Monday, 31 October 2016

Morrisons Infused Cucumber Lime and Mint Water

I was grabbing lunch in Morrisons the other day when I spotted this infused water on the shelf that is made fresh in store on market street. It's nothing complicated - just a bottle of water that real fresh lime,cucumber and mint have been added in.

It's a simple idea but makes a bottle of water that bit more interesting and I like it's made from fresh ingredients rather than being flavoured. The flavour is quite nice with a nice subtle lime zinginess and the freshness of mint. I guess one problem might be if you had wilted less fresh or pure quality produce added into your water (I bought a lime last week from Morrisons that was the worst one I've ever bought with not a single drop of juice in it, just a dry husk) but if they were always to this quality I'd buy it again.

Price: £1
Bought at: Morrisons

Score: 7/10

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Starbucks Nespresso Pods - Guatemala Antigua Espresso

I absolutely love my Nespresso machine and its definitely one of my best purchases and gets a lot of use. I'm a bit of a coffee snob and nowadays only drink coffee shop coffee or pod coffee - definitely no instant coffee or those horrible instant cappuccino sachets. I pretty much only buy the Nespresso branded pods for my machine as any others I've tried that are compatible have never been as good. However, Starbucks have recently launched a range of Nespresso compatible pods and whilst I'm not saying Starbucks is the best coffee ever, I do like Starbucks and don't think it deserves the criticism it gets as I always enjoy any drink I get from there.

The box looks really smart with nice Starbucks branding on and opening it up, you get 10 attractively arranged pods. I was a little worried about how well the coffee would come out as I have found anything non-Nespresso doesn't flow quite as well in the machine. Even these did not flow out quite as well as the branded Nespresso pods but certainly wasn't a major issue with a lovely aroma and dark, rich colour as the coffee came out.

This is a medium roast with hints of cocoa and spice and it made a really gorgeous drink when I made as a latte, It's fairly strong with a deep and rich flavour that cuts through the latte's milk for a powerful, warm taste with the soft spice notes adding a delicious roasted taste. In all honesty it really did taste a bit like a real Starbucks latte.

I was really impressed with these pods and actually preferred them to a lot of the authentic Nespresso variants and I would definitely buy this one again as it's currently my favourite pod for my Nespresso machine.

Price; £3.00
Bought at: Tesco

Score: 8.5/10

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Aunt Bessie's Jam Roly Poly and Custard Ice Cream

Whilst Aunt Bessie's is fine for yorkshires, I've never been keen on any of her desserts - they're just a little too cheap, too sweet and no where near as good as homemade with a very long list of ingredients. So for her to move into ice cream seemed a bit odd to me and it's definitely not something I would pick over Haagen Daaz or Ben and Jerrys. However, what she has bought new to the table is a range of dessert inspired ice creams - rhubarb crumble with pastry pieces, lemon meringue pie with meringue bits and this jam roly one with sponge inclusions.

First up this is never going to be premium quality ice cream - whereas Haagen Daaz for example uses quite simple ingredients with lots of real cream and whole milk, the contents of this are

Partially Reconstituted Buttermilk, Sugar, Palm Oil, Sponge Cake Pieces (6%) [Sugar, Wheat Flour (Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Thiamin, Niacin), Sweetcream Butter (Milk, Salt), Water, Free Range Whole Egg Powder, Skimmed Sweetened Condensed Milk, (Skimmed Milk, Sugar), Cornflour, Salt, Raising Agent: Bicarbonate of Soda], Dextrose, Raspberry Ripple (3%) [Sugar, Raspberry Puree (42%), Water, Cornflour, Raspberry Concentrate, Acidity Regulator: Citric Acid, Antioxidant: Tri Sodium Citrate, Colour: Anthocyanins, Natural Flavouring], Emulsifier: Mono & Diglycerides of Fatty Acids, Stabilisers [Locust Bean Gum, Guar Gum], Colours [Annatto, Curcumin], Natural Flavour


However, it did look appetising when I opened with it - with a (very!) yellow colour and lots of swirls of raspberry sauce. It scooped out very easily which means it's pretty airy rather than the creamy density of Ben and Jerrys.

Overall I thought it was pretty good but there were a few niggles. Firstly for all its promises of jam roly poly it was more raspberry ripple - however a very good raspberry ripple indeed. There was loads raspberry sauce which had a nice fruitiness and wasn't too sweet and the ice cream itself was vanillaey with a slight custard edge. However, sometimes I found the texture a bit icy rather than smooth and creamy and the sponge pieces weren't really that noticeable and even when you did notice them, they are small and not soft and spngey but just little frozen pieces.

It's nice enough and I'd maybe buy it again but as a decent raspberry ripple. Once again I've been duped by something promising to be a dessert flavour that can't quite delver it

Bought at: Morrisons
Nutrition per scoop: 92 calories, 4.2g fat, 2.2g sat fat, 11g sugars, 0.10g salt

Friday, 28 October 2016

Ambrosia Deluxe Custard Vanilla with Salted Caramel

The new luxury custard range from Ambrosia came out a lot earlier this year but I've only just got round to trying them. In theory I liked the idea and I love custard but couldn't see this being as versatile due to the flavouring of each one. Plain custard is quite neutral and complements anything from crumble to jam roly poly but this salted caramel one I feared might be too overpowering to have with desserts.

However, I spied individual 150g cartons which I thought would be an ideal way to try it and it makes a nice handy sweet treat on a weeknight when you want something a little treatier than a yogurt but not a full on dessert.

Opening it up, it looked wonderfully creamy and looks thick and luxurious with a beautiful yellow colour and a slightly sweet caramel scent coming from it. I dug in and found the texture sublime - it's only 1% cream but the texture is much creamier, thicker and more naughty than standard Ambrosia custard by a long way and feels really special.

The salted caramel also came through well and works very well with a rich, sweet flavour with a very faint hint of salt. It just about stayed on the right level of sweetness without getting sickly although I don't think I'd want any more than the 150g pot. What I was really surprised about was just how warming and comforting this and actually I think it would be more versatile than you think it is.

Whilst it is salted caramel flavoured and you can taste this, it is still a custard and you get that faint vanilla taste as well. I actually think this would go well with a lot of desserts as well as being great straight from the pot. This on top of a sticky toffee pudding or even apple crumble would be fantastic and I'd love to see these desserts mingle their flavour into the custard for added complexity. Whilst it probably wouldn't work as well with say a blackcurrant sponge as normal custard, there's loads I do think it would work with.

||Definitely a lot more interesting than you think it might be and definite a luxury upgrade on normal custard.

Price: 75p
Bought at: Morrisons
Nutrition per pot: 180 calories, 6.8g fat, 4.1g sat fat, 19.1g sugars, 0.38g salt

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Kelloggs Ancient Legends Coconut and Chia Porridge

Kelloggs launched their Ancient Legends range earlier this year but I never got round to trying any of the mueslis, granolas or cereals. They've expanded this Autumn in time for winter with 3 new porridge flavours - a plain no added sugar one, a date one and this coconut one. Each of the range is not just your usual satchet of oats but a mix of oats and ancient grains spelt and barley and on trend chia seeds.

First thing is these are ridiculously expensive at £1.99 for 6x30g satchets considering a box of oats is around the same price even if yo buy a premium brand and they're 1kg. Secondly is these portions are miniscule , like ridiculous mouse portion small. I know it's probably aimed at dieting women who ate special K but still...123 calories for breakfast really isn't sufficient.

I made mine with unsweetened almond milk in the microwave and added some chopped nuts to a bit of a crunchy topping. It was actually quite nice and more interesting than the Quaker Oats So Simple I think, It had subtle coconut flavour although was a little sweet as there is added sugar in the coconut version at 12g per 100g but around 3.6g of sugars per serving which for Kelloggs and their need to add sugar to everything isn't too bad. The ancient grains make the texture a bit more interesting.

For a satchet porridge it's okay, But I wouldn't buy it again as it's cheaper and healthier to just make your own porridge plus you can customise it and make it your own and most importantly get a decent portion!

Price: £1.99
Bought at: Tesco
Nutrition per 30g without milk: 123 calories, 3.3g fat, 1.2g sat fat, 3.6g sugars, 3g protein, 3g fibre,

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Sainsburys On the Go Chocolate Hazelnut Pretzel Pouch

Sainsburys recently revamped their food to go/lunchtime offering and seemed to have outraged a lot of customers by taking out a lot of their products from the meal deal. However, the good news is they've launched lots of new products as well with some of them looking pretty good. One thing that caught my eye on the checkout were these little dried fruit/ nut type pouches. There were lots of different varieties at 50p which seemed pretty reasonable and it looks like Sainsburys are trying to copy Graze.

I picked up one of the more treaty options with this chocolate hazelnut pretzel pouch. It's a mix of raisins, little chocolate pellets, caramelised hazelnut pieces and broken bits of salty pretzel. Pouring it out there was a decent distribution of the elements although the raisins didn't really work with the other elements for me and kind of felt like they were cheap filler.

Individually all the pieces are nice but it's better when you mix and match the elements - the chocolate working well with either the saltiness of the pretzel, which is a combination I love and also good with the caramelised hazelnut for a contrast in texture. These three elements also work well as a trio,

Overall it's a nice mix and good to see supermarket healthy snacks at an affordable price but it's not as good as Graze. Whilst it's a delicious mix, Graze do way more innovative and delicious combos and there's two minor things which didn't work for me. 1. The raisins didn't really go with the rest of the elements even though they were nice. 2. The hazelnut pieces were way too small and often didn't really get noticed. I would have preferred half hazelnuts at the very least.

I would buy this range again but Graze would be my preferred option.

Price: 50p
Bought at: Sainsburys
Nutrition per pouch: 114 calories, 4.8g fat, 1.8g sat fat, 11.4g sugars, 0.13g salt

Score: 7/10

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Quality Street New Honeycomb Crunch Review

So Nestle have caused quite the social media meltdown by ditching the toffee deluxe from Quality Street and replacing it with the new honeycomb crunch. Views have been divisive with some outraged their favourite sweet has gone whilst others seem glad to see the toffee deluxe binned. Whether I liked the new honeycomb crunch or not, surely it had to be better than toffee deluxe. There are way too many toffees in Quality Street already and in our house are left lingering well into January with their hard, chewy texture that threatens to pull your teeth out.

I'll admit I haven't bought Quality Street for a while now - like Cadbury quality (ironically) keeps getting stripped out with more sugar and more vegetable fats and less proper chocolate. It's hard to tell whether this is about costcutting or not (it probably is) although surely toffees are pretty cheap seeing as they're pure sugar.

Whilst I wouldn't buy a tub of Quality Street just to try a new flavour, Nestle have also launched it as a chocolate bar form. It's essentially four of the honeycomb crunches welded together. The first thing that annoyed me is their recommended serving size of 2 pieces or half a bar for 100 calories. Really?! Who's going to eat half of this and then save the other half - plus eating the whole thing for 200 calories is still a slightly less than normal amount of calories for a chocolate bar.

It smelt quite sweet and when I cut in and saw how few honeycomb pieces there were in it, I thought it would be a let down. However, I have to say I actually really enjoyed this.

Don't get me wrong, it's not proper chocolate and I'd far rather have some Hotel Chocolat or something a bit more premium but for what it is, it's really rather tasty. Silky smooth and creamily thick with a light creamy inside filling there's just enough honeycomb for a flavour burst and texture without getting into that overly sweet territory of Cadbury Crunchie.

Definitely a far better choice than a toffee deluxe and actually probably one of the best Quality Street out of the whole mix I think. I may even get a tub this Christmas

Bought at: Asda
Nutrition per half bar: 100 calories
Score: 8/10

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Munch Vegan Falafel and Houmous Sandwich

I do try and eat more plant based / veggie options nowadays so whilst needing an on the go lunch at a train station the other day I picked up this vegan sandwich from WHSmith - a sweet potato falafel and houmous sandwich as part of a meal deal along with a Nakd bar and Smart Water.

To be honest it didn't look that exciting even from the pack but then none of the options in WHSmith looked inviting - very much prepackaged, generic, bland beige food. It is frustrating that some places haven't woken up to the fact that people want fresh, healthy options.

Unfortunately, this was an extremely bland, dry and boring sandwich as I feared. There wasn't enough filling to counteract the extremely dry, bland bread which was a real chore to eat. The falafel were brittle and too crumbly and again overly dry and the little blobs of homous didn't help make this any more moist.

There was barely any salad filling and it just felt a chore to eat - a huge wedge of dry, brown carohydrate. It's hard to get people to eat healthily if this is all you can offer them and it also was pretty salty to boot. Thank goodness I had a cherry bakewell Nakd bar afterwards for some taste and flavour.

Bought at: WHSmith
Nutrition per pack: 394 calories, 8.6g fat, 1.2 sat fat, 6.6g sugars, 1.5g salt

Score: 4/10

Monday, 17 October 2016

Marks and Spencer Red Velvet Cake

I must admit I still don't really fully understand red velvet cake's appeal or even what it is - am I wrong in just thinking it's basically a chocolate cake with some red dye and a cream cheese topping? Someone please enlighten me. But there were cakes in the office today and seeing as I got there too late for any carrot cake, which would have been my preferred option, I tried the new M&S red velvet cake.

It looks attractive and I guess what you would want from a red velvet cake and came out of the box undamaged easily and without all the frosting coming away. It cuts nicely into slices and feels very moist with a good wodge of cream cheese icing filling and on the top.

It's sweet, really quite sweet but not overly so. Maybe a little too sweet for my cake preferences as someone who would rather have something like banana bread or carrot cake but I think for most people it would be nicely sweet. The cake is really moist and not in the least dry and the generous sticky creamy icing helps this even further. I find it hard to describe the flavour of this as it's not overly chocolatey in the same way a good chocolate cake but I did enjoy the cream cheese frosting, which although sweet has a nice tangy, yogurty flavour to it.

Having never really eaten much red velvet I'm reluctant to say it's a great one in case there are bette qualified experts who would shout me down but overall it's a very nice cake. Light and fluffy with a rich tang that works well with the sugary hit.

From: Marks and Spencer
Score: 8/10

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Whitworths Full of Super Cayenne Chilli Flaxseed Crisps

Always on the look out for healthy snacks, I was really delighted to see these new flaxseed crisps from Whitworths. I've always associated Whitworths with cake ingredients, dried fruit and sugar rather than health but they've launched a new Full of Super range composing of raw bars, maca-roons and these flaxseed crisps.

I like flaxseed anyway and add it to my porridge every morning so was intrigued to try a crisp version as I enjoy other health crisps like kale crisps or chickpea flour crisps. My Sainsburys had both the garlic and herb flavour and these cayenne chilli ones which I went for as I like a bit of heat.

These are a genuinely healthy proposition. They're dairy free, gluten free and wheat free, soy free and suitable for vegans. Just look at the ingredients below - it's genuine whole foods.

Flaxseeds (50%), buckwheat (19%), sunflower seeds, quinoa (4%), dried red peppers, dried onion, sea salt, spices (1%) [ground ginger, ground cayenne chilli pepper (0.5%), turmeric], chia seeds (0.3%), dried garlic

Nutritionally this makes them really pretty good.  8g carbs per pack vs 6g protein and 6g fibre and with no added sugar. Flaxseed are also a really good source of omega 3 and each pack of these contains a whopping 3.9g

Pouring them out, they are nice perfect little discs sprinkled with lots of seeds. Whilst these do taste a little wholefood-ey and maybe wouldn't appeal to everyone, I thought they were really delicious and very moreish. A good crunchy texture, similar to seeded crackers with a nice good hit of spicy cayenne spice made for a really tasty snack. I said I was going to split this 35g bag into two servings but I easily ended up scoffing the lot, they were that moreish with a nice savoury flavour.

My only criticism is they are expensive. They were £1 on promotion at Sainsburys but even this is pricey for a single bag of crisps yet alone the £1.50 full price. Considering healthier options are becoming more mainstream and there are affordable options out there like Nakd which aren't inaccessible, I do feel these are overrpriced. But like I said I really enjoyed them so would probably buy them again at some point.

Price: £1.50
Bought at: Sainsburys
Nutrition pr bag: 171 calories, 11g fat, 1.2g sat fat, 8.3 carbs, 0.9g sugars, 6.3g fibre, 6.4g protein, 0.5g salt

Score: 8/10

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Whittards Gingerbread Coffee Syrup

Too soon for something quite Christmassy? I love gingerbread and am already counting down the days until the gingerbread lattes grace the coffee shops again. However, on a recent trip to Whittards, amongst their other delights (they were sampling a peanut butter hot chocolate, which was amazing) I spied their own gingerbread coffee syrup.

At £4 a bottle it's not cheap and pricier than Monin but worth noting that this is the first coffee syrup I've seen that isn't made with sugar but with fruit extract instead (which yes is a form of sugar but at least a natural one). It's simply fruit extract, flavouring and concentrated lemon juice).

The golden glow of the bottle looks warming and wintery cosy alone but the smell when you open it, is even more beautiful. Spicy, sweet - it's smells like Christmas and made me excited for it already and cosy afternoons in front of the fire.

I added one spoon to my latte (with a little Nakd nibble on the side) and it was perfect - as good as any Costa gingerbread latte with a warming, rich spicy scent that added a touch of sweetness withot tasting too sugary or syrupy. It's warming and comforting and just an absolute treat. I might even try adding to porridge and seeing what that's like. My mouth is watering at the thought already. Worth every penny.

Price: £4.00
Bought at: Whittards
Nutrition per 10g: 29 calories, 5.6g sugars

Score: 9/10

Monday, 10 October 2016

Aldi Greek Style Rhubarb and Fiery Ginger Yogurt

As you've probably seen I've been reviewing a lot of Aldi yogurts recently. I'm pretty hooked on the Domio yogurts and was pretty impressed with their Greek yogurt. In my recent trip I also picked up this new range of Greek style yogurts they've launched. They had an apple and cinnamon one which looked nice too but I love rhubarb and I love ginger so I couldn't not get this.

Opening up the tub, I could detect a faint sweet rhubarb scent and it looked a pretty pink colour. Giving it a swirl and dolloping some out, it had a nice thick texture. It's not as thick as actual Greek yogurt but certainly at least comparable to any branded Greek style yogurt and some people will prefer this texture as it's not solid but instead still slightly runny albeit with a very rich, creamy, thick texture. It's certainly a good deal thicker than something like an Activia yogurt.

It's defnitely not a health yogurt by any means with 21g sugar per 150g serving (third of a pot) or 14g per sugar but it does taste very good. It's a sweet rhubarb flavour that works well with the creamy, indulgent texture with a good hit of ginger, which add a nice spicy afterhint that perfectly works with rhubarb.

There's also lots of nice chunk of rhubarb dotted throughout which add extra bursts of juicy sweetness. It's not something I would serve for breakfast due to the sugar content and I would like to see it lowered but it's a delicious, sweet treat and one I would buy again.

Bought at: Aldi
Nutrition per 150g/ third of a pot: 208 calories, 11g fat, 21g sugars

Score: 7.5/10

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Ritz Bakefuls Sour Cream and Onion

After launching their first crisp style product last year, I found these new Ritz Bakefuls in Tesco along with lots of new other crisps and snacks. These crisp style crackers are all the rage right now and marketed as a lighter option to crisps with these bakefuls promoting themselves as 30% less fat.

The individual bags within the pack feels very light and not substantial at a meagre 23g but at 109 calories, this is kind of what you expect when a brand tries to go down the light route. Having said that when I opened the bag there's actually quite a lot of individual bakes in there.

I can't help but draw attention to Mondelez's cost cutting and cheapness. Not only have they steadily been cost cutting and ruining Cadburys but they seem to be unable to fork out for even a full pack design on the bag. Instead it's printed on the front with a blank back of packet. I can't help say but this looks really cheap.

On to the snacks themselves, they have a quite strong cheese and onion flavour both in smell and taste. They're certainly not bland but I almost find a bit too coated in flavour and it is slightly artificial. The coating is noticeable is as well with a thick, creamy, salty powder. The texture is quite nice - light and crisp but at the same time it makes them feel quite airy and not very filling.

These aren't a bad snack by any means but not super exciting. Great, if you want a low cal snack that provides a lot of flavour but if you were going for taste alone, there's so much more out there.

Price: £1.65
Bought at: Tesco
Nutrition per bag: 109 calories, 4.8g fat, 0.5g sat fat, 1.7g sugars, 0.3g salt

Score: 6.5/10

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Aldi Greek Yogurt Review

After being really impressed the Aldi Domio Yogurts, I decided to give their Greek yogurt a go. The first key thing for me was that this is authentic, actual Greek yogurt not those 'Greek Style yogurts'. At £1.29 for a 500g tub vs the £2.39 I would normally pay for Fage Greek yogurt, I thought I had nothing to lose.

Opening the tub I was met with the thickest, most dense, creamy yogurt - proper hold a spoon upright yogurt. It scoops out beautifully and feel substantial and rich and creamy. I tried a little on its own and both the flavour and mouthfeel were perfect. Smooth, super thick, rich and creamy , it's really indulgent in texture with a smooth flavour that isn't too sharp. You can tell it's proper Greek yogurt.

I had mine with some fruit for breakfast along with nuts and chia seeds (all very healthy and worthy!) and it's super substantial and filling. Because this is real Greek yogurt and the full fat stuff it's very satisfying. Taste wise, I would say it's actually as good as Fage Total and actually slightly creamier and a bit less claggy.

However, whilst I enjoyed it, I think Fage still has a slight edge for me just based on nutritionals. Sugar wise the Aldi Greek yogurt is brilliant at just 3.2% sugar (all of which is natural from lactose) making it lower than Fage and the lowest sugar yogurt I've ever seen. However, Fage also do a fat free version and I would prefer a fat free version where a serving isn't 9.5g of saturated fat. I know natural fat from dairy isn't seen as bad any more but I do prefer my yogurt to be not so high in fat. Even the full fat Fage yogurt only has 3.6g sat fat in 100g whereas this has 7.6g.

The other selling point of Fage is its protein - 9% protein vs the 6.4% protein per 100g in this. It's a tough one really as overall I would definitely recommend this yogurt - it tastes delicious, is natural, authentically Greek and a great price but would prefer to see a lower fat, higher protein version.

Price: £1.29
Bought at: Aldi
Nutrition per 125g serving: 165 calories, 13g fat, 9.5g sat fat, 4g sugars, 0.25g salt

Score: 7.5/10

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Marks and Spencer Keta Salmon Steaks with gravadlax sauce

Whilst in a last minute dash to grab something quick for tea, I stumbled upon these new keta salmon steaks with a gradvalax sauce. Scandinavian cooking is very much in vogue and M&S as always capture where the food trends are. I love fish and salmon so this seemed an obvious choice.

The keta salmon steaks are prime cuts - great, big, chunky, juicy pieces that look attractive. They only needed cooking in the oven for 14 minutes and dinner was served (along with some homemade sweet potato fries and some peas). Then it was just a case of pouring the gravadlax sauce over; gravadlax being a mustard and dill sauce.

Honestly this is just delicious - M&S food is usually good but I genuinely thought this could have passed as a dish in a good restaurant. The salmon was beautiful - moist, succulent and quite meaty in texture with a lovely mild, fresh taste. I could have happily eaten this by itself. But it's the gravadlax sauce that brings this alive and makes it extra special. It's not a hot mustard but a subtle mild creamy taste with a hint of dill that you can taste but that isn't overpowering. It's slightly sweet and really flavoursome. It [aired beautifully with the fish and as I said I could have been served this a restaurant and I would have been impressed. A totally delicious way to get some omega 3 into your diet.

Bought: Marks and Spencer
Score: 9/10

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Marks and Spencer Spirit of Summer Brazil Nut, Chilli,Cocont and Chocolate Florentines

I'm still working my way through a few last Spirit of Summer goodies from M&S even though it's October and we're fast approaching Halloween! I'd wanted to try these since I first saw them but even I can't justify £4 for a box of 8 florentines. But as they were half price, I couldn't resist. Everything about this sounded right up my street - Brazilian dark chocolate, coconut and brazil nuts with a twist of chilli sounded a simply delightful and really interesting combination.

The first thing you can't fail to notice as soon as you get the florentines out is they are super generous with the chocolate - it's so thick it's basically a solid coin of chocolate with a florentine under coating and seems to be more chocolate than anything else! It smelt wonderfully rich and dark and I could already get the hint of chilli.

And to be fair all the ingredients are pretty generous - the biggest amount is the dark chocolate at 32% but actually Brazil nuts make up 22% and the under side is lovely mish mash of coconut, chewy caramel and the nuts. However, it's the bottom side that lets the florentine down.

The flavour is fantastic, rich, dark chocolate that is of the highest quality with a nice little kick of chilli and hints of exotic coconut. The problem is the texture  it's just a little too soft, sticky and chewy. It just needs a bit of firmness and crunch to make it feel more biscuity as I found it so chewy and sticky, I just wanted to gulp it down to stop it sticking to my teeth.

The top half is great and I would happily eat a biscuit covered in this fantastic flavour but the bottom just needs to be made with less caramel and syrup and needs a bit more firmness. I'm glad I didn't pay £4 for these as although I did enjoy them they certainly weren't worth that.

Price: £4
Bought at: Marks and Spencer
Nutrition per florentine: 111 calories, 8g fat, 3.9g sat fat, 6.1g sugars, 0.05g salt

Monday, 3 October 2016

Hippeas In Herbs We Trust

I've seen a lot of praise for these chickpea based snacks and as I know I love homous and chickpea crisps I decided this would be a safe bet. What makes Hippeas different is that they act like a mainstream crisp and come in individual bags and also do a range of flavors rather than being plain. The fajita sounded tempting but fajita/spicy crisps and snacks are fairly common place whereas this herb variant sounded a bit different.

In the same way they act like normal crisps, they look like a normal crisp and resemble wotsit without the scary luminous glow and that horrible coating that sticks to your fingers. Texture wise, they're maybe a firmer than normal crisps, certainly moreso than wotsit, with a harder texture, which gives a good crunch, which I like. Although hollow, they really don't taste airy.

The flavour is also good. It's a nice mix of subtle onion, tomato, garlic, basil, oregano and thyme which you can taste but that doesn't dominate or overwhelm the crisps and with no one ingredient taking over.

At 91 calories a bag, a source of protein and high in fibre, it's a pretty healthy savoury snack choice and actually this isn't a compromise vs normal crisps because they don't taste like a diet option like Walkers sunbites and you get a good serving in a bag. They're also gluten and dairy free but they just taste good and happen to be better for you. I'll definitely be checking out more of the flavours but it would be great if they did multipacks of these as they're pretty expensive for a single bag.

Bought at: Boots
Price: £1
Nutrition per bag: 91 calories, 4g fat, 0.4g sat fat, 0.6 sugars, 1.7g fibre, 2.7g protein, 0.3g salt

Score: 7.5/10

Sunday, 2 October 2016

New York Bakery Cheese Bagels Review

I absolutely bagels but it is so hard to find good ones. As a rule of thumb, pretty much any prepackaged bagel is a let down - just breadrolls with a bland taste and a hole in the middle. Generally in store bakery bagels are better with that chewy, sweet and slightly sour taste with scratch made ones ruling the roost.

New York Bakery is the best known brand of bagels and to be fair they are probably the best of the prepackaged bagels but the texture still isn't as good as in store bakery bagels as they lack that firm, dense crust. But I do enjoy their bagels so was pleased to see they've launched a new cheese bagel. It seems a pretty standard flavour but one I think would work well with bagel.

Taking it out the packet, it looked the part with a nice golden cheesy topping. I decided to toast it and fill it with more cheese (why not?) and marmite. I have to say it was nice but I was disappointed. Something about a cheese bagel sounded so delightfully savoury and satisfying. The reality is that it tastes good but the cheese just isn't pronounced enough. At only 4% cheese, it's actually pretty low in the list of ingredients and this comes through in the taste. My bagel was delicious but the flavour was lost to the filling and it could have been any bagel I was eating or even a panini roll for the difference in taste.

I decided in the interest of fairness to also have one for breakfast, simply toasted with butter. This time I could taste the cheese as there was nothing else to distract but it is still very faint. Having said that, the bagel toasts beautifully with a lovely crisp and chewy texture and I very much enjoyed this.

The thing is I've bought in store bakery cheese rolls which have little pockets of cheese studded throughout and the flavour is so much more pronounced here. They use more cheese and it shows. I would actually buy these bagels again but they do taste good and even though the cheese taste is lost to fillings, the overall flavour is good. But if you're looking for a really cheesy bagel, you're likely to be disappointed.

Bought at: Morrisons
Price: £1 (on offer)
Nutrition per bagel: 248 calories, 3.1g fat, 1.4g sat fat, 4.7g sugars, 0.61g salt

Score: 7/10