One of the highlights of the season for me is the array of Festive Food On The Go in every supermarket, petrol station and cafe alike - From sandwiches and wraps to the hot options of toasties and panini's, there really is a vast choice with both meat and vegetarian options to keep the entire Christmas choir happy.
Naturally, I gravitate towards the traditional turkey, stuffing, cranberry numbers and usually when in bread but this year I've decided to be a bit wild and go for an entire lunch with some different stars of the show..
It's trusty old Marks & Spencer, supporter of the charity, Shelter, that we turn to today for a Wrap, Scotch Egg and Drink Trio. Much to my dismay, they didn't listen to my groans of last year that their measly 5% of sale donations was abysmal but alas.. At least I have done my bit in buying a sleigh load of their products to bump up the takings, right?
Christmas Turkey Wrap
Roast British turkey breast, Brussel sprout slaw, parsnip mayonnaise, pork, sage and onion stuffing, cranberry chutney, spinach, smoked British bacon and fried onions on a barmarked tortilla wheatflour wrap. RRP £3.
As someone who usually finds wraps fairly uninteresting and akin to chewing cardboard, I can't say the prospect of the two halves thrilled me greatly.. They did look attractive though! Taking a bite, the overwhelming amount of spinach was the first thing to hit which I promptly disposed of and carried on. Soft and squidgy, the wrap itself wasn't as offensive as first anticipated, even if a bit to much for the quantity of filling. Two large chunks of soft turkey, one in each half, were present packing a good amount of flavour with smoky bacon in the background. The slaw provided lots of veggie tones (Maybe from the Parsnip mayo too?) albeit not obviously that of sprouts, and lots of creaminess. This was only complimented by the herby taste of stuffing and mild onion which was never going to disappoint! As for the cranberry chutney.. I can't say I noticed any with zero sweetness or tart edge but I liked it nevertheless! - A 4 out of 5 from me.
Turkey, Pork & Cranberry Runny Scotch Egg
Runny poached egg wrapped in turkey, smoked maple cured bacon and cranberry sausagemeat, in a parsley crumb. RRP £2.
Designed to be eaten hot or cold, I forced this lofty, 120g Scotch Egg on MSW who didn't take to much convincing to get stuck in.. As long as it was warm that is, so I whacked it in a 180ºC Fan oven for the advised 12 minutes.
Well, it was certainly runny.. Just look at that yellow yolk puddle! Crispy on the outside with a contrasting soft, squidgy sausage meat layer, the flavour of pork was definitely at the forefront with a sweet undertone of cranberry from the plump, ruby red chunks. The centre of poached egg was plenty soft and not rubbery in the slightest, delivering just the right amount of richness. It's a 3.5 out of 5.
Pasteurised apple and pear juices, not from concentrate, with plum, sloe berry, blackberry and elderberry purees. RRP £1.50.
A drink to wash down all the savouries was a must and what could be better than all the winter fruits? Very sweet and refreshing thanks to the fruity flavours and being ice cold, the juice was pure delight. Apple was the main flavour with a hint of pear and a real tang from the berries - Not that I could put my finger on which exactly having never knowingly had sloe berry previously and all the different fruit flavours being blended so well. Delicious and the sort of thing I wouldn't be opposed to drinking hot - A 4.5 out of 5 from me.
Is anyone hungry for more? Suck it up people, it's not Christmas without a NEW Recipe Turkey Feast and Pigs in Blanket Sammie!
Roast British turkey breast with pork, sage and onion stuffing, cranberry chutney, smoked British bacon and mayonnaise on malted brown bread. RRP £3.25.
For something with allegedly a new recipe.. The sandwich didn't look all that different to last years offering - It may have been slightly paler in colour but then again, that could just be my lightening! Perfectly soft and squidgy although with some harder nibs in the bread, the packed filling didn't disappoint in flavour. Together the chunks of tender turkey and herby stuffing were as expected, a match made in heaven with an almost absurd amount of slightly salty bacon to compliment. Both the mayo and the cranberry prevented things from becoming dry with the latter adding that traditional hit of sweetness. One thing that I didn't notice was the long list of spices included in the ingredients.. Which I can't say, I was all to upset over! Scrumptious as always, a 4.5 out of 5 from me!
British pork sausages and smoked British bacon, roast British turkey breast, cranberry chutney, spiced mayonnaise and spinach on sage and onion bread. RRP £3.
Once again, the description didn't suggest anything was particularly new about the sandwich.. But it certainly looked greener with a more than generous helping of spinach.. Which I swiftly flung across the table in disgust! Similarly to above, the bacon aspect took a starring role with a good handful of rashers included, delivering smoky tones. This was heightened further by the soft sausages for a real porky flavour, not all that unlike actual Pigs in Blankets. Sadly, the turkey fell into the background slightly given that there was so many other elements going on and probably wasn't helped by the borderline overwhelming taste of spice which I can only assume came from the mayo - As a despiser of cloves, I was close to calling it quits but the chutney saved the day and put things back on an even kiln. Superb bread also! A 4 out of 5 from me.
Overall, it isn't a bad selection of snacks from M&S this year - Definitely not as extensive as last but I don't expect any of us really need umpteen different sandwiches when the classics are covered a long with something for the Gluten Free-ers (Gluten Free Turkey Feast) and Veggies (Scorched Squash Wrap). There's even one for those with more money than sense in the form of the Christmas Club, priced at an extortionate £4.50!
For anyone wondering.. And still reading, today's little lot came to a grand total of £12.75 so that's just shy of 64p going to the folk at Shelter. Seriously, M&S, if you're intent on backing a charity, don't be half-arsed and stingy about it. I can't even.