled with a cocktail of vodka, creme de cacao and cherry brandy. The flavours all work perfectly together to create a rich chocolate treat. The raspberry zinger egglet was another favourite, this was smooth raspberries with a zingy touch of lime, balanced in a creamy white chocolate ganache. This was a much lighter chocolate and made a nice change.

The other egglets are

Mandarin olive oil egglet - a rich mandarin milk chocolate truffle made with extra virgin olive oil.
Nutty caramel egglet - a rich pecan praline with a delicious blend of 50% milk and caramel chocolate
Apricot ganache egglet - a fantastically fruity egglet filled eith a smooth apricot and white chocolate ganache
Irish coffee egglet - an after dinner treat of coffee cream liqeur and high cocoa white chocolate
Salted caramel ganache egglet - salted caramel in an indulgent milk chocolate ganache

All of the egglets were delicious and looked appealing in the box, it was really difficult selecting a chocolate as they were all so nice. Normally there are some flavours that get left in the box but these got eaten very quickly as there wasn't a single chocolate that nobody liked.

If you are looking for something a bit different this Easter then you won't be disappointed with this box. It costs £24 and is available in Hotel Chocolat shops and online here 

We received the chocolates for the purposes of this review but all words and opinions are my own.

Friday 14 March 2014

A foggy day

Yesterday we both had a day off work, we had planned to go for a walk on the local fells as it had been a lovely week but when we got up it was very foggy. Undeterred we still went as we hadn't been up on the fells this year. When we reached the bottom of the hill visibility was very poor and we couldn't see very far in front of us at all.

As we got higher we started to come out of the fog and it was a beautiful day. As we looked down you could see the fog beneath us which was really odd.

This picture shows the top of Parlick just peeping through the fog.

On the top the sun was shining and it was lovely and warm. We had started the walk with hats, gloves, coats and waterproofs and it was much too hot for these as we reached the top.

Walking back down was very strange as you couldn't see anything in front of you - normally you get fantastic views from the top but there was just fog everywhere.

It was lovely up on the fells, it was so quiet - we were the only people there that morning. Once we got down we were back in the fog and it stayed foggy all day.

Luke's Farm

This is a special farming post for Uncle Bill - Luke wanted him to see how his farm is growing and how he has nearly as much equipment as Uncle Bill!!! 

Luke has been busy re-organising his farm this week. It has been quite a major move and has involved moving every building and vehicle and finding new homes for them all. All the New Holland tractors are now together at the side of the hill.

The trailer is full of pipes - he is obviously getting ready for a big drainage job!

He tries to keep all the tractors, trailers and farm machinery in a barn as it keeps the farmyard looking neat and tidy.

He has a real attention to detail - there is a garden and greenhouse next to the farm house. The greenhouse hasn't got quite as many plants in it as Grandma's has though!

The two large Case tractors are in the big barn.

All the animals are in the field in the hall - it's a good job we have a huge hall to put the fields in.

We didn't have a barn big enough for the JCB so Luke and Grandad made one.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Loaf

William received a new recipe book for Christmas called Sweet Things from the Aga by Hannah Miles. He is quite an adventurous baker and he likes this book as it has more unusual recipes in it.

On Saturday he decided to bake and after looking through the recipe book he decided to make the Cinnamon Swirl Loaf.  

It took him most of the afternoon but here is the finished loaf.

We ate it warm for breakfast on Sunday and it was really delicious and well worth the time it took to make it. William was really pleased with it and said he will be able to make one next time Auntie Fiona and Uncle Bill come to stay.