28 February 2013

The Fabulous Bakin' Boys - New & Improved Chocolate Chip Muffins

It's been a while since I've picked up any FBB products because after a while their lovely little cup-cakes get samey. It seems they have returned to the muffins recipe to rectify this.

In a nice big, bright box and with enough to at least seriously consider sharing come these revised recipe muffins. They are nicely large enough to have as a snack, but small enough to accompany a drink. I ate 1 as a trial then took three into work, but as no-one turned them down I almost didn't have a second to try for the review.

The benefits to individually wrapped snacks is their freshness, and these are no exception. They are moist, and taste like a muffin should do. The softness and doughy flavour is complemented well by the choc chips which are just soft enough to feel in the bite but not obtrusive. I wasn't sure that I'd like these but they are quite nice. The flavour could maybe be a bit stronger, but their delicateness is actually part of their charm.

Nothing beats a freshly baked muffin, or one from one of those commercial stands you get that also sell cookies at train stations. That said, I'd be happy to progress through the range and see what other varieties they do as there are few pre-packaged muffins that come close to this.

27 February 2013

Kent Crisps Sea Salt and Biddenden Cider Vinegar flavoured potato crisps [@KentCrisps] [By @spectreUK]

Cinabar previously reviewed Kent Crisps Oyster and Vinegar crisps and I recently reviewed their Roast Beef and Spitfire Ale crisps. Both flavours were so tasty and of such high quality that I just had to hunt out some more flavours. Fortunately I didn’t have to look far as one day I found these Sea Salt and Biddenden Cider Vinegar flavoured potato crisps delicately dumped in my Foodstufffinds in-tray. The mention of Biddenden Cider caught my eye immediately. Biddenden Cider is produced at Kent’s oldest commercial vineyard and has previously won the CAMRA Cider of the Year Award. Similarly the potatoes used to make these crisps were grown in Kent. The 40g bag had 194 calories, with 0.5g of sugar and 10.5g of fat. Containing no artificial flavours or colours, the ingredients included Kentish potatoes, as well as high oleic sunflower oil, and cider vinegar and salt flavour, which contained rice flour, salt, spirit vinegar, malt vinegar and citric acid. According to the National Sunflower Association (yes, there is one) website, high oleic sunflower oil “favourably alters low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and factor VII coagulant activity,” which to be honest with you lost me a bit, but sounded pretty good for me health wise. These crisps also contained barley and gluten, and were suitable for vegans and vegetarians. There was certainly a salty apple cider vinegar smell on opening the packet. These crisps had a good salty cider vinegar taste to them with a lovely crunchy texture. Mixed with the saltiness was the sweetness from the apples merged with the sour acidity from the vinegar, leaving a luscious almost juicy salty cider vinegar aftertaste in my mouth. I found these crisps very moreish and would have happily munched down a few packets whilst watching a good long movie, I’m sure a fine old classic black and white film would suffice. These crisps would go perfectly with either a sweet or dry cider or a refreshing glass of apple juice and lemonade, and I heartily recommend that you give them a try.
By Spectre

26 February 2013

Walkers Deep Ridged Chilli Beef (WH Smiths @walkers_crisps) [By @Cinabar]

I have been loving the new Deep Ridged crisps from walkers. I love the way they look, with their serious crinkle cut style. The texture is fab, they have a plenty of crunch and loads of lovely texture. The crinkles, which are double regular size, also make the flavour more defined as the seasoning settles in the creases.
The range has obviously been a success for Walkers, as they have a launched a new flavour, this Chilli Beef. Once the pack was opened the smell was rich and meaty with a good hint of spice. The flavour was impressive, and very distinctively Chilli Con Carne. You could almost imagine the minced beef, kidney beans and the sweet but salty chilli sauce. The heat was nice with these crisps, more defined than a lot but still not too hot or uncomfortable. It’s nice to be able to taste some chilli for a change, and the tingle was perfectly placed.
The large bag disappeared quickly, and the salty meaty spicy taste made these crisps ever so moreish. I’m not likely to get bored of the super crunch these crisps have either. It’s safe to say this is my new favourite crisp flavour, and I’ll be going back for more.
By Cinabar

25 February 2013

Ferrero Eggs – Hazlenut and Cocoa (Waitrose) [By @cinabar]

Did I mention already that I have been picking up a few Easter bits? Well these were on the shelves of Waitrose, and in the interest of research I picked up a couple of packets! There are two flavours in the range, Hazelnut and Cocoa, and naturally both bags came home with me.

Cocoa Ferrero Eggs
Inside the bag are ten eggs wrapped in dark brown foil. I carefully peeled off the metallic shell and found a dark looking glazed egg. Inside that dark chocolate shell is a wafer shell, followed by a smooth cocoa filling. The texture of these chocolate is amazing, I love how the chocolate gives in to the crispy wafer followed by the silkiest gooey filling. These eggs are labelled as cocoa flavour, and they are surprisingly intense, the dark chocolate is sweet but strong with lots of rich cocoa tones. They feel rather luscious to eat, as the flavour is so full on.

Hazelnut Ferrero Eggs
Rather like the Cocoa edition, these eggs are foil wrapped, but this time in gold. The egg inside is made of milk chocolate, but there is still an inner wafer shell this time surrounding a hazelnut crème filling.
The nut taste is rather creamy, but still with plenty of hazelnut mixed in. It balances well with the milk chocolate, and although less intense, certainly feels more indulgent. I guess it comes down to whether you prefer dark chocolate or nuts, but for my taste buds this one had the edge, although both varieties are seriously good.
By Cinabar

24 February 2013

Kellog's Krave - White Chocolate Brownie

A while back I did a comparison review between Asda own brand version of Krave (which has been around for years) and the Kellogg's version. The Asda one came out on top, but I commented that the varieties of Krave that may come out would be interesting to see.

The one we have here is a White chocolate filled Brownie version, but it's not that authentic. The outer is very crispy and doesn't really have the brownie texture - but the flavour is very nice. The white inside is more of a sweet contrast than a chocolaty experience and isn;t as much as a draw as the Krave Krusader on the box thinks it is.

I enjoyed these this morning, but again - the special offer price for these is the same as two boxes of the Asda own brand on it's own 3 for £2 special offer. As a nice one-off treat on a Sunday morning this was nice, but the other one is more of a staple.

23 February 2013

Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken and Rice (ASDA) [By @SpectreUK]

This Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken and Rice was produced by Princes, in Liverpool. The label on the 340g pot stated that it was microwavable in one and a half minutes, which was perfect for a quick meal after an evening at the theatre. We’d just seen Ladykillers, at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton which was very funny indeed. Anyway, I digress; per 100g this Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken and Rice had 116 calories, with a low sounding 1.9g of fat. Although it didn’t actually say how much sugar was in it, so I tried not to think about it, besides I hadn’t eaten since midday and really didn’t care, as I was just too hungry! The ingredients included; 10% chicken chunks, 8% rice, with pineapple, barley malt vinegar, red and green peppers, carrot, tomato, chestnuts, spices, onion powder, garlic, rosemary and paprika amongst other things. I decided to scoop this meal up with Sharwood’s Spiced Thai Crackers. Following the cooking instructions, I removed the metal lid and replaced the plastic top to cook for the allotted time. Leaving the orange coloured meal to cool a little before tasting, I burst open the cracker’s packet and poured them out into a bowl. The sauce had a lovely sweet and sour taste to it, and there was plenty of soft chicken pieces and rice. Flavours that really stood out amongst the spices were the pineapple and peppers. There was a good spicy twang to this meal and a great aftertaste. Fortunately there were just enough crackers to polish off the meal completely. I really enjoyed this Sweet ‘n’ Sour Chicken and Rice. It’s so rare I get Sweet and Sour these days, as Cinabar doesn’t like it. I shall definitely have this meal again and I certainly won’t forget the crackers!
By Spectre

22 February 2013

Ben & Jerry's Core - Berry White (Asda) [by @NLi10]

We ran a mini Ben & Jerry's promotion a while back called Capture Euphoria which resulted in us getting a few vouchers to be able to try out and review the new varieties of the Core range.

This one is Berry White, which has white one one side, red on the other and a brown core.

The white ice-cream has tiny hidden shards of white chocolate embedded within. This is probably my favourite bit of the experience, the texture changes. I think that all the ben and jerry things have odd textures and make it a little more exciting.

Next up was the pinky-red ice-cream which was a Raspberry and again had little bits of fruit to excite the senses. More lovely taste sensations.

THe core was odd. It's kind of a sorbet, but has an almost gritty feel to it. This is again quite nice as it's a big contrast to the ice-cream itself and begs to be dug into.

We slowly worked our way down the tub and both enjoyed it immensely. I'd rather have a tiny tub of something quality like this than a bigger tub of something unexciting. More flavours to follow!

21 February 2013

New Kelloggs Nutri-Grain – Crunchy Oat Granola Cinnamon (Sainsburys) [By @cinabar]

As a serial cereal bar consumer (sorry), I was quite pleased to see this new product from Kelloggs on the shelves. Although it is marketed under the Nutri-Grain brand, it isn’t like their soft bars, and instead consists of two thinner crunchy granola bars. I love cinnamon so was impressed to see this as the new flavour, but feared that they might be quite hard bars. Thankfully I discovered that both bars were pleasantly crunchy. They were just right the texture, crunchy, but still easy to eat. They had just enough give in them to make them crisp but interesting, without being too hard on the old teeth!
The flavour was warm and lightly spiced due to the cinnamon, but all the oat flavours still shone through. They had a lovely cinnamon and brown sugar taste, which is the flavour I love. Mild cinnamon is far superior to the hot stuff, but there are some fab clips on YouTube of people eating copious amounts of cinnamon raw, if you like that sort of thing!
Back on track with these bars, the sweetness and gentle cinnamon mixed with the oats make these bars my perfect treat. They are also one of the few non chocolate cereal bars that have made it to my regular shopping list.
By Cinabar

20 February 2013

Miso Cup Soup – Vegetable Flavour (Day In Supermarket) [By @SpectreUK]

This Miso Cup Soup was produced by the Excellence Food Biochemical Company, in Taiwan, which sounds more like a place from some sort of horror movie, than a food manufacturer. There were two sachets inside the 43g cardboard container, of which had 50 calories, with 0g fat and 2.5g sugar. One sachet was full of a liquid Miso soup base, containing rice, soybean, and salt. The other sachet had finely cut pieces of vegetable, which were celery, carrot, bok choy, endive and cabbage. I replaced the free plastic spoon with a metal one, as I have seen what happens to plastic cutlery in boiling water. I added freshly boiled water to the cup, the vegetable sachet and then the Miso soup base. I stirred briefly and then replaced the plastic lid of the cup and left for a few minutes. On removing the plastic lid there was a lovely Miso soup smell. I stirred the soup a little more and gambled a taste. I was strangely surprised to find that this Miso soup was easily the match for any of the Miso soups I have previously guzzled down in restaurants. I say “surprised” because this was supposed to be a cheap and simple cup soup, manufactured by a scary sounding biochemical company. I would definitely have this healthy and tasty Miso soup again and can’t wait to try the Bonito flavour I have in the Foodstuff’s tasting cupboard.
By Spectre

19 February 2013

Waitrose Mini Eggs: Jelly and Ginger Truffle [By @cinabar]

Although we are still fairly far away from Easter, I couldn’t resist checking out the seasonal shelf and picking up a few snacking bits. I spotted these new boxes of mini eggs and thought I’d given them a try. They are called “mini” eggs but they are a bit larger than that, although not as big as a Creme Egg.

Ginger Truffle Mini Eggs
These eggs looked very dark, and have a lovely thick dark chocolate shell. It’s quite soft, and gives easily revealing the thick smooth truffle within. The spices from the centre shine through, adding a lovely warm spice to the rich chocolate taste. The ginger is pleasant and well balanced, adding a gentle tingle, not a hot burn. Their chunky nature means that they take a couple of bites to eat. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed them, and they would make a perfect Easter stocking filler.

Jelly Mini Eggs
These speckled jelly eggs consist of a sweet sugary shell, which gives way to a soft fruit jelly. They are nearly the same chunky size as the chocolate ginger eggs. There are five flavours in the box.

Red – Although pleasant this sweet didn’t have a well defined flavour. It was sugary, with a hint of berries, raspberry perhaps.
Yellow – this one was a bit easier to identify, but still mild. It had the delicate tropical taste of pineapple, and lovely sweet but gentle fruity tones.
Orange – Again this was mellow and sweet, but the citrus taste was unmistakably orange.
White – The light flavour of this tasted delicate and for a while I though it might be peach. The more I tasted it I decided it was probably apricot, but in reality it was somewhere in between both.
Green – In contrast to all the only sweets, this was without question pear. I love pear drops so it will be no surprise that this one was by far my favourite, I’d be happy to have an entire box of these green ones! It was also the strongest tasting in the box.
By Cinabar

18 February 2013

Gingerbread Cupcake (Greggs) [By @Cinabar]

I think I might be a bit late to the party with these cupcakes, I obviously don’t go to Greggs nearly enough. I think they came out last month, but I’m pleased to say they are still making them as I found them in my local branch.
What drew me to them was the super cute mini gingerbread man sitting on top. It is a simple but lovely way to decorate a ginger cupcake! The frosting was thick and moist, and reminded me of cheesecake topping. It was creamy, but had that clean edge to it you associate with cheesecake. The sponge itself was lovely and moist, and delicately spiced. It was a good sweet warm flavour, and the ginger wasn’t too strong at all. Eaten together the creamy topping complimented the spicy base perfectly.
Once I’d finished the cupcake I saw sitting on the plate my mini gingerbread man which I had plucked off earlier, and forgotten about! I have to say it was a bit of an extra treat to finish by eating a gingerbread man whole! Despite being sat on the moist frosting he was still crisp and perfect.
I do intend to visit Greggs more regularly now, there is a branch very near where I work and the goodies within are just too good to miss out on!
By Cinabar

17 February 2013

Belvita Duo Crunch Breakfast Biscuits - Strawberry and live yogurt. [by @NLi10]

When Cinabar previously reviewed the filled Belvita biscuits she said that "that the soft filling gave a lovely contrast with the crunchy biscuits, so the idea is good. I just wish they’d chosen a milder yogurt flavour" . Turns out that Nabisco listened and instead of changing the yogurt they decided to add some strawberries! This is a great thing, and it means that the the biscuits change from a sharp-edged experience to something I can really enjoy.

The biscuits themselves are still high quality, with a great bite and interesting textures, and of a surprisingly moorish nature so we keep featuring all the varieties of these! The fruity jam is not too sweet and seems of high quality.

The price is still a slight issue, but as a nice little pre-lunch snack these really do hit the spot.

16 February 2013

McCoy’s BBQ Ribs (Newsagent) [By @SpectreUK]

These McCoy’s BBQ Ribs have been rebranded from the original Oriental Ribs flavour. The 50g bag of crisps was 261 calories, with 15.2g of fat and 1.8g of sugar. I could see why these crisps were rebranded, as they had a smokier flavour than usual Oriental Ribs. These crisps had an excellent sweet smoky tangy lip smacking barbeque flavour, with the usual full rich flavour that comes bursting forth from any McCoy’s crisp bag. The flavour of the sauce on these crisps would match any BBQ Ribs sauce that I’ve tasted in restaurants such as Chiquitos, and Frankie and Benny’s. I reckon McCoy’s could easily bottle this sauce flavour and sell it in crates. Also on the back of the packet there was a couple of limited edition flavours mentioned that I will have to look out for, which were Bullseye Bangers (suspected sausage flavour!), and also Treble Cheese and Worcester Sauce. Has anyone seen these flavours on sale anywhere, as I’d love to give them a munch? I would definitely have these BBQ Ribs crisps again and I certainly hope they are not a limited edition.
By Spectre

15 February 2013

Lonka - Peanut Caramel (Import Shop) [By @cinabar]

There is a new sweet shop opened in the Mander Centre in Wolverhampton, and it stocks many products I’ve never seen before, although there were some classic bits from the USA there seemed to be quite a lot of European goodies and brands I’d never heard of too. On a bit of a whim I picked up this bag labelled ‘Peanut Caramel’ to try.
On closer inspection when I got home, something struck me. There doesn’t seem to be much caramel? The product actually appears to consist of peanuts in white ‘fudge’ (and by fudge it’s more like a nougat) coated in a thin layer of chocolate.
I opened up the bag, and was a little disappointed to see that there wasn’t a re-sealable sticker either. Most of the grab bags in this country have a sticker on the back, to help keep the goodies inside fresher, and I have sort of come to expect that now. The chocolates inside the bag seemed a fair bit smaller than those pictured on it, as they didn’t seem nearly as chunky.
I bit in and have to say wasn’t particularly impressed. The ‘fudge’ was firm, sweet but without a well defined taste. The chocolate was the same, there was hint of cocoa, but nothing wow especially as it was quite thin. Even the nuts seemed to be lost in the sweet but bland taste. I have to say this was a big disappointment for me, and I only had two pieces before I became bored with them.
I’m sure there are some proper goodies to behold in that new import shop, and I do intend to investigate further. Sadly this was not one of them!
By Cinabar

14 February 2013

Graze box - tea, and a slice [by @NLi10]

From Graze, the company that essentially send you snacks in the post - like a LoveFilm for food comes this lovely little idea.   I came into possession of a few Graze boxes recently from a friend who wasn't at work and insisted that we eat them for her ( :D ) and decided that two of them were interesting enough to write about.  

The first of these isn't 100% snack.  You get an afternoon infusion tea bag, and a Light Lemon & Poppy Slice. For me this makes a nice combo, and the Mr. Tea mug comes in handy and we set up a lovely afternoon snack/break.  They have a few different versions too.  The tea was assam and quite light and refreshing.

The poppy slice (while containing far too few calories for the likes of me) was surprisingly moist and flavoursome.  The four bites of cake I got just were not enough!  The flavour was nicely balanced and the lemon didn't overpower the poppy seeds.  While i'm unlikely to have these again (baring more gifted boxes) I did enjoy my afternoon tea.

13 February 2013

Amigos Tequila Flavoured Beer (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]

“Why did the Mexican push his wife off a cliff?” is not a question that is often on my mind, but during this blog I will attempt to answer it. This 5.5% volume Amigos Tequila Flavoured Beer was served in a 660ml bottle, and was brewed in the UK for Global Brands Limited, who is famous for the first Alcopop; Lime flavoured Hooch, which is still available somewhere but not in the ga-billions (many million billions) of bottles in every drinking outlet and booze store in the UK as it used to be. The ingredients of this Tequila beer included; water, malted barley, sugar, hops, flavourings, and citric acid. On opening the bottle there was a strong lime beer odour. Lime was also part of the initial taste with an added herby tequila base, which was closely followed by a hoppy bitterness mixed with sweetness from the malted barley. I would say this beer had an overall lime flavour with a hint of Tequila. Having said that I very much enjoyed this beer and would recommend anyone trying it, especially as a zesty refreshing beer around spring and summer time when hopefully the weather should clear up and we may even get lucky and have a barbeque or two! So, “why did the Mexican push his wife of a cliff?” I hear you ask. I simply have no idea... maybe he just didn’t like her?
By Spectre

12 February 2013

Wotsits Waffles – Bacon Flavour (Poundland) [By @cinabar]

I heard a rumour that these crisps were back on the shelves just before Christmas, but they have taken a bit of tracking down. I was rather excited to see them sitting on the shelves in Poundland and hastily picked up a multi pack. I love the shape of these crisps, the puffed waffled make them look chunky and filling, but the texture still managed to remain light and fluffy like regular Wotsits. They melt in the mouth very quickly after you have bitten in. It’s such a brilliant texture.
I can pick up on the corn puff flavour of the base, which is reminiscent of cheesy Wotsits, but on top of this is a mild bacon flavour. It is a little bit salty and meaty, but it’s a gentle taste that works, and doesn’t seem as strong as most bacon crisps. I munched my way through my bag in record time, and thoroughly enjoyed them.
Impressively the bag only has 74 calories in it, so not only are they tasty, they are a lighter snack too. I’m certainly going to pop back to the shop and pick up another bag, while I can still find them! Poundland really is a little treasure trove sometimes. :-)
By Cinabar

11 February 2013

Pez – Red Nose Day Edition [By @Cinabar]

It’s not long till Red Nose Day, I keep seeing the adverts for it on TV. This year’s selections of noses are dinosaur themed, and I was excited to see that Pez have a limited edition Red Nose Day sweet dispensers! The noses available are : T-Spex, Triceytops and Dinomite, and these are all available in Pez form too. Mine is Dinomite with his big teeth, and he has a packet of Pez sweeties which you can hide in the handle.
I used to love Pez when I was a kid, I had a few different dispensers, which have disappeared over the years. They are quite collectable, so I really should have hung on to them. Obviously I’ll be keeping this one handy, and have already sourced the ‘sour’ flavour to try out too – that will form a later blog review.
This Red Nose Day Pez is supplied with two packets of the cherry flavour Pez bricks. There is an art to putting them in the dispenser, and it’s a skill I learnt as a kid and apparently hung on too. The best plan is to unwrap the whole lot at once, leaving just enough foil to hold them as a stack. Then to carefully slide the whole lot into the fully extended Pez machine. I was quite proud of myself for still being able to manage it, I’m sure it works just fine if you want to load a few at a time too. I rewarded myself with one of the sweet blocks for managing to get them all in at once.

The pink coloured mini brick is a hard sweet sweet, with a rich sugary cherry flavour. They are quite firm, but break easily enough if you bite down on them. The cherry flavour was nice and zingy and had a slightly tart edge. They make a nice sweet, but serving them up is the fun part.
For me this is the first Pez I’ve had in years and I loved it. It filled me with good memories of just how much I used to love these sweets. The Pez dispenser itself is ace, bright and monstrous, but still maintaining its fun. I love that it supports a good cause too, as there is a donation to the cause with every pack. I’m not sure I can get away with wearing a nose to work, but we will undoubtedly have a collection for Red Nose day in the office and I shall take some of these Pez to share around.
By Cinabar

10 February 2013

Original Schweizer Krauterbonbons (Austria) [by @NLi10]

Original Schweizer Krauterbonbons (Austria) [by @NLi10]

These are Swiss hard-boiled sweets, bought in Austria by a buddy on a skiing trip.  I think they are firmly herbal sweets designed for consumption in cold weather.  The closest similarity I've seen I think is to menthol sweets as these are quite powerful and naturally unblock the nose while warming you up. This is not an unpleasant sensation, but they really aren't sweets for idle snacking on.

I chose very strategically when to eat these, as the strong smell and taste means that I wouldn't want to have near to food that I actually want to taste and enjoy.  Near to tea and similar was a similar no-no.  Just before a long cold walk home in the snow? Perfect.  Warming, decongesting, and enjoyably flavoured too.  A good 'older person' sweet.

9 February 2013

Jackpots Roast Beef and Horseradish Flavour Crisps [By @SpectreUK]

The potatoes used to make these Roast Beef and Horseradish flavour crisps were grown on the Fairfield’s family farm in East Anglia. Made with 100% natural flavours, the 40g bag had 182 calories, with 9.36g of fat and 1.32g of sugar. The ingredients included potatoes, sunflower oil, salt, onion, mustard, chickpea, citric acid, natural horseradish flavouring, and malt vinegar, with paprika for natural colour. These crisps were suitable for vegetarians and contained wheat, gluten and milk.

I decided to take these crisps with me for a picnic outside the Barbican on a visit to London to see the an exhibition. I’d picked up a Roast Beef and Horseradish bap from M&S once I’d arrived at Marylebone Station. It was a surprisingly pleasant day and the art exhibition had been an exhilarating triumph. I sat down behind the Barbican on one of the picnic benches and I enjoyed the fountains gurgling softly nearby. I enjoyed my tasty sandwich and revelled in the pure Roast Beef and Horseradish flavour of these nose and tongue tingling crisps. These crisps had a roast beefy mustard smell to them and a moreish quality that made me regret bringing only the one bag. Fortunately there were a few more bags left over in the Foodstufffinds crisp vault to enjoy once I’d arrived back home.
By Spectre

8 February 2013

Thorntons Pop Bubbles – Fizzy Cola Flavour [By @cinabar]

I decided to have a nosey in Thorntons over the weekend, and spotted these pretty glass pop bottles filled with choccies. I love the presentation, they do look like should contain some classic brewed drink and are lovely and retro. Although both cherryade and lemonade were also on offer, it was the cola edition that I thought was most interesting. Coke and chocolate sounds like an intriguing combination.
Inside each glass bottle are small balls of milk chocolate, all flavoured with cola and popping candy. The taste is through and through, and there isn’t a filling as such. The popping candy is mixed in and adds a light crunch, followed by its magic. Now popping candy is an acquired taste, but for me its fun and I am not yet over the novelty of the snapping and crackling. It appeals to my inner child.
The cola flavour is a lot more tart than a drinking cola would be, there seems to be a healthy dose of sharp lemon mixed in, but this is all balanced by the smooth milk chocolate which adds sweetness. The popping candy made me smile. It’s an odd combination, and perhaps it shouldn’t work but it does. I guess these are somewhere between being chocolates and sweets, with the presentation of the glass bottle it makes them excellent as a gift opportunity.
Frankly though I’m wishing Thortons just brought out a cheaper bag of these, so that I wouldn’t need an excuse to go back and buy more.
By Cinabar

7 February 2013

Pizza Express - Classic Sloppy Giuseppe (Sainsbury's) [by @NLi10]

Pizza Express - Classic Sloppy Giuseppe

As these were on special offer and we were in Sainsbury's instead of Asda for a change I figured that I'd try one of the restaurant-grade home Pizzas.  This is the spicy beef version 'Sloppy Giuseppe' which I don't think that I've had in their restaurants as I'd go for something with more meat or spiciness usually.

We also have pictured the Pizza Express House dressing which is frankly amazing and adds a zing when drizzled over any pizza.  I guess you could also use thick balsamic vinegar for the same purpose, and add a handful of rocket to the top once it's cooked.  Yum.

The Pizza itself is pretty good, the meat is meaty enough and the cheese is inoffensive enough to allow the other flavours to shine.  The base was crispy and the edge cooked nicely too and had a snap to it that a lot of home pizzas lack due to the moistness of the sauces.

I think that Pizza Express understand that while it's sometimes nice to pile things high it is also good to just enjoy a few quality things on a good base.  This pizza is nothing spectacular but it is very nice and I'd be happy to pay full price for it next time.

6 February 2013

Milkyway Frothy Vanilla flavoured Milk [By @spectreUK]

This Frothy Vanilla flavoured milk was produced by Mars, in Ireland. As with the recent Maltesers flavoured milk there was a large “Shake me!” printed on the bottle in order to produce the froth. The 215ml bottle contained 168 calories, with 22.6g of sugar and 3.1g of fat. This drink was the same as the Maltesers flavoured milk in the sense of being “School Friendly” with 90% milk and no more than 5% added sugar. Also vegetarian friendly, the ingredients included wheat malt extract, sugar, modified tapioca starch, and xanthan gum, amongst other things. After a long shake and tearing the top off the bottle this Milkway drink smelt of creamy vanilla malt, much like the innards of a Milkyway chocolate bar. Cinabar exclaimed that this was the best vanilla milkshake she had ever tasted. I honestly had to prize it out of her hands to taste it. There was a perfect creamy vanilla flavour with a goodly amount of satisfying malt. This Milkway drink was an excellent treat for the taste buds and I would certainly have it again. It was a lovely, cool and refreshing drink and would be great either for an after dinner treat, post workout pick me up, or even just before bed to let you indulge in its velvety creamy vanilla goodness before drifting softly off to sleep on malted Milkway pillows!
By Spectre

5 February 2013

Fox’s Magnifico’s Red Chilli & Lime Flavour Biscuits (Waitrose) [By @cinabar]

I was actually looking for some cheese crackers in Waitrose when the bag of these mini biscuits caught my eye, bizarrely on the bottom shelf hidden away. I figured these were more appropriate as a snack or with lunch with a sandwich but popped them in my basket anyway. I did also pick up a pack of crackers for cheese and biscuits.
Once opened I was expecting something similar to Mini Cheddars, but these felt like they had a nicer texture. The biscuits were light, crunchy but turned soft quickly and easily. I liked the shapes too, some are circular, and others more floral. They didn’t feel at all stodgy to munch on, which is a good thing. The texture was surprising light.
The flavour in some respects was very nice. The lime was in the equation perfectly. It was strong, zesty and added a good hint of sour and made these biscuits. The problem was the chilli, or as is so often the case, the lack of it. Despite the biscuits looking like they were totally covered in flecks of dark seasoning, the chilli added almost no heat. There was just the tiniest most delicate hint of spice somewhere lost in the background. If you are looking for a hot and spicy snack, these won’t hit the spot. On the other hand if you are looking for something a bit different to munch on with a sandwich, and you like lime, then these are not to be missed.
By Cinabar

4 February 2013

New Skittles Confused? [2013 Edition] (Tesco) [By @cinabar]

I love the idea of ‘new’ products, it’s one of the reasons we started the blog! Somebody did once say to me that there isn’t really any such thing as a new product, and if I write the blog long enough I’ll discover that. I wasn’t entirely sure what they meant, yes we get some fab re-launches and blasts from the past coming back, but new is still new – right?
Well when I saw this bag of Skittles, despite its ‘new’ label, I knew it was familiar, and back in the early days of the blog I did write about the first UK release of Skittles Confused. Although it was only a bit of a short post I wasn’t that excited at the prospect of coloured shells not matching their flavour, and given that they disappeared shortly after I thought they probably didn’t have mass appeal.
This bag of Skittle Confused is a little bit different, I’m pleased to say. The new packs come in a bright turquoise bag, and have a more tropical twist. The first key difference is that there are some new flavours introduced which is really nice to see. Also any one colour can related to two flavours so there is no way of knowing which one you’ll pick even if you have narrowed down your options. I had to munch my way through quite a few to make sure I tried a few of each colour to get each flavour – but that’s okay, it’s the kind of sacrifice I’m willing to make! If you want a surprise probably best to leave it here and just enjoy – as I’m going to spoil the flavour mysteries:

Purple – this can equate to being either Lime or Raspberry. Both flavours are a pleasure, the lime is zesty enough to be told apart from lemon, and is still really refreshing. I love berry tastes so the sweet strong raspberry flavour went down well too.

Orange – depending on which you pick this will either be Melon Berry or Blue Raspberry. It is a bit weird that they would include two raspberry flavours, and although nice it isn’t quite as strong as the Purple version. Melon Berry is marvellous though, it is a mouth-watering flavour, and very different. The refreshing taste works so well in Skittle form.

Red – is either Lemon or Mandarin. The lemon tastes exactly like regular lemon skittles, and is sweet but still zingy. The Mandarin tastes like a muted orange, it’s nice but given the choice I’d take a regular orange one.

Green – some of these are Cherry and some are Mango & Peach. The Cherry is rather strong, and has buckets loads of flavour, it’s almost like almond concentrate. The Mango & Peach is more delicate, but still just as juicy. Its a different but tasty fruit combination.

Yellow – It turns out the new yellow Skittles were my favourite, you could either pick Blueberry or Watermelon and both were spot. The unique slightly floral taste of blueberries made for a lovely sweet, and the watermelon taste was almost juicy in its nature. It’s a proper hot day sweet, and recreated the watermelon taste perfectly.

Which of the new flavours is your favourite? Do you like them mixed this way? Or do you just take a handful so it makes no odds? Let me know below.
By Cinabar

3 February 2013

Sacla Italia Pesto Sauce - squeezy version (Good Food Show) [by @NLi10]

I like Sacla pesto sauce.  I'm not sure how I discovered it, but it was someting I'd never eaten growing up, but discovered about the time I became vegetarian and it certainly brightens up Quorn and similar things and is probably good for you too.  The little jars had become a staple in the fridge - until now.

At the Good Food Show in Birmingham last year there was a stall 'selling' (for they asked only a pound or two) these as a pair with a tea-towel and some leaflets.  Like the Singha beer t-shirt I got that was similarly not quite free these deals are usually the best thing about trade fairs.  As we eat it anyway and it wasn't too heavy to carry around we got some.  The idea is I think that you can use it more like a sauce and take it to the table with you instead of it being relegated to the kitchen.

You can also be more creative!

Here we see a fresh baguette that has been expertly sliced and covered in humous and a bit of spread, and topped with the tomato pesto.  A dash of rocket and balsamic vinegar to top it off and you have a healthy vegetarian lunch fit for anyone.

As it stands we tend to add a dollop of the pesto on the side of pasta plates, after remembering to shake it to stop the settling.  I don't think it's upped our pesto consumption much, but it's an awfully convenient way to serve it and depending on the premium attached to the squeeze versions compared to the jars may be the way forwards.

It's making me hungry just writing about it - yum!

2 February 2013

Vimto Skiddadles (Poundland) [By @SpectreUK]

These Skiddadles were Vimto flavoured sweets in the form of purple tablets. Made with the secret Vimto ingredient and suitable for vegetarians, these sweets had no artificial colours and included; sugar, glucose syrup, Arabic gum, vegetable oil, citric acid and 2.5% of fruit concentrates from blackcurrant, raspberry and grape. The 200g bag consisted of two servings of 100g which had 380 calories, with 71g of sugar (unsurprising, I guess) and 3g of fat. The small rounded flattened tablets were slightly smaller than Skittles and not as hard to initially chew as Tooty Frooties. They had a dry taste to start with that was quickly replaced by a juicy Vimto flavour the more I sucked and chewed them. Once I’d started eating these sweets it was hard to stop dumping more and more of them into my overly enthusiastic mouth. There seemed to be hundreds of them in the bag, so I wasn’t sure how many I ate to start with, but I reckon I probably easily hit the 100g serving mark before feeling a little ashamed, but only a little. I resealed the bag and left roughly another serving for the next day. I certainly appreciated the 2.5% of real fruit juice, but would have appreciated a little more, as Rowntrees generally try to add 25% of fruit juice to their gums, although these sweets were certainly not gums. I reckon Vimto Skiddadles are a good alternative to Skittles and also to Tooty Frooties, which have always been my favourite sweets of this genre, and I would certainly have them again.
By Spectre

1 February 2013

[New] Sweet Apple & Cinnamon Popcorn (Sainsburys) [By @cinabar]

I love popcorn, it is my snack of choice when it comes to watching a film at home. I also love cinnamon, and always wish there were more products that used it as a flavour. I’ve heard other countries have had Kit Kat Chunky Cinnamon and I am filled with jealousy. Until we get such a treat here I keep my eyes open for other suitable spiced treats. I found this while looking, it combines my favourite snack with cinnamon, so how could it go wrong?
One I opened up the bag I could smell cinnamon and it was rather enticing. I tucked in, and immediately felt that it was all lacking something. Some of the pieces didn’t have much flavour at all, some were mainly apple which added a bizarre slightly sour Granny Smith type of taste, and some had cinnamon, but it was just a hint of warmth.
This popcorn had the potential to be mind blowing, it is an excellent idea for a flavour, but it just wasn’t put together as well as I had hoped. It was mainly about the unevenness of the flavour mix, and the sharpness of the apple that let it down. I would have gone for a sweet apple flavour, and a larger sprinkling of cinnamon, but for me you can never have really have enough! So I ate my way through the bag, over the course of a couple of nights, and it was alright, just lacking a bit of depth to the flavour. Sadly though I won’t be rushing out to buy another bag – I’ll be sticking with the sweet n salty for now.
If you know of any brands that do make a fab cinnamon popcorn I’d be grateful if you could drop me an email or leave a comment as I will try and hunt some down.
By Cinabar