Tesco finest Chilled Party Food

Tesco finest chilled party foodAt this time of year there is just so much to do, so if you are having friends round this Christmas, you might want to buy in some party food to offer them. It’s nice though when you can buy good quality snacks and canapes to offer your guests because it makes you feel less guilty about not making your own.  Tesco finest have a wide range of chilled party food available this year and we have been enjoying trying some of it out.

Smoked salmon nibbles always go down well with me.  I love smoked salmon and Tesco finest Party Food Smoked Salmon Canapes are made with top quality Scottish oak and beech smoked salmon.  Resting on seeded thins, the salmon is perfectly complemented by the beetroot pearls.  I’m not a huge beetroot fan, but this is a winning combination of flavours as they work so well together.

I love the fact that Tesco have come up with some interesting and memorable options for party food this year.  I think we are all a bit bored with cocktail sausages and the like, so it’s good to get some really different ideas coming through.  If like us you like Asian food, I recommend the finest Bang Bang Chicken Skewers with Popping Candy with their tasty red Thai chicken skewered onto lemongrass spears.  They come with a thai satay dipping sauce and coconut popping candy.  Great fun!

bubble shotsAnother unusual option which I really love are these finest Party Food Bubble Shots.   Inspired by molecular gastronomy these shots consist of a spicy Virgin Mary cocktail (tomato, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco and dill) with pearls of sweet, juicy clementine jelly all served up in glass test tubes.  They look fantastic and will definitely break the ice with your guests.

 

 

A New Dishwasher

packed dishwasher

My new dishwasher – sadly not installed yet

We have been living with our lovely new kitchen for a month or two now, but we have been a bit slow to buy our new appliances. It’s been a bit daft really as some of them will save me time like our new dishwasher. I have been without a dishwasher (one that works at least) for about 5 years I think. The one we had at the old house broke and we never got around to getting a new one. I think we felt a bit let down by it because whilst it was out of guarantee, it was still fairly new. We left it in place and it was handy to have it there when we were having people round to view the house when we were selling because it filled a gap and I could always hide some stuff inside it. When we moved we put it outside for the scrap men to collect. Then at the current house the dishwasher was left behind ‘for us’. We could not get it to work. It didn’t seem to be plumbed in properly and the pipework in that area was a nightmare. We left it in place (seeing a pattern here?) and put it out for the scrap man when we redid the kitchen. So at last we have got a new one and we have proper plumbing in place for it. Yay!

The change from hand washing up to machine washing up has made me think about saving energy. We have picked out an energy-efficient machine, but it’s been good to read up about things like energy-efficient cycles.  It seems a bit bizarre, but using an eco or auto dishwasher cycle could use less energy than short cycles, so it’s worth reading the manual to find out a bit more.  As we have a water meter, saving water is a concern too.  Could using a dishwasher really use less water than washing by hand?  I’ve been using this water saving tool to find out a bit more.  Apparently, my new dishwasher could save me up to 126 litres of water a week, which is a financial saving as well as being better for the environment.

Makeover Ideas for Small Backyards

A small backyard doesn’t mean you are doomed to never entertain. There are plenty of ways to trick the eye into believing your small backyard is much larger than it appears. For a few simple ways to maximise your yard, check out these helpful ideas.

Bring in Some Patio Furniture

When space is at a premium, a smaller outdoor setting is your friend. You can also create the illusion of having more space with minimalist furnishings. Metal settings don’t have to be plain and boring. You can choose from brushed metal or polished materials, just look for a design that contrasts with your surroundings. For inspiration, check out Super A-Mart Australia . Choosing seating that has a slim profile will take up less space in your yard, making it appear bigger.

Add Hanging Pots

Just because you are trying to maximise your outdoor space doesn’t mean you have to give up your favourite plants. Instead, invest in some hanging pots and some hooks to hang them from. Hanging pots free up the space at your feet, as well as giving the plants more access to light. And don’t feel that you have to hang your new pots from the roof – you can attach them to your fencing, handrails on stairs, or even to a wall. If you aren’t ready to commit to drilling holes in a surface like brick, attach some pots to lattice and secure the lattice in an area of the yard that could do with some cover. Fill your new pots with colourful flowers or herbs.

Work in Some Pretty Lights

Lights are a simple way to add colour without going overboard. A few strings of fairy lights overhead turns any backyard into a beautiful spot to relax. That little splash of light is ideal for outdoor dinners in warm weather. If fairy lights aren’t suitable, add some solar lanterns to the edges of your garden bed or around the pathway. They instantly perk up the outdoors and are inexpensive to buy.

Clear Out & Open Up

If your yard is swamped by large growth, trim it back. You will have more natural light, which automatically makes the space bigger. Also avoid the temptation to add a pergola or awning to your backyard. Any structure that stretches overhead will not only cut your natural light out, but will also close the space in and immediately make it feel smaller. Keeping trees and shrubs trimmed back also makes your yard appear instantly tidier.

Bring in Some Pot Plants

The best way to bring in plants without compromising a lot of space is by using tall planters. Tall planters are available in a variety of styles and materials, from brushed silver to rich clay. If you have the space, a pair of tall planters by your doorway, or at the beginning of any path adds symmetry to the overall look. You can then add some fragrance by planting a herb such as lemongrass, or some colour by planting succulents. Add some coloured pebbles around the base of the plant for a mix of texture.

Are you ready to start making over your backyard? What ideas have you had for maximising your yard space?

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