30 September 2016

Limited Edition Oreo Strawberry Cheesecake (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

New flavours of Oreos biscuits are a bit like buses, you wait around for ages and then two arrive at once. We have only recently reviewed the rather lovely new Mint Oreos when these fine new biscuits appear on the Morrisons website. They may be a late addition to the website, as the flavour sounds more summery than autumnal, but its is the first I’ve seen of them.

The new Oreo flavour is Strawberry Cheesecake, and as strawberry and chocolate is a classic combination I was rather looking forward to them.
The biscuits are made with the usual dark Oreo on the top and bottom, and the filling inside is a pleasant pink colour. The flavour of the filling was very sweet, almost like strawberry icing, but the dark biscuits either side of it helped balance it. To be honest I have a sweet tooth, and the idea of somebody taking a strawberry cream chocolate and turning it into a biscuit works well for me. It is difficult to get passed my sweetness limit, and the sugary taste felt like rather a treat.
My only issue is that I’m not sure where the cheesecake element comes from. I’m not sure if there was something in the flavour I was missing or whether it was just for marketing purposes, but to me these were essentially strawberry Oreos. As it turns out, I rather like Strawberry Oreos too, here is hoping we get a few more new Oreo flavours as they seem to be on a roll.

29 September 2016

Taylors Welsh Potato Crisps (@NLi10)

We are away this week exploring the Lake Vyrnwy area of central Wales and have been on the look out for lovely snacks.

To supplement a late lunch I picked up a bag of fairly ordinary looking (but Welsh) crisps.

I've not seen Taylors crisps in England and they had a few varieties on offer, we ate ours on a walk around the lake to a waterfall.  I checked with a wire horse if this was OK.

You get a decent portion (these shots always make it look skimpy) and each crisp is unique and resembles a slice of potato. Some are nearly a mm thick!

It was a nice walk but a little bit further than I anticipated so no crisps made it to the waterfall.  This was purely down to their quality.  They had a uniquely soft texture, much more like dried fruit crisps and on the package advertised that this dry texture was due to the slowness of the cooking process. 

These are certainly something that I would have again, and they do have more varieties to try. I think the main joy of these was the crisps themselves though so I'd be happy just to stick with the sea salt.

28 September 2016

Mangajo Goji-berry & Green Tea (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

Recently Cinabar and her mom have been mad on Smoothies they keep making from a contraption they have in the kitchen. It blends just about anything (including fingers of the unwary) and makes the most horrendous noise. I can hear it outside, or upstairs, or even in the car… anywhere! Shocking! Anyway, I thought I’d get in on the fruit drink game, but without the noise and the weird desire to chew when trying to drink a thick Smoothie.

This Mangajo Goji-berry & Green Tea drink is an infusion of green tea and goji-berry juice. Noting from the ingredients there is also apple and mandarin added. I don’t think I’ve tried anything with goji-berry juice in it before. I know we have goji-berry plant in the back garden that simply refuses to bear fruit. I digress, on smell this still orange coloured drink has a citrusy aroma with strong hints of mandarin. On taste mandarin is a more dominant flavour with goji-berry and apple cutting off the shear mandarin flavour and giving this refreshing drink a more mixed fruity taste. This drink is an innovative step away from the usual mixed red fruits that seems to dominate the shelves in the stores. I would have it again, as it didn’t last long once opened and gave me a quick buzz first thing in the morning.

Information on the bottle;

250ml bottle has 75 calories, negligible salt and fat, and having 16g of sugar. Ingredients included; water, fruit juices; apple, goji berry, and mandarin; green tea infusion, colour; safflower and lemon, acidity regulator; citric acid.

27 September 2016

Absolute Black 100% Cocoa Dark Chocolate @Montezumas By @Cinabar

My brother likes dark chocolate, he like’s flavours a lot darker than myself, so when he raved about a 100% cocoa bar he’d tried, I felt cautious about the flavour. I have tried 100% cocoa bars before and have always been impressed by just how bad they taste. They always smell nice, but the flavour ends up being bizarrely rather confused, almost like soil. Apparently this bar from Montezumas is different, or so my brother said. Then he bought me a bar, so I felt obliged to give it a try.
The bar is called Montezuma’s Absolute Black and indeed the chocolate is very dark in colour, and the ingredients simply state 100% cocoa mass. Things to note is that there is no sugar in it, none at all. I like sugar…

I broke a piece of the chocolate off, and it had a hard snap. It took a bit of strength to break as it is quite a solid bar. The aroma was very rich and dark and indeed smelt very chocolatey. I gave it the taste test, expecting the worst and was pleasantly surprised. The bar has a thick melt for one without any added cream. The flavour tasted almost sweetened, it is far from being a sweet bar but there was a gentle soft edge to the dark bitter flavour. This made the bar surprisingly pleasant, rich dark but perfectly edible. Ideal if you are after a sugar free bar, and something a bit different. This is by far the nicest high cocoa bar I have eaten, and the flavour thoroughly impressed me. I had envisaged trying it and using the rest up grated, mixed with sugar to make hot chocolate, which is what I have done with every other high cocoa bar I’ve tried. I shall happily munch my way through the rest of this chocolate and simply enjoy its rich dark tones.

26 September 2016

Key Lime Pie (Marks and Spencers) By @Cinabar

We recently watched an episode of Dexter which was about trying to find the best Key Lime Pie, one worth dying for. Dexter is a macabre tv show, and I’m not sure the take-home message should have been a desire to eat Key Lime Pie, but that is where it left us. In the UK Key Lime Pie isn’t a popular dessert, and we had to compromise with a Key Lime Pie “flavour” pudding from Gu, which was fabulous by the way. This dessert fuelled our desire to try a proper Key Lime Pie. We then got news that a new restaurant was opening near us, the American style Hickory’s Smokehouse, and on its menu was a classical Key Lime Pie. Before we got a chance to try their Key Lime Pie the restaurant had a major fire (nobody was hurt thankfully) but it's going to be closed for a while.

We were back to square one, until I spotted this gorgeous looking Key Lime Pie in Marks and Spencers.
This pie still isn’t technically a pie, it is more like a cheesecake. There is a biscuit base, with a large layer of thick mousse on top. After some googling it does turn out that there are quite a few variations on what an actual Key Lime Pie is, and some do have biscuit bases while others have a pastry, some have meringue on top as well.
The taste of this Key Lime Pie, was outstanding. It had the perfect balance of flavours, there is loads of zesty lime flavour, balanced to perfection with the creamy topping. The mix of sweet, acidic and cream worked very well. The biscuit base added a nice wholesome flavour, and the whole dessert was just gorgeous. The sprinkle of lime rind on top added to the flavour as well as looking pretty.
Maybe it's not quite worth dying for, but it certainly is worth picking one up as a fabulous treat.

25 September 2016

Shreddies MAX Protein (@NLi10)

Protein is certainly the new buzz word in foods.  Not only is it being added to everything but it's being branded on things that naturally included protein before and then they are artificially adding more. Case in point - protein shreddies.

We are looking at the red flavour today. It basically has protein in it, but is this amount per 100g really considered high protein? 10g per portion doesn't seem like a body builders amount.

This doesn't stop the cereal from being worth it on it's own merits - it's basically clusters and Shreddies with a hint of Strawberry Milkshake NesQuik about it. It's genuinely nice and something that I'll eat in far less portions than the box suggests.

Personally - I'll stick to getting the amino acids my body requires from natural sources and leave the protein loading to those who buy muscle magazines. But if this is on special offer again I'll probably pick some up as my sugary weekend cereal.

24 September 2016

Original Schlenkerla Smokebeer (Beer) By @SpectreUK

This Schlenkerla Smokebeer or Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier was imported by Doncaster Brewery. Its brewery is situated in Bamberg in Bavaria, in Germany. Reading the label I found that this Smokebeer was first brewed in 1405 and then had to meet the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516, which I suspect made the beer so it didn’t kill you if you drank more then three.

This Smokebeer follows the ancient brewing technique of first malting barley and then it is kilned over a fire of beechwood logs. Pushing thoughts of smoked kippers out of my head I read on to find out that once the malted barley has been sufficiently smoked, the finest Bavarian hops are added and pure water used as the only ingredients to produce this dark, bottom fermented smoky beer.

On opening I found this beer had a bizarrely strong woody smoky smell to it. It just didn’t smell like beer at all, rather like someone had set fire to a sauna full of malted barley and hops. In fact I may go on to say that I’ve never smelt a beer so smoky before. The smoked kippers had popped back into my head on pouring this dark brown 5.1% volume beer. On first taste I can easily say I’ve never tasted a beer that tastes like this before either. It’s a revelation. You have to try it. It does kind of taste like someone set fire to a sauna full of malted barley and hops and put it out with a few buckets of water. This is what drained out, and it tastes really good! It’s strong, it’s smoky, it’s malty, it’s smoky, there’s bitterness from the hops, and it’s smoky. The smoke gets up your nose like someone set fire to your house and you’re drinking off the deluge from the fire guy’s hose (that didn’t sound right). It’s smoky. Did I mention it’s smoky? Wow! You have to try this. It shouldn’t be, but it’s really good. Those Germans know how to make beer… Prost!

23 September 2016

New Kit Kat Chunky - Cookie Dough (Londis) By @Cinabar

Kit Kat aren’t known for their adventure of new flavours in the UK market, have released this Kit Kat Cookie Dough Chunky. I was quite excited, looking everywhere for some sort of their usual caramel filling, but i could find none, this was all new!
The bar has the usual thick chocolate of the Kit Kat Chunky, the wafers and a layer of cookie dough style filling. It is a cream colour, and is quite thick inside the bar.

I gave the bar a bite and if I’m totally honest, couldn’t distinguish it from a regular Kit Kat Chunky. There was a vague hint of extra vanilla, a slight hint of extra sweetness, but gosh this was an anti-climax. If you like regular Kit Kat Chunky bars, you’l like this, i just doesn’t deviate much from those flavours.
There was potential here, but the Cookie Dough just doesn’t add much to the formula.
I guess Kit Kat are still playing it rather safe with this Cookie Dough edition, the differences in over all flavour between this and the original bar and minor unfortunately. At least a new caramel edition would have had some, well, caramel flavour. I can’t imagine a world where we get the Japanese edition Kit Kats mainstream here in the UK (think Wasabi Kit Kat, Sweet Potato Kit Kat etc) but I wouldn’t mind a hint of adventure - even if its just a new fruity flavour… but I look forward to the next safe edition, probably “wafer” flavour or some such.

22 September 2016

Lemon mojito green tea - happylemon Birmingham (@NLi10)

There are few things in life that I like more than sitting down. This experience is only enhanced by having some kind of tea, and something to look at. Happy Lemon in Birmingham has all of these, with the latter consisting of a steady stream of people looking curiously at the odd concoctions on offer. You have to wait a while to get a pic with no one in it.  Keen readers will know I've been here before and suspected I'd end up with a loyalty card (I did) and that I'd get enough points for a badge (I have but they ran out!!).

But waiting a while is a pleasurable activity with a tea.  Especially another new pick off the menu.

Look how crazy this looks! It's full name is Emerald green mojito and lemon tea  I think, but owning to the lots of translations it's name is different in different places - and like Subway you can order pretty much anything and get new teas every time.

At £4.20 for a large it's not the cheapest, but it is worth it to sit in the cool surroundings and to experience a fresh and new taste.

This one isn't too lemony or too strong on the tea and the mint carries it. If I'd had it hot and sweeter it'd be a much more Morroccan style drink, but as it stands it's refreshing and not too strong. I do hanker for the intense honey lemon tea, but I'm sticking to having a variety of taste sensations.

(Note: between writing this and sticking it up I went back for a honey lemon green tea - amazing)

21 September 2016

Firefly Kiwi, Lime & Mint (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

I picked up this Firefly Kiwi, Lime & Mint drink in the local supermarket, as it sounded interesting. I then realised upon reading the back of the bottle when arriving home that it is supposed to be in homage to the classic mojito. I haven’t heard of kiwi in mojitos before, hence my confusion. Usually white rum, lime, mint and soda, this drink has kiwi, lime and mint without the white rum. I’m kind of glad that this isn’t supposed to be exactly like a traditional alcoholic mojito, as I’ve never enjoyed one. I’ve tasted non-alcoholic mojitos that Cinabar has drunk and not liked those either, as they are usually pretty heavy on the lime and mint, which doesn’t suite me. I picked this up not thinking about mojitos at all until I read the back of the bottle and understandably avoided opening it for some time afterwards…

On opening the glass bottle there was a strong mojitoesque smell to it, without the rum spirit smell of course, but containing lime and mint with an aftershock of kiwi as the additional flavour. On taste the kiwi pulled my tastebuds away from the mojito dread of heavy lime and mint, taking the edge off those flavours a little. I think the other ingredients may have helped also, such as hints of apple, white grape, pineapple, and a dash of rosemary. In fact this drink tasted like a refreshing tropical mocktail mojito, pushing back the often-overpowering flavours and with a twist of kiwi, etc.... And a good twist at that!

20 September 2016

ToffeeCrisp Honeycomb Biscuits (Pound World) By @Cinabar

These new biscuits from Nestle are the latest in the chocolate bars to have a biscuit edition. They are not based on the regular ToffeeCrisp bars, they are specific to the Honeycomb edition, and sounded perfect for someone like me with a sweet-tooth. I was also pleased to see that each individually wrapped biscuit is just 99 calories, making them a nice afternoon sugar fix, without too much guilt.

The minute you open the wrapper there is a lovely aroma of rich toffee and chocolate that smells wonderful. I broke the bar in half to have a look, and could see all the different components. There is a layer of gooey caramel, underneath which are biscuits bits and honeycomb pieces. Like the aroma the flavour is a fab combination of chocolate, caramel and cinder toffee, and they are wonderfully sweet and indulgent. I loved the mix of textures, from the soft chocolate and caramel through the crunchy biscuits, and crispy piece of honeycomb.
These new biscuits are perfect to pop into a lunchbox as a treat. The flavours are rich, but the size of the biscuits are small, and that seems to balance them out as well as keeping the calories down. They are a few bites of sugary indulgence, enjoyable without too much guilt.

19 September 2016

New Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino (Starbucks) By @Cinabar

It's a strange drink that combines the flavours of autumn with the temperature of summer, but here we have the Pumpkin Spice Frappuccino new on the menu at Starbucks. As it turns out having an unseasonably warm September means this ice blended drink really does hit the spot right now.
I ordered one on a warm afternoon, and the drink arrived topped with whipped cream, and dusted with a mix of cinnamon and spices. I had some chocolate coated marshmallows on the side, as an extra treat.
I had a sip of the spiced drink and enjoyed it. The flavour was very well balanced, it was sweet, but the coffee and spices went well together. There was plenty of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. The flavour was somewhere between hot cross buns and spiced gingerbread. As a cinnamon fan, this drink was lovely, like having a cinnamon and spices milkshake, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
My only issue is as the nights draw in and the weather cools, I think I’ll be switching to this drinks big brother, the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. Something hot to keep me warm over the autumn.

18 September 2016

Presto! by @PennJillette the non diet book about weight loss, food and health (@NLi10)


The phrase itself is well understood by anyone who has seen a magician either live or on TV. It's the word that simply suggests that the magic is over, and the effect is done.  Like magic, this one simple phrase doesn't really convey the baffling amount of work that's gone on behind the scenes.

I guess this is part 4 of the series of these odd health review articles - starting with Fuhrman, finishing with Fuhrman, Exploring Cronise and now, after a year, getting my hands on the Penn Jillette book.

In short, if you are an overweight guy with a fun sense of humour then get this book and apply as much of it's wisdom as you can.  It could save your life.  If you know someone fitting that description then it's a pretty good recommendation or present because you aren't buying a diet book, you are buying some stories - which happen to also coincide with the time Penn saved his life by eating better.

You don't really have to read all my short reviews to appreciate what we have here, but it's worth me taking a second to summarise.  I've never been overweight - ever - but since birth have always been a little underweight.  I always thought I ate healthily (except maybe at uni) but rarely made it over 10 stone.  I'm also 6' 4" so that's a lot of frame for not much weight.  I discovered I had a chronic respiratory condition that predominantly effects obese people and had a look around for diet improvements.  Then I found out Penn lost 100lb and figured that he'd be using cutting edge science with a hint of crazy and that I too could use this to help me.  I discovered a second chronic illness (got to catch em all - right?) which is chronicled in this huge article, and moped about for a few months on painkillers.

I'd tried to keep the knowledge I'd learnt from Fuhrman et al in mind and managed to put on a stone - in fact I'm now the heaviest I've ever been at just over 11st.  I'm officially no longer underweight - but am I healthy.

The Presto! book details Penn's crazy journey from Sick Penn to Well Penn, and the friends he made and shrank along the way.  It's told in his usual style, with great anecdotes and just enough facts to hang the evidence on along the way.  I'd not recommend it to my easily shocked relatives (they will have to stick to the Fuhrman books), but I have recommended it to my large gamer buddies.  Essentially it's about understanding health and exploring the relationship that we as society have with food.

Like the scene in recent Indy film Captain Fantastic where the children raised in the woods are all confused by the fact that seemingly everyone is overweight I find myself on the opposite end of the spectrum.  Not only is it a difficult task to stop my body just shedding weight, but it's also hard for me to gain weight through exercise due to my arthritis.

Penn has a short note which covers this.

If you think about this from an overweight perspective it's a cautionary tale, but from my perspective this is sound advice.  As long as I'm eating my fatty foods off the Fuhrman list - nuts and avocados are a joy - then if I can manage pain free exercise I'll continue to gain weight.

This is what lunch looks like now:

Or this, when they don't have the veg:

While I'm not going to go full potato fast like Penn (I really, really don't want to lose any body fat without turning it into useful muscle) I am trying to get back to the core principles of the book of dumping the S.O.S. of salt, oil and sugar.  The science seems to suggest that for overweight people the abundance of these three things mean that the body is always storing energy for that metabolic winter that never comes.  For me, never giving my body food that doesn't carry it's weight in terms of nutrition has had some bonuses.

Firstly - after a year - I came off the pain killers.  It wasn't great at first, but your body naturally readjusts.  I've been swimming for the first time without just painfully sinking today, and while I took some Ibuprofen afterwards just to make sure I can write today and work tomorrow it's a fraction of what I'd have taken previously just to get out of bed.  Like Penn, I'm not saying this is all diet related, but it coincided with going back on the Fuhrman style plan. And I'm still on two tablets a day, but that's not 10 tablets a day, and none of them are painkillers.  

Before reading Penn's book I'd not truly grasped the "rare and appropriate" part of the Cronise diet (whose book by the way is still in production).  I'd assumed that my rare and appropriate was a single thing every two weeks and realising that this wasn't possible when writing two reviews a week had kind of abandoned it heavily.  In the book Penn details Romanesque feats of eating where every meal on a single day was off plan (usually due to a special occasion) and how it wasn't even something that caused his weight to soar.  Turns out eating healthily in general and having a one day feast didn't really do that much to your body, unlike having a little bit of bad food every day which it turns out is killing a lot of people.

I'm going to continue to explore the fringes of this way of eating, while slotting in the reviews, but I do think that maybe having one day a fortnight that I eat all the snacks and write them up would be possible and maybe even make me write more quality reviews.

Eitherway, this book is a good read - I bought it a month ago, read it in a weekend and have been digesting and evangelising it ever since.  While I don't think I'll go into the exercise books and routines on here I'll probably start taking that side a bit more seriously and see where it takes me and update you all when Ray Cronise's book Our Broken Plate is finally released.

Penn's journey is a fascinating and at some times unbelievable one.  Having listened to a lot of the podcasts that happened after Penn came out as a CroNut I knew the story arc, but I'd really not appreciated the emotional details and just how many similarities there were between how bad we were feeling.  My family now own TWO Withings Smart Scales and most of us have some kind of activity tracker to keep an eye on our vital statistics (for us it's more O2 levels than steps!).  It's given my own healthy eating a much needed kick, and I've even started a little secret peer group chat with some friends (some under and some over) heading towards that mythical BMI of 22 that has eluded us all for so long.

17 September 2016

Blind Pig Cider (Cosford Food Show) By @SpectreUK

I picked up this Blind Pig Whisky, Honey and Apple Premium Flavoured Cider at the Cosford Food Show a few weeks back. Produced in Belgium, I first thought that the name Blind Pig came from a pig that became blind drunk on drinking a few of these ciders down on the cider apple farm. Although apparently the underground Speakeasies in 1920s prohibition America were called Blind Pigs, which in turn inspired this flavoured cider instead. I prefer the drunken bacon sandwich wannabe though…

On opening, this sparkling flavoured cider had a predominantly sour cider apple aroma to it (try saying that sentence after a few of these 4% volume treats), which was not what I was expecting. I had expected more of a hit from the whisky than I received, and also more sweetness from the honey in the smell. However on taste the whisky was present straight away merging well with the sour cider apple and with a honey sweetness to finish off the flavour. I found this a perfect warmer on a damp late summer’s evening and it would be great in the autumn and winter too to help keep out the cold. Also available in the range are Rum and Poached Pear, and also Bourbon and Blueberry flavoured ciders. I am rather glad I picked the bottle I did though, as I’m not keen on blueberries, and rum may really overpower the cider and pear. They may be for another time though. I would be interested as to where I could locate more of these Blind Pig Whisky, Honey and Apple ciders though…?

16 September 2016

Walkers Cheese Toastie & Worcestershire Sauce Crisps (Boots) By @Cinabar

We are still working our way through the new Walkers crisps flavours, all inspired by a branded sauce. Today we are testing out the Walkers Cheese and Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce variety of crisps. I have to put in a disclaimer here that in my opinion cheese on toast with Worcestershire sauce is one of the greatest snacks of all times. I had high expectations for these crisps.
I opened up the bag and the cheese aroma seemed rather pleasant. I tucked in and found the crisps to be nice, but not the wow flavour I’d been hoping for.
The Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce part of the flavour was the star, it had its spicy but slightly sour edge and it left a warm spice in the back of the mouth. I liked this tangy taste, and felt it was a good representation of the sauce flavour in crisp form. The cheese was where it let me down, I found the taste of the cheese to be too musty, it didn’t quite represent that creamy flavour you get from melting cheese.
I’d happily have these crisps again, but I felt they could have been the best out of the bunch if the cheese flavour had been a bit softer. I guess they are nearly a winner, and the Worcestershire keeps them in the game.

15 September 2016

Jus Cool - Basil Seed drink with Pomegranate (@NLi10)

Here we have another one of those odd basil drinks. This time it's a pomegranate theme but it really just tastes of red.

Look how the basil floats menacingly in the red goo.  oddly though while the texture is what you would expect, the flavour is quite mild and pleasant and it went down really well. Maybe I'm just becoming immune to these crazy tastes.

14 September 2016

Sild in Tomato Sauce (Sainsbury’s Local) By @SpectreUK

I hadn’t heard of Sild in Tomato Sauce until I picked up a tin of it by John West in the local supermarket. Typing up this review I don’t feel particularly foolish anymore, because my spell checker hadn’t heard of Sild either! If the word wasn’t on the can, I’d be freaking out a little by now… although I am still freaking out! How can I have not of heard of a tinned fish? Okay so there’s tinned Sardines, Pilchards, Eel, Tuna, Salmon, Anchovies, Mackerel, Kippers and lots of others I can’t think of right now, but I’m bound to have tasted them at some point. Sild? Looking it up and I clearly have no idea about fish. Sild is a young Herring, usually processed as Sardines, but called Sild if they are canned in Scandinavia… It’s wondrous what you can pick up and forget soon afterwards on the Internet.
Anyway, on opening the tin there was quite a battle not to get covered with fishy tomato sauce. I have to admit I failed embarrassing and had a slurpy unattractive bath in the red fishy fluid oozing out of the tin. I managed to flick a certain amount of it in various directions on finally peeling off the lid. I’d recommend you open a tin of this in the kitchen sink with an apron on if you value your clothes (or open it naked if that suits you) or you could open it outside (and not naked unless picnicking in a naturist area) and don’t open it too close to Seagulls. The fish had a usual fantastic melt in the mouth John West Sardines in tomato sauce type flavour, not salty, not sweet, but a little oily and having a rich tomato sauce with it. Again be careful whilst eating the Sild. Picking up bits of fish from the tin and on the way to my mouth it was occasionally falling to bits and splashing me with more oily tomato fishy sauce. This is not an attractive meal. Eat carefully, with the plate or tin close to your mouth (or eat naked if it suits you or you’re in a natur… oh, you get the idea!).

Information on the tin;

110g tin, with 198 calories per 100g, with 15.3g of fat, 1.9g of sugar, and 1.2g of salt. Ingredients included; Sild, concentrated tomato puree, water, sunflower oil, sugar, salt, waxy maize starch, and spirit vinegar.

13 September 2016

Cadbury Freddo Drinking Chocolate (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

Under the Morrisons website section for newly listed products was this Cadbury Freddo Drinking Chocolate. I popped a tub on my order as it sounded soothing for Autumn, and right after that the September heat wave kicked in, no need to thank me.
Anyway it arrived and I opened the tub and made hot chocolate despite the unseasonal warm weather. First thing to note was that I had naively been expecting mini Freddo chocolates in the tub, mixed in with the powder. There were none. I was really struggling to find the connection between the product and the Freddo reference on the front.

There was nothing Freddo-ish about the drink, no chocolate frogs at all and I felt like I was completely missing something. Freddo chocolate frogs are just Dairy Milk chocolate, and that means that this is just a dairy milk hot chocolate, and the last step in this reasoning is that its just regular Cadbury's drinking chocolate repackaged with a chocolate frog on the front. I have to admit to feeling a bit let down, I’d bought a tub of Cadbury drinking chocolate because of the packaging.
In terms of the drink itself I made a mug of hot milk and added the prescribed one heaped teaspoon. It mixed in surprisingly easily, and after a few stirs it was thoroughly dissolved. I tasted the drink and found I had a mug of milk with a hint of chocolate. So I went back to the tub and added in another heaped teaspoon because my taste buds felt it was needed. Then I had a drink I rather liked, it was sweet and chocolatey and rather soothing. So it's a nice drink because it is a Cadbury cocoa based drink, the relevance to it being a Freddo edition was lost on me. Do I need to buy a frog shaped mug or something?

12 September 2016

Aunt Bessie’s Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

I recently reviewed the new Jam Roly Poly and Custard ice cream from Aunt Bessie’s, and it was fantastic stuff. It was a fab twist on a classic raspberry ripple. There are three new flavours of ice cream from Aunt Bessie’s in total which I’m going to work through, but next up I bought a tub of the new Lemon Meringue Pie Ice Cream. This leaves only the Rhubarb and Custard for another time.
The Lemon Meringue Pie ice cream does have a fair amount of lemon sauce on top, but this clear sauce doesn’t show up too well in the photograph.

We scooped some ice cream into pots and gave it the taste test. I think the first thing to note is that unless you get some of the lemon sauce the ice cream flavour isn’t too strong. The bits with the sauce are wonderfully zingy, and I was craving more of it. The meringue pieces and biscuit bits are soft and sweet, and added to the texture. The problem is an actual lemon meringue pie is full of citrus, and I was expecting a serious lemon blast to my taste buds and what I got was a gentle slightly acidic flavour. While none of this was unpleasant, in fact I’d go as far as nice, it just didn’t feel like it was representing a Lemon Meringue Pie. I think that the fact that I’d rated the other Aunt Bessie ice cream so highly, meant that I had a certain expectation for this ice cream.
In conclusion, the Aunt Bessie’s Jam Roly Poly ice cream knocks the socks off the Lemon Meringue variety, so just I did the only thing reasonable; I’ve added the Rhubarb flavour Aunt Bessie’s Ice cream to my next grocery order.

11 September 2016

Arabian Pulled Lamb Pizza - Papa Johns (@NLi10)

Papa John has continued to be good to us recently. They offered us the opportunity to try their Arabian Pulled Lamb pizza on its launch week for free. Naturally after realising that we need larger portions for a party we ordered two extra pizza which gives us enough for 5 people, or in this case 4 with lunch the following day for two of us.

I invited round my sister who is a massive fan of lamb, and her partner for a few games of cards with myself and my veggie partner.

While I remember Papa Johns wanted us to tell you about the special offer for customers who want to try this pizza, with a small pizza for just £5 (with any order above £10.99 that includes a pizza).  

Actually this works out fine as you all get a slice of the new pizza alongside what you already ordered. Personally I'll never do this, and you probably shouldn't either, but I have my reasons...

First up we have the Garden Party - a good, solid veggie pizza that was mostly for my partner.  She enjoyed it.

Next up we have a split pizza of Supreme Peperoni/All The Meats. The thinking behind this was to hark back to our last review and have half the pizza with the reduced fat cheese option, and the other half with the regular cheese option. Unfortunately I couldn't see how to do this online and didn't want to try to explain this requirement over the phone. I thought it would be a fun mini review within the review (reviewception?) but alas, I had to settle for the two meaty options instead.  If Papa Johns made the options for the cheese a bit more obvious in the splits then it would have been good to try.  
We didn't really discuss the relative merits here as the All The Meats half vanished almost instantly, more flavour and variety is clearly better. 

And so to the main event.

The pizza had the traditional Papa Johns smell, but there were definite extra flavours here that were new. I'd not really anticipated the chillies on here, but wasn't phased and took two decent sized slices as my first portion.

The lamb looks good, and there is a decent coverage of ingredients. Essentially it tastes like a kebab with chillies on it, and a good quality one at that. I live in a very diverse area and can get Morrocan and Arabian kebabs within walking distance, and this is closer to the spicy Arabian target than I expected. The chillies are also really sweet and spicy and are what make this pizza work so well. All The Meats is one of my favourite deliver pizzas, this is better.  My sister's partner agreed, he liked the heat and the flavour and agreed that it was very much something new that he'd not tried on a pizza.

My sister is a big fan of lamb. When we shared this house she'd frequently fill it with the smell of slowly cooking lamb. This is not something I enjoyed, and my veggie partner had to leave on one occasion as the smell was so bad. (Side note: our veggie companion said this pizza actually smelt ok so it passes that test to!).  We took the chillies off because my sister isn't a fan of spicy, but even then there were some bites she found too intense. She also thought the lamb was a little tasteless and suggested that a minty lamb version would have been much more up her street.

She was a big thumbs down. We were a big thumbs up!

Overall the opinion of the pizzas was positive, especially of the Arabian Pulled Lamb. While Papa Johns special offer is very generous I'd personally ignore it. If you like spicy pizzas then just order the whole thing right away - and use one of the other special offers to get it cheap, if you don't like spicy pizzas then you probably aren't going to get the best out of it and the offer isn't for you.

We will certainly be ordering this again, and while it really isn't for veggies (and you have to be able to tolerate the heat) it is one of the most interesting pizzas I've had in years and worth a special order just to try.

10 September 2016

Savour Saison (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

This Saison pale ale was brewed in mind for the farm workers around Windsor during the Summer Harvest. Traditionally Saison is brewed in Belgium earlier in the year to be drunk in the summertime. Savour Beer, in Windsor, brewed this 5% volume golden ale, using World hops and lemongrass was also added in the brewing. This gave the beer a very zesty citrus smell on opening. On taste this Saison had an initial crisp and citrusy bitterness from the hops and additional lemongrass giving it an extra kick, with the malts firmly in the background like a solid foundation watching the hops bounce cheerfully around my tastebuds. I found this a very satisfying and refreshing drink on a lazy, hot and damp Saturday afternoon. Can see why the farmers like it for a break from their toils.

9 September 2016

New Mint Oreo (Waitrose) [By @Cinabar]

In the world of snacking one thing that always excites me is a new flavour of Oreo biscuits. So when hearing about the new UK Mint flavour I was immediately on the lookout! I don’t even want to tell you how much I’ve spent on interesting Oreo flavours in import shops, but I accept I may have a problem! :-D These fine Oreos were found in Waitrose, who are really quite good at stocking new biscuits. They were also on offer so we picked up a couple of packs (ok technically a couple of couple of packs...).
The "stuff" inside these Oreos is a pale green colour, and thankfully not too garishly bright, which it looked like it might be from the packet. I gave one a taste test and new that stocking up was a good idea! The biscuit flavour is the same as any of the dark Oreos, with its rich chocolate flavour and crunch. The mint filling was sweet and had a good balance of peppermint, enough to be cooling and refreshing but not enough to over power the base biscuit taste. I thought these were very well balanced, giving the best of the classic chocolate and mint combination. The cooling mint contrasts nicely with the dark chocolate biscuit flavour. As fan of mint and chocolate these were a winner for me, and I hope they stay on UK shelves for the foreseeable future.

8 September 2016

GNAW - Lemon Meringue (@NLi10) from @OxfamHarborne

I love white chocolate with a lemon flavour, so when I was gifted this via an Oxfam shop visit to Harborne I was overjoyed.

It's FairTrade, and made with actual cocoa and lemon - which is shockingly rare for the non chocolate flavoured chocolates!

The taste is great too - that lovely sweet and sour mix that reminds me of childhood Christmas chocolates and more recently lemon pancakes.

The packaging is surprisingly inventive too, from the bite marks to the dividing lines that encourage you to work your way through the packet.

The meringue on top is quality too, rounding off a nice choc bar that is both suitable for gifting and sharing as well as repeat buys for selfish snacking. Hooray!!