5 December 2016

Belgian Dark Chocolate Coated Chilli Tortilla Chips (Marks & Spencer) By @Cinabar

I’ve eaten many savoury chilli tortillas, sometimes on their own, other times with a dip and sometimes on the side of a chilli con carne. I can’t think of a single occasion when I've eaten them and thought to myself; "you know what, these need chocolate". Somebody at Marks and Sparks clearly thought so and they have brought out these half chocolate dipped chilli tortillas.
I was struggling to persuade myself to open the pack and give them the taste test. I'll be honest I purchased them as they sounded like they needed a review here on Foodstuff Finds, not because I thought they were going to be amazing. Eventually I peeled off the packaging and gave one a try, and I should have had more faith in Marks and Spencer. They were absolutely delicious. The chocolate is dark and really quite sweet and strong, there is plenty of it, more in ratio than actual tortillas, it is the dominant flavour. The tortilla base adds a lovely crunch and I enjoyed the mix of textures. The chilli from the tortilla adds a gentle background warmth and spice and it is lovely with the dark chocolate. There is a background flavour of corn chip but that is nice too, although mild. The flavour of tortilla is actually more noticeable when you finish the chip, and it stays as the aftertaste.
This went from being a product that made me wonder why they'd bothered, and didn't appeal, to a chocolatey treat that is outstanding and I can't wait to buy again. After all these years of food blogging its still very nice to be surprised.

4 December 2016

Wahaca Mexican Street Food Meal Kits - Mojo (by @NLi10)

In the UK there is a TV programme called The Last Leg, and sometimes it's a bit London-centric.  They (well Josh Widdecombe mostly) occasionally referenced something called a Wahaca.  On further inspection this appears to be a small chain of restaurants which haven't appeared in Birmingham yet.  I can only presume that their previous mentions of Nando's have proved so profitable that they have branched out (can't blame them - sometimes I get great PR goodies!).

Cut forwards a few months and work have a huge box of food arrive as part of some online deal where managers get things to give out (result). This includes three varieties of Wahaca meal kits and I happened to snag all three (double result).

I've started off with the green/beginner one as it's handy to know what you are dealing with.  I also didn't have any fresh ingredients to add to the mix so it's a bit 'bachelor chow' - but I did make it with Quorn so my partner could eat it too.

Makes 10 tacos, serves four people.  I guess with the added extras this would have been possible.

Like other meal kits you have separate bags, you put them into the hot places in order, you eat.

Unlike other meal kits you can crack out the tiny, tiny luchadores and justify how much you spent on them.  I've not seen a kit with the yellow corn tortillas or a green salsa so I was quite looking forwards to this.

Step one is marinade the meat or veg, but with quorn defrosting in the sauce as you cook tends to get the best flavour.  I'd usually do this covered too as it prevents the quorn drying up too much (and the luchadores from doing spots off the utensils).

And here we see the finished, unfolded results.

Granted, with shredded lettuce and tomatoes and cheese (we did use cheese just not in the pictures) this would look more impressive, but it's still fairly exciting.  The mixture made just about 8 of these size tacos, so you could stretch that to 10.  I did eat 5 of these (and the remaining 2 tacos).

The flavour of the marinade and quorn was strong but not that spicy, all the heat in this kit was in the amazing green salsa which you could adjust easily for any non-Mexican fans.  The salsa popped and really brought the taste buds alive.  I'm worried about what the three chilli box will do, but the two chilli box should be fine.

The course textured tacos were a pleasant change from the old el paso style soft flour tacos, and gave the meal a different complexion to what I was expecting, adding bite where the quorn would usually lack some.

Good enough to add Wahaca to my computers spell check so it stops changing it to whacked, and definitely enough to continue up the strength scale of the boxes.  And next time i'm forced to make a pilgrimage down south to the capital I'll try and pop in to try the real deal.

3 December 2016

Brave Red Ale (Beer 52) By @SpectreUK

Been as though the weather has been pretty bleak lately, this time of year I’m always on the lookout for craft beers from far off places. Chile is certainly far off enough for a beer. This Chilean red ale called brave was brewed with fresh Chilean water, hops, and malts. At 4.5% volume this beer was presented in a slightly larger 350ml bottle. All the more for me! On opening there was an intense fruity hoppy smell with the malts in the background. A deep red ale on pouring, there was a strong bitterness on my first mouthful from the fruity hops. This bitterness kept on giving right through to the aftertaste. Don’t get me wrong, there was certainly flavour from the malts, but it was lurking in the background, and not in a very “brave” way. This is definitely a fulsome flavoured beer brewed from the soul and it takes a brave soul to drink it, hence the name I’m sure. I’d certainly have another just as long as I can pluck up the courage!

2 December 2016

Black Forest Syrup for Hot Chocolate (@Monin_UK) By @cinabar

I've been trying out a few hot chocolates from high street coffee shops and thought I'd have a go at making one at home. This uses a combination of items including my Tassimo hot chocolate, some squirty cream, mini marshmallows and chocolate curls. Obviously the key ingredient here is going to be a syrup, Monin is my brand of choice so I had a search online to see what they make, and pretty much everything was the answer. High street brand Costa have used Monin Blackcurrant and Cherry syrups in the past, but I've not seen them use Black Forest syrup despite the fact Monin make the stuff, I ordered a bottle to give it a try.
I decided on adding three teaspoons of the syrup to my mug before setting off the Tassimo. High street coffee shops can be quite hit and miss on the amount of syrup you get, but here I could do a careful measure, adjust if needed and replicate it if its spot on.
Th syrup is a deep reddish brown and smelt sweet like chocolate and cherries. I gave the drink a sip and knew immediately that bottle of syrup was a  brilliant purchase. Monin are always really good at recreating the exact flavour they promise to in their syrups and this was no exception. The drink was an absolute perfect Black Forest gateau flavour, their was a lovely sweet fruity dark cherry taste, and this went well with rich tones of chocolate and a creamy aftertaste. Every sip was an absolute pleasure, sweet soothing heaven. I suppose I need a disclaimer about Black Forest gateau being my favourite cake, so this is perfect for me. I think I’m going to explore the other syrups available so that I can make some more home made creations.
The only thought that struck me was that I have no idea why Costa don't use this specific syrup in their Black Forest hot chocolate instead of trying to recreate it using other Monin fruity syrups. I've not actually had a Costa Black Forest Gateau hot chocolate yet this year, so I'm going to have to order one and compare it to this. It's going to be hard to beat the home version though; it tasted fab, was easy to make and comes in at a fraction of the price.

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