16 December 2017

Devon Christmas Cider (Marks & Spencer’s) Bu @SpectreUK


Well it's that time of year again when Cinabar get's very excited and starts bothering me to find the Christmas tree out of storage in a dusty grim place in the roof. Of course it's bagged and tagged with other numerous bags of Christmas decorations for dotting liberally around the house. I must admit, they are a cheery colourful sight once everything has been stuck, draped and hung wherever it's been decided it goes in the house this year… or wherever there is a modicum of space!

After my avoidance for sometime and general pleading by Cinabar to retrieve the decorations from the chilly loft I was promised a warming spiced cider. Of course it couldn't be anything else other than a Christmas cider, but hey-ho… Or is it ho-ho-ho?! This Devon Christmas Cider was produced by Sandford Orchards. It had Clementine juice, as well as Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice, Mace, and Juniper Berries added in the brewing. At 4% volume this cloudy cider promised some citrus and spice to provide my tired bones some warmth after rummaging around in the freezing cold loft.

There was an inviting fizz on opening the bottle, which cheered me up a little as I watched Cinabar and her mom sifting through the decorations before retreating to find a quiet place and read a good book. There was a spiciness to the cider apple aroma with a hint of citrus on pouring this Devon Christmas Cider into my waiting glass. This certainly is a cloudy drink and has a nose tickling fizz to it. On taste there is the sweet cider apple to start with which blends well with the ground spices moving into a Clementine finish. Full of flavour and not short on jolly fizz, this drink is recommended for roast pork with crackling, gammon (with fried eggs, pineapple slices and thick-cut chips no doubt), and even the ubiquitous Christmas Yule Log. Of course I used it to wash down some rather lovely iced mince pies…

15 December 2017

Galaxy Chocolate Chunk Cookies (Sainsbury’s) By @Cinabar


Well I love cookies and I love Galaxy chocolate so I was pretty confident nothing could go wrong with this new biscuit combination. These are Galaxy Chocolate Chunk Cookies, what more could you ask for in principle. I opened up the bag and found eight thick cookies in the box, all dotted with an acceptable amount of Galaxy chocolate drops. So I bit in, or to be more honest I tried. This is one tough cookie. I don’t mean that in a metaphorical way, I mean it completely literally! My first bite failed and I ended up removing the biscuit from my attempted grip with my teeth and staring at it. Seriously. I tried again this time knowing to apply more pressure and did manage to get into the thing. Yes the flavour was sweet and pleasing, and had a good biscuity base flavour. Yes the addition of the Galaxy chocolate was nice, rich and smooth and the taste worked well. But no, I could not get passed the overly hard texture. I found them too tough, and not fun to eat. I put the kettle on and made my self a coffee so I could relax and dunk the rest and this made them easier to munch on, but diluted the chocolate flavour from the Galaxy which is the whole point. I have had biscotti that are softer. I usually like texture in my foods, but can’t help thinking a cookie should be a bit lighter to than this.


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14 December 2017

KP XL Crunchy Coated Peanuts - sweet chilli with a hint of lemon @NLi10

KP nutsters were the first peanut in a Pringle snack that I remember so I have a lot of time for the brand when the try new things. Here we have a giant bag of XL peanuts inside crisps with a mildly spicy coating. The bag contains four portions.


You may be curious as to why these are in a glass? Well, you get the dust all over your fingers which when working is a terrible idea. Now you can drink them when you want a nibble as you work away. Don’t eat the snack doll, she’s just for scale.


And these are great, they are really quite chunky peanuts, and the flavour is strong enough to entice but not so much that you can’t eat them in public. But 4 portions is not realistic - they lasted about 90 mins for just me. At games night I’d need two bags not to be seen as a laughably stingy host! 

And I’d need serving tumblrs to make sure no one got dust on the cards.  

I’ll be buying these again for sure.

13 December 2017

Cheestrings Snack Mix (@Morrisons) By @SpectreUK


I’ve never eaten Cheestrings before, so this was a new experience. That’s partly what this blog is all about. Trying new experiences and sharing them with others who may wish to do the same. First of all I’d like to point out that’s not how “cheese strings” should really be spelt. That aside these aren’t cheese strings anyway. On opening the packet they were small blocks of dark and light yellow cheese rather than strings. These I supposed may be akin to Red Leicester and Cheddar Cheese. In the packet there were also varying shapes of salted crackers, mini blobs of digestive biscuits, chocolate coated raisins and dried sweetened cherry strings.


The cherry strings really were strings as opposed to the cheese blocks which were as previously mentioned: blocks! I mean really, if you’re going to call a product Cheestrings (however badly spelt) I would have thought the manufacturer would have felt obligated to put ‘cheese strings’ within the product. Anyway, I thought Cinabar was joking about the cherry strings when I “liberated” this packet of Cheestrings (Cheesblocks) Snack Mix off her, but there they were. I do hate cherries, so I suppose that’s my fault for jumping over the hedge before looking at what’s on the other side. The cardboard sleeve covering the snack seemed to imply a suggested way to eat the Cheestrings Snack Mix would be to mix them up stacked on each salted cracker. Phah! What madness is that…? I’d prefer to try all components separately if you don’t mind!
On taste the darker yellow cheese tasted just like Red Leicester to the point that I figured it probably was Red Leicester. That’s a boon, because I do love Red Leicester Cheese, and as an aside I strongly believe it’s the best cheese for ‘cheese on toast’ (you can leave comments below if you disagree)! The lighter yellow cheese tasted just like Cheddar Cheese so I suspect it probably was. I do also love Cheddar Cheese, but Red Leicester is still better on cheese on toast in my opinion. The salted crackers tasted just like salted crackers, mainly with the salt towards the aftertaste. They complemented the cheeses very well and were obviously edible with or without, but I tried them with the blocks of cheese until I ran out of crackers. That’s the type of rock ‘n roll lifestyle I lead! Part of me wanted to try the cherry strings, blobs of digestives and chocolate coated raisins whilst eating the cheese and crackers, but that would be just as insane as eating them before. I suppose there are two types of people; those that like jelly and ice cream in one bowl, and those that prefer them in separate bowls. I’m one of those rare individuals who like them in separate bowls. Obviously in my half-crazed mind these extra Snack Mix morsels were still meant as pudding, even with the quite frankly ‘out there’ serving suggestion on the cardboard sleeve.
The digestive blobs were crunchy and sweet and there were plenty of them. In my strange mood I ate all of those next. I then started on the sweet cherry strings. There were far too many of these little red strings in the packet for my liking, however eaten piecemeal and straight after the sweet biscuit blobs they actually tasted okay(ish). Last but not least were the four milk chocolate coated raisins. They were easy to count because I’d eaten everything else. Perfect pudding material if you like that sort of thing. Personally I prefer chocolate coated fudge, but these chocolate coated raisins were actually very nice instead.
I’d certainly recommend Cheestrings (Cheesblocks) Snack Mix. They’re like a lunchbox on its own for kids that would fit in a larger greedier person’s lunchbox (like me) who may wish to complement a sandwich and (crisps, tomato, apple, banana, yoghurt and chocolate bar) whatever else they may have for lunch.
Information on the cardboard sleeve;
The 50g packet contained 189 calories, with 8.3g of fat, 8.4g of sugar and 0.7g of sugar. There were 42% cheese pieces, 16% of salted crackers, and 42% of sweet mix with varying portions of digestive pieces (blobs), dried sweetened cherry strings (devil’s fingers), and milk chocolate coated raisins (that looked a little like a rabbit had been caught short whilst walking over an open packet). Please see photograph for extensive ingredients.

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