Friday, 13 January 2017

Review- M&S NEW Lemon & White Chocolate Tart

Don't you just hate that instant feeling of regret when leaving a shop empty handed, not having bought the something you know deep down that you longed for? I know I do and was stupidly this foolish last week when deciding against buying M&S's NEW Lemon & White Chocolate Tart - Lord knows what I was thinking!


Never one to make the same mistake twice and like a woman on a mission, I frogmarched myself to the stores bakery section today, whacked one in a baggy and paid my £1 at the till. Given my all round excitement, I kind of forgot to take note of any other detail regarding the product so I have no description whatsoever and it may be suitable for vegetarians, it may not.. Who is to say!? 


The tart cut in half with ease to reveal a sneaky hidden curd layer beneath a ooey-gooey sticky filling which both looked and smelt a treat. Crumbly and buttery, the pastry itself was perfection with a short texture and not all to dissimilar to a shortbread biscuit really! Undeniably lemon-y but without a super zesty kick (No where near as potent as the Lemon Muffins for reference), the citrus tones came across well, pairing with the silky smooth and rich, condensed milk like, white chocolate "ganache" mixture above - Strangely however, the left half possessed fair more flavour akin to actual white chocolate than the right! All the elements went well together to produce one very tasty, pleasantly sweet and indulgent tart that I could have quite easily eaten another of! 

So now my regret has progressed to the "I wish I had bought 12 more" stage - This NEW Lemon & White Chocolate Tart is oh so good and makes for a decently sized treat to have with a cuppa! The only fault I can find with it, not that I am particularly fussed but I can understand why some might be, is the fact that the citrus aspect isn't lip puckering or likely to keel anyone over.. But since, it isn't wishy-washy either, this really is just being pernickety - It's a 4.5 out of 5 from me!

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Review- Patisserie Valerie NEW LE Madame Valerie Slice

Patisserie Valerie AKA the place of dreams, dropped a bombshell yesterday.. A NEW, Limited Edition flavour available in both 8" Celebration Cake form as well as individual sized portions, is gracing the bakery come café this January! Huzzah! The excitement! 


I didn't need much persuading when it came to getting myself a mysterious, pretty pink bowed box containing the Madame Valerie Slice this morning.. It's only bloomin' Chocolate, Caramel and Honeycomb Gateau, priced at £2.95 to take away or £2.50 if you go, quite rightly too, for the 4 slices for £10 option! The nice lady who served me also mentioned that there's to be a different NEW addition to the regular range every month this year which resulted in a high squeal from me, slap bang in the middle of the shop floor - Expect 11 more PV reviews this year, folks! 


Crikey, what a sight to behold.. Check out those layers of stickyness!


Grabbing a fork, the Gateau was as tender as expected with three layers of feather light, moist sponge, providing plenty of rich cocoa tones whilst making for a soft yet stable base for the thickly sandwiched, pale gold cream. Smooth like no other, not to mention far superior to all other crème pâtissière, the aforementioned tasted ridiculously buttery and sweet without being cloying or delivering a nasty throat burn - Not full on, overpowering caramel but extremely luxurious! Nibbles of crunchy honeycomb pieces were sprinkled throughout adding a nice contrast in texture to all the soft as well as a pop of sugary goodness, with a helping hand from the toffee tasting curls hiding up the side of the slice. Topping the lot was a indulgently chocolate version of the previously mentioned cream, that features in the usual Double Chocolate Gateau which was once again, all kinds of velvety deliciousness and a crisp choux profiterole that I wanted a dozen of. AMAZING! 

Overall, this NEW Madame Valerie Slice is pretty much the best thing I have eaten.. Not just this year or this decade but like, ever! From the flawless cake in terms of both texture and flavour to the silky cream, honeycomb and toppings, the entire confection is sheer perfection! Oo that rhymed! It's top marks from me, 5 out of 5 and I can't wait to see what else Patisserie Valerie have in store for us this year! 

Monday, 2 January 2017

Review- Krispy Kreme NEW: Chocolate Orange and Tiramisu

Happy Monday! Happy New Year! I have good news. Possibly the best news ever. Krispy Kreme have only gone and released 2 brand spanking NEW Doughnuts today! Could there be any better way to kick of 2017? I think not!


Behold! A Chocolate Orange and a Tiramisu doughy delight! ..You're thinking the same as me, aren't you? Why these weren't the Christmas offerings, I'll never know - It makes zero sense given the festive feel of the duo but never mind I guess, better late than never! Purchased from my local Tesco cabinet as part of a trio box, I assume they were priced at the usual £1.90 individually.. But one can never be too sure when I am forever being charged varying amounts in my store!

Chocolate Orange


Filled with chocolate orange flavour kreme, topped with orange flavour gloss, dark chocolate shavings and decoration. 

Having come to the realisation that it is impossible to guess how much filling is inside all of KK's Doughnuts, I was overjoyed to see a packed centre of smooth kreme despite it's relatively light feel. Smelling exactly that of its namesake, taste wise it reminded me a lot of a cheap "Jaffa" Cake bar with a slightly bitter, medicinally orange flavour combined with generic chocolate - Not the Terry's, I hoped for by any means. The sticky gloss on top, I found to be far more pleasant than the filling adding a different sort of citrus tone.. Although still not quite spot on. As for the doughnut itself, there was not much to complain about with the signature KK flavour and light, fluffy texture, no stodge or uncooked dough. A 2.5 out of 5 from me.  

Tiramisu


Filled with coffee flavour kreme, covered in white chocolate flavour coating - CONTAINS NUTS.

Moving onto the Tiramisu and the sheer panic of reading "Contains nuts" after eating the bloomin' thing! - Since when did Tiramisu feature hazelnuts?! Thank the lord it wasn't peanuts.. That would have been anything but a marvellous start to the year! Cutting into the aerated Doughnut, as seen above, the whipped to perfection kreme proved to be in abundance but didn't really have much of a scent to it at all.. Certainly not that of coffee which immediately didn't bode well in my mind. Taking a bite, thankfully I was proved wrong the a decent enough hit of creamy coffee coming through, albeit once again, a tad on the artificial side. The cracking and crumbling white chocolate added some sweetness to balance but as usual, was hardly of the highest quality and I am not sure, one would know what it was meant to be.. Which essentially summed things up entirely in being nothing like Tiramisu as I know it.. But could pass as Cappuccino/Latte inspired! A 3.5 out of 5. 

Hmm.. I can't help but feel a tad let down by these 2 NEW Doughnuts. The desired flavour is just not there with the Chocolate Orange and the Tiramisu is not really what it claims to be whatsoever.. I did much prefer the latter however as a all round coffee fanatic! A few tweaks and some better quality ingredients and KK might just be onto a winner..

Now, only time will tell what else might come our way this year.. But I beg of you KK, listen up and please let coconut feature! I need it! 

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year- Tesco Finest Reveal Dessert

Happy New Years Eve, Snack Army! Did we all have a nice Christmas? I know I did and have been thoroughly spoilt on all fronts - Lovely presents, tasty food and a wild drink or 2! It has pretty much been the best.. But one final dessert can only make it better, right?! - It's a potentially shaky yet potentially sensational, Tesco Finest Reveal Dessert, to see out 2016!


And featuring a nice bit of questionable lighting thanks to my kitchen too - Sorry sorry! I picked up the 580g, serves 6, bang on trend pud off the end of one of the stores fresh aisles and was happy to see it had been reduced from £6 to £4.32 - It's yellow sticker heaven in there at the minute so definitely worth a looksee if you're on the hunt for a bargain. Although not stating in black and white whether suitable for vegetarians or not, the box does come with some extensive recycling information - The carton and sleeve are green all the way but you've got to check with your loyal recycling centre about the plastic pot, tray, lid and dome and heaven forbid, whatever you do, don't think about doing anything with the plastic window as it's a no go so just bin it as usual! Got it? You better have taken notes. 


Once again horribly hued but the flying saucer reminiscent dessert looked the part with it's sparkly festive come galactic appearance, ready to have the caramel sauce poured over top, which I followed the instructions of removing the lid and heating in the microwave for just less than the recommended 70 seconds.. 


Well that worked well didn't it. Welcome to the inside of my microwave, folks. Question - If I had zapped it for the full time, would I actually have any sauce left in the tub? I am going to say not. Nice one Tescy. 


A dome of Belgian chocolate encases a decadent chocolate brownie topped with Ecuadorian chocolate mousses, hand drizzled with white chocolate, sprinkled with popping candy and toasted hazelnuts. Pour over the hot caramel sauce.. Then watch and listen.* 

Pouring over the liquid gold caramel, I waited in anticipation..


Oo oo going..


Going..


Aaaaand it's gone! Check out all that ooey-gooey action!


Grabbing a spoon and getting stuck straight in, the sauce was still slightly warm, producing almost melted, but not quite, glossy pools from the chocolate shell. Taking a mouthful, an array of textures presented itself - A decently sized dense, fudgy brownie, whipped ganache like mousse followed by a crunch from the nuts, popping 'n' crackling of the candy and of course, the silky smooth, luscious caramel, chocolate mix. Taste wise, the combination of elements were ridiculous indulgent with nothing but the highest quality, rich cocoa paired with varying creamy sweetnesses from the other chocolate aspects as well as a buttery, toffee hit from the sauce - I can't say the hazelnuts particularly shone nor produce that "Nutella feel" but with so much going on already, I think anything stronger would have ruined it! A chocoholics dream and potentially, a heart attack in a saucer! - Yum! 

Overall and as you can probably tell, this Tesco Finest Reveal Dessert is pretty much a life changer. Yes, it may be the sort of dessert that you need to lay down after consuming and take an antacid or 3 but it's well worth it for the good of something which I am going to say is the best pud, I have had this year. It's top marks from me - 5 out of 5! ..Heck, I might even make it a 6 purely on the basis of the caramel not being salted! I am putting my cards on the table here!

Have a lovely night all, whether you're at home with a quiet cuppa or a crazy kid out on the town.. Be sensible and be safe, please. Here's to 2017! 

*It made no sound. 

Saturday, 24 December 2016

The 24 Days of Snackmas

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, Not a creature was stirring, not even a..... Say it, you know you want to! 

Where has this month gone? I don't know about anyone else but Snackmas for me has flown by and now with a heavy heart I must say, has come to a close - 24 days have been opened, 24 reviews have been posted.. And I am pretty sure an extra 24lb of junk is now in my trunk!

It's once again, sneaky old M&S that have managed to pull it out of Santa's sack and really wipe the floor when it comes to their festive offerings this year - A solid Lunch Selection, Party Food, array of Chocolates as well as the Yule Log hero of 2016, to name but a few! 


On the opposite end of the spectrum however is the store which I usually favour, Tesco, who clearly thought, Stollen aside, that down right abysmal Puddings, Crisps and false marketed Sausages were the way forward this Yuletide.. They weren't. At all. I've munched my way through more than my fair share of cheese, crammed in Chips, Pies and Pithivier with more Fast Food to keep me going than an Elf drunk on maple syrup! The snack options have also been free flowing - Amazing Popcorn that I could eat by the bucketful and all the good of a doughnut but in Tortilla form. Speaking of doughy goods.. The less said about the lack lustre KK, the better! 

All in all, it's been a wonderful, not to mention tasty month which I hope you have enjoyed reading about as much as I have enjoyed feasting upon. If anyone was worried, and I expect some where, I have tactically ensured to save some room for my turkey/goose roast of tomorrow - Nothing's going to ruin that, not a soggy sprout, crap cracker or grouchy grandparent! I can only hope this is also all of your fates and you have the most glorious, happy and heartwarming of days. 

I'll be back to see in the New year but in the mean time, in true R4R fashion.. It's a Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.. From me!  

Snackmas Day 24- Tesco Finest Shortbread: Clementine Honey & Oat and Mulled Spice & Cranberry

Merry Christmas Eve! Yes, Santa has left the Pole and is on his way with hopefully a full sleigh of presents for each and every member of the Snack Army - Who's giddy? I am giddy! 

What do people leave out for the Big Man nowadays anyway? My Santa always wanted a mince pie and tumbler of Brandy.. But I often found only the latter would be empty with just a nibble missing from the pastry - I fear this says a lot about Santa and just maybe some AA sessions might not go amiss in terms of his Christmas gift! Unless he's secretly more of a Shortbread fan? Hmm.. 


I picked up these 2, rather pretty and most definitely reusable tins of Scottish Shortbread in Tesco's festive aisle where they cost £4 each, although I have seen them on offer at £3.50. Both suitable for vegetarians, it is recommended to keep the biscuits in an airtight container once opened which is kind of confusing.. Does this mean the tin itself isn't air tight? Or will only a double container keep them fresh? Someone find out.


Crumbly all butter biscuits, traditional baked with oat, sweet clementine, candied orange peel & smooth Scottish blossom honey and Crumbly all butter biscuits with tangy cranberries and an aromatic blend of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.

Clementine Honey & Oat


Cracking into the packet, a real waft of citrus from the biscuit rounds was immediately apparent and very much pleasant indeed. Taking a munch, texture wise they were everything a shortbread should be - Crunchy, crumbly and melt in the mouth with some contrasting harder nibs thanks to the oats. The initial orange-y aroma reflected in the flavour with a hit of clementine combined with comforting buttery tones along with plenty of sweetness - Not that I would identify this as being anything akin to honey however! Despite the aforementioned, the balance of elements was spot on making for one very delightful, not too sugary, "grown up" shortbread that made the perfect tea companion! A 4 out of 5 from me. 

Mulled Spice & Cranberry


Up next, the more "adventurous" yet once again, traditionally flavoured, Mulled Spice & Cranberry. I can't say the scent of these ruby studed beauties appealed to me quite as much as the above given the slightly bizarre, uncannily cheese like, "winey come nutmeg" smell they gave off - It wasn't particular potent but enough to question at least! Delivering a superb feel once again and bundles of buttery flavour, the biscuit thankfully provided no other dairy but very subtle flares of spice, complimented by the fruity bursts of cranberry. One negative I did experience however was a bit of a sore tongue after having eaten a biscuit which I don't know whether was down to the texture or something in the ingredients that just didn't agree with me in particular! A 3.5 out of 5 from me. 

So I am thinking.. Unless you have a super fussy Santa, I can't see either of these Tesco Finest Shortbread letting down the jolly chap! The Clementine Honey & Oat are without a shadow of a doubt, my favourites and mysterious prevailing ailment aside, the Mulled Spice & Cranberry aren't too shabby either although perhaps lacking the sparkle of the first.. I guess it depends what floats your boat most - Citrus or spice! 

That's your lot Folks, our last Snackmas post done and dusted - I'll be back this evening to kiss you, Cupid and all the other reindeer goodnight with a red nose roundup! 

Friday, 23 December 2016

Snackmas Day 23- M&S Sherry Trifle Roulade

Trifle. It's a Christmas classic ..And one in which admittedly, I am not all that keen on. Having never been one for cream in general, it isn't a dessert that I ever gravitate towards but throw meringue into the mix and I am as game as the next person! Our penultimate review and a twist on tradition - Sherry Trifle Roulade. 


Stumbling across the 520g, serves 6 vegetarian friendly pud in M&S's frozen section, I was disappointed to see how little care had been taken with the boxes - There was at least a dozen in the freezer but the majority were bashed in to the point of being more of an Eton Mess than a rolled Roulade! Opting for the mostly unscathed dessert on top of the pile, I skipped my merry way to the till and handed over a very reasonable £4. 


Meringue with roasted almonds, filled with a cream and sherry custard (45%), raspberries (4.5%), raspberry jam (2.5%) and flaked almonds. 

As suggested, I let the Roulade defrost at room temperature for 3 hours.. But didn't end up eating it immediately as recommended, hence the slice's rather sorry appearance - What a rebel. 


Taking a forkful, it was immediately apparent that this was going to be one very soft and sloppy pud - Just look at it! Light and crisp was the main feel of the meringue which provided a crunch and a chew along with good amount of sweetness. Bucket loads of rich, creamy tones from the whipped cream was the next thing to hit as well as a slightly weird, perhaps boozy but mainly unknown flavour that I can only put down to the Sherry.. Although not like any Sherry I've had previously! Pockets of raspberry were few and far between but did bring a nice fruitiness to the mix in the odd mouthful. As for the almonds on top.. I hated them and felt they were too hard whereas MSW enjoyed the further contrast in textures - Neither of us appreciated the strange aftertaste however! 

Overall, this Sherry Trifle Roulade isn't much of a winner, I'm afraid. I am still confused now over the Sherry aspect, I can't taste custard whatsoever, a lot more raspberry needs to be included for it to have any real flavour and generally, it ain't nothing like any Trifle, I've ever had - Good or bad! Nice work on the meringue though M&S, I give credit where credits due - It's a 2.5 out of 5 from me.