21 April 2019

Jazzie Egg - Marks & Spencer Food (@NLi10)

My easter present from my partner this year was this lovely Jazzie Egg from Marks & Spencer.  As you can see - it's not in the box anymore!!

It's here - open and confused - because I'm not sure how to get in without causing a lot of cleaning up.

It looks fantastic though!  The box has holes on both sides to show it off and so no-one is confused about the lack of Jazzies on the back.

The plastic case keeps it solid and and means that the shop is not full of Jazzies and that the whole think is easily recyclable.

It just means its the first Easter egg I remember where I've had to sit there with a plate to eat any!

In the end I put it Jazzies side down, and then pushed the sides in so I can eat the normal M&S (decent) chocolate and then leave the Jazzies safely in the plastic and not too many escaped.  Over the next week I'll slowly rotate and snap off the coated sections and eat the sweeter sections and hopefully not get them everywhere.

I dread to think what the factory looks like!

Lovely though, both to look at and to eat, and a nice reminder that these things don't have to be branded or complicated to be special or memorable.

20 April 2019

Dark Star Hophead (Ocado) By @SpectreUK

This is my Easter themed beer for this year! What do you think? Okay, okay… so, I couldn't find a real Easter themed beer, but bunnies are synonymous with Easter and bunnies hop, so this is the best I could do at short notice… Okay, okay… so Easter comes around once a year every year, but I forgot about this one, it just crept up and surprised me… or something!

So Hophead is produced by the Dark Star Brewing Company, in West Sussex. Dark Star is named after a song(ish) by the Grateful Dead. I'd never heard their music before, but YouTube can be very (un)helpful at times and now I wish I hadn't listened to the 2015 remastered version. To try to be kind; I'd have to say that it's not my sort of thing, even though I like most music types, asides some rap music, and definitely not the Teletubbies and Mister Blobby! It seems that at 3.8% volume I'd have to drink a heck of a lot of this Hophead to actually enjoy the Grateful Dead's music, but that's besides the point!

Brewed with Malted Barley and Cascade Hops, there is fruitiness in this beer promised on the label. I imagined when I picked this beer up off the supermarket shelf that "Hophead" would refer to a menagerie of hops rolled into one beer bottle. However, just the Cascade hops in this Hophead possibly won't overcomplicate the flavour. On opening there is a fruitiness in the aroma of this deep golden almost straw coloured ale. As the almost overpowering fruity hops smell collides with the malted barley, there is an almost biscuit aroma to finish. This is a beer I could smell all day.

On taste Hophead is actually a complex flavoured ale. There is thick sweet malted barley to start with that's pounced on almost immediately by the fruity bitterness from the hops. The malted barley wrestles with the hops like a stubborn child trying to steal an Easter Egg off a rabbit! This battle of flavours runs straight through into the aftertaste. The sweet almost biscuit flavours from the malted barley and that fruity bitterness from the Cascade hops fight madly away at each other. There is more fruitiness into the aftertaste, so I suspect the bunny wins the Easter Egg and hops off into the Spring evening sunshine!

Have a Happy Hoppy Easter, Everyone!

19 April 2019

Maryland Cookies Wonder - Toffee Popcorn Crunch (Aldi) By @Cinabar

These heavily loaded cookies were found in the wonderful section of Aldi with the Special Buys. This means they don’t normally stock them, they are just there for a short term only, and as you can imagine it is one of my favourite aisles to explore. This weeks find were Maryland Cookies Wonder - Toffee Popcorn Crunch.
I couldn’t decide how popcorn would work on a cookie, but I certainly liked the idea. I opened up the biscuits, I had a cup of tea next to me but on this occasion I decided not to dunk. This is pretty dedicated stuff from me, I do dunk biscuits but I wanted to try one out without the tea, to see how the popcorn element worked.
So these Toffee Popcorn Crunch Maryland Cookies have lots of sweetness, and the first flavours I picked up on were caramel and chocolate. These flavours pretty much dominated the biscuit taste, with just a slight hit of popcorn afterwards. I couldn’t pick up on the texture of the popcorn apart from where I had a little bit of the inner kernel shell in my biscuit. The biscuits were chunky and the chocolate pieces were big and these things hid the texture of the popcorn too. Overall I enjoyed these biscuits, they were sweet, chunky, crunchy and had lots of chocolat on them. As an exciting way to try out popcorn on a biscuit I felt they missed the mark.

18 April 2019

Choc Affair - Three Artisanal Chocolate Bars (@NLi10) @ChocAffairFT

Happy Chocolate Weekend! Let us celebrate Ostara by consuming beans and sugar in a variety of flavours and shapes!

We've bumped into the Choc Affair products a few times over the years *Geraniums*  and *Bergamot* and agreed that they are rather fantastic.  I remarked that they are very gifty - and I got all these as gifts!  Will deal with the top one another day - promise.

We actuially dealt with the PEach And Raspberry flavour in a previous review - but frankly it's appeal has only grown on me since then so I'll keep saying how amazing it is.

As you can see here it has lots of bits in it which I love.  The other two have lots to compete with.

Fortunately Dark Chocolate, Lime & Sea Salt are three of my favourite things.  There is a little crunch here and there but otherwise this is smooth, salty chocolate with a kick of lime and a little salt left in the teeth afterwards.  A much darker mood than the light peach melba version, but equally exquisite.

That leaves us with the Mango - which was always going to be the most unusual of the three.  I'm not sure I've had Mango chocolate ever!

The smell is amazing - of all the three this is the one that permeated the room, and turned heads.  And the taste has enough of the mango to be just as satisfying.  The chocolate itself is soft, and much more friendly than the version with the raspberry bits.  I think I'd almost say this is more traditional - and certainly has a flavour which I could see being used for eggs and other shaped Easter goods.

I don't think I really have a clear favourite here.  I know the raspberry one will be finished first, but I'd be more likely to buy a Melon one as a quirky present for someone.  Yet again - Choc Affair have delivered high quality, but more importantly starkly different treats that only pretend to be ordinary chocolate bars in wonderfully crisp gold foil.

17 April 2019

Swizzels Drumchick Squashies (Asda) By @SpectreUK

I decided to go for a different type of blog than the usual chocolate egg variety. I do usually like fruit flavoured gums and foams, so these Swizzels Drumchick Squashies orange and pineapple flavoured foam gums sound right up my street. They have been brought out as a seasonal change to their usual Drumsticks. I usually do like orange and pineapple flavoured foodstuffs and drinks, so I'm quite looking forward to these. However, I noticed in the ingredients the only fruit used to make these Swizzels Drumchick Squashies was apple pulp, so there is no actual orange and pineapple to speak of. So what do they taste like…?

Well, there was the unmistakable smell of carnauba wax on opening the packet and a little apple. As far as I know the carnauba wax is used to stop the foams from sticking together. It slightly detracts from the flavour also. Once through the slightly waxy flavour, there is a taste of sweet apple followed by a little orange and pineapple which follows into the aftertaste. These Swizzels Drumchick Squashies orange and pineapple flavoured foam gums were pretty moreish once I'd got used to the slightly waxy coating…

Happy Easter, Everyone!

Information on the packet;
The 160g packet contains 71 calories per 20g serving, with less than 0.1g of fat, 12.5g of sugar, and than 0.1g of salt. With no artificial colours, please see photograph for ingredients.

16 April 2019

Mini MixUp Chocolate Eggs (Aldi) By @Cinabar

I was in Aldi looking for something Easter themed to munch on (before the event) and found this bag of chocolates called Mini MixUp Chocolate Eggs. The chocolate are individually wrapped and are egg shaped. This makes me think these would be good for egg hunts or just sharing on the day, if there isn’t enough chocolate in your house already! We had them just to snack on while watching TV. There are four varieties of Mini MixUp Chocolate Eggs, and they are:

Choco Eggs
These eggs had a lolly hint of hazelnut and a creamy filling. It wasn’t exactly what I had been expecting, but as a nut fan I loved these.

Oozy Eggs
The Oozy Eggs were filled with a sweet thick liquid in the format of a sugary fondant. They reminded me of a Creme Egg, and as such I rather liked it.

Toffee Egg Bites
These were mostly chocolate, with some bits of crisps toffee mixed in. The toffee flavour wasn’t too strong, but it added a nice taste to the base flavour.

Cookies N Cream
I loved the added biscuit tones and the added crunch. Chocolate and biscuit go together really well, so I think these were my favourites.

I have to say I was very impressed by this bag of chocolates, and I’m a little sad they are going to disappear after Easter. I will have to pick up another bag later in the week.

15 April 2019

New Pringles Rice Fusion - Malaysian Red Curry Flavour (Asda) By @Cinabar

These crisps are a both a new flavour and a new style of product from Pringles. They are called Pringles Rice Fusion - Malaysian Red Curry flavour crisps, and they are actually made with rice flour. The flavour is that of a curry that would also go well with rice, but these are still in the usual Pringles crisps format. In fact, dare I say it, if you didn’t know they were made with rice flour you wouldn’t have noticed a difference in texture.
I have to admit to not knowing what a Malaysian Red Curry should taste like. I have had Thai red curries, but not Malaysian, so it is probably best if I just describe the flavour, and try not to worry too much about what it is supposed to taste like.
These crisps are mildly spiced, but they are very fragrant. I could taste curry powder and cardamon and I liked these spices. The other main flavour is a lovely creaminess that runs throughout the taste which was very much like coconut. This worked beautifully with the gentle spices, and as ever with Pringles, theses crisps were very moreish and tasty. To my taste buds they could have been made with the usual potato base and I don’t think I would have noticed, the rice works very well. One thing is though these Pringles Rice Fusion - Malaysian Red Curry Flavour were so tasty, it makes me want to try a proper Malaysian Red Curry, so I better have a hunt for a recipe.

14 April 2019

Crepe Cake - Matcha Style (Happy Lemon, Birmingham) by @NLi10

We've covered the phenomenon of the crepe cake before here on FoodStuffFinds and found that it's tasty and massively filling.  What happens then when we combine this with the fashionable (and lovely) super stimulating Matcha powder?

I'd assumed it was a light sprinkle on top and maybe a little in the mixture.

Nope - this thing is mostly Matcha!  You have a good mm on top, it's in all the layers, and the crepes themselves look green too.  It's pretty hardcore.  Luckily this was to slit between three (and was still a bit too filling) so I didn't quite fly home.  

It is a work of art though - be a shame if anything happened to it...

Oh no! As you can see - it's very green.  It has the flavours of the standard crepe cake but with the intense addition of the Matcha on top.  It has the strongest tea flavour that I remember trying, but with the sweetness and creaminess of the pancakes it doesn't overpower.  This is definitely a sharing desert though and I'm glad I waited until there was a group of us who are relatively into this kind of thing to try it out.  I think I had most of the very top layer though.  

A great experience and one I'm sure I'll have again - and it made the rest of the afternoon a buzz too!

13 April 2019

Katy Apple & Rhubarb Cider (Marks & Spencer) By @SpectreUK

I seem to be a little lost for words today. I could talk about the weather, which is cold and a little overcast. Not great for cider, such as this Spring feeling Katy Apple & Rhubarb Cider from the Woollen Farm, in Kent. There was not much heat in the outside pool whilst I was swimming after my weights at the gym today. I gave a little chuckle when the sun poked out of the clouds for a moment and a mom and dad with toddlers jumped in and then promptly jumped out again.

A day out at Ludlow Castle yesterday had left me in so much pain in my knee that I didn't think I'd be able to do any weights today. I even felt a little nauseous from it whilst driving to the gym. I push myself. You have to. Without discipline anyone who is going through any rehabilitation will tell you that you won't stand a chance. I got up to 30kg for two sets on the Seated Leg Curl for my hamstrings without pain. I don't even remember a time I reached that level before both operations on my knee over the last four years. I just had to catch myself for a while. It's difficult to control my emotions sometimes. Even writing this now. I managed to do all my other weights and cardio, even finishing with a fairly brisk walk on a machine after my physiotherapist had encouraged me to do so a couple of days ago. I didn't have to catch myself then though. It was the first time I'd ever been on a walking machine. It'll probably take sometime to get used to the sensation, as it feels like I'm walking backwards…!

So, what have I got here? Cider, yes… Katy Apple & Rhubarb Cider. I do like cider, of course, I prefer ale, but the amount of time I spend in the sauna these days, I do often need something refreshing to cool me down. I do like rhubarb also. We had a few rhubarb plants at the last house. Each year they would yield one pudding for three people and one glass of rhubarb juice, which I always drank. Not much, you may think, but it all tasted really good!

Made with Katy apple juice, Timperley Early and Queen Victoria Rhubarb this 4% volume lightly sparkling cider has a slightly pinkish glow to it on pouring. The cider apple shines through in the aroma first with a sweetness from the rhubarb behind it. Gosh this Katy Apple & Rhubarb Cider is crisp. It's got a knife edge sourness from the cider apple to start with followed by a tart sweetness from the rhubarb into the aftertaste. Mmm… I'll kick back and enjoy this cider for a while, and hopefully Cinabar will treat me to another few cans when the lady's tennis starts to get interesting!

12 April 2019

New Milkybar MixUps (Asda) By @Cinabar

These new Milkybar Mixups are a new white and milk chocolate product I spotted them on the Asda website. My initial thought was that they reminded me of nineties chocolates called Vice-Versas with were a hard shelled chocolate filled with either white chocolate or milk chocolate and the shell was the opposite colour, especially as both of these chocolate products are made by Nestle.
Once the bag arrived I realised these were a bit different in that there is no shell, it is the two types of chocolate with one coating the other. There were quite a few of these Milkybar Mixups in the bag, and they were a little smaller than I had been expecting.
I gave a white one the taste test and found it to be softer than expected, and a flavour that wasn’t quite the sweet pure creaminess of white chocolate as it had hit of milk chocolate. The milk chocolate ones were almost identical. I think I’d struggle to tell them apart on a blind taste test. Both had blended white and milk chocolate in similar proportions. I think these new Milkybar Mixup were pleasant but missed the boat a bit. They lost their unique selling point of their Milkybar white chocolate, and the mix didn’t quite work. I’m happy to have tried them, but I think Milky Giant Buttons are a better way of getting a white chocolate hit.

11 April 2019

Happy Gut Hut - Plain Kombucha (@NLi10)

There is no point in trying just one of any new thing. With Kombucha I took the very next opportunity to back up my original opinion with a nice small brand version in a trendy bike cafe.

The Happy Gut Hut seem to be a small outfit making soft drinks for little cafes. Perfect. As we all know my love for botanically brewed nonsense this is right up my street. Again it looks a little odd.

In the glass I’m just drinking a weird lemonade, or maybe a German white beer. And also eating an Oreo brownie. I’m a fan of the iPhones portrait mode, but the newspapers restaurant reviews go from above.

I think both work well!

The brownie was great, but you can guess that.

The drink was a bit different to Captain Kombucha- it’s a lot milder, not quite as potent, but still has the same flavours and hints that I’d picked up. It’s still too much like a beer for my partner, but this is somewhere I’d be happier drinking on a night out. I wonder if bars do this in Birmingham yet? 

There are health benefits advertised, but I’m not sure my unique gut issues are happy with too much of this kind of thing. Best in moderation then, but lovely flavours and a great brand to pick up.

10 April 2019

Cadbury’s White Chocolate Creme Egg (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Cadbury’s White Chocolate Creme Egg

We could all do with a treat now and then. After some recent tough times at the gym I need to put behind me, my muscles around my newly operated on knee are slowly but surely growing. Cinabar has somehow managed to wangle me a Cadbury's White Chocolate Creme Egg. I don't know how… mainly because I'm just an unpaid lackey, however it does pay off on the odd occasion. This White Chocolate Creme Egg is my pay off. She's probably thinking it'll keep me happy for a while. She's probably right!

This is one of those prize eggs that people have been attacking regular Cadbury's Milk Chocolate Creme Eggs in stores to win big bucks from. People are even selling them unwrapped on Ebay. Yuck, probably with sticky finger marks all over them for free! It's funny that you don't have to unwrap them to find they are white chocolate, as they have it written in the ingredients on the wrapper.

Cadbury’s White Chocolate Creme Egg

On unwrapping the White Chocolate Creme Egg Cinabar was all over me with a camera! "The Readers will want to see it," she exclaimed.

"How do you eat your's? With a ruddy great lens stuck up your nose!" I replied grumpily.

Cadbury’s White Chocolate Creme Egg

As you can see from the photograph, the White Chocolate Creme Egg is indeed white chocolate on the outside. It has the traditional Cadbury's Creme Egg filling. It bizarrely tastes completely different to the milk chocolate variety. So bizarre it's not even like a distant cousin twice removed! Sure it looks like a White Chocolate Creme Egg, but the sheer creaminess from the white chocolate coupled with the super sweetness from the egg's innards tastes like nothing I've ever tasted before. It's actually sublime. Honestly it's one of the best things I've ever tasted. Unless they start making batches of these Cadbury's White Chocolate Creme Eggs then I strongly suspect this is the only one I'll ever eat. It was certainly timely and one heck of a treat for some of the stuff I've been through lately!

Cadbury’s White Chocolate Creme Egg Ingredients

9 April 2019

Seabrook Fire Eaters Smokin’ Hot Smokehouse Cayenne (Ocado) By @Cinabar

These crisps from Seabrook come with a few warnings about their heat on the front of the packet; “Dare You Eat The Heat”. The name also sounds ominous, the packet in front of me states Seabrook Fire Eaters Smokin’ Hot Smokehouse Cayenne.
We decided to share these out one lunch time, and see how hot they really were. I gave the first one a try and my initial thought was that they weren’t too hot. They had a nice mild smokiness and just as I was thinking "where is the chilli", it jumped up and slapped me in the face. My nose started to run and my tongue was on fire. Now I’ve never claimed to be a chilli head, but I ‘m okay with a nice medium heat. Chilli flavour crisps aren’t something that would usually bother me, they aren’t usually that hot whatever the packet claims. These are though. I did manage to eat my portion, and then have a long drink to try and clear the palette, they were a bit fiery for me, which kind of meant the smokey taste was a bit lost after the first couple.
Interestingly these fiery hot crisps have a four chilli rating on the front of the packet, there is a flavour with a five chilli rating in our cupboard, but I think I will leave those for Spectre to write about. They sound wonderfully delicate in taste; Seabrook Fire Eaters Scorchin' Hot Trinidad Scorpion Chilli.

8 April 2019

Shloer Pressed: Strawberry and Lime (Asda) By @cinabar

As I mentioned last week there have been a few new soft drink products from Shloer this Spring, and also this a new format. Some of their new flavours are only available in cans, and come in boxes of four. The flavour we are trying out today is Shloer Pressed: Strawberry and Lime.
In the small print it states that there is also sparkling apple in the drink. I initially thought when it said Pressed it would be a still drink, but was quite pleased to see that it was fizzy as this what I like and associate with Shloer.
I poured my can into a glass and it fizzed nicely. The drink was a gentle pink colour and I gave it a first taste. I have to admit I was a little disappointed, the drink didn’t have much flavour at all. It reminded me of one of those water’s “with a hint of”. There was just a touch of sweetness and a touch of strawberry, I was struggling to pick up the lime at all. If I’m honest I think I wouldn’t have been able to identify the flavours from taste alone, it was just mild fruity and pleasant. Now I’ve tried the Shloer Spritzed Grapefruit and Mint it would be hard to imagine buying these cans over that bottle. Having said that I do have a pack of four rhubarb cans from Shloer in this range yet to try. I’m hoping that rhubarb adds a nice zing to that taste.

7 April 2019

Captain Kombucha - Holland & Barrett (@NLi10)

We were invited to a premier screening of the new Attenborough/ NetFlix documentary Our Planet and coincidentally I had a Holland & Barrett voucher to use up.  I decided to get the sustainable and fashionable drink Kombucha because I’ve been hearing a lot about it and had never tried it.

It’s not a great picture, but there was an hours wait between the door time and the start of the show proper so we had a lot of time to nibble our snacks and contemplate fermented goop.

Here we can see the crowds outside the museum for the actual debut, and the awkward small picture all the internet footage had. They went full screen for the actual show so it was all good.

And the documentary was good - not as dark and foreboding as I’d expected, and a lot of the talk was about how we can help. Going vegan was one big suggestion, I’d suggest less new ball gowns and taking public transport to premiers like we did.

Kombucha itself looks odd, it’s like you forgot to feed your sea monkeys. It tastes like beer made without hops, which is I guess what it is. This only has trace amounts of alcohol, like real cola, and is pretty family friendly. This particular brand was quite strong and while I liked this my partner wasn’t so keen. It was an interesting first go and I’m sure we will be trying more of this quite soon - for instance on Thursday!

6 April 2019

Folded Mountains Pale Ale (Aldi) By @SpectreUK

There's not much information on the 355ml bottle's label of this 5.3% volume Folded Mountains Pale Ale, asides it being produced by Custom Tap Brews, in New York. I'm assuming this is a pretty old pale ale though, as Fold Mountains, such as the Himalayas, was the name used for the effects of folding layers within the upper part of the Earth's Crust (so Wikipedia tells me anyway). The theory of Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift took over from the concept of Fold Mountains in the early 20th Century. I know (yawn)… this is not very interesting, but some people often need to get to the facts to fully understand something before plunging in or at least writing about it… even if the temptation just to open the bottle and drink the American Pale Ale inside is pretty overwhelming! The fact that the brewery is situated on the Genesee River in Rochester, New York, which first had breweries situated there from 1819, goes some way to explain the age of the Folded Mountain name of this pale ale.

On opening the bottle there was a fairly strong herbal hoppy smell with the sweetness from the malted barley poking up like a little-bitty hill underneath. This almost bronze pale ale pours with an enthusiastic head. On first taste the herbal hops bite into my tongue like the spikes on a mountain climber's boots. This is certainly a flavoursome beer. The bitterness from the hops, and a warming hint of spice is only smoothed out a little by the sweetness from the malts as my tastebuds descend to the lower peaks of the fairly high bitter mountain range they started on. The herbal hops and spicy undertones of this beer makes me wonder what hops they used in the brewing… But I can't seem to find much on this beer. Perhaps if you pick one up yourself sometime you can let me know your thoughts on it?

5 April 2019

Rubicon Street Drinks - Nimbu Pani (Local Shop) By @cinabar

Rubicon Street Drinks - Nimbu Pani

It is definitely new drinks season. Not only has there been a new range of Shloer soft drinks released, but I also found this new Rubicon Street Drinks Nimbu Pani. I hadn’t heard of Nimbu Pani but the Rubicon can describes it as a still drink flavoured with lemon, mint and cumin.
I popped open the can at lunch time and gave it a try. I finished the whole can and still couldn’t decide if I liked the drink or not. The flavour starts with a fairly swift lemon hit. It wasn’t too zingy or sharp, more like sweet lemonade (but still). The mint was a lovely addition adding a cooling freshness that tasted like summer and reminded me of hot summer’s days. I wished the flavour had ended there. There was however cumin, which to me is one of the base flavours of curry. I tried to tell my tastebuds that this added a complexity to the flavour which almost delivered spice, but they simply replied; “but it tastes of curry”. I could almost see how cumin could work in the drink, but every second sip my conditioned tastebuds just didn’t get it. I wanted to like it, I felt I could get used to it with another can, but ultimately I have to admit the cumin didn’t work for me. It was nice to try something new like this Rubicon Street Drinks Nimbu Pani though, I wonder if there are any other new drinks in the range. I’ll keep my eye out of course.

4 April 2019

Steak Pie but Quorn not beef (@NLi10)

I like Quorn. It enabled me to be a vegetarian at university without too much hassle, and has informed my meal choices for the last 20 years accordingly. Now I’m more nutritarian than veggie/vegan but I still keep Quorn in the freezer for all occasions. I also love pies - which is why it’s such a shock that this is something I will never eat again.

It all looks fairly standard so far. Typical pie. Typical me meal with no veg yet (I added leafy

And the cooking and ingredients are fairly standard too. Basically they decided to do the peppered steak flavour with their pink chicken Quorn.

And it looks realistic too. This is not one for the veggies who love veg - it’s clearly aimed at people who miss meat. And I don’t know whether it’s the way it cooks in its sauce that ruins it all, but my first bite was met with audible revulsion!

Something hasn’t worked here - the Quorn is so soft and textureless that it feels like it’s gone off. The flavour is all pepper and no real ‘meat’. It’s not only unusual it’s downright unpleasant. The pastry is good and when eaten as a whole adds enough bite to mean that I finished it all. It’s odd - I’ve no real idea why I didn’t get on with this when I’ve loved all manor of Quorn snacks. Only their bacon and frankfurters have caused me to question them this much before - maybe it’s the same stuff. I’ll stick to other pies and just use their fantastic chunks and mince to make my own things.

3 April 2019

Fusian Sweet Chilli Noodles (@DegustaboxUK) By @SpectreUK

I do love a good pot of hot noodles with a spicy sauce. I like to boil myself some eggs to have on the side and also dip some bread and butter into the pot to soak up the sauce. I've had a few particularly explosive experiences with Fusian before. Namely trying to cook their noodle packets without them boiling over in our dodgy old microwave. To be honest there has been absolutely no success there whatsoever and it usually takes quite a while to clean the microwave afterwards. Part of that time taken is me begging Cinabar just to buy another microwave!

This Maggi Fusian Sweet Chilli Noodles is finally in a pot. I'm not sure how long they've been out, but whoohoo! Now I get to add boiling water rather than stare at an overly bright TV dinner until it explodes everywhere when I blink!

On opening the pot there was two sachets; one for seasoning and one for diced vegetables, such as carrot, leek, onion, parsley, and chives. These two sachets were sitting on top of a solid block of stringy noodles (I'm sure they're not called that, but whatever!). I'd take a photograph of the contents, but believe me they're not that interesting. No bendable plastic fork under extreme temperatures either… which was slightly disappointing. I always enjoy putting that in recycling and finding a metal fork from the draw!

After adding the contents of the sachets into the pot and adding boiling water, as well as boiling some eggs, and buttering some bread, this reddish coloured Fusian Sweet Chilli Noodles looks pretty packed full of diced vegetables. It smells like a mild sweet chilli, no nose tickling chilli burn here, just a gentle tasty smelling noodle pot. On taste there is something very different about this Fusian Sweet Chilli Noodles than any noodle pot I've tasted before. It's the caramelised sugar. It really complements the warming spices and chillies, and peppery flavours. Caramelised sugar is the predominant flavour here and makes every medium chilli hot and sugary sweet mouthful absolutely delicious. I'll definitely be having these Fusian Sweet Chilli Noodles on a regular basis with my other favourite noodle pot varieties!

Information on the pot;
Each 64g pot contains 307 calories, 14.2g of fat, 3.8g of sugar, and 1.08g of salt. There are no artificial colours or preservatives, and it states there is 25% less salt in this product. See photograph for ingredients.

2 April 2019

Shloer Spritzed Grapefruit and Mint (Asda) By @Cinabar)

Shloer Spritzed Grapefruit and Mint

I am a big fan of the brand Shloer, I consider it to be my favourite grown up soft drink. I love the Celebration edition that comes out at Christmas, an the Elderflower is another favourite favour. I mention these two because they are generally the only ‘different’ flavours that are ever available in Shloer. In fact whenever I do an online order I search for Shloer and add a bottle, and I cannot remember the last time I saw anything new appear, that was until my last order. There was a whole range of new Shloer products from bottles to drinks, so I did the only sensible thing and bought them all. :-D
The first bottle to open was this Shloer Spritzed Grapefruit and Mint drink. It is in a nice posh bottle, and is a pretty pink colour. We poured some into glasses, and the drink fizzed pleasingly when poured. The aroma was very bitter and I worried his might not be for me. I gave it a sip and was pleased to say I loved the flavour. It is quite dry in taste, but not sharp from the grapefruit, just fruity and with a wave of bitter. The mint follows through and lifts this drink perfectly, its herby taste is cooling and refreshing, and rounded off the flavour perfectly. If I didn’t have cupboard full of new Shloer flavours to try I would be buying another bottle of this Shloer Spritzed Grapefruit and Mint for next week. I’m hoping all the new variants will be as good.

1 April 2019

Haagen-Dazs Caramel Swirl Gelato (Asda) By @Cinabar

Haagen-Dazs Caramel Swirl Gelato

It is the time of year where new ice creams are starting to launch. This seasonality is an issue for me as I drink hot chocolate and eat ice cream all year. I will take the opportunity to top up my freezer with some new goodies though, and one of the new things I couldn’t resist was this Haagen-Dazs Caramel Swirl Gelato. The ice creams, well yes actually gelato, come in a four pack and each one has a plastic spoon in the lid for that added “I’m at the theatre” feel.

We decided to try these as a dessert during the week, and it was only after I took them out of the box I realised I was supposed to let them warm up for 5-10 minutes before eating. The posher the ice cream the less air is whipped into them, so the firmer they are out of the freezer. Gelato is churned at a slower rate so has even less air so needs the most time.
When it had softened a little I gave it the Haagen-Dazs Caramel Swirl Gelato the taste test. I have too say I was very impressed, the ice cream tasted very creamy and sweet, and the caramel was lovely. The swirls of sauce meant that the mouthfuls varied in terms of the caramel balance and this kept the ice cream interesting to eat. The ice cream tubs only have 150 calories, which makes it a reasonable treat even if you are watching what you are eating. I have to say I was so impressed by the Haagen-Dazs Caramel Swirl Gelato I’ve added another box to my next online order.