Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Review- M&S NEW Spirit of Summer: Mustard Pie Dogs

So it seems that pork based products are now being referred to as Dogs or Puppies.. Well at least in M&S Land anyways and regardless to whether actual "Hot Dogs" come in to it or not. I don't really get it personally - A sausage is a sausage and a sausage roll is a sausage roll in my world but here are Mustard Pie Dogs, courtesy of Spirit of Summer. 

I picked up the 150g, pack of 2 for £2.50 in the ready to eat, cooked meat section where I am pretty sure they were part of some offer - Not that I can recall what exactly! Obviously, given the use to meat here, they aren't suitable for Vegetarians or to freeze so meat-goers best scoff them within 3 days, either warmed at 160ºC Fan for 10-12 minutes as instructed or cold, having been removed from the fridge 30 minutes earlier. 

Seasoned British pork encased in a hot water crust pastry with a mustard centre. 

I was a little disappointed upon first cut to see a massive gap between the filling and pastry.. Not to mention the meat appeared to be more of a mince than the chunks I envisaged! Soft, crumbly and buttery is the only way to describe the outer casing which had some mysterious, delicious coating that needs to be on everything. The flavour of pork definitely shone despite my initial concerns of abundance with the mustard adding some moisture and proving not to be hot in the slightest but instead, the american kind with it's undeniably sweet flavour. The seasoning throughout rounded things off nicely with onion and garlic at the forefront and some non-spicy warmth to match - Delish! 

Overall, I am quite surprised that I liked these Mustard Pie Dogs as much as I did.. And the fact, MSW didn't! I think the trick here is to eat them cold as even I have to admit, they weren't all that enjoyable warm. See past the name that they're not a sausage roll, pie or fluffy Dog and get yourself some - They will make a fab addition to any picnic! It's a 4 out of 5 from me. 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Review- M&S NEW Spirit of Summer: Watermelon & Lime Aqua Fresca

There's a bit of a heatwave going on this week in the UK which can mean only one thing.. Everyone is moaning! Us Brits do love to complain whatever the weather but my current 33ºC in the shade, does seem a little excessive and I am slowly melting.. A cold beverage might help!

Watermelon and lime juice drink lightly treated for a longer shelf life. 

M&S have a shedload of NEW Spirit of Summer drinks on the shelves from Mocktails, Pressés, even Smoothies.. So naturally I went for the "tame" option in the form of this Watermelon & Lime Aqua Fresca. The 750ml bottle which is included in the 3 for £5 across all juices, cost me £2.50 and is suitable for vegetarians, surprisingly enough. 

I was eager to crack into the bottle given my life long love of all things fruity and the immediate refreshing scent didn't disappoint. Taking a sip, the juice proved to be very cold and smooth with the unmistakable flavour of watermelon packing a punch. I have absolutely no idea where the lime was at as no zesty citrus taste came into action which unfortunately made the whole thing kind of lack lustre.. It was just slightly sweetened watermelon juice - Thirst quenching enough but nothing more. 

Overall, this Watermelon & Lime Aqua Fresca is about as riveting as a sweaty back. If you love watermelon and can't be bothered to blend and strain your own than this will be perfect for you.. But if you can, just remember to add an abundance of lime because clearly M&S can't! It's a 2.5 out of 5 from me. 

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Review- The Chocolate Smith's Ice Cream Sandwich Bizarre

Not to long ago I received a surprise package in the post from my dear old buddy chum and the Hand Snack Selfie King, Kevvie! It is safe to say I was giddy with excitement, especially since he had been teasing me with the prospect of summer goodies heading my way for about 2 months previous!

Is there anything that says "British Summertime" more than a trip to the seaside, or fairground? (Aside for the rain, we mean!). We can bring you the beach and the sun with this tropical ice cream sandwich! Coconut, banana, crispy wafer and creamy vanilla in Belgian white chocolate. Enjoy this limited edition Bizarre while you can!

Inside was this Ice Cream Sandwich Bizarre Bar by The Chocolate Smith's which I have to admit, I had been pleading for him to get me - If you ever want some of their wacky flavours, Butty is your man.. Although beware, he's a Bacon Chocolate pusher!

Unwrapping the bar, the smell of white chocolate was very much apparent with super sweet, vanilla tones.. No coconut or banana though as I expected! Not a glimpse of wafer was visible upon the first snap of the bar either - Perhaps the action was in the centre? Well, yes, the aforementioned did make a brief appearance, mainly causing the chocolate either side to go everywhere despite not being in abundance. Flavour wise, no banana was distinguishable bar a vague whiff in one chunk with the coconut aspect being just as MIA. The only real flavour was the pure sugary hit of white chocolate which I could have sworn to be MilkyBar - Creamy and enjoyable but hardly high quality! The wafer itself added a "wafer" ice cream cone flavour along with a slight crunch.. And that was it.

So, this Ice Cream Sandwich Bizarre is just a bar of white chocolate.. One which I don't even think is as nice as the what the Easter Egg Custard presented! It wasn't repulsive by any means but I can't quite fathom why The Chocolate Smith's have labelled it as coconut or banana - It oozes nothing of the sort! Absolutely zilch! Who's doing the taste testing to give the whole lack of flavouring the get-go? We need answers! Thanks Kev, Sorry Kev! It's a 2 out of 5 from me.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Review- M&S NEW Spirit of Summer: Alfajores Biscuits

For once, it's a SoS number which actually is undeniably Latin American - Today is golden, it's sticky and cloyingly sweet.. It's Dulce de Leche! Alas, not straight out of the jar as I favour to eat it but sandwiched in the M&S NEW Alfajores! 

I was in two minds whether to buy these or the Dulce de Leche Teacakes* but swiftly decided against the latter after remembering the disastrous Christmas Red Velvet Teacakes* which were essentially the thing of nightmares and tasting a bit like a shoe! Sadly, the price difference between the pair was vast and although not swaying me, I begrudgingly forked out £2.50 for the 210g brightly coloured box of Veggie loving, Biscuits. 

All butter biscuits with a dulce de leche caramel centre. 

I was even more narked to discover that it was only a pack of 6 - 6, albeit large, slightly cheesy smelling cookies! That's 41p each and who knows how much cheese!

I attempted to cut the biscuit in half and the texture instantly seemed weird - Hard yet soft, making for not a very clean cut but more of a wiggle. Munching my way through, it proved to be quite heavy going and dry with an almost powdery feel and uncanny to "shortbread gone stale" - I can't say this was all that pleasant especially mixed with the grainy centre! Thankfully and more on the positive side, the smell didn't reflect in the taste.. Instead a flavour that can only be described as extremely buttery with the sickly sweetness of caramel which was only vaguely like actual Dulce de Leche - Certainly not the jarred stuff! Naturally, the combination of elements were fairly claggy in the throat and poor MSW even started to question whether they were salty as they were so ridiculously sugary and hurt her tongue - There must be a fine line! 

Overall, these M&S Spirt of Summer Alfajores Biscuits are plain peculiar - They aren't really one thing or another and without a shadow of a doubt, require a hot beverage to get down. I suppose they aren't horrific if you can handle the impending diabetes and aren't fixated on the Dulce de Leche aspect.. But even then, I think most would struggle to eat more than one in a sitting. Perhaps they could be a diet biscuit? I'm struggling to be constructive when they could very well be a love-hate thing! It's a slightly frazzled, 2.5 out of 5 from me. 

*NibsnScribs AKA Peanut has reviewed both so go have a read and leave a friendly comment!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Review- M&S NEW Spirit of Summer: Dirty Fries

I really like chips. Like, really really, which is somewhat ironic given that I went off potatoes entirely for about 2 years, a while back. Thankfully those days are long gone and as soon as I saw these Spirit of Summer Dirty Fries, I knew they would be mine! 

Perhaps somewhat foolishly ignoring that "mild" heat warning, I purchased the 500g side dish for £3, choosing once again to opt out of the Pizza meal deal. Freezer fanatics rejoice but bad news for Veggies.. Good old porky bacon is included so best steer clear if that's the life you've chosen!  

Battered spiced chips with cheese and bacon sauce topped with mozzarella cheese, jalapeño peppers and parsley. 

Why are the fries a shade of mahogany? Why do they bear no resemblance to the picture on the packaging? All good questions I feel. 

I popped the foil tray into a preheated 180ºC Fan oven for about 25 minutes until piping hot with the cheese bubbling away.. Sure enough, the hue hadn't changed apart from falling further into the mahogany abyss.

Anyone who doesn't want to face plant their tech screen, may as well leave now.. What a glorious gooey sight to behold! Bizarrely smelling uncanny to Pizza Hut, pizza, the fries were loaded with a stringy, full of creamy flavour, melted cheese puddle with enough being present to cover the lot as well as to dunk into. A crisp, almost fried batter like coating covered the soft and fluffy fries which I found to almost have a sweet taste and were certainly not like any I had, had before.. I could even see past the mild lingering spice! Nibs of jalapeño however were one thing I did struggle with as much to my dismay, they were everywhere! - Although understandably great for those who like a kick but for me, I found it all to much and my mouth and throat were near death! As for the bacon sauce, it was hardly noticeable with everything else going on.. Perhaps it did contribute to the overall smokey, chilli, garlic, herby flavour but I would have thought it would have been more distinguishable regardless of the strength of heat. 

Blimey, these Dirty Fries are certainly a taste sensation! There is so much going on, from full on cheesy goodness to spiced, sweet/savoury chips to a real kick* of heat, all whilst managing to smell like a popular chain restaurant and appearing not as they seem - They are bizarre, they are indulgent and they are very much enjoyable! If you've been umming and ahhing, get them - You won't regret it and there's even enough to feed M&S's "serves 2" claim! It's a 4 out of 5 from me (And MSW!). 

*Please do bear in mind that I find everything spicy. I can't handle black pepper let alone chilli, jalapeños.. Or anything else remotely seasoned. It's essentially a Russian roulette every time I eat as to what extent my face will be on fire. I like boring and I like bland. 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Review- M&S NEW Spirit of Summer: Toffee & Honey comb Traybake

Happy July Folks! I trust you're all well and have had a fun filled fortnight - I have been so engrossed in Wimbledon, I found myself incapable of putting up a review for the duration.. But I'm back now.. Here I am! Everyone ready to crack on? You better be in the Spirit of Summer. 

Yes, it's trusty old M&S once again with another South American inspired treat - Toffee & Honeycomb Traybake. I picked up the dessert in the chilled section (Where it was situation along the plethora of cheesecake flavours) for £3. Sadly, this one isn't Veggie friendly thanks to the use of beef gelatine and it's also not advisable to freeze.. So don't do that.. Promise?! 

Bourbon biscuit topped with toffee mousse (52%) and toffee sauce (14%), finished with chocolate and toffee drizzles and chocolate coated honeycomb (2%). 

The packaging concerned me at first. No way did I think that by running a knife around the inside of the card tray before pulling the flaps down as instructed, would the whole thing not get torn to pieces! - It's a miracle!

Cutting also proved to be easier than expected with the dessert staying together pretty well and not cracking or crumbling despite the glorious oozing sauce. Taking a forkful, I was immediately in sweet, sticky, creamy toffee heaven with the crunchy and of good thickness biscuit base adding some "darker" signature bourbon tones. Pairing up perfectly and contrasting in texture was the dense yet light and whipped mousse which certainly delivered in terms of flavour! The toffee tones were spot on in both the aforementioned and the silky smooth, fairly liquid sauce to pack a real buttery, golden, sugary punch - Not cheap or artificial in the slightest! As for the honeycomb on top, I can't say the flavour was anything other than mild but once again, the harder pieces complimented the soft layers beneath with the drizzles of chocolate and toffee sauce only adding to the sticky delight! 

Wow-wee.. What a way to return with a bang - This Spirit of Summer Toffee & Honeycomb Traybake is out of this world good! Yes, it is fairly simple in its components but if indulgent, gooey, sweet, crunchy, soft, creamy and borderline sickly desserts are up your street, you will find it very hard to go wrong with one of these.. I do however have to mention that it is designed to feed 4 which I think would be a struggle if you're remotely into any of the things just listed! It's a 4 out of 5 from me - Well done M&S!