Saturday, 18 April 2015

Thai Sweet Chilli, Lemongrass & Coriander Crisps (@KETTLEChipsUK) [By @SpectreUK]

These Spring and Summer Seasonal Edition Thai Sweet Chilli, Lemongrass & Coriander Kettle Chips were presented in the usual big sharing bag (or Movie Bowl Edition for greedy-guts like me). Not keen on lemongrass Cinabar wanted me to try these crisps first. Too much lemongrass can make crisps taste a little like crunchy washing-up liquid, but with over thirty years experience of making crisps Kettle Chips have never let me down. I do love Thai food and with fresh flavours of coriander, sweet chilli and lemongrass these crisps sounded like a perfect combination. To help with the Oriental flavours I had a mug of green tea with my lunch and the crisps in a big bowl. I also thought these crisps would complement the sunny day outside washed down with a cold American beer from the fridge and a Key Lime Pie for afters for a nod to Kettle Chips heritage.

I was pleased by the spicy sweet chilli smell on opening the crisps with a lighter lemongrass and coriander odour, with mixed herbs and a little ginger in the background. On first crunchy taste the flavours from the smell seemed to wash in fresh waves like a friendly lapping sea upon a sandy beach on bright sunny day. The dominant chilli woke the senses with the lemongrass lightly complementing the flavour instead of scaring it away. No washing-up liquid flavour here, just pure Thai bliss. Each crisp yielded a slightly different flavour too. There was more tomato in some, there was paprika, onion, ginger and varying herby strengths of cumin, coriander and oregano. Rarely can I pick such fresh and healthy tasting flavours in a packet of crisps. I'm not exaggerating when I say this is what I believe Thai crisps should taste like. They went superbly with my fishy tuna sandwich, washed down with the Tap Room IPA beer and then the Key Lime Pie just rounded off the whole experience. Well done Kettle Chips. Make this a regular. These crisps would be ideal for a spicy treat on a sunny day with all the family and or friends around in the garden for a nibbles buffet with some other spicy treats from the Deli Counter.

Information on the packet;
150g packet at 517 calories per 100g, with 30.5g of fat and 1.6g of sugar. No artificial MSG, colours or flavours. Ingredients included; potatoes, sunflower oil, sugar, rice flour, dried onion, sea salt, yeast extract, dried garlic, dried tomato, coriander, ginger, galangal, star anise, chilli, cumin, oregano, citric acid, chilli extract, capsicum extract, paprika extract, lemongrass flavouring, and coriander extract.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Burger, Fries and Diet Orange Coke - Review (@FiveGuysUK) [By @Cinabar]

The Five Guys in Birmingham is fairly new. It is my nearest branch of Five Guys but as I don’t go to Birmingham that often it is still pretty far away. I have seen it before but have to admit to wandering past, confused by its expensive sounding prices. I don’t mind spending £10+ on a burger and chips meal, but one thats served in a paper bag and foil wrapper just didn’t sound reasonable to me.
One of the people who works with my mum tried out this Five Guys and came back raving about quality of the food and the “crazy drinks machine” and I knew I had to try it out. She had me at crazy drinks machine if I’m honest. Apparently there are over one hundred drinks to choose from!

The restaurant is nicely themed, with plenty of fun quotes on the windows adding to the atmosphere. There were plenty of seats spread out on two levels, including several booths. We found a table even on a busy lunch time, but I think we may have been lucky as the place was packed just thirty minuted later. It isn’t waitress service, so I went over to the till to place our orders, which feels very fast food like despite the highish prices. I went for a burger and chips with a soft drink from the crazy dispenser. My mum went for a hot dog chips and soft drink. The lady at the till suggested we share a chips but I went for separate ones as I couldn’t judge the amount we’d get. The menu is very customisable at Five Guys, with a good selection of additional items at no extra cost. I liked that idea, but as it was a first try I stuck to the safe cheese, lettuce, tomato and ketchup for my taste test.

I was given a couple of paper cups and an order number and went round the corner to wait for my food. First thing I noticed was there was far more than Five Guys sorting out the food, there was a small army, and it was fun to watch them work as they were tightly working in unison. While I was waiting I decided to fill the drinks cups and see what all the fuss was about. There are two machines in the branch and as one was free I had a little time to play, I was testing options then pressing cancel before selecting just to see what I could get. I choose Diet Orange Coke, because I’ve never had it before but I know that I like Lime Coke. My mum went for a Raspberry Lemonade.

Once I’d sorted that out it wasn’t long before my order number was called and I was given a paper bag. This is probably the most disappointing part, nothing says non-premium like a brown paper bag. I headed back to the table and had a look at the goodies within. The hot dog and burger came wrapped in foil, and there was a chip mountain in the bag. There were two small cups of chips, but the extras in the bottom of the bag were very generous. We couldn’t finish them!

As I unwrapped my burger I munched on a chip and was taken aback. The chip was perfectly cooked, and pre-salted. The texture was almost crispy on the outside and wonderfully fluffy inside. They are cooked with the skins on which meant they had a full potato flavour too, and were very impressive.
The burger was up next and again, it was spot on. The beef was full flavoured and juicy. It is one of the nicest burgers I’ve eaten, I just wasn’t expecting such quality. The salad was crispy and the bread soft and fresh, it may look like fast food, but it certainly tastes better than a lot of restaurant burgers I’ve eaten! Now onto the Orange Coke, it was fab, I was smiling as I drank it. The sweet citrus tones were prefect with the base flavour. Of course next time I’m having something different, probably the Raspberry Coke. Frankly I’ve got a hundred combinations to work through, and I’m thinking of putting a spread sheet together… err, too far?
Anyway my mum loved her hot dog with ketchup, mustard and onions and said she was very impressed with the place. In conclusion the meal was worth every penny, and I seriously can’t wait to go back.
By Cinabar

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Waitrose cheese gift set with black charcoal hearts [by @NLi10]

Ah - lovely lovely Waitrose - is there anything they don't sell?  For Christmas I got this lovely cheese gift set with a slate, and some onion relish with a box of Thomas Fudge Deep Black Charcoal Hearts. Now sure - I despise cheese in all its forms - but I do have a partner who loves it so this was a gift for us both.

I got my partner to take the pictures so expect more stylish shots than usual and a particular regard for the packaging design. I still can't rotate pictures on the iPhone though...

I think the take home message here is that a few nibbles make friendships grow, but too many nibbles and you've got rotten soggy turnips. And by the looks of things a mid-air collision between two swifts.

Here we see the charcoal biscuits lovingly peaking out of the box. You can't quite tell that they are heart shaped but they are.  Black hearts isn't a combination that I'd have instantly though of but they do look striking and have a good surface area.

And here is the finished composition. The cheese eater did like it, but she preferred the cheese and the Wilkin & Son relish to the biscuits.

I had mine without cheese and did like the combination.  The biscuits were quite hard (in a good way) and had a plesant snap to them. We haven't finished the box yet though so we can't be craving charcoal too much.  I think the best word for them is gormet - you don't want this for lunch at work, but as a nice indulgent snack it was very welcome.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Pick Up! Black 'n White Biscuits (Sainsburys) [By @SpectreUK]

These Black 'n White Pick Up! biscuits have a white chocolate bar set between two milk chocolate flavoured biscuits. Been as though I like white chocolate so much, Cinabar passed me these to try. On opening the packet I first noticed how crumbly the outside dark brown chocolate sandwich biscuit was. This is not a biscuit to eat in bed if you're that way inclined. So I had to get out of the bed pretty quickly before I received a stern telling off!

There was a slimline piece of white chocolate that ran beween the two biscuits much like the shiny picture on the front of the packet, but fortunately not that shiny as I'd start to wonder what made the sheen. Although not eating it in a particularly well lit room I was still relieved of the matt biscuit and white chocolate. The hard white chocolate centre made eating the already crumbly biscuit even more crumbly in an over exaggerated super crumbly way making me wish I'd used a plate. Now I will probably have to get the Hoover out. The biscuit itself (once I'd stopped panicking over the crumbs) tasted great. There was the crumbly milk chocolate outer sandwich biscuit taste to start with, and then the creamy inner white chocolate merged with this flavour to present a lipsmackingly luxurious creamy milk chocolatey aftertaste that made me want another biscuit. These Pick Up! biscuits are perfect for a lunchbox, or afternoon snack with a coffee or pot of tea, and especially if you're having a meeting at work with four other people. Just don't forget some plates!

Information on the packet;
Produced by Bahlsen in Germany. Five in a pack. Per 28g bar there are 146 calories, with 7.6g of fat and 10g of sugar. Ingredients included; white chocolate (34%), milk chocolate (10%), sugar, wheat flour, cocoa butter, palm oil, whole milk powder, cocoa mass, low fat cocoa powder, glucose syrup, clarified butter, skimmed milk powder, salt, raising agents; sodium carbonates, diphosphates, emulsifier; lecithins (soya); ground hazelnuts; flavouring (milk), whey products, starch (wheat), acidulant; citric acid; and hen's egg yolk powder.
By Spectre