30 September 2014

Mr Kipling Gingerbread Whirls (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

When I saw these in Tesco, I thought they sounded like a lovely autumnal twist on the regular Viennese Whirls from Mr Kipling. Once home I realised that the packaging had girls with buckets on them, milk maids… there were eight of them. Then I spotted the holly silhouette put two and two together with the “eight maids a milking” and the realisation hit me that this is the first Christmas review of 2014, sorry folks, we haven’t even covered Halloween yet!
There are six Whirls in the box, and they have a fabulous orange brown colour to them, with a good portion of buttercream holding the two halves together. They are dusted with icing sugar, which looks pretty. The initial flavour of these whirls are creamy soft tones, quite similar to the regular Whirls. After a moment the ginger kind of sneaks up on you and gives a kick of winter warming heat.
I thoroughly enjoyed the spicy flavour, and the balance of sweet and heat was spot on. The mellow flavour from the middle just added that nice bit of calm to the spices, which was needed. You would be surprised by how long the tingle of ginger flavour lingered on the palate. They did taste christmassy, but these would be just as good for warming yourself up with a cocoa on a cold autumnal night, and perfect as an after fireworks treat. So don’t rule these out to December, they are too good for that!
By Cinabar

29 September 2014

Nespresso Grand Cru Capsule: Cubanía (By Uxorious)

I am a coffee lover. You’ll know this if you’ve read my previous coffee review on this site. Coffee to me is more than just a stimulant to help me out of bed in the morning. It’s a pleasure in and of itself. A good mug of coffee or a shot of deep dark espresso should be savoured as one of life’s little pleasures; whether first thing in the morning, during the working day or even last thing at night, I enjoy a good coffee.

At work I have a Nespresso machine, an old reliable friend, not one of their new younger versions that at the press of a button can make a cappuccino or a macchiato. This old stalwart just dispenses dark creamy espressos. At home I make espressos from beans but this is a bit too much faff for the work place. I’m always amazed by how good this little Nespresso machine is and how easy it is to use, with no mess to clean up. It sounds like I work for Nespresso or that they sponsor me, just to be clear, they don’t! (ps is the cheque in the post?)

Today I’m reviewing their latest limited edition Grand Cru capsule, the Cubania. This coffee is said to be “inspired by the passion and the warmth of the Cuban way of life”! That sounds like quite a challenge to squeeze into a hot drink. By the way, surprisingly these capsules contain no Cuban coffee.

When you think of Cuba you picture sun, sea, beaches, beautiful women, alcohol, cigars, classic American cars and Gloria Estefan. Actually I often picture Gloria Estefan, but this is not the place to discuss that. I inserted the capsule into my Nespresso machine, switched it on and patiently thought of Gloria. The espresso shot delivered looks the part, the right consistency, good texture, not watery. The crema was just a couple of millimetres thick, not as deep as their Ristretto capsule produces, but more than adequate.

The Nespresso website describes the aroma as powerful and complex. I will have to disagree here, I found it quite underwhelming, far more muted than their other capsules. But what it lacks in initial aroma it makes up for in spades with the flavour. Simply wow. The strength guide gives it a 13 out of, well what used to be just, 10. This is their strongest coffee yet. The coffee warmed, I would even say tingled, the sides of my tongue and the flavour lingered delightfully for ages after each sip. They have in my opinion developed exactly what an espresso should be! Rich, strong, full of flavour, a long lasting experience, with no bitter tones, in many ways just like Gloria.
By Uxorious

28 September 2014

Bacon Jam (yes - really) & Chorizo Jam @EAT_17 [by @NLi10]



These are two words I never expected to see in the same PR e-mail, but Cinabar forwarded one on to me that not only promised that but Chorizo Jam.  



Being a fan of crazy sounding food (don't knock the tuna & chocolate toastie until you've tried it) I naturally signed up straight away and received these two jars on the first of September.  It's taken me 4 weeks to fully come to terms with the experience.

For a start, as the detailed blurb states it's more of a chutney than a jam, but essentially it's the same food group.  It's a paste like substance that I chose to initially use on the side of plates for meals.  It looks like this.

That's the bacon one in the jar.  Like sun-dried tomatoes it's not designed to be eaten with the eyes.  It actually contains "Smoked bacon, coffee, lemon juice, bourbon, fresh garlic and rosemary"

And here's what that looks like on a plate, adding an additional meaty dimension to a Bernard Mathews bird-slice based meal.

And here is the Chorizo (back left) with a lovely veggie meal adding some meaty goodness.  The ingredients list for that is "air dried chorizo, balsamic vinegar, apple juice and brown sugar "

And the first thing to note is that this works, it works well.  The bacon one tastes like bacon, the chorizo one tastes like chorizo.  Sure, there are other flavours in there and all that which add to and bring out the tastes but you get what the jar says.  And importantly you only need a small spoon of the stuff to flavour a whole plate.

For someone who lives with (and cooks for) a vegetarian this is amazing stuff.  You can make the exact same meal and then mix one of these in on your plate and everyone is happy. It works as a topping for meats - kind of like having pigs-in-blankets on the side but without the extra cooking - and livens up plain old turkey fillets without a need for effort.

The company that makes this - Eat17 (like East 17 you see) are based around an actual restaurant and I'm betting this is the exact stuff they use.  Without thinking I mixed some into some reheated rice and found I'd made a risotto bursting with flavour.  I'm having to ration myself and not add it to every meal.  I'm going to try a bacon jam sandwich at some point, but so far I've resisted.  I keep thinking of other things I can add it to, and every time I mention it to people they ask me if they can try some. So far only I have had it, but I'm taking the bacon one to a party tonight (I think mainly because I love the chorizo one slightly more).

It's very hard to review this as a product.  Is it the best bacon jam anyone can make, or is it just the first in a series of brilliant ideas? Would other meat based pastes work similarly? I honestly don't think I care.  I like this stuff and I'll be needing more.  If that requires a trip down to Walthamstow to try it out in person then so much the better.  There is also the Onion Jam (the original pre-baconised flavour I guess) and bacon and chilli.  There aren't enough meals in the day...

You can find out more by looking them up on Facebook or just their regular page.

27 September 2014

Wookies & Cream Bar (@CyberCandyLTD) [By @SpectreUK]

This Wookies & Cream chocolate bar was made to commemorate the new Star Wars film soon to be on our big screens. Any Walking Carpet will tell you that I'm quite the Star Wars fan. I love all the movies, yes, even the newish three set before the three originals that some people have not enjoyed. I've also immensely enjoyed all the Clone Wars cartoons and grew up on Star Wars toys when I was a lad. It states on the front of the packet that you should "Come to the dark side, we have cookies!" This makes me wonder what a Sith Wookie would be like as an evil character. I'm sure he'd be very dark and hairy, and have a red lightsaber with a fine curved wooden handle and be armed with a Wookie Bowcaster to blast the more troublesome Jedi with. Liquidising that character in my mind, adding in a decent dollop of cream and making him into a chocolate bar didn't quite appeal, but how else would you make Wookies & Cream? Trying to shake that image from my head I decided to try and find out!

It stated on the packet that this Wookies & Cream bar included milk and white chocolate and had dark and light cookie pieces (cookies not Wookies) in it. On opening the packet I quickly got the feel of what a liquidised evil Wookie would look like if you added cream and made him into a chocolate bar. So I took a photograph! The dark cookie pieces had been added to the white chocolate and tasted like a creamy mixture of white chocolate and crunchy dark cookie, whilst the light cookie pieces and been added to the milk chocolate in a half and half fashion. it was clear that a lot of thought and care had gone into the creation of this chocolate bar. Ignoring the theme for a second the creator had really gone to town here. I'm not a chocolatier by trade, but understand the moulding stages and creating of the chocolate and cookie pieces. The presentation was neat without overly trying to be neat, ordered without overly trying to be ordered. The quality of chocolate was excellent and the cookie pieces added a crunchy body that I'm not used to in bars such as this. Even if you don't like Star Wars or couldn't care a fig for it, at least give one of these bars a try. If you like white chocolate and/ or milk chocolate and cookie pieces, you'll love this bar. If you do like Star Wars this may be as close to what an evil chocolate Wookie would taste like with cream.

Information on the packet;
Packed by Cybercandy ingredients in the 100g bar can be seen in the photograph.
By Spectre

26 September 2014

Jammy Dodgers - Berry Blast (Sainsburys) [By @Cinabar]

The purple wrapper of these Jammy Dodgers caught my eye in the supermarket, so I picked up a couple of packets. This Berry Blast flavour looks quite similar to the original variety of Jammy Dodgers, but with a purple jam instead of the traditional red one. You can see the purple jam as it appears in the cute Jammy Dodger heart cut-out on the biscuit.
When they were out of the packet they still had the look and feel of the regular Jammy Dodgers, and the purple jam was still pleasingly sticky if you attempted to prise the two layers of biscuit apart. The biscuit part has no new added flavour, it is the usual pure biscuity buttery taste. The jam however although sweet has a nice sharpness from the Berry Blast. The jam is predominantly blackcurrant in its taste, which is nice and zingy, and such an underestimated fruit.
These are a nice twist on the regular Jammy Dodgers, they are just different enough to be interesting, without putting off the hardened Dodger fans. I love that blackcurrant is showcased in these biscuits, it feels a very British fruit and as such it is nice that it features in such an iconic British biscuit.
By Cinabar

25 September 2014

PUKKA - the Green Tea Revolution [Review by @NLi10]

First up - I'm not sure why all the pictures are at an angle - sorry!

I received this promotional Green Tea leaflet from my partner - and it contained two different varieties.  My plan wasn't to review these particularly but as it happens they are a little more interesting than I'd thought.

The company is Pukka - not one I'd heard of, but organic green teas are a nice thing for work so I was certainly happy to give them a try.

First up is this Clean Green tea - which is green tea with lemon.  A pretty common combination, but nice to see.  The leaves were quite small in the bag and it was fairly flat but did have some odd shapes in there too.  Once you look on the back it turns out that this has fennel and other interesting botanics floating around too.  Maybe I over-brewed it but the fennel taste was fairly strong.  It wasn't that I didn't like it, more that it didn't really suit the name clean.  
This is a green tea for people who aren't keen on that dark bitter taste for sure, but I think the other earthy flavours (like many infusion based drinks) may put some off.  I'd not turn down a cup, but I have other greens in my tea caddy I prefer.

This darker 'supreme matcha tea' was the other offering (and actually the one I drank first).  This is a mix of green tea with the industrial grade matcha powder combined.  This means it's like the Red Bull of the tea world.
Where as the first drink was quite soothing, this is more of a call to action.  Great for people who really need coffee strength tea.  The flavour wasn't too bitter either which was a nice surprise.  I think that again my tastes lie somewhere in-between these two - and there is a serene Jasmin variety that sounds like what I drink, and a mint green which sounds like Moroccan Whisky.
If I was offered this again I'd make sure that I had something to do with all that stimulation and wasn't just sitting at my desk buzzing!

Overall an interesting couple of drinks that do make me want to try the others in the range so I'll look out for these in cafes.

24 September 2014

Septimus Spyder Ginger Beer (@SpyderBrew @brown_and_green) [By @SpectreUK]

I often keep a bottle or can of ginger beer in for when I have a dicky tummy. This is generally when I've eaten something that I've had a disagreement with and my tummy has lost the argument. Septimus Spyder's Medieval Brewhouse traditionally fermented this Special Reserve Ginger Beer. So the bottle states that the Spyder's small beers are brewed using "gruit", which is a mixture of herbs and spices used for brewing from the rock-banging-together days of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Mercia.

This Ginger Beer had a lightly carbonated white cloudy look on pouring into my glass beer mug. There was a sharpened ginger smell from the mirky white liquid with a hint of lime and lemon at the end of the odour. This was a warming spicy ginger beer on taste, not at all like the fiery nose hair catching ginger beers I've tasted in the past. The light fizziness complemented the subtleties of the spicy undertones which seemed to be playfully skipping behind the ginger, whilst the mild lime and lemon flavour took the tastebuds on a pleasant journey into the aftertaste. This was a refreshing ride on soft bubbles, not a white knuckle fight for your life on water rapids. Perfect for my dicky tummy after a little bit of upset.

Information on the bottle;
330ml waxed bottle with just over 0.5% volume. Brewed by Septimus Spyder Drinks in Lichfield. Ingredients included; lightly carbonated water, sugar, roots; ginger, and dandelion; lemon juice, lime juice, cream of tartar, antioxidant; vitamin C; preservatives; sodium benzoate and potassium sorbate. Gluten free and vegan friendly.
By Spectre

23 September 2014

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Drink [@PeanutHottie] (By @Cinabar)

Just when I’d come to terms with the invention that is Peanut Butter Hottie, they only go and up their game and come up with a chocolate version!! IF you haven’t tried the original Peanut Hottie already, where have you been? If truth be told, I had already supplemented my Peanut Hottie with a teaspoon of hot chocolate in an amateurish attempt to create this drink, but now they’ve done that for me, properly.
I have always made Peanut Hottie with hot water, and I continue to do this with the chocolate version. It was a little more awkward to mix up, and it did need a bit more stirring than the regular variety to mix up. It was by no means difficult to make, its just the usual Peanut Hottie pretty much dissolves straight away when you add the water.
After stirring, I gave the drink a first sip. I was pleasantly surprised by the balance of flavour. This is defiantly Peanut Butter and Chocolate rather than Chocolate and Peanut Butter; if you see what I mean. The drink is still all about the peanut flavour, but the after taste is smooth and chocolate, and gives the drink a lovely edge. It also feels more creamy in texture and indulgent, perfect for the autumn and winter months ahead, to soothe away the cold. Chocolate and nuts are such a good combination, and as peanut butter fan this drink is going to take some beating.
By Cinabar

22 September 2014

Win - Thorntons Chocolate Hamper!!!

The lovely folks from thorn tons wanted us to highlight their fantastic range of hampers available on their website. There is something for everyone, with different occasions and different budgets. They have also very kindly offered to give one away as a prize for Foodstuff Finds readers as a competition prize. In order to enter you need to follow this blog via Email, Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook (all the links are on menu on the right).
Then send an email to admin@foodstufffinds.co.uk with COMP in the subject line, AND let me know how you follow us (i.e. your name on Facebook, your email address that subscribes or your @name on twitter or your name on Pinterest).

Competition closes 2nd Oct 2014

• A winners will be chosen at random
• UK residents only
• Competition closes 8pm on 2nd Oct 2014
• If we can’t get in touch with each winner in a reasonable amount of time to obtain an address another winner will be selected.
• If you have any questions about this competition, please send me an email or leave a comment below.

Good Luck Everyone!

Custard Cream Spread (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

I think I can say that 2014 is the year that I discovered the concept of biscuit spread. It was a bit of a new product when I first tried it, and it is difficult to explain to the uninitiated, but it is genius. Imagine that first time that a person said I'm going to boil up this fruit for nearly an hour and then put it on toast, strange looks ahoy, but I'm pretty sure that is how jam was born. We've moved on now and this time it is all about biscuit spreads. Tesco has gone to town, and now offer a range of flavours of biscuit spread from cookie to this custard cream.
I opened up the jar and found the spread inside to be quiet soft, and more runny than expected. I scooped a portion out with a knife, and added it to my hot toast. As I spread it I could see that the heat of the toast was helping it to melt. The cream coloured spread started to glisten. It is smooth, and quite silky despite being fairly thick, but it doesn’t have any crunch or the texture of biscuits.
The flavour was mild, but creamy and biscuity and pure heaven. It had recreated spreadable custard cream biscuits perfectly, you could even pick up on the lush creamy filling flavour and the baked biscuity goodness. It was such a fab sweet treat, and my tastebuds are totally hooked on this new phenomena, I am going to have find some of the cookie flavoured spread too, it is turning into my new addiction.
I also can’t wait to try this fine spread melting into hot waffles, with a scoop of ice cream on top for good measure. That is my next plan and I suspect I will be living the dream! Heck, I might just eat some out of the jar with a spoon too, I’m classy like that!
By Cinabar

21 September 2014

UpBeat - High Protein Dairy Drink - Blueberry and Raspberry [by @NLi10]

I was in Holland & Barrett picking up some curious things to eat and drink and spotted these unusual versions of the protein shake.  They are much more natural looking than the synthetic stuff we've been looking at so far so I figured I'd pick one up.

They are only 250ml but are made with 91% whey protein concentrate which is 20g of protein per bottle.  Doesn't sound that appetising though, does it.  Fortunately that other 9% is mostly fruit puree and they are suitable for vegetarians.

I chose the Blueberry and Raspberry one because I'm predictable.

The fruity goodness does actually work - it tastes like a normal shake (only a bit thicker) and not a protein thing.  These are pretty much a mix of a smoothie and a protein drink I guess.  I'd have to try the other flavours before calling this a total success but I'm liking what i've seen so far.  

As it has to be refrigerated it was hiding at the back of the store where I'm guessing a lot of muscle fans overlook it due to it blending in so well with the normal person drinks.  I guess they need to stick a little sign up next to the giant whey tubs and grenades full of caffeine (i kid you not) that says the nicer ones are at the back.

20 September 2014

Cubanisto Rum Flavoured Beer (Tesco) [By @SpectreUK]

Coming to the end of my stint at the place that I work at I've been given less and less work to do, and so I have found myself on the odd walk to the mini market across the road to pick up milk for hot drinks and lunches for my favoured colleagues. On one such occasion I noticed a box of three bottles of these Cubanisto Rum Flavoured Beers and just had to pick one up. The tall hairy dude that served me was interested to know what I thought of them. It says "El espiritu del Caribe" on the label of this dark blond beer, which roughly translates as "the spirit of the Carribean". There were plenty of freaky Voodoo skull images on the bottles and outer box to complete the Carribean feel. On popping open a bottle there was a sweet rum liquor smell to this fizzy beer. Feeling in a greedy mood after work one night I decided to overfill my beer mug with two bottles of this strong beer. There was a sweet fizzy lager taste to begin with, but this was quickly replaced by the warming sweet spirit kick from the rum. I found this Cubanisto Rum Flavoured Beer very easy to drink and moreish. I was very glad at the time that I'd cracked open two bottles to try. Whoo... Strong stuff though! I'd certainly recommend it to the guy behind the counter and anyone else that fancies a try.

Information on the label;
330ml bottle at 5.9% volume. Contains malted barley and 50% rum. Produced by AB InBev in Luton.
By Spectre

19 September 2014

Spätzle (@Ocado) [By @Cinabar]

It's been a long while since I last had spätzle, and I was reminded about it while watching an old episode of The Hairy Bikers. Spätzle is a pasta dish, often served up with a casserole. Any meat in sauce works with though, so steak in peppercorn sauce would also work. It is a European cuisine found most often in areas of Germany, Austria, France etc. It's pronounced spetz-lee by the way, it's bizarre watching cookery shows say it incorrectly but they got it wrong on an episode of Master Chef too a while back, so The Hairy Bikers are in good company there.
Anyway despite watching the expertise of the Hairy Bikers making it, and my grandma before them, I wondered if anywhere actually sold the stuff ready to cook. To my amazement Ocado had bags available, so I put through an online order.
We chose to have it with a pork casserole, with a creamy sauce. The bag from Ocado is imported from France, and pieces are bigger than I thought they would be. I remember the bits being 2-3cm these look more around the 10cm mark. I wonder if that is a regional thing, it is the German spätzle I remember. They take 15mins in boiling water too cook, and are best served al dente.
Although quite large the pieces have a wonderful texture, and were quickly coated in the creamy sauce from the casserole. They worked really well with it, and brought back a lot of memories for me. It was great for absorbing the sauce and a good alternative accompaniment for a sauce meal.
If you are looking for something different to mash potatoes with your next casserole or stew why not give this alternative a try? It's makes a nice European twist for the meal, but make sure you tell everyone it is pronounced spetz-lee. ;-)
By Cinabar

18 September 2014

Matcha Green Tea Pocky & regular Green Tea Pocky (by @NLi10)

My lovely sister bought me some Matcha Green Tea Pocky.  I ate the first packet and thought about how I would write the review.  It tastes like a mix of green tea powder and Pocky.  I wondered if this Japanese import had anything special about it compared to the regular green tea Pocky so I found some!

This appears to be made for the chinese market or in china (.cn on the packaging) but I'm not sure - the import info was vague.  This does mean that we can directly compare the two.

As you can see the stuck together Matcha at the bottom is darker than the normal green tea.  This translates into a much more explosive taste in the Matcha than in the regular sticks.  It also has the stimulating green tea effect when you eat a whole melty bunch together.

The flavour is that distinctive sharp green tea taste that I love and I'll certainly be hunting out more of these.

17 September 2014

Hellfire Plum Chutney (@RaydalePreserve) [By @SpectreUK]

This Hellfire Plum Chutney was bought by Cinabar's brother at a farmer's market near Leeds and sent to me via express delivery to either blog about or just to torture me in some bizarre way! Ashamedly it's sat on a shelf in the Foodstufffinds grotto ever since. Until one brave moment (okay so it was going out of date) I plucked up the courage (couple of weeks and it would have been in the bin) to try this Hellfire Plum Chutney on a lunchtime sandwich for work. I could see the dark purple colour of the chutney through the transparent jar, there were plenty of chilli seeds bobbing evilly around in there like a multitude of baby demons waiting in plain sight. Despite the scary hot look of the chutney there was a pleasant sweet fruity smell of plums, and I could see that there was plenty of raisins and chopped up bits of fruit and onions in the purple chutney. I put a brave (dumb) hefty dollop on my corned beef sandwich. I foolishly forgot at that point and licked the knife before putting it next to the sink for washing. First of all a good safety tip would suggest not licking knives (I did cut my lip the other day, which suggests a lack of learning from one's mistakes). Secondly don't lick anything that is covered with something that's called "Hellfire". Having said that, this chutney had a sweet plum and appley fruity chutney taste to it with a chilli bite at the end of the flavour that caught at the back of my throat. I had spread the chutney pretty thick on my sandwich, so I began to worry a little (okay, more than a little). I needn't have worried though as the plum chutney really brought out the flavour of the corned beef, complementing the meaty taste in such a way as to make me feel stupid (even after licking a knife a second time that week) for not trying this chutney immediately after I had unwrapped it. This Hellfire Plum Chutney made my corned beef sandwich almost unputdownable. All the flavours of the chutney were present from the fruity plum and apples, the onions, the raisins, the zing from the vinegar, the ginger tongue tickle, and the final throat catching chilli heat at the end of the flavour. An excellent healthy feeling chutney I must say. I don't know about hot as Hellfire, but this Plum Chutney was devilishly pleasurable to eat!

Information on the label;
210g. Produced by Raydale Preserves, established in 1978 by Lesley and Derek Kettlewell on their family farm in Leyburn, North Yorkshire. Ingredients included; plums, apples, onions, raisins, sugar, white wine vinegar, chillies, ginger and salt.
By Spectre

16 September 2014

Nescafe Spiced Orange Mocha [By @Cinabar]

I know this drink may feel a bit Autumnal in its flavour but I couldn’t resist giving it a try the minute one of the lovely ladies at work brought the box in. She knows I have a passion for drinks with a spiced element, so knew it would be up my street. I drink a lot of chai!
Even before opening the sachets there was a lovely hint of cinnamon spice, which only enhanced when the powder was poured into the mug. When the hot water was added the powder dissolved easily and a lovely frothy topping appeared whilst stirring. The aroma by now was that of christmas; ginger, cinnamon, orange, chocolate and coffee. All those smells you associate with autumn/winter and that time of year.
When I took the drinks back into the room the comments were that it smelt like gingerbread, and I agreed, the proper stuff, like you get at German Christmas markets. The taste was very much on the ginger side of things too, not too strong, and with a lovely hint of sweet orange to give it a citrus bite, and an aftertaste of chocolate. It is a good mix of tastes, and quite a different combination. It is the sort of drink that will warm us up over the coming months as we all hit Autumn.
Big thanks to Lorraine from work for bringing it in, she is the provider of the greatest selection of hot drinks available in any office. Seriously folks, you should see our tea shelf! :-)
By Cinabar

15 September 2014

The Original Pulled Chicken - Ultimate Burger (@KFC_UKI) By [@Cinabar]

As ever it has been too long since my last visit to KFC, and this I time I could wait to tuck into their latest creation; The Original Pulled Chicken Ultimate Burger. We have all heard of pulled pork, but KFC has used this idea to create pulled chicken. Basically a shredded chicken in a barbecue sauce which tops two chicken fillets in their latest burger. The other new additional features are that there is a layer of coleslaw and the bread is a brioche bun.

When I opened up the cardboard box the first thing you notice is just how shiny the bread is, it almost has a glare. Brioche bread is French in origin and the dough is made with a high egg and butter content, which makes it quite rich. The bread is toasted, and although richer than a regular bread bun the KFC version is still quite light, thankfully as it otherwise it might be a bit much with all those toppings.
I gave the burger a try and oh my it had my tastebuds singing. I absolutely loved all the extras in their, the fresh salad and cheese were lovely, but the coleslaw was fresh and crunchy and added a whole new element, this alone would have been a fab extra, but lets talk about the star of the show, the slow-cooked pulled chicken. It appears in a light brown sauce, and tops the fillets under the lettuce. The flavour was excellent, sweet sticky barbecue sauce with just a hint of spice, paprika I’d say. It was heaven. This is a seriously posh and tasty burger and something rather different from KFC. I take my hat of to KFC for this new creation and I just hope it stays on the menu. I’m looking forward to trying the Original Pulled Chicken in its wrap version next, I’m seriously hooked.
By Cinabar

14 September 2014

Wellman High Performance Drink [by @NLi10]

Some exercise drinks are protein based and aim to help you get to the end of the exercise and to mend afterwards. Some are highly caffeinated and energised and seem to be based around giving you the buzz to get to the end and a quick boost to help.

Today I look at an odd one, it has the stimulants and vitamins but mainly seems designed to help the body cope with the shock of the exercise.

I have seen lots of averts on the tube for these Wellman products but I'd never been tempted until I saw this drink in special offer in Holland & Barratt. I think it's supposed to make me run at peak performance, and actually says it's not for ladies.

It even comes with a recommendation by a sports person! It tastes a bit like red bull style drinks without the taurine, and is nice enough while still tasting like it will do work. We drank this while out walking around some very steep hills. I did get tired, but less so than my partner who had only had a sip to try it.

I think that this is similar to a Purdy vitamin drink mixed with Matcha green tea. I'm guessing that if you are short on vitamins then it may help, but it's nothing that a good diet and some motivation wouldn't do. Not one I'll be having again, but it may be just what you are looking for to get you out to the hills and to walk a bit further before having a sit down.

13 September 2014

Crabbie's Strawberry & Lime Alcoholic Ginger Beer (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]

I've written about Crabbie’s Spiced Orange Alcoholic Ginger Beer before which was an excellent winter warmer. This Alcoholic Ginger Beer was blended with strawberries and lime and sounded like the ideal cooling down factor I needed after a hot day in a stuffy office, which had been followed by a hot sticky workout at the gym. There was a sharp sweet strawberry smell on opening the ginger beer which had a zing of lime at the end of the odour. On pouring this brew into my beer glass this fizzy ginger beer had a hot pink colour that would make the toughest guy blush. You'd have to be pretty self assured of your own sexuality to drink this ginger beer down at your local public house. On taste there was hardly any ginger to begin with, certainly not the fireiness I've come to expect from other ginger beers. There was a very sweet yet natural strawberry flavour followed almost meekly by a mild ginger taste, which was completed by the strong lime twist at the end of the swig. Despite the hot pink colour and strong fruity flavours almost overpowering the mild ginger side of this ginger beer, this drink was tasty and refreshing albeit slightly popesque in flavour. Not one for the kids of course, or guys who'd prefer a pint of Mild and a packet of crisps at the local boozer!

Information on the label;
500ml bottle at 4% volume. Produced by John Crabbie & Co., Leith, Edinburgh. Established in 1801, Crabbies have imported their ginger from the Far East for more than two hundred years. Crabbie's steep their ginger for eight weeks and then blend in natural strawberry and lime flavours.
By Spectre

12 September 2014

Cadbury Eclairs - Velvets Coffee Flavour (Tesco) [By @cinabar]

Have I ever mentioned how much I love the combination of coffee and chocolate? A few times I suspect, the flavours just work and it a flavour duo that there just isn't enough of on UK shop shelves. How we morn the passing of Lindt Coffee Intense bar, but I digress.
Cadbury has seen the light and their new Eclairs flavour is coffee. These are in the Velvets range which aren't quite what I'd call an Eclair as they are a soft toffee, with a liquid filling but coated in milk chocolate (which is the part that doesn't feel so traditional). Cadbury has been adding to the Eclairs range recently and have had orange and toffee varieties out, but I was very pleased to a coffee edition.
I unwrapped the sweet and popped it in my mouth. The first thing I noticed was the sweet chocolate coating which melted pleasingly in my mouth. This was followed by the golden toffee flavour, that was super sweet and creamy with a good toffee flavour, but I didn't pick up on any coffee at this point. As I ate the sweet further it became more pliable and eventually was soft enough for me to get to the liquid centre, where there was a burst of sweet coffee taste. It was pleasant, but not as strong as I had expected or hoped for, it was mainly just sweet. Don't get me wrong I liked these new Eclairs, and the coffee filling was nice, if it had just been a little stronger then they would have been perfect. They are probably still my favourite variety in the Eclairs range, just because they contain a bit of a coffee taste.
By Cinabar

10 September 2014

Fentimans 19:05 Herbal Tonic Water [review by @NLi10]

A while back I reviewed the original Fentimans tonic water. It was interesting, but not my favourite tonic, nor my favourite Fentimans.  I was contacted about a new drink in the range and sent a bottle to try.

The first thing to note is the tiny portion. 125 ml of tonic doesn't go very far, I'm more a fan of bottles of the stuff and have been known to order pints.  This did however suggest that it was again intended as a mixer so I made a special trip out and got a bottle of vodka.

I found one of my partners bottles of gin out of the cupboard (we tend to get it for parties and not finish it) and set up a lovely grid arrangement of the two types of tonic and the two alcohols - Smirnoff a vodka and Gordon's Gin.

I mainly focused on the vodka pair and my partner the gin - although not being a fan of tonic she didn't try much at all!

The vodka and original Fentimans tonic was as I remembered it. I think I was a little heavy handed with the alcohol and the flavours were initially tipped a bit that way.  In contrast the 17:05 tonic was much more floral and uplifting. The vodka again was very present throughout the flavour, but the tonic changed with it instead of been a single flat taste. Of the four drinks this mix was my favourite, and something I could certainly drink again.

The original tonic with gin was also as I remember it - and even though I like vodka more, I prefer this to the vodka/original. The reason I had a bottle of the original tonic still floating around was to use with the gin.  The herbal flavours of the 17:05 tonic again complemented the gin really nicely. While I would say I also preferred this mix to the yellow/gin mix I'd say the difference is less pronounced than the vodka was.

I was a little disappointed with the original yellow label tonic that Fentimans produced. It wasn't as strong as fever tree and wasn't as interesting as their other drinks. The 17:05 bucks that trend and is a very it interesting drink indeed. The only real complaint I had is that one bottle didn't give me enough of a sample to try much without alcohol. I will certainly buy more to find out.

Rhubarb & Orange Jam (Rosebud @Preserves) [By @SpectreUK]

This Rhubarb & Orange Jam was produced by Elspeth Biltoft's Rosebud Preserves. She stated on the label that this jam would be perfect on toast for breakfast. Never one to listen to sound advice I decided to have this jam on a toasted bagel after a hearty meal of steak and chips one evening. Besides our toaster is one of those deep deep heavy duty spring loaded industrial jobs with space for four pieces of bread. Toasting sliced bagels in one of these toasters is asking for trouble. Just imagine four super heated frisbies flying in different directions in a small kitchen.

On opening the jar there was a predominantly orange marmalade smell with rhubarb in the background. I found that the were small pieces of rhubarb and orange in the light brown jam. Once we'd had a fight with the overactive toaster which tried to spring the superheated pieces of bagel in random directions across the kitchen at random moments, there was a sweet rhubarb taste from the jam with orange marmalade flavour afterwards and a sharp zing of lemon to finish. I agree it would make an excellent waker-upper on toast, but this Rhubarb & Orange Jam was excellent on toasted bagel after an evening meal.

Information on the label;
Net weight at 227g or 8oz. Produced by Rosebud Preserves, in Marsham, Yorkshire. Made with reduced sugar, and no artificial ingredients. Ingredients included; rhubarb 57%, unrefined sugar, oranges 13%, lemon juice. Prepared with 76g of fruit per 100g. Total sugar content 48g per 100g.
By Spectre

9 September 2014

New Nescafe Smooth Roast Coffee (Tesco) [By @Cinabar]

When I was browsing in Tesco at the weekend I spotted this new coffee from Nescafe. Quite a few makes of instant coffee have brought out an edition with a micro-ground real bean content, and this is Nescafe’s version. I do like my coffee and I drink a lot at work, particularly instant, so I was keen to give it the taste test.
I like the tin that it came in, and the fact that it is resealable to ensure it stays fresh. When you first pull back the lid there was a lovely coffee smell that was very fresh. The consistency of the coffee is very fine, it is a powder, not granulated, this explains why the tin felt quite light.
I heaped a teaspoon’s worth into a mug and added boiled water. The coffee dissolved instantly and made a dark black looking coffee. I added milk, as I always do, I gave it a proper taste.
The flavour was surprisingly good. It was rich and strong, but had a nice smooth edge. It tastes a lot nicer than regular instants, and impressively rather like a ground coffee. I actually though I’d be quite happy with the drink if I received it in a cafe, which is high praise indeed. The only clue that it wasn’t from a machine was the last mouthful had a small amount of powdery residue in the bottom, but that is hardly a major issue. The key thing is it tasted proper, and despite the adverts on TV, very few instants do. This is certainly a tub I’ll be buying again, tasty coffee thats quick to make.
By Cinabar

8 September 2014

New Rocky Big Eat Caramel [By @Cinabar]

These new bars from Fox’s see the regular Rocky bar’s getting bigger. Never a bad thing in my humble opinion! They come in a very brightly packaged multipack, with four bars inside. They are an ideal afternoon treat for work, the sort of thing I’d happily pack in my lunch box for a nice treat and sweet pick-me-up. There are 208 calories per bar in these caramel edition ones, which isn’t too bad considering what they are.
I brewed up a nice coffee and opened up the bars to test out one afternoon. The bars look quite big, and are just like a large version of the usual bar. I thought for some reason the pieces might be in chunks, so they could be broken off, but the bar is consistent in its size.
I broke a bit off and was impressed by the consistency of the caramel, it was oozing! The texture of the bar is really nice, soft chocolate, crunchy biscuit and gooey thick caramel.
The flavours are spot on, the simple combination of caramel, chocolate and biscuit all go together very well. It may not be a new innovative bar, but I have to say I like the larger size of the bar and its chocolatey goodness. It feels more substantial and more filling than the usual Rocky bars. I would say it is more of an adult snack, rather than a kids lunch box treat, something a bit proper.
They have also brought out the chocolate edition in the Big Eat bar, which I will be picking up very soon.
By Cinabar

7 September 2014

Knor Flavour Pot - Garlic (and Tofu) - [review by @NLi10]

A few years back I got a Knor gravy pot in a goodie bag from the good food show. It worked fairly well, but I've no massive need to make gravy so it didn't tempt me to buy more.  In Asda the other day I spotted that the range at some point has become expanded - and these seasoning pots were born.

From the multitude of flavours I chose the garlic one as I figured it was less similar or typical sauces and I already had a meal in mind.

The little recipie leaflet suggested two other tasty things - carbonara and garlic prawns.  As I'm not great with shellfish and my parter is veggie I chose to swap the prawns for tofu.

Using the same idea and putting the fried buttery garlicky tofu with a salad got us this.

Where as usually you would have garlic with tofu, this made the tofu actually taste of the garlic, and then crisp on the outside too. The flavour was very realistic and clearly contained actual garlic and not just flavour - and it may even be too much for some people who aren't that keen!

We have two pots left to use, and plan on trying the carbonara (veggie again) with the next one.

6 September 2014

Hardknott - Cool Fusion Beer (Westmorland @Hardknott @TebayServices) [By @SpectreUK]

Discussions about the state of the weather can fill a gap in conversation. So can a decent beverage. We are heading towards the end of the summer, which is a statement of fact that we can't escape from. Not that we've had much sunny weather in the first place, but we have had quite a bit of humidity. When I'm hot and bothered I do like a refreshing drink to cool me down. This Cool Fusion from the Hardknott Brewery sounded just the ticket. It stated "Have a beer powered moment" on the bottle, but I received quite a shock on opening and first pouring this lively frothy beer as it almost exploded out of the bottle and the head nearly overflowed out of my beer glass. This cloudy beer had a strong sweet and spicy hoppy smell with an almost grassy undertone. Ginger and spices have been added during the brewing giving this fizzy beer a refreshing spicy caress to the palette that somehow warms and cools the senses in the same moment. The spicy sweetness from the ginger hits the tastebuds first closely followed by the bitter hoppiness with added sweetness from what was likely crystal malt. These flavours push on into the aftertaste leaving a heavy citrus edge on the tongue and a hoppy lip smacking spiciness. There was quite a blob of yeasty sediment on the bottom of the glass too, but I don't think that's a bad thing as it's just extra B vitamins if you fancy a taste. I found this a refreshing feisty beer with plenty of rich sweet and spicy flavour to it, and would be happy to enjoy another glass of it anytime.

Information on the bottle;
330ml bottle at 4.4% volume. Produced by the Hardknott Brewery in Cumbra. Recommends to eat with oriental food like sushi.
By Spectre

5 September 2014

Pom Wonderful: Pomegranate & Cloudy Apple Juice (Sainsburys) [By @Cinabar]

I am currently recovering from an amazing cold, the kind of cold that really knocked me about. I still completed an ice bucket challenge towards the end of it, but in retrospect this may have hindered my recovery… Anyway I thought it was about time I went for a juice based drink, to top up on my vitamins etc.
Pom Wonderful have a new flavour out, this Pomegranate and Cloudy Apple and I thought I’d give it the taste test. The bottles are very distinctive on the shelf with their bobbly effect, and do feel very tactile to hold.
The drink itself is a deep red colour, and pours quite thinly, definitely a proper juice and not a smoothie hybrid. The flavour is lovely and rich. The dark fruit has an initial sharpness, and lovely bite, but the apple softens this and leaves a very clean feeling after each sip.
I know NLi10 is a big fan of pomegranate juice, and I can see why. Its very refreshing, and has a crisp taste. I liked the addition of the apple as I feel it just gives it a slightly smoother finish.

The lovely folks from Pom Wonderful want to give you the chance to get creative and win a POM cocktail making kit. In order to enter you need to follow this blog via Email, Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook (all the links are on menu on the right).

Then send an email to admin@foodstufffinds.co.uk with COMP in the subject line, AND let me know how you follow us (i.e. your name on Facebook, your email address that subscribes or your @name on twitter or your name on Pinterest).

To see the kit in action have a look at NLi10’s previous post: http://www.foodstufffinds.co.uk/2013/09/pom-summer-cocktails-by-nli10.html

Competition closes 15th Sep 2014

• A winners will be chosen at random
• UK residents only
• Competition closes 8pm on 15th Sep 2014
• If we can’t get in touch with each winner in a reasonable amount of time to obtain an address another winner will be selected.
• If you have any questions about this competition, please send me an email or leave a comment below.

Good Luck Everyone!