26 July 2017

Fusions Cheddar & Red Pepper flavour (Morrisons) By @SpectreUK

These new Cheddar & Red Pepper flavour Fusions have 50% less fat in them than regular potato crisps. They are made with potato flakes and oven baked. They are sported as ‘light & crispy’ as well as having a ‘mouth-watering taste’. They mention ‘real ingredients’, so I expect the ‘Cheddar’ part of the flavour is real Cheddar cheese and I’m also expecting some spiciness from the red peppers.
On opening there was a strong smell of red peppers from the packet. There was an added cheesiness at the back of the aroma, that suggested red pepper spice first and cheese after in the taste. On taste the red pepper and then paprika were the immediate dominant flavours, with the cheesy flavour close behind to balance the spices. There was a good clean crunchiness to these moreish crisps and I found I wanted more on emptying the packet. Always a good sign… ;-)
Information on the packet;
The 22g packet has 96 calories, with 3g of fat, 1.9g of sugar and 0.23g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

25 July 2017

Pecan Pie Doughnut (Krispy Kreme) By @cinabar

On our way to Center Parcs last week we stopped at a service station that sold Krispy Kreme, and I spotted the new American Daydream doughnuts. We didn’t pick them up, as we were in a rush and on a tight schedule, but I regretted not having bought them. Once we were settled into the Center Parcs village we explored the supermarket on site and I was excited to see they too had Krispy Kreme, and the new Pecan Pie Doughnut was sitting on the shelf. This time we were definitely buying doughnuts!

My Pecan Pie Doughnut was a ring doughnut, topped with brown icing, nuts and a white chocolate drizzle. As regular readers will be aware, I’m a big fan of nuts, so knew this was going to go down well with me. The doughnut was firm but still fairly spongey. The taste was overwhelmingly maple syrup flavoured, which is from the heavy dose of icing. It was sweet and rich and like having maple syrup poured over it, but without the stickiness. The nuts were a lovely touch, and went well with the maple syrup flavour. They also added a nice bit of crunch to the texture. I have to admit the white chocolate was a bit lost, but it looked pretty. The maple syrup flavour was very overpowering, and I mean that in a good way! The Krispy Kreme Pecan Pie Doughnut was heaven!

They have also brought a peanut butter and jelly doughnut in their American Daydream range and New York Cheesecake. I might try and pick up one of the other flavours at the weekend, for research purposes you understand.

24 July 2017

Cloggs Coffee House Blend Review [By Uxorious]

It’s 8am and I have a lot to do today! Do you ever get that déjà vu feeling? I have a research article to write (I’m a physicist by the way), a paper to review, a grant application to prepare and the never-ending line of emails to clear. I’m sitting in front of my laptop and I need to get going! This calls for caffeine, a lovely espresso will kick-start my day. It’s not procrastination, it’s coffee. One of the benefits of working from home is access to my lovely espresso machine. Today I’m going to try some Cloggs House blend beans, which have arrived in the post for me to sample.

I live in Yorkshire, which is where you’ll find Cloggs Coffee Company. They hand-roast all their beans and you can visit them in person, have a drink even, at their coffee shop in Dewsbury. I intend to pop in, now that I know it’s on my doorstep. (That’s taking my doorstep to be about fifteen miles in length, but for a good a coffee what’s distance but a relative concept. Did I mention the physicist thing?) They also have a website (www.cloggscoffee.com) and not only do they sell coffee beans, but tea, hot chocolate and coffee machines. What caught my eye was a ROK Espresso maker, which looks absolutely stunning and is hand powered, so if you are reading this I’ll take one of them and the ROK coffee grinder for my birthday please. Or Christmas. I’m really not that choosy.

All their coffee beans are ethically sourced and they sell both blends and single origin coffees. I’m drinking their House Blend. It combines Arabica Brazilian, Columbian and Peruvian beans. It’s not long before my bean to cup machine is powered up and out drizzles golden brown espresso. Looks good, a solid deep crema has formed. You can see the remains of this in the photo below, sorry I started drinking before the camera came out! I’m only human.

The aroma is quite soft to me, but pleasant. The flavour is likewise mild, very rounded, and warm, with a subtle sweetness to it. This espresso is mild on all the senses, but very moreish. There are no bitter tones and the coffee has a lovely lasting gentle aftertaste. This is a beautiful, any time of the day, espresso. Revitalised, caffeinated, I’m ready to work, but darn it, first I have to write a review of this coffee for FoodStuffFinds. But don’t worry! I’m a physicist, so I’ll use my time machine, go back to 8am, and paradoxes aside, I’m sure I’ll find I’ve already written this.

23 July 2017

Five Italian Carbonara (@NLi10)

When I went to Italy my goal was to try as many things as possible - but also to eat a whole lot of Carbonara!  This dish is really hard to find in the UK - that is it's really hard to find a Carbonara which isn't spaghetti in cheese sauce with some ham called a Carbonara.  Carbonara doesn't have cheese in the sauce (some people put a little in for thickening, but it's mostly cream, the salty taste is from the meat) - you add the cheese to the top when you are finished to the taste of the diner.  In my case you just don't add the cheese and life is good.  The 'Carbon' part is the black pepper - and that should be in the sauce already.  Us Brits really seem to struggle with this concept and just treat it as a kids dish and give out macaroni cheese and have done with it.

A visit to Italy was the perfect time to see it done properly.

And I struck gold on the first attempt.

Around the corner from Santa Croche (where Stendhal's Syndrome was first described) tucked down an unassuming side street (Borgo Allegri?) we spotted a nice little place we could sit outside in the shade and I ordered the above Carbonara - and it's perfect. The meat is luxurious and not too thick, the spaghetti was al dente and coated in the creamy black pepper sauce and it was probably the best Carbonara I've ever had. The deep bowl masks the generous portion too.  I wrongly assumed this was how all the carbonara would be over in Italy so I decided to vary things a bit.

The next evening I thought I'd order something I'd not really heard of - and it ended up being Carbonara without the meat - but with much thicker pasta. This was a lovely restaurant in Florence and as usual was stocked with the wines and smells that Italy provides so well.  At first I was a little disappointed that I'd ordered something so basic, but the pepper and pasta flavour was just so rich and good. I really should start taking pictures of the menus and restaurants so that I can go into more detail!

Back at the camp-site one evening the girls just had 'light bites' so I grabbed a Carbonara! This was like a good version of what I'd do at home, the sauce was cream and a whole egg (so it was a little eggy) and had chunkier meat in and not quite enough pepper (but there was plenty on the sides and table to suit).  This wasn't by any stretch an expensive meal and fitted the hole in my stomach perfectly.  If I'd been served this in the Uk I'd have been pleased, basic and effective.

The next offering on the other hand was not quite what I'd planned.

I'd wandered around a bit of Florence looking for something exciting to eat - I'd thought I could have a luxury meal for one then pop back to the campsite.  Instead I decided to see what the tourist trap places served for Carbonara - buoyed on by the incredible pizzas we had in view of the tower of Pisa.  Everyone at the tables seemed to be enjoying the food, it wasn't massively expensive and it had nice views of the square.

Not only did they only have Sprite instead of the Italian soft drinks, but I got easily the worst Carbonara of the visit - and possibly the worst one in my Adult memory.  It was basically a plate of warm spaghetti that they had stirred cream and ham into and then coated in cheese.  No quality bacon, no pepper at all, and the meat tasted awful in places with a fatty aftertaste!  Maybe they thought they were doing the tourists a favour by matching their low expectations - maybe they thought people would give this to their kids.  This will teach me to try out the hot spots without using trip advisor!  There was no name on the outside of the restaurant presumably so you find it harder to give them bad feedback. I ate most of it, but left zero tip.

I couldn't leave Italy with that being the last Carbonara, but wanted some more variety.  I spotted this on one of the last days of the trip.

It's essentially a hybrid of ravioli and carbonara which suited me fine.  Each little pasta parcel is packed with meaty creamy goodness and it's clear that a good amount of thought went into the composition of this - making 'just pasta' a more exciting meal than a plate of peppery worms.  This was my second favourite Carbonara experience.

Overall I think that I'd happily order the four non disappointing ones again.  Campsite carbonara has very different criteria to the restaurant grade variety, and I'd happily go back to Florence just to try the first one again.  Although I'm sure I could find that somewhere new, or closer to home.

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