31 March 2017
I recently wrote about Oreo Thins, I felt these were an odd idea at the time, and couldn’t see the benefit of an extra thin biscuit. Having said that when I tried them I found them so easy to munch on that I actually really enjoyed them. This will be my second try at thin biscuits and these come in the form of McVitie’s Digestives Thins: Milk Chocolate Cappuccino edition.
I opened up the pack and was pleased to see a fair number of thin biscuits packed into the box. I pulled one out and one side is imprinted with the McVities logo and the other has a thin layer of chocolate. There was a sweet aroma of chocolate and coffee. I tucked in, and could find nothing wrong with the biscuits. I’m not sure why they didn’t take me as much as the Oreo thins, but I felt these just didn’t excel. They are by no means bad, but I didn’t think they had the wow factor. The cappuccino flavour was actually quite pleasing, but if you have an already thin Digestive biscuit you end up covering up that wonderful wheaty flavour.
I think the main pleasure in a Digestive biscuit is the wholesome wheat taste, and because these are thin downed the ratio to chocolate is different, and it is a bit more lost. I actually like the coffee and chocolate taste, but realised I wouldn’t have guessed it was a Digestive underneath. Perhaps this flavoured edition isn’t the best example of McVitie’s Digestives Thins; I did buy a box of the regular chocolate Thins too. I’ll report back, and see if those work any better.
30 March 2017
Garden centres are great for odd snack foods. They tend to have a few cheaper things targeted at the casual browser, and some decent present grade foods too. Today we have some Squirrel Sisters Raw Energy Bars that I picked up from Webbs last weekend. I grabbed these thinking they were pre-packaged brownies, but they are much fruitier than that as you will see.
First up we have the Cacao Brownie variety, which is what set me along the wrong path originally. You get two sticks at 82 calories a stick, which seems pretty hefty, but despite the friendly packaging and branding I think these ware intended for when you are out and about trekking or geocaching or similar.
They come in a pleasing little tray which means they are well protected and exactly as intended. Smart.
Because we like to share I chopped it up into 10 bite size chunks and shared them out. While not really being Brownie like at all it was certainly very pleasing and people were happy to help finish these. Only dissapointing if you wanted to eat chocolate brownie, if I'd gone in expecting a raw cacao fruit slice I'd have probably been more impressed. This has a lovely bite variety with nuts and fruit varying throughout. And the addition of currants didn't overpower the flavour which was good.
The raspberry ripple version confusingly was only 2% raspberry, but it was certainly the dominant flavour. This was similarly chopped and shared.
General consensus was that this was the more interesting of the two, with he sweetness and fruitiness being just that bit more prominent. Again the texture was very varied and you didn't finish eating for a while after that bite. Having shared them out I'm not sure just how filling these would be, but the four chunks I had were enough to keep me satisfied.
At £2.50 a pack these were not cheap, but as an occasional treat, or reward for suffering the trauma of the garden centre I think they can be justified.
29 March 2017
Alternative snacks abound this year so far! This Graze Seriously Spicy Thai Sriracha is a mixture of flavoured peas, half popped corn and jumbo salted corn. I do like flavoured peas and have recently enjoyed sriracha spiced peas elsewhere; however the addition of half popped corn may give more texture, whereas the jumbo corn something to get my chops around.
On opening the packet there was a very spicy chilli and garlic smell from the assortment inside. The red coated peas, half popped corn and jumbo corn visibly boiled red with malevolence. In short they looked hot and smelt hot. On first merged finger filled taste the crunchy mixture had a very tasty chilli spice, a medium to hot burn, a slightly salty edge in the flavour, with garlic towards and into the aftertaste. The burn quickly intensified with every mouthful until I was afraid to stop eating them. It was at this point I realised that I was starting to run out!
Information on the packet;
The 26g packet had 117 calories, with 4.2g of fat, 1.6g of sugar, and 0.4g of salt. Please see photograph for ingredients.
28 March 2017
Recently the lovely folk from Quaker Oats sent us some porridge to try. I have to admit it came at a particularly bad time in the Foodstuff Finds household and for one reason or another got a little over looked. Things have settled down here now and we finally got a moment to explore the goodies inside the hamper. These aren’t just any oats, these are space oats!
In honour of the fact that Buzz Aldrin enjoyed a bowl of oats on the morning he walked on the moon, Quaker Oats sent some of their porridge oats into space!
The sachet of porridge is the regular porridge apart from this respect. I decided to have myself a hearty breakfast and make myself a bowl of it. I really liked the fact that you can use the plastic sachet inside the sleeve to measure the milk in, there is a fill line, that means you don’t have to have the necessity of a measuring jug, which is handy if you are using the work microwave.
I’d forgotten how much I enjoy a bowl of Oats. The measure of milk was spot on for the texture, and I didn’t need to adjust it in any way. The porridge was creamy and satisfying, and I added a little jam just to give it an extra special feel. I was surprised to find that for the first time in ages I had made it to midday without being hungry. Usually at around 11.30am in our office the subject turns to what everybody is having for lunch, and we all wish away the last half an hour until our lunch break talking about food.
Big thanks to Quaker Oats for sending us the lovely samples of Space Oats, my morning was out of this world. ;-)
27 March 2017
I found these biscuits in Waitrose, and I looked at the packet for a little while before putting them into the basket. There was no “new” label on these, but I couldn’t help thinking if I had seen them before I would have bought them and already tried them. I love peanut butter. As I I had no recollection of ever trying them before I concluded that they must be new… but either way I was going to be taking them home.
I unwrapped the packet and had that thought that the biscuits looked small compared to the packet size. The plastic tray they are in spaces them out, but there are 8 round biscuits neatly laid out inside. I broke a pieces off one to check out the peanut butter content and was pleasantly surprised by just how much there was.
The biscuits are crunchy and the base biscuit has a mild creamy flavour. The chocolate isn’t too strong in taste, although there is a good coating. I think the main flavour of the peanut butter does just over power everything, and I don’t meant this as a criticism, far from it is why I ended up loving the biscuits so much. They are very good to eat, if you have a little place in your heart for peanut butter and chocolate these will go down very well. I pre-empted that I would love these biscuits so I bought two packs, and I’m really glad I did.
26 March 2017
While in Lichfield I spotted these pre-packaged boiled sweets in the Oxfam shop. I took them with me to Digital Dragon Games and popped them on their scenery for some photos.
The sweets are folded layers of lemon sweets, sherbet and possibly a few other things all lovingly parcelled into little lemony explosions.
And they are pretty good, they start off fairly tame and then go through peaks and troughs of flavour so you don't forget they are there. My only issue is that I wouldn't want to keep eating them one after the other. One of the great strengths of Fruit Polos was the joy of having a berry one followed by a citrus one and so on, the complimentary flavours mingling playfully.
While the range includes all kinds of jazzy flavours this box only has one.
These were in the sale when I picked them up fro 99p which was a steal. At the usual price of £2.40 I think I'd have to be a bit more selective - but I'd absolutely love a £5 jar with a mix of flavours for my office. In fact I've already had requests to pop back and see if they have any left at the bargain price.
A lovely, well branded idea which is interesting and something that certainly makes me want to find other things by the Ooh! Team.
25 March 2017
I've written about a couple or so of Red Rye ales recently, and Hook Norton Brewery, in Oxfordshire, produced this one. This 4.7% volume red ale had Maris Otter Pale malt, Crystal malt, Crystal Rye, Enzymic malt, and wheat malt added in the brewing. That's quite a list of malts there for a 330ml bottle, but it doesn't stop there, as oodles of fruitiness was promised on the label with Willamette, Sovereign, Citra, Amarillo and Chinook hops also being added in producing this Red Rye extravaganza. I seriously don't know how they fit it all into one bottle, but they did and now I'm slightly worried about opening it. The pressure of flavours in there must be ginormous.
After putting on some safety goggles from the shed, I apprehensively prized off the bottle top. The aromas from the top of the open bottle were lipsmackingly alluring. There was malt in the initial smell followed by a mountain of fruitiness from the sheer amount of hops added in the brewing. On pouring as expected the ale glowed a healthy glowing red. First taste was like being hit by a freight train of flavour, and it just didn't stop, just rolled straight over my tastebuds, over and over. There was thick malt, then fruitiness which a touch of bitterness from the hops, then sweet malt, then more fruitiness with a touch of citrus for a final whistle into the tunnel of my gob. The aftertaste oozed with fruity malty goodness. Wow! What a Red Rye ale extravaganza this is!
24 March 2017
Having recently had Katsu Curry a number of times out and at home it has quickly become a favourite meal for us. It consists of sticky rice, a piece of breaded chicken with a slightly spicy sauce covering it all over.
When I was browsing the new crisps in Marks and Spencer I was curious to see these new Chips flavoured with Katsu Curry. We picked up a bag and shared them out with sandwiches one lunch time. We didn't have a dip with them although afterwards realised it might have been a nice idea.
The crisps aren't potato based they are made with rice and maize, and shaped like slightly curled and bubbled squares, and you can see all the spices embedded in them.
They had a fairly mild flavour, and started off tasting quite creamy, which is in keeping with a Katsu curry. The heat did develop a little the more you munched and they ended up with a gentle warmth of chilli. The flavour I hadn't been expecting was the coriander and as that is one of my favourite herbs I thought these worked really well. The texture was a little dry, but they were pleasingly crunchy. I had also realised they are flavoured with just the sauce element of a Katsu Curry, and felt they would have been amazing if they had a hint of chicken in their too, but I do love meaty crisps!
23 March 2017
With cinema tie ins there are occasionally a few snack goodies, but I spotted a FaceBook sponsored post for a new movie that has gone the extra mile - Krispy Kremes!
These are of course themed Krispy Kremes for the Power Rangers movie which from the trailer appears to be a total reboot of the whole thing - and it looks pretty reasonable considering the original series...
The box is pretty cool - lots of Branding, lots of movie shots.
The doughnuts are essentially the chocolate topped white cream doughnuts, but with a lovely glittery topping and a chunky icing lightning bolt on top. Cool design, but the flavour is the same as it ever was.
And the thing is it's kind of enough! Krispy Kremes really don't need much changing from the classic formula and the addition of the cosmetic glitter and the crunch of the bolt is pretty cool. There are only 500 dozens in the UK and this weekend is the last one to try them so Go Go if you are a big fan.
22 March 2017
Always on the lookout for healthy alternative snacks to crisps and nuts, these Pea Snacks seem to fit the bill nicely. They were specially produced for ALDI by Passion Deli, were baked not fried, and are gluten free and a good source of protein. That all sounds very healthy, but do they taste good? Well there was only one way to find out. On opening the packet there was a heavy chilli pepper smell from the runner bean shaped pea pocked greenish baked rice coated slightly paprika orange coloured snacks (see photograph). They looked like someone had pushed Kermit the Frog through a mini sausage making machine and then stuck him in an oven to make sure!
The slightly crunchy coated pea snacks had an initial cayenne peppery taste which tickled my nose hairs on first bite. After this primary nostril teasing there was then a sweet chilli flavour lending a medium burn to my mouth followed by a mild ginger taste and a hint of peas, with that pesky cayenne pepper moving all the way through into the aftertaste. This chilli burn increased whilst I gobbled the packet, making my nose run a little. Still these Pea Snacks are flavoursome, rather than some chilli snacks and sauces that attempt to burn your mouth out without having any real flavour. So if you fancy a healthy, tasty alternative snack that may make your nose run a little, these Pea Snacks could be for you.
Information on the packet;
The 21g packet contains 87 calories, having 2.7g of fat, 0.8g of sugar and 0.23g of salt. See photograph for ingredients.
21 March 2017
You know that feeling when you buy something online and it doesn't quite match up to its picture... well that is sort of what happened here for me. I spotted on the Morrisons website that Aunt Bessie had brought out a new Knickerbocker Glory dessert. Aunt Bessie’s aren't particularly a make known for being low fat, in fact I associate them with good food that is a bit of a treat. Think goose fat covered roast potatoes, and even huge apple pies. With this knowledge, and not looking at the online listing of a photo of a box shot for more than a second, I had made a series of subconscious assumptions. This meant that I was planning at the back of my head how to rearrange the top drawer of the freezer in order to fit in huge ice cream based goodies, and trying to work out where the extra long spoons were. When the delivery man came, he dropped off a small box with two equally small mini desserts in it. Such a disappointment. A Knickerbocker Glory is a dessert consisting of cream, ice cream, fruit and sauces, served in a long tall glass - basically it is the sundae of all sundaes, this however was not. It was in a very short pot, with not a lot of room to pack many goodies in at all. There was no glory in this Knickerbocker Glory.
Quite why Aunt Bessie has ventured into the world of portion controlled desserts is beyond me, there are lots of low calorie / low fat options available, I think an occasional indulgence should be allowed.
Disappointment number two came when it was time to tuck into the Knickerbocker Glories, and I went to get them out of the freezer, to eat straight away and it said to defrost them for 20-30minutes. I’m not patient either, and I just assumed an ice cream based dessert would be ready to eat. Oh well. When we did finally get to them they were pleasant enough. The flavours were quite muted, with lots of vanilla. The topping was like that in a cheesecake, so even this seemed to have been made with health in mind. The fruity sections were nice and the taste of peaches and pears were a good edition.
I’m just not sure what market this is going for, I’m not sure that those shopping for calorie controlled portions would give them a second glance, and those of us after a proper Knickerbocker Glory won’t be sufficed either.
20 March 2017
In the heart of Camden’s stables, Shaka Zulu takes you out of the city for a moment and transports you to South Africa. The restaurant is on two levels and has a great, entertaining atmosphere.
We first had cocktails at the bar, all of which had interesting flavours. We tried the Shark Alley (vodka, pomegranate and rosemary) and the Safari Martini (gin, elderflower and passionfruit). They were strong in flavour without being too intense and these were a great way to start the evening.
For the first course we tried the beef carpaccio and the lamb samosa’s. The beef was incredibly tender, with an added tanginess from the goats cheese purée. The lamb samosa’s came in a really delicate pastry, with great quality lamb.
We then had the spatchcock chicken, which came with a dipping gravy. The chicken was really moist and the gravy added a delicious side note.
We also had the kingklip which was cajun spiced- this added a really great kick. We also shared the peri peri fries - which had a perfectly generous amount of seasoning.
For desert we had the dark chocolate tart with honeycomb crackling. This had a real rich flavour, and the honey comb added a sweetness. The scoop of cream kept it all fresh!
There was live music which started playing, which again really created a great atmosphere.
I would definitely recommend giving Shaka Zulu a visit, as there are so many incredible dishes to try.
19 March 2017
Occasionally on Food Stuff Finds I come across items in the store that I know are going to be disappointing, the only question is the exact nature of that disappointment and it's scale. A slightly different multi nationality store has opened up near me in Cape Hill, Birmingham and instead of buying all the wonderful Turkish baked goods, and even passing up 4 fresh naan for a pound I went for the children snacks.
Up for review then in today's Disappointment Wars is a bag of Romanian crisps with a toy, and a knock off Pokemon Go surprise egg. Both were around the same price of 50p. The challenge is this - which has the most disappointing food element, and which has the most disappointing toy element? Would either actually be considered good value?
Place your bets now!
Gusto I've not seen before, the internet assures me that it's Romanian. This is essentially a bag of puffed up crisps, where the single appealing factor on the packaging is the Mega Surprise toy. The bag is 59p though - and it's pretty large too. Factoring in the price of the crisps, and that some poor lorry driver had to drive these over from the mainland the prizes seem unrealistic.
If I got a pound-shop Barbie, a knock off Toy Story set - or the holy grail - a Gusto Lorry and then the crisps are worth 9p then that's got to be a win, right? Surely it's not in their best interest to show these things unless they are actually in the bag. At this point I'm assuming that they are tiny, and made of that really cheap brittle plastic.
This Pokemon Go themed egg is not made by Kinder, or Nintendo or Niantic or anyone associated with anything other than cutting and pasting pictures off the internet. For a start the two Pokemon pictured aren't in the game yet - Piplup & Smugleaf are Gen 5 Pokemon and they are on Gen 2!
There were other wrappers available (indeed some of them were non Pokemon themed which means I'm not holding out for a knock off plastic Charmander) I think those were Disney style things. I'll bet these are a more normal import and can be found in many corner shops so there may be less money going into import here and could lead to higher quality goods.
So lets open them up!
And here is the first surprise - this thing is pretty large! Yes it's cheap plastic, and the detail is all fairly basic, but this actually looks like a toy. If you'd gotten one of the plastic cars then It'd be fairly basic but OK. The lorry (and the tank that was hiding at the bottom) would have been pretty cool desk toys. This is a little babyish and doesn't really bob up and down as it's supposed to do when you wheel it. If you gave this to a child under 6 it would at least hold their attention on the drive home from the supermarket. Confusing, but not a disappointment!
The crisps are essentially packing peanuts, with a little salt. They dissolve in the mouth and the aftertaste isn't offensive. I wouldn't really pay 10p for the bag of them though. I will probably put these in the communal snack area at work to generate confusion.
Interestingly though, their appearance and the size of the toy means they could rebrand this as an unboxing! You get your pretend Amazon parcel and rummage through the packing peanuts to find out what gift you got. Oh! It's a child's beetle toy! And you can even eat the packing peanuts if you really want to.
I'm sure this has been imported due to some nostalgia value and not as I initially hoped because the crisps are good. Seems a quick google confirms this - I suspect that over 90% of the crisps end up in the bin.
59p then is fair. I mean - you wouldn't actually buy the toy for 50p if you saw it, or the crisps for 10p if you'd tried them. I don't feel ripped off, and I was mildly surprised by the prize.
Score: Mild Surprise
You can watch someone open a whole load of the bags here. I'd say looking that their ten toys that mine was one of the worst available - they had Marvel AND Pokemon rip-offs on offer. Pretty much any of those toys would have risen the score sharply and caused repeat purchases. Still tempting.
The prize from the Pokemon Go egg was a three piece construction project that gave you this football pencil topper. I put it on a pencil *liberated* from the Aston Villa football hospitality suite during a conference, but even AVFC's poor run of form doesn't deserve this. Even if you found a person that liked football, and whose team played in the odd choice of blue and yellow (I can't think of one?), and still uses pencils I think they'd be disappointed. The capsule was so flimsy it went straight in the recycling - not even sturdy enough to give to the cats. I may have to drop the whole thing int he recycling - it's not something I could assign any value to at all.
And yet. Somehow..
The chocolate is actually worse...!
It looks like chocolate, but it tastes like it's made with oil and sugar and artificial brown. I'd feel bad letting the people at work eat this (I let my partner try some to confirm I wasn't being a chocolate snob, some-day she may forgive me). This makes the Gusto packing peanuts seem more like food. I'm not even labelling this review with the tag chocolate because frankly it isn't chocolate. This brown goo would make children cry.
All of the 50p asking price seems to have gone on the foil. The foil is very pretty - in fact the most suitable way to deal with this product is to smooth out the foil, keep that and to bin everything that it contained!
Score: Abject Disappointment
The only reason I can't score this lower was that my expectations were pretty low going in. And the item still was disappointing.
So this means that it's a landslide victory for the Gusto offering. Even though I got no pleasure, only surprise, and don't intend to eat the actual food.
I'm off to watch more Gusto pack opening videos on YouTube and to lament that I got a toddler's beetle toy and not the Hulk Vs Batman rip-off playset (an actual prize in the video!)
18 March 2017
This is a pretty posh sounding beer from Marks and Spencer's. The Meantime Brewing Company brewed Maritime Salted Caramel Porter in Greenwich, London. The sea theme on the label compliments the name of the beer, and of course location of the brewery nearby the London Maritime Museum. Cinabar and I visited there some year's back and also the Cutty Sark, and had a very good time indeed, so I'd recommend it.
Anyway, seven malts and hops were added in the brewing of this 5.5% dark brown porter using a recipe that dates back to 1750. A Belgian twist was then added in the form of salted caramel. I've had caramel in some form or other in beer before, but not salted as far as I can remember. There was a heady chocolate malt smell on opening the 330ml bottle, with a hint of caramel and citrusy hops, and the lightest intimation of salt on really giving the full glass a good deep sniff. You find yourself sniffing all sorts of open bags and bottles when you're a blogger!
In fact the malted chocolate flavour was in the initial taste. There was also a hint of coffee next to the initial chocolate malt flavour. Then the citrus bitterness of the hops kicked in, although quickly giving way to a sweet yet salty caramel flavour. This porter certainly has a complex journey of flavours from malted chocolate and undertones of coffee to sweet and salty caramel finish, and it is very nice indeed. The label recommends some caramel brownie type pudding or other to enjoy this beer with. I'd recommend you drink it on it's own or with a good milk chocolate caramel bar, of which I may go and hunt out from my snacking corner now…
17 March 2017
This is one of two new Dairy Milk editions, and I have to admit it was hard to choose which one to open first. Both new bars from Cadbury are Oreo themed, there is this one which is flavoured with Mint Oreo biscuits, and another based on Peanut Butter Oreos. I am a big fan of both mint and peanut butter, but tonight I felt like that I was more in the mood for something minty, so the other bar will have to wait (but not too long).
When I opened the wrapper I was surprised by just how strong the mint smell was, it was wonderfully aromatic and appealing. The bar itself looked from the ooutside like a regular Cadbury Dairy Milk bar, with no obvious clue to it's filling. Once I had broken a pieces off I soon saw the minty green filling inside, and the pieces of dark Oreo biscuits. Even visually I could spot that there was a high ratio of minty green stuff to cookie pieces.
The Mint Oreo Dairy Milk was indeed very minty in flavour. It had a good peppermint taste, it was quite strong and very refreshing. The bar was quite sweet too, and the mint and chocolate flavours worked well together. There was a lovely mix of textures from the soft mint stuff filling, to the crunchy biscuit and firmer chocolate. The bars definitely had more mint taste than Oreo, the biscuit flavour is a bit lost, but the crunch from it combined with the strong mint flavour is still a fab combination. I like mint and chocolate and as this had plenty of mint, and lovely textures I found it a delight. Can’t wait to try the Cadbury Peanut Butter Dairy Milk next.
16 March 2017
When out wandering the wilds of England it's wise to take something a little bit more sustaining with you. I spotted these in the new section on the Ocado app and figured I'd give them a try.
I'm sure we've had TREK bars before but these are flapjacks not cereal bars, and with 9g of protein too it can certainly help with all that muscle growth from climbing hills. Or in our case sitting around in an office. I don't really have any walks planned at the moment so we just tried them out.
They are described as delicious, filling, nourishing and real - at least one of which is hopefully true. We've not reviewed many imaginary snacks so far!
It's also vegan and gluten free which is good to know (even if it should hopefully be obvious from the ingredients you'd be surprised what gets snuck into food).
At first glance it seems a bit skimpy on the chocolate, but it's nicely strong stuff so you get the flavour if not a thick soft topping. The underside is a little bit like a cross between a cereal bar and a flapjack and doesn't have much moist softness. The flavour is decent, but the whole thing is maybe a little unsatisfying.
The coconut version is essentially the same, but with added coconut. The review group generally preferred the flavour of this one but we all agreed that it just didn't fill the gap.
I think that as a snack these are ok, but if I was to take something on a walk with me I'd want it to be more substantial.
15 March 2017
Sometimes I want something to snack on other than crisps. Don’t get me wrong because I love crisps. I reckon I couldn’t give them up if my life depended on it. Although I did give up smoking nearly twenty years ago, and overly boozing around the same time, and thought beforehand that I probably couldn’t give them up. Due to a change in dietary necessities I had to give up nuts a few years back, and cravings for coated salted peanuts still haunt me. Fortunately that hasn’t happened with crisps, but I do like to hunt around for alternative snacks to widen the range of my snacking. This Quinoa grain snack from the Eat Real range by Cofresh, in Leicester, is rather ostentatiously flavoured Sundried Tomato and Roasted Garlic flavour.
There was quite a heady garlic odour on opening the packet, which made me worry a little, as I was eating these wavy grain chips at work with my lunch. Never mind, my afternoon meeting sounded really boring so if I breathe over everyone it should shorten the conversation! Tomato came secondary in the smell, which was unusual to my senses as tomato can often be quite strong in crisp flavours, and this heightened the anticipation of a shorter meeting. On first crunchy tasty the initial tomato blast took over from the garlic in the race to my tastebuds. It certainly tasted like sundried tomato to me, and then came the garlic arriving for second podium and travelling into the aftertaste. These Quinoa grain chips are very tasty indeed. I hope to find some other flavours, but for now I’ll go and breathe all over my colleagues…
Information on the packet;
The 30g packet contains 165 calories, with 8.7g of fat, 0.9g of sugar, and 0.63g of salt. Suitable for Vegans, please see photograph for ingredients.