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Three red coloured cocktails with strawberries in the glass and lemons on the table behind.

Although a cocktail or two goes down nicely at any time of year, summer always sees sales soar and popularity boom. Warming up recipes for winter really sets the ‘Christmas’ scene however nothing quite says ‘summer’ like a refreshing cocktail in a warm, sunny garden.

The classics like Mojitos, Cosmopolitans and Daiquiris are steadfast items that never seem to go out of fashion however it’s always thrilling to see a new entry onto menu’s that can really liven up the summer party and provide a little something extra.

Here are three of our favourites!

Blueberry Lavender Mojito

Definitely one for the summer – refreshing, fragrant and relaxing!

Ingredients

1 ½ parts rum

1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice

1 ounce lavender syrup

8-10 mint leaves

10-12 blueberries

Pinch of ground Cardamom

Club soda

Method

Muddle the mint leaves, lime juice, lavender syrup, blueberries, rum and pinch of Cardamom in a tall glass. Combine the flavours without over-muddling. Fill the glass with crushed ice and top with club soda. Give a quick stir and garnish with blueberries on a cocktail stick.

Frozen Spiked Strawberry Lemonade

Specially made for the adults!

Ingredients

1 cup ice

1 cup frozen strawberries

½ cup frozen pink lemonade concentrate

¼ cup rum

Method

Put all of the ingredients in a blender and mix until a slush mixture is formed. Pour into a serving glass and garnish with a lemon wedge or strawberry.

Smoking Martini’s

Dramatize your drink for added effect!

Ingredients

80ml brandy

30ml lime juice

30ml lemon juice

1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar

Crushed ice

Dash of angostura bitters

Dry ice (optional)

Method

Fill a cocktail shaker with crushed ice, brandy, lime juice, lemon juice and sugar. Shake vigorously until the outside of the shaker is frosty. Strain the contents into a serving glass and add a few drops of angostura bitters. Add dry ice for extra flair.

Warning – serve with caution and know the potential effects of using dry ice!

Experiment with new recipes and tastes and let us know what you come up with to set your cocktail menu alight this summer!

An image of a colourful pie chart to signify splitting everything in to moderate portions.

As a society we are constantly told by either the media, people in the public eye, health professionals or our peers that certain things are good for you and others should be steered clear of at all cost whether this is certain items of foods, lifestyle choices or weekly exercise quotas etc. There seem to be so many health scares in modern times that a clear message of what is beneficial to your health and what isn’t becomes blurred beyond recognition. For instance, it began with a recommendation of ‘5 a day’ helpings of fruit and vegetables, which recently turned into ‘7 a day’. Now people are starting to speculate that ‘7 a day’ is no better for you than ‘5 a day’ was.

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The average person carries out their lifestyle however they wish to and although they may listen to what the professionals may have to say, they tend to pick and choose which pieces of information to act upon; typically something which they find easy to fit around their current way of life. This isn’t disregard for our health or the length of our lives but simply because nobody is sure anymore what we can believe and what we can’t. What’s the point of changing our lifestyles only for the information to be withdrawn and refuted a few months down the line?

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New guidelines have thrown everything that we believed to be the truth upside down and once again made everyone take a look at their own lifestyle. Often when this happens we find that we are living our lives in completely the wrong way according to researchers and so we are made to feel guilty about setting a bad example to the younger generation however these new tips for a healthier life are just that…NEW! Instead of warning us against all of the excitement, inane relaxation methods and foods that bring joy to our lives we are now being told that some of the actions which we were made to feel guilty about before could actually have some benefit to our health.

Enlighten yourself and feel proud of the nourishment choices that you are making;

Chocolate

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OK this one may not be a surprise to most people but others still haven’t heard the great news that chocolate can be good for you. The bad side is that this does not include all chocolate. Milk chocolate and white chocolate are still classed as fattening with no real nutritional value however two squares of dark chocolate as a mid morning snack could boost the levels of antioxidants in the body leading to a healthier heart and a better chance of fighting cancer.

 

Red meat

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Despite previous beliefs and cautionary messages regarding the consumption of red meat, researchers are now stating that the vitamins and minerals packed into a cut of fine red meat could lead to a healthier heart, increased bodily functions, better cell renewal and enhanced brain function.

 

 

Coffee

coffee-beans-399466_640The amount of caffeine consumed has in the past been a sticky point as the recommendations are for low intakes and this addictive substance is the majority of the population’s favourite way to wake up in the morning. Trying to cut back on the coffee can leave people groggy and irritable. Good news! Enjoy that morning cuppa with pride as coffee has now shown that it can increase brain activity leading to better memory, mental performance and therefore overall mood. Early research has also suggested that it may also be linked to a reduced risk of the development of dementia and certain types of diabetes.

 

 

Alcohol

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As much as researchers have said that alcohol is bad for you, it has become such an important part of our culture, from a relaxing glass at night to a centre of socialisation at weekends, that no one has really ever followed the guidelines to the letter. It has been stated that enjoying a regular glass of red wine could mean that you are less likely to suffer with cholesterol problems in the future. The risk of developing blood clots will also be reduced through the miracle of red wine. These new guidelines don’t exclude the beer drinkers. Supping a pint of beer could actually protect the heart and boost the drinker’s immunity.

So food and drink is one thing but what about the rest of the nation’s lifestyle choices that have been so heavily criticised previously?

Watching TV

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The country has been told that watching television or playing computer games is slowly turning us all into an overweight and underachieving population however new research carried out in New York seems to suggest that these activities could in fact be beneficial to brain function. By effectively allowing your brain to shut down and recharge whilst watching TV you are more able to concentrate on tasks which are undertaken later. Without time to process everything that has gone in, our brain will actually decrease in functionality level.

 

Exercise

gym-455164_640Finding time or the energy to exercise has always been a problem no matter how much we all know that this should be a priority for a healthier lifestyle. Whereas some find that going to gym for a workout session every day is a breeze the majority of us find this thought daunting. It is now suggested that a simple surge of energy for 10-20 seconds could do the same job as a workout that has the heart pumping for 30 minutes. By slowly strolling then breaking into a fast run for 10 seconds and then  stopping and allowing your heart rate to return to normal before repeating the process, your heart is actually building up strength. This same method could also be used when cycling; gently peddling on the flat and pushing as fast as possible uphill. Fair enough you may attract a few strange looks exercising in this way in a crowded area but it’s better than sweating it out in the gym.

Sunbathing

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The increase in cases of skin cancer seems to have surged over the years and people are warned to cover up when out in the sun. New research has stated that being out in the sun is actually good for your body as long as you remember to use suitable a suitable sun protector. Lying in the bright summer sun for approximately 20 minutes every day will give your body the full amount of vitamin D needed to keep your bones healthy for the rest of that same day. Vitamin D also helps your body to increase its ability to absorb calcium.

 

Chill out, slob out and relax

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People have been slammed in the past for being a couch potato and having a less than energetic lifestyle however tests have shown that these same ‘slobs’ generally have healthier hearts and lower blood pressure than those whose rush around frantically all day. Basically this is because the less active among us have far less stress in our lives and lower levels of cortisol. This stress hormone has been blamed for the effects of premature ageing so find the time in your hectic schedule to kick back and chill out.

 

 

These new guidelines are far more appealing than the joyless recommendations that have been released in previous years and are sure to bring a breath of fresh air to those who are already practising some of these healthy body strategies. It must be added that although these activities may bring a sparkle back into some people’s eyes, each and every section or activity must be carried out in moderation. Having too much of a good thing will result in a negative effect so don’t be tempted to sit on your sofa, eating steaks for every meal, swilling down ice cold beer, watching your favourite programmes all day and every once in a while taking a short burst of exercise running up the stairs to the toilet! This will not lead to a healthier you.

Use common sense and practise everything in moderation for a well balanced and healthy lifestyle that will be more sustainable than previous recommendations and guidelines. If you try something new and develop any adverse symptoms stop immediately and seek medical advice. These guidelines are general and not personally tailored to every individual in the country.

What are you waiting for? Start your new life today!

A bowl of green coloured ice cream in a brown bowl sitting on a wooden table.

Summer may be on the way out and the desire for ice cream is beginning to wan but it’s not over just yet. With a few more sunny days hopefully still in the pipeline, enjoy your favourite flavours while you still can. Whether it’s strawberry, chocolate, mint or simply vanilla there are many conventional flavours which form the basic range of choice for many. New flavours have been introduced to broaden the choice such as caramel, bubble gum and banoffee, varieties which, in the UK is probably nearing our limits of adventurousness but if you venture to other parts of the world the flavours become more and more extreme. Japan has perhaps the largest and weirdest array of ice creams; would you dare to try?

1. Jellyfish; many jellyfish ice creams contain the enzyme luciferin, the element which both fireflies and jellyfish have which allows them to fluoresce. Yes, that’s right; ice cream that glows in the dark!

2. Octopus; the Japanese love to use octopus in many dishes so adding to ice cream is just a natural progression. Hope you don’t get tongue tied by a tentacle!

3. Squid ink; the natural hue of the ink makes a strikingly coloured ice cream ranging from a dark grey to jet black; let’s hope it doesn’t stain!

4. Eel; a classic summer time delicacy in Japan, eel is said to make a surprisingly tasty ice cream; just don’t dwell on the main ingredient for too long!

5. Bacon and egg; fancy an all day breakfast but with a refreshing twist? Why not eat your favourite bacon and egg in ice cream form.

6. Viagra; ok it’s not literally made of Viagra but does combine the well known aphrodisiac ingredients guarana, gingko biloba and arginine. Could this fruity number boost your performance in the bedroom?

7. Beer; if you love a pint, you’ll love this ice cream infused with beer flavours. You want your beer cold? You can’t get much colder than ice cream.

8. Curry; cold curry might be perfect for the morning after the night before but can frozen curry be just as satisfying? Apparently so spicy that your taste buds will tingle for hours afterwards.

9. Charcoal; said to actually have a hint of carbon to the taste maybe this might hold some secret health secrets to benefit the body.

10. Horse meat; the seemingly innocent vanilla ice cream has a hidden secret; it is actually mixed with raw horse flesh. If you have a strong enough stomach to give it a try just don’t think too hard about what you are actually eating!

11. Jalapeno; infused with the hottest chilli’s around, this ice cream can break you out in a sweat even though it is ice cold.

12. Ox tongue; made with sour milk and actual chunks of ox tongue!

13. Sweet potato; thought potatoes were just for eating as a main, think again. This sweet yet stodgy flavour takes a stereotypical main ingredient, flips it on his head and results in one of Japan’s favourite dessert flavours.

14. Cactus; this succulent plant gives a refreshing ice cream perfect for warm days; just be careful of the needles!

15. Bird; typically cockatiel, java sparrow and parakeet flavours are available. Would you want to eat your pet bird?

What other crazy ice cream flavours have you found around the world? Let us know about them and whether you had the stomach to try them.

Guaranteeing Your Coffee Shop Offers What Your Customer Wants

Coffee is one of the most popular hot beverages in the world and the majority of the population will rise in the morning to a refreshing cup of coffee to kick start their day. Due to the ever increasing coffee shop trend, coffee drinkers are no longer content with a standard regular instant coffee and instead expect something a little more bespoke. If you are capitalising on the high demand for coffee you will need to ensure that your business is capable of offering exactly what your customer desires.

There are generally considered to be two main forms of coffee which are used as the base of many of the variations we all know and love. The two main basic types of coffee are;

  • Filter coffee. Sometimes known as drip coffee, it is made by hot water being poured through a filter which contains ground coffee beans. The ground coffee beans are available in different strengths and flavours to accommodate differing palates.
  • Espresso. This involves serving a concentrated form of coffee which has been ground into exceptionally fine granules. Loaded into an espresso machine, a small amount of hot water is forced through the granules resulting in a small and bijou but highly concentrated cup of coffee.

The long lasting appeal of coffee has seen many different variations arise, all from the standard base of an original coffee. The evolution continues until this day when new and creative tastes are being combined together to make your coffee experience a pleasurable one.

There are a number of common variations that have become steadfast items on a coffee shop menu.

  • Cappuccino.

:- Shot of espresso with steamed milk and a thick foamy top layer.

  • Latte.

:- Shot of espresso with steamed milk and a thin foamy top layer.

  • Mocha.

:- Shot of espresso with steamed milk and a sprinkling of chocolate. Can sometimes include whipped cream.

  • Café au lait.

:- Shot of espresso with steamed milk.

  • Breve.

:- Half cup of espresso and half steamed milk.

  • Cortado.

:- Shot of espresso with a little warmed milk.

  • Americano.

:- Shot of espresso with hot water.

  • Macchiato.

:- Shot of espresso with a thin foamu top layer.

  • Espressino.

:- Shot of espresso with steamed milk and a sprinkling of cocoa powder.

  • Black Eye/Red Eye/ Hammerhead (and many other titles).

:- Shot or two of espresso with a filter coffee.

As coffee is globally popular each country will have their own unique combinations that will make their coffee personal to them. Some forms of these coffee variations prove so popular that they become a hit in other parts of the world. Examples of different combinations from around the world are;

  • Irish.

:- Coffee, whisky, sugar and cream.

  • Turkish.

:- Finely ground coffee beans left directly in the cup when served.

  • Indian.

:- Filtered dark roasted coffee beans and chicory with warm milk and sugar.

  • Vietnamese.

:- Strong brewed coffee with condensed milk.

  • Café Miel (France)

:- Shot of espresso with steamed milk, honey and cinnamon.

  • Café Touba (Senegal)

:- Traditional coffee beans with grains of selim (part of the pepper family) and cloves (optional).

  • Yuanyang (Hong Kong, Malaysia and other parts of Asia)

:-Traditional coffee and green tea.

Ensuring that you know your coffees and constantly striving to deliver your customers with new alternatives to sample will encourage a loyal and regular customer base. Consider running a ‘Coffee of the Week’ promotion that will introduce new and exotic combinations for your customers to try. Record the amount of orders you receive for your ‘special’ and use these figures as a base to determine if that coffee could become a regular and profitable item on your menu.

Coffee drinkers provide big business and pay massive amounts into the economy each year. Make sure that you capitalise on this and offer a wide range of new and exciting combinations for your customers to try.

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