31 October 2021

2KG of Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Cornflakes (@NLi10)


I get through quite a lot of cereal, so when the opportunity presented itself to pick up 2kg at the same time - and get a good deal on price - I snapped it up.  I even sent Cinabar a picture of the twins in the trolly.

Almond milk in shot too!  They were adopted into the house and given their own chair - but Luna wasn't too worried.

So - what's in the box? All that lovely vitamin D that makes people crave Crunchy Nut Cornflakes (seriously - if you get those cravings get the supplement and shortcut the cereal part!) - and some nutrition.

30g though - is that what you think we are eating?

x33 portions in a box?  That seems unlikely - lets test it out!

Also - if you want us to try the nice new cereal bar how about popping one in with this 2kg mega-purchase?!!

Sharpie attached to box for accurate tracking.  Only I am allowed to eat these cereals - see you in 33 days!!

Or - you know - sooner.

After 10 days this is all that is left.

That's not a full portion - I'm beginning to think that Kellogg's gave out these huge bowls to normalise me eating more!!

So - I got 10.5 portions out of a 33 portion box.  That really impacts the value of this deal.  And the size for storing these was a bit of an issue (one of the twins had to live in the cupboard under the stairs like Harry Potter).

If you know you are already intending to eat these then it's a good deal (although they should add that cereal bar for me to try) but it's a little disingenuous that the portion size has shrunk to make it seem healthier.


30 October 2021

Oskar Blues - Death by Flapjack Beer (@WeeBeerShop) By @SpectreUK

Oskar Blues - Death by Flapjack Beer

I do love flapjacks. Cinabar bakes them on the odd occasion, and I sometimes get one with a cup of tea in an afternoon when we have a day out somewhere. There are certainly some odd ways to depart this world and Death by Flapjack could be one of them. Produced by Oskar Blues this ale comes from across the vast pond and was made with maple syrup, vanilla, lemon peel, nutmeg, lactose, and natural flavour.

At 6.5% in volume, Death by Flapjack is in a fairly hefty 355ml can. Almost black in colour the sweet spiced aroma of maple syrup hit me straight away on opening the can. I could probably smell this ale all day if it wasn't for the fact that I immediately wanted to drink it.

On taste Death by Flapjack smells so silky sweet and smooth that the flavour transcends from that sweet aroma. All the flavours listed are perfectly merged together from the get-go. With the sweet maple syrup overlapping the roasted chocolate malts, mixing with the vanilla, spiced nutmeg, creamy milkiness and a touch of citrus bitterness from the hops and added lemon peel into the aftertaste. This ale is a moreish sumptuous treat indeed. Gosh this ale is a good way to go if ever there was one!

Happy Halloween!

29 October 2021

Cookies and Scream S’mores Brownie (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

Cookies and Scream S’mores Brownie (Marks and Spencer)

This year I think the award for best Halloween foods goes to Marks and Spencers, I mean just look at this fabulous Cookies and Scream S’mores Brownie. I have had a few things from Marks and Spencers and the creative goodies this year do no disappoint. Doesn’t this just look amazing, I could wait to try it out. The idea is that you bake it (well heat it up really) at home, it just needed 8 minutes in an oven to warm through.

I unpacked the Brownie and noted it was topped with fluffy mallows, cookie bits and decorations. After it came out of the oven the marshmallows melted and did the proper American “S’mores’” thing and went crispy too. It was a little gooey and messy to serve so we ended up sharing it and having it in bowls, with spoons. So posh lol.

Oh my this is sweet and and rich and gooey and a complete treat. I love the variation in texture from the brownie, the melted mallows and the crunchy cookie on top, it worked like a dream. There was chocolate flavours and sugary goodness. The whole thing was very sweet. I have a sweet tooth so all was good.

This Cookies and Scream S’mores Brownie is a fun themed food and it is a bit of treat, perfect for a Halloween night in.

Cookies and Scream S’mores Brownie (Marks and Spencer)

28 October 2021

Jus-Rol Garlic & Herb Tear & Share really needs better instructions... (@NLi10)

 Many months ago we did a series of reviews for the Jus-Rol recipe products.  I had great fun making things on Sunday mornings - just some sweet pastries without all the faff of making the pastry.  As I was very familiar with the items themselves it wasn't a problem to navigate the bad instructions.

Here though it's a little more obtuse - as we'll see as we go along.

Is the baking loaf the baking pan you mentioned earlier? Did we need a specific size pan? How are we supposed to arrange things?  It really could have done with a link to a pro video by the company like the coffee pods have!

At least I can pop the cans successfully this time!


Turns out it's a series of disks - kinda makes sense?

Six in total - chop 3 into quarters - put in pan

look at all the confusing gaps - was I supposed to smush them? Will it expand?

So - melt the butter and drizzle on?  Um - is it supposed to look like this?

Granted the tin is too big - and my butter plus the garlic butter seems to be too swimming.  We didn't add cheese but that was partially as it already looked overwhelmed by dairy.

While it was cooking I had a look online for other bloggers first attempts with this - and they were all similarly haphazzard.  There were bread piles, tray-bakes, and no one ended up with the box picture.

Ours isn't too bad in the end!  The butter essentially fried the bottom but it cooked through and had decent flavours.

Some bits were crispier than others.  

Next time I think we'd measure out the 3 circles worth of bread quarters (so 3x4 I guess) and make a 'loaf' tin out of tinfoil for it to sit in.  I'm still not sure if it was supposed to rise and mingle more, we did essentially make doughballs (which is fine).

I think also the garlic sauce might have been better as a dip than in the butter bath - but I'm not sure that's what they intended.

It was nice though - and we enjoyed eating it - if not the confusing experience.  We will have to try the savoury style recipes again.

And if anyone knows what we were supposed to do then let us know!

27 October 2021

Voodoo Ranger Beer (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

Voodoo Ranger Beer

I like the Iron Maiden look on the front of this Voodoo Ranger can. At 5.3% in volume this New Belgian Hazy IPA has the murky feel of Halloween to it. And Halloween is just around the corner. After a long and troubled day at work there's nothing like sinking back a cool beer…

I say 'Troubled' because I'm new and I still don't really know what I'm doing. I'm getting half lessons on things and cryptic messages on others. Half of the things I'm doing I'm playing by ear, so I feel like a ranger in my own living room right now working my way through admin work like an undead zombie. So this Voodoo Ranger beer seems quite apt at the moment. I have a three month contract. I get the feeling I may know more about what I'm doing at the end of the three months, but as they say in war… "It'll be all over by Christmas!"

On opening the can Voodoo Ranger leapt unexpectedly out at me like a zombie hungering for brains. This excitable India Pale Ale ended up partly in my mouth and partly all over my hand. Strong sweet pale malts with herbal hops assaulted my nostrils as I poured out the pale murky golden contents of the can. On taste this Voodoo Ranger has a bite of herbal hops like a zombie wearing a cowboy hat, quickly followed by those sumptuous sweet pale malts into the aftertaste.

Have a good evening… "Bwuh hah hah haaaa!"

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!