Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The 24 Days of Snackmas

Happy Holidays, Snack Army!

I don't want to alarm anybody but tomorrow is the 1st of December.. Already. Everyone take a deep breath and relish in the peace and quiet whilst you still can.. Who am I trying to kid, of course I want to put the frighteners up you! Get a grip, get excited - It's Christmas, you bunch of Cotton-Headed Ninny-Muggins! 

With the annual festivities well under way at my end thanks to being a self professed, enthusiastic elf of all things Yuletide, naturally I am soaking up this time of year. From baking up a dried fruit storm to trips to every garden centre in the country, reaping in the decorative delights to bursting into merry melodies at any opportune moment, it is safe to say I am a sucker for this time of year and as MSW would say.. When a lot of us come alive and really do shine. 

This can mean only one thing.. Yes, Snackmas is back! A festive food review will be coming at you every day for the next 24, until the arrival of the Big Man is imminent. We've got Puddings, we've got Popcorn, Chocolate, Crisps, Coffee, Curd, more Cheese than you can choke on and what I'm branding, "The FFF".. Festive Fast Food! There will be no need to get your tinsel in a twist with the obligatory all time favourites of Sammies, Panettone and Stollen chucked in a long the way for good measure and combined with classic Christmas flavours.. I am hoping there's something to please everyone!

So are we all ready to Rudolph? Are you now excited? You best be. Don't make me come over there because I will. Santa doesn't just see you when you're sleeping or know when you're awake.. He knows if you've been bad or good so get into Snackmas for goodness sake! See you tomorrow, Folks! 

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Review- PG tips NEW Caramel & Vanilla Black Tea Capsules

As a big drinker of both tea and coffee, I am always on the look out for different hot beverages to try. Thankfully, there are a lot more options nowadays and today's review is something I've been on the look out for a good while - NEW Black Tea Capsules from PG tips to go into ones Nespresso machine! 

Located and purchased in Waitrose, the box of 10 capsules cost £2 and are made with real black tea leaves combined with the creamy notes of caramel and vanilla. 

As instructed, I removed the top lid of the capsule to reveal the filter paper beneath and whacked the capsule in my Nespresso ready to add about 200ml of water. 

The tea dispensed perfectly and somewhat bizarrely, smelt uncanny to the caramel sauce that Costa use - Not something to ever complain about! Very drinkable even without milk, the tea was plenty strong and provided a good flavour with the promised creamy vanilla and caramel tones really shining and providing lots of sweetness. The caramel aspect certainly lingered for a delicious aftertaste and I quickly found myself making another cup! Lovely! 

Overall, this Caramel & Vanilla Black Tea from PG tips is really quite delightful. The capsules work perfectly in a Nespresso machine, not to mention, being a far quicker way to get your caffeine fix than having to wait for the kettle to boil.. To then have to wait for a teabag to brew.. To then find such a nice flavour has been far from achieved! It's a solid 4 out of 5 from me. 

Friday, 25 November 2016

Review- M&S NEW Chicken & Butternut Bake

Things seem to come and go in M&S as quick as anything nowadays. I do like how they pump out NEW products but it can be quite frustrating to see a favourite being taken off the shelf when it has only been there itself for a few months! Today's Chicken & Butternut Bake however, is one thing I was only to happy to embrace with open arms for a quick, easy and healthy dinner! 

Part of the Mix & Match, 3 for £10 deal across selected prepared meals, the 370g Bake cost £3.50 (Give or take!) individually and is freezer friendly - Perfect for stocking up and enjoying at those busy times. 

As instructed, I preheated my oven to 180ºC Fan and whacked the foil tin, with the sleeve removed, onto a baking tray and cooked for 25 minutes until bubbly and deliciously smelling of garlic/casserole.  

Not to disappointingly, the kale caught in the oven so I removed it before getting stuck in.. Although  I have to say, it still tasted of seaweed whether it was burnt or not! An abundance of slightly herby, soft on the inside, crispy on the outside, potato cubes were the main flavour with a decent amount of succulent chicken chunks distributed throughout. The sauce provided a bit of moisture but by no means made things sloppy and tasted a bit like a vegetable "gravy". As for the butternut and the mushroom.. Both were few and far between with 2 lonesome slices of the latter and a little over half a dozen pieces of the squash. 

All in all, this NEW Chicken & Butternut Bake is delicious.. And definitely a dinner for the potato fans amongst us! There really is a mound of the white stuff which personally, I don't mind but I can see how some may be despondent over the lack of squash in the name. I'll certainly be having another! - It's a 4 out of 5 from me. 

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Review- The Co-op Irresistible Gingerbread Latte Cake

Gingerbread. Latte. Cake. Hell to the yeah? Lets do this! 

I stumbled across this rather autumnal, Veggie friendly sponge when nipping into The Co-op with the intention of buying milk and nothing else - It isn't often that I can go into a shop and not saunter up the bakery aisle so why I expected any less, I do not know. I made my purchase as part of a 3 for 2 deal, although I think their cakes are priced at £2 (Ish) each usually. 

Coffee cake, filled with ginger frosting, topped with a creamy frosting and decorated with a chocolate mocha sauce and ginger crumb. 

Rather annoyingly, The Co-op don't provide any sort of base for their cakes to sit on, not even a pathetic paper liner.. So I just plonked the entire thing on table as is and hoped for the best - Can't be doing with making a plate dirty, unnecessarily! 

The sponge cut very neatly for something that was super squidgy and moist with not a single crumb out of place or the chance of the whole thing falling to pieces. Coffee was immediately recognisable although relatively mild and not likely to offend anyone. The warmth of ginger came through which complimented the aforementioned perfectly with just the right balance of sweet yet creamy and a decent ratio of frosting to cake. A crunch came from the sprinkling of biscuit crumbs to break up all the soft textures whilst adding another spicy element.. But only to be pleasantly mellowed by the the sticky mocha swirl, enhancing the original coffee tones as well as the addition of chocolate - Marvellous! 

Overall, this Gingerbread Latte Cake is exactly what it claims to be.. Spicy, coffee-y and cakey - There is nothing not to love and I highly recommend you get yourself down to The Co-op if you're a fan of any of the things I just listed! It's a 4 out of 5 from me. 

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Review- Red Velvet Oreo vs Red Velvet Chips Ahoy

Who here likes biscuits? Who here likes Red Velvet? Who here likes both, especially when provided by Nabisco? Wave your hands in the air, like you just do not care as it's Cookie vs Cookie, Red vs Red.. Oreo vs Chips Ahoy! 

I hadn't seen either of these Biscuits here in the UK (Until this Monday which is bloody typical) but had been pining for them since a certain someones glowing reviewing of the Oreo. Luckily for me, my friends sister was jetting stateside in September and managed to nab not only the aforementioned but the Chips Ahoy version too! - Thanks Lottie! Thanks Lucy! 

Red Velvet Oreo

I couldn't not start with the biscuit which in my opinion is THE biscuit - Who doesn't like Oreos? No one, thats who. Smelling absolutely sensational upon tearing into the packet, the deep red hued sandwiches looked remarkably in good nick considering the miles they had travelled with a creme filling that was only to apparent to be far thicker than anything we get here in the UK. Taste wise, they didn't disappoint in the slightest! Crunchy on the outside with the signature Oreo, albeit slightly sweeter than "usual" cocoa flavour, the biscuit itself went perfectly with the abundance of soft, super sweet filling. A cream cheese tang was definitely noticeable, despite none actually being listed in the ingredients, which delivered the flavour that we all know and love to be that of Red Velvet. Amazing - 4.5 out of 5!

Red Velvet Chips Ahoy

Having never tried Chips Ahoy, not even our British version, I wasn't sure what to expect from the cute and dinky Cookies which unfortunately, this time, didn't fair so well in transit - Crumbs galore! Soft and chewy on the outside with a hidden pocket of something(?)*, they were just as sweet as the above but with a slightly artificial edge and lacking a real tang, even from the cream cheese flavoured chips - Not to dissimilar to the Red Velvet Pop Tarts which came close to being Red Velvet.. But not quite. After a few, I found the chemical flavour and general sugar rush all too much and called it quits whilst I could still stand - A 3.5 out of 5 from me. 

Well, there you have it Folks.. It's clear to see which 'Bisco Biccie reigns almighty in my books -  Both on the Red Velvet front and in general when it comes to the quality of biscuit. Granted, the 2 are very different with the Chips Ahoy being a much softer, cookie texture but the promised flavour just isn't quite there and certainly a way off from the near perfection of the Oreo! Having said that, if you do happen to stumble across either, don't hesitate in picking yourself up a pack.. You'll only regret it! 

*Haven't the foggiest what the something is.. Frosting, perhaps? Not cream cheese, I know that much.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Review- Cadbury NEW Crunchie Cake

It may be Sunday but I've got that Friday Feeling, I don't know about you - The need for chocolatey goodness and nothing that cake can't fix.. The NEW Friday Feeling Crunchie has all of our names written on it! 

To be fair, I actually bought this Celebratory cake a few weeks ago - Not when it was first released along with the Mega Raspberry Roll and Caramel variety, as I would have liked, but as soon as it got the nod of approval from the October Birthday Girl that is Nibs. Purchased in Asda for £5 and designed to feed 10, the cake is suitable for vegetarians and does not contain dairy cream.. As it states in large letters.. For anyone concerned. 

Delicious layers of honeycomb flavour sponge and honeycomb flavour creme, enrobed in Cadbury milk chocolate and topped with Crunchie honeycomb pieces. 

As seen with the Flake, the rectangular, very much Crunchie shaped bar of a Cake was placed inside a rather finickity plastic tray opposed to being plonked on a traditional board. Beside from being pretty nifty at catching the cracking chocolate when cut, it did make it tricky to get a knife in.. Not to mention, hardly looking attractive or something you would feel inclined as having as centrepiece to your celebratory spread. 

Producing remarkably neat slices, the cake cut well to reveal the alternating and well proportioned layers of sponge and creme. From the feel of it, I expected things to be a little dry but sure enough, it was soft, light and squidgy, delivering a full on Crunchie flavour. Both honeycomb and caramel tones really shone with plenty of butteriness along with the anticipated hit of pure sugar. The chocolate itself was also very sweet but pleasant enough and making for a decent contrast - I doubt even Dairy Milk would have improved the quality given what Cadbury push out now. A final munch from the hard yet aerated honeycomb nuggets that we all undoubtedly know and love to be that of a Crunchie Bar, finished things off wonderfully - Scrumptious! 

Overall, this Cadbury NEW Friday Feeling Cake is really quite the treat and I am sure, will go down well with any fan of the chocolate it represents.. Heck, I think it tastes more of a Crunchie than an actual Crunchie! - There is nothing not to love! Get yourself one before Cadbury do something ludicrous like removing them from sale - It's a 4.5 out of 5 from me! 

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Review- Nutri-Bombz Box: Salted Caramel Protein and Coconut Flapjack Bombz & Raspberry and Toffee Apple Bitz

A couple of weeks ago, the unbeknown company to me, that is Nutri-Bombz, asked if I would like to sample some their 100% natural, gluten free, protein packed snacks which are currently wooing premiership footballers, celebrity personal trainers and a number of professional athletes. With such a list of clientele, I was hardly going to say no and a few short days later, a box arrived on my doorstep. 

Designed to fit through your letterbox, the biodegradable pack is also perfect for being delivered to your work place - Ideal if like me, you're only too tempted to go buy a sneaky Twix for Elevenses.. Followed by a Wispa to get over the 3pm slump. 

Opening up my mysterious package, I found 4 packs of different and individually segmented snacks - Salted Caramel Protein-Bombz, Coconut Flapjack Nutri-Bombz, Raspberry Nutri-Bitz and Toffee Apple Nutri-Bitz - Great for portion control and all made without added sugars, additives or preservatives. 

Salted Caramel Protein-Bombz

Dates, Whey Protein (Milk), Vanilla Extract, Coconut Oil (Nuts), Cacao Powder, Chia Seeds (Seeds), Natural Flavouring - 71 Calories Each, 10.7g Carbs, 10.3g Sugars, 3.7g Protein, 1.7g Fats, 0.6g Sat Fats, 0.08g Salt. 

I figured starting with the snack which most appealed to me was the way forward and cut into the little domed beauty using some real elbow grease - It was mighty dense and mighty sticky! This reflected in the texture as it proved to be ridiculously chewy and not to dissimilar to Date Hearts in both feel and flavour with the super sweet dates coming through prominently, a long with lots of vanilla tones. The outside of Chia seeds didn't add anything in terms of taste but did deliver a crunch to break up some of the continuous chew. A bit heavy going but overall, not unpleasant - A 3.5 out of 5 from me. 

Coconut Flapjack

Apricot, Oats, Raisins, Sunflower Oil, Coconut (Nuts), Honey, Cashew Nuts (Nuts), Coconut Oil, Linseed (Seed), Natural Flavouring - 85 Calories Each, 9.8g Carbs, 6.3g Sugars, 1.7g Protein, 4.4g Fats, 2.9g Sat Fats, 0.01g Salt. 

Moving onto the Flapjack and unfortunately the one that I couldn't eat given the use of cashew nuts.. Luckily, MSW offered up her sampling services! Very crumbly as the picture suggests, the Bombz were really quite dry and bitty thanks to being loaded with coconut to the extent of it being the only element with any flavour.. It was that potent! The vibrant orange apricot pieces added a smidgen of sweetness with help from the odd raisin but in terms of taste, didn't bring anything to the table.. Neither did those pesky cashew nuts apparently! It's a 3 out of 5 from MSW. 

Raspberry Nutri-Bitz

Dates, Whey Powder (Milk), Soy Protein (Soya), Vanilla Extract, Coconut Oil (Nuts), Cacao Power, Natural Flavouring, Brown Rice Protein - 60 Calories per 20g Serving, 10g Carbs, 9.8g Sugars, 4.3g Protein, 0.6g Fats, 0.3g Sat Fats, 0.11g Salt. 

Back to the offerings I could actually eat.. The Raspberry Nutri-Bitz! Smelling very fruity, the miniature dusted balls certainly delivered their namesake flavour which slightly bizarrely, transitioned into a Parma Violet sort of taste, mixed with the usual "earthy/dirt" flavour I always find to be present in said snacks - Not as repulsive as the grim Good4U Bites but still apparent. Texture wise, there was not much to complain about being almost fudgy combined with crispy nibs.. Perfect for eating by the handful - 3 out of 5! 

Toffee Apple Nutri-Bitz

Dates, Whey Powder (Milk), Soy Protein (Soya), Vanilla Extract, Dried Apple, Coconut Oil (Nuts), Cacao Power, Natural Flavouring, Brown Rice Protein - 60 Calories per 20g Serving, 9.6g Carbs, 9.4g Sugars, 4.1g Protein, 0.6g Fats, 0.3g Sat Fats, 0.1g Salt. 

Last up and perhaps coming with a slighty blurry picture.. The Toffee Apple version of the above. Once again, the feel and flavour was spot on - Dense enough to be a decent mouthful but plenty soft and squidgy with tons of undeniably, appley tones. I can't say I noticed much toffee but vanilla was distinguishable, pairing up with the fruit nicely and making for something which was somewhat like a sweet. One thing I have to mention however was that my tongue and throat did feel a bit weird and generally sore after eating both these and the Raspberry which I can only put down to the Soy Protein in the ingredients.. So, if legumes are an issue for you, best steer clear! It's another 3 out of 5. 

Overall, this Nutri-Bombz Box seems just about ideal for anyone who's health-conscious and/or looking for alternatives to the usual "bad" snacks - Each that I received is more than adequate in hitting ones sweet spot and filling an empty gap.. But as someone who doesn't exactly stick to the #fitfam way of life, I personally wouldn't feel compelled to order on a regular basis. That is of course just me though and if your diets are much more admirable, hop on over to the Nutri-Bombz website, create a list of your favourites from the plethora of snacks available and let the team select 4 trays to send to you at a cost of £4.99 - It may just be right up your street! Thanks Nutri-Bombz. 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Review- M&S NEW Red Velvet Cake

Mondays tend to be pretty rubbish with the post weekend slump and seemingly eternal stretch until Friday.. But things can change in a heartbeat when you find a NEW Red Velvet Cake gracing the shelves of M&S before 9am has even hit! The bakery Gods must be shining down on me! 

The 460g cake which is designed to feed 6 cost the usual £2.75 and doesn't specify whether is suitable or not for Vegetarians so best pop in store yourself if you're concerned. I can tell you however that it is not freezable or one for the Nut allergy sufferers due to manufacturing methods. 

A light and moist red chocolate cake, indulgently filled and topped with a tasty cream cheese frosting, finished with a delicate dusting of icing sugar. 

As you can see in the ever so slighty wonky picture, the cake cut well to reveal an abundance of both, off white filling and topping which looked pretty striking against the deep red hue - It also smelt most inviting!

Taking a forkful, the sponge proved to be sheer perfection with a light and moist feel yet was pleasantly dense and fudgy at the same time - Somewhat like a cakey brownie, I suppose but an extremely good one! A mild cocoa flavour was detectable although the signature tang of Red Velvet was amiss.. Luckily, what the sponge lacked, the frosting made up for! Very thick and super sweet, the cream cheese delivered a pure hit of indulgence that also came with what I think were lemon undertones to reinforce the zing. The two elements complimented each other wonderfully with great proportions to match - Scrumptious! 

Overall, this NEW Red Velvet Cake is most enjoyable, indeed. It ticks the boxes in terms of texture and taste with a glorious frosting as the star of the show, that I would only be too happy to eat by the pail.. Fair warning though, it won't hesitate in leaving you in a sugar coma! It's a 4 out of 5 from me. 

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Review- Krispy Kreme NEW: Bonfire Toffee and Gingerbread Ring

Happy November! Our old friends at Krispy Kreme dropped a lovely surprise last night.. Not one but two NEW Doughnuts would be hitting our Tesco cabinets and stores today, with a seasonal theme to kick off the Fall festivites - We've got a Bonfire Toffee and Gingerbread Ring! 

The delight that is MSW picked me up a Trio box of Doughnuts from a service station and paid £4.90 but I expect they are priced at £1.90 each.. Or maybe the Rings are a tad cheaper - Who is to say when you've been charged all sorts over the last few months! 

Bonfire Toffee

Filled with sticky toffee, dipped in chocolate flavour coating & topped with dark chocolate pieces & caramel balls, drizzled with caramel flavour icing. 

Aaaaaand the curse of the no filling had struck again.. 

Or not! After some digging around, an abundance of ooey gooey toffee was found, super thick and sticky as promised with a gorgeous, buttery sweet flavour that was somewhat similar to Werthers Originals but much richer and generally indulgent - Far more so than a caramel! The Doughnut itself was pleasantly crisp and golden on the outside with a soft, fluffy interior and without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best texture wise I have ever had. As for the chocolate topping, it wasn't anything to write home about but the cocoa tones did go nicely with the filling as well as the chewy scattering off caramel balls on top. Amazing - It's a 4 out of 5!

Gingerbread Ring

A ring doughnut dipped in ginger flavoured icing & topped with caramelised biscuit crumb then drizzled with ginger flavoured icing. 

Moving on to the spicy option which again was picture perfect with bundles of toppings. Taking a bite, the dough proved to be just as flawless as above with a light, aerated texture and tender feel - No undercooked stodge in sight! Flavour wise, the sweetness from the thick, slightly crunchy icing was the first thing to hit which then developed into the warm and comforting tones of gingerbread. The biscuit added a pleasant contrast in texture and was similar in taste to the Lotus variety making for  the perfect accompaniment to the ginger! A 4.5 out of 5 from me. 

So these NEW Doughnut additions may just be the best Krispy Kreme have had to offer in a good while.. I can find very little fault with either of them! If I were to be really, really pernickety, my only qualm would be the quality of chocolate on the Bonfire and maybe the strength of ginger won't be enough for some people in the Ring.. But I loved the latter as is and can easily see past some questionable chocolate for the good of an epic toffee. Get yourself down to Tesco, your local KK store or random service station - They are well worth the effort, believe you me!

Go read The Peanuts review - She goes mad for the KK, does The Peanut!