22 April 2018

M&S Italian Meal Deal (almost) Girasoli, Pesto & Baguette (by @NLi10)

My partner popped into M&S after work one day and attempted to pick up the meal deal.  Unfortunately the baguettes that were included were cheesy and not ones I'd have enjoyed so we paid meal deal price and then bought an extra baguette on top!

With this the pasta has to be the main draw, an it looks of a decent quality and well filled.

And it inflates and cooks really nicely!

I'm wasn't sure why was called Girasoli, maybe it's to do with the veggie insides or maybe the round shape.  I'm sure I've had round ravioli before though.  Turns out it's Italian for Sunflower so I guess it's a combination of all of the things.

And here we have a decent meal!  As you can see the pesto is prety luxurious too (and veggie) with lumps and pine seeds and lots of lovely texture.  And that went far enough that we had it with a bolognaise later in the week too which was really good.

The garlic bread was fairly standard, but I'm sure the included one was more of a luxury thing.  I guess we should have taken that anyway and had one each!

The pasta was great and had cooked perfectly. The outers were firm but tore easily, and the contents were delicately flavoured and again were not just a paste of ingredients.  Not quite up to the Rana flavour sensation (I got my promotional refund for those this week!), but as a full meal certainly more than acceptable.

Now to try all the other flavours!

21 April 2018

The Ginger Grizzly Alcoholic Ginger Beer (Lidl) By @SpectreUK

Likening an alcoholic ginger beer to an angry grizzly bear makes me wonder just how hot the spice will be in The Ginger Grizzly, by Hatherwood Craft Beer Company. Too late now I guess, as I've already started the blog! I've tried a few alcoholic ginger beers in the past and throughout their varying spicy strengths I've never drank a bad one. Having said that, there is always chance of a first! After all, grizzly bears aren't known for being warm and cuddly creatures, hence the name. They have been known to tear people apart with their claws, which makes me wonder if this ginger beer by the same name has its own sharp claws. Well there's only one way to find out…

… it does say on the back of the label "pour over ice and garnish with lemon for the perfect serve", which didn't sound very terrifying. So I began to relax a little whilst opening the 4% volume ginger beer's bottle. There was already an unsubtle citrus lemon aroma mixed in with the ginger spice. In fact it was quite strong and stopped the ginger smell dead in its tracks from tickling my nose hairs like some other ginger beers have in the past. Smells to me like the Ginger Grizzly is all out of puff.

Although I must say that the sheer fizz on pouring this drink sounded like the low growling of a distant bear amongst some dark wooded trees. Maybe the bear had stopped for a back scratch on a tree trunk? More like from the taste of this drink that the bear had been waiting to pounce all along from the shadows. There is certainly a mouth burning hotness to this ginger beer. The citrus lemon smell lulled me into the bear's waiting claws as my tastebuds were buffeted by instant waves of spicy burning ginger. The lemon zest certainly takes a back burner showing its fairer hand into the aftertaste, but when the Ginger Grizzy bear has got a hold of you, it's hard to shake his fiery temper!

20 April 2018

Walkers 1970's Cheese Fondue Crisps (Ocado) By @Cinabar

If one food substance could sum up the 1970's it would probably be the cheese fondue. Yes this was the coolest thing for any dinner party in that era, when a bowl of molten cheese would be served up with crispy bread on sticks to dip in. Sadly I’ve never tried a cheese fondue, but I am waiting for them to come back into fashion. Walkers have chosen Cheese Fondue flavour to represent the Seventies era in their new range of crisps;  Flavours of the Decades.
Anyway cheese fondue is essentially just melted cheese which makes this flavour a nicely dressed up version of cheese crisps. The taste is pretty strong on the cheese and they have a nice depth of flavour. They were not too musty, and these cheese was well defined. The cheese itself is quite difficult to specify, but I think it might be a strong cheddar. It is that kind of taste. Cheese crisps aren't my first choice but these were tasty and very enjoyable, of all the flavours that have been released in the Flavours of The Decades range they aren't the most creative but they are a nice addition to the new multipacks.
I might have a look on eBay, and see if i can find a proper cheese fondue set!

19 April 2018

English Tea Shop - White Tea, Coconut & Passion Fruit (by @NLi10) @ETSTeas

I got an e-mail informing me that National Tea Day is the 21st April (Saturday) nd asking if I'd like to try something from the English Tea Shop.  The pictures in my head were of English Breakfast, and Earl Grey and frankly everyday is Tea day in my world so I said yes.

What I actually got was this.

White Tea, Coconut and Passion Fruit is not what I was expecting. White tea is still from the same plant (all tea is) but it's usually used to indicate juvenile or under-processed varieties so I worried how this would work with the strong smells I could detect coming from the still sealed box.

You get 20 lovely individually packaged tea bags (which is great when you find out you don't like it as they are easy to give away) and they tell you what is in them which is a bonus.  There are certainly a blend of ingredients with lemongrass being the biggest surprise as it's 2nd on the list but not listed in the variety.

And much to my surprise it's a fantastic little afternoon tea.  The smells are very reminiscent of the lovely little loose tea shop we used to have in Birmingham.  The flavour is admittedly quite coco-nutty and very in your face, but it's certainly not a herbal infusion as the tea is strong and gives a refreshing aftertaste.  After cautiously only bringing three bags to work I took a load in the following day for some nice summer-time brews.  I could see this being successful in tea shops too which is a high complement as it's really hard to have something that is in a regular non-Teapig teabag and yet still stands out enough to want to pay money for.  I don't think you'd want to dunk biscuits in this...

I'm sure we'll find a spot for it in our ever growing tea collection...

And seeing as today was (bizarrely) the hottest April day in the UK for 70 years I decided to see how it worked as an iced tea.  The answer - surprisingly well! It doesn't have the natural sweetness that it needs to really shine, but with a little fruit (or sugar) and maybe a dash of spirits this would make a fantastic outdoors drink when the real summer gets here.  


It was only after all this that I realised we'd got a barely tried box of pyramids of English Tea Shop teas for Christmas (we've managed one so far!) so now I have a great excuse to try those and report back too!