31 August 2023

Tesco Crème Brûlée - a little home treat [@NLi10]

 We wanted some nice puddings to take to Nannas house (the one that reviewed the Prime) and I chose Crème Brûlée- little did I know it’s kind of a diy version.

You get two little glass containers of custard - and a sachet of brown sugar to pour on top and then grill!

That seems a bit much when you’re round someone else’s house so I just ate it ‘raw’

An unusually crunchy sensation but all the flavours are there and it’s not bad (but not quite as luxurious as the restaurant version!)

30 August 2023

McVitie’s Digestives White Chocolate (Ocado) By @SpectreUK

McVitie’s Digestives White Chocolate

I do love white chocolate. I have done so since I was very young. I also prefer my hot chocolate of an evening, white chocolate, as I find it so much more creamy and indulgent. I find a big white chocolate bar and a hot white chocolate drink a perfect treat at the end of the day. So, these McVitie's Digestives White Chocolate biscuits and a hot white chocolate drink should be the perfect pick me up I need.

McVitie’s Digestives White Chocolate

After making my favourite Whittard's White Chocolate drink, I opened the packet of McVitie's Digestives White Chocolate biscuits. There was a sweet aroma of white chocolate and digestive biscuits from the contents of the packet. Good start. Though on first glance I thought that the white chocolate topping could have been a little bit thicker, mainly because I am greedy.

There was certainly a creamy flavour from the white chocolate topping, and then the sweetness from the digestive biscuit blended in nicely with the creaminess. I still reckon the white chocolate topping could have been more generous, but I did really enjoy these McVitie's Digestives White Chocolate biscuits, especially washed down with my white hot chocolate drink.

Information on the packet; The packet contained 15 biscuits at 78 calories per biscuit, with 3.8g of fat, 4.6g of sugar, and 0.14g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

McVitie’s Digestives White Chocolate

29 August 2023

Guinness Hot Chocolate (Amazon) By @Cinabar

Guinness Hot Chocolate (Amazon)

I’m not entirely sure how I ended up buying this hot chocolate; I know I didn’t go looking for it. I was actually searching for pumpkin spice items on Amazon (I love autumn flavours), and I know I searched for pumpkin spice hot chocolate, and for reasons best known to Amazon, this Guinness Hot Chocolate was in the search results. Obviously, once I knew it existed, I also knew I had to buy it; it felt like a very strange product cross-over.

Guinness Hot Chocolate (Amazon)

Once the tin arrived, I took a closer look at it. Firstly, what a stunning tin! I was very impressed. Secondly, it was made in Ireland, so it has the authenticity of Guinness. Finally, the instructions seriously annoyed me; they told me to use 25g of hot chocolate mixed with milk. What the actual I have drank literally hundreds of hot chocolates, and they all tell you how much to use with the measurement of teaspoons. I tried googling 25g of cocoa, and that is 2g per teaspoon, so that works out as 12 (?) teaspoons per mug, so that isn’t right. I also can’t be bothered to weigh 25 grams. Most hot chocolates are 3 or 4 teaspoons per mug, so I went with 4, and the drink was about right in a small mug. The drink mixed up nicely. I know I should have made it in a glass mug and topped it with white cream for that look, but all my mugs are opaque, sorry!

The flavour was rich and intense. The cocoa was strong and sweet, and the rich, deep flavours of Guinness shone through. They are super rich and super dark, and they worked a treat together. It has a proper autumnal feel and was a lovely warming drink on a cooler evening. I loved it, and I’d buy it as a gift too, as the tin is super cute.

Going back to my original point, there wasn’t any pumpkin spice hot chocolate on Amazon, even though I know Swiss Miss makes one in The States. If you know of one, let me know, because there is always room for another jar of interesting cocoa in the cupboard.

Guinness Hot Chocolate (Amazon)

28 August 2023

Mini Cheddars with Basil Pesto and Cheese (Ocado) by @Cinabar

Mini Cheddars with Basil Pesto and Cheese

Here we have a new flavour from Mini Cheddars with an Italian twist (called Italian Adventure on the pack), but they also claim to be 30% less fat than regular Mini Cheddars, which are already a baked snack. I’m here for the new flavour more than anything. I decided to have some with lunch today to fuel me for an exciting project of shelf building. I know how to party on a Bank Holiday Monday, don’t I?

Firstly, on the texture of these Mini Cheddars with Basil Pesto and Cheese, given the reduction in fat, I would say these are very slightly brittler than regular Mini Cheddars, but only slightly so. I probably wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t been looking for it. The taste is lovely; there is lots of flavour from the herbs, with the basil shining through, and the cheese is offset by a little sweetness too from a pesto flavour. These were a bit different and rather nice. They were a lovely accompaniment to my sandwich and something I would definitely buy again.

Mini Cheddars with Basil Pesto and Cheese

27 August 2023

ISO Sushi - Japanese food in Walsall [@NLi10]

We had a mini family get-together and fancied something other than Pizza so had a look on the usual apps then ordered directly from the ISO Sushi app (20% off!) as I'd not seen decent Japanese food in Walsall before and that kind of thing should be encouraged.

  Link here - there are actually a few in the UK by the looks of things.  Wolverhampton too which means when I'm in the remote office I can pick it up...

This meant that it was around £80 for 7 of us including driver tip.  We tried to do delivery but it wouldn't accept the postcode, but as we'd filled it in like that the restaurant phoned us to see if we did want a delivery and it all worked out.

I had the Chicken Yakisoba which came with Udon noodles (unexpected bonus) and it was great - nice deep flavour and a hint of spice to keep things interesting.  Most everyone else had variations on the Katsu (although the youngest had the Ramen)

I also added a drink - a little expensive for what it was but that's typical of the mangajo style drinks

The sharp lemon was a refreshing contrast to the spicy sauce so I was more than happy that I'd added it.

I also added these lovely Biscoff Gyoza! BUT - everyone was too full after their generous mains so I took them home then ate them solo for lunch the next day (pic at top)

The inside is almost like a Baklava - sugar syrup infused Biscoff crumbs and general awesomeness.  If you like this sort of thing then a sweet gyoza is definitely a new flavour sensation and makes a change from endless (but lovely) deep fried bananas.

It was the first time some of my family had tried Japanese food (!) so they were pleasantly surprised and also very full too.  Great value for money and somewhere I'll definitely order from again should I find myself with family again.

26 August 2023

Stray Cat Lager (Lymestone Brewery) By @SpectreUK

Stray Cat Lager (Lymestone Brewery)

Stray Cat Brewing is a pen name for Sarah Bradford. This lager was conceived by Sarah, and produced by the Lymestone Brewery, which was founded by Ian Bradford in 2008. There wasn't much information on the bottle with regards to why her pen name is Stray Cat, though the ingredients included lager malt, wheat malt, flaked maize, and Perle Hops.

It states on the bottle of this 4% in volume pale lager that it has a fruity finish. Looking up Perle Hops, suggests there should also be some minty, woody, and earthy peppery spiciness. Strong on hops, there was indeed a spicy pepper aroma on opening the bottle, with hints of mint and earthiness. Not particularly bubbly, this Stray Cat Lager won't make me burp too much after drinking.

Something in the ingredients was eating away at my mind though. It was the maize. I've tasted some beers in the past that have been spoiled by a strong maize flavour overshadowing everything else. Though I needn't have worried.

On taste Stray Cat Lager had a light refreshing crispness, with a warming flavour of spices and pepper. There was also sweetness from the lager and wheat malts perfectly combined with the flaked maize, and there was a little fruity minty taste into the aftertaste, all of which made me want to go back for more. I believe Sarah Bradford has done a smashing job with this lager, and I look forward to drinking more from Stray Cat Brewing.

25 August 2023

Muller Mississippi Mud Pie Corner Yoghurt (Asda) by @Cinabar

Muller Mississippi Mud Pie Corner Yoghurt

People are very excited that this Muller Mississippi Mud Pie Corner Yoghurt is back. It was released in the 1990s and has been sorely missed; even newspapers have been writing about its comeback. I have to confess that I didn’t remember it the first time around, but it seems that this has some sort of cult status. My online order this week was with Asda, and as these were listed in their new section, I thought I’d give it a try and see what all the fuss is about.

Muller Mississippi Mud Pie Corner Yoghurt

They were sold individually, so I just bought a couple. I generally buy yoghurts in multipacks, but I couldn’t see this flavour sold that way. Inside the tub is a corner with a chocolate biscuit crumble, vanilla yoghurt, and chocolate sauce. I gave it a try, and it was good. The flavour isn’t too chocolatey, as the yoghurt is a plain base flavour, but the chocolate shines through. The crumble part adds a nice biscuit taste and a bit of crumble. So yeah, these yoghurts get a thumbs up from me; I thoroughly enjoyed them. I have to be honest; I’m not sure they needed the articles in the papers announcing their comeback, but they are a nice addition to the range and one I’d buy again.

Muller Mississippi Mud Pie Corner Yoghurt

24 August 2023

Bagel Spot & Shake It Well - Birmingham [@NLi10] @bagel_spot

 I try not to go out and buy lunch when in the office - it can get expensive! I bumped into a friend who was unexpectedly on site today and we made lunch plans.  A new Bagel shop has opened near work that's just a little too far to get to and back in a normal quick lunch so we made a special trip.

The shop is small but exactly what you need - and it looked like you could eat in too at the back

And look at those juice varieties - I've only had about half of these before so will have to keep popping back.

£5.99 gets you a stacked bagel of your choosing, and a large portion of freshly cooked fries - a good size for a lunch.  I opted for the jerk chicken - taking a risk on the heat levels by adding spicy mayo.  All perfect - great flavours, definitely worth the walk.

In addition to the can with my meal I picked up a Shake It Well juice - Guava Berry Bravo Juice - which appears to be another Birmingham based juice company (what can I say - we need all the Tropical we can get!).  This was a great companion to the meal and I want to try more of these flavours too.

All-in-all a successful trip - It'll take a great effort to stop this becoming a weekly visit!

23 August 2023

Joe & Steph's: Dungeons and Dragons Sweet & Fiery Gourmet Popcorn By @SpectreUK

Joe & Steph's: Dungeons and Dragons Sweet & Fiery Gourmet Popcorn

I must admit that I haven't seen the latest Dungeons and Dragons Honor Among Thieves movie. I know it's just come out on DVD, and it's more expensive on Amazon Prime, so I'll wait for the prices to come down first.

I'm quite the grumpy old man, and can't abide the crunching and slurping that goes on in cinemas these days, not to mention the playing on phones during movies. So, I'd rather do my crunching and slurping in the comfort of my own home, play on my mini iPad instead, and pause whenever I need the to refill popcorn or pop to the loo.

These Dungeons and Dragons Sweet & Fiery Gourmet Popcorn were sent to me by a friend, amongst other goodies, she had won from a competition. These Chilli Chocolate Caramel Gourmet Popcorn were produced by Joe & Steph's. They state on the back of the packet that these air-popped corn should have a smooth caramel flavour to start with, followed by Belgian Chocolate, and then Red Chilli Pepper, maybe to represent the burn of the dragon's breath. We shall see.

Joe & Steph's: Dungeons and Dragons Sweet & Fiery Gourmet Popcorn

Bizarrely I decided to have these Dungeons and Dragons Sweet & Fiery Gourmet Popcorn with a barbecue turkey sandwich at lunchtime. On opening the packet they smelt like caramel and chocolate. On taste there was indeed caramel to start with, then creamy milk chocolate, followed by a fiery kick from the red chilli peppers in the ingredients. This left a pleasant warming medium burn on my tastebuds with all that sweet caramel and creamy Belgian chocolate. I found these Dungeons and Dragons Sweet & Fiery Gourmet Popcorn crunchy, sweet, fiery and very flavoursome. I'd definitely have them again.

Information on the packet; The 30g packet has 96 calories per 20g serving, with 5.5g of fat, 7.9g of sugar, and 0.12g of salt. With no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives, gluten free and suitable for vegetarians, please see photograph for the ingredients.

Joe & Steph's: Dungeons and Dragons Sweet & Fiery Gourmet Popcorn

22 August 2023

Cadbury Caramilk Crispy (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Cadbury Caramilk Crispy

When I was a kid, I thought I was the only one who liked a bar called Caramac made by Nestle. Everyone thought I was weird; I had a very sweet tooth that seems to still be going strong. I still like Caramac, but in recent times, it seems that style of chocolate is having its moment in the spotlight. Cadbury brought out Caramilk, a caramel-flavoured chocolate, and suddenly everyone has that same sweet tooth. I’m obviously very pleased about it.

Cadbury Caramilk Crispy

Caramel chocolate is doing so well. Cadbury has now brought out Cadbury Caramilk Crispy, which is their caramilk chocolate but with the addition of rice crispy bits. Not only do I have a sweet tooth, but I also love texture, so for me, this is just about the best thing ever. The flavour is sweet, mellow, and rich with toffee tones. The crispies aren’t noticeable from the front, but turn the bar over and you can see how many they packed in. The texture was nice and had a light crispiness that was a delight. It would be hard to complain about this bar, it ticks the boxes for me. The only issue is that it is just 85g in weight, so for the size, it is a thin bar, and frankly, I wanted more.

Cadbury Caramilk Crispy

21 August 2023

Lindt Choco Wafer (Tesco) by @cinabar

Lindt Choco Wafer

New product alert! And from one of my favourite chocolatiers too. Lindt has always been about a little extra luxury with their products, and here we have their new Choco Wafers. They come in a very nice box and would be a perfect gift or stocking filler, and they're not a bad price either at £6. Lindt can be on the pricey side.

Lindt Choco Wafer

Inside the box are ten individually wrapped wafer chocolates. There are three flavours: milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate hazelnut, all in colour-coordinated wrappers. I opened up the hazelnut one fist because I am nuts about them. Chocolate and nuts are always my first choice. 

Lindt Choco Wafer

The wafers are a decent size, and this one looked appealing as it was sprinkled with hazelnuts on top. I have to admit that I was rather impressed by these, they are quite substantial, they have the smoothest chocolate, and the wafers are spot on in texture. They are crispy but firm. The nuts on top added a lovely bit of texture, and they were a complete luxury. I would be over the moon to receive these Lindt Choco Wafers as a gift, but in the meantime, I’m rather pleased I treated myself to a box!

Lindt Choco Wafer

20 August 2023

Turmeric - does it work for me? Tasty & medicinal versions. [@NLi10]

A new(ish) café has opened on our high-street (one of two highstreets we are in the middle of!)  called Hello Café (Bearwood) and my partner noticed that on the menu they had a turmeric Late.  

I have rheumatoid arthritis and turmeric is one of the many (many) things that has been recommended over the years to help - and the amounts I'd taken in teas etc really didn't make a difference.  Chatting to the lady at the counter she said this is made with powdered turmeric so I thought I'd give it a go.

It looks very pretty in it's drink form - very yellow.  Naturally I had it with a lovely pastry which I think helped with the digestion.  Within 30 mins I had a lovely fuzzy glow which I'd not expected - kind of like I'd taken a lot of ibuprofen but without all the horrible side-effects. This was worth investigating!

In the Holland & Barrett a few doors down they had the Better You spray for Turmeric - half price at £12 as they are discontinuing it!  Probably because it has a tendency to go everywhere when you spray it - which is why there are yellow fingerprints all over this.

Spray in mouth - wait for effects!  Compared to the heap of powdered turmeric in the late this contains very little.  I suspect that the powder is a lot better value for money.

And while it is very convenient, it doesn't really have that massive effect that the first late did.  Useful though as it does make me feel a lot less fragile than I usually do which is a big bonus when you have a day that you want to be more active.

A week later I returned to Hello Café and had another Late (and one of the soft strawberry ice-creams). The effect wasn't quite as profound this time (no pastry to absorb it maybe) but it was still quite pleasing and took the edge off the day.

Naturally - if you are like me and on medications this doesn't replace them (in fact its always worth discussing with your consultant if you plan on doing this long term).  It also doesn't actually prevent the RA from doing the nasty damage that it tends to do - but it does help a lot with the inflammation.  As this is (in the right amounts) proven to be similar in effect to Ibuprofen (but without the IBS style symptoms that causes over time) I think I'll look into other ways of drinking it at home.

19 August 2023

Turning Point Pulpatine Stout (The Wee Beer Shop) By @SpectreUK

Turning Point Pulpatine Stout

I love Comic Cons. I can't help going to the odd one now and then, not only to fuel my inner geek, but also to sell my products for my slowly growing toy business called Popular Toys Emporium. My stall does quite well at Comic Cons, whereas at the more inclusive toy fairs for the vintage toy collectors, it struggles at little.

There are always lots of characters wondering around Comic Cons wearing costumes they have worked exceptionally hard to make them as authentic as possible. These costumes are always very impressive. If you stop one of these characters they will very happily tell you every aspect of their outfit, where they bought different parts and even what movies each part represents. I have seen an Emperor Palpatine at a few of these Comic Cons, not to mention a very pesky Jawa, who wonders around trying to lift toys when no one is looking.

This Pulpatine imperial stout reminds me of the sheer hard work these people put into their character costumes, due to the fact that there are so many detailed ingredients. There is peach, plum, charred nectarine, and beech smoked malts in the ingredients, as well as hops and oats, which should provide quite the taste sensation.

On opening the can there was a sumptuous fruity aroma of plums mixed with citrus from the nectarine and hops, cushioned by rich smoky chocolate malt. Gosh, I could spend all night smelling this imperial stout. However, I have an Indian takeaway on route, so I'm looking forward to washing down my Sheikh Kebabs, and Lamb Rogan Josh with chips. I know, but I've never been much of a rice lover, and I do love a curry and chips.

On taste this almost black Pulpatine imperial stout was too good to put down. There was instant fruitiness from the plums, which reminded me of the plum porters I love so much. There was a tartness to this plum flavour too, from the added nectarines and crisp citrus hops. The sweet velvety smokiness of the chocolate malt followed on from this, with a touch of peach into the aftertaste. Simply gorgeous. I will have to pick up a few more of these cans, but not in the far, far, future.

18 August 2023

Tymbark Cherry Drink (Morrisons) by @Cinabar

Tymbark Cherry Drink

I saw this fun-looking cherry drink as a newly listed item on the online supermarket, and it sounded like a nice new soft drink to cool us down on a hot day. Well, the weather didn’t come through, but we still gave it a try on a rather damp and wet day for August. I went to open it, and I have to say that I thought the lid was cool, it looks like a bottle top, but it has its own ring pull on the side. The drink didn’t fizz, and that was the first time I realised it was a still drink.

It is a very bright red in colour, which does look fun. The flavour is lovely, it is very fruity and nice and sweet. I liked the taste, and the cherry was strong and refreshing. There is a hint of apple too, which adds a little smoothness to the taste. It is easy to sip and goes too quickly due to the lack of bubbles, but it certainly was refreshing. The weather may not have provided the sunshine, but when it does, this would be the perfect soft drink for barbecues.

Tymbark Cherry Drink

17 August 2023

Plant, The Bar (Choc & Raspberry) [@NLi10]

Protein bars are nothing new, but now there is a definite attempt to make them less synthetically and to have at least some real vitamins available.  Here we have The Bar, Plant - which is vegetarian friendly (which I guess means it's not suitable for Vegans). 

Here are the nutrients contained in The Plant Bar - and it's a Holland & Barrett special - no wonder I've not seen these around.  Once opened consume immediately - probably because like a lot of these things it just absorbs all the moisture.

But Plant The Bar actually looks reasonably appetising, and that might be real chocolate on the outside!

And on top of the Bar, there is a layer of the chosen flavour - meaning they can just use the same mix for the base on these and add some jam so that it's not entirely protein and has some flavour variety.

And overall - it's pretty successful.  Like most of these things your body won't process this efficiently and you'll just excrete it (unless you are doing some fantastic work-outs that causes your body to digest protein at a magically faster rate), and you'd be much better off consuming plants that contain the amino acids that your body actually uses to build proteins (broccoli) as happens in all mammals.

But - as a 'gym snack' this is pretty decent - but remember to have a lot of water on standby so you don't dehydrate as a result.

16 August 2023

Ticket Alcohol Free Beers - Saffron and Lemongrass (Ticket) By @SpectreUK

Ticket Alcohol Free Beers - Saffron and Lemongrass

Cinabar enters the odd competition draw now and then. Sometimes she wins something, most of the time she doesn't. This time she's won something odd. These Ticket Alcohol Free Beers have odd flavours, both of which have saffron in their ingredients, the pale ale a little more saffron than the lager, whereas the lager has lemongrass as its predominant flavour.

I thought putting lemongrass in a beer would most likely make it taste like washing up liquid. Fortunately I was wrong on that assumption and have found that Asian cuisine, such as Thai curries and Chinese takeaways go well with this not too fizzy lager. Golden in colour, Ticket's alcohol free lager with lemongrass, had a not too overwhelming flavour of lemongrass, followed by a light spiciness from the saffron and complementing hops, with the sweetness of malted barley into the aftertaste. Bizarrely this lager also went well with the bread, cheese and cold meats I have as a Sunday night treat. Although I usually have a big glass of Port or a triple Southern Comfort or rum and lemonade.

The saffron infused pale ale had lavender and orange added in during the brewing. I couldn't help but feel that there was too many complex flavours in this pale ale. Although it still went well with cheese meals, I couldn't find that it went well with anything else or on its own. The spices from the saffron, floral notes from the lavender and citrus from the orange plus the hops seemed to battle each other within each mouthful. Instead wiping out the sweet malted barley and producing a very maize type flavour. A flavour I don't particularly like in beer, and will be glad when I don't have anymore left to slowly drink away.

15 August 2023

Mcvities Hobnobs Coconut Macaroon Flapjacks (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Mcvities Hobnobs Coconut Macaroon Flapjacks

I spotted these in the supermarket and thought I’d give them a try. They were also on a club card price of just £1, so that helped with the temptation. The first thing I notice, and I’m not sure how well it shows up on the photo, is that these are small bars, very small bars. The box they are in is bigger than them, and the wrapper they are in is also baggy on them. 

Mcvities Hobnobs Coconut Macaroon Flapjacks

I gave one a try, and I did like the flavour. They aren’t as sweet as traditional flapjacks, but there is still a nice oat flavour with a hint of syrup. Wholesome but mild. The coconut is a bit too mild too, but it is present if you look for it.

In conclusion, these are pleasant enough but not that exciting. I started off disappointed by how small they were, and then the flavour could have been so much more. They were drying out for a drizzle of chocolate.

Mcvities Hobnobs Coconut Macaroon Flapjacks