I don’t know why but this week seems to have flown by in the blink of an eye. I hate it when that happens! And I’ve got a busy weekend too. Dave and I are trying to keep up our American-ness this weekend by going to the first NFL game in London this year on Sunday – Miami Dolphins and the NY Jets. This is like the third or fourth time we’ve been and they are always lots of fun. Since there isn’t really a home team, you get a more friendly feeling I think and everyone is just having a really good time. And how can you not love a stadium that serves little tiny donuts? There’s also an NFL pep rally in Trafalgar Square on Saturday that we will probably walk down to check out, as well, after our trip to Costco.
Nomadic Mango Lassi – I don’t know where the division is between smoothie and lassi, but I think they have crossed it and are more into smoothie or even shake territory than lassi. There’s just something about the taste and texture that make me feel like it isn’t a lassi. However, that said, it is good. It has a very thick consistency, like a super thick shake really, and a nice sweet, mango taste with the tangy yogurt taste coming through at the end. They use low fat yogurt, alphonso mango puree, and water to make this as you would expect, as well as sugar, modified starch, natural flavourings, colour, acidity regulator, and a preservative. I would prefer no artificial colours or preservatives though. If you need some dairy in your life and are tired of plain yogurt or yogurt and fruit, or want something quicker than making your own smoothie in the morning, this might be something to try out. I have thought about using this to make bircher muesli or even porridge just because every once in a while you do desire a bit of a change for your tastebuds. This also might be nice if you eat a kind of bland cereal in the morning though it is so thick I think you would need to cut it with some regular milk to get the consistency to be right. Or, you could just drink it for a mid-day snack. The thickness makes it impressively filling, even for a rather small glass of it. If you are thinking of giving it a try though, I would definitely suggest picking it up from Costco as opposed to one of the other supermarkets. At Costco it is £0.20 per 100ml but at Ocado it is £0.49 per 100ml and at my corner shop, it is even more expensive. It was nice to try this, but I’m not expecting to get it again. It wasn’t bad but not so special that I want to take up valuable fridge space for it either. 1 litre for £1.99. Item #: 0146357.
Garofalo Organic Spaghetti – We are big pasta eaters in our house. We always have spaghetti on hand, as well as the shaped pasta like penne or gemelli. Our favourite, is simple garlic buttered spaghetti or some other pasta shape of choice with maybe a few capers or basil to give it a bit of zing. It’s easy to make but really has so much delicious flavour, if you like garlic of course. Of course, anyone you’re talking to the next day might not appreciate it quite as much. There are so many ways you can prepare pasta and it really is our easy weekday dinner. You can pretty much sauté or roast most vegetables or meats and have a great pasta dish in no time at all. They’ve been stocking the Garofalo signature line of pastas at Costco (UK and US, as well as Australia for sure) for a while now, and we’ve always been big fans. They occasionally have coupons for it, and when they do I tend to take advantage of those. Since last month there was a coupon for the spaghetti, I had to pick some up. It was great timing for me too because I was down to my last little bit. While there’s always the spaghetti to get, they also have two different shaped pasta varieties. In these varieties you get two packages each of three different shapes. All of these shapes are great for sauces because the sauce can settle in all of the little nooks and crannies and you get a lot of flavour with each bite of pasta. And of course, this also means they are perfect for my super lazy garlic buttered pasta too. But I’m a bit of a purist and love spaghetti. We often have spaghetti and meatballs for a quick mid-week meal, but I also like pasta with clams as well and can whip that up pretty quickly too. Garofalo has been producing pastas for more than 200 years, so they’ve got it down at this point. Here’s a little information from the Garofalo website about their pasta: ”Semolina wheat used to create Garofalo Signature pastas must meet the highest standards for protein content and colour quality to guarantee a product with superior aesthetic and flavour that will perform consistently whether prepared by a professional or home chef. Garofalo performs over 25 quality checks on each of its Signature cuts and runs all standard industry controls twice to ensure unmatched quality for its Signature line of pastas.” And that explains why every time I get it, it turns out beautifully. The one tip I would give, no matter what type of pasta you’re making or what brand you’re using: don’t rinse your pasta! If you rinse your pasta after cooking it, you’re going to get rid of all the starches that will help the sauce or oil or butter (or whatever) to cling to the pasta. And you don’t want that. With the excellent coupon that Costco had recently, each 500 gram package was just £0.42! That is an amazing deal, especially if you consider that I would pay £2.09 for the same thing at Ocado; even the non-organic version is £1.00. I just want to point out that even without the coupon, it is still a much better deal to buy this at Costco, as it is just £0.84 per 500 gram package. 8, 500 gram packages for £3.34 (£6.69 – £3.35 Coupon). Item #: 0186902.
Chiostro di Saronno Panettone – I love panettone! It’s like bread and fruit cake all in one and that totally appeals to me. It’s got a light texture like a nice loaf of bread, but has the addition of chunks of dried fruits which add just the right amount of sweetness as well. Yum! Traditionally, panettone is from Milan and served around Christmas and New Year’s. The loaves of bread are traditionally round in shape but have a tall domed shape, like around 15 cm tall for a loaf the size that I bought. It is totally a favourite of mine and I love this time of year because Costco always starts stocking them now. I know I did a little clap and made a bee-line right for them when I saw them stacked up in the bakery area. Usually I have to eat it by myself because Dave is completely not a fan, sometimes I can coax him into a slice. It’s okay though, since it comes in the big tin it does stay fresh for quite some time so I don’t have to just eat panettone for a week or something crazy like that (though I think I could do it). It makes a great little breakfast (tasting, not nutrition wise) with a cup of hot tea or coffee, or a big glass of milk. I’ve got to admit that I love the cute tins that it comes in too; every year is a different design. Once the panettone is all eaten, I always find a use for the tins because they are a good size and great for storage. This is certainly one of the better examples of panettone that I’ve tried over the years. It has a really light texture and a wonderful taste that is just the perfect amount of sweetness, plus the fruit is still tender and tasty. This same company makes the little hard Amaretti cookies that you can also buy at Costco this time of year (I bought some of those too and will be writing about them soon). We used to have the cookies around all the time when I was growing up, but I don’t always buy them though they are also good with a hot beverage of your choice. However, I might have to get another panettone to hold me until next year. Wonder how long it will keep in the tin…the one I have right now says that it will be good through the end of July 2016 if you can believe it! If you’ve got a love for panettone like I do, I highly suggest getting them at Costco because they are so much cheaper than any other supermarket I’ve seen them at, at least £10.00 less for the most part and those aren’t even as large as this one, nor do they come in the nice tin. For instance, at Waitrose you’ll pay more than at Costco for a panettone that is half the size (and probably half of the taste too) and not in a tin. And at Amazon, you’ll pay about three times as much for this same panettone. So if you love it as much as I do, Costco is the only place to get your panettone fix. 1 kilogram for £5.79. Item #: 0059336.
Kirkland Signature Premium Quality Foodservice Foil – I can almost always do a search through my posts and find the last time I have bought something, but unbelievably I couldn’t find anything for tinfoil/aluminium foil. Could it really have been that long ago? I had some silicone baking mats that I bought at Costco in like 2009/2010 and used those all of the time because they were a perfect fit for my baking sheets. However, with my smaller oven here in the UK, my baking sheets are also a bit smaller and the mats I have are either much too small or much too large annoyingly. So, I’ve been working my way through a roll of Reynolds foil since we moved to London (yes, I’m positive that I brought it with me when we moved from the US). That stuff was the heavy duty kind of really wide too so it was a pain in the butt to use and would involve scissors usually. it was great in the freezer though because I used it to add an extra layer of protection to steaks to keep them absolutely free of freezer burn. So whenever I bought this, the roll finished recently and I had to buy a new roll. I debated about just getting a little box but I do find it so useful for lots of oven based roasting tasks. And of course, it is a must when cooking things that are going to release a lot of fat or marinade during cooking (like the Slow+Low pork that I’ve written about). So, we ended up buying the giant roll of foil at Costco. It is the perfect width for our baking sheets, which makes me happy. This means it is also a really good width (30 cm/11.8 in) for wrapping steaks and other items for the freezer. The thickness is good without it being overly thick, like the heavy duty Reynolds foil, but it definitely isn’t so thin that it tears or punctures with the slightest touch. I actually like the thinner foil when I’m packing things for the freezer too because I feel like I can get a better, tighter seal, and since they are wrapped in Saran-Wrap too, I don’t need the overly heavy foil to protect it. I know that this giant bunch of foil will last me quite a while, but I think of that as a plus because it means I’m not going to have to worry about running out of it right when I’m ready to cook something anytime soon. The price is so much better at Costco for this bulk size that I don’t mind having to store the bigger box either. At Costco the price is £0.64 per 10 metres of foil but at other places I’m going to pay someplace between £1.19 to £2.19 per 10 metres (all the same width). I like the idea of getting twice as much foil for the same price as at other supermarkets. 30 cm wide by 200 metres or 11.8 inches x 656.16 feet for £10.69 +tax. Item #: 0097405.