Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Curiousity Corner revisited

If you've been with me for a while, you may remember that last year I was lucky enough to win the entire Dovecraft Curiosity Corner range. Like a child with a new toy, I went crazy with it for a while until I'd exhausted all the ideas I had, then set it aside and haven't really dome much with it since.

However, as with the Hunkydory kit yesterday, I'm going through a bit of a phase of rediscovering old Stuff, so I got the remaining goodies out for another playtime session and these are the cards that resulted. Apart from base cardstock and a little ink for the edges of some of the layers, everything came from the Curiosity Corner goodies.

This first one is my favourite - I'm pleased with the way the bird on the backing paper is reflected in the wooden bird lower down, with other elements also bringing out the almost-hidden parts of the backing paper.

An ultra quick and simple card this time but the main attraction is the central blue section of the doyley, cut from a matching blue doyley and layered on top of the cream one.

My least favourite, I'm afraid - I spent ages experimenting with the arrangement of the flowers and buttons, but what looked perfect lying flat on my work table doesn't seem to hit the spot quite so well  when I look at it as a finished card. Also now I've uploaded the photo, I can see I've forgotten to add a centre to one of the flowers and it looks a bit naked! But that, of course, I can fix in a jiffy.

I'm sharing the first card with Fan-Tastic Tuesday where the new challenge is Anything goes with a twist - Make it feminine

Something beginning with T at Cardz 4 Guyz

This week at Cardz 4 Guyz we want to see something beginning with the letter T on your entry. I've made a Thank you card featuring a Tree and some wood-effect embossed Texture.

To add some interest to the tree, I've used one of my favourite techniques (ooh, techniques starts with a T too!)  - foiling. I dotted the image with Tonertex (ooh anther T!)  pen and left it to dry, then rubbed a special metallic foil over it. First I used dark brown, then repeated the process with copper, and finally with gold foil. You can buy the special foils and the Tonertex pen from Foil Play. Instead of doing the whole tree I highlighted just a portion of it by stamping a second image, die cutting a circle from it, and foiling only that, sticking it in place over the original image with 1mm foam pads for a little definition.

Right, now I'm off for a cup of T-ea! But not before sharing this with:
Craft Your Passion Challenges - Anything Goes
Use Your Stuff Challenge - Anything Goes
Fab'nFunky - No Patterned Papers

Monday, 27 July 2015

Everything's Hunkydory

... or is it? I have several Hunkydory kits, as I went through a spell of winning them on their Facebook page, but although the designs look really beautiful, I can never think of anything to do with them! I think they suffer from "too much already done for you" syndrome - the very thing that makes them look so attractive when they are shown on TV or in an advertisement, is the same thing that means you can't think of anything creative to do with them once you get hold of them.

However you can't just sit and stroke the papers and card forever, so I've decided it's time I pressed some of my "What on earth can I do with this?" stuff into action. With that in mind, here is a card made from one of my Hunkydory kits

I'm sharing this with
Alphabet Challenge - L for Lavender (the colour, silly, not the flowers! I may not be much of a gardener but I know a hydrangea when I see it!)
Make My Monday - Flowers

Guitar Hero-ine

The latest challenge at CD Sundays is Rock Star and I suspect the La Pashe CDs will be out in force for this one as they have some great images and backing papers that fit the theme. For my card, I printed out a decoupage and backing sheet from The Wrinklies CD, and teamed it with a die cut musical staff and an embossed piece of sheet music, using a Darice folder, which I embossed onto red Core-dinations card and then sanded lightly.

With so much going on on the outside of the card, I didn't want to use the decoupage elements, just the main image, so I added the old lady decoupage layer to the inside of the card, together with the second sentiment from the printed sheet.

White Christmas

Bear with me, folks, this is my last Christmas card for now - for a day or two, anyway! I was delighted to be picked as the weekly winner at Christmas Card Challenges last week, and this week it's an "Anything Goes" challenge so I thought I'd make a white on white card using up lots of my white snippets.

I embossed the background piece with a woodgrain folder, then cut and embossed the fir cones and branch (I think they are Spellbinders dies) twice each plus a couple of spikey leaves from a very old die set - I can't remember the name but it's blue so it might be a Marianne one. I used Pinflair glue to build up the sprig of fir cones and branches and added a little "frost" to the main branches using Crystal Stickles.

Well, that's reduced the white snippets mountain a bit, so I'm popping back into the playground at Pixie's Crafty Workshop for my second visit of the week, and with all those die cuts, I'm also making a second visit to Crafty Gals Corner where this week's challenge is To Die For.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Ho! Ho! Ho!

OK, I promise this is my last Christmas post for today!

I've made this for Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge where the theme is Ho! Ho! Ho!

Santa with his cat and dog are a magazine freebie stamp, and the Ho! Ho! Ho! speech bubble is a Studio G stamp. The only logical way of positioning it means it looks as if the cat is saying it! All the papers are from a DCWV stack, the corners are from an ancient set of peel offs and the acetate embellishment is from an old HOTP kit.

Right, now I'm off to watch the rain lashing against the windows and try to convince myself that it's actually the middle of Summer........

A Christmas candle

I know, I know, more Christmas cards even though it's July - but I'm WAAAAAAY behind with my Christmas card making and likely to be away a fair bit between now and Christmas, so I really need to crack on with them. And as the current One Layer Christmas Card Challenge is candles, this card features a candle.

This card was made using a tag stamp that I've had for years. I can still make out the writing on the backing acetate, so I thought I was going to be able to tell you who it was made by, but the writing simply says "Individual stamp"  - I can blooming well see it's an individual stamp, I can count all the way to one don't you know!

Anyway, I stamped, embossed and coloured it, and then to give it some festive sparkle, I brushed Opal Dust over the white area surrounding it.

The photo doesn't really do justice to the opal dust, so I tried holding it at an angle to the camera - this time you can see the lovely effect it creates, but the close up means you can also see the folly of my having chosen to use ordinary brush markers rather then Promarkers, simply because they happened to be the colours I wanted..... just look at those "brush strokes"!

A Charming Christmas

When I saw that the current challenge at Winter Wonderland is How Charming - add a charm - I thought I wouldn't be able to play this week as I have very few charms, and none of them Christmassy. Then I remembered the bits I have left from an old Hot Off The Press Christmas kit, which include a very cute reindeer charm - not a typical metal charm, but a bold, bright plastic one.

The reindeer on it reminds me of the cute reindeer stamp that came as a magazine freebie a couple of years ago and has made several appearances on here. So I put them together, along with a selection of papers from a DCWV stack - they aren't specifically Christmas papers but I think they all have a very festive look to them.

The sentiment is from a Studio G mini stamp set.

How to make a Minion

Firstly, if you've come here looking for dodgy financial advice, you've typed the wrong word into Google, darling - that word is Minion, not Million. And if you don't know what a Minion is, you've probably been living in a cave in the Outer Hebrides for the last couple of years...... Or you live in a totally child-free zone.

Friday was the first full day of my 6 year old granddaughter, Lara's, school holidays. And Mark and I were looking after her for the day. So naturally it bucketed with rain all day and our planned outing to the park had to be cancelled, as did a gardening session with Mark. But Lara loves crafting, so between us she and I decided we would see whether we could make a Minion style greetings card. I cut us an A6 yellow card blank each and then we delved in the snippets box for suitable colours to build our Minions with.

We used medium sized circular dies in each corner of the card blank to shape it - not by die cutting, but by drawing around the die and then cutting by hand. We each designed our own "dungarees" from blue card, then I die cut grey and white circles for the eyes, using black Candi for the pupils and a strip of black for the headbands. Then we added finishing touches with markers.

Here is my Minion

And here is Lara with hers

And now both of them side by side

Lara and I would like to share these with
Pixie's Snippets Playground - week 187
Fab'n'Funky - No Patterned Paper 

I really wish I'd taken photos of the rest of Lara's lovely art and craft work - she designed her dream  Romany caravan and made an easel card covered with butterflies and bows!

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Pastel butterflies

This week at Less is More it's a recipe challenge, and the recipe is to use snippets, in honour of the guest designer, Di, who hosts the weekly Pixie's Snippets Playground challenge. And it's a celebration, too, as it is Chrissie's 70th birthday, so I wanted to make sure my offering included a birthday greeting!

One of my most frequently used dies is this sweet little Spellbinders butterfly. This time I've cut it in pastel shades from my snippets box roughly approximating to the colours of the rainbow, and combined it with pastel coloured twine and a birthday greeting stamped with a Kaleidacolor "Birthstone" pad.

I am sharing this with
Less is More - Snippets
Suzy Bee's Blooming Challenge - Use Some Ice Cream Shades
Allsorts Challenge - add a butterfly
Crafty Gals Corner - To Die For  

Using up old stuff

Several years ago now, I spotted some sheets of rub-off transfers in one of the general purpose cheap superstores - something like Home Bargains or Poundsavers, it's so long ago I can't remember which. They looked rather more tasteful than many I'd seen, but at £1 each I didn't want to buy a lot so just popped two into my basket, a butterfly and a dragonfly. I kicked myself when I got home and realised I'd actually been charged just 1p for each sheet. If I'd realised that was the price I'd have bought the lot!

Anyway, since then they've just been hanging around in my stash, the way impulse buys tend to do, and were in danger of starting to get a bit dog-eared, so I decided to use the dragonfly sheet for the current Mod Squad challenge, The Wing's The Thing.

I rubbed off the main and secondary images onto white card, cut them out and added a touch of crystal Stickles to the wings. It would have been useful if the secondary image had been the same size as the first, so that I could have layered it up for dimension, but as it was significantly smaller I cut away the leaves from it and used it as an embellishment instead.

I covered the base card with dotty paper, inked the edges and stamped a large dragonfly randomly  all over, then added the dragonfly image on top of a panel of green woven-effect printed paper with lightly distressed edges.

I am also sharing this with Crafty Hazelnut's Patterned Paper Challenge for July.

Colchester Houses

A few months ago I treated myself to this die, called "Colchester Houses" but I haven't really done much with it yet - somehow it hasn't inspired me as I thought it was going to.

But I had a little play with it this morning - I die cut it from terracotta coloured card leaving a band about 2cm wide below the line of buildings, then stamped a dotty border on a strip of white card to layer onto the bottom. Not a huge lot of creativity involved - but I do love this colour! And because it's a LINE of buildings, I'm sharing it with CAS-ology - Line.

It's Rudolph Day!

Today is July 25th and that makes it Rudolph Day - and reminds us that Christmas is exactly 5 months away. I'm REALLY going to need to step up my Christmas card making if I'm going to have enough ready to send in December.

This card was made using the DeeDees digi "Meowy Christmas" set. The sentiment appealed to me as I have Spanish speaking family and I think this will make them laugh! The layout and embellishment were the idea of my six year old granddaughter who spent the day crafting with me yesterday - look out for one of her own makes on the blog tomorrow!

I am sharing this with
Scrappymo's - Rudolph Day
Crafter's Café - Christmas in July

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Hungarian Kohlrabi Soup

This weekend the Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix takes place in Budapest. Budapest is a city of mixed memories for me, as Mark and I visited it a couple of years ago on a Danube cruise that had to be abandoned due to severe flooding, so we spent our few days in the city in rather unpleasant circumstances. However it looks like a beautiful place and one we would like to visit again and have chance to really enjoy. One good thing about the trip was that our boat was moored near to the famous market, where we enjoyed browsing around the fabulous food stalls.....

Naturally we bought some paprika to bring home, but we had to leave all the fresh foods as at that point we had no idea when we would be coming home!

Caroline Makes is looking for Hungarian dishes for the Formula 1 Foods challenge this time

My first thought was, of course, Goulash or Gulyas. We were served it several times - all slightly different, and all delicious, and I've made it many times since then. But we were also served lots of wonderful soups, so I thought as I've blogged about goulash before, I'd try making a soup.

So for inspiration I turned to my lovely book about Hungarian food, Culinaria Hungary. If you are not familiar with the Culinaria books, they are wonderful reference books for foodies and travellers alike - Amazon sells them and the prices are amazingly low for books that are not just recipe books but complete, and wonderfully illustrated guides to the history and geography of each country, seen through the medium of the foods it produces and eats.

Among the recipes was a kohlrabi soup, which features kohlrabi, parsley and little else - ideal as we have lots of both in the garden at the moment. I'll not share the exact recipe, as it is copyright to the authors, but I chopped kohlrabi and softened it in butter, then thickened with flour, added plain water, no stock, cooked until tender then stirred in cream and lots of parsley. The cream was supposed to be soured cream, and that indeed was what I thought I'd bought, but I'd picked up single cream by accident! I really should have added a squeeze of lemon juice to the soup for sourness, but I didn't think about it at the time.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

A bit "tied" up at the moment....

This card was inspired by the latest challenge at The Male Room, which is Spots and Stripes. Now it may be a cliché but when I think of men and spots and stripes, I think of ties. A rummage through my stamps produced a stripey tie stamp, from the Papermania Heritage Press range. So that was the stripes catered for. But what about a spotty one? Well, I found some spotty paper, turned it over and stamped my stripey tie on the back. Job done!

The sentiment is also from the Heritage Press range - it had a tweed effect surround with pinked edges, so I trimmed that away and matted it onto scraps of red and blue to match my ties.

I'm sharing this with
The Male Room - Spots and Stripes
Crafty Creations Challenges - Four (four ties)
Addicted to Stamps and More - CAS
and last, but not least, Pixie's Snippets Playground  because  it's entirely made from snippets.

A good book and a nice cup of tea

This week at Shopping Our Stash the challenge is called Don't get Stressed, get De-stressed!  - nothing to do with distressing, but asking us to show what makes us relax. Well for me, there is nothing more relaxing than a good book and a nice cup of tea.

I've had a couple of tiny, teeny miniature books in my stash for a long time, they were sent to me by Millie Johnson who wrote one of the titles they represent, so they were natural choices for on my card. But as well as those, the timing of this challenge was perfect because over the last few days I've been looking through all my "Not used for ages" stuff and deciding whether I'll ever use it again, and when I came to my Bookatrix scoring board, I  had the idea of using the smallest page to create a miniature book-style embellishment for on a card.

I scored the smallest page, and cut it out as usual, then I used "newsprint" paper from the dovecraft Curiousity Corner 6 x 6 pad to score three times more, this time cutting INSIDE the scored line. Sticking everything together along the central line gave me a "book" with a cover and three pairs of pages. You can see the effect of using several pages in the second photo.

And I've just realised that as I also have the Mini Boox scoring board, I can make even smaller books using the smallest page of that, although the newsprint paper may be a bit oversized for that. But I'll give it a try next time!

All the other papers, images and bits and bobs are from my stash. I sort of felt obliged to distress the background paper for the sake of the distress/de-stress wordplay!

Harissa Lamb with Hummus

Today's post uses some of the beautiful meat from Farmer's Choice Foods who provided the meat to me as a member of their Food Blogger team.

Harissa lamb with hummus  serves 2

For the hummus:

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
4 tbs rapeseed oil
juice of 1 lemon
1 tbs tahini paste

For the lamb:

350g lean diced lamb
1 tbs rapeseed oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 tbs harissa paste
2 tbs toasted pine nuts (these can be bought ready toasted. If you can't get ready toasted ones, toss uncooked ones in a hot, dry frying pan for a few seconds until golden then tip from the pan into a bowl immediately so they don't continue to cook in the residual heat)
2 tbs finely chopped fresh mint

First of all, make the hummus – you’ll only be using half of it for this recipe but it keeps in the fridge for a few days and is lovely as a dip or in a wrap. Most blenders can't cope well with a half quantity of the mixture.

Put the chickpeas, oil, lemon juice and tahini in a blender or food processor, blend until smooth. Taste and season with salt as required. (If I was making it to serve just as hummus, I would add spices such as cumin, paprika and/or chilli, and possibly garlic, mint or parsley, according to my mood, but for this recipe all the spice is in the lamb and the creamy textured, lemony hummus provides a great contrast).

Put half the hummus in a serving dish, cover and set aside, and store the remainder as you wish. This stage can be done well in advance.  As an afterthought, I wish now that I had used the beautiful Lemongrass and Thyme Infused Rapeseed Oil sold by Farmer's Choice foods, which would have given the hummus an even more lemony tang - I'll certainly try this next time I'm making hummus.


To make the lamb topping, heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the diced lamb over a high heat until well browned all over. Lift from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion to the pan, reduce the heat to medium and cook until softened, then return the lamb to the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook, stirring frequently, until the lamb is fully cooked, about 10 minutes. Stir in the harissa paste and cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Season then spoon the mixture over the hummus. Scatter with the pine nuts and mint.
Serve with flat breads and a green salad.
I added a couple more salads to make a really colourful meal - a carrot and some cucumber shaved into strips using a vegetable peeler and a sliced orange with red onion and raisins.

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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A little touch of Steampunk in the Night

Steampunk is really way outside my comfort zone. To me, it's not just a crafting style, it's a whole genre, which lots of people devote their whole lives to, dressing the part, going to conventions, buying the artwork, the outfits, the jewellery - I simply don't know enough about it to feel comfortable with it as a crafting style, so I'm always worried that the work I produce will offend a true devotee.

However, it DOES give me an excuse to play with my lovely Kanban toppers and equally lovely docrafts Chronology stamps, so I do dabble from time to time and hope that the serious Steampunk lovers will look away! And this week it's Steampunk at Make My Monday so I have a good reason to dabble.

I absolutely love the effect of stamping with a Versamark pad onto Kraft card - the images show up beautifully once the ink has been left to develop, so I made a background using this technique, applying the Chronology stamps at random over the card. I had all sorts of plans for the toppers, but once my background was stamped and the edges lightly inked, I didn't want to cover it up, so I pared down the toppers and layers as much as I could. Is CAS Steampunk a Thing? Maybe I could start a craze......

A Christmas Penguin

Oh please don't get me started on penguins and Christmas - penguins live at the South Pole (apologies to any South African readers who know very well that's not the only place they live) and as we all know, Santa lives at the North Pole. So penguins on Christmas cards are as much of an anathema to me as tigers in Africa - nature just doesn't work like that! However, since Santa Claus is (allegedly) fictional, I'll allow the Christmas Penguin to become part of that same fiction - as long as I never have to combine him with a polar bear. The polar bear would eat the penguin - if he ever met one.

Right, rant over - despite my anti-penguinism, I do have rather a lot of Christmas penguin images, bought from Crafts U Print when a friend needed penguin related items for charity and I made a batch of cards for her. The snag is, at the time I needed some very quick, print-and-go, items that I could mass-produce, so all my images are of the "print out this card front and stick it to your card" type. However, one of them really reminded me of the current challenge photo at Christmas Card Challenges so I decided to see if I could use it in a more interesting way.

Here's the photo


And here's my card - I fussy-cut two extra penguin images and arranged them to peep out each side of the main image, which I cut away from the  printed card front panel and made into a smaller panel of its own.  Then I made an easel card and added lots and lots of die cut snowflakes...... don't you sometimes wish you had half a dozen identical dies then you could cut them all at once?

I'm sharing this with

Christmas Card Challenges - photo inspiration (see above)
Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra - July
Ooh La La Creations - Christmas in July

RECIPE : Pasta with tomato and bacon sauce

This is one of my fridge-dive dishes - the sort of thing I'm sure many of us have thrown together at the end of the week, or when the pennies are running low, but I wanted to share it with you because of one rather unusual ingredient that I tried simply because it was there and needed using up - and it worked so well I'll probably use it from choice in the future....... tomato ketchup! Mine was the dregs of a jar of home made, but any bought one would do.

This hardly really needs writing down, but if you've just looked in the fridge and thought "There's nothing to eat" it could make you change your mind!

Ingredients  well, whatever you have really, but here's what I used to serve two:
I small onion, chopped
half a dozen rashers of streaky bacon, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
6 mushrooms, wiped and sliced
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
3 tbs of tomato ketchup
pepper (if your bacon is salty you probably won't need salt)
the end of a piece of Parmesan, finely grated
whatever pasta you have to hand - I used about a third of a bag because that's what was there.
Place the bacon and onions in a cold pan and heat slowly for a few minutes until the fat runs out of the bacon (if your bacon is very lean you may need a splash of oil)  then increase the heat and fry until the onions are soft and the bacon starts to turn brown and crispy. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes longer, then stir in the tomatoes and ketchup and simmer for 15-20 minutes while you cook the pasta. Season and top with the Parmesan.
Apart from the onion and tinned tomatoes (and they were from a BOGOF offer) everything else was last bits and odds and ends that were in danger of being thrown away, so I really felt as if I'd produced a free meal. I could have added carrots, peas, sweetcorn, peppers, chillies, herbs or pesto to the sauce as well as or instead of the mushrooms, or left the bacon out and made it vegetarian. It's just a basic go-to storecupboard meal and if, like me, you've been so busy cooking more fashionable things that it's dropped from your repertoire, it's time it came back onto the menu!
I'm sharing this with Pasta Please at Slice Off Me and Tinned Tomatoes 
pasta please
and Credit Crunch Munch at Fab Food 4 All and  Fuss Free Flavours 
Credit Crunch Munch 

RECIPE - Peruvian style beef stir fry

I was recently asked by Encona to review their new Peruvian Amarillo Chilli Sauce. They sent me a bottle to try: here's what they say about it:

The taste of Peru has travelled over the Andes, across the pond and landed in Britain. Encona have created a Peruvian Amarillo sauce so you can now bring the Peruvian flavour to your kitchen.

Encona Peruvian Amarillo Sauce is a blend of authentic Peruvian Amarillo chillies, roasted onion, spices and herbs creating a sweet, subtle chilli flavour with a hint of garlic – the perfect way for eager taste explorers to get their taste buds tingling without the cost of a plane ticket.

 Peruvian restaurants have been popping up across the country as us Brits seek out new flavours and food adventures. But not all of us are lucky enough to have one on our doorstep.

But now, thanks to Encona, you can have a taste of the Americas in your own cooking. And it isn’t limited to Peru.

 Grab your maracas and sombreros, Encona are taking us to Mexico too. Launching alongside their Peruvian sauce, they have created a Mexican Smokey Jalapeno Sauce.

A delicious blend of chillies and spices gives the rich sauce a subtle smokey flavour and a warm and fruity taste to compliment your Mexican meals.

For those adventurous chefs out there, each sauce can be enjoyed in a variety of ways: with grilled meat, prawns and fish, drizzled over salads, used as a marinade or even as a dipping sauce. Both sauces are gluten free.

So whether you are cooking for a Peruvian dinner date or the Mexican fiesta, grab Peruvian Amarillo or Mexican Smokey Jalapeno and banish the bland.

 I decided that the best way to review it would be to cook with it - but what to cook? I have never tasted Peruvian food, and had no idea what to expect. I did a bit of research, and although there are similarities to lots of other Latin American countries' foods, especially the preponderance of ceviche (which I couldn't try because Mark can't eat fish or seafood) but one thing stood out from other parts of the region - stir fries! I'm much more used to cooking Chinese stir fries, but I was keen to give a Peruvian one a try.
Lots of them use beef and green beans as the main ingredients. Some sources call stir fried beef "lomo" but others use that term for completely different dishes, so I'm not going to call my dish that - in any case, it doesn't claim to be an authentic Peruvian dish as I have no experience of an authentic one to compare it to. But it is delicious!
Now this is where the Encona sauce came into its own. Although Mark grows lots of chillis,  Amarillo isn't one he's ever tried. He did grow some yellow ones last year and there was one left in the freezer so I lifted it out to "pose" for the photo. But Encona have brought us the right variety of chilli, plus the garlic and spices needed for the recipe, all blended into one handy sauce. Now for the recipe - and one of the ingredients will surprise you!
Peruvian style beef stir fry - serves 2

250g frying steak, cut into thin slices about 4cm x 1cm
1 small red onion, sliced
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges
2 tbs chopped parsley
150g green beans
2 tbs Encona Peruvian Amarillo sauce
2 tbs sunflower oil
100g extra-thin or shoestring oven chips (yes, really!!!)
rice for serving

First of all, check the timing on your oven chips and plan when to  get them started  - you want them to be ready, nice and crispy, just as the stir fry is ready. Mine needed 5 minutes of cooking so I popped them into the oven just before starting to fry everything.

Trim the beans and cut into short lengths, drop into a small pan of boiling water and cook for 2 minutes until just tender. Drain and rinse in cold water.

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan, Add the beef strips and fry over high heat until starting to colour, then add the onion and stir fry until the meat is cooked and the onion softened. Stir in the beans and the Amarillo sauce and cook until the beans are heated through, Then stir in the tomatoes and parsley, mix well and remove from heat. Now top with the oven chips and serve with rice.

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Our verdict - delicious, but I really didn't think it needed the chips. They were an interesting addition,  but the stir fry was delicious without them - and we've been eating stir fries with rice for many decades so why change the habit of a lifetime? But the stir fry itself was absolutely delicious,  and the Encona sauce and parsley combined to give a fresh, spicy tang that we loved - and was completely different from the Oriental stir fries we are used to. Having the chilli, garlic and spices already blended into the sauce was a great timesaver too, and I'm sure I'll be altering some of my more traditional Chinese stir fries to sort-of-Peruvian ones from now on.

There are some suggestions for use on the bottle label, but I would have liked to have seen some guidance as to the quantities to use - I experimented until I got the amount right for this dish, but would like to have been given a rough idea how much to use, as I didn't know whether to use a few drops or half the bottle. Maybe as it's such a new ingredient to the UK market, Encona could attach a little recipe booklet to the neck collar, or mention on the label a website where we could find more recipes like this one? (And yes, Encona, if you are reading this I would be delighted for this recipe to be included, I would love it if other people could enjoy it as much as we did!) .

Note - I was sent the bottle of sauce for review, but the recipe, all ingredients and opinions are entirely my own.