Living in the capital City you might be forgiven for thinking there’s not much sense of community. I live in East London and I think people in Norfolk, where I am from, assume it’s an insular life and no one says hello to anyone else. Ok, so it’s true on the tube people don’t speak but where I live and there couldn’t be a greater sense of community. For families in particular, it’s a great place to live with much going on for children and welcoming faces in all the cafes, shops and even (with children) the pubs! EastEnders (the TV show) might have got it wrong on many levels; we do definitely have our own washing machines in the real EE and we don’t talk about ‘going up West’ as if it’s a mighty affair but they have it right that we do know each other and have a strong bond; well, the families with children do anyway and that might be in part down to our fabby SureStart centres! I have known the same group of Mum’s since Florence was tiny and we met at those groups and over time the group has just expanded. I can’t leave the house for five minutes without seeing a familiar face. We all see each other often but rarely get the chance to ALL be in one place at the same time unless it’s something festive. In the summer it was at the local festival where we gathered in the park to watch live bands and have a jolly summer day and at Christmas we all get together to hire a venue and have our own little Christmas party, although it’s actually quite big really!
This year is actually the first time I’ve joined everyone as haven’t been able to make it in the past so I was keen to lend a helping hand and co-organise it with another Mum (she’s also a blogger and writes mummyisagadgetgeek). Now I have to say she did most of the donkey work, wrapping up parcels for a massive game of pass the parcel, making bags of sweets for ‘Father Christmas’ to hand out to the little ones (that was meant to have been helped by me but wasn’t… eeek) and also making food herself… I am a lazy bee and not particularly great at cooking so brought with me some wonderful ready-made treats from Asda. They have their Extra Special range which is created with the Leiths School of Cookery and it’s so good and such a good price it just seems like a no brainer to me… Party = Food. Food = Bought in! Bought in = Must be excellent! And when ‘must be excellent’ is at very affordable, family friendly prices then even better!
I might not be a brilliant cook but I do know bad food when I see it! There are just some things I wouldn’t even taste! Have you seen some of the adverts for supermarket nibbles this year? One of them is producing these mini lasagne things that look positively revolting! Seriously, that’s a massive case of quantity over quality if ever I saw one! I’ve always had expensive tastes especially when it comes to food and drink and I spend over the odds for food if it’s good quality. Most of the time I wouldn’t even think about it when buying things like party nibbles and would immediately go to the two (much) higher priced supermarkets because I know they’re good. In the past I’ve not found cheaper ones which match up so I won’t compromise. This year though and I’ve been invited (because of my blog) to a number of Asda PR events where they’ve used their own range of food (obviously) – I have to say I’ve been incredibly impressed. I can honestly say, and this is with a total hand on heart, no one has paid me to say this, that the Asda Extra Special food, Christmas nibbles in particular, easily rival their higher priced high street retailer competition! Compared to supermarkets of a similar price band and they’re streets ahead. Let’s not even go there with the mini frozen food place…
So I took a load with me and everyone tucked into a wide variety from the range as well as couple of things from the ‘Chosen By You’ range! They are, as they have been chosen by us, pretty good too! We had a lovely party and all came away very full indeed! We really did have a wide selection from the range and everything was really tasty – even when we burned a batch of sausage rolls they still tasted scrummy! I’ve made a list of my top faves and it’s safe to say this is exactly what we’ll be nibbling on New year’s Eve this year too!
From the extra Special Range:
I can’t get enough of the Salmon Terrine Slices. I had two before I’d even put them out! They are so delicate and with a beautiful hint of lemon! I could have eaten hundreds and had to really steel myself from scoffing the lot! Jimmy also LOVED them! He’s got good taste that boy!
The Parma Ham is just divine! Delicately salty and so smooth! I’m going to have it with figs, honey and cheese on NYE!
I don’t even like pate but the Chicken and Mushroom Pate Jar is amazing! It doesn’t taste like offal (that’s how I usually think pate tastes) at all and is smooth and creamy with these gorgeous peppercorns on top!
I love mature cheddar but have never tasted anything quite like this Cave Aged West Country Farmhouse Mature Cheddar! It’s amazing and makes your mouth tingle! So dramatic in its packaging of wax and it does not disappoint in the tasting either!
Breaded Camembert Wedges with Cranberry and Port Dip are literally my favourite. I DID eat most of these… I just stood by them and kind of ploughed my way through. They were just too nice! I’m not sure I should get any more of these for NYE or I might turn into one! The dip is delicious! Yum!
Mince Pies, absolutely wonderful and I’m not generally a fan! You can’t go wrong with these!
I have to also give a special mention to the most delicious cheese cake I’ve ever tried from the Chosen By You range… Chocolatey, gooey, whizz banging crunchy bits on top! Oh my goodness it was good! All the children loved the triple pack lollies of marshmallow reindeer, Father Christmases and Snow Men too! They came as a pack of three but because each one is wrapped individually we had enough to give one to every child old enough!
Anyone for party food?
All the food was delicious! The ones I mentioned are just my own faves but looking at the pics and I have to say the prawns were pretty awesome too, I loved that Christmas yule log and cake and the pork pies flew off the plate! Can’t wait for some more!
My little ones and one of my gorgeous Mum friends and her oldest enjoying our party and the food!
While we’re on the subject of Asda, Christmas and partying it’s worth saying that it’s not just the food I like so much. You could literally shop for the whole of Christmas, gifts to boot in store! From electricals to trinkets, DVD’s and clothes… Toys, DIY gifts, flowers… Everything and all at brilliant Asda prices. The children are giving my Mum some tea light holders and a noteblock from the ‘Made With Love’ range and they’re great quality, elegant and do not cost the earth! Just like their advert depicts (which I wrote about a few weeks ago here) all Mum needs to do is go to the supermarket and then the rest of the hard work can be done at home…
A couple of the Asda gifts you can find in store!