21 May 2024

Blueberry Burst Bubble Tea (Costa) By @Cinabar

Blueberry Burst Bubble Tea

As I have been travelling by train on a warm day, I thought I would treat myself to a nice cold drink from the station branch of Costa. Obviously, my eyes were drawn to the new drink on the menu, this Blueberry Burst Bubble Tea. The lady made it quickly for me, as I only had a few minutes before my train, and this meant I forgot to ask for a paper straw. I have no idea how bubble tea works without a straw, but I guess I’m about to find out.

The drink has a two-tone colour effect as the darker bubbles are all at the bottom. I gave it a sip using the hole in the lid, and the drink is very refreshing. It isn’t too sweet; it has the bitterness of ice tea, but there is plenty of blueberry taste, and the balance is nice. Unfortunately, the bubbles stayed at the bottom until the end. When I got to them, I realised they were struggling to make it through the hole in the lid, so I took the top off and gave them a try that way. Each one burst with a sweet blueberry flavour and was spot on. The sweetness was all at the bottom of the drink. What can I say? I wish I had a straw, and I've learned not all beverages are made for takeout.

20 May 2024

Colin The Caterpillar Chocolate Mousse (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

Colin The Caterpillar Chocolate Mousse

The packaging does not do this product justice. I found these Colin The Caterpillar Chocolate Mousses in Marks and Spencer and thought they sounded like a nice after-dinner treat. I wasn’t exactly sure what this Colin The Caterpillar edition dessert was because the lid is where all the writing is, and I couldn’t see under it when I purchased it. I guess I just hoped for the best and accepted that a chocolate mouse would be great either way.

Once the lid was off, I could see a cute Colin The Caterpillar white chocolate face, some cubes of chocolate brownie, and some cute sprinkles for a bit of colour.

Colin The Caterpillar Chocolate Mousse

The first proper layer of this dessert is the mousse, and it has an impressive flavour. The chocolate is intense, sweet, and super creamy all in one. The texture is light, and it is the kind of thing you find yourself scraping the tub with the spoon to get every last bit out. The bottom layer is a rich chocolate sauce, a little thicker in texture and not so creamy, but the contrast was so nice. I left the white chocolate till the end, and that was a nice way to finish the dessert. I hope people aren't put off picking these up because they can’t see under the lid in the shop. Because these Colin The Caterpillar Chocolate Mousse is such a delight it would be a shame to miss out. 

Colin The Caterpillar Chocolate Mousse

19 May 2024

Northern Monk - Apple Strudel with Custard Pale Ale! [@NLi10]

 It was recently Eurovision Weekend (hooray!) so I found and saved a slightly topical beer - Appel Strudel with Custard!

Apple beer is intriguing, and with hints of vanilla?  What could possibly go wrong!

It’s a pretty cool can & idea - pudding beer is a bit like adding fruit to beer and then ramping up the sugar I guess!

And while the contest rages on in the background, I got to sipping what is quite an interesting little mix.  As a cider fan (and someone who likes vanilla) I think this worked magnificently.  It’s light enough that I could happily have gone straight into the second - but with risky flavours I only get one at a time.

I’ll add this to the list of ones to keep in stock though as it made a refreshing change and will be great in the summer

And as a bonus - the night before We’d got to see the northern lights, but localised and entirely in our back-garden! For the UK this is a little unusual - but apparently they will be back within the month too

Wonder if I can find some space beers for then?

18 May 2024

St. Feuillien Brown Ale (Marks & Spencer’s) By @SpectreUK

St. Feuillien Brown Ale (Marks & Spencer’s)

I have pork chops tonight. You're probably thinking that's not such an interesting meal, but pork chops and gravy with potatoes and veg done right are literally my favourite gravy meal. I'd probably have pork chops, two at least, as my last meal.

I always thought my mom did the best pork chops. I'd ask for pork chops every time I visited. She's pretty old now and we seem to meet halfway between our homes at a Hickory's Smokehouse more often than she cooks now. Cinabar offered the other week to cook me pork chops. I challenged her that my mom cooked the best pork chops, and so Cinabar goes and knocks my challenge out of the park.

I fancy a brown ale with my pork chops tonight. This Belgium Reserve Brown Ale, St. Feuillien (Saint Foo-Yen) should fit the bill very well indeed. At 8.5% in volume, this brown ale was uniquely top-fermented and has been brewed by the Friart family since 1873, keeping with the original traditions of production.

On opening the bottle there was a heavy malted barley aroma from the deep brown ale inside. Pouring with a frothy head, St. Feuillien had the strong wholesome flavour of sweet malted barley. Heavy on the malts, this brown ale barely had a hint of herbal bitterness. Those luscious biscuity malts just kept on giving right through to the aftertaste.

If you like your smooth sweet malted barley brown ales, this St. Feuillien is definitely for you. I know I'll certainly have a bottle or two in my beer fridge as often as possible from now on.

17 May 2024

Cadbury Dairy Milk & More - Nutty Praline Crisp (Iceland) By @Cinabar

Cadbury Dairy Milk & More - Nutty Praline Crisp

This is the second new bar from Cadbury, and as much as I love a new chocolate bar, this one sounds weirdly similar to the last. The first bar was Cadbury Dairy Milk & More - Caramel Nut Crunch, and this one is Cadbury Dairy Milk & More - Nutty Praline Crisp. They are both variations on nuts with chocolate. I love nuts and chocolate, so I’m not really complaining, but I also think it is strange to launch two bars like this at the same time.

This bar, as opposed to having nuts in it, has smooth praline with a crispy wafer. I am all about the texture when it comes to chocolate bars, so I couldn't wait to give it a try. I broke a strip off, and even as I did this, I noticed the light snap of the wafer, which was very appealing. The bar itself is full of smooth praline, but the wafer is light and crispy, and that mix of textures made me smile. The smooth, nutty flavour with the chocolate was also a dream. There is lots of nut flavour, but the crunch is just from the wafer. I really enjoyed this Cadbury Dairy Milk & More - Nutty Praline Crisp bar. That mix of texture and the sweet chocolate were just lovely. I’m looking forward to seeing what else comes out in the Cadbury Dairy Milk & More range, and I’m still hoping they introduce some new flavours too. 

Cadbury Dairy Milk & More - Nutty Praline Crisp

16 May 2024

Filbert's Snack Salami - Chorizo & Sea Buck Tonic [@NLi10]

 I was on the beach watching my partner do some sea kayaking and fancied a snack. The shop facing the sea had all the normal things, like the Feast I had, and they had bar snacks by Filbert's too!  So naturally I picked up a Salami (but for later on)

The Filberts olives work out a little expensive but are much more portable than the jars and plastic tubs from the supermarkets.  You know - for those picnics in the woods (or more likely bar snacks).

Enjoy with an IPA! Nope - we got some dirty tonic.

This Sea Buck Tonic was hidden away in one of the little local St Ives brewery shops with all the pirate themed spirits.  We did pick some of those up too as presents but I got this as a taster then intended to get more later (but failed)

15 May 2024

Golden Wonder Spicy Bikers (Cost Cutter) By @SpectreUK

Golden Wonder Spicy Bikers

Do you ever get that feeling of one packet of crisps isn't enough? I do love gorging on crisps sometimes. It's the same with biscuits. I manage my calories and workout like a madman so I can eat healthy for the best part, and gorge sometimes for a treat, but still stay in the realm of my allotted calories.

These Golden Wonder Spicy Bikers should go rather well with my roast pork and mustard sandwich at lunchtime. From the colour of the packet and some of the ingredients of paprika, nutmeg and black pepper, I'm thinking barbecue spices. These maize flavoured crisps are baked not fried for a bit of a lean towards healthiness, even if they don't expect you to eat the whole packet. I like how they mention on the back that they have ramped up the flavour 'by 360 degrees' to make them 'wheely great'.

Golden Wonder Spicy Bikers

On opening the packet there was sweet onion and a touch of garlic to the orange paprika coloured maize wheels inside. With added spices of nutmeg and black pepper, there was a medium heat to these Golden Wonder Spicy Bikers. Moreish to an extreme, I found myself chomping through the whole packet of these 'wheely great' maize crisps in no time at all.

Information on the packet; The 50g bag contained 119 calories per 25g, with 5.2g of fat, 0.9g of sugar, and 0.22g of salt. Please see ingredients in photograph.

Golden Wonder Spicy Bikers

14 May 2024

Extra Cream Custard Creams (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

Extra Cream Custard Creams (Marks and Spencer)

When I first heard about these biscuits, I thought they would be giant biscuits, but the biscuits are the same size and the filling is double. This still sounds like a formula that could work. The latest creation from Marks and Spencer are these Marks and Spencer Extra Cream Custard Creams. There are 12 biscuits in the pack, and I opened them up to take a look. There is a photo with a ruler for scale. There is definitely extra cream, but not quite as much as I imagined; maybe I’m just greedy.

I gave one a try, and what I hadn’t expected was that there was a much stronger, creamy custard taste. It really is much more noticeable than I had expected. These are so creamy, and the custard is my favourite element, so these were a dream. There was a slight change in texture, with a more soft filling and a stronger crunch. I liked that too, but seriously, these Marks and Spencer Extra Cream Custard Creams biscuits are all about the custard filling. I hope they don’t stop these, as I’m not sure I could go back to regular, thin Custard Creams. 

Extra Cream Custard Creams (Marks and Spencer)

13 May 2024

Hershey’s Cookies N Cream Flat White (Sainsburys) By @Cinabar

Hershey’s Cookies N Cream Flat White

There are not enough coffee-flavoured chocolate bars available in the shops. Chocolate goes just as well with chocolate as caramel, but there are rarely any limited editions with the flavour. I was so excited to see this, even though I think coffee and dark chocolate is the best, but I was still super excited about trying this new coffee and white chocolate-based bar.

I opened the wrapper and was surprised by how strong the coffee aroma was. It smelled like sweet, creamy coffee and was lovely and enticing. The taste was also super rich, and there was loads of rich coffee, creamy flavour, and sweetness. The chocolate taste held it all together; this is one of the nicest chocolate bars I have eaten in years. The coffee flavour is spot on, and it just works. There are cookie pieces too, and this adds that much-loved texture that I like. The bar was a dream and a new favourite. I don’t normally rave about Hershey’s as a brand, but with this Hershey’s Cookies N Cream Flat White bar, they nailed the brief. 

Hershey’s Cookies N Cream Flat White

12 May 2024

Mister Free'd - Avocado Tortilla Chips - Guacamole Flavour [@NLi10]

 My partner picked these up with the regular little shop in Asda - a bag of gluten free tortilla chips. 

These ones by Mister Free'd have a little extra flavour on them - which I wasn't quite expecting!

No nasties - hooray!

Made in Ireland apparently which is cool.

Look at that lovely tangy guacamole - and along with the deeply flavoured chips this makes for an excellent snack/side.  I think we might need to make these a regular thing!

11 May 2024

Cat to the Future By Elusive Brewing (Wee Beer Shop) @SpectreUK

Cat to the Future By Elusive Brewing

I can be pretty catlike. I'm homely, inquisitive, curious, I can be very attention seeking, love my fuss, cuddles, and quick to nip when riled. I love Back to the Future too. As a person who tries unsuccessfully much of the time not to dwell in the past, I often look back. What if I could go back and rectify one or more of the multitude of mistakes I've made, the wrong paths I've taken, the poor decisions. Where would I be now? And there is the question of loss. Who would I choose to spend time with from my past, and somehow make it right this time?

This Cat to the Future West Coast Pale ale is in the here and now. It should wash my scampi and chips down a treat tonight. Brewed in collaboration with Hop Burns & Black, Elusive Brewing's 4.5% in volume West Coast malt base was produced with hop varieties of Mosaic, Columbus, Simcoe, and Citra. So, I'm expecting quite a bitter bite of citrus and fruitiness from this sharp sounding pale ale.

On opening the can there was a tart citrus aroma overshadowing sweet pale malt. Cat to the Future West Coast Pale ale poured a cheerful bubbly deep golden colour. It matched the sunshine outside today. On taste there was herbal hops fighting against all those citrus hops. There was quite a sharp edged battle of hops to get through to the sweet pale malt, which pretty much poked out into the aftertaste.

This Cat to the Future was a very flavoursome ale indeed, hop heavy in fact. There was hop fighting right from the start, but I do love a flavoursome beer with a bite, and this West Coast Pale ale ticked all the boxes for me, as it washed down my scampi and chips wonderfully. Cheers.

10 May 2024

Magnum Euphoria Magnum Mini Pink Lemonade (Ocado) By @Cinabar

Magnum Euphoria Magnum Mini Pink Lemonade

We had some of the first warm days of weather this week; the sun was shining and it was pleasant outside. It wasn’t hot exactly, but it was nice. We went for a nice walk, came back, and decided to see what ice creams were in the freezer. I ordered these Magnum Euphoria Magnum Mini Pink Lemonade a couple of weeks ago but had sort of forgotten about them, probably because the weather hasn’t been great. I was very pleased to rediscover them today. 

This is one of the smaller Magnums, and there are six in the box. As they are fairly small, they are also fairly low in calories; if you are counting, they are just 138 kcal each. 

The ice lollies are covered in white chocolate and speckled with pink. Inside is lemon ice cream and a raspberry sorbet centre (which you can’t see as it is covered in white chocolate). I wasn’t sure how sharp flavours like lemon and raspberry would work with chocolate, but I was impressed to find it was super refreshing. The creamy chocolate added a lovely smooth sweet taste, and it was the perfect balance for the sharper fruity tastes. These Magnum Euphoria Magnum Mini Pink Lemonade ice creams were made for warm, sunny days; let's hope they continue. 

Magnum Euphoria Magnum Mini Pink Lemonade

9 May 2024

Cookie Queen @ Porthleven Food Fest (and your house too!) [@NLi10]

I deliberately left one shop out of the Porthleven Food Festival review last week because it wasn't for eating on the day - it was for taking back to the lodge and savouring another day.

Look at these magnificent Cookie Sandwiches!

 We ate our lunch on a concrete bollard table thing opposite this stall.  It was very popular with the locals and had so many wonderful options that I knew I'd be taking a few home.  The picture at the top was my partners Banoffee Cookie Sandwich - she really liked it.

I'd have zoomed in more to take a picture of the range, but I forgot to get a better one when I didn't have a steak wrap in one hand.

And here we see my lemon cookie sandwich (naughtily being eaten at the excellent Hog & Hedge services - in fairness we did get stuff there both on the way down and back).

It was just the right balance of sharp and fruity, and the cookies were British enough to have lovely natural flavours too.

And the leaflet revealed a big secret - they deliver!!

So while this is a little indulgent to order for yourself (although they do keep 2 weeks) it's a cool thing to do as a birthday thing to take to work, or just to get delivered for relatives.

It's not a common thing to find a baked treat that you can actually recommend UK wide so it's quite cool that these are so good.

Visit www.cookiequeen.uk if you dare!

8 May 2024

Honey Barbecue Multigrain Snack (Marks & Spencers) By @SpectreUK

Honey Barbecue Multigrain Snack (Marks & Spencers)

Popping into motorway services on the way back from a Comic Con the other day, I saw these Honey Barbecue Multigrain Snacks in a service station. Produced for Marks & Spencer's, they were made with maize, rice, chickpeas and oats. This calls for an alternative snack blog, as opposed to the usual potato crisps.

There was a fetching wave effect on these Honey Barbecue Multigrain Snacks, which caught my eye in the store. I like it when you can see your snack when you buy it, rather than a covered over packet. There was something about that look of thick wavy orange paprika dusted multigrain crisps that made my mouth water.

On opening the bag there was a spicy paprika and smoky smell, as well as strong multigrain from the orange thick crisps inside. On first crunch these Honey Barbecue Multigrain Snacks had a sweet barbecue flavour, with a hint of spices from the cumin, chilli peppers and paprika, as well as a little garlic, onion and tomato. Moreish to an extreme these crunch wavy crisps disappeared pretty quickly I can tell you.

Information on the bag; The 60g bag contained 477 calories per 100g, with 23.3g of fat, 8.4g of sugar, 6.1g of protein, and 2.08g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Honey Barbecue Multigrain Snack (Marks & Spencers)

7 May 2024

Heinz Tomato Ketchup Smokey Bacon Flavour (Iceland) By @Cinabar

Heinz Tomato Ketchup Smokey Bacon Flavour

Heinz has been bringing out quite a lot of new sauces recently, but mostly they have been flavoured mayonnaises. We had Heinz MayoMust, which is mayonnaise with mustard. That was nice on ham sandwiches, but not something I went out to buy a second bottle of. Ketchup is their classic product, so I’m rather hoping that this Heinz Tomato Ketchup Smokey Bacon Flavour works well. This is a sauce that I hope when I taste it I think I hope this hangs around on the shelves.

Tonight for our dinner, we have Southern Fried Chicken and chips, the homemade kind rather than the takeaway kind. With this, we would normally have a spicy sauce to dip in, but I was looking forward to trying this as an alternative. The flavour worked really well with this meal. The ketchup is sweet with the tomatoes, but the smoky taste just works so nicely with it. There is a meatiness too, and I found myself making sure I got every last drop with my last chip. I hadn’t expected to love this as much as I did, but I’m so glad it worked as well as it did. This Heinz Tomato Ketchup Smokey Bacon Flavour is one that I want to buy again, and I will be going back for another bottle. 

6 May 2024

Barratt Flumps Cupcakes (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

Barratt Flumps Cupcakes

We went to the supermarket to do a bit of a top-up shop after a very busy weekend out and about at a Comic Con. Right by the door was a stand with these brightly coloured Barratt Flumps Cupcakes; they were our first purchase. We had gone in for bread, milk, and other essentials, but these looked perfect for a treat on a long weekend. 

The cupcakes look very pretty; they are based on the colourful marshmallows that I have with hot chocolate, and sometimes just straight from the bag. They have done a nice job on the topping by mimicking the colour of the sweets.

I gave the cupcake a try, and it was very tasty. It reminded me of birthday cake. The base sponge is light and fluffy, with lots of vanilla running through it. The topping is also sweet and vanilla, and it is soft and moist. The combination is a lovely, colourful treat. The topping is supposed to be marshmallow flavour, but despite eating Barratt Flumps sweets a lot, I think they are just vanilla, so in that respect, they nailed it. The cupcake is mostly about the eye catching buttercream on top, and the flavour is just an easy-going sweet treat. I’d still buy these Barratt Flumps Cupcakes again, as they were lovely as an afternoon sweet treat.

Barratt Flumps Cupcakes

5 May 2024

Porthleven Food Festival - Summer Berry Filled Churro & Brazilian Picana Sandwich [@NLi10]

 While in Cornwall for the week a local streamer gave me the top tip of visiting the Porthleven Food Festival.  We tend to avoid these things locally as it's usually the same people each time (much as I love the Fuffle Man), but here it's a whole new selection of Indy food makers!

Having been to Porthleven before I knew the layout and that there are lots of cool arty shops anyway, so we popped over.

There was music and drinking for the locals too!

I chose a Brazilian Picana Steak Sandwich for my lunch.  

Lovely and crispy with deep flavours and filled with lots of excitement.  This ordinarily would have been a highlight of the day.

My partner had a Buddha bowl which I'd almost been tempted by too - great variety here too - hard to make things like this at home without having loads of left-overs.

I'd already spotted this on lap one - the recon - and decided it was to be my pudding of choice.  And I went for the Summer Berry Filled Churro

Turns out I was the first to order this new item - and the guy behind me in the queue ordered the second!

It's a complicated mix of dried fruit and sugar on the outside, and a strawberry & vanilla creme on the inside - and it's amazing!

Like all filled Churro the second half is always a mess as it creeps out of the sides and the sugar starts to fall off and get everywhere. I managed to eat it all before the park & ride bus arrived to take us back to the car - so it wasn't too messy.

Overall a massive hit - and banana split style with ice-cream would easily be a restaurant grade pudding.

Well worth the trip out, and decent value for money too - I'd certainly go again.

4 May 2024

Original Stormtrooper Goon Squad West Coast IPA By @SpectreUK

Original Stormtrooper Goon Squad West Coast IPA

May the fourth be with you.

It's Star Wars Day today. If you're not a fan or if you haven't seen any of the movies or the new Disney series of various characters from various times between the movies doing various things, you may be missing out. If you don't like SciFi at all, you still might like this beer. If you don't like beer, hopefully my writing may help to distract you from your daily grind.

Whether you consider yourself a goody-two-shoes Jedi or a baddass Sith Lord, the little green fella in charge of everything nice, Yoda says; " For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter." So, if you understood that, Jedis are the shiny ones, and Sith prefer dark colours and particularly red.

This Goon Squad West Coast IPA is 5.5% in volume. It has a Stormtrooper in disguise on the front. He must be trying to blend in with the good guys. Typically a West Coast India Pale Ale will have citrus and tropical fruity bitterness, perhaps with a hint of pine and then sweet malts. Goon Squad should live up to that nicely, and if I drink enough of it, I might get a red nose too.

On opening the Goon Squad can there was a tropical fruity citrus hops aroma, with a woody note, and also malts in the background. On taste this bright golden West Coast IPA did pretty much what it said on the can. Okay, so there weren't any Stormtroopers in disguise with red noses, but there were cutting citrus and tropical hops to begin with, followed by more than a hint of pine, and then the sweet pale malts to finish. Very tasty indeed. It washed down my pork chops a treat.

3 May 2024

English Cheesecake Company Billionaires Milk Chocolate Cheesecake Pot (Sainsburys) By @Cinabar

English Cheesecake Company Billionaires Milk Chocolate Cheesecake Pot

I think I’m starting a new thing, and that is that on Fridays we have dessert. It might just be something picked up from the supermarket as a quick treat, but there is still a good selection of interesting goodies. I don’t think I’ve seen the brand The English Cheesecake Company before, so I thought I would give them a go. I looked at the flavours, and this Billionaires Milk Chocolate Cheesecake Pot appealed the most. They sound lovely, and I couldn’t resist the crackable lid.

I opened up the box and thought that the packaging was cute. There are little messages on the box, which is a sweet touch.

English Cheesecake Company Billionaires Milk Chocolate Cheesecake Pot

Inside the pack are plastic pots with plastic peel lids. The dessert looks nice, though, and has a thin but solid chocolate across the top. I used my spoon to crack the chocolate and give it a try. The flavours are really rich and delicious. The chocolate is nice and sweet; there is lots of caramel running through it and a nice bit of texture. The cheesecake layer is just right, creamy but with that distinctive cheesecake taste. My only criticism of the whole thing was that there wasn’t enough biscuit base; that might just be me, as I like that layer, and it is a small thing. Overall, I really enjoyed this English Cheesecake Company Billionaires Milk Chocolate Cheesecake Pot.

English Cheesecake Company Billionaires Milk Chocolate Cheesecake Pot

2 May 2024

Walkers MAX Extra Flamin' Hot Ridged 'Fuego' Crisps [@NLi10]

 I'm not entirely sure if these are based on the American Cheetos 'Flamin Hot' or not.  They have Wotsits in the range which are a better version of the same shape crisp - but then the branding here is blatantly ripping off Takis Fuego.

I'm not used to Walkers being the imitator and not the leader in the Crisp Aisle - I guess they just got overtaken at some point.

For £1.25 you get 70g of Crisps - made with real potato too - so from a value perspective these are doing OK

And the bag is filled with magic gas to protect the cargo so you get a decent amount of whole crisps.  the colour hints at magical spices, and the smell is pretty good.

The ridges are good too - holding in the flavour dust.

Unfortunately that flavour is just boring!

Yeah - it's hot - but the flavour is flat as a pancake, with none of the lovely lime depth of the Takis Feugo, or Cofresh spicy good-times.  These are the whitest of white - hot for hot's sake kind of spice.  If it was a sauce you'd mix it with something else to desperately try to get it to excite anything.

It's like a focus group wanted an inoffensive but very hot crisp. If that's your bag then I'd get them quick - these are not going to be around in a year or so - there are already much more exciting options on the market.