Saturday, 30 June 2012

Patak's Fusion Indian Stir Fry Punjabi 5 Spice Review

We were sent a packet of the new Punjabi 5 Spice Indian Stir Fry sauce from Patak's... now I love LOVE curry - anything from a mild Korma to a spicy Balti (not quite managed a Vindaloo, but hubby has not been beaten yet!) I love the different flavours and spices that each curry brings.
The sauce does not need to be kept in the fridge so you can stock up and keep them handy as a quick-fix tea when you cannot decide what to have!  I love a homemade curry made from scratch but sometimes I don't have the time or energy (or cash to run to the Indian takeaway!) to make a decent curry but this stir fry sauce made an exceptionally good curry.  It's spice strength is described as medium, which is just the right level for a great tasting curry.  Anything too hot just burns but with the Punjabi 5 Spice you can taste the spices and enjoy the flavours. My neighbour popped in for a quick chat whilst I was cooking the curry and said, "it smells like a professional curry"!

You only have to add the chicken (or other meat, i.e. lamb) and vegetables - I used red onion and green and yellow peppers, but you could use any vegetables you have in the fridge that need using up!  We enjoyed the curry with rice but it would be equally as good with potatoes, naan bread or wrapped up in a big chapati!

There was just enough sauce, not too much and not too dry - there's nothing worse than chicken and veg swimming in a sea of sauce!


From start to finish, it took 15 minutes including the preparation of chopping and slicing so a really quick and easy meal to make.  By doubling up the sauce and ingredients, this would also make a great get-together meal for a family weekend as it's so easy to make, it leaves you with more time to catch up with your friends and family!  A great big serving pot of curry and a help-yourself bowl of rice goes down a treat when my family all get together!

Pop over to Patak's Curry Club Facebook page and say "hello"... keep up to date with new products and the odd freebie!

Preview Review of Nestle Chocolately Cheerios

I was lucky enough to receive a box of the Nestle Chocolately Cheerios before they hit the supermarket shelves next month... my children were delighted at the thought of being important enough to be able to try a new breakfast cereal before anyone else in the world (or so they thought!).
They spotted the box after school one day but I managed to hold them off until the morning when we could all sit together and eat breakfast as a family.  They were well-liked by both of my children and also got the thumbs-up from the parents, i.e. me & hubby!  My daughter quoted, "super magic awesome" with my son having 2 bowls!

The new cereals have been taked about and promoted on the Cheerios UK Facebook page and some people were saying, "not another chocolate-based cereal!" and seemed of the opinion that their children would be forced to live on chocolate cereals!  But, as parents, we can all make the choice when purchasing cereals for our families. 

In my household, we do buy chocolate cereals for our children but they also enjoy porridge, Weetabix and bran flakes/cornflakes... all without adding sugar!  As part of a healthy diet and lifestyle chocolate cereals are OK in my opinion; Chocolately Cheerios are a source of calcium and have the Wholegrain Guarantee carried by Nestle cereals.  They are also lower in calories and higher in fibre than another "chocolate hoop" cereal... not naming names, but you can guess the brand I mean! 

The Chocolatey Cheerios are slightly smaller than the "other" ones - more "Cheerio-shaped and sized" and also they keep their "crunch" - one of my pet hates is soggy cereal (I actually shouted at a midwife when I was in labour as she was trying to make me eat crisped rice cereal that had had milk put on it for about an hour... not nice!).

Overall, I think these cereals will be a hit with families and will be appearing on breakfast tables all over the country really soon.  As an ex-uni student, I can also see them as a store cupboard essential for those times in need of a (healthy!) energy boost!

Pop over to the Cheerios UK Facebook page and say, "hello" - watch out for their next giveaway of new and/or existing products :)

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Rain stops play....

Well, today was supposed to be the annual "summer" sports day for my children at primary school - however someone "upstairs" had other ideas as the weather had been fine (dare I say perfect!) for sports yesterday and this morning up until approximately 5 minutes to 9 and the heavens opened!
The event will be held another day... however the refreshments stall needed to lose a lot of cakes and quickly!

Yesterday's efforts of baking 125 cakes and goodies did not go to waste however, as the parents couldn't resist an impromptu cake sale in the school hall!  After all, who can resist a cupcake, especially on a rainy miserable day!  Anything to cheer you up!

I usually bake with block or soft Stork margarine but when shopping for ingredients I noticed on the shelf "liquid Stork".... hhhmmmmm can it be as good as conventional margarine for baking?  Well, the result, in my opinion was great!
It was really, really easy to mix and, as when baking all your ingredients should be at room temperature before you start, forgetting to take the margarine/butter out of the fridge is not a problem because the Stork is in liquid form it is ready to use straight from the fridge.  That is a confession of mine, I always forget to take the fat out of the fridge in advance!

I usually follow a whipped sponge recipe but the handy recipe on the bottle used an all-in-one method so that's the method I used... and the result was a very light and fluffy cake equivalent to the slightly more lengthy method of whipped sponge.  So, a quicker method with the same results gets the thumbs up from me!

So, I hope all of the parents enjoyed their cakes today and as we still have the official sports day to come, we will have "Round 2" of the cake eating competition soon!  Local parents can comment below on the "taste score" of the cakes using Stork liquid!

Bye for now!!!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Fairy Platinum Dishwasher Tablets Review

I don't know about anyone else, but my dishwasher gets used at least twice a day - sometimes more when entertaining, and speed is often essential to the process!
I've tried various dishwasher tablets/gels etc. and none have provided a good clean on a quick wash cycle.  Until Fairy Platinum tablets made an appearance that is!  A normal cycle on my dishwasher is 132 minutes(!) but with a quick wash - that is reduced to just 30 minutes, but I have found that the clean-quality of the dishes is nowhere near as good on the quick wash cycle.

When I recieved the samples of the Fairy Platinum dishwasher tablets, my first thoughts were, "I hope these work on a quick wash as my washing-up life will be soooo much easier" and the answer is "Yes!  The tablets DO work on a quick wash cycle!"  Thank goodness, at last a tablet that is time-saving and super cleaning!

I tested the tablets to the max - all the oven trays from a Jubilee Party - DONE!


The marks on the small tray are through over-use, not leftover food debris!

My husband's "unwashed-for-a-week" tin cup from his week at the TT Races  - DONE!

And, to top it off, these tablets actually clean your dishwasher and filter for you whilst doing their Fairy magic!  They also smell lovely - not a musty smell in sight, just lemon fresh scents which keeps your dishwasher smelling fresh too!  The pictures below show that Fairy Platinum helps to remove even hidden grease from your dishwasher whilst cleaning your dishes!

My daughter asked why they are called Fairy tablets as they don't have a wand or wings.. but believe me, the magic that they do work makes them worthy of "Fairy" status to me!

In the welcome pack, I also received 8 Annabel Karmel recipe booklets and money-off coupons (£3) to use when purchasing Fairy Platinum dishwasher tablets.  So to spread the joy, the first 8 people (UK only please) to "like" and post on the wall of Katie Cupcake Cymru on Facebook mentioning Fairy Platinum Tablets will recieve one booklet courtesey of Fairy Platinum, Annabel Karmel & me - Katie Cupcake Cymru!

Monday, 18 June 2012

My 1st Blog Award!

Yesterday I was tagged in a tweet and mentioned in a blog by 2 lovely fellow bloggers, Really Rach & Missing Sleep. The fantastic news was that they were awarding my blog an award! The Versatile Blogger Award!

As a new blogger I was thrilled to have a boost like this and have had a happy smiley day all day long... also the sun shone today so that helped a lot!

Seriously though, this award is a little bit of fun and an cool way to learn some interesting facts about each other. To receive and nominate for The Versatile Blogger Award you have to follow some rules:
  1. Thank the Blogger/s who awarded you this award and link back to them
  2. Share 5 Random Facts about yourself 
  3. Spread the joy by nominating other bloggers for the award.
So as part of winning this award I have to share 5 facts about me, so here they are...
  1. I am a secret geocacher!  (Google it!)
  2. Both of my children were born at 6:39 (one am and one pm)
  3. I can't make gravy - even instant "granule" gravy!
  4. My "normal" job is a guest house proprietor on the (usually) sunny Welsh coast
  5. My ambition is to climb Kilimanjaro... one day :)

So now it is my turn to tag some interesting blogs and award them the Versatile Blogger Award.

Here we go, in no particular order, my choices are...

Sophie at Being Mum
Elly at Running Rants
Helen at The Crazy Kitchen
Martha at Never Seconds


Tidlo "Toot Toot" Review & Competition

The lovely guys and gals at John Crane Toys sent me some "Toot Toot"'s to review and even popped a couple of extras as a competition prize for you lucky people!

"Toot Toot"'s.....???  The modern day school recorder!  These well made wooden toys are "real" instruments too so can be used for the school music lessons (do they still teach recorder at school - our local primary doesn't, but I'm sure many do!)

They are well made and weighted just right for children to hold and use confidently... not too light and flimsy but not too heavy on their wrists.  After about 5 minutes (each!) of tooting and tuneless noise, myself and my eldest decided on a plan... I can show her which holes to cover, blow gently and lo and behold, the beginnings of a tune!  Daddy went to hide however, when it was our youngest's turn to have a go!  Although, he did manage the fingers correctly, he just needs to understand how gentle is gentle! For a 5 year old, there is a fine line between a puff with no noise compared to "ear-plug-needing" levels!

Well, anyway we've been out and about with our Toot Toot's over the weekend - catching up with RSPB Cymru, taking in a local European Market and seeing off the yachts in the town's annual Yacht Race.  We hope you enjoy our photographs and good luck in the Rafflecopter competition below where two of you lucky things can win your very own Toot Toot too!

Pop over to John Crane Toys on Facebook and say "hello"!  They regularly hold great competitions for all to enter so have a go!

a Rafflecopter giveaway ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Friday, 15 June 2012

Ryvita Recipe Reviews (2)

Well, here's the second instalment of the fabulous recipes from Mark Sargeant & Ryvita.  They are both seasonal toppings for the crispbreads - the first as a light breakfast and the second as a light lunch.

Ryvita Fruit Crunch crispbread with banana, yogurt, honey, basil & passion fruit is a quick and easy light breakfast for a great start to your day.  I actually substituted the passion fruit for strawberries as, believe me, trying to find passion fruit in my small town was a major feat - a bit too tropical for a small Welsh town!  The passion fruit/strawberries are used to flavour the yogurt & make a simple coulis so any soft fruit you can get your hands on will work just fine... also it depends on the flavours you want to use for variety.  Next time I'm on my travels to the "big town", I will definitely pick up a couple of passion fruits to redo the recipe again!


The flavours of the fruits with the honey & basil fitted very well together and even my children (both under 8 years old) gave this the thumbs up!

The second recipe used the Mediterranean Herb Crispbread with Sardine Escabeche.  This recipe took a bit more in the way of preparation, with lots of thinly slicing to be done but it is worth the effort.  The marinade of red wine vinegar, orange, thyme, rosemary, bay, garlic, parsley & chilli gently pickles the fennel, carrot and onion and is lovely with the sardines... in fact, any oily fish would be great to use in this recipe.

I think this recipe is most suited to eating "al fresco" sat on a sun terrace on a warm afternoon... at the moment, a wet and windy Wales will have to do but it definitely gave a Mediterranean feeling to my afternoon.  The flavours from the crispbreads paint a perfect picture of the Med and the tastes most associated with the area.

I've really enjoyed working "with" Mark Sargeant - even if from afar!  But it has shown that a normal housewife and mum can create great looking and tasting foods in a normal kitchen with (mostly!) store cupboard ingredients!  "Come Dine With Me" here I come!

And of course, innovative ways to use the underestimated Ryvita Crispbread - a great source of fibre with great new flavours for family life!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Ryvita Recipe Reviews

Ryvita.... when I say "Ryvita" what word immediately pops into your head?  I asked this question earlier on and the answers included:
  • Cardboard
  • Yummy to dip in soup
  • Philly & cucumber
  • Yack(!)
  • With butter & Marmite or spready cheese
  • Like eating my shoe(!)
  • Yum, if you can't eat wheat
  • A diet food
So overall, about a 50/50 split good & bad.... but with these new recipes from Mark Sargeant, owner of celebrated Rocksalt in Folkestone, I'm sure more of you will be swayed towards the "yes" side of the group!

I always thought of Ryvita as a diet/weight-loss product - but I love them with lots of "real" butter on them, therefore defeating the object of the diet aspect!  Mark has been working hard to develop new recipes for Ryvita inspired by the British summertime, using 4 flavours of the range;   Hint of Chilli, Dark Rye, Mediterranean Herbs and Fruit Crunch.

The following two recipes have the tagline of "Sun, Sea, Sand and Crunch - A Stunning Summer Spread from Ryvita".

The first uses a new addition to the range - Ryvita Hint of Chilli Crispbreads with spiced potted crayfish tails and watercress.  It was really quick and easy to make, looked absolutely stunning and would make any light lunch or starter at a dinner party look fantastic.

The spice from the Tabasco sauce and cayenne pepper is perfectly complimented by the nutmeg and peppery watercress and the butter helps to keep the flavours together.

The crayfish tails could be replaced with prawns if necessary and, as a lover of rocket leaf salad, this could be a substitute for the watercress if needed.

The second uses the Ryvita Dark Rye Crispbreads with salt beef, watercress, radish (home-grown in my case!) and dill pickle.  Again, these would compliment any dinner party or as a canape at a cocktail party and are very quick and easy to make.


The flavours in this recipe were fantastic - Cider vinegar, English mustard, garlic, lemon and again the peppery watercress all compliment the salt beef flavours.  The salt beef could be exchanged for pastrami, peppered ham or garlic chicken - in fact most meats would go really well with the flavours shown in the recipe.

The beef recipe was my favourite of the two - but with opinions from friends round for an informal "dinner party" the overall winner was the chilli & crayfish tails Ryvitas.... but only by a small margin!

I have 2 other Mark Sargeant recipes to try out and will show you the results tomorrow... but as a quick and easy treat try Chocolate Philadelphia with strawberries on the Hint of Chilli Crispbreads... absolutely delicious!  And also shows how versatile the crispbreads are, both sweet & savoury!


The Ryvita Company is a truly British establishment and has milled it's own rye flour at it's home in Poole, Dorset for over 40 years.  They work with British farmers to source the very best rye sine 1925.  Let's keep Ryvita a store cupboard essential, so that when guests unexpectedly drop on your door step - you have a quick and easy stylish lunch to serve!  Personally, I am going to try the "dip-in-soup" method as well - this had never occurred to me before and great when it's Sunday evening, no shops are open and you have ran out of bread!

I hope you enjoyed these recipes and look out tomorrow for the next instalment!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Eden Project Competition!

Sorry for the delay but being laid up in bed with tonsilitis put a huge dampener on my weekend!  Off to the doctor's in half an hour so will publish this as promised before I go!

Win a voucher for a free entry ticket to Eden Project, Cornwall (when purchasing a full price adult's ticket) - saving upto £23!!!

I went to Eden project in the summer when it first opened back in 2001 and I am looking forward to when I can now take my children to see the fantstic sights there are in store.

Visit the 3 fantastic biomes - experience the rainforest, the Mediterranean and the outdoor world.  First and foremost, Eden Project is a giant garden but is combined with architecture, art, food and is a living example of regeneration and sustainable living.

From the Eden Project website you can see the top 10 reasons to visit the Eden Project...

Here's some of what you'll find when you visit:
  1. the world's largest rainforest in captivity with steamy jungles and waterfalls
  2. cutting-edge architecture and buildings
  3. stunning garden displays all year round
  4. world-class sculpture and art
  5. evening gigs, concerts and an ice rink in the winter
  6. educational centre and demonstrations to inspire all ages
  7. brilliant local, fairly traded food in the restaurants and cafes
  8. a rainforest lookout that takes you above the treetops
  9. living example of regeneration and sustainable living
  10. free land train pulled by a tractor.
I can confirm that it is just as good - even better than the website shows!

So enter the Rafflecopter competition below for your chance to win a 2 for 1 ticket offer!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Nestle Honey Cheerios Review

At the end of last week we were sent some Nestle Honey Cheerios to review.  Now, I know you all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day - begin with a good healthy meal inside you and your day will be off to a great start! 

I'm quite lucky as my son is a great eater but often it is "hit and miss" as to what my daughter wants to eat for breakfast in the morning... until we tried the Honey Cheerios that is.  They were loved by both of my children and from a parent's perspective they are great as a healthy breakfast with out having to add any sugar.  The sweetness is there from the honey; but they are not too sweet as the flavour of the honey really comes through.

A 30g serving with milk contains over a quarter of the recommended intake of the main vitamins and minerals and, at over 63% wholegrain, makes a very healthy breakfast indeed!

With just an 11 o'clock fruit snack- my children weren't hungry again until lunchtime which shows how filling and satisfying the cereals are.  I would highly recomend the cereals for not just families, but also households without children.  They also double up as a great midnight supper snack... who said midnight feasts are just for kids?!?!  Sometimes I just love a bowl of cereal before bed - my husband's wisecrack everytime... "are you eating your cereal now in case you get up late in the morning?!"

An extra bonus is to collect the Box Tops for Books vouchers to enable your local school to get free DK books; another great addition to your children's day at school - healthy breakfast and free books!

Pop over to the Cheerios Facebook page here and say "hello" to the Cheerios Team!

Anyway, off to see what delights are in store for me this evening.... speak soon!

Keep Calm and.... Competition!

I'm not really a girly-girl but like to treat myself every now and again - local to me there's a great jewellery & gift maker EllieBelle Jewellery & Gifts who makes fantastic items for all tastes and all pockets.

She kindly made some badges especially for the Katie Cupcake Facebook page and so we have a quick and easy competition starting tonight.  Just follow the Rafflecopter instructions below and 5 lucky people will win a "Keep Calm and Eat Cake" pin badge!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Jubilee Holiday Weekend

Well, as in most cities, towns and villages throughout Great Britain and beyond, this weekend we celebrated the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

A community comittee in my town orgainsed a fantastic street party -  a great amount of time and effort went into the planning and execution of the event... and it was a jolly good job they had a "Plan B" as the rain and wind decided to make an appearance so the event was held inside in the local Leisure Centre.

However, the change in plans and poor weather did not dampen anyone's spirits and a great time was had by all!

Mr Balwn's made an appearance and did an amazing couple of hours work - he must have made over 100 balloon animals/swords/hats/etc... all of the kids (little and big!) loved his work and it added a different touch to the party. 

All the children received a Jubilee pin badge donated by the comittee as a keepsake and they even gave a present to the oldest and youngest person at the party, which I thought was a nice touch!

The town's Mayoress came to say "hello" too and was impressed at how the community had all come together to celebrate the Jubilee as one.

The Jubilee celebrations continued today as we went to a Jubilee-themed church event.  Our local church holds "Messy Church" events usually every half-term with a different theme for each one.  At this event, we even had bungee jumping teddy bears!  I'm not really sure what this had got to do with the Jubilee but the children thought it was great.  Here's our certificate to show that our teddies were brave enough to face the jump!

And last but not least, a Jubilee Rose cupcake!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Not enough hours in the day...

Well, after a busy week without Mr. Cupcake Cymru as he's on the Isle of Man, I've had a nice relaxing afternoon.  The week started with "ice-cream" afternoons in the sun on the harbour and we even managed a shopping trip to Llandudno!  Then, as the week progressed, the children's social life took over the diary and in the past 2 days we have had Welsh exams, karate gradings, a Brownie sleepover and a sleepover at Nanny's house!

And the next 24 hours promises a Jubilee bonanza, lots of cooking and even more fun!  I just hope the weather holds out for us, as at the moment it's not looking too good!  But I'm sure we will all have a great time... with Jubilee Rose cupcakes and enough sandwiches to feed a small army, you can't go wrong!