Elizabeth D Bakes – Vegan Baking Masterclass

This time last week, I was enjoying a great masterclass, held by the owner of Elizabeth D Bakes, hosted by the Piccadilly branch of Whole Foods Market.  Elizabeth demonstrated no less than 3 different recipes – pistachio brownie, carrot cake and lime tart.

My absolute favourite was the carrot cake, with it’s wonderful spicy mix and delicious carrots.  The lime icing really brought out the flavour of the gluten-free cake, much better in my opinion than the traditional cream cheese frosting, and for far less calories.

The brownie while delicious, was my less favourite of the trio, partly because as much as I would love to, I still can’t really get my head around chia seeds.  To me they look too much like frog spawn when reconstituted and they don’t match the flavour and consistency of eggs.

In contrast, the lime pie was a lovely treat – delicious, moist, crumbly and full of delicious citrus flavour. It came a close second to the carrot cake, and it’s nice to know that the entire pie can be frozen at different stages, so that you will always have one ready on standby.

The masterclass was a great eye opener for me. Simply substituting just a few inexpensive ingredients can produce cakes and bakes which are just as delicious as the traditional version, if not more so. The added bonus, these recipes tend to be a whole lot healthier and less calorific, due to their free from, gluten free and/or vegan attributes.

We are all given goodie bags, which included 2 Elizabeth D Bakes banana breads. I shall review the banana bread at a later date. I will also try the recipes given at the event and report back.

5-starOne of the best masterclasses of the year so far – fun, informative and generous  yummy samples provided. Eating cake for Sunday brunch can’t be beaten.

Teapigs Liquorice and Peppermint Tea – Review

Teapigs Matcha tea product flat lay by Champagne Twist champagnetwistwordpress.com
Teapigs products – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

This is the 2nd in the series of Teapigs product reviews. This time I tried out the liquorice and peppermint tea. I was impressed with the ingredient list – 70% liquorice, 30% peppermint and that’s it, it’s exactly as it says on the packet.

I will quickly mention the packaging, I love the design, clean, simple and most importantly, recyclable.  The tea bags are also biodegradable, so perfect to add to the compost bin after use.

teapigs-l-and-p

The tea itself is delicious, the peppermint component is tasty, refreshing and easy to drink in vast quantities.  The liquorice adds a sweet dimension to the tea and complements the peppermint flavour. My only gripe, I think there is a little too much liquorice for even my fairly sweet tooth.

That said, in the summer I imagine that a couple of bags would make a beautiful iced tea, with some fresh sprigs of mint and a few orange and lemon slices.  If like me, you find the tea a little too sweet as a hot beverage, try using 1 bag between 2 servings. The quality of the ingredients used means that you can be economical with the tea bags, without compromising on flavour.

teapigs-liqourice-peppermint

I would also suggest drinking this with Moroccan style meals, or using as an healthy alternative to sugary drinks, coffee or black teas.

At £4.49 for 15 bags, it’s a little on the pricy side compared with other herbal teas, but it’s more than justified, because of the high quality ingredients. As I mentioned before, if you find the tea too sweet, you can share a bag between 2 cups, effectively doubling the servings to 30.

4-star

Rating 4 out of 5

Have you tried liquorice and peppermint tea? What did you think of it? Please comment below and subscribe for more reviews from Champagne Twist.

Thanks for reading.

Top 5 YouTube Sites of 2016 | Champagne Twist

TECHNOLOGY
Photo Credit ‘Death to Stock’.

These are my top 5 YouTube Sites for 2016 (in no particular order) –

  1. Kristabel Always interesting, and often thought provoking Kristabel’s YouTube channel has given me loads of inspiration during 2016 in the realms of travel, fashion and lifestyle.
  2. Lorraine Pascale My favourite ever chef and one of the most multi talented and inspirational people ever, Pascale proves you can achieve your dreams and eat cake too!
  3. At Home With Nikki If you love anything to do with home decor, you need to check out this youtube channel.  Nikki plus Homes and Gardens to shame.
  4. TED-Ed another highly inspiration and educational resource, Ted-Ed has 100s of videos covering a wide range of subjects – there is something for everyone.
  5. The Resistance with Keith Olbermann – Keith Olbermann is a riot! If like me you were disappointed with the results of the recent US election, check out Olbermann’s posts. If nothing else he will give you hope for 2017.

And as a bonus, why not check out my YouTube channel – Champagne Twist

champagne-twist-logo

What were your favourite YouTube sites of 2016? What YouTuber are you currently excited about? Please share in the comments below. Thanks for reading! Please subscribe to Champagne Twist for more.

Vegan Life Live Goodie Bag – Review

Earlier this week I promised a review of the goodie bag I received at the Vegan Life Live event at Alexandra Palace.  Well, here it is …

First, a nice note with the large reuseable and recyclable paper bag. The printed quotes outside the bag were also a nice touch.

The inside of the bag held a number of treats, and proved to be one of the most generous goodie bags I have been fortunate to receive from many a festival or show.

  1. Linwoods: Milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and goji berries.
  2. Ape: Coconut bites – natural
  3. Vita Coco: Coconut oil, 5ml
  4. Sacla: Free From no.9 basil pesto
  5. Sweet Freedom: Fruit Syrup, 350g
  6. Naturya: Organic wheatgrass powder

Since the show, I have tested the goodies and here are my thoughts on each product;

Vegan Life Live: Linwoods milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin & sesame seeds and goji berries
Vegan Life Live: Linwoods milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin & sesame seeds and goji berries champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Linwoods: Milled seed and goji mix

This is a new product for me, and I have to say, I like it. On it’s own it tastes great, adding it to salads and cereals, it’s superb.  I think this would be a useful ingredient in many recipes, especially soups, breads and stews. It could also be used as an alternative seasoning. However, I wonder if making your own seed and berry mix would be more advantageous. It’s a great idea and versatile, but personally I think I would prefer to make my own.

Vegan Life Live: Linwoods milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin & sesame seeds and goji berries
Vegan Life Live: Linwoods milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin & sesame seeds and goji berries champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Ape coconut snacks
Ape coconut bites champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Ape: Coconut bites – natural

The actual coconut bites in this sample pack are tasty, but I find the brand name very off putting. Dont really understand why anyone would call a food product aimed at the vegan market after an animal, but hey! Also not sure many people would be comfortable purchasing a product often used as a term of racial abuse.

Ape Coconut Bites natural coconut snacks
Ape Coconut Bites champagnetwist.wordpress.com

The bites are the size of 2, 10 pence coins, have a crunchy texture and a very coconutty flavour. There is some sweetness, but it’s not overpowering.  It would be easy to eat a normal sized pack of these in a sitting.  However, personally I would stick to raw, fresh coconut pieces, but if you like potato crisps, these could be a viable and healthier alternative.

Rating 3 out of 5

Vita Coco Coconut Oil
Vegan Life Live Vita Coco Coconut Oil champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Vita Coco: Coconut oil 5ml

It’s coconut oil! It’s brilliant! Nuff said! Nice and useful pocket size I can use as a hand cream whilst travelling. A fabulous thing I discovered at the Vita Coco stall was fresh popcorn cooked in coconut oil. It was delicious. The money off vouchers included are an added bonus.

Rating 5 out of 5

Sacla no 9 free from basil pesto
Sacla no 9 free from basil pesto champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Sacla: Free From no.9 basil pesto, 190g

As a pesto loving eater, I was very excited to try this tofu version, cheese free version, especially as I just happened to use the last of my pesto stash.  Yes, I usually have a pesto stash. It’s a thing. Don’t judge!

I tried it on a baked potato, and it was lovely. Plenty of basil flavour and has a good creamy consistency. With a sunflower oil base, I do miss the flavour that comes with organic olive oil and I think it could have done with a higher amount of pine nuts and a lower amount of cashew nuts.

http://www.sacla.co.uk/products/pesto/free-from-pesto/no9-free-from-basil-pesto/
Sacle Free From No.9 Basil Pesto Picture source: http://www.sacla.co.uk/products/pesto/free-from-pesto/no9-free-from-basil-pesto/

That said, as a full sized product, I think it was a rather lovely sample size and I have made room in my fridge for this little gem.  Nice to know I have lunch sorted for the next couple of days.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

fruit-syrup

  • Sweet Freedom: Fruit Syrup, 350g

A very generous size, I found this syrup extremely sweet, so a little goes a long way. I used it over unsweetened breakfast cereals and found it very enjoyable.  It’s nice to know that there is only 13 calories per teaspoon, but I only needed to use 1/2 a teaspoon. I hope to try baking with it, but over pancakes this should be great.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

Naturya organic wheatgrass powder
Naturya superfood boost organic wheatgrass powder – champagnetwist.wordpress.com
  • Naturya: Organic wheatgrass powder, 7g

I’m new to the whole wheatgrass vibe, somehow it missed me. So I’m particularly glad to give this a try.  I added a teaspoon to a glass of coconut water and the verdict – I would happily do this again. It gave a fresh ‘green’ taste to the coconut water, and I would say it would be lovely with apple juice, lemon water and an elderflower drink, I can’t imagine this being nice with orange juice, but I’d geive it a try and let you know.

Naturya superfood boost organic wheatgrass powder - champagnetwist.wordpress.com Coconut water and green wheatgrass drink
Naturya superfood boost organic wheatgrass powder – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

The only slight quibble, the powder is so finely milled, it does tend to go everywhere. But as the colour of the year is Greenery, I’m not too bothered as I can say it’s part of my new decorating colour scheme 🙂

Naturya organic wheatgrass powder - champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Naturya superfood boost organic wheatgrass powder – champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Rating: 4 out of 5

Did you go to Vegan Life Live? What did you think of the goodie bag? Have you used any of these products? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading, and please subscribe for more.

 

Febreze Candle Frosted Pine -Review

Febreze Scented Candles review by Champagne Twist. champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Febreze scented candle – review by Champagne Twist. champagnetwist.wordpress.com

frosted-pine

Perhaps I received a dud candle. Maybe the scent is so subtle I can’t detect it. But after several hours of burning time, the room has yet to smell like pine, frosted for otherwise.

This is a huge disappointment as I was really looking forward to my living room smelling like an winter alpine forest.

The colour is a lovely shade of pine green.  The candle melts evenly, and the art work on the plastic surround looks really festive.  There is plenty of after use with the glass votive, and the minimum packaging is a plus. The main problem I have with this candle, is the total lack of scent, and as an item marketed as a scented candle, that is very disappointing.

Rating: 1 out of 5

Febreze Vanilla Latte Scented Candle – Review

Febreze Scented Candles review by Champagne Twist. champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Febreze scented candle – review by Champagne Twist. champagnetwist.wordpress.com

Unlike the Febreze Spiced Apple candle which I absolutely loved, I found the Vanilla Latte version very disappointing. To be fair, I’m not a fan of anything to do with coffee, unless it’s used to enhance the flavour of a chocolate cake. I could hardly detect any vanilla notes, just a faint back note of coffee, which oddly made me feel hungry.

The scent throw wasn’t very prominent, which thankfully in this case wasn’t a bad thing.  The wax colour was a lovely rich creamy shade, and the wrap surround, whilst I’m not a huge fan of, has a more expensive look than the artwork on the spiced apple.

If you are a fan of coffee shop aromas, or like affordable candles with reusable glass votives, I would give this product a try.  However if you are looking for a strong vanilla scent or dislike coffee, then I suggest you stay clear.

Rating 2 out of 5

Febreze Odour Eliminating Scented Candle, Spiced Apple – Review

febrezeIf you like anything spiced apple scented, I recommend you give this candle a try. At around £3.50 for 100g, it’s settles in the lower price range, but the quality surpassed that of many higher priced candles.  The scent throw is very good, filing the average sized room in a matter of minutes, and lasts for a good hour or so after the candle has been extinguished.

If you need something to cover up cooking smells, the odour eliminating properties of this candle does the trick, without producing an over sweet, chemically aroma. It produces a rather lovely, cosy and welcoming fragrance.

spiced-apple

The colour is a very festive berry red, and the glass votive can remain useful long after the candle has melted.

The slight grumble I have is the decorative plastic surround on the votive, which I think cheapens the look, but thankfully it can be easily removed.

Spiced Apple Candle, Febreze Review by Champagne Twist
Febreze candle – Spiced apple

In all, one of the best candles in the price range I have used in a long time.

Rating 4 out of 5.

My next review will be Febreze’s Vanilla Latte, so please subscribe to make sure you don’t miss out on this or other posts by Champagne Twist.

Thanks for reading.

Febreze Scented Candle Reviews

With the Christmas season soon upon us, candles are proven to be useful as gifts, covering cooking scents, and for helping to add a cosy, welcoming feel to the home.

Febreze Scented Candles review by Champagne Twist. champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Febreze scented candle – review by Champagne Twist. champagnetwist.wordpress.com

With this in mind I have selected 3 popular options from the Febreze scented candle range:

  • Spiced Apple
  • Vanilla Latte
  • Frosted Pine

Over 3 posts, I will review each scented candle and suggest which is the best. Make sure to subscribe to Champagne Twist, so that you don’t miss out.

Thanks for reading.

Lindt Coconut Milk Chocolate Truffles – Review

Lindt chocolate truffles with coconut review by champagnetwist.wordpress.com
Milk chocolate truffles with coconut filling

Packaged in a beautiful sea green box, these coconut truffles are an absolute delight. You don’t get many in terms of weight, but for the current sale price of £3.50, if you’re looking for a last minute gift for the coco-nut or the chocoholic in your life, you could do far worse.

The coconut filling has a pleasant flavour, if a little over sweet in it’s aftertaste. The milk chocolate is smooth in texture and delicious – what you would expect from the Lindt chocolate house.

Coconut truffles with milk chocolate by Lindt
Milk chocolate truffles by Lindt, with coconut filling – review by Champagne Twist. champagnetwist.wordpress.com

The box weight is 200g, for which you will get around 16 truffles, or in my language, gifts for 2 people! (more on this later). Normally retailing for about £4.90, I suggest you take advantage of the current offer and treat yourself, or a loved one with these spherical delights.

I would have liked a few more in the box for the retail price, but for the sale price, I think it’s reasonable.

Rating 3.5/5

I shall be posting gifting ideas soon, including how to make presents for 2 people, out of 1 box of chocolates. For gifting ideas, subscribe to this blog to make sure you don’t miss out.

As ever, thanks for reading. If you have any comments or would like me to review other food and drink items, please share them in the comment box.

 

Vita Coco – Coconut Water with Pineapple – review

vita-coco-w-pine

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.

Rating 4.5/5

Have you tried this drink? What do you think? Please comment below.

Thanks for reading