31 January 2024

Skittles Desserts (Morrisons) By @SpectreUK

Skittles Desserts (Morrisons)

So, I watched the Barbie movie on Saturday night. It started okay, but just got weirder and weirder. I didn't realise they would be going for a Monty Python, Woody Allen, kind of surrealistic humour. There were plenty of film references and toy references throughout the movie. It started well with the 2001 Space Odyssey feel, which I thought was very niche, but appreciated.

The movie was okay, but lost me on quite a few occasions, and wading through the surrealism I couldn't quite tell what the political message was by the end of it. I was just expecting a fun movie with lots of wacky humour, rather than feeling a little confused and browbeaten by the end it.

Skittles Desserts (Morrisons)

However, I did enjoy these Skittle Desserts during the movie. I thought the pink packet was rather apt. With five colours to choose from, the pink coloured Cherry Cheesecake Skittles were predictably very strong in cherry flavour, so not my favourite in the bag. Cherry being my least favourite flavour of candy. The orange coloured Choc-Orange Cake Skittles were a little like a Jaffa cake in flavour, but more orange than chocolate. The purple colour were Blueberry Tart and were a very fruity and tasty blueberry flavour. The yellow Lemon Pie had a creamy lemon flavour, and were not too sour. The Strawberries and Cream red coloured Skittles did taste of strawberries and cream, but were quite a mellow flavour, which I needed to get through the movie. I'm not sure I'd eat them again over regular Skittles, but they were an experience, just like the Barbie movie.

Information on the packet; The 125g bag contained 401 calories per 100g, with 4.2g of fat, 75g of sugar and 0.02g of salt. Vegan friendly, please see photograph for the ingredients.

Skittles Desserts (Morrisons)

30 January 2024

Choco Sticks (Aldi) By @Cinabar

Choco Sticks (Aldi)

First, we had Pocky, the Japanese version of stick biscuits with a coating. Then came Mikado, a more mainstream UK version, and now we have a similar Aldi own-brand biscuit called Choc Sticks. I picked them up because I love this type of biscuit, even if they can’t really be dunked. I love dunking biscuits. I love the crazy flavours available from the Japanese import stick biscuits, but the first ones I’ve found in Aldi are milk chocolate.

Inside the box is a bag with a really good portion of biscuits; there were quite a lot packed in. The biscuit stick (a bit like a non-salted pretzel) is twisted and is about two-thirds dipped in milk chocolate. The biscuits have a lovely crunch, and they are fun to eat. I was impressed by the chocolate; it was thicker than I thought it would be, and the quality was lovely. The chocolate is milk chocolate and has a strong cocoa taste, but it is also creamy and rather nice. I found myself meaning to only have 3 or 4, and I ate far more and had to close the box. These Aldi Choco Sticks are lovely, and I hope they bring out some more varieties in the future.

Choco Sticks (Aldi)

29 January 2024

Mr. Kipling Viennese Whirl Ice Cream (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

Mr. Kipling Viennese Whirl Ice Cream

We were in the ice cream section of the supermarket, looking for a small tub of raspberry ripple ice cream. Small, because we don’t eat that much ice cream, and we also have a very full freezer (there are so many half-bags of peas, I’m actually ashamed). Anyway, my eyes were drawn to a brand you don’t expect to see in the freezer section, Mr. Kipling. Surprised to see this Mr. Kipling Viennese Whirl Ice Cream, I popped it in the basket, and we continued our search for raspberry ripple. The only tub of that flavour we could find was 2 litres, so we decided to leave it. Once home, I had a closer look at the Mr. Kipling Viennese Whirl Ice Cream and realised that although it is biscuit flavour, it also has the jam running through, which is raspberry, so we did actually buy the closest thing we could find, albeit accidentally.

Mr. Kipling Viennese Whirl Ice Cream

We decided to have the ice cream on waffles, so we scooped some out and could see that there was plenty of jam running through. The taste was super tasty, the background flavour was a nice creamy biscuit taste, and the ice cream had nice biscuit bits mixed in too. I loved the contrast in texture. The raspberry was milder than a full-on raspberry ripple, but the taste was very much there, and it worked nicely with the Viennese Whirl taste. I would definitely buy this again, and as it is in a smaller tub, it is perfect for our packed freezer.

Mr. Kipling Viennese Whirl Ice Cream

28 January 2024

Juicy Marbles - Thick Cut Filet Steaks - but vegan [@NLi10]

I pick up a lot of odd food for vegans, that my resident vegetarian would not touch - and I think this is the most meaty appearing so far.  It's a box of 'cat burgers' - plant based pork steaks in a very cool box.

They were a little expensive (£6 I think) but they were fabulous.

This is why we started calling them cat burgers (to differentiate from the other vegan stuff we have), that's Mr Marbles the cat.

So far - so meaty.

Ingredients - water & soy. and lots of red beet juice for the colour & blood.

The ick factor is high - but the smell is fine - even if it does look like you've got a pig heart for dinner.

Season up

Pop it on the George Formby grill

And turn into a waffle burger with some spicy kombucha! Decent enough.

This is how I'd have beef style things - but it turned out this is more like pork so for part 2 (which was individually sealed and so still fresh 3 days later).

USe up some of the high quality pork rub that we got ages ago - on all the sides. Let it sit for a bit.

And pan fry it as on the directions - awesome stuff - restaurant quality taste although my presentation is a bit naff.

This was awesome - well worth the admission price and like a lovely thick flaky gammon steak burger.  So good you could feed it to main-land Europeans and they'd like it.

Requires a little more effort than just popping a burger in the oven, but if you want to be a bit more veggie and still feel like a carnivore then this is an easy recommend.  I'm going to get more of these from Waitrose when I'm next there.

27 January 2024

Gipsy Hill - Bandit Pale Ale (Waitrose) By @SpectreUK

Gipsy Hill - Bandit Pale Ale

Pirates last week, Bandits this week. There's definitely a theme with my beers recently. Maybe I'm looking to rebel against the norm? Well, I am having a favourite meal I haven't had in years tonight. Bangers and Mash, with green beans and gravy. I just have to have a beer with that. We usually have sausages on toast with tinned tomatoes on top, which is really very good, but I have been missing my Bangers and Mash for too long.

This Bandit Pale Ale was produced by Gipsy Hill, in London. At 3.4% in volume it could be considered a session ale, for its low alcohol by volume. Gluten free, Bandit is described on the can as having citrus zest with piney notes. It's a beer for the sunshine, and after three angry storms battering the UK so far this week, it's actually fairly sunny outside for a change.

On opening the can this Bandit certainly packed in the tropical citrus hops, with that afore mentioned touch of pine, and sweetness from the pale malts. On taste this misty golden straw coloured ale had a very crisp refreshing bitterness of tropical citrus hops, and a little woody flavour at the back of all that citrus. A touch of wholesome oats and wheatiness then tickled my palate mixing in with sweet pale malts into the aftertaste. Bandit was perfect with my Bangers and Mash. I'm looking forward to Spring and Summer, and hoping there aren't many more storms between now and then.

26 January 2024

Bonne Maman Baba Au Rhum/Rum Baba (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Bonne Maman Baba Au Rhum/Rum Baba

I might be doing the opposite to a lot of people with healthy New Year’s resolutions, but I want to try out a few more desserts. I realised I had gotten out of the habit of having puddings and desserts and instead having a little bit of chocolate later in the evening. This led me to having a look at the dessert section in the supermarket, and fancying a treat, I went premium and picked up this box of Bonne Maman Baba Au Rhum, also known as Rum Baba.

Inside the tub are round pieces of sponge, topped with cream, and soaked in a rum sauce. I started gently by trying the cream and sponge, and I thought it was quite nice. I then dug in and went for the sponge and a lot of the liquid, and I couldn’t decide if I liked the flavour. The taste was like rum but also had an aftertaste, something I just didn’t gel with. The more I ate, the more I realised I wasn't keen. I actually stopped eating the dessert and didn’t finish it. I know people have different taste buds and like different things, and this Bonne Maman Baba Au Rhum just wasn’t for me. Oh well, that means I can have a walnut whip while watching Traitors in a bit.

Bonne Maman Baba Au Rhum/Rum Baba

25 January 2024

Birmingham Brewing - Pale Brummie [@NLi10] @BrumBrewery

 Before Christmas we went on a trip to Stirchley, taking in a few of the little local places including two breweries. We loaded up on presents so I only allowed myself the one can to try at home.

I chose Pale Brummie because I am one.

I don’t really have a developed palate for beers, I leave all that to Spectre, but when I do want a little beer with my dinner this is exactly what I’m looking for.

Apologies for the non-local half pint tumbler - if you want me to pop by and pick up a local themed one let me know!

It’s all very eco, and it’s a great place to visit. And I definitely should have picked up more of these (I’m in my usual situation at home of only having strong beers, or huge bottles left), so maybe this weekend I’ll hop back on the 11 and go get a few.

As a reminder I’ve Popped it with the pretty can collection on top of the fridge.

A lovely light refreshing beer, perfect for drinking with a meal while watching house of games.

24 January 2024

Walkers Unbelievable Vegan BBQ Pork Ribs Crisps (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Walkers Unbelievable Vegan BBQ Pork Ribs Crisps

Last week I wrote about the new limited edition Unbelievable Vegan Flame Grilled Steak crisps*. As I recall, I was pretty impressed by their flavour. At the same time I lamented about the big steaks I used to eat in restaurants before I began to calorie count to keep my weight down, whilst rehabilitating my knee after it's second surgery.

This week I'm writing about Walkers Unbelievable Vegan BBQ Pork Ribs crisps. Now a big rack of barbecue ribs is something I used to absolutely love tucking into in a restaurant, but the calories are just too high, especially if I want to eat other meals during the day. Besides, the amount of burnt BBQ racks of ribs I had served to me made it quite a hit or miss kind of meal out. A rack of ribs should always be succulent and juicy, not something that's dried out with BBQ sauce burnt onto it.

So, after my rant I opened the packet of this Unbelievable Vegan BBQ Pork Ribs crisps. I was at once greeted with the smoky sweet smell of BBQ Pork Ribs. On first crunchy taste these crisps really did pack a BBQ porky punch. There was a sweet and then smoky BBQ sauce taste followed by the flavour of pork ribs, as if I was tearing the meat off the bone. Yum.

So, if you love the flavour of BBQ Pork Ribs, like me, and miss it, just like me, these crisps are definitely for you. It's just a shame that they are limited edition. You can get beefy crisps anytime, anywhere, but BBQ Pork Ribs, oh my. Walkers, you have to make these permanent.

Information on the packet; The 24g packet contains 114 calories, with 5.3g of fat, 0.5g of sugar and 0.26g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Walkers Unbelievable Vegan BBQ Pork Ribs Crisps

23 January 2024

The Delicious Dessert Company: Strawberries and Cream Eclairs (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

The Delicious Dessert Company: Strawberries and Cream Eclairs

Despite my sweet tooth, I don’t actually eat a lot of desserts. I eat chocolate and snacks. I’m not trying to claim I’m a health fanatic; it just isn’t generally dessert after a meal. Occasionally, though, it is nice to have a dessert as a treat, and so these  The Delicious Dessert Company - Strawberries and Cream Eclairs caught my eye in the supermarket.

I opened up the box and took an eclair out, and one thing sprang to mind: a hot dog. I couldn’t get past it! There is strawberry icing and a drizzle of white chocolate, which absolutely, categorically, is not mustard. What is wrong with my brain? I guess I eat more hot dogs than eclairs.

I gave the Strawberries and Cream Eclair a bite, and it was completely divine. The filing was fresh and fruity, and the filling reminded me of whipped strawberry mousse. The pastry was lovely and soft, with a nice crispiness. There was the lovely flavour of cream mixed with strawberry, and the icing was tasty on top too. This was an absolute delight and a bit of a naughty treat. Perhaps I should keep an eye on the dessert counter more often.

The Delicious Dessert Company: Strawberries and Cream Eclairs

22 January 2024

Heinz Dutch Style Chip Sauce (Morrisons) By @Cinabar

Heinz Dutch Style Chip Sauce

I’d like to start by saying I am a big fan of mayo on chips, and I know that idea came from Europe, and I have European heritage. When I was a kid, people used to look at me strangely for putting mayo on my chips, but it does seem to have caught on a bit more in recent years.

When I first saw this Heinz Dutch Style Chip Sauce, my thoughts were that it was repackaged mayonnaise. After all, that's what goes on chips in Holland. So I decided to give it a try, and the sauce is very much mayonnaise based, but it seems stronger somehow. There is a touch more vinegar in the flavour, and there is something a little richer too. I liked this; it had a stronger, more defined mayonnaise flavour, and it went really well with the potato taste. You could call it mayonnaise plus. I totally recommend a big dollop of this for dipping, and it went well with our Southern Fried style chicken breast too.

Spectre tried some of the Heinz Dutch Style Chip Sauce though and said he liked it, but it was just mayonnaise. Oh well, perhaps my palette is more refined!

21 January 2024

Graze - Salt & Vinegar Crunch -but in shops! [@NLi10]

 Happy New Year Health Kick!  Food subscriptions are the new best way to lose money by buying things you don't end up eating (after the TV subscriptions you forget you have). So if you can now buy the healthy bits, but with the weekly shop then surely thats better!

I mean with a bag this big you'd have to exercise portion control - you can't just chug the little weekly box!

It says 'packed with veg' which is confusing as it's talking about the beans, but disrespecting the potatoes in other snacks.  Surely it's all about cooking methods and nutrition (and portion control).

Looks good though.  The little round ones are things youd want to eat - and the flat ones will hold the flavour - and the other bits just make you full.  That's great to see - and the salt & vinegar flavour is nicely British and lovely and fun.  These are a little dry if you eat them like normal snacks though - they feel like the the stuff on the bar in the 80s that make you make you buy more beer.

Guess I'll have to have a little drink alongside!

20 January 2024

Piraat Beer (Van Steenberge Brewery) By @SpectreUK

Piraat Beer (Van Steenberge Brewery)

I love the old swashbuckling movies with pirates and other films like Robin Hood. My favourite pirate movie of all time is Burt Lancaster's 'The Crimson Pirate'. Although the romance of swashbuckling pirates was and still is far from the truth of what piracy is all about, it's still fun to watch movies such as this that don't take themselves too seriously. It's the movie of my choice to watch tonight for the umpteenth time, and what better to go with it than this Belgian Piraat strong ale.

Produced by the Van Steenberge Brewery, Piraat is a 10.5% in volume top fermented and bottle conditioned ale. Triple hopped for bags of flavour and having four different types of hops added in the brewing for extra fruity bitterness, Piraat also boasts sweet flavours of honey and a little bread.

On pouring this clear deep golden Piraat ale, I could almost hear the clinking of Pieces of Eight dropped into a Dead Man's Chest. Piraat was a frothy headed ale with a heavy olde world aroma to it, full of bite and fruity flavours. It's almost the smell of a fruity strong brandy you may find on a olde tall ship. There could be apple and pear, and the grape flavour of wine mixed in, spices of cloves, and with the sweetness of honey malt towards the back of the aroma.

Piraat was a taste sensation. Like the Black Spot this ale was thick enough that I felt myself chewing through my first mouthful. Piraat swabbed the decks with it's fruity blast of bitterness, followed by its heavy alcoholic slash of a cutlass. That alcoholic twist of a knife in someone's back heralded sweet liquor honey and spices of cloves as the ship sailed quietly into the harbour at Nassau, for a night in the bars and betting, wine, beer and mischief. Arrr… it's the Piraat life for me.

Piraat Beer (Van Steenberge Brewery)

19 January 2024

J2O Mocktails: White Peach and Mango Daiquiri (Asda) By @Cinabar

J2O Mocktails: White Peach and Mango Daiquiri

We have been treated in recent months to the new flavours of J2O drinks. Recently, I’ve written about Strawberry & Orange Blossom and Blackberry & Blueberry, and now we have J2O Mocktails White Peach and Mango Daiquiri. So this is another drink in the mocktail range, with an interesting fruity twist.

I poured the drink out, and the liquid inside was light cream in colour. This is a still drink without any fizz. I took a sip of the drink, and if I had been blind-tasting the drink, I think I would have guessed that it was lychee. The drink has a soft, sweet, and juicy flavour with an edge of tropical fruit. There is peach quite prominently, but the mango adds its sweet taste towards the end of the drink. There is also a slightly bitter hint at the finish, which I think is supposed to be the alcohol element, and I didn’t mind this at all, despite it being a mocktail.

The J2O Mocktails: White Peach and Mango Daiquiridrink was sweet, but not overly so, and very enjoyable. I have really enjoyed trying all the flavours of the new range and would buy more. I am just hoping they become available in multi-packs, as they are a bit more pricey as single cans. Even so, if you are doing dry January, I thoroughly recommend these.

18 January 2024

Geisha bar and pätkis bar - Ikigai, Leamington [@NLi10] @ikigai.uk

 Leamington Spa is an unusual place, lots of older buildings and new ideas crammed into a network of always busy roads. This mix does allow for some fantastic small businesses to flourish - and we bumped into one the other day.

The shop is called Ikigai and is full of treasures from Japan - so naturally I gravitated towards the snacks.

The helpful shop owner informed me that I’d actually found Finnish snacks - which is great as thats probably even rarer - but designed to appeal to that unique connection that the two nations have.

Geisha is a pretty little bar, with a fresh chocolaty smell, and the contents are a slightly crunchy hazelnut praline.

Not as sweet as a Nutella, and with a sublime texture this is a hit. As ever, I wonder if there are fruiter versions.

Next up is the less pronounceable pätkis bar - which was £1 and had a mysterious vibe to it that begged to be taken home.

This is not a crispy roll as I’d thought - but essentially a kind of peppermint fudge.  It has a different texture which I appreciate, not too chewy and not too crumbly, which makes it a really good snack.  Again - the flavours are strong and you don’t need much of this to be happy.

Very glad that neither had fish or liquorice in them (or bean paste!) as is often the case with regional snacks.  I wonder what international people despair that England uses too often - maybe vinegar?


Anyway - the shop is well worth a visit (both in person and online) and I can’t talk about the other things I bought as they are gifts :) I’m sure we will go back at some point.

17 January 2024

Walkers Unbelievable Vegan Flame Grilled Steak Crisps (Tesco) By @SpectreUK

Walkers Unbelievable Vegan Flame Grilled Steak Crisps

Some people don't eat meat because of the principle, some for their dietary requirements, and some because they just don't like the flavour. I am a meat eater, I always have been. I miss those big juicy steaks I used to eat with tons of calories and a little "sauce", as I used to say, dripping out of its medium rare pinkness.

I still have steak, but the lower more healthy Fillet steak, as I count my calories to keep my weight down for my knee, rather than the big juicy Ribeye or T-bone varieties. These new limited edition Unbelievable Vegan Flame Grilled Steak crisps may appeal to those that miss the flavour of steak. I have tried a few Vegan products, and really like Vegan ice cream for its big on flavour. So, I have high hopes for big on flavour flame grilled steak crisps.

On opening the packet I was greeted with a luscious beefy aroma from the Unbelievable Vegan Flame Grilled Steak crisps inside. These crisps definitely tasted of flame grilled steak, and they were really moreish. No wonder most of the multipack had disappeared by the time I came to try them. I was glad to have hidden away a second multipack for myself.

I was very impressed by the big on flavour of these Flame Grilled Steak crisps, and all Vegan friendly. I can barely believe no cows were harmed in their production. Although I believe there were extensive and possibly stressful interviews on what they may taste like flame grilled.

Information on the packet; The 24g packet contains 112 calories, with 4.9g of fat, 0.3g of sugar and 0.26g of salt. Please see photograph for the ingredients.

Walkers Unbelievable Vegan Flame Grilled Steak Crisps

16 January 2024

Hostess Twinkies Flavoured Popcorn (Iceland) By @Cinabar

Hostess Twinkies Flavoured Popcorn

I did an online shop with Iceland, and I was looking at their new products when I spotted this bag of Hostess Twinkies Flavoured Popcorn. I paused before putting it into my basket as it was quite pricey for a bag of popcorn. I went for it anyway in the end, but I did think it was expensive.

When the order came, I realised that I had been paying for a large bag of popcorn, which was actually a very large bag and probably made it much better value for money than I thought it was. I opened the bag and poured some out to give it a try. Twinkies are snack cake bar popular in America (but can be found in the UK), and they have a vanilla cream running through the centre. This popcorn is flavoured after the cake, so I was expecting a birthday cake sort of taste. The flavour is actually a bit milder than that; the pieces are sweet and creamy with plenty of vanilla, but they don’t have the overly sweet birthday cake taste. The pieces of popcorn have a lovely texture too; they are big and fluffy, but with a nice crackly coating to mix up the texture.

I really liked this Hostess Twinkies Flavoured Popcorn; the only problem I have with it is the size of the bag. Any ideas on how long popcorn stores once opened? Or am I going to have to pig out?

Hostess Twinkies Flavoured Popcorn

15 January 2024

Cadbury Creme Egg Bar (Tesco) By @Cinabar

Cadbury Creme Egg Bar

Oh my word, I can’t tell you how excited I am about this new chocolate. Well, I suppose I will try! I spotted this Cadbury Creme Egg Bar in Tesco and just thought it was the perfect edition to the Creme Egg range. I absolutely love Cadbury Creme Eggs. I have a sweet tooth, and these are perfect for me. I buy the Halloween edition Creme Eggs ones when I see them in October, and then I stock up just before Easter so my supplies last a bit longer for the year. I hate that they have a season. I always buy the limited editions they have, be they biscuits, desserts, cup cakes, etc. So this new chocolate bar was at the top of my list when I was checking out new products in the shop.

Cadbury Creme Egg Bar

I opened up the wrapper, and I could already smell the fondant filling and chocolate. The bar has quite chunky pieces to account for a good dollop of creme egg fondant. I broke a line of chocolate off and gave a piece a try. The chocolate shell cracked, and the gorgeous sweet filling oozed out. What a delight! Creme Eggs work really well as a bar; there is a good chocolate to filling ratio, and it really works. This new Cadbury Creme Egg Bar is just the best thing since Creme Eggs, and I will be back for more.

Cadbury Creme Egg Bar

14 January 2024

Hu - get back to human - Cashew Butter & Vanilla Bean Dark Choc [@NLi10] @HUKITCHEN

 I'm finally getting around to eating some of my more exciting Christmas presents - and a whole bundle from my parents were dark choc based - they obviously know me quite well!

First up - and the focus of today is Hu - Get Back To Human - Nut Butter Filled (Cashew) + Pure Vanilla Bean 70% Dark Chocolate.

What a mouthful!

It has all the requisite "No's" on the front & back and fair trade cocoa which is great to see - although 'Industry ruined food' is a fairly interesting statement as transport and refrigeration are pretty crucial in most things - least of which getting cocoa to the UK.

Luna liked the sound of the packing - and so did I - recycle or compost.

All of this is pointless if the product is damaged or doesn't look good though - and it's great to see this ticks all the boxes and smells great too.  This would keep fresh until you are ready for it.

The bar itself is quite American - I can't really think of one here that has peanut butter (or Cashew here) inside a flat chocolate bar - and it works well.

Every part is quality - and you can get all the different tastes and textures (including the salt) through the chew.  I'd have to investigate how much these are (and where sells them) but I'd certainly be interested in finding out what else is in the range and how they compare.

Two cubes was plenty for one 'snack' - strong enough to give a lasting flavour and interesting enough to pop back for more later.  A definite hit.