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She’s bluffing, I know she is. In front of her are two queens and a seven. She holds her hole card close to her chest. I know she want me to think she has a queen, but my own hole card is a queen, and face up in front of me lies a jack, a nine and a three – all clubs, as is my queen. Will my fifth street be a club? Has she really got the other queen? I don’t think so … I don’t think so …

“I call,” I say, “and raise …”

I watch her eyes. She blinks twice – her tell! She’s bluffing!

“How much?” she says.

I look down at the stack of cash in front of me.

“Ten pence?” I say.

I watch as she winces.

“Too rich for me!” she says, smiling. “I only had a seven anyway.”

The pound signs flash in front of my eyes. I’m having a great evening! I’m nearly thirty pence up!

 ***

The above is not an excerpt from the new Ocean’s Thirteen (or whichever sequel they are currently on), but what happened during our last mum’s night in! Every other Thursday (don’t ask me why Thursdays, no one can remember) myself and some of my fellow mums get together for a few hands of Five-card stud. Before you get all nervous and warn me how gamblers can lose everything, including friends, we have one golden rule for our poker nights – you can bring money to gamble with, but 1ps and 2ps only!

Our poker nights were my idea. My granddad used to play poker with me when I was a small girl. We used to play for pennies too – old pennies, the pre-decimalisation ones (okay, yes, I am that old) that were and still are worthless. He taught me how to play Five-card stud, although as it was a while ago I had to checkout the rules. I’m not sure why it’s called stud, as you don’t need to be a stud to play it. You get dealt five cards, as with any form of poker, with betting rounds after each deal, but all but one of your cards is dealt face up. I think it’s more fun to play that way, as it’s harder to bluff when four-fifths of your hand is face up in front of you.

There’s a group of about seven of us who play, although nobody plays every single time, except for me that is as I’m the habitual host. It’s a great way of getting together and having a little fun – it’s certainly more fun than playing Monopoly, or any other boring old board game.

Why not get your fellow mums together for your own poker evening? You’ll never know what the cards hold for you otherwise!

*This contribution to the blog was clearly not written by me. If it was I’d have mentioned the importance of having really good food and drink ready for the night in too. Gamble safely if you do fancy a low cost flutter and enjoy!

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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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