Monday, 18 June 2012

Pop Chips - A Healthier way to snack. (Giveaway)


So as you may know by now I am on a diet, while I will still enjoy the occasional cake-based treat, I need to spend some time becoming more balanced and healthy. One of my biggest weaknesses is crisps, I love nothing more than sitting down to watch a movie with a share bag of kettle chips or a bloody great bag of Doritos. Also, a lunchtime sandwich just isn't complete without a nice bag of cheese and onion walkers! Am I right?

When I started Weight Watchers it didnt take long for me to check the points of my favourite snacks and to be perfectly honest I was shocked! 15-20pp for a share bag, 5-9pp for a regular shop bought bag of crisps! I just couldn't afford the points! *sobs*

I started to experiment with "healthier" alternatives, which frankly went from bland to blander, oven baked, rice cakes, wholegrain I tried it all but none could fill the whole in my heart (exaggeration alert) left by the humble crisp.

Enter Popchips... I was apprehensive as my previous experience of healthy crisps had not been pleasant, but when the lovely people at Popchips offered to send me some freebies to try and review I bit their arm off (almost literally).

I was pleasantly surprised, I am not going to say they completely measure up to the mighty Kettle Chip or a full fat variety of your choosing but they were delicious! Packed full of flavour with an interesting texture. The chips are not baked or fried but popped.

"Popchips are popped with heat and pressure to make a naturally delicious crisp with all the flavour and less than half the fat of fried crisps, fewer calories and none of the fake colours or flavours (or greasy fingers) that gives snacking a bad name."

Despite reading all the websites and press releases I am still in the dark as to what "popping" entails, but however they manage it they have created a healthy snack alternative to my favourite crisps, so thank you Popchips!

For those Weight Watchers out there, a 23g bag of popchips is just 3pp and you seem to get more for your points than with baked crisps as they are lighter in weight.

So if you fancy giving them a go you can... Popchips – single serve and share bag - are available in five taste-bud popping flavours, including original, barbeque, salt & vinegar, sour cream & onion and salt & pepper. you’ll find them in waitrose and in selected retailers including whole foods, whsmith (stations and airports), planet organic, selfridges, harvey nichols, and costco. you can also order popchips from the comfort of your sofa through ocado.com or amazon.co.uk




Now for the exciting bit...

The people at popchips are giving ONE lucky reader the chance to win 24 single serve bags of popchips!

To enter simply leave a comment below telling me your favourite snack food. It is as simple as that!

For an additional entry simply tweet " I have entered @nellyscupcakes #popchips giveaway, its pretty awesome: http://www.nellyscupcakes.co.uk "

(feel free to adlib on the tweet, it will still count, just be sure to include a link!)

Make sure you leave a Separate comment below telling me you have done so (including your twitter username)

Unfortunately this competition is only open to UK residents.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Jersey Black Butter

I am approaching a pretty stressful time at work right now, I work for a university so June is particularly manic with all the exams and deadlines. I thought it was stressful for students but seeing the opposite side of it has definitely been an eye opener!

I have found myself staring out of my office window at a drizzle soaked Newcastle sky line day dreaming about holidays to far flung places. I have never been much of a sun worshiper so a week of sunbathing by a pool is not my idea of a good time. I much prefer city breaks or somewhere with lots to do and see.

I was in the midst of a pretty intense holiday daydream one day when I received an email offering me the chance to review a product from Jersey. Now I've never actually been to Jersey and I must confess I did have to google where it actually was, but as soon as I clicked on the website and saw the photos of the lovely beaches and scenery, and descriptions of the things you can see and do (with particular interest in the foodie attractions) I was enthralled, . Needless to say my recent holiday day dreams have been mainly centered around Jersey.

With a beautifully warm climate and lush green fields, Jersey is an island packed with culinary delights. From the island’s own vineyards to its fresh seafood and a wide range of delicious dairy products made from the rich, creamy Jersey milk, there’s plenty to discover for a foodie wannabe such as myself.


Now for the exciting bit...


To help you discover the island, this June Jersey Tourism are giving two people the chance to win a 3 night stay on the island, complete with a complementary walking tour by Jersey-born naturalist Arthur Lamy.

As well as this 3 night stay, which includes flights and 5-star accommodation for two, there’s also a chance to win prizes every day – from Friday 15th – Thursday 21st you can win delicious hampers of Jersey fudge,chocolate & black butter from La Mare Estate

To enter this competition simply stop by the Jersey Facebook Page.

I was sent one of the products from the hamper you could win to try out, Jersey Black Butter. When I first heard the name I assumed it was actual butter from one of those Jersey cows, but it is actually in fact a spiced apple compote.




Jersey Black Butter is a mixture of sugar, liquorice, spices and apples which are stirred together with generous amounts of cider. It has a very powerful flavour but is absolutely delicious. The first thing I did when I received it was make some toast.


I liberally spread it on some hot buttered toast and took my first bite. The best way I could describe it is sort of like all the best bits of Christmas rolled into one lovely jar! It sort of tastes like the inside of a mince pie, only nicer (as I am not a bit fan of mince pies). The liquorice is subtle but undeniable, the cinnamon adds a warmth which lingers long after on your tongue. It isn't immediately obvious that it is made of apples but there is a slight kick at the end which I imagine is from the cider?


All I really know is, it is nice and I could eat the whole bloody jar with a spoon! (Unfortunately the diet restricts me from doing so...)


I think I might save the jar and try making some Black Butter biscuits/scones/muffins.... The possibilities are endless.



So, do head over to the facebook page and check out their foodie week competition and attractions.

Ever been to Jersey? I'd love to hear what you think as I am totally considering going for a holiday now!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Carrot Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you'd asked me about the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in April I would of enthused about all the wonderful baking I had planned and events I'd like to attend/organise, I would of gone on alarmingly about all the union jack themed bakes and regal inspired cakes I had planned. Now that it is right around the corner I have lost all my enthusiasm.

I am quite frankly a little sick of union jack bunting and if I never see another crown as long as I live it will possibly be too soon. I know, I know, I am being a complete scrooge but if challenged I will simply throw an epic straight-legged toddler tantrum.

OK, so I admit, I may just be letting recent real life events get in the way of my usual excitement for all things royal, but at this point in time I really don't care.

On top of the recent anniversary, we had to put our beloved cat to sleep on Monday. She had been poorly for a while and at the grand old age of 16 it didn't look too hopeful. I have never in my life experienced something so horrible as watching the vet do the deed, and my house feels empty and weird without her little jingly bell and persistent mewing.

So, I can only apologize for my complete lack of jubilee excitement, so when it came to choosing a Nigella recipe for this months Forever Nigella (which I am hosting) I was at a complete loss, and put it off till the very last minute.

I decided to just bake a classic, carrot cake, I mean who doesn't love carrot cake? I bet the Queen LOVES carrot cake (possibly).

Carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting

I stuck exactly to Nigella's recipe in "How to be a domestic goddess". The cupcakes were light and comforting, with a subtle hint of cinnamon. The cream cheese frosting was amazing, I do love a good cream cheese frosting. Highly recommend everyone to make these cupcakes if you ever need to cheer someone up, worked a treat for me.

Sincerest apologies to Sarah at Maison Cupcake for my lack-lustre hosting skills this month, I really should of planned better and thought about how hard this month might be for me.

Stay tuned for the round up of everyone who entered Forever Nigella this month which will be posted over the Bank Holiday Weekend.

Happy Baking

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