31 January 2018

Milkybar Krushem Milkshake (KFC) By@SpectreUK

Running roughshod over the memories of the last month of healthy(ish) food I succumbed to a KFC. They really do taste "Finger lickin' good". A Mighty Bucket for One, extra Hot Wings, lots of chips, 7UP (sugar free of course) and several sauces later, and then Cinabar noticed this Milkybar Krushem was new on the menu. I told Cinabar that I hadn't had a milkshake in 25 years. That was probably because I didn't like the last one. I think it was a banana milkshake in another fast foot restaurant. She reminded me how much I like white chocolate, especially Milkybar and I conceded.

When she bought over the Milkybar Krushem I noticed the wide straw in the plastic cup. It was wider than the last milkshake I had, and I remembered how hard that was to suck up. The creamy white liquid in this transparent cup smelt like white chocolate, in fact it smelt pretty good. On taste I noticed the bits of white chocolate in it, these were slightly melted chocolate chips. This white chocolate was a bit noticeable and needed a little chewing. The Milkybar Krushem tasted like a mix of milk, vanilla ice cream and white chocolate. There was definitely a vanilla base with mixed in Milkybar chips. The milkshake took a bit of sucking. It was creamy and sweet, and well worth the human hoover power. This milkshake is perfect for people who would like Milkybar white chocolate in a cup. It was difficult not to like. The white chocolate chips reminded of somebody murdering a white chocolate bar and trying to hide the evidence. It was a great dessert after my KFC meal. Trust me if you're going to have your first milkshake in 25 years this should be it.

30 January 2018

Salted Espresso Hearts (Hotel Chocolat) By @Cinabar

I can’t help browsing in Hotel Chocolat and when I do I can’t help hoping somebody will wander around with samples, as they do sometimes. This time I noticed that they had their Valentines chocolates in, and I had a little look. In the “Selectors” section I found these Salted Espresso heart chocolates and picked them up. Then a lady came around with some cashew chocolates, and gave me a sample, so I picked up some of those too!

Anyway these Salted Espresso Hearts looked very pretty, and combine my chocolate and coffee which is always a favourite of mine. The chocolate hearts looked very pretty too, with their marbled top of pink and yellow, very much in the colours of spring.
I thought the flavour was pretty intense when I tried one. The filling was thick but smooth. The coffee flavour is full on and it takes the sweetness of the chocolate to help soften it. I liked the addition of a rich hazelnut flavour in the mix, and I hadn’t quite expected it from the title of the product; Salted Espresso, but the nuts are mentioned in the text. What I was finding it more difficult to pick up on was the salt, there was just the gentlest touch, and I was okay with that as there were already quite a few strong flavours competing for my attention. As a coffee lover I thought these were a treat, and would be more than happy if someone treated me to some more on Valentines.

29 January 2018

Robinson Raspberry, Rhubarb and Orange Blossom Fruit Cordial (Waitrose) By @Cinabar

In my quest for a new soft drink I picked up my next bottle of new cordial, this time a Robinsons, with Raspberry, Rhubarb and Orange Blossom. I previously tried a Pear, Blackcurrant and Cherry cordial also from Robinsons, but didn’t think it had the right fruit balance for me. I wanted more pear in that combination. For this drink, it was the attraction of the rhubarb that made me pick up the bottle, I love rhubarb crumble so had high hopes. When I did pick it up I realised it was a glass bottle too, so it was obviously quite posh, well I was in Waitrose!
Once home I decided to try it out. Although I poured a hefty portion into the glass before topping it up with water, the colour was very pale. The taste was lovely and strong though, and there was plenty of yummy zingy rhubarb which I was very pleased with. The raspberry was the next flavour, and I really enjoyed the berry taste. There was a subtle hint of citrus from the orange blossom, but for me this drink was all about the tangy rhubarb. I was too sweet either, it was all about the fruit. If you enjoyed rhubarb and custard sweets then I’d heartily recommend giving this Raspberry, Rhubarb and Orange Blossom Cordial from Robinsons a try. It is my current favourite soft drink.

28 January 2018

Mel - Vegan cafes in tenerife (@NLi10)

When you think of Tenerife you think of imitation everything and lots of drinking - turns out there are vegan cafes too!

As Mel is a persons name in England I’ll assume that they started this small group of shops.

There are at least four - and as you see you can make your own juice choices.

And your own burgers and hotdogs

I had an avocado and banana hotdog with all the bits - and a lemon and pineapple juice which was probably not a wise mix as it was fairly potent!

Here we see the selected spinach sausage inside. Amazing flavours, fresh and full of nutrition - this is what every tourist destination needs as a break from the hotel buffet. And this was the only main meal we paid for outside of the hotel (we did have a big Italian lunch one day)

27 January 2018

Gentlemen’s Wit Beer (Waitrose @CamdenBrewery) By @SpectreUK

I'd literally just finished a mug of Earl Grey Tea before picking up this Gentlemen's Wit beer and finding that it is flavoured with the same bergamot and lemon zest. I was thinking what made gentlemen's wit before realising the 'wit' meant 'white' through traditional Belgian white beer preparation. The first person I thought of was Roger Moore, who sadly passed away into legend last year. He may have played himself in mostly everything, but that was definitely a gentleman and reminiscent of the label "that politely packs a punch'. Roger is still my favourite Bond, I did like Sean Connery, but Roger had the charming wit and still had the deadliness to blow up everything on the way out at the end of each film. I haven't met many gentlemen in my life, but the ones that spring to mind was a dapper man I worked with twenty years ago called Richard or "Dickie" Bird, he was always cheerful, very funny and hard working. And of course there was my dear old dad, who also passed away last year.

Gentlemen's Wit is made with Pilsner, wheat and torrified wheat malts, with Belgian yeast, Perle hops and of course the lemon zest and bergamot. I could certainly smell the Pilsner, wheat and zesty hops and a touch of yeast on opening the 330ml bottle. This 4.3% volume white beer is almost ghost like in golden milky colour. The Pilsner and wheat flavoured malts soothed my tastebuds first, closely followed by a sheer lemon citrus bitterness, which complemented the bergamot that took over from this zesty blast growing stronger in flavour as it danced around my mouth and into the aftertaste leaving a light taste of yeast, lemon and bergamot. This is quite a complex beer with it's wheatiness, zesty citrus bitterness and bergamot. I expect it would go very well with fishy dishes and spicy meals, or just enjoyed on its own on a sunny afternoon watching a Bond film… and make it an old one!

26 January 2018

Cadbury Crunchy Melts - Chocolate Centre Biscuits (@Morrisons) By @Cinabar

I’m always going to pick up new biscuits from Cadbury, but these sounded particularly exciting; Cadbury Crunchy Melts. Not only are they covered in chocolate chips, they are also filled with chocolate, so effectively they are double cool. As is quite often with these packets there seems less biscuits than you would have hoped for from the packaging size. Inside were just six cookies, but admittedly they were a fairly decent size, I just would have liked a couple more. The biscuits were chunky and had a generous coating of chocolate chips too.
I gave one a try and was impressed by the chocolate flavour, the combination of the chocolate centre and chips made them very indulgent. They tasted almost nutty, so much so that I checked the packet ingredients, but there wasn’t any obvious signs of any. As someone who loves texture I found these biscuits very satisfying on that level too, the biscuits were very crunchy, but the soft centre was a lovely addition in the middle.
The packet suggest that you can warm these in the microwave, but I preferred to warm them dunking them in my coffee, which for me was a much better plan. Lovely biscuits, perfect for an afternoon treat.

25 January 2018

Principe Chocolate - but how do I get my PlayMobil Prince? (@NLi10)

In the UK we can get hold of some of the top brands for Euro snacks, but we don’t get 5e depth of 5he range. Here is a good example. We get HIT biscuits which are practically layers of biscuit on top of a lovely filling, but we don’t get Principe (well not unless the import shop is really on its Game).

This mainly caught ,y eye because of the cool offer. How do I get my PlayMobil Prince? Is he in the packet?!


We know he’s limited edition. But surely there is a way to claim him to a UK address legally.

So we check on the website...

Terminado?! My Spanish isn’t great but that sounds like we aren’t getting one.

Sad face.

At least we have biscuits! And they open in a very useful way - about a third down the packet there is a resealable hole that you can slide them out of easily.

And they are good biscuits, maybe more chocolatey than your standard HIT and not as crumbly, but a pretty good addition to the biscuit class.

24 January 2018

Daymer Bay: Pear, Elderfower & Jasmine Juice (Degusta) By @SpectreUK

Staying with my healthy(ish) month, I have this Daymer Bay Pear, Elderfower & Jasmine drink to try. Named after a long sandy beach in North Cornwall, it’s a mix of natural flavours of fruits, plants and water, with no added sugar, is packed full of vitamin Bs, and has no artificial flavourings, preservatives or colourings. It’s also suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and is less than 80 calories for those that are trying to cut a few pounds. So this drink is uber-healthy? Does it sound too good to be true? I don’t know I’m just a blog writer… “What does it taste like?” I hear you ask…
Well on opening the bottle there was a predominant smell of apple juice, which is high on the ingredients, if not in the title. Dominant apple is mixed with pear and elderflower, and a touch of jasmine at the back of the aroma. The pear takes over on initial taste. This refreshing pear flavour quickly mixes with the apple, then a thimble full of elderflower and a tickle of jasmine to finish. This is a tasty drink, though it could be considered as a pear and apple juice with a twist. Refreshing over ice, I’m sure, rather than gulped down out of a bottle between boring meetings in an overly heated office … I’d rather be on that long sandy beach, even in chilly January, and that’s a fact!
Information on the bottle;
The 400ml drink contains 20 calories per 100ml serving (or ‘gulping’ if you’re greedy like me), with less than 0.5g of fat, 4.9g of sugar, and less than 0.01g of salt. For ingredients please see photograph.

23 January 2018

Smarties Mini Eggs - New Orange Edition (WH Smiths) By @Cinabar

It is a well known phenomena (do-doo-do-do-do) amongst chocolate fans that orange Smarties taste of orange. All the other Smarties in a regular tube are just milk chocolate, well currently. There are whisperings that other Smarties in years gone by used to have some flavours, but the orange ones are the only ones I ever remember ever being different. Weirdly Smarties don’t really promote the fact the orange ones are orangey very much, you just discover it when you try them, and then they become everyone’s favourite. Unless you are weird and don’t like orange chocolate I suppose.

I was pleased to see these new Easter Smarties Mini Eggs chocolates are available in a just orange edition and have all the orangey flavour goodness you would expect. The Smarties Mini Eggs are small egg shaped chocolates, with bright orange shells. They are a bit tougher to bite on that regular Smarties, but this is only because of their size and the increase in the thickness of chocolate. The orange flavour delivers a lovely sweet citrus burst, that works well with the milk chocolate. I like the crunchy texture from the shell and found they are pleasure to munch on. I’ll be having another bag or so before Easter. Also I think the Orange Smarties flavouring phenomena (do do-do do) might be out of the bag, literally.

22 January 2018

Cadbury Creme Egg 2018 Unwrapped - By @Cinabar

The 2018 edition of the Cadbury Creme Egg wouldn’t ordinarily warrant its own review. It isn’t particularly new, these eggs are launched every year from New Year’s day until Easter. They have the same thick Cadbury chocolate shell, and gooey sweet fondant filling complete with an egg yolk and white design inside. The reason I’m writing about them is because of my frustration in trying to purchase them this year. Cadbury have launched a competition with their 2018 Cadbury Eggs, and if you are lucky enough to find a white chocolate egg inside your wrapper, you also win a cash prize. The prizes vary from £100 upwards to one lucky one worth £2000. This would be great if the eggs were sealed, but they are not, they are simply wrapped in foil, and it seems the temptation from the Great British public is too much to take a peak before you buy.
I have looked in several shops for neatly sealed eggs, from newsagents to big supermarkets, and each time I find a box of picked through Cadbury Creme eggs. Wrappers are loose, and chocolate is exposed. Yuck. I had a chat with the lady in WH Smiths who had found many slightly unwrapped eggs and moved the box to behind the till. Her manager had said to keep a count, but to chuck any eggs that were open, what a waste.
I don’t think the competition is a bad idea, but it does only work if you have a sealed packet. I decided in the end on buying a sealed box of five, as that seemed the most sensible solution this year. Good luck though to all who buy them, and if anyone does find a white egg, do let me know how it tastes!

21 January 2018

Sky tomatoes - does tomato juice taste nicer in flight? (@NLi10)

Recently I saw on a news program a tiny bit mentioning that the umami effect for food was stronger on airplanes, and that this made tomato juice taste stronger. So let’s try it out.

Jet 2 were happy (if not a little confused) to sell me a can of premixed tomato juice ready for a cocktail, but without the vodka.

It has a few things in that may make the taste a little more umami, but as someone who used to enjoy a Bloody Mary I’m used to the flavour - even if it has been some time.

It looks a bit mad on the plane - like I’ve forgotten my spaghetti - but it’s easy enough to try! 

And unsurprisingly it works. It just pops a little more, it’s like the sweetest and saltiest tomato juice ever. Now, science doesn’t really know whether it’s the altitude or the noise of the plane that weakens our other taste receptors but it’s quite a handy fact to have in your back pocket. If you can get Japanese food, or tomato based food on the plane it’ll probably surprise you with its flavour compared to the standard non flying food that you tend to order.

20 January 2018

Brewdog 5am Saint Beer (Sainsbury’s) By @SpectreUK

The name of this beer makes me think I should drink it at 5am, rather than just before I go to see a murder mystery at the theatre. It sounds like a pick-me-up after a long night on the tiles, maybe even a 'hair of the dog' to get rid of a hangover. However, I'm drinking it at dinnertime instead of eating dinner after a vast lunch straight from the gym. Produced by Brewdog this 5% volume beer was brewed with five malts and six hops. That's an awful lot of flavour to cram into a 330ml bottle. It's an American Red Ale sporting fruitiness, citrus bursts, caramel, chocolate, spiciness and biscuit malts. Wow! This beer sounds like chaos in a beer glass.

On opening the bottle there was a dominant herbal hop aroma with a touch of citrus and a little sweet malted barley at the end of the smell. 5am Saint is a deep red almost brown colour with an excitable head. On taste this beer is not for the faint hearted. All those who like their beer smooth, creamy and largely tasteless please leave the room. This is a craft beer drinker's drink and with no mistake. Bring out the tastebuds folks, 'cause you're going to need them! There is a blast of herbal hops on first taste which skips and jumps with citrus bitterness. There is sweetness from the crystal malt and hints of malted barley. There is a light touch of chocolate malt with a suggestion of roasted coffee that springs straight to warm spices, finishing on a biscuit cushion of malts that wash round the palate into the aftertaste. If weather was flavour then here is life. There is thunder in the dark, there is lightning, there is hot rain, there is warm Spring sunshine lying in the shade with a beer and a good book. Beautiful. And all first thing in the morning; at 5am precisely.

19 January 2018

Twinings Little India Chai Nespresso Tea (@Morrisons) By @Cinabar

Having just moved we have bought a few new gadgets for the house, one of which was a Nespresso maker. We just got a small one and I immediately popped down to the supermarket to see what capsules where available. The official ones only seem to be for sale online, but I was quite pleased with the choices in the shop. I picked up a couple of different coffees to try, and then this Twinings Tea caught my eye, Chai is probably my favourite flavour of tea and I couldn’t resist these Little India Chai Nespresso Tea pods. My first test of the Nespresso machine were the coffee, as that is the intended function, but for my third cup I went on to try this Chai tea.

I popped the pod in, pressed the lungo button and watched as water dripped through. I was confused by this, and took a closer look at the pods, turns out they have a protective cover on that needs removing first, d’oh, which the coffee ones didn’t have. In reality this confusion and annoyance lasted several minutes before the penny dropped. So I tried a second pod with the plastic peeled away, and managed to brew myself a nice tea, to which I added some milk and sugar. Shame to have lost a capsule though, but it wasn’t very obvious what you needed to do.
The flavour of the tea was actually impressive, it was a very warming drink with plenty of cinnamon which is my favourite spice. The black tea flavour was still present and the milk and sugar set it off perfectly. This was a good mug of Chai, but to be fair it wasn’t that dissimilar to the Chai teabags I can buy, so there was less to gain from these pods. The coffee from the Nespresso beats any instant coffee by miles, so I think that is the type of pod we will be buying in the future.

18 January 2018

Hospital Food - Real Wrap Co. Food Pots @NLi10

Lunchtime at the hospital has been increasingly less appealing.  First they closed the canteen so we no longer had a source of fresh wraps and a reason to bump into colleagues from other departments. Then the range of food we could get seemed to dwindle - in part due to a healthy eating policy that favoured beige sandwiches and chips as the only reliable options.  All sugary drinks were hidden, and all crisps were baked.  Naturally you could still get super calorific branded coffees and chocolate bars... We joked this did improve our health and fitness as anyone with time walked to the nearest Tesco and stocked up on the good crisps and drinks.

But - this week it all changed.  I joked with the guy in the main corridor shop about the newly expanded range still just being sandwiches (flour is one of the most obesogenic foods humans have invented - mainly because we spread stuff on it).  He smiled and pointed to the bottom shelf - which was filled with wonders and delights that would have had even Willy Wonka doing cartwheels.

Actual. Nutrients.

We've always had little fruit salads that are a little overpriced - but that's how convenience food works - they sell the real stuff for much cheaper.  We've never had seeds.  We've never had vegetable based salad pots.

Anyone who works within range of a Marks & Spencer's is probably laughing about now - they can pay £4 for two pots that outclass this in everyway (mixed grains!!) and we pay £2.20 each for the above but it's such an amazing shift that I'm still giddy with excitement.

And yes - the fruit isn't that high on the Nutrient Density Index, but it's a start.  They are slightly over-packaged too but if you wash and recycle that issue goes away.  The spinach and egg combo was great and the seeds were not dry and most importantly not contaminated with some salty flavour dust. 

The next day I went for a more 'bad' option from the same range - Southern Fried Chicken with a glass of contraband full fat Dr. Pepper. 

These were chunkier and more filling than I'd expected - and the BBQ sauce was good too.  This was 40p more and totally worth the upgrade.  Not one for the weight loss crowd, but combined with one of the healthier pots (in my case the fruit salad again) I can imagine that this ticks enough boxes to be balanced.  

My only worry about the range is that once I've progressed through everything that I'll either upgrade to having three pots (£6.60 a day adds up fast) or supplement with some of the wraps and sandwiches on offer (moderation is key).  By Tesco Club-Card points may never increase again.

The new range is one that totally took cynical old me by surprise, and that the Trust should be commended for.  Now we have choice again, the most important thing for any Public Health strategy to achieve meaningful long term behaviour change.  I'll keep an eye on how this range develops as seasons change, and see how it sells by chatting to the catering staff.

17 January 2018

Emily Fruit Crisps Crunchy Red Apple (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

Sticking with my healthy start to the year these Emily Fruit Crisps Crunchy Red Apple are an intriguing alternative snack. I've seen vegetable crisps before and some fruit crisps, but I can't recall seeing red apple crisps. It says "Crunchy Red Apple" on the front, but on shaking the bag it sounded a little bit like shaking a bag of loose Lego. However on opening there was a sweet smell of red apple and a little palm oil. The small slices of baked apple crisps were not oily to the touch though and were sweet and not overly crunchy. In fact after a couple of crunches they melted in my mouth. If ever there was a sweet pudding crisp this is it. They feel healthy when eating them because they taste of sweet red apple. They're like a crunchy baked apple pudding, without the custard, well unless you want to try them in a bowl with custard all over them… I don't know, it sounds weird, but it could probably work. Or maybe ice cream if you're feeling wicked or cold plain yoghurt if you're not. The fact is even though they seem quite high on sugar content and calories, these Emily Fruit Crisps Crunchy Red Apple certainly feel like the most healthy crisps I've ever eaten. Not to mention very tasty, but I wouldn't recommend eating them with a sandwich, with pickled onions, cheese and a cutup tomato on the side. Maybe save these fruit crisps for pudding afters…?

Information on the packet;
The 30g packet has 124 calories, with 1.2g of fat, 19.2g of sugar, and less than 0.1g of fat. The only ingredients are apple and RSPO-sustainable palm oil (no Lego).

16 January 2018

Robinson’s Fruit Creations Pear, Blackcurrant and Cherry (Sainsbury's) By @Cinabar

We drink a lot of orange or blackcurrant squash here at Foodstuff Finds. Recently I’ve been venturing into the cordials section of the supermarket and trying to find something a bit different to make a refreshing soft drink. I spotted this Robinson’s Fruit Creations Pear, Blackcurrant and Cherry drink, promising twice the fruit. I poured a decent portion into my glass and topped up with water. It looked pleasingly pink, and I gave the drink a sip.
I have to admit I was hoping for more pear in the flavour, and I thought there might be the hint of pear drops in the flavour, but the pear taste was very mild indeed. The other fruit flavours were sweet, but the blackcurrant and the cherry took over, and made a pleasant berry drink. I did like the cordial, but it was similar to a number of berry medley type of drinks I’ve had before. The real sales point for me of this drink was the idea of the pear, and I found this particular flavour a bit too subtle. The pear could have been the showstopper and not just a background taste, but not to worry it was still a nice fruity drink, and one I’ll continue to enjoy.

15 January 2018

Heat & Eat Crisps: Cheese and Chive (Fairfields Farm) By @Cinabar

So there are some new crisps out from Fairfields Farm, and these ones are hot crisps. I don’t mean an intense level of chilli, I mean temperature hot, they are Heat and Eat. This is a curious idea, but one I was happy to give a try. Looking at the pack it showed that the bag should be torn open sideways, and then they are ready to cook, and the packet becomes a makeshift bowl. Inside the bag there is also a dip which I fished out prior to heating. The bag recommends microwaving them for 30 seconds before eating, which I did and it was only then that I realised I couldn’t see any foil like covering on the inside of the pack.

I kept an eye on the crisps as they were cooking, and they came out nice and warm. We sat down to share them with the dip, I found I did rather like having the crisps heated up. It added a nice soothing level on a col Winter’s evening. As we tend to pick at crisps while watching the TV they did cool down fairly quickly, and soon went back to room temperature. I found the dip to be fantastic, it was an onion relish, and the cheese and chive crisps went with it perfectly. The cheese flavour of the crisps had a good strength and the onion relish was a treat that we scraped out as we ate. Spectre always has dip with crisps, albeit usually salad cream (really). I’m sold on the idea of these crisps, and will heat the other bag we received too, they were ready salted but with a salsa dip. Incidentally the bag does state you can just eat them cold if you want too.

14 January 2018

Pawsecco - Prosecco for Pets... (Pets At Home) by @NLi10

It's fun to buy silly little presents for people with pets, here we have one such item. Prosecco is popular, people like to treat their animals - so why not make something that pets can enjoy that looks a little bit like Prosecco?

It's essentially a food supplement - something to make the biscuits a bit more exciting, or to make the meat float.  I haven't reviewed the cat soup properly yet (soup for cats, not soup with cat in it) but they do like that so I was fairly hopeful.

It's not alcoholic or fizzy, is grape free and is essentially Elderflower and a few other natural ingredients as an infused, flavoured water designed with an appealing smell for domesticated animals.

Duchess is the choosiest of all cats.  There was no real surprise when she ignored the red juice and went for the biscuits without.  I moved a few into the sauce too, she didn't care.

Mabel is the greedy cat.  She ate as many of the dry biscuits as she could get as these were not her usual food and she quite likes them.  She didn't touch the sauce.

Luna is not very picky.  She is the cat who finishes everyone elses dinners off - even if they have been out all day.  She didn't seem that interested in the sauce by itself but did eat the soaked biscuits and wasn't put off by their unusual smell.

And it does have an unusual smell, it's like someone put fruit cordial in some dilute vinegar.

It doesn't say that its harmful to humans so I tried some.  The smell is a lot worse than the very bland taste.  There is no sweetness (because that's bad for cats) and only a little fruitiness - the Lingon berry taste from the IKEA cordial is there, but not much else.  I think that I would struggle to take a second sip, but that it wasn't as acrid as I'd assumed.

So - one of the cats will consume it if the food is contaminated (so far no one has eaten the flakes of wet cat food that are floating in it like soup).

If you know me and want to borrow this to try on your cats or dogs then let me know - I'd be interested to see what happens.  Otherwise one of the branches of the family that has too many animals may be getting this regifted!

Who knows, just like the real thing maybe the cats that didn't enjoy it at first will develop a large glass a night habit after a long day at work!

13 January 2018

Harviestoun IPA Beer (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

Harviestoun Brewery, in Scotland, was at the forefront of using American hops to create Indian Pale Ale in the UK way back in the 1980s. This 5.8% volume Harviestoun IPA has a baseball theme to it sporting four heavy hitting American hops; Citra, Simcoe, Amarillo, and Apollo which are all native to the West Coast of the USA. Tony Christie really ruined the word 'Amarillo' for me, as soon as I hear it I get his song stuck in my head. Though I have to admit that it is a catchy tune. Anyway, the bottle's label warned of a citrusy hop bomb, big on flavour and long lasting - like a baseball game, so I've heard. I played softball when I was a lad at school I didn't take to it much, and have never got my head around the fascination some folk have with cricket, but each to their own. I prefer Sumo or Touring Car Racing…

On opening the 330ml bottle there was certainly a citrus hop smell and a touch of malted barley to the pale golden beer bubbling into my glass. There was certainly a good whack of citrus hops on first taste. I could see what the label meant by a long-lasting flavour, as this citrus bitterness run rings around my tastebuds straight into the aftertaste like a baseball player sprinting for a home run. There was an underlying subtle sweetness from the malted barley that really made this Harviestoun IPA a well balanced brew. Undoubtably a well crafted forerunner with four American hops for a big final score!

12 January 2018

Dresden Stollen (Germany) By @Cinabar

The Christmas decorations may well all be tidied away, but I still have lovely foods in the Foodstuff Finds store cupboard from the season. This particular Christmas Stollen came from Germany, via my dad who was visiting there recently. It is quite stunningly packaged in a beautiful tin, which is certainly a keepsake. I opened up the tin and found a huge Stollen, wrapped in tissue paper and sealed in a bag, all ready to get stuck into.

We carefully took the Dresden Stollen cake out of it's packaging, and tried to avoid the icing sugar spilling, as it was very generously dusted. We cut some slices and shared out the cake. Looking at the cake there was a good generous supply of fruit and nut mixed in, and this was reflected in the taste too. I was pleasantly surprised at how moist the cake was, and the combination of fruit and nut gave the cake great texture and flavour. It was sweet, the nut flavour was delicate, and the added fruit gave a richer tone. The texture wasn’t too heavy, and I found one slice was a very decent portion. I wrapped the rest of the cake, and put it back in its tin for safe keeping, content with the fact that I could hang on to the flavours of Christmas for a little while longer. Thanks dad for giving us this fab cake. :-)

11 January 2018

New Tonics - Sentiments & Fever Tree (Waitrose) by @NLi10

The soft drinks shelves in Waitrose are a kaleidoscope of wonder...

...well if you like tonic water like me they are!

Our favourites Fentimans and Fever Tree battle to see who can corner the luxury tonic market - which is great for me as I do love all of them equally.

This London Essence co sounds really nice, but they only had the multipacks that I saw which was not suitable for a quick sample

I had to settle for an ice cold Madagascan Cola which wasn't as potent as I'd imagined but was a lovely deep flavoured cola for sipping at home.

I also took the opportunity to crack open another bottle of the divine Mediterranean Orange topic water which is like a mix between the Orange Jigger and the original tonics from Fentimans.

I mean - one day maybe I'll use these as intended and mix them with premium spirits, but some soft drinks are just too good to contaminate that way!