26 October 2021

Horror Shock Corn Bar (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

Horror Shock Corn Bar (Marks and Spencer)

I love popcorn and Halloween and Marks and Spencer have created this gorgeous looking chocolate bar combining both of those things. This Horror Shock Corn Bar gets full marks for creativity, it is a big chunky bar for sharing, mainly made of popcorn and coloured chocolate, sprinkled with chocolates with candy shells, and eyes. White chocolate eyes. Is my Horror Shock Corn Bar looking at me?

Horror Shock Corn Bar (Marks and Spencer)

The bar is quite thick and difficult to break pieces off, trying to break it into equal pieces might be an impossible task but we still managed to split it for sharing. I gave a piece a try and it is such a fun bar to eat. The popcorn bits are huge and have a sugar coating, the coloured chocolate areas are sweet and creamy, and the candied chocolates add further crunch. The white chocolate eyes are gorgeous and the only disappointing thing about the whole bar was that there was only three eyes on it. I mean surely they should at least come in pairs!

This Horror Shock Corn Bar is one of those novelty products that manages to tick all the boxes, fun, well themed and seriously tasty. If you are staying in to watch Halloween films this popcorn bar is the perfect sweet and tasty treat. Don’t forget to pluck the eyes off though to make sure they aren’t watching you.

Horror Shock Corn Bar (Marks and Spencer)

25 October 2021

Thornton’s Toffee Apple Caramel Shortcake Bites (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Thornton’s Toffee Apple Caramel Shortcake Bites

I think I first had Thornton’s Bites last year, and I remember rather enjoying them, they were decorated but not flavoured. This year I spotted that they had brought out Thornton’s Toffee Apple Caramel Shortcake Bites and picked up a packet. I liked the idea of the seasonal flavour and the packet is decorated with pumpkins too.

Thornton’s Toffee Apple Caramel Shortcake Bites

I opened up the pack and felt that the bites looked very spaced out, there were plastic fillers on the second row to space them out. I thought they had removed a bite so I went back to have a look at last year’s version of Thorntons Spooky Caramel Shortcake Bites, there were 10 last year and this year there are 8. They didn’t remove one they removed two. Meh.

That aside, I gave one the Thornton’s Toffee Apple Caramel Shortcake Bites a try. I was impressed with the apple flavour, it was a little tart but balanced perfectly with the rich caramel taste. The texture is fun too, chocolate, soft caramel and a crunchy base. These are perfect for Halloween and Bonfire treats, it is just a shame they reduced the number in the pack, part of me wished I hadn’t looked at the previous version. Taking two out just seems like quite a cut back, well it is 20% reduction.

Thornton’s Toffee Apple Caramel Shortcake Bites

24 October 2021

Passion Fruit Jaffa & Cherry Dodgers - same snack, different flavour (@NLi10)

Quick one today - here we have passion fruit Jaffa Cakes!

Where are my other two cakes you charlatans! At least make the box 2 cakes smaller too.

You get 10 identical to normal cakes, with the new skinny chocolate, and this time they taste like Um-bongo.

Nice for a change.  Will buy the inevitable Halloween ones on special offer too.

But wait - there is more! Cherry Burst Jammie Dodgers?

Same reduced fat crumbly biscuit with the same jam - but now with that cherry lipstick flavour

Nice for a change, but the strawberry ones are best.

Will buy the inevitable Halloween ones on special offer too.


23 October 2021

Carve ‘N Yams Pumpkin Coffee Porter (@WeeBeerShop) By @SpectreUK

Carve ‘N Yams Pumpkin Coffee Porter

I have quite a few themed beers to write about over the next couple of weeks, so I'm going to concentrate on those rather than writing about snacks during this time. So let the drinking commence! Er… and writing about it, of course…

It's Halloween! I love the Halloween season for beers and snacks and spooky happiness. It's part of the reason why I'm called Spectre. And with this season of screams and chills I do love pumpkin flavoured beers and food. It seems to be the only time of year we get anything flavoured with pumpkin, which seems a shame to me. Cinabar has looked high and low for a pumpkin beer for me this year. Brewers either don't seem to be brewing with pumpkins or have run out of stock.

The Wee Beer Shop imports and finds interesting beers. This Carve 'N Yams Pumpkin Coffee Porter was produced by Elusive Brewing, and is marketed as being a pumpkin pie flavoured Porter. At 5.2% in volume it contains the usual water, barley, hops and yeast, but doesn't mention which ones on the can. It also contains pumpkin, Hasbean coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves. It sounds like a group of quite complex flavours for a beer. I have a bad feeling the coffee might overbear the lot! So I'll see what it tastes like…

On opening the can there was a deep rich coffee aroma that was full of spices. This almost black in colour Carve 'N Yams Pumpkin Coffee Porter has a rich dark chocolate malt flavour to begin with, merging with roasted coffee and all the spices of nutmeg, and fiery cinnamon and ginger, and a touch of cloves. What I couldn't note strongly in the flavour was the pumpkin.

This beer to me was reminiscent of the traditional German game of 'hide the sausage'. By eating it, of course, I don't know where your minds are these days! In this beer the brewers hid the pumpkin a little too well for my liking. I loved the combined flavours, but what I predominantly wanted was a pumpkin beer. Sadly this chocolate malt and spicy roasted coffee Porter didn't deliver that pumpkin in the flavour for me. It was really tasty and went very well together with my accompanying fig biscuits, but alas no pumpkins were harmed in the writing of this blog.

22 October 2021

Bubbly Boo Chocolate Ghost (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

Bubbly Boo Chocolate Ghost

I couldn’t help picking up this chocolate ghost at the till in Marks and Spencers, it was in a tempting bright orange Halloween packet. I think these are a little too nice to give away to Trick or Treaters but perfect to snack on as an impulsive buy. Here we have a Bubbly Boo Chocolate Ghost made with aerated milk chocolate and I had every intention of eating him.

Bubbly Boo Chocolate Ghost

Inside the wrapper is a very cute looking Bubbly Boo Chocolate Ghost, I think he was made to look like he was about to scream, was this to be scary or because of his impending doom, I think it might be the latter. I took a bite off his head, it had to be done. The milk chocolate is bubbly and I love that as a texture, it feels solid but still gives when you bite it. The chocolate is sweet and creamy and decent quality too. All in all a lovely Halloween treat but it was gone far too quickly.

Bubbly Boo Chocolate Ghost

21 October 2021

Jarritos pop/cola & Mexican food (@NLi10)

 There's a pretty new Mexican place that's opened within walking distance of my house.  Run by a Mexican family and visited by lots of people familiar with the area, it's this odd little cultural oasis in our very Asian neighbourhood.  And I love it.

They also import (or aquire from people that do) genuine Mexican snacks & drinks to go with their ingredients so I can work through the Jarritos rainbow one bottle at a time.

For starters I chose Mandarin.  This is one of those flavours that just doesn't show up in English snacks - just one kind of Orange for us.  We occasionally get Satsuma which is basically the same, but here we have the real deal.  It's sharp and exciting, and goes really well with the deep fried nachos starter.

And look at that lunch-time main.  Egg and Chorizo - I forget the real name.  So many lovely flavours with just the right amount of kick to keep you going.

Naturally I got a bottle to take home too.

Mexican cola is a delight - much closer to the Fentimans flavours than the English pop.  

Sure - it's still just water and flavourings but it's at least exotic water that's actually been to Mexico (unlike me).

Maybe I can persuade my partner that I should go fetch us a delivery for this evenings tea...

20 October 2021

Galaxy Fusions Blonde Chocolate with Sea Salt (Ocado) By @SpectreUK

Galaxy Fusions Blonde Chocolate with Sea Salt

For a person who counts their calories having a sweet tooth can be a pain sometimes. I do have a love of chocolate, especially washed down with a mug of my favourite hot white chocolate drink, and often a small pot of low calorie vanilla ice cream. This fairly low in calories Galaxy Fusions Blonde Chocolate with Sea Salt sounds like something that would go rather well with my usual accomplishments. Although sometimes there can be a little too much sea salt in a chocolate bar for my liking. So I'll have to see…
Galaxy Fusions Blonde Chocolate with Sea Salt

As you can see from the photograph the solid caramel coloured bar looks rather smart. On taste there was a white creamy and sweet caramel chocolate taste to start with. This creaminess just keeps on giving and then there was quite a sharp saltiness into the aftertaste. I found this Galaxy Fusions Blonde Chocolate with Sea Salt very tasty indeed. Although it was pretty strong on the sea salt in the aftertaste, which didn't complement my white hot chocolate drink or vanilla ice cream so well.

Information on the outer card; This 35g bar has 193 calories, with 12g of fat, 18g of sugar, and 0.23g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Galaxy Fusions Blonde Chocolate with Sea Salt

19 October 2021

Joe & Seph’s Toffee Apple and Cinnamon Popcorn (Ocado) By @cinabar

Joe & Seph’s Toffee Apple and Cinnamon Popcorn

There is no greater autumn and winter spice than cinnamon, it makes everything taste better. I think this Joe & Seph’s Toffee Apple and Cinnamon Popcorn was an obvious purchase as it contains all the flavours that are great for this time of year and yes, they mentioned cinnamon.

So the popcorn is quite expensive I know we don’t spend a lot of time on this blog talking about costs but this was £3 for a small bag so it is more stocking filler than self indulgence but I admit I went for the latter. The popcorn are nice big fluffy pieces all with plenty of coating. The flavour is superb, there is toffee and apple but impressively it isn’t too sweet, and the apple gives a nice sharper edge. The aftertaste is where the cinnamon hits and it leaves each bite with a warming feeling, and brings balance to the toffee apple. I know Joe & Seph’s Toffee Apple and Cinnamon Popcorn isn’t a cheap bag of popcorn but it was rather good and one I’ll pick up again, not to gift though, I’m too greedy so it would be just as a bit of treat. I’m totally onboard with cinnamon season, if you see any new products using the wonder spice let me know!

Joe & Seph’s Toffee Apple and Cinnamon Popcorn

18 October 2021

Mince Pie Hot Chocolate (Hotel Chocolat) By @cinabar

Hotel Chocolat Mince Pie Hot Chocolate

Firstly a big yay to hot chocolate season and all the new varieties that it brings with it, although as I have previously mentioned I drink hot chocolate all year. This new flavour from Hotel Chocolat is getting a little Christmassy but I couldn’t resist picking up a bag and giving it a try; introducing Mince Pie Hot Chocolate. I love mince pies and couldn’t wait to get started.

Hotel Chocolat Mince Pie Hot Chocolate

I opened up the bag and oh my word the aroma was next level, it was so strong and spiced and chocolatey it was amazing. The scent was warming and smelled like Christmas. I added 6 teaspoons of the chocolate flakes to milk and heated it up. Again it smelled lovely while it was being heated. I took a sip and somehow realised that Hotel Chocolat had put all the flavours of Christmas into a drink and I couldn’t stop myself smiling. There was plenty of cinnamon and nutmeg, but also a fruitiness and touch of brandy flavour. Wow, this is like the poshest mince pie flavour mixed with chocolate. It is genius, I loved every sip of it. This Hotel Chocolat Mince Pie Hot Chocolate does what it says on the bag in the most amazing way, they nailed it and I want more!

Hotel Chocolat Mince Pie Hot Chocolate

17 October 2021

Tagliatelle Carbonara for Lunch - but in a microwave?! Rana (@NLi10)

I like the Rana range so while in Sainsbury's I picked this one up to have while my partner was out.  Upon closer inspection it isn't really an evening meal kit - it's a bung in the microwave for lunch kit.

This isn't a problem - I have lunch alone too - and if this works I can take it to the office (if I can find them again).

Packed 1 is 'fresh' pasta.  I stay away from fresh pasta usually, but this seems like a decent reason to use it.

Pack 2 is the salsa fresca (fresh sauce I believe) which is ham & cream essentially.

Pack three is the green white and black dust to add at the end to taste.

Make a nest.

Add the paint (& stir) then nuke in the microwave (back inside the box - clever) for 4 1/2 mins

Add the powders and mix and stand for a minute and eat!

And the verdict?  If you put this in a proper bowl you could just about get away with serving this in a low grade restaurant (think Italian chain) and it's actually better than some Pub carbonaras I've had.

I mean - it's not Italy standard (except for that one place...) but I was pleasantly surprised and with a bit of preparation I could easily have these at work and be very satisfied.

I didn't use all the cheese as I prefer the pepper, but even then it made me very thirsty - next time I'll bring some San Pel!

16 October 2021

Marmite Ale (@CamdenBrewery) By @SpectreUK

Marmite Ale Camden Brewery

This is an unusual ale from Camden Town Brewery - Marmite Ale. You'll either love or hate it! I have a bit of an unusual relationship with Marmite. I don't actually like it spread on toast, but I do like other products with a Marmite flavour, such as Walkers Marmite Crisps and I tried a Marmite cheese once that was really tasty. So maybe I'll like this Marmite Ale? Cinabar's Instagram poll was sort of for it, but now it's time to open the can and find out…

Marmite Ale Camden Brewery

At 142 calories this Marmite Ale is brewed with a trio of Malts including Pilsner, Raunch, and Munich, whereas Perle hops were used for bitterness, well, not forgetting the additional Marmite flavour too. The back of the can mentions that the Pilsner and Munich Malts have been toasted for a "bready balance", which makes me worry slightly about the flavour. I usually like a packet of Ready Salted crisps with an ale on an afternoon, but with this Marmite Ale I decided to have a packet of Walkers Marmite Crisps.

I first opened the crisps, as I know I love those. I hope I like the beer, because I've got four cans of it! With equal amounts of anticipation and apprehension I then cracked open the can. There was a pleasing fizz from the dark contents. There was a strange meaty smell mixed in with the aroma from the sweet biscuity malts. This 4.8% in volume Marmite Ale has a deep brown colour to it. I'd mistake it for a Porter if someone just passed it to me and didn't say what it was.

On taste this Marmite Ale tastes a lot like liquid beef jerky! No really, it does. If you like beef jerky, well, liquified… this is for you! There is a strong salty meatiness and slightly toasted smokiness to the flavour that just reminds me almost exactly of beef jerky. It's bizarre. On the first sip I decided I just didn't like it. And then strangely went back for a second sip. And then a third. I then found myself eating the crisps along side taking a mouthful of this bizarre tasting beer with each handful of crisps.

I've never tasted a beer like it. And yet after a while I realised most of my beer glass was empty and my Marmite crisps were quickly disappearing too. It was the smokiness that I was finding moreish and the meaty flavour complementing the crisps. It weird, it's brilliant, it's Marmite Ale!

Marmite Ale Camden Brewery

15 October 2021

Mallow & Marsh Mint Marshmallows (Tesco) By @cinabar

Mallow & Marsh Mint Marshmallows

I don’t care that these were in the Christmas gift section of the supermarket, I don’t care that I’m eating them myself and not even thinking about gifting them. This is about as much of a rebel that I am. :-D I do have a new found love of marshmallows and find them perfect for snacking on with a film. So these are my Friday night treat.

Inside the bag are dark chocolate coated mallows, the chocolate was a little bit flakey but the marshmallows are squishy so it is bound to come off in places. I loved the contrast of the two textures it is one of the things that make these fun to eat.

The soft mallow has a medium strength mint, it isn’t strong like an After Eight but on the other hand there is enough mint to make it work and still have some of the marshmallow taste shine though. Mint and dark chocolate works so very well together and these are no exception, they were a lovely treat even if it was a little self indulgent. If you are gifting these Mallow & Marsh Mint Marshmallows have no worries they are pure yum.

Mallow & Marsh Mint Marshmallows

14 October 2021

Richmond Meat-Free -No Beef Mince- is it too realistic for Veggies? (@NLi10)

I'm a big fan of trying out the new options for meat reduction in the veggie section - and today we picked up this - a huge block of mince!

But wait - it's meat free - hurrah! Why did they have to make it so realistic?  Fortunately it doesn't have the horrible meat smell you get when you open a mince box. Does have the disgusting little sheet of paper though.

It has multiple textures, and looks like it contains some seasoning too. 

Is this good for you?  I know beef mince shrinks massively when you cook it (at least the water-filled cheaper stuff).

And while it does contain soya and wheat which excludes a few people, it is indeed vegan.  The red is beetroot which is cool, and it does have some seasoning.  looks like the white bits are coconut oil too.

Looks too real....

Super deluxe pasta & sauce too.

Looks fairly authentic - actually more in-tact than my student days mince - more like butchers mince.

And it's really sucked in the sauce which is something the quorn often fails to do (unless you know the trick of buying it frozen and putting the sauce on while it's still frozen).

And it looks like a fairly authentic Italian meat and long pasta dish!  Granted I could try a bit harder with the sauce and garnishing here, but I wanted to try it 'naked'.

It's pretty good as it turns out - very saucy and rich in flavour.  The resident veggie was happy that the texture wasn't that of meat (the Quorn mince is more meat-like than this) but the flavours and textures worked really well and I'm convinced that we will be having this again.  Maybe the whole box was a bit much for two - but I ate like a king so it was quite nice.

I'm still dreading trying the bacon from the same range...

13 October 2021

Walker’s Madras Curry flavour Crisps (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Walker’s Madras Curry flavour Crisps

I do love a good curry, not too spicy, and definitely with no Fenugreek in it. I've had too many Deli-bellies in the past to wonder whether it's been picked and stored correctly. We often have a Madras. They can be pretty spicy and sometimes not, it all depends on which supermarket they're ordered from. Walkers are supporting local restaurants with some Taste Icons as crisp flavours. We've already tried a few flavours, Walker's Madras Curry flavour is the latest on my list.

On opening the packet there was a decent Curry aroma mixed with paprika from the slightly orange coloured crisps inside. I usually have a Madras with chicken, but my favourite kind of curry meat is lamb. I guess Walkers decided to make these Madras Curry flavour unambiguous to let you enjoy the flavour of Madras, rather than adding any further ingredients.

Walker’s Madras Curry flavour Crisps

I usually have a curry with chips in a restaurant. I'm not all that keen on rice, as I find it blows me up and makes me feel very bloated. On taste these Walker's Madras Curry flavour crisps are mild in curry spices. The crisps dusted with Madras flavour reminded me in taste of when I go out to a local restaurant and enjoy my curry and "English Rice", as a waiter in a curry house once described it to me. I rather enjoyed eating these crisps and would definitely have them again.

Information on the packet; The 25g bag contains 128 calories, with 7.3g of fat, 1g of sugar and 0.35g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Walker’s Madras Curry flavour Crisps