Dinner Secrets for 2013 – A Winter Recipe

December 30, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Posted in Articles | 1 Comment
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A trained Dietician, Agustina Tulloch was born in Argentina. In 2003 she moved to England with her British husband Ross. This move turned her life around 360 degrees, allowed her to put her career on hold and focus on her great passion: The Art of Cooking.

Ross and Agustina

Ross and Agustina

Having heard so much about the new trend in eating out at underground restaurants and supperclubs – popular in London and New York – Agustina was determined to put her superb catering skills to good use and start up her own secret supper club. In 2010, she opened the doors of her house in Reading, to provide an environment where guests can experience the art of great eating. Friday Dinner Secrets was born.

So how does it work?

Once or twice a month, up to 16 guests come to her home to enjoy a delicious 4 course meal. They bring their own wine, have a great time and at the end of the meal they leave a donation.

As the name suggests, she likes to keep her unique dining experience as exclusive and intimate as the menus. The secret to the Supper Club´s success is that it is not a restaurant or dinner party but rather a home restaurant. Part of the magic is that you can attend alone, with a friend or a group and are joined by people who have a shared hunger for a unique dining experience.

People have enjoyed her evenings so much that she has been asked to hold private parties in her home too.

There is nothing more fulfilling for Agustina than preparing delicious and exquisite meals for her guests. She also enjoys the planning of the event, taking into account her guests’ likes or dislikes, and ensuring she delivers a unique, unrepeatable and unforgettable experience.

Last year, Agustina joined The Athena Network, which has been an excellent marketing tool for her. Given the home restaurant is held in the private setting of her home, her business depends on word of mouth. Athena has created a perfect new channel for Agustina to spread the word, as well exposing her to a fantastic group of business women, who have provided positive and varied support, helping her develop her venture in different ways.

As a New Year treat, Agustina has given us this exquisite recipe for:

Butternut Squash Risotto with Sweetcorn, Spinach and Goat’s Cheese

Ingredients:

300g risotto rice
1 onion
100cc white wine
1L chicken stock
200g sweetcorn
200g Philadelphia
1/2 lemon
100g Parmesan cheese
300g baby spinach
200g soft goat’s cheese
salt /pepper

For the Butternut Squash
1kg butternut squash
Thyme
3 crushed garlic cloves
Olive oil
Salt/pepper

Pre heat the oven to 180o

Peel the butternut squash, discard the seeds, and cut into in similar sized chunks (this way they will cook evenly).
Place the pieces in a large bowl, add salt and pepper, thyme leaves and enough olive oil to cover everything.  Mix well and spread evenly on an oven tray
Crush the garlic cloves (with the skin on) and add to the butternut squash
Cook in a pre-heated oven at 180o for 20 minutes until soft and brown

Meanwhile, sauté the onion with olive oil until soft
Add the rice and cook for 1 minute
Add the wine and stir
Let the alcohol evaporate and then add a splash of stock and stir
As soon as the rice absorbs the liquid keep adding more stock – never stop stiring!
Half way through the cooking process, add the sweetcorn
Simmar until the rice is cooked
Some people prefer to stop cooking when there is still bit of a bite left in the rice, and some others when it is well done – this is up to you
Once cooked, add the soft cheese, the lemon rind and juice and parmesan cheese.

We are nearly there now!

Place a handful of spinach on a plate. Place some of the risotto on top, add the butternut squash and goat’s cheese, and serve!

Delicious!

Delicious!

Enjoy!

To book or to find out more about Agustina´s supperclub, visit her website or follow her on facebook to check out her delicious dishes and find out what she is up to.

To find out more about supperclubs in other locations click here

Tips for a Stress-Free December

December 3, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMaybe we are being a little adventurous with the title but does December really need to be such a stressful month for us?  There always seems so much to do in such a short space of time; sort out Christmas presents, cards, plans for Christmas day and Christmas dinner – and that isn’t even looking at what you need to sort out for your business!

Have you thought about your communication to your clients and contacts; will your office be closed, will there be a cut-off date for clients placing orders for your products?  Or do you just wish to everyone a “Merry Christmas”?

The three questions below will help you take care of what you need to organise.

Who – What – When!

Who

Decide who you wish to contact on the run up to Christmas.  Is your contact list up-to-date?  If sending Christmas cards do you have the correct addresses for everyone?   Does everyone need to receive something?

Split your contact list into categories so that clients and contacts that you are always in touch with receive a Christmas card, whilst other contacts who you don’t see that often or perhaps are on your mailing list receive an e-card.

What

Decide what form your communication will be, e.g. a newsletter, e-card or physical Christmas cards.   If wishing to send physical cards are you sending branded cards or buying them off the shelf?  If sending branded cards – when does the printer need the order by to ensure you receive them in plenty of time to send out, remember they need to be written and that takes time!

Some organisations decide send e-cards and the money that is saved on purchasing cards and postage they then donate to a charity or cause they are affiliated with – they advise on the e-card that this is what they are doing.  What a great way to promote a small unknown charity that you hold dear to you!

When

Are you wishing to purchase corporate gifts? Ensure you have a clear budget and stick to it!  How will the gifts be delivered, are you personally delivering them? If you wish to personally deliver your gifts set a day aside when you will be out of the office being Santa’s little helper – before you know it Christmas will be here and people’s diaries will be getting busier and busier!  Perhaps arrange to meet your client for a coffee and you can give them their gift then – a great excuse to have a face to face meeting!

By putting in place the above three actions as soon as possible you will be more organised during December; cards will be sent on time, corporate gifts will be bought and delivered before Christmas Eve and your time can be spent more productively and more importantly allowing yourself to enjoy the run up to Christmas.

Jill McLachlan
Tel: 01344 314444
Mob: 07590 047611
Web: www.jmva.co.uk

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10 Money Saving Tips – for Christmas and Beyond!

December 3, 2012 at 11:57 am | Posted in Articles | Leave a comment
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shutterstock_79184887Our cost of living is rising – we all know that.  And we see it in the news, alongside reports on the ever increasing rates of petrol, gas and electricity and now…. Christmas is just a month away!  It’s enough to make us all wonder if we’re doing all we can to make things stretch a bit further. So, we asked Ruth from Utility Warehouse to give us her top 10 money saving tips for the pre-Christmas run.  And, actually, they don’t need to stop on 25th December – they’ll take you all the way into 2013 too!

1. Energy Savings

Turn down the boiler just a notch, replace all light bulbs with energy saving ones, put a sticker on all your light switches to remind the kids to turn them off!  Lag the pipes in the loft. Invest in loft insulation or wall insulation. There are some government offers around to grab for free Government Grants

2. Plan, Budget and Surf

Plan your Christmas….. put a budget in place and then sit down at your computer and surf for presents and ideas and food and…and…and. Save time, money, petrol and fighting the crowds. Peace to all!

3. Write a List

Ensure that you write a shopping list for Christmas with only the things you and your family really need. Then STICK TO IT! This will ensure that you don’t drift off and spend money on unnecessary items. It’s so easy isn’t it just to jump in the car and go shopping. A whole day will disappear and you will arrive home exhausted, stressed and sometimes annoyingly empty handed.

4. Use online voucher sites…..they work!

There are so many great sites now where you can shop specifically for gifts, treats, holidays and meals out. You are given a voucher code. All you need to do is type that in when you place your order. Here is one that is worth a look Shop for Less!

5. Walk to work…… or cycle!

Have you noticed how many more cyclists there are on the roads? Something is going on. Did you know that there are some Cycle to Work schemes going on where you can get a discount on a bike…Brilliant! Either way, great exercise, less stress and saves the pennies too  Cycle to Work.

6. Recycle

In some Borough Councils, the house holders can get shopping vouchers if they recycle their rubbish. How clever is that?  Just sort out your household waste in the dedicated containers.  For example Windsor and Maidenhead give Marks and Spencer vouchers worth 5% off! That makes the DINE IN for £10 even better!

7. Make it , don’t buy it…

That can be cards, gifts and food….There is a huge mark up on processed foods, particularly the tasty treats we enjoy –  like  cakes, biscuits, chutneys, jams and mince pies. Get the family involved and get busy. The magazines are full of great ideas and recipes to help you along.

8. Buy or sell nearly new

It really is the thought that counts.  You can find wonderful new or nearly new items on bid sites such as Ebay and if it’s something your friend or family member has been talking about for ages, they will be thrilled!  Equally, see what you’ve got in the back of those cupboards that you could sell to generate some useful pennies – enough for the turkey perhaps or a bottle of something special?

9. If there is an offer of HELP…..TAKE IT!

A task shared is a problem halved. If the offer is there, it is there for a reason.

10. Use Cash Back Cards

We have discovered how to get high street stores to pay our household bills! We couldn’t believe it, but its true and it works!

cashback_card1From the weekly shop at Sainsbury’s to filling up the car; food and clothes at M&S; baby accessories at Mothercare; toiletries at Boots; games  and presents at Argos and computers at Comet  and it doesn’t stop there. Every time you shop on the high street and online, you can save money on your household bills!

You can treat the family to a take-away from Domino’s, celebrate birthdays at TGI Friday’s , Pizza Express and Zizzi’s or take a hotel break… you spend and you save on your bills– it is that simple.

You can also get your teenagers to help while they learn how to handle their pocket money, and manage school trips in a safe and convenient way.

We’d be happy to tell you more but you could start by having a quick peep at this  CASH BACK FOR CHRISTMAS!

Ruth Warlow 

e: info@clicksavings.co.uk

w: www.clicksavings.co.uk

 

 

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