31 January 2023

Galaxy Hazelnut Creamy Truffle Mini Eggs (Co-Op) By @Cinabar

Galaxy Hazelnut Creamy Truffle Mini Eggs

This is the time of year when I snack on mini eggs. I can’t help it, think of it as pre-Easter celebrations. I wouldn’t buy myself a full-size Easter egg to snack on, but something about the grab bags just makes them an easy go-to. My latest pack are these Galaxy Hazelnut Creamy Truffle Mini Eggs, as I do love the combination of nuts and chocolate.

Galaxy Hazelnut Creamy Truffle Mini Eggs

 I opened up the bag and found seven eggs, all individually wrapped in fiddly green foil, but I managed to unpack them. I bit in and found that the shell of the egg was impressively thick, and underneath it was a hazelnut flavour paste. It has a nice nutty taste, and the chocolate was super smooth with no bits. Interestingly, I knew there wouldn’t be bits, not because it is Galaxy and it is expected to be smooth, but because I read the ingredients and I couldn’t see hazelnut listed, which is a bit weird. There is an allergy warning that it "may" contain nuts, but no actual nuts, unless I misunderstand. Also, the recipe says "natural flavourings," which is more confusing: natural from nuts? As much as I liked these Galaxy Hazelnut Creamy Truffle Mini Eggs I was a little bit confused over the ingredients.

Galaxy Hazelnut Creamy Truffle Mini Eggs

30 January 2023

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Easter Edition With Crushed Shells (Iceland) By @cinabar

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Easter Edition With Crushed Shells

This is not a regular Chocolate Orange, this is an Easter edition chocolate orange. Apparently. I think many of us will associate Terry’s Chocolate Orange as a Christmas treat; it is something you normally find given as a stocking filler. I love them, but I have to admit it has been a while since I last had one.

Terry’s are branching out and have released an Easter edition. I imagine there was a brief discussion about how the complexities of making a sliced egg shape were just too much trouble, and the idea of adding mini eggs to the chocolate was dismissed as well, and we ended up with Terry's Chocolate Orange Easter Edition With Crushed Shells.

I "tapped and unwrapped" the orange, and the pieces fell away neatly. The first thing I noted was that there wasn’t much shell to be seen. It was there, but you had to really look for it. I tried the chocolate, and the woosh of rich, sweet chocolate and orange filled my palate. I thought of Christmas. This is a lovely, sweet, fruity chocolate. The crushed shells do add a bit of texture, and there is a nice crispiness when you bite in. I don’t think Terry’s Chocolate Orange Easter Edition With Crushed Shells is that much effort in terms of a new Easter flavour but I was really pleased that it made me buy a Chocolate Orange again.

Terry’s Chocolate Orange Easter Edition With Crushed Shells

29 January 2023

Marmite Crunchy Peanut Butter - all in the same jar (@NLi10)

My friends at the Junk Food Project often encourage me to try new things - especially if they are trying to get rid of them!  One that was practically thrust into my bag is this jar of Marmite - and jar of crunchy peanut butter - which happen to be the same jar.

I'm not incredibly sure why this exists. Peanut butter is one of those things that people often tell me that they really dislike - and Marmite is also one of those things that a lot of people hate - so the real question is do those groups overlap so you've got a lovely large target market, or are they almost mutually exclusive and the target market is very very small?  And doesn't everyone like a different strength of Marmite anyway?  And I thought smooth peanut butter was more popular?!

Yum - 87% peanuts and 10% yeast extract. And 15 servings seems optimistic, surely you want a lot of this in each go.

And the jar looks decent - very oily though - so much separation and that's possibly due to the extra, unnecessary oil.  A quick stir and then we can spread it out!

Crunchy really doesn't spread that well at all - but then with the extra stickiness of the marmite even the smooth bits kinda don't work much.

So I guess this is all about the flavour - I'm not averse to mixed up flavours - peanut butter with chocolate is fantastic.  Most people go 'eurgh' at that one until you remind them that's called a Snickers.
I'm not sure that even I have added Marmite to peanut butter voluntarily though - it's a little bit of a salt overload.  It does work though - usually the store brand peanut butters add salt as a third ingredient (the other two ingredients being peanuts & violence) but here they've not needed to.  And they've clearly tried to tune the Marmite down to keep the saltiness in check - but still failed.

I love swirly Marmite, with strong bits and mild bits, that's how I eat the stuff. Here - its just the same 'power' the whole way through - and if that's the exact strength of Marmite you have AND you love peanut butter AND you want it crunchy then this is perfect for you.  For me - I'd prefer if this was Marmite Ripple and the strength wasn't homogenous, and I'd probably like the crunchy bits to be a little smaller.

All this said - it's not going to be a challenge to finish this jar - it's salty goodness is brilliant on toast.  But - I think the reason that this jar was handed to me is that I'm in the right spot on the food taste diagram to get the most out of this, and I'd much rather just get an extra spoon dirty and have my favourite peanut butter with my own level of Marmite.

28 January 2023

Otter Brewery Otter Ale (Morrisons) By @SpectreUK

Otter Brewery Otter Ale

No, they didn't liquidise an otter and ferment it with malted barley and hops… well, I don't think they did anyway. This Otter Ale from the Otter Brewery close by the River Otter is possibly brewed by Otters though. They certainly used the water from the Otter spring anyway.

At 4.5% in volume, the Otters have used Devon's finest Maris Otter malt, or so the little furry fella with the tail stated on the back of the bottle, were used in the brewing. Fuggles hops and Challenger hops were also used in this brew's production. So I'm expecting a nuttiness from the malt, and some woody, and spiciness from the hops.

On opening this Otter Ale there was a nutty malt aroma from this deep brown beer. On taste this Otter Ale was surprisingly light and crisp. I say 'surprisingly' mainly from the colour of the beer, as I was expecting a more biscuity maybe even burnt toast flavour. Here light sweet malted barley notes of nuttiness touched my tastebuds to begin with, followed closely by a light spice and a mild woodiness into the aftertaste.

I found this Otter Ale light, crisp and refreshing. It perfectly washed down the Lamb Jalfrezi Cinabar and her mom had cooked all day in the Slow Cooker. Oh, and no Otters were harmed during the making of this beer, or the writing of this blog. However, they do work very hard, those Otters do.

27 January 2023

Bunny Bao Buns (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

Bunny Bao Buns (Marks and Spencer)

I think this is my first bao bun; I know NLi10 has tried them, and written about them, but I am pretty sure I haven’t bought one before. These were from Marks and Spencer and the Bunny Bao Buns looked so cute that I couldn’t resist. It is, after all, the year of the rabbit, and I think bao buns are Chinese?

Bunny Bao Buns (Marks and Spencer)

This particular bun contains a plum sauce with vegetables and is quickly heated in the microwave to cook. I gave it a try and was very impressed with it. Not only was it cute, it was also super tasty. The filling was heavy on the plum sauce, and that worked for me. As I really like texture, the crispy vegetables and soft dough were a winner. It was such a nice combination. The bao buns were just spot on; they had such a nice soft and pillowy texture. The vegetable filling is also well seasoned, adding a nice balance of flavours. The bao buns are also filled with plenty of vegetables, making them satisfying and healthy. I will buy these again, they are perfect for a quick working-from-home casual lunch and perfect to heat up between meetings.

Bunny Bao Buns (Marks and Spencer)

26 January 2023

Huel - premade banana - new years resolution in a bottle (@NLi10)

 It's that time of year again folks - when I remember the original function for the pot I use to eat crisps at work was to make Huel lunches and wonder if I should start again.

For those that haven't come across the brand/cult yet it's pretty decent meal replacement drinks and grains, that are full of a lot of things that bodies crave.  And they are usually pretty good value too.

This is one of the pre-made bottles that is more expensive but better mixed so a perfect example of 'do I like this' before you buy the big bags.

Not sure i'd ever bothered with the banana so I figured I'd try it out ahead of potentially ordering some of the new flavours for work.

They really do contain everything in one bottle.

And the ingredients do give decent sources - it's not all just sprayed on like with cereal.

It does look like goop.

But - as always the texture is fine, and the smell and taste are pretty good.  I'd stick to the red flavours (and vanilla) but as a one off this was quite a nice banana variant.

I'm still convinced the milkshakes are not the star and want them to sell the grain pots in smaller portions (but as it's warm it's a bit harder to justify).  Guess I'll just have to place an order soon.

25 January 2023

Sticky Toffee Fudge (Aldi) By @SpectreUK

Sticky Toffee Fudge (Aldi)

Now this is quite a treat. Sticky Toffee Fudge sounds too good to be true. Sticky Toffee Pudding with custard is a favourite pudding of mine. I haven't had it in such a long time, hint, hint… Cinabar. I may mention from time to time, but the hint never quite sinks in. However, I have this Sticky Toffee Fudge for now, but I don't think I'll be having custard with it, probably a pot of low calorie ice cream instead.

The packet told me that this Sticky Toffee Fudge was made in Scotland with only the best ingredients to produce a melt in the mouth fudge experience. I've always loved fudge ever since I was a wee lad, so I'm really looking forward to this Sticky Toffee Fudge. You can see from the photograph that the fudge pieces were pretty rustic in appearance, which just added to my anticipation.

There was an explosion of toffee flavours on first bite. They were right, the dark toffee coloured pieces of fudge just melted in my mouth. I could certainly taste the fudge to start with, then the sticky toffee flavour was like a KABLAMM to my tastebuds. Gorgeously moreish and perfect with a pot of caramel ice cream, and with a little stick of Cadbury's "Finger of" Fudge stuck in the top, I loved this Sticky Toffee Fudge and I had fortunately left enough calories free to finish the whole packet. Ah, the joys of gorging on sweet stuff after eating way to healthily all day just to get there.

Information on the packet; The 150g packet contains 108 calories per two pieces at 25g, with 2.4g of fat, 17.3g of sugar, and 0.05g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Sticky Toffee Fudge (Aldi)

24 January 2023

Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte

I am still trying out various interesting coffees that can be made at home. This one is from the Starbucks line, but it can be found at the supermarket. Here we have Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte; there are five sachets in the box.

So, here's my usual disclaimer: cinnamon is my favourite spice, so this was obviously a must-have for me.

I boiled the kettle, and this drink mixed up nice and easily with the hot water; there were no lumps, and it developed a nice-looking froth on the surface too.

I gave the drink a sip and absolutely loved the flavour. The combination of coffee, milk, and the sweet and warm taste of cinnamon creates a delicious and satisfying drink. It is sweet, but not overly so. This Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte is a warm and comforting drink that is perfect for cold weather or a cosy night in. The cinnamon flavour is well balanced, not overpowering the other ingredients and adding a nice aroma to the drink. It's a perfect drink to enjoy in the morning or as a pick-me-up during the day. Overall, a yummy spiced coffee that is a must-try for any coffee/cinnamon lover.

Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte

23 January 2023

Aero Peppermint Mini Eggs (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Aero Peppermint Mini Eggs

My favourite things about food in general is a mix of textures. I like interesting textures, so aerated chocolate is always a winner for me. I like that it looks solid but bubbles and melts away when you bite into it. I also like the combination of mint and chocolate, so when I saw these Aero Peppermint Mini Eggs, I knew I was buying a bag. I know Easter is still a way off, but I do like the snack bags (and boxes) of chocolate eggs, just as a treat.

Inside the bag are very pretty-looking small eggs, half green and half milk chocolate. The colour split is horizontal rather than vertical. There are no annoying foil or wrappers around them either, which is a win, so why slow down the chocolate consumption?

They do taste just like an Aero Mint chocolate bar, with the same balance of mint and cocoa flavours. Admittedly, there is nothing new taste-wise, but they are a cute snack. Perfect for sharing while watching a movie; again, the lack of wrappers is a plus. All in all, I really enjoyed the Aero Peppermint Mini Eggs.

Aero Peppermint Mini Eggs

22 January 2023

Whistling/Singing Swede - dinner for 25p (ish) by @NLi10

The 'junk food' (as in left over) place near me had a massive box of swedes a while back so I thought I'd take their recommendations and have one for dinner! 

The idea is that you take off the cellophane and pop it in the microwave for 2x8 mins (flipping half way).  I put a cross on the top but thats mostly for my own amusement.

It's just a big bit of plant! It does feel a bit Baldrick having this for dinner - but it's a good honest root veg - and at 25p it's a bargain.

The 'Junk food' place is donations not prices so I got it in a bundle with the mash and a few other bits and bobs and gave them a little more than the orange sticker prices as it's a great cause.

Luna got up to see what the noise in the microwave was, and to distract from the ipad gaming.

And eventually it looks like this!

Cooked all the way through with practically no effort - and in theory quite cheap.

Here are two scooped out quarters - doesn't look like much - but it's an exciting carbohydrate to have as a balanced meal.

Sam went veggie - pine nuts, cheese & then swede and mash.

I went for the swede and mash base, but then added tomatoes and lots of left over deli meats. Yum!

I've been recommended horse radish for the next one and I've already got it on the worktop ready.

A definite win if you like the earthy taste of swedes.

21 January 2023

Cocow Chocolate & Milk Stout (The Wee Beer Shop @WeeBeerShop) By @SpectreUK

Cocow Chocolate & Milk Stout

I fancy treating myself tonight. Described as a "rich decadent stout", and with flavours of bitter chocolate, milk sugars, caramel, coffee as well as having a dark chocolate finish, this Cocow Chocolate & Milk Stout sounds like the perfect pudding stout to finish my week after work. I'm also feeling a little better now after three weeks of having the most rotten flu. So I'm hoping I'm finally on the up, and will be back to just the old aches and pains in no time.

At 4.8% in volume this Cocow Chocolate & Milk Stout was produced by Ampersand Brew Company, in Norwich, East of England. Golden Promise, Chocolate, Crystal Light, Crystal Dark and Roasted Barley malts, and also Oat Malt were used in the brewing, as well as Pilgrim hops, cocoa nibs, and lactose. So I'm hoping for a smooth creamy chocolaty pudding stout, a little bitter, and some roasted coffee all to wash down my Chinese takeaway.

I have mentioned a few times in previous blogs that it's the Chinese New Year on the 22nd of January, so what better way to have a good Chinese takeaway, followed by a hearty chocolate pudding stout to finish. On opening the can there was aromas of a deep mix of sweet malts, a little herbal bitterness, and quite a punch of dark chocolate with a touch of roasted coffee. This was quite a difficult stout to pour, even for an ex-barman. The head on this Cocow Chocolate & Milk Stout was super frothy. Once this dark almost black brew had calmed down a bit, I took a sip minding my nose.

There was an intense jumble of sweet malts of so many different varieties washing around my mouth at once, it was like a cacophony of flavours all battling for position on the tip of my tongue. The herbal almost sour bitterness from the hops stopped them all in their malty tracks with a sharp rap on the lectern for their full attention. Then the dark chocolate malt and cocoa nibs, and also added lactose mixed together swirling light roasted coffee, lending sweet and creamy goodness which lulled my senses off into the aftertaste.

This stout reflected my busy week to start with, and cushioned me on velvety pillows into my weekend. Ah, lovely. Happy hoppy New Year of the Rabbit to you all, gong hei fat choy :-)

20 January 2023

Costa Instant Millionaires Mocha (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Costa Instant Millionaire’s Mocha

Last week I tried out one of the Starbucks drinks that you make yourself at home, so it seemed only fair that I try something similar from their competition. I picked up this box of Millionaire’s Mocha in Tesco, took it home, and put the kettle on. I had a little look at the box, trying to work out what the difference between a mocha and a millionaire’s mocha is, and I have to admit that I am still not sure. The description is mostly coffee and chocolate; all good but that is your standard mocha. There is a mention of vanilla, but that doesn’t sound so exciting, I can’t even see any caramel hinted at. Oh well, the taste may still blow my mind.

I mixed the sachet up with hot water and had to stir, then went back to it after thirty seconds, as per the instructions, and stirred again. The drink had lumps on top, and I had to stir it quite a bit. Even then, when I walked into the other room with my cup, a few more had appeared on top.

The flavour was good, there was lots of chocolate and coffee, and it was a nice soothing drink on a cold day. I thought the balance of coffee and chocolate was right, and I will look forward to the other sachets in the box. In conclusion, I still have no idea what ingredient is supposed to make this a millionaire’s mocha, it is certainly a mocha and a nice one at that. The extra stirring and the lumps didn’t make it feel special, though.

Costa Instant Millionaire’s Mocha

19 January 2023

White Cadbury Creme Egg (already?!) - by @NLi10

 It's Easter!! Well - the shops think it is anyway. They have all the lovely things in stock ready so Mini Eggs are cheaper and the Cadbury Creme Eggs are fresh & runny again.

At games at a friends house I was offered first pick from a new style multi-pack.  I decided I'd already had a Cadbury's Caramel egg so I'd go for White.

Here's the science bit!

Looks like they used the same molds - so far so good.  And it has the smell of the new White Cadbury choc that Kraft have pushed out - and it's all good.

The double fondant is eggy and familiar too - and like I said - the early season ones are runny and lovely (by the summer you only get hard centred eggs left).

A hit (a smash?) and I'll be looking for that Caramel version next time to compare.

18 January 2023

Cadbury Salted Caramel Creme Eggs and friends By @SpectreUK

Cadbury Salted Caramel Creme Eggs and friends

Well, I must say this is very 'egg-citing'. Sorry, but I could help it. I'll try to stop 'yoking' around. It's Cadbury Creme Egg season already, or Easter as some people like to call it. Where chocolate eggs are in abundance for a few months of every year and many people try to decide how many different ways to eat there's, and certainly try to eat as many as possible before Cadbury stop making them until the next year.

Last year Cadbury had a prize of a few White Creme Eggs mysteriously dotted around the stores. I was very fortunate enough to be sent one. I know, unbelievable, but being a snack and booze blogger for nearly fifteen years has the odd perk here and there. This year is even better, White Creme Eggs are available in abundance, with the ubiquitous Dairy Milk Creme Eggs in a box accompanied by Cadbury Caramel Eggs, which have been a staple for many years.

Cadbury Salted Caramel Creme Eggs and friends

Also available, I know, it's just getting even more 'egg-citing' (sorry, I can't help it) is that this year Cadbury Salted Caramel Eggs are available, and in their own box of five. I don't know why boxes of five either, but I'll try not to focus on that, just on the flavour. First I decided to do a taste comparison between the Salted Caramel Egg and the original Caramel Egg.

So to the Original first, I could smell the oozy caramel on first unwrapping the Original's foil. Of course, after biting off the top, I licked out as much of the oozy sweet caramel as possible, before dumping the rest of the egg in my gob. I haven't had one of these for about a year, and it was simply delicious.

So 'cracking' open the box to find the five eggs of the Salted Caramel variety, I immediately peeled back the foil wrapper of the first egg to fall into my paws. On unwrapping the Cadbury Salted Caramel Egg there was not such a sweet aroma of caramel from the identical looking milk chocolate egg, as the Original. On first taste I noticed the caramel wasn't so oozy, or sweet, but there wasn't much saltiness either. It's a more refined caramel flavour rather than just wall to wall sweetness. I did like it though, and I'd happily eat either egg as often as possible. It depends how you like your's, sweet or not so sweet caramel.

Information on the box; Each 40g egg 194 calories, 10g of fat, 19g of sugar, 1.4g of protein, and 0.27g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Cadbury Salted Caramel Creme Eggs and friends

17 January 2023

Starbucks White Mocha (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

Starbucks White Mocha

Here is a new Starbucks drink, but this is one for home and not from Starbucks directly. I found this Starbucks White Mocha in the supermarket, but the flavour sounds wonderfully indulgent and a proper treat for a cold day like today. Inside the box are five sachets (which is annoyingly not an even number) that, when made, mix up simply with boiling water, so I put the kettle on.

Starbucks White Mocha

The contents of the sachet mixed easily into the hot water; thankfully, there were no lumps, and it didn’t even need too much of a stir. As I was making it, I noticed a lovely froth forming on the top, which looked like a good sign. I gave the drink a taste, and the wonderful flavours of coffee and white chocolate were absolutely gorgeous. It tasted like a coffee made with white chocolate milkshake; it was sweet and creamy, and the flavour balance was perfect. This was a fantastic drink, silky and indulgent, and a true treat. When I picked this box of Starbucks White Mocha up, I don't think I realised just how amazing the contents would be. I can’t wait to have another.

Starbucks White Mocha

16 January 2023

Ferrero Collection Mini Eggs - Crispy Eggs (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Ferrero Collection Mini Eggs - Crispy Eggs

I love nuts and chocolate together, so you probably won’t be surprised about my love of Ferrero Roche chocolates. I love getting Ferrero Roche at Christmas time as a nice treat, and they are good to share too. Having finished the last of my seasonal supplies, I was quite pleased to see these Ferrero Collection Mini Crispy Eggs in the supermarket, this time as an Easter product. My other favourite thing with snacks is texture. I love layers of texture because I think it makes food more interesting to eat. The little eggs promised that they were crispy, so I was really looking forward to giving them a try.

Ferrero Collection Mini Eggs - Crispy Eggs

I prised one apart (which is impressive in itself) and think I was a little disappointed that these mini eggs didn’t have a hazelnut inside. There was room, and it feels traditional with Ferrero chocolates, but none the less, I could see the filling and the wafer.

I gave one of the crispy eggs a try, and it was still amazing. It is sweet, with loads of creamy milk chocolate, and the gorgeous hazelnut shines through. The wafer was magic too; it was perfectly crispy, and I enjoyed the texture ever so much. Yes, I still think they could have put a nut in there, but even without these, they are a gorgeous treat. Definitely one I’ll be picking up again. 

Ferrero Collection Mini Eggs - Crispy Eggs

15 January 2023

Tamar's Tusk - Artic Pale Ale (@NLi10)

 We went on holiday to Tenby a while ago - and I've made it to the last of my beers.  I think we'll have to go back!

All of them have been really nice - and I'm not usually a massive fan of beers - but these are some of the best I had last year.

We had a little look around the brewery - as it was pouring with rain it was a nice shelter!

Lots of words about the flavour there - tastes like nice beer to me!

And it looks great too!  If you have access to Tenby then get hold of this beer (and it's family).  

There is a reason they sell t-shirts for this - drink happily with pride.