Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Uncle Ben’s Rice Time – Sweet and Sour flavour [By @SpectreUK]


A while back I enjoyed Dolmio Pasta Vita, Sweet Pepper Flavour. I remember how filling and tasty the meal was, so I was looking forward to trying this Uncle Ben’s Rice Time Sweet and Sour flavour.

Like the Dolmio Pasta Vita there were two steam sealed (“for freshness and flavour”) recyclable plastic pots; one little pot had sweet and sour sauce in it, and the larger pot had rice in it. Trying to brush off images of Little and Large and their curry before every show again, I scrutinized the ready meal’s label. The two pots weigh in at 300g, with 393 calories of food. “Low fat” was proudly stated on the cardboard label. My experience of “Low fat” products usually means they are high in sugar. I was impressed by the 2.4g fat, but not surprised by the high sugar at 28.2g. Having said that, I guess we all need sweetening up a bit and this is supposed to be a main meal for one after all! I figured I’d burn off any access energy with a run around the block or more likely a short nap after lunch or something…

Like the Dolmio Pasta Vita before, I peeled back both lids a little, heated both at the same time for one and a half minutes in an 800 watt microwave, and poured the smaller pot’s contents into the larger pot. There was plenty of Chinese sweet and sour sauce, which mixed in with the Uncle Ben’s long grain rice easily. With no artificial colours or preservatives, the sauce consisted of sun ripened tomatoes, pineapple, onions, green and red peppers, and carrots. I ate the sweet and sour rice meal with Sharwoods Chinese style prawn crackers in a bowl on the side. During lunch I watched a very tense episode of Magnum where he was trying to catch a psychopathic prostitute killer. The Psycho Nutjob kept phoning Magnum and taunting him with too much knowledge of the Private Investigator’s Vietnam War years. Whilst I watched the thrilling episode I found this ready meal had a sumptuously tangy and authentic tasting Chinese sweet and sour sauce. The large pot’s contents just tasted great and went perfectly with prawn crackers and a pint of beer. It was definitely a very tasty and filling lunch for one. I would definitely have this meal again, for either lunch or dinner. The prawn crackers would be mandatory, of course, but maybe next time I’ll wash it down with some sake instead of beer. From the quality of the last two ready meals, I’d like to see some more in this range, perhaps a black bean sauce flavour or a nice tasty curry to complete the irony for Little and Large’s sake? Rogan Josh anyone?
By Spectre

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Taste The Difference Smoky BBQ Crisps (Sainsbury's) [By @Cinabar]



This new Limited Edition variety from Sainsbury’s may not feel very seasonal, but crisps always go down well during the festivities as nibbles whatever the variety. Once I had opened the bag, I was impressed to see the colour of the crisps, as they were coated in a wonderful paprika shade of orange and red dusting. They were far darker than expected and had a rich aroma too. The bag smelt smoky and appealing with a wonderful undercurrent of warming spices, so we poured some into a bowl for sharing.
They had a good heat, which I hadn't been expecting, in fact they are far hotter than a lot of ‘hot’ crisps I’ve tried, but were still sitting pleasantly around a medium. There is most definitely a good dose of chilli in the ingredients, as my mouth developed a lovely warmth the more I ate and my tongue had a spiced chilli tingle. Other than that the taste was predominantly smoky, think inhaling next to a log fire (but in a good way)! There was a good depth to the taste with a rich tomato, paprika and more traditional barbecue flavours also still present and very much noticeable. With chilli, smoke and all the other ingredients it would be an understatement to say these are packed with flavour! Thankfully the complexity all works, and makes them wonderfully moreish.
The texture of the crisps is good too, as they are firm, quite thick and this gives a decent crunch when you bite in, making them feel rather satisfying. These are the perfect crisps for a night in, and hopefully the warmth within them will help banish away some of the winter cold. Yum!
By Cinabar

Monday, 28 November 2011

Win a Super Hero Survival Kit! (NOW CLOSED)



I hope you all read about NLi10’s adventures with his Super Hero Survival Kit, and the snacking goodies held within. You can find his write up here.

If you’d like to win a kit of your own we have a competition for you! The lovely folks from Doritos and Pepsi have kindly offered a box to one of our readers!
The kit contains: Jalapeno Fire Doritos, Citrus Freeze Pepsi Max, Kick Ass DVD, The Worst Case Scenario Handbook and a pair of sunglasses!
All you have to do is answer a simple question and send it in an email.

The question is: What are the two food/drink goodies contained within the kit?
Email your answer to the question above to admin@foodstufffinds.co.uk and mark the subject line ‘Comp

NOW CLOSED


Terms/Conditions
Any personal data will only be used for processing of this competition.
The winner will be chosen at random from the correct answers.
UK residents only.
Competition closes 7pm on Friday 2nd December 2011.
If I can’t get in touch with the winner in a reasonable amount of time to obtain an address another winner will be selected.
If you have any questions about the competition, please send me an email or leave a comment below.

Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate Variety Pack (American Soda @americansoda) [By @Cinabar]



I find it very hard to find a decent instant hot chocolate. I’ve had quite a few nice ones that mix with hot milk, but the majority of instants leave me disappointed as they seem to just lack flavour. One thing is for sure though, Americans rave about Swiss Miss, so I was rather keen to try it.
Swiss Miss can actually be made using hot milk or hot water, but I wanted to know how they shape up with the kettle method. One thing I noticed was that on the sachets it mentions the high amounts of calcium in the packs, which is a good sign as it implies a decent amount of (dried) milk content.
I had the variety pack in front of me, and decided to start with the milk chocolate as a base flavour to see what the fuss was about. I poured the fine powder into a mug and poured on the recommended amount of hot water. I’m pleased to say that it passed the first test, and mixed up really easily. I hate fighting hot chocolate powder trying to convince it to dissolve, and I’m pleased to say this just blended quickly and easily with the water with just a simple quick stir.
The chocolate drink smelt sweet and pleasant so I took my first sip and was pleasantly surprised. The flavour was sweet, had a lovely chocolate edge but mostly had a wonderful creamy aftertaste. It was such a good flavour, it really is one of the best instants I’ve ever drunk. It was soothing, chocolaty and notably didn’t taste like it was made with water! I’m not sure how it did it, but it was amazingly satisfying for an instant.
Later I tried the marshmallow version which was almost identical to the milk chocolate, but with some small marshmallows in the pack. Sadly the marshmallows were inside the hot chocolate sachet and not separate, so they sort of dissolved as the hot water was added and didn’t last long. The rich version was the last one I tried and is the dark chocolate variety. The flavour of this drink was a little less sweet, with a richer cocoa taste, but still had the fab creamy taste that made the other Swiss Miss so good.
I find myself totally agreeing with the Americans who rave about this product, their instant hot chocolate is notably better that the British instant hot chocolates I have tried. Swiss Miss tastes like it has been made with milk, and is one superb drink, I absolutely loved the stuff!
By Cinabar
Get your own Swiss Miss from American Soda: Variety Pack

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Fentiman's Ginger Beer [By @NLi10]


I was pretty sure I'd tried all the different varieties of the Fentiman's Brewed drinks range (with the notable exception of the Tonic Water which seems to be harder to get) but I was bought this as a present and it turns out I had confused it with the Dandelion & Burdock and had actually not got around to sampling this. Being the clichéd drink of the Famous Five and something that is mentioned a lot when English Summers are discussed I'd never really jumped at drinking it, and the name contains two things I'm not a massive fan of, ginger and beer.

The flavour is quite a bit more organic than previous ginger beers that I have tried, and I'm not sure I'm that keen. I think that I forgot to upend the bottle and consequently the sediment at the bottom meant that the last glass was stronger in flavour and a lot too gingery for me. As it started the flavour wasn't too bad, and I have a tendency to not enjoy things with ginger in them as much as their plainer equivalents. As a result I think this is my least favourite in the range! I'd probably try this again on a nice summer's day just to make sure, but I'd be reaching for all the other bottles first.
By NLi10

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Pen-Lon Cottage Brewery (Cardiff) [By @SpectreUK]


Cinabar brought me these two beverages back from her holiday with her mom in Cardiff. Pen-Lon Cottage Brewery began in a farmhouse kitchen set in Ceredigion, in West Wales, in 2006. The brewery has won seven Welsh True Taste awards, including two gold awards. Pen-Lon has twelve different beers available, including several ales, two stouts, and a lager. All their ingredients, such as barley malt grains, whole hops, and yeast, are sourced locally or within the United Kingdom, and contain no artificial colours or flavours. Pen-Lon doesn’t use chemicals during brewing, and their beverages are vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Heather Honey Ale

This all grain beer is brewed with barley malt grains, whole hops, yeast and pure honey from the Welsh mountains. The label on the bottle states that every August and through September the slopes of the Brecon Beacons flourish with the purple flowers of the Ling Heather. At 4.2% volume, this golden ale had slight sediment from the yeast in the bottom of the bottle. The ale had a strong sweet honey smell on opening. The sumptuous honey smell carried through with a powerful sweet flowery honey taste to the beer. This beer had a heavy yeast taste with a hint of bitterness after the initial honey hit, and the aftertaste seemed to coat the mouth with a pure heather honey flavour. I’ve tasted Heather ales before, and been more than pleasantly surprised, and this ale was no exception. To use heather flavoured honey in the brewing is an ingenious idea. I reckon this ale would be perfect for a “hair of the dog” early morning beer after a night on the tiles, and would wash down a couple of pieces of toast and honey for breakfast. Even Cinabar liked it! This would be the Teddy Bear’s choice of beer, and I’m sure even the calm and placid Yogi would tear your arms and legs off for it!

Chocolate Stout

I must admit I’ve been converted to chocolate beers ever since I tried the Chocolate Meantime beer sometime ago. This all grain stout consists of whole barley, barley malt grains, roast barley, whole hops, yeast and chocolate. On opening, this 4.5% volume stout had a heavy dark chocolate smell to it. Jet black in colour, this stout had an initial thick malt and strong chocolate taste. There was a roasted barley middle taste, followed by a dark chocolate aftertaste. This chocolate stout had a glorious chunky heavy filling feel to it, and was definitely one of the best stouts I’ve tried during my blog writings. I reckon it would go well as a late night treat or a pudding stout. It could easily be enjoyed during a roast beef meal with gravy and Yorkshire pudding, or a warming stew to help stave off the winter’s chill.

Two new fruit beers have recently been released, which are; Torwen Dark Fruit Beer and Torddu Pale Fruit Beer. I’m sure Cinabar will hunt high and low to buy these two beers to torture me with as soon as she can. Having said that, after the excellent quality of the two beverages I reviewed above, I may be pleasantly surprised…
By Spectre

Friday, 25 November 2011

Levi’s Caribbean Chilli Beef Grove Cut Crisps (Waitrose) [By @cinabar]


I have heard a few people mentioning these crisps so was really keen to track them down and give them a try. I think it is impossible not to have seen some of the Levi branding somewhere, from the sauce itself, to Subways sandwiches, they have their own drink and even a Ginster’s pasty. To say Levi Roots has made it has never been so true. Consequently I felt it was about time I took some time out to have a look at one of their products, and the crisps looked like a good place to start.
I do like spicy crisps, and was pleased to see that these were labelled as being ‘hot’ top right on the bag. I opened the pack, inhaled and picked up on warm spices and a meaty edge. The crisps felt quite substantial, and had a lovely thick crunch. The texture was particularly good, and made them feel filling but still moreish, a bit like McCoys. The flavour wasn’t as expected though, although there was plenty of depth to the spices, from nutmeg through to cinnamon, it provided little heat. I enjoyed the slight lime tinge that came as an aftertaste, and the complexity of the flavours was clever and impressive, but the missing burn was a bit of a shame. The meatiness was also more akin to chicken than beef, as it lacked the richness, and the herbs and spices all seemed to point towards more of a white meat flavour.
The overall taste worked well, I know the above sounds a little negative but the crisps were really rather nice. Those expecting a chilli kick will be disappointed as these barely register as mild to me, but that aside I’d still buy them again as the texture and flavour still worked impressively well.
By Cinabar

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Peruvian Dark Chocolate (Marks and Spencer's) [By Nli10]


The exciting packaging for this chocolate attracted me on a visit to pick up ready meals and upon reading the details I thought I'd give it a shot. A 60% strength choc is well below where I'd usually start shopping, but this promised fruity overtones without adding nasty raisins to the mix.

And largely this works, it's a very edible choc and tastes like there is a red berry mix going on in the background. The packages says this is due to selection of cocoa beans, which means the chocolate is pure and smooth. I'm not a fan of sitting eating lots of chocolate but while sitting playing board games this got pretty much demolished.

I know that M&S do their own ranges of a lot of thing but I'd never considered their chocolate would be anything other than bargain basement fare. This is a pleasant surprise and well worth investigating.
By Nli10

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Olive Et Al – Anchovy Stuffed Olives (Westmorland Service Station) [By @SpectreUK]


Cinabar turned her nose up at these Anchovy Stuffed Olives in light brine and extra virgin oil as soon as I picked up the jar in the farm shop. That’s why I proceeded to put the jar in the basket, partly because I wanted to prove to Cinabar that they would be as good as they sounded in my head, and partly because I wanted to torture Cinabar with a weird Foodstuff Find of my own for a change. It was the second reason that made me wait a few weeks to lull Cinabar into a false sense of security. I neatly stacked some of these inconspicuous fat green olives on her plate one Sunday lunch time next to her sandwich and crisps. I remember she picked at a few of them, but I had to finish them off, which was fine by me. Personally I reveled in their juicy salty fishy oily taste. These Anchovy Stuffed Olives are perfect for olive and fish lovers. They would go well for either a light snack, or mixed in a salad, or an alternative to mushy peas with your fish and chips!
By Spectre

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Christmas Jaffa Cakes (Marks & Spencer) [By @Cinabar]



M&S has a fab array of Christmas goodies appearing on the shelves, and I wandered around the bright red Christmas isle with an air of wonder on my face, not quite knowing what to buy. It seemed a little early for some of the goodies (eg Christmas cakes and puddings) but I thought one little box of Jaffa cakes couldn’t hurt, and I wanted to take some of the Christmas spirit home.
These Jaffa cakes are referred to as a Christmas edition due to the seasonal cranberry contained within the jelly layer, but there is still some citrus goodness mixed in to keep to the Jaffa name. I pulled out the tray from within the box and was rather impressed by the dark nature of the chocolate on the biscuits.
The biscuits are quite thin, but look smart and would be perfect with an after dinner coffee. The sponge layer is chocolaty, but the main chocolate flavour comes from the lovely dark coating which is full of sweet cocoa taste. The jelly layer is quite surprising as it is rather zingy in nature, and combines a sharp cranberry taste with a shot of sharp citrus. The jelly complements the chocolate base really well and the two flavours balance each other out. The texture is all quite soft, with sponge, jelly and a thin layer of chocolate this makes them rather easy eating I’m afraid.
These biscuits (cakes?) may not appeal to the younger market as the flavours are quite mature, and there isn’t that burst of sweetness you might expect. I loved the grown up flavours, and have to say the box disappeared embarrassingly quickly, which is always a good sign. ;-)
By Cinabar

Monday, 21 November 2011

[New] Deo Perfume Candy (Alpi) [Edible Perfume] [By @Cinabar]



Sweets usually have one purpose, to offer a nice sweet flavour on the tongue. It sounds simple enough, and that usually is all their intention is. This new product was mentioned in Wired magazine as a new sweet that combines flavour with a beauty secret, it also perfumes you. The idea is that it is packed full of geraniol which is found in natural rose oil, and used in the perfume industry. Apparently the idea of sweets that scent the skin has already been done before in Japan, but this is its first outing in Europe. They aren’t available in Britain yet, but I’m sure it is on the companies agenda.
Alpi very kindly sent me a sample of their new product to try and test out. As it seemed something a bit different I couldn’t resist, it is a first for Foodstuff Finds – edible perfume. Worryingly the packaging didn’t contain much English (it’s available primarily in Bulgaria) I decided to just go for it and try a sweet.
My oh my these sweets taste rosy! Think Turkish Delight on steroids – these things are strong. They aren’t revolting by any means, but they have a much stronger floral flavour than anything I’ve tried before. After I finished the sweet, everything tasted floral for a while, the taste lingered on the palette. My breath was also rosy, which was nice but a bit weird as it is mint that is usually associated with fresh breath. I breathed on Spectre who likened it to Lavender – then told me to stop breathing on him...
Having had the sweet I wasn’t very aware of any fragrance magically emancipating through my skin, and it is a bit odd asking someone to smell you to check! I realise that I may have just got used to the fragrance, and therefore felt it wasn’t present when it was. There were however a couple of occasions in the afternoon (around two hours after sweet consumption) that I was conscious of a rose scent somewhere in the room which in retrospect must have been me. Towards the end of the experiment I gave up and asked Spectre to smell me, for research’s sake if nothing else. He told me I smelt nice, and that he thought I was wearing body spray, which I wasn’t. I had specifically not put any body spray or perfume on for the sake of the trial, consequently the sweets must have worked more than I gave them credit for.
The sweets do have a funny flavour, but they are actually quite nice in a weird sort of way. I have popped a few of these in my hand bag to work as breath fresheners, emergency sweets and fragrance. It is a bit of strange concept, but there is clearly something in it, and they would be ideal before something stressful like a presentation or interview when you are likely to sweat a little more than usual. As bizarre as the idea seems, I have to give it a thumbs up, but I wonder if it will catch on when released in the UK market – would you buy them?
Boys if you are still reading this, I’m afraid that due the floral nature of the scent it is more of a girl’s product at the minute. I suspect Alpi are working on an edition for the guys, and I’ll keep you posted if I hear about one!
By Cinabar

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Kent & Fraser - Spicy Ginger Crunchy Cookies [By Nli10]


I got these biscuits as a present a while back and as they were nearing their 'review before date' I decided they should be opened. I'd held off on them as I'm not a massive fan or ginger as it seems to make things too spicy for me. I was surprised to find that the biscuits were wrapped in twos and much more shareable than anticipated. The taste was quite mild too, with more of a focus on the buttery side and with only a hint of ginger. This was still more than I'd personally add but it was a pleasant enough experience and I was happy to carry on munching. The most notable feature of the eating was the crunch part, this was almost like a snap instead of a crumble. This is all the more surprising considering these are actually gluten free! If it was not on the box then most people wouldn't be able to tell so this is another of those products that just defies the notion that products suitable for special diets have to be substandard. I think that this flavour wasn't ideal for me but that I'd chomp on other flavours if seen. Perfect gift for any gluten reducers stockings though if you have any to buy for.
By Nli10

Saturday, 19 November 2011

EDO Pack - Kumamoto Flavour Noodles (indoor Market Birmingham) [By SpectreUK]



I never know what to expect from pot noodle type products bought from import shops, as the description of the flavour is generally in some foreign language or other. I know, I know… that makes me sound very English, but I am very English. For example, I constantly complain about the weather. If it’s sunny, it’s too hot and I wish it would rain. If it’s raining, I wish it would be sunny, and don’t mention snow, because the country grinds to a halt.

On opening the pot I found a mass of fine cut noodles and a sachet inside. Adding freshly boiled water and the packet of dried seasoning, I stirred and noticed the concoction mixed well together. The noodles quickly soaked up most of the liquid. I left the pot to cool for a short while before eating. On tasting I found that Kumamoto has a good authentic oriental flavour. There were bits of chives floating amongst the web of noodles. The soup had a fishy taste to it that went well with the turkey salad sandwich on my plate giving me some much needed surf and turf action. I watched “How The West Was Won”, with John Wayne (who was in it for about two minutes), Henry Fonda and Gregory Peck, whilst I ate my lunch time feast. Personally I found the film dragged on a bit too long with no real direction. The soup’s ingredients included; fish (I have no idea what type, as the pot label just said “fish”… I guess I’d have been more worried if it had just said “meat”), soya beans and soya sauce, and these ingredients really stood out in the taste. I really savoured this import pot noodle for its genuine oriental soup taste. It wasn’t spicy, sour or hot, yet never promised to be either. Having said that, asides “fish”, I literally have no idea what taste the label promised. This pot noodle could have been Kamikaze Super Hot Chilli Seafood Flavour for all I know!
By Spectre

Friday, 18 November 2011

New Cadbury Mallows with Turkish and Caramel (Nisa) [By @Cinabar]



As I was picking up a few bit and bobs in Nisa Spectre spotted these two new products, it seems Cadbury is rolling out its branded chocolate bars into mallows! Last year we saw them launch as biscuits, which were rather successful. As a Turkish Delight fan any new product with that filling gets me excited. ;-) I decide to open the Turkish mallow pack first...

Turkish Mallows
What is it with products being smaller than expected when you open the pack? I know I’ve written about the phenomena before, and I should be getting used to it, but the first thing I thought when I pulled back the wrapper was that they looked like mini mallows. Perhaps the problem is that I’m used to the larger Tunnocks Teacakes? Putting the size aside I bit in, and I tasted the item. My next thought was where was the Turkish flavour? I know the picture shows a fair sized dollop but there wasn’t that much, and taste was lost amongst the chocolate, biscuit and mallow. It was a very mild subtle rose taste, and as such was a bit disappointing. There is nothing bad in the flavour, and the chocolate was sweet and milky but I was after a strong Turkish delight fix and this just didn’t provide it. Spectre liked them which shows that they didn’t have a strong flavour as he detests Turkish Delight!

Caramel Mallows
As before they are smaller than you’d hope for based on the packaging size. There are actually ten in a pack which helps makes up for it and does makes them easier to share. The brown sugar caramel flavour is a little stronger and is a bit more noticeable amongst the other ingredients, but it is still on the side of mild. As with the Turkish Mallows, the biscuit is firm and pleasant, the mallow thick soft and fluffy and the chocolate sweet and creamy. They were nice mallows, but fans of caramel may have preferred a stronger hit.
By Cinabar

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Pitch - 6 Chocolate Filled Brioche - Pasquier (Co-op) [By NLi10]


Sometimes I deliberately buy things to review, and other times I just enjoy something a little more than I expect so write about that instead. These were mini bread rolls with chocolate inside them (or Brioche) and I thought they'd be quite nice to eat as a snack at work. We had some part-baked rolls for lunch on Sunday and I snuck one of these in afterwards expecting it to burn or go horribly wrong, but it was crisp on the outside and runny on the inside which worked out really well.

The rest of the pack were munched at work, sometimes in twos - sometimes solo. I was surprised that the quality was quite good, they aren't French patisserie quality but they are much more edible than I'd expected. They are more of a bread than a pastry but I think this is so that they travel better and are still as nice a few days on. I'd pick up more of these as an evening snack at work and as they are individually wrapped they can wait as long as needed and still be squishy enough.

The Tintin sticker wasn't amazing. I got Captain Haddock.
By NLi10

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Espresso Rich Coffee Beer (Selfridges) [By @SpectreUK]


I’ve been dreading this beer ever since Cinabar brought it back from somewhere obscure, whilst sporting a sadistic grin from ear to ear. This Espresso Rich Coffee Beer is brewed by the Dark Star Brewing Company, in Sussex. It was voted National Champion Specialty Beer 2009. 4.2% volume and packaged in a dark foreboding looking 500ml bottle, this is a dark brown, almost black coloured beer, made from roasted barley malt, challenger hops, and brewed with freshly ground Arabica coffee beans, which are native to the mountains of Yemen.

On opening, this beer smells of strong coffee. I could really taste coffee with every mouthful. After the initial overpowering coffee hit there is a strong bitterness from the beer. The beer’s bitterness works with the bitter coffee flavour to make this drink even bitterer than seems reasonable. The beer left a bitter aftertaste of coffee in my mouth. I felt like eating something sweet whilst drinking this beer to try to counter the bitterness. I’m not a coffee person, as I’m far too English, so therefore I am a tea person. However, I am a beer person, but I was not converted to this beer like I was in the past to chocolate beer. Cinabar is a coffee person and she didn’t like this beer. Cinabar is not a beer person. Although that doesn’t justify that you have to be a coffee and a beer person to enjoy this Espresso Coffee Beer, I still reckon you have to like really strong bitter coffee to fully enjoy it. If you like strong coffee and super bitter tasting beers then go for it; however, I’m a wuss and will stick with my chocolate beer.
By Spectre

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Green & Black’s Crispy Milk [Chocolate] (Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]


I’m not sure how it happened, but it does appear that it has been over a week since the last chocolate review at Foodstuff Finds. Needless to say I will be rectifying this immediately thanks to a new bar from Green & Blacks.
There are actually two new bars from Green & Blacks (think buses) so I will try and get the other written about asap, but in the mean time let me introduce you to the new Crispy Milk bar. The bar is made with milk chocolate and embedded into its base are multiple crisp cereal pieces. The crispies are not visible from the top of the bar, but turn it over and you can see just how many are packed in.


The chocolate itself has quite a surprisingly strong taste, and although it is a milk chocolate the cocoa shines through with arich sweet taste, with a slightly sharp edge. The crispies don’t add much to the flavour, but do give the chocolate a pleasant texture that crunches when you bite. The chocolate has a lovely thick melt, and it does feel rather comforting as it coats the tongue. It is a very enjoyable chocolate to eat, as the chocolate is strong and yet still creamy and the varied texture makes it pleasurable on the palette. I have to say this really is a good snacking chocolate, and I heartily recommend it as a treat for a night in with a good film.
I’m looking forward to trying the other new bar very soon, and getting some more chocolate back on the front page here at Foodstuff Finds. ;-)
By Cinabar

Monday, 14 November 2011

Glitter Berry J20 (Sainsbury’s) [By @ Cinabar]


I was first alerted to this drink by NLi10 after Ms NLi10 found it at a bowling alley. I was browsing the J20s while compiling an online Sainsbury’s order and finally found it listed, so popped it in my basket with just a touch of excitement!
There are always plenty of J20 flavours on sale at any one time, and if I’m totally honest I do lose track of the varieties available. I have never had a bad J20 and do like to try the interesting fruit combinations, but often fall into the standard orange and passion fruit trap i.e. I forget to specify which variety in the pub and get given the most common one.
The new Glitter Berry J20 is a bit special and you may notice doesn’t even contain the fruit names in its title. I can confirm the ingredients are cherry and red grape, with a hint of seasonal spice. The drink is a lovely rich dark red colour, and it is also full of edible gold glitter! The bottle says that you should ‘shake to shimmer’ before serving, and mine did need a bit of a wakeup call as a lot of the glitter had settled in the base.


I think we all know by now I love things that are a bit different, and things that sparkle, so I was so excited to see this drink it was untrue! Does gold glitter actually add anything to the flavour? No. Is this a novelty? Yes. If you shake that bottle and watch the drink sparkle, is it ace? Hell yes!
The glitter is wonderfully glamorous and ridiculously Christmassy (think red drink gold glitter). It is such a clever idea and is a proper innovation in the market, adding something a bit special in the adult soft drink range.
I also love the rich fruity taste that Britvic always puts together so well. The cherry flavour is slightly tart, and the red grape giving it a nice mature edge in the flavour but still keeping a pleasant sweetness throughout the drink. There was hint of warm spices that added to the festive feel too making it the perfect drink for the season. Sadly it is only a Limited Edition, but it’s going to be my J20 of choice from now on!!!
By Cinabar

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Dorritos and Max - Jalapeno Fire Doritos and Citrus Freeze Pepsi Max [By @NLi10]


I while back I received an e-mail that called me up to become a super-hero, and I decided that despite it needing a photo and a bit of effort I'd give it a go. I was expecting an e-mail back with a money off voucher for Pepsi (disclosure - which is my mass produced sugar water of choice) or something similar. I got nothing. Just over a month later a parcel was left for me with the elderly couple next door that I was not expecting (maybe they are my Alfred) and I opened it up in front of them to find it was Jalapeno Fire Dorritos and Citrus Freeze Pepsi Max. As this was not something they would enjoy sharing I took it all next door to my secret lair.

Also in the box was a DVD for the movie Kick Ass (which I haven't seen as it's not on LoveFilm) and a Survival book which is similar to a calendar I had a few years ago that teaches you how to wrestle crocodiles and other useful hints. Naturally this is better than a voucher. I also got a pair of invisibility glasses whose functionality seems to have been impaired during transit.

First up I had a try of the Pepsi Max (or Mepsi, which has become the affectionate truncated name for it but sounds a lot less extreme than i guess it's supposed to be). I have a long history with variations of Pepsi Max, and even had a corduroy jacket with the logo on I got from C&A back when I was young enough that parents had to pay for my clothes, but old enough to be allowed to choose them. As mentioned previously regular Pepsi is a go-to drink for me, and Pepsi Max's borderline mind-altering chemicals have frequently been mixed with the similar KFC chicken prior to music events to enhance the experience.

The citrus freeze variety has an aftertaste of Lime but is still recognisably Pepsi Max. I think it's suffered a bit during transport, and isn't as fizzy as it could be, but still tastes pretty good. I think that the flavour is designed to be pretty smooth and it's not as intense as I expected. I'll certainly try this at some point while out to see whether this is an effect of the postal nature of its arrival.

I'm not a big fan of spicy 'corn chips' - the best Dorrito flavour so far is the lime one, that starts off as a lovely tingle and by the end of a large bag can get quite powerful. These also seem to have something that promotes hyperactivity (as I found out to my cost in a lecture where I had a bag for lunch) but maybe I'm just particularly sensitive to certain additives. I opened the bag of Jalapeno Fire with some trepidation.

The first thing I noticed was the smell - it's like Hot Monster Munch! These are one of the greatest Kidult snacks on the planet (I wonder if they are just known in the UK - anyone know of international variations?) and the pickled onion and Hot flavours are both amazing. Suddenly the experience was less like the chilli-beef that I had at Shanghai 30s and more like a childhood snack and a lot less scary. So I took a bite.

Surprisingly they aren't all that similar in flavour to Monster Munch. They don't have the initial savoury (umami?) kick of the MM, but do have a nice slight chilli flavour. The heat curve builds from this up to about 20 seconds in and is very bearable, and then gently reduces afterwards. This is far less potent than I expected, but much more pleasurable for it. Also the chips seem more fragile and less like cinema nachos than I remember, which is also good as this probably means they have reduced the calorie content of the recipe. I'm surprised, but I actually like these! Naturally I’d struggle to eat these while gaming - I'd hate to get burning dust over controllers and cards, but I may take these out tonight to the theatre (the comedian Milton Jones).

Importantly for this promo though, how do the two work in tandem? Actually quite well is the shock answer! The slightly less fizzy Mepsi counteracts the burn of the Dorritos well and encourages chugging of the slightly larger than normal 600ml drink.

The main question we like to answer here is would I buy them again - and over their regular counterparts? I'd happily pick up a bag of Lime Dorritos for a party with a couple of bottles of regular Pepsi Max, but I think for a change it might be nice to get the new version. It may surprise a few elderly relatives with the spiciness and hidden Lime kick though, so this is more of a 'with friends' kind of option. I can see these being a massive hit with teenagers though, and the @_icefist and @_FireFingers twitter accounts contents suggest that this may be the target audience.

As for me - I'm 32 and sitting here in my Invisibility Glasses, and if I make it through all of the crisps & pop I may just believe that they work...
By NLi10

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Kettle Chips – Jalapeno Chilli [Hot] Flavour Crisps (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]


I must admit that the red coloured packet didn’t faze me for a second when I picked these up at the local supermarket. I just didn’t think these crisps would be that hot. I always find myself complaining about manufacturers going easy on the consumer where chilli flavoured foodstuffs are concerned. Before opening I took stock of the ingredients, which included; jalapenos, green peppers, parsley, and lemon juice. I opened the bag and had a sudden apprehension from the crisp’s spicy smell. I tempted fate by having a joke with Cinabar about weak chilli flavoured crisps and took a gamble shoving a baby’s fist sized portion of crisps in my mouth. I instantly regretted the fateful quip feeling a burning sensation hit my tongue making me cough from surprise. My nose hairs actually tingled and shriveled from the heat. A few more mouthfuls produced a lava sensation down my throat, and a volcanic feeling in my belly. A few more mouthfuls and I could feel sweat dripping from my top lip, and my nose couldn’t help but run. I couldn’t complain about manufacturers going easy this time as this Kettle Chips flavour is a 150g packet of pure fire. At first I couldn’t taste the ingredients through the flames, but after a while I got used to the heat and reveled in the spicy chilli and pepper flavours, with a hint of parsley and lemon aftertaste. The fire catches the back of the throat sometimes to remind you that these crisps do exactly what the print on the packet says; “hot”. However, if you’re worried about the sheer chilli heat of these crisps, I’d like to put your mind at rest, as fortunately I didn’t notice any heat out of the “other” end!
By Spectre

Friday, 11 November 2011

Frijj Vanilla Milkshake [Limited Edition] (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]


Vanilla always sounds like one of the standard flavours that you should expect to see from any milkshake company. Obviously banana, strawberry and chocolate always seem to be present, but vanilla is getting remarkably harder to find, its like it is falling out of fashion. It happens to be one of my favourite flavours; so I was more than a little bit pleased to see this bottle appear on the shelves.
To be honest Frijj used to make vanilla, so this post celebrates its re-launch, albeit as a Limited Edition. I poured the thick pale, almost white liquid into a glass, and stared at it in awe for a moment. The aroma was slightly sweet but worryingly a little vague. I could pick up on the slightest hint of vanilla, but nothing astounding.
Thankfully the taste was full of strength even if the scent hadn’t been. The drink tasted creamy, with wonderful vanilla, brown sugar and caramel tones. It was an absolute pleasure to drink. It reminded me of liquidised Crème Caramel desserts, with the lovely smooth golden flavours, blended with vanilla.
Vanilla may be mistakenly referred to as plain, but I think there is place on my palette to appreciate its delicate taste. I’m really pleased to see it return to the line up of flavours, and suggest you give this smooth comforting flavour a try. Come on Frijj, do the right thing, add Vanilla to your permanent flavours range.
By Cinabar

Thursday, 10 November 2011

FUEL [70% Coocoa Chunks & Fruit Loaded] (Tesco) [By @NLi10]


Continuing the theme of cereals, but deviating from the trend of childish boxes we find ourselves confronted with this pair of unlikely sounding breakfasts. Both are exclusive to Tesco and part of a new FUEL range (which I am assured will be on special offer for the whole of November) and designed to give you a kick in the mornings. They are granolas (essentially baked muesli) and have a very similar make up including pumpkin seeds (bonus points!) and large crunchy cluster things. These are all of good quality and it's not a case of adding luxury bits to a terrible base cereal, you could eat the clusters and seeds alone and still be satisfied. Also - no sultanas or raisins which means that the flavour is still quite delicate and you can actually taste all the other bits.

Their reason for existence seems to be similar to Shreddies - having a decent breakfast means you don't go hungry until you choose to eat at Lunchtime. This seems a lofty claim so I only ate this in the correct portion size of 50g to check it out. 50g of something as luxurious as this isn't much but it was enough to fill me in the morning, but I didn't notice a lack of hunger at lunchtime.

I did notice the kick from the Guarana, which is a stimulant not unlike caffeine but to a lesser extent than in Mana Potion style doses, and all the extra vitamins can't hurt! This is certainly enough to get you out the front door and combined with a cup of tea/coffee certainly reduces the morning sluggishness. Who knows whether this is a placebo effect from the guy embracing the sun on the front of the box, but it seemed to work.

Of the two varieties Ms. Nli10 tended towards the chocolate one and I tended towards the fruity one, but I'm happy to eat both. I don't think the contents of the base cereal are as 'luxury' as some of the cereals I've had (say a Dorset Cereal) as it lacks in variety of bits to pick at, but this is for a different crowd. I think that I picture these being bought by people who go to the Gym in the morning and those that picture themselves doing so but never quite get around to it. People will eat this and then cycle to work.

There is also a Big Nutty variety which again is the same stuff but with nuts. I'll be trying that at some point too.

As far as interesting, high-end cereals go this is a great new idea - and one I hope catches on. If only they could invent a cereal that helps you get out of bed in the first place...
By NLi10

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Gina – Calamansi Juice Drink (Pinoy Foods, Indoor Market Birmingham) [By @SpectreUK]


Try to picture the scene (or rather I’d recommend you don’t try to picture the scene); I was sweaty and out of breath after a brief but disciplined workout with my weights (15 minutes tops, but hey, at least I had a go). I was in dire need of some refreshment. All I could find was this 250ml can of Calamansi Juice. “What in all creation is this?” I thought to myself as I opened the can. My usual information source (Wikipedia) told me that Calamansi is a citrus type fruit tree that originated in China and has spread throughout Southeast Asia, India, Hawaii, West Indies, Central and North America. This Calamansi Juice drink was canned in the Philippines. Calamansi is an orange coloured fruit that resembles a small, round lime, and can grow up to four and a half centimeters in size. Calamansi has several medicinal uses such as treating acne and insect bites; it is used in cough remedies and is also an anti-inflammatory. The can contained 12% Calamansi juice, as well as water and sugar. The juice tastes a little like lime juice, but not as bitter though, having a sweetness that was probably the added sugar. The juice had a lovely taste, and was very refreshing after my workout. I just wished it was a bigger can; a 1litre carton would have been a better size for it.
By Spectre

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Dominos Pizza Gourmet Special (@Dominos_UK) [By @Cinabar]

I am a big fan of Dominos pizza, and we quite often treat ourselves here at Foodstuff Finds, particularly on the Two for Tuesday deal. They have recently increased the pizza menu and added a new selection of goodies labelled under their new Gourmet range. These gourmet pizzas have thin bases and contain extra special ingredients. Thankfully they aren’t priced any higher than regular pizzas but do offer some new options. I was also pleased to see that as well as the pizza there was also a new Gourmet Garlic Bread, which we also added to our order. Here is what we tried out:



Firenze
This one was the one that appealed most to Spectre. It contains a good mix of meat and spice, two things which Spectre loves as a pizza topping. On top of the pizza there is both salami and pepperoni to add the meat feast section and also some Peruvian Roquito Peppers to mix it up a bit. Although the pizza wasn’t as hot as some of the pizzas he chooses, he did say that he felt that it had a good level of spice, and there was a nice heat in the mouth. I agreed, this pizza was plenty hot enough for me, and all the meaty flavours came though wonderfully with a slight moreish salty edge.



Florentine
The Florentine is a vegetarian option pizza topped with spinach, plum tomatoes and feta. It really does feel like having an authentic Mediterranean pizza and looks rather posh, and it is unusual to find spinach on a Dominos pizza!. The tastes worked well together, and they were delicate but flavoursome. The tomato added some sweetness, the feta was both salty and creamy and the spinach gave a nice leafy taste to balance it out. I liked the fact that you could taste all the individual ingredients and that each bite of pizza tasted different from the last. It had a good fresh feel to it, and although I do usually go for a pizza with some meat content this totally satisfied me.



Rustica
This was the prettiest looking pizza of the selection, with a good mix of colours and flavours from both veg and meat. The ingredients are chicken, bacon, baby spinach and baby plum tomatoes. The tomatoes were sweet, but a little dark in places adding a nice caramelised taste. I loved the meatiness of the chicken and bacon with its slight saltiness. The fact that it still had the fresh flavour from the spinach mixed in with all the other ingredients easily made this one my favourite. It’s a very moreish pizza with a nice selection of ingredients, and gave a proper gourmet experience.



Gourmet Garlic Bread
Sitting in the Sides section is the new garlic bread from Dominos. I quite liked the Garlic Pizza Bread, but I’d be lying if I said I got excited about the stuff. It was always decent, but nothing extra special. Well I can tell you that the new Gourmet Garlic Bread is out of this world. It is fairly big, and has a nice thin crust topped with lovely cheese, and loads of garlic flavour. The garlic bread had a firm base, but it isn’t the sort of bread that goes hard if you leave it to cool it stays lovely and soft. It’s just ticks all the boxes and will become an essential part of any of my orders from now, pure heaven!
By Cinabar

Monday, 7 November 2011

Heston: Puff Pastry Mince Pies With Pine Sugar (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]



These mince pies are a Waitrose exclusive, created for the store by Heston Blumenthal. Last year his inspired orange Christmas pudding sold out of every branch, and people were fighting for them on Ebay for silly amounts of money. The Christmas pudding contained a whole orange, and was decorated in orange slices too – much like the one Aldi has brought out this year...
These new mince pies were much easier to find with shelf loads of the things all around Waitrose, they were on the end of aisles, by the tills, in the Christmas section and also in the cake section! I think they were expecting a horde of people descending and had prepared early. Sadly I noticed a lot of the boxes had sell by dates for November, which means they wouldn’t even last until the event. Having said that the ones we purchased were devoured within a couple of days being bought, but it is best to keep an eye on the dates in case you were planning to put them in the store cupboard.
The mince pies come in quite a plain black box, which does look quite classy, but also very minimalistic and not that seasonal. This year’s unique selling point is that the mince pies smell of Christmas. This is a bit of an odd concept, but I suppose we would expect no less from Mr Blumenthal who is famed for playing with the senses. In effect there are six pies in the box, which you heat in the oven for ten minutes and then sprinkle with a sachet of pine sugar, also included.


The pies are also non-traditional in the sense that they are square in shape and have a puff pastry top. This met with mild disapproval from the taste testers, and Spectre said they were the ‘wrong sort of pies’ as he prefers the classic concept. Having said this they warmed up nicely and gave off sweet appetising and fragrant aromas in the oven. Once out, and just before serving, I opened the sachet of pine sugar. Oh my, it has an amazingly strong smell. It could clear your nose! It does indeed encapsulate the essence of a Christmas tree, but I’m afraid I associate that fragrance with bath foam more than food. It has strong pine tones, with eucalyptus and was almost menthol in its nature. The smell was enough for a couple of the taste testers to quit before they had begun, as they protested “don’t put any of that on mine”. I’m not a big menthol fan, so I tasted a little of the sugar on its own, and it had a surprisingly mild flavour. It was a delicate, fragrant taste, with a strong sweetness from the sugar overpowering any off putting elements. I sprinkled the sugar on, and the pies looked very pretty, almost as if they were snow coated.
Next the taste test. I can confirm by this point despite the shocking smell from the sugar it had no noticeable flavour other than the obvious sweetness you’d expect. This was more than a bit surprising, but was a relief to those who were put off. The mince meat filling had a good taste to it, with rich dark flavours, and an aftertaste of lemon which balanced them out really well. I felt the mince meat was lacking moisture somehow, it is not that it was dry, its more that regular mince pies are a little wetter and that was what I was expecting. The pastry base was quite nice, but a little firm and difficult to bite, or cut with a spoon (we were being posh) but the puff pastry top was buttery and pleasant. I felt that the pies were a nice novelty and were perfectly enjoyable. It was fun to give them a try as they were quite different to others on the market, but I’m afraid taste testers felt they broke the rules of tradition a little too much. Worth trying as they are quite unique, but if I’m totally honest I won’t be rushing out for a second box.
By Cinabar

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Weetabix Chocolate Spoonsize (Asda)[By @NLi10]


Being fond of cereals it's my favourite part of a supermarket to spot The New. Weetabix is an odd one, there isn't much you can do to it before it ceases to be Weetabix and devalues the brand. This doesn't make for exciting reviews, but it does make for consistently good products. This is a crunchier version of the mini Weetabix choc and easy enough to do when you are in a rush that I'll restock on this one. What is much more exciting is the box.


Like the previous cereal I reviewed the honey monster spooky puffs this has a box that is designed to excite the young and the young at heart. This gladdens me as I remember the good old days where cereal contained toys. I also remember the Weetabix kids fondly, these were actual biscuits in track suits who had such memorable character that we had a huge graffiti mural of one by ours school hat I loved. If cereals were to return to these days I for one would not complain.

This box is covered with puzzles and jokes and things to read over breakfast. All of which are surprisingly well done.


They even took the time to decorate the insides! While this lacks the character of the old days and honey monster it's actually a great way to promote the public idea of sending kids out to school with a decent breakfast. Even if it is one packed with sugar...
By @NLi10

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Wonka – Sour Nerds: Amped Apple and Lightning Lemon (American Soda @americansoda) [By @SpectreUK]


I haven’t had a different flavour of Nerds to try for a while, so I relished the concept of eating these Sour Nerds when Cinabar placed them in my Foodstuff draw deep in the Foodstufffind’s Dungeon. This box of Sour Nerds offers two sour flavours, which are; Amped Apple flavour and Lightning Lemon flavour. Made by Nestlé USA, there were 46.7g of Nerds in the box at a healthy sounding 60 calories. The Amped Apple flavour tasted initially like a zingy apple, then as I chewed on them there was a bite of sourness that made my face screw up into a small ball, before leaving a mild aftertaste of apple in my mouth. Like the apple flavour, the Lightning Lemon flavour tasted at first like a lemon, but became very sour indeed when chewing, leaving a sour lemon aftertaste. The sourer lemon flavour was complemented by the more subtle, yet still seriously sour apple flavour. There were some critically twisty faced moments when eating these sour Nerds. I ate them whilst at my desk at work, so the twisty looks on my face as well as the rattling of the Nerds as I greedily gulped them from the box, gained me some funny looks from my colleagues in the office. I just couldn’t share the Sour Nerds though, as they simply tasted too good!
By Spectre
Want you own? Sour Nerds are available from: American Soda

Friday, 4 November 2011

Cadbury Olympic Mascots [WH smiths] [@SpotsvStripes] (By @Cinabar)


Bassets bought out Jelly Mascots to celebrate the London Olympics’ back in July and I think we can expect to see more and more products on a similar theme on the market over the coming months.
This is the chocolate version of the Olympic Mascots, this time made by Cadbury. There are two different options available, firstly a mini pack with both characters inside. They are neatly moulded, showing off the two mascots. The centre of the chocolate is not solid, but bubbly like a Wispa bar. If you happen to bite one of the character’s heads off, you can see the bubbles. It taste rather like a Wispa bar too, sweet and milky with soothing cocoa tones.


The lollipops are also made of the usual Cadbury chocolate again moulded into larger versions of the mascots. This time the chocolate is solid, and not bubbly giving them a bit more of a hold on the lollipop stick. The chocolate seems quite thick to melt in the mouth, and again I ended up biting pieces out of the characters. I’m not usually brutal, but I was a little inpatient for my chocolate fix! I was having a bit of trouble telling the two characters apart when they were out of the wrappers. Mandeville is usually shown from a side angle showing off his slicked back ‘hair’ when they both face forward they do look a lot more similar.
I think these products will sell really well as the Games approach, particularly the Mandeville lollipop as it has a Beefeater design on the wrapper – which is going to be very popular with the tourists. You can’t go wrong with Cadbury’s chocolate, so these should prove popular and do make a tasty treat too.
By Cinabar

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Lucozade Sport Lite Cherry (UK Supermarkets & Newsagents) [By @NLi10]


Over the past few months I've reviewed a couple of the recent Lucozade products that I've never really gotten around to in Cherry Lucozade (left in photo) and Lite Summer Berries (right) . Ian Lucozade himself offered to send me a few of their latest product to try so I happily agreed. As it turns out it sits perfectly in the middle of the other two products being that it's both Cherry and Lite.

While I initially didn't really fully comprehend the idea of a sports drink with low calories I understand that lots of people use exercise as a way to reduce weight and sugary drinks really don't help that. This is primarily for hydration and has a lot of science on the bottle which uses genuine vitamin and mineral names, and doesn't stray into the shampoo-sciences of calling things poly-hydrate-you or run-faster-ol. This helps its cause in my eyes as essentially it's replacing all the bits you lose through doing exercise except for the calories and it's not trying to lie about it.

It's full of those artificial sweetener style things, but I didn't really detect any of the feint aftertastes that I got from the berry varieties. Instead it's a smoother (non-fizzy) and less sweet version of the Cherry LKZ that I tried before - and for that it's quite possibly nicer. For once I think I'd rather have the diet version than the real thing! I'm excluding Pepsi Max in this - Mepsi is a fantastic 'diet' drink if not just for the mind altering properties of the artificial things that replace the sugar but despite the similarity in name is a different class of sugar water to regular Pepsi.

So in the photo-podium of the Lucozade reviews this is in First Place. I'll definitely buy this when I'm thirsty as a genuine choice for something a little more interesting than water. Oddly you can't buy the sport varieties in big bottles - probably because you can't fit them in your Gym bag (and they are more expensive than the regular Lucozade so it might look overpriced) - but drinking these at work and out and about has been a pleasure.
By NLi10

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

FF: Fashion Food – Tom Klong flavour (Birmingham Indoor Market) [By @SpectreUK]



This soup was imported by Double Happiness Wholesale, which sounds like a dodgy tax evasive company owned by Ken Dodd, and run by a bunch of Diddy Men in Knotty Ash. The soup ingredients are 65g in weight, of which is 13g fat and the soup is 300Kcalories. It doesn’t sound hugely healthy, but I was hoping for a tasty spicy snack, and could always stagger around the block latter to work off the calories. Some of the ingredients listed on the back were chilli powder, shallot, citric acid, fish powder, soy protein, and onion leaf. Asides the ingredients and single instruction on the bottom of the recyclable plastic bowl stating that it was microwavable, all text on the plastic label was in Malaysian or Chinese or some other oriental language. I know that makes me sound very English, but let’s face it, if it’s in a different language; it’s in gobbledygook to me!

You’ll see from the second photograph that there was a plastic fork, a hard block of plain noodles, an orange sachet full of sauce, and a gold packet full of fish powder mixed with pieces of onion leaves and soy protein. Without instructions I decided to dump everything into the bowl and pour in boiling water. I tried to mix the concoction up with the plastic fork, but this bent double in a few seconds. On finding a more reliable stainless steel fork I found the mixture of noodles, sauce and powder took quite a while to merge together. Once the noodles became soft they soaked up much of the liquid and filled the bowl. There were bits of onion leaves and soy protein floating around in the orange coloured soup.

I sat down to watch John Wayne’s movie “Undefeated”, but had to turn the sound up after a while due to all my noisy slurping. I had to hold the soup up right to my mouth whilst eating for fear of having a bath in the wet orange noodle mix. Correct me if you think I’m wrong, but I didn’t think this movie was one of John Wayne’s best films. After the Civil War John took a bunch of his cavalry men to deliver 3000 horses to a Dictator in Mexico, but there were many tensions between John’s ex-Blue Coats and some ex-Confederates they met along the way, and I also found the end of the film was a little flat. Although John seemed defeated by the end of the movie, I remained undefeated by the bowl full of noodles and Tom Klong soup. I happily finished the whole plastic bowl off and would have gone for seconds. I found this soup very tasty with a good hot spice to it. There was a fair amount of peppery bits at the bottom of the bowl on finishing, even after all that mixing in, but on downing the rest of the soup I found this gave a final kick at the end of the meal. I would definitely buy this soup again, as I’m always on the lookout for a good hot and spicy noodle soup snack, but I’d pick a different western next time.
By Spectre

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Copella Winter Warmer (Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]


As we pack away the Halloween gear, putting the plastic pumpkin in a box for another year, it seems we slip quite happily into Christmas season... okay it’s a bit early for me too, but surely a Winter drink is acceptable at this stage.
I love Copella apple juice, it is my favourite brand, as it is always so smooth, sweet and refreshing. It’s a bit too easy to drink, and bottles just seem to disappear from the Foodstuff Finds fridge. One of my other favourite things is cinnamon, so when I heard about Copella releasing a drink which combines these flavours I was just a little bit excited. This juice is actually labelled as being a Winter Warmer, and this doesn’t just refer to the warming spices but also on a new idea for the brand. This apple juice is designed to be heated before being drunk, so it makes an alternative hot drink. I poured some in a mug and zapped it in the microwave for 1 minute, but I guess you could pour it in a pan and cook it on the hob too if you were making more than one cup.
The juice was full of flavour, the expected sweet apple tones were present, but the rich wintery tastes of cinnamon and clove gave this drink a fabulous spiced flavour. Essentially it tasted like Christmas in a mug, and I loved every drop. I found having the drink warm enhanced it immeasurably and made it the perfect treat after work, especially now the nights are closing in.
Apple and cinnamon just work, and this drink really proves that. It’s perfectly well balanced, and I know I’ll be getting through a few bottles to help fend off any winter weather that might be on the way too.
By Cinabar