23 March 2019

Session Pale Ale (Aldi @hambletonales) By @SpectreUK

I do like a good pale ale. Well, to be honest with you there aren't any types of ales I don't like, but a refreshing pale ale in the Spring months can be pretty special. This Session Pale ale by Hambleton Ales, in North Yorkshire, harkens back to when folks used to drink ale on the job way back up until around the First World War. Workers used to be given drinking 'sessions', with a light ABV (alcohol by volume) so they didn't get too hammered! Sounds good. We probably shouldn't have stopped that…!

This Session Pale ale has a 3.8% ABV. It was produced with Maris Otter Pale Malted Barley and Crystal Malted Barley, as well as Mosaic Hops and Cascade Hops. It has a pale golden colour and a cheerful fizz on pouring. I'd agree with the bottle in that it has a fruity, zesty smell of lemon and a little apple at the back of the aroma. To begin with there is a jumbled up mixture of flavours. It's not quite; "here's the malts and then the bitter hops", with this Session pale, as they all seem to jump on my tastebuds in one ambush. It's good though. Really good! There is a big malt flavour initially, but there's also bitterness straight away from the hops. There follows a little sweetness from further Crystal Malt undertones, but just as I got used to them there's a big zesty bitter kick with sweet malt flavours into the aftertaste. This Session Pale is pure gold. I could happily drink it all day, rather than just in one se… You get the joke!? ;-p

22 March 2019

Gullon Twins White Chocolate Cookies (Aldi) By @Cinabar

I feel I need to start by saying the biscuits are not sugar free. I say this because my only knowledge of the biscuit company Gullon is that they do a good range of sugar free biscuits and that is what I have come to associate them with. These Gullon Twins White Chocolate Cookies are not low sugar, and it turns out they have a large range of sugary biscuits too, these ones do look rather tasty anyway. They consist of two sandwiches of dark chocolate biscuit over a white cream filling and the whole thing dunked in white chocolate. My brain was thinking they were similar to white Chocolate covered Oreos, and I was looking forward to trying them.

The box opens to reveal six twin packs of biscuits, which are wrapped making them perfect for a portioned lunch box treat. The biscuits have thin white chocolat on the base, where the dark biscuit shows through, and thicker chocolate on the top. I gave them a try and loved every bite. The white chocolate is rich and creamy, and the biscuit is dark and flavoursome, the contrast of the two flavours is heaven. The texture too is wonderful, I love a mix of textures and between the crunchy biscuit, soft filling and the chocolat coating these more than delivered. I have to get myself some more of these Gullon Twins White Chocolate Cookies from Aldi, as they are my new favourite biscuits, and I must check out their other ranges too, see what else they have to offer. There is more to this brand than just sugar free.

21 March 2019

Lipton Matcha - And other Portuguese drinks (@NLi10)

Look at the tiny Strongbow! It almost looks civilised. Almost. Still tastes like Strongbow though, so never mind. There was a fruit one too, but I’ll save those for the Wrestling shows. Effective thirst quencher.

Over in Portugal Captain Birdseye has conveniently changed to Captain Iglo. Maybe he’s hiding from Interpol.


 Still in the supermarket we find a huge stash of Lipton teas. While they are Eurotrash compared to the Asian brewed teas these will do on a hot day - especially when there are new flavours to try.

 I think I maybe should have got two smaller ones for the contrast, but we just went for the green matcha. This was the Yuzu version.

Unfortunately the percentage of Matcha was so low that the percentage in my blood is probably usually higher (not on holiday, I’m getting Jasmine Tea withdrawal symptoms). Still, it’s their nice if not a bit watery green tea so has its own charms and keeps the dehydration away. I mean I’ve got some sunburn, but that’s not the drinks fault.  And we located some actual snacks too!

20 March 2019

Hartley’s 10 calories Flavoured Jelly (@DegustaboxUK) By @SpectreUK

In my life I have met two types of people. There are those that like jelly and ice cream in the same bowl, and those that like jelly or ice cream in a bowl on their own. I'm a jelly or ice cream kind of person. Don't get me wrong, I do like jelly and I also like ice cream, just as long as they don't meet in the same bowl. Now you'll be able to tell which type of person you are by determining how crazy I sound. If I should perfectly reasonable, then you are not a jelly and ice cream in the same bowl type of person either!

Black Forest Gateau Jelly

Cinabar asked me why I choice to try this jelly. "You don't even like Black Forest Gateau!" She exclaimed. It's true I don't particularly like cherries for a start, which doesn't help with liking the cake itself. Many years ago whilst staying in Lumley Castle, near Newcastle Upon Tyne, there was nothing on the pudding menu I liked, but I went for the bowl of cherries, because it came with shortbread. I figured it would be a tiny bowl of cherries with some biscuits on the side. I'm telling you that I never seen such a big bowl of cherries in my entire life!

On opening this 175g plastic pot there was an unsurprising and yet also unsurprisingly unwelcome smell of cherries. This chilled deep red almost liquid jelly smelt of Maraschino cherries, and strangely a little creamy. I wasn't particularly fussed by tasting it at this point, but this is what us hardy bloggers have to do, so I reluctantly dug a spoon in. The only thing that tasted more of cherries than this jelly was the monstrous bowl full that I started and almost threw up at Lumley Castle. I couldn't really pick up on any chocolate flavour though. Although there was a slightly odd taste of cream at the back of the flavour, which didn't bode well with my half crazed jelly or ice cream persona.

Lemon Cheesecake Jelly

Before you say it, yes, with the whole jelly or ice cream ideology this is probably not a good idea! However, I do love lemon cheesecake, unless, of course; it's baked! There are two types of people… Oh, never mind… I just don't like baked cheesecake! Anyway, even Hartley's would have a job on baking jelly flavoured with lemon cheesecake. Surely?

On opening the pot there was a decent smell of lemon. This was to be expected for a Lemon Cheesecake Jelly. In fact if I almost stick the pot up my nose I would say it does smell of lemon cheesecake, and not the baked variety. Phew! There is that creamy flavour again after a initial fairly sour taste of lemon. Here the creamy flavour is more pronounced, however it does actually taste pretty good… well, if you like that sort of thing! I'd certainly say that this was my favourite out of the two jellies… Mainly because no matter how many cherries a hotel can try to force feed me, I'm just never going to like them!

19 March 2019

McVities Moments 4 Hare-Brained Honeycombed Tiffin - Easter Limited Edition (Aldi) By @Cinabar

Everybody loves the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland don’t they, such a better character than Alice, way more fun. Anyway these new McVities Moments 4 Hare-Brained Honeycombed Tiffin were just being put out in Aldi while I was doing my grocery shop and I popped one in the trolley as soon as I saw them. The White Rabbit theming caught my eye, and then I spotted the phrase Easter Limited Edition, and I couldn’t resist.

So the packaging gets a thumbs up, the next thing was to try the McVities Moments Hare-Brained Honeycombed Tiffin. They are decorated with small sugar flowers, smart, but not quite as crazy as I’d hoped from the packet. The flavour and texture though is lovely. The bars are firm, with a nice amount of chewiness and the sugar flowers do actually add to the texture by bringing a nice crunch. I could taste the honeycomb and the added sweetness blended nicely with the milk chocolate and Digestives flavours. I though these Hare-Brained Honeycombed Tiffin squares were a lovely treat. If you are sharing with friends I’d suggest bringing out the packet as it is rather fun, and the White Rabbit really does make it something special. You wouldn’t want to be late for afternoon tea.

18 March 2019

Twisted Strawberry Diet Coke (Waitrose) By @Cinabar

My local Waitrose is selling (in March) Coca Cola cans with Father Christmas on them. They aren’t reduced in price either, and although they may be in date in terms of ‘Sell By’ it doesn’t give me hope of finding anything new in the drinks aisle. Having said that underneath the Santa Claus cola I am pleased to say I spotted this new drink; Twisted Strawberry Diet Coke.
This is in the Diet Coke range, not the Coca Cola Zero range, although both are sugar free just with slightly different tastes to the base cola. Most new flavours seem to be coming out in some form of sugar free, presumably down to the sugar tax. The can is topped with a ring of pink to show off the new Twisted Strawberry flavour, but the can is still distinctively Diet Coke. I poured some into a glass, and gave it a sip. I think the strawberry was a much milder taste than I had expected, and milder than their other fruit flavours. The taste was nice though, the berry was present, and did linger in the aftertaste. It is a gentle version of a strawberry, perhaps not living up to the word “twisted” in the title, but nevertheless pleasant. I was pleased I bought so many. These Twisted Strawberry Diet Coke cans were sold in a multipack, and I picked up two packs as somebody has to help the Coca Cola stock move in my local Waitrose!

17 March 2019

Soft drinks on the way to Portugal (@NLi10)

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

It feels like I should be talking about alcohol or something more Irish, but I’m on holiday and we really haven’t found any fun snacks yet - they have catered for the British Invasion with all the usual things, but I’ve not made it to a Portuguese Supermarket to get the real snacks.

We got this for the flight so that we didn’t have to buy Jet2 tiny drinks on board. Surprisingly potent and not at all over sour. Great to sip in the air!


This I had with a meal, it had a hint of grapefruit but otherwise just tonic.

We had lunch at a place called sleepy donkey, and when they offer home made lemonade I take it.

A neat little jug of very lemony and a tiny bit sparkling lemonade. Perfect for sunny but windy weather. 

So far so good, but I need some good vending machines or a shop for locals soon or I’m going to have to start reviewing restaurants!

16 March 2019

Jack Daniel’s Lynchburg Lemonade (@DegustaboxUK) By @SpectreUK

I've recently found out that I like certain distilled spirits in a glass of lemonade. This Jack Daniel's Lynchburg Lemonade is a Crafted Cocktail with probably a shot of the traditional Tennessee whisky, a dash of Triple Sec and then filled to the top with zesty lemonade. At 5% volume this drink should be pretty potent. It has the original Old No. 7 Jack Daniels Tennessee in it, which I've recently found I like in lemonade, so I probably won't mind a little Triple Sec added in too.

On opening the can there was the tangy Triple Sec smell to start with, and then the Jack Daniel's aroma in the background merging with the lemonade. This cloudy lemonade concoction does smell really nice, sweet and zesty after pouring. The fizzy excitable bubbles almost popping out of the top of the glass. On taste the flavours merge almost immediately. There was the Jack Daniel's slightly ahead of the tangy Triple Sec in the race to my tastebuds, whilst the zesty lemonade seems to balance out these two flavours into an all round excellent flavour filled drink. This is very nice indeed and will probably become a regular in my beer fridge. I'd recommend you give it a go…

15 March 2019

Rhubarb and Custard Hot Cross Buns (Aldi) By @Cinabar

Following on from yesterdays look at alternative Easter treats, I found raisin free Rhubarb and Custard Hot Cross Buns in Aldi. I wasn’t particularly looking from Hot Cross Buns without raisins, I spotted an interesting flavour for review, but I’m aware some people have an aversion to the fruit, for example NLi10 who wrote yesterday’s blog post.
These Rhubarb and Custard Hot Cross Buns do have some fruit in them though, as they have pieces of rhubarb baked in.

The insides are also quite yellow, presumably from the custard. The flavour though is milder than I expected, and the hot cross bun spices gives these a similar flavour to regular hot cross buns. I guess this is both good and bad, they keep there classical taste, but stayed cautious on the new variant. The rhubarb is probably the more dominant of the new flavours adding a pleasing hint of sharpness, the custard just comes across as buttery and sweet, which is fine in the context. These were purchased with novelty in mind and they are delicate enough not to offend, but I would have preferred some sharper acidic rhubarb flavours. As a side effect I also now have the theme tune from the classic cartoon Rhubarb and Custard stuck in my head… this wouldn’t have happened if I’d bought the Salted Caramel ones!

14 March 2019

Not Cross Buns (no fruit! just chocolate) M&S (By @NLi10)

As long-time readers will be aware - I'm not a fan of raisins and sultanas.  My partner is aware of this too so picked up some Salted Caramel & Chocolate Hot Cross Buns.  To share.

These are fruit free (yay!) and still contain the usual bits you'd expect so they taste like hot cross buns, and even look like them.  Just with yummy chocolate sweetness instead of odd bitter fruit.

See - they look like the real thing.

You can even see the bits inside!

You can slice and butter them too - is this what people do with them normally - i've no idea!

It says not to toast them though as I think they may melt and go wrong.

So yes - they are basically festive Brioche - but I can eat them and join in the stodgy goodness.  And I know it's not Easter for a bit yet, but I figured if I share it now a few more people who don't like the original configuration may be able to seek them out in time.

I really enjoyed them!

13 March 2019

Salted Caramel Original Filled Doughnut (Krispy Kreme) By @SpectreUK

Salted Caramel Original Filled Doughnut (Krispy Kreme)

Cinabar brought these Salted Caramel Original Filled Doughnuts back from Krispy Kreme the other day. It's not often you see a ring doughnut that has a filling. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen a filled ring doughnut before. This Krispy Kreme ring doughnut is advertised as "Our signature ring doughnut, filled with yummy salted caramel." It's also topped with salted caramel drizzle, just for that extra bit of caramel, just incase the filling isn't enough...

As you can see from the half section photograph there is gooey salted caramel filling the inside of the ring doughnut. That was Cinabar's doughnut. Whereas as Cinabar's Mom's and my own doughnuts didn't have salted caramel filling all the way round. So, we had three Salted Caramel Original Filled Doughnuts; one filled all the way round, and the other two a little patchy. Never mind though as they tasted fantastic. Gorgeous really. They were jam-packed with caramel flavour, patchy or not. There was a little saltiness in the sweet gooey caramel flavour and they went especially well with a cup of tea. I'd recommend them, sometimes patchy or not!

12 March 2019

Cadbury Dairy Milk Big Taste Choco Biscuit Crunch (Waitrose) By @Cinabar

I though I’d tried most of the new Cadbury Dairy Milk bars, but my mum spotted this Dairy Milk Big Taste Choco Biscuit Crunch in Waitrose and picked it up to try. This is one big bar of chocolate, I think that sums up my initial thoughts. The bar contains a mix of biscuit, a milk cream filling, a cocoa filling and of course a decent amount of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate either side.
I broke a strip off the bar to try and realised that even this was a substantial chunk of chocolate on its own. The layers became very obvious inside, with the two different coloured cream fillings, milk and cocoa, sitting either side of the biscuit. The taste is sweet, rich chocolatey heaven. Both of the cream fillings are soft and sweet, and in combination with the chocolate you find that you can’t eat that much, which means the bar is going to last because as I said earlier it is a huge slab of chocolate. A few cubes is spot on. The bar has the name Crunch in the title and I think although it did have a mix of textures, there wasn’t quite a much crunch as I’d been expecting from that thick layer of biscuit. The cream fillings softened it somehow, but that was okay, there was still lots of interesting textures in this Cadbury Dairy Milk Big Taste Choco Biscuit Crunch and the bar makes a wonderful chocolate hit.

11 March 2019

The Chocolate Scotch Egg (Heston from Waitrose) By @Cinabar

I suspect Waitrose called Heston and asked him to come up with something new and chocolatey for Easter. I imagine him sitting down over lunch to think about it and tucking into a scotch egg, and him realising that this is a type of egg, and this could work. Ok so I don’t exactly know how this curious product came about but here we have The Chocolate Scotch Egg by Heston from Waitrose. The whole concoction is chocolate based and it merely resembles its meaty picnic snack.
When I picked one off the shelf I hadn’t realised how loose the packaging was. I popped the Heston Chocolate Scotch Egg on the conveyor belt by the till and noticed as “breadcrumbs” spilt out everywhere. The lady on the till noticed too and got someone to switch the item for a new one for me. Then we all noticed that none of the lids closed properly on the boxes, seemly by design. I bought one anyway.

The egg itself does rain chocolate shavings wherever it goes, and once out of the box chocolate speckles appear everywhere. Any proper Scotch Egg should be cut in half to reveal a beautiful yolk. I attempted to recreate this, but it was a tough egg and broke in places, and I could quite get the inside shot I had wanted.

Either way after some failed efforts of a smart photo I went straight in and tried the Heston Chocolate Scotch Egg. The flavour was actually fabulous. There was a lovely rich sweet milk chocolate as the main flavour, but the taste had so many depths, tones of smokiness, and even hints of maple syrup. The centre itself, well the yolk, is flavoured with mango and yuzu (an ugly Japanese citrus fruit) and this ganache very fruity and sweet, with a mellow citrus flavour that was quite soft with nice hint of juicy mango.
The conclusion is despite the fact that this Heston Chocolate Scotch Egg is messy to eat and hard to cut the flavours are so good it is totally worth it. This is worth buying for the novelty, but more than that the flavour experience was new and intriguing, as was the texture from the multiple layers of goodness within. This is the Easter stocking filler you have been looking for.

10 March 2019

PieMinister - Gluten Free Moo, Steak & Ale (@NLi10)

We are big fans of Pieminister in this house, so much so that we have a massive stash of the VIP points ready to cash in.  Luckily my partner saved them  - there are actually some good things to be redeemed for!

You'd need to basically buy two pies a week for a whole year to get to the good stuff though - which is luckily something that I (almost) manage to do!

Ocado had some of the newer Gluten Free pies in stock for this month's order so I jumped on board!  My partner had a Heidi.

So far so normal.  The gluten free one comes in a tray as if it's pretending to be a Higedy pie.  Maybe it's a little crumblier.

And they bake up fine too.  It looks a little less Pieminister than usual, but it's still a good pie.

And the inside is still the same - come to think of it - why wouldn't it be!  

The pastry has almost a more short-crust feel to it, a little drier and crispier.  It's actually a nice change in texture, and not detrimental to the experience at all.  I'm not sure that Gluten free helps anyone that isn't gluten intolerant (there isn't much evidence to support it) but if me buying this and enjoying it means that my friends who are sufferers can find the crucial brands on the shelf a little easier then I'm happy to join in - especially when they are as crispy as this!  Yum!

9 March 2019

Franziskaner Weissbier Alkoholfrei (Sainsbury’s) By @SpectreUK

Immediately as she saw the bottle, Cinabar commented that it is unusual for me to buy a nonalcoholic beer. Trying not to feel like an alcoholic, I admit, it is unusual for me to blog about a nonalcoholic beer. However, I have written about a few alcohol free beers before trying to determine if they do taste like their more grown up relatives. I haven't tried Franziskaner Weissbier Alkoholfrei before though…

I'd certainly like to say more about this beer, but asides saying it's from Munchen, in Germany, the label is mostly in fact in German, which I bummed at in my secondary school GCSE with an E. We did have joyous lessons full of taking the Mickey out of our poor teacher though, which is probably why we all failed?!

There are drivers out there who want the taste of beer, but not the affects its alcohol levels can have and the problems it can cause if they're pulled over by the Fuzz! Now Franziskaner Weissbier Alkoholfrei sounds like and looks like a "non alcoholic" beer. It even says it in English on the front of the bottle. However, on the back label in a fairly small typeface it corrects itself and states "low alcohol" at 0.5%, so try not to have a bucket of this if you want to drive home.

On opening the bottle this Franziskaner Weissbier Alkoholfrei does smell almost like a wheat beer, just only very slightly lacking in punch. It's a bit darker in colour than a regular Franziskaner Weissbier too. On taste, I think I prefer the alcoholic version. This Franziskaner Weissbier Alkoholfrei tastes a little breakfast cereally (I know that's not a word) to me and not totally like the alcoholic version, which is what I was hoping for. I suppose you could have it for a liquid breakfast! In fact that does actually sound like a magic idea. I've heard of liquid lunches and liquid puddings, why not have a liquid breakfast?! Just don't burp on the boss!

8 March 2019

New Fanta Grape Zero (Asda) By @Cinabar

Here we have one of those things where my culture has affected my tastebuds. My British background tells me what grapes taste like, and from that I assume that is what all grapes taste like. I can buy essentially red or green grapes in my local shops, and both are light, sweet but delicate in flavour. Every American grape flavour product I’ve had has confused me, I do not recognise the taste at all. I have been informed that in the States there are Concord grapes which are purple and taste exactly like the flavour of this drink. My interpretation of this drink is grape flavoured with a hint of something chemical, antiseptic and even with an edge of root beer to it. My taste buds tell me it isn’t great, and they tell me not to like it. They think it is wrong because they don’t recognise it as “normal” grape. I suspect those who have grown up with this as the usual flavour for their grape products will be lapping it up. They may question our native blackcurrant as an odd flavour for purple drinks and sweets, but thanks to my upbringing that is what I’m conditioned to expect purple drinks and sweets to taste like.
So I don’t like the drink, but I know it tastes like what it is supposed to. I’m intrigued to find out what other people think?

7 March 2019

Reese's Peanut Butter Egg (@NLi10)

Way back in 2015 Cinabar reviewed this peanut butter egg - that isn't really an egg.  And I've only just caught up.

It's simple enough - a little flat packet

Which seems to think it's a Reester? But maybe that is it's name in the Netherlands

American's seem to need less information - and spelling lessons.  No wonder they are obsessed with carbs - it's basically the only other thing on the packet.

And here is the 'egg'

It's not as big as it looks.

It's nice though - and i'll be buying more, but it's not all that Easter themed and not really that different from their other offerings in the range so I felt fine reviewing it early.  I like American style Peanut snacks so it works for me!