> The Beesley Buzz: Gourmet Garden's "Blogger-cum-Chef" Challenge

Gourmet Garden's "Blogger-cum-Chef" Challenge

Mystery Meatballs with Easy-peasy garlic bread,

followed by Chocolate 'Ginger Surprise' mousse.

A great selection of herbs and spices from Gourmet Garden
When Gourmet Garden sent me a selection of their fantastic herbs and spices to try out, I was so excited and really wanted to try them all. However, with the deadline for writing this blog post being only a few days after receiving them, I had to find a way of trying out as many as possible within a very short timeframe.

I also set myself the challenge of using ALL of them in one dish. I wanted it to be an everyday kind of dish that would be easy to prepare - after all Gourmet Garden's slogan is 'Fresh Made Easy'. Now I realise that trying to use ALL of those herbs and spices in one dish sounds like a recipe for disaster, and to be perfectly honest I had absolutely no idea how it would turn out - but I decided to go for it and I'm so glad I did as the result was a winner with all the family.

And that's where the concept of 'Mystery Meatballs' was born. Each meatball would be flavoured with a different Gourmet Garden herb or spice, yet they would all end up on the same plate and you have to guess which meatball uses which Gourmet Garden product in it. (Or you can just enjoy your evening meal as amazingly all of the flavours worked extremely well together despite my reservations). But when you have a family with kids who love cooking (and eating!), they were really excited by the prospect of being 'dinner detectives' and identifying the 'Mystery Meatballs'.

The recipe is extremely simple and straightforward. A finely chopped onion mixed into some minced beef, divide into meatball sized chunks, then add a squeeze of one of the herbs and spices from Gourmet Garden into each meatball. Fry until browned, add a tin of chopped tomatoes and simmer until cooked through.

Browning off the mystery meatballs

Serve with any pasta of your choice. We like fresh tagliatele.

Add a little side salad.

Here's a top tip I picked up from the Gourmet Garden website. To make a fantastic Italian dressing simply mix together Gourmet Garden's 'Italian Herbs' together with a little squeeze of Gourmet Garden's 'Crushed Garlic' and a squeeze of 'Crushed Chilli'. Then add in a splash of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, et voila - a great fresh tasting Italian dressing.

How about making some garlic bread as a side dish to go with the mystery meatballs? Gourmet Garden's concept of 'fresh made easy' was really put to the test when I forgot to make the garlic bread that I had planned to make to go with our dinner. I had to make it in a matter of minutes and thanks to Gourmet Garden's easy to use products...I did it!

The garlic bread was simply some butter mixed with a squeeze of Gourmet Garden Garlic and a squeeze of Gourmet Garden Basil. Spread the mixture onto sliced 'ready to bake' baguette and pop in the oven for 8-10 minutes. So easy and so quick! I think parsley and garlic would work really well but in the absence of having the Gourmet Garden parsley, I decided to try the basil instead and I can honestly say it turned out to be the best garlic bread I have ever tasted.

Now for dessert. Having been totally inspired by my six year old son whipping up a chocolate mousse a few days ago, I decided that it was about time for me to brave trying to make mousse for the first time ever!

Melting the chocolate for the mousse

 It turned out that it wasn't as tricky as I first imagined and I was pleased that I had finally managed to make mousse for the first time in my entire life.

Obviously I was keen to use the Gourmet Garden range in my dessert too. However, this time I did restrain myself to only choosing one product to add. I decided to use ginger. I always struggle when it comes to recipes needing fresh ginger as it is not the usual sort of ingredient that I have to hand. That's the real beauty of Gourmet Garden's range. They are fresh and yet they are ready to use in an easy squeezy tube (no more fiddly peeling of root ginger pieces), and they can be stored in your fridge for several weeks once opened. I was really pleased at how much better they were to use than using dried herbs as not only did they taste fresh but also the texture was great as they blended in a lot better rather than using dried herbs which are a lot, erm....drier.

Melting white chocolate to make the 'ginger surprise'
I melted some white chocolate and mixed in a squeeze of ginger. I had anticipated using just 'normal' white chocolate, but having sent hubby out to the shop to buy it, I ended up with the 'chocolate crunch' variety, but it actually worked out ok and tasted good.

I poured the melted chocolate and ginger mixture into cookie cutter hearts on a piece of greaseproof paper to set.

Making the white chocolate and ginger hearts

Once they were set, I just popped one onto each chocolate mousse.

Chocolate 'ginger surprise' mousse
I have genuinely surprised myself at being able to use these Gourmet Garden Herbs and Spices so easily in my cooking. Everyone who knows me knows exactly what a disaster area I usually am in the kitchen, so if nothing else, I hope that I may have inspired someone to have a go at trying these ideas out. Do you think you'd be able to solve the mystery?

Which is which? Can you tell by the taste?


  1. How inventive to use them all together. looked gorgeous,all of it...lol and how random for us both to have posts entitled reasons to be cheerful :) xxxx

    1. thanks for your kind comment - it was just an experiment to see how it would turn out really as my 6 year old son says (he's the real chef in the family) - 'how will you know if you don't try it out mummy'. He loves experimenting in the kitchen - he even made pasta from scratch today and carbonara which was the first time making those things even for me! x


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