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..


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. 

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Snackmas Day 22- Christmas Spreads: Hotel Chocolat Gingerbread and M&S Clementine & Cranberry Curd

We don't do elaborate Christmas breakfasts in my house, due to the fact we aren't big on brekkie anyway and more importantly, wouldn't dare risk spoiling our impending "all the trimmings" festive lunch. For those of you who do desire something a bit special however, be it for guest or just your Dancer-selves.. A Spread duo today of Chocolate Gingerbread courtesy of Hotel Chocolat and a citrus-y M&S Clementine & Cranberry Curd!

With a fairly stark price difference of £6 for the 150g spicy spread and a far more reasonable £2.50 for the 300g jar, fruity option, both are suitable for vegetarians and recommended to be kept in the fridge and consumed within 4 and 6 weeks respectively.. That's if you can make them last that long, of course!

Hotel Chocolat Christmas Gingerbread Spread

Caramel and milk chocolate praline spread with spices. 

Smelling both chocolate-y and spicy with a very thick and almost dry texture, I was a little taken a back upon first scoop out of the plastic tub.. Although somewhat bizarrely, it spread far more easily  (Even when cold) than one would expect from its appearance - Bit odd! 

Despite the serving suggestion, to be enjoyed on muffins or cupcakes, I went for the traditional croissant breakfast which the spread melted on beautiful once warmed by the toasty pastry. Taking a bite, I soon came to realise that perhaps this wasn't the best option as the buttery aspect was all a bit too overpowering. Tasted alone however, a fairly mild cocoa flavour was noted with hints of nutty praline in the background and an almighty punch to the face of spice! I can't say it was completely that of pure ginger and certainly not having the taste of any actual biscuit-y gingerbread I've experience but the real warmth was unmissable. As for the caramel aspect, there wasn't that much sweetness which should probably not come as a shock given the sheer amount of spice used. A 3 out of 5 from me. 

M&S Clementine & Cranberry Curd

Cranberry and clementine curd. 

No alarming jingle bells this time with the consistency - The curd was gloriously smooth, thick and ploppy, not to mention possessing an aroma most definitely reflecting its namesake! ..And yes, I did eat the above blob straight off the spoon. 

Thankfully this time, my choice of croissant didn't let this spread down with the curd and pastry being a match made in heaven! As velvety in feel as it appeared with a buttery rich, creamy base flavour, the citrus tones were in abundance including lemon which although wasn't in the ingredients, I am still sure I could detect beneath the orange. A potent zing came from the fruity cranberry which struck just the right balance of tart and sweet making for one very delicious, slightly addictive Curd. It's a 4.5 out of 5 from me! 

Overall, I think it is clear to see which one of these Christmas Spreads does it for me.. Clementine & Cranberry Curd, I could eat you all day and M&S, I take my Santa hat off to you! As for the Hotel Chocolat Gingerbread Spread, by no means is it repulsive but I do think one would carefully have to consider what they are having it with and maybe, really relish spice in general to fully appreciate exactly what it delivers.. I personally will probably end up sandwiching it in a chocolate cake come the new year!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Snackmas Day 21- M&S Merry Molten Truffles ft. Salted Caramel Fudge Log

We're on the home straight now.. Christmas is only a few short days away! Eek! I trust by now you are all completely organised with the food in, presents wrapped and not a single ounce of impending doom lurking in your panicked subconscious.. No? Well, breathe.. Calm yourselves.. Sit and have a chocolate with me. 

Clementine flavoured milk chocolate truffles dusted with icing sugar and white and milk chocolate truffles dusted with icing sugar and freeze dried cranberries. 

Truth be told, these Merry Molten Truffles might actually be not what you want if you are running around in a flap.. But to get out for a get together or a stocker stuffer, yes, yes! The 185g tray of half Cranberry & White and half Clementine & Milk Chocolate Truffles cost £4 and are peachy-keen for the vegetarians to consume. 

Designed to go into the oven to achieve their "molten" namesake, I preheated my fan oven to 140ºC and whacked a few balls on a tray for the recommended 3 minutes. Much to my astonishment, the spheres came out perfectly, albeit with slightly cracked shells. 

L-R Cranberry & White Choc, Clementine & Milk Choc 

Now isn't that a glorious? - Melty, ooey gooey to the max! Starting with the Cranberry & White Choc, the outside had a thin, crisp texture, not all to dissimilar to that of a Cadbury Mini Egg with a very much sweet taste, thanks to both the shell itself and the smooth white chocolate, and the flavour balancing addition of a pop of tartness from the cranberries. An ever so slightly warm, liquid pool of milky yet cocoa rich chocolate hide in the centre, complimenting the previous elements and generally feeling very much indulgent. Moving onto the Truffle that I expect will appeal to the most people.. Clementine & Milk Choc! Once again, a good, satisfying crunch came from the ball with the same whiff of powdered sugary sweetness before hitting a pleasantly orange tang within - Not overpoweringly citrus or identifiable as the taste of actual Clementines but delicious nevertheless. As one can probably imagine, this went superbly with the silky chocolate, producing Chocolate Orange vibes.. But for the far more sophisticated "grown up"! It's a 4 out of 5 from me. 

Salted Caramel Fudge Log

Oo it's an added extra and one, let's face it, that I was never not going to buy - I just love me some fudge! Priced at £2.50, this 146g Salted Caramel Log is also veggie friendly and rather unfortunately, designed to be sliced and shared.. Opposed to bitten by oneself and scoffed ferociously like the animals, I know you all to be.

Milk chocolate (22%) covered fudge with toffee pieces (3%) and a salted caramel core (5%), decorated with dark chocolate. 

I wasn't quite sure what to do with the thing once out of it's packet. Perhaps you could present it on a fancy plate or board rather than a heathen piece of kitchen towel like I did.. Not that I think that took away from its beauty - Check out the chunkiness!  

Holy moly, what a sight to behold.. This has to be some of M&S's finest work here, surely with the Log cutting beautifully to reveal a trio of golden colours - A thick surrounding coating, the promised core and a dense fudge centre. Soft, squidgy and malleable rather than the rock solid, "gritty" variety, the aforementioned itself was nothing but creamy with oodles of vanilla and naturally, extremely sweet! Adding further to this although not being too much at all, the caramel aspect was equally as divine delivering further buttery, sugary tones.. But not salted in the slightest from what I could tell! A real hit of cocoa came from the chocolate which I have to admit, I feared would let down the lot but surprisingly enough, I was proved wrong and only helped cut through whilst providing a good velvety texture broken up by the toffee nibs, to match. Amazing - A 4.5 out of 5.

Overall, both of these chocolate-y offerings from M&S have floated my boat big time! The Merry Molten Truffles are scrummy, not to mention a great novelty and will make a fabulous addition to any stocking or if you're looking to switch it up, great fun for a party - Maybe only a sit down do however otherwise you'll discover a trail of chocolate all over your carpet, upholstery and comatose-d Grandad*, later on. As for the Salted Caramel Fudge Log.. I don't even care that it isn't salted. Go get one. 

*Also, don't give him one that hasn't been in the oven - Any teeth he does have remaining won't thank you.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Snackmas Day 20- M&S Parsnip, Camembert & Chestnut Pithivier

Pithivier. I didn't know how to say it until I googled it.. But it's pastry and what else does a pastry fanatic really need to know?! Oh I know what, it's only bloomin' vegetarian too! This one is for you, veggie members of the Snack Army! 

The 245g, single serve, puffed pastry tart cost me £3.50 in Marks and Spencer, where I found it situated amongst the regular vegetarian range - I am thankful for that festively green packaging making it stick out! Scanning the ingredients, the list was fairly few and far between with relatively minimal components compared to some of products the store produce which unnecessarily go on for days - Rejoice, there's not a single E number here! 

Parsnips (10%) with Camembert cheese (10%), chestnuts (9%), shallots (7%) and thyme encased in all butter (19%) puff pastry. 

I cooked as instructed in a 180ºC Fan oven for about 25 minutes and it turned out most inviting indeed - Beautifully golden and smelling just as sensational. Then I was in a quandary as to how I was going to get the Pithy out of the foil tray-ey.. 

With a bit of jiggery-pokery, I just about managed to get the tart onto a plate before wielding my knife and slicing in half - I can only apologise that it kind of looks a bit "vommy" but I can assure you, the scent alone would make you want to go for a face plant! Ridiculously flaky with buttery tones all the way, the pastry itself was sheer perfection and everything one could want from a puff. The packed encased filling, comprising of soft veggies and actual camembert chunks delivered loads of creamy, smooth cheesiness with parsnip and super sweet shallot to compliment. I couldn't taste any chestnuts nor did I find it to be overly herby or taste of thyme.. Not that it really mattered but it could have done however, with a smidgen more salt to really bring out the individual flavour profiles. 

Ooh-Eeh-Aah, M&S have done it again - This Parsnip, Camembert & Chestnut Pithivier is very almost top marks.. If only it had just that tad more seasoning! Get grinding the salt and bask in the cheesy, veggie glory whether you are vegetarian or not - You'll enjoy it, I promise! It's A 4.5 out of 5 from me. 

Monday, 19 December 2016

Snackmas Day 19- Tesco Finest Bombes: Salted Caramel & Chocolate Brioche

Yes, the Victoria Plum & Damson was loathsome.. And the Kir Royale almost had me in tears.. But the Toffee & Pecan was lovely.. So here are, perhaps foolishly, 2 more puddings that Tesco have to offer! 

Purchased at same time as the beast of Snackmas Day 7, these Salted Caramel and Chocolate Brioche Bombes are half the size at 227g and priced at £2.50 a pop.. Although you might be lucky and get them on a 2 for £4 deal as I did. 

Following the instructions of piercing the plastic film ferociously with a fork and microwaving (Steam it for 30 mins if you're a carefree Comet) for about a minute, I zapped the puddings separately and left them to stand for the advised 1 minute prior to having the annual breakdown over getting the lid off and turning them upside down onto a plate - It just doesn't budge! I don't know how the elderly are meant to get into these things! 

Salted Caramel Bombe

That's not right, is it?

Oh.. Bugger.

All butter sponge pudding with salted caramel pieces and salted caramel sauce. 

Nice to see those instructions were foolproof, Tesco! I squished the sad, stuck to the pot piece back on top and grabbed a spoon. Despite lacking any decent amount of sauce, the super stodgy sponge was generally extremely sweet and cloying but had no flavour itself with zero in terms of buttery tones to break things up. A pinch of salt may have come through at the end but that was by no means enough to save such a pathetic excuse for a dessert. It's a 0 out 5 from me!*

Chocolate Brioche Bombe

Miraculously, this Pudding came out of the tub in its whole domed glory - It looked quite cute really!

All butter chocolate sponge pudding with brioche, Belgian chocolate pieces and Belgian chocolate ganache sauce. 

Once again, the sauce was hardly in abundance but I do think a tad more generous to the above.. Ish. Unfortunately, that was where the positives came to a close. Possessing the flavour of cardboard, the brioche sponge was lighter but had no real taste and was ridiculously claggy to the point of being all to easy to get stuck in ones throat. The chocolate aspect was equally as yucky, leaving a film in the mouth and tasting like the standard, cheap sauce found in most microwave puds rather than the thick, rich indulgence it should have been! Another 0 out of 5. 

I must be a glutton for punishment or something. These Tesco Finest Bombes are a waste of money, waste of calories and I am pretty sure, will ruin any Christmas Dinner. If you really are intent, for whatever reason, on giving them a go I recommend custard by the bucketful and to seriously toss up which is worse.. A sugar rush and diabetes from the Salted Caramel or playing the Heimlich manoeuvre dummy in the Nativity whilst a rogue chunk of the Chocolate Brioche is lodged in your gullet. I hope A&E isn't too busy.. For your sake. 

*Gluten Free-ers, there's a Butt to assist you. 

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Snackmas Day 18- Tesco Finest: Christmas Market Sausages and Apple, Cranberry and Honey Stuffing Stars

Are you a meat or breadcrumb based Blitzen when it comes to the stuffing with your Turkey Dinner? What about the sausage side option? Traditional sized Pigs in Blankets, the larger bacon wrapped Chipolata or just a plain, "naked" sausey? How does a Christmas Market Inspired number take your fancy with a Bramley Apple, Cranberry and Honey Star to shine through the savoury? There are so many porky options but it is Tesco and their Finest range that we turn to again on Snackmas Day 18! 

Weighing in at 400 and 300g respectively, I found both the Sausages and Stuffing Stars amongst a smorgasbord of Trimmings in the Fresh Meat aisle and priced at £2.50 each - It seems that the majority, if not all the options are gluten free (And proud given it's written on the front of all the packaging!) as well making them perfect for the Pig enthusiast and Hand Selfie King himself, Kevvie! Sadly for me however, I was a bit of a Son of a Nutcracker when it came to the Stars, not realising they contain the dreaded pea fibre.. The bain of my entire being! 

Christmas Market Inspired Pork Sausages

Blimey, these were some big bangers! They might not look it in the action shot but believe you me, they were chunky! Cooked at 180ºC Fan for about 30 minutes, the sausages came out perfectly - Slightly wrinkly and chewy on the outside with a soft, orange hued centre. Taste wise.. Disappointingly, from what I could tell, they possessed not even a nod to Christmas and essentially just tasted like any decent porky, meat sausage. Scanning the ingredients for a second time, incase I had invented the anticipated nutmeg, ginger and sage listed, I was left further baffled - There really was no spice apart from a good seasoning of pepper! Nice but not it's namesake - A 3 out of 5 from me. 

Bramley Apple, Cranberry and Honey Stuffing Stars

Moving onto the Stars which also cooked well at the same temperate as the above and for the same time, holding their shape - I like a bit of burnt around the edges! Very soft, squidgy and juicy, the meat oozed herby meaty flavour with a real injection of sweet from the identifiable, caramelised tart tones of apple and cranberry, mellowed by the classic taste of comforting honey. All the different flavour elements went well together, despite being a big twist and anything but what you would expect from a conventional "savoury" Stuffing. A 4 out of 5! 

Overall, both of these Tesco Finest Trimmings are very much enjoyable and would make a great addition to your December 25th Feast. It is a shame that the Christmas Market Inspired Sausages seem to have misplaced their inspo somewhere along the way but as Sausages go.. They more than suffice. As for the Stuffing Stars, MSW practically forced one upon me despite my pea allergy simply because they were "so good and I couldn't miss out".. She was right. As always. And I lived to retell this thrilling tale now. Get yourselves down to Tescy, ASAP! 

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Snackmas Day 17- M&S Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Rolls

I couldn't get enough of the Maple Bacon Tortilla Rolls that graced us last Snackmas - They were ridiculously moreish and I thought, quite an "original" idea to put out there despite still not being all too sure exactly what Maple has to do with Christmas..  

M&S being M&S however aren't just happy with one repeat flavour and this year have chosen to embrace their spicy side with these NEW Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Rolls. I snapped up the physically dinkier, although still 190g bag, for £1.50 and took reassurance in the fact that they are gluten free as well as suitable for veggies and vegans. 

Tearing into the bag, a smell that can only be described as that of "seaside doughnuts" came from the Rolls which naturally, made my hopes soar to great heights. Almost greasy and buttery in taste, the Tortilla's still had the signature corn chip flavour combined with a semi sweetness that really was like the aforementioned.. Minus the overload of sugar, of course! The comforting warmth of cinnamon was consistent throughout and came through subtly along with providing a delicious aftertaste which made them all too easy to munch away at. Texture wise, they were equally as flawless in being satisfyingly crisp and satisfyingly crunchy - Yum!

Ah M&S have only gone and done it again.. These Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Rolls are bloomin' brilliant! They pack just the right balance of sweet and spice, combined with the pure delight of some sort of doughy fritter - I think I can safely say, no one is going to turn their nose up at that! Get a bag,  why dontcha - It's a 4.5 out of 5 from me!

Friday, 16 December 2016

Snackmas Day 16- M&S Party Food

As I mentioned last Snackmas, MSW is a sucker for Party Food. She buys it all despite never having an actual party.. We do always have it for tea on the 24th though and all the way through to New Year just to keep the spirit alive - You might say we have several of our own mini celebrations with the help of tiny finger foods!

M&S caught my eye when it came to this years offerings with plenty of NEW bits to feast upon - Handmade Prawn Parcel Selection, Mini Porcini & Chestnut Mushroom Mac & Cheese, Duck Croquettes and Mini Mozzarella Bites, all priced at £3.50 each minus the latter which I think was £2.  Conveniently, this little lot can be cooked from fresh at the same temperature of 180ºC Fan for 10 minutes.. Even the Mozzarella Bites which came with a recommended time of 7 minutes, turned out perfectly - I always give cheesy things a smidgen longer to avoid any soggy outsides! 

Handmade Prawn Parcel Selection

4 wheat pancake parcels with a prawn sweet and sour filling, 4 pastry stars with prawn and red chilli, 4 pastry parcels with prawns, mushrooms and hoisin sauce filling. 

Golden and crisp, all 3 of the prawn parcels looked most attractive when straight out of the oven and certainly something you would be proud to display on your party table. Smelling as one would expect in being mildy fishy, the Sweet & Sour Pancake Parcels were the first I tried and didn't disappoint in terms of flavour - The outside was pleasantly on the greasy side with a packed filling of prawn chunks and complimenting vegetables which reminded me a bit of a Spring Roll. Moving onto the Pastry Stars which I felt quite brave in even trying given the use of red chilli. Thankfully, it was just about bearable but still delivered enough heat for those who appreciate such a thing, for that spicy kick and went well with the soft prawn layer between 2 crisp sheets of pastry. Thirdly, the Pastry Parcels or as I feel compelled to call them, the crunchy blobs! Thicker on the pastry front but not overly dry, these were just as yummy as the previous 2 with the addition of hoisin sauce for that added bit of sweetness and mushrooms for a "meatier" flavour. I didn't find any of the trio to be overly fishy so can't see them offending many.. Apart from the Shellfish allergy sufferers.. Obviously, you're excused. A 4 out of 5 from me. 

Mini Porcini & Chestnut Mushroom Mac & Cheese

10 mini foils containing conchigliette pasta, chestnut and porcini mushrooms in a rich cheese and marsala wine sauce. Complete with spoons. 

How cute are the individual pots with a handy, baby spoon!? The cheese may have exploded everywhere but I don't think they could look more adorable! Taking a mouthful, quite a potent flavour was delivered of rich, creamy cheese with squidgy pasta pieces throughout and a real kick of mushroom - Strong to the point of definitely being one for the fanatics of the aforementioned. I couldn't taste any marsala wine whatsoever but that didn't take away the enjoyment and I would quite happily eat 6 - 3 spoonfuls in each, just isn't enough! It's 4.5 out of 5 from me. 

Duck Croquettes

Tender and tasty roast duck croquettes coated in a crunchy crumb and served with a honey and truffle dip. 

These, cylindrical shaped croquettes cooked a treat to be exactly as promised - Soft on the inside with a satisfyingly crisp coating. Full of meaty flavour and undeniably that of duck, they were quite rich alone but mellowed by the delicious sweet, honey tones of the dip. Some sort of spice was also noticeable, not that I could say what exactly and for me, the truffle was completely MIA.. What is truffle suppose to taste like anyway? I probably wouldn't know it if it hit me in the face! It's a 4 out of 5. 

Mini Mozzarella Bites

Italian mozzarella in a thyme and parsley breadcrumb with a garlic and herb dips. 

Lastly and the type of Party Food that I am particularly fond of.. The Mozzarella Bites! Smelling ridiculously herby, the balls were ooey gooey inside with another crunchy outside to contrast to all the soft. Unfortunately, the thyme aspect of these was very overpowering and I felt, took away from any decent cheese flavour. Bizarrely however, when eaten with the rather slimy green looking dip, despite adding further herb into the equation, I found the bites to mellow and generally be far more palatable. An odd one - A 3 out of 5. 

Overall, there is not much to complain about when it comes to this range of Party Food from M&S. The quality is most definitely there and I feel, brings something a bit different oppose to the usual selection on offer - Mini Pizza's and Quiches are great and all but just sometimes, only a fancier snack will cut it.. Maybe do avoid the Mozzarella Bites though unless you've got an extended family member who's favourite food is thyme and nothing but! 

Three Bird Roast Sausage Rolls

All butter puff pastry, filled with lightly seasoned British pork, turkey, chicken & duck with smoked bacon. 

But what if you prefer a cold Party Food option? I hear ya and present to thee, the Three Bird Roast Sausage Rolls! Priced at the ludicrously expensive £5 for 12, I purchased the 420g pack when it had been reduced with every intention of whacking them in the freezer to bring out over the holidays.. This never happened and we ended up eating them there and then, as is.. Although they are fine to be heated at 180ºC Fan for 10-15 minutes, if one so wishes. 

Cutting the Roll in half, a good amount of filling presented itself with the layers of pastry, to produce that flaky feel, clear to see. Taste wise, bacon was at the forefront with an array of not quite bird distinguishable yet deliciously meaty flavours throughout - I especially didn't get duck at all despite it being such a rich taste. A good amount of seasoning was included along with a salty edge making them really quite moreish.. Not to mention, the oodles of buttery, almost cheese tones from the pastry! Yummy - A 4 out of 5 from me!

..I think I might have eaten too much.