30 September 2013

New Cheeseburger Vegetable Supreme (@PizzaHutDeliver) [By @Cinabar]

Sometimes you know you want takeaway, but you just can’t decided between burgers or pizza... the new creation from Pizza Hut means you no longer have to make that decision, they have combined the two! I don’t mean that there is a new pizza out with mini burgers on top, this is something quite different, it is in the crust! Now I’ve seen hot dog pizzas before, but their shape does lend themselves to fitting in the crust better than a burger, but Pizza Hut didn’t let that put them off – they just altered the shape a bit...

The burger part is just the crust, so when you do choose this pizza (which is only available in large size) you also have to have a bit of a think about what toppings you want. I’m not entirely sure that varieties like the Tuna Melt would work, but the Vegetable Supreme seemed like the perfect flavour to complement the crust. I ordered this fine pizza from Pizza Hut delivery, and it is the first time I’ve used their service. The website stated that they aim to deliver within 30 minutes, but ours took nearly an hour, which wasn’t so good. We soon forgave the wait, when the wondrous looking new pizza arrived. It is quite an impressive site, with its clever shape, and burgers wrapped into the crust and topped with mozzarella all around the edges. There were 10 in total, one for each slice. I eased out the first piece, and gave it a try. Obviously I started from the middle, so was met with lovely crisp and fresh vegetables. Onions, mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes were all present, and full of flavour and texture. The cheese on the pizza was especially good, with a creamy but strong flavour. I worked my way up to the burger, and gave it a try. It was actually a decent size, and remarkably well seasoned. It was a nice firm texture, and added a lovely rich beef meatiness to the crust. I was actually rather impressed!
I have to admit to thinking this pizza had been designed for novelty factor, but they have managed to put together a totally delicious combination, and I heartily recommend trying it with the Vegetable Supreme as its perfect topping. It is just a shame that it says it is around for a Limited Time Only, as it is the perfect party pizza, and would be great when the family are over at Christmas etc. Being novel, fun and tasty it meets all my requirements.
By Cinabar

29 September 2013

POM Summer Cocktails [by @NLi10]

A good while ago I was asked whether I'd like to review POM Wonderful and use it to make cocktails and to make a video.  I of course agreed as I love the stuff.  After a while the kit and vouchers came through and the hunt for somewhere that sold the right bottles began.  After a delay I found them both in Sainsbury's by where I play cards on a Tuesday and so then I took these home and planned what to do.

The two large bottles are great, I could drink them neat, but this seemed to defeat the idea of the whole thing.  Here is the kit.

Lots of nice things, plastic glasses, a shaker/strainer and a pummelling stick.  I didn't picture the recipe guide that came with it as I'd stuck this in my shopping bag to get some of the essentials.

The main things I got were Blueberries and Apples and Ginger Ale.  There were odd things like a nail of ginger that I didn't know what to do about, and lemon/lime juice which we already had (pancakes!) and I figured that I'd manage somehow.

With all this set out and ready to go I really wasn't sure about the video aspect - I've tried to do video recipies reviews before and they all go horribly wrong and don't tend to get many views.  I came up with a nice mid-range solution - I did a Vine video.  These are videos that are 7 seconds long and go on their own specific site like Twitter.  I made some heart shaped ice-cubes and videoed away.

This seemed to work - the short video didn't get in the way of the making and there was no muffins to burn.

I made the Apple & Ginger and Pom which involved apples and lime and POM juice shook and blended with ginger ale and then strained into a glass with ice.  I gave the result to my partner.

She approved and so I made a second drink for me.  This was similar, but using blueberries as well as using the blueberry version of the POM. 

This was just as straightforward and I put all the bits of apple in from the shaker instead of adding new bits as garnish.  I also used the last of the heart ice cubes .  The veggie sausages were separate.

I think that large You Tube videos telling you how to make a cocktail are a lot less fun and immediate than cocktails should be.  The little video gives you all the info and only takes a second (well 7) to watch - if I've embedded it correctly.

Since this I have worked my way through the rest of the ginger ale and POM as the combination really does work very well, but without all the extra bits and pieces and measuring. Taste really is the key here, and they are certainly a refreshing way to enjoy mixing things up a bit.

28 September 2013

Tyrrell’s Aristo-Crackling - Pork Crackling with a Dash of Mustard (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]

I liked the classical design of the yellow mustard coloured packet with rosette and union jack image with two pigs wearing top hats inside the rosette on the front of the packet, and the slogan stating; “A corker of a porker”. This left me with no qualms that this was a British pork product and Tyrrell’s were proud of it. This pork crackling was slow-roasted and given a spot of mustard to add flavour. I was looking forward to the pork crackling as soon as I saw the packet. I love pork crackling and I love English mustard. Putting the two together seemed like a dream come true. An excellent idea I thought to myself as I went to tear open the bag with an already watering mouth. I thought I’ll just check the ingredients which included; pork rind, yeast extract, salt, rice flour, sugar, spices, English mustard, colours of turmeric and paprika, and also dried dill. Per 50g packet there was 293 calories, with 20.6g of fat and 0.3g of sugar. There was a warning just under the ingredients; “Suitable for those with strong healthy teeth.” This made me worry a little. I’d recently enjoyed melt in the mouth Mr Trotter’s Jalapeño flavour pork crackling, but would this pork crackling break my aging teeth? I guess there was only one way to find out...

On opening the packet there was a very salty pork crackling smell, with a mild hint of mustard. Cinabar stated on trying the first one that they were really hot from the mustard, but that she couldn’t actually taste the mustard. As soon as I put the first pork crackling on my tongue I got an instant hit of English Mustard, and then it disappeared replaced by salty pork rind taste. There was no flavour of mustard whilst I was eating it, but there was a zing of heat at the end in the aftertaste. I was not to be disappointed by the crunch though and I had nothing to fear, as the pork crackling pieces had a lovely crunch to them and left me with no broken teeth. There were a few pieces that were bang full of mustard and blew my head off, giving me that tingling affect in my nose that a big blob of English Mustard can deliver. These were a lovely alternative to Mr Trotter’s Jalapeño pork crackling, but in a straight fight between the two Mr Trotter would come out on top for heat and flavour. Having said that I would have these again as a milder alternative for when I’m feeling less daring!
By Spectre

27 September 2013

New Galaxy Nut Crunch (WH Smiths) [By @Cinabar]

I have to admit to not being particularly taken by the New Galaxy Honeycomb edition, and as I bought this bar at the same time, it has sat on the Foodstuff Finds shelf a little longer than the average chocolate bar. With the chocolate the honeycomb was a little too sweet, even for me.
Like the honeycomb bar this one also supports Galaxy’s new look, which is slightly retro but disappointingly lacking gloss. Galaxy is supposed to be luxury, but the packaging just looks a little cheap to me. I broke the first line of chocolate off, and was quite pleased by the nut content, there seemed to be a fair amount, and the pieces looked like they varied nicely in size.
I bit in and discovered the chocolate was much more well balanced with the nut content than the honeycomb edition. Ok I admit it, I do rather like nuts and chocolate, but I think the combination works so much better than anything else with such a sweet milk chocolate base. The nuts inside the chocolate had a very defined crunch, like they had been roasted, which gave the bar a nice satisfying texture. The nuttiness came with a hint of salt and caramel that really complemented the rich silky sweet chocolate.
I don’t know why I waited so long to try this bar, it was totally delicious, and way more balanced than the other bar. This will be my Galaxy bar of choice for now.
By Cinabar

26 September 2013

Moore's Dorset Knob Biscuits (Dorset) [By @NLi10]

A good friend of mine brought this product back from Dorset to share with all the players in his local games store.  I think that it was originally for the obvious jokes, but also as sharing snacks is always fun.

Apparently the traditional way to try a Dorset Knob is to sprinkle sugar on the top and to pour tea on it. One bite explains this behaviour - they are not sweet and they are not soft!

Tried without any of the above crazy behaviour they are almost like a savoury rusk.  They have the same inner honeycomb structure as bread, but with none of that namby-pamby softness.  They also taste like they require some kind of topping.  One presumes that like most biscuits they will go soft upon leaving out in the elements instead of hard like a cake or bread.  They are nice, but the kind of nice that you turn down the second time.

I can understand why scones are more popular than this, but it's always nice to try these regional delicacies. Unless we were tricked by Dorset into eating small, stale cobs in which case - curses!!

25 September 2013

Sugar Cane Juice (Pinoy Foods, Birmingham Indoor Market) [By @SpectreUK]

My dad always regales us with sugar cane anecdotes of when he was a child living for a few years in Trinidad. He used to cut sugar cane in the field near his home there with a big sickle and eat all the sugar inside the cane. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t miss these anecdotes for the world, especially when he talks of seeing an anaconda stretch from one side of a river to the other when he was on a canoe one time. I just wish he’d leave the part out where he cut the top off his thumb’s knuckle one time with the sickle! Anyway, it was this story I had in mind when I saw this can of Sugar Cane Juice in one of my favourite Foodstuff Find’s haunts in Birmingham.

I’m not sure what the “FOCO” stands for on the front of the can, but I tried not to take it as an insult.
Manufactured by the Thai Agri Foods Public Company Limited, which Cinabar stated “Food Company” could be where the “FO” for Food and “CO” for Company came from. Ingredients in the 350ml can were; water, sugar cane juice (35%), sugar (just in case there wasn’t enough sugar in the sugar cane juice) and citric acid. Per 100ml there was 42 calories, which I was quite surprised at how low this amount was considering the title of the drink, 0g of fat and 10.2g of sugar. Sugar Cane Juice sounded like it was going to be a sweet drink. I was not to be disappointed. Adding further sugar to the already pretty damn sugary ingredients was like adding insult to injury. To say that this drink was sweet would be an underestimation. The drink had a cloudy lemonade colour to it without the fizz and a sugar cane plant smell. The sugar sweetness had a mild woody cane taste that made the initial flavour quite unpleasant. Oh, but the aftertaste... Once I’d got through the fairly nasty sweet plant flavour there was a lovely sugar sweet aftertaste that I didn’t want to leave my mouth, like I’d just stolen some sugar cubes from the coffee table as a child. Having said that, I don’t think I’d run out and buy another can in a hurry. I’ll just nick the sugar cubes...
By Spectre

24 September 2013

New Lindt Lindor: My Melting Moment (Tesco) [By @cinabar]

Is it too early for Christmas chocolates? I think it might be... but technically this is just a winter chocolate as it is in the shape of a snowflake... we will say no more about Christmas for now. It is actually too early for winter chocolate, I know this as I caught the sun last Sunday and Spectre got stung by a wasp, but I except its coming to the end of the season.
This chocolate is an individual portion of chocolate, very prettily moulded into a snowflake, with a split down the middle for two bites, or to share. I found these on two for £1, so already decided to share and yet keep the whole chocolate to myself but not to eat two of them, because that would be greedy. ;-)
The milk chocolate shell is filled with the same filling you would expect on a Lindor chocolate. It’s quite magical stuff, it is really silky and yet rich with loads of sweet chocolate flavour. It’s quite something and the oozing centre does just melt in the mouth. The chocolate shell is spot on too, creamy and sweet, and at just about the right thickness, so that it provides lots of flavour, but gives easily when you bite in. Yum!
This new Lindt Lindor Melting Moment is perfect for a sneaky treat, without the guilt of opening a whole bar of chocolate. It’s an indulgent treat and is just the right size to go with a coffee in the afternoon as a bit of a pick me up. It may not be winter yet, but these will be going in my shopping basket a few more times before the season commences.
By Cinabar

23 September 2013

Um Bongo: New Mango-Tango (Tesco @UmBongoUK) [By @cinabar]

Recently Um Bongo had a bit of a re-launch, which made people like me rather happy. It is one of those brands that fills me with nostalgia as it was a regular product in my school lunch box! They have now added a new flavour to the range, Mango-Tango and I popped a large carton of it in the fridge to chill. The packaging was very bright and had the usual Um-Bongo logo on the front of the pack as well as all of the usual characters. I was rather pleased to see they had a rhyme on the side of the box introducing the new flavour too. The original Um-Bongo poem is a bit of a cult classic – you should check out the original advert on YouTube!
Anyway this new flavour is introduced by the monkey and the giraffe and is a mix of apple and mango. I’m actually a big fan of mango juice, but it can be quite a difficult one to find, so it is nice to see it being used in this way. Its also quite a full on flavour, so I was keen to see how it worked out mixed with apple. I found the taste was well balanced, and feels very tropical. It isn’t as syrupy as pure mango juice as the apple mellows the sweetness and adds a fresh tangy aftertaste. The mango is the stronger taste, mellow but sweet with the apple just coming in at the end.
It was very easy to drink, with is lovely sweet and fruity tones. It is definitely one I’ll buy again, and I love that it comes in the larger cartons. It makes a refreshing change to the same old cartons of orange juice for the fridge, and adds a bit of tropical magic.
By Cinabar

22 September 2013

Vegetable Medley Futomaki (Sainsbury's) [by @NLi10]

I frequently have the bite-size sushi for lunch as bread tends to make me fall asleep.  When hinting for this in Sainsbury's and being disappointed that they didn't have a veggie sushi for me (not refrigerating fish sushi makes veggie safer) I spotted a few of these futomaki which were.  These did however have wasabi paste in them so I bought two large innocent fruit drinks just in case.

I know this is essentially just a larger sushi roll, but the experience and tastes were very different.  For one the wasabi wasn't too powerful but did come across as the main flavour and the smaller, pepper looking things added a crunchy touch.  The rice was good and cooled the spiciness and the leaves were not hard or dry like I worried they may be.

This is a perfectly good alternative to the little sushi box, and one that I'd happily buy again - maybe alongside the sushi box for a bigger meal or extravagant snack.

21 September 2013

Seabrooks –Bread Crisps Fireman Frank’s Sweet Chilli with Chilli and Mixed Peppers [By @SpectreUK]

I'm always looking for alternative snacks to crisps and these Seabrook’s Fireman Frank’s Sweet Chilli with Chilli and Mixed Peppers bread crisps sent by a friend for us to try seemed just the ticket. They were oven baked in Yorkshire and served in a 25g packet, which was 104 calories, with 2.8g sugar, and 2.6g of fat. These bread crisps were thin slices of baked bread with chilli and mixed peppers, and seasoned with sweet chilli flavouring. The ingredients included; wheat flour, rapeseed oil, tomato purée, sugar, ascorbic acid, yeast, dried red and green peppers, garlic purée, sea salt, chilli flakes, and coriander. On opening the packet there was a very spicy chilli and peppery smell to the red thin slices of baked bread (see photo). The bread crisps looked like small pieces of croutons and had a good crunch to them, but were not tooth-breakingly hard like some fried croutons. They had a light medium spice and were very tasty, with a full tomato flavour, and a bite of chilli and peppers with a hint of coriander. These bread crisps melted in my mouth after the initial crunch and were very moreish. They had a good medium spice that didn't make my nose run or make me want to call for Fireman Frank to put out a fire in my mouth and throat, but they were so very flavoursome. I would have these bread crisps again. They had a good lunch-box sized pack, were a very healthy feeling snack and an excellent alternative to crisps.
By Spectre

20 September 2013

Knickerbocker Glory Chocolate (@Prestat) [By @cinabar]

There are quite a few products linking chocolates with desserts, for example I’ve seen a few Eton Mess chocolate bars, and Tiramisu chocolates, but the fabulous Knickerbocker Glory is often overlooked. It’s a British tradition, how can your face fail to light up if it is ordered in a restaurant and a waiter brings over an oversized glass filled with fruit, ice cream, nuts and fresh cream; there is nothing quite like it.
One of Prestat’s new artisan range is trying to pack all that goodness into a simple bar of chocolate, which sounds like a pretty mean feat. The bar contains, passion fruit, meringue, strawberry, almonds and it is all in a white chocolate base.
I opened up the box and unwrapped the foil, to find a gentle fruit scent and a pale pink looking bar. It was very intriguing, and I broke a corner off to try. The flavour, in a word, was delicious. It had the predominantly zingy flavour of passion fruit, mellowed by the sweeter strawberry, and the creaminess from the white chocolate. It was like eating the best fruit salad you could imagine but in a bar. Although there weren’t any visible pieces of meringue, their light crunch added a lovely level of complexity to the texture of the bar, just giving it an edge of something that shatters and melts somewhere in the background. The nut flavour was mild, and thankfully not like marzipan, just adding the creamy taste of almonds to the mix. The flavours were fresh, fruity, creamy, nutty and chocolaty, what more could anyone want?
For all the high street bars attempting crazy sounding chocolate flavours and ingredients, this bar here is the clear winner. It’s different, but it works like a dream. Its neatly presented, but wrapped up in that package is something quite astounding, glorious even. It’s a dessert in a bar.
By Cinabar

19 September 2013

Chinese Oreos (Day Inn Supermarket, Birmingham) [by @NLi10]

This week saw 'Healthy Eating Day' in our work canteen - promoting the value of fruit.

So here are some Fruity Chinese varieties of Oreos that I discovered in our local Chinese Grocers Day Inn!  I realise this isn't in the true spirit of the above, but I did have the real fruit too (remember kids - 5 portions of fruit and veg a day is the minimum, not the target!)

They are:
Mango and Orange
Raspberry and Blueberry
Grape and Peach

As these were actually imported by the store's own import arm the ingredients stickers were clear and well set out so I knew exactly what I was getting into!  Also they were only £1.50 a pack, which for import snacks is frankly ace.

The biscuits are exact Oreo cookies - and you get 9 per pack.  They crumbled a bit when I separated them (I didn't do the Oreo twist as that smudges the lines) and I only photoed one as they were all similarly coloured lines in identical biscuits.

These are much sweeter than regular Oreos and have a very aggressive tang to them.  As with a lot of snack food there really sin't much to tell between them - the Orange based one is the tangiest, the peach one has a warmth to the flavour and the raspberry one is fruitier and perhaps the sweetest.  The Raspberry one is also my favourite, but they really are quite close together in terms of taste.

I'll buy these again, but I do like biscuits that encourage sharing.  As a spectacular thing to have at the hypothetical dinner party these would be good - everyones seen Oreos but no-one has seen these.  With any luck they will show up in a few more stores (and they will still be in stock when I go back!)

18 September 2013

Leslie’s Red Hot Cheezy Corn Crunch (Pinoy Foods, Birmingham) [By @SpectreUK]

On the front of the 70g packet of these Leslie’s Red Hot Cheezy Corn Crunch it stated; “outrageously Spicy and Cheesy.” Produced by the Leslie Corporation in the Philippines, these corn crunches sounded fairly good for you with the second statement of; “Fortified with vitamin A and complete vitamin B complex.” Their serving size was 30g, which had 160 calories, with 9g of fat and less than 1g of sugar. The ingredients included; corn meal, vegetable oil (palm oil, coconut oil, soybean oil), cheddar cheese, ground spices, iodized salt, monosodium glutamate, FD&C, Red No. 40, vitamin premix of; Vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B12, Folic acid and Niacin. On the back of the packet it stated; “Craving for a blaze? Explode with Red Hot Cheezy, the outrageously spicy and cheesy corn crunch. With its extreme spiciness and creamy cheesy crunch, Red Hot Cheezy will surely set your party on fire.” With this write up I was expecting a snack that was either both really spicy and really cheesy or a snack that was pretty bland and over exaggerated! Well the proof is in the pudding, so they say, so I popped open the packet for tasting. On opening the packet these corn crunches had a cheesy spicy smell to them. You can see from the photograph that these corn crunches looked like someone had slit their throat over a bag of Nik Naks. They had a good crunch with a mainly cheesy flavour and a spice that lit a low burning flame at the back of my throat that slowly simmered with every bite. I wouldn’t say that the spice was outrageously explosive or anything, but these cheesy corn crunches were certainly very tasty and had a good spice that made them very moreish indeed. I did notice my nose sweat a little towards the end of the packet though. I would have these Red Hot Cheezy Corn Crunches again, but I warn you, they’re sadly not as Red Hot as they claim to be!
By Spectre

17 September 2013

[New] Walkers Mighty Lights: Roast Chicken (Waitrose) [By @cinabar]

I have to admit to loosing track a bit of all the new iterations of low fat crisps that keep appearing on the shelves. My favourite flavour of crisps is Roast Chicken, and they are rarely included in the lower fat ranges. These Mighty Lights caught my eye when I saw the flavour so I popped them into my trolley.
I like crinkle cut crisps too, they do have a more intense flavour as the ridges gather the seasoning and make them a little bit stronger. The crisps are a decent thickness and cut which also makes them seem crunchier than other crisps. The smell reminded me of regular Walkers Roast Chicken, but the taste was a little more intense as promised. There was a nice meatiness to them, and they reminded me of chicken gravy, juicy with a hint of salt. It’s an impressive taste, especially when I realised it said they were suitable for vegetarians on the back of the pack! I munched my way quite happily through them, and soon finished the bag.
The issue I had was that they are aimed at the healthier market. The bag still contains 114 calories and 4.7g of fat, so although they have reduced fat they still have more calories than quite a few non low fat crisps, e.g. Quavers or Hula Hoops.
If you are exchanging a bag of full fat crinkle crisps for them, then they will be lower fat and better for you, and if you want a lower fat Roast Chicken flavour I think these are the first I’ve seen. It’s just that there are some crisps available which have a much lower calorie count than these, if you are trying to be ultra-careful, but I think these would have the edge on flavour.
By Cinabar

16 September 2013

[New] Wonka – Chocolate Nice Cream (Local Newsagent) [By @Cinabar]

After trying the rather lovely Wonka Millionaires Shortbread, I was rather keen to get my hands on the other new bar to hit UK shelves. This Chocolate Nice Cream bar felt lumpy in the wrapper, and I feared my bar might actual be damaged, but once opened the strange feel of it made sense.
The bar has a name that sounds a bit like ice cream, and each of the chocolate pieces have an ice cream sundae design on the outer shell, which does look rather cute. There are four chocolate squares inside, joined together in bar formation. Inside the sundae bubble is a thick gooey layer of chocolate sauce, and under that is a slightly firmer base with a vanilla filling.
As a whole the ingredients are quite sweet, but still nice. The chocolate sauce is probably the biggest let down; on its own it has a syrupy flavour that tastes more like chocolate flavourings, than the good stuff. I realise that you aren't suppose to try the sauce part on its own, but I could resist! To be fair it does taste like the chocolate sauces you get on an ice cream van, but that isn't really what I want in my chocolate bar. The vanilla base is nice though and adds a creaminess to the bar. The coating chocolate is pleasant enough, but the flavour doesn't go that well with the sauce. Yes it has the flavours of a chocolate sundae, but its lacking an interesting texture, or clever flavour combination.
The bar comes in at 193 calories, so fairly high but not too bad compared to its peers. It was nice enough, but not one I’d rush out to buy again sadly. Out of the two new Wonka bars I've tried the Millionaires Shortbread is the clear winner.
By Cinabar

15 September 2013

Vegetarian Steak & Chips [by @Nli10]

I'm a meat-eater.  I tried vegetarianism for 9 months and came to the conclusion that if I wanted to survive university that eating at least some meat was the way to go.  This said since living with a vegetarian I've certainly reduced my meat intake at home to almost non-existant levels.  Most of the meals that I make at home (and all of the ones I don't make) are 100% veggie, and a lot are probably vegan too.  That said I do like to have a variety of flavours and textures and to try new things.

When I was doing an online Sainsbury's order I spotted Quorn Steak Strips.  To me this sounded fantastic - I used to love the peppered Quorn beef thing that I bought at uni.  Although it was far too easy to dry out once you got the hang of it it was lovely.  This brought back those memories and I remembered I also had some dodgy American Fries I got from my local shop to go with them.

I got out some large Sun-Dried tomatoes and the ketchup ready to go on the side but thought that it may be a nice idea to crack out the take-away grade sauces.

You know how you can't get that Spare Rib flavour at home using the traditional jar sauces in normal supermarkets?  You need this. We reviewed their plum sauce and similarly you really don't need much of this to make a flavoursome recipe.  After coating and frying the 'steak' in the sauce I added some mayo and left it to break down and intermingle to take the edge off it.  This really does work (once the egg hits the temperature it vanishes and just becomes a clear sauce and bubbles away) and helps make the Quorn a bit crisper like tofu.

The 'steak' looks so pale above as it's cooked from frozen.

Here it is looking black and charred and just like real sliced steak!  The pic is too dark as I took it in the living room instead of the well-lit kitchen, but you get the idea.  

The fries were a bit underdone (even at Gas Mark 8 they needed longer than stated on the bag - probably as my freezer is very cold) but nice.  The steak was amazing.  Yes - it pretty much just tasted of the amazing sauce and the texture won't fool a veteran carnivore, but it was a really nice satisfying meal.

I think that the great tastes here will encourage me to swap out a bag of the frozen chicken Quorn from our shop for steak on most weeks.  I know it's probably the same stuff fundamentally, but it really was a nice enough change to warrant the extra effort.

14 September 2013

New Piri-Piri Chicken Pot Noodle (Asda) [By @SpectreUK]

I’ve noticed a bit of a theme with some of the recent flavours of Pot Noodles, such as Donner Kebab and Southern Fried Chicken to name but a couple. This new Piri-Piri Chicken flavour reminded me of the main ingredients for Nandos chicken, well asides chicken of course. As Pot Noodles are supposed to be a quick, cheap and cheerful alternative to eating out at your favourite restaurant, why not create Pot Noodles that remind us of our favourite meals? There’s genius in this idea somewhere, especially for those hard up students that need a pick me up after a hard day of ‘study’ in the student union or boozers who have been ‘studying’ down the local pub or nightclub and need a food fix late at night. Sometimes you need something quick and simple to prepare, and that’s where Pot Noodles come in. Of course, there are other folk such as myself who can’t boil an egg without sitting on the toilet for two days afterwards, but are generally okay pouring freshly boiled water in a pot and stirring!

In the 90g pot of this Piri-Piri Chicken Pot Noodle there was 430 calories, with 15g of fat and 11g of sugar. The ingredients included, the usual noodles, as well as sauce which contained; wheat flour, sugar, water, onion, potato starch, tomato, garlic, red pepper flakes, spice, chilli powder, palm oil, citric acid, lemon juice, and salt; and there was also a ‘zingy sachet of lime sauce’, which contained; concentrated lime juice, sugar, water, spirit vinegar, and modified corn starch. On peeling back the metal top of the Pot Noodle I noticed there was a large amount of powdery red sauce covering the usual noodles. I added freshly boiled water and mixed in the noodles with the fiery looking red coloured sauce. I had already picked out the green coloured sachet of ‘zingy lime sauce’ before adding the freshly boiled water – not so bad at cooking as I first proclaimed you know! I tore open the packet and poured in the green coloured liquid giving the Pot Noodle a good stir with a metal fork. I noticed there were red bits or flakes of chilli in the sauce. There was a fiery hot taste of chilli first, with the well accustomed Piri-Piri flavour close behind that did remind me of the Piri-Piri on chips and the medium hot sauce on their chicken I usually enjoy at Nando’s. There was a lime tang at the end of the Piri-Piri flavour that mixed well with the noodles and sauce. I found this was one of the spiciest pot noodles I’ve eaten and certainly one of the most flavoursome, having said that there wasn’t much chicken flavour in the sauce, but the lime tang was an unusual yet very welcome addition. I reckon it would be a good soberer after a night on the tiles. The chilli heat made my nose run a bit whilst I ate the Pot Noodle. I enjoyed it with a good pint of ale whilst dipping in chunks of brown bread, and with some cheese and onion crisps on the side. I’d recommend this Pot Noodle to anyone and would have it again.
By Spectre

13 September 2013

Nanobytes – Cola Flavour Sweets (The Works ‏@NanobytesSweets) [By @Cinabar]

There are new sweets on the shelves called Nanobytes, and they come in super shiny space-age stylepackets. I always said that if you really want to get my attention with a new product, make the wrapper shiny and the item new – so I guess they found their target audience! :-D
Inside the resalable bag, I found lots and lots of tiny looking brown sweets, I poured some into my hand. The sweets are quite small and a light brown in colour, although round they are very uneven, probably going for a meteorite look to fit in with the theme.They felt quite tough and I was a little worried they were going to be super hard, but when I tried a few I realised the texture was just right. Although they felt solid, after a few moments they became wonderfully chewy and the sweets sort of amalgamated into one, and then with a little more chewing, melted away.
The flavour was sweet and tangy too, it was a good representation of cola, and had an almost lemony hint to it too. I found these very easy to eat, with the flavour being nicely balanced, sweet but not overpowering. I found them very moreish too, and they were a little too easy to munch on, I kept pouring a few more in my hand just to give them another try.
I did intend to take these into work to see what everyone there thought about them, but – well – the packet, err... was empty sooner than expected.
I do have packs of the other two new flavours, Bubblegum and Strawberry which I will have to save and taste test at work, and get some feedback on! ;-)
By cinabar

12 September 2013

ExperienceDays.co.uk - Helicopter Buzz Flight For 2 [by @NLi10]

We get offered all kinds of unusual products here at Food Stuff Finds headquarters.  A lot of the events that we get invited to are London based which would be a nightmare to get to from the Midlands in time. Sometimes though we get a crazy offer where we get to choose the location, like this one today.

The website ExperienceDays sent us an e-mail inviting us to try one of their snack related events such as Chocolate Making Workshops, High Tea at posh hotels, Wine tasting and other really quite FSF friendly activities to blog about.  Thing is... I've done those before really (with the exception of chocolate making which I think is much more suitable for people who really love their chocolate).  The list they sent us however was regionally based and the food things were just highlighted - so I did what anyone who gets an experience voucher does and looked on the list for the one I actually had thought about doing for myself.

When I woke up this morning I'd never been in a helicopter...

I don't think I'd even been that close to them! When I spotted the "Buzz Flight for 2" on the list I knew we had a winner.  I asked Ms. NLi10 if she'd like to come too (she'd apparently taken a helicopter trip to a glacier in New Zealand many years ago and said it was certainly something to do again).  We sorted out the date with the organisers and in a few weeks I was sitting next to the Pilot at Wolverhampton's Halfpenny Green Airport, being advised that I really shouldn't touch the pedals.

(even though I really, really wanted to touch the pedals...)

I got to sit next to the pilot for a £10 upgrade, but I guess that if no one pays then you have a 1 in 4 chance of it being you anyway!  Everyone gets a headset with a microphone built in so it's just like playing on the Xbox only with better graphics and no loading times.

This is what the area around the site looks like from 1,000 feet up at 120 MPH.

The flight lasted around 5 minutes.  I didn't time it but it seemed both longer and a lot shorter than that.  I had enough opportunities to take a few short film clips and take some pictures.  I'm guessing it would be a lot more breathtaking if you were flying over the coast or somewhere with visibly stark terrain, but I really enjoyed both the sensation and the view.

Then we were back on the ground. Goodbye metallic pink helicopter!

I really enjoyed my morning at the airport and being able to walk around freely and look at all the other things taking off (including a Microlight which is something that I quite like the look of too) was a nice bonus.  The temptation to fill teh review with pictures of people's small planes is strong but resistible.  

Like most of these taster experiences I could have happily had a longer flight, or another flight in a different type of craft, but I guess those are the bigger experience options.  Otherwise it was fantastic and smoothly run and something I'd certainly consider doing again.

A bonus review! I tried to think of something suitable to review alongside this so that it wasn't totally non-snack related (although if you are looking for presents for Snack-Heads then the whole chocolate making day thing went down really well with the ladies at work when they went last year and they even brought some in for me to try). After Cinabar told me that Flyte bars were now hard to find and I decided Aero's were a bit plain I raided snack mountain and found this odd snack my sister brought back from Japan. It had flown back, and now been in a helicopter so I think it's fair game.

As an aside if you can think of flying related snacks then please do pop them in the comments!

This has the added advantage of the fact that I don't have to try and name this.  It has a Doraemon on the packet being summoned by a crazy scientist so it must be fantastic, but what sweet treats lie inside?

It's a giant hollow crisp! Yup - one single crisp. I guess that you would call it's flavour slightly spicy meaty corn-snack flavour.  As I'd presumed it was either mallow or biscuit this was a shock.  Actually tasted pretty good though - and the corn texture was less chewy than a Wotsit so I think it was probably slightly better quality than tuk shop crisps.  A nice surprise find, and one that probably won't make it over here.

Take Off Film
In Flight Movie

11 September 2013

Greggsnut [Cronut Style] (Greggs) [By @C2L_Eu]

The Cronut™. A croissant-donut hybrid. A dessert gone viral. If you’ve missed this new craze (and we’d forgive you if you had, official Cronuts™ are only available from the Dominique Ansel bakery in New York), do not fear for our Great British High Street bakers, Greggs, are here to save the day. And we’ve had the chance to try both their new, limited edition flavours.

To gain some perspective, the Cronut™ is somewhat high maintenance. They take up to 3 days to make, with laminated dough (we don’t know what that means either), proofed and then fried in grapeseed oil. You have to cut them with a serrated knife. You can’t refrigerate them. We would imagine the Cronut™ is a little bite of light, layered, sugar coated heaven. Heidi Klum wouldn’t have just anything private jetted to her family, surely.

And so what for Greggs’ attempt? The Greggsnut… not quite as catchy in name, granted. We tried both flavours – Summer Berry &  Crème and Caramel Pecan. The first thing we noticed was they are huge. They are dense. Culminating in 1 ½ inches of layered dough and then a small splodge of crème and jam / caramel respectively. A little disappointing and not quite the New York fantasy moment we’d imagined.

Taste wise, the Greggsnut was an odd combination of (almost) savoury pastry giving way to a super sweet sugar glaze and intense filling. It was much more like a ‘Yum Yum’ – though this is a comparable on their website so shouldn't have been a total surprise and it was quite bland and very heavy. The overall experience was just very dry and tasted a little stale. By the end of the experience, jaw ache was mandatory.

Our verdict? More Fauxnut than Cronut™.

Greggsnut are available until 1st Oct in 13 London Stores for £1 each.
By C2L

10 September 2013

Ben & Jerry's Core - Peanut Butter Ice Cream (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

Peanut butter is a funny thing. My taste buds tell me it should be served sweet, and that it goes well with chocolate. Here in the UK though peanut butter tends to be savoury, or served on its own spread on toast. There is a growing audience for peanut butter and the sweet toothed, with a Kit Kat being released, and more and more Reeses goodies on the shelves too, so I know I’m not alone. Since reading that NLi10 had tied out the Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter ice cream, I had been on the hunt for it to try out myself.
In theory, this sounds like it should be close to being my dream ice cream, it seems to be a good mix of flavours with a clever array of ingredients. When I took the lid of the ice cream and dug in, I could see that there were two tones of ice cream, one side vanilla and one side peanut butter, and the core, as they call it, was raspberry jam. This seems to have a bit more of the American influence as one of their famed sandwiches if PB&J, so popular it has its own abbreviation, peanut butter and jam! Wow! As I was scooping it into bowl, I soon spotted that the chocolate element hadn’t been forgotten, and there were chocolates filled with peanut butter scattered in the ice cream too.
I gave it a try, and found it was a total delight to the taste buds. There is so much going on here, but whatever combination of flavours the spoon picked up, it just worked. The vanilla ice cream was super creamy and indulgent. The peanut butter ice cream is rich and very nutty, the peanut flavour is distinct, and it almost has a salty edge to the taste. The jam core was well balanced, it was a strong raspberry taste, but it was sharp and zingy with a full on taste. I loved the chocolate peanut butter cups dotted throughout the ice cream too, they added that cocoa goodness, an element of fun to the texture, and delivered a purer shot of peanut butter. My only negative comment is I wished that there had been more of them in the ice cream, because they were a fab addition to it.
I think that this is the nicest Ben & Jerry’s ice cream combination I have tried, and to be fair I’ve never had a bad one! I loved the addition of the jam being the core, far more than I have like previous chocolate centres; it was very fresh and different and complemented the peanut butter perfectly. I think the American might just be on to something! This is my new favourite ice cream. :-)
By Cinabar