31 October 2019

Pumpkins & Pasta - Halloween Treats (@NLi10)

While getting the amazing chocolate pumpkin lollies I spotted more Halloween treats. Yay!

These are clearly going to be amazing!

Boo is right, at least they taste ok, but these are too small to satisfy without the Choc of the peanut butter cups. I’d give them to treaters if I wasn’t afraid of allergies...

What else do we have? Novelty pasta?

With spooky garlic themed things?

Three cool shapes - spiders and bats and pumpkins! And we have plain, orange and squid ink black varieties too! 

We had to remove the black ones to make them Veggie friendly. It worked! The shapes were more exciting than the quality of the pasta but it was a good meal and I forgot to take a picture. 

So here is my team on Halloween. 

Stay spooky!

30 October 2019

Moorhouse's Blonde Witch Beer (Morrisons) By @SpectreUK

Pendle Hill is renowned for its myths and legends of witches in its deep dark distant past. This Blonde Witch was brewed by Moorhouse's Brewery in the shadow of that frightening Lancashire hill. Like any blonde to a gentleman this beer is said to be particularly alluring with its punchy full-bodied malts and fruity citrus hoppy bitterness. Trouble is, I'm not a gentleman. I like to think I am some of the time. Perhaps most people who pass me by may think so too, but I have something of the dark about me. So maybe any kind of witch may have to watch out? Ah, who am I kidding…?

On opening the bottle of this 4.4% volume Blonde Witch there was a luscious refreshing smell of sweet malted barley like the long grass blowing on Pendle Hill in a cold autumn night's breeze. There followed the fruitiness of a maiden dancing around the citrus hops alluring my tastebuds into a pleasurable sip. This deep golden ale has a full sweet malted barley flavour to begin with, and then the wind picks up tantalising my tastebuds, the dark hill's long grass swirls around my tongue in a spellbinding jig, as the fruity blonde siren sings a merry tune pulling my heart strings closer and closer. Further and further away from reality, as the darkness of the cold autumn night begins to envelope me. I see her beauty, her wanton golden locks glistening in the moonlight as suddenly the bitter citrus in her eyes bites into my soul with my last fateful muffled cry into the black… Never to be seen again…

Happy Halloween!! ;-)

29 October 2019

Skull Marshmallow Lollipop (Waitrose) By @Cinabar

When I think of all the Halloween products I’ve seen this year this Skull Marshmallow Lollipop the smartest item I’ve found. These lollipops were found in Waitrose and the design on them is simply stunning. They are designed in the theme of the Day of the Dead, they are bright and colourful and frankly the prettiest Halloween goodies I’ve seen. It seems a shame to eat them but needs must with blogging.
 The front of the Skull Marshmallow Lollipop is a printed design and the shop seemed to stock multiple versions of designs which is nice. They are actually made of decorated marshmallow and pressed into the sides are hundreds and thousands, which a add to the seasonal glam. It also adds to the texture and means the bites of mallow also have a a light crunch from the added sugary goodness. Texture wise the marshmallow is thick and squishy and the texture is fun to eat. The flavours are plainer than the colour scheme but the creamy vanilla is tasty and lollipop is pleasingly sweet.
I think these are such lovely looking treats that they would make a perfect gift for family and friends but they are far too nice to give away to Trick of Treaters. Sorry folks these are a bit to posh for strangers. I’d suggest enjoying one with a warming hot chocolate as the perfect accompaniment to having an evening in.

28 October 2019

McVities Jaffa Cakes - Freaky Cake Bars (Sainsburys) By @Cinabar

McVities Jaffa Cakes - Freaky Cake Bars

Well here we have a another Halloween product in the run up to the big night. This time it is McVities Jaffa Cakes - Freaky Cake Bars, and the packaging is nicely themed with all sorts of Halloweens items and potions. I have been a bit frustrated this year with some brands packaging up the usual items with a new wrapper and not making any effort but I am pleased to say these at least have a “freaky” purple coloured sponge inside. It is something different in the manufacturing that males them a bit more unique. Granted the flavours aren’t new. The inner wrapper round the cake bars are themed too, making them a decent gift for Trick Of Treaters who knock on the door, at least it looks seasonal enough to give out.

McVities Jaffa Cakes - Freaky Cake Bars

The McVities Jaffa Cakes - Freaky Cake Bars are coated in a thin dark chocolate that cracks nicely when bitten into. The purple sponge is fun and bright, and the orange flavour from the Jaffa jelly layer is good and strong. These are sweet and tasty, and although traditionally flavoured with the Jaffa cake orange they are interesting enough to make them a good Halloween product. I like the mix of strong citrus and dark chocolate so was happy munching on these.
Update: these McVities Jaffa Cakes - Freaky Cake Bars did not survive in time to be given out to Trick Or Treaters, which I think is a positive thing in itself (unless you are one of our neighbours and you were planning on knocking our door on Thursday)…

27 October 2019

Orange Chocolate for Halloween - Lidl (@NLi10)

Halloween is great - so great that the space cats calendar devotes the month to it.  The cat isn't a black one else it wouldn't show up in space.

I spotted that Lidl were selling flavoured white choc lollipops that were orange chocolate - dare I hope that they were as good as the classic Thornton's ones?

When asked by a colleague if i wanted anything when he picked up his lunch I said YES

Turns out - they are pretty good - although at a pound each they probably should be!

Easily polished off.

And on the way home

I popped in to check out the full range!

and took another one of each home!  Hopefully they over ordered and these are half price on Friday...

26 October 2019

Ghost Dance Chinook Pale Ale (Aldi) By @SpectreUK

Ghost Dance… What better ale for a blogger called Spectre to review on Strictly Come Dancing's Halloween night special? There's none that I can think of! This Chinook Pale Ale brings together Galena, Amarillo and Chinook hops to celebrate the Chinookan tribe's Ghost Dance, which is used to re-unite the living and the dead in peace and prosperity. Sounds pretty good to me. I've lost plenty of people along the way, just like many other people. So, I'll raise my beer glass to them tonight… To those that are dead, and of course, those lost that are still living…

On opening this 5.3% volume Ghost Dance there was a pleasing herbal hoppy smell mixed in with the sweet malts, such as pale and possibly crystal. On taste this deep golden pale ale has a rough bitter herbal hoppy edge to begin with, as the three hops swirl around each other with every mouthful, like the stamping of many dancing feet around the sweet barley malt warmth of a large campfire. I can almost hear the drums and the chanting of the dancer's imploring their loved one's to come forth and join them from the afterlife. To jigger and judder back into the land of the living for just one spooky night of the year… For those those that go dancing, clinking and clanking, and bump, bump, bump through the night!

Happy Halloween… Mwah hah hah haaa….! ;-D

25 October 2019

Reese’ Pieces King Size Pumpkins (Spa) By @Cinabar

I love peanut butter and chocolate and found this Halloween themed excuse to buy some Reese’ Pieces King Size Pumpkins. They were found in a local shop in the seasonal section, but I haven’t actually seen them anywhere else.
I managed to take a nice picture of the product above, but without the Halloween cue I’m not sure I’d have recognised them as seasonal purely from the contents. Those pumpkin shapes are a bit ropey to say they least, thy look a bit like splurges of chocolate. I’ll forgive them though, they contain peanut butter.

The Reese’ Pieces King Size Pumpkins are actually quite chunky both, especially in terms of thickness. I broke one of the pumpkins in half and could see the milk chocolate coating over the peanut butter and the Reese’ Pieces shell mixed in. There weren’t any whole Reese’ Pieces, which I thought would be inside, just crumbs of shell which is a bit weird, but probably better on the teeth than having hard bits mixed in. They didn’t look that much like the picture on the wrapper to be honest either, there wasn’t any detailing for a start. As it was the shell bits delivered a light crunch to the texture, but not anything substantial to the flavour.

The peanut butter and chocolate was like magic though, I love the combination of salty nut and sweet chocolate and this thicker portion was heaven. I bought this as a Halloween treat but frankly it is a reminder not to overlook the Reese’ Pieces goodies when I’m looking for a treat. I think the Reese’s Cups are a bit better defined too.

24 October 2019

Scones - Devon Vs Cornwall (@NLi10)

So - my plan was to have lots of scones in Devon and lots of scones in Cornwall, decorate them correctly and say which I preferred.  I managed one set in each location.

The Devon scones were huge and came with far too much stuff to pile on.

Cream first

Jam next.  Unfortunately the huge scones basically tasted like really heavy bread.  The sheer amount (we took them away and had the 2nd lot the next day) really put me off trying more.  The tea, jam and cream were ace - but the scones were not really what I wanted.

Here we are in Cornwall, Jam first Cream on top

Again, ace quality ingredients and a much more acceptable portion size, but the scones just were not that exciting.  What has happened to people?  Are Irish scones really that different from the hipster ones that the market is demanding?  What on earth are you doing to make them so breaddy?!

I do wonder if i'd have registered the Cornwall ones as being bread like if it hadn't been for the first lot, but look at these photos - that not crumb like - thats a cob cut!

I think I'm going to have to sample a lot more locally and see whats going on (and bake my own more).

Result - both Devon & Cornwall lose.  Rematch next time we go down.

23 October 2019

Scream - Toffee Apple Soreen (Sainsburys) By @SpectreUK

It's the run up to Halloween and of course there's nothing that inspires blind terror more, enough in fact to make me Scream - as Toffee Apple Soreen. There's not just one of them in the packet, there's five individually wrapped critters after me. I blogged about Soreen Scream Chocolate & Blood Orange a few years ago. These terrifying Toffee Apple loafs help with the run up to Guy Fawkes Bonfire Night, where Toffee Apples are traditional wiped all over young and old peoples' faces whilst they try to eat them off a stick in front of a huge fire, whilst also not blowing themselves up with fireworks at the same time.

Blind terror aside I braved opening the first of the five Scream Toffee Apple Soreen loafs…. I suddenly heard a shrill terrible shriek outside the house. To be fair it was probably the hawk that keeps flying around and nabbing the odd pigeon and small bird. I saw it the other day take a little bird out of one of the bushes in the garden. The snatch and grab took all of three seconds and the hawk was away with its lunch. Terrible indeed, but also a natural fact of life… we all have to eat, and my treat right now is a Scream Toffee Apple Soreen. There was a sweet taste of apple on biting into the small brown loaf, with a complementary added toffee sweetness towards the back of the flavour. Not particularly scary, though it was very tasty indeed and I can't help looking forward to the other four loafs!

Information on the packet;
Each of the five 30g loafs have 98 calories, with 1.5g of fat, 6.4g of sugar, and 0.2g of salt. A good source of fibre, so please see the ingredients in the photograph below.

22 October 2019

Cadbury Cake Bars - Raspberry Flavour (Tesco) By @cinabar

Cadbury Cake Bars - Raspberry Flavour

I found these Raspberry Flavour Cadbury Cake Bars in the Halloween section of my local Tesco, and picked them up with a few other seasonal themed goodies. Once I got them home I realised that although there is a spooky design with bats on the packaging, they weren’t that Halloween themed. It is mainly just the outer packaging, not the wrappers or the contents that show any real signs of Halloween. The missed opportunity is if you bought some of these for Trick Or Treaters you wouldn’t given them a whole multipack (if you would I’m coming round) so assuming they get a single cake bar each, there is not much of a hint of Halloween on the item going into their goody bag.

Cadbury Cake Bars - Raspberry Flavour

The cake bars are nice though. There is a lovely bright pink layer of raspberry creme, and the fruity flavour is very much at the forefront, there is loads of sweet raspberry taste. The chocolate sponge is nice and fluffy and the milk chocolate coating is strong and tasty. I think these would have been amazing with dark chocolate but I guess that would be a side step from the Cadbury chocolate brand.
So yes, I liked the Raspberry Flavour Cadbury Cake Bars, sweet fruity and tasty. As a Halloween product though it is hard to not be disappointed. This is making me think I should set up a category called “non-Halloween Halloween products”. Come on brands lets pick up the pace, there must be something out there that is truly special this season. If you have seen something please let me know.

21 October 2019

Dairy Milk Oreo-ooo Eggs - Halloween Edition (Co-op) By @cinabar

Dairy Milk Oreo-ooo Eggs - Halloween Edition

I guess it is now the start of the Halloween season so we have competed some supermarket sweeps to see what spooky Foodstuff Finds we could see. I was actually pleased with the selection this year and we have some nice items to write about over the next couple of weeks. I spotted these Dairy Milk Oreo-ooo Eggs in the Halloween section and rather liked the bag they were packed in. There is even a ghost adding the extra ‘ooo’ at the end of Oreo.
I opened up the bag and was a bit more disappointed by the effort on the wrapper, that wasn’t anything partially spooky or interesting, just Oreo blue and Cadbury purple, nothing scary. Nothing ghost shaped. They are the same shape mini eggs Cadbury keep re-using for varying themed products, think Daim Robins for Christmas and various Easter treats of course which is where the shape started.

Dairy Milk Oreo-ooo Eggs - Halloween Edition

So the actual eggs are tasty, once you have got through the irritating foil which peeled in the tiniest of slithers for me. The chocolate shell is quite thick and made with sweet Cadbury chocolate. The filling has a good Oreo flavour, lots of biscuit crumb adding a light crunch and a nice creamy flavour from the Oreo ‘stuff’ centre. I like the flavours and the eggs, but felt they could have done a bit more with the theming, at least the Daim eggs looked like robins. All they have to do is use the same product exactly as it is for Christmas (put a snowman on the bag) and Easter (perhaps a chick design), low effort.

Dairy Milk Oreo-ooo Eggs - Halloween Edition

20 October 2019

Unicorn Rainbow Hoops and other sweetness (@NLi10)

Whats the best thing to get kids sent out of class before break-time?  SUGAR!

How can we get them to eat more sugar in the morning? UNICORNS!

I mean, these are a lot better for you than the good old days - they don't have anything artificial in them so they have the colours of those rainbow rock sweets, but they still have a red sugar warning.

Note that I've mixed them with lovely bite-size shredded wheat so that I can have a semi normal attention span at work.  But how do I survive the afternoon sugar crash?

Here we have a good exmple of the things I keep in the work freezer. Skittles Ice Lollies.  Well - actually its a hybrid. Ice on the outside, ice-cream on the inside, and little crispy bits of skittle shells throughout to add some texture.  It's actually the best thing in this review - but I didn't try these til the end of the summer so it's not that seasonal.

How about we wash this down with some import orange vanilla coke?

The corn syrup lobby is at it again, making American stuff taste odd.  This is essentially just Mezzo-Mix which is very confusing as that itself is just Coke and Fanta together.

All in all a very hyperactive day!

19 October 2019

Gipsy Hill Beatnik Beer (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

I'm having a tuna overload today. I had a big tuna sandwich before I went to the gym, and now I'm just about to have a tuna baguette for my dinner. I had a good session at the gym this afternoon, after changing my routine to different days. Now I have the weekends off (yes, I'm writing this on Friday) it feels a little like I'm working during the week, whilst in reality I'm still building the muscles around my knee and its stability. I'm hoping to be fit enough to go back to work after the New Year, but I do have a phone interview early next week, so I'm not sure what might happen there…

The reason why I'm telling you about the tuna overload? Well, it's not only full of protein for building muscles, but this Beatnik Pale Ale from the Gypsy Hill Brewing Company, in London, mentions how good it goes with fishy dishes. I've earned my beer at the gym with a good session, and at the low alcohol of 3.8% volume this is an ideal session beer. The can was surprisingly excitable on opening, but my lightening quick 'gamer reactions' made sure I didn't lose any by quickly shoving the opening of the can in my gob. Bitter herbal hops assaulted my nose to begin with, and then the sweet pale malts at the back of the smell. On taste those herbal hops provided less bitterness than experienced in the aroma, mixing very well with the sweet pale and probably crystal malt to produce a very rounded pale ale flavour. This will go very well indeed with my tuna baguette…

18 October 2019

Cadbury Dairy Milk Daim Little Robins (Co-Op) By @Cinabar

Hmmm, I’m not sure I can do anything to deny that these are a Christmas review, in October. I can’t really claim that Robins aren’t seasonal, they have quite a strong association with Christmas. I can however say that I do like Daim bars any time of the year, and that these new Cadbury Daim Little Robins sound like a good tasty treat.

I have to start by saying that the design on the foil on the wrappers is really quite cute, and I thought they looked nice in the bag. The next part is the simple removing of the wrapper and the realisation that many of them are rapped multiple times. I’m not sure if I got a dodgy bag, or whether there is a cost saving when an item which isn’t wrapped fully in the foil is just put back through the wrapping machine for another layer rather than sell it as ‘misshapes’.

After the foil has been foiled these Cadbury Daim Little Robins do look a lot like all the other Cadbury small ‘egg’ products inside. The chocolate egg (which isn’t easter related) split fairly easily in half revealing a solid filling in both sides. The main flavour of these Cadbury Daim Little Robins is Dairy Milk, there was a slight crunch in the texture and hint of the Daim toffee flavour, but mostly they were chocolate flavoured. I was hoping for more of a kick from the Daim and more crunch, but it felt to me like chocolate with a hint of Daim more than anything else. They were tasty enough, but not something I will be missing when the season ends.

17 October 2019

Goodfella's Vegan Falafel Pizza (@NLi10)

I'm not a fan of cheese, but I am a fan of pizza.  So - when offered a Vegan Pizza this certainly is a step in the right direction.

Is falafel really the right way to go about it though?  I mean - surely that's a bit dry?

There is a bit of yellow stuff on top

But when cooked it kind of all blends in so it's not cheese cheese.  It is great though - it's almost like the flavours you'd get on a Mediterranean flat-bread than a pizza, and it's a nice change.  The falafel is almost second to all of the veg, which is a good treat, although they haven't learnt the trick of BBQ pizza where you overload the sauce to make up for the missing cheese.

And yeah - we'll certainly get this again, my veggie partner sometimes lacks meaningful choices depending on the supermarket and this kind of thing is really welcome.

16 October 2019

Snyder’s of Hanover Jalapeño Pretzel Pieces (Germany) By @SpectreUK

I could see my breath this morning as I took the rubbish to the bins outside after feeding the local birds. It's that time of year when we're starting to look for food that warms us up a bit. These Snyder's of Hanover Jalapeño Pretzel Pieces seem to fit the bill. Not only that, but they meet my usual criteria of trying to find alternative snacks to nuts and crisps.

I received these "flavoured sourdough hard pretzels" with a bottle of beer and some peppered steak sauce for a birthday present a while ago. The sauce has been enjoyed with a few steaks and other meals, and the beer drank, and now for the Snyder's of Hanover Jalapeño Pretzel Pieces. Besides I've always been a big fan of jalapeños. I like them on meaty sandwiches to give them a bit of a kick, and also meaty pizzas, and flavouring other foodstuffs. So I'm pretty confident that I shouldn't go too wrong with flavoured pretzel pieces!

On opening the packet there was a nose hair tickling smell of jalapeños. It cleared my sinuses and I almost sneezed. I immediately started to worry that this was one of those snacks that would be too hot for me to eat and enjoy. They are rare, but it has happened. There was also a bit of a whiff of garlic, so don't expect a kiss after eating these alone.

There were a few green flecks on the bright orange coloured pretzels pieces. On first taste, these pretzel pieces are pretty spicy. They are very tasty too. However, they made me wish I hadn't spent so long in the sauna and steam room at the gym earlier. Or at least had a longer cold shower. Snyder's of Hanover Jalapeño Pretzel Pieces are very moreish, even if they are a little steep on the calories. They made me sweat a bit too. Though at least they warmed me up a bit more than I thought they would!

Information on the packet;
The 56g packet contains 264 calories, 10.4g of fat, 2g of sugar, and 1.8g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

15 October 2019

Original Gourmet Cutie Cakes (Spa) By @Cinabar

Original Gourmet Cutie Cakes

Twinkies are not that easy to find in the UK but we do sometimes get them in the big shops but more often than not they are in import stores. I have had them and do find myself adding them to my shop when I find them, as they are quite rare over here. I say this because when I popped to the Spa shop and saw these they looked like a similar type of cake bar to them. These are cuter though, in fact each one had a character on the front and they are even called Original Gourmet Cutie Cakes. They were on offer too at three for a pound, so that sealed the deal and I popped them in my basket.
The decoration of the face is all on the wrapper so once out they do look a little plain. Inside the sponge is a neat chocolate creme filling, light in colour. The sponge is golden and fairly firm but with a nice vanilla taste. The chocolate creme is mild, light and sweet with a gentle cocoa flavour. It would be hard for me to compare these directly to Twinkies as I haven’t actually had them that regularly, but I think these were very similar just a little firmer.
So the Original Gourmet Cutie Cakes are an impulse buy, they brought a smile to my face and tasted good, so I think that was job done. It is also nice to have something similar to the American classic cake that is easy to obtain in the UK. I’d buy some more for Halloween treats, I’m just not convinced I’d share! ;-)

Original Gourmet Cutie Cakes