We’d had a busy week with one thing and another, and so Neets (my ten year old daughter) and I decided to do something fun and relaxing. I’d been given these recipe cards from Nestle, with some great ideas on them for using cereals.
I thought this was an ideal time to try out the Heston Orb scales I had pined over after they arrived in the post a few days previously. I had taken them out the box to look at them and loved them, but as yet had not had opportunity to try them out. The busy week had put stop to that.
So first things first, we decided on trying out two of the recipe cards. I’d already looked at them and got the extra ingredients. Neets chose the Curiously Cinnamon Christmas reindeer, and I selected the Wholegrain flower pops. Christmas in September? Well Neets never likes to follow rules, and they did look cute.
Once we had done the usual of washing hands, cleaning bench and such like, we read the instructions on the cards. The instructions were clear and concise, step by step so easy to follow. We decided to make the flowers first.
We set the scales up to firstly measure out chocolate. They are so easy to use, Neets had no problem using them herself. Three buttons on the front speak for themselves. On/off, which counts as a reset button too, one for weight and one for volume. Both in imperial and metric. Great. The scales look great, a fabulous stainless steel bowl that you measure in to. And black and imitation chrome body, with a large digital display. Smart, practical as well as easy to clean. The bowl is a really good size. I really like that you can measure liquid too, I find that really useful.
I’ve had the same old scales since I was eighteen and I went away to university. They were from Boots, cheap and cheerful and have done me well. Although difficult to use and probably not at all accurate. So having these Heston ones feels like utter luxury.
So, back to our creating of flowers. We followed the instructions carefully, and made sure we had everything ready. We were going to be dealing with melted chocolate so it seemed like a good idea to be prepared. I wasn’t able to get wooden skewers as stated on the cards, so we were going to try it out with cocktail sticks this time. I thought it would do to adapt.
The flowers were very easy to make and enjoyable too. We used a variety of cereals as suggested on the card.
So Neets enjoyed making them as different as she could. We had also used dried cranberries for the centres, so another easy extra. It does take patience to make them. They can be quite fiddly. You also get a little sticky, what with melted chocolate, glacé cherries and dusted cereals. You also need a lot of space in the fridge afterwards so as to chill them. We had our trays balanced on cheeses and all kinds of fridge goodies.
All in all the flowers took probably an hour to make and prepare. We left them to chill for at least an hour. They were easy to peel from the baking parchment, and we found the cocktail sticks worked just fine.
We laid them out on a board, and waited for judgement. It wasn’t long before they were being eyed up by the other’s in the family. And one by one they started to disappear. Neets tried one, and said they were really yummy.
I’d say we had success. They were easy and were a hit. In the picture on the card they are displayed as flowers, which is a nice quirky idea. You can obviously adapt the recipe. Use dark, milk or even white chocolate. Or a mixture of each. You could even swirl two different types to create a nice look. You can use any number of cereals, whichever you prefer. For the centres, again you could use whatever you fancy.
I thought these could be a nice alternative to toffee apples for Halloween. You could even make them more Halloween like, perhaps with ghost faces an such like. You could stick them into a pumpkin to offer them out as treats.
Now then. We moved onto the next card. Reindeer heads. They looked lovely on the picture, very cute and the recipe didn’t seem too difficult. I’m afraid what actually happened was almost something from a horror film. Such a great idea ended, for us in disaster. First thing was entirely my own fault, I actually burnt the chocolate while we were melting it. Believe me, its possible and doesn’t smell nice at all. Particularly when you’re pregnant and even the thought of chocolate makes one feel slightly queasy. This was the worst! Neets also ran from the kitchen in disbelief that this was possible.
So after a short recovery, we continued. New chocolate, melted fabulously and scooped into a piping bag. We were meant to be making the antlers. Sadly it was all about to go wrong again for us. Neets couldn’t handle the piping bag, and chocolate ended up all over her hands. She wasn’t happy. I took over, but I didn’t do much better. They just weren’t coming out at all like the photo. Most disappointing. Neets wasn’t happy. Part of the process involved placing Nesquik chocolate cereal balls onto the line of chocolate that we’d done for the antlers. It was fiddly, and sticky.
Making the heads turned out to be even worse. We ended up with a horrible sticky mess, out hands coated in broken cereal and toffee like goo. The stuff wasn’t sticking together and the heads that we had almost succeeded in, looked mutated rather than cute.
At this point Neets was wanting to give in. It wasn’t looking good. I’m afraid to say, I looked at us, I looked at the state of the kitchen, and the disastrous antlers, and did give up! Neets went away eating a bowl of raspberries we’d got for the noses. At least that cheered her up a bit.
So what do I think of these cards? Nice idea. I like the use of cereal. Kids love cereal, and it’s a good way of combining their sweet tooth, fun side, with a little wholegrain goodness. The cards look fabulous, lovely colours and clear photos. Easy instructions. There is nutritional values for each recipe on each card. The cards themselves are easy to clean.
However, I do feel that the recipes themselves in general are more suited for those with patience, time and skill. Neets is ten and she got frustrated with it, so I don’t think this would work well with younger children. Although I think they would be a big hit for eating with young children. Some of the designs look more complicated than others, but they do look fun. One is a treasure chest, so that would be great at say a pirate party.
I imagine Father Christmas would love one of the reindeer with his glass of milk as he does his travels on Christmas Eve!
As for the fun and relaxing, well I managed to make a lovely mess and almost start several small fires, we got horribly sticky and a little stressed, but it seemed worth it. Neets was most relaxed sitting munching on her flower pops and raspberries, as I cleaned up the mess.
Thank you to Heston at Salter and Nestle for the scales and cereal for the cereal craft.
Check back tomorrow for a chance to win a set of Heston scales.
Fuss Free Rating: Heston Blumenthal Precision Scales by Salter
Value 4/5. The scales are available from John Lewis for £39.95. So they do cost more than others. But I do like them for use and even appearance, so consider than worth it if you’re willing to pay a little more.
Appearance 5/5. I really like their look. Neat, and modern looking. I love the bowl on top, and the large digital display is very clear.
Convenience 5/5. I couldn’t find fault with them. They are so easy to use, and easy to clean. I suppose my only complaint about them would be their storage space. My old scales tucked away in the cupboard neatly. These will not. They do take up more room. But they aren’t huge by any means.
Its worth mentioning that the scales do take batteries, but unlike many digital scales they simply take three triple A’s. Which is helpful when it comes to replacing them. Not too expensive.
Fuss Free Rating: Nestle Wholegrain Cereal Recipes
Taste 5/5. I can only go on how popular they were and the comments from the family. I couldn’t eat them myself. But they all disappeared. This is only for the Flower pops.
Appearance 5/5. The cards look great, colourful and good photos.
Convenience: 3/5. I’m afraid I’m going to have to say the recipes aren’t very convenient. But, the cards themselves are. They wipe, they store easily.
Thank you to Heston by Salter for the scales and to Nestle for the cards and cereal for the recipes.