Friday, 21 July 2017

Review- The Grown Up Chocolate Company Cups: Hazelnut, Caramel, Spiced Praline and Peanut

Hi, it's me! Did anyone assume I had died a grizzly death?* I wouldn't blame you if you had - One can only be MIA for so long before others evidently conclude another's demise.. Have no fear though, I am back! I don't know how long for and shall make no promises as life has gotten pretty hectic but I am hoping to at least squeeze out a couple of reviews before my next vanishing act!

So, getting back into the swing of things, today we have some goodies from The Grown Up Chocolate Company who ever so kindly, sent me some of their "Handmade in the UK", NEW chocolatey treats to try. 

Cups, cups and nothing but! ..Except a bar.. But more of that later! Priced at £1.99 a pop and sold in sixes, not to mention extremely cute packaging, each variety offers up 75-80g of chocolate, with all being veggie friendly from what I can tell. 

Heavenly Whole Hazelnut Praline Cups

Smooth milk chocolate praline cups with whole hazelnut and crispy rice crunch. 

Well the description was true to its word.. Check out that mahoosive hazelnut! Taking a munch, the flavour of the aforementioned was very much apparent and as one would expect, paired pretty well with the milky cocoa hit of chocolate from the smooth shell. Unfortunately however, I found that with the addition of puff riced, it was all a bit too much of a mouthful and did start to detract from what could have been a superb "plain" nutty/praline chocolate combo. It's a 3.5 out of 5 from me. 

Gorgeously Gooey Caramel Truffle Cups

Milk chocolate toffee cups filled with a runny caramel truffle. 

Apologies for the dark picture - I am putting it down to lack of practice! ..Or perhaps the slightly odd description of these Cups - What on earth of a runny caramel truffle? I was under the impression that a chocolate truffle is anything but runny? Someone explain it to me. Melting in the mouth wonderfully, this little gleaming beauty certainly packed a buttery, toffee punch from the oozing centre with just the right amount of sweetness to compliment the once again, faultless milk chocolate. Deliciously indulgent - A 4.5 out of 5!

Spectacular Speculicious Praline Cups

Milk chocolate cups filled with sumptuous warm spice praline. 

Cutting the Cup in half, the inside dense truffle texture was clear to see and produced an ever so slight whiff of spice. Taste wise, it was far more warming than I expected with a real "Christmassy" inviting flavour that reminded me a lot of a strong Speculoos based Spread. I am not entirely sure what the sprinkling was on top of each of the rich chocolates but I liked it and its crunch! Wintery and warming - A 4 out of 5 from me. 

Perfectly Buttery Peanutty Cups/Superb Salted Caramel Peanut Bar

As some of you may be aware, peanut** and I don't exactly fair well together so I passed both these Cups and the Superb Salted Caramel Peanut Bar, pictured below, onto my darling Brother to review on my behalf with the strict instructions of "not consuming before I have a chance to take internal shots". Did he listen? No. Of course he didn't. Lovely chap is BSW (Winning personality, fabulous beard, etc) but he chooses to have the memory of a dead goldfish. So.. There's that. No pictures, a rating or even description as he also disposed of the boxes but he did say as follows.. 

"The Bar was better than the Cups. 
Strong peanut taste. 
Chocolate, creamy and nice.
Do you have any Reese's?"

Take from that what you will. 

Overall, minus the peanut fiasco which I can't personally judge for certain, these NEW Cups from The Grown Up Chocolate Company aren't too shabby at all.. There is definitely room for improvement with the Heavenly Whole Hazelnut - Maybe doing away with the puffed rice and making it into its own Cup would be nice, but aside from that, the Gooey Caramel Truffle is practically spot on despite still not being overly sure what a liquid truffle is and Speculicious Praline is to be a sure winner for anyone who loves a bit of spice in their life. Be sure to check out everything mentioned on the website and see if anything takes your fancy! 

Aaaaand lastly, a huge thank you to the folk at The Grown Up Chocolate Company for sending me all the deliciousness - Your chocolates are always much appreciated and rarely disappoint! 

*Or care? You lot are so heartless. 
*The nut/legume not the ACTUAL Peanut, NibsnScribs - Go read her review, she's a hoot and far more conscientious than my stupid sibling. 

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Review- Shaken Udder NEW Strawberries & Clotted Cream Milkshake

A few weeks, I was contacted by Nikki (Hi Nikki! Thanks Nikki! Happy Sunday Nikki!) asking if I would be interested in trying the NEW Strawberries & Clotted Cream Milkshake by Shaken Udder. As I am not crazy, I accepted this generous offer and 3 bottles of the baby pink stuff turned up on my doorstep, not to long after. 

Parading its pips on the outside, Britains best berry earned its name from the farmers stuffing straw around their plants. We blended this scrumptious strawberries in a bottle with Rodda's divine Cornish clotted cream. 

It's essentially summer in a 330ml bottle! Who doesn't like strawberries and cream come a scorching July day, after all? Well me for one but that's neither here nor there - Cream haters are few and far between so I am told.. I will take the fruit though, a long with the promise of British Milk and no nasty hidden preservatives. flavourings or colours. 

Giving the Shake a shake and pouring some into a tumbler, the Shake* appeared to be up to the usual Shaken Udder consistency of being plenty thick yet still smooth, silky and easy to drink. The strawberry flavour, albeit very pleasant, didn't quite pack the strength I anticipated with not all that much in terms of sweetness or potency.. But of course, this could solely be down to the fact it was the "real deal" opposed to a cheap and most likely, artificially flavoured supermarket Strawberry Milk (Nesquik, anyone?). Creaminess wise.. It was certainly that which did pair up with the relatively mild strawberry nicely but managed to avoid being overly cloying, to produce one very tasty, indulgent, "grown up" drink. 

Overall, this Shaken Udder Strawberries & Cream offering didn't disappoint in the slightest.. Well, in fact, it's exceeded my expectations really, especially after having prepared myself to be repulsed by the cream aspect. Perhaps I am a changed woman. Perhaps I might channel my inner "Wimbledon" and go the whole "Strawberries & Cream hog" this year. Perhaps.. I just really like Shaken Udder. I think it might be the latter, don't you? Get yourself a £1.49 bottle from Waitrose and let me know what you think - It's a 4 out of 5! 

*Has Shake now lost all meaning? Shake. Shake. .....Shake. 

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Review- Krispy Kreme NEW: Hersey's and Coconut & Raspberry

Oh hi little Bloggy, long time no post! It's been a while since my last review, almost a month* in fact..  But you know how life goes - "Busy" has a sneaky habit of keeping you just that! So what's new with everyone? Anything exciting to tell me? Has Spring, sprung where you are? New faves and foods? Gossip? Let me know!

Kicking things back off today, it's the NEW Hersey's Cookies 'n' Creme (Also available in Ring form) and Coconut & Raspberry Doughnuts from good old Krispy Kreme (Not Cream in name but said as cream, not krem. GOT IT!?), which I picked up in my usual Tesco cabinet. Price wise, I bought an assorted box of 3 for £4.85 but assume they are the usual £1.90 each. 

Hersey's Cookies 'n' Creme

Filled with Hersey's Cookies 'n' Creme Kreme, topped with white chocolate flavoured coating and Hersey's Cookies 'n' Creme pieces. 

I was so convinced that no filling was going to feature within my Hersey's number, I had a complaint tweet practically composed, ready to press send as soon as confirmed by the slice of my knife.. But the eager finger was soon shown the door when some Kreme did turn out to be present! - Not a lot mind but more than what it's weight suggested! Onto the eating and texture wise, the very bottom layer of the dough itself wasn't quite cooked and in turn a bit on the stodgy side. Thankfully, the rest was up to the usual fluffy KK standard and delivered that signature sweet flavour. As for the Hersey's aspect, both inside and on top.. It brought nothing to the party - No real creaminess, certainly not cookies whatsoever, perhaps some more sugary, wannabe white chocolate tones but generally, lacked all kind of flavour. It's a disappointing, 1 out of 5 from me. 

Coconut & Raspberry

Filled with coconut Kreme and topped with raspberry gloss and desiccated coconut. 

Moving onto the Doughnut which has been greatly longed for and the one that I had much higher hopes for.. The Coconut & Raspberry! Cutting in two, the dough still proved to be marginally raw a long the bottom but far less noticeable than the above and probably not something anyone would complain about apart from me! From first bite, the coconut aspect was instantly identifiable with plenty of creamy, tropical tones a long with sweetness, all packed into the super smooth, silky abundance of Kreme. The sticky gloss on top added a real pop of fruitiness which as expected, went wonderfully with both the chewy desiccated coconut and the aforementioned filling. YUM - A 4.5 out of 5 from me. 

Overall, it's a bit of a mixed bag here from Krispy Kreme. Hersey's is no Reeses in my opinion** so if KK are expecting it to catch on.. I can't help but think they've got another thing coming given what they've produced - Mine really did taste of nothing! As for the Coconut & Raspberry offering, it is a "spot on" delight and you would be a fool not to get yourself 1.. Or a dozen. Happy Doughnut munching! 

*Whilst I was MIA.. On the 23rd of March.. It was the Bloggy's 2 year birthday.. And I completely forgot. Whoopsie doodle. Happy Birthday Bloggy!! 
**What do I know, I don't even like Peanut. I'm just channelling my inner Nibby Nobs. She knows stuff, that one. 

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Review- Tesco Finest Salted Caramel Cake

Another year, another birthday, another cake - It's the only good part of ageing.. Well aside from the presents obviously.. Who doesn't like presents? No one, that's who! 

I opted for something a tad "fancier" as my celebration sponge this time round, having eyed up the £10 Tesco Finest Cakes for months*. Swaying back and forth over whether the Red Velvet option should be the one.. Or Mocha.. Or Salted Caramel.. I eventually got a grip and settled on the latter and whacked it in my trolley, prior to speeding off so I couldn't change my mind for the 100th time. 

Indulgent toffee sponge filled with chocolate frosting and covered with a salted caramel buttercream, decorated with Belgian milk chocolate chips, fudge pieces and a salted caramel drizzle.

Designed to feed 14 as well as being suitable for vegetarians, the cake certainly looked the part with a swirly frosted top and not so expertly drizzled, drizzle.. But we can live with that.

Cutting with ease into neat slices, the sponge felt plenty soft with a decent/well proportioned layer of both the two fillings.. Not to mention, smelling absolutely divine! 

Ensuring I got a massive wodge, I got stuck in and was immediately greeted by deliciously sweet, buttery tones, just as its scent suggested. Super soft and tender, the 3 sponges were pretty decent texture wise, not dry in the slightest and provided the first whiff of caramel. This was only cranked up a gear by the smooth, thickly slathered buttercream which was sweet, naturally, but no overly sickly or cloying. The middle layer of chocolate, which I found to be more akin to a set custard than frosting, delivered a strong hit of cocoa and went a long way in helping diminish any potential overdose of sugar, but I did feel it took away from the overall caramel flavour.. Well, that was until hitting the drizzled sauce upon top which oozed salted, toffee flavour and even a lingering, pleasant saline aftertaste! A final measly scattering of fudge and chocolate hardly contributed any flare but if one was lucky enough to get some on their piece, there would be no complaints! YUM.

Overall, this Tesco Finest Salted Caramel Cake is a sheer delight. It's been executed superbly, tastes mouthwateringly good and delivers on the promised and oh so important, salted caramel aspect.. Even if only the case in the sauce opposed to the buttercream! If you've got a Birthday coming up (Or just a cake!) I highly recommend you opt for one of these beauties - I am sure Mum would be thrilled with one for Mother's Day come the 26th also! It's a 4.5 out of 5 from me. 

*Not to mention the fact that I've somehow managed to exhaust all that Asda have to offer - Including last years almighty Flake Cake

Monday, 13 February 2017

Review- M&S NEW LE Mac 'n' Cheese & Bacon Pie

Holy moly, steady yourselves. M&S have gone and combined 2 of possibly the greatest foods that life has to offer.. Saucy macaroni pasta meet all buttery pastry, with a sprinkle of the porky stuff as it would be rude not to, it's only Mac 'n' Cheese & Bacon Pie! 

Oh how the excitement was overwhelming when I stumbled across the 200g Limited Edition, sunny boxed delight, at the start of the month! - Shame about the £3 price tag when bought individually but what can you do.. It is M&S after all! Fit to serve 1, (With nutritional values that may make you anything but!) the Pie is to be heated at 180ºC Fan for 30 minutes until possessing the heat of molten lava.. 

Cooked macaroni pasta in a cheese sauce topped with smoked bacon crumble, in an all butter pastry case. 

So I did just that and it came out beautifully - Golden on top, crisp around the edges and smelling very scrumptious. Then came the challenge of getting the thing out of the foil*.. A quick game of "Hot Potato" and miraculously it was on a plate in one piece! Hallelujah! 

Cutting the Pie in half, I did expect there to be more of the oozing sauce suggested on the packaging image.. But no such luck despite being piping hot. Thankfully, this minor blip didn't reflect in the taste, as cheesy it certainly was! ..But starting with the buttery pastry, the upper crust was extremely short and crisp, transitioning into something much softer, although not soggy, and having far more of a flake. This contrasted nicely against the full size, soft macaroni pieces, packing a good amount of the aforementioned Cheddar and Regato flavours combined with an undeniable indulgent creaminess. The crumble added a second crunchy aspect a long with a lot of seasoning, albeit perhaps personally too much for me, and bacon tones of both the pleasant smoked "farmyard" variety and something a tad more artificial which as expected, wasn't quite so appealing.. But generally went well with the cheesy pasta/pastry combo! 

Overall, this NEW LE Mac 'n' Cheese & Bacon Pie delivers all that it promises and makes for one  solid little snack. The only thing I am torn over is the fact it is exactly that.. A snack. Not one to usually be overly fixated on the fat content of foodstuffs, it is very much hard to ignore when a red symbol is slapped straight in front of your peepers and you know full well, you will be having a potato product as an accompaniment.. And maybe a can of baked beans.. Or is one meant to just have salad to make it a meal? Salad offends me. Either way, it still packs a serious punch for something so dinky.. Not to mention, to consume in one sitting since we're still only talking about one lonesome meal here! What about all the other "bad" things, one eats in a day? I am genuinely surprised that M&S are down with selling such "unhealthy"** options in such tiny packages***.. But I enjoyed it nevertheless****! It's a 4 out of 5 from me*****. 

*Turns out, you are meant to remove said foil and place on a preheated baking tray which poses the question.. Why use the foil to begin with, hmm!?
**The rest of the NEW LE Pies, e.g Chicken & Bacon, are no "better". 
***Everything in moderation. 
****To be enjoyed as part of a healthy active lifestyle. 
*****Please don't make me eat salad. 

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Review- McDonald's UK NEW Bacon Clubhouse Double

Oh hi Bacon Clubhouse! It's nice to see you again.. Oh, you've found your long lost beef patty twin? That's beautiful, I am so pleased for you! ..Christ, I'm talking to a burger. A picture of a burger, at that. This is what happens when you don't have a McDonald's for a good while.. It's a slippery slope, my friends!

Perhaps the extent of my "in the beyond-ness" can be attributed to the fact I had to drive all around my bloomin' county to acquire the bloomin' thing! - Unbeknownst to me, my local Fast Food store is under renovation. Until the 21st March. I am yet to figure out how I will cope. So, a major detour was taken and finally, at long last we were reunited. 

Two 100% British and Irish beef patties, Big Mac sauce, two rashers of Beechwood Smoked Bacon, a slice of Cheddar Cheese, Grilled Onions, a slice of Tomato and Lettuce, all in a brioche style bun.

Despite the miles it travelled, the burger looked most inviting indeed.. Smaller than I remembered but pretty much picture perfect with some sneaky lettuce and onion on show - Not the usual slipey-slidey, sloppy-moppy mess, that I am all too often presented with!

Cutting the Burger in half, things seemed fairly soft and squidgy with a good amount of "added extras" on show. Starting with the bun, it appeared plenty fresh, tasted pleasantly bread-y and was surprisingly robust enough to withstand all that it held despite, the light, airy texture. The Big Mac sauce packed that signature gherkin-esque flavour which paired up nicely with the grilled to perfection onions, a long with a burst of freshness from the salad. As expected, the melted cheese and slightly smoked bacon were a match made in heaven, providing both mellow and smokey tones.. Unfortunately however, this was where the positives came to a grinding halt. Cooked seemingly well and being plenty juicy themselves, the beef patties did deliver on being meaty.. But without a shadow of a doubt, were far too "bitty" and difficult to get down, regardless of the quantity of sauce above, making the burger overall about as dry as a dog! Disappointing. 

Ah McDonald's.. I fear it is a case of "so close and yet so far"! - This NEW Bacon Clubhouse Double isn't anywhere near as good as it could be (Or it's predecessor!).. But so easily rectified! An extra slice of cheese and a squirt of the Big Mac sauce between the two patties, to break up the texture and I reckon, the entire dry aspect would be avoided. To be honest, I can't fathom why McDonald's didn't consider this to begin with.. Surely during taste testing, they realised that the lower half of the bun and bottom beef was essentially redundant without having something to hold it together? I mean, I ended up chucking that part away as it had no place or purpose! Such a pity - It's a Fast Food forlorn, 2 out of 5 from me. 

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Review- Nestle Fab NEW LE Birthday Cake Ice Lollies

Happy Birthday Fab! Congrats on making it to 50! To celebrate, Nestle have only gone and done something ingenious.. Not only have they supplied their own birthday cake but they've incorporated it into an Ice Lolly too! This has to be sorcery! 

My beloved Kevvie was the one to point me in the direction of this NEW Limited Edition flavour and I headed to Sainsbury's to pick myself up a box of 6 for £2. Suitable for vegetarians and without artificial colours, flavours or preservatives, the only thing, according to Kev The Gluten Free-er, that one has to worry about, is the use of maltodextrin which apparently is "suspect".. Whatever that means. 

Raspberry water ice and sponge cake flavour with a vanilla flavour coating and sugar strands.

My Lolly's raspberry had bled into the cakey part which was a shame.. But it smelt amazing so I got stuck straight in! Completely forgetting to picture the inside, the Fab had the standard layout of water ice coated in a creamy coloured layer, followed by the vanilla 'icing" with a finishing sprinkle of sprinkles. Taking a bite, taste wise, I pretty much fell into heaven - A sugary sweet crunch was the first thing to hit, moving to pure vanilla and an almost caramelly, condensed milk flavour which although wasn't exactly that of sponge, it wasn't far off and most certainly delicious! Fruity raspberry and nothing but came in abundance from the "iced" part itself which did somewhat remind me of the jam in an actual Birthday Cake.. Even if it was a lot more potent in this case! All the elements went superbly together and I soon found myself longing for another - Yummy yum yum!

Eek! Nestle certainly haven't let themselves down here.. These NEW Birthday Cake Fab are very tasty, indeed! I highly recommend you go grab yourself a box (Make it several as I reckon they're going to be dead popular!) whilst you can - Whether you are a cake fanatic like myself or not*, young or "old", a first time buyer or longtime lover, there really is nothing not to like!

Thank you Fab, for being my favourite Ice Lolly for the last 20 something years of this Snack Warriors little life and here's to another 50 together! It's a 4.5 out of 5 from me.

*Why aren't you a cake fanatic? Please go and take a long, hard look at yourself.