31 October 2020

Stay Puft Marshmallow Porter (Tiny Rebel @tinyrebelbrewco) By @SpectreUK

Stay Puft Marshmallow Porter Tiny Rebel

It's that spooky time of year again, but this year it's a little different… mainly because the last several months have been more than a little spooky for most of us across the globe, but enough about that… it's Halloween! So here's a "Boo!" from Spectre ;-)

Cinabar and I have been dusting off some old favourite films, and some newer movies for watching at this time of year. Over the last few weekends we've watched; Lost Boys, Zombieland, Ghostbusters (the newer version which was surprisingly good), Sleepy Hollow, Beetlejuice, The Shining, and tonight we're watching the original Ghostbusters. I made the mistake of watching Ghostbusters 2 when I was younger and vowed never again!

What better beer to drink whilst watching Ghostbusters but the Stay Puft Marshmallow Porter by Tiny Rebel Brewery? Brewed with Stay Puft Marshmallows this dark porter sounds like a spooky pudding beer if ever there was one. I shan't tell you how the original Ghostbusters movie ends if you've lived in cave all your life and never seen it, but I will just say that it has something to do with a really large marshmallow. Halloween night is certainly the best night to watch Ghostbusters in my view.

On opening this 5.2% volume Stay Puft Marshmallow Porter there was an extra sweet smell from the dark chocolate malts. The usual roasted coffee undertones were overshadowed by that sweet smell from the additional Stay Puft Marshmallows, which were at the back of the aroma. On initial taste the dark chocolate malt springs to the fore for a lip smacking flavour, a slight bitterness follows from the hops but not enough to worry about crossing any streams, as the sweet flavour from the marshmallows takes over into the chocolatey marshmallow aftertaste.

Mmm… yum! This is a complex after dinner brew packed full of sweetness to scare the ghouls away and any other worries for a little while, whilst you bathe in the sweet malts and the spooky marshmallows!

Happy Halloween, Everyone! ☺️👻

30 October 2020

Mr Kipling - Terrifying Toffee Whirls (Asda) By @Cinabar

Mr Kipling - Terrifying Toffee Whirls

There hasn’t been many Halloween products this year, usually I find a decent selection of goodies but it has been one strange year. People in our high risk area are being asked to stay in this year rather than trick or treat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up, go for a pumpkin spotting walk and watch a scary movie or too. We will be watching the original Ghostbusters and Spectre has found the best themed beer I have ever seen, but keep your eyes open for that tomorrow.

Today we have these Mr Kipling - Terrifying Toffee Whirls. Is toffee terrifying? I’m not sure that it is, but I do appreciate the Roald Dahl box celebrating the book The Witches, which was a favourite of mine when I was a kid. The box is nicely themed for the season.

Mr Kipling - Terrifying Toffee Whirls

Inside the pack are six Whirls, each with a buttercream and toffee filling and there appears to be a decent amount in each. The biscuits are soft and the filling is creamy but I thought the toffee was far from terrifying and was actually very mild. It added a nice bit of sweetness but there was no drama here and if anything that golden butterscotch flavour was a bit lost. These were pleasant but plainer than expected. If you buy some you might need a Halloween film to the terrifying element.

Mr Kipling - Terrifying Toffee Whirls

29 October 2020

Nestle Trick-Or-Treat packs (@NLi10)

Halloween this year is going to be a little different, you don’t want to be eating things other people have been near - sealed goodies are the way. That is if people are even allowed out - I don’t think it’ll happen locally.

Nestles Christmas packs are pretty much ideal for this it seems!

Here we see KitKat but with flavours

Here are the flavours

They look and taste like baby KitKats! Not exciting, but solid.

Here we see the Aero version.

Same exact flavours! This time with no wafer. I guess the focus group chose these three.



Unnexciting to the max, but actually reasonably tasty for one bite. Perfect to hand to strangers at the door, then wash hands and retreat to bunker...

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…!