Tuesday 27 December 2016

Marks and Spencer Mini Stollen Bites

It's that weird period between Christmas and New Year where we all lose track of time, what day it is and start to get cabin fever. Desperate to get out the house, I've been to the gym today and been on two seperate walks as well despite how cold it is where I am. Braving the bitter cold and bracing winds is all worth it though when you get back into the warm with a nice cup of Aldi Mulled Wine teabags and one of these little beauties from M&S.

Now I used to love stollen probably about 7 or 8 years ago back when it was new to the UK and found in Aldi or Lidl. However, since then I decided actually it's really rather bland - or at least the Aldi/ Lidl ones I used to get - just dry, flaovurless bread with the only good bit that smidge of marzipan in the middle. However I was buying some party food from M&S in their 4 for 3 deal for some picky bits between Christmas New Year and got these for something sweet.

Although pricey at £4 for 9 mini bites, this is very much quality over quantity when you compare it against the big breeze blocks of dry stollen. These are amazing. So soft, so moist - all squidgey with not a hint of dryness. They're bursting with currants and sultanas and there's a huge chunk of marzipan in each one - beautifully soft and moist with a rich and creamy almond flavour.

The sultanas are also rum soaked and this is what maybe makes these so delicious. It's not overwhelming but you can taste a rich, booziness and with the soft, melt in the mouth texture and sweet juiciness, the flavours and textures all marry together for the perfect bitesize treat.

They never get overly sweet - I find two is just enough to satisfy a sweet craving and they taste festive but light too. An absolute winner here and my love of Stollen has been rekindled.

Price: £4.00
Bought at: M&S

Score: 10/10

Wednesday 21 December 2016

Aldi Mulled Wine Teabags

From Christmas coffee yesterday to Christmas tea today. I have been searching desperately for these mulled wine teabags from Aldi ever since I first saw posted on social media. I've made a number of trips to Aldi, desperately looking for them but returned each time empty handed. However, my local store finally got them 5 days before Christmas - a mini Christmas miracle.

I love mulled wine but I love all Christmas food and it's to do with all the spices - nutmug, cloves, cinnamon, ginger...stollen, mince pies, spiced red cabbage, Christmas pudding - I find you either love all Christmas food like this or you hate it all. Well I'm definitely in the former camp.

Priced at £1.89 these are reasonable for 15 pyramid 'luxury' tea bags and part of Aldi's Specially Selected range. The packaging is maybe a little cheap versus genuine high end teabags and the bags themselves are a little flimsy but hopefully the taste would be great. Fruit teas can be disappointing at the best of the times - promising the taste of cherry bakewell or whatever and then tasting like a weak, insipid water with a hint of fruitiness.

Now these certainly smelt amazing when I added hot water. Genuinely with my nose over the mug, it was genuinely mulled wine. The bag said brew for 3-4 minutes but I left the bag in for longer and left it in whilst I was drinking. Initially I thought it was a little watery tasting and not delivering on the mulled wine front and was particularly lacking the mouthfeel of mulled wine - which you have to expect as it's a tea.

However, the longer I left the bag in, the more the flavours came out. Syrupy, slightly sweet with warming spices and a genuine red wine fruitiness, it really did taste like mulled wine. Aldi, you have surpassed yourself here, this is the perfect drink for a cold evening after a day out Christmas shopping. Just add a mini mince pie and this is the taste of Christmas without the alcohol

Price: £1.89
Bought at: Aldi

Score: 8/10

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Marks and Spencer Christmas Coffee Capsules

When it comes to Christmas, I'm pretty susceptible to any food or drink that promises a Christmas twist. Make it sound a bit festive and I'll buy it without questioning it. I love my Nespresso machine anyway and whilst the official Nespresso pods are the best, I've found the M&S compatible pods a reasonable substitute. Now Nespresso's Christmas offering has been stellar this year - Apple Strudel, Linzertorte and Sachertorte - all of which I found deliver the promised flavours.

This M&S Christmas pod doesn't specify any specific flavour but it's a mix of carefully selected beans from Ethioia, Brazil and Central America which they claim has a seasonal deep and dark flavour with hints of cocoa and clementine. At the very least the packaging is red and so are the pods.

I made my coffee as a lungo with a little steamed milk so this may have some impact on the flavour profile. It is quite a rich, dark coffee but I didn't find it overly strong or bitter but this may be due to the addition of a little frothed milk. It's very much a deep roast and I think as an espresso would be pretty strong - it's a lot richer than the average Nespresso pod but very satisfying.

I tried to get any hints of Christmas flavouring but couldn't really detect any. There was certainly no clementine although I could taste faint hints of a deep, dark cocoa, which worked well with the strength of the coffee. It's actually a very nice coffee pod -bold, full tasting and powerful but it's no really Christmassy as such. Arguably it works well with the cold weather and is very much a winter day coffee , great for a Christmas breakfast or a cold morning but don't expect anything overtly festive. It certainly doesn't have the promised flavour of the Nespresso seasonal editions.

A great coffee overall and one I enjoy drinking but just be aware it's not really Christmassy.

Price: £3
Bought at: Marks and Spencer

Score: 7/10

Friday 16 December 2016

Graze Supersnacks - Beetroot Crisps with jalapeño chickpeas and sunflower seeds

I used to get Graze boxes loads a few years ago, I loved their interesting and creative mixes of healthy snacks that get the right balance of offering some nutrition but feeling really treaty and special. However, healthier eating is becoming so much easier nowadays and the supermarkets are offering loads of new products, energy balls, crisps alternatives and free from options.

However, Graze have recently launched a range of new supersnacks and being a fan of the company, I re-signed up for a delivery. One thing I love about Graze is the fact it’s a surprise which snacks you’re going to get in a box. It’s like a little Christmas surprise when it comes in the post!
In my box, was one of the new supersnacks, which was a mix of beetroot crisps, jalapeno chickpeas and sunflower seeds. All good, healthy, wholesome ingredients that are completely vegan but actually seem interesting and not too worthy. In addition the pack offers 4g of plant protein and is under 100 calories.

It makes a nice savoury snack and helps curb those cravings when you’re just looking for something to graze on. The beetroot crisps are pure beetroot rather than fried in oil like most veg crisps and aren’t salted so whilst not as crunchy and tasty as proper veg crisps, they are still crisp and are lighterwith more of the beetroot flavour coming through. The jalapeno chickpeas are crunchy with a really nice spicing to them as well and these two elements are very moreish. The sunflower seeds….are just sunflower seeds and to be honest are a little dull but they are very good for you.

The ratio is a bit out for my liking with only a couple of beetroot crisps and a lot of sunflower seeds but overall this makes a delicious alternative to crisps.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Pret Vegan Christmas Baguette - Very Merry Christmas Lunch

This baguette from Pret maybe isn’t the most Christmassy sandwich on the market but It’s nice to see somewhere offer a fully vegan lunchtime choice and to offer a special Christmas sandwich for vegans as well. Since opening their pop up veggie only Pret in summer, it’s been a runaway success and is still open now despite being launched as a temporary, one month pop up. Pret do really delicious veggie options – combinations I wouldn’t necessarily think of doing myself but that really work.

Here you have slices of roasted carrots, along with parsnip puree,  crispy onions and then topped with festive chutney , watercress and a good sprinkling of pistachios for crunch and a bit of apple sauce for sweetness. All of this is encased in a good old Pret baguette – pappy, mass produced bread this certainly isn’t. It’s crunchy, nutty and wholesome tasting with bits of grain for a nice mix of textures and providing a malty flavour.

This combo just really works and was absolutely delicious. Each ingredient probably isn’t that interesting on its own but together it’s a fantastic mix of flavours and textures. Nice firm carrots that are crunchy but also soft and let in the mouth, the parsnip puree adds richness and creaminess and this is all complemented by the sweetness of the apples in harmony with the natural veg sweetness. The festive chutney adds delicate spicing and tang and the watercress keeps if fresh and light.

I just wish such delicious things were more widely available. When something tastes as good as this, it hands down beats any meat based sandwich out there. Christmas food is traditionally seen as stodgy, fattening and unhealthy so how great to have something slightly festive that is so good for you and so nourishing. Definitely one worth checking out before it disappears off the shelves.

Price: £3.75
Bought at: Pret
Score: 8.5/10

Sunday 11 December 2016

Tesco Spekulatious Thins Cinnamons Review

I'd say speculoos biscuits are pretty well known in the UK now, whether its Ben and Jerrys or jars of spread, this lovely spicy sweet mix is making it's way into everything. But it all originates with the humble speculoos biscuit and in my mind, much as I could eat the stuff all year, it's really meant for cold, dark winter days and especially Christmas!

 Tesco's thins are out as part of their Christmas range and despite the odd bit of breakage in the box, look very attractive with a nice simple design and a nice thin shape. Just opening the pack is unleashing the scents of Christmas and is really warming.  Lots of cinnamon, cloves and ginger.

What's really nice about these is, for a sweet treat, they're very light. With all the mince pies, cakes, biscuits, rich dinners, parties and nibbles, sometimes when you have a sweet craving you just want something a little less guilty and at just 29 calories each, they're perfect when you want a Christmassy treat with a hot drink without going into full on indulgence.

Although thin they are fairly large, so you do feel you're getting a proper biscuit and they go so well with coffee (particularly if you have a festive one like the new Nespresso limited edition Christmas pods). They have a nice crisp texture that isn't overly hard or brittle and the lovely festive scents come through in the taste as well with a quite strong ginger and cinnamon festive flavour.

Perfect for a sweet nibble with a coffee or even tea and not as heavy as most of the other tr

Saturday 3 December 2016

Marks and Spencer Scorched Squash with Beetroot and Pomegranate Relish Christmas Wrap

I'm definitely sold on veggie wraps and sandwiches nowadays. You can get some very bland ones if people don't know what they're doing and aren't that interested in plant based options but when done well the flavour combinations and textures are so much more interesting than meat ones and this festive veggie wrap from M&S sounded really interesting.

M&S always do pretty good wraps and they're veggie sandwiches are definitely more interesting than the bog standard cheese/egg/ falafel and homous you're limited to in so many places and for Christmas they've really upped the stakes. Scored squash sounded fantastic and along with the butternut squash, it contains spinach, carrot and a Christmassy beetroot and pomegranate relish which offers a nice seasonal variation on cranberry sauce. It also contains parsnip mayo which sounded yummy and comes in a thyme and sage wrap.

This is such a fantastic sandwich and beats anything a meat sandwich come offer. There's so many different rextures, tastes and mouthfeels going on and they work together perfectly. Although the base, the wrap is actually really tasty and you definitely get the sage and thyme coming through. It's very Christmass and actually reminds me of turkey in many aspects!

The butternut squash is roasted to bring out its flavour and its  soft flesh offers a creamy partner to the delicious parsnip mayo and their softness and creaminess works well with the cool crisps of spinach and carrot. The relish adds a nice sweet finish and rounds off the whole thing nicely.

This is a fantastic wrap and one I'm going to overdose on until the big day itself. As an added bonus a portion of the proceeds go to Shelter as well. Win for charity and a win for tastebuds.

Friday 11 November 2016

Arla Skyr Rhubarb and Beetroot

Skyr is maybe my favourite brand of yogurt (although I do like a lot of yogurts) and the fact it's lower in sugar than most other yogurts, really high in protein and super thick means it's a staple in my fridge. But they've just upped their game yet again with two new yogurts with vegetables in!

Now this sounds slightly odd but in reality it's no different to the mixed veg and fruit smoothies you can get which are predominantly more sweet and the veg they've used is sweeter types you find in juices as well. There's an apple, carrot and ginger one and this rhubarb and beetroot one. In addition to being high in protein and with some veg, these ones have no added sugar with sweetness only coming from grape juice, the fruit and natural sugars in the yogurt.

Texture wise, I might have imagined it but this seemed slightly looser and not as thick as other skyr (particularly the plain one) although the protein content is similar. This might be the fact it uses grape juice rather than sugar to sweeten so the liquid might make it seem a bit runnier. But don't get me wrong, this is still miles thicker than most other yogurts and definitely wouldn't be seen as runny.

Flavour wise, if I ate this with granola, it just tastes like a nice rhubarb yogurt with a slightly sweet flavour that isn't sugary or overly sweet but slightly tart and quite refreshing. If you eat it on its own, the beetroot becomes noticeable with a definite beetroot aftertaste with its earthiness. I really liked it but then I like things like smoothies with beetroot in. Overall despite being a veg yogurt you couldn't call it bitter and it is still a nice sweet yogurt - albeit one with a more unusual and polarising taste that I really enjoyed.

Price: £1.80
Bought at: Tesco

Score: 8/10

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