Tuesday 28 February 2017

NEW! Mini Chocolate & Orange Hot Cross Buns (M&S)

It's Shrove Tuesday, which can only mean one thing: hot cross buns. 

Wait, no. I've got that wrong haven't I? Ah yes, I covered the pancakes yesterday* so it's time to rekindle my love affair with my new best friend -the hot cross bun. As mentioned the other day in my review of Marks & Spark's innovative savoury cheese buns, I made use of the 2 for £2.50 deal and also picked up a pack of their mini chocolate orange flavour.

"9 Mini Chocolate & Orange Hot Cross Buns with Belgian dark chocolate chips, orange puree,  candied orange and lemon peel with a hint of spice." 

Now I'd hazard a guess and say that these have replaced M&S' so-so mini mocha hot cross buns of 2016. Last year I remember being confused on how to serve the buns but fortunately I've already had my first dose of mini chocolate orange versions this year, courtesy of Waitrose.

I'm not sure who copied who, but Marks & Spencer certainly outshone Waitrose when it comes to aesthetics. I loved the super chocolatey look of the bun and the bright orange cross; they'd certainly make for an appealing centrepiece at afternoon tea. 

Once out of their wrapper I was hit by the unmistakable scent of... Christmas cake! Where you expecting that? I certainly wasn't. I blame the pungent aroma of candied peel for confusing my nostrils.

Slicing the buns in half revealed the fluffy texture of the dough, which wasn't as soft or moist as Waitrose's. The majority of the chocolate chips seemed to be on top, although there were a few pieces of candied peel dotted about.

Well, it was just a bit odd. Not in a good way like the aforementioned cheese buns either. It tastes somewhat like an uber dry, under flavoured chocolate cake and the orange just didn't come through in the same strength as the scent alluded to either. Easily the best bit of the buns was the chocolate chips, and I savoured the bites when I found a cluster. 

I tried them warm, then cold, then filled with peanut butter (which just didn't work) before deciding that they're best generously filled with JimJam's Chocolate Hazelnut spread. The spread adds some much needed moisture to the very bread-y dough (it's certainly no brioche), and otherwise they're really quite bland.


*and will be making more FlapJacked ones tonight, so keep your eyes peeled on my instagram!

Monday 27 February 2017

FlapJacked Buttermilk Protein Pancake & Baking Mix (Online)

I'm not sure if you've heard but It's PANCAKE DAY tomorrow! I'm actually far more excited about it than I ever get about Valentines or Halloween (not Christmas though, that's impossible). Do you prefer a fluffy scotch pancake, thin French Crepe, traditional British lemon & sugar covered cake, or big old stack of American pancakes? I'll happily eat any of the above. Fortunately for me, making pancakes has just been made slightly easier thanks to a delivery of samples courtesy of FlapJackedUK.

FlapJacked is an American brand, now available in the U.K, specialising in ready mixed protein pancakes and muffins. Their philosophy is to create "fibre rich products are made with only the highest quality ingredients such as whole grain oats and coconut flour" and are fortified with whey and pea protein. They're free from artificial colour, flavourings and preservatives to boot. Sounds good to me, but only if they taste as great as they sound..

Now for those of you who aren't aware, Flapjack is the American term for pancakes (they don't have our buttery, syrup laden oat bars the poor things). My parcel of goodies contained a selection of their 'Mighty Muffins' -review to follow- and a bag of their ButterMilk protein pancake and baking mix.

The bag informed me that to make a single serving of FlapJacked pancakes I simply needed to mix 1/2 cup (53g) of powder with 1/3 cup (78ml) of cold water and let rest for a few minutes whilst my griddle (read frying pan) warmed up.

The mixture was thicker than I'd usually make, but had a lovely scent of butter and oats to it. As suggested I cooked the batter for 2-3 minutes before I spotted bubbles appearing and the edges started to crispen. I then flipped them and cooked for the same amount of time. The only change I made to the method was to form 6 smaller pancakes rather than the recommended 3. They were then hastily topped with sugar free maple syrup and a dusting of cinnamon before I hurriedly tucking in.

Ooh they were certainly soft and fluffy. I think I expected a sweeter flavour but I liked the fact that they could be used to compliment savoury toppings too. I imagine maple and bacon would work particularly well with this Buttermilk FlapJacked mix. The smell of the pancakes was hedonistic, and the lingering aroma made me salivate for hours after.

I couldn't beat the ease of these pancakes, and their nutritional values are pretty darn good too. Each single serve contains 20g of protein and 23g of carbs with just 6g of naturally occuring sugar. The packet also gives recipes for using the mix to make waffles and chocolate chip cookies too! FlapJacked also sell a number of different flavoured protein pancakes including the delicious sounding banana & hazelnut, carrot spice and apple & cinnamon, all of which are available here.


Thank you to FlapJackedU.K for the samples!

Sunday 26 February 2017

ChokABlok Caramel Yolkie (Tesco)

Tesco is my go-to for commercial chocolate bars. Their 3 for £1.20 deal is pretty damn good, particularly because I find it too hard to commit to buying a multipack of one bar (unless it's Reese's). At the moment they've got a deal on individual Easter chocolates too (as well as half price Oreo Egg 'n' Spoons and Milkybar Mini Eggs, hell yes!) which means you can mix and match any three items for £1. It was whilst perusing this offer* that I spotted their Caramel Yolkies. The Caramel Yolkies first came out last year, but neither of my local branches stocked them and so I missed out. My chocolate self-restraint failed me once again, and I simply couldn't miss out on the deal (they're 50p each) so the Yolkie was soon joined by Cadbury's mini eggs and a Milkybar bunny. Oops.

"Milk and white chocolate bar with a caramel filled inclusion."

The attractive 25g mini slab was branded on the back under Tesco's ChokABlock label.

I haven't had any of their bars in a couple years, so I wasn't sure what to expect from the quality. In terms of the cocoa content, their milk chocolate is respectably high with a minimum of 33.5% cocoa solids and 20.5% milk solids (compared to Cadbury's Dairy Milk containing a 23% and 20% respectively).

Despite its credentials, the flavour of Tesco's milk chocolate just didn't quite hit the spot. I mean it was edible, but lacked the silkiness of a high quality chocolate. The flavour was rich, there was just something else missing that I still can't quite put my finger on. As for the Caramel yolk, it was gooey and sticky but alarmingly sweet. Perhaps it's because it was surrounded by white chocolate (which I couldn't taste whatsoever) but the flavour jarred against the milk chocolate base and I can't say that I enjoyed it too much.

I'm glad I tried the Yolkie but I won't buy another, especially when there are far better tasting chocolates in the same deal.


*despite trying to stop myself from buying more, honestly I'm like an alcoholic in a pub.

Saturday 25 February 2017

NEW! Savoury Cheese Hot Cross Buns (M&S)

Marks & Sparks' savoury hot cross buns have been gnawing away in the back of my mind since I spotted them six weeks ago.

What were M&S thinking? Had they created the new salted caramel and produced something so odd sounding that actually we'll all be living off in a few years time? Or were they just a disaster lying in wait for the poor sucker who dared to try them? Oh and how do you even serve them anyway? It's never a good sign to be thinking about something that much and not buy it, so I patiently waited to find one with the yellow reduced sticker at the end of the day.

Except that day never came, and so whilst my faith in the buns grew in line with their lack of clearance time rejection, my curiosity also surged. That was until I was perused Instagram on the train home yesterday and spotted a well-timed post from Marks & Spencer about their cheesy buns:

"M&S has launched the UK's first savoury hot cross bun. The Savoury Cheese Bun is made with a blend of two cheeses, just Turkish sultanas, onion, chives and of course traditional hot cross bun spice. It's said to be the perfect pairing of fruit and cheese and delicious stuffed with bacon for a gourmet bacon butty!  #hotcross17"

 I was hungry. I detoured. Oops. They were £1.70 each (I think) or 2 for £2.50.

 "4 savoury hot cross buns: a blend of 2 cheeses with Turkish sultanas, onions and chives with spices and a brewers yeast flavoured cross."

As someone who can't bear the sultanas in coronation chicken (or ham and pineapple for that matter) I wasn't sure how well I'd get on with these buns. Still I shouldn't moan considering I was only recently complaining about the lack of fruit in others.

I contemplated serving it with melted cheese (but I thought it might mask the cheesiness of the bun) then considered toasting it with butter and marmite, before deciding to roll with the serving idea suggested below the very instagram post that prompted my purchase in the first place. Bacon butty time it was!

The non-toasted bun was remarkably soft, with a strong cheesy chive scent. I couldn't help but nibble the corner whilst waiting for my bacon to cook and was oddly surprised at how odd the combination of the flavours was but also how much I enjoyed it.

The decision to fill it with smoked bacon and ketchup was genius. My tastebuds enjoyed the complexity of flavours; with the spices, sultanas, cheddar and chives prevalent in every bite. I thought that perhaps one element would fight for dominance, but instead they seemed to work in harmony. The added salinity from the bacon was welcome, and I'm not sure if the bun would have have tasted too sweet without it. As for the texture of the bun, it was denser and moister than your normal cheese topped bap, but I found the soft chewiness to be extraordinarily comforting.

I think I may have found a new favourite lunch time treat, bravo M&S! Stay tuned for a review of their mini chocolate orange hot cross buns...


Friday 24 February 2017

Fresh Bakery Jam Filled Doughnut (LIDL)

It's that time of year. You know the one, when you only have to get within 100 metres of a supermarket before the sweet hunger-pang-inducing scent of hot cross buns assails your nostrils and suddenly you're making an unexpected detour into the bakery aisle. It drives me crazy, especially as I cycle down the side of Morrisons (and straight under their vents) on the way to the train station every day. In the same vein whilst I don't directly pass LIDL on the same stretch, I often pop in to replenish my Skyr supplies on the way home and more or less have to shut my eyes and nostrils when unavoidably passing their in-store bakery. It's not so much the scent of it, but the impressive array of both sweet and savoury treats that look undeniably tempting. Yesterday though my yogurt mission was unsuccessful -they sell like hot cakes, excuse the pun- which meant that I had enough room in my backpack for a treat or two. Oops.

Just look at that jam doughnut though! Even better, the basket was being refilled just as I picked up the tongs so I knew they were the freshest they could be. At 25p each they're a veritable bargain too, and LIDL even provide individual little plastic boxes to keep your treats safe (it seems that Krispy Kreme and Greggs could learn a thing or two from the German supermarket) .

Are you a powdered sugar or caster sugar jam doughnut fan? For me it's the former all the way, and it's part of the reason that I prefer Morrisons' bakery doughnuts over any of the other supermarkets' versions. This LIDL doughnut looked like it might trump Morrisons though because it was much bigger and so very light!

I couldn't help but feel hugely disappointed when I sliced the doughnut in two. Where was the huge dollop of sticky jam filling hiding? It then occurred to me why the doughnut was so light. It was devoid of jam.

Fortunately the dough was the saving grace. I mean it was everything that I want from a doughnut; unbelievably fluffy with a good sweet flavour and lacking that horrible greasy aftertaste that often lingers after eating one of Tesco or ASDA's. In fact the quality far surpassed both Greggs and Krispy Kreme!

The teaspoonful of jam was pretty good, gooey and sweet with a decent fruity flavour. Goddammit LIDL, if you'd doubled the jam content you'd have nailed the perfect doughnut!

I'm convinced I just bought a dodgy one, so next time I'm in store I'll ensure I leave enough room in my bag for another doughnut, you know, just in case! I'll keep you updated...


Thursday 23 February 2017

Multipower 40% Protein Bars: Peach Yogurt, Chocolate Almond, & Blueberry Vanilla (Online)

Last week Multipower's PR company got in touch with me to ask if I'd like to try the new 40% Protein Fit Bars. To be honest, Multipower is a company that I hadn't come across before, but I was informed that their new bars are 'low in sugar, a great source of fibre and come in three amazing flavours'. As you know I'm always keen to try new bars and supplements, so I gladly accepted the offer.

By Monday a parcel arrived containing a selection of bars in all three flavours: peach yogurt, blueberry vanilla and chocolate almond. The protein bar market is already exceedingly saturated and so I was pleased to see that not only have Multipower brought out slightly more unusual flavours -no cookie dough in sight- but also that they're a completely different size to most of the bars currently available. At 35g, each bar contains less than 135kcal whilst delivering 14g of protein -not bad! For info they're also aspartame free (they're sweetened with sucralose instead). 

Peach Yogurt

Well it's not the most appealing looking bar I've ever seen, I don't buy protein bars for their aesthetics. I did give it a little squidge though, and instantly appreciated just how soft this bar was -there's nothing worse than a jaw-breaker. 

Just as I hoped: what the bar lacked in looks, it made up for in taste. It's hard to spot the freeze dried peach pieces in the photo but they packed a delicious punch (surprising considering they only constitute 3% of the bar). The nougat-like texture was remarkably soft too, which made it very easy to eat -sheer relief for my clicky jaw. Perhaps the biggest surprise came from the bar's casing though, which was in fact white chocolate and not yogurt. Lord knows why Multipower doesn't shout about this, white chocolate is always a winner in my book, and would certainly make me much more likely to pick a bar up from the shelf!

Macros: Kcal: 129 P: 14/C: 9.4 F: 4.7


Chocolate Almond

Having enjoyed the peach yogurt bar so much, I decided to try the chocolate almond bar for dessert last night, warmed up in the microwave with a good helping of Salted Caramel Oppo and sugar-free caramel syrup. Once again I appreciated how soft the bar was, and the addition of real almond pieces was evident once I sliced into it.

The first thing I noticed was an odd, synthetic taste, but this soon abated and fortunately only a moment later I was revelling in one of my favourite combinations of chocolate and almond. In fact, the softness and flavour of this bar reminded me of the utterly delicious Côte-d'Or FudgeNut -high praise indeed. Of course, it's low sugar and high protein so therefore not a chocolate bar, but it's a scrummy alternative. 

Macros: 134kcal P:14/C:8.4/F: 5.9


Blueberry Vanilla

I'm not sure why, but I expected a white chocolate covering to compliment the blueberry. Again, this was super soft, and I decided to enjoy this one just this morning with a cup of coffee.

Just look at those freeze-dried blueberries! Unfortunately the primary flavour of this bar was the chocolate. The artificialness of it couldn't be escaped without the ice cream and caramel sauce, and I simply wasn't keen. Luckily the inner filling was pretty good -although nowhere near as tasty as the peach bar. It's the only bar of the three that I probably wouldn't buy again.

Macros: 126kcal/ P:14/ C: 8.5/F: 5


On the whole I'm impressed with these Multipower 40% Protein Fit bars. They're soft enough to serve as the perfect on-the-go protein hit, or as part of a healthy low-sugar dessert. You can find more information on the bars and order your own from Multipower's website, simply click here

I'd like to say a huge thank you to Multipower/their PR agency for sending me the samples to review. 

Wednesday 22 February 2017

NEW! Extra Special Black Forest & Amaretto Desserts Review (ASDA)

I've recently outed my addiction to buying chocolate and ice cream on instagram in an attempt to remind myself that I really need to stop buying more and instead work through my admittedly impressive collection. The trouble is, whilst I love both chocolate AND ice cream, occasionally I'm just not in the mood for either, or I spot something different that I'd rather have. This is especially true when it comes to ice cream, and since promising myself that I'd not purchase any more, my non-frozen dessert cravings have fully kicked in. BAM! All of a sudden I just needed to have the Black Forest & Amaretto Pots that I've been contemplating for weeks.

Even my price conscious nature gave way to the compulsions to try these little desserts. In ASDA Gü are currently on offer for £1.50, yet I still chose their own brand desserts. I must be mad. In my defence, previous experiences with ASDA's Extra Special desserts* have thus far been remarkably positive.

"Amaretto-infused sponge layered with black cherry compote and Belgian dark chocolate ganache."

C'mon ASDA, you seem to have fallen foul of Cadbury's usual trick here and only half filled the pots! The Peanut Butter Millionaire's Dessert was full to the brim, and had much more distinctive layers too.

Digging in to the top I first tasted the dark chocolate ganache, which was as silky and as delicious as expected -there just wasn't very much of it. The little that there was had kind of sunk into the custard below. Talking of which, the custard was a bit of a let down. The flavour was weak against the ganache and so I wished that ASDA had just done away with it and filled the tub with more of the good stuff.

Fortunately the black cherry compote was delicious, offering a sweet tartness against all the chocolate, but again the pot could have done with more. Boo.

The final layer was the main reason why I wanted to try these desserts so badly - the amaretto soaked sponge. The cake was in keeping with the Black Forest theme and was therefore chocolate flavoured. It was a good sponge with a decent amount of cocoa -but I just couldn't taste the amaretto or even almond. Now this might be partly because I was drinking a glass of red wine alongside it, but nonetheless I was disappointed.

I'm aware that I've done a lot of complaining in this review, and perhaps it's not entirely necessary considering I scraped the sides of the tub and really enjoyed it. The trouble is, I know that ASDA sell a much better version of this, and it's cheaper too: their Black Forest Velvets.


*such as their White Chocolate & Raspberry Cheesecake which was one of my first reviews, and remains my favourite supermarket cheesecake!

Tuesday 21 February 2017

NEW! Nature Valley Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars (Sainsbury's)

Every now and then a supermarket will bring out an own brand product that surpasses every comparative product currently on the market. Take Tesco's Banana Bliss Bars for example, or ALDI's Domio yogurts and HIKE bars. ASDA has produced corkers too, two of which were fabulous peanut butter products. Whilst I was disappointed when the supermarket stopped selling their ingenious chocolate chip peanut butter, I was devastated when they stopped selling their peanut butter granola bars. They were absolutely wonderful little packs, and I even wrote a review on them over a year ago, claiming that they were 'ASDA's best kept secret'. Of course I stocked up on the remaining boxes as soon as I saw that they were reduced to clear, but knew that my stash wouldn't last. I'd already emailed Nature Valley and requested that they produce a peanut butter granola bar, so I was at a loss as to what to do next.

Fortunately, a good 18 months after that email, Nature Valley came up trumps and released a Crunchy Peanut Butter Bar in the UK (the brand has been selling them in the USA for years). The only place I've spotted the boxes thus far is Sainsbury's, although I've patiently waited for them to come on offer (currently £1.50 per box).

"Packed with natural wholegrain oats, real peanuts, and a luscious peanut butter drizzle, Nature Valley Crunchy Peanut Butter Bars are the perfect on-the-go snack, which are there for you, whenever you need it most."

As always, each individually wrapped pack contains two biscuits. For info, the peanut butter flavour is lactose free and contains no colours or preservatives.

They looked prettier than the ASDA version with their topping drizzled on -as opposed to a slathering. Given the quality of Nature Valley's other flavours, I was looking forward to tucking in.

The beauty of Nature Valley's Crunchy bars is that whilst they're crispy like a biscuit, they're not hard enough to require the dentist's telephone number close to hand -as perhaps one would with Jordan's or NutriGrain's Oat bars. In fact they're like a lower fat Hobnob really aren't they?

I prepared myself for the incoming salty-sweet hit from my favourite spread, but it never really came. Whilst the bar promises of 'real peanuts', it actually only delivers a measly 2% within its ingredients. As for the peanut butter, it was unfortunately just too sweet. The primary flavour of the biscuits was the honey, which knocked the nutty balance off kilter so much that I was tempted to get my salt grinder from the cupboard to help matters.

The main reason why I love Reese's so much is that they've utterly mastered the harmony of salinity and manage to counteract the sweetness within their products wonderfully. Nature Valley haven't been quite so clever, and although they're new Crunchy Bars are admittedly delicious and moreish, they're not quite as good as ASDA's delisted versions. Boo.


Monday 20 February 2017

Double Choc Brownie R Bar Review (Reflex Nutrition)

It's been a while since I reviewed any of Reflex's protein bars The last one I tried was the white chocolate and raspberry ripple R Bar, which I was impressed with primarily due to its softness. I've continued to munch the bars on a regular basis and find them to be just the ticket on the train home from uni.

I was fortunate to receive a package of treats from Reflex just before I went away which included the double Choc Brownie R Bar as well as their Banana & Custard Casein (review coming soon). I wanted to make the most of our trip and knew I'd be up to all sorts of energetic activities (get your mind out of the gutter now please) so packed a few for those "just in case I get hungry" moments.

For those of you who aren't au fait with Reflex or their philosophy, then you need to know that their sole objective is to create quality sports nutrition products. Whilst taste is important, they aim to deliver the very best supplements and as such the bars are made in their very own factory here in Blighty using the "highest quality whey protein", almond or peanut butter and natural sweetener gluco-fibre (as opposed to IMO, dextrose or glucose syrups which cause spikes in blood sugar levels).

I found the RBar to be more enjoyable than their flapjack based bars and so was looking forward to trying their double chocolate brownie flavour.

It turned out that taking a few bars with me was a cracking idea. On only our second day we visited Batu Caves -home to the gold statue of Lord Morugun, the largest religious statue in the world- and hiked the 272 steps in the heat to visit the monkey ridden temple cave at the top. Breakfast suddenly felt like a long time away and we weren't sure how long it would take to get back to Kuala Lumpur, so out came my first R Bar of the trip.


I regularly eat Quest's chocolate brownie bar so it was easy to draw comparison between the two. The first thing I noticed was the softness of the bar, which could be easily bent. The second I noticed was the cubes of chocolate that were embedded throughout. Quest's chocolate brownie is one of their non-chunky bars and so I found Reflex's addition to be a welcome treat.

Biting into the bar rendered a pleasant surprised. Whilst it didn't taste exactly like a non-protein, full fat brownie, I didn't expect it to. The chocolate fused with the undertones of almond well to provide a well balanced flavour that was sweet despite containing only 1g of sugar. It tasted less of whey than I thought it would too, and the sweetener was also less apparent. Even my protein supplement avoiding other half asked to try a bite and then promptly asked if he could nab a bar. 


As with the white chocolate & raspberry R Bar, the malleability is remarkable. There's nothing worse than chewing a bar until it makes your jaw or having to retrieve bits of one from between your teeth - and that's thankfully never going to be an issue with these bars.

If you want a high quality, chocolatey, soft protein bar with excellent macros then you can't go far wrong with a Double Choc Brownie R Bar. For me, it's far superior to Quest's version. 

Macros per bar: Kcal: 209 P20/C9/F9

R Bars are available to buy from Reflex's website. As always, a huge thank you to Reflex for the samples. 


*Can you tell the rest of the photos taken in my garden instead?

Sunday 19 February 2017

NEW! Weetabix Additions: Apple & Raisin Review (ASDA)

Whilst I can't live without my daily dose of porridge in the mornings, my other half struggles to start his day without a bowl of trusty Weetabix. Or at least that was the case until the Golden Syrup flavour disappeared from supermarket shelves towards the latter end of last year. He was so gutted that we couldn't find his favourite cereal anymore that I contacted the company back in November to ask if they were coming back. They said:
"Recent high demand has meant that we have had an increase in orders and we hope are hoping to be back to full capacity in the next few months. Please accept our sincere apologies, we do hope that you will continue to enjoy our products and are assured of our best intentions to get this back on the shelves."
With Bert's hopes intact, we eagerly awaited the return of the Golden Syrup Weetabix and were therefore somewhat surprised to see the two new Weetabix 'additions' lines that launched last month. I guess the company told porkies. Humf.

I tried to see the bright side in all of this and reminded Bert that although he doesn't like coconut (so the coconut and raisin flavour are out of the question) he does like apple and raisin. Maybe this new variety of Weetabix could serve as a valid replacement?

"Delight your senses...
with a nutritious breakfast that's packed with delicious apple, juicy raisins & warming cinnamon ensuring temptingly tasty goodness in every bite."

Whilst I'm not a huge Weetabix fan, I do love apple and raisin and was therefore intrigued to discover how their new flavour fared so purchased the box of 24 biscuits from ASDA for £2.

Whilst their banana and golden syrup (RIP) flavours are strongly scented, I couldn't particularly smell anything other than wheat when popping my biscuits in the bowl before drowning them in cold milk.

Oh. Was that it? Where was the flavour? Cinnamon is a pretty pungent spice -and my favourite one at that- but I couldn't detect it at all amongst the wheaty mush. The apple flavour too was non-existent and I was grateful that I'd had the foresight to top my cereal with cubed apple so that I could at least pretend I was eating flavoured Weetabix.

The only promise that Weetabix delivered on was the inclusion of raisins, but unfortunately I can't say this was a welcome addition. I really love dried fruit, but not like this. Have you ever eaten shrivelled, bullet-hard raisins before? Well that's what is lurking in amongst these biscuits. Rather than the moist, squidgy, flavoursome fruits, these were little dry rascals that stuck between my teeth in a frustrating fashion. Not good.

It wasn't just me either, Bert wasn't a fan either. If we weren't so reluctant to waste food they'd have ended up in the bin by now, but instead I've promised to buy him a couple of boxes of his new favourite cereal (Golden Syrup Wheats) from Sainsbury's when he's got through the Weetabix. You should never have to "get through" food though, should you?


Saturday 18 February 2017

NEW! Cadbury Egg 'n' Spoon Oreo (Tesco)

Even though I got stuck straight into the hot cross bun reviews almost a month ago, I've somehow resisted the call of the Easter chocolates until now. It might have something to do with the fact that I still have an excessive amount of chocolate, some left over from Christmas as well as the countless bars I brought back with me. Oops. When I spotted the insta-famous Oreo Egg 'n' Spoons half price in Tesco this week however, my self-restraint evaporated and somehow I ended up at the till with a box.

I remember being utterly disappointed with the chocolate Egg 'n' Spoons when they first came out a few years ago. Since then I've stayed clear of mousse filled Cadbury chocolates (bar a lone snowman reduced after Christmas). It was the addition of Oreo swayed me. I'm not even sure why I'm so infatuated with anything Oreo, but after the disappointment of the Peanut Butter Oreo filled Dairy Milk this week I hoped that Cadbury could go at least a little way to redeem their sorry selves.

"4 Milk chocolate eggs with a soft vanilla flavour mousse filling (42 %) with biscuit pieces (4.5 %)."

At least the packaging design is smart, and although it hasn't changed since the eggs were first launched, I still think it's a nifty little concept. The box contained four purple wrapped eggs and two very dinky plastic spoons.

I unwrapped my first egg and spotted the lines where the top could come apart from the bottom. I'll be very honest here and admit to indulging my perfectionistic streak by separating the top from the bottom with a veg knife... Sooo satisfying.

Inside the chocolate casing was the milky white Oreo filling, flecked with cookie crumbs as expected. Digging in, I discovered just how soft and light the centre was. For some reason I thought it was going to be a similar substance to the centre of the Dairy Milk bars, and I'm still not sure if I was initially pleased or disappointed by my findings.

The flavour of the mousse was plain vanilla, and it was super fluffy. The gritty nature of the Oreo crumbs were a delightful addition however, and helped to provide a contrast in terms of both flavour and texture. I really enjoyed the lightness of the mousse, and was pleased that I'd chilled it in the fridge beforehand to give the egg a more dessert-like feel -perhaps next time I'll freeze it.

As for the chocolate around the outside, it was pretty thin, but I really enjoyed it. I've heard that Australian Cadbury is better than ours, but having tried a couple of bars of their Dairy Milk recently, I'm inclined to disagree. The quality of our chocolate has gone dramatically downhill -I'll give you that- but it still outstrips many of the foreign versions.

I think I may have to stock up* on these Oreo Egg 'n' Spoons whilst they're on offer!


*Actually I've just taken another peek at my chocolate hoard, and decided that that may not be the greatest idea.

Friday 17 February 2017

NEW! Magnum White Ice Cream Tub (Iceland)

This week I brought you reviews of all three new Ben & Jerry's Topped tubs. They sounded ingenious didn't they? But they weren't the first kids on the block. Oh no. Right at the beginning of the year I spotted some new Magnum Tubs in Iceland, balked at the price (£3.89) and didn't give them a second thought. That was at least until One Treat reviewed them (told you she's the ice cream queen) and revealed just what you were getting for your money. Naively I had assumed that the tubs were just full of the innards of a Magnum which, although tasty, isn't worth almost 4 squids - especially when you can buy 4 of the sticks from Farmfoods for one pound.

If you haven't grabbed your keys and left for Farmfoods yet I both applaud you and worry about your sanity. Seriously, that's a bargain that shouldn't be missed. Anyway, if you've stuck it out for the remainder of this review, I'll also let Magnum explain why their new tubs are considerably more special than I originally thought...

"Experience Magnum White in a tub Discover the ultimate Magnum cracking chocolate and velvety ice cream experience with the new Magnum White tub. Squeeze the pack and crack the thick Magnum white chocolate shell that envelops the delicious velvety dairy vanilla ice cream. There you will find cracking Magnum white chocolate shards throughout the tub, so you can have a rich and intense white chocolate experience in every spoonful."
Just for info: Iceland are stocking Classic and Almond flavours too. The tubs are currently on offer for £2.50, which meant it was high time for me to give this bad boy a go.

The packaging includes instructions to remove the tub from the freezer and leave it 10 minutes before pressing the indent on the side to crack the tub. Wait. I've got to wait? I'm not sure who possesses that level of patience or self restraint? Five minutes I lasted before pressing the button. As promised the top cracked; albeit into four large shards.

Beneath the top layer was the signature vanilla flecked Magnum ice cream, which had become overly soft having been left out of the freezer for a few minutes (I dread to think what I'd find after 10). Digging in I found a huge amount of white chocolate pieces intermingled with the ice cream. It appeared that there was almost 50% chocolate in this ice cream, although I'm sure there couldn't have been that much -could there? The chocolate shards make it difficult to scoop into a cone, which means it's admittedly probably best eaten straight from the tub.

If you follow me on Instagram you'll already know that I was just getting excited to tuck in when disaster struck. I dropped it on the floor. Now I'm normally a "30 second rule" kind of girl, but this doesn't apply in my back room where the dog resides after a muddy walk and the food in question is almost liquid. Boo. 1/4 of a tub wasted - Yep, the 'pints' are in fact only 440ml. Boo.

Second time lucky and I wasn't surprised by the flavours that greeted my tastebuds. As a regular consumer of Magnums, I knew to expect the milky vanilla ice cream base and creamy white chocolate. Eaten in a waffle cone did make the experience different however, and I enjoyed the greater ratio of chocolate.

I personally preferred the white chocolatey Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Swirled ice cream. The addition of shortbread chunks, strawberry and marshmallow makes it texturally more interesting, and I found the Magnum to be less inspiring in comparison. As a cheaper option to the new Magnum tubs I'd suggest buying a box of four sticks from Farmfoods and smashing them up -especially when they go back up to full price. That said, they're still tasty though, and a worthwhile buy for Magnum lovers countrywide.


Thursday 16 February 2017

NEW! Chocolate Orange Doughnut (Greggs)

I've moaned time and time again on this blog about the fact that I can't get my hands on a Krispy Kreme unless I travel an hour to either Cardiff, Gloucester or Birmingham. So when their Chocolate Orange and Tiramisu doughnuts were released in January, I once again turned an unattractive shade of green as the #foodporn pictures appeared on instagram. As you know by now I have to rely on Greggs to bring home the goods instead, and whilst they're pretty good at bringing out (fairly disappointing) new ring doughnuts, they don't tend to update their filled versions as often. Imagine then my surprise/glee/envy when I was on holiday and saw @Macrodad's photo of the new Greggs chocolate orange filled doughnut! Fortunately I was eating a Malaysian Krispy Kreme* at the time, so my skin-tone remained a lovely tanned shade and didn't even start to change colour. I could wait, it was ok.

Now some may accuse Greggs of ripping off Krispy Kreme but- as I mentioned in my hot cross bun post- Chocolate Orange seems to be the flavour combination of the season, and there's some stark difference between the two. 

Wheras KK's doughnut is filled with an "orange flavour chocolate kreme" and "topped with orange flavour gloss, dark chocolate shavings and decoration" 

Greggs'  contains "Orange flavoured filling topped with milk chocolate and orange flavour icing."

It's also just £1, compared to Krispy Kreme's £1.90.

It smelt like Terry's Chocolate Orange! Where was this bad boy at Christmas? Cutting into it revealed a generous (hurrah) pool of florescent, oozy sauce that refused to stay put. So far so good Greggs.

The joy continued when I took my first bite; many a time have I commented on the fact that Greggs' dough is more bready than KK's, but this was certainly much softer than the doughnut I had in Malaysia. Helping matters was the flavoursome topping, which ticked the boxes by managing to be both chocolatey and orangey -scrumdiddlyumptious. 

As for the saucy centre, it was zingy and sweet. If I was being picky I'd admit that I found it to be a little on the runny side -a more jelly-like centre would have been easier to eat- but it was rather good. I often hear complaints about KK's lack of filling, and Greggs certainly delivered here. If you've not got a sweet tooth you may find it a tad too sickly, but I really enjoyed it. 

Greggs really have recreated the traditional Jaffa Cake in doughnut form, and have done a cracking job to boot. It's certainly a treat I'll be buying again.


* Krispy Kreme's in Kuala Lumpur cost a maximum of 80p for the premium varieties. Although tempted by the KitKat doughnut, instead I opted for the Chocolate Mud Pie. Check out the varieties available below!

Chocolate Mud Pie

"Chopped Cadbury chunks and crushed Oreo crumbs sprinkled on a luxurious bed of chocolate, filled with Chocolate Kreme. Now that’s a Chocolate Creation that you won’t want to miss!"

Which one would you have chosen?