31 August 2015

New UK Limited Edition Peanut Butter Flavour Oreos (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

I am a big fan of the American Peanut Butter Oreos, and have spend a small fortune picking them up from import shops. When I heard that they were releasing Peanut Butter Oreos her in the UK I can’t tell you how excited I was. Subtle as it is though, there is a slight name change for the Uk product. These are Peanut Butter “Flavour” Oreos. The word “flavour” can cover a lot of sins, including not actually including the aforementioned ingredient. Strawberry flavour means it foens’t need to list strawberries in the ingredient list, this is apparently true with Peanut Butter Flavour too, these are a nut free recipe.
Do they do a convincing job of pretending to be peanut butter? Yes they do, they are actually really tasty. All the flavour of the salty nutty goodness is there. Mixed with the biscuit it does recreate almost perfectly one of my favourite import products. Dark chocolate biscuit, nutty taste, it all works so very well. The texture doesn’t have the stickiness, but you would only really notice that if you split the biscuits and went straight for it.

I just don’t understand why there isn’t any peanut butter in them? It must have taken a lot of trouble and flavourings to recreate peanut butter, without using the actual nuts. Why not just use real peanut butter, like the American biscuits? Is this to do with cost saving, or nut allergies? I don’t think it can be the latter because I think someone with a nut allergy would take a lot of persuading to eat even ‘peanut butter flavour’. Nut free peanut butter, what will they think of next?

30 August 2015

Tesco Fruit/Veg Crunchy Slices (crisps!) [by @NLi10]

Crisps made out of things that aren't potato are not a new idea - especially if you have been in shops like Holland & Barrett or other health food specialists.  Tesco snuck these into the healthy nuts section of the fruit aisle and so I thought I'd give them a try.

At £1 a bag they are a bit on the steep side for what you get, but what are they actually like?

This is the beetroot, the most earthy of the flavours and the most disliked by the sample panel of people in the IT office. Only me and one other person really liked these, and I left them to finish the bag as the flavour got a bit much.  Nice as an occasional taste I don't think I'll be snacking on these.

Apple is the easy win here - they taste like apple (and lemon) and are sweet and zingy.  Probably the least nutritious of the bunch, but an easy sell for adults and kids alike. 

Sweet Potato was the only other one we've eaten so far (I picked up carrot to take with us in future) and probably the most effective.  It tastes like the real thing, but isn't quite as earthy as the beetroot. I'd buy these again (already have!) but not as a regular snack thing, more as a treat.

So - overall - if you are trying to avoid fried potato snacks then these are a great alternative, but you are probably better off just eating the real fruits or buying a nice big back of unflavoured nuts that are just below these.

29 August 2015

New Galaxy Duet Chocolate Bar (Sainsburys) [By SpectreUK]

This new Galaxy Duet chocolate bar seems to have a foot in two worlds, caramel and shortcake. Whereas one bar has gooey caramel inside waiting to ooze out on biting, the other side that sits right next to it in the packet has chunks of shortcake set within the chocolate. On opening the packet for some reason I was surprised to see the two halves of the chocolate bar joined. They sounded so different in my head that I kind of expected them to be separate. Although when I thought about it would probably be impractical with them bagging into each other in transit in someone’s pocket. I cracked them apart during a break in writing my dissertation, whilst trying not to think of any other chocolate bars that breaktime reminded me of. The two halves gave no indication, to which was which so I took a punt and bit into the one in my right hand, which was filled with soft and sweet gooey caramel. Moving to my left hand was the crunchier shortcake chunks in the Galaxy trademark chocolate. Both pieces tasted great and I have to admit taking it in turns with my bites rather than eating each side separately. It seemed the right thing to do for some reason and I really enjoyed the mixture flavours and textures of crunching one moment and gooey sweet caramel the next. A great treat if you fancy a bit more of a luxury break from whatever mischief you’re up to!

Information on the packet

37g bar has 192 calories with 10.7g of fat and 19.6g of sugar. The ingredients include vegetable fats in addition to cocoa butter, and are suitable for vegetarians.
By Spectre

28 August 2015

Walkers Retro Bring Me Back - Beef and Onion / Barbecue [By @Cinabar]

Carrying on with the new flavour from Walkers, I am trying out a couple of the more meaty sounding additions. I have already written about the two cheese flavours, but next up I’ll get stuck into Barbecue and Beef and Onion

I have to admit I like barbecue as a flavour, and as such I was really looking forward to these crisps. The aromas from the bag reminded me of a good quality barbecue dipping sauce. The flavour matched up to this and the sweet and smokey taste worked a treat. These were very moreish, and I can see them getting lots of votes in the competition.

Beef and Onion
Oh the aroma when you open the pack, pure meaty goodness. I have to say the flavour lives up to the scent and these fab crisps taste like they have been dipped in onion gravy. The meaty flavour is rich and strong and the onion aftertaste adds a lovely tang. So far this is the flavour which has appealed the most, this is the flavour that made me want to eat another bag straight afterwards. I think this might be my winner - but we have Lamb and Mint yet to try.
By Cinabar

27 August 2015

Mr. Singh's Punjabi Pesto (Asda) [By @NLi10]

I like odd, versatile products that save me time when cooking - and this week I spotted this.  We love pesto and food from that part of the world so it seemed worth a shot.

Also, while I'm on a health kick it's smart to keep things that I can add to meals floating around (like my go-to Bacon Jam) and I think this may be one that we go back to.

Essentially it's just spicy pesto, but as they have had a good think about the flavours and uses for it you can go that little bit further.  We've tried it with Quorn as a cooking paste which browns up nicely and releases the flavours, and just as a topping for a lazy pasta dish.  I'm yet to mix it into salads but that will certainly happen over the next few days.

There were a couple of flavours, but I wisely chose the lowest chilli rating one. This is just below a Medium on the international Nando's scale of hotness, meaning it's comfortable but certainly warming.  If you want to add a Punjabi kick to meals then this works well, and as you don't, need loads one jar will go a long way.

26 August 2015

Walkers Retro Bring Me Back - Cheese and Chive / Toasted Cheese [By @Cinabar]

As mentioned Walkers crisps are re-launching five of their discontinued flavours in order for people to vote for a favourite and bring it back properly. I thought I would start out by trying out two of the cheesy (literally) sounding packs.

Cheese and Chive
I do actually remember these being available, and although they weren’t deemed that special to me at the time, they are ones I ended up missing. The crisps are speckled with chives and had a lovely cheese aroma.
I gave the first crisp a try and it was really tasty. There was a good hint of salt, lots of cheese and that onion like tang from the chive. It ended with a lovely creaminess to the flavour that made it feel more like a cream cheese. I did like these crisps a lot, and the only negativity I have toward them is that there are other alternatives that carry a cheese and chive option. It isn’t that different, its good, but perhaps it isn’t the one.

Toasted Cheese
I don’t remember this flavour being available, but as I do like cheese crisps I thought these sounded quite intriguing. One of my favourite snack food is toasted cheese, usually with a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
These crisps have a golden colour to them and smelt quite strong. The flavour too is strong, a nice deep savoury cheese taste, with maybe the slightest hint of toastedness (right clicked and added to dictionary) in the aftertaste. Again these were nice to eat, but the toasted nature wasn’t as defined as I’d like, so again these felt a bit like regular cheese flavour red crisps.

I’m pretty sure one of the meaty flavour is going to be the one that gets my vote, so keep an eye out for the next reviews.
By Cinabar

Walkers Crisps Retro Bring Me Back New (Old) Flavours [By @Cinabar]

Walkers are re-launching five of their discontinued flavours in order to bring back a retro flavour. The five varieties making a come back are

  • Cheese and Chive
  • Toasted Cheese
  • Lamb and Mint
  • Beef and Onion
  • Barbecue

All five are currently out now so that people can give them a try and vote for their favourite. There is also an on pack competition to win £100,000 so it is definitely worth giving them a taste test and vote.
We will be reviewing all five over the next week or so and letting you know our thoughts.

25 August 2015

Sweet Chilli Pork Crunch (Asda) [By @SpectreUK]

I love pork crunch. Have done for years. It’s the perfect crunchy beer snack in a pub when I don’t fancy crisps and my tired old teeth don’t relish chopping through a bag of hard pork scratchings. This Sweet Chilli Pork Crunch by G. Simmons & Sons in Walsall certainly didn’t have far to travel to my eager gob, as I live not a million miles away in Wolverhampton. I like spicy crisps and have had a few chilli pork crunch bags in my time, so this sounded ideal for an accompaniment to lunchtime sandwich. On opening the bag there was a powerful salty tomato and spicy smell to these reddish coloured pork crunch. The pork crunch had a soft crunchiness with a very flavoursome salty tomato flavour with the chilli and ginger spices hitting my tastebuds and light hints of onion and garlic as they washed around my mouth towards the end of each mouthful. Moreish and with a medium chilli heat, they left a tingly burn in my mouth at the end of each pork crunch. Mmm… these were very good indeed. Now where’s my beer?

Information on the bag;

The 30g bags ingredients included; pork rind, salt, flavour enhancer E621, E625, tomato powder, dextrose, cayenne, ginger, acidity regular E262, hydrolysed vegetable protein, garlic powder, onion powder, food colour E160, and spice extracts.
By Spectre

24 August 2015

New Shaken Udder Salted Caramel Milkshake [By @Cinabar]

I have tried Shaken Udder milkshakes before and like their ethos on not having any artificial colours, flavourings or preservatives in their drinks. We reviewed their Strawberry Cheesecake Milkshake flavour a few years back, which seems to have disappeared, but they have a new variety out and asked if we would like to give it a try.
The new milkshake is Salted Caramel made with Maldon Sea Salt. Yes Salted Caramel really is the flavour of the minute and seems to be turning up everywhere from chocolate through to popcorn. I do like caramel though so poured the Shaken Udder milkshake out into a long glass.
I did have a look through the ingredients list, and noticed that it contained both apple and pumpkin, all adding to the flavour and sweetness. I guess they use ingredients that work naturally to create the correct taste.
The milkshake is slightly thickened, but still easy to drink.The flavour is that of a lovely rich caramel, its golden creamy flavour reminding me a yummy sweet custard. The salt flavour was mild just giving it a slight tang at the end, and a bit of a grown up flavour. Thankfully it wasn’t too salty, and the balance worked well. It is easy to drink and a very enjoyable treat, I never did grow out of milkshakes and it is nice to have a brand aiming some of their drinks at the older market too.
By Cinabar

23 August 2015

Keelham Farm Shop, Skipton [by @NLi10] @keelhamfarm

This weekend we were working the Oxfam charity event TrailTrekker 100km walk - where participants had to both walk overnight and in a huge thunder storm. We were based in the Skipton area in a school and right next to it was a giant farm shop run by Keelhams - the people who sent us a bunch of chutneys which we ate over Christmas.

Farm shop really doesn't do it justice, it's more like a farm superstore! It even has an in store bakery and all the goods are fresh and as local as possible.

They do their own ranges of pies and pizzas like the supermarkets do but they also do the things that brought them to our attention - preserves.

And they do chutneys.

In fact there is a whole lot of things there - it's like a one stop farm shop!

Why do we have a view from the balcony? Well they also have a cafe which serves the produce from the store.

My partner had a yummy carrot cake and I had a more unusual date and orange scone - at last a fruity scone for people who don't like raisins. Top marks from me for that. With butter and their own jam it was a light and crispy delight.

The things we've bought will have to wait to be reviewed as we haven't even made it home yet.  If you are in the right part of Yorkshire then this is well worth a visit!

22 August 2015

Gwatkin Kingston Black Cider (Cosford Food Show) [By @SpectreUK]

This was another of those bottles I picked up from a stand at the Cosford Food Show, when I was dragged kicking and screaming with the promise of free booze from the aircraft museum. Kingston Black Apples are renowned in the cider-making world for the creation of vintage house cider, so I felt pretty privileged to pick up this bottle in what was essentially a field next to a huge transport plane. Made by Gwatkin Cider Company in Hereford this 7% volume Kingston Black Cider had a traditional farming image of a shire horse mashing cider apples in an old open barn. I felt like I was just about to open something rather special that’s making traditions had been passed down for centuries. On opening the bottle there was an excitable fizz from the amber liquid. There was a heady smell of cider apples from the bottle opening. This cider had quite a sour bite to the apples that merged perfectly with the flavour from the oak barrels that it had been matured within. A very refreshing late afternoon pick-me-up and slap-me-round I can tell you on such a hot and humid day!
By Spectre

21 August 2015

Dairy Milk Marvellous Mashables - Rocky Mallow Road (Sainsburys) [By @Cinabar]

I have to admit to really loving the Dairy Milk Marvellous range. I heard that Cadbury where discontinuing their Dairy Milk Marvellous Cola and Pretzel bar and I was a little bit worried they were going to be scaling back the range entirely. Thankfully this is a newly released bar, so it looks more like they are just mixing things up.
The Rocky Mallow Road chocolate bar contains strawberry jellies, marshmallow and shortcake. This is a nice, almost summery, concoction and sounded right up my street. As a big fan of mixes of textures, the Dairy Milk Marvellous range suits me, and this bar was no exception.

Once unwrapped I could see that the shape of the pieces were interesting, it is a fun way of presenting the chocolate but the unequal pieces messed with my head when trying to share it out equally! I worry about these things. :-D
Back to the chocolate. The marshmallow bits has a lovely soft squidgy texture and the shortcake biscuit was firm and nearly crunchy. Both added nice sweetness to the bar, but the stand out ingredient was the strawberry jelly sweets. These were soft and slightly sticky, but the fruity taste was like magic with the chocolate. Sweet strawberry jelly sweets coated in chocolate work surprisingly well. I really enjoyed the bar, and it did what the Marvellous range is good at, used playful ingredients to combine interesting textures and flavours. I liked the cola and pretzel bar, but this too gets a thumbs up, and I can’t wait to see what else they have up their sleeves.
By Cinabar

20 August 2015

GOOD HEMP (use like milk) [by @NLi10]

As part of my no dairy (apart from the Magnum Pink I accidentally had last night) routine I've switched to milk substitutes. At work I picked up this for my tea.

I'd had hemp tea at Glastonbury and in smoothies so I presumed it'd be OK.  The texture was closer to milk than I expected but the flavour was a lot more floral.  I really wasn't sure whether I'd like this at first.

There are lots of health benefits from taking way from dairy and milk listed here, and as I'd bought the big container I persevered.  I think I was being too heavy handed at first - where as the coconut based milk substitutes work better in larger quantities this is more of a subtle amount and closer to milk.

By the end of the week I was actually quite enjoying it and looked forwards to the cups of tea.  If you are a fan of teas like Earl Grey then the floral taste will grow on you, if not you may be better on the coconut versions.

19 August 2015

Kettle Chips Soy, Ginger, Chilli & Honey Flavour Crisps (Sainsburys) [By @SpectreUK]

Wow! That’s quite a flavour combination for these seasonal edition Kettle Chips. Soy, Ginger, Chilli & Honey flavoured crisps sound like a late summer moving into autumn snack treat. I couldn’t decide whether I’d be able to pick out all the flavours in each crisp, or they’d mix so well together that I wouldn’t be able to pick out each flavour. So I tore open the bag whilst Cinabar and her mom were out shopping and dug in. There was a strong ginger smell to these almost orange coloured crisps, with a good dollop of chilli powder. I could pick out spices in the odour also such as cinnamon and cumin as well as black pepper and paprika. Deeply smelling the spices from the packet like some demented wine taster I could also pick out soy sauce at the end of the smell. Biting into one of the crisps and sucking like a food blogger the sheer flavour was akin to a mad game of tastebuds Twister. The soy tickles the ginger, the ginger bashed against the other chilli powder spices, the paprika tripped over the black pepper and then the soy fell on top of everyone else. This was easily one of the most flavoursome packets of crisps I’ve ever eaten, and I’m not just saying like a Kettle Chips Fanboy! And I had the whole 150g bag to myself! There remained a flavoursome spicy medium chilli burn in my mouth as I stopped to type. Then I was back onto the packet like a wild animal that hadn’t eaten for days. Going to have to get some more of these crisps and then wait until I have the place to myself again…
By Spectre

18 August 2015

Tic Tac Mixers: Peach to Lemonade and Cherry to Cola (Newsagents) [By @Cinabar]

Not only are there new flavours from Tic Tac out, but they are flavour change Tic Tacs. These new sweets are called Mixers and have two flavours in one. They sound a bit magic, but the reality is probably just layering. There is a version which goes from Peach to Lemonade and another which changes from Cherry to Cola.

Tic Tac Peach to Lemonade Mixers
The colour of the sweets are a pale orange, or peach I suppose. I tried two at once in order to live life on the edge and to intensify the taste. They started with a soft fruity peach flavour. It was mellow, but almost juicy and had a nice taste. The flavour became slightly tart as the sweet went on and eventually the citrus took over, and became a sharp lemonade. It reminded me of cloudy lemonade as it was quite strong and zesty. I liked the two flavours and that the lemon part was such a fresh taste.

Tic Tac Cherry to Cola Mixers
I smiled when I tried one of these dark pink sweets. The initial flavour is cherry, but it a very specific taste, it is floral, an almond like super fruity flavour, one I associate with being morello cherry. I really loved the taste, of all the variants of cherry flavour you get in sweets, this is actually my favourite. As I was enjoying the sweet flavour a little bit of sour trickled its way in, and then quite suddenly all the sharp cola arrived at once. It was more like a fizzy sour cola bottle sweet than the drink, but I liked the taste. I thought the Cherry to Cola was a goodvaried mix of flavours.

I did like these Mixers from Tic Tac, they had a very good flavour change, that was very distinctive. I think the flavour combinations worked well, and both end on a nice refreshing sour hit. The flavour change takes a little while to kick in, ensuring the first flavour gets a decent amount of air time. Unless of course you chew! Ive always sucked my Tic Tacs but apparently others just munch right through them, I think they’d be missing out on these!
By Cinabar

17 August 2015

New Limited Edition Kit Kat Mocha (Sainsburys) [By @Cinabar]

There is new flavour of Kit Kat on the shelves, this new Limited Edition Mocha variety. I found it in the impulse section of Sainsbury's, on the end of the isle near the tills. It is where the single chocolate bars are, rather than the multi packs. This is a four finger Kit Kat and is not in the style of the larger Kit Kat Chunky bars.
First off I have to give a thumbs up to Kit Kat for actually bringing out an interesting new flavour. This isn’t just another variant of caramel, i.e. soft caramel, crunchy caramel, a mix of soft and crunchy caramel or indeed the, every product must have, salted caramel version. This is proper new coffee flavoured chocolate bar; Mocha.

Coffee and chocolate is a really good combination, I have no idea why it isn’t as popular as the aforementioned salted caramel, but I know I was pleased to find these new bars. There is a fabulous aroma when the wrapper comes off, and the scent of chocolate and coffee just smells lovely. The taste is much milder than the aroma made me think it would be. It is still very much noticeable and the lovely tones of rich coffee blend with the chocolatey flavour perfectly. It does complement it really well, did I mention that coffee and chocolate just work so well together?
The addition of the mocha taste make this a dream Kit Kat for me, and you can’t beat the formal of a Kit Kat with its chocolate and biscuit crunch. Definitely one I will be buying again and I’m sad to see is just a Limited Edition.
By Cinabar

16 August 2015

Koko Dairy Free - Light & Low Fat + Original [by @NLi10]

As part of my new Fuhrman diet from Eat To live there are two words in particular that struck fear into my soul - 'NO DAIRY'.  While for most people the cheese part of this is the issue, for me it's the milk - I love the stuff!  I have cereal for breakfast every morning, and while the cereal part is requiring some interesting choices the milk side of things requires total substitution.  So i've invested in these Koko milk replacements that are based on Coconut.

Here is my first attempt at tea (decaf - no caffeine allowed!) and as you can see it's oddly dark.  I quickly figured out that for this kind of thing you need to double the amount you use to get the colour and flavour back.  This aside - surprisingly it worked.  I did click after this that the red label is probably supposed to be imitating skimmed milk which i'd never consider buying so it's a good start that I can work from.

And with my quality bran based cereal (that is probably a bit of a cheat in itself) the not-milk worked really well.  I thought the nutty flavours worked well with the bran.

I could get used to this quite easily I think!

Later in the week I tried the semi-skimmed version, which has more coconut and a stronger flavour. I wasn't so keen on this initially as it overwhelmed the Bran a Flakes taste, but as I used it up I grew to quite like it. The texture is also closer to milk which is reassuring.

15 August 2015

Spanish Beer Blog - Grey's Fine Foods [By @SpectreUK]

It’s a hard life being a blogger. On the odd occasion I get asked to review products that I wouldn’t normally find in the shops. These three beers are imported by Grey’s Fine Foods and very kindly sent to me to try. I thought I’d start with the weirdest sounding one first…

Cerveza Er Boqueron

Apparently this beer is made with Mediterranean seawater. I’ve holidayed in Spain several times as a child. Granted it was many years ago, but I’ve been told that they’re still making it (just kidding). I’ve been in the sea there, which was very clear and nice and warm. On my last holiday there the sun was roasting down and I was spending most of my time between the sea (sometimes in an old yellow and blue blow-up dingy), the outside pool in front of the villa that my parents were renting for a couple of weeks, inside the villa in a very cold bath to cool down, and also racing around and around all the building sites in the town on the knackered old Raleigh bike I’d found in a closet. It was more like an aqua holiday. I’m sure as a young boy I was caught short and peed in the sea! Although the write up on the website assures me that the seawater is from “an area near Valencia known for its level of purity.” Okay, so I don’t think I holidayed there anyway. Anyway, I digress… with some trepidation and a quick look at a map to make sure, I popped open the 330ml bottle to smell the 4.8% volume’s contents. This cloudy beer poured with a glorious head. There was a yeasty smell followed by a mixture of malt and stronger bitter hops. There was quite a bite to start with in the flavour, a saltiness bringing out the yeast and bitter hops, this full flavour keep on giving like a mischievous jelly fish’s sting as you wade unawares in the warm current. The website recommends to try this beer with spicy food like tapas or Asian food; it would also go very well with fishy meals. To be honest with you though I really liked drinking this beer on its own without a food accompaniment. It’s always a shame when you only have one bottle of a high quality beer such as this in the fridge. I certainly admired the complex bitter flavours brought out by the Valencian seawater. Must be good there… I’ll have to visit someday and remember not to pee in the sea!

Cerveza Desiderata

I rather liked the name of this beer. I thought it was quite a lovely word as I tried to pronounce it in my head. Although the Spanish pronunciation rattling around my beer addled brain made it sound more Italian. However ‘desiderata’ means ‘desired things’ in Latin, so I guess I possibly wasn’t too far off with the Italian pronunciation in my mind. Although they do say that no one really knows how to pronounce Latin, I’m sure after a goof bowl of Bolognaise anyone could have a stab at it. Desiderata would also be a perfect name for a sexy Mediterranean anti-heroine in a spy thriller. I’m sure James Bond would be knocked off his feet.

This 5% volume Pils beer was brewed in Seville near the southern tip of Spain and not too far away from the border of Portugal. I have to agree with the fruity floral description on the website, but there was also the yeasty smell on opening that went to prove that this is a proper beer. Again this beer gave a good head, but this beer was crystal clear and had a more vivacious fizz to it than the last. Having said that they stated that no further carbonation had been added to this beer after its low fermentation and filtration. There was the floral and lightly fruity hoppy bitterness that mixed well with the malt and yeast and twirled around my mouth like a stamping Spanish Senorita embroiled in traditional dance. Again spicy food and fish dishes would be a perfect accompaniment for this beer to wash down, but again I just loved drinking it on its own and so wished I had more when the bottle was empty.

Cerveza La Socarrada

The last of the three beers that I’d received from Grey’s Fine Foods. No disrespect to it before opening as it was just the way I’d lined them up in Cinabar’s new cavernous fridge. Apparently this is a winter honey ale brewed with barley malt, hops and yeast, rosemary and rosemary honey. It has a high fermentation process, and described as having a smoky sweet rosemary floral flavour. I initially felt a bit strange opening this beer now as I’d rather have kept it with my vast beer supply (just in case the shops run out) for the winter months. I reckon it would have made an unusual late November to mid-December blog, but never mind… On opening the 6% volume beer I took a moment to admire the curvy bottle. It seemed to have an unusual Mediterranean shape to it. There was a definite sweet floral smell to this golden ale. It was lightly cloudy and the sun from the window shone through it amplifying its colour like a beacon of loveliness as I sat typing. I could see that there was plenty of sediment in this craft ale so waited impatiently as it settled a while. On flavour I reckon if you blind tested me on this ale I’d pick out the floral honey sweetness, there is a smoky finish and a light bitterness throughout the full-bodied flavour. However I’d never place it from Spain though as this ale has the reminiscence of the hardy Scottish ales I’ve savoured in the past. I can see why they describe this as a winter ale for its warming qualities. It’s definitely made for a dark cold stormy night, and would wash down a roast lamb and mint dinner with plenty of runner beans, carrots and roast potatoes. Mmm… roll on winter!

I noticed they have three ciders on the website too, maybe if I’m super lucky… hint… hint?! ;-)
By Spectre

14 August 2015

Mexican Chicken Oval - Quicknic Food (Greggs) [By @cinabar]

I think we all know what the British summer is like. Changeable, and with no guarantees of a sunny day, if we do get one it is likely to be at short notice. This is why we have the emergency barbecue stuff, ie bacon and sausages in the freezer, just waiting to be defrosted and cooked alfresco. On a similar note to make the most of a hot day, Greggs wanted to remind us of their selection of foodstuffs and its ability to be used for a Quicknic (or short notice picnic). I have been testing these out for lunches, which can be enjoyed inside or out dependent on how the kind the weather is being. There is a Geggs a five minute walk from where I work, so this is one of my favourite places to go for lunch, whatever the weather.
I decided to go for a Mexican Chicken Oval as my main item. There was just enough spice, but not enough to over power the flavours in the sandwich. I know some of their wraps can be quite hot, so I like the balance of warmth here better. The chicken was fresh and moist. Greggs make their sandwiches fresh everyday, so the salad was still crunchy and the bread still fluffy. The seeds are a nice addition.
One of my favourite Greggs items is the humble sausage roll, so obviously we picked up some of those too, and it wouldn’t be a proper treat without something from the cake section. Iced finger buns are also a must!
By Cinabar

13 August 2015

South African Apples & Pears [by @NLi10]

Some time ago we got a giant box left for us at the post office - so large the owners couldn't find it as they were using it as a table!!  We had our suspicions who this was from as the couriers that drop at this obscure little newsagent have only brought us one thing before - on Valentine's Day - but why was it so large?

The box was also really light and inside it was a giant cool bag.

With a few pieces of South African fruit in the bottom! While I was overjoyed to receive peaches and plums this is just apples and pears - not quite what I'd choose myself!  I decided to make a healthy dish out of them.

And based on inspiration from one of my recipe books I chose to put some Red Gala apples in a carrot & apple salad!  Just chop and add some sesame seed oil for a bit of added flavour.

With pan fried quorn (pesto and a dash of Argon oil) and some gnocchi it made a lovely summer evening meal that was both light and filling.

A nice surprise to be sent fruit in the post, but there isn't much to say about fruit unless you do something exciting with it so I'll have to have a think about those pears.

12 August 2015

Purple Sauce (Premier Inn) [By @cinabar]

Whenever I say the name of this sauce I immediately get Prince's Purple Rain song inexplicably stuck in my head. That's not relevant to this write up, but just know I'm humming it as I type.
This sauce is the new perfect sauce for breakfast, according to its creators at Premier Inn. They asked if I wanted to try a bottle and very kindly popped one in the post. I thought it was going to be difficult to compete with the traditional red and brown sauce, but was happy to give it a try.
I started off by having some on the side with a sausage roll. This is what I call tomato ketchup territory for me, I always have some with these kind of savoury pastries, scotch eggs etc.
I poured a dollop onto to the plate, and although still thick it was a little runnier than expected. It seemed to be migrating itself towards the sausage roll in question. I gave it a taste and have to admit to being immediately converted. The sauce has a berry base, but isn't sweet like ketchup. It is very smokey, and has a slight hint of warmth from chilli. The slight sweet fruity taste, has a sharp edge and the smokiness make it a complex flavour, but it complemented the sausage roll perfectly. I must do this properly and try it with the full English breakfast as per its purpose.
If you want to give the sauce a try it is currently available at Premier Inns, and served with their breakfast menu. I am hoping it gets listed by a supermarket too, as I'm starting to treasure this purple bottle.
By Cinabar