Friday, 28 April 2017

NEW! American Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches (The Co-Op)

Why can't I ignore the call of new ice cream? It's a serious issue. We should never have bought that chest freezer. In any case, the Co-Op have launched their summer frozen range and I resisted these ice cream sandwiches for one whole day before I gave in. Oops. They're new to Co-Op but it seems that they're a year behind the pack as Ben & Jerry's, Aldi & Morrisons all released variations on the theme last summer. Anyhoo, this pack of four cost £2.

"Vanilla ice cream with chocolate chips sandwiched between two double chocolate chip cookies."

The Co-Op's ice cream sandwiches are a lot smaller than Ben & Jerry's 'wiches (bigger their sons of a 'wich though) although they both claim to be 65g*. The cookies are noticeably thicker too, with a bourbon-esque colour. I also noticed how soft the ice cream was - a fact I couldn't ignore really, for it had stuck itself to the clear wrapper.

The ice cream wasn't very exciting. It tasted like cheap non-flavoured supermarket ice cream. It's almost whipped it's so soft, which means its somewhat nostalgic (if you're looking for the silver lining). Blink and you'll miss the chocolate chips though, they were minuscule little nibs.

Fortunately the chocolate cookies were delicious. The cocoa flavour was every bit as rich as the colour suggested, with just enough sweetness to prevent them from tasting bitter. I could actually distinguish the chocolate chips too. Hurrah! The cookies have a good texture too; not teeth-creakingly crunchy but not soft either. They're much better 'cookies' than the Oreo ice creams, although they don't taste like the softer-style bakery versions like the Ben & Jerry's Cookie Dough 'Wiches. They'd probably make good coffee dunkers actually!

If my tastebud memory serves me correctly,  think these Co-Op ice cream cookie sandwiches are on par with the other supermarket versions I tried last year, arguably they could be the exact ones used in Morrisons' Double Whammy boxes (that seem to since been discontinued). They're nowhere near as delicious as Ben & Jerry's (yes I'm still hooked on the Brownie 'Wiches), but they are cheaper and a yummy alternative to ice cream cones.


* out of interest I weighed a B&Js 'Wich for comparison, and it was around the 80g mark, so about 30% bigger.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Graham's The Family Dairy Protein 22 Pots (Home Bargains)

Skyr/Greek yogurt/quark. My daily staples. Every day I get my fix, normally buying plain and then add flavouring with Jordan's Skinny Syrup. I always keep my eyes peeled for new brands and flavours though, and still regularly buy Lindahl's pots when I'm at uni. A few weeks ago Home Bargains heralded some new fruity quark tubs made by Grahams The Family Dairy. Even if you don't shop in Home Bargains you may recognise the brand as they've been selling 250g tubs of plain & vanilla quark in many of the major supermarkets for some time. 

These pots are 190g, contain 22g of protein and are available in four flavours (strawberry, peach, blueberry & raspberry) all of which I bought for 79p each. The look very similar to the ARLA pots, so here's a handy infographic if you're interested in the nutritional differences between the two:

In terms of consistency, the protein 22 pots deliver. In other words they pass the can-you-stand-your-spoon-up-in-it test. 

Flavourwise they're very similar to ARLA's protein pots. They're not particularly sweet, and indeed I found myself adding sweetener to the strawberry and raspberry pots. 

By a long shot my favourite was the peach flavour, which didn't require any syrup and was well-paired with a side of raspberries (a high protein, low fat peach melba if you will?). 

These new Grahams pots aren't tasty enough to become a new dietary staple, but I'll happily buy more if I need a quick, healthy and filling snack when out and about.


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Bizarre Maple Bacon Chocolate (The Chocolate Smiths)

A couple of Mondays ago I received the best kind of parcel a girl could wish for: a surprise delivery of chocolate. It wasn't just any chocolate either, oh no, it was a lovely packet of goodies from The Chocolate Smiths! Now I hope you'll remember my introduction to the entirely handmade Chocolate Smiths' range, but if not then please feel free to check out my review of their Birthday Cake bar here

Of course, given that Easter Sunday has been and gone the eggs won't be obtainable again until 2018, however I hereby promise to publish a review of them in Lent next year*. The Maple Bacon Bar is still available however, so let's press on...

"Not a morning person? Neither are we - but we’d definitely rise and shine for this! Bacon flavoured milk chocolate with a little butterscotch, topped by creamy maple flavoured white chocolate and sea salt. A sweet and savoury delight for any time of day!"

As you might recall, I've recently got my head around savoury-sweet combinations thanks to M&S's cheese hot cross buns (which I filled with bacon and ketchup). This impulse purchase in Malaysia of a cheddar cheese filled mocha chocolate cake was also surprisingly tasty...

My dad thinks I've lost the plot and is just about to disown me for my newly discovered liking, but I'm more open-minded than he is 😉 and as such was really excited to try The Chocolate Smiths' Maple Bacon Bar! 

The tablet had snapped in transit, but still looked rather attractive with its combination of milk and white chocolate. I could smell a slight bacon-y scent, but it was mild. The sweet chocolate scent was stronger.

Biting into the bar, my tastebuds embraced the wonderfully confusing melange of flavours. The salt hit first, then the smooth creaminess of the chocolate, followed finally by a beautiful smoky flavour. The depth was both interesting and delicious. I had wondered if the bacon could or would work with the chocolate, but it's genius, and now I finally understand why Nigella hails it 'the unholy union' in her recipe for bacon brownies (which I admittedly previously thought of as revolting, but now must give a try).

For those of you wondering, the bacon in this bar doesn't come from meat but is a bacon oil flavouring, similar in taste to that used in Frazzles. This means that the chocolate is also suitable for vegetarians. Now this might seem odd. Perhaps you're thinking: Surely you don't you want to taste bacon if you don't eat meat? But of course many vegetarians give up meat for ethical reasons and indeed some research suggests that bacon 'is the gateway to meat for vegetarians'. Why would Quorn invest in making meat-flavoured Mycoprotein products otherwise? I'll get off my high horse now. In essence it's a delicious combination for both carnivores and vegetarians. 

My only qualms are that the maple flavoured white chocolate is a little lost against the milk chocolate (I think a higher % of white chocolate would work better), and that the bacon flavour isn't present in every square -but maybe I'm simply a greedy pig for bacon, does that make me a cannibal?

Do you think you're brave enough to try the Maple Bacon Bizarre bar? If so, make sure you pop on over to The Chocolate Smiths' shop where you can purchase any three (100g) Bizarre bars for just £10.50! What are you waiting for? Go go go! 


Thank you The Chocolate Smiths for my parcel of goodies! 

* but here's a teaser... they're awesome!

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

NEW! Yoo Moo Honey & Granola Frozen Yogurt (ASDA)

How do you feel about froyo? I distinctly remember the first time I tried it, I must've been about 7 or 8 and I was at a flower show (or shower flow as I called it) with my Daddio -he's a horticulturist. It was a blazing summers day and amidst the various stands was a tent selling froyo. As one of four children, it was often too expensive to treat us to ice creams when we were out (unless it was a mini milk) but I think it was just my brother and I that day. In any case I was bought a froyo and fell in love with the tangy frozen dessert. 

A few years ago it seemed like froyo was going to take off here, but it never really took hold (certainly not the way salted Caramel has anyway). There's still an ample selection about though if you keep your eyes peeled, but I must admit to buying ice cream instead 97% of the time. My only exception in recent years has been the Yoo Moo range, especially when Tesco sold the mini Angelmoo and Devilmoo pots. I've been deliberating over their new Honey & Granola pint tub since it came out a couple of months ago, but as always, the new ice creams took priority. Eventually I bought the tub for £2 from ASDA.

"Frozen yogurt with honey flavoured sauce and granola"

It's been so long since I last had froyo that I forgot how much more waterier it is. Of course this do make it easier to serve and underneath my first scoop I discovered a glistening pocket of treasure, aka honey. There was a good tablespoon of the sauce all bundled together, and I hoped that it wasn't the only honey in the tub. 

The flavour had the signature tang that I love so much, however the first portion I served contained all that honey, which did render it very sickly -especially as I served it atop a Muscle Moose Mug Cake. There was little-to-no Granola chunks either, and I was all but ready to give up on the Yoo Moo.

Fortunately my second experience was much better; the honey was more evenly distributed and worked wonderfully to offset the tang. As for the Granola pieces, they were far and few between (they only make up 6%) but offered something different to the usual biscuit pieces that you find in many of the luxury ice cream tubs. I still haven't made my mind up on them though. You see, I think that Granola should be crisp with a slight crunch but -as with many of the biscuits embedded within ice creams- they'd gone a little soft. 

The new honey & granola Yoo Moo is a refreshing alternative to ice cream and also low in calories and fat (118kcals & 1.9g fat per 100ml serving) so it's perfect for dieters, but I won't be rushing out to replace my tub when it's finished.


Monday, 24 April 2017

NEW! Proper Powders Mint Chocolate Whey Protein (Online)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A huge thank you to Proper Powders for the sample! 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Saturday, 22 April 2017

NEW! OPPO Chocolate & Hazelnut (Waitrose)

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

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

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

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

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

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