30 November 2014

Competition - ImageOnFood Christmas Gingerbread Hamper (@Imageonfood)

The lovely folks from ImageOnFood make beautiful looking gingerbread goodies. I am very much looking forward to reviewing them, but in the meantime they have very kindly donated a Christmas Gingerbread Hamper to followers of Foodstuff Finds as a competition prize.

Their website can be found here: http://www.imageonfood.co.uk

And the prize up for grabs: http://www.imageonfood.co.uk/shop/gingerbread-christmas-hamper.html#sthash.DtzTVHfe.cKhX3TMV.dpbs
Please note the products in the hamper change depending on availability, so the main picture of the hamper is just a guide. The hamper is only available to buy on their website.

Just a quick note - this is my first attempt at making a Rafflecopter competition, so if you do spot any issues do let me know. ;-)

Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

• A winners will be chosen at random
• UK residents only
• 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

BirdsEye Chicken Pie [review by @NLi10]

In my last pie review I mentioned a small emergency £1 pie that I'd bought frozen for when I needed a pie. Yesterday was such an occasion. I got the little guy out of the freezer and cooked for slightly longer than instructed.

The pie in question is a Birds Eye Chicken Pie.  I remember all their adverts in my youth, but the brand seems to be less in the public eye now. Maybe I just don't watch the kinds of show they advertise in.  Here it is cooked.

It does look a little small here, but it was a pound - half the price of the Frey Bentos and much less than a Pieminister. But what's inside I hear you ask.

I flipped it over to expose it's weak, soft, underbelly and was rewarded with decently meaty bits and an assortment of vegetables. The flavours were nice, and the pastry was crispier than I'd expected. As a cheap emergency solution it does the job, and due to bonus chips I didn't go hungry.

29 November 2014

Zum Glockenspiel Pork Steak Sandwich (Birmingham) [By @SpectreUK]

I always try to make it to the German Market each year when it visits Birmingham for a month or so before Christmas. Over the last couple of years it's been a bit more difficult as I was working outside of the city. This year I'm back at university and was able to wonder over for a quick bite to eat one lunchtime. I usually hang around the busiest part of the German Market, which is in Victoria Square around the huge fountain there. This year to save my legs I had a look around some of the stores nearest the big bronze bull outside the Bull Ring. The large store called Zum Glockenspiel first caught my eye. It had a barbecue side and a bar side with tables at its centre. Being rather hungry and smelling the fine cooking spicy meaty smells I headed towards the barbecue side.

I could see fizzling away quite happily on the grill lots of pork steaks, which seemed a grand change from the usual hot dogs I buy in Victoria Square, so I just had to try one. The red pork steak had been heavily seasoned with paprika and was served in a brown roll. I added a little ketchup and German mustard which was available on the side of the store and waited for it to cool. The succulent barbecued pork steak had a flavoursome paprika spice to it. As I bit through the soft brown roll the meat almost melted in my mouth. The whole compact style of pork steak in the bread roll was easy to eat and not messy at all, so it was good to munch on the go for a quick lunch. Perfectly cooked and spiced this pork steak was heavenly tasty, moreish and quite filling too. I desperately wanted another one once I'd finished, but realised I was probably being over greedy!

Zum Glockenspiel also sells half metre long Bratwurst hot dogs, and to wash it down they sell beer or hot chocolate drinks. I shall definitely be back before Christmas!
By Spectre

28 November 2014

Warburton’s Old English White Bread [By @Cinabar]

When it comes to bread you know there is nothing tastier than white bread. I eat a lot of wholemeal and interesting seeded loaves, and I do like them, but when it comes to a proper treat I opt for white bread. Perhaps it is reminiscent of my childhood, but white bread feels like a comfort food. When I heard that Warburton’s had brought out a range of new special loaves the first one I opted to try was this new Old English White. It was inspired by one of their heritage recipes, and designed with indulgence in mind.
The packaging is very smart, and the packet ties at the top, not the side making these stand out. The loaf is smaller than a regular loaf, but it is meant to be extra special, and not just for dunking in your soup or something.
Now there was a temptation to make a chip butty using this bread, as it is an important taste test for bread if ever there was one, but instead we decided on trying it out as bread and butter. Basic maybe, but probably the purest way of going about this.
I have to say I was impressed by the bread. The first thing to note was the flavour, it actually had such a lovely defined taste, there was an almost creaminess to the flavour. The texture was lovely and fluffy too. The crust was a little stronger in taste and had just the right give for texture, slightly more than a regular white, but it gave it a sort of rustic feel.

And who is to say you can’t have a few nice side items with your bread and better? Mix it up with some rich and creamy blue cheese, a selection of cold meats, crisps, a tomato and an egg and lets be honest its simple, but taste wise its food of the gods! I can’t wait to try the other new loaves.
By Cinabar
Many thanks to Warburtons for sending over the bread in return for an honest review.

27 November 2014

Everything But The Cow - dairy free smoothie [By @NLi10]

There is a band - Everything But The Girl, named after a wedding shop that provide's everything but the Bride-to-be for the perfect occasion.  This is a non-dairy smoothie called Everything But The Cow.  Now - either this is a name inspired by a wedding to someone that you really don't like, or they are providing everything that you need for a smoothie - but you have to provide your own cow.  Maybe it's just me - I've never had to use a cow to make a smoothie, I get the milk from a third party, but also they have given us everything that we need as this is a complete drink.  I mean I get the intentions behind the name, and it's probably what made me pick it up, but it kinda doesn't work if you overthink it (which I tend to do). 

That said here is the drink!

I've moved offices so this marks the debut of the new black office chair being used for the background instead of the lovely green one that I used before.  The products kind of look like they are floating in space though so I'm liking it at the moment.

What we have here is a banana and kiwi smoothie, but not.  As we explained at the start this is dairy free, but still manages not to quite be a fruit juice drink.  Thanks to some clever blending and the addition of a touch of soya this does genuinely feel more like a smoothie.  The flavours on offer were also pretty interesting but I decided to pair them up as there are a lot of products to get through at this time of the year.  First up we have Banana and Kiwi.  A lot of people are not fans of banana in drinks but I'm OK with it, especially when there is enough additional flavour to make it work.  Here the sharpness of the kiwi gives it a much needed fruitiness and keeps it interesting.  The texture is smoothie like (definitely not a 'thickie' but not a fruit juice) and it had the desired effect of staving off the afternoon snack cravings.

Next up on the interstellar voyage we have the Strawberry and Raspberry variety.  Regular readers will know that the red flavoured berries are my favourite and here it's no exception.  It's a bit sweeter and just has that lovely summer flavour that you get from a good blend.  I'd choose this one again first, but if it was sold out I'd not hesitate to pick up the banana version.  They are different enough from a smoothie to be their own product, and I guess the name explains this slot quite well.

My only complaint if you can call it that was that they both seemed to end too soon.  I'd have happily drunk a 500ml version of this - 330ml didn't last quite long enough.  I approve of the clever and distinct packaging and once opened it passed the shake test so I'll happily buy more when out shopping.

The nice lady from Holland and Barrett said she had a chat with the lady whose company it is when they visited the store and it seems to be going well for the brand.  Hopefully it'll appear in more places and with more flavours to try.  As nice as Innocent Smoothies are it's great to see some smaller companies making a niche for themselves.

And - despite having a look at this 90s Dance playlist - I can't come up with a better pop-culture pun that says this product is dairy free than the name they went with, so they win on all fronts.

26 November 2014

John West Peppered Mackerel Fillets [By @SpectreUK]

These mackerel fillets from John West were seasoned with cracked black pepper, which sounded perfect for a healthy peppery lunchtime fishy treat. It stated on the tin that these Peppered Mackerel Fillets can be eaten hot or cold, so I went for the traditional eat it fresh out of the tin method. I'd shook the tin before opening and took note of a slight slosh. You never know how dangerous one of these peel-back tin lids can be, so I opened the tin over the kitchen sink perhaps being a little too over cautious. I was rewarded with a very fishy mackerel smell on opening and none of it on my clothes. That's the goal of all food intake of course; in my mouth not on my clothes (so often not the case if I sit on the sofa watching TV with a tray of "messy" food)! Once I'd sat down to eat the initial uber fishy mackerel smell had calmed down a little, but I still figured I wouldn't be gaining any kisses that afternoon. I could see crushed black peppercorns on the top of the fish fillets. Black pepper was present in the succulent mackerel taste, which left a warm tingle on my tongue and tickled the back of my mouth. This was certainly not a dry fish fillet experience, as the sloshiness in the tin was a little brine in the bottom, which gave these Peppered Mackerel Fillets a lip-smacking saltiness. I found these Peppered Mackerel Fillets a perfect healthy afternoon snack whether with lunch or inbetween meals. I preferred them on their own in the can, as I often do with this type of fishy treat, but I can see there would be a lot of potential for salads and hot meals also. Just don't forget to brush your teeth afterwards if you want that kiss!

Information on the tin;
John West was established in Liverpool in 1857. 110g peel-back tin at 249 calories, with 17.6g of fat and traces of sugar. Ingredients included; mackerel fillets (98%), crushed black peppercorns, and salt. Although care is taken in preparation some bones may remain.
By Spectre

25 November 2014

Dominos Mac N Cheese Bites and Dougnuts (@Dominos_UK) [By @Cinabar]

We decided to have a take away from Dominos and so I found myself browsing to see what new flavour pizzas they had, disappointedly I couldn’t see anything. I also spotted that the Fiesta and Rio pizza (the previous latest edition) had disappeared. This was an odd situation for me, choosing a pizza from the regular menu. I always go for the latest or special, thats kind of how my brain works and sort of why this blog was set up. Oh well, after a browse I decided on a Meateor, it looked like the perfect meat feast and circle of meat balls looked kinda cool.

When it came to side orders my Foodstuff Finds cravings were a little bit more satisfied, they have the newly listed Mac N Cheese Bites, essentially cheese macaroni in breadcrumbs with a dip! That is both suitably weird and new for me. There was also newness on the desserts menu, but I’ll come to that shortly.

There are four Mac N Cheese Bites bites in the box, served with a salsa dip. The bites are a fairly decent size and do take multiple bites to eat. I do love cheese macaroni, so I did like the flavour, and it came through well. I was a bit disappointed to find that the macaroni wasn’t really present visually when I cut one in half, I was hoping to see defined pasta shapes. The dip was good, and a nice contrast with its spicy tomato flavour, but I found I liked them without, so I could pick up on the cheesy goodness better. They were enjoyable, but I’m not sure they surpassed the garlic dough balls as a side order.

My other new find on the Sides menu were doughnuts! There were four in the box, and they were just heaven. Fluffy, coated in sugar and warm (even after all that pizza). They were just like the ones you get at the fair ground, little rings of sugary naughty yumminess.

Oh yes - and the Meateor pizza was fab, must have that again (unless there is something new of course). ;-)
By Cinabar

24 November 2014

Walls Gingerbread Sandwich Ice Creams (Ocado) [By @Cinabar]

Who said ice cream couldn’t be Christmassy or seasonal. Ok it might not be the first choice when it comes to dessert when the weather is cold, but I couldn’t resist taking a look at Wall’s latest ice cream offering. Did I mention there was a cute gingerbread man on the box too, it reminds me of some nail wraps I’ve bought… but that is a different story.
The ice cream is seasonal in that it contains gingerbread, although not in the form of a christmas gingerbread house or even a gingerbread man. This is vanilla ice cream sandwiched together by two rectangular pieces of gingerbread biscuit. Once out the of the box I was quite impressed by the size of the portion of the gingerbread sandwiches, they looked bigger than expected, a rare feat these days. Images on boxes usually make you think the time inside is going to be bigger and better than it is, usually guaranteeing a certain amount of disappointment once the wrapper is off.
The gingerbread bread shell was soft, but a nice thick texture and coating. It was not soggy it just didn’t have a crunch. The flavour totally had me hooked. There was plenty of ginger, but lots of cinnamon too - beautifully spicy warming flavours all enveloping some seriously soothing sweet creamy vanilla ice cream. It reminded me of the flavours from that biscuit spread, Lotus Biscoff, and was very similar to the spice combination within that.
I have to admit I just wasn’t expecting these to be this good, but I loved every bite. I know I say that as a self confessed cinnamon addict, so these warming spices work well for me, but seriously these are something special.I’m ordering more boxes, four in a pack just isn’t enough.
By Cinabar

23 November 2014

Frey Bentos Pies - Just Chicken [Review by @NLi10]

Sometimes you just run out of food. That is to say that sometimes my household runs out of compatible food.  My partner had two fresh pies with short dates and I had no pies.  Not being a fan of the veggie delights on offer (cheese!) I resorted to visiting the local shop to see what was on offer.

I picked up the below Frey Bentos Pie (alongside one cheaper, tiny pie to be frozen for emergencies) which is a pie in a giant steel tin.

I've never had these pies before because I'm not on a long distance sea voyage to discover the New World.  I have no need for my food to be able to survive 100 days at sea, or a direct nuclear strike. To me the steel container is overkill. It took several attempts to remove but I managed to do it without hurting myself.

See that - that looks like rations! Although my first instinct was to move on to the other smaller pie and just have more chips, in the spirit of FoodStuffFinds I persevered anyway and decided to judge once it was all cooked.

That doesn't look too bad really.  It has a definite curved top when it comes out of the oven and has risen enough to increase my confidence.  I decide it's meant to be eaten out of the tin.

In this picture it's pretty much all gravy.  This was very disappointing - where was all the meat!! Turns out that it was all on the other side of the pie, the contents had settled so much that it was one half solid meat and one half gravy.  There was not a pastry bottom either so it may be a bit messy to share this.  I still contend that a proper pie needs to be surrounded by pastry but for me the pastry tends to be the best bit.

The flavour wasn't too bad, the meat chunks were small and not that identifiable as chicken, but nowhere near the orphanage grade filling I was expecting upon opening.  The pastry was good and flaky and complemented the rich gravy well.  It was a decent meal due to its size more than it's content and I'd choose a Pieminister over this in a heartbeat, but at half the price and with a shelf-life longer than most stars I can see why they are popular.

I'm not sure if I'll try other flavours, Just Chicken was the only one in stock that I fancied.  A worrying amount of pies contain organs (Liver/Kidney) or mushrooms which puts me off.  I am so picky that I only go for the All Steak Pukka pie from their range though, so your options may be wider.

All in all a fairly middling experience. Big enough for 2 and reasonably priced, but there are so many full pastry pies on offer that I'd choose first.

22 November 2014

Twinings Velvety Vanilla Flavour Chai Latte (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]

Presented in loose leaf pyramid tea bags these Vanilla Flavour Chai Latte are a limited edition, so if they're good you may need to rush out and buy some. Predominantly vanilla and black tea, there are instructions on the back of the packet in order to produce a chai latte. If you want to produce a chai latte then you'll need one tea bag, and a mug or glass to brew a third full (or empty depending on your outlook of life) of freshly boiled water. The three minutes of brewing time you could use to heat up the other two thirds of milk and froth it (or get someone else to do that if you're lazy like me). Now once you've fit it all into your mug (or heat proof glass) then add a bit of sugar (if you're mad, like Cinabar), or not if you prefer the full flavour of the tea (like me). Described in the title as "Velvety" I can certainly agree with that. The vanilla flavour was definitely present in the smell and taste, yet the syrup in the ingredients gave this lightly spiced black tea a sweet caramel flavour at the end of each mouthful. Not that this was wholly unpleasant, but it pulled me away slightly from the vanilla velvetiness at the end of the drink. I enjoyed this Twinings Velvety Vanilla Flavour Chai Latte, but I'm not one for adding sugar or syrup to hot drinks. I like the ingredients as they are, without the added sweetness. I guess I'm just sweet enough! ;-p

Information on the packet;
12 pyramid tea bags. Ingredients included; black tea, vanilla, spice and syrup flavourings (26%)
By Spectre

21 November 2014

New Chips Ahoy! Popcorn Candy Chip Cookies (Ocado) [By @Cinabar]

My first experience of this brand of biscuit came rather curiously through one of the latest Dairy Milk flavours. Yes they launched Dairy Milk with Chips Ahoy filling before the brand had actually launched its biscuits properly in the UK, which is a bit weird. The Dairy Milk bar was filled with a soft filling of cookie dough, meaning that I assumed that the cookies would have a soft middle. They are also American and as soft cookies here tend to be called “American style” this backed up that logic.
Chips Ahoy also have some bold exciting flavours, and the UK has launched with Popcorn Candy Chip, which means inside the biscuit are hard coloured shelled chocolates and popcorn pieces, which sounded like an interesting and fun combination. The biscuits look like they had a fairly generous amount of added ingredients, and there were flecks of colour and all sorts packed in.
I must mention that the pack is resealable too, it has a giant sticker which you rip open to get to the contents but then sticks back down again when you are done, thus eliminating the need to transfer any remaining contents back to the biscuit tin! I really liked seeing that on the packaging, we need more like that in the UK.
Flavour wise I was in two minds about these biscuits. There were plenty of goodies packed in, but the popcorn was lost for all but the texture. The chocolate bits added nice flavour, and a bit of a crunch. The texture of the biscuit themselves were quite hard, and not soft like I’d hoped, but still remarkably light. I enjoyed the biscuits, I thought the combination of ingredients were interesting, and I like the fact they chose popcorn as a slightly unusual flavour. It was just a shame the flavour of the popcorn didn’t shine through more and that the biscuits didn’t have that soft cookie feel I’d been hoping for. Having said that, I would but them again, and I would like to try more flavours.
By Cinabar

20 November 2014

Red Thai Quorn @QuornFoods [by @NLi10]

For years now I've been eating, cooking with and evangelising about Quorn. I first discovered it as a vegetarian, when my mom was desperately trying to find things I'd actually eat, and then as a (very) lapsed vegetarian student I lived off the stuff.  From the mince and the pieces to the filets and cutlets and the slightly odd 'ready meals' I've tried them all.  The nice people at Quorn sent us some vouchers to use in reviews and they got used as part of the normal weekly shop.  Being engaged to and living with a veggie means that everything I cook at least starts out as vegetarian (this is why the chorizo jam is so amazing) and then I'll add any extras I need on top.

With Quorn you don't really have to though - it's the protein part of the meal with non of the messy side.  It also keeps longer and is much harder to give yourself food poisoning by undercooking it (especially with meaty sausages - my "it'll be fine" stance has got me in trouble before).  It adsorbs flavour better than meat, it crisps up like tofu and still retains the chewiness.

The trouble is not everyone feels the same way.  Granted, if you make a nice Quorn mince Spaghetti Bolognese and 'forget' to tell the people eating it that it's actually vegan due to the Quorn they probably won't notice. Trouble is so few "carnivores" are willing to give it a go, vegetarian options have been terrible over the years so people just presume this is too.  As someone who hates mushrooms that are kind of in the same food group as this I was wary at first, but I don't think I've found anyone that I've tried it on that didn't like it - and it's pretty popular online too with it's own Facebook and Twitter and even YouTube 

Here we see the "chicken" pieces - interestingly my partner rarely ate Quorn before she met me because the packaging is designed to appeal to people who want it to be like meat. The 'steak' style cuts still put her off!

For today's actual recipe part of the review I bought a giant pot of Thai red curry paste.  I'd not seen one this big in the shop before so when I spotted it online on Occado I pounced.  This is 20+ servings if you carefully measure it out (I don't) and will require more coconut milk than I had in the house.  Superb for restaurants or parties too.

Simply fry of the quorn and then throw some red curry paste at it.  Fry them both until you can smell the flavours releasing and the quorn is crispy enough for you.  Then add the coconut milk to dilute the  power of the paste to taste (unless you like it jungle style) and then cook until it thickens.

Add Thai rice noodles and serve. 

Quick. Easy. Vegetarian.  

As a fully paid up member of the meat-eaters club (my next review is a steak restaurant) I can honestly say that I love Quorn. If you haven't tried it then just grab a box of the mince and use it instead of meat mince next time you would use it.  It's like the leanest steak mince you've ever had and holds the flavours unbelievably well.

19 November 2014

Tracklements Beer Mustard (Brown and Green, Trentham) [By @SpectreUK]

This Beer Mustard was produced by Tracklements, in Wiltshire, who also make pickles, ketchups, chutneys, relishes, jellies and sauces. I've had beer mustard before, many moons ago, so was interested to find out what this one tasted like in comparison. This Beer Mustard was made with 6X, which is brewed by Wadworth of Devizes. It stated on the jar that this Beer Mustard is "perfect with a good sausage and pint of beer," so me being me I decided to try it first with bacon and a cup of tea. On opening the jar there was a heavy mustard and vinegar smell, with a hint of beer behind it. On first taste there was an initial blast of mustard and strong vinegar, followed by a medium chilli heat mixed with black pepper, and a lip smacking sweetness, and then came a touch of malty hoppiness, but on each taste just as the beer flavour came it went. It was there and yes, this is beer mustard, but with the added chillies and black pepper and the strength of the vinegar, the strength of the beer was a little lost. Having said that this is a jolly good mustard in its own right. It went rather well with the smoked bacon, fried eggs, baked beans and Cinabar's baked croissants. In fact it went rather well in the ham salad sandwich the next lunchtime, really adding a tasty spiciness to the sandwich. I did finally have the Beer Mustard with sausages (well... Pig-in-Blankets) the next night and it was washed down with a good blonde beer. This is a versatile mustard made with an emphasis on heat and spiciness rather than the beer. I would have liked a little less chilli and black pepper spice and a higher percentage of beer added, but that's just me... A bit of a "beer"head! :-)

Information on the jar;
140g jar. Tracklements was established in 1970. Ingredients included; vinegar, mustard seed (28%), beer (25%), sea salt, black peppercorns, allspice, and chillies. Contained gluten. Try it with Wiltshire Ham, pork pie or Cheddar Cheese.
By Spectre

18 November 2014

New Jus-Rol Cinnamon Rolls (Sainsburys) [By @Cinabar]

For those of you who know about my love of cinnamon it will come as no surprise that Cinnamon Rolls are my favourite pastry. Jus-Rol have launched a new easy bake version so I picked up a pack from the supermarket, (where I found it in the chiller area).
Inside the box is a tube and a pot of icing sugar, the instruction are simple and found on the back of the pack. The tube has a curious looking opening, with an instruction to pull the red tab. I did and paper and card sort of unwound until the centre line popped open, from there I continued and an entire roll of dough came out. It is difficult to explain how it opens, it was slightly odd, but if you follow the instructions it works perfectly. There was a moment I thought I had done it wrong, but you just need to follow it through.

The roll of dough smelt amazing and you could quickly pick out the yummy cinnamon. From the side you could see all the filling neatly wrapped up inside. The next instruction was simply to cut it into six slices and bake.

I had to judge them a little to make them even, but think I did okay. The baking tray was lined with baking parchment, but it turned out they weren’t particularly sticky when it came to taking them out.

In fact just under fifteen minutes later the slices had turned into golden brown cinnamon swirls! Clearly the temptation was then to eat them pretty much straight out of the oven, but we allowed them to cool (a little) so we could ice them. You simply add the contents of the icing tub to a small bowl and add one and bit teaspoons of water, it's not very much but it did the trick perfectly.

I tried for a Bake Off style icing drizzle, but it looked more like an icing murder scene by the time I’d finished - lets call them “rustic” or something! ;-)
The flavour was amazing though. These were so much more than just a shop bought Cinnamon Swirl, the pastry was spot on, soft, a little flaky and sticky from the icing too. The filling was warm and spicy and tasted of Christmas. There was plenty of magic cinnamon, spicing its way with a sugar sweet finish, and they tasted like little slices of heaven. I’m totally impressed by how nice they were, and how easy they were to prepare. Nothing beats Cinnamon Swirls fresh from the oven. Big thanks to the lovely folks from Jus-Rol who sent me a voucher to buy these, and give them an honest review. I’m now officially hooked.
For more information about Jus-Rol have a look at: http://www.jusrol.co.uk
By Cinabar

Foodie News Burst 18/11/14

There has been a bit of a delay, but I‘m pleased to say the latest Foodie News Burst is now ready to roll…

I have to start with this fabulous Limited Edition Monkey from PG Tips, now in big boxes (perfect for Christmas visitors) you get a fabulous monkey in a gown included on special packs. He is super cute too. If you like the other monkeys in the picture you’d have to join PG Tips Cuppa Club to find out how to get your hands on them.
Source: Press Release

Walkers have announced the winner of their Do Us A Flavour competition, and I’m saddened to announce it is Pulled Pork. Now it wasn’t that I didn't like these crisps, it is just that they weren’t very different to anything else on the market. I’ve eaten and enjoyed plenty of barbecue flavour crisps before now. Personally I was backing the Fajita flavour, but I know Pulled Pork has been a trend anyway for 2014 so I can see why it did so well.
Source: http://www.talkingretail.com/products-news/crisps-snacks/pulled-pork-sticky-bbq-sauce-crowned-walkers-us-flavour-champion/

On the subject of crisps Burts have a new flavour out for Christmas, Turkey and Stuffing (but of course). Finding turkey flavour crisps at Christmas has become a sort of tradition!
Source: http://www.talkingretail.com/products-news/crisps-snacks/burts-chips-launches-festive-roast-turkey-chestnut-stuffing-flavour/

You might notice a subtle change in the cereal aisle, Sugar Puffs are rebranding. Their new name is Honey Monster Puffs, they are dropping the reference to ‘sugar’, as well as updating the recipe (more honey less sugar).
Source: http://www.thegrocer.co.uk/buying-and-supplying/marketing/sugar-puffs-rebrand-cuts-sugar-even-from-its-name/372590.article

Mars are launching a couple of new hot chocolates, well it is the season. There is one from M&Ms on the way although disappointingly it isn’t a peanut version, just a chocolate flavour drink. The other one has me more intrigued though, White Malteaser, that could be super soothing.
Source: http://www.fdin.org.uk/2014/11/maltesers-and-mms-unveils-hot-chocolate-pouches/

Big thanks to everyone who has contributed! Let me know if you spot any interesting foods or see any interesting news items and I’ll try and give them a mention next time! Photos (and press releases if you are in the trade) are always welcome.
Email me at: admin@foodstufffinds.co.uk or tweet me @Cinabar

17 November 2014

Minter Wonderland Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream (Ocado) [By @cinabar]

As the season is changing there are lots of new items appearing on the shelves. It is difficult for an ice cream company when it comes to the cold time of year as ice cream isn't high on peoples priority list. It is more hot puddings and custard. Not to be put off Ben and Jerry’s have come up with a new themed edition for the season, Minter Wonderland.
The ice cream has a mint base and chunks of dark chocolate generously throughout. The ice cream is white not green like the ones I remember from my childhood. As usual with Ben and Jerry’s the tub needs to be out of the freezer for a few mins before you serve, it isn't an easy scoop product, they never are with this brand.
I was impressed by the pieces of dark chocolate, they were chunky and thick, made from a good quality chocolate. Biting into each piece released loads of cocoa and flavour, they also broke up the texture nicely. The pieces were just blocks in shape though.The minty ice cream was fresh and balanced just right with the peppermint. It was both creamy and smooth, sweet and with a lovely minty taste. Mostly though the silky sweet mint flavour was just a pleasure to eat.
In conclusion it is hard not to like this ice cream, the mint and chocolate combination are excellent. I wouldn't buy it again though, Ben and Jerry's are a premium brand and I do expect a bit more from them. Something unique that justifies the extra cost, be it a twist on the flavour, a few more added ingredients or even just cute shaped chocolate pieces. The chocolates are just blocks, not smart winter themed shapes. I hoped for more from Ben and Jerry's not just a, albeit very nice, mint choc chip. Plenty of brands do a fab mint choc chip already.
By Cinabar

16 November 2014

Fentimans Wild English Elderflower (Cherry Red, Birmingham) [by @NLi10]

I'm always on the look out for new flavours by my favourite soft drink's range Fentimans, so when my partner spotted one on a night out I made a trek out to the cafe/bar in the rain to get a bottle.  I'd usually take a picture of the outside but the weather was awful so instead I took a leaflet.

Unfortunately I didn't spot that there are two Cherry Red establishments so have the leaflet the wrong side up.  I got this from the John Bright Street branch - opposite our Brew Dog, tucked behind the Alex theatre.

I'm a big fan of the variety of Elderflower drinks that cropped up a few years ago and have hung around ever since. It's take an while for Fentimans to add their signature touch to this range and it isn't in all the usual places.  I think like with the original tonic this may be due to their unusual take.

Usually the elderflower is on top of a very sweet drink which means that the initial floral hit has a sweetness behind it.  This is almost flat tasting like carbonated water and is strangely missing the follow up.  I'm thinking that this would similarly work as an amazing mixer, but as a 'pop' this doesn't quite hit the spot.

As an accompaniment to a meal however I found it quite refreshing.  I think that this is another one of those drinks that I expected to be one thing and turned out to be another.  It's certainly something I intend to drink again, preferably on an occasion where I'm sitting socialising with friends. Definitely a good choice for a cafe.

15 November 2014

Kit Kat Chunky Double Caramel (WH Smiths) [By @SpectreUK]

Well Cinabar might not be so excited about this Kit Kat Chunky Double Caramel, as she is obsessed with peanut butter, but I'm pretty much the same about caramel. Here we have two halves in one bar; one gooey smooth and one crispy crunchy, which could be a great idea or one half spent wishing I was eating the other. So much so that I was initially worried which side I would pick first. If I picked gooey side, which is generally my favourite type of caramel in chocolate bars, when I came to the crunchy side I thought I may wish the whole bar had been gooey smooth.

Pushing aside my apprehension I opened the wrapper with a 50-50 chance. My gambit paid off and I bit into the crunchy end first, which indeed had a crispy crunch to the caramel and the usual crunchy Kit Kat wafer. I did enjoy this end of the bar, but whilst I scoffed it down pretty quickly I found myself wondering, almost yearning, to taste the gooey side.

And so I bit into it. This end had the gooey sweeter caramel that I had been waiting for. Of course the wafer made it crunchy, but hey, sweet gooey caramel for the win! I reckon the whole bar like this would have been better, well at least for me!

Information on the wrapper;
The 42g per half bar is 109 calories with 5.8g of fat and 11.5g of sugar.
By Spectre

14 November 2014

Cosmo World Buffet Restaurant Review Wolverhampton [By @Cinabar]

I think probably one of the most talked about restaurants in Wolverhampton is Cosmo, an all you can eat buffet. It is famous as it is well priced, and serves pretty much everything, from sushi to burgers. With Chinese, Indian, English, American, and Japanese cuisine just to name but a few there is no wonder it calls itself a ‘world buffet’. It is also notoriously difficult to get a table at, particular on a Friday or Saturday night, despite being a huge sized restaurant too. Cosmo is a chain of restaurants with quite a few dotted up and down the country.
My family and I were giving it a try out on a weekday night, so thought it might be quieter. To be fair it was a little, but it was still a long way off being quiet. There was a huge table celebrating a 16th birthday, no free tables in the place and queues of people massing around the entrance, bar and thus the route to the food. Everyone seems to walk too fast and sports a technique where they jump out of the way and dodge other restaurant goers, this is not the place to go for a quiet calm night. It does however offer a pretty amazing selection of food.
I opted to start with sushi, and on my first look at the sushi area found it was rather disappointing in that it had almost all gone. It wasn’t long before it was partially restocked, but the lack of varieties was the lowest I had seen in there. I should point out we used to go quite regularly to Cosmo but for one reason or another it has been almost twelve months since my last visit. I did manage to get a selection of Sushi in the end which was lovely, and topped it up with some tender meat bits from the Amazonian barbecue area and a couple of Japanese pork dumplings for good measure. The sushi tasted fab, although the soya sauce seemed a little watery and didn’t seem strong enough to add a salty kick on the salmon.

For mains I thought I would have a look at the noodle/soup counter, and keep my Japanese theme going. When I got there I saw there were about five people waiting and I could tell from their faces they had been there a while. This is the perils of cooking food fresh to order in such a busy place.  I felt  my time would be better invested having a look at the Chinese section, and picked up noodles, beef in satay sauce and prawns with spring vegetables. There were a couple of other chunks of meat as recommended by Spectre, as other tasters. They didn’t quite go with the Chinese aspect, but that is the fun of such a mixed buffet.

You can go back as much as you want, but by this time I was feeling ready for dessert, and you never want to over fill yourself without checking out the shelves for those with a sweet tooth. Spectre’s favourite Crème Brulèe had shrunk since our last visit, instead of being in a small ramekin they were now presented in egg cups that looked about a third full. There was also none on the shelf, another family member and Spectre claiming the last two. They tasted good apparently, but the size of them was rather disappointing.
I went for quite a selection of goodies, of which the highlight has to be the coffee mousse, in the picture with the sponge finger. The coffee flavour is lovely and strong and the creamy aftertaste was perfectly balanced. I think it fair to say that it is very quickly becoming a favourite dessert there. I do like jelly and don’t have it very often so stocked up a cube of lime flavour, and the quirky stripy variety. The chocolate dessert was good too, again very small, but had a good chocolate kick. I think the desserts being in such small containers does create a problem with spoons. There are some dessert spoons occasionally near the desserts, but these don’t fit the small pots they serve anyway. Getting a dessert spoon is difficult, but finding  a teaspoon (that does fit) is near impossible. Staff stride past quickly on missions for something or other and my repeated ‘excuse me’ was ignored by several members. Eventually one stopped and I requested teaspoons, how many he replied, I said there were five of us and he frowned and said he’d see what he could do. We did get them, but the spoons thing has been an issue every single time we have visited the place. It is an easy fix too, you can buy multipacks of teaspoons for £1, they really need to invest!
Finally my last dessert item was the rather lovely macaroon. They have a selection of flavours but the green ones have a chocolate filling, so are my favourites. I only recently realised just how good the macaroons are at Cosmo in terms of texture and flavour after we tried some from a brand in Waitrose that were expensive but inferior.

Just to mention the drinks, I had two during the course of the meal. First up I had a J2O, but my second drink was a rather delicious mocktail, flavoured with Lychee. It had a lovely fresh cooling flavour, with a nice hint of sweet. It tasted fabulous and did feel like a proper treat. I love that Cosmo have added a new cocktail menu to their drinks offering and this is something I will explore again when I go back. They are perfect for the run up to Christmas too.
I realise there are negative tones in this review, but we did all have a really good meal. It is just a shame that Cosmo allow things like the spoons, or the stocking of the sushi bar to let them down a little. Over all if you don’t mind a noisy/busy environment you would be hard to pushed to find such a good selection of food, all of which is good quality, for the money. For us we are happy to ignore the few issues and have made a pact to go there more often as we had forgotten just how nice the food is.

The bill was £89 for five of us, including two drinks each
By Cinabar