Monday, 24 April 2017

NEW! Proper Powders Mint Chocolate Whey Protein (Online)

A few weeks ago I was approached by a brand new protein powder company who asked me if I'd like to review their products. Proper Powders pride themselves on only making protein powders made with natural ingredients, using ingredients you can read and understand, so of course I accepted. At the moment they only make and sell whey, but there are plans in the pipeline to increase the range as the company develops. Proper Powders' whey is currently available in four flavours: banana, strawberry, mint chocolate and unflavoured (designed so that you can add your own flavourings). I opted for the most unusual and chose mint chocolate. 

I love Pure Powders' packaging design, which embodies everything the company is aiming to portray, i.e It's clean and simple. The second thing I noticed was the large serving size, so I took a look at the macros -after all that's why many of us buy and use protein. 

That means that per 100g, Pure Powders' Mint Chocolate Whey Protein contains: P:48.9/C:20/F:6.6. Compared to Reflex's Instant Whey Pro (P:80/C:6.4/F:4.5 per 100g) It's considerably lower on protein content, the carbs are much higher, and the fat content is higher too. It's not an issue for me as I use protein to supplement my (non low-carb) diet, and I'd rather have something that tastes good, but it's worth baring in mind.

As soon as I opened the bag I was greeted with the delicious scent of both chocolate and mint . As a shake it tastes delicious, reminding me of a cold mint flavoured options. Be warned though, it does take a lot of mixing to get the clumps out (I used an electric whisk). 

I tried Pure Powders with a couple of recipes as I prefer to eat, rather than drink, my whey. I first tried the classic Beltsander recipe, but as with many of the wheys I've tried before it, the resulting cake was dry and cardboard-like. It does however work really well in porridge, and isn't the slightest bit grainy, hurrah!

Not one to give up, Last night I made a slightly different mug cake using coconut flour and egg whites, which I served warm with Oppo mint chocolate swirl ice cream. Now that, ladies and gentlemen, was delicious.

Pure Powders whey is ideal for those who don't like putting unpronounceable products into their bodies. The mint chocolate whey simply contains: Whey Concentrate, Skimmed milk, maltodextrin, Cocoa, Xylitol, & natural flavouring. The 900g bags contain 20 servings and are currently available for just £22.00 (normally £27.00) direct from their website.


A huge thank you to Proper Powders for the sample! 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

NEW! Häagen-Dazs Salted Caramel Ice Cream Bars (ASDA)

There's one flavour of Häagen-Dazs that appears to be the clear favourite amongst fans, and that is salted caramel. As a recent newbie to the world of HD, and still an avid fan of Ben & Jerry's, I couldn't see how this could be so amazing. I mean it's just a caramel ice cream with caramel brittle. Surely it can't compete with B&Js incredible Karamel Sutra? I mean it doesn't have the chocolate ice cream, nor the chocolate chunks, let alone the almost-orgasmic caramel core. 

Yet I inadvertently ended up trying a mini tub of H-D's salted caramel when I bought their new caramel collection (for the speculoos flavour), and was struck dumb. Eating my words in conjunction with every mouthful, I found myself revelling in the sheer indulgent creaminess. Then I discovered the salt caramel brittle and my world slipped off its axis. It's unbelievably good: salty, sweet, soft, yet crunchy. If it's not part of your life at the moment, you need it to be.  

After that singular experience I found my original indifference towards the new H-D sticks polarised. I now needed to try their Salted Caramel sticks, ASAP. Luckily ASDA have them on offer for £2 for 3 bars, so I didn't need to remortgage the house either. 

"Our signature salted caramel ice cream enrobed in a rich Belgian chocolate coating for a truly indulgent treat."

I couldn't tell whether the chocolate coating was milk or dark from either the description or its colour. I soon realised that it wasn't very thick though when I tried to snap a small segment off for the photo and a whole side came off! 

The ice cream was every bit as delicious as I remember it being in the mini tub. I love the contrast in textures, and the luxuriousness of it is undeniable. Unfortunately the chocolate wasn't my cup of tea, it was darker than a milk chocolate* and very thin. I would've much rather a thicker coating made from milk chocolate studded with the caramel brittle. Now that might be enough to convert me to H-D for life. 

As it stands, these are delicious bars, but I just about prefer the tub version of H-Ds salted caramel ice cream. Perhaps I should try the white chocolate and almond bars next time... Have any of you bought them yet?


*but probably no darker than Bournville, I just don't like dark.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

NEW! OPPO Chocolate & Hazelnut (Waitrose)

There's a long awaited new flavour on the Oppo block! Chances are that if you're already a fan of the 'healthy ice cream' brand you'll be aware of it already, but in case you're not, I present to you: Oppo's Chocolate & Hazelnut.

"...made from Stevia leaf, Colombian Cacao and fresh milk from meadow-grazed cows  free to roam and eat naturally, with 55% fewer calories and 67% less sugar than standard branded chocolate ice cream." 

The ice cream wasn't as dark in colour as I expected it to be, and although it scooped better than the first tub of mint Oppo I tried (which, it turns out, was part of a badly freezer-burnt batch and has since been replaced) it wasn't as soft as most standard ice creams. However, I could spot the miniature hazelnut nibs (3%) embedded within it, which was a welcome touch. 

Hmm. An odd one. I'd not long since finished the last of my chocolate flavoured Jude's tub and so at first the flavour shocked me in its contrast. The chocolate wasn't anywhere near as rich, and the stevia was immediately evident, hampering the aftertaste. 

Once I'd got used to the ice cream I started to enjoy it, especially when the hazelnut flavour started to come through. It adds a mild nuttiness, but it's pleasant, and a welcome point of difference to a plain chocolate flavour. 

I'm not bowled over by this new Oppo flavour, personally preferring their Salted Caramel. At 43 calories per scoop it's a good option for those cutting calories, but it is expensive - the RRP is £4.99 per 500ml tub. If you are an Oppo addict I recommend that you pop down to Waitrose post-haste, where you'll find the entire range (including this new flavour) is currently 25% off.


Friday, 21 April 2017

Creative Nature Chia & Cacao Brownie Mix (ASDA)

Last month I reviewed Creative Nature's Superfood bars, and promised that I would let you all know how I got on with their brownie mix. Now I've been craving brownies for a while, but for me brownies must be cooked on the outside but soft and gooey in the middle, and so supermarket versions just don't cut the mustard. I could bake my own, but a mix that you just add eggs and milk too sounded far easier. The trouble is, most baking mixes are pretty pants (I'm thinking Betty Crocker here), but I kept in mind that Creative Nature's bars had been good. There was other factor that was worrying me, but it might sound a little odd: brownies are so tasty because they're so unhealthy. Could an organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, soya-free, coconut-free, sweetener-free, nut-free, 'superfood' mix really scratch my brownie itch? There was only one way to find out...

Well, kind of. I might've added Cadbury Mini Eggs. It was the Easter Weekend after all.

The instructions called for:

1) 400g Brownie Mix (the whole bag)
2) 4 large eggs (or 5tbsp chia seeds + 15 tbsp water for vegan recipe, which is on the pack)
3) 200g butter (or dairy free spread for vegan recipe)
4) 5ml vanilla essence

I whisked the ingredients together before adding the batter to 2 lined loaf tins, which I then topped with the Mini Eggs and baked for 25ish minutes. The whole process from opening the mix to warm brownies took less than half an hour, and as a bonus my house smelt like Willy Wonka's factory. Marvellous. 

The bag suggests that the entire 400g bag makes 20 servings, but I used half (plus the whole bag of Mini Eggs) and cut my brownies into 8 bars. They were certainly squidgy! Creative Nature suggest chilling them in the fridge, but I have zero patience when it comes to food and so enjoyed my first one straight from the oven with a side of Oppo's salted caramel ice cream.

Oh. my. frigging. days. They were divine; gorgeously rich, with a dark bitter-sweet flavour. Once cool they were just as good, and dare I say it, they didn't really even need the Mini Eggs. Mmm. I'm salivating again just thinking about them.

In fact they were so good that I almost didn't share my brownies with any of my family, but I had promised my sister some, so I took one each for her and her partner on Saturday. Except her partner never got one, my sister ate them both (it's ok, he always nabs her chocolate supplies) and she even blamed me for getting her 'back into brownies'. The cheek! 😉 

It's needless to say, if you are a chocoholic who wants a healthy-ish brownie hit without the faff of baking/ you're intolerant to wheat, dairy, or nuts/ you're vegan, then you must try Creative Nature's Brownie Mix. It's available to buy directly from them online, bigger ASDA stores and Ocado. A little birdie told me that it'll soon be stocked in Sainsbury's too, so keep your eyes peeled! 


Thursday, 20 April 2017

NEW! Dessert Menu Milk Chocolate & Peanut Ice Creams (M&S)

Peanut butter, chocolate and ice cream are my three favourite foods, so a product that combines all three just screams to be tried. These new ice cream sticks at M&S form part of their "Dessert Menu", which I've had success with in the past*. I think they're approximately £3 per pack, but my local store had messed up the labels and so I was lucky enough to buy my box of three for the price of a single, at just £1.20. I do love a good bargain.

"Peanut butter ice cream with a toffee ripple 8% coated in Belgian milk chocolate (3%) and roasted peanut pieces (3.5%)"

There was none of the so-thin-you-can-see-through-it chocolate to be found here. Cough. Iceland. Cough. The Belgian milk chocolate was generously flecked with sizeable peanut chunks too - looking good Marks & Sparks! 

The chocolate was damn delicious. It's luxuriously rich with a good melt, and it's thick enough to crack pleasingly when you bite into it. The larger nut pieces worked well too; they were big enough to administer a robust flavour as well as the added texture. 

Unfortunately the peanut flavoured ice cream didn't pack the same punch. The nuttiness was mild at best, and was overpowered by the sweet toffee sauce, reminding me of the issues with the Magnum Double Peanut Butter. It's a shame really because the quality of the ice cream is good - it just requires more peanut! 

As far as peanut butter ice cream sticks go Marks & Spencer's don't rival ASDAs, which I guess is a bonus for my bank balance! 


*you can find my review of their hazelnut sticks here & their salted caramel sticks here

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

NEW! McVities Mini Penguins (ASDA)

McVities' Penguins. If they don't bring back memories of school trips then I feel sorry for you. I know that they were the highlight of my packed lunches, even if they were melted and crushed beyond recognition by the rum you opened them, and you'd read the jokes a million times over. I also love Cadbury's Animals and so I hoped these new mini Penguin biscuits would offer the best of both worlds. At £1 for a packet of 6 bags from ASDA they were cheap enough to find out! 

"Mini penguin shaped chocolate flavour biscuits topped with milk chocolate." 

Each bag contained 8 or 9 cute little penguins. The biscuits evidently weren't going to be a similar to bourbons given their lighter shade, but they did smell strongly of milk chocolate.

The full size Penguins are arguably one of the chocolatiest* biscuits you can get, so it's no surprise that these don't provide the same intense hit. That's not a complaint though, as the biscuits were still well flavoured and were perfectly crunchy; imagine if you will a chocolate flavoured digestive. Given the size of these penguins, the milk chocolate topping didn't make them too sickly either. As a bonus they're dunkable* too - surely that makes them as good, if not better, than the original?

It's safe to assume that I loved these mini penguins. They might be marketed towards children but that's not stopping me! Oh, and I imagine they're good if you're trying to watch your weight -each bag is 118kCals and feels more satisfying than a lone biscuit! *PLUS* Each bag has a joke on it, hey it's the small pleasures in life! 


*now added to the Amy dictionary of adjectives. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

NEW! Rhubarb & Custard Ice Cream Cones

Last year I found sheer joy with Iceland's Nostalgic Rhubarb & Custard Cone Sensations. Only ASDA's Rhubarb Jumbles yielded similar happiness with my favourite sweet shop classic combination and both the Greggs Rhubarb & Custard donut, & M&S' Rhubarb, Strawberry & Custard Muffins paled in comparison. Seeing as the Iceland Cones were discontinued in the Autumn, I hoped that Tesco had provided us with an ample replacement. 

"Rhubarb and custard flavour ice creams in a wafer cone coated with chocolate flavoured coating, rippled and topped with rhubarb sauce, finished with biscuit pieces."

At £1 for a box of four ice creams, they were the same price as Iceland's versions. There was a subtle difference between the two descriptions though - Iceland's were adorned with sugar crystals whereas Tesco's are coated in biscuit pieces. 

Well I say covered, but I don't mean it. There was a measly smattering of crumbs, which I didn't even acknowledge until I looked back at the photos. Iceland's sweetie-esque topping was much better. 

Luckily the sauce was tasty, bearing a welcome combination of sweet with a slightly tanginess. I can't comment on whether it was an improvement on Iceland's as my memory doesn't serve me that well, but it was scrummy nonetheless. Unfortunately the sauce wasn't very well distributed. The top half of the cone didn't contain much, and neither did the bottom, but there was a huge pocket of pink stickiness in the middle. 

As for the ice cream, it had that soft, almost whipped-ness of most cheap supermarket ice creams. Flavour-wise it was every bit the let down. Both the rhubarb and custard elements were weak. Rhubarb is such a punchy flavour so there's no excuse for it to not come to the fore, but it was very much lacking in these cones. 

If I was looking for the silver lining, I'd tell you that the wafer cone was crunchy with a decently sized chocolate nib at the bottom, but surely that's the least you expect, isn't it?