Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Food. Show all posts

Jul 23, 2015

Review & Giveaway: Tanya Loves Japan Candy Box!

General information

The Japan Candy Box is a fantastic initiative of the company that also sends the Kawaii Box. The boxes are cheerful and it's such a happy feeling to receive one each month.

The Japan Candy Box is filled with 8 to 10 Japanese sweets and snacks. To give an example of what you could find in a box here's a list of the contents of the June package:

Kabaya Fish / Frog Gummies
Popin’ Cookin’ Neri Candy Land DIY Kit
Pokemon Pikachu Pretzels
Meiji Petit Bubblegum
Puccho Mixed Fruit Chewy Candy
Marukawa Fusen Bubble Gum
Yaokin Sour Paper Candy
Dorayaki Japanese Hotcake
Meiji Kotsubu Chocolates
Lotte Koala March Biscuits

The selection is amazing and for any Japanese candy lover this box will be an absolute treat. It's definitely a generous amount of candy for the price you have to pay, which is only $19.90 shipping included. It becomes even cheaper with a 6 or 12 month subscription. 

The box looks really cheerful and it's filled to the brim. It's a joy to receive a box filled with happiness in the form of sweets.

Tanya has reviewed the box together with her husband and two daughters and they absolutely loved it.

Review by Tanya

When we received the Japan Candy Box my two girls and husband were very excited as it is such a treat to have a box of sweets in the post. We opened the box with excitement and had a good giggle at the packaging trying to work out what each item was according to the sheet you had with the box.  Once we sorted that the tasting began.  

The sweets were definitely different to what we get in the UK, which I loved. They are a lot sweeter which was delicious, we all have a sweet tooth. Most of the sweets and snacks were new to us and we had a great time trying them all. The packaging is gorgeous, we especially liked the cute frog. We all had our personal favorites. My eldest liked the chocolate sweets a lot, because she loves white chocolate.

We've also made some rookie mistakes. Don’t laugh, but the blue box of bubble gum showed a glass of fluid with a straw and bubbles coming out of it so my youngest thought perhaps we should put in in water as it showed. We did this and put in a straw and blew into it as it showed and  we all watched with excitement to see some fantastic change take place. ………. Nothing ………so we blew harder…….. And nothing. We didn't know that you need to put several pieces in your mouth together to blow huge bubbles. We had a good laugh again when we found out later what we should have done. 

We had such a good time with the moulds and I think this is a fun box for children. I loved sharing it with my family. 

I think the favorite item in the box for me was the Koala March biscuits, I liked how each biscuit had a different koala on it. The filling is like Nutella. The daughters loved the Neri Candy Land DIY kit as they had the chance to play with their food which is normally a big no no in our household. It's a lovely idea that there's candy that is meant to be played with, so I loved making the exception. I even joined in with excitement using the little moulds to make shapes and encouraging them to try and make different things with it. You could even mix the sweet mixture together to make different colors. Of course the worst part then is that after spending ages making it we happily bit off the heads of the animals or the petals of the flowers. My husband's favorite was the bubble gum, he loved the taste.

If you are willing to try something different I recommend this sweet box, it's great to share with your family. The fun is in the tasting and the figuring out what each sweet is. For those of you who already know Japanese candy I definitely recommend this box, I think it's a fun and generous selection and it's fabulous to be surprised each month.


To give you an idea of what you can expect from other candy boxes, here's an overview of what the subscribers have received the past couple of months:

The Japan Candy Box is different each time. You can subscribe here. There are several plans with their own rating. It's possible to order one box and then there's a 3 month, a 6 month and a 12 month plan each with their own price. 


One very lucky reader of the blog will receive a Japan Candy Box. It's such a fantastic prize, good luck!

Nov 6, 2014

100.000 Views Giveaway!

I'm very surprised that I managed to reach 100.000 views before the end of my first year. It's wonderful! When I decided to go for it at the end of April after my second and almost permanent break I didn't dream of coming this far. Thank you for following me and for supporting me.

This prize has a lot of things that I love. There are books, bookmarks, Dutch liquorice (if you don't like that I will replace it with something else as it's usually a love or hate thing) and cookies, kawaii items, notebooks and La Marelle. I hope you will like the selection.

Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win. I will announce the winner on twitter or by email. If I don't hear anything within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. This giveaway is worldwide. Good luck!

Nov 2, 2014

Getting to know Rachel Noel: Vanilla Cake with Allspice Cream Cheese Frosting review

Vanilla Cake with Allspice Cream Cheese Frosting

I normally only review one recipe at a time, but in this case, it became necessary to review two new recipes: a Golden Vanilla Cake recipe and an Allspice Cream Cheese Frosting recipe. While I don’t use the brand specific ingredients of the Golden Vanilla Cake, it still came out well.
Naturally the first thing I did was bake the cake. I mixed all the dry ingredients together. Then I included the eggs and butter and thought I was done.

Of course, this was because I’ve been making a significant amount of cookies, not cakes, and almost forgot to add the milk! Then, when I added the milk, I thought it was too soupy. That’s when I finally remembered, cake batter is a lot more liquidy than cookie dough. It’s been a long time since I’ve made a cake. But at least it looks beautiful!
Next step was to pour out the batter into the two cake pans. I didn’t have any parchment paper to keep the batter from sticking to the pans so I’m greasing them, hoping for the best, and telling my husband to put parchment paper on the shopping list.

So I bake the cakes for appropriate amount of time. They give the apartment a subtle vanilla scent. They look very good!
I made up the frosting while the cakes cooled. Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures while doing so. >.<
So, let’s just skip to the problems I had trying to frost the cake!
The first problem was that greasing the pans was not enough. The cakes stuck to the pans and then they started crumbling a bit. My husband felt obliged to encourage the crumbling by pinching off a piece of cake. At least I had an early opinion that it would taste good! Sadly, the act of frosting also only encouraged the crumbling. I did decide to do something completely off the recipe and put in some diced pears between the layers with a thin coating of frosting.

It ain’t gonna be pretty, but I’m not going for looks as much as taste.
So I put some diced pears on top of the cake as well to, again, enhance the flavor. I was hesitant to try the cake since I had sincere doubts about the flavor. I told my husband he could have one slice of cake. Unfortunately I let him decide the size of the slice. I kid you not, the picture below was taken after he grabbed ONE slice.

He loved it! He said it had multiple flavors that blended together rather than having one overpowering flavor of sweetness. When I tried it for myself, I understood what he meant. The combination of flavors, cake, frosting, pears, make for a combined flavor that make me think of autumn. The allspice of the frosting mixed with the gentle vanilla of the cake, mixed with the subtle flavor of the pears. It was definitely not a sweet cake, but it was so very flavorful. I’m not sure I could get this with any other cake/frosting combination.
So, this is definitely a good cake to make as we get further into fall. I definitely prefer it to all the pumpkin spice that’s being shoved in my face. The frosting does not carry as well to the next day as I would like. By itself it reminds of cinnamon gum. But the combination definitely works. I would give these recipes a 5, but I’m not sure that I could really use these recipes with any other. The Allspice frosting is so flavorful it requires a cake that is subtle in its flavors and the flavor of the Vanilla Cake is so subtle it requires either a flavorful frosting or filling. I’ll still give these recipes four hoots and this combination gets 5!


Oct 14, 2014

3 Star Restaurants!


This photo is from restaurant Bras which is one of the most beautiful restaurants of France. It's also one of the best places to eat in the whole world. The food is so special, it's an experience you don't want to miss. It's expensive, but it's worth the price. Eating in this restaurant can't be compared to a regular lunch or dinner, it's special. It's art on your plate and it isn't something you will ever taste again. Every bite has been carefully planned. Even the most simple things taste so good you didn't know they could taste like that. That's why I save to go to a restaurant like Bras from time to time. 
I'm not feeling comfortable in fancy restaurants. Even if I wear pretty clothes I still have the idea that they think I'm in the wrong place. At first I let that get to me, but lately I tell myself I have the right to enjoy the experience. If I pay for it, I'm good enough. I know a lot of people feel like that, but don't let it stop you. Try not to care and get over it as you miss out on something great if you don't.
 I love eating out and I love a special meal, for me that's one of the best things life has to offer. It's all about the enjoyment. Exploding taste buds make me unbelievably happy. I'm amazed that there are people who can achieve that with just a few ingredients. It's an art form which shouldn't be underestimated. Even though it's just one afternoon or evening the memories will last a lifetime.

---- Suzanne ----

Aug 17, 2014

Rory's Proposal Rocks & Perfect Party Candy!

Lynda Redham is celebrating the launch of Rory's Proposal on facebook today. I loved the book and you can find my review here! Because the main character, Flora, loves sweets I've decided to make a selection of delicious sweets you can buy online. On the first photo you see Gourmet Strawberry Cheesecake swirls. Who doesn't like pink sweets? My parties aren't complete without them.

I can never get enough of Dolly Mixture. I love the cute colors and the wonderful taste. This candy looks great in a bowl, it's so cheerful and perfect for a party. 

I really like heart shaped candy. If you're on a small budget and need a romantic gift, this candy will do the trick.

Old Dutch candy tastes really, really good. It always makes me a bit nostalgic and it brings back many great childhood memories. 

Which woman doesn't like shoe and handbag shaped sweets? I really like the packaging of Sugarpova as well. It looks both stylish and festive.

 It's no secret that I'm a big kid who loves to eat lollipops. I think those ice cream shaped ones are the perfect birthday candy.

Last, but not least. Flora eats a lot of marshmallows. I like them too, especially when they are pink!

Aug 1, 2014

Fresh From The Farm by Susie Middleton

I like reading cookbooks, especially if they're filled with stories. Fresh From The Farm offers some fantastic recipes. It's too bad I don't live closer to Martha's Vineyard, because I would love to visit Susie Middleton's farm stand with fresh produce and taste some of the gorgeous products. The photographs in this book are amazing and I love how they make both the stories and the recipes come to life. Susie is a good narrator, I enjoyed reading about how she started farming very much and her tips and tricks for growing vegetables are quite useful for those who want to start doing something similar. I think it's great that she dared to leave her job and start a whole new adventure. It meant moving into a house that hasn't got many modern luxuries, but which is peaceful and romantic. Susie sounds happy and content and gives a clear insight into farm life. Of course there are obstacles, but she talks about them in a light and optimistic tone of voice and Susie and her husband always manage to find a solution. Each season brings a different kind of happiness and I really liked how Susie managed to enchant me with her vivid descriptions over and over again.
The recipes in this book are amazing. They're vegetable orientated and they've been arranged according to season. Everything has been prepared with fresh products and if you want to make full use of the recipes it's best to follow the seasons and do the same. I've tried to make two of the recipes and they tasted really good. The roasted ratatouille pasta is delicious! And the zucchini and corn pancakes with Greek yogurt and honey were great. Susie's Deviled eggs at the beginning look so tasty and the same goes for the cinnamon caramelized pears, so those two will be the next things on my list. I love the simple, but wonderful food. Everything is easy to make and the descriptions are clear with many understandable steps. There are cook's tips for every recipe. I liked those a lot! It's pretty obvious that in my opinion this is a fabulous cookbook.

I got a copy of this cookbook via Netgalley and am very happy with it.

Jul 6, 2014

Lavender and Jada's Lovechock Sachertorte

Lavender and Jada's Lovechock Sachertorte is a gluten and dairy/lactose free cake. We came up with this altered version, because Jada's boyfriend Stephen can't eat gluten and lactose. It's an adjustment of the Sachertorte in The Little Book of Chocolat by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde. We've tried to make the cake just as tasty, but with lactose free chocolate and strawberries on top instead of a frosting.


5 bars of Lovechock mulberry/vanilla (or 200 grams of other lactose free chocolate)
5 biological eggs
250 g cane sugar
40 g ground almonds
2 tsp decaf extra strong
 A little bit of olive oil 


1) Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie

2) Separate the egg yolks from the egg white
3) Mix the egg yolks with the sugar, almonds, decaf and the chocolate

4) Whisk the egg whites until stiff

5) Put everything together in a round tin greased with olive oil in the oven for 30 minutes on 180 degrees

6) Add the strawberries and powdered sugar before serving

As you can see this cake is very easy to make. Chocolate cakes are delicious and your home smells fantastic after you've made one. Even if you're not a great baker you can't go wrong with this recipe. I'm not a good photographer, but I wanted to share this with you anyway. If I've convinced you to give this a try, enjoy your cake!

Jul 5, 2014

Lavender and Jada's cookbook reviews: The Little Book of Chocolat

Lavender and Jada
The Little Book of Chocolat is a must have for chocolate lovers. It starts with a lovely introduction written by Joanne Harris. The recipes in this book are wonderful and the instructions are easy. Even if you're not a great cook, but you love chocolate, you can make them. There are so many delicious cake recipes and we tried two of them for the birthday party. They were a huge success. The Tarte au Citron with a chocolate twist is delicious. The same goes for the Sachertorte which is a great classic. Jada and I are both big fans of Joanne Harris's Chocolat series and this is such a great addition.

I can't stop looking at the recipes in this little book. I want to make all of them. Chocolate is delicious and Joanne Harris and Fran Warde have created the perfect cookbook for booklovers who like to bake something tasty to go with their reading. I wish I could live in this book. The photos are beautiful too and I love the names of the recipes and the comments Joanne Harris wrote to go with them. A lot of them have been written about in Joanne Harris's books and she's added the name of the character who made them. It's a nice trip down memory lane and I would love to read all books again while eating the lovely chocolate creations from this book.

Jun 23, 2014

Facts about Jada

1) Jada loves to read about food. Her favorite book is Chocolat by Joanne Harris.

2) Jada and I are close friends now, but our friendship started in a weird way. We both dated the same guy named Oliver who was her long term boyfriend. They were engaged, only he didn't care about that when he started to date me. When she found out she was heartbroken. I was mainly angry at the guy. Jada and I have gained more than we lost from this nasty situation as I think this will be a friendship for life.

3) Jada loves unique jewelry and she often wears this ring. You can find it on Etsy.

4) Jada lives in a mansion. Her parents are loaded. She isn't a spoiled brat though, she's actually very down to earth. 

5) Jada loves to cook. Her mother taught her most of the things she knows, but she also likes to try new recipes. She's a big fan of the Pioneer Woman and this is one of her favorite cookbooks.

6) Jada sleeps in a four-poster bed together with at least a hundred stuffed animals. She's been collecting them ever since she was a little girl.

7) Jada loves Sanrio and her favorite character is My Melody.

8) Jada likes being outdoors. She often goes on a hiking trip. She's met our mutual friend Stella on a forum. Stella was looking for a survival buddy to bring along on a week long trip in the mountains and Jada replied to her post. They decided to go as soon as they could and have been friends for years now.
9) Jada has a lot of eye shadow palettes. This one from Cargo is her latest purchase.

10) Because her ex-boyfriend Oliver didn't want her to work Jada hasn't got much work experience. She now has a job as an executive secretary, but she's quite old fashioned. If a man would sweep her off her feet and there is enough income for her to stay at home, she won't hesitate to do so. Her biggest wish is to have at least four children.

Jun 20, 2014

Lavender and Jada's Cookbook Review: A Girl Called Jack by Jack Monroe

Jada and I had to use my kitchen this week, so we had to choose a cookbook that would be perfect for simple, but delicious cooking. A Girl Called Jack is the ideal cookbook for those who haven't got a fortune to spend on groceries. Jack Monroe makes the most delicious things with inexpensive ingredients. She had to survive on a food budget of only £10 a week for quite a while. She started a blog which has become a huge success and a Girl Called Jack is her first cookbook. 
What I love about this book is that it contains only recipes anyone can easily make. They don't require fabulous kitchen equipment and lots of cooking skills. If you're following the instructions you can prepare this food, it's as simple as that. Jack's meals are so much more healthy than ready made meals and they all look delicious. It was hard to choose what to make, but Jada and I came up with a fantastic menu. When we saw the recipe for Love Soup we just had to try it. It contains a lot of fresh herbs which taste great and are also very healthy. We then made the Summer Pasta a la Genovese which was delicious and very green. I really liked that. For desert we made Paddington Bear Sponge Puddings. Those were a big success, We loved them!
Cooking on a budget can be difficult. If you need to do exactly that A Girl Called Jack is a good investment. She shares a lot of great tips. Poverty is everywhere, also in rich counties. I admire it that Jack Monroe talks about it so openly. I can recommend this cookbook to everyone. Jack Monroe is amazing!

Jun 14, 2014

Calvin and Luscombe

An evening with Calvin is never predictable. He's always got little surprises for me. When he found out how much I like lemon he bought me a few bottles of Luscombe. I love this drink, it's absolutely delicious and a big plus is that it's organic too. I do love a good cocktail and a nice glass of wine, but I like having an alcohol free drink every once in a while as well. Calvin isn't a big drinker. He does like a few beers on a night out, but at home he prefers lemonade. Maybe that's because he has to work so many hours and needs a clear head to run his business.
We ended up snuggling on the sofa while watching the first match of the Fifa World Cup. I'm not a big soccer fan, but I read an peaked at the screen every now and then. It was such a nice, normal night. I haven't had evenings like this with any of my boyfriends before, so for me it is something completely new. I love Calvin's apartment and I often stay over. He even lets me work on my novel in the morning without disturbing me. We both have a lot to do and it isn't always easy to spend time together. Especially not when Calvin needs to be at work during the weekend. It's something we still have to figure out together. I really want this relationship to work, because I like being in love with Calvin very much!

Jun 10, 2014

A perfect Sunday breakfast thanks to Jamie Oliver!

Lizzy is a big fan of Jamie Oliver. She's decided to be a vegetarian a few years ago. Becoming vegan is something that's been tempting her for a while now. That's why she decided to make this Victoria Sponge for breakfast. I like it that Jamie Oliver has so many great diet friendly recipes. I love cake and berries, so this breakfast was absolutely perfect!
Lizzy's engagement party will be in two weeks. Luke has officially asked for her hand and her parents have said yes. They're so happy that their daughter is getting married. When they've set the wedding date we'll have to start planning her hen night- or weekend. It's all so exciting! Of course I've got friends who are already married, but she will be the first one from our group. I wonder what kind of food she's going to serve. I bet it will be something delicious, but it must be adjusted according to her diet.
 Jenna's going to be a mother. The first child in our circle and maybe the leader of a new group of friends? It's too bad we can't share this with all five of us. I still update everyone regularly though and maybe one day they will start talking to each other again. A girl can hope...
 We spent hours looking through bridal magazines and baby books and I was exhausted when I came home. I don't know if I'll be ready for all that any time soon though, it sounds pretty scary. Fortunately Calvin is in no rush and we're enjoying the good moments we've got together. I'm not even sure how he feels about living together before marriage for example as we haven't talked about these things yet. I feel a bit like I have to, but it also might be good to discuss those important topics at some point.

Jun 5, 2014

The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier

It's time for another cookbook review, this time we cooked in Jada's big kitchen again. Jada and I have made a three course meal using The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier. This book is not as big as an average cookbook which is quite handy. A few of the recipes are gluten- and lactose free which makes it perfect for those who do eat them, but occasionally have guests who don't. The recipes are vegetable oriented and they are all vegetarian. There are four chapters, one for every season.
We started with a simple recipe, Eggplant and fresh herb tabbouleh. I'm a big fan of couscous and this tabbouleh was easy to make and it tasted fantastic. We chose to make the zucchini and apricot socca tart as our main course. This is a light recipe which makes it perfect for a summer evening. What I liked best about this cookbook is the fantastic deserts. We made peach, almond and cardamom clafoutis, because peaches are my favorite kind of fruit. It looked and tasted absolutely wonderful.
The French Market cookbook shows how easy it is to make good food without using meat or fish. You don't have to be a vegetarian to buy this book. It is good for everyone to have vegetable- and fruit based meals every now and then. I highly recommend this cookbook. It's filled with recipes using fresh season related products. It was so much fun to go to the market and shop for everything we needed. As the deserts are all looking amazing I want to try each and every one of them. 

Jun 1, 2014

Facts About Lavender Part 3

The last thing I bought is this Strawberry Beauty Box from Rose & Co. I love buying things like this for myself and their lip balm is fabulous. The pink packaging also really helps. Pink is my favorite color.

Today I purchased Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins from Amazon. I can't wait to read this book! I loved Anna and the French Kiss.

I'm a big fan of chocolate covered oranges. They're such a wonderful treat! Belgian chocolate shops definitely make the best ones.

I'm always cold, so I often make myself a hot water bottle. Of course I have a beautiful cover for it. Mine's from Cath Kidston and I hope they will get them back in stock very soon!

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