28 October 2020

McVitie’s Funny Bones Sticky Toffee Flavour Cake (Asda) By @SpectreUK

McVitie’s Funny Bones Sticky Toffee Flavour Cake

Halloween products seem to have been understandably thin on the ground this year. This McVitie's Funny Bones Sticky Toffee Flavour Cake doesn't sound particularly scary, however it doesn't try to be either. It even says that it's "perfect with custard", which isn't scary at all. Sadly with no custard to hand we decided to munch down on this Funny Bones cake, hoping that we wouldn't find any bones to break our teeth on.

I do like this time of year between October and November as I have a sweet tooth and lots of products usually come out that are toffee flavoured. Not being able to eat real hard toffee myself as it generally results in a trip to the dentist, I prefer the soft gooey type of toffee or indeed toffee found in beer!

I usually look at any cake with anything from apprehension to downright fear of how much exercise I'll have to do before or after it to keep my weight down. This McVitie's Funny Bones Sticky Toffee Flavour Cake seems fairly low in calories at 88 calories per 25g. So no extra exercise needs to be added to my already mad regime!

McVitie’s Funny Bones Sticky Toffee Flavour Cake

As you can see from the photograph, on opening the packet the long flattish rounded cake is toffee coloured. Not too sticky on the outside, this McVitie's Funny Bones Sticky Toffee Flavour Cake is moist and sweet. In hindsight it would have gone very well indeed with custard. It has a really rich almost syrupy toffee flavour that made my mouth water and made me want more after eating it. I'm rather glad that fortunately there were no bones in the cake too!

Information on the packet; The 200g cake has 8 x 25g servings at 88 calories, with 2.8g of fat, 7.6g of sugar, and 0.3g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

McVitie’s Funny Bones Sticky Toffee Flavour Cake

27 October 2020

Kit Kat - Apple Pie Limited Edition (Import via GB Gifts) By @Cinabar

Kit Kat - Apple Pie Limited Edition

Gosh work is busy at the moment, and the days and weeks keep flying by. After another tiring day I fancied something as a bit of a pick me up and found myself diving into the box of goodies I ordered online. I found this Kit Kat Apple Pie Limited Edition in the stack and thought it sounded like the perfect autumnal treat.

This Kit Kat Apple Pie bar is an imported American bar flavoured with the classic dessert apple pie, it is in a flavoured white chocolate coating with the usual wafers and crunch inside. The smell of cinnamon when the wrapper came off was wonderful and as a cinnamon fan definitely made me happy.

Kit Kat - Apple Pie Limited Edition

The bar itself is sweet and fruity, there is plenty of juicy apple, this is followed by a good dose of cinnamon spice and the coating delivers a wonderful creamy element to the flavour. It was so tasty, and a good recreation of the dessert too. I loved this bar, it may be the cinnamon talking, but oh my it just hit the spot. It was the perfect pick me up after sorting out spreadsheets for eight hours, and trust me I needed something.

Kit Kat - Apple Pie Limited Edition

26 October 2020

Milka Spekulatius - Spice Biscuit (GB Gifts) By @Cinabar

Milka Spekulatius - Spice Biscuit

My favourite chocolate is Milka, one of my favourite biscuits are spice biscuits, the combination of the two had me looking for imports on the internet and was another reason I ended up ordering a stash of goodies online. From the wrapper this is a Christmas edition because as usual people think cinnamon is a Christmas spice where as I think it is an all year spice, but as it is coming up to the season I will embrace it where I can find it.
Milka Spekulatius - Spice Biscuit

The bar has crushed spice biscuits in the centre mixed with the chocolate, although you can’t tell by looking at the top, there are quite a lot of bits inside, the aroma though is chocolate and ginger. I loved the texture of this bar, the chocolate is soft and the biscuits wonderfully crunchy so it was a good mix. The spice from the biscuits is like the aroma heavy on the ginger but there was also a lot of cinnamon that kept me happy. I found the chocolate left a tingle too which I guessing was the heat from the ginger which made it a proper warming bar. I would have preferred the emphasis to be on the cinnamon but I liked the mix of spices and thoroughly enjoyed the bar.

Milka Spekulatius - Spice Biscuit

25 October 2020

Huel Savoury - Thai Green Curry (@NLi10) @gethuel

 I've been putting this one off for a few weeks so have decided to split the two flavours into two reviews.  This is the 2nd - the first is here

Huel is basically science porridge - it's a lunch that you can make with just water and powder, and once you get over the fact that it's not that special, it's actually very filling and satisfying, and seems to be really good for me in terms of vitamins and minerals.  I actually miss it at the weekends (I leave it at work). 

People get twitchy when you include your referral link for this stuff in the reviews (due to the fact that most of the cost of it pays for the adverts) and so I'm not using them this time - and I'm also not submitting this to their creepy brand based influencer app that I signed up for.

All the 'cult of huel' stuff aside I actually like it, so while restocking on magic dust I decided to get the soupy savoury version.

This is the exciting flavour of the two.  As it also had the most potential to go wrong so I only got one bag of this, and two of the other.

Here is the exciting list of ingredients - including that well known Thai food - Sweetcorn?!  Apparently it is popular there, although I don't remember ever seeing it in curries.

And again - like in the first review - I'd shaken the bag to mix the ingredients which just resulted in all the light things floating to the top - sweetcorn disappointment city....

Here is a pic from the other review of what it looks like if you use a little more powder, stir the bag, and maybe a touch less water.  It's a lovely cereal mix.

Where as the tomato version is just tomato soup this one actually has tangyness and tastes like green curry should.  I don't add anything to this one to make it more exciting, but frankly if you had a few fresh greens floating around you could turn this into a real meal.  But it still goes cold too fast in the silly little pot.

I have three bags of this which means I have about 21 meals worth.  And since I popped these open I've not even touched the milkshakes.  This makes me think that I should make those warm somehow, as I have two bags of that to eat too (it'll keep to summer).  I'll likely buy more of this but they really could do with a third flavour, something more earthy, just to make the weeks a little more varied.

24 October 2020

Five Points Jupa Beer (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Five Points Jupa Beer

I seem to be a little late to the party where Five Points Jupa is concerned, as lots of other beer bloggers have written about it. So I feel as if I need to catch up. I had a quick butchers at what Jupa meant. All I could find was that it either means 'good' or 'head', I'll try not to delve into that too much… I try to find out the meaning behind some beer's names, but they often escape me. I'm sure The Five Points Brewing Company know why they called it Jupa.

Jupa is a 5.5% volume Pale Ale and is described as "juicy and fruity", and with "citrus flavours and a tropical fruit character bursting with pineapple, mango and papaya." This beer was "hopped with Simcoe in the boil and dry-hopped with Citra and Mosaic". It's sported on the back of the can as having a "low bitterness for a refreshing taste." That's where it lost me a little. I have a preference for bitter beer and smooth coffee, not usually the other way around. So I'm hoping this Jupa Pale Ale has more of a bite than the can is letting on.

On opening the can there was a pretty sharp tropical citrus smell from the hops. This citrus smell overpowered any hope of smelling the sweeter pale malts. On taste this is indeed a smooth beer. Those sharp bitter smelling hops on initial opening seemed to nip rather than bite at my palate to start with, and then those sweeter pale malts kicked in pretty quickly during each mouthful.

A taste journey took my tastebuds on a refreshing tropical boat ride around the bay of some Caribbean island to find a pub that sells real beer. This golden coloured Jupa Pale Ale shines like the sun on a hot day and even breaks through the clouds on a dim afternoon. It's bright, slightly tangy with those tropical notes to begin with, and then there's the perfect balance of sweetness from the malts that reminds me that a hard week spent at work is always best to finish with a beer with a good head!

23 October 2020

Barratt Dib Dab Ice Lollies (Iceland) By @Cinabar

Barratt Dib Dab Ice Lollies

I was hunting through the freezer to find something to eat as some how we ended up one meal short for the week. My conclusion was that we have plenty of bags of frozen vegetables, no meat, we are short on ice cream but hey there was this box of Dib Dab Ice Lollies I’d forgotten about, so it wasn’t a complete loss. I decided to eat an ice lolly and then worry about dinner.

I was looking forward to these retro ice lollies as they reminded me of sweets and soaking up sherbet with a strawberry lolly. This is a strawberry ice lolly with a sherbet topping, at least that is what I thought it was until I opened the box and realised the sherbet was completely separate. I don’t know why that surprised me but it did.

Barratt Dib Dab Ice Lollies

Okay well I opened up the ice lolly and dipped it in the sherbet bag and the first taste was nice. The strawberry wasn’t the strongest flavour but the sherbet was zingy and it was interesting. As I ate the the lolly I realised the rest of the lolly wouldn’t fit in the bag, so I poured a little onto the wrapper and tried dipping it on top, it sort of stuck but powder went everywhere, over the table mat, the table, over me and over the floor. The lolly started dripping too, what a mess. I have no idea how you are supposed to eat this, I was clearly doing it wrong. The resulting mess of red drips and white powder all over the table ended up looking like a cross between an accident and a drugs bust. No just no, this did not work for me. It was however a distraction as to what to have for dinner, finding the hoover suddenly became the priority.

Barratt Dib Dab Ice Lollies

22 October 2020

Huel Savoury - Tomato & Herb (@NLi10) @gethuel

I've been putting this one off for a few weeks so have decided to split the two flavours into two reviews.

Huel is basically science porridge - it's a lunch that you can make with just water and powder, and once you get over the fact that it's not that special, it's actually very filling and satisfying, and seems to be really good for me in terms of vitamins and minerals.  I actually miss it at the weekends (I leave it at work). 

People get twitchy when you include your referral link for this stuff in the reviews (due to the fact that most of the cost of it pays for the adverts) and so I'm not using them this time - and I'm also not submitting this to their creepy brand based influencer app that I signed up for.

All the 'cult of huel' stuff aside I actually like it, so while restocking on magic dust I decided to get the soupy savoury version.

Turns out it's basically a bag of grain - like a lunch time hot breakfast cereal - bachelor chow for the win!

It's a bit hard to read here but it's all on their website.  It's mostly seeds and grains but with the magic powder added to make you get all those missing extras.

Your first order comes with a stylish black cup.  I also ordered another for the normal shaker as I dropped mine pretty much immediately and it's had a crack in it ever since.  Expensive hobby as these pots are about £4 each, but as the meal powder itself is about £2.50 a day that's cheaper than walking out of my office and finding a sandwich, and it's nicer too.

Paying £50 for dust seems mad.

I thought I gave it a good stir, but this looks in hindsight like mostly the veg on the top of the bag AND it's not a full scoop.

I'm making the world's most expensive Pot Noodle aren't I...?

And goodness it looks wrong?!!  I ate it, but it was watery and the consistency was all weird.  It was mostly beans.  Like with the Huel cereal (which they still owe me for missing one out of my original order!) unless you physically mix the contents of the bag around then you are just going to separate it out more by shaking the bag.  This seems to be a massive flaw in the big bag design.

Give the bag a big old stir first and you end up with this - an appetising bowl of somewhere between cereal and paella - which is great indeed.  Not only is this a lot more satisfying to eat than the milkshake, the heat is also a welcome bonus in the cold days.  If only they sold some kind of insulated bowl that kept it warm while the phone rings and your colleagues interrupt you...

This was the tomato and herb flavour - it's still pretty basic stuff, but it happily takes a shot of balsamic to the top to liven it up (and that's basically fat and calorie free so doesn't ruin the healthiness of it all).

I'll write up the Thai version next.


21 October 2020

Twix Winter Spice (GB Gifts) By @SpectreUK

Twix Winter Spice

This limited edition Twix Winter Spice is an early warning that Christmas is on the way. It seems to have been a quick year somehow, even though much of it has been spent inside for many of us, and those that have ventured out will have colder blasts in the next few months. What better then to have a warming spiced chocolate and caramel biscuit bar to help with the wet and possibly icy weather?

This Twix Winter Spice has two bars which are fairly heavy on calories at 113 per stick, I guess possibly to help you bulk out for the coming months. I'm just glad that I do plenty of exercise indoors. I've been continuing with the rehabilitation of my knee whilst settling into my new job, just doing all of my exercises very early every morning. I have to go into work once or twice a week but can also fortunately work at home most of the time.

Twix Winter Spice has spices such cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves. Flavours such as those spices listed mixed with the usual sweet caramel and biscuity flavours of a Twix sound pretty mouthwatering to me. These two bars should be a warming treat for a wet and dreary day like today.

There was quite a spicy smell on opening the wrapper, which was predominantly of cinnamon and cardamom. Mmm… wow… on first taste those sweet winter spices that are often used in spicy chai teas sprang to the fore, especially the cinnamon and cardamom, and these were mixed well with the cloves, ginger and nutmeg, which made my mouth water even more with the added caramel and biscuity flavours after the spices. It was almost as if I wasn't eating a Twix at all, but some new hybrid winter chocolate biscuit extravaganza dunked over and over into a winter milky warming spicy chai tea.

Moreish to the extreme this Twix Winter Spice was impossible to put down whilst writing about it. It's so good I just wanted another and another, but I've got to watch those calories. I'm hoping Cinabar will get me some more of these at some point over the coming months. This Twix Winter Spice is an absolute must buy for Twix fans, and for chocolate biscuit fans, and anyone who loves those warming winter spices that you get in a good strong milky chai tea. Mmm… I need to eat another one, but I've run out of them… Doh!

Information on the packet; The 46g bar has 113 calories per stick, with 5.4g of fat, 11g of sugar, and 0.09g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Twix Winter Spice

20 October 2020

Swizzels Drumstick Chocolate (GB Gifts) By @Cinabar

Swizzels Drumstick Chocolate

Trying to find some of this year’s limited edition products has proven a bit more difficult than in previous years. I haven’t been to the shops as often, trying to limit trips for safety and of course there has been fewer new products. I do however have the internet and ordered myself a box of harder to find goodies to write about, this is the first from that batch, an exciting Swizzels Drumstick Chocolate bar.
Swizzels Drumstick Chocolate

This bar of chocolate is themed around the sticky Drumstick lollipops and is filled with a layer of raspberry and milk to match. The bar sounds like quite a novelty, and I just loved the bright striped packaging. Inside is a milk chocolat bar with a pink and white filling which is very soft and not chewy like the lollipop, but the flavour is very much the same. The raspberry is sweet and sharp and a nice contrast to the mellow chocolate. There are some crispy freeze dried raspberries mixed in which add a little texture but mostly don’t have the sharpness to over power the zing centre. The bar looks fun and was fun to eat, I was impressed that the flavour and how similar it was to the sweets. Yes it is novelty but it is novelty done well and one I would actually buy again.

Swizzels Drumstick Chocolate

19 October 2020

Plum, Honey and Ginger Mince Pies (Waitrose) By @Cinabar

Plum, Honey and Ginger Mince Pies (Waitrose)

I know it is is early, and I am sorry but I’m not sorry, here is my first Christmas mince pies review of they year. There has been little to enjoy about the year so far, so browsing the new Christmas items in Waitrose is actually a plus, as is buying some new mince pies ones to eat while watching the first episode of Strictly this year.

Plum, Honey and Ginger Mince Pies (Waitrose)

These are new and are a special edition Plum, Honey and Ginger Mince Pies. There are four in the pack and the packaging design shows them wrapped in Christmas ribbon, making them look cheery at least. The pies themselves have a nice thick pastry but are big enough to contain plenty of filling too. The pastry was soft and buttery which was really nice. The filling had a lovely fruity sweet twist on a regular mince pie with a nice gentle warmth from the ginger and I could even spot the sweetness from the honey. They tasted of Christmas and with the added glitter of the first episode of Strictly were a perfect treat for the evening. These might be the first mince pies of the year but they have set the standard high, I look forward to finding others to compete though.

Plum, Honey and Ginger Mince Pies (Waitrose)

18 October 2020

Co-op Brownies and Cadbury Darkmilk Buttons (@NLi10)

As a treat a friend dropped off these brownies and a bag of Darkmilk chocolate buttons - and suggested that we combined them!

Co-op bakery in the UK is good, they make a nice balance between the actual bakers shops (remember those) and the supermarket mass baked things.

Take Brownies and place a couple of buttons on each one.  Ideally you'd put 4 on each but I'm greedy and ate most of the buttons the night before.

Nuke the brownie in the microwave for about 10 sec - I did 20 as I put two in, and you can just see here the resultant melting that happens after you let it settle for a minute or so.

Another minute later and you can spread the button choc out with your fork - the science at work here is very tasty but requires a little patience.  At this point you could add the ice-cream if it wasn't all gone.

Hooray - good for trick-or-treaters that aren't going door to door this year and an important lesson about putting sugar based things in the microwave. less is more!


17 October 2020

Älska Strawberry Lime Cider (Aldi @alskacider) By @SpectreUK

Älska Strawberry Lime Cider (Aldi)

Here is a cider that hid itself on a shelf in my beer fridge all of the summer. I'm not much of a cider drinker. I don't mind the odd bottle here and there, and flavoured ciders usually interest me more than regular brands. This Älska Strawberry Lime Cider was made by the Swedish Cider Company. At 4% volume it is a pear cider blended with natural fruit flavourings of strawberries and lime. That sounds like a pretty good flavour combination. I'm sure I've had something similar recently, but I just can't put my finger on it.

Apparently Älska means 'love' in Swedish, so hopefully that's the way I'll feel about this cider. On opening the bottle there was a cheerful fizz that made me smile after a long week at work. Things are very busy indeed and I seem to have a lot of projects on in various stages, which makes time fly by. So I need something refreshing this evening to wash away the work blues on a Friday night. The strong natural smell of strawberries made me think back to warm summer nights, and there was a touch of lime at the back of the aroma to add an extra zing.

This bright almost fluorescent pink cider showed just how strong the strawberries were in the ingredients. On taste the strawberries were ever present from beginning to end. There was a light touch of alcoholic pear cider just underneath that sheer weight of strawberries, and just a dot or two of lime to give the flavour a sour edge as the predominantly strawberry cider travelled into the aftertaste. This is one of those alcoholic drinks I always feel could be mistaken for a alcopop. I can't help wondering what it could taste like frozen in a lolly. Having said that it tastes great. You do need to like strawberries though. And, hey, I'm an adult (sort of) so I can drink an alcoholic pop drink that predominantly tastes of strawberries. So there…!

16 October 2020

Maltesers Mint Biscuits (Asda) By @Cinabar

Maltesers Mint Biscuits

When the new Maltesers Mint Buttons were released earlier in the year, pre-Covid lockdowns if anyone can remember those days, I discovered a new love of mint and malt. Frankly the flavours shouldn’t go together but they hit a magical formula that just worked. Clearly it has been a successful combination because they have extended the flavour into these new Maltesers Mint Biscuits. I was looking forward to trying them.
Maltesers Mint Biscuits

The biscuits are shaped like three flattened circles and look nice in the packet, they are spaced out in pastic though and there isn’t that many in there. I gave one a try and found the biscuit to have a decent amount of chocolate and nice solid biscuit texture that snapped when broken. The mint flavour is the most dominant taste and in this format the malt was a bit more hidden, with the biscuit taking some of the room. The malt was still present it was just not as strong as could be. As a fan of mint I still enjoyed these biscuits with my afternoon coffee but I would have liked a shade more malt in the taste.

Maltesers Mint Biscuits

15 October 2020

Rustlers BBQ Rib - No Mc, but essentially the same (@NLi10)

Continuing the series of things to eat for lunch in lockdown we have the Rustlers imitation McRib

I went through a phase of these as a child, before the good chicken things were released, but it wears thin fast.

Same deal as before - nuke the meat, toast the bun, squirt the sauce.

cold rib

Hot and toasty - lovely sauce!

Doesn't look amazing, but it's tasty enough.  The chicken one is nice enough that I had it again, but this is not as exciting.  I'd rather have the other lunch option that I've got at the moment (but am yet to write up).

So - maybe the secret to this one is in the magical rib sauce.

14 October 2020

Brave Roasted Chickpeas – Sweet Chilli flavour (Amazon) By @SpectreUK

Brave Roasted Chickpeas – Sweet Chilli flavour

I'm always on the lookout for alternative snacks to crisps and nuts. If I wasn't on a constant diet I'd eat crisp packets by the dozen, but I try to stick to one packet a day with my lunch or an alternative equivalent. I can't eat nuts due to dietary reasons, but flavoured roasted chickpeas can be quite a treat and fill that snacking gap I miss terribly. I do really miss chilli favoured nuts, but sadly there doesn't seem to be a replacement for my favourite coated salted peanuts!

I tried Brave Roasted Peas Paprika & Chilli before and rather enjoyed them, which was a relief due to the fact that when we bought them from Amazon they arrived in a box of twelve. These new Sweet Chilli flavoured Brave roasted chickpeas sound right up my street. Since I ran out of the previous box of twelve Brave flavoured peas, I couldn't help but dive straight into the box. There was a sweet chilli smell with a touch of paprika on opening the first packet. That spicy smell carried through to the taste. There was a sweet chilli and paprika flavour to these deep red chickpeas, with quite a strong aftertaste of parsley. These Brave Roasted Chickpeas have a medium to light chilli heat. They made my nose run just a little whilst eating them. I noticed that I liked the seasoning so much that I found myself dunking the end of my sandwich into the dustings left on my plate towards the end of my meal. I'm very glad I have another eleven packets!

Brave Roasted Chickpeas – Sweet Chilli flavour

13 October 2020

Muller Light – Bakery Inspired Cinnamon Bun Yoghurt (Asda) By @Cinabar

Muller Light – Bakery Inspired Cinnamon Bun Yoghurt

Working from home has increased my consumption of yoghurt. Mainly because being at home I’m next to my fridge rather than risking the shared fridge in the office, where things disappear, admittedly mainly milk. I do buy a lot of the Muller Light yoghurts anyway but discovering the Bakery Inspired range excited me, there is this Cinnamon Bun flavour. I love cinnamon, it is my favourite spice and, as you probably guessed, Cinnamon Bun is my favourite pastry. There is also a lemon drizzle yoghurt in the pack, which sounds nice too, but has no cinnamon! So I think you can guess we started first.

Muller Light – Bakery Inspired Cinnamon Bun Yoghurt

This yoghurt is a pale cream in colour and has a decent creamy thickness. The flavour is divine! The yoghurt is sweet, there is cinnamon and the flavour of pastry, it was so good. The flavour is creamy too and it tastes bad for you. However it is 0% fat and has no added sugar so is a proper guilt free cinnamon treat. I realise this is a winter flavour but honestly cinnamon isn’t just for Christmas. The spice is warming and works so well with a little sweetness, I was scraping the yoghurt pot out by the end.

Muller Light – Bakery Inspired Cinnamon Bun Yoghurt