22 February 2024

COOK - Rhubarb & Custard Pudding [@NLi10]

 When we picked up some Cook ready meals for our Nanna we dicided to get a big pudding for when we had friends round.

It's Rhubarb and custard cake - and super luxury!

We smartly thought that as there are only two of us we would cut and cook a small portion - not thinking that as it cooks it's going to defrost and then get runny.

Ok - zero points for presentation then!

As it happens - it still cooked ok although it went a bit crispy where it had leaked on to the pan.  Still tasted divine, and had all the fruity textures I love.

Can't wait to have the rest, but we will put it in a smaller baking tray so that it doesn't ooze out of the already cut end.

21 February 2024

Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme Salted Caramel (Martins) By @SpectreUK

Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme Salted Caramel

Hershey's chocolate can be a bit of an acquired taste, although they do use less sour milk than in the past. They haven't used sour milk to produce their white chocolate though. This Hershey's Cookies 'N' Creme Salted Caramel is a white chocolate bar flavoured with salted caramel cookies. I'm hoping it's going to go rather well with some vanilla ice cream for my pudding tonight.

Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme Salted Caramel

On opening the bar there were lots of pieces of salted caramel cookie within the Hershey's White Chocolate bar. On taste the cookie pieces provided crunchiness, and a good salted caramel flavour, with the white chocolate providing luscious creaminess into the aftertaste. This Hershey's Cookies 'N' Creme Salted Caramel went perfectly with my vanilla ice cream for a creamy, salty caramel sweet treat for my pudding.

Information on the wrapper; The 90g bar contained 525 calories per 100g, with 28g of fat, 51g of sugar, and 0.39g salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Hershey’s Cookies ‘N’ Creme Salted Caramel

20 February 2024

Cadbury Creme Egg Cakes (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Cadbury Creme Egg Cakes

The very best thing about Easter time are Creme Eggs. I love very sweet things, and that mix of milk chocolate and sweet fondant filling is my thing. They don’t work for everyone, but gosh, they work for me. Of course, we don’t just get Cadbury Creme Eggs at this time of year; we also get all the fun new products based on those chocolates. I picked up this fab-looking box of Cadbury Creme Egg Cakes. There are four cakes in the box, all based on one of my favourite treats.

Cadbury Creme Egg Cakes

The cakes are round, and the sponge is filled with a swirl of Cadbury Creme Egg filling, coated in milk chocolate, and then, for added sweetness, coated in chocolate drops! This is my kind of dessert.

I gave it a try, and oh my, this is all about the Creme Egg filling. The fondant taste is sweet and gooey, and it melts into the chocolate cake flavour. The sponge is lovely, moist, and soft, and the chocolate shell and chocolate drops add a nice texture. What a delight! The only negative is that the chocolate drops on top are a little loose, and it was inevitable that some would end up on the floor. It seems mean to criticise such a cool product because I really enjoyed these Cadbury Creme Egg Cakes.

Cadbury Creme Egg Cakes

19 February 2024

Egg Joyables Cookies and Creme (Aldi) By @Cinabar

Egg Joyables Cookies and Creme

Firstly, how cute is the packaging? These Egg Joyables chocolate eggs are in a mini egg box and look super cute! The flavour is Cookies and Creme, and inside the box we have four chocolate eggs with the filling, all neatly wrapped in foil. There are also a couple of wooden spoons, despite the fact that there are four eggs. Are you supposed to eat two, or just not share? I can’t tell, but either way, I’m not that keen on the idea of a wooden spoon, so I just bit in. 

I had a lovely taste of rich milk chocolate, which was rather nice. The egg broke a little, though, and split itself in half. The top half seemed hollow, and the bottom half had the Cookies and Creme filling.

I decided to finish the milk chocolate top half before tucking into the main part. I rather liked the Cookies and Creme filling; it was fairly thick but quite soft. The taste was sweet and creamy, and a nice flavour of biscuit. It wasn't extremely sweet, like a Creme Egg, but it was still at the top end of sweetness. I have quite a sweet tooth, so they worked perfectly for me. I totally recommend these Egg Joyables. 

18 February 2024

Pukka - Doner Kebab Pie [@NLi10]

 It's an odd circle here - chip shops have kebab meat, and sometimes Pukka Pies as the luxury (but affordable) pie.  They are pretty slight though so you'd always have a cone of chips on the side.  Yum.

Now you can get the pies from the chip shop but at home, but filled with meat from the chip shop. Hurrah!

It has three points of spicy, but it's a white person scale so it's a Nando's Medium and fine.

It's a normal pie - and as per the two person one they haven't said exactly how many portions it is 

But we can make it up to a lovely meal with rocket and spuds and carrots.

It's fine inside for the price - but the kebab meat is thin and sparse, but the sauce and the veg means this is a perfectly valid option.  Much better if from the chip shop so the gravy goes on your chips, but then you could probably just get some kebab meat instead!

17 February 2024

Six States New England IPA (Morrisons) By @SpectreUK

Six States  New England IPA

I haven't had Schnitzels for quite sometime. I used to have them quite regularly, but they can take quite a bit of energy to bash when homemade, or find in the supermarket. I'm being treated to homemade Schnitzels tonight with potato salad, tomato salad, and a green salad. That all sounds pretty healthy, I'm sure you're thinking, so I'm going to wash it down with this New England style white Indian Pale Ale.

This 5.7% in volume Six States has promise of refreshing tropical hops, as well as citrus peel and spices from coriander seeds infused in the brewing. This hazy New England IPA was heavily dry-hopped, so it shouldn't be too bitter, having a smooth flavour with sweetness and body from added wheat and oats.

On opening the can I could hear bashing pork (I'll leave that to your imagination) in preparation of the Schnitzels in the kitchen below. There was quite a strong tropical fruity hop aroma to the slightly murky golden brew as I poured it. On taste Six States is strong with tropical hops, and not too bitter, with a little coriander spice. There was sweetness from the malts and wheat into the aftertaste, and a hearty filling from the added oats. This New England style IPA washed down my Schnitzels and accompanying salads rather well indeed. I'm looking forward to having it all again very soon.

16 February 2024

Nuts About Raspberry Hot Chocolate (Hotel Chocolat) By @Cinabar

Nuts About Raspberry Hot Chocolate (Hotel Chocolat)

I don’t think there were any new flavours of hot chocolate from Hotel Chocolat over Christmas. I was super disappointed. Yes, they had the Black Forest Gateaux and even the Caramel and Clementine, but I tried those last year. As it is obvious from the blog, I’m all about the new varieties. 

Thankfully, for Valentine's Day, Mother’s Day, or even as it is just heading towards spring, it looks like we finally have a new flavour launch. Here we have Hotel Chocolat Nuts About Raspberry Hot Chocolate. So not just a fruity drink, but a fruity and nutty drink, sounds perfect. I opened up the sachet and dropped it into my Velvetiser hot chocolate gadget. You can make it on the hob with hot milk and a whisk if you don’t have a kitchen stacked with random gadgets like me.

Nuts About Raspberry Hot Chocolate (Hotel Chocolat)

The drink is fairly dark once made, but still has a lovely level of sweetness. There is the fruitiness of the raspberry, not too strong, just a nice sharp berry taste, then the smoothness of chocolate and hazelnut. It is a delight of a combination. It is a silky, smooth drink with a lovely balance of flavours. We may have had to wait quite a while for a new variety, but this Hotel Chocolat Nuts About Raspberry Hot Chocolate certainly ticks all the boxes now that it is here. 

Nuts About Raspberry Hot Chocolate (Hotel Chocolat)

15 February 2024

WWT Teapigs English Breakfast (plus cute animal pics) [@NLi10]

 We took a trip down to Bristol to visit the Wetlands Trust's site Slimbridge to see all the birds - and picked up a box of their tea at the same time - mainly as an excuse to share animal pictures.

Here is a shabby Egret - she is called Kevin!

These are Teapigs - so they have the lovely pyramids, but the eco friendly ones tear so easily due to the glue on the tab - note the little tear holes.

It mostly doesn't break but you have to be delicate with it...

...as with this tiny dormouse - that's a pretty small sock you're living in there!

The tea brews up nicely, and is pretty much the same as the standard Teapigs English Breakfast - a nice refreshing black tea

And ti finish - here is one of the pair of two otters they have at the site

It's a lovely place and big enough to occupy a whole day out - well worth a visit over half term!

14 February 2024

Diplomat Biscuit Tea Tastes Like Salted Caramel (Aldi) By @SpectreUK

Diplomat Biscuit Tea Tastes Like Salted Caramel

Happy Valentine's Day 💝

Last week I wrote about Diplomat Biscuit Tea Tastes Like Jaffa. I noticed on the back of the box all the interesting sounding ingredients. This week I'm writing about Diplomat Biscuit Tea Tastes Like Salted Caramel. If you notice in the ingredients below, there wasn't much information to go on. I don't know why that gave me the heebie-jeebies, I guess I have to find out what it tastes like instead.

On opening the box there wasn't much of an aroma from the square teabags, asides the smell of black tea. I brewed up a couple of mugs side by side to make sure. I mean, Diplomat Biscuit Tea Tastes Like Salted Caramel is Salted Caramel flavoured, so just one mug of this doesn't seem quite right to my greedy side. Adding a touch of milk, as usual, I waited a while for my teas to cool.

There was a sweet smell of caramel from my mugs of tea. Good start. On taste the caramel just keeps on giving, and with the added creaminess from the milk, this could have been the best biscuit tea I've tried so far. There was a touch of saltiness into the aftertaste, which wasn't a bad addition, but it did make me thirsty enough for a another swig. Once I started drinking, I literally couldn't stop. I was glad to have two mugs, but the thirst afterwards didn't end there.

Information on the box; 40 teabags with ingredients of; black tea, flavouring.

13 February 2024

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (Petrol Station) By @Cinabar

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

When we buy petrol, we buy treats from the petrol station, which helps sooth the cost of the fuel. The good thing about our local petrol station is that it stocks the most excellent selection of import goodies local to us. I don’t know who the buyer is, but they have my kind of taste. Today we picked up this box of Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites, which originated in the USA.

Inside the box are small, mixed-shaped pieces of cookie dough coated in milk chocolate. They are small but perfect to snack on while watching TV. The flavour is sweet, but the cookie dough has a nice creamy flavour with a hint of something a little tangy, perhaps salt. The milk chocolate is sweet and creamy and brings the whole thing together. The texture is soft but firm. 

These are moreish chocolates, and they are really nice and a bit different from what we normally get in the UK. I look forward to the next time we need to top up the petrol tank in order to find another treat. 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites

12 February 2024

Doner Kebab Ridge Cut Crisps (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

Doner Kebab Ridge Cut Crisps (Morrisons)

Always exciting a new flavour of crisps, especially a flavour I can’t remember seeing before. These crisps are part of the own brand from Morrisons. Here we have Doner Kebab Ridge Cut Crisps, an interesting flavour based on a favourite Friday takeaway.

As those are ridge-cut crisps, there is plenty of seasoning, and it gathers well in the ridges. I gave one of the crisps a try, and I have to say they were really good. They managed to recreate the kebab experience really well; they were meaty, but with plenty of complex seasoning and hints of onion and warming spices too. They are full of flavour too; they were lovely and strong, and as regular readers know, I do love meaty varieties for crisps. The texture is spot on too; they are not too thick but pleasantly crunchy. All in all, these Morrisons Doner Kebab Ridge Cut Crisps are one of the nicest launches of new crisps I’ve tried in a while.

Doner Kebab Ridge Cut Crisps (Morrisons)

11 February 2024

Pukka Pie For Two - Chicken & Chorizo (but eating it alone) [@NLi10]

The difference in price between this two person pie (£2.75) and the normal one person pies (£2) was so little that I figured I might as well pay the 75p and go for it - even though I intended to eat alone.

Pre cooking it looks pretty big! 

The grammage isn't on the box but I'd say that it's maybe 1.8 of a normal pie - but there is proportionally more filling 

But it does take a while in the oven - so I broke out the King Slayer beer I bought to watch the wresting with and then completely forgot.  It's 8% which is way more than I'd usually go for - but with a big pie to adsorb it all it's fine.  The flavour is a bit too strong for me - I'd much rather have a nice smooth Belgian.

And here we go - it does fill the plate! I went with rocket as a side as I figured potatoes and veg would be too much - and I was right - this is pretty filling.

The insides are very Pukka - not huge packed with chunks like Pieminister - but certainly not a stingy portion.  YOu can find the chicken and the sliced chorizo and the sauce is rich and has a lovely flavour.  

I'd certainly choose this again, but I think the double size pie is only good for me while the special offer is on (normal price £3.50) as my partner being veggie then we'd need a pie that sits in the middle.


10 February 2024

Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple Beer (Amazon) By @SpectreUK

Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple Beer

Happy New Year of the Dragon. :-)

I'm hoping it's going to be a good, healthy and prosperous year for everyone. I'm certainly celebrating tonight with a Chinese Takeaway washed down with this Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple beer.

Brewed with a nod to the North Belgian city of Gent (Ghent in Dutch) with a postcode of 9000, Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple was produced by Brouwerij Van Steenberge. This Belgian rich amber beer is 10.5% in volume. Four times as much malt was used in the brewing of this beer for extra rich flavour.

With Chicken Yuk Sung, Peppered Beef and noodles delivered, I popped open the bottle. The aroma of this deep golden amber coloured beer was certainly heavy on the malts, with a touch of wheat, and a little herbal hops in the background.

Poured with a good frothy head, Gulden Draak 9000 Quadruple was almost syrupy in sweet malts, a touch of wheat, then a heck of an alcohol punch, followed by a quick nibble of herbal hops, and then back to that malty goodness. Almost a pudding sweet beer, this amber Golden Dragon beer was gloriously flavoursome. I could happily drink it all night. I might be a little pie-eyed by the end of it though.

9 February 2024

8 Ultimate Chocolate Orange Teacakes (Marks and Spencer) By @Cinabar

8 Ultimate Chocolate Orange Teacakes

I have to say that if you name your product with the word ‘ultimate’ in the title, you have to accept that there are going to be quite a lot of expectations. Still, Marks and Spencers have called these the Ultimate Chocolate Orange Teacakes.

8 Ultimate Chocolate Orange Teacakes

To start with, I have to say that I liked the fact that all of the packaging is recyclable. The outer packet is paper-based, and the inner tray is clear plastic. I put both in the recycling once we were done. That is in line with these being ‘ultimate’.

Inside the pack are eight small to medium (should something labelled ‘ultimate’ be bigger?) teacakes. Two were leaking a little marshmallow, again not very ‘ultimate’ but not a big problem.

I gave one a try, and the chocolate was a lovely, rich flavour; the base was firm but not crunchy; and the mallow was fluffy and super soft. That all met the ‘ultimate’ description. The orange flavour was a bit mild for my taste; it was there, but it was far more subtle than I had expected. They were still super tasty, but not what I would call an ‘ultimate’ orange taste. Still good though, and I’d certainly buy these Ultimate Chocolate Orange Teacakes again.

8 Ultimate Chocolate Orange Teacakes

8 February 2024

Tuna Sandwiches at Croome Court, England [@NLi10]

 We met up with some friends recently, and had decided as it was a nice day we'd go somewhere a bit interesting.

And as it's National Trust we got to eat their food too!

Croome Court is one of the big projects that Capability brown did where they re-landscaped the gardens and built a prettier house around the outside of the pre-existing house.

It's quite big so we only did the guided basement tour and didn't look around most of the rooms.  I think living in England you take all of this for granted, we don't have a shortage of big houses like this!

But we did go to the separate café

As it suggests the food is a little pricier than you'd hope for but it does keep the place open which is good

And it's reasonably ethical and such considering things.

And it's a fair approximation of a British packed lunch.  Too heavy on the sweetcorn and too light on the rocket.  I'd have probably added my chilli flakes to this if I'd eaten it in the office.

But we did get to sit and sun ourselves in the orangery too which was nice for one of the last days of January.

7 February 2024

Diplomat Biscuit Tea Tastes Like Jaffa (Aldi) By @SpectreUK

Diplomat Biscuit Tea Tastes Like Jaffa (Aldi)

I've recently discovered that I like biscuit tea. I've tried some flavoured teas before, and I've not been that fussed by them, but who doesn't like tea and biscuits? Biscuit tea is pretty much that, but without the crunch and the added calories.

This new Diplomat Biscuit Tea Tastes Like Jaffa should go rather well with a box of Jaffa Cakes. I love to eat a whole box for pudding some nights. I can't just eat a whole Jaffa Cake either, or bite it in half, I've always savoured them since I can remember. Since I was very young I have always nibbled around the edge of the Jaffa Cake, then eaten the Jaffa jelly, then the base.

Described as; black tea flavoured with cacao husks, orange peel, and roasted cocoa beans, this tea should wash down my Jaffa Cake pudding a treat tonight. There was a chocolatey aroma from the teabag, with a touch of orange peel. I opened a box of Jaffa Cakes, brewed up a mug of Diplomat Biscuit Tea Tastes Like Jaffa for a good long while, added some milk, and had a sniff.

The brew itself smelt mainly of chocolate and black tea, with a hint of orange. On taste the orange was the most predominant flavour, with chocolate behind it mixed with black tea and milk. I was surprised by the strong flavour of orange, considering I couldn't smell it in any real strength. This Diplomat Biscuit Tea Tastes Like Jaffa was really very tasty indeed and washed down my Jaffa Cake pudding perfectly.

Information on the box; 40 teabags with ingredients of; black tea, cacao husks (8%), orange peel (6%), flavourings, roasted cacao beans (5%), liquorice root, and chicory root fibre.

6 February 2024

After Eight Mini Eggs (Iceland) By @Cinabar

After Eight Mini Eggs

After Eights have an association with Christmas for me; they are a regular stocking filler at that time of year. In terms of chocolate sales, Easter is a big business, so here we have a special edition of them called After Eight Mini Eggs. They need to get in on the Easter chocolate celebrations and gifting.

These mini eggs are in a bag, not a box, and there are no cute paper envelopes; instead, there are foil wrappers. I hate foil wrappers. I tried to get into my first egg, and I was scratching it with my nail, then it broke into tiny pieces, which was super annoying. This is supposed to be a treat; I want something that just opens.

After Eight Mini Eggs

Once I had shredded my way into the little chocolate eggs, I rather liked them. The ratio of chocolate to filling is rather different; the chocolate here is much thicker than the thin shell on a traditional After Eight. There is still a decent amount of minty filling, and they taste lovely. Purely based on the packaging, I’d much rather buy a box of regular After Eights for a chocolate mint treat.

After Eight Mini Eggs