31 December 2023

Christmas bits round-up - Monty Cinnamon, Pigs, Yellow Mice! [@NLi10]

 Happy New Years eve everyone! 

Here are some of the things that I've picked up over Christmas that are worth a mention.

First up is one of the new varieties of perennial favourite Monty Bojangles - the Caramelised Cinnamon Biscuit variety.

Same look & feel.

Slightly different twist on the classic.  I prefer the -fruity- ones but these are pretty great.  A little crunch in a sweet and spicy package.  Basically Biscoff, but without the branding.

While in Manchester I had this cronut - chocolate and icing on top

lovely layers in the middle - just a nice little bookshop treat.

These Pigs In Blankets Tortilla Curls were part of a secret santa present and they are pretty awesome.  Just smokey and piggy enough that you can eat a lot of them, and the tube shape is great for crunching, dipping, scooping.  More like this please!

Flo got some pompoms, a big yellow mouse (the favourite) and lots of Felix treats which they are big fans of.

Have a great New Years!

30 December 2023

Elusive Brewing Sticky Toffee Imperial Stout (The Wee Beer Shop) By @SpectreUK

Elusive Brewing Sticky Toffee Imperial Stout

I really don’t like turkey, so these days I get treated like a king to a big pork belly roast and crackling. Today is my second shot at Christmas dinner. I have had the most awful flu this past week. I’m not going to go into much detail, but most of Christmas Day was spent coughing, feeling nauseous, and in high fever. So, I couldn’t eat my Christmas meal or have any Christmas Pudding.

So, today a new pork belly roast is in the oven, and feeling only slightly better, I’m hoping I can stop coughing and hold off any more fevers long enough to enjoy it. I’m hoping to have Christmas Pudding for afters washed down with this Sticky Toffee Imperial Stout pudding ale.

At 10% in volume Elusive Brewing has teamed up with Sussex Small Batch, The Hornet in Chichester, and Needle & Pin in Loughborough to produce their take on Jim’s Sticky Toffee Pudding Stout. Lactose, vanilla, and a little salt were added in the brewing of this Sticky Toffee Imperial Stout. It all sounds pretty tasty, so, I’ll open the can and find out.

This Sticky Toffee Imperial Stout did have a bit of a salty smell to it on opening. It made me wonder just how much salt they had added in the brewing. There was also a milkiness, a touch of caramel, all mixed with roasted chocolate malt and a hint of coffee in the aroma. On taste the bitterness from the herbal hops worked hard against the milk and vanilla, whereas the salt attempted to remove any sweetness from the malts, there was then a little roasted chocolate malt boarding on coffee into the aftertaste. Having said that, I didn’t dislike this stout, rather saw it as not particularly pudding material.

I was a bit surprised to find this Sticky Toffee Imperial Stout wasn’t the liquid pudding I was lead to believe. It actually went better washing down my main course, which was perfectly cooked melt in the mouth pork belly, with the best salted crackling on top. And then followed by excellent Christmas pudding and a pot of low calorie vanilla ice cream scooped on top (as I’ve run out of calories for today). Well, you need a good treat when you’re ill. Second shot at Christmas dinner successful. Merry belated Christmas to you all.

29 December 2023

Christmas Panettone Chocolates (Waitrose) By @Cinabar

Christmas Panettone Chocolates (Waitrose)

This fits into the category of random things I bought from a service station. We saw family, and on the way back from the journey, we stopped at the services, and there was a small branch of Waitrose. I couldn’t resist having a look around the food hall, and this, along with a few stocking fillers, was one of those things I hadn’t gone out to buy but couldn’t resist at the time.

Weirdly, they Christmas Panettone Chocolates have managed to survive past Christmas, but not quite into the new year. Today seemed like the perfect day to have a chocolate treat while catching up on the recorded Christmas specials off the TV. Inside the box, there is a paper bag filled with quite large truffles. The shell of the truffles is a nice, thick milk chocolate, and inside is a smooth and Christmasy filling. They are flavoured after the Italian Christmas cake Panettone, so they have fruit spices and orange peel all mixed in. The flavour is lovely in these chocolates, with a nice hint of spice and fruitiness. The orange was lovely with them. I would gladly have another box of these and might see if they are discounted post-Christmas. I’m such a big fan of Christmas spice flavours.

So, did anyone else watch the Christmas episode of Ghosts? Honestly, I wish I’d left it where the series ended.

Christmas Panettone Chocolates (Waitrose)

28 December 2023

Brussel Sprout Ketchup - Sauce Shop (plus leftovers) [@NLi10]

 Christmas has gone, and leftover season is here. And to cope with that you need sauces - and if you got some as presents then even better!

Secret Santa clearly got the same targeted Facebook adverts I do and spotted this lovely ketchup that's made with sprouts instead of tomatoes.

Heck - it might even be gluten free.  Considering it's 61% sprouts though the flavour is very much that of a standard ketchup - sweetened vinegar!  And it's pretty good and quite compulsive.  We had it with beef and veggies and I got so excited I forgot to take the pictures!

Here is a pre-leftover version instead.

This will sit with my other sauce shop bottle - the buffalo hot sauce which is used sparingly to add pizzaz to normal food.  Can't wait to mix them up and to see what happens!

Enjoy this festive gap and make sure nothing goes to waste!

27 December 2023

Authentic Eggnog (Hickory’s Smokehouse) By @SpectreUK

Authentic Eggnog (Hickory’s Smokehouse)

I do love warming spicy comfort food, especially this time of year when it can be cold and damp outside. One of my favourite meals out is Chicken and Sausage Gumbo. I've been meaning to try this Authentic Eggnog from Hickory's Smokehouse for years. I must have been good lately, as whilst I was tucking into my Gumbo the other day, I was treated to a bottle.

This Authentic Eggnog is spiced rum and brandy with cream, egg and spices. At 12% in volume, the back of the fetching cardboard container recommends to heat it in a pan and share it out in glasses with a cinnamon stick. Sadly bereft of cinnamon sticks, but not too sadly, as I'm not a big fan of cinnamon, and with a lack of interest in sharing with anyone, I filled a mug and wandered over to the microwave.

Mince Pies and Cinabar's homemade Christmas Cake on a plate at the ready, I took a tentative sip. Okay, so, I may have overheated it in the microwave. After waiting a time, the mixture of spiced rum and brandy warmed up my tastebuds straight away, with the creaminess and added spices complementing my dessert perfectly. I haven't tasted many eggnogs in the past, but I have to say that this is the best one I've tried. I'd heartily recommend it.

26 December 2023

Extra Special Stollen Slices (Asda) By @Cinabar

Extra Special Stollen Slices (Asda)

It is Boxing Day (26th December), and that means we had left-over Christmas roast sandwiches for lunch. I suspect there are an awful lot of households that had the same lunch. As we had the left-overs from the big day, we fancied something as a little treat for dessert and decided to open up the Asda Extra Special Stollen Slices.

Stollen is a German Christmas treat made with a yeast dough and filled and rolled with seasonal spices and fruits. There is a layer of marzipan too for that extra Christmas flavour.

Extra Special Stollen Slices (Asda)

I opened the tray, and there are six slices, and they are not too big. The top is covered in icing sugar, which makes these dangerous. I had black jeans on, and now I’m wearing dusty jeans! The Extra Special Stollen Slices are out of this world, and I totally forgive them their loose icing sugar. The slices are moist and so full of fruit and currents that the texture is a delight. There is a touch of rum and a flavour of marzipan and spices too; these are spot on. They may not look that impressive, and pre-sliced rectangles of cake never do, but don’t underestimate them; these brought a smile to our faces and will be on the list of items we must get again next year.

Extra Special Stollen Slices (Asda)

25 December 2023

Hot Milk Chocolate Melting Snowman (Aldi) By @Cinabar

Hot Milk Chocolate Melting Snowman (Aldi)

This was my answer as to what to have as a soothing drink after all the festivities. Here we have a Hot Milk Chocolate Melting Snowman. You put the super-cute snowman in a mug and pour hot milk on him.
Hot Milk Chocolate Melting Snowman (Aldi)

He soon started to melt.

Hot Milk Chocolate Melting Snowman (Aldi)

Then he looks quite sad as he sinks in on himself.

Hot Milk Chocolate Melting Snowman (Aldi)

But then, pop, and all the marshmallows appear!

Hot Milk Chocolate Melting Snowman (Aldi)

I gave the drink a stir, and the chocolate melted nice and easily. The drink is lovely, sweet, and rich. This is a full-flavour chocolatey drink and a delight. The marshmallows are super fun on top. The perfect end to Christmas Day. Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you all had a fabulous day.

24 December 2023

Merry The Mince Pie - Waitrose [@NLi10]

 It’s Christmas Eve! And I’m installed at my parents for the festive period. This means we have all my old family Christmas decorations for background shots.

Here we see Waitrose’s latest festive offering - Merry The Mince Pie and in the background the old fairy from the top of the tree (replaced by a Winnie The Pooh Angel). These were £5 when I did my online order, but on sale yesterday for half price - which was worth a shot.

Here are the ingredients, along with the monkey in a baby grow that was my sister and i’s favourite tree ornament growing up. The ingredients - just chocolate! Well - white fondant stuff anyway.

The wrapping is pretty plush - and fully recyclable- it’s certainly gift like.

And it’s a luxury block of chocolate inside too - a very pretty little mince pie.

Caution - may contain traces of love!

Thick and crispy chocolate - that requires a big push to crack.

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!

I shred it around my family and they were all quite underwhelmed that it was just white chocolate. I think at Christmas there are a lot more exciting treats on offer!

So Merry Christmas from my family and all the pets (this is Zorro - a visitor) and from all of us at FoodStuffFinds!

23 December 2023

Saltaire White Christmas Beer (Morrisons) By @SpectreUK

Saltaire White Christmas Beer

It's kind of nice to see snow falling and sticking to the ground. Although it can be a pain, and can be dangerous to travel in, if you're tucked up nice and warm, and don't have to go anywhere for a while, snow is beautiful.

Well, by all accounts it's going to be a wet Christmas rather than a White Christmas here in the UK. Nevertheless, even when times are hard for everyone, what with lack of money, winter bugs and illness, and those that are suffering from loss and loneliness, we try our best to have a good time. Tonight I'll raise my beer glass to everyone out there and hope you are all well, and having a good Christmas.

This lightly hopped White Christmas pale ale had citrus of orange peel and spices of coriander seeds added in the brewing. Saltaire Brewery in West Yorkshire produced this 4.8% in volume festive pale ale with a nod to that famous song, and maybe a little hope for a some seasonal snow on Christmas Day.

On opening the bottle there was an orange aroma, with spice from the coriander, followed by sweet pale malts. The flavour of White Christmas pretty much mirrored its smell. There was the taste of orange peel and the flavour of lightly bitter citrus hops, with warming spice from the coriander seeds and then sweet pale malts into the aftertaste. This was a very moreish festive beer and it washed my ham, fried eggs, baked beans and chips down very well indeed. Lovely.

Merry Christmas, Everyone :-)

22 December 2023

Chocolate Yule Log Cake (Co-Op) By @Cinabar

Chocolate Yule Log Cake (Co-Op)

Last year, due to a bit of a mix-up, we didn’t get a Christmas Yule log. This year, I picked one up from the Co-Op the second I saw that the use-by date was reasonable. A Yule Log cake is a chocolate Swiss roll cake with icing to make it look like a log. It is a Christmas tradition here.

Chocolate Yule Log Cake (Co-Op)

So today marks the start of my Christmas break, and as such, we decided to crack open the Yule Log cake and start our Christmas mood. The cake looks stunning in the box, with layers and layers of chocolate fondant icing. When we opened the box, the cake did look rather small, well narrow, I suppose. We sliced some onto plates, and even on the small dessert plates with the small dessert forks, the cakes looked really small. It says it serves 8, but we were doing 6, and the portions still looked light.

Taste-wise, though, it was a delight; the sponge was moist and chocolatey, and the icing was a sugary chocolate blast of goodness. It was rich and full of flavour, and we were scraping our plates. We wanted more, but it was certainly a very good start to the Christmas break.

Chocolate Yule Log Cake (Co-Op)

21 December 2023

A Dishoom Indian Christmas [@NLi10]

A few days into December we popped to Dishoom. As it was my first time I thought I'd try the Christmas menu - as an excuse to go back in the new year too (they gave us vouchers!)

All the normal food came and looked great.

And then mine didn't come - so we had to re-order it! At least I had my drinks.

And then when everyone had finished their food mine arrived!

And in fairness - it's a nice selection of stuff - but not that Christmassy or Indian.  That's my fault I guess - should have stuck to the ordinary menu.  Good flavours but something was just a hint too spicy - maybe it was these...

I had been looking forwards to these, but they were a touch underdone - would have benefited from the old skillet trick where they are still cooking as they come out, but that's not Christmassy.

Good - but nothing as exciting as Indian Streetry or Indian Brewery Company

But they do have some Christmas gift ideas in the toilets which is nice!

20 December 2023

Gingerbread Spiced Caramels (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

Gingerbread Spiced Caramels (Waitrose)

I'm always excited at this time of year to see what new and innovative seasonal snacks are available. Well, these Gingerbread Spiced Caramels from Waitrose sound like a proper Christmas treat. They are cocoa dusted milk chocolate truffles with caramel, gingerbread spices and sel de Guérande (or special sea salt). They sound very posh, but what do they taste like?

Gingerbread Spiced Caramels (Waitrose)

On opening the box there were quite a few cocoa dusted salty chocolate balls inside the inner bag. On initial bite the first dusted milk chocolate shell shattered in my mouth to produce a luxurious chocolate and sweet salted caramel flavour from the runny caramel inside. Very flavoursome and moreish, these ginger spiced caramels had an additional lightly spicy gingerbread flavour to all that runny salted caramel. The cocoa dusted outer milk chocolate shell added further flavour to those sweet and salty caramel and ginger spices, to round off these chocolate truffles perfectly. Yum.

Information on the box; The 150g box contained 492 calories per 100g, with 25.4g of fat, 55g of sugar, and 0.42g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Gingerbread Spiced Caramels (Waitrose)

19 December 2023

Pigs In Blankets Quiche (Aldi) @Cinabar

Pigs In Blankets Quiche (Aldi)

Today is the big day in Aldi. They have launched all their special Christmas items. Some are crazier than others. One of the new items is the Pigs In Blankets ice cream that they have launched. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it, but my store didn’t have any anyway, so I guess that cleared up the dilemma as to whether I should buy it. I did have a good browse and decided to pick up this Pigs In Blankets Quiche for tea.

I heated it up in the oven and gave it a try. Now I have to say, if you stop and think about this, a ‘pigs in blanket’ is bacon and sausage, and what I’ve effectively bought here is a bacon and sausage quiche, which, when you break it down, is not half as exciting as it sounds to start with. Having said that, this had a delicious meaty flavour, salty bacon, and herby sausage meat. It was a bit of a meat feast in quiche form and made for a simple but tasty tea.

Yes, the flavour of this Pigs In Blankets Quiche is a bit of a novelty, and there weren’t even any pigs in blankets in it, but I’d still buy it again as it was just so nice and meaty. I’m still not sure about the ice cream.

Pigs In Blankets Quiche (Aldi)

18 December 2023

Christmas Pudding Wensleydale Cheese (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

Christmas Pudding Wensleydale Cheese

I had a shopping list when I went into Morrisons, and I can assure you that Christmas Pudding Wensleydale Cheese was not on that list. Cheese wasn’t even on the list, but this time of year brings strange impulse buys. We walked past the cheese section, and this one literally had a bow on it. How could I resist?

When we came to give it a try, we decided we would have it with some other meats and cheese as a quick and easy dinner. I’m never one hundred percent sure of the correct strategy for opening waxed cheese, so I got a sharp knife and just cut through the middle of the whole thing. From there, you can peel off the rest of the wax.

Inside, you can see the cheese is clearly packed with goodies and fruit. I gave a piece a try. Wensleydale is a creamy cheese and can very much work with a sweeter flavour (it is often paired with cranberries this time of year). The Christmas pudding taste was absolutely out of this world. It was all there, raisins, rum, spices, and citrus. It was absolutely delicious, and the flavour of the dessert was well balanced with sweet, spicy goodness. The creamy cheese shone through too, and it mellowed the spices perfectly.

This Christmas Pudding Wensleydale Cheese may be a novelty in cute packaging, but it also works impressively well, with spot-on flavours. I will be buying another of these for the Christmas cheese board, as I just loved it so much.

Christmas Pudding Wensleydale Cheese

17 December 2023

Wicked Cookies - Birmingham Christmas Market - Chocolate & Orange [@NLi10] @wickedcookiesuk

 Birmingham has a Christmas market this year (of course) and to make it a little more exciting this year they have segmented it up so that you have to visit different areas.  This means the normal shops don't suffer as much, and that each area has kind of got it's own personality.  The more grown-up Christmas market for people who want to spend money on nice things is by the Cathedral in Pigoen Park - and has actual fire like all real German Christmas markets do.

They also sell cookies.

My partner popped in to town one morning and pounced on the store-owners as they were setting up.  And as a result I got this Chocolate and Orange wicked cookie - in the nice branded bag.

They have socials! And more importantly they tell you to pop it in the microwave for 15 sec then let it sit to give it that freshly baked feel.

And it works! A lovely cookie to have in the afternoon with a hot drink, full of flavours and gooeyness.  I'd have more if I could!

On the times I've visited it's been night time so it's a lot more atmospheric but much more suited to sausages & beer.

Have a great Christmas everyone - it'll be here before you know it!