31 August 2022

Cadbury Pinky (A Taste of the States) By @SpectreUK

Australian Cadbury Pinky

I have not seen one of these before, a Cadbury Pinky. So this Pinky is marshmallow and caramel covered in Cadbury's milk chocolate. It sounds like heaven to me. Of course I don't know what it tastes like, but I've always liked all three ingredients, especially caramel and chocolate. So adding marshmallow to the mix sounds ideal.

Australian Cadbury Pinky

As you can see from the photographs this Pinky was a little squashed in transit. On tearing it open there was pink marshmallow in the centre, with a streak of caramel on the top, and the the bar was covered with Cadbury's milk chocolate. On first squidgy taste there was a strong flavour of milk chocolate from the coating, followed by delicious chewy marshmallow, and then sweetness from the added caramel.

It was hard to believe that this bar was 153 calories. This Cadbury Pinky just tasted "too good", and what I mean is "too bad" for me. This marshmallow, caramel and Cadbury's milk chocolate bar was 50% less in fat too. Gosh what a find. It was absolutely scrumptious, especially with a small tub of Häagen-Dazs Caramel Swirl flavour, some fig biscuits, and all washed down with a nice big glass of spicy mead.

Information on the packet; The 40g bar is 153 calories, with 7.2g of fat, 23.4g of sugar, and 13mg of sodium. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Australian Cadbury Pinky

30 August 2022

Aero Dark & Milk Peppermint (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Aero Dark & Milk Peppermint

I was sure I’d seen this before. I’ve had Mint Aero so often (I love mint chocolate) and I have had Dark Milk Aero and the two things sort of merged in my mind and, despite the ‘new’ label, it felt very familiar. I actually searched on here to see if I had written about it. This might be an age thing now I come to think about it. It turns out I couldn’t find it and that this is properly new, but clearly not the most adventurous flavour in Aero history.

The bar looks very dark once opened and the centre is all dark too, no fun green chocolate here. I gave a piece a try and really liked the flavour. The chocolate was dark, but not bitter, and the peppermint was sweet and fresh. There was quite a bit of mint and the dark chocolate contrasted it nicely. It is a good, well balanced combination of flavours. Aero is so easy to eat, I love the bubble texture and this bar had all that. Maybe not the most imaginative new flavour, but I was very happy with the chocolate and would buy it again. Let’s hope I remember having had it before, next time.

Aero Dark & Milk Peppermint

29 August 2022

Limited Edition Hostess Cotton Candy Twinkies (A Taste of the States) By @Cinabar

Limited Edition Hostess Cotton Candy Twinkies

For anyone who has tried Hostess Twinkies before, the first thought probably wasn’t that it needed more sugar, and yet here we are. These are the Limited Edition Hostess Cotton Candy Twinkies. Twinkies are an American snack which is a vanilla sponge usually with a vanilla creme filling. The twist is, these ones are candy floss or cotton candy to keep up with the USA term. If you have ever watched Zombieland, you will have seen Woody Harrelson’s risking life and limb to get hold of the last Twinkies, which is probably around the time I first hunted them down myself. Thankfully, these are much easier to find in the UK now, but limited editions are still mostly in the import shops.

Limited Edition Hostess Cotton Candy Twinkies

I broke one of the new Twinkies in half and found the filling to be a bright pink colour. I gave it a taste. The flavour of the sponge is vanilla and it is a nice moist sponge. The filling does what it says and tastes sugary, like candy floss. It is sweet and tasty, but I always remind people I have a strong sweet tooth. I loved these, pure sugary goodness and a lovely afternoon treat. I love having something super sweet with a coffee for contrast and these were just perfect for that. I will always keep an eye out for limited edition Hostess Twinkies. They always make me smile.

Limited Edition Hostess Cotton Candy Twinkies

28 August 2022

Birmingham & Sandwell Mela - Indian Party In The Park (@NLi10)

More local goodies today - this time by where I live now.  Pic at the start for Instagram! 

Every year our local park hosts a Mela - which is an Asian carnival - for the tiny price of £2 you get to enjoy all the food stalls and the music.

Plenty of selfie opportunities too.  

Nicely the Commonwealth games stands haven’t stopped appearing - there was a demo for combat sports and wheelchair basketball - and both always had a queue to participate.

And there were freebies - we got a can of Coco Cabana Coconut Water each - and despite my reservations I decided to try it.  I liked it a lot more than I usually do - I think a mix of this brand, the heat and the food I had with it.

There were things for the kids too - including this preposterously high (20ft?) inflatable slide. They are braver than I am.

They did have Euro food too - but we went for Asian delights.

I chose the Dahi Puri at the top - little crispy shells with chick-pea, masala and all kinds of spices thrown in.  Absolutely gorgeous and so fresh.

My partner had samosa chaat which is basically onion, tomato and chickpea with all the usual spices and bits, but with a scoop of samosa bits added in which soaks up the sauce and makes for a really good time.

Surprisingly they had a lovely hand painted ghost train - we didn’t go on. Only £3 though.

For pudding we had Julabi which is basically candy-floss in flavours and ingredients. So much - all the food portions were £5 for ease so you got loads of this.

And you can finish your food while enjoying the live Bhangra music and dancing.

27 August 2022

Suffolk Blonde Beer (Aldi) By @SpectreUK

Suffolk Blonde Beer

I fancy a blonde. Although I can't seem to resist a blonde. Especially one with big eyes and a sad story. That's not what I'm talking about here. This is a blonde from down south. This Suffolk Blonde ale was brewed by St. Peter's Brewery. At 4% in volume the bottle states that it has a "caramel aroma with a bitter touch". Like I said, I can't seem to resist a blonde.

On opening the bottle there was a strong malted barley smell from this frothy deep golden blonde ale. There were hints of sweet caramel in the aroma and a little herbal hops. On taste this Suffolk Blonde ale had an almost sweet malt biscuit flavour to begin with. This is a hearty brew indeed. One of those fill you up per mouthful. Really flavoursome.

The biscuit notes had sweetness of caramel malt with a hint of bitterness at the end from those herbal hops. This is a lovely beer. One to enjoy with a packet of Ready Salted crisps in the pub with a good book or with friends, followed by a packet of pork scratchings and a box of Digestive biscuits to finish. Of course, I'd want more than one of these Suffolk Blonde ales. No doubt.

26 August 2022

Willies Cacao Hot Chocolate (Holland and Barrett) By @cinabar

Willies Cacao Hot Chocolate

I’m always searching for new hot chocolate, and this pretty packet caught my eye on the shop shelf. Well it is hard to miss, isn’t it, with the psychedelic spirals on the packet of the Willies Cacao Hot Chocolate. Although I buy a lot of hot chocolate, if I’m completely honest, I don’t actually like that many. I’m super fussy, and want it to taste seriously good. I have noticed that price doesn’t necessarily correlate to taste either. This is a mid-range price drink, and before I knew it the bag was in my basket and on its way home.

This hot chocolate is one made with milk, which is usually a good start. I am pleased to say that it mixed easily into the hot milk and dissolved without leaving lumps behind, another irritant of some hot chocolates. The drink looked pretty dark and I gave it a sip. Gosh, I was glad that I had picked this bag up, the hot chocolate was properly full of flavour. There was a nice sweetness to it which was soothing, without it being too sugary. The cocoa is the star. There was tons of chocolatey goodness packed in here, and it was such a lovely full flavour. A proper hug in a mug.

Willies Cacao Hot Chocolate

25 August 2022

Chasewater 1940s Steam Day + Vegan Magnum Ice-cream (@NLi10) @ChasewaterRail

I think I took for granted where I grew up. My parents deliberately chose somewhere with good public transport links and lots of green space.  Some of this green space is actually blue space - Chasewater - which is a large reservoir which feeds the local canal network.  The blue space is also surrounded 3/4 of the way by a railway line for steam trains - based on the original bits but largely reconstructed.

They often have events like this weekend's 1940s day.  Instead of paying to go in, I decided to walk the larger site and explore what was on offer in nature.

The main station was covered with war-time memorabilia from both sides and lots of people in costume.  This smaller station round the corner was nice and quiet and still made up on theme.

As they are all kind of on their break in between trains I decided not to 'interact' and to let them all rest 

It's a genuine working station with signal boxes and everything.

As there was a war on I paid extra to not have to use my ration book and had a bacon sandwich for £3 - it was just what I needed after the long walk on the hot (but overcast) day - and a £2 Fanta topped it off nicely.

I carried on walking to the end of the line, then back round the reservoir to the main station.

YouTube footage of the trains here!!

The whole loop is a fairly pleasant walk, but I went through the rougher parts off the path and I saw the wild deer

Back by the busy, carpark side there are more things to do.  This little castle was put up in the 70s and we climbed all over it - now it's purely for the birds.

Instead you can pay to do lots of extreme hire things on the little businesses that have popped up.

Or get some 'nosh' at The Shed. I had a normal ice-cream here and it was good. The Gelato is really special.

The one thing I did pick up that was review worthy (from the 'Innovation Centre' cafe) was the Magnum Vegan.  I'd wanted to try these before - as they seem to be on all the posters but not always in the freezers.

A dairy -free Magnum is a great idea for two reasons - one being that Vegans can eat it, and the second is the potential of lovely dark chocolate!

I wasn't disappointed, it's a dark delight!  The ice-cream is authentic enough for me - it wouldn't pass expert inspection for dairy as it melts too fast (don't order this one in the heatwave!) but its refreshing and high quality.  I think that you could easily switch the machine making the normal magnums off now if I was in charge.  I'm not sure how easy you could make a white & pink Magnum like this but when they try I'll get those too.

So yeah - growing up I assumed everyone had steam-trains and a beach in their back garden (OK - a 10 min walk away), I guess now I know better. 

24 August 2022

Oreo Twists Vanilla & Caramel flavour (Asda) By @SpectreUK

Oreo Twists Vanilla & Caramel flavour

So, you know I said that I wasn't bothered with Oreos? Well, I enjoyed the Vanilla & Raspberry flavour so much, I just had to try these Vanilla & Caramel flavoured Oreos. I even managed my calorie intake so well that I could have some Caramel Swirl ice cream from Hagen-Dazs with it.

There was a strong smell of vanilla and then of sweet caramel on opening the packet. As you can see from the photograph, there was quite a hefty filling of vanilla and caramel in between the two Oreos. Wow, these Vanilla & Caramel flavoured Oreos are really soft and creamy. There was a familiar crunch from the chocolate Oreos, followed by a strong taste of vanilla, and then the sweetness of the caramel kicked in.

Oreo Twists Vanilla & Caramel flavour

Unlike the Raspberry Ripple flavoured Oreos (I know, but they should be called that, I reckon), I was compelled to eat the top biscuit first, then eat out the rather full insides followed by the bottom biscuit. I couldn't help it, these Vanilla & Caramel flavoured Oreos made me feel young. They also went perfectly with my caramel swirl ice cream from Hagen-Dazs.

Information on the packet; There were 11 Vanilla & Caramel flavoured Oreos at 70 calories each, with 3.3g fat, 6.1g of sugar, and 0.08g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Oreo Twists Vanilla & Caramel flavour

23 August 2022

Oreo Ice Cream Cones (Ocado) By @cinabar

Oreo Ice Cream Cones

I think I have done something terribly British. It was hot wasn’t it, really hot, so I filled the freezer with ice cream. I over ordered, and now I’m eating ice cream and thinking it is too cold to eat ice cream. You don’t need to see my passport to know I’m British. We obsess about the weather and complain whatever it is.

So, as I have a freezer full, I decided to try this interesting-looking Oreo Ice Cream Cone. It is interesting because the cone is Oreo dark but also because the ice cream itself is covered in an Oreo cookie coating, making the whole thing almost black in colour.

Oreo Ice Cream Cones

As someone who likes texture, having a slightly crunchy biscuit coating around the ice cream really did work for me. I loved the dark chocolate biscuit flavour, but the main taste was the sweet creamy ice cream inside. It is sweet and soothing. There is enough biscuit and cone to give a good flavour of Oreo and its contrast with the creamy filling works perfectly. I thought it was a delight to eat and the fact that it looks quite dramatic is a fun bonus.

Oreo Ice Cream Cones

22 August 2022

Belvoir Farm Bitter Orange Spritz Botanical Soda (Ocado) By @Cinabar

Belvoir Farm Bitter Orange Spritz Botanical Soda

Well, this new drink from Belvoir looks rather smart. I bought it online and the bottle is really nice in real life, which was a bonus, perfect if you have guests and want to share a non-alcoholic but still grown-up drink. Or to add gin too, whatever takes your fancy.

The drink is a pale orange colour, and it had a decent amount of fizz, not overly fizzy but a nice sparkling sensation. The flavour was good too, there was a nice sweetness from the Sicilian blood orange, but then the bitter element kicked in and had this wonderful tangy sharp aftertaste. This was a lovely and refreshing drink, not too sweet, not too fizzy, but delicious chilled and savoured.

As someone who always has an eye out for new and interesting soft drinks this Belvoir Farm Bitter Orange Spritz Botanical Soda is one I will pick up again, and I’ll keep an eye out too for any others in this new range from them.

21 August 2022

The Infusionist Mocktails - Strawberry Daiquiri (Aldi) By @Cinabar


Recently I tried one of the new mocktail drinks from Aldi, a Pina Colada, and I enjoyed it so much I have gone back for more flavours. This one is The Infusionist Mocktails Strawberry Daiquiri, based on the classic cocktail but this is a no alcohol version. It contains strawberry, lemon and blackcurrant to give it an added zing.

I poured the drink into a glass and it was a lovely rosy red colour. I gave it a sip and it really is something special. The drink is sweet and summery, but the added sour from the lemon and blackcurrant gives a good mature kick and the sourness is refreshing. The combination of flavours, from sweet to sour makes this a moreish drink. It is easy to finish the glass of this The Infusionist Mocktails Strawberry Daiquiri quickly, but as it has no alcohol there is no guilt there.

I love these new mocktail juices from Aldi, and as the other two have been so good, I am going back next week to get the Mojito version. I thoroughly recommend these drinks, perfect refreshment on a warm day.

20 August 2022

The 1079 Project - Beer (Aldi) By @SpectreUK

The 1079 Project - Beer

There's a history lesson on this can. I know this is a beer blog and many of you, myself included, would be more inclined to drink a large amount of beer getting a little giggly before sleeping through a history lesson, but this is a history lesson on brewing beer. The can of this The 1079 Project beer seems intent on telling us that the first cultivation of hops was recorded in 736 in the Hallertau region of Germany. It also states that the first mention of using hops in brewing beer was in 1079.

The 1079 Project Is a dry-hopped beer, which means the hops were added late in the brewing either during fermentation or conditioning. This 4.6% in volume beer is a Pilsner and was inspired by Dutch brewing techniques. The can states that it was brewed especially for Aldi, and uses descriptions on the 330ml can such as, "crisp taste", and "aromatic", and "bright and refreshing". The 1079 Project all sounds pretty super duper, so what does it taste like? I here you wonder.

I think a Pilsner beer that is commemorating the first adding of hops in brewing should be really bitter and tasty. Although having said that, if we've had a millennium of growth in brewing techniques, why would we want to drop back to the very beginning?

So on opening the can the light herbal hops that tickled my nose hairs was not what I was expecting. I was thinking big on hop aroma. It mentioned "aromatic" and "crisp" on the can after all. There was plenty of sweet malted barley in the smell though, which is never a bad thing.

Again on tasting this deep golden The 1079 Project the herbal hops were pretty subtle and sat underneath that sweet Pilsner flavour. Not big on hops and bitterness, but plenty of sweet lovely barley malt, so I certainly enjoyed it. Just maybe not go on about the hops so much next time.

19 August 2022

The Artist Marshmello’s Limited Edition Coca Cola (Tesco) By @Cinabar

The Artist Marshmello’s Limited Edition Coca Cola

We have a new summer edition Coca Cola out in the UK. This one is a flavour created by The Artist Marshmello. As the whole artificial sweeteners thing is a very Marmite concept, I will just make it clear the can I bought is a no-sugar drink. I don’t mind the extra sweetness that brings, but I know it will put a lot of people off completely.

Anyway, I poured out the drink and the colour was not unusual at all; standard Coca Cola brown. The aroma was cola with strawberry laces, it was very sweet and fruity and like sweets. When I tried a sip the fruit taste was a bit softer, for me it made me think of peach. If this had been a flavour to guess, I would have gone Peach Melba. The explanation of the flavour is on the can, it is strawberry watermelon. As I said, the strawberry is very present, and the sweet fruity mellow taste but I couldn’t pick out watermelon.

The Artist Marshmello’s Limited Edition Coca Cola drink was fine, it was sweet even for me but fun for the summer. I still rate the Coke with Lime over this, that is a proper refreshing flavoured cola for a hot day.

18 August 2022

Frozen Cake Treats! Cadbury Mini Rolls Suitable for freezing (@NLi10)

 It’s no longer too hot but it’s still a welcome idea to have nice little cold treats, so when I spotted the new suggestions on these mini rolls I couldn’t resist.

First up - minty ones - like a mint choc chip Choc ice I guess.

Still tiny

Chocolate thinner than it was in childhood

Overall though, not bad at all! Just the right balance of filling and the cake didn’t go odd in the freezer. Probably better than just eating them normally, and if you imagine that you’d probably get two in a pack you have a decent sized snack.

This one I couldn’t really see how it’d work

Of course - the Choc is the outside and the vanilla is just the sponge. Again - needs thicker outside coating and maybe a fruitier middle but I enjoyed this. Tiny bites suitable for kids and unable to melt and go everywhere. A nice little treat then, and an unnexpected win.