30 June 2011

Dreamies (Cheese, Chicken, Salmon, Beef) - Bearwood Indoor Market [by @NLi10]

First thing to note about Dreamies is that they are a snack food, but one intended for cats. This may be a Food Stuff Finds first - food for other species - I'm really not sure, but in no way do I recommend humans eating these.

We've had the original chicken flavour of these floating around in the house for a while, and I picked up the salmon one about six weeks ago. I thought these were pretty small time things but then I saw them advertised on TV - these are big time! The recent packs are slightly redone and there are maybe around 6 flavours now.

I figured that this was enough of an incentive to get Duchess the review cat to do a comparison.

Based on the packs alone there was notable excitement. I use these as an incentive to get her to go into the room where she sleeps. This is usually pretty successful as they are certainly her favourite treat. The packs suggest that you can give quite a few in one go, but I find usually 4 or 5 is plenty. Always make sure your cat has access to fresh water folks!

To see which she fancied first I lined them all up (with 2 of each) and placed her in the centre. Naturally being a cat she wandered back to where the bags were originally and then to the end of the line and proceeded to eat them all.

In short then - the flavour that Duchess the cat likes best is whichever is closest. To humans the coloured bags are the only real difference. If you want some reasonably priced cat bribes then you should consider these Food Stuff Finds approved, but just buy whichever bag is your favourite colour as if your cat likes one then they will probably like them all.
By NLi10 and his cat Duchess

29 June 2011

Heinz Tomato Ketchup With Balsamic Vinegar [Limited Edition] (Sainsbury’s) [By @Cinabar]

As limited editions go this one doesn’t sound that exciting. Sure the packaging looks lovely, it has a posh black and silver label, and looks almost artisan in style. It manages to mix the traditional label with a modern twist giving itself a rather classy look, but is the product that different to regular Ketchup?
One of the major ingredients in regular Heinz Ketchup is vinegar, so all they have done is switched the usual vinegar for a more flavoursome balsamic, and I wasn’t convinced when I bought it that it would be that different.
During a fishcakes, chips and peas supper I decide to give the sauce a try. It was a little darker that regular ketchup, and it seemed to be a bit thicker in consistency too. I eased a chip in, and gave it a try. Although still sweet, it was most certainly not as sweet as regular ketchup. The vinegar base was very different, it was zingier and a little more acidic. The overall depth of flavour was greater and the balsamic tones lasted much longer on the taste buds than regular ketchup.
This may still be just a ketchup, but it really is a fab one. The balsamic does make the difference gives the sauce a lovely edge. It holds its own well enough to be used as a dip, and if you want to look posh during barbecue season, make sure you offer this up to your guests – I suspect they will be asking you where you bought it from!
By Cinabar

28 June 2011

Haribo Strawbs & Cream (Tesco) [By @cinabar]

Well it is British summer, which means that it is also Wimbledon season, and rain is expected! The official snack of Wimbledon is fresh strawberries and cream, and it also a traditional British favourite at this time of year. Haribo have taken the idea and represented it in their latest Limited Edition sweets – Strawbs & Cream. They already make a sweet called Strawbs so it isn’t a totally new concept, just a bit of a Summery novelty.
I tipped a few of the sweets out and was a bit surprised by what I found. If I am completely honest I was expecting the whole bag to be filled with Strawbs & Creams, but it was actually half and half Strawbs and Strawbs & Cream.
The Strawbs are the regular firm strawberry jellies. They are sweet with a natural taste that is also rather juicy. The Strawbs & Cream are similar but have a white foam base, thus adding in the cream element, although it didn’t seem to alter the flavour significantly. I have to say that the only thing I disliked about the original Strawbs is that they are a bit chewy for me, so the new foam layer in the Strawbs & Cream softened them out nicely. They still deliver all the juicy natural sweet strawberry taste, just with an easy eating finish. I actually really enjoyed munching my way through all these sweets, even though I preferred the new Strawbs & Cream to the original.
If you are looking for the prefect snack to watch Wimbledon in front of the telly, look no further, these will go down a treat! If you are going to Wimbledon though, for goodness sake do it properly and but a bowl of real fresh strawberries!
By Cinabar

27 June 2011

Orange Rice Krispies Squares [Limited Edition] (Tesco) [By @cinabar]

I do try and keep track of all the new products that are coming out, but even so occasionally some just seem to appear with no announcement. This new product from Rice Krispies Squares were a bit like that, I almost accidentally overlooked them on the shelf. As I picked them up to put them in trolley, Spectre pointed out to me that they aren’t actually square... which is a fair point, but won’t put me off snacking on them.
Once opened they look almost identical to the regular milk chocolate Rice Krispies Squares, but there is a distinctive citrus aroma that gives them away. There is no mistaking the orange blast of flavour in the taste, it is lovely and strong and works remarkably well with the chocolate tones.
Rice Krispies Squares are a fun snack, made with rice krispies, chocolate, and sticky mallow. They are lovely for lunch boxes, and are a treat that doesn’t take themselves too seriously. This new Limited Edition orange variety is no exception. The orange flavour is packed into the milk chocolate pieces decorating the bar. The bar is lovely and zesty, and the orange manages to balance some of the super sweet flavours you’d expect with Rice Krispies Squares. I actually found that the taste worked so well that this ought to part of their permanent range. At the very least is an excellent Summer edition, and well worth checking out.
By Cinabar

26 June 2011

Lifestyle Organic - Organic Buckwheat with Vegetables (Red Kite Health Foods) [by @NLi10]

I like convenience foods so when I discovered a new range of instant but healthy things I decided to grab 7 different types while I was there. Having never seen them before I thought I'd go for a mix and have breakfast, lunches and pudding all covered. I'm slowly going to work my way through them so it may be a good while before I make it to the end of the set. I bought mine from Red Kite Health Foods - in fact spotting them from outside was my reason for going in for the first time.

First up I decided to go for the Buckwheat.

They come in little resealable packets and you just need to boil them for a bit in water. I'm sure that I'll try them with non boiling water at some point too out of laziness! Speaking of which I didn't measure the water out properly - I just estimated. As the packet is fairly sturdy and they want you to add a specific amount of water I think it'd be great if they put a fill line on the bag so that you could pour the contents into the sauce pan then fill the package with water to the line to get the perfect amount. As the pack has a shaped bottom this would be really efficient. Not so great when you only want half a pack, but I thought it was a good idea.

Cooking it up produced some wonderful smells and the buckwheat grains swelled up nicely and the veg was brought to life. Like most herbal teas and products the taste was not as strong as the smells had been, but they were still there and I don't think it was intended to be as powerful as I like things to be. If I made this up like cous-cous and added a few cut up sundried tomatoes and a bit of balsamic vinegar it would be a really singly little meal.

Unusually for veggie food (vegan too!) it was full of different textures and really has been prepared by someone wanting to add variety to an otherwise quite boring section of the food diagram. It was really filling too and half a pack for lunch was spot on. I shall keep you posted as I chomp through the range and declare my favourite at the end.
By NLi10

25 June 2011

Kabuto Noodles (Waitrose) [@KabutoNoodles] [By @SpectreUK]

Kabuto Noodles have only recently come onto a market flush with plenty of different brands and flavours of hot noodle soups in pots. I think these pots are very smart looking and I like the oriental feel to their labels. There are quotes on pots like; “Kabuto noodles are a delicious combination of authentic Asian flavours and quality ingredients prepared with the skill, dedication and discipline of a Samurai Warrior” and “Failure to follow instructions will bring great shame to yourself and your family. There are three flavours available, so I thought I’d try the most dreaded first…

Chicken Ramen flavour

Traditionally speaking I absolutely loath any form of chicken soup, mainly because it doesn’t taste of anything and has the consistency of oily dishwater. I know some people swear by it, especially when they’re ill. Personally I always reach for the tomato soup when I’m feeling a bit off. Anyway, some of the ingredients to this soup were bits of dried chicken, ginger, chilli, coriander, and spring onion. The noodles are long and thin. There was a good helping of noodles in the pot with a bag of dried soup mix, with added dried chicken and vegetable bits. Worried I may bring great shame to anyone near me, I let Cinabar follow the instructions. She added the dried bits from the bag to the noodles in the pot, then added boiling water, leaving to stand for 3-4 minutes with the lid on, and finally stirred, handing me the pot. I left to cool in case I brought further shame by scolding my tongue.

The noodle soup has a very strong smell of ginger to it. There is a good hit from the ginger and a medium heat from the chilli on first taste. Cinabar found the chicken bits to be a little dry, even after soaking in the hot liquid. Personally, I didn’t mind the dried chicken, so each to their own, I suppose. I found this noodle soup very filling indeed. Unlike Pot Noodles, where you can easily eat a sandwich and crisps afterwards, this soup filled me quite happily on its own. I found this to be one of the highest quality pot noodle type soups I’ve tried. And believe me; I’ve tried quite a few over the past year or so for this blog. It tastes more like an authentic Chinese noodle soup, almost restaurant quality, rather than a Pot Noodle that’s supposed to taste like a Chinese noodle soup. This chicken noodle soup is definitely worth a try.

Miso Ramen flavour

Cinabar was concerned that, being a staunch meat eater, I wouldn’t give Kabuto’s vegetarian Miso Ramen a fair try. After some convincing, she prepared the noodle soup for me in the traditional Kabuto way, in order for me to save face if anything went wrong, and I have to admit, I was feeling rather lazy that day. Some of the ingredients in this soup were the usual large helping of noodles, miso, onions, soy, tomato, mushrooms, and garlic.

Once the concoction had sufficiently cooled, and I’d had a lengthy desperate hunt around for any meat in the pot, I found that this noodle soup had a pleasant mild miso taste to it. The onion flavour was quite strong, but not overpowering. This soup didn’t taste like the traditional miso soups I’ve had in Japanese restaurants, but none of those had noodles and generally had bits of tofu floating around in them. In the Kabuto pot there were lots of vegetables and mushrooms amongst the noodles. I enjoyed the subtle miso flavour so much that I drank off the excess liquid. Again I found this soup very filling, and didn’t feel like snacking afterwards.

Beef Pho flavour

One of my favourite flavours of Pot Noodle is Beef flavour, so I had to really force myself not to add tomato ketchup to this noodle soup. The ingredients include bits of dried beef, red pepper, onion, sweet corn, spring onion, ginger, cinnamon, chilli, mushroom, garlic, coriander, and mint. It was a Saturday afternoon and I’d packed Cinabar and Cinabar’s Mom off to the shops so I could sit down and relax to John Wayne’s western, True Grit. I’ve seen the movie before and there’s no doubt it’s a great film, but without Cinabar it meant that I would have to think like a Samurai Warrior and brave preparing this Kabuto noodle soup myself. I quickly decided that if it went wrong; I wouldn’t tell anyone and would only have to live with my own shame. With the absence of a Tantō knife to help me to commit Seppuku if I failed, I took the first thing to hand, which was a red plastic Count Dooku light up and loud frazzle lightsaber. This could be a long and drawn out death scene…

Fortunately for me and my collectable Star Wars lightsaber the preparation of this beef noodle soup went well. I left it to cool and enjoyed the first part of the movie. “I was told you have True Grit” says Mattie Ross in the film to John Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn. No… I have True Grit, the true grit of a Samurai Warrior! As Cinabar wasn’t around to be bothered by the bits of dried beef, I was left to enjoy these on my lonesome. I found this noodle soup to be nice and spicy with ginger, coriander and mint the more dominant flavours. Having said that, this produced a mild taste, which was pleasant, moreish and not overpowering. Again I found this soup very filling; I didn’t miss the addition of tomato ketchup and probably wouldn’t recommend it. This soup and the other two flavours are best left not tampered with, in order for you to enjoy their full and natural oriental type flavours. Just as long as you don’t make a muck of the preparation and have to beat yourself to death with a plastic Star Wars light up and frazzle lightsaber.
By Spectre

24 June 2011

Count On Us: Rhubarb & Custard Dessert (Marks & Spencer) [By @Cinabar]

When I am after a healthier dessert my favourite shop has to be Marks & Spencers. They understand that just because you are keeping an eye on calories, it doesn’t mean you have to have boring puddings. Other places stock a few nice Weight Watchers goodies, but there is never much choice. M&S do provide a lovely range of interesting lower calorie products, and there is practically always something new to try.
Their latest healthier dessert is this rhubarb and custard combination, which does coincide with rhubarb season. We have already had fresh rhubarb from the garden and are very much looking forward to a second batch.
There are three layers in the Rhubarb & Custard Dessert making it look rather pretty in the pot. Firstly there is a rhubarb compote. I liked this layer as it had a nice mix of textures, with both pieces of rhubarb and shredded bits too. It was fresh and fruity, and although sweet did have a hint of the sharpness from the fruit and the defined flavour.
Next up was a thick layer of custard. I might not like cold rice pudding, but cold custard is fab, it is the highlight of any trifle. This particular custard element was actually a custard mousse though. As such it was lighter and fluffier than you might expect. It also had a decent hint of vanilla too. It went well with the rhubarb flavours as it helped mellow the dessert. The finally layer was a reddish clear jelly. There was no fruit in it, and its flavour was delicate but nondescript. It seemed to be more peach or pear, than the sharp flavour of rhubarb, but it was sweet and pleasant and added the fun layer to the pudding.
I thoroughly enjoyed this dessert and at just 120 calories per pot it is definitely one I’ll be buying again.
By Cinabar

23 June 2011

Doves Farm Organic Gluten Free Lemon Zest Cookies [@Dovesfarm] (Red Kite Health Foods Bromsgrove) [By @Nli10]

A while back I flirted with the gluten free range of products in my local supermarket to mixed success. While there were some genuinely nice and new experiences none of them were totally invisibly gluten free.

This however is different. I picked these up from Red Kite Health Foods just because they were biscuits, no review or special angle in mind. I had to double check the package to make sure that they were indeed gluten free and when I tested them on my fiance she couldn't identify why they were 'special'. They are more snappy than normal biscuits and not as crumbly which some people may not enjoy, but the crunch is quite nice. The lemon flavour tastes authentic and really zingy and makes these a little overpowering for with tea so a couple as a snack is my recommendation.

I'm not sure how prolific this brand is, but it's another reason to go diving into your local health food shop - it's not all potions and remedies these days!
By NLi10

22 June 2011

Carte D’or Macadamia Night Ice Cream (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

I absolutely love the combination of chocolate and nuts, so was rather excited to find this ice cream. I like the name too, and discovered that the ‘night’ part of it was in reference to the fact the there are chocolate stars decorating it. In fact when I opened up the tub I thought the ice cream looked beautiful. There were swirls of ice cream, chocolate sauce and pretty chocolate stars decorating the top. It was really pretty and added a nice fun aspect to the dessert, and a bit of texture too.
The ice cream part consists of a pale cream coloured vanilla , and a very similarly coloured but ever so slightly darker macadamia nut ice cream. The vanilla is wonderfully creamy and sweet, with a decent tone of vanilla too. I felt that the macadamia ice cream was a bit mild, and not that different in flavour from the vanilla. There was a gentle nuttiness to it, and it even had a few nut pieces mixed in, but it was a bit lost as a specific nut flavour. It was however still creamy and tasty. The chocolate sauce is dark and sweet, and has a really rich chocolate taste, and is a pleasure to eat. When the sauce is combined with the ice creams it gave a lovely rich and creamy contrast, but also contributed to overpowering the delicate nutty taste.
I enjoyed every spoon of the ice cream, and felt that the chocolate sauce and vanilla were lovely together. It is just a bit of a shame that there wasn’t a stronger nut flavour as people expecting lots of macadamia may be disappointed.
By Cinabar

21 June 2011

Bottle Green Ginger & Lemongrass / Pomegranate & Elderflower [@bottlegreen] [By @Cinabar]

Bottle Green has brought out a couple of new drinks for the summer which are also raising breast cancer awareness. The drinks are supporting the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign and have beautifully styled Limited Edition bottles to display this. The designs are very smart, and would make a perfect drink to share with friends.

Pomegranate & Elderflower
The first thing I noticed with this drink was that it wasn’t overly fizzy. The drink is sparkling, but isn’t as fizzy as children’s pop, which gives it a mature edge. The drink is really refreshing with the fruit taste of pomegranate being mellowed by the almost citrusy nature of the elderflower. It is a well blended taste, that allows both flavours to shine. The combination is a lovely drink that almost shouts summer at you while you sip it!

Ginger & Lemongrass
I have a strange aversion to lemongrass, so wasn’t completely looking forward to trying this drink! When I did brave it I was actually rather surprised by the taste. The drink has the same delicate fizz as the Pomegranate & Elderflower but the flavour is a lot more full on. This reminds me of a ginger beer, and it even leaves a warm spicy tingle on the taste buds after each sip. It isn’t a fiery drink, but it does have some heat. The lemongrass flavour is very subtle, and just adds a non offensive hint of lemon at the end of each taste, so I actually rather liked it. It’s a warming drink perfect for ginger ale fans.

Both of these drinks are lovely, but very different. The Pomegranate & Elderflower is refreshing and fruity, and perfect for the warm weather. The Ginger & Lemongrass on the other hand is spicy and better for an evening in. Both drinks are nicely put together offering an alcohol free alternative which still looks like it is made for the grownups.
By Cinabar

20 June 2011

Pringles Mamma Mia: Tomato, Mozzarella & Basil [Crisps] (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

I mentioned previously that I have stocked up on some flavours of Pringles that had previously been missing from Foodstuff Finds. These ones are from their new Italian range; Mamma Mia, bringing the taste of Italy to their crisps. It is actually a nice idea to focus on the key tastes of a country, and I’m kind of hoping that this turns into a multi country series!
If you had to sum up ‘Italy’ in a flavour, then these crisps do seem to have covered the basic tastes. Fresh sounding ingredients, and this particular mix of flavours does make a nice starter in Italian restaurants.
When I opened up the pack, two things struck me. First was the aroma, it was very rich with a good hint of cheese and herbs, and the second was that the crisps looked quite pretty, and had red and green speckled seasoning subtly around the edges.
The flavour of these crisps was really good too. There was a good balance of creamy cheese, sweet tomato and a nice hit of basil to balance it out. The tastes all worked really well together, and there was a pleasant hint of salt helping to hold it together. These crisps did taste summery, and have a distinctive Italian hint to their taste too. I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of tomato and creamy cheese tastes, it was impressively moreish, but then Pringles usually are!
I do have more of the Mamma Mia range to try, so look out for those write-ups coming soon. If these are anything to go by, that next tube should be something to look forward to.
By Cinabar

19 June 2011

Thai Taste - Easy Green Curry Kit (@LoveThaiTaste) [by @NLi10]

Cinabar's has the Red Curry version to be reviewed shortly, but I decided to sample up the Green variety - with the twist that I'd do it vegetarian! Quorn fillets make an acceptable substitute for chicken and the big purple vegetable I am reliably informed is an Aubergine (or Eggplant for you international types).

As with the other variety there are clear instructions & timings and the ingredients are of an amazing quality and all perfectly measured out. It was a quick and simple meal to make and the Quorn went well with the spicy sauce and fragrant herbs and spices.

I served it up with genuine Thai glutinous sticky rice and a fresh garden salad I got from Red Kite Health Foods (it's home grown and really potent stuff!) which I'm keen to get more of. The whole combination was fantastic, and something I'd happily add to the shopping list. I'd want to try the Red and if they do it Yellow varieties of this and make it up properly with noodles and pork. And as that wouldn't be veggie I'd have to eat it all myself - Yum!
By NLi10

18 June 2011

Hotel Chocolat Seasoned Chocolate Glaze (@HotelChocolat) [By @Cinabar]

This brown paper style pack is filled with a cocoa glaze designed to enhance red meats. Now if there was any sunshine about I would have been tempted to use these on some lamb chops on the barbecue. With the weather the way it is, I went for an indoor method of cookery as it seemed safer!
The glaze is used towards the end of cooking, so when the lamb chops were just about ready to serve I opened the pack. Inside it was a surprisingly sweet smelling mix, with the appearance of grated chocolate. I’m not sure what I had been expecting, but the contents certainly got me curious.

I sprinkled a fair amount on to each chop, and it did look disconcertingly like I had covered them in melting chocolate! When you have told people that you are cooking chocolate glazed lamb chops, I guess you do want a visual effect, and these really did look quite stunning.
I served up the lamb chops, and tucked in. Despite the appearance, and its sweet aroma, the glaze was very much savoury. The rich dark cocoa tones, blended well with the warm meat flavours. There were was a nice tang of seasoning too, which helped smooth the tastes. Cocoa is very much a savoury ingredient if it isn’t combined with sugar, and the lamb balanced the taste really well. There was also a lovely hint of black pepper, and aromatic onion and garlic that would combine well with any red meat. The lamb was delicious and the flavours were blended perfectly.
I loved the dramatic appearance of serving up chops in a substance that looks remarkably like chocolate, it is a good conversation point for any dinner party! The clever use of flavours will ensure it a success too.
Fingers crossed for some decent sunshine so I can try it out as an addition to a summer barbecue, it would be al fresco at its best!
By Cinabar

17 June 2011

Mooch – Original Chocolate Milk (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]

This rather smart slimline can is the Original Chocolate Milk offering from Mooch. Cinabar has the Hazelnut Chocolate Milk to blog about at some point, as I’m no fan of hazelnut flavoured chocolate products. The can label proudly states that this drink has less than one percent fat, which rang alarm bells to start with as some drinks manufactures who cut down on the fat in their products occasionally ramp up the sugar content. The can label states that this beverage is coca flavoured sterilised milk. Carrageenan and sodium acid carbonate are used as stabilisers. “Chill – Shake – Enjoy” are the simple instructions on the bottom of the label. I chilled the drink, I shook the drink, and I pulled the ring pull and chocolate milk exploded in all directions. I can only think that the carbonate “stabiliser” had something to do with that! Asides the mopping up before tasting, the drink itself simply tastes of cocoa flavoured sterilised milk. No massive sugar hit (thankfully). No malt… which makes a welcome change. This drink simply does what it says on the can label. It was a pleasant late evening chocolate hit. So if you expect this drink to jump out at you and be different… Shake well before opening!
By Spectre

Observer Food Monthly Awards - Support Foodstuff Finds

If you are a fan of Foodstuff Finds could you please vote for us as best food blog?

Observer Food Monthly Awards: http://www.easyanswer.net/observer/default2.asp

You also get a chance to vote for things like your favourite cookery book and celebrity chef.
If you need further motivation, the site is run by the Observer Food Monthly and by filling in the form you enter their competition which has some amazing foodie prizes from barbecues to holidays to Bordeaux!

16 June 2011

Rachel’s Organic ‘Divine Rice’ Traditional Creamy Rice Pudding (@rachelsorganic ) [By @cinabar]

It was only when I started to type it that I realised just how many words there are in the title of this product! The packaging seems to handle it quite well though, with its neat almost two tone black and white style.
This pot of rice pudding quickly heats up in the microwave for a fast treat. You zap it for 30 seconds, give it a stir, and the give it one more blast for 30 seconds and you are ready to go. Microwave cooking means that you don’t get a skin on your rice pudding, which some people will see as an advantage but may disappoint others. One thing I did note was the peel away lid was made of foil, which is an interesting mix with the microwave. The foil lid did come off in one piece quite easily for me, but I think you need to check it has been fully removed before cooking, as foil doesn’t mix well with microwaves..
The rice pudding is lovely and thick though and has an appealing sweet smell. The flavour is absolutely gorgeous, sweet, creamy with lovely tones of brown sugar. The rice flavour shines through too, giving the dessert a wholesome edge. Every mouthful was totally heaven, and the rice was that perfect mix of fluffy but still firm enough. The thick sauce engulfs it and the texture is just spot on.
I practically scraped every bit of this out of the pot at the end, as I just didn’t want any to go to waste. I am a rice pudding fan, and I just love how quick this is to make. A totally indulgent, almost instant hot pudding!
By Cinabar

15 June 2011

Cadbury BiscBits (Sainsburys) [By @Cinabar]

Sharing bags are proving to be as popular as ever, and there always seems to be some new product squeezed onto the shelves. The latest addition is this grab bag filled with caramel flavoured biscuits coated in Cadbury’s choc, which sounded rather tempting. I have to make a point on the name ‘BiscBits’, it doesn’t roll off the tongue nicely. I can see what they were trying to do, but it simply makes you sound like you are trying to say biscuits, but that you have an unfortunate speech impediment.
Back on to the positive stuff... the biscuits themselves are rather nice. The have a crisp crunch, and a decent buttery shortbread flavour. It’s not rocket science to know biscuit and chocolate go really well together, and I can report that it works here too. The biscuits are very munchable, easy to share and are the perfect fodder for watching a film.
There are unfortunately a couple of negative things I picked up on too. The ‘BiscBits’ aren’t very polished looking. The picture shows it a bit, they have obviously been knocking about in the bag, and this seems to have caused a dullish uneven finish on them that almost looks like a grey dusting.
The other point if that these are supposed to be caramel flavoured and although pleasantly sweet there isn’t much to note in the way of caramel flavour. There are caramel crunchy bits present throughout the biscuit visually, but they don’t make that much of a presence in taste.
Having said all that, as a nice biscuit based sharing snack, we still managed to eat our way through the bag in record time!
By Cinabar

14 June 2011

Pringles Xtreme: Hot Paprika & Smoky Bacon (Asda) (@Pringles ) [By @Cinabar]

What is it with my local Sainsbury’s and Pringles? They have a huge section for Pringles in the main crisp isle, and they always have a separate ‘end of isle’ shelf also filled with Pringles, BUT they rarely stock any of the new or limited edition flavours. There are just mountains of the usual flavours in strangely excessive numbers.
On a recent trip to Asda I was shocked at the amount of different varieties I was yet to try, so I stocked up on a few that I have been missing out on. This is the first of those new tubs!
This particular tube is one of the Xtreme range, meaning it has a bit of a chilli kick mixed in and it seems to be a 3 out 4 on their heat rating.
The taste is mostly that of smoky bacon, which is meaty and salty and very moreish. The paprika taste is present as a spicy aftertaste, but I think there is some hot chilli in there too playing games. The more you eat the more the heat sneaks up on you, it starts with a tingle and ends up as a decent burn. It manages to stay on the side of enjoyable thankfully, and they were certainly not too hot to eat.
The warm spices, meaty tastes with the kick at the end do make these a really well thought out flavour. They were easy to munch on, and everyone sharing them really enjoyed them which is always a good sign. Pringles just are fab crisps, I just wish my local Sainsbury’s would start stocking a few more of the exotic flavours as it is clear I’ve been missing out!
By Cinabar

13 June 2011

Lindt: Orange & Pistache (House of Fraser) [By @Cinabar]

When I saw this sitting on the shelves in the foodhall it stuck out like a bit of a sore thumb next to the other Lindt bars. Almost every other bar of their chocolate was packaged in the usual bright white Lindt card. I actually assumed this bar was from a different make, and had managed to somehow sneak its way onto the shelf. When I spotted that it was a proper Lindt bar it was rather like it had turned up for school wearing its home clothes and then realised everyone else was in uniform after all.

The packaging is actually quite smart, the brown card looks posh and has a lovely textured finish to it. Taking the card off and there is a clever foil and clear film combo to keep it fresh, but to also allow some of the chocolate to show through on the main packaging.

The bar is very pretty, on one side it has ripples of chocolate and the Lindt logo and the other side shows the milk chocolate embedded with pieces of nuts. This whole bar is just so different to usual Lindt chocolate, it is arty and amazingly it looks even more luxurious than a regular Lindt bar.

The chocolate smells wonderful too. When I was photographing it I was having to resist the urge to break a corner off as the orange aroma was just so appetising. Thankfully when I did tuck in, the chocolate was no disappointment. The nut and orange flavours did work really well together. The pistache was actually caramelised pistachio and the sweeter flavour helped it mingle well with the natural flavours of orange. I thought I could pick up on the taste of almond too, and according to the packaging there are actually equal amounts of both nuts in the ingredients list.
The oranges bits have a very natural flavour and they are combined with sugar crystals so they are sweet too, but this also gives them a bit of a crunch. I really liked how the texture from these and the nuts gave contrast to the chocolate, which had a thick texture when it melted on the tongue.
The base chocolate was creamy and sweet, with an indulgent chocolate flavour. It could have been bordering on rich but the fruity flavour breaks it up and transforms it into a lovely pleasurable experience. I’ll definitely be buying this bar again, and keeping my eye out for any other Lindt bars in the new posh brown boxes.
By Cinabar

12 June 2011

Games Night With Cookies (Waitrose & McVitie's) [by @NLi10]

Friday night tends to be games night so is a great opportunity to try out snacks on unsuspecting people. Often this means that I don't get to eat whole packets of things but I can see what other people think too.

First opened was the Waitrose selection - Blueberry and Macadamia & Belgian Dark Choc Chunk And Hazelnut Cookies (with Monty Python Fluxx cards in the background).

Luxury biscuits names get longer with each passing year, and these don't even have the adjectives in them like some are fond of using. These are decent size cookies and I only got to try one of each because these are fantastic. Large ingredients in a buttery and soft base is a recipe for success. These are probably some of the more expensive cookies that you get packaged up for home but there is a generous amount and they are well worth the price, especially with friends. These did not last much past an hour let alone till the end of the night.

Next up was the more standard Hobnobs Cookies (on a bed of Magic The Gathering cards)

These are smaller but you get more in a packet and you could easily buy twice as many Hobnobs as you could Waitrose cookies for the money. That said these just aren't as exciting. While nice and still a little bit luxury compared to your typical rich tea selection they went down fairly slowly and there were still some left the following day.

Don't get me wrong, these are not bad biscuits, but compared to the might of the cookie ranges (especially those Tesco ones that are still soft... mmmmmmm) they are in a different league.

After dinner we tried the following oriental style Puddings

These are essentially the small, premade versions of the Giga Pudding of YouTube fame. Feel free to Google it, but the song is a very infectious one and you may not want that in your head.

Each of these is like a kind of opaque jelly, with what appear to be pear cubes inside. They surprised me by actually tasting exactly like the fruits on the top without any exceptions. I was afraid to eat these at first (I've had them a good while with other goodies from K K Mart Bromsgrove that I didn't dare review for a while). In a group setting though it was quite a fun thing, childish yet exotic enough to tempt our tastebuds.

I've bought some more Lychee & Strawberry for future nights as these little pots are really great for sharing. Turns out snacks and games night go well together!
by @NLi10

11 June 2011

Farrington’s Mellow Yellow Mayonnaise [@RapeseedOilMan] [By @spectreuk]

Made with cold pressed rapeseed oil, this mayonnaise has a yellow hint to its colour that gives it an old England traditional look to it. This mayonnaise is also made from free range eggs, a hint of Dijon mustard, lemon juice and white wine vinegar. The rapeseed oil makes the mayonnaise low in saturated fat, meaning it doesn’t create as much fat in your body as high saturated fat products. The jar’s label states that this product is also a good source of omega 3. Finally finding a mayonnaise that’s good for me, I decided to first try it with fish and chips, washed down by a couple of beers! I know… I know… fish and chips and beer aren’t particularly good for me, and there was a danger that I could possibly overdose on omega from the fish and the mayonnaise, but I thought I’d chance it as the low fat mayonnaise may balance me out in the chubby department. Otherwise, I figured I’d just run around in tight circles in the back garden for a couple of hours to burn off some paunch.
On trying this mayonnaise the predominant taste of rapeseed oil hits the tastebuds first, it’s not overpowering, more comforting. Its fresh healthy taste fits over your tongue like a brand new glove, courteously introducing you to the taste of chips, to the taste of fish. The lemon and white wine flavours within the mayonnaise complemented the cod perfectly. I greatly enjoyed the hearty meal, savouring every mouthful, but feeling a little too full to run around the garden, besides it was cold and dark and I’d probably fall over from too much beer.
This mayonnaise isn’t just for fish and chips though, I’ve dolloped it onto all manner of sandwiches since; from salad, chicken, ham and tomato, cheese and my personal favourite bacon. No wonder it’s previously won a Great Taste Gold award. This mayonnaise should sit proudly in everyone’s fridge (next to the beer), calling out to you every time you open the door; “Eat me. Pig out. I’m healthy!” And besides there’s always the garden to run around in, well, unless you live in an apartment… or houseboat… surrounded by sharks…
By Spectre

10 June 2011

Kenco Millicano Whole Bean Instant (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

This is Kenco’s new instant coffee, which is made with a mix of real bean, which has been fine milled, to give it an improved flavour. It seems to be a similar idea to Starbuck’s microground coffee which also contains an amount of fresh coffee mixed with an instant.
I liked the tin packaging for this coffee, despite the shiny nature of it making it difficult to photograph! It looks smart, and is refillable too, which is better for the environment.
Opening up the tin and the coffee granules inside look very much like any instant, and there are no visual clues to its extra ingredient. All that you can see are the usual, brown almost cubic grains. I spooned some coffee into the mugs and added boiling water. The coffee was dark, and there was a good aroma with some rich scents.
The taste was nice too. The flavour was decent, quite soft, and had a nice range of tones to the taste. There was a definite hint of real coffee about it, but it also had a hint of instant too. Don’t get me wrong I liked the drink, but I wouldn’t have mistaken it for fresh in a blind taste test.
In summary, If you are looking for a better quality instant coffee, then this drink will really impress you. It has a good flavour and has some aspects of a fresh coffee taste. As an instant I enjoyed it, and will happily work my way through the tin. Sadly though the flavour isn’t quite a replacement for a cafetiere filled with the real stuff. I think maybe my previous review for Bocamonte means I have just been a bit spoilt for coffee this week!
By Cinabar

9 June 2011

Dorset Cereals: Good Honest Crunch - Toffee & Pecans, Strawberries & Raspberries [@dorsetcereals] [by @NLi10]

We received these from Dorset Cereals to promote their new Good Honest Crunch range of cereals and I thought that both were similar enough to do a double review.

First I went for the strawberry and raspberry flavour which suited me to a T. The crunchiness of the name is from almost sugar-puff like larger elements within the cereal, which give a soft but satisfying crunch. The rest of the cereal is made up of clusters of grain and fruit with a few healthy looking things scattered here and there. It turns the milk pink and doesn't go soggy which are both plusses too. I really enjoyed this box and demolished it in a short space of time.

I think this occupies a space in between mueslis and standard cereals. I feel that I'm getting enough healthy goodness but also I have the fruit to add some needed sweetness. Plus neither of these have raisins or sultanas to overpower & bulk out the package which is a definite plus. I intend to buy these again.

I put off the toffee flavour for a while - the sound just didn't appeal to me. Toffee isn't a flavour I'd associate with breakfast and it's not a particular favourite of mine. On opening the bag the smell inside was strong and a little off-putting, but one taste of the actual package put my fears to rest. The toffee is present, but it's a smooth and subtle flavour and plays second fiddle to the crunchy pecans. While there is still some of this box left it's definitely a good cereal and I'd urge people to try it before judging it like I did. I'd probably go for the red flavour first out of the two, but if there was a multi buy special offer then I'd happily grab one of each.

The boxes seem a little small, but the cereal inside packs a lot of ideas into a lovely recipe. I hope they continue to make surprising breakfast cereals for me.
By NLi10

8 June 2011

McCoys Rogan-Oh-My-Josh / Mighty Madras [Crisps] (Asda) [By @Cinabar]

I don’t think it is any secret that I like spicy crisps, so when one reader (thanks Allan) alerted me to some new curry crisps on the shelves, I just had to track them down. Despite McCoys not wanting me to buy their crisps, I do anyway as I like them so much. McCoys go to some length to ensure everyone knows they are “man crisps” which bugs me a little being female. :-D

These crisps had a really good smell to them, lots of rich spices and a nice hint of meat too. When I tried them I was impressed by the flavour, the meatiness was clearly lamb, and the spices were well defined, and almost like a Moroccan curry in nature. The heat was pleasant, a decent tingle but not actually strong enough to make me say “Oh My”, despite the fact I really liked the name! Rogan Josh curries are usually a medium in heat, so I felt it was a little on the weak side, but the chilli is still very much present just not offensive.

Mighty Madras
These crisps had an amazing aroma in the bag, like it was packed with chilli, tomato and spices and it was very appetising. The crisps tasted lovely too, they were crammed with lots of flavour and spice, from onion, garlic through to paprika, and I think I picked up on a bit of citrus as an aftertaste too. In smaller print it does say that these are chicken madras flavoured, but there wasn’t much meatiness to them, the spices could just be overpowering it. Heat wise the chilli was very much making its appearance known. They had a good defined chilli heat, that gave a decent burn as I munched through them that was lovely. The only thing is they aren’t as hot as a proper Madras, as I couldn’t never finish a hot curry like, but these were still manageable for me to eat without any hassle.

Both of these varieties of crisps have good flavour, and try to actually meet the specifics of the curry they are representing. So often crisps just end up with a generic curry powder taste, but these had much more to them than that. I thoroughly enjoyed both bags, but although they had far more heat than the usual ‘hot’ crisp, they still may not be as hot as some would like, particularly those brave enough to eat proper Madras!
By Cinabar

Competition – Win New Things To Try

I hope you have enjoyed reading our recent reviews for Galaxy Chocolate Caramel Bites and Fab Blackcurrant & Apple Ice Lollies. We thought you guys might like the chance to try these goodies for yourself.
If you would like to win a £1 voucher to buy your own Fab ice lollies and a pack of Galaxy Bites we are pleased to say we have four pairs to give away. In order to enter either follow this blog via RSS, Email, Twitter, Facebook or Google Friend (all the links are on menu on the right) and then either leave a comment below saying which you chose and how to contact you (i.e. your Twitter name or email) or send those details in an email to admin@foodstufffinds.co.uk with COMP in the subject line.
Please don’t put your actual address in the comment box as it will be public.
Competition closes 15th June 2011

• Four winners will be chosen at random
• UK residents only
• Competition closes 8pm on 15th June 2011.
• If we can’t get in touch with the winner in a reasonable amount of time to obtain an address another winner will be selected.
• If you have any questions about this competition, please send me an email or leave a comment below.

7 June 2011

Fab [Limited Edition] Blackcurrant & Apple (Asda) [@fabicelolly] [By @cinabar]

Fab ice lollies are a staple of the British freezer in summer. This year they have added a twist and released a Limited Edition with the very English sounding flavour of Blackcurrant and Apple.
As per the original Fab there are still three layers in this lolly. The first is the thinnest, and consists of a coating of milk chocolate and hundreds and thousands. The chocolate is sweet and the decorations do make the Fab look pretty, and it is in keeping with the usual design, despite there being additional green sprinkles.
The next layer is the vanilla ice, which is the same as on other Fabs. It is smooth and creamy, and goes nicely with the fruity ice. It contrasts well with it, and makes the experience feel a bit like “fruit and cream”.
The fruity layer is largest section of the lolly and runs all the way to almost the top of the lolly, but is hidden by the other layers. It is a lovely warm purple in colour, and has a really good natural taste. There is plenty of blackcurrant and apple flavour, and it is lovely, zingy and fresh. It isn’t overly sweet, and there is still a little sharpness from the blackcurrant that really works.
As I was munching away I couldn’t help noticing the calorie counter on the wrapper, and that there are only 82 calories per lolly. This is wonderfully low and does make it a guilt free snack, which is always nice!
It is a lovely addition to the Fab range of ice lollies, and I’m sure it is going to prove popular this summer. The fruity flavours really are very refreshing and it is nice to see classic British fruits be used in this very British ice lolly. Fab is one of my favourite words, and I do over use it a little, but I think it is safe to say that these lollies really are fab, in every sense of the word. ;-)
By Cinabar

6 June 2011

Bocamonte Medium Ground Coffee [@bocamonte] [By @Cinabar]

I buy a fair amount of coffee, and its packaging has until now ranged from paper/plastic bags through to glass jars and metal tins, but I have never seen coffee packaged this beautifully before. It’s quite a statement, but this coffee’s packaging isn’t simply something just to hold coffee, this is luxury at its best.

Before even brewing this coffee it is clear that Bocamonte takes its coffee very seriously. Inside the fabulous looking box are glass vials each filled with fresh coffee and sealed. There is also an additional strange sachet inside the coffee which isn’t intended for consumption, it contains an oxygen absorbent pouch to keep the coffee fresh. I make my coffee in a large cafetiere, and poured two vials into it. The sachet stayed firm in the vial, but there is a note in the packaging saying that if it does fall into boiling water accidentally that it does not interact with the coffee and can just be removed.
I added water that was just short of boiling to the cafetiere, stirred and waited a good four minutes before taking the plunge. The coffee was a very dark caramel in colour, and looked rich and inviting.
The flavour had lots of definition, and the Costa Rican beans shone through. The taste was milder overall than I was expecting, but still very aromatic. I was pleased that the flavour was so smooth, as there was no edge of bitterness like some coffees have, the whole cup was just easy drinking.
This coffee is perfect Sunday afternoon coffee, flavoursome but smooth. It gives you that last bit of luxury before the end of the weekend too. My dad was over when I was trying it. He is fussy about his coffee, and has before now had coffee so bad in a restaurant that he got up and tried to explain to the staff how they were using their machine incorrectly... yes I was there, and yes it was an “embarrassing dad” moment. He had a point though, he ordered an espresso and received what looked like a shot of rather watery Americano. I’ve been to the restaurant next door with my brother who has ordered an espresso and ended up with milky coffee (!) Italy this is not!
Anyway as I was making the drink, my dad was busy reading all the literature and ensuring I was making it correctly. Thankfully when we were finished he confirmed that he had really enjoyed the coffee, agreeing that it was mild but still flavoursome and enjoyable. This was my brother thoughts too when her tried it.
However something strange happened while I was drinking this coffee the last time, Spectre asked to try it too. He is a known coffee hater, and I don’t think I can remember him choosing to drink any coffee in the last ten years. I let him have a sip from my mug, I had no intention of pouring him a cup and wasting this precious drink on an infidel – lol. He tasted the coffee, and seemed to really like it. He asked if he could have his own mug. I froze for a moment, I was genuinely shocked, he is not a coffee drinker and this was unknown territory. I eventually conceded and poured him a mug, in order to not look like a selfish cow, despite not actually wanting to share! He loved the coffee and easily finished his mug and had a top up too. He said it tasted smooth, mild but somehow real. It was how he thought coffee should be and not like the rubbish stuff I usually drink. He also asked me to make sure I make enough for him next time I brew up. I am totally gobsmacked by this result, I have put up with years and years of Spectre telling me coffee is essentially tar in a mug and now he actively wants to drink the stuff. What can I say, this is coffee is so good it can convert non coffee drinkers - wow.
By Cinabar
Linky to their website: http://www.bocamonte.cr/store/catalog/index.php

5 June 2011

Non-Alcoholic Apple & Raspberry Presse (Asda Extra Special) [by @NLi10]

The phrase non-alcoholic is an important one in Supermarket speak. It turns an ordinary soft drink into one which is intended to replace something that contains alcohol. Alcohol free beer is supposed to replace ordinary beer and I'm sure someone has tried to sell apple juice as alcohol free cider, but this is the more typical example that is designed to replace wine.
I've never been a fan of wine, not even in my university days. The closest I ever got was a brief fling with the wine cooler Castaway, which is just too sweet to drink in large amounts. I know there is a lot of effort and time that goes into making wines different, including age and flavours and colours etc. To me all wine tastes pretty much the same, and I’m not keen.
This presse has few wine like qualities. It's fizzy, and it's definitely got the look of a very sparkling wine about it. The flavour is very fruity and not too sweet. You could happily serve this to children and adults without either complaining. It's just not that exciting. If this was in an ordinary fruit juice plastic bottle and sold as a typical fruit drink then it'd be about right. As it stands its posh on the outside and normal on the inside.
It's very drinkable and once opened the bottle didn't last long, but I don't think it'll be tempting many people away from the more popular non-alcoholic wine substitutes, and I don't think it'll be drawing people in from the luxury fresh fruit juices.
by NLi10

4 June 2011

Gamer Grub (Cybercandy @CyberCandyLTD) [By @SpectreUK]

This is a gaming performance snack enhanced with neurotransmitters and vitamins to support cognitive performance. Gamer Grub has been “scientifically formulated to power your core gaming systems for maximum performance”. Having quoted that from the packet, don’t pour it into your console! The snack food promotes a no greasy fingers rule, so you can hold a joypad without it slipping from your grasp or sticking to your hands during gaming. You could pour Gamer Grub into a bowl and game and munch or alternatively abide by the RTFM (Read the Fine Manual) on the back of the packet that states: 1 – Tear open pack, 2 – Pour in mouth – eat – repeat. Just put the bag in easy reach, as you don’t want to take your eyes off the screen when gaming, especially in a fire fight or race for first place!

The 149g resealable bag is a blend of peanut butter chips, peanuts, strawberries, strawberry jelly chips and sweet bread. I decided to accept the RTFM's advice and tore open the packet. The contents smelt like peanut butter mixed with fruit and biscuits. The first mouthful had a crunchy, dry, salty peanut, and strawberry fruity flavoured mix to it. My tastebuds received a full mix of savoury and sweet strawberry flavours, which made my mouth think that I was eating a full meal with each mouthful, first came the salty peanut flavour followed by strawberries for pudding. It’s an unusual and rather nice combination. Though the opening of the packet is quite wide, so I had to tip the contents quite carefully into my mouth, rather than dump quickly, as I’d have ended up wearing the snack rather than eating it. This wouldn't help in a tense high action online Team Deathmatch or Burnout race. This Gamer Grub makes you feel like you’re snacking healthily whilst being a gaming couch potato. Still there’s always the Wii or Move to get you off that settee!
By Spectre

Giant Baby Jelly Mould [@findmeagift] [By @Cinabar]

This may not be an edible item being reviewed, but I still think it is one of the neatest food related items I’ve seen. Jelly babies are pretty cool, but if you have ever looked at a jelly baby and wished that it was bigger, then this may well be the perfect gift for you.
The lovely folks at Find Me A Gift sent me one to try, and I really couldn’t say no, it is right up my street.

The jelly mould was easy to fill as it sat level on the work surface face down. I made three sachets worth of blackcurrant jelly (i.e. three pints) to fill it, and then anxiously waited for it to set. It took a bit longer to set than my usual individual servings of jelly, so make sure you make it well in advance to give it plenty of time. Then came the tense moment of serving it and of course prizing it from its mould. I turned it over and gave it a little tap, but it stayed firm. So I followed the fool proof jelly removal rules by dipping it into some warm water to encourage it, and very gently running a knife around the edge and then he plopped out.

What a result, it really is a stunning looking jelly!!! I loved the detail, and the belly button is just so cute! We admired him for a while, and then tucked it. Cutting into him with a spoon felt like a bit of a moral issue, and there was a certain amount of guilt over eating his head. Spectre had no guilt as he ate his tummy... and then his chest... and his legs... and then ate his arms. Mental note don’t invite Spectre next time! :-D
Seriously though, this would be the perfect treat at the end of a summer barbecue, it’s guaranteed to make your guests smile and the jelly is light enough after all the food. It would wow kids too, perfect for a birthday party. It’s a simple idea but makes brilliant results and I just love the novelty of it.
If you want to get your own: http://www.find-me-a-gift.co.uk/giant-jelly-baby-mould.html
By Cinabar