30 June 2015

Sun-Pat Choc-a-Nut Peanut Spread (Asda) [By @Cinabar]

I don't go to Asda that often, so when I went there recently I spent some time searching the shelves for new products. This "New" Sun-Pat Choc-a-Nut caught my eye, not just due to the number of hyphens in the name. I'm not sure if it is that new, but I haven't seen it before in my local Sainsburys or Waitrose, so it is at least new to me.
I do like the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, I'm a fan of Reese's Pieces and of course the Peanut Butter Kit Kat is my favourite. I've been known to layer Nutella and Peanut Butter on toast, so I thought this might be a quick fix for my chocolate peanut nut toast topper craving.
I opened up the jar and saw liquid on top of my spread. I carefully poured this away, and thought that maybe it was a bit warm for the jar. Just a day or so of heat seems to throw everything. The contents looked fine though, and were well in date. I popped the toaster on and waited eagerly. I spread the Sun-Pat Choc-a-Nut thickly on a crumpet and bit in. It melted a little with the heat and the brown spread went a little glossy. The spread still felt thick and stuck to your teeth like normal peanut butter, but nowhere near as much as regular peanut butter. The flavour was mostly peanut and the chocolate added a gentle flavour of cocoa and sweetness. I really enjoyed it, but it wasn't as sweet as I'd imagined, or anywhere as sweet as my Nutella combo, but it certainly did the job. One I'd buy again, and I'd buy it over regular peanut butter no qualms at all.
By Cinabar

29 June 2015

All Butter Roly-Poly Swirls - New Biscuits (M&S) [By @Cinabar]

I couldn't resist having a little look around Marks and Spencer and seeing what new items they had for summer. These very pretty looking biscuits caught my eye. I actually have a bit of a thing for colour, if there is a bright option I tend to go for it. So pink swirly biscuits are right up my street.
The flavour is very British too, raspberries and custard which is a fun idea, and based on traditional Roly-Poly sponge pudding. A classic from my school dinner days, but not something I've had for a while.
Inside the pack there were eight biscuits, stacked in pairs, all with swirl of pink running through the them. Not that many in there really, and they were spaced out in the plastic. I gave them a try and the first thing to note is the texture. I thought these might be hard and stodgy, but they were light, almost airy and melted in the mouth. The raspberry flavour was sweet, and the sharpness of the berries mixed beautifully with the buttery shortbread like taste. They were definitely sweet fruity and buttery, not custard so much, but a lovely combination. The lightness made them very easy to eat and I'm ashamed to say I munched my way though half the pack (ok it was just four biscuits) with remarkable ease.
Despite writing this blog I don't eat a lot of biscuits, but these are still some I would go out of my way to buy again, such good summery flavours.
By Cinabar

28 June 2015

Tesco Pastries [by @NLi10]

Tesco have been upping their game on the pastry front recently. So here are a few we tried.

First up we have the normal generic croissant - but in a big black box!

The have Normandy butter! That famous ingredient... Irish butter maybe, but the word I most routinely put after  Normandy is probably invasion or landing. Also maybe William the Conquoreor.

These were nice but nothing special.

These looked a bit too chocolatey so instead we went for.

To the untrained shopper these are 50p more. We picked up an identical box in the whoops section for 75p in total. Win.

The pastry was as good as normal, but the caramel chocolate burnt bit was pretty good. Like almost brownie in texture. The flavour was lighter than expected, which was welcome as frequently it can be just too strong.

A nice alternative to the usual pain au chocolate, and even better if you find it in the discount rack! Great for eating in the cinema too.

27 June 2015

Snapea Rice Sticks @YushoiSnacks @CalbeeUK [By @SpectreUK] #StockOurSnacks

These new high fibre baked Yushoi Sticks Snapea Rice Snacks were produced by Calbee in Wakefield. They are a good source of protein and vegetarian friendly, containing no MSG, no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. Now don't be put off straight away and hear me out... They are chiefly made of green peas (yes, green peas) and some rice! They made for an ideal healthy alternative snack for me to try. They come in four flavours;

Lightly Salted flavour
These green pea rice sticks really do smell of baked green peas. You probably have to love green peas to start with. Fortunately I like peas, although mushy peas make me feel sick. I don't know why. I just hate them with a passion! These rice sticks are light green in colour (yes, light green) and have a fluffy yet mildly crunchy texture. Don't be put off by these especially if you like your peas. If you don't like peas you may need to rethink before you buy. Fortunately I found these rice stick were a lightly salted flavoursome and healthy feeling treat. Okay "treat" might be pushing it... But they won't kill you, well unless you try eating them whilst jogging or something...

Information on the packet;
10g packet has 43 calories with 1.6g of fat, 0.2g of sugar and 0.09g of salt. The ingredients included; green peas (74%), rapeseed oil, rice (8%), salt, and calcium carbonate.

Soy & Balsamic Vinegar flavour
There was a good smell of soy on opening the packet with dashing of balsamic vinegar. These greenish rice sticks were slightly smaller sticks than the Lightly Salted, but they hadn't scrimped on the flavour. These Soy & Balsamic Vinegar Snapea Rice Sticks had an initial salty soy flavour that quickly mixed with the balsamic vinegar. I thought these were a really tasty treat (and I mean it this time) and was very impressed with the flavour combination, as I don't believe I've seen a Soy & Balsamic Vinegar flavoured snack before. Innovative and healthy!

Information on the packet;
10g packet has 45 calories with 2.0g of fat, 0.2g of sugar and 0.10g of salt. The ingredients included; green peas (68%), rapeseed oil, rice (8%), balsamic vinegar powder, salt, sugar, malt vinegar powder, soya sauce powder, spirit vinegar powder and calcium carbonate.

Smoked Salt & Szechuan Pepper flavour
There was a decent smoky smell on opening the packet with a good hit from the Szechuan Pepper in the background. Again these were slightly smaller greenish rice sticks with flecks of red pepper throughout the sticks. Another flavoursome snack here, having a mild chilli heat and a moreish quality that made me wish for a bigger bag. These were undoubtedly my favourite flavour so far. A mixed combination grab bag of this flavour and also the Soy & Balsamic Vinegar flavour would blow my tastebuds.

Information on the packet;
10g packet has 45 calories with 2.0g of fat, 0.2g of sugar and 0.09g of salt. The ingredients included; green peas (68%), rapeseed oil, rice (8%), yeast extract, maltodextrin, tomato powder, spices, salt, sugar, onion powder, smoked salt, garlic powder, Szechuan pepper, spirit vinegar powder and calcium carbonate.

Sweet Chilli & Lemon flavour
There was a sweet chilli smell on opening the packet with a decent wedge of lemon. These rice sticks broke with the norm and were a reddish tint rather than greenish, although there was some green there too! The red made me worry a little for the chilli heat content. No need to panic though as these rice sticks had a medium chilli burn, certainly hotter than the Smoked Salt & Szechuan Pepper flavour, with a keen sweetness and dash of lemon that mingled expertly with the chilli heat making nose tingle a little and leaving a pleasing hotness in my mouth. Very flavoursome with a good chilli heat to them.

Information on the packet;
10g packet has 46 calories with 2.0g of fat, 0.3g of sugar and 0.07g of salt. The ingredients included; green peas (68%), rapeseed oil, rice (8%), yeast extract, maltodextrin, tomato powder, spices, salt, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika extract, chilli, citric acid, salt, sugar, spirit vinegar powder and calcium carbonate.

I was very impressed by these Snapea Rice Sticks, so I'd recommend you give them a try. It's not all about crisps and nuts you know! ;-)

26 June 2015

Candy Floss 2.0 Peanut Butter Cups (@CyberCandyLTD) [By @Cinabar]

When CyberCandy got in touch and said they had invented Candy Floss 2.0 I wasn't really sure what to think. Evolved Candy Floss, or Candy Floss at the next level just seemed a bit of a strange idea. I've already had various coloured and flavoured Candy Floss products, but I said I’d happily give it a try. When the post man dutifully dropped off my parcel I have to admit to being more than a bit excited. One of the new Candy Floss 2.0 versions was Peanut Butter Cups, I hastily opened up the tub.
Why does Candy Floss only come in tubs or bags these days? Is it a health and safety thing, that they stopped spinning it around a wooden stick? Something along the lines of splinter risk? Anyway I digress, this particular product comes safely in a tub. You could see the tub was fairly firmly packed and well filled with a good occurrence of Peanut Butter Cup bits.

Now as a self declared chocolate and peanut butter fan I soon found myself in heaven. The peanut cups were nicely mixed in, there was plenty of bits, some bigger than others but a generous portion. This meant that the candy floss went from two extremes, at one side lovely peanut butter and chocolate flavoured candy floss, which was a wonderfully sugary substance. Through to actually pieces of peanut butter cup covered in candy floss, again taste wise just spot on. These were like finding the treasure in the tub, and the variation in the product made it even more enjoyable. I absolutely love Candy Floss 2.0 and it is something I'll be picking up again as a treat.
Candy Floss 2.0 is also available as other flavours including Lemon Sherbet and Choc Banana.
Available from: http://www.cybercandy.co.uk
By Cinabar

25 June 2015

V Fresh - Pandan Drink with Basil Seeds [by @NLi10]

I've bought a few V fresh drinks over the years, some of which look nice and some of which look like endurance based game shows. This is the latter.

Pandan leaves are green and believed to be medicinal. They've certainly added a sweetness to the drink too. But what about the floaty bits?

Quite why someone would think about putting basil seeds into a drink, and quite why they develop a fluffy coating and float so menacingly I'm not sure.

I bought my first bottle of basil seed drink three years ago and it still remains undrunk due to its scary nature. It's the only thing that I've ever bought from an oriental grocer that the shop keeper has tried to get me to put back - and she was clearly right to do so. Those original two scary drinks are on my shelf to this day. I decided to drink this one when really thirsty to see how it went, and not to let it languish with its others.

And it did go as expected. The texture isn't really noticeable, it's not like a soy shake or bubble tea but the seeds are certainly there. The flavour is pretty odd though. You have the leafy sweet liquid flavour with a heavy basil base note booming underneath, kind of like a tea but not a good tea. I'm not 100% sure that it's not the other way around - there is so much crazy and artificial going on that I'm not convinced either way.

And like alcoholic drinks, even though those first mouthfuls trigger evolutionary warnings to throw the poison away you'll keep drinking, and thinking about that odd flavour mix. I'm not sure whether this is a wise thing but I drank half and popped it back in the fridge. And now I keep thinking about it.

Like a practical joke that just keeps giving I think that once you succumb to the trial that is the flavour and contents you could drink this in front of people to mess with them, and then let them try it. They'd hate it of course, but eventually their mind would wander back to the strange concoction and they may even be termpetd to buy it themselves.

I'm not risking the out of date ones, they can go on the compost heap to confuse the mini beasts and spawn further horrors.

24 June 2015

Schweppes Lemon and Elderflower (Ocado) [By @SpectreUK]

Schweppes have brought out three new low calorie sparkling juice drinks for summer. I've noticed the change in the weather lately to slightly more humid with increased rain. At least it pleases the plants and the ducks! The other two flavours in the range are Grapefruit and Blood Orange, and Orange and Cranberry. This Lemon and Elderflower had a strong sour lemon zing to the smell when opening the bottle with a mild fruity hint of elderflower at the back of the odour. The drink had a cloudy lemonade look to it and a hearty carbonated fizz on pouring it into my waiting glass. The mix of bubbles and the cheeky sour lemon made this a drink to savour, especially over ice with even a slice of lemon. Not for the faint hearted if you want to challenge yourself to down it in one, as you might find you get the ultimate ice cream headache and the lemonade may spurt out of your nose! Once my tastebuds had climbed over the bitter hill of lemon I basked in the relaxing fruity elderflower. This a lovely sour refreshing drink that begs for a sunny summer afternoon in the garden. Fingers crossed we'll get the weather soon and enjoy!

Information on the bottle;

20 calories per 100ml. This sample bottle from Ocado was 275ml, but they usually come in 750ml bottles.
By Spectre

23 June 2015

Twinings Chai and the Price Increase - an Open Letter @TwiningsTeaUK

So I bought another box of Twinings Spicy Chai, and as I sit here drinking a cup I’m getting slightly angry about it. I said I wouldn’t buy it again because of the price hike, but it turns out my local Sainsburys no longer sell an own brand version. Indeed the only Chai I could find was this one. My feelings of irritation were starting to make my drink taste bitter, and rather than rant any further I thought I’d email Twinings directly.

If you are annoyed by the price increases, or have spotted that it affects any of their other products do send me an email and let me know. I’ll update this when I get a response from Twinings.

Open Letter
I drink a lot of Chai tea. I used to buy 2 boxes of 50 bags of your tea usually on offer for £4 at the supermarket. At worst this was £2.75 for a box of 50, and 2 boxes of 50 for £5.50. You now seem to have discontinued Twinings Chai, and replaced it with Twinings Spicy Chai - which has a surprisingly similar recipe.

  • Twinings Chai - Tea, Ginger Root 10%, Cinnamon Bark 10%, Flavourings.
  • New Twinings Spicy Chai - Black Tea, Ginger Root 10%, Cinnamon 10%, Flavourings.

I like the new Spicy Chai, because it is VERY similar to Twinings Chai. So whats the problem? The new pack contains just 20 (albeit individually wrapped) bags, but still sells for £2.49. If I want 100 bags now I would need to buy 5 of your new boxes of 20 costing me £12.45. I used to be able to get the same amount for £4, so this is a price increase of £8.45 - which is astonishing. As an established food blogger, I was wondering if you have any comment on this?

Shloer - Strawberry Punch [By @Cinabar]

As it is summer (someone let the weather know) Shloer have launched a new Limited Edition drink. This is Strawberry Punch which coincides perfectly with the start of British strawberry season, and the run up to Wimbledon, home of strawberries and cream.
I chilled the bottle in the fridge, and poured some out in glasses, adding ice cubes. I say “cubes” but they were actually ice cars, the photo doesn’t show them off too well, but we have a selection of novelty ice cubes in the Foodstuff Finds household!

The drink is pink in colour, and looked very summery, particularly after I added a straw. I took my first sip and thought it had a good balance of flavours. The predominant taste is strawberry as you would expect, but it tastes natural, and isn’t overly sweet. The aftertaste brings a mix of fruits, but a nice hit of the traditional Shloer grape flavour follows too. This is a soft drink, but it is for the mature taste buds. It has delicate crisp flavours, which are refreshing, but don’t taste like they are made with excessive sugar. It is fizzy, but more on the side of sparkling. This means that it is easy to drink, and makes for a very nice addition to the Shloer range. Perfect for barbecues or just enjoying on a sunny day in the garden.
By Cinabar

22 June 2015

New Jaffa Cake Flavour Spread (Asda) [By @cinabar]

I was alerted to this new product by a colleague from work. I've tried quite a few interesting spreads recently, several of which have been biscuit flavoured spreads so this sounded rather good to me. I even made a special trip to Asda to find it. I don't write that much about Asda goodies, I actually really like the selection of items in the shop but I have several other big supermarkets nearer so Asda always ends up being a special trip.
Anyway I found a few interesting Foodstuff Finds during my visit so keep your eyes open, and I did manage to find the Jaffa Cake Spread too. I decided to try it out on a bagel, and have a naughty sweet breakfast food.

Once the lid (and tricky to remove foil seal) were off the jar there was a lovely aroma of chocolate orange, and I could see how pretty the spread was. It was patterned in swirls of orange and chocolate flavour spreads. Yes it looked pretty, but I soon realised something was missing, if there were two spreads mixed in, one being just orange and the other just chocolate, where was my cake/biscuit flavour coming from? Well it wasn't. This is chocolate orange spread. Now if my work colleague had told me about a new chocolate orange spread in Asda, I wouldn't have made the trip, I've tried them before. This was supposed to be special, this was supposed to be Jaffa Cake, I wanted that spongey biscuit taste mixed in, but it wasn't.
Now if I was reviewing this on the taste alone, this would be getting the big thumbs up. Melted into a hot bagel, it was divine. The chocolate and the orange melted into one, and gave a lovely sweet zesty chocolate flavour that was gorgeous. The citrus lifted the chocolate and I really enjoyed the taste. I'm looking forward to finishing the jar. However the minute they started calling this Jaffa Cake and failed to mention it was without the cake, they started to fall into the realms of being misleading. I just felt a bit let down, like they hadn't gone the extra mile with product development.
By Cinabar

21 June 2015

Gnocchetti tricolore & pesto Genoese [Ocado] (by @NLi10)

As part of a larger Ocado shop I added a special offer of these luxury gnocchi and pesto sauce.

It's good because even though it's luxury and filling it cooks in no time at all!

Here we see them hiding in the water, ready to pop to the surface to indicate readiness.

And here we see the cooked articles with a pesto monster gazing down upon them from his fortress of kale.

The potato dumplings had a great texture and the colours did have a subtle different flavour making it a varied meal. The pesto was the star though. While your typical pesto will have a bit of flavour and sit nicely alongside a variety of things this demanded to be noticed and had a much thicker consistency.  I do fancy trying all the different flavours in the range but it's a little more expensive than I'd like so I'm going to space them out.

A very filling and pretty healthy meal. One to look out for.

20 June 2015

Old Mout Cider (Sainsbury's) [By @SpectreUK]

Old Mout Cider has apparently been "pronounced incorrectly since 1947". "Ohld-moot-sy-der" or so the label states was established way back then in Nelson, in New Zealand. Three flavours have recently been brought out for summer, and muggins gets to try them. I do like a good cider, but I'm not sure of the sound of some of these flavours...

Kiwi and Lime
Never too keen on kiwis, but noting the reference to New Zealand I picked this greenish bottle to start with. I do like lime, especially with a fizzy lemonade. Sour drinks and sour sweets are some of my favourite extreme flavours. I don't know what the kiwi will bring to the flavour or indeed the cider, but I suspect there is only one way to find out. On opening the bottle there was quite a strong kiwi smell, with a hint of cider and a touch of lime behind it. The fizzy greenish cider glugged into my waiting beer mug. On first taste there was a heavy kiwi flavour with a light sourness from the lime half the way through right to the end of the flavour. Frozen this 4% volume cider would probably make the best ice lolly in the world. As an alcoholic drink I can't see why anyone in their right mind could dislike it. It's fresh, it's breezy, sour and lush, with hardly any nudge towards being a cider. Watch the kids with this. Make sure you put it on the top shelf of the fridge!

Summer Berries
There was a heavy summer berry smell on opening the bottle of this 4% volume cider. Heavy on the blackberry, with a hint of raspberry and a good alcoholic bite from the cider apples. In taste this fizzy deep red cider had a larger than life blackberry flavour with raspberry twizzle in the background and a slightly sour cider apple twang at the end of the flavour. Again, get those ice lolly making kits out for this one. I remember we had a kit when I was a kid but have no idea what happened to it. I also remember cider ice lollies when I was a lad from ice cream vans in the park. They tasted great and I just bet these would too. I'll have to ask my parents if they can dig the ice lolly making kit out from somewhere. Oh yeah, and keep them and these bottles away from the kids. They taste way too good for them!

Passionfruit and Apple
I certainly haven't had any problems drinking these flavoured ciders so far. I've tried the weirdest sounding first, the one that filled me with dread next (it was the fear of cherries!), and now I've left the best sounding until last. I do love passionfruit. Although it's an ugly weird looking furry fruit and its insides looks a little like the insides of an animal, I know from past experience especially in drinks that passionfruit tastes great. On opening this 4% volume cider there was a heavy smell of passionfruit mixed with a very appley cider. If I enjoyed the first two ciders this Passionfruit and Apple cider was the alcoholic drink of the Gods! I can see them; Greek or Roman Gods of legend popping open bottles of Passionfruit and Apple cider joking about the poor humans below drinking wine. Gosh this tasted good. The right amount of passionfruit mixed with the right level of cider made for a fruity sweet and sour delicious ride on bubbles of tastiness. Good stuff this. Now where's that ice lolly making kit...?
By Spectre

19 June 2015

New Omelette Breakfast Roll (@GreggsOfficial) [By @Cinabar]

Sometimes on a Friday we have a special start to the day and treat ourselves to breakfast sandwiches. Greggs is pretty close to where we work, so we know the menu well, and go there often enough to have coffee loyalty cards. ;-)
New on the menu is this Omelette Breakfast Roll, which is exciting for a number of reasons. Firstly it means that there is now a vegetarian option breakfast roll on the menu at Greggs. Secondly omelette sandwiches are awesome. I used to work in central Birmingham near a cafe that sold omelette sandwiches, and I absolutely fell in love with them. There is just something so right about about egg and bread.
Obviously I gave the Greggs version a try the first opportunity I had, another colleague joined me and some others went for the usual bacon / sausage choices. The breakfast rolls are just £2 and come with a hot drink, which is good value in my opinion.

Once we were back at our desks I unwrapped my omelette breakfast roll. There were a few slices of omelette, inside the bread, and it looked fairly generously filled. There was more than you can see in the picture.
I tucked in and the wonderful flavours of seasoned eggy goodness were just heaven. I thoroughly enjoyed every mouthful. the roll was perfect too, lovely soft and white. There is no risky yolk to ruin your top, just egg in its safest format. I sipped my coffee and asked my colleague what she thought of hers. She wasn’t so impressed, she said hers was a bit salty and that she’d rather have a sausage one next week. You can’t win them all, but I was totally taken by it. I know what I’m having next time.
By Cinabar

18 June 2015

Jack Link's Beef Snack [by @NLi10]

I was looking for a bridging snack to get me from breakfast to a large, late lunch and spotted this hanging on the side in Tesco.

It's mainly beef, with sugar and soy to add to it with a few other assorted ingredients added in for flavour.

They take 142g of beef and make it into 100g of snack which means that you lose a lot of the moisture (and presumably fat) in the manufacturing process and are left with a flat strip of meat.

It wasn't as tough as I expected, and the flavour was actually much milder than the usual sausage based snacks like Pepperami that I've had before.  I didn't find it all that filling really either, especially not compared to the little bag of pre-cooked meat bits that I've had.

A bit of a disappointment then - edible but not that exciting. I'll probably go back to the Fridge Raiders style popcorn chicken snacks in future,

17 June 2015

Cadbury Layers of Joy - Black Forest Dessert (Ocado) [By @Cinabar]

Perhaps it is my age, but there will always be a place in my heart for Black Forest Gateau. I grew up with it being the in thing in restaurants as a posh dessert, and well what can I say some trends stick. Yes there is nostalgia, but seriously what is not to like? Cherries, chocolate, cream all perfect together.
This new dessert from Cadbury isn’t a gateau it is more a representational form of the cake, pretty much in trifle format. There is a cherry compote, layer of sponge, chocolate dessert sauce and cream on top. The sponge is that strange disc of sponge that you find in so many of the Cadbury desserts, not very thick, fairly firm and without much flavour. I have no complaint with these spongey discs, it is just that I can’t get excited about them either and they turn up in everything. If you eat your pudding in layers (not just me?) then you get to a point where you can pretty much pluck the entire sponge disc up with a spoon and see it in its full unimpressive glory. Perhaps it is better if it is mixed in and not eaten whole! Stop judging me.
I digress, and sponge disc aside, this did stir all that childhood nostalgia. The cream was lovely, the chocolate and the cherries a perfect match. The fruit was fairly sweet, and not too zingy but it felt like a nice quick treat after my dinner. Certainly one I’ll be buying again.
By Cinabar

16 June 2015

Nong Shim Onion Rings Hot & Spicy (Vanguard Supermarket) [By @SpectreUK]

The Korean company Nong Shim make my favourite noodle pot, which is Nong Shim Hot & Spicy. I blogged about this noodle pot some time ago and always have a pot or two on the shelf for a treat. Most of my four regular import food haunts stock this favourite noodle pot, so when I’m in Birmingham I generally pick up a pot. You can imagine my excitement when I found these Nong Shim Onion Rings Hot & Spicy flavour. I love the imagery on the front of the packet as the cut onion turns into the onion rings. So I’m expecting a very heavy almost raw onion flavour from these onion rings with a chilli kick that makes me sweat like I’m eating my favourite hot & spicy noodle pot.

On opening the packet there was a wheaty smell not dissimilar to wheat crisps we have in the UK. You can see in the photograph that there were red flecks all over the onion rings, which had a healthy crunch on first bite. There was a heavy onion taste to start with that quickly mixed with sweetness and then a strong chilli flavour. This left my mouth with an all-round chilli burn that made my nose twitch and almost sneeze after a few onion rings. The aftertaste had a mix of onion and chilli that made me want to eat more. Partly through their moreish taste and partly because my mouth was on fire! These are easily the best onion ring crisps I’ve tasted. Full of onion flavour and with a chilli burn that made my nose hairs stand up and my mouth beg for water. Great stuff… A new regular to my shelf!

Information on the packet;
40g bag has 505 calories with 24.4g of fat, which is pretty high! Ingredients included; wheat flour, palm oil, wheat starch, potato, onion powder, sugar, salt, chilli, and vitamin B2.
By Spectre

15 June 2015

New Aero Mousse Bar (Boots) [By @cinabar]

I know we can buy Aero Mousse in the dessert section of the supermarket, this has obviously inspired someone at Aero head quarters to come up with a new chocolate bar. This Aero bar doesn’t need chilling but does include a layer of mousse on top of the bubbles. Ok so there is no new flavour here, and it is very much in the safe category of new products. I do like playful textures in snacks and chocolates, so I was still quite intrigued to try it.
I took the wrapper off and found that the bar was prettily bubble shaped. I took the photo as above and then decided to break a piece off to take a closer look and of course a try. First thing to note is that if you fill the top of the chocolate bubble with a soft mousse substance, you do really have to be extra careful to avoid squishing it when attempting to break a piece off!

Visually there didn’t seem to be much mousse, but you can really notice it when you bite the pieces. It adds a layer of soft silkiness to the bar. I did like the feel of the bar. The chocolate was the usual sweet Aero flavour, with nothing new taste wise. It was nice though, and I hope they develop this further to include their mint and orange in the range. If I’m honest thought I can’t see them pushing it as the bar just isn’t that different from the regular variety, but looks more complex to make.
By Cinabar

14 June 2015

Princes Tomato & Chilli Tuna Pasta Bake [by @NLi10]

Carrying on wit the series of quick and tasty lunches I branched out in the Tuna section.  Here we have a Princes version of the little pasta tubs that I ate a few weeks back.

It's cheap and it's quick, but it shows.

It's a lot closer to the funny little pasta pots than the tuna pots looked at.  Everything gets microwaved together and everything gets that babyfood texture and same flavour.  This is unfortunate as I thought that this might be a viable lunch.  The chilli tingle and the tomato flavour are both present, but the texture is so off-putting I'm not rebuying this.

If you are on a tight money or time budget then you may consider this, but the Fray Bentos lunch pots were a better budget option.

If you are after quality tuna lunches then the John West pots work so much better.

13 June 2015

Pale Cocoa Beer (@HotelChocolat) [By @SpectreUK]

People often pull a face when I mention chocolate beer. I suppose it's two flavours that don't immediately spring to mind as going well together. I've tried plenty of beverages with chocolate malt in them now, such as stouts and porters, which I believe make for perfect liquid puddings. When Cinabar mentioned this offering for Father's Day from Hotel Chocolat as a pale chocolate beer I initially pulled a face. I just thought that pale malt and chocolate malt would be a wrong mix of flavours. Fortunately perhaps so did the Brewers at Brewshed in Bury St. Edmonds for this is a pale beer with cocoa pulp infused in the making. No chocolate malt here as far as I can tell, just pale malt mixed with a blend of American Mosaic and Citra hops, and finally the cocoa pulp infusion.

On opening there was a citrus smell to this darkish pale ale, and a cheerful fizz as it poured into my waiting beer mug. In the taste there is a complex blend of flavours. First the instant pale malt flavour I adore so much followed by a cheeky citrus fruity flavour from the bitter hops and notes of sweetness as the hops crash into a wall of what can only be described as a strong expertly crafted ale. The cocoa pulp gives this beer a warming strength, with a chocolate cocoa ale flavour washing around my mouth in the aftertaste. At 4.9% volume this 500ml bottle punches with pale fruity bitterness then smooths away the senses with chocolate velvety overtones. Not entirely a pudding beer, simply a real treat to be savoured whenever. Too good for Dad, this bottle is all mine!
By Spectre

12 June 2015

The Licktators - Marshmallow Ice Cream (Ocado) [By @Cinabar]

Well the weather is (sort of) warming up and there are new ice creams on the shelves. This year too there seems to be some from new brands which is always exciting. This obviously meant I’m taste testing them. This one caught my eye as the flavour seemed rather interesting; Marshmallow and the brand looked quite funky. The packaging of the tub is quite intense, and the brand stands out very nicely. I wasn’t sure what to expect with marshmallow flavour but that is half the fun.
First thing I spotted is that the ice cream is pale pink and contains a good portion of mini marshmallows mixed inside. I served some into bowls, it was fairly easy to scoop which is always a bonus, and gave it a try. My first taste was a bit disappointing to be honest. The taste is sweet, and toffee like. Burnt toffee even, or cinder toffee, but not marshmallow to me. It was nice, and pleasant and I enjoyed the bowl, but the flavour didn’t match the packet. The penny dropped after a while, it was supposed to be toasted marshmallows and that is what that burnt flavour was all about, but the tub didn’t mention that. I was just expecting a pure delicate marshmallow flavour, something that would be nice to scoop on a bowl of strawberries, but this would be all wrong for that. On a positive note there were plenty of mini marshmallows mixed in and these were a lovely addition to the texture. Soft and slightly chewy.
So all in all I wouldn’t buy this flavour again. It isn’t bad by any means but it isn’t quite what I was expecting. Having said that they also make a Cinnamon Doughnut variety that I have my eye on to try next. I think that might be more up my street.
By Cinabar

11 June 2015

Quorn - Meat Free Chorizo (by @NLi10)

We've reviewed a lot of Quorn sausages here before, some dodgier than others. Here we have the fattest, most speciality sausage we've tried so far.

This looks real. It looks meaty enough that my veggie partner was not interested in it at all. It's pure sausage style goodness.

Here we see it actually sizzling in the pan - I'm not sure what they added to it but it does fry like meat would, and it smells fantastic.

Here you can see the little bits. Most of it is just our regular Quorn sausage, but these bits and bobs do make the sausage.

It does cook a lot quicker than expected too - try not to burn it! Chorizo does tend to do this as well so  that's fairly real.

My partner was brave enough to have one bite, but it was too meat-like and I got to eat the rest. I was fine with this. If you made a tapas dish with this then people would be very hard pushed to spot that it was veggie (although it's not perfect it does just feel like a different kind of sausage).

An unexpected win for Quorn sausages, and something that can be fed to carnivores easily without making them too upset that you served them healthy Quorn. I'll probably buy it again, but not to share.