If you’re a keen baker, you may know the name Selasi Gbortmittah. Selasi has been the most chilled-out contestant on The Great British Bake Off and he’s still baking and developing recipes. He’s teamed up with Coconut Oil brand, Vita Coco to share his top five barbecue tips and recipes.
As you’d expect, they feature Vita Coco.
The coconut oil is 100% organic, extra virgin, raw, cold-pressed and free from chemicals. It’s all-natural and can be used to fry, liven up dressings, as an alternative to butter and is perfect for the barbecue.
I made the chicken wings and my only regret was I didn’t make more.
Chilli, Coconut and Garlic Chicken Wings
Serves 4/20 wings
20 Chicken Wings
2 cloves of fresh Garlic, minced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2-3 tbsp Vita Coco
1 medium red onion, chopped
4 sprigs Parsley, chopped
2 mild chilli, chopped
Trim the chicken and remove any loose skin ends
Place the chicken in a large bowl and mix the garlic, chilli flakes, brown sugar, salt, pepper, lime and coconut oil.
Mix thoroughly and leave to marinate overnight in the fridge. Be sure to cover with plastic wrap. We added the red onion into the mix, instead of setting aside for decoration. I liked the onion cooked but it’s entirely up to you.
When you’re ready to eat. Prepare your barbecue and when it’s hot enough, grill the chicken for about 15-20 minutes, turning over in between the cooking time.
Plate up and top with chopped red onion, parsley and fresh chilli.
Corn on the cob with coconut, lime and paprika
4 corn on the cob
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp Vita Coco Coconut Oil melted
I steamed my mini cob for about 6 minutes before adding to the grill.
In a medium bowl, mix the lime, salt, paprika and coconut oil. Brush this onto the corn, and add to the grill for 10-15 minutes, rotating often.
Serve when ready and nicely brown.
We later tried this on chicken thighs but it didn’t do as well holding the flavour as the wings.
What are you waiting for? Fire up the barbie.
Belinda Clark has turned her obsession with sweets into a business, spoiling us grown-ups with her pillow-soft, marshmallow goodies. For her it’s all about the flavour, thank the Lord, because I’m not sure if you’ve experienced the same thing as me, but I’ve tried a few ‘gourmet’ marshmallows which have all the texture without the taste.
Forget your childhood memories of eating pink and white marshmallows. These are a whole new experience, they’re soft, light and packed full of flavour.
Belinda began making her own products and in her second year she made three tonnes of marshmallows – that’s a lot of sweets. Understandably it was a little too much so she found herself a UK manufacturer, then a European manufacturer who now makes all her products by hand using high-quality natural flavours.
Her latest creation is the S’Mores Kit which contains hand made Salted Caramel Marshmallows, luxury almond biscuits and Belgian chocolate thins. If you’re unfamiliar with the S’more – it’s a traditional campfire treat popular in America. Fire-toasted marshmallows and a layer of chocolate are sandwiched between two crackers. Traditionally the Graham Cracker which is a flat, biscuit made with wheat flour and sweetened with honey. Belinda’s kits are nothing like the tasteless dry things I’ve had (and pretended to like) in America. Decent high-quality dark chocolate, thin almond studded biscuit and her quality marshmallows mean a sticky, sweet and indulgent treat. Small, compact, messy and fun. The good thing is you don’t have to be a kid to eat them either.
Where to buy
Sold online and through the online supermarket Ocado, you’ll see them in delis up and down the country. And, I’ll let you into a secret, she makes Marshmallows for the Queen’s Grocers Fortnum and Masons.
I love a spirit with a story, and Shackleton Whisky is a cracker.
It all started in 1907 when the Polar Explorer, Ernest Shackleton launched his bid to be the first person to reach the Geographic South Pole. The trip, known as ‘Nimrod’ was in part a success, but Shackleton abandoned it with just 97 nautical miles to go. Although he didn’t succeed, Shackleton returned to Britain a hero.
Fast forward to 2010 when the Antarctic Heritage Trust in New Zealand began to restore his abandoned base camp. Conservators found five crates under the ice. Three contained Mackinlay’s whisky and two contained brandy. Eleven bottles of the 114-year old whisky were still in their paper and straw packaging, albeit frozen.
Three bottles were flown from New Zealand, to undergo both sensory and organoleptic analysis.
In April 2011, Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay’s Master Blender, replicated the century-old whisky and gave it the same name as the original, Mackinlay’s Rare Old Highland Malt and The Journey, was released soon after. Now, a no-age-statement blend, inspired by Shackleton and his love of Mackinlay’s Scotch. A small percentage of each sale goes directly to the Antarctic Heritage Trust.
Tim Jarvis is the global brand ambassador for Shackleton Whisky. In 2013 the environmental explorer and motivational speaker recreated Shackleton’s dangerous 1914-17 Trans-Antarctic Expedition – known as one of the greatest small-boat journeys undertaken.
The whisky is a mix of single Highland malts, stored in ex-bourbon barrels and Spanish sherry butts. And, for £40 for a litre bottle, I think you’re getting a lot for your money. It’s a tasty number. On the nose, you get hints of demerara sugar and malted cinnamon. On the palate, it’s orange, apple and honey. It’s a short finish with hints of Werther’s Originals and marmalade.
I have a thing for whisky, take a look at my visit to Islay.
I just can’t keep up with the amount of gin being made here in the UK. But good gin is a different kettle of spirit and well worthy of note. Get a pen and paper because you’ll want to write this down … Pothecary Gin.
The spare bedroom takes on many uses, but one particular house in Bournemouth used theirs to house a 35-litre copper still. It’s here Pothecary Gin began life. After a lengthy process, HMRC granted them the licence to distill their spirit. From here, they began developing the gin that is picking up well-respected awards all over the world. Lukasz Dwornik and Martin Jennings had, like we’ve all had I’m sure, a gin and tonic at the local which didn’t taste of well …. anything. They decided to develop their gin which began life rather crudely, now their spirit is very much the opposite.
In their 35-litre copper still, they distill Bulgarian-grown Juniper, and in a 3.5-litre pot still, they distill their botanicals. It’s blended and watered down to drinking strength and bottled. Those botanicals are quite unusual. Provencal lavender brings savoury notes, mulberries, sweet and jammy taste, tilia flowers, honey and Sicilian lemon a little sweet-tartness. They’ve dabbled in a limited edition Sicilian Blend which takes the base and adds Sicilian orange peel, almonds and Gentian root. I bet this is a winner, orange citrus on the nose with lemon at the back and the every present Juniper. They’ve made only 982 bottles.
The Dordogne is often called the land of a thousand and one Castles. Its landscape of rolling green hills and lush river valleys will take your breath away. It boasts ten of the ‘Most Beautiful Villages in France’ and has an underground maze of crystal caves. This area of south-west France has been attracting humans for 450,000 years. You can visit the most famous of them all, the Lascaux, nicknamed the prehistoric Sistine Chapel. Rocamadour has been a pilgrimage route for thousands of years and is in the top five of the most visited attractions in France.
In the town of Lacave, Châteaux de la Treyne is a four-star luxury Hotel. It’s surrounded by walnut groves, vineyards and acres of open fields. In this small corner of south-west France, my fairy tale becomes a reality. If the walls could talk, there’d be tales of Lords, Knights and Maidens in distress. The Château stands on the site of the original 14th Century property, reduced to a pile of ashes during the Wars of Religion. It was rebuilt in 1553; it’s owned and run by the Gombert family who’ve transformed it into a modern-day haven of peace.
Each of the 17 rooms and suites has a unique, French style. Some offer fantastic views of the Dordogne River, others of the formal perfumed garden. I stay in two Rooms, La Tour and one of the suites, Louis XIII, and feel a lot like Rapunzel with all the mod-cons.
A courtesy tray is overflowing with local products from chocolates to seasonal fresh fruit and there’s a handwritten welcome note from the owners.
Bathrooms have multi-jet showers, thick fluffy robes, slippers and orange-scented toiletries by Hermes.
It’s hard not to be seduced by the food coming out of Stéphane Andrieux’ kitchen. He’s held a Michelin star since 2001. It’s a classic formal experience eating in the wood-panelled Grand Louis XIII Salon, less so on the picturesque cliff terrace.
Try the pan-roasted Foie gras with a walnut and sesame crust, green apple jelly and a Granny Smith apple sorbet. There’s a varied selection of local wines to compliment the dishes, including the famous Black Wine from nearby Cahors. You’ll need an empty stomach and deep pockets for this experience, but food lovers will pay many times over for this kind of service. Meals are a marathon and not a sprint, from anywhere between four and six courses, you can spend three hours eating and drinking. Amuse bouche, palate cleansers, the main course, cheese and dessert; it’s not for the faint-hearted. Breakfast, should you have room after dinner, can be taken in your room, or in the Green Salon with views to the French formal garden.
There’s a heated outdoor swimming pool, surrounded by 120 hectares of gardens and woodland. Perfect for chilling out with the soundtrack of nature for company.
The Hotel has beehives hidden away, in the meadow, you’ll taste it during your stay and can buy a jar to take the memory home with you.
Although the Dordogne is inland, where it lacks in the sea department, it makes up for in freshwater swimming and fly-fishing. If relaxation isn’t your thing, then the Hotel’s owner Stephanie will organise the itinerary for you.
There’s a 2-night fly-fishing package on offer (€582 to include half-board accommodation based on 2 sharing and a ½-day fly-fishing lesson on the Dordogne). Suitable for all abilities from complete beginner to expert.
If you’re planning on tying the knot, you may want to consider using the Chapel. The Châteaux is able to accommodate your guests, and the booking would be for sole use. They can cater for 40 guests. For cocktail receptions, they can cater a seated dinner for up to 70. If your burgeoning list keeps growing, you can rent a marquee, along with tableware and silverware, then they’ll take on up to 150 guests.
The family also own and run Château du Bastit which overlooks a nearby hamlet. It’s a private residence which sleeps ten adults and four children. It has all the exclusivity of a private home with the benefits of à la carte hotel services.
Chateau de la Treyne offers double rooms priced from €300 (Room only, based on 2 sharing. Breakfast is €28; add €124 to upgrade to half-board. Price is subject to availability and valid for 2017 (open from March 25 to November 12 and Christmas and New Year). All prices correct, July 2017.