Sunday, 16 November 2014

Howdah review& go get your snack on!

I'm a snack loving girl. Yes, yes, I love a good hearty meal as much as the next gal but when there's snacks about....well, they may not last very long with me about! When I'm doing my impersonation of a sofa sloth, my go to snacks are the usual crisps and chocolate...but even I know that although tasty, they're not doing my health any favours. 
I was so happy to discover Howdah, their snacks contain NO additives or preservatives even though they're full of great taste. Their products are produced in India, using locally sourced ingredients which is what creates the wonderfully authentic flavours. On weekends when T and I are in full snacking mode or in the evenings after work when we're having drinks with friends, it's nice to have something different to nibble on. Howdah's snacks hit the spot when you want something different to a packet of crisps or peanuts. 

They have a range of six snacks, including Onion Bhaji's, Peppered Banana Chips, Bombay Puri, Bakarwadi Bites, Peanut Pakoras and Masala Banana Chips. 
I have been munching my way through them and have so far tasted the Onion Bhaji's, Peppered Banana Chips and Bakarwadi Bites. You can read my review of the Onion Bhaji's here. 
The other day the lovely Howdah people sent me these to try -

I think my favourite is the Banana Chips; crisp and salty with lots of black pepper to kick your taste buds and make you salivate. They're very moreish, so it's good that there's lots in the packet! They're unlike other banana chips I've tried, because they're not that sweet and they're more crunchy, like potato crisps. 

I was initially unsure if I'd like them as in the past the banana chips I've tried were just hard chunks of banana that left me feeling sick after a while from all the sugar. And then of course there's some brands that use honey so aren't even vegan! A banana that isn't vegan?! What is the point?! So these VEGAN Peppered Banana Chips were a wonderful delight, spicy and oh so tasty when dunked into guacamole....or even baked into cookies?!...more on that later!

I was a lucky girl and got to sample the Bakarwadi Bites too. I can honestly say I'd never eaten anything quite like them, and I mean that in a very good way. They're like tiny crunchy sweet and spicy pastries...sort of.

 I really recommend trying these, when I was gobbling them up I kept tasting hints of coriander and cumin and then waves of chili, all mingling together in a warming mix of spices. Serious yum. 

I love that all of their recipes are traditional and authentic, handed down through different generations. It makes me feel cosy and happy because it brings back memories of baking at home with my mother, using recipes that she had collected from her family. I remember the smells in the kitchen that wafted through the house, tempting my brother and father in from the garden when tea time rolled around. 

Food is important, and a love for good food brings people together. When I think about my parents house, I immediately think about the kitchen; the wonderful food and all of the family sat around the large table, sharing stories from the day. One of the most valuable things my mother has taught me is the importance of cooking with good quality ingredients. I try my best to stick by this advice, from vegetables right through to the snacks I buy. This is why I love that Howdah only use fresh herbs and spices and flours in their range, not only does it make the products taste better, it's also nice to know you're not filling up your wonderful body with lots of rubbish artificial flavourings. Win win!

Now then, if you haven't already tried some of Howdah's snacks I have quite the treat for you! The wonderful people at Howdah have given me One of each of the Six snacks to give to one of you lovely people! 

To get your hands on these all you need to do is leave a comment below, or tweet me @CountryGirlBlog and I'll pick a winner at random...the old fashioned way out of a hat! Let me know your favourite vegan snack, your prefered type of hummus or simply that you'd love to eat your way through all these fab treats! The giveaway will end Sunday 23rd and I will announce the winner on Monday 24th, bright and early in the morning to chase away some lucky persons Monday blues.

I will also be posting the recipe for Chili Chocolate Cookies with Peppered Banana Chips next stay tuned!

Happy eating! x

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Almond Butter&Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookies

T and I had a lazy weekend, sleeping in until the clock ticked over into the afternoon and drinking coffee to wake our sleepy heads, before wandering around town in search of food.
Doing nothing in particular is an art, one we have almost mastered. I say almost because I think to become a true master of a weekend of nothing, one must be able to feel fully refreshed come Sunday evening. We however, were still drowsy. Our limbs, heavy with too much sleep lay tangled together on our too-small sofa, aching slightly.

So what does one do when it is 6.30pm on a Sunday and Monday morning is looming not so far away? I delayed packing T's sandwiches and the washing up in favour of baking up a small batch of cookies, just enough to satisfy our stomachs before bedtime.

A little recipe, this makes a batch of 8 mini cookies, small enough to gobble if you have an evening to yourself and big enough to share with a lucky someone.


1 oz Almond butter
1 oz Vegan butter
1 oz Banana, mashed
1 oz Brown sugar
2 oz Plain flour
Pinch (1/4 tsp) Baking powder
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of ground ginger
Handful of flaked, toasted almonds
Handful of dark chocolate, chopped
Splash of vanilla extract

Very simple now, so pop the kettle on ready for a cuppa tea, because these cute cookies are rather charming once dunked.

Using your wooden spoon, cream the vegan butter, almond butter and banana together. 
Now add the brown sugar and a few drops of vanilla extract and stir it in.
Measure out the flour and sift it into the mixture along with the salt, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger. Keep mixing until it starts to cling together as a dough.
Now use your hands to incorporate the flaked almonds and chopped chocolate throughout the dough.
Squish the dough up into a ball and break it in two, then break each half in two again and then again so that you have 8 little pieces of dough.
Use your hands to form them into little balls and flatten them with your palm.

Bake in the oven at 180c for around 10 minutes or until they're starting to turn golden brown.

Cool on a wire rack and devour with tea.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and I do hope you bake these mini cookies, they really will brighten your day and warm your night.

Happy baking! x