30 September 2021

Service Station Pork Pies (but from Gloucester) @NLi10

On the way down to Cornwall we stopped at Gloucester Services (the farm shop ones that match Tebay in the North) and got a few treats for the week.  One I saved til last was this chunky Pork Pie.

And what better place to eat it than the beach!  I'm pretty sure it was Newquay.

Far from your standard service station fare this is built to last and makes a perfect all-in-one packed lunch

Chunky meat and pastry and the good kind of jelly and veggies to add to the flavour.

Not much to say really other than it's a good farm-shop quality pork pie that travelled well and was really filling.


29 September 2021

Real Ham & English Mustard Crisps (Welcombe Hotel and Spa) By @SpectreUK

Real Ham & English Mustard Crisps

My favourite beef crisps are Real Roast Ox flavour. I do like many other brands, but Real Roast Ox crisps beat everything else for me. I have tried a few ham and mustard flavours of crisps before, and haven't found one I disliked yet. So I have big hopes for this Real Ham & English Mustard flavour to be the best! No pressure…

On opening the packet there was a strong ham smell to the slightly reddened crisps inside, with a light sweet mustard and smokiness to the aroma. On first crunchy taste these Real Ham & English Mustard flavoured crisps taste of a deep fresh ham flavour, with a smokinesses, but this smokiness was enough to tell the flavour was ham rather than smoky bacon. There was a light paprika spice mixed in with the sweet mustard. No fire bomb of English Mustard here, but a light sweet mustard flavour that complemented the ham in the flavour rather than burning my tongue, or tickling my nose to take me away from its smoky flavour.

These crisps are really tasty. Having had a hotter mustard and ham flavour of crisps in the past, which was a favourite of mine until a bought a large box from an outlet, I can see why Real went for a subtler flavour of mustard. Having said that, a bit of English Mustard heat never hurt anyone. Well, unless you lick the spoon!

Information on the packet;
The 35g bag has 174 calories, with 9g of fat, 1.3g of sugar, and 0.5g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.
Real Ham & English Mustard Crisps

28 September 2021

Cadbury Puds (Co-Op) By @Cinabar

Cadbury Puds

So this year the 28th September is the day it happened, the first review of a Christmas product for the year. Apologies, it is early. I would have tried to wait but I love nuts and and chocolate and I tried to leave them on the kitchen counter but after a busy day at work they were staring at me and I couldn’t resist any more.
Cadbury Puds

Firstly these chocolate aren’t egg shaped and filled with creme, they are round and filled with hazelnut truffle. I think Cadbury missed an opportunity of putting a loop on these chocolates and turning them into Christmas decorations but in all honesty this one wasn’t destined to survive that long.

Cadbury Puds

The Cadbury Puds have a milk chocolate shell and a chocolate and nut truffle inside, there are also added rice crisps for texture and it was nice to have a little crunch when eating it. The flavour was good too, there was plenty of nut from the hazelnut, and the chocolate was a creamy sweet treat. The filling was firm but smooth and the whole thing didn’t last too long at all. On the bright side Christmas is still quite far off so I’ll be able to stock up on these Cadbury Puds before the big day.

Cadbury Puds

27 September 2021

Mr Kipling - Deluxe Millionaire Whirls (Tesco) By @cinabar

Mr Kipling - Deluxe Millionaire Whirls

Being a fan of snacks I sometimes watch ‘King of the Tin’ of a Sunday morning (where they choose best and worst biscuits) and I can never quite decide what I’d choose. I’ll be honest the Viennese Whirl is an underrated biscuit and as I yet I haven’t seen it as anyone’s favourite biscuit. Which seems a shame. My usual rule of rating a biscuit is how good they dunk and these are one of the few types of biscuit that are still up there despite being far too soft to soak in my coffee. These new Mr Kipling Deluxe Millionaire Whirls are really next level Viennese Whirls, they added chocolate and salted caramel. I couldn’t wait, to give them a try.

Mr Kipling - Deluxe Millionaire Whirls

The Mr Kipling Deluxe Millionaire Whirls look very posh and are half coated in chocolate but the filling looks a bit messy when I split one open. These were gorgeous in taste though, I love the soft crumbly biscuit in Mr Kipling Whirl, they are almost cake like as they are light and fluffy. The toffee and salted caramel were sweet and rich and the addiction of the chocolate mellowed it all out. They worked so well as a combination of flavours and I loved every bite. The only criticism I have is that I accidentally read the calories, 171 per Whirl. They are a treat though but why are the super yummy foods always so high in the calories.

Mr Kipling - Deluxe Millionaire Whirls

26 September 2021

Pasties for Pudding? (and Dinner too) Padstow UK (@NLi10)

While looking at the Pasty options in the many (many) pasty shops of Padstow I spotted that there were a few sweet options.  Now obviously this feels like they should be made with puff pastry, but in the very olden days a pasty was 1/3 sweet and 2/3rds savoury with a good wall between the two so that you could savour both parts.  Now we can just eat all the pasties!

Here is my dinner pasty - it was very good.

The gulls were very keen to share but as I'd seen from other people on the benches - if you gave them a little then you'd attract 10 or so hungry beaks.  We are not Feeding Steven here!

Look at those healthy pinkers!

I also had a scone for pudding - even though it was take away!  This turned out to be a good plan as I didn't manage to have an0other cream tea while we were in Cornwall due to crowds and our plans.

But the new thing to try was the pudding pasty - so at about 3pm I went back and picked up the final apple and rhubarb pasty in the shop (although they keep baking all day).

And while the outside looks like a regular pasty with sugar on the inside is pretty much all apple!  I'd expected a bit more rhubarb, and maybe some kind of custard like crème - but it was essentially just a short-crust pastry apple turnover!

Only disappointing due to the lack of novelty value - it was really enjoyable.  If I'd have thought about it more we could have picked some up to enjoy another day - but they are best fresh from little Cornish shops in the harbour afterall.

25 September 2021

Bitburger Beer (Germany) By @SpectreUK

Bitburger Beer (Germany)

Bitburger Is Germany's No. 1 draft beer. Well, that's what it says on the can anyway. At 4.8% in volume this Bitburger is in a 330ml can, rather than draft, so hopefully it will be just the same No. 1 quality. Although having said that, I couldn't compare even though I'd like to. I haven't been to Germany since I was a young lad, and haven't any plans to do so in the near future. We have a friend who has just taken his whole family over there to escape the deprivations from Brexit. Cinabar is part German, so you never know…

Anyway, on opening the can this Bitburger certainly had a cheerful fizz. Cheerful as the sunny afternoon outside. This lager beer shined golden like the sun as I poured it into my waiting beer glass. Bitburger Brewery was founded in 1817 in Bitburg, in Rhineland-Palatinate. A premium pils, Bitburger has a malt pilsner aroma with a touch of floral hops. There is a tart spicy bitterness from the floral hops to start with in the taste, followed closely by an almost sweet malt biscuit flavour from the pils which runs into the aftertaste.

This is a really flavoursome beer and I can certainly see why it is so popular. If I was in Germany I can see that I would drink this Bitburger on a regular basis. I reckon it would very well with most German dishes. Anything from their huge sausages (!) to their Schnitzels.

24 September 2021

TGI Fridays - Spicy Chicken Sharing Pizza (Iceland) By @Cinabar

TGI Fridays - Spicy Chicken Sharing Pizza

Earlier in the week I wrote about the fab Ed’s Diner Waffles I found in Iceland, from the restaurant but now available frozen. This isn’t the only new restaurant branded food I found at Iceland. I also picked up this TGI Fridays Spicy Chicken Sharing Pizza, which is based on their restaurant menu but now available as a frozen but heat at home pizza. Th box looked very posh appealing and it has been a long time since I last went to a TGI Fridays but as today is Friday it seemed like the perfect night for pizza. I opened up the box and GI Fridays Spicy Chicken Sharing Pizza inside had a decent amount of topping, quite a few chillies and a good amount of chicken.

TGI Fridays - Spicy Chicken Sharing Pizza

Once out of the oven I had a slice (with some coleslaw) and was impressed with the flavour. The base was a decent thickness, crispy on the outside but still soft inside. There was lots of topping and these had melted well on top. It was tasty to eat and the chillies were perfect for me, building up spice and flavour. There was plenty of heat but not so much I couldn’t the other flavours too. I’d definitely be having this again, and seeing what other varieties they have in the new TGI Fridays range.

TGI Fridays - Spicy Chicken Sharing Pizza

23 September 2021

Boddington's Berries - The Blackberry Conserve (@NLi10)

 It's very hard to do some flavours of Jam justice.  Take the Blueberry Jams we looked at a while ago for example - the real thing just has more flavour.

All Blackberry things have to compare to the Black Current cordials like Ribena in my head - even though they aren't really that similar.

While at Screech Owl Sanctuary in Cornwall (amazing place if you are nearby) I spotted this in the gift shop for my lunches.  A lovely, locally made, Boddington's Berries Blackberry Conserve.

They have a website - and I'm pretty sure we drove past them at some point!

And it's amazingly rich, and really high quality jam!  It went really well with crumpets, and is something I'm certainly looking forwards to eating more of. The flavour was deep and fruity - this wasn't your sugar only store jam.

A great souvenir from our time at Screech that will hopefully last well into Autumn.

22 September 2021

Walkers Thai Green Curry Flavour (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Walkers Thai Green Curry flavour

These Walkers Thai Green Curry are another flavour supporting Local restaurants. I do love a Thai Green Curry, I even had one last night with a little rice. I don't eat much rice these days as it seems to blow me up and make me feel over full. I love a Thai Red Curry too, so maybe Walkers will make a crisp flavour of that next.

Usually when Walkers come up with a new flavour emulating a meal, such as the recent Fish and Chips flavour, the crisp's taste is pretty much spot on. So I'm looking forward to trying these Walkers Thai Green Curry flavour. On opening the packet there was a familiar smell of Thai Green Curry. A familiar aroma that reminded me of my meal the night before.

On taste there is the flavour of Thai Green Curry, not unlike my last meal. There is the creaminess, with strong lime leaves and lemongrass, as well as coriander. There is also a good deal of spiciness too, with a warming chilli heat. These crisps are very tasty indeed and I'd certainly have them in again.

Information on the packet;
The 25g packet has 128 calories, with 7.3g of fat, 0.5g of sugar, and 0.29g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Walkers Thai Green Curry flavour

21 September 2021

Ed’s Easy Diner - 2 Waffles With Chocolate Sauce (Iceland) By @Cinabar

Ed’s Easy Diner - 2 Waffles With Chocolate Sauce

I used to really enjoy going to Ed’s Easy Diner for hot dogs and waffles, sadly though the branch we used to go to closed some time ago and I have really missed it. It was a fun quirky place to eat with tasty American food. I spotted this box of Ed’s Easy Diner Waffles With Chocolate Sauce in Iceland and was quite excited to see they had gone into the cook at home market, and I couldn’t resist trying these out.
Ed’s Easy Diner - 2 Waffles With Chocolate Sauce

Inside the box there are two waffles, which we shared, and one sachet of chocolate sauce. The waffles can be microwaved or toasted, I opted for the latter as we have a wide toaster. The chocolate sauce sachet simply goes into hot water to warm up, so I popped that in a mug, the blue light in the background of the photograph is the toaster doing its job.

Ed’s Easy Diner - 2 Waffles With Chocolate Sauce

As we were splitting dessert I have to say the chocolate sauce looked a little stingy when poured over two waffles on separate plates, I mean there was an okay amount but not the oozing generous amount I’d hoped for. The waffle was divine though, it was perfect fluffy with a crispy firm coating. The flavour of waffle tasted gorgeous, plenty of sweet vanilla. The chocolate sauce was nice too and made it ultra indulgent. If there had been two sachet s of chocolate sauce it would have been the perfect dessert but even as it was it is something I’d definitely buy again. A lovely treat and it is nice to get to have Ed’s Easy Diner food but at home.

Ed’s Easy Diner - Waffles With Chocolate Sauce

20 September 2021

After Eight Mojito & Mint Edition (Tesco) By @cinabar

After Eight Mojito & Mint Edition

This years latest After Eight edition sounds like a fun twist on the original, here we have After Eight Mojito and Mint variety. This is quite an adventurous choice for a flavour but one that does sound like it should go well with peppermint. The box is a fab lime green colour and looked bright and fun. Inside there was a cute message about it being time for happy hour which was quite sweet.

In appearance the chocolates and the sleeves they are in look identical to regular After Eights, the filling is white, the chocolate dark and the envelopes had the usual logo on them. The flavour is very fresh and works a treat, it was different but rather like a mojito. There is still plenty of peppermint but there is also a taste of herby fresh garden mint and a bit of acidic lime that makes these seem very grown and clever. They are a complex flavour but they are well balanced and work well with the dark chocolate. If they keep just one of the many flavours we’ve tried as a permanent side line I’d pick these After Eight Mojito & Mint Edition (so far).

After Eight Mojito & Mint Edition

19 September 2021

Buttermilk Artisan Confectionary, Padstow - Orange Chocolate Buttons, but Vegan @Buttermilk_uk (@NLi10)

Occasionally you see a new brand in a shop window and have to wander over and take a look.  At first glance this was just one of the many (many) fudge shops here selling their wares - but with a few pre sealed bags to try.

Except Buttermilk is the shops - own brand - confectionary.  They've been here so long, and had so many fans that they can justify some neat packaging and flashy pictures.  It'd be rude not to queue and go in!

I chose the chocolate orange flavour - which is my default for this sort of things.  And it's pretty darn 'free' of the modern contaminants that creep into our sweets.  

There are even more on the back - and there is a button on top for proof of it's Mega status.

Recyclable, vegan, no gluten or palm oil - this is the kind of thing that should eventually show up in all the health food shops (and probably does locally).

I mainly did the pack shot like this to show you that they are all in tact - these haven't been bashed around as they've not travelled far (well until we drove them back to the Midlands I guess). 

This isn't the full portion by the way - this was one of those occasions where the dairy-free chocolate was passed round twice and people took seconds.  This is 100g the good stuff!

The flavour was quite sparkling for an orange chocolate - there is some texture going on here to prevent the goo that often comes from removing the dairy.  And while these didn't naturally melt in the same way that traditional chocolate would I didn't find the experience a negative one.  I'd say that the strong flavours caused me to stop at two on my first try - not the textures.

All in all a win - and something that I'll be looking for locally in the health-focused snack shops (or buying online) but that apparently is stocked in Tesco!  A great little shop, and a fab brand that deserves to go far.

And it looks like they do Advent Calendars...

18 September 2021

Jellani Baobab & Black Tea Beer (Ocado) By @SpectreUK

Jellani Baobab & Black Tea Beer

This Jellani is a "superfruit infused beverage" brewed in England with an "Essence of Africa". I don't often repeat what it says on the bottle, but Baobab and black tea beer sounds quite interesting. I have no idea what it's going to taste like. I've never tried Baobab before. I like black tea, but usually hot with a little milk.

I guess it depends on how busy I am at work. I've sat right next to a full hot cup of tea before now and been so busy it's gone cold whilst I've been working. I guess a lot of people are like that. I've been pretty busy at work this week in my new job. I've been pretty happy actually. I'm slowly learning the ropes and filling out bulk orders to make sure vaccine sites get their required vaccines for second jabs and boosters for older folk.

This Jellani is very low in alcohol at 0.5% in volume. It's also low in calories at 20 calories per 100ml, so 66 calories for the 330ml bottle. So I get more pudding tonight! This very pale gold almost transparent beer has a lightly fruity malted barley aroma with a little herbal hops. It's bizarre as it doesn't taste of much. Jellani is a weak beer connoisseur's beverage.

The excitable head disappeared as quick as the taste arrives and goes again. I can see why it's so low in alcohol by volume and so low in calories. It's difficult to pinpoint a flavour. There is a little fruitiness, a little bitterness of hops and a little sweet malted barley, but all of that seems mainly in the aftertaste. And there's not much aftertaste either. I once knew a person I worked with that would only have the teabag dipped for a couple of seconds in freshly boiled water and then had lots of milk! Jellani is like that too… It's as if someone wafted the ingredients quite far away from a big barrel of water. This one is not for me, I'm afraid.

17 September 2021

Cadbury Dairy Milk - Birthday Cake Marvellous Creation (GB Gifts) By @Cinabar

Cadbury Dairy Milk - Birthday Cake Marvellous Creation

This is another import bar, I can’t help buying them, I like limited edition chocolate and the grass is always greener. This one is from Australia and is in their equivalent of the Marvellous Creation range, presenting Cadbury Dairy Milk Birthday Cake. Now it isn’t my birthday for a fair few months but I don’t care, I wanted to try this fun sounding bar. The bar looks very much like the funky shape of the UK Marvellous Creations bars, with the chunks in fun shapes, although this is never easy to share out but we did our best. I turned the bar over and you could see all the goodies packed in, this bar is flavoured with added marshmallows, biscuits, and 100s&1000s.

Cadbury Dairy Milk - Birthday Cake Marvellous Creation

I really liked this chocolate, it is creamy Dairy Milk with loads of texture thrown in. There is crunchy bits from the biscuit and 100s&1000s and there are squishy bits from the marshmallow. It was undeniable fun to eat and it made me smile. Significantly though what it didn’t do was make think of Birthday Cake. The bar is called Cadbury Dairy Milk Birthday Cake Marvellous Creation and I didn’t get. Where was the rich vanilla cake batter flavour? Where are the bits of sponge? There wasn’t even any frosting. So yes, the bar is good even though it doesn’t quite bring back the flavours it promises.

Cadbury Dairy Milk - Birthday Cake Marvellous Creation

16 September 2021

Lotus Biscoff Vanilla Creme Sandwiches - Poundland (@NLi10)

Disclaimer: I don't really get Biscoff.  Sure - they are the in thing right now, but they were always the little biscuit with coffee in my day.  That little biscuit got bigger and then people started using it to make cheesecake bases and all kind of things. 

But once you do that - it's just a weak gingerbread.  The unique bit was the small crunchy burst of flavour with your coffee. Like I said - I don't get it.

Here we have an Oreo style arrangement with two of the larger Biscoff biscuits with a lovely vanilla creme in the middle.  Its a good idea as ginger and creme goes well - Fox's Ginger Crunch has been doing it for years.  

And they look pretty good too.

And they taste great too - that light ginger flavour and the creme to balance it out.  Much softer biscuit than the traditional version too.

Maybe the popularity is due to them being a little toned down from the traditional ginger biscuits, maybe the crumb was a little softer and people liked that?  Maybe it's just a cool brand that we associate with expensive coffee and it makes it feel more luxurious at home?

Eitherway at a £1 for 11 this feels a little steep, but as a nice holiday treat we quite enjoyed this.

Even if we had it with tea instead of coffee.

15 September 2021

Luscombe Hot Ginger Beer (Shugborough Hall) By @SpectreUK

Luscombe Hot Ginger Beer

I had a few days free before I started my new job this week. We had a couple of days out here and there. One of the places we went to was Shugborough Hall. Late afternoon we stopped wandering around the house and grounds for a short time for a quite drink and a piece of gooey flapjack. I tried this Luscombe Hot Ginger Beer to wash my flapjack down with.

This Luscombe Hot Ginger Beer had quite a ginger buzz on opening the bottle. It also had quite a bit of ginger sediment in the bottle. My initial reaction on trying it was; "Yep that is hot. Woooo. That is very hot. That is nose tingly hot. It burns in the back of my throat." Peruvian root ginger with Sicillian lemon has an oddly pleasant bitter and sweet citrus and yet fiery ginger spicy hot flavour.

There is a taste of lemon at the back of the flavour just trying to poke through the firewall of ginger spice. So to start with its hot ginger, then it turns into a little lemon with hot ginger, and the lemon is bitter with a touch of sweetness into the aftertaste. This Luscombe Hot Ginger Beer is a spicy hot bitter drink. There was even ginger sediment at the bottom of the glass. Having said that, I rather enjoyed drinking it and it also perfectly complemented my flapjack.

My new job as a project manager started today. After some unfortunate wrangling with an unhappy laptop, I am now able to work at home for the duration. It's just a three month contract, but I'll be working on the vaccinations. I worked on the vaccinations late last year and early this year helping to set up seven vaccination centres, including a hospital and two max vaccination centres converting them from leisure centres. I'm not sure what I'll be doing here, but I'm hoping it will be helping the people of the local community to protect themselves, their loved ones, and also get back to some sort of normality. It's a little like fighting a war against contagion on an ever changing battlefield. It was last time anyway, and I'm happy to stand with those who have been working so hard to continue the fight.

14 September 2021

Cadbury Bournville Brunch Bar (Iceland) By @Cinabar

Cadbury Bournville Brunch Bar

I think my love of cereal bars came from daily commuting and the fact they were quick and easy to add to my lunch box for a sweet treat with a coffee at work. Although I mostly work from home these days I still buy cereal bars and Cadbury Brunch ones are a favourite. I like chocolate, I’m not trying to claim they are healthy, I go for the chocolate content as an influencing factor! I was quite excited to see a Bournville edition of my favourite bars in Iceland and bought a box to try. Bournville is Cadbury’s dark chocolate and although the cocoa percentage isn’t as high as some posh dark chocolate bars, for my sweet tooth it offers a boost of extra cocoa without loosing the much loved sweetness.

The bar looks similar to the regular Brunch Bar but the chocolate chips are dark as is the coating. I enjoyed the taste and texture of the bar, chewy but not sticky and with enough cereals to keep it interesting to eat. There is a dash of honey and the flavour with the dark chocolate was lovely. It was a little bit richer and the Bournville chocolate worked well. I hope these aren’t a Limited Edition because these will be a regular purchase for me in the future.

Cadbury Bournville Brunch Bar

13 September 2021

Maltesers Marshmallow Flavour (GB Gifts) By @Cinabar

Maltesers Marshmallow Flavour

These Maltesers Marshmallow Flavour chocolates are an import from Australia. I picked them up because they looked so different and products aren’t usually flavoured with marshmallow. We get tons of orange and mint, but marshmallow is a rarity. Then I started to think about it and I realised that products aren’t usually flavoured with marshmallow because the thing that makes marshmallow fun to eat is the texture not the flavour. Also isn’t the flavour just vanilla? It is at least a mild flavour at best.

I opened the bag and there was a slight change to the aroma from the marshmallow flavour, something sweeter and candy like but it was subtle. Inside the Marshmallow Maltesers also looked exactly like regular ones, the ball of malt and a chocolate coating but nothing else new.

The flavour was a regular Maltesers but with a hint more sugar and a hint more vanilla. These are tasty because all the base flavour are there with the malt and the chocolate but they are just not that different to the regular product. They are a cute idea, they sound fun but in reality just aren’t that special. Tasty yes, but not worth rushing out for.

Maltesers Marshmallow Flavour

12 September 2021

Cornwall Holiday Treats - Orange Shortbread & Eton Mess Waffle Pot (@NLi10)

Holiday time is here again, and in the special Gloucester services on the way down to Cornwall I had a giant Orange shortbread and a lovely Gusto Cola.

Look at all the lovely botanical sediments!

We have more of these at home but i've not got around to writing about them.

We also picked up a HUGE Birthday cake for later today (shhh).

While out walking earlier in Wadebridge we fancied a snack so I went big and ordered the Eton Mess Waffle

Super luxurious portion of my 5 a day - and interestingly Gelato but I loved it!