30 November 2022

Graze Sweet Chilli (WHSmiths) By @SpectreUK

Graze Sweet Chilli

I am a creature of habit. I can be a little regimented at times as I get comfortably used to certain meals on certain days. Sunday nights being one of those meals where I love cheese, cold meats, pickles, some sort of bread that Cinabar has baked, and I couldn't forget to wash it down with an overly full glass of Port. I don't mind what else I have with this meal, and as I can't have nuts or seeds in my diet, I do like snacks such as this Graze Sweet Chilli flavoured peas, corn, broad beans and crunchy corn hoops.

Graze Sweet Chilli

I do like the fact that these Graze snacks come with a ready made tray to eat the contents out of. On pealing back the top there was quite a strong aroma of corn, and a little chilli seasoning. I liked the crushed broad beans and crunchy peas. Corn has never been a favourite in snacks for me, and they had quite a strong corn taste which overshadowed the sweet chilli flavour. The overall flavour of sweet chilli seasoning was good, but I felt it could have been stronger. I did like the warming burn in the aftertaste though. I prefer Graze's Marmite flavour to these, but it was good to try a different flavour.

Information on the packet; The 31g packet contained 139 calories, with 5.2g of fat, 1.7g of sugar, 4.7g of protein, and 0.31g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Graze Sweet Chilli

29 November 2022

Maltesers Mint Mini Reindeer (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Maltesers Mint Mini Reindeer

The weather does seem to have gotten a bit cooler this week, not to mention the impressive fog that was so murky last night. I’m using this to justify, very loosely, that it now okay to break open the Christmas snacks. I've been on a hot chocolate kick for weeks, but these were waiting on the side table for an evening when I needed a sugary seasonal treat.Just to confirm, we have not put the tree up yet but will be doing so soon. 

Maltesers Mint Mini Reindeer

Here we have Maltesers Mint Mini Reindeer, which do look very Christmassy. The chocolates are individually wrapped, and shaped like reindeer, sort of. Each chocolate contains minty milk chocolate and malt balls.They're not too tough and break easily.

I gave one a try, and the chocolate was sweet; mint was the predominant flavour, followed by the mellow tones of malt. I always thought malt and mint shouldn’t go together, but I do like them. Generally, I like anything with mint, and these had that lovely cooling taste of peppermint. So I hope it isn’t too early for the seasonal treats, but I’m looking forward to seeing what else I can find.

Maltesers Mint Mini Reindeer

28 November 2022

Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts (Candy Mail) By @Cinabar

Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts

I was so excited about the idea of cinnamon Pop Tarts, I ordered them the second I saw them and couldn't ’t wait for them to arrive. I think this flavour of Pop Tart is available all year in America, but it is an import and I think available because people think cinnamon is the Christmas spice. I think it is my all-year round favourite spice, but will gladly take all the cinnamon products I can find at this time of year.

When they did arrive, I could tell they were a little bit broken. Well, they have had a long trip to get here. Both Pop Tarts were missing corners. I toasted them on the lightest setting and delicately removed them from the toaster. They were a little cracked and not very brown. I have to admit to being a bit worried at this point.

Then I gave them the taste test and all was forgiven. The hit of spicy warming sweet cinnamon and sugary goodness was an absolute joy. The texture is light and not too crispy, with that soft sweet cinnamon dream filling in the middle. These are my favourite flavours and I loved every bit. I wish they had transported a bit better, and I wish they made this variety in the UK but for now I’ll savour the couple of packets I have.

Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop Tarts

27 November 2022

Ultimate Roast Potato Crisps (Co Op) by @NLi10

This year's Christmas offerings have so far been a bit odd.  Pot Noodles & vegan turkey? Now we have potato flavoured crisps - surely that's just crisps?!

Ah - but these are the ultimate Roast potato so therefore taste like roasties - to be specific the ones you get at a carvery or with Christmas Dinner itself - interesting.

So - salt, oil, garlic, rosemary & pepper (on top of crunchy potatoes)

And a little on the unhealthy side - just like Christmas.

And they look like Crisps, and taste pretty decent too - they are really good approximations of a roast potato. The aftertaste isn't amazing, and they did seem to give us both a little indigestion - just like real Christmas I guess!  Worth a bowl on the Christmas snack table if you happen to be having nibbles, but probably not advisable to sit and eat a whole bag...

26 November 2022

Paulaner Münchner Hell (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Paulaner Münchner Hell

Sometimes I like to be more adventurous with my beer and go further afield. This Paulaner Münchner Hell was brewed in München, in Germany, so it's traveled a way to get to my beer fridge. The brewer's website was a little more elaborate than the bottle. At 4.9% in volume, Hallertauer Tradition hops were used in the brewing, as well as Pilsner malt for a light barley malt, and Munich malt for a dark barley malt. 

This Bavarian style Paulaner Münchner Hell was golden in colour and had a light crisp aroma of Pilsner on opening. On taste this bright shining lager was like drinking a cool breeze on a Summer's evening. Not too bubbly on initial taste, sweet Pilsner and Munich malts were soon complemented by crisp, fresh and slightly spiced bitterness from the herbal hops. 

This lager reminded me of those light Summer months. Paulaner Münchner Hell contrasted the dark cold rainy night outside perfectly, lending a little warmth with its spice to wash down my rather English sausages, jacket potatoes with beans and cheese for dinner. Lovely.

25 November 2022

Dr Pepper Dark Berry Edition (Candy Mail) By @Cinabar

Dr Pepper Jurassic World Dark Berry Edition

This Dr Pepper Dark Berry Edition is an imported drink, because you rarely see limited edition flavours of Dr Pepper here in the UK. I don’t know why, perhaps one day this will change. In the meantime, I do like having a look at the import stores and seeing what I can find that I wouldn’t get here.

Dr Pepper Dark Berry Edition has been released in celebration of the latest Jurassic World movie. As much as I love a new drink, I’m not sure what the connection between dinosaurs and berry flavour is, but perhaps I’m overthinking it. A tenuous link that one of the dinos is called ‘Blue’? The can looks smart though and even has dinosaurs on the side. I poured the drink out and was intrigued to see if there was a touch of blue to the colour. Fortunately, it was the usual dark brown drink. I gave it a sip and the taste was pretty much regular Dr Pepper but with a nice aftertaste of blueberries, which worked really well.

The flavour was nice, complimented by a softer taste of fruit and, as a drink, I really enjoyed. I’m glad the berries didn’t add too much extra sweetness, as Dr Pepper is sweet anyway, but this was a nice twist on the original.

24 November 2022

GRO Vegan Christmas Sandwich - No Turkey Feast (Co-Op) by @NLi10

After the disaster of the Christmas Pot Noodle on Sunday I wasn't really looking forwards to trying this Co-Op Vegan Christmas themed sandwich.

Turkey-style soya protein doesn't sound that amazing- but the Co-Op aren't known for disappointing me.

On a side note the calendars came! Not sure how I'm going to do them when I'm not always at home - but here they are. One Cat & one huge charity Oxfam choc one.

Co-op are also donating loads from these sandwiches to charitable foundations which is good.

And as far as pre-made sandwiches go - taking out the meat and adding other goodies in can only be healthier - so how does it stack up?


As it turns out - it's actually quite nice!  It's a little dry - which is oddly realistic for a turkey sandwich - but if you had some gravy or just a nice festive drink along side then you'd be fine. 

The soya protein has a good texture, and the added ingredients work really well. A definite win.

Given the opportunity I'll choose this one again - even though I'd quite like to try the meaty versions at some point this year too.

23 November 2022

Howdah Tandoor Chilli Ancient Grain Chips (Deli On The Square) By @SpectreUK

Howdah Tandoor Chilli Ancient Grain Chips

It's not often we go to visit Ludlow Castle, in Shropshire, but the odd visit here and there is usually a good drive passed Bridgnorth, home of steam trains in that county of the UK. There has been a shop in Ludlow town that sells often weird and wonderful delicatessen for many years. We were glad to see it still open after the pandemic and the varying other hardships that had started before that. It was at this shop that we picked up quite a few items, including these Howdah Tandoor Chilli Ancient Grain Chips.

I'm hoping that when they say 'Ancient' on the packet, Howdah Foods mean 'traditional' rather than how old the ingredients were they used in this snack's production. Described as 'crisp ribbons made with ancient grains and dry-spiced with cumin, chilli and Tandoor spices' these crisps didn't fail to make my mouth water in the shop.

Howdah Tandoor Chilli Ancient Grain Chips

On opening the packet there was a spicy curry aroma from the ribbed ribbon crisps inside. On first crunchy taste these Howdah Tandoor Chilli Ancient Grain Chips are good. I mean really good. Moreish to the extreme and did I mention crunchy? The mixed spices in these Tandoor Chilli Grain Chips washed around my mouth leaving me wanting more and more.

I was immediately glad I'd left enough calories free to polish off the entire packet. I liked the texture of the crisps too. When I first put some in my mouth I worried they'd be dry, but the spices just made my mouth water, and the chilli left me with a satisfying medium burn. Gosh, we're going to have to go and get some more from Ludlow soon. Very soon.

Information on the packet; The 130g bag contained 125 calories per 25g, with 7.5g of fat, 0.5g of sugar, and 0.5g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Howdah Tandoor Chilli Ancient Grain Chips

22 November 2022

Bar of Crisps Cheese and Onion Chocolate (Chocolate Moments) By @Cinabar

Bar of Crisps Cheese and Onion Chocolate (Chocolate Moments)

Yes I know, who thought of this? I like crisps, I like chocolate but I am not sure how I feel about them in the same product. Especially cheese and onion. I bought this bar because it is a bit out there, and I can’t resist a novelty. It was inspired by those times you sit on the sofa munching crisps and chocolate at once. Personally, I have crisps, then chocolate, the chocolate being the dessert, right?

I opened up the bar and could smell the cheese and onion. Oh boy. I gave the bar a try and I’l start with the positives. It has an interesting texture, I like an interesting texture. It was fun to munch on. The chocolate it is made with is lovely and sweet and smooth and clearly of a high quality. The negative: it has cheese and onion crisps in it. Yep, cheese, onion and chocolate are not natural bedfellows, who would have thought it. I shouldn’t criticise this Bar of Crisps Cheese and Onion Chocolate bar does exactly what it says on the tin. If you know someone who eats their crisps and chocolate together though, this would make a great novelty stocking filler for Christmas.

Bar of Crisps Cheese and Onion Chocolate (Chocolate Moments)

21 November 2022

Spice Star Biscuits (Co-Op) By @Cinabar

Spice Star Biscuits (Co-Op)

These are not lebkuchen, but I was looking for lebkuchen when I spotted these Spice Star Biscuits in the Co-Op and decided that these were the closest thing I was going to find. Lebkuchen are German ‘biscuits’ made with spices, but they are soft and a little sponge-like. Aldi do brilliant lebkuchen if you are looking to try them.

Back onto these Co-Op Spice Star Biscuits, which I hoped would quench my thirst for Christmas spice. I opened the top of the bag and could smell the spices and the cinnamon, and couldn’t wait to give them a try. The biscuits are cute too, they are star-shaped and fairly dark in colour but not quite as golden as I had expected. I gave one a try and I was a little torn. The flavour was perfect, a lovely blend of spices with a hint of ginger to warm them up. The blend of spices was perfect for them and this I loved. The problem was the texture. It was quite hard. It felt like a bit of an effort to eat. As I really liked the taste, I did manage to eat a few, but I’m not a big fan of hard biscuits, which is probably why I usually dunk them. I think I am going to have to make myself a nice hot chocolate to have with the others. Or do I go full spice and make a cup of Chai tea and see if I can overload on cinnamon? To be honest, that sounds like a plan.

Spice Star Biscuits (Co-Op)

20 November 2022

Merry Pot Noel - Pot Noodle Christmas Dinner (Asda) by @NLi10

So - it's very popular to make Christmas versions of popular snacks and foods - and Pot Noodle have really gone for the jackpot this year.

This is Christmas Dinner - well the stuffing and the gravy anyway - but in pot noodle form.  As non England commenters have pointed out this is essentially our most popular version of what international readers will know as Ramen.

Cup noodles are an international staple - and this is a big size version of ours.  It's seen as a luxury brand compared to the half-price international cheap versions.

You can see a normal size version of my favourite the Beef & Tomato flavour next to it - as well as a Santa sighting!  

I decided to go with this on the 20th as the 'mindfulness calendar' said I should make a meal with something I'd not tried before - and it gives local readers an opportunity to buy these to put under the tree. Yes - they sell these in cardboard crackers designed just for this purpose!

Unlike most of these it doesn't actually include the sauce sachet - you have to provide your own cranberry - and this lack of the sweetness I think was their first mistake.

As usual this is just cheap noodles and flavour dust - but with maybe a few more herby bits in than usual.

Add boiling water - recover - stir after 2 minutes - wait another 2 mins and eat away.

And here it is - in all it's glory! A gravy Pot Noodle! 

And while the smell is OK, and it's certainly a standard Pot Noodle the flavour isn't that great.  Just tastes like cheap stuffing, but then the aftertaste - my goodness it's horrible - like one of those genetic tests for offensive flavours!  I'm guessing that whoever had this in the taste sessions was a heavy smoker, or just didn't have the right make up to detect this massive problem. Maybe they always added cranberry?    Either way - this is a lovely potential joke present that just doesn't work for me.

Bonus: I did a video for YouTube Shorts but it cut off the commentary when I added the music...

19 November 2022

Swamp Boat & Daisychains Beer (The Wee Beer Shop) By @SpectreUK

Swamp Boat & Daisychains Beer

I have a bad feeling about this beer. I think I picked it at the time because I liked the name, rather than the ingredients. Made with blueberry purée, white tea and Mexican honey in the brewing, this Swamp Boat & Daisychains promises a bite like a "swamp gator", but also a sourness that worries me more than the blueberries. It's not that I don't like blueberries, they just do nothing for me. I had a blueberry protein yoghurt earlier, because that's all the shop had, and that was, well, okay. Blueberries in a beer with tea and honey. It just sounds like a weird combination to me.

At 5.4% in volume this Swamp Boat & Daisychains is a Grisette and was brewed by Bang the Elephant Brewing Company, in Derbyshire. A Grisette is a style of beer from the Hainaut Province in Belgium. Grisettes are usually low in alcohol, so the 5.4% in volume may be railing against that. They are supposed to be crisp, have a light to medium body, and with a citrusy bitterness. So it's just the promise of sourness that's worrying me from the description on the can.

On opening the can there was a strong sour aroma from the Grisette inside. There was also a blueberry smell from the straw coloured misty beer on pouring. On taste Swamp Boat & Daisychains had an immediate jumble of flavours that I just couldn't get my head around. I don't know about crisp, but this beer had a sourness that twisted all of my features, then blueberries slapped me around the chops. There was a little citrus bitterness under all that sourness and blueberries, but that quickly sank back into the swamp as the old boat roiled straight over where it had briefly stuck up it's head for some air. I couldn't pick up on white tea or any type of honey. There certainly wasn't any sweetness of note. Unfortunately Swamp Boat & Daisychains was not for me, but we have to try these things. Sometimes they're the best thing we've ever tasted, sometimes, not so much.

18 November 2022

Orange Flavour Hot Chocolate (Sainsburys) By @Cinabar

Orange Flavour Hot Chocolate (Sainsburys)

It is a cold (ish) evening, so I think that means it is time for another hot chocolate. This is the second of the new flavours from Sainsbury's. It is a combination that says Christmas to me too, possibly because I used to get a Terry’s Chocolate Orange fairly regularly. Here we have Orange Flavour Hot Chocolate.

This is another of the drinks made with milk so I heated some up and added two teaspoons. This still sounded very low to me, but I had faith as it worked with the caramel variety. The drink smelled lovely with nice sweet tones. I gave it a sip and again was impressed by the strength of the flavour. Somehow, two spoons is genuinely enough. The orange shines through and is quite dominant in flavour. It is sweet and fruity and then the soothing tones of milk chocolate catch up, making the drink a delight to sip. Perfect for a cold evening. I’m not going to apologise for all the hot chocolate reviews, this really is my favourite time of year.

17 November 2022

New Kellogg's Krave Stix - Chocolate Hazelnut (Asda) by @NLi10

Krave is a great cereal range - I mean it's not as good as the Asda own brand version and it's at least double the price - but it is very nice. So - when I spotted these I was excited to try them. 

Krave Stix are clearly intended for lunchboxes, but for once it's a cereal bar that's an actual cereal - but I wasn't as excited as review-cat Luna.

I'm not sure why but this box was fascinating, she sat on it for a good ten minutes while I typed other reviews and then was first inside when it opened.

She only usually touches bread based foods (especially those with peperoni on them) so this was indeed an honour. 

This bit was less exciting.

And she'd realised these were not treats and wandered away by now.

And these are indeed giant Kraves. Still attached in twins, but double the size of the cereal's normal length and a little bit chunkier too.

And still very hollow and non gooey in the middle - which kind of works as a cereal.  

These are closer to wheaty crisps than I'd expected so if you crave a north european experince of crisps full of nutella then this is for you.  But me? I'm not Kraving them like Luna did. They were fine, they will get eaten, but I'd rather just snack on a bowl of the cereal.

Good for kids lunchboxes (they are actually pretty light as far as chocolate treats go) but not something for the grown-ups.

16 November 2022

Nestle Quality Street Orange Crunch (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Nestle Quality Street Orange Crunch

I only ever seem to have Nestles Quality Streets around Christmas time. This new Nestle Quality Street Orange Crunch chocolate bar might change my mind. I do love the Orange Crunch flavour, but I especially love the Strawberry favour, so hopefully they'll make a bar of that too. I know the only other flavour they've made is the Purple one, which Cinabar is welcome too, because I can't eat nuts in my diet.

Nestle Quality Street Orange Crunch

I decided to eat this Nestle Quality Street Orange Crunch with a tub of chocolate drizzle ice cream. On opening the bar there was a tangy Orange Crunch smell from the chocolate bar inside. On taste this Nestle Quality Street Orange Crunch did exactly what it said on the wrapper, but the best thing was that it just kept on giving. I didn't have to unwrap another foil Quality Street Orange Crunch after another, I just sat back and enjoyed the milk chocolate and orange crunchy flavour of the whole chocolate bar with my tub of chocolate drizzle ice cream. Gorgeous. I must have these in regularly. Please make the strawberry flavour next Nestle.

Information on the wrapper; The 84g bar had 558 calories per 100g, with 22,7g of fat, 51.4g of sugar, and 0.15g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Nestle Quality Street Orange Crunch

15 November 2022

Extra Special Blonde Style Hot Chocolate (Asda) By @Cinabar

Extra Special Blonde Style Hot Chocolate (Asda)

I would like to apologise for the time dedicated to hot chocolate on this blog, it is my favourite thing. It is currently on season and I am finding myself buying enough stocks of new drinks to last all year. Don’t worry, I do drink hot chocolate all year I just hadn’t realised I buy it all now and then use it up the rest of the time!

The latest edition to my collection is Asda Extra Special Blonde Style Hot Chocolate. Blonde hot chocolate is very on trend at the minute, and I hope it lasts longer than the Ruby chocolate of a few years ago. I had a look at the tub and read the ingredients on the back, which showed that it was white chocolate flavoured powder with caramel flavouring, which I guess is what it is. It's just not as interesting sounding as the phrase ‘blonde chocolate’. I added some to the hot milk and found it stirred in nicely and quickly. The drink was very pale, definitely more on the white chocolate side than the blonde chocolate side in colour.

I gave the drink a sip and it was sweet, soothing and very much white chocolate flavoured with a hint of caramel or toffee-like flavour. I chose not to put cream on top though as thought it would be a bit rich. I have a sweet tooth, so I was drawn to the flavours, but this was quite near my upper limit. it was quite strong in taste too, which I hadn’t been expecting from the colour, but ultimately it is a good soothing drink and I look forward to having more of it.

Extra Special Blonde Style Hot Chocolate (Asda)

14 November 2022

Freeze Dried Twinkie Cake Bites (A Taste Of The States) By @Cinabar

Freeze Dried Twinkie Cake Bites (A Taste Of The States)

There is so much I don’t get about this product, including its concept, but I’ll try and start from the beginning. Ok, I’ll start slightly from the side, bare with me for a minute. If you have ever watched Zombieland, one of the main characters spends some of his time in a zombie apocalypse searching for the last Twinkies on earth (it is a comedy) while fighting zombies. Twinkies are an American sponge finger with vanilla cream. They do have limited editions and they are easier to find in the UK than they used to be. The running joke in the film Zombieland is that Twinkies last forever. They don’t, of course, as in real life, they have use by dates. Perhaps this is why they have tried freeze drying them, to make them last longer, and this is the result?

These Freeze Dried Twinkie Cake Bites look a little bit home made, but who has a freezer dryer in their kitchen? It is one Twinkie sliced, dried and popped into a resealable bag. I haven’t eaten much freeze-dried food but what we have tried has the same feature, the items are very dry and lightly crunchy, slightly rehydrating when you chew them. I guess it is like the freeze-dried strawberries you get in cereals, if you try them before the milk hits.

Freeze Dried Twinkie Cake Bites (A Taste Of The States)

I took one of the slices of the Freeze Dried Twinkie Cake Bites out, gave it a try, and it had a weird texture. It was both a little dry and still wet enough to be chewy. That was not what I was expecting. I got stuck on the idea that the texture was wrong and it stopped me enjoying the product. I didn’t like the texture. This is the second time I’ve tried something where the texture has put me off, the other being the ready-made pancakes, despite me usually loving weird or interesting textures in food. I worry me not liking this might just be me, but it really is not something I’d buy again. I’ll take a fresh Twinkie any day over this.

Freeze Dried Twinkie Cake Bites (A Taste Of The States)

13 November 2022

JitterBug Seltzer - Lemonade Swing & Berry Hop (@NLi10)

I've not really had social drinks that refer to themselves as a 'seltzer' before.  I always presumed it was something the America's just called adult pop. It's basically just sparkling water though!

This is a more exciting proposition than just that - it's called Apple Cider Vinegar Seltzer - and comes in a couple of dancy flavours - perfect for a weekend of UK TV show Strictly Come Dancing!

For night 1 I chose this lemonade style seltzer which has all kinds of cool claims, but at the end of the day is just a nice little drink (and low cal!)

It's nothing too special, but certainly a pleasure to drink. Does taste like lemonade made with the 'flat' tasting carbonated water - and a lot less sweet. My mother would love it!

Some people aren't cut out for all the dancing and prefer to sleep in their little heated box by the radiator.

Night 2 (well afternoon two - before the results show) I have the Berry Hop variety which essentially sounded about the same.

This is similarly murky and with a flat fizz, but has more of a hint of kombucha to it.  This is the one I'd choose out of the two - I'd actively hunt this one out where as the other was just nice-to-try.

I'm fairly sure I'll bump into these again, but as an unusual party drink these both make the grade.