31 May 2015

Nature Valley Protein bars - Peanut + (choc/pumpkin & Sunflower seeds) [by @NLi10]

Boxes are clearly for sitting on according to snack kitten Luna.

She spent a good while on these boxes as it gave a slight vantage point.  Eventually I was allowed to put them in my bag and take them to work.

Nature valley sent us a box of both kinds of these and I thought it would be a good idea to give them to the snack happy IT team that I now have in my office and monitor the results.

The basic idea is this - these are cereal bars focussed on having nutrients and calories instead of just the usual cereals.  The peanuts are whole and crunchy instead of the dust you see in some cases, the chocolate is strong and the seeds are noticeable in both flavour and quantity. They are held together by a coating of honey/sugar looking stuff which adds a nice layer of sweetness to them both.

The chocolate version (first choice for a lot of people in the office) was well received and given positive reviews by all who tried - and there did seem to be less dipping into the biscuit tin for a few hours at least.

Only a couple of people chose the seeds version (a win for me as of the two I preferred it) with similar effect.  I certainly didn't need to supplement this and wasn't tempted to double up and have a 2nd like I do with Tracker bars.

I'm not sure there is enough protein here for those people who love to bulk up with powders and lotions but for us normal folk this is a good way to snack, get some nutrients and keep hunger at bay.

Personally I'd go for the nuts and seeds version overtime, but those with a sweeter disposition may think otherwise.

30 May 2015

Spicy Chilli Hogbites (Sainsburys) [By @SpectreUK]

This "prime pork rind seasoned with Cornish sea salt and chilli" had a familiar warning on the back of the packet; "suitable for those with strong teeth", which made me worry a little for my old gnashers. Having said that, I do have a dentist appointment in a week, but hopefully I won't be giving him too much to do! On opening the packet there was a wholesome smell of pork crackling. Cinabar had first bite and said that they were airy and crunchy, which I'd have to agree with. So my teeth could rest easy for now. These pork crackling had a mild chilli spiciness mixed with a light saltiness and were pretty heavy on the garlic. Don't expect many kisses after eating these, but they should go down well with a decent ale without distracting from the flavour. Therefore a perfect pub snack accompaniment to a good ale and shared with some equally good company (because of the garlic). Cheers!

Information on the packet;

45g packet with 287 calories, 23.4g of fat, 0g of sugar and 0.7g of salt. Ingredients had no added MSG and were high in protein including; pork rind, Cornish sea salt, sea salt, spices, dried bell pepper, dried garlic, dried onion, dried tomato, herb, and rice flour.
By Spectre

29 May 2015

Burtons’ Fish N Chips - New Curry Sauce (Sainsburys) [By @Cinabar]

Since the relaunch of Burtons’ Fish N Chips in 2014, they do seem to have grown in popularity. I know when I’ve been eating them at work people have come up to me and asked about them, excited to see them back. The wonders of nostalgia.
They have now expanded the range with two new flavours. Notably no actual fish flavour yet, but in addition to the Salt and Vinegar already out we now have Pickled Onion and these new Curry Sauce ones.Curry Sauce seems like an unusual choice, but who doesn’t like a splash on their chips of proper Chip Shop style sauce.

The texture of these crisps is light but crunchy, they are airy inside but the cracker like texture really works. Taste wise these exceeded expectations. The curry sauce flavour is generously seasoned and very aromatic. The focus is on curry powder, but there were lovely complexities and different spices mixed in. The heat from these crisps wasn’t too strong, but the warmth was stronger than I thought they’d be, they had a nice chilli tingle.

I happily munched my way through the bag and absolutely loved them. The bags they came in were quite small, but there was plenty inside and they still felt like a proper portion. I can’t wait to try the Pickled Onion ones, if these are anything to go by they are going to be awesome. Here is hoping the wave of new varieties continues and we get something akin to Scampi flavour very soon.
By Cinabar

28 May 2015

Tiger tiger noodles in no time, satay & Thai Green (by @NLi10)

In line with my current quest to find a reasonable lunch alternative that is both satisfying and tasty Tiger Tiger offered to send me their lunch pots.  As I use their products already for cooking at home this was an easy 'yes'.

What arrived was a little different to how I'd pictured. There are two pots - one for wet noodles and one for the flavour bits - and both go in the microwave - no kettles here! Importantly too there is no measuring and it only takes 90 seconds. I tried the Satay variety first.

Here they are freshly nuked - modelled on the apple iTray.

Pouring the little tub into the big tub gets you a soupy mess.

And a good mix later gets you a nice looking snack - that certainly smelt exciting enough to get the lunch room talking.  The flavour was distinct and matched what I thought a satay should be.  There were unexpected bits of peanut and veg which gave the variety in texture that you need to have. Overall this was a total win.

The following day I had my preferred option of the Thai Green - here we see the pots open the correct amount to allow venting and to make sure you don't have to clean the communal microwaves.

Again - they are fairly ordinary when alone...

And when mixed become a meal! I think this one possibly had more bits, and they were all welcome and nice. This one was a bit harder to eat and did flick sauce. I will forgive it though. The flavour was noticeable and not as strong as I'd expected, but very good. At a push I preferred the Satay (fat noodles!), but frankly I'm buying both of these again at the first opportunity.

I was worried these would be a bit hard to pick up and expensive, but I'm assured they are £2 from Asda and Sainsbury's which is perfect. They were filling enough that I didn't feel I needed more, but I'd probably keep crisps on standby. With the £1.75 I save by having these instead of the meal deals at work I can certainly do that!

These are something I will have again. Not as stunning or filling as the Pieminister pots, but fulfilling a different role. At the lighter and more affordable end of the range I don't have to justify the cost having these every day.

27 May 2015

Aunt Bessie's Raspberry & Coconut Tarts [By @SpectreUK]

Famous for her Yorkshire Puddings, roast potatoes, and frozen ready meals, Aunt Bessie has recently brought out ginger cakes, carrot cakes and also these Raspberry & Coconut Tarts. Been as though I haven't had a Raspberry & Coconut Tart for years I just had to pop open the box of four tarts and have first bite. Spreading them out 'evenly' between the three of us, as in I took my greedy two tart share and scampered upstairs to eat them on the bed. Yes, this would be the first and most likely last time Cinabar would catch me in bed with a couple of tarts! My justification being that I needed to eat more tarts due to blogging obligations. Once popped out of the foil tray the slim outer pastry melted in my mouth and the tart had a deep filling of coconut with sweet raspberry jam at its base. I found these tarts a really tasty treat, not too sweet, just enough to tantalise my tastebuds and not make me feel too naughty for nicking two of them!

Information on the box;

Each tart contains 203 calories, 11g of fat and 11g of sugar. Ingredients included; see photograph.

26 May 2015

Green & Black’s New Thin Salted Caramel (Sainsburys) [By @Cinabar]

Green and Black have released a new range of thin bars, and of course one of the flavours that has launched in this range is Salted Caramel. I spotted it at the supermarket and thought I’d give it a try.
The idea behind the bar being thin is that it melts faster in the mouth, and thus the flavours stand out. I paraphrased that from the text on their website… a sceptical me checked to see if you were getting less chocolate for your money, but their thin bars and their regular bars are both 100g and about the same price.

The pieces of chocolate looked nice and big and I broke myself a square off. There is plenty of flavour packed in, but the mellow creamy chocolate still stood out. I like the chocolate from Green and Black it does have a distinctive taste, starting creamy with just a hint of bitter towards the end. The added flavour comes from caramel with salt crystals packed into the bar. It did actually work well, the sweet and tangy salty flavours were really nice with the chocolate. I did notice the caramel crystals getting stuck in my teeth a couple for times, but other than that I thoroughly enjoyed this bar.
I can’t deny that salted caramel works, it is just it has become so common recently it is hard to get excited by it. This however is a very good example of the flavour combo at its best.
By Cinabar

25 May 2015

Doritos Roulette (Waitrose) [By @cinabar] #DoritosRoulette #HotChilli

We watched Eurovision this year with pizza and Doritos, what more could you want for a Saturday night! Obviously being Foodstuff Finds the Doritos were the new variety, Doritos Roulette.
The idea of these Doritos chips is that most are a pleasing cheesey flavour and some are red hot chilli. I've even a lot of "hot" crisps and the one thing that is consistently true is that hot crisps aren't seriously hot. Tangy, spicy, even a little burny but nothing that bad. I poured out some of the Doritos and had a little look to see if I could work out which ones the hot ones were visually. They all looked the same, I couldn't spot which ones I thought would be the chilli ones which meant picking them out really was Roulette. I ate one that looked heavily seasoned and found them to have a tasty nacho cheese flavour, which was seriously good. We had some garlic dip (which came with the pizza) and it was a fab flavour combo. A couple of Doritos later I had what I thought was a hot one, it was warmer than the others but only a bit. I thought it was a bit disappointing. Later I realised that particular chip was just a bit warmer than the others because it had been leaning on an actual hot one. I know this because the next Doritos chip I ate nearly killed me. It wasn't just hot, it was like eating pure liquid fire. It hurt. I got up desperate for water, I went to the fridge and tried to open it but a chilli triggered sneezing fit prevented me. Eventually I slugged some milk back and recovered. Bravely I tried to eat some more, but by my fourth hot crisp I realised they were unbearable and they had beaten me. Spectre happily took the rest of my portion off me, he said he could just about cope with them providing they had a heavy covering of dip, but the sweat on his brow and the pink in his cheeks said otherwise. ;-)
They were fun but dangerous for our Eurovision fuelled feast. Great novelty but Im not sure we buy them again! Congrats to Sweden on winning, fab song but the interactive animation mixed with it had our vote.
By Cinabar

24 May 2015

Conscious Organic Raw Chocolate - Essential Orange [by @NLi10]

We've talked about Conscious Organic Raw Chocolate  previously on FoodStuff Finds and it only lost out due to my hankering for bits in my chocolate.  Otherwise it's some of the nicest chocolate i've tasted and was a big part of me evangelising about raw chocolate's lighter texture.

They appear to be updating the branding...

And the range has certainly expanded to include lots of other exciting and slightly unusual varieties.

The raw chocolate really isn't much to look at, but my goodness it's divine.  As before it's practically melting as you take it out of the packet so liquifies in your mouth - and the flavours are then unleashed.

The orange is quite in line with other luxury chocolates, and doesn't taste artificial nor overpower the cacao.  Restraint will be required to eat this as slowly as it deserves. Another great product in the range.

23 May 2015

Guinness Sauce #TheSauceOfGuiness [By @SpectreUK]

I often wash a good steak down with a good pint of Guinness. Brown sauce is also a good complement to a steak, though I rarely find a bottle in the house... HP and Guinness had a popular partnership with their HP Guinness Sauce for a relatively short time. Unfortunately this partnership came to an end, but it didn't mean that was the end of Guinness Sauce, only that incarnation.
This new incarnation has some leanings towards that sauce, but has been produced by AB World Foods in Lancashire for Guinness. I poured a can of Guinness into my beer mug and dolloped a decent blob of this sauce next to my steak and chips. Sort of like a liquid Guinness steak sandwich. I could identify the Guinness Beer in the sauce, especially the barley as it washed around my mouth whilst chewing my succulent steak. There was also a sweetness mixed with the molasses that drew out the flavours in the red meat as well as complemented my chips. There was an almost dark barbecue sauce flavour to this rich Guinness Sauce that reminded me of an American steak sauce that I was lucky enough to sample sometime back. Now we have just the sauce for your steak over here, and I reckon it would go rather well with a rack of ribs or some chicken wings. In fact I'll give it a try with them as soon as I am able. It's a very versatile sauce. Lip-smackingly rich, sweet, tasty and enjoyable by anyone! Cheers!
By Spectre

22 May 2015

New Muller Bliss Corner - Strawberry Compote (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

I’ve seen these new yoghurts from Muller advertised a fair bit on TV and was keen to try them out. The idea is that it is Greek yoghurt is whipped, so it is a change of texture. Although I’m pretty sure other flavours have been advertised our Waitrose only stocked the strawberry, but that seems a good enough place to start.
The Muller yoghurt is a split-pot dessert, ie you get yoghurt one side, strawberry compote the other, and then mix the two. I thought with the Greek yoghurt being thick it might be a bit awkward to mix the strawberry compote section but it was fine, still easy to lightly stir or fold in.

The texture of the yoghurt is lovely, it does feel wonderfully fluffy in the mouth, thick and substantial but somehow still light. The flavour was what impressed me the most, this is a lower calorie dessert, and somehow they managed to make it take so very creamy. It is surprisingly rich, and it felt almost naughty to be eating. The strawberry section was sweet and fruity and the whole thing reminded me of a bowl of strawberries and cream. It was seriously summery too, but without all the guilt.
I’m looking forward to exploring some of the other flavours on offer, when I can find them.
By Cinabar

21 May 2015

Knor nudl - Pomidore amore (via Poland) [by @NLi10]

On one of my many trips to one of our local Polski Sklep Polish Grocery shops I spotted this exciting little packet of noodles.  Ordinarily this wouldn't be something to startling - the discount stores get familiar brands from other countries as it's cheaper - but someone had taken the time to import these specific noodles so I wondered if there was anything particularly special here. 

The pack looked exciting and I'm assuming that the title is 'tomato love' and that we can win something to do with a concert.

unless kod promocyjny is a new weird flavour then this is the code to win tickets to a gig in Poland. Feel free to try!

The noodles looked and smelt identical to the English super noodles, but the sauce was quite interesting.  The tomato flavours were stronger - maybe due to the larger sachet - and it actually did taste like tomato! I'd certainly pick these up again - especially as a quick look on the website revealed quite a few other flavours of interest.  And they were only 50p!

20 May 2015

Chabaa Grass Jelly Drink (Pinoy Foods, Birmingham Indoor Market) [@SpectreUK]

I pick up some weird things on my shopping trips around my favourite import shops in Birmingham. This definitely sounds like one of the weirder ones. Chabaa Grass Jelly Drink actually smelled a bit like grass on opening the can. Not that freshly Spring like just mown grass smell that haunts our neighbourhoods each Sunday, but the actual grass I chewed when I was a small boy stupidly trying to eat anything that I came into contact with, until a friendly soul would say don't chew on that a dog has probably peed on it!

A still black coloured drink with black bits of jelly popping out of the can opening into my tall glass as I poured, this Chabaa Grass Jelly Drink tasted surprisingly like a medium sweet iced tea. In fact better than some iced or cold teas I've tried in the past that cut at the back of my throat taunting; "Well, you should have drank me when I was hot!" I actually liked this drink. It felt healthy, refreshing, not too sweet and in no way painful to drink. The jelly congregated at the bottom of the glass giving me something fun to chew on too. I see grass in a new light. It's difficult just to see grass as something people mow, grow, sit on for picnics, play sports or smoke if you're daft... now I want to drink it!

Information on the can;

230ml can has 100 calories, with 0g of fat. Ingredients included; grass jelly juice (30%), jelly flesh (15%), and sugar (12%).
By Cinabar

19 May 2015

Afternoon Tea (Patisserie Valerie) @valeriecafe [By @Cinabar]

Afternoon Tea is definitely becoming more popular, with the leisurely afternoon treat seen as the perfect way to spend a Saturday or afternoon off. Prices vary quite substantially, and I’ve decide to have a bit of taste test and review of some of the popular options. It’s on trend at the minute and I’m happy to put myself through this food experiment, being a food blogger can be so tough sometimes! :-D
We decided that we would try out Afternoon Tea for Two at Patisserie Valerie. I don’t often mention costs on the blog, but as the prices can vary so much I feel that it might be worth noting, it costs £12.95 per person (correct as at May 15).
We sat down at a free table and explained we wanted Afternoon Tea. We were asked which type of tea we wanted, and we both asked for Assam. Sadly this wasn’t on the options list; English Breakfast, Earl Grey and a selection of fruit teas were available, so we went for Breakfast tea.

After a short wait a fabulous three tiered stand arrived packed with goodies. The bottom plate contained the savoury options and seemed very generous. We had finger sandwiches which consisted of spicy chicken, cucumber, salmon, egg and ham and mustard. There was also a mini quiche each. The sandwiches were on a mixed selection of breads and as per tradition had their crusts cut off. They all had generous fillings, including a generous helping of english mustard on the ham sandwich - woosh!

We went for the scones next and each had a pot of jam and tub of clotted cream to share. There were two plain scones and two fruit, both were small, but certainly large enough given the context of things! They were lovely and fresh and perfectly buttery.

The cake selection on the final tier was impressive. There were two mini eclairs, a berry slice, chocolate cake, Victoria sponge and a piece of carrot cake. Yes this blogging is hard work. The cakes were just so nice, every bite was a delight and the selection exceeded my expectations. It is the kind of thing just made you smile. The chocolate inparticular was out of this world. I thought we wouldn’t never be able to finish everything but when the cakes are of this standard how can you not?
I thought that the quality of food was excellent, you’d expect nothing less from the cakes from Patisserie Valerie but the savoury goodies too were top notch, I loved the addition of the mini quiche. I thought that there was quite a bit of food for your money, and even with the teas they brought two pots even though both of us had the same variety. The staff were lovely too checking that we had everything we needed and keeping it special. Definitely a worthy treat, especially if you have a sweet tooth.
By Cinabar

18 May 2015

New Barbecue Pulled Pork Subway (@SUBWAYUKIreland) [By @Cinabar]

We quite like to have a Friday lunch time treat and Subway is becoming a popular habit. I’ve tried quite a few things off the menu, and invariably load up the sub with salad and olives to finish it. Spectre likes to add chillies, but that is the magic of Subway, you get to choose every detail. This week I noticed that here was a new variety available, both of us went for it. New Barbecue Pulled Pork, very on trend and pulled pork is becoming very popular. I’ve seen kits to try to make it yourself at home, but so far my experiences of it has always been shop bought.
The first thing to note is that there doesn’t seem to be as much filling visually in our subs as there was compared to the picture on the wall. However all was not lost, because the minute we tried the sub you could tell there was plenty of meat, even if was hidden by the top layer of salad.

The pork was soft, but had enough texture to feel nice, but the flavour was outstanding. The meaty mix was sweet, smokey, and lightly spiced. The barbecue base taste was just spot on. Spectre had been saying that he fancied pork ribs for lunch but that it isn’t so easy in a short lunch break. However he said the flavour from the Subway pretty much matched his expectations and totally fulfilled the craving.The key thing here is that both of us went away thinking we’d have the same sub next week, as we enjoyed them so much!
By Cinabar

17 May 2015

Matcha Green Tea Pocky from Japan [by @NLi10]

You may recognise this picture from a previous review where we talked about the meiji product.

Today we move on to the Pocky!

This is done using the deluxe Pocky method of sticking bits of the ingredient to the outside of the sticks and making the flavour much stronger.

and in this case the sticks themselves are green too! Bonus!

While the matcha taste is not as strong as in the Meiji biscuits it's still very noticeable and not just a regular green tea Pocky taste.  The inside bags contain 6 sticks, and there are 4 of these so it's a decent sized package.

The texture and signature Pocky snap are both as you'd expect and while possibly not as morish as the regular flavours I did find myself finishing the first pack and thinking about the others.  They went well with a  cup of regular English tea too!

More of a treat than a standard choice, but a nice present from Japan and something to savour.

16 May 2015

John West Infusions Tuna Soy & Ginger flavour [By @SpectreUK]

I do like a tuna sandwich for lunch. It feels healthy and revitalising somehow more than a ham or beef sandwich. I quickly figured that this resealable John West Infusions Tuna Soy & Ginger flavour 80g pot would most likely not require resealing at the end of the sandwich making process. Full and slightly messy it may be, but I do like a doorstep tuna sandwich. There is a garden centre not too far from here (Wolverhampton) that does great big fat tuna sandwiches and I love the place. Anyway, I digress... I've tried a few of these John West Tuna Infusions before and had left this one until last. I couldn't decide whether the often strong spicy ginger ingredient may overpower the tuna or maybe the soy ingredient would calm the ginger down. I guess there was only one way to find out...

On opening the pot I was initially surprised for some reason that I could predominately smell tuna, which sounds kind of dumb, but as I've tried so many ginger flavoured beverages in the past that I've lost count, I expect ginger to burn my nostril hair as soon as I open anything with ginger in it. I dumped most of the contents of the pot on my open sandwich, but saved a little to taste. I was right the second time where I had surmised that the soy would calm the ginger ingredient. There was an initial flavour of tuna which then seemed to do a little jig with the soy and then the ginger tried to cut into the dance. The tuna seemed to disagree with the pairing and told both the soy and the ginger to leave the dance floor, leaving the tuna as Billy No-Mates to do a John Travolta in the aftertaste. A subtle blend of flavours making a light and breezy Summery feeling sandwich. Nice one John West!

Information on the pot;

80g pot per 100g has 204 calories with 0.6g of sugar and 10.9g of fat. Ingredients included; Skipjack Tuna (80%), extra virgin olive oil (10%), rehydrated soy sauce (7%) (water, soybean, wheat, maltodextrin, and salt), ginger, and natural ginger flavouring.
By Spectre

15 May 2015

Chocolate Dipping Adventure (@HotelChocolat) [By @Cinabar] #HCHero

Hotel Chocolat are currently celebrating their Hotel Chocolat Heroes, product which are just the best of the best. As part of this opportunity they very kindly sent us one of their products to test out, this Chocolate Dipping Adventure.
This set is very clearly aimed at the dinner party market and is the perfect solution to a fun dessert to share. Inside the box are four tubs of chocolate to melt, and various goodies to dip in. The chocolate seems very solid in the tub but we followed the microwave instructions and they melted perfectly. I checked them part way through and they seemed solid but by the end of the time I was left with hot (but not too hot) liquid chocolate. They can then be placed back in the box they came in, for that after dinner show piece.

Everyone grabbed the neat and tidy wooden tongs provided and we started out on our dipping adventure. Some of the items seem a little strange in the context, for example the chocolate nuts. My initial though was why would you want to dip an already chocolate covered nut into more chocolate. Well let me tell you that more chocolate makes it truly luxurious. It was fun dipping them in the dark and white pots too, to mix things up. I loved the marshmallows, and all the different biscuits type.

The biscuit sticks were plain in flavour but this really showed off the quality of the chocolate in the pots. Dipping the ends in dark chocolate made them look like cute edible match sticks.

The florentines were fun and sticky, and we all enjoyed trying out the chocolate dips with the interesting ingredients. Everything in the box had been carefully chosen and worked beautifully with the chocolate. We also added a tub of strawberries, because that works so well too and there was plenty of chocolate to go around! I was impressed by how long it stayed in liquid form too. It is the perfect after dinner dessert to enjoy socially and chat with while you dip luscious ingredients in melted chocolate. Heaven. This is definitely my Hotel Chocolat Hero product.
If you fancy giving this a try yourself you can enter below, as there is a set avaialble as a prize to one lucky of Foodstuff Finds reader.
Simply fill out the RaffleCopter form below to be in with a chance of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!!

• A winner will be chosen at random
• UK residents only
• If we can’t get in touch with a 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

This and more great competition are available at: http://www.theprizefinder.com and www.competitionhunter.com

14 May 2015

The Co-Op @CooperativeFood Loved By Us Tapas range [by @NLi10]

In the Co-Op at the weekend I spotted a lovely range of Tapas that I'd thought would be suitable for work lunches.  They could all be microwaved and looked of a decent size.

As it was the weekend I had the first for lunch at home - the Chorizo & Red Pepper stew.  

As I had the luxury of an oven I did it there instead.

And I turned it into a meal with added rice.

While the flavours were quite muted compared to actual tapas in Spain it was a decent flavour with a great mix of ingredients.  I think that the 'serves 2' assumes that you are using all three in the 3 for £6 range in the same meal though as this with the rice was still a little small for an evening meal.

Next up I had the Chicken & Chorizo Paella.  I microwaved this at work, which dried it out a little more than I'd hoped, but the range of bits was still interesting and tasty.  The portion was a bit small again and I was hungry before I left work.  

I haven't had the third in the range yet (meatballs) but I'm guessing it will be of a similar high-quality/small size.  What I'm thinking I will do with the range in future is to choose two complementary pots and eat them together - although this raises the price to £4 a lunch which is more than I'd like.

They all smelt fantastic and turned a few heads at work and it was certainly something to look forwards to at lunch time.  A nice treat - and if you have a partner who likes similar then a fun and easy evening meal for £6 for two people is a bargain.