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There are many subscription services out and about these days, from beauty boxes to fresh meal ingredients with recipe cards being delivered to thousands of people around the UK every day. Degustabox is slightly different in that they offer a monthly service and what they send out are 10-15  new to the market longer lasting food items for you to enjoy.

I received a box free of charge in order to have a good nosy and to test out whether I thought the monthly box would be worth £12.99 (inc p&p) to us and I have to say, as frugal as I am when it comes to food I was pretty impressed with the contents and am considering an on-going delivery.

 Feb Degustabox

We received a box which as you can see was very well filled and yet had no wasteful packaging and the packing that was used could be recycled (a plus point for me).

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Needless to say we were thrilled with the box contents which included items from Ryvita, English Provender Co., Soreen, Schekters, Bahlsen, Tyrell’s, and Peppade. We also received a handy breakdown of the items, suggested recipes and coupons which altogether made for a well-rounded and enjoyable box.

The Soreen products, the fruit loaf and mini banana Soreen loaves went down very well with the boys (the mini-loaves are perfect for packed lunches), as did the Tyrell’s apple, and apple and cinnamon  crisps. The Schekters and Bahlsen drinks and treats lasted around five minutes, the Ryvita crackers I love, especially the sweet chilli ones which go down very well and come in a very generously sized bag. I haven’t tried out the English Provender Co. items as they are looking very pretty at present on my kitchen mantelpiece but I do have plans for them.

Peppadew Piquante Peppers

The absolute winner (for us) with this box has been the Peppadew Piquante Peppers. Roy absolutely loves these (hadn’t tried them before receiving the box) and we’ve used them in several different ways.  For a quick and easy pasta recipe, which works well in lunch boxes or as a warm lunch (especially with garlic bread) scroll down to the bottom of the post.

As an added bonus the Degustaboxes now come via DPD and customers receive an email/text when they are dispatched and another when delivery is due, along with a time slot. I wish more companies offered this. Fortunately I work from home however even for me having to schedule things around a delivery may sometimes be a pain when they could turn up at any time of the day.

As well as having treats and things to use as part of a meal I was pleased to see that I could use a lot of these items as part of the three packed lunches a day I make, so nothing was wasted and I avoided the supermarket as I didn’t have to buy lunchbox-fillers.

If you’d like to try a box for yourself enter the Degustabox code WWD0H when registering to receive a £3.00 discount. If you do like the idea of a food box such as this which keeps you up to date with the newest foods to be hitting the shelves make sure you keep an eye on the Facebook page and Twitter account for upcoming news and developments and do report back if you try a box after seeing this post!

With Peppadew Piquante Peppers

Simple Sweet Pepper & Bacon Pasta (With Peppadew Piquante Peppers).

  • Wholemeal pasta
  • Bacon lardons (unsmoked unless you prefer a smokier taste)
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions
  • Peppadew piquante peppers
  • Black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil

There are no quantities listed for this recipe as it is a throw together meal and you should adjust how much you use according to how many you are feeding.

  • Cook your wholemeal pasta, leaving it with a slight bite to it (not overcooked / too soft)
  • Stirfry with a little olive oil the finely sliced onions and mushrooms, adding the bacon lardons when the onions have started to soften.
  • Add the drained sweet peppers and continue to cook on a medium heat.
  • When cooked through mix the bacon and sweet pepper mixture with the drained pasta, stir and serve with coarse black pepper or chilli flakes for an extra kick.

 

This recipe is a perfect quick meal, a lunchbox filler and works well with a crisp salad, garlic bread or just on its own, perhaps topped with a little spicy (Mexican?) cheese.

 


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 There has been a lot of buzz in the press about large corporations taking more than their fair share of the retail market and smaller enterprises and more local, as opposed to national companies feeling the squeeze. This trend is in part caused by the way in which we, as consumers, choose to spend our money.

I am the first one to put my hand up and say that I am guilty of shopping online at big recognised stores purely because it is quicker, easier and one would assume (not always correctly) cheaper. What I really want to do is source my gifts, household items and more from local retailers however to be honest I’m not sure I have the time or the energy to do this when with just a few clicks elsewhere and what I want comes from wherever it comes from.

Made Closer is the brain-child of John Palaguta-Iles who, like many of us wanted to shop locally when buying items for a new house. John found the time it took to source such items excessive and this spawned an idea which could potentially revolutionise the way we shop. Sensing a gap in the market for those want to support the local economy, to buy items which have a significantly lower carbon footprint having not been shipped from thousands of miles away and to help support the UK job market John launched MadeCloser.

Made Closer enables shoppers to search for and buy a wide range of items from electronics to gifts and toys within the UK or even with the region they live in. Giving the site a bit of a road test I was surprised by how easy it was to use. Entering my postcode and then browsing the items merchants have on offer allowed me to see clearly where they would come from.

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I could easily see as I browsed which items were very local to me (within 50 miles) and where everything else came from without scrolling through pages of information or even having to contact individual sellers.

This is the convenient way to enjoy guilt-free shopping. The range of items available is wide and growing weekly which is why I have bookmarked MadeCloser and will check it first when shopping before automatically visiting one of the larger and faceless international brands. Clearly John Palaguta-Iles has his finger on the button as not only does he care about boosting the local economy; he understands the pressures on the consumer when it comes to simply not having time to shop around ourselves. MadeCloser offers a real, practical and progressive option for changing your shopping habits in future and I for one am pleased to see it.

If you want to know more about John’s vision and the ideals behind MadeCloser this article may well be of interest. Do have a look at the website and keep in touch via either Facebook or Twitter as mark my works, MadeCloser is going places!

Just one example of the many fabulous products local merchants offer on MadeCloser. This lovely starfish pendant is both affordable and clearly marked as being sourced from Cornwall.

 

*This post has been written in association with MadeCloser and yet  remains true to my own thoughts, feeling and experiences

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