28 June 2017

Rowntree’s 30% Less Sugar Randoms / Fruit Pastilles [By @SpectreUK]

After two years of painstaking research Nestle have brought out new 30% less sugar versions of Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles and also Rowntree's Randoms. Achieved by increasing the level of fibre with even more fruitiness to an amazing 100%, these new pastilles and jellies sweets have fewer calories, so decreasing the guilt and they still have no artificial flavours, colours, and sweeteners. The only thing bothering me was on the front of both packets it stated; "Love to share", and I'm far too greedy for that!

Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles

There are five flavours and shapes of sugar coated pastilles (see photograph). The rounded Orange pastille has quite a sharp orange flavour and made my mouth water. The slim dark yellow Lemon slice is a mild sweet lemony flavour without being sour. Whereas the triangular pink Strawberry flavour has a very fruity tang to it, and suddenly became my favourite on first try. The green oval Lime flavour had a mild sugary sourness and was slightly more tart than the Lemon pastille. The diamond shaped Blackcurrant flavour immediately trounced the Strawberry on flavour and restored order becoming my favourite fruit pastille, which has always been the case where Rowntree's Fruit Pastilles are concerned. Blackcurrant for the win!

Information on the packet;
The 110g packet recommends 12 sweets per serving, which has 117 calories, 1% trace of fat, 14g of sugar and 0.11g of salt. Please photograph for ingredients.

Rowntree's Randoms

There are loads of different shapes in the packet, from pink sundaes, to yellow Big Ben's, green palm trees and orange chess pieces. It's difficult to know where to start, so I attacked a purple foam snowman and was rewarded with a slightly raspberry fruity flavour. The orange multi-shaped jellies were a tart natural orange flavour, some having foam as well which enhanced the orange and with a little vanilla. The blackcurrant jellies and their foam sided friends all had a fruity natural blackcurrant, with that touch of sweet vanilla from the foam. The yellow foam rocket had a slightly sour fruity flavour. The green jellies were like biting into a sweet apple. And then came the strawberry and raspberry busting foam bottomed cakes which oozed fruity goodness from the initial bite. These Rowntree's Randoms delivered fun with there many shapes and assorted flavours, and natural fruitiness in shovels. Mmm… fantastic!

Information on the packet;
The 110g packet recommends 9 sweets per serving, which has 106 calories, 1% trace of fat, 12.9g of sugar and 0.02g of salt. Please photograph for ingredients.

27 June 2017

Twix Cappuccino (Poundland) By @Cinabar

I think that pound shops are a surprisingly good at supplying interesting snacks. Not only do they get a lot of new products quite early, they also have very affordable import goodies. I often keep my eyes open in there for new items, and that its where I found this Limited Edition Twix Cappuccino. As it was a bit warm the chocolate on my bar was a little smudge, so I didn’t get a decent photo of the insides, but it did look just like a regular twin bar of Twix, with the two sticks inside.
The aroma was very mild, chocolate wth a hint of some coffee to show it was a Limited Edition.
The flavour is where this bar succeeds though, the Cappuccino element worked magically.
The coffee flavour wasn’t too strong, but it was very much present and reminded me of coffee creams. Coffee and chocolate just work well together, and the more common place the matching of these flavours become, the happier I will be. I loved the addition of the milky coffee flavour to the Twix, and that combined with the crunchy biscuit, gooey caramel and milk chocolate and I was in heaven. This Twix Cappuccino bar with a coffee is the perfect afternoon pick me up.
I mentioned that these were in Poundland, well that is the other magic of the store, I got three of these for my one pound coin, I don’t think you can get better value than that.

26 June 2017

M&Ms Limited Edition Peanut & Hazelnut (PoundLand) By @Cinabar

There is actually a new variety of M&Ms out in the UK. An actual new variety, not those silly editions that they bring out at Christmas and Halloween and all they do is have some differently coloured shells, but the same basic product. Think bags of red and green peanut ones at Christmas. That is usually as far as the imagination goes for the UK market, but these ones are actually something different - hazelnut. Obviously they are treading carefully and have mixed half the bag with regular peanut M&Ms so as not to cause too much of a thrill in the UK, new flavour M&Ms are so very rarely seen here.
The bag is very smart and bright, half yellow and green and stands out nicely on the shelf. One thing I did notice is that there is no sticker on the bag to re-seal it, I took this to mean they are trying to tell me subliminally to eat the whole bag in one go. I did too - but I did share! ;-)
There seemed to be loads of the M&Ms in the pack, it was a very generous portion. Obviously I tried to see if I could work out which were peanut and which were hazelnut, but as both came in big or small I couldn’t work it out, there did seem to be about half and half though. The hazelnut edition was absolutely lovely. The distinctive hazelnut flavour worked very well with the chocolate and was a very enjoyable combination. The hazelnut has a slight hint of bitter to it, but this is nicely balanced with the chocolate. I thought they worked very well, so well in fact I’m hoping they get a release in the UK of a pure hazelnut bag, I’m sure we could handle the excitement.

25 June 2017

Italian Pizza (ish) Roundup - Florence, Pisa and Siena (@NLi10)

As a big fan of Italian food I could have eaten out for every meal, and essentially we did.  I tried to have one 'pasta' and one 'pizza' per day to make sure I tried as many things as possible.

Previously we've established that the best Pizza I had in Italy was actually in Pisa in a fairly touristy place (no one more shocked than I).

Here is a quick tour of the Pizza side of things, in no particular order.

Here I ate essentially the same pizza as above, but at what can only be described as a take-away pizza place with a few tables by the road.  They seemed genuinely confused to see tourists eating in such a cheap place (Marini de Pisa is mostly for people with Yachts) at such an odd hour, but the pizzas were competent and tasty.  This is most notable however because the base was very much a focaccia instead of a regular pizza base, which feels like a regional variation I can get behind.  The effect was as if someone had fried the pizza base - if someone ran a chain like this in England they would be able to retire a Millionaire in two years tops.

Here in Siena I made my own olive based bread pizza - and naturally the real one arrived at the same time.  Ham pizza means ham pizza - and here we see the same luscious and fluffy pizza base with some ham slapped on.  A bit tourist trap (the view was great here) but essentially a really nice use of quality ingredients to do an efficient pizza.  Very tough to cut with the sloping table and basic knife though!

Here we see why ordering in posher restaurants can go wrong - this pizza has no sauce or tomatoes at all!  Maybe it's a response to a certain special diet, maybe it's a local delicacy of the back streets of Firenze. Essentially it's rocket, cheese and some kind of salted beef.  The beef was amazing and tasted like it was marinated in Marmite - and was mouth watering enough to mean that this wasn't a dry meal after all.  Strong and crazy flavours made this a real favourite, whether they were playing a practical joke on the English boy or not.
Interestingly this place was close enough to the back of a tourist museum for us to use the free wifi for the whole meal.  A lovely touch which enabled us to plan our evening in the cool peace of the restaurant!

This was another thing where I'm not sure that I ordered a whole meal.  I got steak, cheese (more than this - I gave some away) and leaves - the olives were in exchange for the cheese.

It was pretty expensive and initially I was a little disappointed - but then I tried the steak. Italians really understand how to get the best out of their meat! I really understand now why Europeans get upset with bland british food, and American sauces on everything.  The cooking has made this into something to be treasured. I'm sure if my Italian was better that I'd have ended up with some kind of side of carbohydrates (probably bread) with this but I was so full after this that nothing else was required.  As someone who isn't a fan of cheese this worked really well, but I am glad I stole some of the tomato and olives from the girls salads to round it out.

Last of all we have the first Pizza I ate in Italy.  I didn't know what my baseline should be so I went for this sausage Pizza - and I think it's a creation just to keep German teenagers happy!  It wasn't a bad pizza (the base and basic parts were fine) but I've had better toppings and felt like i'd thrown away one of my limited meal slots on something a bit too supermarket.  It did however do the job and bring all of the above into context so I could appreciate all of the different angles.

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