29 February 2016

New Dairy Milk Medley - Biscuit and Fudge (Pound Land) [By @cinabar]

Last week I wrote about the new Cadbury bar; Dairy Milk Medley with Dark chocolate Chips, Caramelised Hazelnuts and Raspberry Pieces; but there is another new bar in this range.
This second bar has a mix of biscuit piece, fudge and dark chocolate drops. I opened up the wrapper and this time expected the bar to be a bit messy. The raspberry version took me by surprise, it is unusual for a Cadbury bar to look untidy, they are usually quite neat and often symmetrical. This bar, like that version, looked a bit thrown together too, and not perfect like the image on the wrapper.

The bar does have all the promised ingredients though, the milk chocolate cup, filled with the milk chocolate cream filling, topped with biscuit pieces, fudge pieces and dark chocolate drops.
The bar had a lovely mix of textures, with the chocolate, creamy filling, firm fudge and the crunchy biscuit pieces. The flavour is a sweet affair, the chocolate sweetness is topped up with the golden taste from the biscuit and the buttery sugar flavour from the fudge. The dark chocolate adds a nice hint of extra cocoa and the flavour  is really sweet and dessert like. It's a good bar, and certainly meets the mark as a sweet treat.
Just on a completely personal note out of the two new bars, I thought the raspberry one had the edge. It had such a nice berry tang from the raspberry, the acid of this cut into the taste and made it easier to eat.
By Cinabar

28 February 2016

Fentiman's Sparkling Lime & Jasmine botanical drink (by @NLi10)

Unboxing video!

There are few companies that I like more than Fentiman's. They seemed to be part of the first wave of adult soft drinks, and always seem to have something exciting on the horizon to keep up with the competition. It's great that most decent bars in Birmingham stock at least one or two varieties now, and once when I asked for a Pepsi in a restaurant they appologised and asked if Fentiman's was Ok! 

We got this large box in the post (see the video above for the full unboxing experience!) so I cracked it open to see what delights awaited us.

It was six bottles of new flavour Sparkling Lime and Jasmine.

There was also a conspiratorially sealed letter with the usual details about how it's a sophisticated drink for grown ups and is not just fizzy water and sugar.

In fact this is the first thing that stuck me - it's not as sweet as I'd expected, and it's not as sharp either. The Victorian Lemonade that is my current go-to is a very sour experience and fantastic for it. This is closer tonally to the Rose Lemonade and is all about the subtle layers within the flavour. 

Limeade seems to be a little out of fashion (although I think Sprite contains a hint of it) and only really shows up in the cheaper ranges and the high-end flavours. This is certainly in the high end with five different botanical ingredients (lime flower, hyssop, myrtle leaf, juniper berries and jasmine flowers) as well as orange and quinine for flavour.  This isn't as muddled as it sounds as these come through in waves.

I bemoaned the recent tonic drinks for not being as drinkable without alcohol as the Fever Tree range, but this retains the subtle refreshing hit that I'm looking for in a drink when out. 

It has a definite green tea vibe to it and is something that I think I could drink all night instead of my usual route of a strong Victorian Lemonade followed by bottled water. A definite hit, and one that after the remaining five bottles have been drunk I'll certainly be after more of.

27 February 2016

Summat Else Cider (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]

Made from a blend of Malvern cider apples this 4.5% volume Summat Else Cider was pressed and fermented at Holden's Brewery just up the road from me in Dudley. The apples are rich in tannins and flavenoids, which sounds like a couple of alien races in Star Trek that don't particularly get on, with the old Enterprise stuck in the middle plot. The blend of cider apples gives this cider a golden colour and unique flavour. The back of the bottle talks a lot about 'real' apples, perhaps rather than the plastic ones sometimes seen in furniture shops put in a bowl to make a kitchen table look more homely.
I couldn't tell what the creature on the front of the bottle was. It could be a troll or ogre, but was a little small and ogres aren't always green in folklore or wargaming. It could be a goblin or hobgoblin, but it looked a little too friendly to be either. I'd like to think it's Holden's Star Trek interpretation of either a Tannin and Flavenoid, but couldn't see Spock lurking around in the background on the label, whilst he takes scientific readings on something that's like it's been made in Blue Peter from half a washing up liquid bottle.
On opening the Summat Else bottle the lightly carbonated golden cider poured joyfully out into my waiting beer mug. There was an easygoing smell of cider apples, rather than some stronger ciders out there that slap you around the face and shout "cider" when opening. However the odour had lulled me into a false sense of security, as on first taste I noticed that this is a dry yet fruity full-bodied flavoursome cider with a strong bitterness which tickled my nose hairs. I could almost hear the mischievous creature on the front of the bottle giggle at another cider drinker duped. Yet with its mix of appley flavours and troublesome bitterness, I couldn't help but keep reaching for my beer mug to have another sip. Then my face would twist some more!
By Spectre

26 February 2016

New Cadbury Time Out Wafer Chocolate Bar (BHS) [By @cinabar]

Firstly this was purchased in BHS, not somewhere I'd associate with finding Foodstuff Finds goodies, but our branch has a new mini grocery section added to it. So yes you can now buy clothes, light bulbs, tins of soup and chocolate bars in the same store. These new Cadbury Time Out Wafer bars were in the grocery section, and they were by the till there as they were on special offer. They have a printed price tag on the wrapper of 35p per bar, but were on two for 50p which is remarkably good value.
The bars are small though and weigh in at just over 21g, however they are only 111 calories, so make a perfect lower calorie chocolate fix. The proper Time Out bar has two sticks, so it looks like they've taken one out packaging it separately and replaced the layer of flake inside it with extra wafer.

I'm okay with calorie controlled portioning but as these bars were two for 50p I bought two... ok, that was a complete lie, I bought four for a £1, but the thought was there! Anyway...
The bar snapped in half easily and the layers of wafer were neatly present. The the bar had a lovely light crispy feel and felt very pleasing to bite into. I love a mix of textures, so I really liked the light crunch and soft chocolate. There seemed to be plenty of Cadbury's chocolate flavour too, impressively so. It was a sweet and soothing bar. Indeed just one of these bars certainly took away a chocolate craving, and felt satisfying and tasty at the same time. It's the perfect bar if you want a chocolate hit without too much of the calorie intake and certainly one I'd buy again. I'd even go back to BHS just to get them.
By Cinabar

25 February 2016

Quinoa and Chick Pea lunches (by @NLi10)

The series of things I've had for lunch continues!

Here we have two more Sainsburys pick-ups one with Quinoa and one with Chick-Peas.

It's 2016 and people still can't say keenwah. I'm not sure at this point whether we just abandon it and go with a phonetic pronunciation or continue to use it as a detection test for the Ocado gene.

It said you could eat it cold. Frankly - no. Microwave it is.

The two pots get peeled back a 1/4 of the way (I chose by diameter, but I'm sure by area works to - or one of each) and microwaved together. Then you tip the little one into the big one and stir.

You'll probably stir better than this - the last bit didn't have much red stuff. It was fairly soft, but not over done and still had a little bite and texture. The tomato salsa (vegetable ragu) was great and had a little bit of interest to it and the fact it wasn't expertly stirred and had large chunks meant it wasn't a boring meal. As Merchant Gormet are the people whose sun-dried tomatoes I love this probably shouldn't have been a shock.

I'd totally have this again, maybe with a side of biscuits or something similar.

Then I had one emergency microwave pot left to try.  We'd reviewed a bunch of these things before so I didn't hold out much hope, but the idea that the main ingredient is veggie and the meat is the condiment is spot on so I figured I'd try it out.

This chickpea and chorizo stew is a micro pot which not only describes its half portion size but also the fact that it can be microwaved. As with the others the top peels off like a can, but you eat it direct and then feel bad and keep the container.

It (unsurprisingly) isn't a looker, but the flavours were great. The chorizo tasted authentic and the chick peas were whole enough that you could taste them through the sauce. The portion was surprisingly ok, but I think that I'm a big lunch kind of guy and still needed a bit more.

This is one I'd happily have again too - which is a surprise as I'd left these both till last fearing that they wouldn't be great.  Either lunch options are improving or I'm getting hungrier.

24 February 2016

Fizzy Pop Sweets (Marks and Spencer's) [By @SpectreUK]

These Fizzy Pop Sweets caught Cinabar's eye in the local Marks and Spencer's store. The chain has been getting quite a bit of stick for its clothing lately in the press. However, I do like to buy my shirts and ties from there when I need new ones for work, and no one ever complains about the quality of their food. These gummy sweets come in the familiar bottle shape. There are three innovative drinks flavours; ginger beer, pink lemonade, and cherryade, followed by a fourth regular cola flavour. First up was ginger beer. Been as though the bottles were covered in sugar I assumed that they would be sour. I was wrong. These are not sour gummy sweets, they are fizzy. Hence the name Fizzy Pop Sweets! There was an initial flavour to the white sugar covered gummy bottle with a sweet pleasant ginger flavour hitting my taste buds afterwards. As my first ginger beer flavoured gummy sweet, this experience was one I would happily have again... And there were plenty in the packet. Figuring the pink sugar covered bottle was pink lemonade, I picked this flavour next. I was hit with a fizzy sour lemon flavour to start with followed by grapefruit. Very nice indeed, a little sour for a pick me up ready for the dreaded red sugar covered bottle next. Cherryade has never been a favourite pop drink of mine. As regular readers will know - I don't like cherry! Weirdly I do like cherry cola bottles, so I wasn't feeling too much trepidation regarding the cherryade bottles. I was certainly not to be disappointed. These were the most flavoursome of the sweets so far. Where the other flavours were subtle, cherryade was an explosion of sour fizzy tang. Much nicer than any cherry cola bottles in my opinion. Cola flavour was last, but certainly not least. Fizzy cola bottles have always been a favourite gummy sweet of mine, and these more traditional fizzy cola flavoured sweets were a treat to my tastebuds. Mark my words, these aren't just any old Fizzy Pop Sweets, these are M&S Fizzy Pop Sweets.
By Spectre

23 February 2016

New Dairy Milk Medley - Hazelnut and Raspberry (Pound Land) [By @cinabar]

I had to condense the full description of this bar in the title, as it mentions quite a few ingredients! In full it is Dairy Milk Medley with Dark chocolate Chips, Caramelised Hazelnuts and Raspberry Pieces, so a proper medley indeed.

I looked at the wrapper and saw the illustrative drawing of what the chocolate pieces look like and thought how pretty it seemed. I opened up the wrapper and really didn’t like how the bar looked inside. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it just didn’t look neat and pretty.

I even turned it over to see if it was the wrong way up, it wasn’t, the back was just the back. Neatly patterned but clearly not the display side.

It is just when you compare the “this is what it should look like” on the packet to the “this is what it does look like” it is lacking. Oh well, it is the taste that makes the chocolate, and I sense I’m being picky.
I bit into the pieces and all was forgiven, the chocolate was divine. The milk chocolate cup holds a smooth soft chocolate topped with dark chocolate, raspberries and nuts. The smooth filling melts in the mouth and coats your taste buds with a fabulous chocolate cream. Its sweet and chocolatey and the very definition of a soothing bar of chocolate. The raspberry bits are a tad tart and their fruity zingy taste balances it all out to perfection. The dark chocolate drops keep the cocoa content up and the caramelised hazelnuts give the bar a nice depth of flavour and a bit of crunch.
This is probably the nicest “fruit and nut” chocolate bar I’ve had in ages. Raspberry and chocolate go together so well, and the softer chocolate filling is just perfect. Appearances aside, this New Dairy Milk Medley bar is well worth hunting out.
By Cinabar

22 February 2016

J2O Chewy Bon Bons Exotic Fruit Dual Flavour (Pound Land) [By @cinabar]

Since starting this blog I’ve always had my eye open for new J2O flavours, and we’ve written about quite a few varieties over the years. They have always been in drink form though, so these J2O Chewy Bon Bons Exotic Fruit Dual Flavour sweets (long name) are a bit of new thing.
I turned the bag over and found that these sweets are actually made by Monty Bojangles, another brand we have featured before here at Foodstuff Finds. They usually make quite posh confectionary. Theses new sweets are two tones in colour and match J2O mixed flavours, past and present.
Just a thought, because I can’t help myself, these are called “exotic fruit” but the fruit flavours within them are apple (not exotic), raspberry (not exotic), blueberry (not exotic), orange (ok they don’t grown here, but still not my definition of “exotic”) and mango (which I’ll give you). More specifically the sweets are:

Apple and Mango - The apple featured predominantly in the flavour with just a hint of mango. It was pleasant, but not a strong flavour, notably weaker than the drink.

Apple and Blueberry - Not a flavour of J2O I’ve seen for a long while (I think it was discontinued), but perhaps it will make a come back. The flavour of this sweet was much sharper, with a lovely strong blueberry tone, followed by a smooth apple finish.

Apple and Raspberry - This sweet had a nice twist of raspberry, with a hint of apple, nicely fruity, but very different to the drink. It is much lighter in taste.

Orange and Mango - This one was probably the closest to the drink, with the mango being fresh strong and quite full on, with a good citrus blast from the orange. It was definitely my favourite and certainly the most juiciest in the pack.

What I really liked about these sweets was that are firm and chewy, but they are not sticky. You can enjoy biting on them, and they don’t get stuck in your teeth, which I think is the perfect texture for a chewy Bon Bon. The sweets are pleasingly fruity and as the texture is good I enjoyed them far more than I thought I would. However once Spectre got hold of them I never saw them again… so I think it is safe to say I think he gives them a thumbs up!
By Cinabar

21 February 2016

Posh Pots - Itsu & Kabuto feat Coldpress (by @NLi10)

It's lunch time here at FoodStuffFinds and thanks to a trip to Sainsburys I had a weeks worth of lunch pots to review! 

Monday was a small Itsu glass noodle pot with the coldpress drink.

This was a Thai yum yum paste, with translucent potato noodles in a small bundle and a cool ladle-fork (Lork?) to eat it with. The flavour was a light Tom yum, and relatively uneventful in a nice way. 

It was quite soupy and the little bit of zing was cooled nicely by the garden tasting coldpress.

The bottle actually has nutrients per calorie which is nice, but it did contain celery and cucumber which aren't my most favourite things. It tasted a lot like my home made kale smoothies.

Tue was the first of the Thai Kabuto rice pots. These were a bit less successful, turning into spicy rice pudding.

We'll eventually anyway!

We finished off the Coldpress too. I enjoyed the flavour of this Thai green version.

I suspect that the rice pudding effect was more severe initially as they moved the fill line way up to keep the texture in the realms of food.

I didn't lunch on Wed - half day - but ate the red Thai version on Thursday. Didn't really enjoy this one, the texture seemed even more gloopy and the flavour wasn't as nice. I'd probably only eat these again when I was out camping or similar, and then I'd choose other things first.

I saved the biggest and most expensive til last - Itsu's largest offering. 

This has a whole pack of udon noodles - and an actual soup paste sachet to go with them.

It's not rocket science though

But it does feel a little more like cooking than some of these did

And the veggies look real!

This was a proper meal. The Lork was present again and larger for the big pot, and it took me a while to finish it off.  It was quite a salty/strong flavour and a nice chicken broth. The noodles as expected were the real star - and this is the one option I'd buy again.

The others were either a little on the small side, or just not to my taste. I think the Itsu big pot was the clear winner, but I'd have to check the prices as you may be better of just having the smaller Monday pot and a bag of crisps (like I did).

20 February 2016

Plum Porter (Waitrose) [By @SpectreUK]

This Plum Porter was brewed by the Titanic Brewery in Stoke on Trent, and was established in 1985. This is a fairly young brewery compared to other brewery's beers I've blogged about in the past. I like to say fairly young as I'm ten years its senior! Anyway, I've tried a few of their beverages in the past and certainly have had no complaints. This Plum Porter aroused my interest as I don't think I've ever had a beer with natural plum flavouring added before. This 4.9% volume porter also had Goldings hops added in the brewing to lend a little bitterness to its advertised fruity plum flavour. On opening the beer there was a strong fruity plum smell that quickly overshadowed any aroma of beer that I could find. On pouring this beer had a dark ruby colour. From the rich fruity plum smell from the beer I had already made my mind up that the plum would completely drown out any beer flavour, leaving me with something like a fruity plum wine to drink. How wrong could I be? There was a sumptuous malted barley flavour to start with and a little plum poking politely through before it was told to wait its turn by the bitter hops. The plum waited a short while and jumped in with a "taadaah!" straight after the bitter hops leaving my mouth with a rich fruity flavour that travelled into the aftertaste. This is definitely a beer with natural plum added, and not a plum wine. Try it and don't be put off. Another sturdy beverage from Titanic that won't sink into the abyss!
By Spectre

19 February 2016

Cappuccino Popcorn (@Portlebay) [By @Cinabar]

I like popcorn and I like coffee so I thought is sounded like the perfect flavour combination for an evening snack. Cappuccino popcorn is not a flavour I've come across before, but it sounded suitably intriguing. It's quite healthy too, and there is only 115 calories per serving, it is made by Portlebay.
I poured out some of the bag to have a look and found the popcorn to be mixed in sizes and have a nice sprinkling of brown seasoning. One plus side was that there were no unpopped kernels. I know that it is easy for some to slip through for any brand, but some popcorn brands seem happy to leave quite a lot in without much quality control, so I was very pleased with these.
The flavour had a a unexpected taste when I tried my first piece, salt. I was expecting a purely sweet treat, sugared coffee was my thought, but the flavour combination was a lot more complicated. Firstly I got salt, then there was a sweet slightly chocolate taste, with a very mild hint of coffee at the end. It was pleasant and tasty, and I like the mix of sweet and salt, but not quite what sprung to mind when I thought of cappuccino popcorn. I thought the coffee would have had far more of a kick.
The popcorn had a nice texture, the pieces ranged in size and had that fluffy crunchy feel, which was nice to munch on.This is certainly something I'd pick up again, perfect for snacking on and who doesn't like the sweet salty combination really.
By Cinabar

18 February 2016

Hello Kitty Cake Pops Maker (by @NLi10)

It was my sisters birthday yesterday and her partner bought her this lovely Hello Kitty cooking device via online shopping site Amazon.

It looks a bit like a toastie maker or maybe a waffle iron - but it's actually for...

Half a dozen shrunken kitty heads with which to make cake pops! You make up the batter according to the provided recipie (or at least your mom does) and then you pour two scoops into each kitty and then wait about 4 mins until they are cooked.

And they look like this

And like this when you impale them on spikes as a warning to other Hello Kitties that may be thinking about laying siege to your castle.

They taste like a mix between cupcakes and waffles and you can eat a fair few without feeling too full.  For some this will be just another gadget to take up cupboard space, but for others this will be a quick and easy way to make kitten shaped treats for all. Yum!

17 February 2016

Cabana Brasil Restaurant Review @cabana_brasil [By Fey]

I had initial great first impressions of Cabana Brasils' new Brixton branch. Just off the main Brixton Road, the restaurant has a cosy but vibrant atmosphere, everything you’d expect from a modern Brazilian restaurant.

The staff couldn’t have been friendlier and explained all aspects of their menu, leaving us a with the difficult choice of what to choose. We started with a round of cocktails - the Passionfruit Caipirinha and the Pineapple and Mint Caipirinha. There’s an extensive choice of options and was a great way to start the evening.

To start we chose the Spicy Malagueta Prawns and the Cabana Coxinhas (shredded chicken croquettes). The starters had so much flavour, especially the croquettes - the Malagueta dip was a particular highlight, I would certainly order this when I next go back.

The main courses did not disappoint. We ordered the Pulled Pork Sloppy José burger, which came with homemade slaw and I opted for sweet potato fries.

We also got the 8 oz Cabana Steak which came with fries and Rio beans. The burger still had so much flavour, which restaurants can sometimes compensate for size. The brioche bun was a great addition. The steak was tender and cooked to perfection.

To finish, we ordered ice cream. You can pick from a variety of flavours but my favourite was certainly the White Chocolate “Cupuaçu”, which still managed to be refreshing as well as sweet.

Overall, it was a highly enjoyable evening and there is still so much more of the menu to try, ensuring that Cabana Brasil will be a regular choice.
By Fey

16 February 2016

Limited Edition PopChips: Sea Salt, Garlic and Rosemary (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

This isn’t the first time we have reviewed PopChips here at Foodstuff Finds. They are “crisps” that have been cooked under pressure until popped. This means they look quite thick but have a wonderfully light crispy bubble texture. The cooking method not only creates a nice crunchy texture, it also uses less fat, so it is win win.
I spotted in Waitrose that there was a new Limited Edition flavour of PopChips; Sea Salt, Garlic and Rosemary, so we picked up a bag to share with our sandwiches. Once home I opened up the packet and the aroma of rosemary made itself rather clear. They smelt strong, but not unpleasant. The PopChips do have that lovely moreish crunch, and the texture is spot on, but the flavour is strong, very strong.

There is plenty of salt, lots of rosemary and a heavy taste of garlic. I know these are all the flavours promised on the packet, but they were just in a much higher proportion to what I’d been expecting. I managed to finish my portion quite happily, the more I ate the more I became accustomed to their strong herby taste.
The problem is as tasty as they are, it is the garlic. There is lots of it, and although it is pleasing to munch on at the time, it clings to the palette. After finishing our sandwiches and crisps I could still taste the garlic, it was still there for some time. I tried some chocolate and it kind of tastes like garlic chocolate, and I lost the love for these crisps.
This might be a personal thing, I’ve always had a bit of a love hate relationship with garlic, I love it at the time, but when you can taste it later and you realise what your breath must be like it heads back in the hate category. Not a packet of crisps to eat before an important meeting or interview!
By Cinabar

15 February 2016

Marks & Spencer - Nutty grain & vegetable salad with a soy and ginger dressing (@NLi10)

I was sorely disappointed by the initial lunch offerings in M&S - all plain sandwiches and dull salads - then I spotted the real lunch section:

It seems there is a whole lunch section just for the whole grain and nut salads. And they even give you a free fork!

The mix of stuff here was pretty much spot on - lots of quinoa for fuel and texture with a sprinkling of nuts for crunch and taste. The sauce was surprisingly good too and was completely used up. The veggies were finely chopped and suited the flavours here well.

This is the kind of thing we should be encouraging for lunch - the nutrition value is off the charts! Maybe it's beaten by kale, but compared to a box of pasta or rice or a Bread and spread combo this wins hands down.

Now I have to figure out where I can get a supply of these for work. M&S in town and Harborne are possibly closest but that means a special trip.  Hopefully Tesco will try to compete with M&S the same way they have with Waitrose. I have lunch money waiting for the winner.