Monday, 29 August 2016

DVD review : Ratchet & Clank

Today sees the release of Ratchet & Clank, a new family-friendly movie based on the legendary Playstation game of the same name. The eponymous heroes of the film are two unlikely friends, who show that opposites attract.

Ratchet is the last Lombax in the universe and he grew up alone, with no family but himself. His carefree character has a tough exterior but a heart of gold and he dreams big with great ambition. He's not afraid of danger and is always trying to jump in head-first to solve problems. He's strong, acrobatic, loyal, trustworthy and a talented engineer.

His best friend Clank is a pocket-sized robot with more brains than power - in fact, he is the most intelligent robot you could possibly ever meet. He is a walking, talking, living computer, filled with endless information, who uses the powers of reason to form a plan of attack, but he has only recently moved to the universe, so he hangs onto his old child-like habits.

Despite their very different personalities, they both have one common goal... to save the universe!
The combination of Ratchet’s ambition and bravery and Clank’s brainy organisation makes them the best team in the universe and the ultimate package to overcome any problem that may get in their way.

Despite not knowing the video game, the Madhouse kids fell in love with both Ratchet and Clank, two very different but equally appealing characters. With the fate of the universe on their shoulders, this unlikely pair embarks on a whirlwind adventure through outer-space, where they learn about heroism, courage, and the importance of having a good friend by your side. Both characters have faults and failings but they complement each other perfectly with their differing skill sets and opposing personalities. The film is full of important life lessons and feel-good messages for young viewers to pick up on. The grown-ups can also have fun trying to spot the famous names behind the voices, including Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, James Arnold Taylor and Sylvester Stallone.

star rating : 4/5

Ratchet & Clank release details
Digital Download release date: 19th August, 2016
DVD release date: 29th August, 2016
Running time: 90 minutes approx.
Cert: U
DVD RRP: £15.99

Disclosure : We received a review copy of the film.

Giveaway #580 : Win a Nick Jr goodie bag and Wacky Hair Dough - closing date 9/9

The popular Nick Jr website has had a revamp and now has a new streamlined look, offering UK families the best in pre-school digital content. “Our aim was to rejuvenate to match our young audience’s constantly evolving digital habits,” said Suzie Adams, Nickelodeon Digital Director. “We now have a platform which encourages and inspires children to use their imagination whilst providing them opportunity to immerse themselves in the worlds of their favourite Nick Jr. shows.”

Improved navigation on the site now features more visual cues for kids aged two to seven, allowing
them to access content easily by clicking on their favourite characters such as Paw PatrolPeppa PigBlaze and the Monster Machines and Dora. The website has been upgraded so it can be used anywhere, on any device, enabling access to full-screen games and activities on the go. 

The site has also become more interactive for its users, with extra educational content added in for good measure. New ‘Alphabuttons’ have been dotted across the site and aim to help children learn the alphabet. When clicked, a unique animation will appear featuring both the letter and a Nick Jr. character.

As well as being separated by character, the site content has been allocated into five groups to allow users to navigate quickly and easily: Music, Learn, Activities, Videos and Games.

To celebrate the launch of the new improved website, Nick Jr are offering a fantastic prize here on my blog. One lucky Madhouse Family Reviews reader will receive a Nickeodeon goodie bag containing : 
- Nick Jr. colouring book
- Nick Jr. umbrella
- Nick Jr. tote bag
- Nick Jr. crayon set

There will also be a Nick Jr. ‘Wacky Hair Dough’ art kit, which is a brand new product that hasn't even hit the shops yet !

If you want to be in with a chance of winning, head over to the Nick Jr website and tell me what your favourite feature is then fill in your entries via the Rafflecopter widget below.

UK only. Closing date : 9/9/16

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook, twitter and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray !

You may also like to enter my other giveaways :

Giveaway #579 : Win Chucklevision Complete Series One and Two on DVD - closing date 12/9

Giveaway #578 : Win a Braun Beard Trimmer - closing date 11/9

Giveaway #577 : Win 2 x A Dozen Summers - closing date 3/9

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Are you a #DoritosA or a #DoritosB fan?

Since we've been in the midst of a heatwave, I've noticed that people seem to be a lot more chilled out (quite literally in fact) doing their weekly shop. It's actually quite nice taking your time strolling around in an air-conditioned supermarket and that's even before you hit the frozen foods aisle ! Well, if you've been taking a leisurely stroll down the crisps section lately, you might have noticed that Doritos have launched two mysterious new flavours: Doritos A and Doritos B.

Initially, I wasn't at all keen on the packaging because the plain white and black bags don't have any tasty-looking food images that get your tastebuds tingling and wondering what they taste like, but I have to say, having seen them on the shelves, they do leap out at you, in amongst all the other brightly coloured bags.

Going head to head are Doritos A, a moreish Sizzling Salsa flavour, which packs the punch of a tangy tomato dip and tasty Doritos chip all rolled into one. In the black corner are Doritos B, the opposition, a bold Ultimate Cheeseburger flavour - a taste explosion of juicy burger and rich cheese flavours that had the Madhouse kids saying "mmmmm it tastes like McDonald's" !

They are both very tasty but the sad thing is, only one of them will survive this summer's head-to-head. Both varieties are limited editions and consumers get to decide which one will be eliminated. It's not just a boring vote to decide on the winner though.

As well as deciding which flavour gets the chop, you also have to come up with an idea for how it should be banished - the funnier and more original the better. Whether it’s getting a T-Rex to trample on it or turning the tables and having it smashed to smithereens by a piñata, Doritos will choose the boldest and most creative entry and make it happen with a funny animation. What’s more, you could win a whopping £20,000 for your idea if your idea is selected as the winner.

To enter, simply tweet @DoritosUK and tell them whether you’d eliminate #DoritosA or #DoritosB and how they should do it. Remember, be bold, be funny and make sure you enter!

Doritos A and Doritos B flavours have an RRP of £1.99 for a 200g bag and are available for a limited time only alongside the existing Doritos range from stores nationwide. For more information visit Full terms and conditions apply, see

Disclosure : We received some Doritos in order to choose our favourite flavour.

A Fun Bank Holiday Baking Project : Cadbury Buttons/Mini Roll Owl Cake

As Bucks Fizz once famously sang, if you can't stand the heat, keep out of the kitchen. Well, it wasn't me that couldn't deal with the heatwave in the Madhouse Kitchen yesterday - it was my chocolate buttons !

Cadbury had sent me through this fabulous baking bundle, along with the recipe, to try to recreate the cute owl cake in the top picture. Unfortunately, when we got to the decorating stage, we discovered that the chocolate buttons and flakes had completely melted in the heat ! We popped them in the fridge to go hard again and the Madhouse kids still ate them but they were very misshapen, so I had a think and saved the day with another Cadbury product that we had in the cupboard - Mini Rolls ! 

Even they were slightly melted but I stuck them in the freezer compartment of the fridge to firm up for half an hour and they worked perfectly. It's actually a very simple cake to make and the hardest part is stopping the kids from eating all the ingredients before you've finished making it ! It would also be great as the centrepiece for a kids' party.

Cadbury Buttons/Mini Roll Owl Cake


The cake:
200g caster sugar
200g soft unsalted butter
140g Self raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
4 tbsp Cadbury's Bournville cocoa powder
4 medium eggs

100g Cadbury's Bournville dark chocolate
100ml double cream
knob of butter

2x Cadbury's giant milk chocolate buttons
1 x bag Cadbury's white chocolate buttons
1 x bag Cadbury's milk chocolate buttons
1 Cadbury's chocolate flake
(or I used 2 Cadbury Mini Rolls)


Preheat the oven to 180ºC fan/ 160ºC / Gas mark 3. Line a 20cm square cake tin with greaseproof paper.

Cream the sugar & butter together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs with a spoonful of flour to prevent it curdling.

Add the remaining flour, the baking powder and the cocoa powder and mix gently until well combined.

Pour the cake mixture into the tin and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

When cooked, cool the cake in the tin for a few minutes then turn out onto a wire rack. Leave to cool.

To make the icing, melt the chocolate and cream in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once melted, add the butter and stir to combine the butter, chocolate and cream. Leave to cool and thicken.

To make the owl shape, put the cake on a flat tray and, using a round cake tin as a template, cut the cake with a sharp knife, saving the offcuts for wings, ears and legs if enough is left over. (I just cut mine freehand, aiming for a basic snowman shape as a starting point.)

Cover the owl body, wings, ears and legs with the chocolate icing.

Use the giant chocolate buttons for eyes and white ones on top for the pupils. Crush the flake in its packaging and then use to create feathery wings and ears. Use the milk chocolate and white chocolate buttons for the owl's tummy. Finish off with a Cadbury's Maynards mix up raspberry jelly for the owl's beak. (Or I used sliced up Cadbury Mini Rolls and mixed the chocolate crumbs with the remaining cake offcuts broken into crumbs for the wings.)

It was great fun to make and very tasty too (or should that be too-wit-too-woo !)

Disclosure : We received a baking kit in order to make the cake.

Giveaway #579 : Win Chucklevision Complete Series One and Two on DVD - closing date 12/9

Chuckle Vision Chuckle Chuckle Vision ... just hearing the catchy theme tune is enough to bring a smile to your face if you're a child of the eighties or nineties (or even beyond - I was surprised to learn that the series continued to grace our screens until 2009). Now, series one and two of the hilarious, madcap, much loved show featuring The Chuckle Brothers are available on DVD courtesy of Simply Media.

The Chuckle Brothers aka Barry and Paul Elliott were a TV phenomenon, with their unique humour that transcends kids' TV to entertain all ages, and in 2008 they received the Special Award at the Children’s BAFTAs for their work. Chucklevision was one of the BBC’s longest running children’s series, on our screens from 1987 to 2009.

The Complete Series One arrived on DVD on 25th July 2016 and features 13 original barmy episodes. With laughs and larks aplenty, Paul and Barry Chuckle try to launch their own television series, with a little help from Simon Lovell, the magician extraordinaire, and Billy Butler’s Armchair Theatre. It’s quite a show with dancing, singing, conjuring and even bodybuilding as the brothers try their hand at a bit of everything for our entertainment. The episodes from this series are: Breakfast, Dance, Sport, Movies, Fitness, Halloween, Antiques, Travel, Fashion, Magic, D.I.Y., Open Ear and Christmas.

The second series of the wacky and thoroughly entertaining show aired from 1988 - 1989 and now
Chucklevision The Complete Series Two, featuring another 13 zany episodes, arrives on DVD on 29th August 2016. This series sees the boys investigate hobbies, farming and U.F.O.s, celebrate Christmas and the Australian Bicentennial, perform with a symphony orchestra and learn the art of puppetry, invent a robot and observe wildlife... and that’s not all! (Episodes: Clean Up, Australia, Nature Watch, Music, Hobbies, Christmas Special, Farming, U.F.O., Invention, Hi-Tech, Puppets, Fishing, Circus)

I used to think they were hilarious when I was a kid but I wasn't sure what the Madhouse kids would make of them - they were won over by their madcap antics and silly sense of humour though, commenting that they were a bit like a grown up version of Mr Tumble mixed in with Mr Bean ! They also liked the fact that the shows are educational as well as entertaining.

Title: Chucklevision The Complete Series One
Certificate: U
Release Date: 25 July 2016
Cat No: 167546

Running Time: 252 mins approx. on 4 discs
RRP: £19.99

Title: Chucklevision The Complete Series Two
Certificate: U
Release Date: 29 August 2016
Cat No: 167493
Running Time: 247 mins on 4 discs
 RRP: £19.99

I have some Chucklevision DVDs to give away to two lucky Madhouse Family Reviews readers. Each winner will receive Chucklevision Complete Series One and Two on DVD. Fill in your entries via the Rafflecopter widget below.

UK only. Closing date : 12/9/16

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook, twitter and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray !

You may also like to enter my other giveaways :

Giveaway #578 : Win a Braun Beard Trimmer - closing date 11/9

Giveaway #577 : Win 2 x A Dozen Summers - closing date 3/9

Giveaway #576 : Win 2 x Moving On Series Five and Six - closing date 28/8

#MySundayphoto #SundaySnap 28/8/16

Plouarzel beach in Brittany

Sunday SnapOneDad3Girls

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Madhouse recipe : Grilled nectarine and goat's cheese salad

When it's sweltering outside, salads are always the way to go - by adding a few hot ingredients (melted goat's cheese, grilled nectarine slices, chopped bacon ...), it makes it seem more like a proper meal. The gooey cheese and sweet fruit flavours meant that I didn't even feel the need to add salad dressing, but you could if you wanted to.

 Grilled nectarine and goat's cheese salad

 ingredients (per person) :

a few lettuce leaves
a few slices of cucumber
3 cherry tomatoes
3 slices of goat's cheese
1/2 a nectarine
1-2 bacon rashers or a couple of slices of Parma ham

Rip the salad leaves into pieces and put them on a plate then arrange slices of cucumber on top and dot slices of cherry tomatoes around the edges.

Put the slices of goat's cheese under the grill for a couple of minutes to melt - I used a muffin tin to stop it running everywhere and making a mess in the oven.

Chop the nectarine into 8 wedges and grill until soft - I used the Optigrill but you could pop them on the barbecue or under the grill with the goat's cheese.

Chop the bacon into pieces and spoon on top of the salad - you might spot a few mushroom and onion slices in mine too because it was pinched from some creamy bacon and mushroom pasta sauce that I was making for the kids ! I originally meant to use Parma ham but I forgot to put it on the shopping list - doh !

Once it's molten and lightly browned on top, take the cheese out of the oven.

Leave the nectarine wedges to grill on both sides - I pressed down on the Optigrill to speed things up but it takes a good five minutes (longer than the cheese, if you're cooking both in the oven at the same time).

Arrange the grilled nectarine slices on top.

Use a spoon to scoop the melted goat's cheese out of the muffin tin and pour on top.

Eat while it's still warm, with some crusty bread on the side if you like.

Linking up with Marathons & Motivation and Ilka's Blog 

Book review : Never Alone - Elizabeth Haynes

Sarah Carpenter lives in an isolated farmhouse in the middle of the Yorkshire moors. She has been widowed for a few years, her daughter is away at university and her estranged son has cut all ties since his father's death, so, when Aiden, an old friend from university, who also happens to be Sarah's one-that-got-away, puts a message on Facebook, asking if anyone knows of a place to stay, the cottage on her property sounds like the perfect solution. Aiden soon slots into her life, meeting her friends and family, but how well does she really know him? And in this small community, where nobody locks their doors, are people as safe as they think?

It's a realistic, gripping page-turner that leads you down the garden path, certain you know where it's heading, then leaves you desperate to race down the new track that reveals itself when you realise that you've got it all wrong. The characters are complex, multi-layered and believable, although they do seem to be rather indestructible at times, and the plot is well-crafted and spine-tingling. Despite being on a sunlounger in Lanzarote when I read it, the writing is so atmospheric that I could feel the snowflakes bouncing off my nose as I immersed myself in the chilling story !

This was my first introduction to Elizabeth Haynes' work but I'd definitely be interested in looking out for her other books. Her writing career was launched when her debut novel, Into the Darkest Corner, became a word-of-mouth bestseller in 2011. She went on to publish two further psychological thrillers with independent publisher Myriad – Revenge of the Tide and Human Remains – before bringing out her police procedural series, featuring DI Louisa Smith, with Sphere. Having established the series, Haynes has returned to the genre and the publisher that first made her name, with Never Alone, described as a gripping thriller that crosses the line between erotica and crime fiction. I wouldn't go that far - there are sex scenes, largely due to the nature of Aiden's unusual career choice, but they are important elements of the plot rather than gratuitous and they aren't too full-on so you won't feel uncomfortable if erotic fiction isn't your thing. Above all, it's a great piece of crime fiction, undoubtedly made more realistic and chilling by the author's background as a former police intelligence analyst.

star rating : 4.5/5

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Myriad Editions (6 Oct. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1908434961
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908434968
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 2.2 x 21 cm

Disclosure : I received a copy of the book in order to write an honest review.

Fab freebies of the week 27/8/16

Well, I've caught up with the 3300 emails that were awaiting me after a fortnight offline so there's a bumper crop of freebies to share with you this week - enjoy !


Sign up to try out Glenisk Organic Bio yogurt for free

2,000 free tickets to the London Homebuilding & Renovating Show available here

Something very exciting has been going on in the Little Dish kitchen, and we’d like you to be the first to know about it…all you need to do is sign up here and on the 5th of September we’ll email you and all will be revealed! Plus we’ll send you a special voucher for a free meal*, and we’ll enter you into our grand prize draw to win £1,000. Don’t forget to pop the 5th of September in your diary…see you then!

The Drinki app pays for your first drink with your Facebook Check In. You can use it once a night, every night. It's outrageously quick, easy & simple to use. Once you’ve posted your Check In show this screen to the bartender - they will tap to confirm and that’s it; you've paid for your drink.


Claim one of 1000 samples of the Cleanse, Mask, Moisturise Ritual packs from Fresh

Join the talkhealth product review panel for the opportunity to receive a wide range of health-related products to try for free. All you need to do is fill in your details and tell us the types of products you are interested in, and we'll be in touch when suitable products become available. You'll then just need write to a short review and give a star rating of any products you receive.

The Shopkins Treat Truck is going on tour! If you would like to visit the Shopkins Treat Truck and pick up a FREE Shopkins Foil bag PLUS have your photograph taken with a Shopkins Character, then check out the dates and locations of where the Shopkins will be:
Saturday 27th August Bournemouth Smyths Toys Superstore - 1pm
Sunday 28th August Poole Toys "R" Us - 11am
Saturday 3rd September Staines The Entertainer - 11am / Slough Smyths Toys Superstores - 14:30pm
Saturday 10th September Newbury The Entertainer - 11am / Reading Toys "R" Us - 14:30pm
Sunday 11th September Ashby-De-La-Zouch Tesco - 11am

INTRODUCING OUR 100% VEGETARIAN FACE MASKS - Be one of the first to try our New Facial Masks Range at The Body Shop® for free. Claim one for yourself and send a sample to three friends!

Request a sample pack of 6 Bodyform sanitary towels

You can see previous weeks' freebie roundups by clicking here but be warned, many of the offers are only valid for a short time. Let me know if any have expired and I'll remove them from the roundup.

Friday, 26 August 2016

Take your Bank Holiday BBQ to another level with Josh Katz, Head Chef at Berber and Q, and Heinz

Get ready to celebrate because Monday is a bank holiday in the UK - we'll overlook the fact that the next one is Boxing Day ! - and there's nothing that the Brits love more on a bank holiday than bringing out the barbie. Heinz have called in Josh Katz, Head Chef at Berber and Q, to help put together the definitive guide to summer barbecues, to make sure you really wow your family and friends this weekend - make the most of it because I'm sure this fantastic weather won't last much longer !

5 tips for a last-minute BBQ

If you find yourself making an impromptu last-minute decision to throw a barbecue or are short on preparation time, follow these tips to get you over the line.

1) Steer clear of large joints of meat that require slow cooking, or those that really benefit from spending a long time in a marinade. Sausages, steaks and hamburgers are good options for a last-minute BBQ because the preparation time is minimal (if any) and they cook quickly on the grill.

2) Heinz Tomato Ketchup is a great ingredient to have up your sleeve for a BBQ at short notice, because of its versatility. I use it in both my hamburger mix and when making my Sweet & Sour BBQ Sauce, but of course it’s also the perfect accompaniment to a good hot dog, the quickest and easiest of options for a last-minute BBQ.

3) Chicken wings are a brilliant option for a last-minute barbecue because they need far less time on the grill than either the breast, legs or thigh, all of which can often burn on the outside before being cooked all the way through, especially when using a sweet marinade. Try out my Heinz Peri Peri & Honey Glazed Chicken Wings for a recipe that’s both quick and easy.

4) Certain vegetables such as leeks, sweet corn & broccoli are brilliant just grilled simply on a BBQ with little more than a drizzle of olive oil, some salt & pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. They’re perfect as a quick-and-easy vegetable side to accompany the rest of your barbecue. Whilst the meat or fish is cooking, set about making a Heinz Sweet Chilli Sauce Butter or Charred Spring Onion Aioli to turn your vegetables into a main event. 

5) Use a chimney starter to get your charcoal burning in no time. They’re cheap and easy to purchase on the Internet, but are also simple and safe to use. Most importantly, they take away all the stress and time associated with building a charcoal fire. You’ll have hot burning embers that are ready to cook on in no time at all.

5 tips on how to BBQ like a Pro

2-zone cooking: Direct & indirect grilling

Try and master the art of setting up your barbecue for 2-zone cooking, with your charcoal banked to one side to enable both direct grilling (straight above the charcoal) and indirect grilling (set off to the side of the charcoal). Any barbecue that has a lid is effectively an oven that can be used for low n’ slow smoking and roasting. Larger joints of meat, or those that have been marinated with high sugar-content, require indirect grilling to ensure that the meat cooks through without burning on the outside. Chicken is a good example of a meat that, when grilled directly, can often burn before being sufficiently cooked. Rather, bank your chicken away from the coal with the lid of the barbecue on, before moving it over to the opposite side to be finished with direct grilling in order to achieve the desirable browning of the skin. (See Heinz Peri-Peri & Honey Smoked Chicken Wings below for demonstration of this tip.)

The Maillard Reaction

The Maillard reaction is an important process for any aspiring BBQ cook to understand. It’s the moment when the presence of heat initiates a reaction between the amino acids and reducing sugars present in proteins, resulting in what is commonly referred to as ‘browning’. It is this reaction that is responsible for the richness and depth of flavour that is so desirable in barbecue.

Using all of your fire

Burning charcoal is prized by BBQ pros. You have paid for it, so try and really make use of it by extracting as much as you possibly can from the energy source. The common perception with barbecue is that it’s primarily for the purposes of grilling your chosen meat. However, you could be grilling onions for an accompanying salad, blackening your broccoli for a vegetable side and lightly grilling your hamburger buns all from the same fire and at the same time as cooking your meat. Once the coal has settled down to burning embers or a glowing ash, you can extract yet more from your fire, by burying peppers or sweet potatoes within and returning several hours later. The residual heat leftover from your barbecue is brilliant for cooking vegetables.

Don’t be afraid to char your food

‘Charring’ is a word commonly thought of as having negative connotations in cookery. However the right amount of char on the right ingredient can often have desirable effects rather than an unwanted one. The correct amount of charring can be delicious. But beware – if you take this too far, what was once charred, can become acrid, bitter and leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth. 

Dry brining & the importance of allowing time for a marinade

Dry brining involves salting your meat a few hours before you plan to cook it. This has the benefit of enhancing its flavour, but more importantly encourages the proteins present in the meat to retain water more easily, ensuring that it will remain moister through the cooking process. People often forget how important time is when marinating. In order to get the best taste possible, make sure to marinade your meat for a minimum of 4 hours or, even better, overnight before barbecuing. Hold back some of that marinade to use for basting whilst cooking.

OK, now that we've got the basics covered, how about trying out one of Josh Katz's favourite BBQ recipes? Here are a couple that you might like to try :


Heinz Peri Peri & Honey Glazed Smoked Chicken Wings

Serves 2-4

Ingredients :

800g Chicken Wings (Approx 12 in number)

For the rub:
1tsp Smoked Paprika
1tsp Cayenne
½ tsp Cumin, ground
1tbsp Kosher Salt
1tsp Black Pepper, coarse

For the marinade:
60ml Heinz Peri-Peri sauce
1tbsp Lemon Juice
20ml Maple Syrup

For the glaze:
150g Heinz Peri-Peri sauce
180g Clear Honey
30ml Lemon Juice
1tsp Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper, coarse

For garnish:
1 Spring Onion thinly sliced
1 Lemon, cut into 8 wedges
1tbsp Chopped Parsley


Start by preparing the rub. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and mix together thoroughly. Toss the chicken wings in the rub so that each wing is coated liberally.

Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and pour over the rubbed chicken wings. Allow the wings to marinate for 2 to 4 hours or preferably overnight.

Whilst the wings are marinating, prepare the glaze by combining all of the ingredients in a pan and reducing over a medium to high heat by approximately 25%.

Fire up the barbecue for direct grilling over high heat, but bank the coals to one side (if possible).
Grill your wings, turning regularly whilst basting with the glaze, until the skin is crisp and slightly charred and they are completely cooked through (approximately 15-20 minutes). Should the wings start to crisp on the outside too much, before being cooked all the way through, transfer them to the other side of your grill where they are not directly positioned above the coals, and place the lid on the barbecue. This will turn your barbecue into an oven and will enable the wings to continue cooking through without burning.

Remove your wings from the grill and serve immediately with the lemon wedges, blackened on the grill and squeezed over the top, and some chopped parsley strewn all over.


Seared Duck Breast with Heinz Classic Barbecue sauce, Molasses & Soy Marinade

Serves 2


2 Duck Breasts, trimmed of excess fat

For the rub:
1tsp Fennel Seeds
1tsp Chilli Flakes
1tsp Salt (Preferably Maldon Flaked)
½ tsp Black Pepper, coarse
Zest of ½ an Orange

For the marinade:
45g Heinz Classic Barbecue Sauce
30ml Soy Sauce
20ml Apple Juice
½ tbsp Pomegranate Molasses
1 Garlic Clove, minced or finely chopped
30ml Maple Syrup

For the glaze:
100g Honey
60g Heinz Classic Barbecue Sauce
40ml Cider Vinegar

For Garnish:
2 Leeks, tough dark green outer leaves removed & cut in half
1 small Red Onions, cut into quarters
1 Baby Gem Lettuce, cut into quarters
40ml Olive Oil
1tbsp Salt (preferably Maldon flaked)
1tsp Black Pepper, coarse
Handful of Pomegranate Seeds
Handful of picked Flat-leaf Parsley leaves
20ml Pomegranate molasses
100g Crème Fraiche


To prepare the duck breasts, trim away any excess fat, score the skin and remove any unwanted sinew.

Prepare the rub for the duck breasts by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl and mixing together thoroughly. Rub all over the duck to ensure they are evenly covered.

Make the marinade by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl and stirring to combine. Toss the duck breasts in the marinade and allow to marinate for 4 to 6 hours or preferably overnight.

Prepare the glaze by combining all of the ingredients together in a pan, bringing to the boil, and reducing by 25%.

Fire up the barbecue for direct grilling over a medium to high heat, but bank the coals to one side (if possible). Grill the duck breasts directly over the coals, skin-side down, and allow to cook until the skin turns golden brown. Baste the duck breasts intermittently with the prepared glaze, and continue to cook by turning regularly and glazing. Should the breasts start to blacken on the outside too much, before being cooked all the way through, transfer them to the other side of your grill where they are not directly positioned above the coals, and place the lid on the barbecue. This will turn your barbecue into an oven of sorts, and enable the duck to continue cooking through without burning.
Cook the duck to desired preference, 5-7 minutes for medium-rare, 7-9 minutes for medium, and longer than 9 minutes for medium to well done. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 3 minutes.

Whilst the duck is resting, prepare the garnish salad by rolling the leeks, red onions and baby gem in olive oil and seasoning with salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables on direct heat until charred and softened.

Serve the duck breast thinly sliced alongside the grilled vegetables drizzled with pomegranate molasses and with picked parsley leaves and pomegranate seeds strewn over the top. A dollop of Crème Fraiche alongside is added for cooling and to cut through the sharpness of the molasses.

BBQ Whole Head of Broccoli, Harissa & Charred Spring Onion Aioli

Serves 2 as a vegetable main, or can be shared between 4 as a side


1 Head of Broccoli
20ml Olive Oil
1tsp Salt (Maldon Flaked, preferably)
½ tsp Black Pepper, coarse

For the Charred Spring Onion Aioli:
120g Heinz Salad Cream
80g Crème Fraiche
4 Spring Onions, blackened on the grill & finely chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced or finely chopped
20ml Olive Oil
20ml Lemon Juice

For Garnish:
2tbsp Harissa (good quality)
3 Anchovies (optional)
1tbsp toasted Hazelnuts, roughly chopped


Start by blanching the whole head of broccoli in some boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove from the water and refresh in a bowl of iced water.

Make the Charred Spring Onion Aioli by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl thoroughly.
Fire up the barbecue for direct grilling over high heat. Whilst the fire is coming to temperature, roll the broccoli in olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Grill the broccoli atop the burning coals until lightly blackened and crisp all over.

Remove the broccoli from the grill and serve on a base of the Charred Spring Onion Aioli, with some reserved for spooning over the top, along with the harissa, the chopped hazelnuts and anchovies (if using) ripped into a few pieces.

Are you planning on having a BBQ over the long weekend? If so, what will you be eating?

Disclosure : I received some Heinz sauces to get our BBQ off to a good start !