Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Graze Lemon Drizzle Flapjack Review

Although I think these Graze punnets are ridiculously expensive when you think about (£1.29 for a single snack when you can buy a multipack of crisps or cereal bars on offer for £1) I can’t help but be drawn back to them. They look really cool and modern, they’re easy to carry out and they are generally pretty healthy. Well generally. Whereas previous reviews of the veggie protein power or punchy protein nuts have snacks with protein benefits and are low in sugar or the herby bread basket is a snack low in calories, it’s hard to justify a flapjack.



Graze seem to be going for being a source of fibre as it’s health selling point although there are much better sources of fibre out there and with considerably less calories, fat and sugar to boot. But then flapjacks are never a diet food and you could argue it’s a good source of energy. It is also slightly less sugary than most other flapjacks at 28% sugars and also less fat than those made with real butter.
Opening it up you get 3 nice little individually cut pieces, which is quite nice as it means you can spread them out should you so wish. They smelt fairly lemony and zesty upon opening and they certainly deliver on the lemon drizzle promise with a nice drizzle of lemon icing on the top.



The lemon drizzle really comes through here and actually pretty similar to the icing on a lemon drizzle cake. It’s sweet and creamy and really tangy and lemony and just generally delicious. Lemon actually works really well with oats and it makes for a fairly indulgent taste with a delicious buttery lemon curd flavour. The flapjack consistency is slightly firm so it does’t crumble or fall apart but definitely on the softer side with a chewy, melt in the mouth texture.



Although it uses margarine rather than butter it tastes rich and is very satisfying although I could quite easily continue eating after it’s finished. I was ravenous when I ate this and  it did plug the gap nicely. Probably one of the tastiest Graze punnets I’ve tried if not the healthiest!

Price: £1.29
Bought at: Boots
Nutrition per punnet: 239 calories, 13g fat, 4.3g sat fat, 15g sugars, 2g fibre, 2.5g protein, 0.32g salt

Score: 8/10

Monday, 22 August 2016

Waitrose 1 Milk Chocolate 49% Cocoa

I've been pretty impressed with some of the newly launched Waitrose 1 range. It is pricey but what you are getting here is well sourced ingredients with authentic provenance, high quality ingredients with ingredients decks that are short and clean. In short, they are just exceptionally delicious food in a more natural state.



I don't usually go for milk chocolate but decided to give this one ago as it's 49% cocoa solids which is extremely high. It also mean it's less sugary at just under 35% , which isn't that far off 70% dark chocolates. It's also fair trade and the ingredients list is just:

Cocoa butter, cane sugar, milk powder, cocoa mass, milk fat, vanilla extract




They do a bigger 85g bar but I bought a treat sized one at 30g which gives you six nice little squares. It smells chocolatey and of real cocoa rather than sugar and I couldn't wait to dig in. It is unbelievably good and maybe because I don't eat much milk chocolate, I might be wrong here but I certainly thought it's some of the best milk chocolate I've ever had.

It's just so milky and creamy and smooth with a faint richness and deep cocoa notes. It is sweet but not sugary and just exceptionally smooth and meltingly good in the mouth. Just divine, I would definitely buy this again.

Price: 75p for 30g
Bought at: Waitrose
Nutrition per square: 31 calories, 2.4g fat, 1.4g sat fat, 1.7g sugars, trace salt

Score: 8.5/10

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Jacobs Ciabatta Sundried Tomato and Basil Crackers

As we continue to (needlessly in my opinion) shun in bread, there's been a boom in crackers and crispbreads as we look for lighter options. I buy a lot of oatcakes, crackers and savoury biscuits - perfect any time of the day for a quick less sugary nibble and equally as good as lunch option or just for dipping into houmous and dips.My favourite nowadays are the thins you get, which are perfect for dipping and I tend to favour Jacobs for these. However, thee new ciabatta crackers looked interesting and a bit different.



They had original and caramelised onion version as well but I went for tomato and basil for a more Italian flavour to go with the ciabatta style. Each box comes with five individually wrapped packs of three biscuits - a must have for me nowadays as it helps with portion control, freshness and makes them easy for taking out and about.



The little 'best thing since sliced bread' message on the packs made me smile and the biscuits looked appetising although there is a clear difference in appearance between top and bottom. The top has a more rough, rustic texture, darker in colour with an uneven surface. The bottom looks more like a standard cracker albeit with lots of visible flecks of herb and tomato.



Funnily enough upon eating them you really do get a ciabatta feel, - it has that crunchy, stonebaked, roasted flavour and there's lots of air pockets between the top and bottom for a fairly good representation of the bread. Don't get me wrong, real ciabatta is much more satisfying but these do taste very different to normal crackers. The tomato and herb was a little too subtle and the ciabatta taste was the element that came through more strongly for me.



They were perfectly delicious on their own and dipped in houmous but I'm sure there's all kinds of creative things you could do with them maybe topping them with tomato puree and cheese for a pizza style experience. At 41 calories each, I expect they'll appeal to those looking to lighter options for bread.

Price: £1.39
Bought at: Waitrose
Nutrition per cracker: 41 calories, 1g fat, 0.4g sat fat, 0.3g sugars, 0.2g salt

Score: 7/10

Friday, 19 August 2016

Pret Super Greens and Reds Review

I adore Pret but don't go there that often as I cannot justify spending that much on lunch every day but every now and then I feel I deserve a treat. I also love how they have such a fantastic range of vegetarian and vegan options and not just your run of the mill combos but really interesting and innovative ones. Made fresh every day it's also nice buying something made from real ingredients using tasty, fresh produce.




This super green and red sandwich was fairly reasonable at £2.99 and offered a nice vegan sandwich with lots of frsh veggie goodness. It's avocado slices, covered in a tapenade made from red peppers and tomatoes with more red pepper slices, lots of fresh kale, toasted almond flakes and a squeeze of lemon juice.



Even before opening it looked great - just look at all the vibrant fresh colours - certainly plenty of green here! It's also clearly filled with filling as well rather than skimping on the good stuff and being padded out with bread.



Biting in, it's a nice mix of textures and flavours. The avocado was perfectly ripe, creamy and soft that contrasted nicely against the crunch of kale and crunchy bites of almonds. It was perhaps a little lacking in flavour overall as most the veg is quite neutral tasting. The tapenade is delicious but not quite enough for my liking as I would have liked it in every bite as it complements the veg well adding deep roasted pepper flavours and acting as a lubriant.

Overall it's great to have such healthy options out and about and every one should be doing more of this kind of stuff. It's not perfect as it needs something to add a bit more wow but it was tasty and nourishing and also filling, which is everything I want from lunch

Price: £2.99
Bought at: Pret A Manger

Score: 7.5/10

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Marks and Spencer Active Health Blueberry Live Yogurt with Granola

M&S yogurts are actually surprisingly good quality. Well, not that surprising as it’s M&S and you expect good quality but even on some of their cheaper yogurts the fruit content is really high. I recently tried their blueberry and blackcurrant pot and it was over 20% fruit which is a lot higher than even high quality brands like Yeo Valley which tend to be around 5%. And you do really notice the increased fruit content as you get a much more intense flavour. 



This yogurt from the active health range is a bit more premium and is essentially a breakfast on the go option although I had it as a dessert after dinner. It’s your typical split pot with a side compartment of granola and then low fat yogurt on top of a blueberry compote. Quality wise, it looked extremely promising. As part of the Active Health range you get the added benefits of bone health with vitamin D to help absorb the calcium in the yogurt and the oat beta glucan that helps lower cholesterol. 



But even taking this aside, the basic are spot on. There is loads of granola and it’s made without sugar but instead uses agave. In addition the blueberry compote is made up of more blueberry than sugar as well giving an overall sugar content of 8.5%. This is really low amongst other yogurts especially considering the likes of Yeo Valley and Rachel’s are around 12-15% and they have no compote or granola.



I made a bit of mess of trying to mix it all in as the pot doesn’t  flex that well but I managed and it was a really tasty snack. Okay, it’s a low fat yogurt so not as creamy as other yogurts but the blueberry compote is bursting with flavour, sweet and intense and you can see actual blueberries in it. The granola isn’t overly sweet but adds a nice crunch and textural difference that works well against the smooth yogurt.



At just over 250 calories, it maybe is more breakfast than a snack but I enjoyed it as a snack regardless. It felt like I was getting something that felt a bit of a treat but also had some nutritional value as well. It’s probably too pricey to have everyday but definitely worth trying.

Bought at: M&S
Nutrition per 100g: 158 calories, 4.4g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 8.5g sugars, 5.4g protein, 0.08g salt

Score: 8/10

Monday, 15 August 2016

Marks and Spencer Spirit of Summer Chipotle Chilli and Ecuadorian Dark Chocolate Cookies Review

M&S are the gold standard for biscuits in my opinion and even better than any other brand. They are a little pricier but by no means unaffordable and you do get really ingredients. Sure cookies are by no stretch of the imagination a health food but at leasr with M&S you know the indulgence is totally worth every bite and it’s made from real foodie ingredients. Their cookies are always good, made with proper butter and lots of high quality ingredients. New to the range via the Spirit of Summer brand are these Ecuodorian dark chocolate and chipotle chilli cookies.

 

I had high hopes for these as I love chilli and chocolate and the ingredients list promised very high quality and a sophisticated taste. Butter is the second biggest ingredient at 25% followed by the Ecuadorian dark chocolate, which is real dark chocolate when cocoa mass is the main ingredient not sugar. Opening the pack, I was blown away by just how chocolatey these smelt. Really deep, dark and intense. They looked delicious too with a dark cocoa colour and a phenomenal amount of dark chocolate chips in.



And they didn’t let me down. I haven’t had an M&S cookie for so long I forgot just how good they were. A crumbly, short texture with a deep chocolate flavour with the most creamy, gorgeous, dark and rich chocolate chips in every mouthful that just melt in the mouth. The chilli is just right as well. At first I couldn’t really taste it and thought it was just (an extremely delicious) chocolate cookie but then a mild heat comes through that pairs well with the dark chocolate.



It’s not overly spicy or savoury and complements the richness of the chocolate rather than detracts from it leaving a nice sophisticated flavour in the mouth. These little beauties are just delicious, plain and simple, and worth every decadent mouthful.

Price: £2.00
Bought at: Marks and Spencer
Nutrition per cookie: 113 calories

Score: 8/10

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Meridian Coconut and Almond Butter Review

Anyone into their nut butters know that Meridian is king. These are nut butters made purely from buts with no added salt or sugar and 100% almond/ peanut/ hazelnut etc depending on the flavour you pick. Free from palm oil, you can't knock their quality and I'm a die hard fan of their almond, peanut, hazelnut and cashew butters all of which I've enjoyed on toast, bagels, oatcakes and in smoothies.



Capitalising on the love of all things coconut, they've introduced a coconut and peanut butter and coconut and almond butter mash up to the range Like the rest of the range, the ingredients list is stunnigly simple - 67% almonds, 29% coconut and 4% honey for sweetening. I had high hopes for this and couldn't wait to get stuck in.



Because of its natural ingredients, this, like all the other Meridian products, needs a vigorous good stir to blend when you first open it as the natural almond oil seperates and rises to the top but this isn't a problem for me. I got the scent of coconut and with the high almond content, it looked deliciously creamy and thick

Spreading some onto some oatcakes for a little energy boost, the texture is fairly thick with a slight runniness - maybe a little looser than their peanut butter but thicker than the hazelnut butter. It's rich and creamy in the mouth and whilst the coconut is obvious and fragrant, you do still get the almond richness as well so you get the best of both blends.



I'll admit I expected these to be the most luxurious nut butter I've ever had but whilst very nice it's no better than the rest of the range (not that that's a bad thing). It's not as sweet as I would have maybe liked so doesn't feel super indulgent or naughty but then again it's really a healthy product - albeit one that tastes divine.

Definitely one worth seeking out but perhaps not as treaty as some of the nut butters that contain maple syrup or cinnamon or blended with chocolate.

Price: £3.99
Bought at: Holland and Barrett
Nutrition per 100g: 647 calories, 56.1g fat, 19.9g sat fat, 7.6 sugars, 11.6g fibre, 19.1g protein, 0g salt

Score: 7.5/10