30 September 2020

Nagozo Choco (Japan) By @SpectreUK

Nagozo Choco

I used to write about import snacks a lot in the past. I used to frequent the Indoor Market and other Chinese supermarkets in the city centre where I used to work. I browsed around in those stores that many times that I ran out of snacks and drinks that I wanted to blog about. A friend of ours brought back a few snacks from his trip to Japan. Cinabar wrote about the Macha tea flavoured chocolate sweets sometime ago (matcha sweets). These caramel chocolate sweets are my snack for this week's blog.

Nagozo Choco (Japan)

I probably sound more than a little bit 'old school' when I say this, but I was rather impressed by the Google translation tool that Cinabar used to take a photograph of the original Japanese packet, which translated onto a new photograph for you to see. I haven't seen that translation tool before on photos. It makes me think back to those blogging days of import foods in the past and wonder how many more snacks I could have tried if I'd had the App then, rather than wondering what some of them were on about!

Nagozo Choco (Japan)

I remember tasting one of Cinabar's mocha tea flavoured chocolates, which had a squidgy texture. I'm expecting these caramel chocolates to have that same squidginess. These Nagozo Choco chocolates are like an eclair with a milk chocolate filling and caramel chocolate coating. The inside is a milk chocolate jelly. On unwrapping the first sweet you can see from the photograph that they have a pretty design on the top. The outer coating is more like Caramac, which is a favourite of Cinabars. The inner jelly milk chocolate complements this outer coating flavour. However, Caramac and jelly milk chocolate aren't really my thing, so I passed the rest of the packet onto Cinabar to devour rather than me waste the calories!

Nagozo Choco (Japan)

Information on the packet; Each sweet is 32 Calories, with 0.5g of protein, and as far as I can tell from the photos; 1.6g of fat, 3.9g of sugar, and 0.007g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Nagozo Choco (Japan)

Nagozo Choco (Japan)

29 September 2020

Mr Kipling After Dinner Chocolate and Orange Fancies (Sainsburys) By @Cinabar

Mr Kipling After Dinner Chocolate and Orange Fancies

One of Mr Kipling’s iconic products are their French Fancies, a cube of sponge, a light fluffy topping and a layer of fondant icing. These cake are traditional at afternoon tea or picnics. This new product, Mr Kipling After Dinner Chocolate and Orange Fancies, is giving them a modern make over and a bit of an upgrade.

Mr Kipling After Dinner Chocolate and Orange Fancies

The box is very posh looking and these do look a bit more special than the usual picnic item you might pick up. There are still eight in the pack and they are in individual paper cases. The flavour is lovely too, there is a lot of chocolate and the orange is strong sweet and with plenty of citrus. The sponge is soft and these are a fairly light feeling bite as they are quite small. I think with a cup of coffee, after dinner, one of these would make a perfect light dessert, especially as each one only has 106 calories so aren’t too guilt inducing. I also picked up a mint version of these Mr Kipling After Dinner Chocolate Fancies too which I can’t wait to try. They are milk chocolate and mint, just in case anyone was interested. ;-)

Mr Kipling After Dinner Chocolate and Orange Fancies

28 September 2020

Kelloggs Crunchy Nut Peanut Butter (Sainsburys) By @Cinabar

Kelloggs Crunchy Nut Peanut Butter

I tried this Kelloggs Crunchy Nut Peanut Butter before reading the ingredients, I think that is important to note because I found the latter rather disappointing. What is the first thing you think of when you Kelloggs Crunchy Nut, breakfast cereal. My instinct was this ‘butter’ was going to be made up of cornflakes, honey and peanut spread and that had me very excited. I love the flavour of cornflakes, especially honeyed ones but alas this is peanut butter with a touch of honey and a lot of branding. Shame.

Kelloggs Crunchy Nut Peanut Butter

I liked the flavour, there was loads of peanut and that nice mix of gentle sweetness from the honey. I like that mix of sweet and savoury ot worked very well. The product is good, this is thick peanut butter with a nice crunch from plenty of chopped nuts. I really enjoyed my toast with this spread. The negative part is it had very little to do with its name, you can’t call it Kelloggs Crunchy Nut and not have a flavour of the breakfast cereal or indeed the main ingredients. These are as much Kelloggs Crunchy Nut as the are Honey Puffs.

Kelloggs Crunchy Nut Peanut Butter

27 September 2020

3 Three's Egg & Cress Style (Vegan) Sandwich via @toogoodtogo_uk (by @NLi10)

Style.  Style is very important - in most cases it's all about a unique signature that denotes a membership to a specific group or faction.  Here it means fake.  A colleague of mine picked up some cheap sandwiches from 3 Three's Coffee using a waste reduction app (called TooGoodToGo) and had some lovely meaty ones - which were vegan alternatives.  

I'm very happy with meat alternatives - they are pretty much all we cook at home - but this one is a new one to me.  A vegan egg sandwich.

It certainly looks like an egg sandwich - and had my friend fooled - he'd not even considered that while it is veggie - an egg sandwich isn't vegan.

There is all kind of stuff in here - but the important one is the tofu for that is what the white bits are.

It'd certainly pass the plate test.  You could feed this to non vegans and they may not spot it.

The cress is indeed real (we checked).

And the bite?  While a little softer than my favourite egg sandwiches it's certainly passable.  The texture is a little wrong for eggs, but is a really nice crumbly tofu instead (which is great for me - but may freak out non tofu lovers).

The 'yellow' appears to be a light mustard/turmeric blend and is also pretty awesome.  

Overall - I like this style - This is something that I could definitely pick up for lunch again should I be in range of the cafe, and a great advertisement for their business and the waste reduction app.

26 September 2020

Rekorderlig Passionfruit Cider (Morrison’s) By @SpectreUK

Rekorderlig Passionfruit Cider

I may have left this Rekorderlig Premium Swedish Cider Passionfruit flavour a little late in the year to savour. The weather seems to have turned here today, although not rainy it's certainly colder and windier. Good for working out and doing weights in the kitchen, not so great for drinking a refreshing summer fruity flavoured cider.

This pear cider blended with passionfruit was made from Swedish spring water. At 4% volume it is gluten free and Vegan friendly. The back of the bottle recommends serving this Rekorderlig Passionfruit over ice and with a squeeze of lime. Well I'm afraid I'm all out of lime and I've got the heating on at the moment trying to warm me up after cooling myself down from my hot bath earlier, so I'm all out of ice too.

I miss the sauna and steam room at the gym so much that I've taken to having a really hot bath to start with to soak up all the heat. I generally overheat pretty quickly possibly due to the amount of exercise I do, so I then get rid of more than two-thirds of the hot water replacing it with cold to try not to sweat so much after I've washed myself down and got out of the bath. There's nothing worse than getting out of a really hot bath and then sweating your own private shower. It always makes the bath so worthwhile!

Anyway, I digress… I thought I'd cool myself down further with a refreshing summery sounding flavoured cider. Rekorderlig Passionfruit has been sitting way too long in my beer fridge (er… cider fridge, ah… who am I kidding… beer fridge!). On opening the bottle there was a cheerful fizz and a strong smell of pears mixed with passionfruit. Strangely I was expecting this cider to be a pinkish colour, but it was more or less transparent. On taste this pear and passionfruit cider couldn't be mistaken for a child's pop drink. It's full of pear fruitiness with an alcoholic kick of a strong cider. There is a tartness at the back of the flavour from the blended in passionfruit just as my palate enters the aftertaste. This is a really lip smacking fruity flavoursome cider. It may not sound like a tough guy's drink, but I can't see why anyone would dislike it. I hope I can pick up another bottle or two of this Rekorderlig Passionfruit in the future.

25 September 2020

Areo Bliss - Peppermint (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Areo Bliss - Peppermint

I don’t buy a lot of regular chocolate bars, that is mainly because of this blog. I usually look for something new that I haven’t tried before and my hand goes passed my favourites in favour of something different to try. If I was picking favourites though they would be Wispa Gold or Aero Peppermint, so when I saw these Areo Bliss - Peppermint chocolates I bought a box. For myself, I know - but it has been a busy week!

Areo Bliss - Peppermint

I like aerated chocolate and Aero kind of implies that in the name but these chocolates don’t actually have bubbles. They are smartly wrapped in a gift worthy box, and the chocolate themselves are neat in their green wrappers. I tried one and the peppermint truffle within was soft and had crispies in it but not air. The flavour was very much like the peppermint Aero chocolate, sweet milk chocolate that had plenty of mint and had a lovely flavour. I liked the texture and even the crispsies too but I just think these should be more true to Aero Peppermint and have some bubbles in there somewhere.

Areo Bliss - Peppermint

24 September 2020

Spice Tailor - Malabar Biryani - home meal kit - veggie modifications (@NLi10)

We like eating out to help out, but sometimes eating in to stay in your comfy clothes is required.

Meal kits are ace - they basically give you all the awkward bits and you do the personalisation.

Here we get everything except the veggies and 'meat' - the rice is included too!

Mughlai food is amazing, and all I need to do is add some coconut oil and some Quorn pretending to be chicken.

Easy as 1-2-3!

1.  Fry the dry stuff a bit to unleash it's power

2a Brown the Quorn so it sucks in all the flavours

2b - curry paste goes in!

and a little water to make it more of a sauce

3. plonk on the rice and play video games for 15 mins.

dinner!  Ok so i'm not getting presentation points from the judges - and the Quorn is a little brown on one side due to the nature of it.  Flavours are all still intact though, and lovely!

I wasn't sure if I should take the spices out so we had crunchy bits and a lovely chilli to eat too.  I didn't chop it up so it wasn't too powerful for my partner.

Worked great though - very little fuss and something you could easily do for the adults and then while it cooks do something less potent for the little ones.  Overall I do love this range of meal kits, and they are a lovely bridge between delivery food and doing home cooking from scratch.


23 September 2020

Dayglo Skies Alcoholic Soda (@CrookedBevCo) By @SpectreUK

Dayglo Skies Alcoholic Soda

I have no idea where this Dayglo Skies Alcoholic Soda came from. I know it originally came from the Crooked Beverage Company, but I'm not sure if one of us bought it. I have a feeling it was from the last of the Degusta boxes we had delivered at the beginning of this year, but I may be wrong on that. It's not something I'd pick up in a shop, and I doubt Cinabar would have either no matter how much I irritate her quite frequently.

When I saw this Dayglo Skies Alcoholic Soda languishing at the back of my beer fridge I immediately thought it was a beer, until Cinabar pointed out that it's an alcoholic soda. It's flavoured with raspberry and lime, which sounds like a summer treat, but with soda I'm not so sure. Cider definitely, but soda?

I have to admit that I don't believe I've ever had a soda, so I don't know what they taste like. Although apparently 'soda' is the American word for 'pop'… so if it's a lemonade type drink I've had plenty. This Dayglo Skies Alcoholic Soda contains malted barley and hops. It does sound like a beer, but it's a soda. I'm confused and I know the three colourful heads on the can look pretty confused too. This is a sparkling soda with real fruit juice, so none of that creepy plastic stuff you see displayed in wooden bowls in furniture shops!

At 4.7% volume this Dayglo Skies Alcoholic Soda is certainly strong enough to be a beer. Did I mention it has malted barley and hops in it? So it sounds like a beer, but on opening the can and pouring the strange pink super fizzy liquid it doesn't look like a beer. In fact it looks and smells like a child's fizzy pop drink. Does anyone say "fizzy pop" anymore? Oh, well… I'm a child from the '80's.

Dayglo Skies Alcoholic Soda certainly doesn't taste like a beer either. In fact I'm not sure it tastes of soda either. This pink alcoholic liquid smells predominantly of raspberries with a touch of lime, a tickle of malted barley and a dot of herbal hops. It's actually real good. I wanted to hate it and pour it away in disgust, but I can't stop drinking it. Sacrilege, I know… Don't worry, I'll be back on the beers in no time. The bubbles tickle my nose… Glug… glug… hic!

Dayglo Skies Alcoholic Soda

22 September 2020

Romance Me - Rocky Road Cereal Bars (Iceland) By @Cinabar

Romance Me - Rocky Road Cereal Bars

And the prize for the smartest packaging for cereal bars goes to… Romance Me - Rocky Road Cereal Bars. Wow this is a smart box. I was looking for some cereal bars online and browsing the Iceland site and found these and the packaging was just so super and the branding so interesting I couldn’t resist. Yes I know package an item brightly and I’m sold, I’m an advertisers dream! :-D

Romance Me - Rocky Road Cereal Bars

When they arrived I realised they were part of the Slimming World range and were actually low in calories. Bonus! They are quite small bars but they look lovely too with pink and white marshmallows as the topping. There is plenty of chocolate flavour and the texture is rather nice, firm, not crunchy but mixed because of the marshmallows. They may be slightly over packaged but they are tasty and fun and I’d be happy to buy them again and to see if there are other interesting bars in the range.

Romance Me - Rocky Road Cereal Bars

21 September 2020

Mystery Brown Kit Kat from Japan (Amazon) By @Cinabar

Mystery Brown Kit Kat from Japan

Recently I bought a big box of mixed Japanese Kit Kats from Amazon. There are two of each flavour and a cute little menu to explain what the different varities are. Sometimes I go to it and do a lucky dip to choose a flavour and some (like dark chocolate) are not that crazy but some are super interesting. I picked out this one in a brown packet, found its partner and then looked for it on the menu, and it wasn’t there. Oh, this posed a problem. I have the Google translate app though so took a photo of the translation…. “oh tona sweet” I think something was literally lost in translation, I guess my tastebuds were on their own this time.

Mystery Brown Kit Kat from Japan

I opened up the Mystery Brown Kit Kat and it was a dark cream in colour with specks of dark brown so not really any clues there but it did smell like Matcha tea, even though it wasn’t the expected green. The packet for Matcha Kit Kat is also green so this isn’t the same. The flavour was sweet with hints of bitter that made me think of coffee, but the after taste was still like matcha tea. Curious, this bar has got me confused is there such a thing as Coffee Tea that would be my best guess!! This was nice, different and fun the have a guess at. If anyone knows what it actually is do please leave a comment below.

Mystery Brown Kit Kat from Japan

20 September 2020

Eating SIXTEEN year old home-made Damson Jam (@NLi10)

 Jam is a weird substance.  It's essentially fruit and sugar with all of the bugs boiled out, mushed into air-tight jars and stashed away for emergencies.  I'm sure Jam has existed for thousands of years, ever since humans wondered what to do with all the left over fruit at the end of the season.  

Honey is nature's equivalent.  Bees have figured out how to make flower jam, and it's so utterly incorruptible that edible honey has been found in the pyramids.  Probably wouldn't taste great, but technically edible.

Which brings us to this jar of forgotten jam that we found when clearing out some cupboards.  It was made in the year we moved into this house - 16 years ago.

Damson jam is a fairly acquired taste, it's a little like plum, and a little like fig/prune.  My hunch is that these damsons came from my grandparents garden.  I've little doubt that as they moved out of that council house around a decade ago that the tree has gone and been replaced with something far less exciting.  This Jam has outlasted them all.

And it's dark.  Once you break through the paper seal on the top, and get through the far too dry to eat layer attached to it you do get a smell of fruit, but it's far stickier than any normal jam you'd buy.  The darkness for once isn't my photography skills though, it's like it just sat there brooding since 2004.

It doesn't really spread, its too sticky for that and even though these nice holiday scones were a little crumbly in the first place any attempts to distribute it evenly were futile.

But - the flavours are still there.  A deep plum-like flavour, that definitely brings back memories of fighting through the wasps to get to the fruit on my grandparents tree.  And the stickiness isn't a problem once you are eating it, it's more like a really soft sweet than a really tough jam.  And the aftertastes I was worried about are not there - this is well made jam with nothing present to go off - just the natural things and some sugar to keep you coming back to the jar.

So - the verdict is that this will get eaten.  I'm sure that it won't be the first choice of jam to present to guests, but it's certainly a vintage that like wine should be appreciated by those in the know.

While its not quite a part of a traditional cream tea (another excuse for a holiday scone pic!) I'm glad that it's survived it's storage and that I can once again enjoy the fruits from my families old garden.

19 September 2020

Harper's Toffee Ale (Aldi) By @SpectreUK

Harper's Toffee Ale (Aldi)

Toffee Ale sounds so scrumptious. Here is a pudding beer if ever I have heard of one. If you can't eat toffee anymore from fear of the dentist's wrath, then why not drink it? At 4.8% volume Harper's Brewing Company created this toffee flavoured ale for winter time at Aldi, however, I'm hoping it's still available in their stores. I seemed to have had two of these beers tucked away at the back of my beer fridge, and I found them the other day whilst rooting around in there. Toffee is one of those flavours I find amiable around autumn time rather than winter. I suppose with autumn just around the corner my sweet tooth is looking for pudding beers and sweet treats. At 230 calories per pint this Toffee Ale certainly packs a sweet punch.

On opening the bottle the sweet smell of toffee mixed with brown malt tantalised my nostrils and made me instantly lick my lips in contemplation. Actually I have to admit that this is the second bottle I've tasted, so I know what's coming… I had a rather grizzly experience with a golden ale last week, and the equally rare experience of pouring a cold one away after a few nose wrinkling swigs. I saw the other bottle of this Toffee Ale in my beer fridge and thought why not treat myself… What I have found whilst opening my second bottle is much the same as what I found whilst opening my first. Even if the surprise has been spoiled by the first bottle, this beer really does smell of sweet toffee.

Last week my mistake was to try to drink this Toffee Ale with a meal. This is a pudding beer. A beer to be enjoyed with a pudding or on its own after dinner. If I was feeling over indulgent, which unfortunately I had't contemplated during Cinabar creating our latest food order, I'd have asked for a sticky toffee pudding and custard. As I didn't think about that until right now, I'm enjoying this Toffee Ale on its own after my bath late Friday night. I'm indulging in the rich toffee and sweet brown malts that initially wash over my tastebuds, followed by a very light herbal hoppy bitterness that flows into the toffee and malt sweet aftertaste. This is a really lip smacking flavoursome sweet treat of a pudding beer, and I'm hoping it's available all year around and not just for Christmas!

18 September 2020

Walkers Las Iguanas Chilli Con Carne Flavour Crisps (Ocado) By @Cinabar

Walkers Las Iguanas Chilli Con Carne Flavour Crisps

I have a confession, I have never eaten Chilli Con Carne in Las Iguanas. I think I have only been to the restaurant once or twice and then it was for lunch. I’m usually quite familiar with the chain restaurants but we just don’t have a branch that near (cue NLi10 to tell me where they are in Birmingham?). Anyway I do like Chilli Con Carne so still felt ready to judge these new crisps from Walkers which have been released as part of the new restaurant varieties.

We had these with lunch to try them out, they have the usual Walkers light and crispy texture. The flavour is quite rich and meaty beef which always works for me. There was a nice amount of tomato mixed in too but the chilli heat was mild. These are flavoursome crisps but they are far from being hot, the spices are more seasoning than anything else. I’m not sure if that is the case if you have the meal in Las Iguanas but even me who generally complains if things are too hot would have liked a heavier kick of spice. Just a bit of warmth. So yes, nice crisps but not my favourite of the new range that still goes to the cheeseburger ones, they had a very full meaty flavour too but the addition of the relish and cheese nailed it.

17 September 2020

Non-Dairy Cheese, and Fresh Dairy Milk (@NLi10)

 It’s a fairly simple thing, but fresh milk is just a little different to the milk we pick up from the shops.  Naturally with all the (very necessary) health steps involved you can’t really get hold of milk with grass in it, fresh from the cow. But you can have the farmer who owns your holiday cottage knock on the door and hand you a bottle of freshly squeezed, and freshly pasteurised milk - as in around 4 hours from cow to doorstep!

So - what’s the difference? Well, you don’t get all of the milk, even pasteurised milk from the store has the cream and such taken off, and the skimmed versions are even less milk.  This means that this is a lot thicker and creamier than you’d expect, but not quite single cream. It worked great with crunchy nut cornflakes, but was maybe a little overpowering for the tea.

A lovely gesture and a nice throwback to visiting my families dairy farm.

My veggie partner picked this up to go with her friends dairy free fajitas.

It’s basically coconut and other stuff, and really offputtingly smelling cheese like chemicals. I tried some in the interest of science and while it did have some of the cheese taste it was very sticky and lingered a little too much.  Not a fan.

I also managed to have scones (I am on holiday after all) with real cream - although I’m in Dorset so not really scone country. Great though!

16 September 2020

Terry’s White Chocolate Orange (Co-op) By @SpectreUK

Terry’s White Chocolate Orange
I must admit I haven't had a Terry's Chocolate Orange for quite sometime. I used to get them quite often as a stocking filler for Christmas, and more rarer for Birthdays. Nowadays I seem to receive After Eights and or fudge. I do rather like fudge, and after dinner mints can be great after a spicy meal.

Terry’s White Chocolate Orange

I eat chocolate and biscuits for puddings most nights instead of snacking on chocolate during the day. My favourite pudding is white chocolate, probably as I used to have it all the time when I was a child, and I promised myself when I was twelve that I'd never really grow up. My ultimate favourite is a white chocolate bar washed down with a white hot chocolate drink. Now that's luxury for me right there. This new Terry's White Chocolate Orange ticks a lot of boxes for me, and I see that's why I've been bought one when it's nowhere near my Birthday or of course Christmas. I know I haven't tasted it yet, but I am very excited about trying it with a white hot chocolate drink first, and perhaps some ice cream on another day.

Terry’s White Chocolate Orange

On opening the box I thumped the wrapped white chocolate orange on the table to release some of the segments before unwrapping. As you can see from the photograph the white chocolate orange fell apart into segments quite easily. With my white hot chocolate ready by my side and the end of a spy thriller I've been watching over the passed few days paused for my first taste, I was ready to go. By the way I have the attention span of a gnat. I usually read four books at a time flitting between them and I also watch a few minutes of something every day until it inevitably ends. I actually find it's a good test for my memory trying to keep track of everything. It's also probably why I'm a project manager and prefer to be working on quite a few things at the same time in my work life… when I get back to it…

On first taste this Terry's White Chocolate Orange is lusciously creamy. The velvety vanilla from the chocolate pampered my tastebuds as the orange oil gave it that little extra zing. I at first hadn't been sure that orange flavour would go well with white chocolate. Then I remembered that I've recently taken to dropping fruit such as grapes, strawberries and orange segments into my protein yoghurt at lunchtime. I figured that it may possibly taste pretty much the same as orange and vanilla yoghurt. The Terry's White Chocolate Orange is a little more subtle in orange flavour, as there is Orange Oil in the ingredients, and the creaminess from the white chocolate coupled with the extra creaminess from my white hot chocolate drink was like an orange ride through dreamland (stifles a corny giggle). Mmm… I'll try the next round of Terry's White Chocolate Orange segments with vanilla ice-cream. This is definitely a treat for all year round, and not just for Christmas!

Information on the box; The 147g chocolate orange contains 162 calories per 4 segments, with 9.1g of fat, 18g of sugar, and 0.07g of salt. Ingredients include; sugar, cocoa butter, whole milk powder, emulsifier (soya lecithins), natural vanilla flavourings, and orange oil.

Terry’s White Chocolate Orange