30 June 2021

The Curations Pork Puffs Original Salted (Ocado) By @SpectreUK

The Curations Pork Puffs Original Salted

Okay so The Curations Pork Puffs Original Salted may not sound very interesting, but I enjoyed their Sweet Chilli flavour that I wrote about last week, so I decided to write about their original flavour this week. Besides, it's starting to get tougher finding new things to write about again, and I need the extra protein in my diet to fix my muscles after my workout today.

The back of the packet of these Curations Pork Puffs Original Salted states that they are inspired by Latin street-food called "Chicharrones", which are fried pork belly and fried pork rinds. Curations hot flashed their pork rinds to create these pork puffs and then lightly salted them.

On opening the packet there was a decent salty smell mixed in with the strong aroma of pork rind. Nothing too mind explosively interesting about that. However, before I describe the taste or try to, I'll just mention a couple or more instances where I've experienced the same feeling as eating these Curations Pork Puffs Original Salted…

When I was a young boy we holidayed in Devon in a seaside town called Combe Martin. It was a very nice place indeed from what I can remember. What I do mainly remember was the hotel food… well okay, just the chocolate fudge cake that an old lady made for the hotel every day. It was by and far the best chocolate fudge cake I've ever had, none have matched it or come close to doing so since. The same can be said about Pizza Hut's Carne Amanti thin crust pizza before they stopped making it. No pizza I've had since has matched it.

This is a good thing, in a way, it's marked down as a beloved experience I can take wherever I go, like the people closest to me and those deeply important ones I've lost along the way. However, it's also a curse… What if Curations stop making their Curations Pork Puffs Original Salted or stupidly change the recipe like my favourite brand of alcoholic Dandelion and Burdock? I just don't like the latest version…

What if I never taste that pure saltiness perfectly merged with the fluffy light and crispy pork puffs again? I mean… I'm a project manager and this is now going right at the top of my Risk Log in fire engine red… these Curations Pork Puffs Original Salted are definitely my new go to after weights snack now for their awesome salty and porky flavour, perfect fluffy crispy texture, as well as their high protein and low calorie content. They are by and far the best pork puffs I have ever and probably will ever taste… Now that is interesting indeed!

Information on the packet;
The 22g bag contains 118 calories, 2.2g of fat, 0.03g of sugar, 15.6g of protein, and 1.3g of salt. Ingredients included; pork rind (95%), salt, and yeast extract.

The Curations Pork Puffs Original Salted

29 June 2021

Colin the Caterpillar Cake Jar (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

Colin the Caterpillar Cake Jar (Marks and Spencer)

Colin the Caterpillar is a cult classic when it comes to cake from Marks and Spencer. It is the classic cake choice for birthdays, but also has been in the news a bit when other shops tried similar looking cakes. Ah well, they also make a whole host of Colin the Caterpillar goodies, including sweets and even white chocolate faces, this is the the latest in the line. This is true to Colin’s routes and is a cake based dessert this time in a handy jar.

Colin the Caterpillar Cake Jar (Marks and Spencer)

The first thing to note is that this Colin the Caterpillar Cake Jar has extraordinarily high calories. There are 434 calories per 100 grams in this cake. The weight of the cake is 178 grams, so that works out at 773 calories per jar. Oh my. I actually checked to see if the weight included the jar, it didn’t. It doesn’t even look like that big a serving, it didn’t fill the jar. I decided I would split is and I had half.

Colin the Caterpillar Cake Jar (Marks and Spencer)

Now the flavour was a sweetness overload, it was all chocolate butter cream, chocolate drops and chocolate sponge. It was like eating a really naughty chocolate fudge cake. The texture was a lovely mix of soft sponge and solid chocolate. I just let all the sweet rich chocolate flavours blend on the taste buds. I have a high sweetness tolerance but there is no way I could have eaten more than half this Colin the Caterpillar Cake Jar without it being too much, even for me. Lovely though it was, less is more.

Colin the Caterpillar Cake Jar (Marks and Spencer)

28 June 2021

Coronation Chicken Scotch Egg (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

Coronation Chicken Scotch Egg (Marks and Spencer)

We were talking about picnic food and realised we hadn’t had Scotch Eggs for a long time. Although we weren’t technically going on a picnic I thought I pick some up from Marks and Spencers when I found these new Coronation Chicken Scotch Eggs, I thought they sounded different and couldn’t wait to give them a try. We were prepared for our picnic at home.

I opened up the pack and there was lovely aroma of spices the minute the wrapper loosened. Once the egg was cut in half you could see the the meat had a spiced yellow tinge to it. I was impressed by the flavour too, there was a nice gentle curry flavour, it was very aromatic and only mildly spiced. It worked well with chicken instead of the usual pork. The egg had picked up the seasoning too and tasted nice with a good hint of curry. This was a bit of treat and a lovely twist on a picnic classic, certainly one I’d pick up again for snacking.

Coronation Chicken Scotch Egg (Marks and Spencer)

27 June 2021

Shore - Sea Kitchen. Black Kale & Seaweed Pesto (@NLi10)

We like pesto a lot, and we are brave enough to try new things, so this seemed like a worthwhile risk.

Shore sell lots of Scottish Seaweed products, but this one seemed a little more veggie/vegan friendly than most.  As a blend of things to it may be a little less fishy.

It's mostly kale (yes!) and only 18% seaweed so more of a recipe than an ingredient.

Perfect on pasta?  Well lets have a go!

A generous helping of goop.

Wack a few pine nuts on top and dinner is served!  Yeah- I could have added some leafy greens too.

And the verdict is a success.  The flavours aren't quite pesto enough for me, but as a pesto-like accompaniment to pasta it works well.  The flavours are more of the vegetation than the sea, and the texture isn't as alien as the seaweed can be when it's in bigger leaves.  I don't think we'll have a problem finishing this, but I think I'll add a little more seasoning with this next time - or use it alongside a sauce we already have as a deep flavour kick.

Certainly worth a look if you fancy a nautically themed pasta dish.


26 June 2021

Last Train Oatmeal Stout (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Last Train Oatmeal Stout

The last train I took was three weeks before my knee operation nearly three years ago. My knee had completely collapsed from its injury and failed previous operation and I couldn't walk on it at all. I used to rely on public transport, partly because I had an old car and partly for the environment. Circumnavigating train stations with broken escalators and trains turning up at random platforms and often running late, as well as a grinding walk to work afterwards where a constantly broken lift forced me to use the stairs were what ruined my already damaged knee. 

My old car packed up during my rehabilitation due to the winter damp, and so I had to delve into my already depleted savings to buy a newer smarter and more reliable car. So although it's not great for the environment, I drive everywhere. It saves my grumpy knee to strengthen for exercises and weights rather than the grinding it used to have. So that last train was my last train… 

This Last Train is an oatmeal stout produced by Fourpure Brewing Company in London. It's based on London train stations and the adventure of finding the last train home. Whilst I'm not sorry my train adventures are over, I am looking forward to drinking this oatmeal stout and washing down my steak and chips meal. 

There is promise of "rich dark chocolate and roasted coffee" in the flavour of this 5.1% in volume deep dark black stout. With a smell of oats and rich sweet malts merged with chocolate and roasted coffee in the aroma, this stout had my tastebuds smacking with anticipation. On taste this oatmeal stout has rich dark chocolate malt to start with followed by a herbal bitterness and roasted coffee to the finish. Mmm… beautiful, and it went perfectly well with my steak and chips.

25 June 2021

Lindt Banana Split Chocolate (GB Gifts) By @Cinabar

Lindt Banana Split Chocolate

I really like banana as a flavour but am always aware that it is one of those love it or hate it flavours. Spectre hates it, the flavouring specifically actual bananas he eats regularly, but he won’t touch banana milkshake or anything else with the flavour. I’m happy with anything banana flavoured, including actual bananas. They all work for me.

This new bar of Lindt Banana Split chocolate is an import from Germany through an online shop. I couldn’t resist giving it a try as it sounds quite different, something that I don’t think Lindt would launch here in the UK. It is a milk chocolate bar with a layer of chocolate sauce and a banana mousse inside. I gave it a try and was very impressed with the sweet flavour. The banana was very creamy and fruity, with a nice hint of vanilla giving it that luxurious feel. The filling was lovely and smooth. This was a lovely treat, plenty of banana and sweetness, but the chocolate being the predominant flavour. I don’t think Lindt make a bad bar of chocolate but I do wish we could get some of these more adventurous flavours like this Lindt Banana Split chocolate here in the UK.

Lindt Banana Split Chocolate

24 June 2021

Tiny Tempeh Pieces (Curry Flavoured) and spicy Piri Piri grains (@NLi10)

We love a good evening of vegan food in this house - so my partner picked up a box of Tempeh and I added a sachet of grain!

These are pre-flavoured and essentially ready-to-eat once heated for palatableness.

And they already look quite awesome - even in the box!

I forgot to take a picture of the grain before I ripped and heated it.

This one is basically barley and is really nice.

It smells so great and I loved it.

Unfortunately I forgot to take the plate picture again (argh) but I do remember that the tempeh was a really good texture - different to the tofu we usually have and a little tougher.  The curry flavour was reasonably authentic too.  The spicy grain went surprisingly well - it's so filling and great.  I need to remember to stock up on these bags when they are on special offer again.

23 June 2021

The Curators Pork Puffs Sweet Chilli BBQ (Ocado) By @SpectreUK

The Curators Pork Puffs Sweet Chilli BBQ

I probably do way too much exercise. I have done so since my last knee operation. Over the last two and a half years I've built up an exercise programme that virtually covers my whole body each day. I've lost plenty of weight over that time. I've rehabilitated the muscles around my knee and also around my shoulder after a previous major operation there some years before. I'm probably fitter and healthier than I have been for much of my adult life, but I'm not stronger, as the operations only take me so far and the muscles take me some ways further, so I'm not like a person without injuries. However my real strength comes from within. I'm not sure from where. There's no doubt that there is a warrior spirit deep within me driving my determination, perseverance, and discipline, as well as some sensitivity to my mind and heart's well being and those around me.

I've been very lucky to be supported during this time by those closest to me. I try to keep a balanced diet, which is slightly high in protein and fairly low in calories. Keeping my low calorie diet in check, Cinabar has been looking for high protein snacks to fix my muscles after a workout with not too many calories to damage my waist size. The Curators Pork Puffs Sweet Chilli BBQ have 13g of protein and 113 calories. Perfect for a high protein snack with my lunch. So let's hope they're tasty… 

The Curators Pork Puffs Sweet Chilli BBQ

The Curators Pork Puffs Sweet Chilli BBQ are made from pork rind, which is hot flashed to make their light fluffy texture. They are full of natural protein, and are seasoned with habanero chillies, ginger and sugar for a "sweet & spicy kick". On opening the packet there was a good strong smell of pork rind from the red coloured pork puffs inside. On taste these fluffy light puffs have quite a hot kick of habanero chilli, with a slightly salty pork rind flavour into the aftertaste. The chilli heat just keeps on giving after eating them too. There is also a sweetness and slight smokiness in the flavour leaning towards barbecue just before the chillies caught hold of my palate and started to burn. The Curators Pork Puffs Sweet Chilli BBQ are very flavoursome indeed and I'd definitely have them again.

Information on the packet;
The 22g packet has 112.9 calories, with 6.2g of fat, 2.2g of sugar, 13.3g of protein, and 0.03g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

The Curators Pork Puffs Sweet Chilli BBQ

22 June 2021

Aero Dark & Milk (Tesco) By @cinabar

Aero Dark & Milk

At some point we have decided we want a new chocolate type on the shelves. I don’t mean the short lived novelty of ‘ruby chocolate’ that was everywhere for a while and then seemed to make its retreat I mean the idea that there is a chocolate half way between milk chocolate and dark chocolate, this Dark & Milk bar is the new bubbly version from Aero.

I took the wrapper off and found quite a dark looking bar, the chocolate looked like it had a high cocoa content, the ingredients revealed it to be 48%. I gave it a taste test and can I just say I do like aerated chocolate, it some how feels firm and yet gives way, I like interesting texture. The flavour of the chocolate was initially quite dark, the cocoa is rich and has a nice flavour. The flavour then mellows a little and has an element of being creamy, not in a milk chocolate way as the cocoa remains strong, but just a little smooth. I liked it a lot and I liked the texture so this bar was a win. I’m honestly not sure if the milk-dark chocolate is a flash in the pan like ruby chocolate seemed to be, so lets enjoy Aero Dark & Milk while it is here.

Aero Dark & Milk

21 June 2021

Orange Smarties Chocolate Bar (Tesco) By @cinabar

Orange Smarties Chocolate Bar

Everyone knows orange Smarties are the best so it seems fitting they made it into their own chocolate, this Orange Smarties Bar. Not only that the wrapper is made of paper so it is more environmentally friendly which is nice. I need to remember to pop in the recycling though, I’m so use to binning chocolate bar wrappers which isn’t ok. The Orange Smarties Bar still had a decent sell by date too so the paper doesn’t seem to be effecting the chocolate so here is hoping more brands will switch to this.

Orange Smarties Chocolate Bar

Inside the wrapper is a fun looking slab of chocolate, but one that is difficult to share because the break lines are in odd places. These always look nice but if I’m honest I do like symmetry too, it just works! The chocolate is a nice milk chocolate which has orange Smarties dotted within it, the orange flavour is a little subdues because the milk chocolate isn’t orange flavoured but it is still there and tastes good. The crunch was nice but again more Smarties would have helped here too. I could alway buy one of those tubes of Smarties which are just Orange flavoured - they are card too so also recycle.

Orange Smarties Chocolate Bar

20 June 2021

Snickers Creamy Peanut Butter (@Nli10)

Americans love peanut butter.  At least they think they do!  Real peanut butter has two ingredients (peanuts and violence) and it's just the proportions of the two that change the crunch and consistency.  Feel free to add a little salt to taste too!

Here we see that Snickers have decided that they should be more like the artificial peanut paste products that dominate America (but with actual chocolate for a change) so what's it like?

You get three portions - which is just a modern way of saying that this bar is three times the recommended snack size of 100 kcal.  You better bet I ate it all in one sitting.

The choc was a surprise - it's proper stuff! The insides...

Well it's just mush and goo.  You'd need a pretty good knife to avoid squishing all the layers - another reason for the portion size is that you really just want to put all this in at once.

And it works to a point - but the tough, chewy base and the paste on top really don't integrate well so you are just eating two odd things together.  I'd rather have a real Snickers, or just the paste coated in chocolate like all the Hersey festive blobs.  This paste is at least less 'American' in flavour and may actually contain lots of peanuts so it's a step in the right direction.

One to watch, but unlikely to stick around.


19 June 2021

The Tropical Ferret IPA (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

The Tropical Ferret IPA

I must admit that I don't know much about Ferrets. The one piece of information I do know is that for some reason some people like to put them down their trousers (or 'pants' for our American readers). I imagine this offering from the Badger Brewery, The Tropical Ferret IPA, is based on a Ferret that stowed away in someone's trousers and found themselves on a beach in California….

…. Apparently, so the bottle states, the Ferret in question had a surf off the shores of the Pacific West gathering hops on the way to California, and then brewed this beer with those hops back in Dorset. This 4.6% in volume The Tropical Ferret Indian Pale Ale mentions 'Big waves of passion fruit & mango flavours' on the bottle. I haven't been a fan of either fruity flavour previously in other beers, so I'm a bit concerned by that. Amarillo and Centennial hops were used in the brewing, so it can't be all bad, can it?

On opening The Tropical Ferret IPA there was certainly a heavy tropical fruitiness from the brew inside. The smell was strong on passion fruit and then mango, with the sweet pale malts at the back of the aroma. Almost amber in colour this IPA tastes pretty bitter and fruity to start with, and the tropical citrus hops just keep on giving right into the aftertaste, with the sweet pale malts poking through on the odd occasion to remind me that they were there. This is a very tasty beer indeed, refreshing and full of tropical fruity flavours complementing the baking sun outside. Very nice indeed.

18 June 2021

Hellmann’s Cheese Flavour Sauce (Ocado) By @Cinabar

Hellmann’s Cheese Flavour Sauce

I spotted this new Hellmann’s Cheese Flavour Sauce on the Ocado website under new items and I thought this would be nice for burgers, as it is barbecue season. I decided to try it out on chips as a starting point and ( squeezed a dollop of the yellow sauce on my plate. I have to admit the appearance is a strikingly yellow, like mustard. It isn’t a good looking sauce.

I dipped a chip into it and the sauce has a pleasant cheese flavour, I do love cheese and I love choosing different ones from a deli counter. This sauce couldn’t really be identified more than generic cheese, the square slice you get wrapped in cling film for a cheap burger topping, but liquidised. The flavour was nice, I think it needed mixing with something that hard more flavour to start. There is a place for this Hellmann’s Cheese Flavour Sauce, on top of burgers, for dipping spicy nachos in etc, it will be handy to have at the side of the barbecue. It isn’t for the cheese connoisseur but it is a fun sauce and it perfect for the summer.

17 June 2021

Original Stormtrooper Galactic Pale Ale (@NLi10)

It's Father's Day weekend in the UK - so how better to celebrate than buy going to the lovely shop for www.tastesofbritain.com in Solihull - and then buying myself some beer!  Not a sponsored review - it's just an ace little shop that could easily bankrupt me given the opportunity.

Well - I did buy my Dad some stuff too - but that's all a secret at the moment - and I'm not sure he's even seen Star Wars.  And doesn't like beer.

The can is ace - it's going on a windowsil - maybe at work.

The beer is good beer, but not as 'me' as the little Japanese owl beer that I love.  It tastes like a pale ale does.  I will drink and review the other things I purchased in good time! ;)


16 June 2021

Sour Patch Kids Tropical (Amazon) By @SpectreUK

Sour Patch Kids Tropical

Last time I wrote about Sour Patch Kids, they were the Sour Patch Kids - Heads 2 Flavours in 1. I remember I enjoyed eating them, as they were pretty sour and tasty. These Sour Patch Kids are the Tropical flavours, Soft and Chewy Candy. 
They are artificially flavoured, and are 110 calories per 12 pieces. This seemed like a fairly healthy amount of calories for 12 sweets until I saw the sweets…. 

The sweets are pretty small, unfortunately so much so that the flavours disappear off the palate as quickly as they arrived. There were four colours. Purple was Passionfruit. It had a  passionfruit taste to it, although there was a cherry flavour first and then the passionfruit, which wasn't all that pleasant. This was my least favourite flavour, which is unusual for me, as I usually do like passionfruit flavoured drinks, unless it's mixed with beer!

The next flavour I tried was Orange Tropical Twist, which tasted a little of guava to begin with and then tangy orange. It reminded me a little bit of a Lilt soft drink flavour, and it was refreshing. White was Pineapple, and was a pretty sour pineapple. It tasted of pineapple, and was very flavoursome and tangy. This was my favourite flavour next to the Orange, but it wasn't particularly sour. 

There were far more Pink coloured sweets than any other in the packet. Pink was Paradise Punch, which tasted of red berry and strawberry with a touch of lime maybe, it was certainly very nice indeed. Although I understand that manufacturers very rarely count out equals of flavours in snack packets, and it's probably not possible on a production line, I still would prefer it if they did! There were tonnes of Pink, and tonnes of Purple, which wasn't a favourite flavour of mine. There were smaller amounts of White and yet smaller amounts of Orange, both of which were more preferred. Although I did like the Pinks, I suppose. 

Sadly I wouldn't buy these Sour Patch Kids Tropical soft and chewy sweets again though. I prefer more flavoursome sours that have flavours that last longer on my palate. They ended up more of a waste of calories than anything else!

15 June 2021

New UK M&Ms Brownie Edition (Co-Op) By @Cinabar

New UK M&Ms Brownie Edition

Well this doesn’t happen very often, today we have new UK M&Ms. I’m searching out the party poppers as this warrants some celebration, we don’t get many new flavours here. In the States they have regular new flavours and my very lovely American friend does kindly send me M&Ms (in return for Percy Pigs). Here M&Ms are a rare commodity and I wasn’t expecting to find these when I was doing a top up shop in the Co-Op, bread, bananas, milk and a couple of bags of the New UK Brownie M&Ms, all the essentials covered.

New UK M&Ms Brownie Edition

I poured out the M&Ms and the colours of the shells are the regular colours but they do seem a bit motley. The brownie inside the shells is showing through, I don’t think this is from the heat, but if you have tried some let me know what yours looked like. I gave one a try and was impressed with the flavour, they had a nice chocolate cake like taste with a hint of nut that worked well. t did remind me of a Brownie, there was even a little saltiness. The texture was a little firmer than a Brownie would be, almost chewy, but still nice. I’m so excited to see these New UK Brownie M&Ms and can’t wait to get another pack (when we run out of milk again).

14 June 2021

Turkish Delight Ice Cream (Waitrose) By @Cinabar

Turkish Delight Ice Cream (Waitrose)

Well Summer is very much here and that means trying to cool off, lucky for us we have some nice ice creams in the freezer and I couldn’t wait to open this new tub of Turkish Delight Ice Cream. I realise that Turkish Delight is a bit of a Marmite flavour but I like the stuff, I like rose and lemon with or without chocolate, I’m easy going. This is the traditional rose Turkish Delight but presented as a ripple in a tub of ice cream.

The ice cream has a lovely dark pink ripple running through it and looks pretty. The ice cream suggest waiting 10 minutes for it to soften before serving, I left it 5 minutes in this heat and it was easy to serve and a little bit drippy round the edges, but we are in the height of summer.

The flavour of the ice cream worked very well. There was a lovely creamy base to to the ice cream, and the rose itself was delicate and sweet and very much recreated the flavours of Turkish Delight. Floral may not be to everyones tastes but I thought this ice cream was innovative and it worked very well. It is a lovely refreshing desert and one I’d definitely buy again, it is the perfect summer flavour for those who like things a bit different.

Turkish Delight Ice Cream (Waitrose)

13 June 2021

Putting Jam in things - Krispy Kremes & Mochi (@NLi10)

 Japanese sweets can be scary as the flavours are not what westerners expect.

This cheerful person is wearing a strawberry which is good news!

The back hints at a gooey centre.  This could be good.  

I think this is a mochi, and it's so soft and light and fluffy.

And look at that! I didn't dare bite further in to try for a picture as it was already trying to bust out.  Strawberry rice cake with very sweet strawberry filling! result.  Apparently this came from WingYip so I'll be acquiring more soon.

And what's this - some filled doughnuts?  At train station prices?!

These are the ones I got to eat.  The one on the right is the normal strawberry filled one.

But the left...

Also filled - but with raspberry! granted you don't get as much, but this is probably a more acceptable portion.  I wouldn't know as I ate both while waiting for the train.

Lovely flavours all-round, but I do miss the days where these were a little more affordable and less of a super special treat.

12 June 2021

Sagres Beer (Amazon) By @SpectreUK

Sagres Beer

This Sagres beer is another bottle from the big box of twelve beers I received as a present last Christmas. Sagres is located in south Algarve in Portugal. Portugal is certainly a sunny and beautiful country I've always wanted to visit. So perhaps one day I'll be able to make a trip there. Although I'm more of a cold climate kind of person, but I'd make the odd exception here and there.

This 5% in volume Sagres is brewed with malted barley, maize, and hops. This bubbly golden lager beer has a cheerful head on pouring. There was a strong maize aroma to the beer with herbal hop undertones. There was also a strong maize flavour to begin with on tasting, followed by a herbal bitterness from the hops, which produced an unusual dry character. Having said that, I still found this Sagres lager a pleasant and flavoursome beer that went rather well with my fish and chips for dinner.