Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Dad's Pot Roast and Degustabox


I wanted to tell you this morning about a new foodie delivery service called Degustabox.  This is sometehing completely new that I have never seen before.  Once a month, each month Degustabox will deliver to your home 17 new, special or innovative food products for you to try in the comfort of your own home via a subscription service.  A monthly subscription costs £9.99 and there is a delivery fee of £3.oo, for a total of £12.99, and what you receive can be tailored to the types of things that you like and would use.

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Here is what arrived in my first box.  Just look at all of it !  Included were the following:

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A Bar of Green and Blacks Organic Spiced Chili dark chocolate.  This is not  just another hot chilli bar. They have added pink pepper and juniper berries to enhance the fruity notes, while the chilli, ginger, cassia, star anise and cloves emphasise the warmth. All this leads up to a lively burst of heat – just enough to leave any chili lover wanting more.

OXO shake and flavour, Garlic and herb.  This is a brand new OXO Shake Flavour, which helps to give otherwise ordinary meals the magic touch allowing you to create a variety of dishes, quickly and conveniently!  All of the products are MSG free and are available in three varieties: Garlic & Herb, Rich Beef and Roast Chicken.

 Bisto Chicken Stock Melts.   These melts are little portions of concentrated stock that contain real meat juices, herbs and seasoning to deliver extra depth of flavour and enhance dishes with a richer taste. Bisto Chicken Stock Melts have a delicious rich chicken flavour that perfectly complement dishes like risotto's, casseroles or stir fry's. Packed in individual pots. Bisto Stock Melts can be added directly in your cooking without the need to dilute them first – so no mess, no fuss – they just melt deliciously rich deep flavour directly into your home cooked meals.Very handy.

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Drink Me Chai, Spiced Chair Latte drink mix, an aormatic blend of tea, milk and spices.   Drink Me Chai’s award winning Spiced Chai is the original flavour that was inspired by Amanda Hamilton’s travels to India. A blend of exotic spices, milk and sweetened tea the product is a just add water or milk for that taste of India in an Instant!  I have used this in the past to make my Chai Cupcakes, Baked Chai Donuts, and Chai Spiced Crispie Cakes!

*Chai Spiced Crispie Cakes*
makes 16
Printable Recipe

The Crispie Cake for adults.  'Nuff said.

2 ounces of butter, plus 1 TBS for buttering the pan (1/4 cup plus 1 TBS)
40 large marshmallows (about 250g)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/3 tsp of ground ginger
1/3 tsp of ground cinnamon
healthy pinch of ground nutmeg
healthy pinch of ground allspice
small pinch of ground cloves
small pinch of ground white pepper
6 ounces crisp rice cereal (5 1/2 cups)

Butter a 9 inch square pan.  Set aside.

Place the butter and marshmallows in a large microwavable bowl.  Place in the microwave and cook on high for several minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until the marshmallows are completely melted and the mixture is smooth.  Mix all the spices together and then stir them into the marshmallow mixture along with the vanilla, making sure it is totally amalgamated.  Stir in the rice cereal, stirring until it is completely coated with the marshmallow mixture.  Press this mixture into the prepared pan using buttered hands, and pressing it in firmly.  Allow to cool and set completely before cutting into squares.  Store in an airtight container.

Levi Roots Jerk Chicken Paste.  A Marinade paste made using a blend of allspice, cinnamon, thyme and nutmeg with a warm hint of Scotch Bonnet Chilli. This paste is delicious spread onto chicken, beef or salmon to add a touch of Caribbean flavour to your meal.

Levi Roots Smoky Jerk Sauce.A Caribbean flavoured sauce made using chunky tomatoes and onions, blended with smoky Jerk spices. This sauce is delicious cooked with chicken, beef or prawns served with plain basmati rice or rice and peas.

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belVita Breakfast Biscuits in two flavors.  Belvita Breakfast Yogurt Crunch combines crunchy wholegrain biscuits with a creamy filling made with live yogurt to give a delicious new breakfast crunch to your mornings. Each box contains 5 individually wrapped portion packs of 2 Yogurt Crunch biscuits.   They also sent the new Cocoa with Choc Chips breakfast biscuits. This delicious new flavour is made with wholegrains, rich in cereals, a source of fibre and fortified with vitamins and minerals including B1, E, magnesium and iron.  Handy and healthy breakfasts for those times when you need "Breakfast on the go!"

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An assortment of Bavaria drinks.

Bavaria 0.0% is a refreshing non alcoholic beer. As a result of the patented technology used in the Bavaria brewing process, no alcohol formation ever takes place. Unique in the production of 0.0% Original is the use of 100% pure mineral water, which is extracted from a source under the Bavaria brewery. Due to the natural purifying process it’s of such high quality that it brings a unique softness.

Bavaria Radler is a refreshing pilsner and lemonade mix with a twist of lemon/ grapefruit. At an alcohol percentage of 2.0% Bavaria Radler is an easy drinking and above all refreshing beverage with a small alcohol boost. Light and sweet with the tones of citrus fruits and of cereals (malt, hop) from the pilsner.

Bavaria Shandy has taken it’s classic premium pilsner and blended it with top quality lemonade to create this thirst-quenching and refreshing lager shandy. Aroma with a clear nose of citrus fruits. A lemon and  lime flavour with a hint of beer in the background. Fruity, refreshing and with a little alcoholic bite. Bavaria Shandy consists of 80% of lemon & lime drink and 20% of pilsner (water, barley malt, wheat, hop extract).

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Yu! Healtly Granola Snacks.  Delicious fruit and cereal snacks made from real fruit and crunchy granola covered in a gorgeously healthy yogurt coating.  There were two packages, each containing five individually wrapped snack packs in both the Strawberry and the Mango flavours.  I have really been enjoying these.

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Bisto's Chef's Specials.    Bisto's new range of Chef's Special's sachets are perfect to help you create a special meal for two and add some excitement to your weekday dinners. This range is available in four flavours - Chicken with Sage and Onion, Lamb with a Twist of Mint, Caramelised Onion and Beef with Cracked Black Pepper.

Bisto Chef's Specials Bisto Chef's Specials Beef with Cracked Black Pepper

I used the Rich Beef Gravy with Cracked Black Pepper to cook us up one of our favourite Pot Roast Recipes.  This is something which I have been making for years.  Usually I make the gravy from scratch, but this time I used this package of Bisto gravy mix instead and it turned out lovely!

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It's a simple recipe which basically cooks itself into a tender juicy pot roast with beautiful flavours . . . fork tender it is.   Absolutely delicious.  I got the recipe from off a packet of dry onion soup mix back in the 1970's and have tweaked it through the years to make it my own.   An improvement on the original, which was really very good to begin with I think.

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I cook the beef on a bed of carrots, onions and swede, which help to flavour the resulting gravy . . . and give you the added bonus of deliciously cooked vegetables to serve up with your meat.  Sometimes I mash some of them into the gravy for added flavour.

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I like meals like this . . . they cook themselves.  They're economical.   They're delicious and they're easy to do.  I like to serve some peas and mashed potatoes on the side, which pleases my meat and potatoes loving husband to no end!  Using this gravy mix added a slightly different flavour to the finished dish, which we both quite enjoyed and which may come a regular thing from now on!

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*Dad's Pot Roast*
Serves 8
This is a recipe I have been using for years and years.  It always turns out fork tender. It is a delicious way to prepare a cheaper cut of meat! 

1 (2 to 3 pound) rolled brisket of beef roast
8 medium carrots, peeled and quartered
1 small swede, peeled and cut into chunks
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1 package of dry onion soup mix
1 bay leaf, broken
apple juice
500ml of beef stock (2 cups)
225ml of boiling water
1 envelope of gravy mix
Preheat the oven to 230*C/450*F/ gas mark 8.  

Place the onions, carrots and swede in the bottom of a roasting casserole that has a tight lid.  Nestle the brisket amongst them.  Sprinkle the dry onion soup mix over all, along with the pepper, and thyme.  Add the beef stock and enough apple juice so that the liquid comes halfway up the sides of the roast.  Cover tightly.

Roast in the preheated oven for 1/2 hour, then reduce the temperature to 165*C/325*F/ gas mark 3.  Continue to roast without disturbing for about an hour and a half.   At the end of that time, flip the roast over carefully.  Recover and roast for another hour and a half. (Check periodically to make sure it is not going dry.   Don't worry if the liquid is reducing somewhat.  That's ok.  You just don't want it to go dry.)  Flip the roast for a final time and cook for a further hour to hour and a half until the roast is very tender.  Remove the roast and vegetables from the pan, leaving any cooking juices in the pan, and discarding the bay leaf. Tent with foil to rest and help to keep it warm for about 20 minutes.  Add the boiling water and then whisk in the gravy mix.  Cook on top of the stove to thicken.  Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  Serve the roast cut into slices along with a portion of the vegetables for each person.  We like to have mashed potatoes with this.

Alternately - if you can't get any gravy mix you may shake together 3 TBS of flour in a jar with 125ml (1/2 cup) of cold water in a jar until smooth and whisk it into the hot pan juices and boiling water.  Cook, stirring constantly until the mixture bubbles and thickens.   Taste and adjust seasoning as required.

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The Degustabox came in a sturdy well packed cardboard box.  Everything was in perfect condition.

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Included as well was a card, which told me all about the products included in the box on one side and had an assortment of recipes which I could use some of them in on the other side.  Win/win!  I reckon it was pretty good value for the price!

Do be sure to check out Degustabox for yourself. 

Check them out on Facebook and Twitter too.  Many thanks to Tsering and Degustabox for sending this box to me.  Although I was sent a box to try out, all opinions remain my own.


  1. This looks so interesting. I wish I lived there so I could get this box!!

  2. It was a bit like Christmas Amelia! I really liked it!

  3. A very interesting service. I like the concept of it.


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