30 June 2014

Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches (Sainsburys) [By @Cinabar]

Oreo does keep spoiling us with an interesting new range of products which keep coming out. Oddly enough very few of them are actual new flavours of Oreos, instead they tend to be whole new products, for example that ones that linked up with Dairy Milk are particularly exciting.
As it is summer, and the weather is sort of picking up, having new Oreo ices creams on the shelves seems to make perfect sense. These ones are in the format of the ice cream sandwich. There are six in a box, and they are just a bit bigger than an Oreo biscuit in size.
They are individually wrapped, and I’m pleased to say they didn’t look too dissimilar to the picture on the packaging, as they did have quite a bit of filling.
When I bit it to take my first bite, I have to say it felt wrong. The flavour of the biscuit is spot on dark rich Oreo but the texture is wrong, it is soft and pliable. It is not bad, and I know it would be hard to maintain the usual biscuit crispness with an ice cream, but it was somehow disappointing. The ice cream in the middle was fab, creamy ice cream with a hint of Oreo crumb running through it, and all the flavours did work perfectly. It is a tasty ice cream, once you have got passed the texture of the biscuit. I think in the scheme of things these are nice, but the Oreo Cones are leaps and bounds ahead.
By Cinabar

29 June 2014

Taylors of Harrogate - Blackberry & Elderflower (via @DegustaboxUK) [review by @NLi10]

In our May Degusta box was this herbal infusion.  It only uses Tea on the packaging to describe the tea-bags themselves which is good because it both indicates that it's a teatime hot drink without suggesting it contains actual tea.

This means that it's naturally caffeine free and is essentially a posh squash designed to be drunk hot.  

My grandmother drunk lots of these when I was young and I kept trying them but never really liked them and preferred the more sweet things on offer instead.

The tea bag and contents are both rather luxurious and you can actually see and identify the things in the bag.  As usual for these kinds of things the smell is heavenly, but rarely does the taste match up to the lofty promises.

In this case it's pretty darn close though.  There is a good helping of rose hips (a childhood favourite of mine) which is oddly not mentioned in the name of the flavour, but really does underpin the whole experience.  The Blackberry is a base, with the elderflower floating over the rose-hip middle and it all does work rather well.  You don't get the buzz from the caffeine that tea gives (even my usual decaf has 4mg of caffeine per cup) but you do get a lovely refreshing summer drink that you don't have to feel guilty about having a second cup of.

Plus this makes the office smell very summery and cheers everyone up.  Im not sure it's something I'd buy normally, and I'm more likely to try a different flavour than to go back to the same one (I guess that's why food blogging is so much fun for us!) but I certainly don't have to give them away to get to the end of the box.  

Something I enjoyed more than I'd expected, with a nice reminiscence to when I was the one who was too young to fully appreciate a nice relaxing drink without all the sugar and caffeine attached.

28 June 2014

New McCoy’s Firepit Sizzlers Crisps (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]

I’ve always enjoyed McCoy's ridge-cut crisps made by KP Snacks. I've found that whatever flavour I eat, which could be anything from Salted flavour to Lamb Vindaloo, or my favourite Flame Grilled Steak flavour, they are always bursting with flavour. McCoy’s already have a few barbecue flavours out like Barbecue Chicken and BBQ Ribs, so when Cinabar brought back these new McCoy’s Smokehouse Inspired Fire Pit Sizzlers I was keen to dig in.

Buffalo Chicken Wings

Of course of heard of Buffalo Chicken Wings, but I've never been sure as to why they’re called Buffalo Chicken Wings. Buffalos don’t have wings, unless it’s derived from a prehistoric chicken which had massive wings? If it was then it probably still couldn’t fly very well, but the Buffalo Chicken’s eggs must have been five times the size of an Emu egg. I'm sure one egg boiled in a huge pot could breakfast a prehistoric family of eighteen and their pet monkey. I'd also bet that the empty egg shell was used as a prehistoric bath, but just don’t ask where the bubbles came from. Though they may have something to do with eating the huge boiled egg!

There was a smoky chicken smell on opening the bag. These crisps had a lovely chicken and rich smoky tangy barbecue sauce flavour. Flavours that stood out amongst the smoky barbecue chicken goodness on eating these orange coloured ridge-cut crisps were paprika, and also hints of sage and onion. I enjoyed the smokiness in the barbecue flavour which mixed well with the chicken. I’d certainly have this Buffalo Chicken Wings flavour again.

Information on the packet;
30g bag with 159 calories, 9g of fat and 0.8g of sugar. Ingredients see photograph.

Hickory Smoked BBQ Ribs

I’ve always loved a good rack of barbecue ribs in a restaurant. If I see barbecue ribs on the menu I will generally pick them out to have a try. To me it’s like trying the lasagna in an Italian restaurant. If the lasagna isn’t burnt to a crisp on the outside and dry in the middle, the chef generally knows what they’re doing. Some restaurants do a rack of sizzling ribs that can turn out to be burnt to a crisp, dry and almost inedible. Others do a full rack with juicy sweet barbecue sauce smeared all over it, with chips or potato fries and some salad on the side. This is the best way to enjoy a rack of barbecue ribs in my opinion.

There was a deep woody hickory smoked barbecue smell on opening the bag, which made my mouth water for the crunchy ridge-cut crisps inside. I was surprised at the initial bacon taste on eating these orange coloured crisps. This flavour was almost replaced by a sweet barbeque sauce flavour, which was sadly not very smoky or bursting with the flavour I’ve always been accustomed to where McCoy’s crisps are concerned. This barbecue flavour was quiet subtle with no taste of the hickory that had tickled my nostrils on opening the bag. Don't get me wrong, I certainly didn't dislike these crisps at all. However these crisps were not as sweet, tangy and tasty as the BBQ Ribs flavour in McCoy’s range, and out of the two flavours reviewed in this blog, I’d pick the Buffalo Chicken Wings flavour any day. MOOO… BUCK… BUCK… BUCK!

Information on the packet;
30g bag with 159 calories, 9g of fat and 1.1g of sugar. Ingredients see photograph.

27 June 2014

Germany Inspired Party Food from Waitrose [By @Cinabar]

We were recently given the opportunity to write about World Cup party food, for a country of our choice from Waitrose. With England out of the World Cup I thought I would cash in on the fact that I am half German, and switch allegiances. We sat down to watch USA versus Germany on thursday night and sorted out the goodies.

First up for main plates, one of the most common easy eating foods in Germany is a selection of meats, cheese and pickles. We choose a good selection of german style salamis, some bavarian smoked cheese and a jar of gherkins (with dill flowers for extra authenticity). This is simple food, but German sausage meats really are the best. I love the flavours, the garlic and pepper spices all just make them melt in mouth. The smoked cheese and gherkins really set off the flavours too. It is easy eating but remarkable tasty stuff.

No German party feast would be complete without a bowl of pretzels, and the these salt and pepper variety ones are a nice twist on the usual salted flavour. They are crunchy and tasty, but the pepper was really quite mild.

For drinks Spectre had a wander over the the beer section in Waitrose. If I ever can’t find him while shopping there, the most logical place to look is the beer isle where the remarkable selection of ales etc seems to fascinate him! Anyway he chose a few bottles of two german sounding beers to fit the scene.

For sweet nibbles Waitrose are an excellent stockist of Bahlsen biscuits, so this was easy. We pretty much picked up the full selection - yum! I love the wafers dipped in chocolate, and tried to get as many of these for myself as politeness would dictate.

The other best german dessert is the Black Forrest Gateaux, which Waitrose handily has in cupcake form, so I picked up a few of these to celebrate success if necessary. The cupcakes are a rich chocolate sponge, with a cherry on top and a creamy filling in the middle.

A big thank you to Waitrose for supplying a voucher so I could choose themed goodies and giving me the opportunity to show off our German feast. And congrats to Germany too for beating USA one - nil, fingers crossed for them through the rest of the games.

Take a look at the: Waitrose Football Party Page

By Cinabar

26 June 2014

Cawston Press - Cloudy Apple (via DegustaUK) [Review by @NLi10]

 As someone who has occasion to want to avoid alcohol while drinking things that are actually nice and not just sugar, colour and caffeine I am a big fan of adult soft drinks.  When the Degusta Box for May included such drinks I was very happy.

Here we have a Cawston Press cloudy apple drink.  Unusually for 'good' drinks this comes in a can - most go for some kind of bottle to show off the contents.  This makes it a good portable option and one you can throw in a bag and drink at your leisure.  It also makes it very kid friendly.

The can is particularly nice with lots of fonts and deceptively few colours making it look like one of those fashionable type-set posters without coming across as too trendy.  Very eye-catching.

As it says - it's a sparkling apple drink. Ingredients? Pressed apple juice (not from concentrate - hooray!) sparkling water (in that order too) and some vitamin C for bite. That's it - it truly is the Kettle Chips of fizzy drinks.

I didn't have a a picture of it in a glass, but the colour was pleasingly apple like and it did indeed have a nice amount of sparkle without being overly fizzy.  The closest I can remember having recently is Apple Tango and I think Appletizer which are both nice summer drinks.  This does have more to the flavour than those, while being a little less sweet.  I'm not sure it's up to the standard of the top league adult soft drinks (Fentimans, Bottle Green and Fever Tree) but I'm assuming it's a lower price point than that.

Fentimans don't do an apple variety (although that's surely only a matter of time) and this is certainly something I'd consider drinking again. While I'm not sure it could compete alongside the dazzling array of premium offerings in many cafe's and top brand supermarkets (oh lovely, lovely Waitrose) hopefully it'll show up in the places that the common soft drinks are, such as newsagents and baguette shops, or even the pub.

In fact, I can see myself drinking this instead of cider in large glasses with ice in the sunshine.  Hopefully I get the chance.

25 June 2014

Tyrrell's Ludlow Sausage & Mustard Crisps [By @SpectreUK]

Tyrrell's Court Farm is located in Leominster, which is a stone's throw from Ludlow. If you get a chance I'd recommend a visit to Ludlow Castle and the surrounding town for a good countryside trip. It stated on the packet that these crisps are; "Perfect with a pint of ale", so I couldn't resist having a good pint of Badger's Hopping Hare thrice hopped blonde beer to wash these crisps down with. I know it's a beer not an ale, but it makes for such a good pint! There was a nice meaty sausage smell on opening the bag, with a mild hint of mustard. The first crisp had a good meaty pork sausage flavour, properly seasoned with herbs and spices and a decent hit from the mustard. The crisps had the usual quality crunch we've come to expect from Tyrrell's. I started swigging the beer whilst eating the crisps. The citrusy bitter flavours from hops perfectly complemented the spicy herbiness in the sausage and added buzz from the mustard in the crisps. The more I swigged beer the more crisps I began to shovel into my mouth. The flavours in the beer and the crisps merged into a beery wet meaty potato magic. I'm now certain Tyrrell's were right when they said these crisps are perfect with ale, but they are also just as grand with a good pint of beer from the genius Badgers of Dorset. These crisps were made for shovelling vast quantities into one's mouth and downing beer after beer whilst watching your favourite game on the box or a good comedy or action movie. Go and buy a bigger bag or two to fill a bucket and a crate of your favourite brew and then stick the tele on!

Information on the packet;
The 40g bag has 180 calories with 0.8g of sugar and 9.2g of fat. For ingredients see photograph.

24 June 2014

Yoghurt Mousse Mango (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

I do like to have something sweet after I’ve had my dinner, and I was in Waitrose looking for something a little bit lighter to tempt me. These new yoghurts caught my attention with their bright packaging, they looked like quite a new and funky dessert, but according to the calories they were just 110 per pot.
The pudding is a layered dessert, with a passion fruit compote on the bottom topped with a mango flavoured yoghurt mousse. Both layers a re an attractive golden colour. The first thing I noticed when I tucked in was the sharp zingy flavour of the mousse. It was bright and fruity and packed with taste, it really felt very summery. The compote on the bottom was similar, although this time it was passion fruit not mango. The taste here was again sharp and zingy, and I liked the added texture of the seeds mixed in. They gave a light crunch.
This is a very refreshing dessert, a palate cleanser if you like, and I liked its tangy fruit flavours. I think it would have been nice to have more contrast between the layers, with the mousse perhaps being more creamy. I’m still rather keen to try the other fruity varieties, and I think for just 110 calories you couldn’t do much better than these if you are looking for a healthier pudding.
By Cinabar

23 June 2014

Pepperoni Baked Stars (Tesco) (@Walkers_Crisps) [By @Cinabar]

The Baked Stars range from Walkers were launched recently, aiming at a healthier market. They have 70% less fat as they are baked not fried, and come in small portioned bags, perfect for lunch boxes. The range first launched with a selection of fairly standard flavours, but they have now expanded that to include this fab sounding Pepperoni variety. As I may have mentioned previously I do love meaty flavoured crisps so eagerly picked these up when I saw them in Tesco.
I opened up the bag to have with lunch and found the smell quite enticing, it was quite rich and well seasoned. I tucked in and found the crisps to be nicely flavoured. The texture is nice too, they are a baked crisps, so a little thicker, but they do have a good crunch. They were meaty, and distinctly that of pork too. The spicy flavour had paprika, onion, garlic and even a sweetness from tomato that just worked really well. I very happily ate my way through the bag and thoroughly enjoyed these. I’ve added another multipack o the online order for next week as they tasty but healthier too, which is always helpful with summer on the way.
The packet clearly shows the ‘star’ playing football, which does make me worry that these are a limited edition for the world cup. All the Baked Stars bags show the ‘stars’ completing some fun activity, the slat and vinegar os singing, so maybe I’m just worrying over nothing? It would be a shame for these to be discontinued as they were my favourite flavour by far!
By Cinabar

22 June 2014

Kettle Sweet Potato Chips - Sweet Chilli Flavour [Review by @NLi10]

I was at a family birthday party recently and took along a few snacks to add to the ample and healthy spread that they had put on.

Just look at all that lovely grub!  Before we get to the main event I want to take a moment to mention a 'Double decker pizza' that was there.  Now I'd not heard of these so pictured a Calzoni with a topping on top (luxury!) this is just a pizza with a second base below the first, with a tiny bit of cheese in between. Now - I don't know about you but how many people when eating a store bought frozen pizza most look forwards to the mass produced base?  This  was quite disappointing, and only worthy of a mention and not a full review - I'm sure there is a non store brand version that this is copying and I want to see if that is as disappointing before passing judgement.


On to the main event - the Kettle Chips - or rather the Sweet Potato variety.  Regular readers will know we got sent the original variety of these in a Degusta box and we remarked that it may be better with the flavour built in.

Well - it is, but not by much.  As we thought the added flavour gives a bit more excitement to the experience but these are still lacking something.  With regular potato the flavours layer up and the crunch adds to it all.  With this you a left wondering what you are missing out on.

Fortunately the table was covered in dips and spreads and meats so I soon had some hummus on mine and confirmed my suspicion - these are to go with stuff.  Don't treat these as 'crisps' and you will be fine - as the bag suggests these are 'chips' and should be dipped in as many things as possible until the bag runs out.  Worth buying to share, but not to eat alone.

21 June 2014

Frijj White Choc Raspberry Swirl Milkshake (Sainsburys) [By @SpectreUK]

It stated on the bottle label that this Frijj White Choc Raspberry Swirl Milkshake was one of their "supremely thick and smooth range" of milkshakes, so I gave it a really good shake before opening. After unscrewing the lid and peeling back the metal top, I took a good long whiff of the white milky liquid inside. It smelt like raspberry ripple ice cream. My tastebuds began to salivate immediately. I love raspberry ripple, but sadly I just don't get to eat it that often. I used to eat it as a child at my Aunty's house after she'd almost filled me with Walker's Ready Salted crisps and Cadbury's Animal Biscuits. As the rhyme goes; "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!" Call it lack of heat in this country or the fact that my old teeth scream at me rather than ice cream. I just don't enjoy ice cream like I used to.

Well I have something here that's cool and not ice cream cold. It tastes reminiscent of raspberry ripple without the sharpe head freeze and kick in the teeth feeling that ice cream can give me. I know you're probably thinking I could do with a trip to the dentist. You probably right. I will go next month I promise. This raspberry swirl flavour had a smooth white chocolate creaminess that took me away from the raspberry ripple ice cream flavour slightly. But that was okay. I didn't mind at all. I was basking in the flavours of raspberries and white chocolate working together in a relaxing fashion to get me, the drinker, relaxed, cushioned even. Lying on a king size bed of fluffy raspberry pillows and milky sheets of creamy sweet white chocolate. Mmm... who needs ice cream? And that dentist can stick his drill!

Information on the bottle;
375ml bottle has 71 calories per 100ml, with 1.3g of fat and 10.9g of sugar. Gluten free, with no artificial colours or flavours. Made with fresh milk which is a good source of calcium (for stronger teeth) and vitamin B12. High temperature pasteurised low fat white chocolate and raspberry flavour milkshake. Suitable for vegetarians.
By Spectre

20 June 2014

Extra Crunchy Sticky BBQ Rib [@walkers_crisps] (Sainsburys) [By @Cinabar]

I think with world cup fever at the minute it is a wise idea from Walkers to introduce a new flavour in their Extra Crunchy sharing bags range. I like the extra crunchy texture as it seems to be a good balance of crispness, nice and snappy, without being too hard like some of the premium crisps can be.
The new flavour is an absolute pleasure to eat. It is fair to say that they were so good I could have quite happily munched my way through the entire bag on my own, rather than share! The flavour has such a good balance of barbecue flavours. It has the spicy background, a clever smokiness, sweet succulent aftertaste and a rich pork meaty flavour that ran throughout. Pure yum! I have always liked meat flavour crisps, and chicken are usually a favourite, but these just hit the spot. They so totally reminded me of the pork ribs you eat in american themed restaurants, dripping in barbecue sauce. These too made me want to lick my fingers afters as they were so good.
These are definitely going to be my sharing bag crisps of choice, and I am just hoping Walkers bring out the flavour in individual packs too! It has been a long time since a new flavour has wowed me as much as these.
If you are looking for a bag of crisps to share while watching the world cup, or a film (because you want to get away from the footie) believe me you’ll all end up fighting over these.
By Cinabar

19 June 2014

Super Dickmann's (Germany) [review by @NLi10]

At work recently we got some goodies brought from Germany - Super Dickmann's little chocolate and mallow goodies.  These are very similar to Tunnocks Tea Cakes but with a wafer base instead of biscuits and no jam.

Here we have the super ones (which are large) and the schoko strolche which has three different flavours of chocolate on the outside.

It seems the white ones are the most popular where I work, but the bigger ones were also dark chocolate so many fancying that flavour would choose that.

Look at this for opulence - practically Krispy Kreme in the excitement opening these boxes!

They don't photograph very well the dark one especially but how do they taste? Well the chocolate was a little underwhelming but the goo - the goo was fantastic!

Look at that little white fluffy volcano. Yum! I'd certainly seek out these again, even though the chocolate and the wafer we're a little less to my taste than lovely English tea cakes.

18 June 2014

Brazilian BBQ Steak flavour Pot Noodle (Tesco) [By @SpectreUK]

Not much of a follower of Football I'm afraid, but I did watch some of the England versus Italy match on Saturday night after an enjoyable performance of Happy Days, at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton. It's a shame we didn't win, but I did think we needed far more attack in the second half, rather than kicking the ball backwards all the time. After the theatre I was rather peckish and decided it was appropriate to eat this Brazilian BBQ Steak flavour Pot Noodle. Glancing over the World Cup themed Pot Noodle pot, I could see that this flavour was noodles in a peppered steak flavoured sauce with an added sachet of barbecue sauce. This sounded right up my street as I love peppered steak and I also love barbecues in general. So what could go wrong?

I noticed that there was cumin, black pepper and cayenne pepper in the ingredients, as well as smoke flavour in the sachet. I added freshly boiled water, the solid noodles a powder stirred together easily, and then added the smoky barbecue sauce sachet. The mixture had a lovely smoky barbecue beef smell to it. After cooling the taste had a smoky barbecue beef flavour with a peppery kick and a blend of cumin and parsley. I suspect the diced green bits amongst the sauce and noodles were the parsley. This pot noodle had a medium spicy chilli heat to it and bunches of flavour. Over the years Pot Noodles have definitely increased the quality of their flavours, and this Brazilian BBQ Steak flavour Pot Noodle was certainly no exception. I hope it stays as a flavour for the future as it would be a shame just to keep it as a limited flavour for the World Cup. Whatever team you support or don't support I'd recommend you try one of these Pot Noodles with some bread to dip in for a quick and tasty snack whilst you stick your feet up and watch the Footy on the box!

Information on the pot;
90g pot has 430 calories, with 15g of fat and 8g of sugar. No artificial colours or preservatives. Ingredients see photograph.
By Spectre

17 June 2014

Prestat - Black Forest Gateau Truffles (@Prestat) [By @Cinabar]

I don’t live near a Prestat shop unfortunately, our nearest stockist is Selfridges in Birmingham, and they don’t sell the full range of goodies. This is a little frustrating as Spectre is totally hooked on their Matcha Green Tea Hot Chocolate, so I have to order it from their website. Obviously if I’m making an order anyway I can’t help but have a nosey what chocolates look new that I haven’t tried before. These Black Forest Gateau truffles stood out immediately, as the cake is one of my favourite desserts.
The box’s for Prestat’s chocolates are always very pretty, and this one is no exception as it is decorated with mountains and cherries. Inside the thick lush cardboard box the chocolates are wrapped in blue tissue paper, and then in plastic bad. The chocolate had a white chocolate coating and when I took the first bite I was expecting to find a whole cherry inside, I think because of the packaging. I didn’t of course, these chocolates are truffle based and contain a cherry kirsch ganache. The flavour is dark chocolate with a nice hit of cherry with an alcohol twist. I liked the way the flavours came together from the dessert, and the mix of chocolate and cherry never fails to satisfy. I’d have gone a bit more heavy on the cherry through, and I do have to say I quite fancy a whole cherry coated in chocolate! I also treated myself to a box of Prestat Red Velvet truffles, which I just can’t wait to crack open!
By Cinabar

16 June 2014

Crème Brûlée Flavour Hot Chocolate (Whittards) [By @Cinabar]

Recently Spectre and I had a really lovely day out at Trentham Gardens, and obviously we had a meander around the shops there too. We came across a branch of Whittard and as Spectre eagerly picked up lots of interesting teas, I had a look around hot chocolates. I thought it would be nice to treat myself to one of Whittard’s luxury drinks, something suitable for my very sweet tooth. I chose the Crème Brûlée as it sounded indulgent and it said that it was flavoured with vanilla and caramel. What I didn’t realise until I opened it at home was that this was a white chocolate based drink. I know it might sound obvious from the name in retrospect, but I still assumed it would have had some milk chocolate in there, but all that was inside was a fine white powder. The front of the tub doesn’t really offer any clues on this, and I don’t think I would have purchased it if I had realised.
The back of the tub suggested 3 teaspoons per 200ml of milk or more if you are feeling decadent. I went with 4 as I liked the sound of being indulgent and our mugs hold slightly more than 200ml. When the powder hit the hot milk I was immediately aware of a smell of burning. This was impossible of course as the milk hadn’t quite boiled, but the smell still lingered lightly in the air. I mixed up the drink and the powder dissolved easily, the white milk was left with a creamy tinge to its colour.
When it was cool enough I took my first sip, and this sweet creamy, almost buttery vanilla and caramel flavours filled my tastebuds, just when I was about to think that this drink was fantastic a strange flavour started to appear, a burnt, blackened smokey chemical taste. What? Now I’ve eaten a lot of Crème Brûlées and one thing is consistent although there is sugar sprinkled on top which is popped under the grill until it melts and solidifies, I’ve never had one that has any burnt flavour in anyway. If I was given a Crème Brûlée in a restaurant where it looked like the sugar topping had been over cooked and become black I would send it back. There is no smoky flavour in a proper Crème Brûlée, so why Whittard chose to add one to this drink is anyones guess. I couldn’t finish the mug the aftertaste was smokey and tasted so weird that it ended up down the sink, and the tub emptied in the bin. What I don’t understand is why it has so many positive reviews on the Whittard’s website. There are a couple of write-ups that agree with me but the vast majority of people love it, so I’m obviously in a minority. If you give it a try, let me know what you think, because I’m definitely missing something.
Spectre on the other hand was really happy with his fab selection of teas, and can’t wait to go back and stock up on more. Think I’ll treat myself to a tub of Rocky Road hot chocolate next time, that sounds more up my street.
By Cinabar

15 June 2014

Maxi - promax milk strawberry [review by @NLi10]

On a recent trip to our local pool (Smethwick Baths - apparently The Beatles played there once) I spotted that they had some modern vending machines with supplement drinks in.  As I hadn't been swimming properly for at least a year, longer if you want to find a time when I went regularly, I needed a reward.  I over did it a bit as usual and pulled something in my calf I decided I'd earned a bag of crisps and also went for a protein shake too.

The machine has a lot of different ones and it basically comes down to whether you want to choose by magical science effect or flavour.

I thought that the one that promoted muscle repair was probably the one to go for, and thus got strawberry.

Despite the fact that it contained lots of protein it didn't have that papery taste that early protein shakes had.  The strawberry was more of an artificial thing but the milkiness was more real.  The texture wasn't as thick as I'd expected but was suitably satisfying.

My leg stopped hurting about two days later but I haven't been swimming again yet to try it out.  I'm not sure that these were great value for money but it hit the spot at the time and I may try another one next time.

14 June 2014

Mr Trotter's Snack Emporium (@Mr_Trotters) [By @SpectreUK]

Whilst wondering around some rather smart wooden cabin-like stores at Trentham Gardens Cinabar and I stumbled into a farmer's style market. We instantly picked up a large basket and started filling it to the brim with all manners of Foodstufffinds' goodies. Two such items were produced by Mr Trotter and as I've had the great pleasure of sampling his Jalapeño Chilli Pork Crackling, it came to me to blog about them. And by jove weren't they just made for me!

Mr Trotter's Proper Potato Crisps

These potato crisps were thinly sliced with their skins left on to add flavour. Each slice was then fried in rapeseed oil and finally coated with Mr Trotter's original seasoning. This sounded too good to be true, but it wasn't of course as these crisps were clearly in front of me in the store. I have a photograph (above) to prove it! There was a meaty smell on opening the packet, which Cinabar exclaimed to be the yeast extract. This hog worthy whiff was closely followed by the sea salt and fried potato. Each potato crisp had an almost juicy melt in the mouth crunch that burst with flavour. These were definitely the best meaty but not meaty ready salted potato crisps flavour I've ever tasted. After each crisp I immediately wanted another and had to physically make myself slow down to write notes in my special Foodstufffinds notebook (well... nearest scrap of paper). There was obviously serious care to flavour quality pumped heartily into every crunchy crisp. There was an initial yeasty flavour merging with the sea salt and rapeseed oil flavours, leaving the mouthwatering juicy salty meaty taste I came to yearn for until the bottom of the packet loomed heavily. These crisps would go perfectly with a good pint of ale, and that's just what I had found...

Information on the packet;
40g packet. With 528 calories per 100g, with 1g of sugar and 33.9g of fat. GM free. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Potatoes and rapeseed oil grown at a neighbouring farm called Wade Lane Farm. Ingredients included; potatoes, rapeseed oil, yeast extract, salt, sea salt, hydrolysed vegetable protein, sugar, dextrose, rusk (from wheat flour).

Mr Trotter's Great British Chestnut Ale

By crikey! A bottle of Mr Trotter's Great British Chestnut Ale to whet my whistle no doubt! Brewed by the Lancaster Brewery this 4% volume amber ale was blended with chestnuts and Maris Otter barley. There was a sweet bitter nutty smell with a hint of spice on opening the bottle. The taste started with a smooth creaminess and a subtle sweetness from the barley, which was soon replaced by the nuttiness and spicy hoppy bitterness from the English Cascade hops and Bramling Cross hops. This was definitely an ingenuous and well thought out brew that screamed quality as had the crisps in the review above. The 500ml bottle's label recommended trying this chestnut ale with quiches (blah, hate quiche... love beer though), pies, pates, and roasts (especially hog roasts I reckon). I'd certainly recommend trying this amber ale with a roast pork meal, with big bold roast potatoes, some greens on the side (for the healthy bit) and lashings of gravy. Either that or try it with a couple of bags of Mr Trotter's Proper Potato Crisps and a good thrilling black and white movie, or indeed an honest British traditional bag of Mr Trotter's Pork Crackling. Just watch out if you buy the Jalapeño Chilli kind!
By Spectre

13 June 2014

Retrocorn - Rhubarb and Custard Popcorn (@GregRetrocorn) [By @Cinabar]

So you are going to pop a film on and you are trying to decide whether to snack on sweets or popcorn, well look no further as Retrocorn has the answer - both! These aren’t just any sweets, as you may have guessed from the name, these are the retro sweets I remember from my childhood think cola cubes and lemon sherbets, etc. They are crushed and served over the popcorn. Super cool! I decided to try out the Rhubarb and Custard edition first off.
Each bag of popcorn looks really pretty too as the popcorn is covered in those shattered sweets! The Rhubarb and Custard popcorn appeared to be covered in peachy looking sweets, which is odd as I remember them being pink and yellow when I was a kid. The taste immediately brought back all the right memories though. They were quite zingy, and there were some sharp tones of rhubarb that were mellowed by a background taste of custard. All these flavours worked rather nicely with the popcorn background taste. The popcorn had a good texture, the pieces were firm but fluffy. The magic is that the pieces of sweets are small enough to ensure the texture is nice, without there being any hard bits, just a light crunch. The balance is still good as there is enough sweet for the flavour to shine through.
I had never thought of combining sweets and popcorn, mainly because I couldn’t imagine how the texture would come together, but Retrocorn have worked wonders, and the recipe is spot on. Can’t wait to crack open the old Cola Cubes one next!
Retrocorn is stocked at Mr Simms sweetshops.
By Cinabar

12 June 2014

Asda Brazilian Steak & Chargrilled Peppers Pizza (@Asda) [review by @NLi10]

Every four years the magical time comes around again for World Cup themed food. While some of them have been so lazy I haven't bothered reviewing them I thought this one looked good. More steak pizza? Go on then.

The box is a veritable delight of colours and really gives off that Brazilian vibe.

The actual frozen pizza looks a bit sparse and un exciting in comparrison though. :(

A blast in the oven reveals the colours (and the fact that all the steak had moved into one bit) and gives us hope.  And actually it's not that bad! Sure the meat is a little skimpy, but it's a £2 pizza. The flavours are there, not too hot, not too sweet and just enough texture to play nicely on the base.

The picture on the box is a bit of an own goal though and reduces the happy feeling that you get when you open it - I think a bit more honesty and you'd be more likely to repeat buy. Imagine if you bought this for someone else and never ate it - you'd certainly only remember the disappointment and not the flavours. I'll be picking another one up for those late nights where I ignore the football and play on the WiiU or watch a movie.

Overall I'd say this is a 2-1 in favour of the pizza, while the early own goal looked like it was going to cost it, the fact that it's clearly limited edition and only 50p more than usual for the steak gets it through.