31 October 2016

Chocolate Halloween Novelties (Superdrug) By @Cinabar

Happy Halloween!!!

For today’s post we are having a look at the seasonal chocolate novelties available this year.

The MilkyBar Ghost was Spectre’s favourite, as you’d expect! He is also a big white chocolate fan, so this was right up his street. It is just a hollow ghost, but as it MilkyBar the white chocolate its sweet and tasty, and soon disappeared - as any ghost should.

The Pumpkin rattles looks like it should be filled with Smarties, but in reality the contents were mini-Smarties, and then there were only seven of them! It is quick to eat, but the milk chocolate is nice and Smarties were fun to munch on.

Finally I thought I had picked up a Cadbury’s Screme Egg, but in fact it is a Cadbury Ghooost Egg. This is a new one on me, but instead of yellow yolk, or indeed the green Screme Egg yolk, for this one the yolk has disappeared, and there is just the white fondant! Maybe they ran out of yolk fondant, and somebody had a brilliant idea! :-D

Which of these would you most like to find in your Trick Or Treat bag?

30 October 2016

Halloween Eve Bargains! (Hotel Chocolate and Selfridges) @NLi10

Everyone is familiar with post Christmas bargains, but this year I happened to notice that the Halloween chocolate
Was half price in selfridges - on Oct 30th! Result!

Our haul included a shortbread bat

And almost included this giant Hotel Choc box

Look at it's glory! But alas this wasn't in the sale yet and was £12.50 

Boo indeed.  So we went with some of their smaller offerings and shared the love with other brands.

This Selfridges style box was £2.75 - that I can cope with. The Chocolates were John Lewis Chocolates so probably widely available. The centres were
Soft and praline or gooey and very satisfying. Maybe a notch below gift territory but certainly good for sharing at a Halloween party.

These were pretty cheap too! Although in hindsight probably slightly more than the box of 9. These are definitely present grade - luxury chocolate and packaging. 

I didn't expect to find pre-Trick Or Treat bargains so it's worth a last minute look ahead of tomorrow night.

29 October 2016

Bloody ‘ell Beer (@BeavertownBeer @Warwick_Realale) By @SpectreUK

It’s an exciting scary time of year when all Bloody ‘ell breaks loose on Halloween night! What better than Beavertown’s Bloody ‘ell Blood Orange IPA to wash down all the mayhem? Brewed with blood oranges this beer has a different take than pumpkin beer for Halloween, although it has a hollowed out blood orange skull on the front of the 330ml can that reminded me of a butchered pumpkin.

At 7.2% volume this beer seemed to be almost bursting out of the orange can like blood orange beer hands reached for my throat! I couldn’t contain myself anymore. I had to do it. I had to open the can. Reminiscent of those fools in horror films that wonder down into the dark cellar with a dodgy torch, the curiosity was itching at my fingers. I couldn’t help but turn off the light in the kitchen to add to the spooky effect. As I reached for the cold can from the fridge the torch batteries packed in on me…

Opening the fridge I felt like some freakish secret Blood Orange beer drinker! The fridge light flicked on, but the can wasn’t there. “It’s behind you!” Cinabar cackled, for some reason dressed in a witch’s outfit pointing with the fuzzy end of her broom. I span around on one heel staring at the can, the can staring back. The fridge light got bored and flicking off. The can attacked! I wrestled it back to the work surface as it fought like the hound from hell.

Opening the can the blood orange beer screamed a ghastly cry of freedom. It was the sound of a soulless cry from the depths of hell itself. Okay, so it might of sounded like a normal can opening, but bear with me… Citrus and hops blasted my nostrils as I struggled to hold onto the angry writhing cold hard orange can in my grasp. The golden IPA brayed like twelve ghostly horses flowing into my beer glass with a generous head that would make any headless ghost in a rundown manor house jealous. The taste of blood orange and bitter citrus hops assaulted my tastebuds merging with the pale malt of sweetness of caramel. Mmm… glorious! Then the doorbell chimed and the lights flicked on. “Bloody ’ell, Trick or Treaters to nick all my chocolates!”

28 October 2016

Doughnut Zombies (Krispy Kreme) By @Cinabar

Specially for Halloween Krispy Kreme has let loose the Curse of the Doughnut Zombies. There are two new zombie doughnuts in the range, a purple faced one and a green one. They are neatly decorated, with Halloween faces. The green one in particular has an air of Frankenstein about him.
To help destroy the curse, the only logical thing to do is to eat the perpetrators. I thought I’d start with purple, as thats my favourite colour…

Krispy Kreme Purple Doughnut Zombie
This doughnut has a lovely aroma of blackcurrant, and when you bite in you find the flavour is fairly strong, but all in the icing. The icing is sharp and sweet, and goes nicely with the sweet soft chocolate filling.

Krispy Kreme Green Doughnut Zombie
This fine green doughnut is the Lime one in the range. As with the previous doughnut the flavour is all in the icing, it's a soft flavour and the sweetness makes the fruit seem mild. The filling is again chocolate and as chocolate lime is a bit of a classic, this works really well.

Get them while you can, they are only available up until Halloween, after which they will spookishly disappear.

27 October 2016

The Food Doctor - Savoury Roasted Soya (@NLi10)

It's trick or treat season, and there is nothing scarier to small children than having gone to all that effort to dress up than being given a healthy snack!

Here is one such thing that we have cracked open today in our office. The Food Doctor do a range of healthy alternatives and this one was one I've had sitting around for ages, but never been brave enough to try.  Here we have savoury roasted soya, savoury as it was a little soy sauce on it, which does make it a lot more appealing.

They are a low carb snack and will help you eat better forever, which sounds like something a vampire might say. These are naturally suitable for vegans and veggies alike.

They look pretty appealing and have the look of beans and the casings are mostly still in place for that much needed fibre for nutrition.  I have no doubt that these are great for us, but what do they taste like?

While one of my office tasting squad suggested they were a bit papery, I found them quite satisfying but very very dry. I'd not recommend sneaking these in to your cinema for snacking without sneaking in a decent drink too. I'm pretty sure some of the whilefood places sell these coated in chocolate which I think would work better, but the flavour is good enough that I did keep eating more and probably exceeded the 7th of a bag portion suggestion. Like pretzels then, but a lot better for you, and probably only likely to cause fear if you are really hungry but only have these to eat and no way to get a drink. And if that shows up in your horror movie you know that the Saw films have run out of ideas...

26 October 2016

Rowntrees Randoms Spooky Mix (Morrisons) By @SpectreUK

I can’t help but think of Michael Jackson’s Thriller at this time of year, and the opening monologue by Vincent Price. And what better time than Halloween to think of the dance master himself and probably one of the coolest and spookiest music videos of all time? Tenuously linked I know, but there is a bit of randomness about that video, one minute out on a moonlit stroll with a pretty girl, the next a dancing zombiethon!

Made with fruit concentrate these seasonal Rowntrees Randoms Spooky Mix reminded more than a little of the video. These gummies come in many spooky shapes and five colours. The white shapes taste predominantly of sweet apple. The green shapes taste of slightly sour lime. The orange shapes unsurprisingly taste of sweet orange. The red shapes taste of a mild raspberry, and the purple shapes taste of sweet blackcurrant. All shapes and colours were very gummy, very juicy, very tasty, if not entirely terrifying!

To quote Vincent Price and to add a little Randomness;

“Darkness falls across the land,

The midnight hour is close at hand,

Creatures crawl in search of gummies,

From zombies, ghosts, and Egyptian Mummies,

For no mere mortal can resist,

A Spooky Mix of Rowntrees Randoms!”

Information on the packet;

The 150g packet suggests 7 gummy sweets per serving, which has 97 calories, a trace of fat, 17.9g of sugar, and 0.01g of salt. See photograph for ingredients.

25 October 2016

Gingerbread Mummies (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

This Halloween Morrison has brought out this rather cute box of seasonal treats. I dare say they are not supposed to be quite so cute, but they just kept making me smile. We have Gingerbread Mummies in a card board coffin. The gingerbread men aren't too big and there are six in the box (coffin). They are very smartly decorated, with eyes peeping out of thick icing bandages.
Clearly the only thing to do was to bite off the head of one of the mummies… I soon realised that there was more to just ginger in these Gingerbread Mummies. They had a surprisingly complex flavour and fabulous hints of cinnamon and spices came through. The balances of spices was spot on. Dare I say they taste a little Christmassy, which is no bad thing, just delicious and sweet and spicy. The texture was good too, they managed to combine a soft gingerbread, with juts enough crunch. The Mummies are quite thick, so this worked better than a hard biscuit all the way through.
I thought these biscuits were perfectly themed, and do make a fab Halloween snack. They would be perfect for sharing while watching a Halloween movie, or just to make friends smile over coffee, I think I might take some into work to share. They are however far too good to give out to random Trick or Treaters! Sorry guys, these are too tasty to give away!

24 October 2016

Petrifying Pumpkins (Marks & Spencers) By @Cinabar

We had a browse in Marks and Spencer for some Halloween treats and managed to find this huge bag of sharing crisps, with a pumpkin theme. The crisps aren’t actually pumpkin flavoured, they are just cheesy, but the packaging is bright orange and the crisps are shaped like little Petrifying Pumpkins!

We poured some out into a bowl and the first thing to notice is that there are loads of them. It is a very generous portion of pumpkin crisps, the bowl was full and there were still loads more in the bag! The shaping of them is quite good, they are hollow wavy circles, which do look like pumpkins, a bit at least. The colour of the seasoning helps with its orange tinge.
Flavour wise these are very easy to eat. The taste might not be Halloween related, which is a bit disappointing, but they still tasted really good. Come to think of it, what flavour of crisps would work for Halloween? Salted pumpkin, ghost chilli or blood orange (ok, I was struggling).
Anyway the flavour of these Petrifying Pumpkins crisps is a very light and easy going cheese, they are not too musty at all. There is nice bit of salt, that give them the moreish edge. The texture is good too, they are light and crunchy, and very pleasing to munch on. For me they didn’t beat good old Wotsits, as they were quite mild, but I thoroughly enjoyed eating them. Perfect for sharing with a good old spooky movie, particularly as there is plenty to go around.
PS I’ve got it; Vampire warding Garlic flavour crisps!

23 October 2016

Soup of the Day - @BM_AG - Winter Warming Spiced Pumpkin & Sweet Potato (@NLi10)

Museums can be spooky places, so technically I can do a halloween reviews there right?

Especially if they serve up pumpkin on the menu!

As we tend to do when in Birmingham at the weekend we ducked into Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery's Edwardian Tearoom to see what we had on offer.  Here we see the Soup Of The Day is Spiced Pumpkin & Sweet Potato, both things that I love AND packed with nutrition AND a lot warmer than the streets of Birmingham in October.  You also get two little chunks of bread, which initially seemed quite skimpy, but turned out to be spot on.

Here is a case full of scary monkeys - this looks like Tim Burton's toy chest.

And here is the soup!  It's pretty thick and clearly actually contains all the things that you'd expect (Pumpkin, Sweet Potato, and spiciness) and really really good.  It was warm and filling and hit all the right spots.

The breads were also really posh, full of bits of spice and tomato and all kinds of wonderful things.  It tasted like it was freshly made and was probably the highlight of the whole meal.

In combination they were exactly what we needed and set us up for the remainder of the shopping and the bus ride home.

And as long as you can escape from the clutches of Lucifer in the Round Room on the way out then it's well worth a trip away from the shops and into the warmth.

22 October 2016

Brewdog Pumpkin King Beer (Morrisons) By @SpectreUK

It’s only polite to take along a bottle with you when you’re on the way to a spooky Halloween party. This cheeky monkey decided to dress up as a pumpkin and take along a bottle of pumpkin flavoured ale courtesy of Brewdog. The bottle suggests listening to the Monster Mash really loud while you drink it, but us humans were not allowed in. I managed to catch the little fellow on his way into the party before the burly many toothed bouncers could grab me. On opening the 330ml bottle I could smell the spices from the pumpkin and zesty hops, as well as the sweet smell of caramel malt. At 5.5% volume this golden brown ale is a taste explosion and not for the faint hearted. Crank up the music and flashing multi-coloured lights as the monster party really starts to kick. Sadly for me, Pumpkin Monkey doesn’t like to share much so I managed to get a quick whiff and a couple of sips before he disappeared into the crowd of tentacles, multi-coloured furry things and far too many eyes! The beer itself has an immediate heavy spiciness from the pumpkin mixed in well with the bitterness and zesty flavours from the hops. There is citrus here by the bucket load, dancing around my pallet with the pumpkin spice, sweetness from the caramel malt and a dash of pale, like a cacophonic crazy party of unusual flavours. This beer is one for celebrating, even if it’s on your own or with friends in front of a scary movie!

21 October 2016

Cadbury Screme Egg Pots of Joy (Waitrose) By @Cinabar

It is actually really fun to have a new dessert that is Halloween themed, and these Cadbury Screme Egg Pots of Joy just looked fab. They are based on the Screme Egg, which is the seasonal version of the Cadbury Creme Egg, but has a green goo coloured centre instead of the usual yolk. This dessert is actually the same, there is already a regular Cadbury Creme Egg Pots of Joy dessert, and this is the same except the yellow yolk layer has been replaced by a green goo coloured layer. The flavour isn’t changed either, the dessert still has the nice mix of chocolate and fondant taste. I guess this is an easy win for Cadbury, just changing a bit of the colour, and giving it a nice seasonal twist. I liked that the dessert did have a good sweet fondant taste, and did go some way to properly replicating the Screme Egg flavour.

I thought the packaging was very bright, and perfect for Halloween. Green is very much the in colour here. I am always weirdly wary of green colourings in food, but this was an okay tone as it wasn’t too bright for me. I’m okay if the food is green flavoured, i.e. lime sweet being green is fine, but just green always feels a bit weird. Guess everyone has their quirks!
Pretty much all the desserts had a best before of 2nd November, so get them while you can!

20 October 2016

Lloyd Grossman - Mascarpone Pancetta & Oak Smoked Garlic (@NLi10)

On the evening I made glitter jelly, I also made my dinner with the kettle too.  Here Lloyd Grossman has brought out a sauce that is on the surface a carbonara - only as he is a chef he understands that it isn't. You see carbonara doesn't have cheese in the sauce, it has cheese on top if you like, but it's all about cracked black pepper and cream. Cheese sauces with pig in them can be quite nice too so it's good to see this variety.

It also has Garlic in it which is great. And to make it you boil water, cook pasta, heat the sauce, then stir the pasta in. Easy!

Naturally we are having gourmet pasta.

And I even timed the pasta so that I got it the right texture.

The sauce was heated as directed, not too fast so it didnt burn.

And the two were expertly combined. pretend i had vegetables instead of eating both portions.

and the flavour was good, strong but not overpowering, and not too salty. And as directed on the package i sprinkled cracked black pepper all over the top. perfect quick and easy psta sauce, something ill have again.

19 October 2016

Soreen Scream Chocolate & Blood Orange (Morrisons) By @SpectreUK

Something scary was going on in my lunchbox today. I was almost frightened to death on opening my overly large Tupperware box. I’m sure I heard some distant thunder as the usual downpour of rain lashed the window nearby. These new Soreen Scream Chocolate and Blood Orange mini loaves are a spooky festive edition with a vampiric theme.

They are rammed full of chocolate chips running through the mini loaves and a fangtastic blood orange flavouring. On tearing open the packet with my specially sharpened teeth I found the chocolate chips went very well with the blood orange flavour. This left a chocolaty orange flavour in my mouth as an aftertaste. The first mini loaf went down very easily in a couple of tasty bites and was washed down with a good cup not-very-scary afternoon tea. There are five individually wrapped mini loaves in a pack for things that go bump in the middle of the day.

Information on the packet;

Each 30g bar has 104 calories, 2.4g of fat, 7.6g of sugar and 0.2g of salt. See photograph for ingredients.

18 October 2016

Mr Kipling Toffee Terror Whirls (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

I’m not sure that toffee is something that causes terror, or even makes the spine tingle. Still, I can appreciate a limited edition Halloween product, even if the flavour tie in sounds a bit loose. I like toffee, so I’ll let it go. It does actually make a change from the lemon and (s)lime which seems to be popular again this year.

These biscuits are like Viennese Whirls but they have a cream and toffee filling inside. There are six in the pack, and they come dusted with icing sugar. The biscuits look visually like the regular whirls, except where the dollop of toffee sauce peeps through. I was sort of hoping for something a little bit more seasonal to be imprinted on the biscuits, but they the just have the regular swirl.
The biscuits do taste good though.Their soft texture is crumbly and pleasant, and the tones of toffee are sweet and satisfying. The flavour isn’t too strong and the buttery taste of the biscuit still shines through.
These are tasty biscuits, with a good toffee filling. The theming for them may be a little weak, but they are still a very enjoyable treat. Next year Mr Kipling how about Pumpkin Spice Whirls?

17 October 2016

McCoys Chips - Chip Shop Salt and Vinegar Crisps (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

When I'm looking round the supermarket trying to decided what to review I obviously search out all the new products, but some of them I don't even pick up. I usually ignore the products that say new but don’t look interesting, and I almost put these crisps into that category. I thought they were just a rehash of regular McCoys Salt and Vinegar which I've had a million times, but oh my word I'm glad curiosity got the better of me. One quick smell from the newly opened sharing bag and I knew that these were something special, the aroma was full on and oh so appetising.

The crisps are surprisingly different to look at. The shape of them is long and thin so they are actually chip shaped, but they are still ridged. The texture is fantastic, they feel quite aerated, and fluffy in a crunchy kind of way. I liked this thick but light texture. The flavour is stunning too and the ridges on the crisps intensify it by letting all the flavours granules accumulate in them. Now the flavour, this is where these new crisps hit the mark. The flavour of salt and vinegar is strong, its like a bag of fish shop chips that has been heavily overloaded with too much seasoning. You have to like salt and vinegar to go for these, but if you do the flavour is out of this world. The strong acidic vinegar taste intermingling with the heavy salt left for a flavour combination that left my mouth tingling and immediately craving another crisp. Wow, just wow. Possibly the perfect salt and vinegar crisps.
Buying new things to review each week means I rarely buy the same items again, but I've added two more sharing bags of these to next weeks online grocery order because they are so darn lip smacking tasty.

16 October 2016

Glitter Jelly, Raspberry Flavour @Hartleysjelly (@NLi10)

Edible glitter is one of those strange things that shouldn't be anywhere near as appealing as it is.  Today we have a great example in this sachet of Hartley's raspberry flavour glitter jelly.  

Jelly has become a lot less time consuming than I remember it being as a kid.  All that staring and waiting for the cubes to dissolve has been replaced by a powder that you can just pour boiling water into and serve!  It even sets outside of the fridge.

The ingredients of course are sugar, things to make it solid, things to make it look and taste red, and this time glitter (which I presume is the titanium dioxide).  Also it has that fantastical feature that regular jelly never had - it's Vegetarian!

It also apparently makes four servings.  I'm going to assume it means children's portions.

Here we see the melting process, it happened so fast that you can't see the trails of the jelly melting!

Here we see the two still liquid adult portions 

With the spares going to make little jelly hearts

The heart didn't come out perfectly (the bottoms didn't seem to be set perfectly despite being in the fridge - they are now in the freezer for drinks).  The main dish is a lovely deep red colour and sparkles much more than in the picture.  This is really ideal for Christmassy things - and I think you could even give sachets of this as small presents (secret santa or stocking top ups) and people wouldn't be upset.

I'll stick to making and serving it as a one-off treat desert I think, but it certainly does look the part.

And it tastes just like raspberry jelly should - of raspberries!