Tuesday, 31 May 2016

NEW! Signature Lemon & Raspberry Muffins (Morrisons)

I might not have been impressed with their chocolate marbled muffins, and I may have said that I wouldn't buy any more... but I remembered seeing these white chocolate topped cakes and decided to give Morrisons' bakery a second chance. My only excuse is that I'm going through a bit of a lemony phase at the moment and I definitely heard them summoning me.

"Lemon muffin with raspberries filled with lemon curd and topped with a raspberry crumb and a mini white chocolate bar."

Hats off to Morrisons. These cakes wouldn't look out of place on Marks and Sparks' shelves. They weren't as risen as the chocolate version, but I was too excited about the mini chocolate bar to care.

Slicing the muffin in two revealed the puddle of lemon curd nestled in the centre. I noticed immediately how soft the cakes were -even more so than the marbled muffins

The lemon cake wasn't nearly zesty enough. It offered the mildest hint of citrus, but I was hoping for a full-blown drizzle number. In fact it reminded me more of a blueberry muffin thanks to its moistness and faint berry flavour. The raspberry crumb was also lacking; the only nod to it's existence came from the pips which seemed intent to wedge themselves between my teeth. Humf. The white chocolate bar that I was so enthralled with also didn't taste as good as it looked I'm afraid, and certainly wasn't up to M&S's standards.

There was a saving grace however, and that came from the lemon curd. The golden treasure injected much needed tang, and a lovely smooth texture -the perfect contrast against the otherwise dense cake. It was simply quite delicious and reminded me that I must make some lemon curd to grace my spread cupboard post-haste!


Monday, 30 May 2016

NEW! Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie 'Wich (Tesco Express)

I was outraged at the extortionate price of Ben & Jerry's single packs at the beginning of April when when I reviewed the Cookie Dough 'Wichs. But then I got hooked to the idea of ice cream sandwiches and tried ALDI's own version before returning to B&J's with their mini Sons of a 'Wich. During those latter two reviews I mentioned about my hunt for the elusive Chocolate Fudge Brownie 'Wichs which don't seem to be available anywhere in my little city. Fortunately I stayed with my sister in Cardiff this weekend and finally found them in the little Tesco express down the bay. It was with great resistance that I parted with £3.98 for two mass-produced ice creams - I don't think I've ever stumped up that much before. Still, it was cheaper than eating out, and the perfect post-pizza pud to watch the finals of BGT with. 

"We’ve recently been wondering if we could make Chocolate Fudge Brownie even more chocolatey but, with so many chunks & Fairtrade ingredients in there, we’re strapped for space! So we thought outside the tub & realised the best way to top it was to bottom it too...with cookies! Presenting our hand-finished ‘Wich: legendary Chocolate Fudge Brownie ice cream, sandwiched between double chocolate chip cookies."
A chocoholic's dream come true; the outer cookies looked rich and indulgent, whilst the fudge brownie ice cream appeared as inviting as ever -I couldn't wait to get stuck in. 

I'm not sure if I can put into words just how much I enjoyed the Chocolate Fudge Brownie 'Wich. The cookies weren't as firm or as chewy as the Cookie Dough versions, but they were gloriously squidgy and more like a thin chocolate brownie. The flavour was bold, thankfully satisfying my cravings once and for all. The combination of chocolate 'cookies' and chocolate ice cream had the potential to become overly saccharine, but somehow Ben & Jerry's reined it in, and I was left with a big grin on my face -utterly delicious. 

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I would pay out the astonishingly high RRP again just to get another fix... But I'm writing that with my fingers crossed, hoping that the big-wigs at Ben & Jerry's hear my prayers for them to be released as a multipack.  


Sunday, 29 May 2016

NEW! Signature Marbled Chocolate Muffins (Morrisons)

I seem to be going a bit muffin mad at the moment. I can't get enough cake, and I'm making it my mission to seek out the best supermarket offerings. These Morrisons' signature marbled chocolate muffins looked rather splendid, and so into my basket they went. I even ignored the fact that they were 3x the price (per muffin) of their standard bakery versions. 

"Marbled chocolate muffins with a chocolate centre, dark and milk chocolate chunks, topped with Belgian dark chocolate chunks and a mini dark chocolate bar."

No wonder they were £1.50 for two with so much going on!

I think they might be the prettiest shop bought muffins I've ever seen. I should know not to judge a book by its cover now -particularly when it comes to food- but how could I resist their beauty? Let's face it. I'm muffin shallow. 

Slicing the muffin in two revealed the hidden centre. It was hard to distinguish where the chocolate cake stopped and the sauce began, but either way I was pleased to see that it was beautiful on the inside too. 

The muffin had a beautifully soft, airy texture. It was perfectly fluffy, more convincingly handmade than most supermarket cakes. 

That's where the positives halted though I'm afraid. As is so often the case with beautiful objects: it lacked substance. Instead it was utterly bland, tasting neither of vanilla or chocolate. Sure there was the occasional pocket of cocoa, but it wasn't punchy and I couldn't help but feel disappointed. The saucy centre was also somewhat of a let down. Texturally it was perfect, mousse-like and creamy, but what's the point when it's tasteless?

I had saved the mini chocolate bar until last, but needn't have bothered. It was so waxy that it reminded me of baking chocolate.As for the chocolate chunks, there were a few dotted on the top for good measure, but none inside.

Morrisons. What a disappointment! Your bakery is reknowned for its good quality, but these suck cakey balls. I'm heading back to ASDA for their toffee & fudge muffins.... 


*based on their good looks and faultless texture.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

NEW! Banana & Toffee Müller Rice (Morrisons)

There are a couple of retired Müller Rice's that I yearn for. I'm already missing the Maple Syrup flavour, and I hope for the return of the Apple Strudel one day, but my hands down favourite ever Müller Rice has to be the banana and toffee. I've already harped on about how much I love banoffee this month, so I am eternally grateful to Instagram (and especially to nourishingnic) for bringing this 'new' going the distance flavour to my attention.

The only problem is that the banana and toffee is only available as a six-pack, combined with the rather repulsive chocolate and caramel flavour. Don't you hate it when companies do that? Fortunately my other half can stomach the chocolatey ones, so I popped down to Morrisons to pick up a pack -where all Müller six packs are currently on a two-for-£3 deal FYI.

The banana and toffee flavoured rice pudding was every bit as good as I remember. As always I enjoyed my pot ice-cold, and saved the banoffee sauce until the very end. 

The banana flavour was on the artificial side, foam-sweet-esque, but as an avid lover of banana nesquik -and in fact anything related to the fruit- I certainly didn't mind. If you're after a thick, buttery, Dulce de Leche style sauce you'll be bitterly disappointed by this Müller Rice as it's much sweeter and runnier than that -but I thought that it was nostalgically delicious and relished every last spoonful. 


Friday, 27 May 2016

NEW! Toffee Fudge Muffins (ASDA)

Exactly a month ago I reviewed the black forest muffins from ASDA's new bakery range. Totally disappointed, I vowed to not buy any more unless they were deeply discounted at the end of the day. I stuck by that promise, ignoring the intincing displays at the front of the store, until I started to grow curious about the other flavours. Surely the eton mess and toffee fudge couldn't be so bad? Eventually I caved into the toffee, hoping that I wouldn't be left feeling quite so disgruntled. 

"Two toffee flavoured muffins with a toffee filling topped with fudge pieces."

The first thing I noticed was the immediate sweet scent of toffee that eminated from the muffins the moment I opened the plastic casing, nostalgically reminiscent of Lyle's golden syrup cake. 

A large grin escaped my lips when I sliced my muffin in half. The cake was soft, squidgy and bared a huge pocket of golden sauce running down the centre, exactly what I was hoping for. 

I'm not sure how ASDA have managed to make such different muffins in the same range. The toffee flavoured cake was brimming with flavour whilst being gloriously soft and sticky. It was as moist as any homemade sticky toffee pudding, and an absolute delight to eat. The sauce that ran down the centre was delicious too and worked in perfect harmony with the muffin that surrounded it. I groaned with pleasure as I savoured every last crumb...

Wow ASDA, I'm so glad I gave your new muffins a second go. Whilst the black forest were a disappointing let down, these are exemplary, and a must for all sticky toffee lovers out there! 


Thursday, 26 May 2016

NEW! Hershey's Snacksters (B&M)

I did a little jig when I saw that Kev (from Kev's Snack Reviews) had posted some photos of the Hershey's & Reese's Snacksters onto Instagram. What excited me even more was the tell-tale yellow signage below which indicated that they were from B&M, hurrah! 

Let me explain my excitement. I've had my eyes on the Reese's snacksters for quite a while now, but have also made a vow that I won't place another order with American Fizz/American Soda until I have extinguished my exhaustive supplies of snacks and chocolate that are making it hard to close the doors on my snack cupboards*. At £1 each the Snacksters seemed too much of a bargain to miss out upon though, so I hot-footed it down to my local store. 

Gah, Hereford. You're so pants sometimes! I could only find the chocolate Hershey's pots. Sigh.

My only experience of Hershey's chocolate is the minimal covering that encases the Take 5 bar and Reese's peanut butter cups, wafers and bars. They're all fabulous products, but the chocolate is never the star of the show, and it's not good enough quality to warrant me buying a bar of it on its own. Still, I was suitably intrigued by the Hershey's Snackster pot and so I parted with a whole pound of my hard-earned cash, knowing that I wouldn't have to make room in the overflowing cupboards at home as it wouldn't hang around long enough!

The pot was split in two as expected: one side contained 9 of the Graham Cracker sticks, and the other was full of a dark coloured chocolate spread. 

The Hershey's spread tasted far better than expected! It reminded me of buttercream icing: thick enough to hold its shape but soft enough to melt in the mouth. The spread didn't taste of melted chocolate or Gu's ganache, but it offered a good cocoa hit that was dense, fudge like and oddly addictive. The Graham Crackers tasted just like sweet breadsticks, and I can't help but wonder why Hershey's didn't consider using pretzels instead (much like the delicious Graze punnet) as it would have provided a better balance of salty-sweet. 

As always, I ran out of dippers before I ran out of dip. It wasn't long though before the remaining spread summoned me and I naughtily used my finger to scoop up every last morsel. Oops. 

I enjoyed the Hershey's Snacksters far more than I expected to. I wouldn't buy a jar of the Hershey's spread over my beloved Nutella, but it was well worth the pound, and I suggest you give it a go too if you're visiting a B&M soon... 


*Yes, I have more than one snack cupboard. Ok, yes, there's more than two...

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

NEW! Kellogg's Special K Nourish Dark Chocolate & Coconut (Sainsbury's)

Not long after the Ancient Legends range came out at the beginning of the year, Kellogg's released a new variant in their Special K range. They say:
"Special K Nourish brings delicious joy to breakfast by giving you a bowl full of wonderful flavours and varied textures specially combined to give you a positive & healthy start to every morning. Our crisp flakes and clusters are made with a variety of wholesome grains like oats, wholewheat, rice and barley, with hearty linseed and sunflower seeds, adding a fibre packed crunch to every bite. And with luscious additions like delicate dark chocolate curls and crispy coconut you can spring into each day feeling upbeat."
To be honest, I was just attracted to the idea of a chocolate and coconut breakfast cereal. The Nourish range also comes in 'Dark Berries', and 'Nuts and Seeds' flavours too, but pishhh, pass me the unhealthiest version ta!

The first thing I noticed was the distinct lack of chocolate or dried coconut. All I could see were special K flakes, which -to me- taste like cardboard. 

And that's all I could taste really: bland flakes with the occasional little crunchy cluster thrown in for good measure. The linseed and sunflower seed nuggets admittedly added extra texture, but that's about it. There were a few coconut pieces dotted about, but seeing as they only make up 7.5% of the box, they were very far and few between. I don't even know how Kellogg's can even describe the curls as being dark chocolate, they just tasted like poor quality cooking chocolate, and also only account for 7.5% of the ingredients -probably a good job. 

I appreciate that Special K is a low calorie/healthy cereal, but it's so lacking in terms of flavour that it seems pretty pointless. If you're watching your intake there's much tastier alternatives, and I'd certainly much rather a bowl of porridge (or Krave!) anyday. 


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

NEW! Ben & Jerry's Son of a 'Wich

Today's review is going to be shorter than normal as I hadn't really intending on writing anything about the new B&J's Son of a 'Wich ice creams. I just assumed that they would be smaller versions of the cookie dough 'wichs (that I am now obsessed with). In fact, the only reason I even bought the minis is because ASDA had run out of the full-size 'Wichs, but they are in fact different from their bigger brothers, and I'll tell you for why:

"Vanilla chocolatey chip ice cream sandwiched between two soft-baked chocolate chip cookies. We know this is something you may want to keep to yourself, but we've got your back if your friend asks for a bite. Four words: Son of a 'Wich! You'll find eight bite-sized ice cream sandwiches to enjoy & (maybe) share in here. Cookies & ice cream... good together, any 'Wich way!"

That's it. That's the difference. Did you spot it? Instead of the cookie dough ice cream, it's a chocolate chip ice cream that sits in the middle of the sandwich. The chocolate chip ice cream is admittedly less special than the cookie dough, but it's still luxuriously velvety and I think I might've actually preffered the crunchier nature of the chocolate chips. The outer cookies are exactly the same as their full size counterparts, a concoction of chewy, sweet yumminess that I could eat endlessly. 

I love love love the new Ben & Jerry's 'Wich range, and I think I'll squeal with joy when I eventually find the chocolate brownie version... I'm keeping the faith that it will eventually find its way to our little landlocked City -and keeping my fingers crossed in the meantime.


Monday, 23 May 2016

Gelatelli Tiramisu & Cream Ice Cream (LIDL)

The south Wales coastline boasts some of the most incredibly beautiful beaches I have ever seen. If you've never been to -or indeed heard of- the Gower Peninsula, I really suggest you put it on your bucket list. Rhossili bay ranks number 9 in the world by Trip Advisor, and even has it's own shipwreck. If you pay a visit, may I suggest that you also head down to Mumbles and pop into Verdi's for a spot of lunch? It's a family run Italian Gelateria and Cafe with the most exquisite views of the Swansea bay -and the perfect spot from which to people watch. Verdi's make their ice cream fresh every day, and it is hands down the best I've had in the UK. My favourite flavour is Tiramisu, and I'd happily make the 154 mile round trip just for a cone of sheer heaven. 

It was with this thought in mind that I paused for a moment, lost in contemplation, when I found this 750ml tub of Tiramisu and Cream ice cream in LIDL. Would I be bitterly disappointed by it, unavoidably comparing it to the wonderful Verdi's? 

Well, I decided at £1.75 it was worth the gamble - but I'd already decided it was the poor man's version. 

I was surprised when I lifted the lid and discovered these perfect beige and cream coloured peaks. My scoop delved into the tub effortlessly, the ice cream was that soft. 

Wow. wow. WOW. The flavour was incredible. Undeniably Tiramisu, the coffee and cream came through in equal measures, deliciously backed with the resounding sweetness of the ice cream. So smooth was it, that I'd liken it to silk. What made it even more special was the addition of real tiramisu that was flecked throughout. These little extras injected further flavour into the already gorgeous gelato: sheer perfection.

I can't put into words how exquisite LIDL's tiramisu and cream ice cream is. Absolutely delightful, and a bargain to boot. If you're a fellow lover of tiramisu, I highly recommend -nay, I order- you to head to LIDL at your very next opportunity and pick yourself up a tub. Or six. 


Sunday, 22 May 2016

NEW! Haribo Frenzy Carnival Edition (WHSmith)

We get through a lot of sweeties in my house. In fact, our impressive sweetie jar takes pride of place on our coffee table in the centre of our living room! It attracts a lot of attention from guest who -like my other half and I- seem impervious to resist the colourful e-number riddled goodies within. My favourites are raspberry mushrooms (Tesco's not ASDAs) whilst my fiancé prefers strawberry laces (specifically the Chewits ones available in Home Bargains) and foam bananas. There's one sweetie manufacturer that we do agree upon however -and that, of course, is Haribo. 

Fortunately we have differing preferences, and whilst he likes their rings and eggs most, I love the little white and black men (oo-er). But, we do get a bit bored from time to time with the selection available in the tangfastics, starmix and super mix, so it's always a welcome surprise when a new variety comes to town. Last year saw the release of the frenzy edition, which included an array of unusual flavours such as: apricot, pineapple, mandarin, grapefruit, passion fruit, watermelon, lime, and pomegranate. I enjoyed the tropical edge that these new fruity flavours provided and was sad to see them disappear towards the end of the year.

Thankfully a new take on the frenzy edition is back this year -with a slightly different selection of flavours. The apricot, watermelon, lime, grapefruit and pineapple are back, but 2016 sees the addition of peach, mango, and banana too. As a fan of all three new fruits I was rather excited by the new carnival! 

And so I was right to be. The new peach hearts remind me of Robinson's peach squash, awaking age old memories of never-ending sunny summer evenings after school. The mango sweets taste like Solero ice lollies; sweet and artificial but admittedly delicious. My favourite however was of course the new (blue!) banana flavoured bear. Banana jelly/jelly sweets aren't easy to come by, and the flavour instantly transported me to back to an odd dessert that my Gran used to regularly make called banana chartreuse (which included banana, cream and lime jelly!).

Although I was keen on these new Haribo sweeties, my other half wasn't convinced. He's a stickler for the original flavours, which I see as a bonus for me as I get to enjoy them all!


Saturday, 21 May 2016

Birthday Cake M&M's (WHSmith)

Who says Birthday cake has to be resigned to just celebratory days? Not me! Well, unless you count the fact that I found these Birthday Cakes M&Ms reduced as a special occasion -it certainly made me happy! At 79p instead of £1.29, I finally picked up a bag of the enticingly special looking American candies that I've been surreptitiously eyeing up every time I've been into a WHSmith store.

It's needless to say that I had no idea what to expect from these M&M's. How could sugar coated chocolate taste of cake? 

The 39.7g  bag contained 24 little candies (if America is going to be precise with the weight, I'll be precise with my counting!) in red, yellow and blue. Are these the traditional birthday cake colours? Apparently so!

The inside of the M&Ms didn't give any clue as to their uniqueness, looking exactly the same as the standard variety. I let out an audible sigh with my first bite, and this was my train of thought:

Milk chocolate. Poor quality milk chocolate. I've been duped. What's the point?

Not wanting to waste my money, I decided to munch my way through the rest of the bag. Then, I started to notice a fudgy, buttercream flavour starting to build. I can't promise that I didn't imagine it, but the M&M's certainly started to taste better and better, and by the end of the bag I wanted more. Yummy. 

The Birthday Cake M&Ms were surprisingly good, and I would happily buy another bag -but only at the reduced cost. This isn't just because I'm a cheap skate, but also because the peanut butter flavour is still my favourite, and B&M sell them at a reasonable 79p per pack too.


Friday, 20 May 2016

NEW! Mud Pie Ice Cream (M&S)

Today's review concerns another product from M&S' new 'Spirit of Summer' range... So far we've had the Dulce de Leche cheesecake, Banana & Dulce de Leche slices, and mango jaffa cakes, and now it's time to add an ice cream to the mix.

"Smooth dairy ice cream swirled with chocolate truffle sauce, chocolate brownie pieces, chocolate chunks and cookie pieces."

The half litre tub cost £2.20 (introductory offer) which puts it on a par price-wise with Ben & Jerry's  -I never stump up the full RRP and instead either buy the brand either from farmfoods or wait for the supermarkets' money-off deals. The pale ice cream was flecked with cookie crumbs, chocolate chips and a ripple of sauce. Firmer than the likes of carte d'or but not quite as solid as Ben & Jerry's, meant that it was ripe for the scooping straight from the freezer.

I'm not going to be able to give you the low down on each of the components I'm afraid, because each mouthful contained a little bit of everything. Unlike Ben & Jerry's tubs the 'added extras' such as the brownie and cookie pieces were crumbled down, which meant that they permeated the otherwise plain ice cream and ensured an even distribution -injecting a gritty cocoa flavour into every bite. The chocolate truffle sauce wasn't in as ample supply as I'd have liked, but what there was of it tasted delicious.

The new Mud Pie ice cream hasn't knocked M&S' new Salted Caramel ice cream from the topspot, but it's certainly on a par with their Hazelnut ice cream and I'll be stocking up whilst it remains on offer. Well done Marks and Sparks!


Thursday, 19 May 2016

NEW! Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate Kind Snacks Bar (Waitrose)

A few months ago I was in the process of arranging a transatlantic food swap with fellow foodie Candy Hunting -who has the biggest collection of candy wrappers known to man, honestly go see!. Our plans were vetoed however when we finally clocked that it would cost a minimum of £13 in postage for a 1kg parcel -ouch. 

Anyway, in my request list was a peanut butter bar made my nutritious snack producers KIND. Once upon a time you could buy KIND's peanut butter granola from Tesco, but not long after I discovered it *poof* the cereal was discontinued, never to be found again. I'd all but forgotten about the brand, when their snack bars started cropping up in Tesco at the start of the year -albeit at a rather eye watering £1.29 a pop. At that price I wasn't too bothered by them -particularly as Tesco weren't stocking the flavour I wanted to try. Recently however I discovered that Waitrose have also started stocking the range, including the peanut butter bar (hurrah!) and they're all currently on offer for 99p too.

The peanut butter & dark chocolate KIND bar contains 7g of protein, is gluten free, dairy free, and contains no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. 

"Here at KIND, we make delicious and nutritious snacks using the finest ingredients. Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate is a satisfying blend of whole peanuts, bound together with a touch of honey and drizzled with chocolate. Let's make the world a little kinder, one act and one snack at a time."
As you can see the bar isn't just made up of peanuts, there's quite a few whole almonds dotted about in there too. It was quite a tough, chewy bar to bite in to -so much so that I feared for my fillings. The bar's resilience against my teeth meant that it was indeed quite satisfying to eat, although that's probably just due to the amount of chewing involved.

Both the almonds and peanuts were perfectly fresh, although the peanut butter flavour wasn't as prominent as I'd have liked, overwhelmed by the honey which comes higher up the ingredients list. I've also got a little issue with the fact that the bar is described as being drizzled with dark chocolate -it's not- instead KIND have used a 'flavoured coating' comprised of palm kernel oil, cocoa powder, emulsifier, natural flavouring and salt.

The bar was pretty so-so, which means that I probably won't buy one again as they're so expensive.

Kev from (Kev's Snack Reviews) has spookily reviewed the almond and caramel KIND bar today, so please do pop on over to his blog and check out his opinion -which just so happens to be very different to mine! 


Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Côte-d'Or FudgeNut

My local Del Boy came up trumps this week. Not only was he selling the cappuccino twix bars, but also Côte-d'Or. Côte-d'Or is my all time favourite chocolate brand, and I was taught from an early age that they make the most exquisite chocolate truffles, saved for very special occasions. I'll happily admit that I squealed with delight when I found their Bouchees in Selfridges recently at an extortionate (but worth it) £1 a pop. It's such a shame that Côte-d'Or is so difficult to get hold of in the UK. What makes it's lack of availability all the more puzzling is that it's made by Mondelēz -who also own Cadbury and seemingly have no qualms with merging the British brand's identity with European chocolate Milka. Still, Côte-d'Or is sheer chocolate perfection, so I'd rather it was left unmeddled with. 

Anyway, lo an behold, the market trader was selling these FudgeNuts extremely cheaply -hopefully because they were close to their sell-by date and not because they fell off the back of a lorry- and they sounded right up my street:

"Caramel fudge, a pinch of salt and almonds, covered with milk chocolate."

The FudgeNut wasn't very large (only 30g) but I could forgive it's size if it tasted as good as I hoped. My knife easily sliced the bar in two, baring it's nougat-like interior studded with chunky almond pieces.

As expected, the chocolate was top notch. There wasn't a lot of it, as it merely provided the casing for the fudge. Yum -serious- yum. The fudge was the best I've tasted in a long time (infinitely tastier than Matt & Ben's Espresso Proper Fudge). It was silky, creamy and sweet, with just enough salt to take the edge off and prevent my teeth from aching. The almonds were in generous supply and came in large enough chunks to not only add texture but a beautiful nutty taste too. 

To put it blunty, I adored the FudgeNut. Côte-d'Or, you're are cocoa genius'. I really hope Del Boy has more again this week as I'll be stocking up! 


Tuesday, 17 May 2016

NEW! Banoffee Swirls (M&S)

Banoffee Pie: one of my absolute favourite desserts (up there with Tiramisu). There's something deliciously devilish about the combination of sweet banana, gooey toffee and buttery biscuit, topped with billowing clouds of whipped cream... Needless to say, the classic dessert has been exploited by many a manufacturer, some more successfully than others (Co-op's muffins compared to Boot's flapjack for example). This time it's M&S' turn with these new Banoffee Swirls.  

"These crunchy banoffee flavoured biscuits are inspired by the traditional British pudding."

The pack cost £1.50 and contained 8 rather attractive looking biscuits -which actually beared true likeness to the photo on the front. As soon as I tore open the wrapper, a buttery shortbread-like aroma eminated, and I could see just how short the biscuits were going to be thanks to the one that had crumbled in transit.

I wouldn't describe the swirls as being crunchy; they were much softer than that thanks to their high butter content. Instead they melted in the mouth, tasting every bit as rich and indulgent as one would expect from an M&S biscuit. The trouble was, I couldn't taste the banana. Not at all. The alarm bells should have rung when I opened the pack and could only smell butter, but I was so eager to get stuck in that I hadn't even thought about it. The toffee flavour was also lacking, and it wasn't until I checked the packet that I realised why: the biscuits don't contain any real banana or toffee/caramel sauce, just 'flavourings'. It wasn't until my last bite of my fourth biscuit that I finally got a whiff of the banana I was hoping for. 

Perhaps I could blame my tastebuds for the lack of flavour, or the fact that I paired the Banoffee Swirls with a big mug of coffee. So in the name of a fair review I asked my other half whether he could taste the banana, and he said it reminded him of Banoffee Angel Delight.... Of course, Banoffee Angel Delight doesn't even exist (although I really wish it did -petitition anyone?) Lord knows what he was on about! 

Compared to M&S' new and marvellous Dark Chocolate Mango Jaffa Cakes, these are a pitiful entry to M&S' biscuit aisle.


Monday, 16 May 2016

NEW! McVities Hobnobs Tiffin Slices (Farmfoods)

I have to admit that I didn't give these slices a second glance in ASDA. I thought that they had just been subject to a packaging overhaul, and it wasn't until I saw an Instagram post about McVities' tiffin that I decided to take a closer look.

"Milk Chocolate Hobnobs Slices: Tiffin-Style Biscuit Slices topped with Milk Chocolate."

What comes to mind when you think of tiffin? For me it was school cookery classes; mixing together a gooey concoction of golden syrup, chocolate, biscuits and raisins. Yum. Those fond memories are ultimately what caused me to buy these McVities offerings -although the bargain price of 49p for five at Farmfoods certainly helped.

I was a bit disappointed when I unwrapped my slice as it was absolutely tiddly. With no exaggeration it was only a couple of mouthfuls -not much bigger than a matchbox. It certainly looked chocolatey through!

The oat and chocolate combination was always going to be a winner -chocolate hobnobs have got to be one of the best British biscuits after all. The slice simply had a higher proportion of chocolate to biscuit, but was essentially the same product. I was left contemplating where the raisins and mishmash of textures had disappeared too -surely that's a fundamental requirement of tiffin? It certainly is in my books!

McVitie's new tiffin slices aren't really what they're cracked up to be. They're tasty, but they're just not tiffin or substantial enough to fill a hunger gap -so you'd better have two.


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Kanelbullar: Frozen Cinnammon Buns (IKEA)

At the beginning of the year I mentioned that I'd fallen back in love with flapjacks, well now it's the turn of the cinnamon bun -I just can't get enough of the doughy pastries! Anyway, last month I had the opportunity to visit an IKEA (a rare treat as all 3 of our local branches are approximately 70 miles away) and spotted this curious pack of pre-made frozen cinnamon buns. Seeing as it is always a bit of a gamble as to whether Tesco Express has any in stock when my craving strikes -and no, I'm not pregnant- I thought these would offer the perfect solution. At £2.25 for six they were a fraction of the price I normally pay too. 

What I didn't really consider was that we were visiting IKEA on our way to pick up an axle for my Landrover, and so it was another three hours until we arrived back home -in which time the buns had fully defrosted. I checked the packet to discover that you're not supposed to refreeze the Kanellbullars. Damn. Undeterred, I kept one out to have that evening, and shoved the others back in the freezer. 

In its raw state the bun appeared anaemic and much smaller than it's Tesco cousin, but I hoped that 15 minutes in the oven would sort it out. In that quarter of an hour the house started to fill with the most glorious scent of cinnamon and bread cooking -seriously the Kanellbullars were worth it for the smell alone. When the agonising wait came to a close I opened the oven door and was greeted with a beautiful bun that even Paul Hollywood would approve of: double the size and golden brown. 

(I know it doesn't look like it grew that much, but I promise you it had!)

Of course I couldn't wait to tuck in, and ate the bun piping hot -but boy it was worth the wait. There's something so comforting about warm bread, but believe me it's even yummier if it's warm cinnamon sweet bread. The outer edges were borderline crispy, but the inner swirls were soft and doughy. The sugary topping and sticky spicy centre were in ample supply and I think I might've groaned with pleasure as I munched my way round the bun's coil -finishing of course with the squidgiest, most cinnamon covered bit in the middle. 

Fortunately, despite their defrost and refrost, the remaining 5 buns were equally as delicious. I cooked them straight from frozen and rationed myself to one a week, but now I've run out and I'm eagerly plotting an excuse to make another IKEA trip soon. I admit it, I'm hooked. 


Saturday, 14 May 2016

NEW! Danone Light and Free Greek Style Yogurts (Tesco)

I have to admit that I was rather excited at the prospect of these new yogurts from Danone. As a regular Greek yogurt eater (yes I know it's worse for the environment than the traditional kind, but it's also delicious!) I am always pleased to be able to choose from a wider variety of flavours and brands. 

The 'Light and Free' yogurts look attractive, complete with cardboard wrappers an minimalist design, and come in in five different fruity flavours: strawberry, cherry, blueberry, peach & passion fruit, and raspberry. They're also fat free, low in calories -each 115g pot contains less than 61 calories- and contain no added sugar. 

Cheapskate Amy struck again I'm afraid, I refused to pay the £2.00-£2.50 full price and waited for them to come on offer. Luckily my patience served me well as the full range is now available at Tesco for half price (£1.25 per four pack).

The yogurts may look pretty, but the foil tops are a pain! Don't you hate it when they refuse to come off in one clean sweep? I haven't managed to open one pot yet without ripping the lid, gah.

The pretty pink yogurt was teeming with chunky cherry bits -I do love a good bit of real fruit. It became immediately evident however, that these were less set than other Greek yogurts, and were more like a thick standard yogurt. Hmm. The taste, well, it wasn't great either I'm afraid. It was perfectly eatable but there was no escaping the omnipresent back note of sucralose... one sweetener that I'm really not keen on. 

Peach & Passionfruit

I picked up the peach & passionfruit at the same time as the cherry. Admittedly If I had tried the cherry flavour first, I probably wouldn't have made a repeat purchase. Different flavour, same lid problem, dammit. Again, these were more of a thick-set rather than Greek style yogurt, but were packed with fruity pieces. I tried to enjoy this flavour sat in the sunshine, but I just couldn't get away from that nasty artificial taste. 

I'm afraid that these new yogurts from Danone are a bit of a non starter. It's a crowded market place full of tastier fat-free Greek yogurts such as ALDI's own (the best I've tried yet) so I can't see the 'Light & Free' range sticking around for very long.