31 October 2013

Mr Kipling's Exceedingly Creepy Toffee Terror Whirls (Asda) [by @NLi10]

I haven't picked up any real Halloween goodies this year - any spooks that come knocking on our door are getting Hershey's peanut butter cup minis and fruit chews.  The only thing we have really ended up with was these seasonal themed variations on the good old Viennese whirl - the Toffee Terror Whirl - that my partner bought home.

Pictured with obligatory cat and a cup of tea peaking out in the background. 

The packaging is spooky enough with a great use of oranges and browns, and the theme of toffee for Halloween is fine - toffee apples etc. Seems like a perfect offering (although hard to give out at the front door).

Here is SackBoy showing you what it looks like.

Yup - pretty similar to the regular ones! The insides are an interesting flavour though as the toffee is quite light and has that hint of burnt that all good modern toffees do. Not overwhelming but if you happen to seek out the filling then you do get a very strong aftertaste. 

Not something for everyday, but an interesting enough variation to warrant repeat purchases as the supermarkets desperately try to get rid of all the things with bats and skulls on them before santa stock piles in.

Happy Halloween - and hope you get more tricks than treats.

30 October 2013

Camden Hells Lager (Waitrose @CamdenBrewery) [By @SpectreUK]

This blood red labelled lager was Camden Hells Lager by Camden Town Brewery, in Ye Olde London town. The label stated that lager had first been brewed by Amazonian tribes over two hundred years ago, and before that the Amazonians had drunk a weird tea made from tree sap, flowers and dried spices. How much of that is true I’m uncertain, but I liked the spooky sense of humour of the label, and the name Camden Hells lager made me think of a time in the 19th century when Jack The Ripper was hunting his next victim through the fog shrouded streets of ye olde London town. As you can see from the recreated photo with Cinabar’s arm as an example (don’t worry I sewed it back on afterwards) what his workbench would have looked like in the 1800s, once Jack The Ripper had finished chopping up his latest prey. I’m sure afterwards he’d likely have a bottle of his favourite lager, of which I sure would have been Camden Hells.

There was a strong bitter smell from the hops on opening the bottle, with an afterthought of malt in the odour. It was quite a fizzy lager as it tried to jump out of the bottle like an unwilling victim trying to escape a psychopath’s clutches. There was a definite lager taste to it, like Pilsner lager (hence the malt listed below I’d expect), but the hops took me away from that initial flavour adding an extra bitter edge. This brew was not like a run of the mill lager from the local “Offy” as it had a finer bitter edge from the hops that added a noticeable detail, like the brewer had taken their time to add an extra loving twang to their lager. So I could taste the mix of the malt and hops to begin with, followed by the smoothness of the malt with an added bitter twist of the knife. The bitterness of the hops and smooth malt travelled into the aftertaste, giving a fine full bodied quality lager. I thought this lager was very nice indeed, and would definitely have it again. Not even reserving it for a dark stormy night!

Useful information on the bottle:
4.6% volume alcohol
330ml bottle
Malt = Pilsner
Hops = Perle & Hallertauer Tradition
Ingredients – Water, malt, hops and yeast.

By Spectre

29 October 2013

Jaffa Cakes - Lemon & Slime - Limited Edition [By @cinabar]

Jaffa Cakes are one of my favourite biscuits. Okay I realise technically they are cakes not biscuits, but that's a minor matter, they are one of my favourite accompaniments to a nice chip off coffee. :-)
The last few years, at Halloween, they have released a Limited Edition Lemon & Slime variety that really ought to be with us for longer! The flavour may be a play on spooky slime instead of lime, but the flavour should be taken seriously at least. Each one has a dark chocolaty shell under which the slimy filling resides, the taste is predominantly lime, but with a sharper lemon aftertaste. The sweet rich cocoa flavour of the coating seems to be a good match for the zingy filling, and does make a refreshing combination. The flavours clash, but in a good way. These are something I'll be stocking up on and then enjoying all autumn! Get them while you can!
For some reason this write up has made me rather keen to watch Slimer in Ghost Busters again...
By Cinabar

Cadbury’s Screme Egg

I couldn’t get through Halloween without giving a mention to one of my favourite seasonal products – the Cadbury’s Screme Egg. As we mourn the disappearance of the Cadbury’s Creme Egg after Easter, this fine autumnal treat keeps us going until they are re-launched next year.

Flavour wise these are exactly the same as a regular Cadbury’s Creme Egg, but the wrapper is a little but more Halloween themed and the yolk green! Okay it’s a novelty – but I’ll take any excuse to eat Cadbury’s Creme Eggs before their official launch.

Only one question remains – how do you eat yours?

28 October 2013

Hotel Chocolat - Halloween Bites H Box (@HotelChocolat) [By @Cinabar]

Presented in this smart Halloween themed box are some of Hotel Chocolat's seasonal offerings. The packaging is very smart and had a lovely spooky theme. I love the look of the Halloween chocolates, the crystal skull is stunning, the eyeballs stare up at you from the box and the pumpkins are beautifully moulded. There are some other chocolates in the selection too, without a Halloween feel, but still looking delectable. We decided to tuck in.

The Crystal Skull
This fine piece consists of sweet milk chocolate and is neatly moulded into a scary looking skull. The creamy chocolate is packed with cherry crystals, which add a lovely crunch when you bite in and munch, and they deliver a sweet cherry aftertaste. This really is the centre piece of the box.

Glanduja Bomb
These are the cocoa dusted balls in the photograph. They contain a super smooth praline, with loads of strong rich cocoa flavour and nutty goodness. The chocolate is silky smooth and an absolute delight to eat.

Praline Pumpkins
There are two varieties of these in the box, the orange coloured ones have a white chocolate shell and the others are milk chocolate. Both contain the thick signature Hotel Chocolat praline in all its nutty glory. I love praline and this is one of my favourites, the flavour is rich and the texture thick like fudge. The nutty chocolate infused flavour just fills your senses, yum.

Soft Caramel Cones
Again there were two varieties of these in the packet, the dark chocolate cone has a regular sweet caramel filling and the milk chocolate version contained a salted caramel. Both were beautiful, the salt with the sweeter chocolate was well balanced and the dark chocolate worked well with the more mellow flavour. I loved the way the chocolate gave when you bit in and the caramel flooded the taste buds.

Oozy Eyes
These chocolates are back on with the Halloween theme and look like chocolate eyeballs in the box. Like the Soft Caramel Cones, again these came with the two types of caramel, one salted one not. This time though it was the dark that had the salted caramel, coloured green, delivering a full flavour burst. The white eyeball had a blood red coloured liquid caramel creating a rich sweet treat. Both of the eyes had good thick shells, and I loved the contrast in textures with their liquid centres.

We really enjoyed munching these Halloween chocolate treats, and I think they would be perfect to eat on All Hallows Eve snuggled up on the sofa watching a scary movie. My only slight criticism of the set is that although the chocolates are nicely themed with pumpkins and the chocolate skull they didn't quite have any new daring flavour combinations, perhaps some pumpkin spice would have been nice? The chocolates although safe are perfectly packaged, top quality and absolutely divine to eat, so I really shouldn't moan!
By Cinabar

27 October 2013

MacSween Traditional Haggis (@MacSweenHaggis) [by @NLi10]

So it's previously been established that Vegetarian Haggis isn't in the slightest bit scary and is really tasty. As mentioned there (which you should really read first if you haven't) the peeps at MacSween Haggis sent us a parcel of things (non food bits pictured above) that got us both excited and a bit scared.  The middle level of this trio of foods is the Traditional Haggis.

As you see they basically look a bit like burgers, but they microwave in 60 seconds and steam cook themselves in their own ingenious packaging.  It had started to deflate as I took the picture - typically the one I videoed didn't inflate as much.

This convenience style cooking enabled me to take it to work and to share it with as many people as possible.  This isn't an easy sell - when you tell people it's Haggis and show them this.

It's not a typical food appearance, with odd black and white flecks.  Most of these I think are the oats which give it a fairly unique texture.  As the main reviewer I scooped up the whole of the non crumbly one at the back and dropped it on top of my canteen lunch.  Not the gourmet recipes MacSween suggested, but a realistic reflection on what I'd end up doing with these.

Turns out it is also pretty tasty, although kind of odd. It's like a kebab meat mixed with the veggie haggis's herbs and spices and oats which creates a whole new dish (which I realise is more original than the veggie version).  Something I don't think I'd appreciated with the veggie version is just how filling this was. I didn't want any of the 2nd Haggis disk not due to flavour, but due to being stuffed.  This is an interesting turn of phrase as most people seemed to think that this was part meat part stuffing.

Other people who tried the haggis were all pleasantly surprised.  Lunch-buddy Jon was happy to try it (and indeed ate a bit of his while I was still faffing about with mine) and had seconds despite it not really going with his sandwiches. The table of IT people I took it to were reluctant to be first to try, but all who did said it was surprisingly nice.  Only one of the ladies who work in the lab was willing to try it, but she too enjoyed.  In fact NOBODY that tried it didn't like it - the only people pulling faces were those that didn't dare to try it (a few due to it containing beef so not suitable for certain religions or vegetarians).

I think that the biggest hurdle for haggis is the psychological barrier - the same one that has me thinking of ways to avoid reviewing the final item in the parcel - the Black Pudding.  Once word of mouth gets around that this is actually pretty enjoyable then it should be OK.

I don't think it's an everyday thing, I'd probably buy the veggie version over this just because I can share it at home more easily.  We do have plans to do an Ocado order for some and make haggis burgers for one of our weekly games nights though as that seems like a perfect fit.

26 October 2013

Foodstuff Fights: Trick or Treat

Here are two big confectioners with two scary Halloween limited edition offerings of gummy sweets. It always impresses me when sweet manufacturers use fruit juice in their gummies, instead of crazy e numbers. Both of these sets of gummies were made with no artificial colours or flavours and contained fruit juice. One set of gummies were sours and one set was totally random, “which is better”, as Harry Hill would say, “there’s only one way to find out!”

I usually have a good look over packets of Foodstuff Finds to note down ingredients and anything interesting that catches my eye. On the back of both packets there was the “Keep Britain Tidy” litter logo. On the Sour Tricks there was the usual logo of a stickman putting rubbish in a bin, whereas what gave me an extra much appreciated giggle was on the back of the Randoms packet there was a stick-ghost throwing rubbish in a bin.

Sour Tricks

Made by the Natural Confectionery Company in Birmingham (or sister company of Cadbury’s), these sour tricks came in various spooky shapes, such as ghosts, pumpkins and bats and were served in a 180g bag. They were manufactured to a recipe based on an original Australian recipe. They were fruit flavour gums covered in sour sugar. I thought they were smart and spooky looking, as well as being a good gob filling size to chew on. Orange colour was unsurprising orange flavoured. Nothing jumping out of a closet there and screaming “Boo!”, but these orange jellies were flavoursome and very sour. A real orange sour treat I thought. Pale yellow colour was a very zingy, very sour lemon flavour that provided a face twisty trick to the senses. I really loved this flavour and wondered if any other could beat it. Green colour was not as zingy as the lemon flavour but still a very tasty sour lime flavour. Red colour had a definite juicy sour strawberry flavour and was my favourite treat so far. Last but definitely not least was the purple colour, which was blackcurrant flavour. This flavour was very tasty, luxurious even, but sadly there was only two of these purples in the pack, which provided the last trick to these most sour of gummy treats!

Spooky information on the packet stated;
Per four sweets, which was 27.2g were 90 calories, with 0.1g fat and 18.1g sugar.
Ingredient included; glucose syrup, sugar, water, starch, bovine gelatine, citric acid, sodium malate, malic acid, concentrated apple juice, colours vegetable carbon, anthocyanins and paprika extract, lemon and blackcurrant flavourings, orange and lime flavourings, stinging nettle and turmeric.

Rowntree’s Randoms – Phantom Mix: Special Scary Edition

Not only were these Rowntree’s Randoms made with no artificial colours or flavours, but also with no preservatives. Not particularly scary, I know, but in a food fight, it’s good to know these things! There were various different scary shapes including; pumpkins, spiders, ghosts, bats, webs, and skulls. Scary white colour was the tasty white foam flavour that is usually stuck to the bottom of some fruit gummies and fried eggs. The spooky orange colour was orange flavoured but a little bit waxy, so I was a little bit disappointed, which I must say that I’ve never been disappointed by any of Rowntree’s products before, so this really did jump out at me and shout “Boo!” The green colour was a fruity lime flavour which was a very tasty treat. The spooky red colour was fruity zingy strawberry treat and the scary purple colour was a very tasty and fruity blackcurrant treat. These gummies were very flavoursome, and fruity, but the orange flavour let the bag down a little I’m afraid.

Scary information on the packet exclaimed;
These Rowntree’s Randoms gummies were made in York and served in a 150g bag. The recommended seven sweet serving contained; 69 calories, with 12.9g sugar and traces of fat. Ingredients contained 18 % fruit juice and included; glucose syrup, sugar, apple juice from concentrate, gelatine, acids; citric acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, fruit and vegetable concentrate; black correct, nettle, spinach, hibiscus, carrot, paprika, glaze; vegetable fat and carnauba wax. There was acidity regulator; sodium ascorbate, and colour = beta carroteine.

As you can see from the photograph the sour Natural Confectioner’s gummies were roughly twice the size of the Rowntree’s Randoms. In a straight food fight the sours won. There sourness and fruity flavour was more scary. I loved the scary shapes in the Rowntree’s Randoms as they were more defined. I guess the sugar coating on the sours hid the shapes a little. The Rowntree’s Randoms also tasted better for me, with their fruitiness but all the sours were really zingy as well as fruity. They were just some of the best scary tasty sour sweets I’ve tasted for a long while!
By Spectre

25 October 2013

Witches Fingers (@MarksAndSpencer) [By @cinabar]

Unlike the efforts from Monster Munch and Wotsits, Marks and Spencer's have really gone to town with their Halloween selection this year, not only are there some fab sweets out, the scorpion crisps were wonderfully themed and now there are these fine looking biscuits. Impressively they look even better once the packet was opened. The detail was remarkable, even down to the creases on the knuckles and the two tone finger nails. The nails were actually naturally coloured vanilla fondant, but they looked the part too.
These biscuits were a little bit thinner than expected when I came to take them out of the packet, but still were fairly decently sized portions. The biscuits are quite firm, and had a decent snap when I tested it to break a piece off. I felt like I was in the Mafia as one of their heavies breaking peoples fingers! The flavour was really good, they had a rich sweet buttery taste not dissimilar to shortbread, but the biscuit wasn't as dense as that in structure. Although the finger nail's fondant icing was perfect in terms of looks it merely added a bit of a vanilla hit when you bit the end of the finger off. :-)
These biscuits are just about one of the nicest themed Halloween items I've seen, the detail is impressive and the idea is rather unique. The fact that they are extremely tasty too makes them my favourite Halloween item so far this year. Well done to Marks and Spencer's for such innovation, and don't forget these biscuits will be perfect for dunking in your witches brew too!

By Cinabar

24 October 2013

MacSween Vegetarian Haggis (@MacsweenHaggis) [by @NLi10]

I like Scotland, in fact I'd be happy to spend a lot more time up there, but I've never tried their 'national dish' of Haggis.  When we were contacted to see if we wanted to try some I was not that enthused, until I realised they had a vegetarian version.  We accepted!

The parcel contained all sorts of goodies, a recipe book and a canvas bag - along with three edible things, one vegetarian and two decidedly less so.

Today we will look at the entry level vegetarian haggis.  It's got oats and sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds so is not that scary to eat.

This is a far cry from the pictures of haggis as a small odd creature that I have from my English childhood!

They look like very friable burgers and the suggested cooking method is to basically use a microwave to steam them within their own packaging.  Simple and convenient.

Here is a 7 second video that shows the cooking process and the haggis itself!

As you can see we decided that haggis and chips was probably authentic enough for us.  Both myself and my vegetarian partner were still a little apprehensive about the whole thing, but it turns out veggie haggis is really nice.

It's essentially similar to a crumbly, but filling veggie burger.  There are a lot of different flavours hiding in there and a distinct tanginess that I couldn't place.  It reminded me of lentil based foods where they are compacted together and full of lovely surprises, like the seeds in this.

We are definitely eating this one again!

The remaining two items in the parcel were meat haggis and blood pudding.  Traditional meat haggis is decidedly not suitable for vegetarians but after the fun experience that was the veggie haggis I think I'm going to move on to the advanced version and take it to work to share with my colleagues.  I will report back once I've plucked up the courage to eat it!

(and I'm still very skeptical about blood pudding)

23 October 2013

Poisonous Scorpions – Pickled Onion Flavoured Corn Snack (M&S) [By @SpectreUK]

I’ve never liked scorpions. It must be their creepy crawly look. The way they creep around with their stretchy out sharp creepy claws and their long stretchy stingy sharp pointy tail bobbing along over their flat menacing heads, as they stroll arrogantly around looking for something fleshy to sting. Don’t get me wrong as I find most creepy crawlies creepy enough, but scorpions have a special creepy crawliness about them that sends shivers up and down my spine whenever I see one on the TV or even think of one. This in mind, Cinabar thought I was perfect for reviewing these Poisonous Scorpions Pickled Onion Flavoured Corn Snacks made for Marks and Spencer’s!

Fortunately I’ve never seen a scorpion in real life, asides these corn snacks of course. A guy I worked with years ago said that he’d holidayed in Mexico and had been held to ransom by a huge black scorpion in his hotel room, until his mate had jumped over it to get to the hotel room phone to call the manager. Apparently the manager had nonchalantly wondered into the room, taken his flip flop off and proceeded to slap the poor creepy crawly silly until bits of it was spread all over the walls, the ceiling and floor!

I totally loved the freaky shape of these creepy pickled onion scorpion corn snacks. On opening the bag the crisps had a strong pickled onion smell and a very decent crunch. These creepy scorpion corn snacks were easily the most sour corn snacks I've ever eaten. They blew Monster Munch Pickled Onion flavour out of the room! Neither Cinabar nor her mum could eat these corn snacks, but I thought they were an absolute masterpiece and they definitely shouldn't be limited to Halloween. They were exceedingly moreish and I didn't need to dip them in any sauce as they were fantastic on their own. They were flavoursome to the extreme and jumped almost to the top of my all time favourite crisps list (that’s more in my head, than in any tangible format). I would definitely buy these again and can only hope that M&S don’t have them as a limited edition. Happy creepy crawliness to you all!

Information on the packet;
They were in a 100g bag. Per 25g serving there was 120 calories, with 1.1g of sugar and 5.8g of fat. They were made in Denmark for Marks and Spencer’s (the Danes obviously know how to make really sour corn snacks). Ingredients included; corn grits, sunflower oil, pickled onion flavour seasoning, colour chlorophyll. Pickled Onion Seasoning included; sugar, dextrose, corn flour, dried onions, salt, dried yeast extract, dried barley malt vinegar, anti -caking agent; calcium phosphate, and ground cinnamon. There were no artificial colours and flavourings, and these corn snacks were suitable for vegetarians.
By Spectre

22 October 2013

Wotsits Flamin' Hot Zombie Fingers (Tesco) [By @cinabar]

Following on from yesterday's write up about Monster Munch Webs, today we are reviewing a product from the same range which also has a similar feel, and again a feel of déjà vu. Just as yesterday's product looked like a repackaged version of Wotsits Waffles, these too look rather familiar. Indeed if you put the Zombie Fingers branding aside Monster Much have long been available in Flamin' Hot variety, and the flavour has appeared on Wotsits before now too. Also Wotsits haven't gone through any shape change to become Zombie Fingers they are still just effectively Wotsits shaped. Oh well, at least the pack looks like its Halloween themed!
Having said all that I took these to work with me to have with my lunch and found them really tasty. I liked the texture of the Wotsits as they melt in the mouth and have a nice light texture. The flavour is actually impressive and has a good full spice and tingly warm heat. My mouth enjoyed the gentle buzz from the chilli, and I found them thoroughly enjoyable. I bought a multi-pack and I'm looking forward to eating the rest; post Halloween I am rather hoping I'll be able to stock up on them at a discount too!
By Cinabar

New Freddo - Popping Candy (Tesco) [By @cinabar]

It doesn't seem that long ago that I was munching on the new Freddo Faces that came out over the summer. During that post I complained that the British market does miss out on all the Limited Edition Freddos that they have in America etc. The Freddo Faces were nice, but they were effectively just nicely shaped dairy milk.
Apparently Cadbury were listening and the new Freddo of is filled with popping candy!! Okay so I am a kid but I love popping candy, it reminds me of my childhood and never falls to make me smile. I unwrapped the chocolate Freddo I had found by the checkout in Tesco, and saw the chocolate smiling frog looking back at me. Obviously the only thing to do in this situation is to follow the advice in C2Ls review and bite his head off! :-)
The sweet and soothing taste of dairy milk filled my senses. As it started to melt the thick creamy chocolate released its magic ingredient and I could fell the crunchy bits within starting to pop. My tongue gave in to the sensation and I opened my mouth for extra effect! It may be novelty, but it is a good one!
I'm really pleased to see us getting some new interesting flavours here in the UK, and can't wait to see what other new varieties follow. In the mean time I'll certainly be picking up these lovely mini bars of popping candy chocolate goodness again, at less than 100 calories they are a lovely afternoon treat.
By Cinabar

21 October 2013

Mega Monster Munch Webs (Tesco) [By @cinabar]

Spiders webs are traditionally pictured as being round, but the new Monster Munch Webs are square, which is a bit weird. Geometric spiders perhaps? In terms of having a Halloween flavour bacon is not that scary or seasonal. I’ve seen a few fiery chilli products, but bacon? Also I found I had the feeling of déjà vu when I saw these but couldn’t quite work out why at first, then it hit me - Wotsits. If I had my suspicious head on I might be thinking that Monster Munch simply re-released Wotsits Bacon Wafflers with a twist of brand and a tenuous Halloween link. However if you were a fan of the waffles when they were last released you may want to stock up on these anyway.
I'm pretty sure that these snacks would still be any monsters Halloween snack of choice though, as they are darn tasty. The pieces of Monster Munch Webs are big and chunky and very satisfying to munch on, they melt pleasingly in the mouth after the initial bite. The flavour is like a salty bacon, that works well with the base taste of corn maize. I liked the meatiness of the flavour, and felt it worked rather well.
One thing is for sure you can enjoy these crisps guilt free too; there are just 74 calories in the bag and just 3.4g of fat, so they are a healthier seasonal treat. Okay so they may not be as new or innovative as your want from a Limited Edition Halloween special, but one thing’s for sure you can't help but love them once you've opened the bag!
By cinabar

20 October 2013

Assorted Polish-sourced Biscuits (Polish Grocers) [by @NLi10]

This Friday I had some spare time when playing cards locally and decided to wander out for a take-away.  On the way I spotted a new (and surprisingly large) late night Polish Grocers (with a Deli counter) and decided to forgo the cheap and disappointing burgers and to go with biscuits instead.  I pictured them all on my dinosaur-shamen playmat.

First up was these Serduszka biscuits.  These are very buttery and chocolate covered on one side.  These had a soft texture, but were certainly perfect for sharing and snacking, or indeed as pictured with a nice hot drink.  Not that memorable, but very edible.

Next up we tried these from Jezyki (whose snacks we've had before on FoodStuffFinds) - a variation on their super biscuits for Dark Chocolate and what appears to be Blueberries.  You only get 9 biscuits, but wow - what biscuits they are!  They are very, very dark and the flavour is almost overpowering.  The tiny layer of caramel is very sticky and nicely makes the snack hold together.  The biscuit itself isn't that noticeable but does prevent it all from being too much.

After all that these Milka Choco Jaffa raspberry are a little disappointing.  As one of the people trying them said 'they taste exactly how you'd expect them to' like a Raspberry version of a Jaffa cake, just with a milkier more luxurious chocolate.  I will eat these again, nicely sweet and perfect to share, but they aren't a reason to make a special trip to the store.

19 October 2013

Simba – Ghost Pops (Tesco) [By @SpectreUK]

These are the Original flavoured Ghost Pops maize snack. I wasn’t sure what flavour the original flavour would be, as “Original flavour” in England generally means Ready Salted. These maize pops were manufactured by Simba in South Africa, whose Original flavour is more likely to be “burn your head off chilli!” Served in a 100g bag, these maize pops were 537 calories, with 1.8g of sugar and 13.9g of fat. Their ingredients included maize, vegetable oil, salt, sugar, spices, fruit powder, onion, garlic, soya, yeast, and sodium saccharin amongst other things. There was a warning that stated on the packet that these maize pops could contain genetically modified ingredients, which is probably a lean to all the “E” Numbers I haven’t bothered to list in the ingredients above. So you may not turn into a ghost by eating these Ghost Pops, but you may turn into a werewolf or the Swamp Thing instead!

The back of the packet mentioned a “mouth quivering experience” and “the snack that gives you a thrill each time”. Although I wasn’t sure if this meant a thrill eating each maize pop or a thrill each time you open a different bag of Ghost Pops. In fact I was completely unsure how much of a thrill I would get out of one 100g packet of these Ghost Pops. Before opening the packet I started to weigh the risks in my mind. Would it be too much of a thrill? I know its Halloween time, which in itself can be pretty thrilling. So the risk of having too much a thrill whilst eating these Ghost Pops crossed my mind. I mean, I’m getting on a bit now, if you know what I mean? A thrill from one bag of crisps and a thrill from Halloween would be sufficient to thrill me doubly, but a thrill per Ghost Pop, which could literally be hundreds of thrills in one 100g packet plus the additional thrill of it being Halloween could just be too thrilling even for me and tip me over the edge and right through the gates of Thrill City. A place I’d never been particularly keen on visiting in my younger years, let alone in my greying overweight later, some may say “prime” years. Before opening this bag, I pledged that a good rest after eating these Ghost Pops would probably be necessary and declared the rest of the day off.

On opening the packet these Ghost Pops smelt like spicy tomato flavour. So this was Simba’s Original Flavour? The maize pops had the fairly rare smell that some foods have that made me want to immediately dive into the packet and consume as many Ghost Pops as possible. The maize pops where in the shape of red fluffy ghosts and tasted like roasted maize coated in tomato mixed with spices, herbs and onions. This flavour was extremely moreish, just as I managed to put the packet down for a moment’s rest I caught another whiff of them and had to eat another mouthful. I must admit I was thrilled by the packet as a whole and more than a little thrilled at each mouthful of red ghosts I chomped down with hungry glee. Perhaps I need to get out more? Anyway, I would have these Ghost Pops again and not just around Halloween for their novelty. However, I’ve had too many thrills for one day and I guess it’s time for that nap! Hope no Ghosts go bump in the night or certainly not pop! Have a good  Halloween! :-)
By Spectre

18 October 2013

Port and Stilton Crisps (M&S) [By @cinabar]

I was pretty sure I hadn't seen this particular variety of crisps before in M&S, but on closer inspection the bag said “New Improved Flavour”, not simply “New”. I suspect they may have been out last year and somehow missed me by.
We decided to have them as an accompaniment to some sandwiches over a shared lunch, and eagerly opened the pack. The initial aroma was of a slightly cheesy smell, but it was rather mild. We shared some out for munching and tasting, and all tucked in.
My initial reaction was actually to be a bit disappointed; the flavour was remarkably mild, they were closest to being ready salted than anything fancier. I accept I may sound a little harsh, but they really were lacking any major flavour burst. To be fair I could pick up on a background taste of cheese, but it was oh so mild and a bit generic rather than anything specifically Stilton like, sadly though the port element was lost completely to me. These were inoffensive crisps, but they weren't the special variety I'd hoped for. The background potato taste was nice and the crisps had a nice luxury firm crunch to them, they were just a bit plain on the seasoning.
My mum gave these a try, and it was a blind taste as I hadn’t told her what flavour they were supposed to be. She too said whatever it was it was very mild, her initial reaction was to say that she thought they were sour cream without the chive, but after a trying a few more she did concede and suggest that perhaps they were mild cheese, but that was as specific as she would go.
So there you go then, pleasant enough mild tasting cheesy crisps, but nothing special and no port that any of us could detect.
By Cinabar

17 October 2013

Organic Chocolate & Cherry Rice Pudding (Red Kite Healthfoods, Bromsgrove) [by @NLi10]

Recently I rediscovered some old review things that I'd forgotten I'd bought - hidden in a kitchen cupboard.  One of these is the pudding version of the Lifestyle Organic things I reviewed ages ago.  Luckily they are space packaged and probably indestructible so I thought we'd give one a go.

Cherry and chocolate rice pudding sounds fantastic - but it doesn't photograph well...

The packaging suggested we add water, and sugar to taste, so I added a generous helping of brown sugar which gave this an added zing.

It didn't improve the presentation of the meal though...

Rice pudding was never going to win any beauty awards, but the taste was good.  The chocolate was a nice base flavour and the cherries provided most of the sweetness.  The sugar we'd added sat in-between the two as a kind of background.  The texture of the rice was soft, but still noticeable, and there were no nasty hard bits like you sometimes get from package pudding recipes.

All in all a success - and pretty quick to make too.

16 October 2013

Asda Press Event - Halloween Special [By @C2L_Eu]

Every now and then FoodStuffFinds are lucky enough to have the opportunity to sample products at Press launches and a little while ago we were asked to attend the Asda Halloween event for their forthcoming seasonal range.
Asda held their event in central London and to get us all in the mood it included a tour of the famous London Dungeons. Going around the dungeons at 8pm on a dusky, late summers night was the perfect start to get all the guests in the spirit of the occasion and we made full use of the themed photo opportunities. It was a great addition to the evening before the real treats began and a nice touch for Asda to include.

After the tour, we were taken to a nicely located pub to sample the Asda Halloween range, which this year is vast and exciting. As ever we tried to concentrate on the the food, ignoring the costumes but the offers of face painting and special effects were particulary distracting.

One thing that drew our attention from the huge selection on offer was the sharing platter. A mixture of marshmallows and ginger bread with a saucy chocolate dip to go with. A great way to enjoy something a little different with friends and we could imagine this would go down well at a party or even watching a scary movie on a Saturday night. Taste wise is doesn't explode in your mouth but it was a nice take on the traditional sharing platters which tend to be savoury. As ever, the Asda price makes sure that this would be affordable to all and so for this, we would give it the thumbs up.

Next up were the pumpkin kits; which were by far the best products on show. Rather than the ginger bread kits which we've all seen and loved, we got a pumpkin to decorate instead. Now I know it might seem odd that a late-20's (*cough cough*) reviewer might find this the most engaging of all the treats on offer, however it really did unleash everyone's inner child. There's something very honest and simple about decorating your own cookies - it's just FUN! These would be great for all ages and again, we were really impressed. The biscuits themselves are fairly normal gingerbread, which weren't particularly exciting per se, however this didn't matter at all; we weren't looking for gourmet.

We can only imagine the fun (mess and terror) kids could inflict with these little pumpkins!

After a thoroughly enjoyable evening (with this reviewer even ending up with more than a bit of make up on... we did say we'd TRY to focus on the food...), we made our way home on the tube and looked through our generous goodie bag. Containing freaky jelly lollies, face paints, wigs and costume and two little innocent gingerbread vampires. It was only fitting to keep with the spirit of the night, and so we demanded... OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!

By C2L

15 October 2013

New Pringles - Sweet Cinnamon and Mint Choc [By @cinabar]

I received a parcel from Pringles, and boy did it make me smile! Not only was I totally surprised by the innovative flavours, I was also quite surprised to see that the review sample of the Mint Choc ones came with Foodstuff Finds branding on it. Ace!

Okay the personalised packaging didn't quite distract from the fact that these new Pringles were sweet flavoured, so yes that's potato and sugar. Oh my! Now as bizarre as that seems popcorn can carry both sweet and savoury so why not the humble potato? Time to test them out...

I cracked open the mint pack first, and was surprised to find what looked exactly like regular Pringles, without any obvious sprinkles on them. I had it in my mind that they must be covered in a dusting of cocoa to add the chocolate taste, but they looked really plain. I cautiously gave one a taste, and my taste buds weren't quite sure what to make of what they were experiencing. The most obvious first thought was they were minty, but very much so, the peppermint taste was surprisingly strong and cooling. The next flavour to follow was the chocolate and despite there not being any obvious trace of cocoa there was again a very well defined chocolate taste, the sweetness worked well with the fresh taste of mint, but it was then that the more regular flavour of potato and even salted Pringles shone through. It was a bit weird, an acquired taste I guess, but they grew on me, and certainly had the novelty factor! They are very different and you do have to let that go and just enjoy them without worrying too much about the learnt rule you have in your head that crisps should be savoury. Apparently minty choc Pringles work, and you can't knock the fact they do what it says on the tin! They are worth giving a try just to experience something a bit different.

Next up were the cinnamon Pringles, so I think it only fair to explain that cinnamon is my very favourite spice, so obviously excitement set further in when it came to trying these. Unlike the mint ones these did have a bit more visible seasoning on them, as each had a dusting of brown cinnamon spice on them. The aroma reminded me of my favourite cinnamon toast, sweet warm and spicy. The flavour didn't disappoint the taste was lovely like brown sugar mixed with cinnamon; a fabulous helping of Christmas seasoning. Now my taste buds had no quibbles here these are divine, and felt like perfect sweet and savoury snack. There was still a bit of salt and potato but the flavours all seemed happy together working in harmony. I picture eating these curled up watching a suitable seasonal film, filling my senses with wonderful winter spice.

Despite the fact the mint choc variety came with some very cool Foodstuff Finds packaging I have to say the cinnamon variety is where my heart is, these are the one I'll be mourning next season when they disappear. For now though I'm going to stock up and enjoy them while I can. Big thanks to Pringles for sending us our very special pack, and for having such creativity with their new flavours. Now I'm going to follow one of their serving suggestions and try these new varieties as a scoop with ice cream! Oh my potato with a few scoops of fine vanilla ice cream, in for a penny...

By Cinabar