18 March 2018

London Street Food Mother Clucker & Tea @Nli10

We went to see the Harry Potter play in London.  No spoilers here - but it is very good.

Seeing it over two days meant we got to eat at lots of lovely places which is the goal of any trip really, isn't it!

The locals had even got in on the act with Potter/Star Wars themed coffee available.  Not interested though.

What I needed was chicken!

I had the Chicken Strips - I only learned afterwards that I should have added the nice fries too.  Oh well.

Mother Clucker is one of those semi-street food things where you have a van that can pop up anywhere.  Here it's down Brick Lane by Rough Trade East.

And it's pretty good.  The chicken is tender and fresh, the coating is thick and almost like an apple crumble topping (thanks Kate!) but in a KFC style with all the usual herbs and spices but a lot more quality.  I'd make a special trip over just to eat this again.

Here in Spittalfields Market I found a Chinese Tea shop (Yi Yang? I forgot to get the name!) and picked up a lovely strong herbal Lemon tea.

I had medium sugar and not heated, which I think was a mistake in the Mini-Beast Arctic winds.  I enjoyed it though.  I got told off by coffee drinkers for drinking it too slowly, but these herbal teas are meant to be sipped and enjoyed.  Everyone else seemed to be going for some kind of milky bubble tea, maybe I missed out.

We had a great time wandering around hipsterville and catching up with old friends. Have to do it again soon!

17 March 2018

Heritage Series: Suffolk Pale Ale (sold in Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Last week I blogged about Vintage Fine Ale, the first of two limited edition Greene King beers that have been made with the near extinct Chevallier malt from their secret (or maybe not) seed bank. Chevallier malted barley hasn't been used much in the last century and once the three fields of this rare malt have been all used up, it could be quite sometime before anyone tastes Chevallier in a beer again. This Suffolk Pale Ale is the second beer. Saaz hops and Strisselsplat hops were added in the brewing to create a mixture of floral, citrus, herbal and spicy bitterness to this pale ale.

On opening the 568ml bottle there was a spicy herbal hoppish smell mixed with the sweet malt. On taste this 5% volume ale had the now familiar sweet taste of the Chevallier malt to start with which again complemented the bitter flavours of the hops. There is spicy warmth here from the initial flavours mixed with the herbal and the floral hops and with a touch of citrus into the sweet malt aftertaste. This is a complex pale ale, full of all the flavours of hops and the luxurious sweetness of Chevallier. I can see why Greene King wanted to roll back the years to produce both these beers. It would be grand if they could create more fields of this Chevallier malted barley, as I'm sure these would become very popular beers without being limited editions.

16 March 2018

Muller Light – New Limited Edition Raspberry Doughnut Flavour Yoghurt (Lunch Trolley) By @Cinabar

I usually make my own sandwiches for work, but do occasionally have a look at the lunch trolley that comes around, often to just pick up a juice. Today however I spotted a selection of Muller yoghurts, and the inevitable ‘new’ label that drew me in. The flavour of this yoghurt is Raspberry Doughnut which sounded quite fun so I decided to have a this as a sweet treat for the afternoon. I thought I was being a bit naughty choosing a flavour that sounded so sugary, but when I had a further look at the packet I realised it was actually fairly low in calories (less than 100) and was fat free.
Inside the pot was a thickish yoghurt which had a pale pink colour. The flavour was quite strong, and the major element of that was the sugariness in taste. There was some pleasant acidic bite from the raspberry, but it was really quite sweet. If I was asked to describe the flavour I think I would have gone with raspberry icing, rather than doughnut, fruity but over-sweet. I couldn’t pick up on any of the doughnut part, just the tangy raspberry. I was after a sweet treat for the afternoon and this certainly delivered, so I can’t really complain, and technically all that flavour hit was still lower fat. This is perfect for when you want a sweetness hit without too much guilt or the calories.

15 March 2018

Marvel Surprise Barrel - Spider-Man Edition

I bought this from the shop opposite my parents house which had a selection of little prize pods, all about £1.

I decided to be rational and to only buy one - reasoning that they were probably all the same and not worth the time or money.

As usual the effort has been all put into the packaging - a staple of the Disappointment Wars series.

But here we have actual moulded Marvel logo, maybe official, maybe not.

And here we have the non edible contents. All surprisingly competent. You get three things - a sticker of most friendly Spider-Man (surely Friendly Neighbourhood is the slogan), a round spider disk and a stand up spider thing.

Here they are in close up - the spider disk is a bookmark too - and it’s number 46 so you’d have to spend £50 to get the set. Hmmmm.

You only get three sweets which is a shock, but they are nice which is a bigger shock! I ate all three. Never in the history of Dissapointment Wars has the food actually been eaten! This didn’t then get included dismissively with other tat - the Spider-Man barrel is the real deal. Sure it’s not worth £1 but if you have a young person who likes Marvel and isn’t too fussed about having useful things that actually relate to the brand then this is ok.

14 March 2018

Xtra Ginger Zinger (Waitrose) By @spectreUK

I may have mentioned it a few times, but there are certain aspects of my job that could be considered as boring. My job has tedious meetings where I’m talked at for ages until I zone out and start to doze off. This can happen quite quickly, especially if someone turns down the lights and commits “Death by Powerpoint (other presentation software is available)”. I drink hot drinks like tea and coffee to try and keep me awake. I’ve even got some spicy ginger tea as a pick me up if the other two don’t work. I sometimes appear rude by leaving a meeting half way through to make a cup of tea and to clear my head. So I suspect a one stop remedy could help.
This Xtra Ginger Zinger from James White’s Zinger Shots range is made with real ginger juice to “wake yourself up!” It also states “Intense & Hot” on the front of the bottle. This drink has organic chilli in the ingredients, just in case the ginger juice isn’t enough to wake you up. It seems like this little ‘shot of horrors’ could be considered a kill or cure. If it doesn’t wake me up, it may kill me! This could possibly be one of those moments Cinabar always wants to catch on video when I eat or drink something that could provoke an interesting reaction. It is just after 9am and a prime time for dozing (been as though I couldn’t keep my eyes open for a while yesterday at this time). An open plan office probably isn’t the right place for this, but oh well, here goes…
On opening the little plastic bottle there was a nose hair tingling smell of ginger, but this was then dulled by sweet apple. I looked at the ingredients and then started to doubt how ginger hot this drink could be. I wondered if I should drink this down in two to relish the flavour or down it in one as a precaution to not wanting the rest. I opted for two and whoo… the ginger and chilli hit first and hard, instantly setting the inside of my mouth on fire. There was then a sweet apple cushion for my tastebuds to land on after their freefall, but the burn lingered and I felt it travel down my throat and into my tummy. The trouble was I still had half of the bottle left. This time I held the rest of the liquid in my mouth for a time until it felt like my eyes were bleeding (mere seconds). I downed it and felt the same lingering ginger and chilli burn in my mouth and down into my gut. The sweet apple juice seemed an afterthought this time as I just concentrated on sitting still and not shouting for help. The aftertaste was a mixture of ginger, chilli and a little of the sweet apple cushion, but the burn in my mouth and throat lingered for ages, and my nose began to run a little. This is definitely a hot and tasty wake me upper. No chance of dozing off for a while at least…
Information on the bottle;
The 70ml bottle contains 50 calories per 100ml, with 8.2g of sugar, 0g of fat, and 0g of salt. The ingredients included; apple juice 59.5%, organic ginger juice 40%, organic chilli flavouring 0.5%, and antioxidant ascorbic acid.

13 March 2018

Peach Coca-Cola - Zero Sugar (WH Smiths) By @Cinabar

We don’t usually get that many limited edition flavoured colas from Coca-Cola in the UK. There are the usual suspects like cherry, but the Exotic Mango which I spotted last week was rather exciting. Today I found Peach Coca-Cola and I was pleasantly surprised to see another new edition.
I feel I need to mention sugar here. I know it is a hot topic at the minute, with talk of sugar tax and obesity. Well the Exotic Mango Coke came under the Diet Coke brand, so was low calorie as you would expect. This bottle of Peach Coca-Cola is not branded under Diet Coke, and the label is mostly red which meant I assumed it was full sugar. However underneath the word Peach I spotted the line that shows Zero Sugar, and indeed a closer look at the ingredient label confirms this to be low calorie too. I just couldn’t work out why if you have taken away the sugar they didn’t bread this as Diet Coke. Sugar curiosities aside, I gave it the taste test.
The drink had a gentle Peach aroma as it fizzed in the glass. The flavour was nice, the smooth sweet flavour from the peach worked well with the cola, and it gave it a nice sweet edge. It was fairly similar to the mango edition, but with a gentler finish. As a fan of mango that one is still my favourite, but this was a lovely refreshing and tasty new flavour and one that will be perfect for the summer. I wonder if we will see any other new flavours launching, fingers crossed.

12 March 2018

Monin Apple Pie Syrup (Amazon) By @Cinabar

Regular readers will probably be aware that I’m a fan of my flavoured coffees. I’ve reviewed quite a few limited edition drinks from Starbucks and Costa, and some syrups and coffee flavourings too. The most recent purchase was some gorgeous Chocolate Coffee Mate imported via Amazon, but I also ordered this bottle of syrup too at the same time. I’ve tried a few Monin syrups before and they have all been of excellent quality, so when I spotted Apple Pie flavour I couldn’t wait to see what they had done with that particular taste. The bottle arrived packaged in a large amount of bubble wrap in a box within a box, but it is in a glass bottle so I guess it kept it safe.
I made myself a latte and added three teaspoons of the syrup and stirred it into my drink. This is the same amount I use with other syrups I have had from Monin and seems to work perfectly for my sized mug. The flavour was actually a success with the coffee, despite it sounding a bit like a curious match. The sweetness from the pie flavour added a pleasant warmth to the drink, and the touch of spiced cinnamon worked a treat. What took a few seconds to get used to was the tartness of the apple, it was a bit of a strange combination with the coffee and it took me me a few sip to acclimatise to it, after that I really started to like it. I’ve made myself a second latte with this syrup and absolutely loved it from the start, an unusual combination, but one that did exactly what was promised. Sweet apple pie, with a hint of bite and spice all mixed dreamily with my coffee. Next stop, I’m trying this in hot chocolate!

11 March 2018

Gosh! Chickpea, courgette and Morrocan spiced bakes - @NLi10

It’s boring to just have plain veggie burgers over and over again, so having things that are a bit similar but a bit different is great.  These are essentially a block of grains and veggies, but all premixed and wonderful.

They are fairly minimal and and packed with enough good things to count towards the mythical t a day.

And they look pretty good too when cooked.

The outside became almost biscuity and had a lovely crunch, the peppers on top were a nice touch. It all worked really well and was tasty and filling too. Something we will be getting again soon.

10 March 2018

Heritage Series: Vintage Fine Ale (sold in Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Being a beer blogger has it's perks, although rarely (a little too rare for my liking) on the odd occasion I get sent a beer or two from a brewery (hint, hint). I'm feeling pretty honoured at the moment I must say, as I have been sent two bottles from Greene King's new limited edition Heritage Series. Now folks these are limited edition, not because they're only making a few bottles for the sake of it. Greene King have produced three fields of the near extinct Chevalier barley from a seed bank deep in the vaults. I have no idea what Chevalier malted barley tastes like and not many people in the last hundred or so years do either. Greene King have produced two beers, a Suffolk Pale Ale (I'll try next week), and this Vintage Fine Ale…

Vintage Fine Ale is a mixture of Chevalier malted barley and amber malt, with English hops of Fuggle, Bramling Cross, and Goldings. It certainly sounds like a treat from a classic brewer. From this 6.5% volume ale I'm expecting a rich flavour with hints of biscuit and caramel from the malts and spicy floral fruitiness from the hops. On opening the 568ml bottle there was the biscuity sweet fragrance from the malts merged with the slightly stronger floral hops aroma than the spices and fruitiness at the back of the smell. Wow! On taste this amber ale really has a flavoursome kick. They liked their ale strong in 1825 I can tell you. There is certainly a caramel sweetness to the biscuit amber malt to begin with, then the Chevalier malted barley complements the powerful spice from the hops, mixed with floral hops and undertones of soft fruits. If you like your beer strong this is for you. If you'd like your tastebuds to travel back in time this is for you. If you'd like to drink a beer that you may only see once a blue moon this is for you. Personally I reckon I was born in the wrong century…

9 March 2018

New Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo Sandwich Chocolate (WH Smiths) By @Cinabar

I almost didn’t buy this bar, I was suspicious of the “new” label because I know I have tried Oreo Dairy Milk before, but this bar did look rather different. Once I got it home and unwrapped the bar I have to admit it is a very different bar to the previous one I tried.

The older version had an Oreo style filling, this new bar has actual mini Oreos weaved into the bar with a layer of Dairy Milk through them holding it all together. It does look very smart, and is very different to anything I’ve seen before.

The next thing I tried to do was to break the bar into pieces to share, and this is where I found a bit of a design fault, the bar didn’t break up easily. The mini Oreos made the chocolate break in a very uneven way and was rather difficult to then share out. Still we all grabbed some chocolate bits and gave it a taste test. As someone who loves a mix of textures I thought this bar worked really well. The crunch of biscuit, soft filling and firm Dairy Milk chocolate was lovely to munch on. The flavour too was predominantly chocolatey, and the Oreo taste went really well with it. Sweet and satisfying. It makes a fab afternoon snack combining chocolate and biscuits, what more could you want. It was a pleasure to eat and rather moreish. If they could find a way to make it break into equal pieces for sharing it would then be perfect. Oreos with an extra layer of Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate are indeed heaven!

8 March 2018

More Import Snacks in Spain, but from other places - feat. Unicorn Balls (@NLi10)

Earlier on we talked about the shop and the chocolatey things we got, now it's time for the sweets!

First up we have a couple of cheap Bon O Bon.  I'd not really expected much from these but they were great.

The white chocolate was similar to that of a Magnum ice-cream

And the centre was wafer coated and very soft truffle.  Really nice and quite a treat!

The milk choc was less exciting

The filling was the same and the whole flavour combo was quite ordinary after the white one.  I'd happily buy both again if I could.

Next up we cracked open the Unicorn's Balls

These were hard candy as expected, and very nicely coloured in.

They were really sour initially (this unicorn should see a doctor!) but it faded into a sweet fruity taste.  Again - these were great value and something I should have picked up more of for presents.

The lollipop was very soft and basically just a big strawberry penny chew on a stick.  Nothing special here and no reason to revisit!

Overall though I got great value and a good range of pick ups from this tiny little Canarian shop.  Superb!

7 March 2018

Cadbury Dairy Milk Popping Candy Bunny (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Happy Easter! Okay, so I'm a little early by a month, but Cinabar picked up these bunny shaped Cadbury Dairy Milk Popping Candy chocolates the other day and asked me to write a blog about them. This could be because it's Cinabar's favourite time of every year when her brother pulls out the old bunny costume photo when Cinabar was a child and wore a bunny costume for a school play. It certainly does raise a few titters and never gets old! It's because of this that she has a bit of an aversion to bunny shaped chocolate (true fact), and that's why I was asked to write about this product.

Okay, so it's bunny shaped. I may have mentioned that a few times now. On unwrapping the hollow bunny has a cheerful face, not dissimilar to a little child in a bunny costume. It certainly smells of Cadbury Milk chocolate. On taste there was that familiar Cadbury Milk Chocolate flavour to begin with and the Popping Candy already starting to pop in my mouth as I began to chew. I haven't had Popping Candy for a while, but it's just like falling off a bike (or is that riding?), as soon as I felt it popping in my mouth I had to open wide to hear the popping candy echo. It's a simple throwback to my childhood when I used to eat Popping Candy all the time. It doesn't get old, the bunny tasted great and the best thing was that it made me smile after a tough day in the office. :-)

Information on the wrapper;
The 50g chocolate bunny has 528 calories per 100g, with 29g of fat, 56g of sugar, and 0.23g of salt. Ingredients included; milk, sugar, cocoa butter, cocoa mass, vegetable fats; palm and shea, glucose syrup, emulsifiers E442 and E476, lactose from milk, and flavourings.

6 March 2018

Exotic Mango Diet Coke (Tesco) By @Cinabar

I was quite surprised to see the new flavour available of Diet Coke out for Spring is Exotic Mango, I spotted the bottle as it had a pale orange band on the bottle announcing the new flavour. I love mango as a fruit or as a flavour but often find it is an overlooked fruit; lemon, lime and even orange always seems to take preference when it comes to limited edition varieties. Mango is a little more daring and I’m pleased that they have chosen to release it. I found this bottle in the chilled cabinet at Tesco and bought a spare to take home, I haven’t since seen this variety in other shops but I’m sure it will appear in other places soon enough.
I opened up my bottle of Exotic Mango Diet Coke and could immediately smell the fruity goodness of mango mixing in the aroma as the bubbles fizzed. The flavour worked well too, mango is a juicy fruit, and that rich sweet honey like flavour blended perfectly with the Coca-Cola. I loved the added element, it was refreshing and sweet and complimented the Coke perfectly. The drink is still more cola than mango, but the balance works well and I’m hoping it sticks around for a while. I know it has been released during a very wintery period, but this really could be the drink of summer with its Exotic Mango mixed in.

5 March 2018

New Cadbury Dairy Milk Daim Dessert (@Morrisons) By @Cinabar

I quite often pick up these chocolatey desserts from Cadbury as a treat. One half of the pudding has a thick chocolate sauce, and then there is another Cadbury ingredient that can be mixed in with it. There are quite often limited edition flavours, and this Daim edition is the latest.

We had these as a pudding after tea. When I pulled back the lid I found the Daim bits in one section of the pot, they looked quite small, and were coated in chocolate. I tried a combination of both the dessert section and the Daim bits and found it to be mainly chocolate in flavour. There was a slight crunchy from the Daim, but the overwhelming taste was chocolate. The tones were sweet and creamy, and I do like Cadbury chocolate but the Daim flavour was so subtle, it was over powered by the chocolate coating. I could pick up the Daim flavour at the end of each mouthful, but apart from a little bit of texture the pieces didn’t add much. What it needed was for the Daim pieces to be pure Daim, without the chocolate coating. I guess they would have stuck to each other though, which is why they went for this option. This is a nice dessert because of all the wonderful Cadbury chocolate flavour, but I felt there wasn’t enough Daim flavour for my tastebuds.

4 March 2018

Nestle Les Recettes De L’Atelier - Blueberries, Almonds & Hazelnuts (Sainsbury's) @NLi10

In the interests of subterfuge and confusion Nestle have a new range of chocolates called Nestle Les Recettes De L’Atelier which Cinabar spotted and reviewed the milk chocolate version of and remarks that they are 'From The Workshop'.  There are a whole bunch of big and little bars for us to work through but I chose the smaller ones as we still have a lot of Christmas Chocolate to eat.

Cinabar reviewed the left-hand one and so we will look at the dark one.

As Dark Chocolate, Blueberries and Almonds are amongst my favourite snack things this should be good.  It does suggest sharing, but 3 out of 4 isn't too bad.

It's smelly enough to get the cats interested!

The flavours are pretty intense which I like, and it's not as subtle and creamy as the other flavour.  Its still got a decent quality chocolate and the bits in it are intact and not just powder which I like. The sharing pack makes it pretty easy to eat while out and about which is great and encourages portion control.  Some of my work friends did break the segments in half which defeats the object though.

Overall, a hit - and I'll happily try some of the more adventurous and larger bars in the future as opportunities allow.

3 March 2018

Azimuth IPA Beer (Sainsburys) By @SpectreUK

Azimuth IPA is a world Indian Pale Ale. Made from a variety of hops from around the globe this 5.8% volume pale ale is described as a "beer journey", hence the name meaning a direction on a compass bearing. That is the simplest explanation anyway, as the others and many diagrams I found on the internet made my head hurt. In fact they made me want beer, so I suppose that's why Hardknott called their beer Azimuth? Clearly I'm no navigator, but I know a good beer when I taste one, so here goes…

On opening this pale ale had a very fruity smell, with a mixture of peach and apricot, followed by a slightly floral hoppish aroma. On taste there is an initial sourness to this ale that made me step back a bit. It's not a bad sourness, but it was certainly unexpected. Maybe this could be an overload of citrus hops crashing like waves over each other on foreign shores? I understand there's a blend of hops from the Pacific Rim in this IPA. There is a fruitiness to these hops as well as a sheer citrus flavour, the peach and apricot show in the flavour straight after the sourness, quickly followed by floral hops that meet the sweet malts flowing into the aftertaste. This is certainly a complex journey of flavours to have in one bottle. A 'tour de force' so to speak!

2 March 2018

New Krispy Kreme Doughnut Bites (Tesco) By @Cinabar

I went to the small branch of Tesco near the train station to pick up a few essentials because of the snow. I refuse to use the phrase panic buy, that could be used for the man behind me who had 6 litres of mineral water and tons of tins. I was just after a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk, and apparently some doughnuts. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do when the snow comes. Ok, these were an impulsive buy because the Krispy Kreme doughnut stand was facing the entrance when I walked in, and I spotted the word “new”.
I don’t buy Krispy Kreme that regularly and when I do I tend to go for whatever is new, which means I haven’t had the original glazed doughnuts for quite a while. These new Krispy Kreme Doughnut Bites are the original glazed doughnuts, but smaller and in sharing boxes. There are are 8 in the box, but the sizes do vary a little on the size of the bite, so pick wisely. ;-)

When I gave one a try I couldn’t quite believe just how good they were. The are light and fluffy, wonderfully sugary and the gentle flavour of the fried dough is delicate and heavenly. They take two or three bites to eat, and just melt in the mouth. They are a fantastic sweet treats of delicious doughnut heaven, and I’m glad they have given me the opportunity to revisit the original glazed doughnut. I think there new sharing format works really well. I wish I’d bought another box for the freezer, just incase we do get snowed in!

1 March 2018

Belvita Breakfast Soft Bakes - Choco Hazelnut Flavour - @NLi10

Mornings can be particularly stressful...

We were gifted a breakfast biscuit from Belvita in a little box

The idea being that it brings a little sunshine to a dreary morning

Nothing like a good stretch in the morning though

In fairness they do suggest that you eat this with a proper breakfast, which I guess means it just replaces the cereal part, not the tea and fruit.

And it does look and taste reasonably appetising - not all that filling though as you'd expect.  The middle is a bit like Nutella, but not so much that you could prosecute.

I think the best thing for these Spring mornings is to just have a stretch and a lie in instead, then have a normal breakfast a bit later.

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