Monday, 29 August 2016
Looking around the foodie section in Boots I spotted this new drink from Evian. It came in a cute almost tear drop shaped bottle, with a pink liquid inside. The flavour sounded quite posh, with it being a mix of Grape Juice and Rose.
As this drink is made by a company that makes mineral water I thought it might be in the realms of the “water with a hint of” style drinks. I wasn’t wrong, the flavour from the drink was very mild. It isn’t a sweet drink, but it does have a very delicate flavour. There is gentle hint of rose, but it is a very mild floral background taste, and a slight hint of grape sourness. It is easy to drink, because the flavour is so light. I can imagine that even if you weren't a fan of rose this would be okay for you, as there isn’t a strong Turkish Delight flavour, just a subtle easy going taste.
All in all this drink was very refreshing on a warm day, and hit the spot well. I’d pick it up again quite happily. The only negative thing I have about it is the serving size and calorie content. It just seemed a bit confusing. Sorry it isn’t the best quality picture, it was white writing on a clear bottle, but you can see the issue below. If you are a packaging designer and you find yourself writing on a small bottle “1.5 serving of 250ml” just stop. It's a small bottle, it's going to drunk in one, not in 1.5 portions, stop being so confusing. I found ti very hard to work out how many calories are in the bottle.
Sunday, 28 August 2016
Hawker Yard on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/HawkerYard/
I'm not a fan of trendy things, street food is another one of those warning signs that something is trying too hard. On the way back from playing cards at ManaLeak's new industrial location in Digbeth a security guard suggested I might like to eat at the place they were guarding, and that I was free to wander in and look around - so I did.
That place was Hawker Yard, a ruin-bar inspired collection of mini stalls. This could be a worry if it's just burger vans, but both the set-up of a two tier eating area and the choice of foods was certainly well curated. There was Dim Sum, Greek and confusing array of vegan burgers at one end and a large, well stocked bar at the other.
Naturally I gravitated towards the most alien place - called Vegan Grindhouse. While I do like to think of myself as an 'unethical vegan' in spirt (more on that another day) I do eat meat regularly simply because I have a tendency to hang out in areas where nutritious vegan food just isn't viable (such as the pub I'm writing this in).
Here however the options are bountiful!
I didn't fancy a burger (people's obsession with bread still confuses me) so I opted for the tempting salad at the bottom.
Here it is - sitting on an oil drum, on the second storey of a scaffold structure from which you can watch all of Digbeth go by.
In theory there isn't much here, just some salad leaves and some vegan-chicken and vegan-mayo, but my goodness it was tasty. There is a little bit of wizardry here, making something that is close to raw fresh ingredients so appealing. For one, the mayo both cools the jalapeños and livens up the crisp lettuce. The vegan-chicken is the real star. Presumably this is just their burgers sliced up and popped on the salad but with a soft but firm texture and an almost nutty flavour I think I'd rather have this than the real thing. It's almost certainly more nutritious too, with far more flavour than your standard festival chicken.
This is a new venture - this was a preview weekend that I just happened to stumble on. I think there were three or four separate stalls for food then the long bar. The plan seems to be to extend this to 8 food outlets and to have it as a regular weekend thing over Friday and Saturdays, and I'm all for it.
If all the food is as good as the Vegan Grindhouse offerings then it's going to be a magnet for hungry Brummies within a matter of weeks, as news about cool places to hang out travels fast. Definitely somewhere worth popping into town to explore.
Saturday, 27 August 2016
Honest Brew very kindly sent me six intriguing sounding beers and a glass to drink them out of. There were beers such as Beavertown Neck Oil, Wild Boar, and Railway Porter, as well as this Wild Goose Chase. There was a smart booklet with the bottles and cans of beer to describe each one, and some further information about flavour categories. This seems like the perfect present for someone who doesn’t get to the shops much and likes their unusual sounding beers.
Produced by the Wild Beer Co. Brewery in Westcombe, Somerset, this Wild Goose Chase is served in a 330ml bottle at 4.5% volume. The description on the bottle made my mouth water. Gooseberries are added during the brewing, as well as locally grown wild yeast, some harmonising hops as well as dry hops to bring out the fruitiness and extenuate the bitterness. On opening there was a tart gooseberry smell and a decent helping of hops to back it up. There was also a slight green tint to the ultra pale ale as I poured it into my beer glass. I was starting to get a little concerned about how bitter this drink may be.
On first taste I could certainly see what they meant about the complementary hops. The gooseberry flavour hit my tastebuds first with a fruity nose hair tickling bitterness, which the hops then coax the fruity bitter flavour and yet don’t let it overpower the senses. The pale malt is drawn out at the back of the flavour once the bitterness has run its course. I can see why they called this beer Wild Goose Chase, as they must have worked very hard indeed to balance these flavours just right, in order to produce a truly different taste experience!
Friday, 26 August 2016
When I saw this bar of milk chocolate in Marks and Spencers I thought it sounded rather luxurious. Chocolate made with Jersey milk, if ever there was a bar that sounded soothing, this felt like it would be it. I wouldn't normally review a plain sounding bar like this, but after a busy day some Jersey milk infused chocolate sounded like a perfect treat.
Now when it comes to comfort eating, I'd normally go for a bigger bar, but this one is quite thin and light. I guess that is healthier though. I broke a piece off and gave it the taste test. I was surprised to find that the chocolate didn't do much for me. I know it contains Jersey milk, I checked the ingredients label to make sure, but it is far from being what I would describe as creamy. I think I misinterpreted milk as cream. The melt on it isn't thick and lush, its quite a clean feeling bar, which isn't what I'd hoped for. Flavour wise it is sweet, but the cocoa has a woody complex edge, its pleasant, but not the rich flavour I was after. I liked the chocolate, it was perfectly okay, a nice quality milk chocolate with a nice cocoa. The problem was that it didn't meet the expectation. I wanted a thick heavy melt chocolate that coated the palette in a sweet and super creamy mix. I wanted a cocoa that worked with the sweetness, and was smooth and easy to eat. Mostly I wanted a bigger bar too, something too soothe away the work day blues but errr... maybe that part is just a bit of greed too! Oh well, at least it is a Bank Holiday weekend!
Thursday, 25 August 2016
Ocado shopping is great. You finish all the regular groceries really quickly then get to spend 10 mins running the gauntlet of special offers and new products as you check out. You usually forget about these items and when the delivery man comes then you get mini Christmas Day moments.
Here we have lemon masala burgers and sweet potato chips. Vegetarian and certainly quite healthy, but are they any good?
Well, we know the sweet potato chips are great, we may have even reviewed those before. If you want to make your own then this is much cheaper, but sometimes we fancy oven chips and these are legitimately that bit better for you - a little bag of frozen compromises.
The burgers surprised me by needing a sticker to tell you about them in English, there are many other Euro languages here, and by needing to be fried!
Using ceramic cookware and as little oil as possible I gave them a good frying. Possibly for a little longer than needed as they'd defrosted a little while the chips cooked.
And here we have a meal! Well - again I should have buried it in veggies and salad, but this is supposed to be burger and chips comfort food.
The flavours of the burgers are amazing - fragrant and light - with lots of amazing textures to delight the senses. Adding ketchup on these is not required! The chips too have all the flavour you'd expect and went really well.
The only thing I'd change is I'd have two burgers per sitting instead of one, but if I'd done that we wouldn't be able to have them tonight too!
Wednesday, 24 August 2016
Walkers have teamed up with Heinz to produce a range of Heinz Sauce inspired flavoured crisps. This Sausage & HP Brown Sauce crisps was the first I picked up. On opening the packet there was a strong smell of HP Brown Sauce merged with the smell of sausages, this was reminiscent of some sausages on a plate with a heavy helping of brown sauce on top. In taste the sausage flavour is more pronounced with sweetness to the sauce to start with, a decent hit from the molasses, and the sausages herbs and spices, with a little onion and sage to finish. These crisps definitely feel like a break from the norm, and were very welcome indeed.
Other Heinz Sauce inspired flavours are; Roast Chicken and Mayonnaise, Bacon and Tomato Ketchup, Ham and Mustard, Toasted Cheese and Worcester Sauce, and Cheese, Cucumber and Salad Cream. Cinabar tells me that the Cheese, Cucumber and Salad Cream are particularly good… More reviews to follow!
Information on the packet;
40g bag with 209 calories, 13g of fat, 1.2g of sugar, and 0.52g of salt. These crisps are suitable for Vegetarians. Please see photograph for ingredients.
Tuesday, 23 August 2016
Brixton Beach Boulevard is bringing the summer to the city dwellers looking for a summer escape.
The space in south London has been filled with sand, benches and -a wonderfully retro vibe. With the sound of 70's disco playing, you'd almost think you'd been transported to a Miami beach party.
A great range of food offerings are available. There's Lucha Burrito who is bringing the taste of Mexico with a variety of burritos and rice pots, with all the trimmings.
Then there's Mac to the Future who is taking on the classic dish by adding little twists of originality- especially with their side dishes of tator tots!
Lucky Pierre is a French pop up with great quality food with ease. The Steak Frites is a great dish with incredibly tender meat, and the béarnaise sauce gives it an extra kick. The Cheese Frites were also especially enticing- with a whole Camembert with garlic and rosemary.
Lamjam specialises in Turkish Street food and their lamb wrap certainly did not disappoint - with strong flavours and the perfect amount of spice !
All the food vendors offer something unique and there truly is something for everyone! Make sure to try one of the slush cocktails at the bar to complement your food- the passion fruit was a particular favourite! Check out the menus at http://www.brixtonbeachboulevard.com/food/- don't miss out on the last of the summer!