Black Box ....

Black Box ....

Yes I am counting this as the "stay-cation" of food adventures!!  A bunch of intriguing goodies delivered to your door - mystery box style.  First challenge of the mystery black box is defending it from everyone else....

so I have a few items first up - that I already use - so that is just one big 'grocery-saving' bonus  - that I don't have to replenish quite so soon ...  and the winners in that category are....

Finish - dishwash tablets - this pan is over 5 years old and is used for serious pot sticking cooking!! often put in the dishwasher without rinsing (lazy, tired and just want to go to bed) and the results are amazing - even the bottom of the pan looks like new.  I have to say that I buy the two finish products - ordinary powerball (or powder) and the quantum - just to offset the cost a little - when I just have breakfast cereal bowls and coffee cups I use plain old powerball.  But when I am wanting seriously baked on lasagne to come off..... quantum!  I was delighted that this was in the box - but I am already a convert, so no extra sales for finish here, as I am already a follower.

Nivea Sun - Ultra Protection - This turned up just as I was about to go and buy another bottle of the Neutrogena brand..... as we have had a successful summer with this.

I am already sold on the spray on sunscreen - this is something I was trialling this summer - as I was a little unsure it would be as effective as lotion - as you can see I bought a different brand at 70+ and the bottle was nearly empty when the black box arrived.  Delighted because I was definitely going to buy this type of product again - and it is more expensive than lotion sunscreen......

But it has a few factors that appeal - the quick no mess application - on a squirming child about to fly out the door - and the baseball cap wearing junior gets a thorough coat on the back of his neck and the tops / edges of his ears, neither of which have been sunburnt all summer (I can't say the same for previous years). And a lesson learnt the hard way - sunscreen lotion on small hands leaves a permanent 'print' on your car paintwork if it hasn't soaked in properly to the 'said' hands - this avoids any more of those episodes.

Healtheries Fruit Tea - I have a permanent supply of varying flavours of these in the house - often for iced teas with a sprig of mint and stevia, perfect for adding flavour to sorbets and infusing flavours into stewed fruits -  so this summer I have been adding them to Kombucha - the first batch used the Green tea and NZ Blueberry with great success so the Apricot has been added now with great success.



Durex - This is another tried and tested winner - the only commentary I am going to make (family show here) is the speed with which I had to whip this out of the black box - as the bright colouring of the little packet would have had it easily mistaken for jelly beans (or some other brightly coloured candy box) and I wasn't ready for the explanation!! (and yes - I am avoiding the birds and bees discussions - but apparently girls are still just plain annoying and to be avoided at all cost) 

So now onto the new experiences.... Charlies.

I have been drinking a fair amount of coconut water recently as I find them quenching and revitalising without the sugar load - so we made an occasion of these two guys and we were not disappointed.  Love the "Raspberry and Pomegranite" - so "what do ya reckon?" - I reckon WELL DONE Charlies the entire house loved them.

Selleys Cleaning Wipes - I have recently converted to Selleys oven cleaner - from a long running oven cleaner trial (I buy a different one each time until I find one that works better than the others!!) so would have seriously considered trying these had I seen them in a store.  I have been using 'baby wipes' for cleaning fly spots off painted walls and windows and small crevices.  If you click on the image to enlarge it -  you can see the dimples on one side and soft on the other - so it works really well where you need extra 'budge' to get some grime off without actually scratching.  They are quite tough, and did a really good job on a few bathroom chores!!!!

Panfried Monkfish, fresh tomato, sprout, salad and 'two sauce' sliders

Natures Fresh Sliders - these became a family favourite - after a trip to Depot....  unfortunately my box arrived on the 22nd and the expiry on the sliders was the 23rd - so had to quick fire them into a meal - but lightly toasted in the middle and the came up really well....

Savour Spicy Broad Beans - these were a really pleasant surprise - crispy, crunchy with a little hint of heat - I could easily have eaten them all myself, but added them to the evening meal in lieu of croutons, and they were well received and were a brilliant swap.

Peckish Rice Snackers  -  extremely moreish....  I think that they will be on the shopping list for the lunch box - as the healthy lunch box, in my view, precludes any chips or fizzy drinks - I do however, feel a little mean that all the other kids get cute little packets of crunchy snacks - so this will fit the bill nicely.

And this is where I really had some fun.........

I took these three ingredients in the box........

Soaked the Shitake Mushrooms in warm water for about 20 minutes then squeezed out the excess water and finely diced them - threw them in a pan with a little butter and some finely chopped parsley and thyme, and as soon as the butter was absorbed by the mushrooms I added the Carnation Lite Cooking Cream - a little at a time - letting it absorb into the mushrooms as they cooked and repeated this until the mushrooms were cooked.  Added a little salt and pepper and then spoon the mix into the Filo ettes.  Little thyme garnish and you have a really, really - I kid you not.... yummy canapé !!!!

I was so pleased with the outcome that it seemed only right to celebrate with the Monteiths Lightly Crushed Cider - I honestly felt that the only thing 'short' was that I could have served the cider in a champagne glass with these canapés and it would not have been out of place!!

this was a perfect finale!!!!!

A Day with Auckland Food Tours

A Day with Auckland Food Tours

Dumplings - lots of Dumplings

Dumplings - lots of Dumplings