31 May 2021

Jaffa Cakes Blackcurrant (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Jaffa Cakes Blackcurrant

What is going on at Jaffa Cakes head quarters? We have had several years where there are no new interesting products from them, which is fine the originals are amazing. This year however we have seen loads of innovation from them Passion Fruit, Cherry and even Jaffa Cake Jonuts (doughnuts). There is now another new flavour these Jaffa Cakes Blackcurrant, using the classical British fruit, they are spoiling us. I love blackcurrant so this is rather exciting.

Inside the box were ten cakes (or biscuits but I’m not going down that rabbit hole) and a bit of a gap in the box. Oh well. Inside each of these new Blackcurrant Jaffa Cakes was a dark purple layer of jelly along between the thin chocolate and the sponge base. I gave them a try and found that the flavour from the blackcurrant was good, quite zingy but not quite a strong as I had hoped for. The chocolate is only a thin layer but it held the majority of the flavour. On a regular Jaffa cake the orange shines out with no question, these were more of a glow, tasty but they needed a stronger, dare I say sourer hit of blackcurrant. I’m loving the innovation though, wonder which fruit will be next?

Jaffa Cakes Blackcurrant

30 May 2021

Scones by the seaside (@NLi10)

What's better (and more English) than a nice cup of tea by the seaside?

Look - genuine sea views (for my partner)

This is Combe Martin bay on the way to Ilfracombe, and a lovely little tea shop with the bonus of outdoor seating.

And lovely warm fresh scones and jam.

I'm having them Devon style as we are in Devon.  This prevents the clotted cream from melting or falling off.  Usually I do the reverse, but I'm usually eating more cold scones (or crumbly Irish style scones)


And needing an extra box of cereal and having to do a costal walk to get back to the car enables me to take odd holiday pictures with snacks!

29 May 2021

Banks Caribbean Lager (Amazon) By @SpectreUK

Banks Caribbean Lager

There is nothing like a good pint of Mild at the end of the week. There was an advert with Noddy Holder, from the old band Slade, many moons ago. "You can save your thanks's, I'll have a pint of Banks's" So Noddy's slogan went... oh, hang on a moment. This isn't a pint of my favourite local ale, it's Banks Caribbean Lager from a brewery of the same brand name, but not from Wolverhampton, no... this one is in sunny Barbados!

"This is the legendary Caribbean beer that is celebrated across the region!" Is their slogan on the back of the 330ml bottle. Not as interesting as the local's, but there you go! I remember now that I had this Banks Caribbean Lager as part of a box of twelve beers for Christmas. Yes, it can take me this long to get to certain beers in my cavernous beer fridge.

On opening the bottle there was a fresh wheaty aroma from inside. This golden cheerfully bubbly Banks Caribbean Lager has a light smell of wheat on pouring and a decent head. On taste there is predominantly wheat and sweet malted barley, with a light bitterness from the herbal hops into the aftertaste. I can see why this is such a popular beer in the Caribbean. It's not particularly bubbly and it is certainly refreshing.

28 May 2021

Jaffa Jonuts - Jaffa Cake Doughnuts (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Jaffa Jonuts - Jaffa Cake Doughnuts (Tesco)

Well I have finally got my hands on the new Jonuts, apparently the next big thing. This is the latest in product names to portmanteau. We’ve seen Cronuts (croissant doughnuts) but now we have Jaffa Cake doughnuts, introducing the Jonut. Orange as a flavour is having a great year, it is the the new salted caramel in terms of popularity and trend. Inside the box were four individually wrapped Jonuts. I was tentative about this product though, the best part of a Jaffa cake is the orange jelly layer. On an original Jaffa cake the chocolate is a thin coating and is ok, the base is a slightly dry sponge but it works because of the magic of the fruit jelly. Lets see if these Jonuts are the same.

Jaffa Jonuts - Jaffa Cake Doughnuts (Tesco)

The Jonut is flat and topped with the same Jaffa Cake chocolate you expect, it cracks nicely when you bite in. There is no layer of jelly under the chocolate but there is a ring of it inside the sponge, it adds all the magic to the flavour. The sponge itself isn’t quite as moist as a regular donut but it is better than a regular Jaffa Cake. Despite the odds these work, and they work well; sponge chocolate and that zingy sweet orange flavour. Lovely with a cup of coffee as an afternoon treat.

Jaffa Jonuts - Jaffa Cake Doughnuts (Tesco)

27 May 2021

Kicker & Pie-Nalty- Walkers Crisps, but for the lads #Football (@NLi10)

 GOOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLL.  See - I know Football!  I didn't think the big football was happening this year, but Walker's apparently did so they released these.  Did it happen?  Did we win?

Great puns lads - that marketing degree really paying off!

Nice big bags are something I approve of though.

I put them in a girly bowl to counter the hyper masculinity so I could calm down enough to review them.

"Football fever is sweeping the nation" pretty sure that's the Covid.  Don't tell me I've got to get another two jabs? I double checked the date on these crisps to make sure Walkers didn't get the year wrong and send out crisps from the summer of 2019 by mistake.

They taste like the normal sweet chilli ones, maybe with a hint of dairy as an aftertaste.

Here's the main event bag though (mainly as I get to eat all of this one as they taste meaty). Cat matts in the background to earth the testosterone.

Same blurb - footage of me in the background watching The Game - not playing Resident Evil 8 or anything - honest.  Go Piggers!!

These taste like pub crisps - the McCoys & Roysters kind that are very beefy and very nice.  I enjoyed them a lot.  Hopefully my corner shop still has more of these to buy as they would be good with a pint. Oh no! What have I become!!

26 May 2021

Twix Ice Cream (Iceland) By @SpectreUK

Twix Ice Cream (Iceland)

I have recently developed a bad habit during most evenings. Well, it's not awful... it's just that I've become quite partial to little tubs of ice cream with my regular pudding. I usually have biscuits or a chocolate bar after a beer with my dinner or with a white hot chocolate drink. Counting my calories per day is a drag, but it keeps my weight down after all the exercise I do, and I find that I can often be a bit naughtier with my puddings.

Twix Ice Cream (Iceland)


My regular tubs of ice cream can be anything from around 200 calories, to 150 calories to the ideal 70 calorie tubs. I fit the amount of biscuits or whatever I eat with it around my calorie count. It sounds pretty laborious, but it's rewarding taste wise when I have my puddings after my main meal of the day.

Twix Ice Cream (Iceland)

I often have a Twix or two for my puddings. This Twix ice cream sounds like it would go rather well as an alternative or complement to my regular ice cream tubs. It's dairy ice cream with caramel, biscuit pieces in the centre, and with a cocoa coating. On opening the box of six, the smart wrappers inside looked a little like a regular Twix.

Twix Ice Cream (Iceland)

On biting into the first Twix ice cream I noticed that the covering of thin milk chocolate melts very quickly. It was also crumbly and snapped apart leaving cocoa coating bits. I'd recommend you eat these with a tissue close by. The inners are mainly a sweet caramel ice cream, with runny caramel on top, and with a multitude of crunchy crispy chocolate biscuit balls in the middle of the bar.

This Twix ice cream is very nice indeed. From the caramel and biscuit flavours it's definitely easily identifiable as a Twix. Although it's a little dangerous to eat, it's very tasty. I love the caramel flavours from the ice cream and runny topping inside the bar, and the crunchy chocolate biscuit texture. I'm looking forward to eating the rest of them, and mixing them in with my regular biscuity puddings.

Information on the box; Six in a box 34.2g each, at 123 Calories each. Please see for photograph for more information.

Twix Ice Cream (Iceland)

25 May 2021

Bounty Ice Cream (Iceland) By @cinabar

Bounty Ice Cream

This is another of the new Spring to Summer releases of ice cream from Iceland. The weather may not be there yet but at least we have new ice creams to cheer us up. I can’t believe it is nearly June and the weather is still cool, rainy and even stormy. Oh well, the heating is on but I have the Bounty Ice Cream out to make up.
Bounty Ice Cream

Inside the box are 6 Bounty Ice Creams all individually wrapped. They are 135 calories per bar which seems quite reasonable for what feels like a naughty treat. Under the wrapper there is a bar of chocolate coated coconut ice cream, with coconut in the chocolate too. The ice cream is super sweet and creamy and had a lovely coconut flavour, there was some coconut texture in there too but it was smoother than a regular Bounty. The chocolate was a decent thickness and cracked nicely over the ice cream, I liked that there was coconut texture here too. I know the texture of coconut is a bit of a Marmite thing but I like it, and I loved the tropical taste too. We may not have the sunshine yet but these Bounty Ice Creams will be perfect when it does arrive.

Bounty Ice Cream

24 May 2021

Walkers Hot Shot Hot Dog Crisps (Tesco) By @cinabar

Walkers Hot Shot Hot Dog Crisps

There are new Walkers crisps hitting the shelves and they have loosely themed football flavours. People eat hot dogs on their way to a football match so I’ll give them that, but they then went with Walkers Hot Shot Hot Dog as the full name. If I’m honest I’m not that bothered about the football theme name, I’m more interested in the new hot dog flavour. We had these at lunch time with a sandwich, I poured some out on to a plate.

The crisps are the usual thin cut Walkers crisps, which I like as a texture. The aroma was very much of tomato ketchup and that made me smile before I tried them. I always love ketchup crisps when I have them and I don’t buy them nearly enough. The flavour of these crisps also had a big tomato ketchup kick but a nice smokey meaty flavour too, and then the flavour ends with a hit of onion. All key ingredients of the hot dog experience. They were well balanced and tasty and I liked the meaty taste with the ketchup, they were even better than regular ketchup flavour crisps.. Personally I think these Walkers Hot Shot Hot Dog Crisps should have had a hit of mustard in there too, as everyone puts both sauces on a hot dog right? Still loved them though!

23 May 2021

Environmental Disaster Pods - Dolce Gusto Selection Box - Almond Flat White & Guatemala Latte Macchiato (@NLi10)

I've a  history of not coping well with the funny coffee pods that have appeared in hotels in the past few years.  And now we have a Dolce Gusto machine in the office.  I went on their site to try and find sensible ways to mitigate the environmental impact of every cup of coffee having two to four little plastic pods thrown away (I got a bag) and also got £20 worth of pods to share with the team. 

I don't really use much dairy these days (clotted cream on scones and a dash of milk in tea is about it!) so I picked up one of the lovely vegan varieties and some twists on my new favourite the Latte Macchiato.

Flat White is the 'might as well drink instant' of the filter coffees for me so I decided to only try one.  I'm sure that for those that love the smoothness all three are worth a shot.  I didn't want to get 36 pods if I wasn't a fan though!

I genuinely don't know if this is good.

Ah - the little plastic beasts.  All mixed up with the different kinds of plastic.

Good job I set up a recycling station! Draining the pods is a pain (I put extra holes in the lids) but the plastic tub for before going in the bag really helps get the extra 'juice' out.

The real strength of these machines is that it makes the coffee smell so good - with the almond smell too it's amazing.  But... This one doesn't taste great! Like a lot of the milk substitutes the technology is taking a while to catch up.  The cartons of almond milk are fab and happily on my cereal every day.  Powdered almond milk really didn't hit the spot - although oddly some in the office preferred this to the regular flat white (which we already had).

Not one I'll personally buy again then - but if the office uses them all maybe I'll get coconut?!

This however was pretty awesome.  Lovely fluffy white steamed milk, and really intense Guatemalan Coffee.  

Frothy milk first - then spike the shot of coffee through it - one notch on the pod means in theory you only use the coffee for 10 seconds before binning it.  That doesn't seem ecological!

Still - as long as we fill the bag and send it back then we might be ok?

The powerful aroma from this one always perks the office up (i've had a couple since) and as you only get 6 small cups worth this would be the first to run out.

That is if I didn't have an office with two people obsessed by the chocolate ones.

Chococino is a little sophisticated luxury for them (they usually buy the Nesquik version!) so all 8 drinks of this went in the first week.  I managed to bag one.

Other than being a pretty convenient way to make hot chocolate I don't think this is what the machine is for - do they put ground cocoa beans in the pod? I doubt it!  I'll have to hack one open and see.

Overall though it's a pretty expensive hobby, and not something I can justify keeping in stock (each box is basically £4 so 50p for the HoCho, 30p for the Flat White, & 67p for the Guatemalan).

It definitely saves money & time vs a walk to the hospital Costa, but realistically for a drink of any real size you need to use twice the directed pods and double the above prices and suddenly you might as well have someone else make it for you too.

I'm sure a second order will be placed (and I still have two varieties of Macchiato to try!).

22 May 2021

Hoptical Illusion (Brass Castle Brewery @BrassCastleBeer) By @SpectreUK

Hoptical Illusion Brass Castle Brewery

Some months back a big box full of beers turned up on the doorstep after Cinabar had been shopping online. This Hoptical Illusion pale ale is the second beer I'll be blogging about from the Brass Castle Brewery. There isn't much information on the can as to why it's called what it is, and there isn't an optical illusion on the can itself. So I reckon I'll just pop open the can of this 4.3% volume pale ale and see what happens...

On opening the can there was an immediate excitable explosion of beer froth and bubbles. After years of preconditioning I can catch a frothing can opening in milliseconds. As soon as I heard the dangerous sounding fizz and saw the froth bubbling out my mouth was on the can. I'm proud of myself to say that not a drop of this Hoptical Illusion pale ale was wasted whilst writing this blog.

On pouring the beer the froth took a bit of time to calm down, and I'm an ex-barman too! This pale misty golden pale ale smelt of crisp citrus hops with a touch of herbal hops in the background. Quite the combination of hops to try. There was a sweetness from the pale malts to begin with that just about sneaked through the bitter struggle of hops that were so busy trying to out flavour each other they hadn't noticed. The crisp mixture of hops comes into its own after the sweet malts, giving way to a more polite "after you, sir," kind of motion into the aftertaste.

This Hoptical Illusion pale ale is a very flavoursome beer indeed. It has a confusing mass of flavours to begin with not knowing whether to be bitter or sweet, but quickly sorts itself out into a pleasing order of pale malts and then bitter crisp hops. Delightful. Cheers!

21 May 2021

Wellbox - Devour Care Box #Gifted By @Cinabar

Wellbox - Devour Care Box

The lovely people from Wellbox got in touch and asked if we wanted to try out one of their care boxes and we chose to have a look at this one called Devour. The idea is that they sell hampers and gifts at a range of prices so you can treat a friend or a whole team at work. It is good for moral, and I couldn’t help but smile when ours arrived. The box is very smart and inside were lots of lovely goodies.

I loved working my way through the box and was very impressed with the contents. We have some English Breakfast tea from a company we haven’t tried before which is impressive given how much tea we buy! We have olives which are snacking olives. There are savoury biscuits with cranberry and pumpkin seeds. Pretzels bites flavoured with cheese. Moroccan Spiced Almonds which I can’t wait to tuck into. As well as dried fruits, crisps and peanut butter chocolate. What a lovely haul and so many things I haven’t tried before even though we are foodies. Everything in the box was from an expensive brand that gave the whole thing a very premium feel.

I have made a note too for a difficult to buy for friend whose birthday is coming up in June, they will be receiving one of these boxes (I might go for the Entice box as that includes bubbles).

20 May 2021

Toblerone Schokoladen-Torte - Luxury Chocolate Desert! (@NLi10)

It's Eurovision weekend - so lets pop to Lidl and break out the luxury deals - in this case an 8 slice Toblerone chocolate desert!

I'm not one for deserts that don't include fruit (red and green fruit anyway) or pastry, but this looked a little bit special.  450g of nutty wonder.

Being frozen you can basically just cut and defrost a portion at a time.

1/8th each for the Semi-finals, and a 1/4 each for the main event should suffice?

And this is pretty filling stuff - the nuts and the layers make this tiny looking slice a wonderful battle to eat.  It tastes like the real thing too - less hard choc, but more like the flavour they sneak into the choc mix, and the almond & nougat pieces.  Very much something I'm tempted to buy a 2nd and hide at the back of the freezer for when people can come round to sample it.

Lidl have done it again and delivered a top luxury Eurocake for a pretty budget price!

19 May 2021

Soreen Fruit & Veg-Mmms Orange & Rainbow Carrot Bakes #Gifted By @SpectreUK

Soreen Fruit & Veg-Mmms Orange & Rainbow Carrot Bakes

I am a big fan of Soreen. I have been since I can remember. I used to eat it from the large loaves and cover them in butter, mainly because the flavour combination tastes so good. Soreen mini loaves have been around for quite a while now. I have a Soreen mini loaf every lunch time. They're quite low in calories, as I don't need butter with them anymore, and they're easy to eat in a rush whilst at work. 

I've tasted Soreen's Blood Orange flavour in the past and liked it. I also like carrot cakes, although that might be related to the creamy topping! Having said that I do like the sound of these Soreen Fruit & Veg-Mmms Orange & Rainbow Carrot Bakes. So it's about time I popped open a loaf to take a bite....

On opening a loaf's packet there was a tangy orange aroma to the light brown loaf inside. I noticed the texture of this Soreen Fruit & Veg-Mmms Orange & Rainbow Carrot Bake was slightly squidgier (if that's a word) than the regular Soreen loaf. On biting into the bake there was a tangy almost tart orange flavour to begin with, which mixed quickly with the rainbow carrot flavour. This is a very tasty combination and I'll certainly enjoy the two packets that Soreen very kindly sent me.

Information on the packet;
There are 5 x mini loaves at 96 calories per loaf, with 1.2g of fat, 4.8g of sugar, and 0.2g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Soreen Fruit & Veg-Mmms Orange & Rainbow Carrot Bakes

18 May 2021

Rice Krispie Squares - Salted Caramel Pretzel (Ocado) By @cinabar

Rice Krispie Squares - Salted Caramel Pretzel

There are some new flavours of Rice Krispie Squares out and they have gone all American. Actually I think they may have always been American, but the UK version now has American themed flavours. First up we have these Rice Krispie Squares Salted Caramel Pretzel edition, which sounded fun. I love a mix of sweet and salty.

I opened up the packet and was quite surprised by the look of these Squares, they are really covered in pretzel bits, even to the extreme where it was hard to recognise the marshmallow bar underneath. There is a lot of topping an dI wasn’t complaining. I gave the bar a try and the texture was out this world. I found the usually soft and crispy Rick Krispies in the sticky mallow but the topping added extra crunch and a nice hint of savoury too. It really worked and I enjoyed the Salted Caramel Pretzel treat with a cup of coffee. I’m just hoping the other American flavour (Cookies and Cream) is half as good to be honest. This is quite a leap from their usual limited editions (we’ve all seen the things this year where all they do is add a bit of orange), this it is a total success.

Rice Krispie Squares - Salted Caramel Pretzel

17 May 2021

Kellogg's Krave Stix (Iceland) By @Cinabar

Krave Stix (Iceland)

Even though I’m not commuting at present I still buy and eat cereal bars for breakfast, possibly because it turns out I’m just lazy and maybe because I also like them with a morning cup of coffee. I do regular orders with Iceland and they are not the best supplier of interesting cereal bars (I like Eat Natural) but I still always find some to buy. This week I spotted these new ones Krave Stix based on the Krave breakfast cereal, so I ordered a box to try.

Inside each packet are two “stix” which look like elongated versions of the Krave cereal, in fact they looked exactly the same just longer. I tried a bit of the first one and my initial thought was that is was a little dry, and well that it needed milk. I know right, who would have thought it. I took a further bite and got used to the dryness especially as the chocolate centre became more prominent and then found myself quite enjoy the bars. I had them with a morning cup of coffee but part of me thinks maybe I should have had them with a glass of milk, for some reason I suspect that would have worked.

Krave Stix (Iceland)

16 May 2021

Muji Butter Chicken Curry (@NLi10)

I didn't know Muji sold snacks until I got bought a load - and they also sell meals!

Sale food too! Even though this is space sealed the pandemic has meant there isn't much time left to eat this - so lets go!


Butter Chicken/ Mughlai Chicken doesn't look like much right out the bag.

It looks a little more like food once you heat it up.

And here it is - a pound gets you one person portion - and while the flavour is correct it's not quite as deep as the cook at home kits or a trip to The Shireland.

I'd try that at full price for sure, and I wonder if there are more flavours for this.

Needs rice, but makes a perfectly good lunch then.