25 September 2017

New York Deli Pastrami Sandwich (M&S) #mandsfreelunch By @Cinabar

Marks and Spencer are currently having a free lunch giveaway. Inside 100,000 packs of sandwiches are vouchers for a free lunch. I thought I’d pick up a sandwich in an effort to try my luck, and to give me the opportunity to tell you about my favourite sandwich from Marks.
My sarnie of choice is the New York Deli Pastrami Sandwich, on Rye. I think this is partially fuelled by an upbringing including watching American sitcoms and comedies, seeing people on the TV ordering “Pastrami on Rye” at their local sandwich shop and not really knowing what it involved. I never buy rye bread as a whole loaf, and save my experience for a sandwich treat from Marks and Spencers.
The sandwich itself is on a very soft version of rye bread, fluffy but a little richer in taste. The sandwich is a flavour sensation, there is generous portion of pastrami, a thin layer of cheese and pickled gherkins. You get such a lovely mix of flavours a zingy taste from the vinegar with the pickle, smooth creamy cheese, a hint of mustard and the pastrami meat itself. The tastes are very American, and it is full on, but I think a bought sandwich should be something a bit different, something you wouldn’t necessarily make at home, This neatly transfers me to memories of watching Friends, and takes me away from my desk during my lunch break on a busy day.
Anyway I didn’t actually win a free lunch, but the competition is still on, so I’ll have to pick up another pack.

24 September 2017

ZaraMama Gourmet Popping Corn Pop-A-Cob Midnight Blue (@NLi10)

It feels like i've had this for ages.  Every social occasion we get it out, and every time we ordered too much food and no one fancies pop-corn - UNTIL NOW!

We had just enough pizza and crisps to still be able to entertain the idea of popcorn - and more importantly it's still in date!

The idea is this - you pop the corn in the microwave and it appears magically off the cob.  It's a pretty cool idea, and we certainly had high hopes.

We bagged it as instructed

And popped it in the microwave as instructed.

I think this is where our problems began - the microwave we had available isn't that large and was possibly a bit weedy.  We had to open it a couple of times to allow it to move and not scorch in places and so I don't think we had the optimum cooking experience.

And I'm not sure where the midnight blue comes in because as we all know

Popcorn is mostly white!

You get a stupidly large amount and it's as fresh as humanly possible.  The flavour was maybe a little muted due to over-cooking some but still having some partially exploded grains.  If there were a way to add some sprinkles or butter to the top of this it would have been a massive party hit - as it was it was just really good but fairly plain pop-corn that came in a spectacular fashion.

I'm sure if there were a way to watch this happen live through the haze of the microwave we'd have got a little more out of the experience, but the popcorn was generally well received by the 5 of us and a good time was had by all.

23 September 2017

Druid's Brew Beer (Stonehenge Shop) By @SpectreUK

Autumn has just began and now we have the (even) damper and chiller months ahead of us before winter. I always think this is a mythical spooky time of year, what with the nights drawing in on us and Halloween just around the corner…

On a personal note I've been on crutches for a week now after my knee operation. Although I am slowly taking the odd step on my own, but they are tentative and more than a little wobbly. I have especially forgone any tablets today to drink this pint of Druid's Brew, from the Three Castles Brewery, in Wiltshire. That's certainly a mythical place to come from, err… well, the Stonehenge Gift Shop! I have some friends to thank for bringing this beer back for me. I haven't been there myself for many years, but I remember it was quite a sight from afar when I was a little lad trying to see it through the mist and pouring rain.

On opening this brown ale there was a herbal hoppy aroma with fruity undertones. On taste there was a definite herbal blast of hops to start with. Really bitter like an old druid who's seen too many wars and far too many unkind nobles in all his grey bearded years. I must say this really is a bitter start, so if you're ready for a kick in the tastebuds; go for it! There is malted barley at the back of the bitterness from the herbal hops, with a subtle sweetness from a dash of crystal malt, if I'm not mistaken. A jolly fruitiness follows closely after this succulent malted mixture, like a cheeky medieval dance that I could almost hear lute music from many years gone by. This drink is almost as if you meet a stern druid who slowly warms to you!

This is certainly a tasty cheerful brew after its almost angry start, and with no mistake. I'm hoping this Druid's Brew doesn't make me even more wobbly on my feet with its 4% volume. However, hopefully a friendly druid might lend me his walking stick?

22 September 2017

New York Cheesecake Kit Kat (WH Smith) By @Cinabar

Kit Kat is one of those brands where there seem to be lots of exciting flavours abroad, and more limited versions here in the UK. This means that when there is a new flavour out I get excited, and this new Kit Kat is flavoured with New York Cheesecake. This one doesn’t even contain caramel flavours, which they usually do in the UK. We’ve had Toffee Treat, Double Caramel, and Vanilla. The basic rule being, nothing too adventurous for the British market. Actually, this doesn’t sound that far off from Vanilla, as that is the main flavour in cheesecake. I’m however a fan of baked cheesecakes, my favourite being German style, so I still hoped this would be an interesting bar.
The New York Cheesecake Kit Kat is in the chunky range, and available as a single bar. I opened up the bar and there are marks to break it into three pieces, Inside a layer of fondant sits atop the usual chocolate and wafer. I gave the bar a try and the flavour wasn’t that dissimilar to a regular Kit Kat Chunky. It was a mild additional taste. The flavour of milk chocolate was predominant, then there was a nice hint of vanilla and creamy, cheesecake taste. I enjoyed the bar, and the hint of cheesecake was good, but it still isn’t much of a daring variety. It is one step up from vanilla, but it was still a little safe for my taste buds. If you are after an easy to like bar this will do, if you know about the crazy Japanese flavours (wasabi!) this will leave you a little disappointed.

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