Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Tasty Little Numbers [Crisps / Potato Snacks] [By @SpectreUK]

If you met me and saw my waistline you would rightly guess that I am quite a snack fanatic, especially where crisps are concerned. Tasty Little Numbers pride themselves on producing; “Real food, perfectly portioned” and “snacks that take the messin’ outta guessin’!” The brand promotes healthy living, with smaller portions for the fast paced Go-Getters out there, rather than a diet heavy calorie counting lifestyle. Tasty Little Numbers is the first wholesale brand to only have whole numbers of calories in all of their products, such as 200 calorie Heat and Eat Snack Pots, and 100 calorie chocolate bars and crisps. I had three crisp flavours to try and am reliably informed (from their website) that Tasty Little Numbers also offers Bacon Rashers. As they are a relatively new brand on the market, I was naturally routing for Tasty Little Numbers. Of course, there are the big hitters out there, like Walkers, Kettle Chips, and Seabrook Crisps, but there’s nothing like a new brand with a slightly different angle. An average crisps packet holds around 30g of crisps. Tasty Little Numbers claims that less is more, but taste can be everything in the snack market. Maybe I could lose some flab off the old waistline whilst I eat and write?

Chip Sticks – Salty Malty Flavour

I’m a huge fan of Smith’s Chipsticks, so when I saw that Tasty Little Numbers’ salt and vinegar crisps were chip sticks; I was obviously interested in what this new competition to the chip stick world would bring. With the company’s philosophy of whole numbers for all their products these 100 calorie chip sticks were a mix of maize corn and potato. However, low calories can often mean high fat content, but for 21g of crisps, there was 4.4g fat, which is quite low. The front of the crisp packet stated; “Give me the salt or the vinegar gets it!” which made me smile and imagine chip sticks in a hostage situation. There was helpful allergy information on the back of the bag, stating that the chip sticks contained milk and gluten, and that they were suitable for vegetarians.

Tasty Little Numbers’ chip sticks were a little darker in colour than the Smith’s variety, and with slightly more crunch to them. They also had the same sumptuous saltiness that Smith’s Chipsticks have, but there was an oily flavour that followed the initial salty burst. I found Tasty Little Numbers’ chip sticks to be a good tasty alternative and would buy these again, but for clean honest saltiness and multipack cheapness, Smith’s would win in a supermarket showdown.



Cheese and Onion Crisps

Tasty Little Numbers Cheese and Onion potato crisps are bagged in a 19g serving that equated to the usual 100 calories. Like the Salty Malty flavour, there was a cute phrase on the front of the packet; “Cheese not leavin’ without the onion!” which made me wonder if the gangster’s Moll had onion breath? Again, these crisps where cooked in vegetable oil, which made me a little concerned for the overall taste. There had been an oily taste to the Salty Malty flavour, of which hadn’t been unpleasant, but had taken my concentration away from the main salt and vinegar taste. The allergy information on the back of the packet mentioned these crisps contained milk and were also suitable for vegetarians.

On opening the packet there was a mild smell of cheese and onion, where alternatively Walkers’ Cheese and Onion crisps are rather strong smelling. On tasting there was an initial heavy onion flavour, which was closely (and I mean closely!) followed by the cheese. The overall taste was heartily polished off with a perfect burly mix of cheese and onion in the aftertaste. I realized that it went against Tasty Little Numbers’ code, but I really wanted a big grab bag of these. I could have quite happily sat down to an epic movie with a huge bowl full of Tasty Little Numbers’ Cheese and Onion crisps, and a big blob of salad cream on the side for dipping. I doubt I’d get many kisses from Cinabar by the bottom of the empty cheesy oniony bowl, but hey, you have to make the odd sacrifice for quality snacking now and then! ;-D

Texy Mexy BBQ Grills

Tasty Little Numbers’ Texy Mexy BBQ Grills were a smoked BBQ flavour maize corn snack in a serving of 21g equating to the prescribed 100 calories. The cute phrase on the front of the packet stated; “Hands off my maracas!” which gave me the impression that I may be in need of big cojones to eat these crisps. Ingredients included; maize, wheat flour, soya protein, onion, garlic, smoked flavour, chilli powder, and paprika. This corn snack had also been cooked in vegetable oil, which had effected the taste of the Salty Malty flavour, but the strong flavour of the cheese and onion crisps had masked any possible oily flavour. Consequently I was expecting a powerful chilli hot and smoky BBQ flavour from these crisps and no hint of oil in the taste. The allergy information on the back of the packet stated that this corn snack contained milk, wheat, gluten and soya, and was also suitable for vegetarians.

On opening the Texy Mexy packet there was a welcoming strong smoky paprika smell. There were lots of approximately two centimeter wide mid brown shells in the packet. On tasting the corn snacks, the vegetable oil had first look in, which certainly surprised me, but this initial taste was quickly replaced by a smoky paprika flavour followed by a mixture of garlic, onion and spices. The smoky paprika mixed with garlic, onion and spices transcended graciously into the aftertaste, with a slight, but not unpleasant oily flavour. There was no chilli heat in these corn snacks, but I wasn’t all that disappointed. The shells were rather crunchy, bordering on tooth jarringly crunchy, but nothing my old teeth couldn’t handle. The texture and taste of these corn snacks reminded me of a mixture of snacks from my childhood, perhaps Space Invaders or Wheat Crunchies (both still available), mixed with paprika spiced nuts (for extra crunch). This was no means a bad thing, as I’ve always loved those crisps, and I don’t mind my nuts spiced either (stop making up your own jokes!). In fact I caught myself dumping these crisps wantonly into my salivating mouth. Again, and I know it goes against the grain with Tasty Little Numbers, but if you’d given me a bucket full of these Texy Mexy BBQ Grills and a spade, I’d have been well away. It’s Tasty Little Numbers’ fault; if you’re going to go and manufacture snacks with specially weighed and calorie sized portions, then don’t make them so tasty! ;-)
By Spectre

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Jacob’s Oddities – Cheese Flavour [Baked Snack] (Asda) [By @Cinabar]



This little bag of savoury biscuits is a new line introduced by Jacobs. They have a fun sounding name ‘Oddities’ and I thought that they would be like a savoury biscuit version of Rowntree’s Randoms. I assumed that there would be loads of different shaped biscuits in the pack, and no two would be the same, making discovering shapes part of the fun. I was more than a little disappointed when I opened the bag and found that the shapes pictured on the packet are pretty much all that is in there, I was hoping for some really odd and curious shapes. Instead all I found was the bizarre eclectic set that’s pictured on the wrapper. There is a chicken, a bone, a tennis racket, a telephone, a camera and a stick man... and there are many of each. I’m not sure I get it.
Ignoring the reasoning behind the shapes, I carried on. Each of the savoury biscuits (or crackers) is a rich golden coloure and looks nicely backed. The biscuits are very light and airy, and make a gentle crunch when you bite in. It’s a good texture and feels quite satisfying to bite. The cheese flavour on them starts off quite strong with a hint of mature cheddar, and mellows to a pleasant salty cheese taste. They were very easy to munch on, and made a nice extra in my lunch box accompanying a sandwich. I was impressed by just how substantial the bag felt, and the fact that there were quite a few of these strangely shaped biscuits meant that they were a surprisingly filling snack. I’m not going to claim I get the shapes, but I certainly enjoyed the taste of these little biscuits. There are only 137 calories in the bag, and as they are baked they contain less fat so they are a tasty snack that won’t make you feel to guilty.
By Cinabar

Monday, 27 February 2012

Reese’s Shell [Ice Cream Topping] (USA) [By @Cinabar]



When I was a kid I can remember having a triangular shaped bottle of ice cream topping that set when placed on ice cream. I remember the bottle had a lid that look like the top of a mountain cap, and I used to love the stuff. I can also remember being rather disappointed when it disappeared from UK shelves. It was one of those great retro products from my childhood that I thought was long gone. The ‘magic’ of it always used to make me smile, watching the topping go from runny to solid was always so neat.
I thought I’d never see the stuff again, but then the lovely Jess from Foodette Reviews sent me a bottle of Reese’s Shell from the USA, which is a similar product. She didn’t just send any flavour either – its chocolate and peanut butter, oh my. Novelty and my two favourite flavours all in one ice cream topping, I’m not sure dessert gets any better than this!
As I was curious about the science I had a look on Wikipedia to see how the sauce actually works, and in simple terms something like coconut oil reduces the setting point of the chocolate so that it is more liquidy at room temperature. Hence you shouldn’t store this bottle in the fridge (although you can warm it in hot water to make it work again if needed).
I scooped a generous spoonful of vanilla ice cream into a bowl and squeezed the sauce on top. The chocolate was quite thick and was quite difficult to free from the bottle, but after a little warming up (from my hand temperature) it eventually gushed onto the ice cream. I accidentally gave myself a very generous portion!
I watched as it set almost immediately, despite the amount. Although it looks like a thick liquid on the photo, I can confirm that you could easily pick off the whole dollop in one solid chunk. Aces! The flavour was fabulous too. Any added coconut oil did not distract from the sweet milk chocolate and nutty salty taste of peanut. It was rich on flavour, and did taste like biting into a Reese’s Cup, pure yum. The flavour might be a bit busy for the likes of complex ice cream varieties, but on good old vanilla it is a match made in heaven. I loved cracking the set chocolate before each mouthful, the texture just fascinated me.
It is clever product, and it is fun, and it is guaranteed to amuse any kids that might be watching (not to mention adults like me)! Here is hoping I never stop enjoying novelty food products. This totally took me back to my childhood and gave me a lovely feeling of nostalgia. The fact that the sauce is flavoured with peanut butter and chocolate just about made it the most wonderful ice cream topping ever. I loved it. Thanks so much Jess, I’m going to harass the import shops here till they stock it!
By Cinabar

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Grand Marnier - Part 3 – Pancakes [by @NLi10]

Before Christmas the nice people at Grand Marnier sent me the ingredients to enter into their cupcake challenge. I took pics and videos and set it all up for a review. I also tried another simpler recipe of my own. Neither of these has been fully written up, but this third attempt only makes sense in and around Shrove Tuesday so you are getting part three first even though it lacks the context of the first two. Hail Eris!


This didn't start off as a review - this started as me taking a picture of our new kitchen scales to show the people who got it us for Christmas. Note how the scales are on zero even with the bowl & flour as they turned themselves off while I was getting the camera ready... In the background where it sits on the kitchen counter was the Grand Marnier - and this gave me an idea.


First up is the regular pancakes - these are very nice and by the end I get good at doing them (Delia's recipe is on the BBC site and pretty straightforwards - iPhone FTW). Ms. NLi10 also agrees and we get through 2/3rds of the batter on these.

Then I stick a shot of Grand Marnier into the remaining batter.



This turned out to be a bit excessive, there were lots of odd holes from bubbles in the pancakes (I whisked the orange liquor into the batter) and I think I needed to let it stand a bit before pouring. The one shown above was typical for these - they seemed to brown and crisp a lot faster - yum!

The flavour was odd. Despite me not being able to taste it in my first pancake (then realising that this was one I made before adding the Grand Marnier) the flavour was actually pretty powerful. Its odd having pancakes that taste of citrus before you even add the sugar and lemon, but it's pretty nice! I'm surprised that those crepe stalls you always see at festivals haven't cottoned onto this one - it's pretty deluxe.

Shrove Tuesday is all about using up leftovers and then giving up something for Lent (I've given up Pancakes) and the Grand Marnier certainly qualifies as a left-over. It certainly works well as a desert ingredient though - maybe I should try it with biscuits too, Delia's recipes though - NOT Grand Marnier's...
By NLi10

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Ambassadors of London (Westmorland Service Station) [By @SpectreUK]

A service station might sound a strange place to find packets of posh fruit jellies, although you may have heard me rave about the Westmorland Service Station (near Penrith, in Cumbria) before. It’s a veritable Aladdin’s Cave for Foodstuff Finds, with such a plethora of confectionary and savory delights that could easily drive Cinabar beyond sanity when we visit. I picked up these two very smart 270g transparent bags, which were decorated with shiny cards and bows, as they simply screamed quality at me from across the other side of the Farm Shop. I couldn’t wait to open them, but decided to treat myself on the train home from a hard day’s work on a couple of occasions.

Traditional Fruit Jellies

Made from real fruit juice, these coloured fruit jelly shapes were lightly covered with sugar. They are presented in six colours; white had a very mild pear taste; red had a sweet easygoing strawberry flavour; green had a very gentle lime flavour; yellow had a tranquil lemon flavour, and was without the usual sour kick that lemon sweets can have; orange was unsurprisingly an orange flavour, but a calming orange rather than giving the tastebuds a feeling of being Tango’d; and finally black had a blackcurrant flavour. I left the blackcurrant until last as I’ve found in the past that blackcurrent jellies can be overpowering. I was relieved to find that this blackcurrant jelly was not overpowering, in fact quite the opposite and this jelly was my favourite flavour out of all of the colours.

These jellies are not sour in taste, and not overpoweringly sickly sweet. In fact they are not sickly at all. They are juicy and make my mouth water almost uncontrollably as I ate them. They envelope you in a sensuous and peaceful bubble whilst all around you there may be grumpy crowds due to train delays and people in a blind panic to get home after a bad day at the office. These are easily the best luxury jellies I have ever tasted. The transparent bag had screamed quality at me in the store, but the real quality lay within the bag itself. I honestly mourned the empty bag. Ambassadors jellies are way not for sharing, but I did let Cinabar have one or two, simply because I felt too guilty hoarding them all to myself. I also had to show their sumptuousness to someone else, just to be able to let one other person in this whole rotten world understand the pure unbridled enrapturing ecstasy of every bite. It was almost impossible to put the bag down once I’d opened it. I made such pleasurable gurgling noises whilst eating the jellies that I think I frightened the guy sitting next to me on the train. In fact, he did strangely move away from me when I tried the blackcurrant flavour…



Finest Apple and Blackberry Jellies

It states “Deliciously different” on the card tied onto the transparent bag with a bow. After my joyous, and I blush to say overly titillating experiences whilst eating the Traditional fruit jellies, I almost broke a finger nail tearing the bag open with excitement. Inside was a combination of flat green apple shaped jellies and bitable black coloured blackberry shaped jellies. The apple flavoured jellies were two shades of green, seemingly to give them more of an apple feel. They were soft to bite and sugar coated. Having apple in the ingredients, they were sweet and indulgent, and again in no way sour. In contrast the blackberry shaped jellies were coated with mini black balls of hardened coloured sugar, which made them look like an actual blackberry from a short distance away, and were slightly tougher to eat than the apples. The hardened sugar made these jellies sweeter than the apple jellies, but the soft black jelly centre and blackberry in the ingredients balanced the flavour well, ensuring they were not overpoweringly sweet. I just could not stop popping both types of jellies in my mouth during my train trip home from another long, bad day at work. “Deliciously different” is exactly right.
By Spectre

Friday, 24 February 2012

Rhubarb & Custard Sponge Roll (Marks & Spencers) [By @Cinabar]



The jam role is a very traditional pudding, as is rhubarb & custard, but M&S have put the two desserts together and formed this curious concoction. Although rhubarb is a ‘traditional’ fruit it is usually eaten heated with custard, and rarely used to flavour other goodies. Obviously there are ‘rhubarb & custard’ sweets, but it’s not the sort of fruit that is mainstream enough to lend itself to being something like Aero Rhubarb!
This cake is effectively a jam sponge roll, but the difference is that the jam is made with rhubarb and the butter cream is a rich custard flavour! I opened up the box and divided up the roll, thinking that it did indeed look exactly like a regular jam roll. It is a very pretty looking cake to serve to visitors or guests as the swirls of cake looks so smart in the bowl. One I tucked in, the difference between this and a regular jam roll became very clear. This jam had a rich zingy rhubarb flavour that added a tart buzz and a very natural tasting hit of rhubarb. Countering this was the thick butter cream, that was sweet and full of vanilla tones. It certainly had a good custard flavour, and it helped add a much needed sweet creamy taste to the zingy rhubarb, taming it nicely. Together these layers created a perfectly balanced rhubarb and custard flavour that worked as well as the actually dessert. The sponge was soft and fluffy too, and sugar dusted to add even a little more sweetness. I thoroughly enjoyed the cake, as did the others trying it and it went down a treat.
It is so nice to see rhubarb being used in this way. It is a wonderful fruit and often overlooked in favour of more traditional safer tastes. I will certainly be buying this sponge roll again, as it manages to merge a traditional sponge with a new twist of flavour.
By Cinabar

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Kellog's Krave - Chocolate Caramel (Ocado) [By @NLi10]


Watching the Brit awards I noticed an advert for the Krave cereal that suggested that there was a winner in their contest! Turns out the Caramel & Chocolate variety had proven victorious. I'd ordered one of each flavour but never gotten around to opening the caramel one as it's not really a morning flavour for me.

This reminder was the little push I'd needed to brave the Krave Krusader's latest flavour and see whether I'd place it above the chocolate version reviewed before. The flavours come from the crispy outside having a caramel flavour with the regular chocolate inside. This actually produces a neat stripe down a few of the little guys which is visually a lot more interesting than most cereals. As I suspected crunchy Rolos for breakfast is a pretty strange experience. The initial flavour isn't too strong though, and it's more the aftertaste of a pudding that makes it a little unique. I'll be happy to finish the box, but unlikely to rush out and get this (Lion bar cereal is nicer) it's not as bad as feared and I would agree and place it above the double choc Krave that the public eliminated.

Also...


Gu - After Dark Key Lime Pies

Since Cinabar reviewed these back in 2010 they have been branded to match the rest of the Gu things even though they don't contain chocolate. They are still as nice as ever and best as a little treat, rather than a regular thing as they are very filling!
By NLi10

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Turbo Tango (Local Newsagent) [@Turbo_Tango] [By @Cinabar]



A friend of mine said that he had tried a foaming version of Tango. I thought for a minute that perhaps he had shaken a can a little too much… that was until I spotted this drink in my local newsagent. The bottle is covered in numerous warning signs and doesn’t half look dangerous. It is claims to be Nitro fuelled (and nitrogen does indeed appear in the ingredient list) and it is designed to deliver a high speed dose of your favourite Tango. I placed the nozzle in my mouth and pushed hard on the cap and my mouth filled with an amazing amount of Tango, it was delivered at such speed I almost coughed and nearly snorted it out of my nose (not very classy). Once I got used to the drink and how to adjust the speed, I started to really enjoy it as it was really kind of fun and different. Spectre had a play too, and also smiled when then fast Tango was delivered. The taste was the usually sweet orange hit, but it was the texture of it that was so amazing. It felt like you were squirting a tub of orange flavoured spray cream into your mouth, but seconds later it dispersed into a normal liquid. It’s silly and its fun, but I actually really liked it.
The only odd part was when I was trying to capture a photograph of the drink coming out of the bottle. That is a task that is far more complex than you might think. First I had to ignore the stringent warnings on the bottle about only spraying it into your mouth, and instead I risked a cup. The problem is that you need to have the bottle upright for it to work properly, so my attempts at capturing the image were a bit of a fail. It’s much foamier than you think! Instead I ended up with a tilted cup and a disappointing looking bit of froth in the bottom. When I came to drink that bit of froth, and put the camera away it had turned into a clear liquid and despite it being only a few minutes later it was flat. The liquid in the bottom of that cup tasted really odd too, and not at all full flavoured and sweet like it did when it was in my mouth. This was a bit strange, but I guess it emphasises the point, you really should follow the instructions on the bottle!
On a final note, spare a thought for an anonymous friend who took this into the cinema on Valentines night having never tried it before. Once the silent movie The Artist started, he supped his drink and tried it for the very first time with his date next to him, and managed to soak both of them in orange fizz! You know when you’ve been Tango’d!
By Cinabar

Monday, 20 February 2012

Penn State Worcester Sauce Flavour Pretzels (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]


Given that sometimes all the snacking for this blog makes me feel a little bit guilty, I was looking for a snack that would make a good healthier baked alternative to crisps to munch on at work. I’m never going to be totally healthy, with all the new chocolate goodies that have been coming out at the minute it made me think it might be worth while cutting calories where I can, and ensuring I go swimming regularly too! Penn State make (amongst other goodies) baked pretzels, and they come in a good array of flavours too and so I thought I’d pop a bag in my lunchbox for work.
I haven’t tried the Worcester Sauce variety before, so couldn’t resist an excuse to find out what they were like. I opened up the bag and sweet but spicy aromas hit my nostrils. Each one of the pretzels is just a few centimetres across, and is a knot shape made of a thin savoury biscuit. You can see that each one has a light dusting of seasoning covering it and non of the usual salt granules were visually present.
I tried the first knot of pretzel and found that Worcestershire sauce taste provided a nice initial blast of flavour that settled pleasantly leaving behind the bready/biscuit taste you would expect as the base taste. The Worcester Sauce has a nice mix of sweet, sour, and an aftertaste of tomato with a hint of spicy cloves. It was an impressively accurate flavour and rather moreish too. The bag didn’t last long at all, but neatly got me through my late afternoon hunger twinge, and kept me going till tea time.
These were a nice alternative to crisps, and the fact they are baked means they contain less fat than fried snacks. Really nice if you fancy something a bit different and the bag is the perfect size for an afternoon treat.
By Cinabar

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Sainsbury's 4 Seasonal Cookies - Chocolate Chilli (@SainsburysPR) [By @NLi10]


Here is something that probably shouldn't exist.

We are familiar now in the UK with supermarket brand cookies. They aren't quite as nice as Millie's or Cookie Jar, but they are nicer than the sealed store packets made in far away factories weeks before. These are 'baked in store' which means that they at least get heated up a little bit to finish them off and are usually squidgy and soft and a bag tends to cost a pound.

We shared these four cookies graciously provided by our host at a house warming party, but by the time I came to take my first bite I'd forgotten that they were anything special. And by special I mean chilli. It's certainly a strange sensation, like chilli cake must feel like, and I can't think of many biscuit makers that have decided to jump on the put chilli in the chocolate band wagon. I think the reason for this is that it tastes wrong. It isn't unpleasant, it's just wrong.

My brain took about half of the cookie to figure out that it wasn't a mistake and that I had genuinely chosen to eat this. The second half was a continued exploration of the feelings that you get from eating something that is spicy and soft and chocolatey at the same time. I enjoyed the strangeness, but given the choice between a second one of these and a regular cookie I think I'd choose the later - if not just to reassure my brain that it wasn't malfunctioning.

Like sweets that are deliberately the wrong colour or texture to their artificial flavour this is something you will either love or not really understand. I do like spicy chocolate, but this was a bit mad even for me. Do try it if you get the chance!
By NLi10

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Barratt’s Spogz (WH Smiths) [By @SpectreUK]


Barratt’s Spogz - Hot Frogs

In the past there has always been something about jelly shaped sweets with liquid inside them which makes them burst red goo that has made me heave. For some reason I was fine with these bursting red goo jelly frogs. Maybe it was their smiley faces or the fact that these jellies weren’t some kind of creepy crawly bug this time? I don’t think I’d get on very well starving in the middle of some jungle somewhere. I guess I’d end up stumbling around for ages until I found the nearest KFC…?

These friendly looking frog shaped jellies had two colours; dark red and green, both of which were filled with a raspberry liquid centre. The dark red coloured jelly was blackcurrant flavour. The first dark red jelly burst in my mouth between my teeth. No sign of heaving. I found the dark red jellies to be mainly a very juicy blackcurrant taste, which mostly overpowered the raspberry liquid centre. There were chiefly dark red frogs in the bag, with only two green coloured jellies. The green coloured jellies were semitransparent, meaning I could see the red goo inside the green jelly from the outside, which put me off a little bit, but the green frog kept smiling at me, so I popped it in my mouth… Don’t say, “Aaah!” The green jelly was a mild pear flavour and had a dryness that Jelly Babies can sometimes have. Although this was not unpleasant, the green jelly had a contrast with the dark red blackcurrant flavour that forced my taste buds to take a step back in a brief moment of astonishment. Again, I couldn’t really taste the liquid raspberry gooey centre, instead I could mainly taste pear. Still the red liquid made my mouth water after the initial dry outer green jelly shell, but I quickly decided I preferred the dark red coloured jellies.

There were 160 calories of dark red and green jellies in the bag. The print on the bag proudly stated that there were only natural colours and flavours in the jellies. Having said that, I was surprised to find that there was no blackcurrant, pear or raspberry in the ingredients on the back of the bag! I found these jellies to be very tasty treats, so kids and adults alike should love them. I ate them on the bus after a long day at work, and for a few light moments I felt young again… Now say, “Aaah!”

As an aside, late on the night that I had eaten the Hot Frogs, we rather strangely found a live frog under the sofa. After a brief struggle, the tinny green frog (I decided not to check if it tasted of pear) was caught under a cup with the aid of some card and then dropped back safely near the garden pond!


Barratt’s Spogz - Gumbugs

These fruit flavoured jellies are available in a variety of bug shapes, such as; snails, flies, woodlouse, and spiders. Fortunately there was no bursting red raspberry goo inside these jelly sweets that could have made me heave. I found the bug shapes strangely cute and they made me smile wickedly as I dumped each one into my gaping maw. There were uneven amounts of three jelly colours in the 160 calorie bag. Orange colour had a mild orange flavour, yellow colour a gentle pineapple flavour, and the red colour had a fruity blackcurrant tang. Again the front of the bag stated proudly that only natural colours and flavours had been used in the making of these Gumbugs, but there was still no actual fruit juice noted in the ingredients on the back of the bag. I found these Gumbugs very tasty and very moreish, but there was a slight smell of wax on my fingers after eating! The beeswax in jelly sweets isn’t usually so prominent. Perhaps the bugs crawled out of someone’s ear before they were captured in the bag for eating?



Barratt’s Spogz – Lizards Tails

A complete step away from the jellies, these Lizard’s Tails are sour cola flavoured candy sticks. I checked the calories on the back of the bag and found that these are 130 calories, which is slightly healthier than the Hot Frogs and Gumbugs. I also noticed that these candy sticks are naturally coloured with plain caramel. There was a very strong sweet cola smell on opening the bag, like super strong cola bottles. I was quite happy to just sit there on the bus and smell the contents of the bag for a while, which drew some curious looks from the other passengers. These Lizard’s Tails were about four centimeters in length and were the same width as candy cigarettes. They were soft, very bendy, and light brown coloured. On tasting I found that they have a mild sourness and a heavy traditional cola flavour. These candy sticks were not like fizzy or plain cola bottles in any way or like a cola drink, and were also not sickly syrupy sweet tasting. These cola flavoured candy sticks may not have resembled an actual lizard’s tail, but they were simply genius tasting. I’d definitely left the best packet of Spogz until last. I could have happily eaten a bucket of them. I would have shared them with the two colleagues that were sitting near me on the bus, but the candy sticks tasted so good that I selfishly keep them guarded to myself. There was a lovely cola aftertaste that stayed in my mouth for ages after eating. I recommend you hunt these down and try them for yourself, but just try not to get addicted!
By Spectre

Friday, 17 February 2012

Philadelphia with Cadbury Milk Chocolate (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]



Philadelphia is a cream cheese and is normally partnered with chives or garlic or other pleasantly savoury ingredients, so this product may look a bit weird to the untrained eye. In continental Europe, Philadelphia with Milka chocolate has been around for some time and is a very popular product there. Here in the UK chocolate cheese cake is a very common combination and not actually anything we would even think was weird. So when Kraft (who has Philadelphia under its wind) merged with Cadbury it probably did seem that this was a more natural progression than you might think.
Notable the tub of “Choccy Philly” as I am told the cool kids call it, doesn’t make reference to Dairy Milk specifically just Cadbury Chocolate. I peeled back the lid and found a thick brown paste within, just a tad lighter in texture than a chocolate spread. I smoothed some onto a piece of brown toast and tucked in. The spread was nice. It was creamy and sweet and had pleasant chocolate tones, followed by that dairy flavour of cream cheese. I munched my toast quite happily, but didn’t get that wonderful sweet sugar rush that you would expect from Nutella. I have a sweet tooth, something that looks like chocolate spread on toast should in my head should taste like chocolate spread on toast, but the flavour just seemed really muted on that front. I will quite happily finish the tub, but I don’t think I’d rush out for another. Just when I was trying to work out where this products target market was, the answer appeared in front of me. My mum, who would never expose her taste buds to regular ‘chocolate spread’ tried it, and loved it. The lighter tone, and the hint of dairy all just worked for her, and she said she would buy it again in the future as it wasn’t too sweet. So there you go, this is the ideal chocolate spread, for those people who don’t like chocolate spread!
By Cinabar

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Fox's Jam & Cream - Cherry Jam & Chocolate Biscuits [By @NLi10]


Sometimes gaming snacks are required that aren't too messy. Biscuits are perfect. I do like the Jam and Cream ones that are always first to go in biscuit tins so often buy them in packets by themselves. It feels naughty, as if I'm defying the laws of tea-time that state that the less exciting biscuits must be consumed in an equal proportion to the superstars.

This variety is even more special being strong Cherry jam and cream and chocolate biscuits. The word REAL is in capital letters so they have decided not to use imaginary ingredients like tartan jam or unicorn milk and stuck to things that border on the possible.

It's almost like a light bourbon version of the normal Jam'n Cream Foxes, but the cherry jam is a good deal more potent than the typical red flavour used. This would be nice, but it kind of fights with the chocolate a bit too much. It creates a nice richness to the flavours, but it's a little too confusing and I was left wondering what vanilla biscuit and cherry would be like - or choc biscuit and normal jam for that matter! Maybe there is scope for different fruits in the jams - like in the Jammie Dodger varieties, but I think most people will gravitate back to the regular ones when not looking for special treats.

I think that these are a nice curio, and if you mixed them up on a plate at tea time with the originals you'd have a lovely varied selection of flavours for your guests - but under the laws of biscuit Communism you'd have to display and eat equal amounts of both (unless you are feeling particularly decadent & naughty)...

The saucer in the background has Somerfield's own version of Krave on it. It's decent, but not a patch on Asda's.
By NLi10

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Vita Coco – Coconut Water with Peach and Mango (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]


It states on the 330ml cardboard carton that this drink contains 100% natural ingredients, and more potassium than two bananas. Fortunately there are no bananas in the ingredients, as I feel that banana flavour never goes well in a drink (see Banana Beer) or anything else for that matter. Checking out the carton I was horrified to find that there was no straw attached. Then I noticed the foiled hole on the top of the carton was big enough to drink from. The decent sized drinking hole showed that this drink is designed to be mess free, and with less rubbish to throw away afterwards. So it’s down with straws. The cardboard is recyclable of course.

Once I pulled the metal foil off the top of the carton there was a strong mango and coconut smell. On tasting I had a good peach and mango hit to start with, but this taste is suddenly heavily diluted by the coconut water. The peach and mango taste fizzles away leaving a strangely unpleasant aftertaste of garbage coconut, mango and peach. It’s as if my tastebuds were subjected to a high speed conveyor belt with peach and mango whizzing by at the start of each gulp. I could almost hear a deep voice in the background somewhere calling out “PEACH and MANGO!” and then “… so that was peach and Mango…” and the next taste ““PEACH and MANGO! ...so that was…” The carton also states that this drink is packed with naturally occurring electrolytes with 70 times the potassium of leading sports drinks. Sadly after drinking I didn’t feel like running down to the nearest shop to buy another one.
By Spectre

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Mich Turner Lustres [Icing Decorations from Silver Spoon] [By @Cinabar]

I really love baking, but have done less and less over the years. The problem I have always had with such endeavours is the final stage of icing. For all my baking skills, icing and decoration has always let me down. I just don’t have a very neat hand for such things. My ability to bake comes from carefully measuring ingredients and keeping an eye on things. I do however lack creativity.
Having said that when I was asked if I wanted to try out the new Mich Turner Icing Lustres from Silver Spoon, I couldn’t resist saying yes and decided to have a go. I thought it would be the perfect way to celebrate Valentine’s day and bake some romantic fairy cakes.


I was pleasantly surprised with my batch (pre-icing) and set about the dreaded decoration. I made the icing using the method suggested on the back of the icing sugar box (basically adding a tiny bit of water to a surprising amount of sugar) and then pouring it on. I don’t think my white icing looked particularly neat – but once it was set it was time for the impromptu art session. I had also purchased a few wafer flowers and other bits to try and improve my skills and utilised these too.
These new Lustres paint onto the icing with a brush and allow you to be as subtle or dramatic as you want,dependant on your skills. Consequently I decided to go for a simple and playful selection of designs. My efforts were okay, not neat like a professional but for a first go I thought they looked quite sweet (although clearly homemade)!



I really enjoyed using these Lustres, and had a lot of fun decorating my fairy cakes. My efforts may not be the best, but I loved the effect that they had and they were nice and easy to use. The lustres shined wonderfully and I so wish I had known about them when I was decorating my Christmas cake as I think the stars on it would have looked lush with a golden gleam.
Hope you all have a good Valentine's Day!
By Cinabar


----------------------------------------------------
UPDATE
I gave the Pearl Lustre to a more accomplished cupcake baker, who also wanted to use them for Valentines cakes. She added a drop of the Pearl Lustre to the fondant icing, and it worked an absolute treat. As her efforts look so much more professional than mine, I felt it only fair to show off the wonderful pics. The cakes tasted beautiful too, with a soft sponge and sweet strawberry topping. Thanks for having a go with these Steph, your cup cakes look fab and show off what can be done!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Rococo Arabic Spices Organic Dark Chocolate Artisan Bar (Libertys) [By @cinabar]



On a recent trip to London I decided to investigate if there were any interesting bars of chocolate available in the capital, which I couldn’t find in the Midlands. I scoured the shelves in Libertys looking for some bars of dark chocolate and coffee too but had no success, it seems that’s hard to find anywhere! I did however find this interesting sounding bar with an intriguing mix of spices.
Cinnamon is a favourite spice of mine, and discovering that this was one of the base flavours meant that I couldn’t resist picking this bar up to try. The base chocolate is quite dark, but at 65% it has enough sweetness to please the senses while balancing the strong cocoa. The flavour from the Arabic spices is quite potent, but it is also lovely and warming. It started with my favourite cinnamon spicing things up, and the aftertaste turning to nutmeg and having a pleasant hot cross bun feel. The chocolate is silky in the mouth, quite thick for a dark chocolate and leaves a lovely rich warm paste coating the tongue. This chocolate would be perfect, except for one small but unfortunate issue. Occasionally I found there were annoying black specs hidden within the chocolate. I spent some time trying to identify exactly which spice or ingredient they were from but I couldn’t be one hundred percent sure, perhaps the nutmeg? One thing is for certain though these black specs are quite hard, and do ruin the smooth chocolate as they add a grit like texture.
This bar was so close to being perfect, and flavour wise it is was there. Texture wise it needed these black specs filtering out to finish the bar. Despite my love of the taste I wouldn’t buy it again as I found the unnecessary grains far too distracting and unpleasant when you stumble across one. It is such a shame, I love cinnamon so much, but the texture just didn’t work for me, and I couldn’t get past it as an issue.
By Cinabar

Sunday, 12 February 2012

White Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (Mr. Simms Sweet Shop) [By NLi10]


Today is the follow up to the BIG CUP peanut butter cups review. I finally managed to get around to being in the mood to try out the white peanut butter cups, and took another pic with the little milk for scale. Baskerville my wrist-rest dog also wanted to be in the picture.

I had suspected that the big cup would be extreme peanut butter and wasn't disappointed, and that the white choc would be extreme sweetness. This was also true, from the first bite it was clear that this would be above the comfort point of most humans for the tolerance of sweetness. This is above fizzy flying saucers in its ability to catch the back of your throat and caused me to hunt out some yummy green tea to fight back with.

I enjoyed the flavour and it was a great experience but dark choc works much better than the white for me I'm afraid!
by NLi10

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Boxerchips – Crackpot Pepper and Salty Salt Flavour (Selfridges) [By @SpectreUK]



These Boxerchips were packaged with a mind to become more space efficient, especially when stored for serving on aeroplanes. Boxerchips’ website told me that 45% of a regular 40g bag of crisps is wasted air, with another 25% of wasted air when the crisp bags are placed in bulk in a box for transportation. Manufactured by the Boxerchips Company, in Dublin, these potato crisps are gourmet, hand cooked, and scream quality from the smart outside packaging to the product inside. I opened the rectangular bag to find a box that unfolded into a makeshift cardboard bowl with crisps inside. There were the usual 40g of crisps in the box, at a healthy sounding 187 calories. The crisps had a decent crunch, and a lovely salty and black pepper taste. All ingredients and packaging are sourced within the UK. Other flavours offered by the Boxerships Company are; cheese and red onion; ready salted; salt and vinegar; and various veggies flavour (which consists of parsnip, sweet potato and beetroot). Not sure about the various veggies flavour, as I’ve had some run-ins with beetroot before, but I’ll be happy to seek out the other flavours, as I love the idea of having a box of rustle free crisps that I can sit down and watch a movie with. No washing up afterwards, just pop the box in the recycling bin. Bonus! 
By Spectre

Friday, 10 February 2012

McCain Ready Baked Jackets (Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]



As tasty meals go, jacket potatoes are healthy, and filling so have a lot of plus points. They do sadly have one major flaw – if you are hungry, and forgot to plan they take far too long to cook. You can’t rush a decent jacket potato, and to get that soft feel inside and firm coat you have to oven bake them which can literally take hours.
This unfortunately means that if you happen to be cooking sausage and egg and fancy a jacket potato on the side there was no chance, unless you made the decision at least an hour before. That was until now. This new product from McCain may seem like a simple idea, but it really is pure genius. They have done all the hard work for you and slow baked the jacket potatoes before popping them in the box. This means that if you happen to fancy a spud and you have some of these in, they only take five minutes in the microwave and ding and you are ready to go. The magic is that they still have all the consistency of an oven baked potato, the skin is perfect has texture and easily pulls away from the flesh within. The potato itself is soft and has that slightly fluffy almost powdery texture which is exactly what you would expected from a slow cooked jacket potato. The flavour is full, and if you add butter and cheese it just enhances it perfectly.
I love this new product, it’s a simple concept but one that shouldn’t be underrated. It is definitely one I’ll be keeping in, as it just makes such a quick and easy meal without losing out on any of that oven baked taste and texture.
By Cinabar

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Reese's BIG CUP (Mr. Simms Sweet Shop) [By NLi10]


Reese's stuff is big in the USA but only usually found in import shops and tucked away in the corner of Newsagents stores who got boxes from shady sources here in the UK. It came as a surprise to find that Mr. Simms - the good old fashioned English sweet shop has started to stock lots of these and Hershey's chocolates.

For UK readers this is almost chapter two of the story of these particular sweets as we've never mentioned Reese's normal cup. Essentially what this is a small £2 coin sized piece of chocolate that upon biting turns out to be completely full of peanut butter. If you like peanut butter it's excellent (although a little sickly) and as they tend to come in packs of three the tendency to eye up the next one is there, but resistible.

These two products above are the evolved versions of these, and I couldn't imagine how either of them would work. The one eaten today was the BIG CUP which is essentially double the size of the normal cup - meaning the chocolate to peanut butter ratio is way down! It's essentially the size of a Mr. Kippling cake, but just a thin layer of chocolate until you bite into the peanut butter.

I found that upon biting it seemed to be a little thicker in the centre than the smaller ones, and the taste was pretty much all peanuts. Not a bad thing, but I found myself eating it bite by bite instead of in two swift munches. As you could buy 6 of the regular cups (at import prices) for the £1.80 that this cost it's certainly a one off treat, but as a late night working experience it certainly boosted the energy levels and I'm still convinced that peanut butter (whose ingredients are essentially peanuts and violence) are better for you than most over refined foods that are put into stuff.

Thumbs up for the range, but the BIG CUP is a little too indulgent for me. Will eat the white ones soon.
By NLi10

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Jules Destrooper Biscuits (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]


The other day I complained to Cinabar that I wasn’t eating enough, I mean, blogging enough about biscuits, mainly because I like snacking and I like biscuits. A few days later I found these posh looking Jules Destrooper biscuits on my “taste testing blog work desk”, which is set in the dark depths of Foodstufffinds’ basement. Investigating the company website showed me that Jules Destrooper was a colonial trader, based in Belgium, who combined the spices he imported from Africa and the East with other biscuit type ingredients. The first biscuits Jules came up with were his almond thins in 1886. I don’t like almonds, and Cinabar isn’t that cruel, (strange flavoured beers asides) so the biscuits below were put forward for review instead.


Jules Destrooper - Butter Crisps

In 1890 Jules devised a recipe for golden crisp butter waffles, which are thin wafer style biscuits. Butter Crisps taste similar to Brandy Snaps, with a rich, sweet brown sugar flavour. These biscuits are crunchy and brittle, yet after biting they melt in the mouth. Butter Crisps would go very well with ice-cream or fruit puddings. If you’re the dunking kind, Butter Crisps would go well with coffee or milk. Dunking biscuits into tea is a heinous crime. I knew someone who liked to dunk buttered toast into tea. Of course, I reported them to the authorities, but they didn’t seem interested! :-D


Jules Destrooper – Chocolate Thins

Milk Chocolate Thins

After stealing a few, Cinabar informed me that these are “uneven thins”, which loosely means that they are uneven biscuits (not flat) with chocolate dumped unceremoniously all over them. However, there was a good helping of luxurious milk chocolate that made my mouth water whilst I defended the biscuits from prying fingers and scoffed the remainder. The biscuits are sweet and crunchy, but don’t melt in mouth like the Butter Crisps. I immediately earmarked these biscuits as my favourites in the box. I’m a stickler for milk chocolate anyway, so perhaps I should have tried the others first?

White Chocolate Thins

There was only a couple of these White Chocolate Thins in the box. The sweetness of the chocolate contrasted with the sweet biscuit. Although there was still a really good creamy flavour to the chocolate, I was glad there wasn’t more than a couple in the box. I found them a little oversweet, and as I’m sure you’d agree that I’m sweet enough (No comments from the Editor please).

Dark Chocolate Thins

These biscuits are covered with rich, flavoursome dark chocolate, which complemented the sweet biscuit. These were Cinabar’s favourites out of the thins, fortunately leaving me with more milk chocolate biscuits to eat. I would say that these were easily my second favourite out of the box, as they were such a pleasure to eat, which is a rare statement from me regarding dark chocolate.
By Spectre

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Walkers – What’s That Flavour? Mystery Flavour C [Crisps] [By @Cinabar]


Following on from yesterday, I thought I’d give the very last Walkers ‘mystery flavour’ from Walkers a try. Just as a quick summary, the packets aren’t labelled with a variety instead you have to guess what it is and there is a competition on the Walkers homepage where you can enter if you are correct.
The only clue on the bag to Mystery Flavour C’s variety is that it is spicy. This becomes apparent when you open the packet and the rich scent of curry powder fills your nostrils. The crisps themselves don’t taste overly meaty, but do contain some rich curry tones, and a nice hint of something like a tomato base. The heat isn’t too bad, so the curry has to be one of the more easy going varieties, and as such I think we can rule out vindaloo. I guess the obvious guess would be chicken tikka masala, but I have to confess to not knowing my curries that well.
There was a part of me that felt the milder spice might mean that it was something more Thai in nature, but I wasn’t sure I could pick up on any of the coconut or lemongrass key tastes. I’m normally quite good at spotting lemongrass, as it’s not a favourite taste of mine so it always is quite noticeable and it is a favourite in Thai cooking (sadly). Its lack of appearance was a bonus, for me anyway! Perhaps it is a good Korma curry, but it does have a sort of crisp taste at the end, which is perhaps a vegetable base. This crisp tasting business isn’t as easy as you might think!
Anyway these were good spicy crisps, and I think they could really work when they get launched properly. I do like curry flavour crisps, and whatever the specifics of Mystery Flavour C they get the thumbs up from me.
By Cinabar

Monday, 6 February 2012

Walkers – What’s That Flavour? Mystery Flavour B [Crisps] [By @Cinabar]


This is the second flavour in the new Walkers range of mystery varieties which have launched with a big competition on the bags. I discussed the first one here, but there are three new packs out, and you can guess what flavours they are on the walkers site and try and win some money! Have look at the walkers homepage for full comp details: walkers.co.uk
As per the first pack (know as flavour A) this one doesn’t have much of a clue to the taste except a vague ‘meaty’ comment on the back. I should point out that the image on the bag shows inspirational ingredients and is not actually a clue to the contents (boo hiss).
I opened the pack up and the aroma was surprisingly sweet, more so than I had expected. The sweet tones dulled a little when I tried a crisp, and the meatiness promised on the back of the pack kicked in. I didn’t think it was as rich as beef, or as light as chicken, so I ended up concluding that it must be pork. The sweetness seems to turn into more of a tomato flavour mixed in, so as a conclusion I was thinking around a meat feast pizza or more simply sausage and red sauce. Either way I liked the crisps, but still feel that I haven’t quite hit the mark with the solution. There were some background hints of another flavour, and although it was just gentle, it was enough to make me think I’d missed something. Another friend who had tried them felt that it might be Spam, but as I’ve never tried the stuff I can’t really comment on that one, sadly.
Identifying these flavours is so much harder than you might think but I am enjoying trying! I’m off for another bag of Mystery Flavour B and going to have a bit more of a think. Anyone else got any ideas? Good luck with your guesses! :-)
By Cinabar

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Ben Shaws' Dandelion & Burdock Classic (Veggie Cafe - Birmingham) [by @NLi10]


During another all day gaming session I popped into the veggie cafe on the corner to grab some teas (it's snowy and cold in the UK at the moment - by our standards anyway) and spotted this solitary can hiding behind the counter. I'm not sure if it's a big brand, or a new brand but I figured I wouldn't turn down the chance to try it so I bought one (with a couple of their home-made cookies) to take back to the gaming tables.

The can says that they have been going since 1871 and what I originally thought in the picture was a reflection of the games shop is actually a picture of an old style factory setting where presumably this drink was made.

The odd thing is that this is very much a 'pop' style drink like a Dr. Pepper or a Pepsi and not at all like the Fentiman's D&B that my brain is now accustomed too due to its rise to sit alongside their cola as one of my favourite drinks. I think that this isn't a bad thing, not everyone likes the earthy undertones that this drink can have and a sweeter, brighter version is quite welcome. It was very refreshing and despite being the standard 330 ml seemed a very small can as I'd have happily drunk more.

I'm not sure I’ll ever see more in this range, but as I plan to go back to the cafe to try out their veggie all day breakfast including avocado bacon (?!) then hopefully I'll get to see some more traditional drinks with a modern style.
By NLi10

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Lucky Me! - Artificial Bone Marrow Flavour (Pinoy Foods, Birmingham Indoor Market) [By @SpectreUK]


On picking this instant noodle pot up in the Birmingham Indoor Market, Cinabar said “the only thing more disgusting sounding than bone marrow flavour, is artificial bone marrow flavour!” It states “true to the taste” on the outside of the pot. “True to the taste” of bone marrow? Yuck! It sounded positively revolting. It reminded me of those crazy people (no offence intended) that like to eat liver or kidney. Nevertheless, on a quiet Saturday afternoon, once I’d packed Cinabar off to the shops with her mom, I decided to brave this instant noodle pot made by the Monde Nissin Corporation, in the Philippines. Mind you, it had sat in a cupboard for several months and was reaching its sell by date!

There was a plastic fork, a silver sachet of food mix and a hard block of stringy noodles in the cardboard pot. There were 35g of ingredients at 150 calories in the pot. I opted for the usual metal fork, as plastic ones never get on well with freshly boiled water. The sachet had “Lucky me!” printed on it. I added boiling water to the noodles whilst I opened the friendly looking sachet. The silver sachet was filled with what looked like grey dust and bits from the kitchen floor. I dumped the unappealing contents of the sachet into the hot watery noodles, stirred a little, re-covered over the pot and left to stand for three minutes as per the instructions. I must admit, I didn’t feel particularly “lucky” when stirring the contents of the pot. Nevertheless on pealing back the lid there was quite a pleasant meaty smell from the noodle brew. There were bits of what looked like onion or chives floating around amongst the noodles, but there was no mention of these in the ingredients list on the pot. On tasting the noodle brew I found it had a suitable beefy taste, which went well with the beef and mustard sandwich and salt and black pepper crisps I had as an accompaniment. Whilst I ate my lunch I watched Kirk Douglas in the western movie, Posse, which was very good and had a great twist at the end of the film. The artificial bone marrow flavour pot noodle tasted disappointingly good. I say “disappointingly”, because I wanted to be amusing in my disgust of the concept of this pot noodle. How sad that I wanted it to taste horrid? As I said earlier, it had a subtle and understated beefy flavour to it. I even drank off the leftover liquid in the pot after I’d finished the noodles. This is a decent snack meal, rather than a full meal, but tasted fine and would be okay for a late night supper snack after a booze fuelled night out or just enjoyed with a sandwich and a ripping good western. Yeehah… Bang, bang!
By Spectre

The Smarties Sandwich [By @Cinabar]


There has been an awful lot of press about the incident of the Smarties Sandwich that occurred earlier in the week. If you haven’t heard about it a very brief run down was that a school spotted that a parent had made a child a sandwich with Smarties inside it for their lunch. The story is covered by the Daily Mail here. The general consensus was horrified teachers/parents but the whole thing really got me thinking. Yes I have to admit to smiling when I saw the article, I know I shouldn’t, but it’s one pretty looking sandwich you have to admit! I find it hard to believe that people reading this haven’t at some point indulged in a sandwich made with Nutella / Jam / Crisps / Chips or some other inappropriate ingredients, although admittedly probably as an occasional treat.
So we are all disgusted by the Smarties sandwich, but let’s think this through – is it because of the bright colours? Nestle Smarties have no actual artificial colours or flavourings in their choccies, so that can’t be the reason. Perhaps it’s the nutritional facts – so for reference a tube of Smarties has 178 calories and 6.8g of fat, please keep that in mind.
Now let’s look at a far more common scenario. A child goes to school with a sandwich, with two slices of cheese and maybe even some pickle, nobody would bat an eye lid. I dare say that situation is far more widespread than the Smarties incident. Interestingly two slices of cheese actually amounts to 202 calories and over 15g of fat. Just saying. Scarily the Smarties sandwich has 24 less calories and 8.9g less fat than the cheese version.
I am not trying to defend the Smarties sandwich, just trying to rationalise our reaction to it, and remember there are plenty of other choices which look okay and are far more common, but in reality aren’t great if you look at the stats.
Anyway, I write a blog about that contains a lot of chocolate / crisps / bad-for-you food, so I felt it best to actually try out this emotive snack. I wasn’t sure about measures, but I did discover that the whole tube of Smarties covered the bread rather well. My local newsagent only had the limited edition pink Smarties, which are created to help fund raise for breast cancer care, so yet another reason why this sandwich isn’t all bad!
To be honest though the sandwich wasn’t great when it came to the crunch. For a start the Smarties run everywhere, as you pick up the bread it is disappointing to see the contents slip out and you have to mourn the lost chocolate. The texture is a bit weird too, I felt the Smarties were a bit too hard for a sandwich, and didn’t quite feel crunchy like a crisp sarnie or satisfying like a chip one. Smarties are best left in the tube, but if I was to offer some advice to any wannabe testers, I think I’d suggest some Nutella to help them stick! Please read this responsibly and remember a Smarties sandwich should be for occasional snacking purposes only! Normal Foodstuff Finds service will resume shortly... ;-)
By Cinabar

Friday, 3 February 2012

Kit Kat Chunky Peanut Butter [New] [Limited Edition] [By @Cinabar]


Wow – I can’t tell you how excited I am to have one of these bars sitting in front of me!
This Kit Kat Chunky Peanut Butter may be part of the new Limited Edition range of Kit Kat Chunkys currently frequenting our shelves, but we have seen this bar before in the UK. It was discontinued in 2009 to my dismay and replaced by the caramel version. If you too have been missing the bar, you now have a chance to get it back on to British shelves permanently! You can vote for its return on the Facebook page (there are some other choices on that page too – but seriously who cares about them).
So with some excitement I unpacked this fabulous bar. I found one giant Chunky stick, neatly marked so that it could be broken into three pieces. I snapped the first chunk off and had a look at the layers of wafer, chocolate and that warm beige blanket of peanut butter, and a smile appeared on my face.
As I sunk my teeth in the peanut butter and chocolate blended together and created a flavour match made in heaven. The smooth but thick paste of peanut butter brought a rich nuttiness and a touch of salt, it filled the senses, and blended with the sweet cocoa flavours. It’s so much more than a bar, it’s an experience for the taste buds. As the bar is in the Chunky range it feels wonderfully substantial and filling to get your teeth into. This is my little corner of chocolate heaven, and I do not understand why we don’t have more peanut butter and chocolate options available in the UK. It’s crazy, we are all missing out, if you don’t believe you need to hunt down this Kit Kat and see what chocolate bars could really be like!
This previously discontinued Kit Kat left a peanut butter shaped hole in my heart. I will be voting for the Kit Kat Chunky Peanut Butter daily and keeping my fingers crossed for its return.
On the off chance it doesn’t make it back, I’m guess I’m going to have to bulk buy the Limited Edition version... anyone know if you can freeze Kit Kats?
By Cinabar

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Kellogg's Totally Chocolatey Krave (Ocado) [By @NLi10]


First up - as requested on Twitter this is a picture of all the cereal I currently have in the house. I happened to mention I'd made a big Ocado order to stock up, but this isn't a particularly unusual amount for me to have (although I have been cutting down recently). There are also back up boxes of some of the staple cereals like Crunchy Nut Cornflakes.



And on to the review!


There are lots of competitions to find new flavours in snack food. Cinabar had a KitKat from one the other day! Essentially these are a Simon Cowell style way of getting the public to not only tell you which b(r)and they prefer, but also then feel like you have won when you have told them. It all originally stems from the kind of end-of-year poll that magazines do so they know what films to write most about next year to keep you buying it!

I've no objection to this approach, more cereal is good, and keeping the popular ones usually happens anyway.

This sees a double chocolate version of Krave vs a caramel chocolate version of Krave. I haven't eaten the right hand one yet so that will be for another day. In my last visit to the Krave Krusader's lair (when he didn't have a name and the cereal was pretty new) I remarked that the Asda own brand is cheaper, nicer and therefore better. I'll stick to comparing this to normal flavour Krave today though.

I'm not sure this double choc version is aimed at me, my tastes are drifting away from the sweet into the more balanced cereals. I like a good shreddie or the nice plain cornflake so overloading this with sweetness wasn't a great thing. That said it's quite nice, and would do well as a mixer cereal where you have a plain base cereal with something sweet or chocolatey on top. I think I prefer the original recipe Krave after this one bowl, but I'll keep munching on both boxes and give you a full review in a couple of weeks.
By NLi10