Nomadic Mango Lassi Review

Thursday, October 30, 2014

When I first heard about a low fat mango lassi, I thought it was too good to be true. 

With a stunning label featuring graphics reminiscent of India, I had high hopes when i received Nomadic in the post. 

I shared a bottle with my colleague at lunch yesterday (along with a delicious home made lemon drizzle cake). Unfortunatly, what greeted us was a bland experience that coated our mouths with thick yogurt. 

Usually avid Lassi lovers (if there is such a thing) this product really missed the mark. 

Looking at the ingredients, we started to understand why.

The drink states it is low fat, however with 273 calories per bottle it's the equivalent of a 7oz steak.  

It's also loaded with artificial flavourings and stabilisers, giving it a 30 day shelf life, and contains a pitiful amount of 'real' mango (3.5%). 

I really wanted to like this product, and found the fact that Nomadic makes it yogurts and drinks in small batches reassuring. I haven't tried their yogurts, but I wouldn't give this chemical minefield a second chance. 

If you'd like to try it for yourself, It's stocked in 330ml bottles at Tesco and Ocado at £1.49 (however, upon publication of this post there was no sign of the product on either retailer website). 

British Beef

Monday, October 13, 2014

Since global media outlets reported the EU horsemeat scandal, the British meat market has suffered a severe blow. 

Despite the fact that the majority of meat cuts were 100% genuine, local and international consumers began to doubt the authenticity of labels, packaging and sources. 

Thankfully, with the support of the British public, British meat is once again emerging among the top markets in the world. 

Thanks to the recent reintroduction of premium breeds such as wagyu, the British beef market is on track to flourish. 

Improved labelling and supply chain laws  will allow both local and international buyers to trace the exact journey of every cut, giving consumers peace of mind. 

Locally, the rejuvenation of historic trading hubs such as London’s Borough Market has greatly contributed to a growing interest in premium quality meat and a preference to ‘buy British.’ 

Farmers Markets have made a come back across the nation. They allow consumers to cut of the middle man (or men, in most cases) and purchase meat that is fresh, organic and 100% genuine straight from the farmer. 

Another factor contributing to the UK’s rekindled taste for beef is the emergence of online butchers. With just a few clicks of the button, British meat connoisseurs can take advantage of a meat delivery service direct to their doors. 

With EBLEX reporting that global meat consumption is expected to grow by 60-100% by 2050, the opportunities for British farmers are enormous.

Roast London Dry Gin Launch

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Roast, the famed restaurant that over-looks Borough Market, has created its own London Dry Gin. 

Distilled at the Thames Distillers in Greenwich, the gin is infused with juniper berries, coriander seeds and angelica root to give a savoury and clean finish. 

Whilst at the launch we tried a cocktail of lavander infused gin with lemon bitters which was extremely pleasent alongside salmon.

We also participated in the #roastselfie competition that sees one winner a month win a £25 restaurant voucher. If you're visiting soon, get snapping! 

Available at £25 for a 70cl bottle to purchase in the restaurant.  

*An introductory price of £20 will be offered during October. 

Buzzed Off

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Bees are the major contributors to the pollination of crops and flowers. However, most species are in decline, raising fears that the world might be facing a pollination crisis. 

The UN estimates that around 70% of crops that together supply 90% of food supplies depend on bee pollination. 

In Central Valley, California, they produce a phenomenal a mouth of fruit, seeds and flowers. Although the area is typically classed as a semi-desert due to the little rain it receives, it produces roses, oranges, grapes, asparagus, lemons and apricots. 

To produce such a harvest in a desolet area, chemicals are heavily relied upon. These leach into surrounding water streams, polluting rivers that run from the Sierra Nevada mountains. 

Farmers spray the earth with fertilisers, insectcides, herbicides and fumigants whilst diverting natural water ways. This deathly cocktail of chemicals leaves a fine mist of toxins in the air that form yellow chemical clouds over crops. It not only deteres birds and insects, but effects children in the area, which are three times as likely to suffer with asthma.

The state is also home to 60 million almond trees that stretch over 600km. Surprisingly, California produces 80% of the world's almond crop. 

Nowhere is there a pollination problem more pressing than California, where the almond industry is so in need of bees that they import them as far as Australia. 

Every year in early spring 3,000 trucks carrying 40 billion bees make their way across the United States to California's Central Valley to pollinate crops inbetween pesticide sprays. 

It is estimated that California growers spend $250 million a year on bees, with the average rent of a hive costing €160. 

In California, natures support system has broken down. A temporary fix has been found, but no one is sure how long can this be sustained.

There is ongoing debate over the cause of the decline in the bee population world wide. It may partly be attributed to non-native diseases and loss of forest cover. However, it is most commonly attributed to agricultural intensification, particularly the use of pesticides. Neonicotinoids in particular are damaging. When sprayed in the ground they are absorbed by plants, turning them 'toxic' to both insects and bees. 

Bees contribute over €22 billion annually to European agriculture. In 2013 the EU banned the use of these pesticides on crops attractive to bees (it is worth noting the UK voted against this due to lack of scientific research). 

India now produces 7.5 tonnes of vegatables a year (around 14% of the worlds total) following an agricultural revolution in the 1960s, a time where India was heavily reliant on food imports. 

Recently farmers there have been forced to hand pollinating crops using feathers and cigerette filters die to a rapid decline in the country's bee population. The Indian government is currently championing farming that uses large quantities of pesticides and chemical fertiliser, rather than rotating different crops and livestock throughout the year. This has had a devastating effect on the bee population, and therefore on crop yields that are extemly dependent on pollination. 

The UK, home to 26 species of bumble bee, has seen two species become extinct within the last seventy years. Six are listed as seriously endangered, and half the rest are considered at risk. The British beekeeper association states they fear the UK could loose every species within the next decade. 

I hope Governments, NGOs and farmers are starting to realise that we are still very much dependent on natures services, and that artificial substitutes simply aren't sustainable. 

Finest Wine Words

Friday, August 29, 2014

What's the first thing you look at when selecting wine: The label? The vintage? The discription?

The words on the back of a bottle don't mean much to me. After much deliberation I could pick 'a rich and smooth red with hints of summer berries' only to get it home to discover it's sharp and floral.

So, on Wednesday I attended a tasting event hosted by Tesco, who I believe have a great approach to wine. 

As part of the Tesco wine team’s continued efforts to help customers better understand wine, Tesco invited bloggers, journalists and wine lovers to create customer friendly descriptions for each of its 100 *finest wines. 

These descriptions were then translated into ‘word clouds’ and will be used in a variety of ways in store and online to help customers when selecting wine.

With over 100 wines on offer, I perched myself firmly at the dessert wine. Here I found the star of the show: a deliciously sweet tipple with hints of orange - perfect for pairing with cheese and rich chocolate desserts.

Hopefully my novice wine descriptions will be of some use to the Tesco wine team ('smells like Christmas' was accurate, afterall...).