25 September 2017

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



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



24 September 2017

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

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

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


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


We bagged it as instructed


And popped it in the microwave as instructed.

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


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


Popcorn is mostly white!


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

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

23 September 2017

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


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

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

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

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

22 September 2017

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



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

21 September 2017

Monster Hydro - Red and Green (Beyond The Tracks, Birmingham) @bttfestival by @NLi10

Free stuff is just the best.  Walking into Birmingham's new Beyond The Tracks festival on the Sunday we were given four brightly coloured bottles of the new Monster Hydro Drink.  While I consider the hyper-calorific hyper-stimulant drinks to be a massive public health problem that is far more dangerous than alcohol, on a day out where I'm likely to need more stimulation and energy I think these are fair game.  


I mean its not like I'm going to be drinking these on a daily basis - even if these are the non-carbonated 'hydration' versions.  So what makes them special?


It's the next generation of refreshing energy drinks of course! Well, that's what the blurb says.  It's only lightly sweetened so it doesn't taste like organ failure anymore, which is nice, but there is still far too much artificial crap in here to be anything other than oily sugar-water.  Why bother triple filtering the water when you are adding 11% glucose syrup and coconut and rape seed oil?  There are a few token vitamins, but they don't add D for some reason - is that too helpful?

But that's not what these are here for, we aren't supposed to be enjoying the drink or getting nutritional benefits - these are basically legal highs and as an arthritic man at a festival I'm going to require all the stimulation possible to make it through to the main event.

The flavours are "Melon Bacardi Breezer" and "nondescript green" and are both forgettable.  Yes - you get a slight initial caffeine buzz like you left the teabag in for too long.  Yes - after a while the body metabolises the other caffeine derivatives and the fatigue appears to be gone.  I stood at the front (as in right by the barrier) for Wild Beasts and had a good time.  There was not much dancing (it's a festival, you always seem to be surrounded by people essentially waiting for the later bands), or knowing of the songs by most people near me, but I had a little sing and recorded some 4K video for later remembering purposes.  Thing is, i never once got any pleasure from drinking these. Poccari Sweat is a joy to drink, and even the ones that thought they reduced stress and acted as brain training had interesting flavours.  The job of these is to make you not notice that you finished them and to then just crack open the next one and keep gaming (i mean partying with the cool kids - honest).

It's worth mentioning at this point that the festival itself was really well organised and a pleasure to attend.  The food on site was cheap for a festival, and even the drinks were good value.  I found a little yellow van selling pizza.


£7 for a pizza with real ingredients on it that was freshly cooked and took a lot less time than expected was pretty good.  This would have been £10 at Latitude!


Yes - they didn't slice it effectively enough (despite me asking) so it was a faff to eat with my malfunctioning hands in a field but the flavour (club sandwich - chicken AND Bacon) and ingredients were spot on. No complaints.  I recommended it so throughly that my partner had one (veggie) before the main event.


Editors are always good live, and while I don't get the same nostalgia hit from the new material they did talk about the old days in Kings Heath and the Flapper so I felt appreciated too. As you can tell from the barrier I'd flashed my wobbly person credentials at security by this point and moved my chair on to the accessibility platform (as there was a lot of space and by this point the Monster had worn off).

I think I drank about 1 1/2 of the Monster bottles and made it through about 4 hours of the festival before crashing which isn't actually all that long.  Maybe i'm just too tired, and maybe I needed the extra sugar that the cancer-can versions with all of the unnecessary calories provide.

We gave the other two bottles away to curious work colleagues and I have no intention of ever paying for this.  It just wasn't nice or that effective.  It's like a more grown-up version of Sunny Delight where there is a lot of things in there to make it a habit forming drink.  I'd probably not recommend it to anyone.

Unlike the festival - we should all go on the guitars day again next year - it was fab!


20 September 2017

Thor Dry Apple and Ginger Spritz (@DegustaboxUK @thordrinks) By @SpectreUK


I'm still hobbling around on crutches after an operation on my knee and sort of stuck upstairs through sheer wobbliness trying go up and down them. So I asked Cinabar to find me a suitably healthy blog out of all the snacks and drinks I have piled up downstairs. She came back with this Dry Apple and Ginger Spritz, from Thor Drinks, in London. Described as having a 'blend of apple and warm spice', Cinabar probably couldn't have found a healthier sounding drink. However, as I'm up here and she's down there, I'll have to take her word for it!

On opening the bottle there was a pleasant fizz from the carbonated water in the ingredients. There was an instant juicy apple smell from the pinkish liquid inside. The fizz got up my nose sniffing the bottle opening too much to retrieve much more than the mildest of hints from the ginger. Oh well, it did say 'warm spice', whereas I'm used to fire breathing bottles of ginger beer that burn the hairs in my nostrils. No super ginger spice was warned or promised of here, so I couldn't expect any. Having said that, a warm spice there was indeed. This warm spice tickled my nose hairs on first taste which mixed with the juicy sweet apple, and ran straight into the aftertaste. This is a very refreshing, lightly fizzy, tasty apple and warmly spiced drink. I'd recommend over ice, but I haven't been given a bell to ring and my phone is just too far away to hobble to…

Information on the label;
This 275ml bottle contains 69 calories, with 0g of fat, 0g of salt and 15.7g of sugar. Ingredients included; carbonated water, apple juice from concentrate (6.5%), cane sugar, natural apple flavouring, natural ginger flavouring, citric acid, and natural food colourings.

19 September 2017

Morrisons Sweet Cola Ketchup (@Morrisons) By @Cinabar


When Spectre looked at this bottle he didn’t quite see anything significant, but all ketchups are sweet he remarked. Then his eyes scanned the bottle correctly and he saw the word “Cola”, and I could tell he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. What a curious idea from Morrisons, Sweet Cola Ketchup. It is in their own brand range too.
I love cola, I drink it quite often and like it is different varieties, vanilla, citrus, etc. It is unusual for a food product to be flavoured with cola though, and I haven’t seen cola in a ketchup before. First try I decided to have it with chips, what better way to try out a ketchup?
The flavour of the cola was still predominantly tomato, but there was a definite tang of cola, giving this a heavier aftertaste. It wasn’t far off the rich flavour of molasses you might associate with a brown sauce, but was still sweet and full of tomato so I still rather enjoyed it. In theory I don’t like brown sauce, but for some reason I really enjoyed this ketchup, it is sort of a half way house. Sweet like ketchup, but tangy enough for brown sauce fans to enjoy it too. I have tried Morrisons Sweet Cola Ketchup with steak and chips, and it worked a dream. I have also had it on a bacon and egg sandwiches and it was pure heaven. I’m hoping this isn’t a novelty and it stays available on the shelves for some time to come.

18 September 2017

Kettle Discoveries New York Deli with Pastrami, Dill Pickle and Mustard (Sainsburys) By @cinabar


I think we are quite lucky in the UK when it comes to new crisps flavours. Whenever I browse the crisps aisle in the supermarket I’m always excited about some new flavour, which is impressive considering how many crisps we've written about in the past. These sounded particularly fun and like quite a complex flavour. Trying to pack in all of the ingredients of New York Deli with Pastrami, Dill Pickle and Mustard onto a single crisp sounded like it was going to be rather impressive.


We were sharing the bag so I poured some out onto plates to have with our mix of sandwiches. The crisps are fairly thickly cut, and a good size. The aroma from them was mild and just a little herby.
One of our food testers didn't know what the actual flavour was and so blind tested them, barbecue she guessed. That sounded a bit odd so I tried one too and had to admit there was a deep smokiness to these crisps. They had a tang of gherkin from the dill pickle, and a nice herby flavour, but what I couldn't pick up on was the pastrami. This was a shame as I love meaty crisps and felt that element was lacking or just too mild. Don't get me wrong these are not bad crisps. The mix of herbs, pickle and smokiness made them very enjoyable. For me though I didn't think there was enough pastrami or meatiness to the flavour.

17 September 2017

4 Hand-made Chocolate Truffles (Gloucester Motorway Services) by @NLi10


The twin farm-shop services of Gloucester and West-Morland (Tebay) feature heavily in our holiday plans as you can guarantee that you'll find some wonderful food to review.  These presents were brought back when dropping off our friend for his 9 day Land's End to John O'Groats cycle ride.

While cycling at all is out of the question for me, I think I can cope with some hand-made chocolate truffles.  So lets have a good look - in what will hopefully be order of strength so they don't overpower each other.


Raspberry and coconut



This is what you expect to find in fresh, hand made chocolates.  The centre is almost a fruit sponge its so fresh.  The very fruity, almost liquid centre is molten before you even come near it and the flavours just pop out of it.  The white chocolate then hits with the coconut texture and flavour to finish.  A definite hit.



Praline 



This was very similar to the Ferrero Rocher and Kinder Bueno of the bunch, albeit with a slightly richer flavour.  As you'd expect everything was just that little bit fresher and crisper so the textures were more pleasing.  The praline in the centre was perhaps the least noticeable here, with the smooth slightly nutty flavour being dominated by the outer.  I'd happily eat more of these to see how the flavour changes with each hand-rolled bite.


Sea salt caramel



The caramel in this really is the clincher - if you aren't a fan then you won't be a fan of the whole thing - and for me it's a little too salty.  As you can see in the pic (this is the front one) the caramel is very runny and the chocolate case very thick so it's as good a quality as the others, but neither myself or my partner were fans of the flavour of the caramel so this was the least enjoyed of the bunch.

Dark Chocolate & Orange

Covered in white dust (and at the back of the picture above) this one had the most solid oaf all the centres.  After the caramel I feared that this too would be slightly too 'flavoursome' as sometimes the orange can be a bit acidic, but it wasn't too powerful.  I'd have maybe preferred a little more texture to it (orange peel or similar maybe) to make it linger, but as it is this was a nice melty orange sensation.


Overall I think that we started with the best, I could eat a packet of the raspberry ones!  That said I think if you were sharing these as a group that each one would find a favourite and that none would go to waste.  They aren't the cheapest things going though so it's probably best just to have a set as an occasional mid-journey treat.


16 September 2017

Craft Beer Chocolates (Marks & Spencer’s) By @SpectreUK


I apologise to regular readers who may be expecting some form of a beer blog today. This is "some form of a beer blog", but not the bottled variety. Normal services will resume next week, but unfortunately I am laid up today after an operation on my knee yesterday. I was told by the clinicians that I am not to have alcohol for twenty-fours after surgery, because the anaesthetic is still in my system, so trying to be sensible (of rather being policed by Cinabar and her mom), I've had to abstain for the day.


These Craft Beer Chocolates are set in three flavours of twelve cute chocolate beer pint glasses (see photograph). There are two flavours in milk chocolate and one in dark chocolate. before tasting I imagined the London Porter beer would be the dark chocolate, as porters are generally darker in colour and are often brewed with chocolate malt, whereas the Cornish Pale Ale and Maritime Salted Caramel beer have been added to the milk chocolates.

From top to bottom I decided to try the milk chocolate with the light brown head, which on popping into my mouth was just about the best chocolatey thing I've eaten for ages. I could tell there was barley in there amongst the succulent milk chocolate, but no saltiness, so figured the top pint glass chocolate was Cornish Pale Ale. The next milk chocolate beer glass was with a white top. There was a subtle hint here on biting when this chocolate pint glass was filled with gooey salted caramel. There was also a hint of barley in amongst the flavour. Really very gooey and tasty. The last of the chocolate beer glasses was the dark chocolate. The London Porter beer. This was very definitely flavoured with porter. There were heavier undertones of chocolate malt here, and with a soft centre to bite into. Mmmm…

These chocolate pint glasses are not just a novelty. They are a really good M&S novelty. They'd be a classic after dinner treat to those that want a chocolatey snack before moving to the real pints of whatever your pleasure is. If you're off beer for a day, this is clearly the way to go. I couldn't help but save the rest for tomorrow though, as I'm back on the beer and I'm sure I can find a perfect match from the bottles in my collection that will go very well with them. I shall first look for a fitting porter!

15 September 2017

Tab x Tab Review (Coffee Shop) By Fey


You can’t miss Tab x Tab as you’re walking down Westbourne Grove, as I saw as more and more passers-by came to look around. The coffee shop has a beautiful outdoor area and the inside is interior design at it’s best. The space is open with lots of greenery and every aspect has been meticulously chosen - from the designers of the crockery and the trays to the preference of clear milk jugs vs metal. Customers can browse over School of Life books and cards as well as beauty and grooming products.


I was greeted by Lucas, who’s knowledge of the art of coffee making is extraordinary. This passion and the willingness to share with each customer is what creates the unique experience at Tab xTab.


First I was given an Ethiopian filter coffee. Whilst many coffee houses may show a preference for this in espresso form, I learnt that a filtered coffee retains it’s caffeine for longer as it has more time to mix with the water. It allows for a delicate taste with still a burst of energy. It was truly easy to drink, and I can imagine how this would be a great kick start for the day.


To balance things out, I then tried a matcha tea. This was in it’s purest form, unlike the latte’s that are commonly sold. Milk actually diminishes the antioxidants of the matcha. I had mine with just water and ice for a naturally refreshing drink. The richer the colour, the richer the taste and the benefits. This drink is perfect for a sustained, natural wave of energy.


Next, it was time for an espresso made from Brazilian coffee beans. This had an incredibly intense and nutty flavour. Paired with an Amaretto biscuit, this had the richest flavour, without being overbearing.


To finish, I was given the same coffee with milk, in a latte form. This was incredibly easy to drink and the milk really brought out the nutty flavour - especially when drunk alongside the a brownie bite. I was also able to see where the magic happens, thanks to the state of the art machine - one of the very few in London.

All the bevarages I tried at Tab x Tab complimented each other really well. I left feeling relaxed and ready for the day, thanks to both the kick of the caffeine and the kind and friendly staff. I’d definitely recommend a visit and soaking up the atmosphere.

14 September 2017

Jack Daniels BBQ sauce by @NLi10


Doesn't that just look fantastic? The very idea of a Jack Daniel's BBQ sauce had me jumping for joy - and I've never been one of those people who has a favourite whiskey (there aren't many vodka flavoured dips for some reason).


Interestingly it's for sale to over 18s only as while not technically alcoholic it does promote the use of alcohol. Drink (and eat) responsibly snack-heads!


In fact there is more onion purée in here than JD, which is probably fine - I mean there are certain tastes I associate with a BBQ and slightly crispy onions is one of them.


I tried some with some of the amazing Fry's nuggets and was amazed to find that the sauce wasn't that exciting. I'm not sure whether I expected it to taste more like HP or Worcester sauce but there is just a feint smokey taste to it. I certainly wouldn't have blind taste test told you that this had any Jack Daniel's in it at all. Confusing. 


I've added it to other things that I would like to taste of BBQ since and it's a similar effect, it's like the BBQ dripping you get on pizza (note to self - drizzle this on pizza) and not really a dipping sauce. I wasn't sure whether it was for use on a BBQ but then why would it be smokey - for when you do a gas BBBQ? Who knows. I got a second, spicier flavour in the same PR parcel so I'll press on and try that too - hopefully with some of the recipes off their site, but I don't hold out too much hope.

13 September 2017

Manomasa Manchego & Green Olive Tortillas (@DegustaboxUK) By @SpectreUK


These Manomasa Manchego & Green Olive tortillas were cheekily produced in the UK with very Spanish and Mediterranean feels to them. Flavoured with green olives, roasted pimiento peppers and dried Manchego cheese, these tortillas were made with white corn masa, which was gradually toasted for a flaked texture. The description on the back of the packet and the image of peppers, cheese and sliced olives made my mouth water. However, crunchy as tortillas generally are, they can have a habit of being a little dry unless dipped in a good spicy hot beef chilli con carne or a sour crème dip. I can’t stand guacamole dip… it reminds me of a Gremlin shoved in a blender! Anyway, although the packet states that these tortillas are the perfect shape for dipping, having nothing to hand asides my lunch sandwiches, I was interested to find if the mouth-watering ingredients could live up to my fairly unrealistic expectations.
There was a strong cheesy smell on opening the packet with a hint of pepper from the long thin red and green flecked strips of tortilla. The tortillas are quite slim line so I wondered what strength they would have for dipping into a thick creamy sauce or with minced meat and rice piled high on top of them. However, from the taste of these tortillas they didn’t need to be dipped. In fact it may be a crime. The cheese is still as dominant in the initial flavour as it was in the aroma on opening the packet. It’s like eating the crisp version of cheese on toast. The olives mixed with the flavour of the cheese and the roasted peppers gave a light spicy kick at the end of the flavour running into the aftertaste. These Manomasa Manchego & Green Olive tortillas did make my mouth water with their Mediterranean flavour and I would certainly have these again.
Information on the packet;
The 40g bag contained 205 calories, with 11.7g of fat, 0.7g of sugar, and 0.48g of salt. Not suitable for Vegetarians. Please see photograph for ingredients.

12 September 2017

Green & Black’s Velvet Edition Raspberry & Hazelnut Dark Chocolate (Sainsburys) By @Cinabar


This is the new bar from Green and Black, a brand known for being Fair-trade and usually organic. Interestingly this bar has neither of those logos on the packet, which is a first for the brand. This has caused a bit of controversy in the chocolate world, it seems a step away from their usual stance. It does have a new “Cocoa Life” logo which is about sustainable farming, but it doesn’t quite feel like the same thing. I don’t really want to get into the ins and outs of the detail of that, I think I’d just like to focus on the taste.
The bar is split into large flat pieces, with a neat bean style symbol on each one. There are hints of the ingredients showing through. I was a little bugged that all the pieces weren’t the same size, it makes it so much easier for sharing. The bar had quite a firm snap when I broke the pieces off, but it wasn’t too hard.
The flavour of the chocolate is impressively rich, the dark chocolate is full of flavour. There seems to be so many dark cocoa tones packed in that it was a lovely flavour sensation. The chocolate had a clean melt, which feels smooth but doesn’t coat the tongue thickly. This means it doesn’t feel as lush as a thick milk chocolate, but the texture works better with the stronger taste. The sharpness off raspberry does off set the dark flavour, mixing it up with a lovely fruity tang. It isn’t overpowering, but that hint of acidic berry was a match made in heaven. The hazelnut element is a mild taste but this element brings a pleasing crunch and texture to the chocolate. All in all I found this to be the poshest of fruit and nut chocolate bars, and an absolute must for dark chocolate fans. Whatever the reasoning behind the change in labels, the fact remains Green and Blacks know how to make good chocolate.

11 September 2017

New Oyster, Chilli and Lemon Crisps (Yorkshire Crisps @YorkshireCrisps) By @Cinabar


As much as I have a love for meaty favour crisps, a subcategory of that favourite is fish flavoured ones. I’m not sure I could be more excited about the idea of Oyster crisps, they are the gold of the seafood world.
Although I don't think Yorkshire is particularly synonymous with Oysters, these crisps are made by the Yorkshire Crisp company. This means that they are in a posh tub to protect them. Along with Oyster these crisps are also flavoured with chilli and lemon, which are perfect accompaniments.
Despite being quite posh these crisps aren’t too thickly cut, and instead had enough texture without being hard.
The seasoning is mild, with the oyster being the most dominant, giving these a lovely fish flavour, that is brought out by the acidic lemon juice and a spot of warmth from the chilli. Don’t worry these crisps are not hot, they just have a hint of spice but the delicate oyster flavour is not overpowered. They were very tasty, and I enjoyed every single one, and couldn't help thinking it was a shame to have to share! If you grew up on scampi flavoured crisps, these posh crisps are the more mature natural progression and I for one can’t wait to get my hands on another tub.

10 September 2017

Savian (it's a bit like Bombay Mix) (by @NLi10)

The mini-markets near me are predominantly Asian or Eastern European.  This means that while buying muffins or waffles can mean trying multiple shops (I had to go to Iceland after trying 5 other smaller places on the way) you are sure to find some more regional snacks to review.

I saw a tub of what I would call Bombay Mix in the first place I went in, but it was far too large for a single person.  Further back in the store I found what can only be described as a selection of other mixes - only one of which was Bombay - there were all kinds of variations!  I feel like some poor uneducated westerner, having used the terminology wrong all this time.  They all seemed to be savoury snacks and the majority appeared to have some kind of spice.  I chose Savian because I like noodle shaped things, and it has Tumeric in it which is apparently good for my arthritis.


In the bag it looks like a pretty huge portion at 400g but I'm likely to have people round at some point so it'll get eaten.  The wrapper is too similar to the bags that the dry cat food comes in so any time I pour some out I get a lot of unwanted attention from our 4.



The back has a list of all the other varieties I could have had, a lot seeming more filling than this with lentils and dried fruit.  It's been years since I've had savoury snacks like this that were not just crisps so simple is best I feel.



They have a good colour too and seem to have stayed fresh in their journey all the way from Bradford.

They taste a lot like the spice section in the supermarket smells, I think it's the mix of chilli and Tumeric that does that, but it builds a little too so you can basically keep piling it into your mouth until you get the desired heat level (for me - fairly low).

And they are indeed the perfect nibble, being compulsive enough to keep going back for and not so filling that you'd spoil your meal.  You could easily sever these with a few dips as a starter too.  I have a feeling that I'll be working my way around the varieties quite slowly, but that I'll probably be back for more.

9 September 2017

Disco Forklift Truck Mango Pale Ale (Sainsbury’s) By @SpectreUK


This is probably the most excitable looking beer can I've ever seen. There's some sort of psychedelic disco party going on with lots of green coloured folks dancing around a huge forklift truck. I fancy opening the door turning over the Hi-Fi and grumping like an old bloke; "To be honest with you, I just don't like mangos!" I can see them traipsing off down the road multicoloured threads dimmed, muttering about trying pineapple next time.

As you probably guessed this pale ale is laced with mango. I've never particularly liked the stuff myself. I've gouged one out years and years ago. I've eaten all sorts of mango flavoured things and never really liked any of them. Even if I don't like cooked bananas or many banana flavoured things, at least I like actual bananas and have a couple a day. I just don't like mangos. Apparently mango is Cinabar's favourite fruit… Baaurgh!

Anyway, on opening this 5.1% volume Drygate Brewery pale ale there was a strong mango aroma to the fluffy head that poked out of the can opening, and it cheekily covered my nose as I sniffed. The things I have to go through for blogging, I ask you! On taste this golden almost menacingly orange mango tinted pale ale had an initial sweet malt flavour, with a burst of fruitiness recognisably mango, yet this seemed to merge with the hops leaving almost peach undertones. I do like peaches, so this fruity flavour replacing the mango was a treat. The sweet malt returned to my tastebuds taking them into a pleasant fruity aftertaste.

So those crazy green psychedelic kids can get the party started again. This mango pale ale is bursting with fruity flavour blasting me one more time with the dying embers of summer. I reckon I'll leave the pineapple to my gammon.
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