Friday, 28 October 2016

Review- Asda NEW Boo! The Ghost Cake

BOO!! ..I scared you, didn't I? No? Alright but I can't be the only one to prefer the cuter side of all things Halloween opposed to the sheer terror of Killer Clowns and other hideously disturbing "tricks" - Where is the fun in any of that when you can just stay home, safe and sound whilst eating adorable, crowd pleasing cakes? I know what I'll be doing. 

Asda also seem to know what's good for us in having 2 NEW Celebration Cakes in their spooky bakery - A Petrifying Pumpkin to smash into if you're not quite content on passing up on the Halloween tomfoolery completely and this, Boo! The Ghost, priced at £5 and designed to serve 12 including the Vegetarians. You're welcome Vegetarians. 

Look at little Boo with his golf ball-esque figure! If he doesn't make your heart warm and fuzzy rather than palpitate in a fright, I don't know what will.

The story of Boo. A tale to behold.

Terrifyingly tasty! Our scrummy Madeira sponge is packed with frosting and plum and raspberry jam, all topped with a cloak of spook-ilicious fondant icing. 

The cake cut beautifully with a sharp knife, slicing through the soft layers to produce neat wedges which could have been the recommended 12 given the chance as it was certainly robust enough! Starting with the sponge, texture wise it was the semi dry and bendy type you tend to find with most supermarket bought cakes but it did taste pleasant enough with vanilla tones coming through. Sandwich in the centre was a rather measly slathering of frosting and jam which although did add sweetness a long with a generic fruity flavour, wasn't anywhere near enough for the quantity of sponge present.. Especially when the thick fondant icing on the outside was another relatively dry element, not to mention sweet and nothing but! 

Overall and despite my proportion complaints, this NEW Boo! The Ghost Cake isn't all that bad or offensive and certainly won't disappoint a crowd of sugar ravenous kiddos. Whack in a second layer of fillings and even the adults might be tempted.. Rather than being left to eat the abundance of icing on the board which could plague a whole army of zombies with diabetes. Have a lovely Halloween weekend all! It's a 3 out of 5 from me. 

Want a few more Treats? Check out Monster Munchies over at NibsnScribs to really get in the spirit! 

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Review- McDonald's UK NEW Great Tastes of the World: The Swiss Stack ft. Spicy Nacho Cheese Wedges

So long South African Stack, MSW may have enjoyed you and your heat but it is my time.. My time to fall into a cheesy bliss.. My time to enjoy this fortnights Great Tastes of the World Burger at McDonald's - The Swiss!

Thankfully, I had no nasty surprises when it came to the description of this double patty offering - No sneaky spice but double the dairy and crispy onions instead.. Yes please! I picked myself up a meal for the usual £5.99 along with some very daring Spicy Nacho Cheese Wedges* as I was feeling carefree and bold.

Two 100% British and Irish beef patties, Emmental cheese sauce, Beechwood smoked bacon, cheese, crispy onions and lettuce, in a toasted lattice bun. 

Finally! A burger that doesn't look like it's been used as a football or slung across the room - Towered surprisingly high and everything in its place, well done McDonald's workers, I salute you!

Given that the Stack really was a stack, I figured cutting the beast in half would be the best solution for getting a decent interior shot - Just look at those layers! Taking a bite, the bun was plenty soft and made for remarkable stability considering all that it held. The beef patties were cooked to perfection in being juicy and full of meaty flavour. As expected this paired up well with both the cheese slice and sauce which came with plenty of rich creamy flavour along with a pleasant acidic sort of tang. A kick of smoky pork came from the abundant bacon rashers with the standard salty edge, delivering the Beechwood promise and again, went well with the aforementioned. Freshness from the mound of crunchy lettuce and pure hit of onion finished things off beautifully.. Even if the latter wasn't all that crispy thanks to being drenched in sauce! Scrumptious! 

Overall, The Swiss Stack was very much worth the wait.. So much so, I can find very little fault in it! There may be a lot going on but each element is executed well to produce one mighty fine, not to mention massive Burger that I think would struggle to offend anyone. Get yourself down to McDonald's ASAP - It's a 4.5 out of 5 from me. 

*Spicy Nacho Cheese Wedges

Behold! The Spicy Nacho Cheese Wedges costing a very reasonable £1.59 and coming with a generous size pot of Sour Cream & Chive dip to dunk in, to your heart's content. 

Four cheese wedges filled with spicy jalapeño slices, served with sour cream & chive dip. 

Deep fried to perfection, the wedges were munchy on the outside with a soft and gooey, studded Jalapeño orange cheese centre. The crisp Nachos in the coating delivered the authentic flavour along with a blast of heat from the pepper - It really wasn't all to dissimilar in taste to the actual Tex-Mex dish especially when combined with the creamy and cooling Sour Cream dip. A bit hot for me but for normal folk, a treat - It's a 4 out of 5. 

Last up and weeks 5 & 6 of this years Great Tastes of the World campaign is The Mexican Stack which is set to rock the fast food joint from the 9th November. As this is once again a spicy number the post lays in MSW's hands so if no review actually happens, blame her not me.. Okay? Okay! 

Monday, 24 October 2016

Review- Nomadic NEW Apple & Banana Yogurt & Oats Drink

It may have taken me a month shy of a year but I have finally found another flavour from Nomadic to try. This time, it's a Yogurt & Oats Drink in Apple & Banana which I thought was a bit of a strange combo.. But it was branded NEW and I was sucked in!

Rise and shine with our delicious and filling signature yogurt made from the finest milk and blended with crisp, juicy apples and healthy oats. 

Tesco is where I picked up the 275g bottle for £1.50 - Not the cheapest but no doubt healthier than a Frijj or Milkshake equivalent. Made in Ireland using low fat yogurt, apples and oats, the drink is suitable for vegetarians and can be kept in the fridge for 2 days once opened, if you fancy prolonging things.. I know I would struggle having that much dairy in one go come a morning! 

Cracking into the bottle and pouring some into a tumbler, I expected the scent of banana to be much more apparent, instead it was mainly an acidic aroma and not much like any fruit at all. This reflected in the taste completely with the flavour of yogurt being very much at the forefront with a real tang yet creaminess and a further zing from what I can only assume was meant to be apple.. Although you wouldn't really know it! An aftertaste of banana may have lingered after one mouthful but then again, it was so vague, I could have quite easily imagined it. Texture wise, things were equally as strange - Smooth and silky combined with the somewhat off-putting and "bitty" pieces of oats. Very bizarre. 

Overall, I can't say this Nomadic NEW Apple & Banana Yogurt & Oats Drink has wooed me. It isn't unpleasant by any means but the flavours are whack with a dodgy texture to match and at the end of the day, not what it says on the bottle. I'm going back to the Lassi! It's a 2.5 out of 5 from me. 

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Review- BeLoved NEW Rich Cocoa and Cocoa & Berry Date Hearts

I love BeLoved Dates. So much so, it doesn't often go a week when I don't pick up a pack of both the Original and Zesty Orange Hearts - I would hate to think how many of the things I have actually consumed.. It's got to be hundreds! 

I now have the option to switch things up however, as there are NEW flavours in town - Rich Cocoa and Cocoa & Berry which I picked up in Asda for 50p each. As always, the Hearts are 100% natural, gluten free, high in fibre, low fat with only 105 calories per pack and suitable for the Vegans amongst us. 

T-B Rich Cocoa, Cocoa & Berry

Yes, are identical in appearance.. And smell essentially the same. Are they the same? 

L-R Rich Cocoa, Cocoa & Berry (I think..) 

Cutting the Hearts in half, they still didn't look all that different inside.. Maybe the Berry was sightly grainier or I could just be imagining things. Extremely dense and chewy to the point of being almost fudge like, the flavour of date was as prominent as ever with an ever so slight hint of cocoa in the background, adding richness but not enough to overpower the main toffee tones. The Berry option lacked all berry taste (Yet was somewhat "bitty" from pips) which was disappointing but did have more sweetness to it than the plain option which I am convinced tasted like either a cereal or cereal bar I have had before.. Although I can't for the life of me, put my finger on what! Tasty but lack lustre! 

Overall, these NEW Rich Cocoa and Cocoa & Berry Date Hearts aren't a bad addition to the range at BeLoved.. They just need a lot more cocoa to make them stand out and actual berry in the Berry! Great if you're looking for a healthy snack but not so much if you're wanting a "chocolatey" hit - It's a 3.5 out of 5 from me. 

Monday, 17 October 2016

Review- Krispy Kreme NEW Pumpkin Spiced Cake

Happy Monday! It's a case of "last but by no means least" today with the final doughnut in Krispy Kreme's Vintage selection which would you believe it, has been keeping us busy (And well fed!) for the past 6 weeks - Time really does fly! 

Traditional American cake doughnut, flavoured with autumnal pumpkin spice and covered in our signature glaze. 

It seems as though people have gone off KK in my neck of the woods as once again, I was first to succumb to the Pumpkin Spiced Cake with not a single doughnut in my Tesco cabinet being MIA.. I doubt the staff hold some back and replenish them but surely the store can't be getting more than 1 delivery a day? It's a mystery.. As is the price as today I was charged £1.60. 

Cutting the heavily glazed ring-ish cake in half, I can't say the scent of pumpkin or spice was at all noticeable and certainly not what I had envisaged - Although deliciously sweet smelling, it could have been any old KK ring doughnut which didn't leave me too optimistic! With lingering faith, I took a bite and was pleased to be proven totally wrong! The crisp icing gave a satisfying crunch before hitting the soft, squidgy and remarkably moist "doughnut" which was miles superior to the dry, crumbly texture seen in the Cruller. A real warmth of spice* came through complimenting the sugary sweet tones perfectly - There was even enough potency to pleasantly tingle the back of the throat! As for the pumpkin aspect.. I can't say there was any but can say, it didn't need it! Yum! 

So I think Krispy Kreme may have left their best doughnut until last.. This Pumpkin Spiced Cake is amazing! I have no clue where the pumpkin part is meant to come into play as it lacked all likeness but what is in a name? If you like spices, this could very well be the one for you! - The texture a lone is a winner in my books. Get one in the next 2 weeks and reap in it's autumnal glory - A 4 out of 5 from me! 

*Which spice? Mixed? Cinnamon? I don't know but I liked it.. As did Nibs! Go read her review.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Review- KFC UK NEW The Original Recipe Stacker

As I ended up not having the McDonald's South African Stack I was so looking forward to on Wednesday, I had to come up with plan B.. Going all the way next door to KFC and getting their NEW Original Recipe Stacker. There was no way I was going without my junk fix.. Heck, if there had been a Burger King too, I wouldn't have hesitated in doing a proper fast food crawl!

Crikey, the box to this thing was a beast! ..As was the price tag which I think was £4.99 on its own or £5.99 as part of a meal. Either way, I was charged £6.69 for it - Is there a surcharge for having a bottle of water as the drink in a regular meal? Someone find out for me. 

Two fillets of our classic original recipe chicken, sandwiched between cheese, barbecue and all-new baconnaise sauces. 

So I didn't bother to rectify the state of today's sandwich.. Why are the employees in these places so incapable of stacking competently? It's even in the bloody name this time, folks! Also, the box turned out to be an overkill with the burger I felt, being dwarfed in comparison.  

What an absolute mess. I do apologise for the fairly grotesque shot but given that everything was all slipey-slidey sloppy and prepped abysmally, there was not a lot I could do about it! Starting with the bun, it was the usual sort that KFC have to offer with not much in terms of doughy texture and hardly a substantial enough carrier for the packed "stack" within.. AKA 2 very solid, watery, chewy chicken fillets - Not what you expect but they did taste alright with their semi crisp coating and the glue like cheese slices coming through. Moving onto the sauces and the generous blob of barbecue certainly delivered in terms of smokiness and wasn't artificial in the slightest. As for the Baconnaise.. My taste buds decided it was somewhat reminiscent of Big Mac sauce with an almost gherkin-esque flavour mixed in with creamy bacon tones, making for something pretty darn delicious! The different flavours   compliment each other remarkably well with the addition of lettuce providing a fresh hit along with a bit of crunch - Tasty but messy!

So.. I am very much torn by this NEW Original Recipe Stacker. I shall not punish it for the poor chicken as my KFC can be quite hit or miss when it comes to the quality pieces the push out but they fact the bun isn't anywhere near robust enough for the sheer volume of fillings, along with feeling that 2 fillets aren't really necessary, just puts me off. Keep the delightful sauces, swap one of the chicken for a hash brown, fire and rehire your kitchen staff and do away with the OTT box and you'll be onto an all round better burger, KFC - It's a 3.5 out of 5 from me. 

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Review- McDonald's UK NEW Great Tastes of the World: The South African Stack

Today is the day I have been waiting weeks, like a loser for.. Great Tastes of the World is back at McDonald's! - Yay, delicious fast food! As seen with the American trio back in the Spring, the burgers are once again of the double patty format with each being around for 2 weeks. 

This fortnights offering is The South African Stack and what I thought was going to be a smoky BBQ lovers, dream.. Until my bubble was promptly burst last night that is, when receiving a peppy newsletter stating exactly what the burger was to entail - Pepper Cheese? Ugh. Hot & Spicy Mayo? Eurgh. Paprika Bun? Ugh Eurgh. Safe to say, I was out but MSW was still very much in as an eager beaver and I picked her up a medium meal for £5.99. 

Two 100% British and Irish beef patties, Smoky BBQ sauce, Beechwood smoked bacon, Pepper Jack cheese, Hot & Spicy mayo, lettuce and a slice of tomato, in a glazed paprika topped bun. 

So I am pretty sure a McDonald's monkey had literally thrown the thing into the box and just hoped for the best - The bottom bun was practically hanging over the edge with the patties themselves being on bare cardboard and a real splodge of oozing sauce all over the show. Thankfully with a bit of a budge and twist, the Burger looked somewhat presentable.. Even if a little sloppy and dented from a rogue thumb. 

MSW took a big old bite for us to reveal the smorgasbord of fillings with the mayo still intent on going everywhere. Starting with the soft bun which was a tad burnt in places, the paprika aspect was relatively mild but definitely an original concept. Both beef patties which naturally went well with the melted cheese, were full of juicy meaty flavour with not an ounce of dryness or much grease at the opposite end of the spectrum. As for the BBQ sauce.. It was pretty elusive with MSW left wondering if there was any in there to begin with - You certainly wouldn't associate it as being a BBQ Burger.. Perhaps down to the fact that the mayo delivered a real kick of heat and was undeniably the most prominent flavour and star of the show! Despite this, all the elements paired nicely together with the bacon adding both texture and porky tones and freshness from the salad - Delish. 

Overall, it sounds as though The South African Stack is a winning start to Mcdonald's Great Tastes of the World series.. Even if the BBQ sauce has gone amiss here! If you like a bit of warmth to your Burgers, this could be the one for you - It's a 4 out of 5 from MSW and two thumbs up! The Swiss Stack.. Be ready for me on the 26th, I'm coming for ya! 

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Review- M&S NEW Potato Tots

I love potatoes.. Be it as chips, jackets, roasters or mash, I am only too happy to eat them any which way offered! I have however never had the American classic of Tater Tots which is why I was curious to see how these M&S NEW Potato Tots would fair.. Just another "kids" croquette wannabe or something of an epic "Stateside" level!?

Mash potatoes with butter and seasoning. 

I picked up the 265g sleeved pack in the fresh section, amongst all the other potato side dishes, for what I think was £2.. Ish - I appear to have lost the receipt, sorry! Suitable for Vegetarians, the Tots ingredient list is pretty sparse making them not too bad calorie and fat wise for the health fanatics also.. But neither group should freeze them as the packaging says not!

16 delightfully dinky, cylindrical shapes were presented and ready to be tipped onto a baking tray, to go into a 200ºC Fan oven for about 20 minutes - Shame they weren't already in a handy foil number but alas. 

The Potato Tots cooked a treat and looked remarkably alike the image on the packaging.. Albeit not as flat - Perhaps I should have squished mine a bit! A crispy outer coating was the ideal contrast to the interior* within which was similar to mash potato in being extremely soft and fluffy. Flavour wise, they were a little stranger with a taste somewhere between artificial and an undercooked frozen potato product, be it Waffles or an equivalent. There was definitely a butteriness but I can't say that improved things much along with a real pepper-y kick which as expected, wasn't to my liking at all! Not for me! 

So.. Is this really what the famous and ever so popular Tater Tot is all about? Because either M&S have royally cocked up or they genuinely are pretty rubbish. I won't be buying them again that's for sure and suggest you don't either! It's a 1.5 out of 5 from me. 
*There was an interior shot but I've never seen anything so blurry in my life. Things I need to work on: Receipt management, Photography skills. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Review- Thomas J. Fudge's LE Caffè Mocha Florentines

It's safe to say I am a huge, massive, gigantic Thomas J. Fudge's fan - I think I have reviewed most, if not all of their sweet biscuits now but there is always one which proves to be the most elusive and seemingly impossible to get your hands on.. In my case, it was the LE Caffè Mocha Florentines! 

Thankfully, Nibs has my back and being the wonderful person that she is, popped a box in the post for me - One that was illustrated in the usual Thomas J. Fudge's fashion I might add.. The art of balancing random objects on ones hat! 

The 8 Florentines looked a tad buffed in their staggered plastic tray although most inviting with both sultanas and nuts plain to see.. And then I read the ingredients list. Brazil Nuts!? 

Deciding to proceed regardless of a potential reaction to the nuts, I picked the Florentine which looked most lacking in the aforementioned department and got stuck into the pure coffee smelling treat. Crunchy with oodles of chew, it was packed with almonds and caramel to produce the wonderful signature feel of any decent Florentine with a sweet, buttery flavour complimented by hits of dried fruit and a tang from the citrus peel. The Mocha aspect was most definitely in the forefront and seemed somewhat artificial at first given the potency but then did mellow to allow the other flavours to come through with as always, the milk chocolate being divine - Super smooth and creamy with the never disappointing cocoa kick. As for the pesky Brazil Nuts.. MSW said they didn't add much in terms of texture or taste purely because there was so much else going on.. And I lived to tell the tale! 

Overall, these Thomas J. Fudges Caffè Mocha Florentines are perfect for any coffee lover out there. Yes, they do seem a bit questionable at first but given a chance with a hot drink (Or something stronger!), they are more than enough to get a substantial sweet fix. Here's to hoping that finding them is easier for you than it was for me! - It's a 3.5 out of 5.

*All Thomas J. Fudge's reviews.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Review- Krispy Kreme NEW Cruller

It's time for another Vintage Krispy Kreme and this fortnight, the turn of the Cruller which allegedly is one of the most popular and very first products to be released in KK's UK history, way back when in 2003.. Before I knew better and prior to the start of my love affair with doughy delights!

Our iconic American cake doughnut, covered in our signature glaze. 

It looks like I got first dibs on the fresh batch at my local Tesco Cabinet today with the tray of twisty turn-y cake doughnuts being full and untouched - Perhaps this throwback isn't quite as "popular" anymore? Who is to say, I was happy to get my chance to try it and paid £1.75 at the till before skipping on my merry way. 

I cut the sweet smelling Cruller in half and was not all that surprised to find it relatively dense and crumbly - Similar to the Triple Chocolate Cake albeit not quite as "spongy". Taking a bite, the familiar sugary taste of KK's signature glaze was instant with its crunchy, almost sticky consistency. The "doughnut" itself was a weird one.. Extremely dry and "bitty" yet with air pockets and the flavour of something which I can only liken to being a bit stale - One might say it was a "needed to be eaten up" item opposed to a fresh and inviting treat! Together, the two elements were alright.. But only that.  

Overall, I can't say I am blown away with this Cruller.. I understand that it is meant to be a cake doughnut but the texture just doesn't do it for me - I can't see past the fact it reminds me of something stale! By all means give it a go before the 17th* but do have a hot beverage on hand to wash it down.. I don't want anyone choking on a rogue crumb! It's a 2.5 out of 5 from me. 

*The Pumpkin Spice will be covering the latter half of October and making for the last of Krispy Kreme's Vintage Doughnut range. 

Go read the Peanuts post too! She does like the Doughnuts muchly!

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Review- New Covent Garden NEW Skinny Creamy Chicken & Vegetable Soup

Happy October! Does anyone know where this year has gone? I don't.. But I am giddy for the impending festivities of the next few months especially the one beginning with a "C".. In December.. Which I shall refrain from mentioning for the time being incase of great upset. 

This creamy soup tastes so good you won't believe it's part of our Skinny range. We've taken tender chicken pieces, combined them with cream, pinhead oats, white wine and chicken. Finished with a selection of vegetables, herbs and black pepper, this soup is sure to please. 

Today's review is something I am sure we will all be tucking into now that Autumn is well and truly upon us - The humble and inoffensive delight that is Soup! New Covent Garden NEW Skinny Creamy Chicken & Vegetable Soup to be precise which I bought in Asda a few weeks ago for £1.98. Obviously, as this contains meat it isn't suitable for Vegetarians and is also not suitable for home freezing.. I suspect rule breakers would go a head regardless.

It may look like puke but thankfully, it smelt a lot nicer and just as its name suggested - Creamy, chicken-y with subtle herby veg. As always, I zapped my soup in the microwave for a couple of minutes until piping hot but if you're old school, you can always whack it on the hob and gently boil. 

The soup was plenty thick with lots of visible carrot and potato chunks.. The chicken pieces however were few and far between with my bowl (Half the 600g carton) only containing 2 bits. Flavour wise, it was definitely creamy but due to the aforementioned, certainly more of a "plain" vegetable soup  opposed to its Chicken namesake. The herbs came through ever so slightly to compliment with as usual, the black pepper not exactly being to my liking but only marginally off putting - A dash more salt wouldn't have gone amiss, to bring out the full flavour potential though! As for the pinhead oats.. What pinhead oats? They were as elusive as the chicken!

Overall, this NEW Creamy Chicken & Vegetable Soup from New Covent Garden isn't wonderful but isn't a disaster either - The texture is spot on but more chicken and an injection of seasoning would really see it soar in terms of tastiness. Along with the soup of the month (Fiery Tomato & Lime), there are also 2 other NEW Skinny options now on the shelves - Broccoli, Pea & Pesto for the legume lover and Chicken & Chorizo Jambalaya for those who like a bit of a kick.. Neither are for me sadly! Back to today and it's a 3 out of 5!