Thursday, 30 June 2016

Garbanzo Bombay Firecracker Dry Roasted Chickpeas (Holland & Barrett)

I can easily promise you now that I wouldn't have even considered buying a pack of these Garbanzo dry roasted chickpeas if it wasn't for instagram. I've been seeing them pop up all over my feed for months now with plenty of people saying they're addicted to them. This piqued my interest enough to start a search. I tried Hereford, Birmingham, Worcester and Cardiff Holland & Barretts to no avail, before I gave in and placed a rather large order with the health store (who happen to have a buy on get on half price deal on all of their stock at the moment FYI). 

What are the benefits of dry roasted chickpeas? Well according to Garbanzo:

"they release their energy slowly over time leaving you satisfied for much longer than most other low calorie snacks. Its low rating on the Glycaemic Index means that this underrated super food is good for your heart and truly plays a part in maintaining a healthy diet. In addition we avoided any preservatives, additives or indeed any common allergens creating a truly wholesome snack to be enjoyed anytime of the day".

The savoury chickpeas come in three flavours: bombay firecracker, tomato garlic & herb, and sweet chilli. As tomato and chilli are more commonplace flavours than anything Indian I decided to give the Bombay Firecracker a go. Each 65g bag contains only 88cals and -as far as I can tell- is suitable for Vegans.

I was surprised by the size of the chickpeas, they were much smaller than the tinned variety, but what Garbanzo lost in size they made up for in abundance and flavouring. There were seemingly hundreds of the little seeds (I always thought they were legumes) generously dusted with aromatic spicy coating. For reference the photo below shows about half of what was in the bag. 

Ouch. I've mentioned before about the poor state of my fragile teeth, and once I took my first bite I really thought I'd struggle to eat the rest of the chickpeas. They were seriously crunchy, taking an awful lot of energy to eat -which I imagine would be a good thing for dieters! The problem was, the flavouring was absolutely delicious, and it was this moreish curry-like taste that kept me munching. I think it took me a good 20 minutes to eat them all (and I'm by no means a slow eater) but I felt satiated once I'd reached the end. 

At £1.29 per bag I don't think I'll buy them regularly, but I might have to eat my words as I've just discovered that the sleepy little market town where I've recently started working has a tiny Holland & Barrett, which strangely stocks Garbanzo! 


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Graze Megapost: Sticky Toffee Pudding, Summer Berry Flapjack, Banana Bread, Apple & Cinnamon Flapjack, Belgian Speculoos and Banoffee Dippers

I was always one of those girls in the office who sniggered at the suckers who'd been duped into subscribing to Graze. The trouble is, I wasn't aware of what I was missing out on, and as they say "ignorance is bliss." I would have quite happily remained in my naïve state if it wasn't for Graze's recent-ish inclusion as part of the Boots Meal Deal. The lemon drizzle flapjack called to me, followed by the newer Cocoa & Vanilla protein flapjack. By the time I was nabbing my sister's peanut butter pretzel punnet from her I realised that I needed to sign up.

I was savvy though, and made full use of Graze's selection process to 'bin' all the healthy and/or savoury treats in favour of the naughtier punnets that I've jealously spotted popping up on Instagram. My first Graze box was a winner! Six heavenly looking treats that begged to me munched -or Grazed- upon pronto.

In normal weirdo Amy fashion I opted for the punnet that I thought I'd enjoy the least first, saving the best pack until last.

Banana Bread

I knew how good my Graze box was when the first box open contained one of my favourite flavours of cake. The miniature square was not much more than a mouthful, but at only 55cals would be the perfect solution for cake deprived slimmers.

I can't pretend that this was the best banana cake I've ever had, after all nothing beats fresh banana bread still warm from the oven. As a mass-manufactured treat it was pretty good however, and the inclusion of chopped hazelnuts and dates did ensure enough moistness.


Apple & Cinnamon Flapjack

I had actually meant to retrieve the summer berry flapjack instead, but in my dozy late evening state I opened this flavour before I realised what I was doing.

This treat didn't disappoint. As with the lemon drizzle flapjack the texture was perfect -soft, squidgy and sticky enough to hold it together without leaving a mess on my fingers. The cinnamon and apple came through in equal measures, mimicking the taste of my mum-in-laws homemade apple crumble. Oaty perfection.


Sticky Toffee Pudding

As suggested I warmed this up in the microwave, and as un-suggested I enjoyed it for dessert drowned in a giant pool of Ambrosia's new Deluxe Salted Caramel Custard. Just like the banana bread it was a dieter's portion, and it tasted like a 'light' version too. The gooey cake texture was lacking, but the toffee sauce was delicious. A so-so punnet, one that'll probably be 'binned' from future Graze boxes.


Summer Berry Flapjack

I don't think you can beat Graze's flapjacks. My fourth flapjack from them to date, and a lovely flavour too. The berry infused cranberries were packed with flavour, injecting fruity bursts into every mouthful. As I've come to expect the texture was on point too.


Banoffee Dippers

I've gone on and on about my love for all things banoffee, so it is perhaps unsurprising that I'd saved this punnet until almost last. It was worth the wait too: the shortbread was beautifully buttery and crumbly, but it held together enough to survive a good dunking in the toffee side. The dip was in fact so good that I ended up scooping out every last ml with my finger. Very unladylike I know.


Belgian Speculoos

I had to hoard this one, partly because I'd heard such great things about it, and also because Nibs (Nibbles 'N' Scribbles) didn't think I'd be able to resist it. I must admit that it was trying at times, ignoring my urges to rip open the pack of cinnamon pretzels and cookie dip, but I did it! Do I get a medal? No? Oh well. There was ample supply of dippers, which I excitedly stuck into the dip. I was welcomed with a beautifully crisp pretzel and naughtily scrummy speculoos. If you've ever tried Biscoff spread you'll get the gist... and if you haven't, why on earth not? It's incredible stuff.

The only trouble I found was that the ration of dip:dippers was way off. Normally with these style pots I run out of the former before the latter, but by the time I was finishing the punnet I was having to put up with meagre spread scrapings on the pretzels. More sir. Please sir.



Well, if you're even considering signing up to Graze I suggest you do so to avoid missing out for any longer -just make sure you edit your likes to ensure you end up with punnets you're likely to enjoy! If you're still not sure whether you want to commit, then you simply must try their Lemon Drizzle Flapjack (which is now available in most major supermarkets) I think it's still my favourite.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

KitKat Ice Cream Cones (Tesco)

I've had my eye on these Kit Kat cones for a while now, but every time I think about buying them I spot a better ice cream offer and they end up being demoted down the wish list. 

Tesco have got some cracking deals in their freezer aisles at the moment, including half price Haagen Daaz, Soleros and four packs of Cornetto peanut butter cones for just £1! Amongst the bargains are the Kit Kat cones, half price at £1.49 per box. I couldn't think of a better time to purchase.

"Biscuit cone with chocolate and vanilla flavour ice cream rippled and topped with chocolate sauce and a chocolate coated wafer finger."

I was pleased to find that Nestle had been sensible with their packaging choices; each cone was not only wrapped with cardboard, but topped with a plastic cone to protect the KitKat fingers poking out of the ice creams' peak. The non-ecologically-friendly casing did the trick though, the cones looked impeccable with their swirls of chocolate and vanilla ice cream. 

I'm afraid that once again this was a case of style over substance. The 'vanilla' ice cream really meant 'devoid of flavour', and the chocolate ice cream didn't fare any better. I can't remember ever having tasted a chocolate ice cream so horribly insipid before. As for the chocolate sauce? Well I didn't even know there was meant to be any until I typed out the product description. ALDI's chocolate brownie ice creams would seem like the creme de la creme after these. Yuck.

The situation got worse with the KitKat. Whilst I thought I would pleased to find that it was a full size finger, I really wish it wasn't. The biscuit had gone limp and soggy, tasting rather rancid. Not good at all.The ice cream's only saving grace came from the biscuit cone which -unlike the KiKat- had retained its crispness. 

Put it this way: I certainly wouldn't buy these cones again and I don't even think you could persuade me to eat another one in future, even if it was free.


Monday, 27 June 2016

Icelandic Skyr: Blueberry and Strawberry Flavours (Waitrose)

A couple of weeks ago I discovered a yogurt brand that I hadn't come across before. My dear friend and fellow blogger Laura (A Daisy Chain Dream) coerced me into popping into my local Waitrose to pick up a pot of Vanilla Skyr. Laura's judgement was spot on, and if you remember my review you'll recall that I made the bold statement that it was the best high protein yogurt I had ever tasted!
I would therefore have been foolish to turn down the opportunity* to try -and review- Skyr's other two flavours: blueberry and strawberry.

What I didn't mention last time was that each of the pots come with a handy spoon in the lid, perfect if you're grabbing a pot to enjoy at lunch or on the go. I peeled back the foil and discovered the pale mauve colour blueberry Skyr. As with the vanilla flavour the yogurt was thick enough to stand my spoon up with, as you can see in the photo below. The flavour was slightly tarter than expected, but not unpleasantly so, and I found that it was just enough to offset the sweetness. The creaminess was again outstanding and I found it hard to comprehend that I was enjoying such a healthy treat.

This flavour is a brand new contender in Skyr's line up. I had high expectations given my experience with their blueberry and vanilla yogurts, so could it be as good? 

What a silly question; of course it was. Strawberries and cream are natural born partners and with Sky's unbelievable texture the melt-in-the mouth treat was a winner once again. Iceland you've done the British proud! 

Seeing as Skyr is so saintly I decided to adulterate it with a few extras for an evening treat. One side was decorated with fresh strawberries and the other with Graze's strawberries and cream protein granola topper, oh my days! Soooo good. 

Asking me to choose a favourite flavour would be like asking me to choose between my siblings (that's a lie, my sister is my best friend) but you get the gist. Try any of these pots and you'll be a Skyr convert for life! I promise you that Arla has nothing on these guys. Skyr is available in Waitrose stores nationwide.


*Skyr have kindly reimbursed me for the yogurts I have reviewed.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Chocolate Weetabix Protein Crunch (Poundland)

The Weetabix protein range launched right at the beginning of the year, but I wasn't particularly excited by it, and was far more interested in the new Ancient Legends, Cinnamon Oat Crisp and Avengers cereals. In fact if I hadn't spotted this mega box of the protein crunch in poundland, and -dare I say it-  the chocolate flavour wasn't in stock, I wouldn't have bothered with it at all. 

What is the benefit of the protein range anyway? Well according to Weetabix...
 "Weetabix Protein Crunch Chocolate flavour is the great tasting, nutritious, high-protein breakfast cereal that gives you the energy you need for busy mornings. Packed with protein and a satisfying combination of wholegrain wheat and oats, this is a delicious crunchy breakfast that helps keep you going all morning. 
We think it’s a simple way to enjoy a high protein breakfast and with all the goodness you’d expect of a Weetabix cereal; high in fibre, low in salt and fortified with Iron and Vitamin D. With a delicious chocolate flavour and irresistible crunchy texture Weetabix Protein Crunch is a fantastic breakfast option for active families."
The crunch cereal comes in little tubes, which I can't work out whether I approve of as a nice new shape, or if it just reminds me too much of pasta. 

Despite a lengthy milk soaking, the texture held up reasonably well. Whilst the cereal at the bottom of the bowl had started to soften slightly, the uppermost spoonfuls were as crunchy as promised. The chocolate flavour was so-so, the same as Weetos really. 

In fact there wasn't much difference in terms of either texture or flavour, between the protein crunch and Weetos cereal. For me this was a good thing, as high protein products often have an odd aftertaste, and these offer 2.4x more protein per gram than Weetos. If I was trying to increase my protein intake however, I would prefer to include more high protein yogurts such as the icelandic Skyr I reviewed a couple of weeks ago. 


Saturday, 25 June 2016

Godiva Chocolate & Creme Bar (B&M)

I wasn't expecting to find anything of interest when popping into B&M this afternoon to pick up dog food. I just thought I'd double check the chocolate shelves en route to the till -just to see if they had any peanut butter twixs in stock. There was none of them -boo- but there was two Godiva bars! 

I haven't had Godiva chocolate before, but it was noted somewhere in the back of my brain as the ultimate in quality chocolate. There were two flavours to choose from: double chocolate and chocolate & creme. I ummed and ahh for a couple of seconds -would they be worth the 79p per bar? I could get three Galaxy duets in B&M for the same price- luckily my frugal nature lost out to my hungry eyes and both bars went into my basket.

The packets informed me that despite their branding as Belgian chocolate, the bars are in fact produced in Turkey and distributed from New York. Crikey that's some serious carbon footprint! 

I thought I'd try the lesser exciting of the two first, which to me was the chocolate and creme. 

"Layer of cocoa biscuit & creme in milk chocolate."

The guilt that I''d experienced from the purchase followed by their eco non-credentials abated when I cut the single finger chocolate bar in two. The layers were distinct and beautiful. The chocolate had a silken sheen to it, and I knew I'd spent my pennies wisely.

I'm convinced I spotted pearly gates; the combination of chocolate, creme and biscuit was heavenly perfection. Cote D'or make my favourite chocolate, but Godiva's version comes pretty damn close for it was soft, creamy and utterly delicious. The cocoa biscuit on the bottom was crunchy and short, tasting a little how I imagine the lovechild of a double chocolate digestive and shortbread would. As for the creme in the middle? Well it was milky, smooth and equally delectable, good enough to eat on its own but enhanced by the chocolate and biscuit surrounding it. 

It's taken me every ounce of determination and will power to not sit and gobble the Godiva Double Chocolate bar that's sat in the fridge..


Friday, 24 June 2016

Oreo Ice Cream Sticks (The Co-Op)

I'm not sure if these Oreo ice cream sticks are new or not. I remember the Oreo ice cream cones and tubs being around last year, as well as the double chocolate cones (which were delicious but have seemingly been discontinued) but I can't remember whether or not these were about last year or not. I think that's why its taken me until now to try them. I just kind of figured that there were sticks of cookie studded ice cream enrobed in milk chocolate. I was wrong. 

"Cream Flavour Ice Cream with Crushed Chocolate Flavour Biscuit Pieces with Vanilla Flavour Filling, Coated in Crushed Chocolate Flavour Biscuit with a Vanilla Flavour Filling 29%."

Well, that doesn't make the situation any clearer really does it?

The coating was a much darker colour than expected, embossed with cookie pieces, but it had started to crack -what was this super thin chocolate? 

Crikey, it was bloody delicious! I expected it to taste of the generic milk chocolate "fake Magnum" ice cream coating, but it wasn't chocolate at all. Instead, Mondelez have broken up oreo biscuits and moulded it around the ice cream. It's needless to remark on how well this complemented the centre seeing as we all know how perfect the combination of cookies and cream is. Genius. The ice cream itself tasted exactly how I expected it to be: of standard vanilla* but improved drastically thanks to the cookie crumbs. 

How have I not bought these ice creams before? They'll be a freezer staple from now on. 


*the non flavoured variety as opposed to the fragrant vanilla bean sort.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Megaload Sweet & Salty Peanut Butter Cups (American Fizz)

You're probably bored of me telling you about just how much I love Reese's peanut butter cups. Admittedly they might not be the best quality chocolate on the market, but there's something deliciously satisfying about the combination of salty- peanut butter encased in waxy super-sweet milk chocolate that I just can't get enough of. Even better if it's white chocolate doing the wrapping. Anyway, despite loving Reese's as much as I do, sometimes its good to have a change. Normally I have M&S' 'The Nutty One' in reserve for such occasions, but I spotted these Megaload peanut butter cups on American Fizz and, at 99p per pack, I decided to give them a go! 

Each peanut butter cup was topped with a different flavour pretzel: peanut butter, milk chocolate and white fudge -sounds good, right?

I was a bit baffled when I sliced each cup in two; where was the bright orange peanut butter centre that I've grown accustomed to? I hoped that Megaload had just opted for the more natural approach...

Unfortunately not. The coating was inferior quality, making Reese's look like the Hotel Chocolat of the American chocolate market. The peanut butter was non-existant -I literally couldn't taste it against the cheap tasting chocolate- and to finish things off the pretzel was stale and had lost its crunch.

So much for my venture into something new. Sometimes the original is just the best, as Nibs also recently found out with these dire butterscotch peanut butter cups. Reese's will you forgive me for deserting you*?


*albeit briefly! 

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

NEW! Daim Ice Cream Sticks (Tesco)

I'm going to start today's review with a quick defence of the above title; I realise that these ice cream sticks have been out for quite a few months now, but they're still new to 2016, hence the label. You may or may not have already tried them already, but I thought they were worth a post in case you fall in the latter category. I bought the triple pack from Iceland whilst half price for £1.25.

"Caramel Ice Cream with Milk Chocolate Coated Caramel and Almond Pieces, Covered in Milk Chocolate with Almond-Caramel Pieces."

Hurrah! I was so pleased to discover that these ice creams hadn't been shrunk in the same way as most new treats have this year, and are still a rather respectable 110ml each. At least I felt like I was getting my money's worth when it came to volume, especially as they were on offer too. 

The chocolate coating was thick enough to offer a good snap, and tasted rather good -which ought to be expected really considering that they are made by the same company who produce the Cadbury's ice creams. I was pleased to find that the Daim pieces were small enough to leave my gappy teeth alone -and also large enough to break up the otherwise smooth texture, injecting a honeycomb-esque flavour into the chocolate.

The ice cream itself was softer than I'd liked, which meant that I had to eat it rather hurriedly instead of savouring it as I would have preferred. The flavour was good however, the caramel was rich and buttery, bordering on the sickly edge, but not to the point of possible toothache. I can't remember finding milk chocolate coated caramel and almond pieces in the ice cream itself, but you can see in the photo flecks of (tiny) chocolatey nibs embedded throughout. Maybe I ate it too quickly to notice!

If you haven't tried these new Daim ice creams, and enjoy caramel, then I suggest that you give them a go! I wouldn't spend the full £3.00 per box on them, but if you miss out on Iceland's offer, they are on a 2 for £3 mix-and-match ice cream deal at ASDA -which normally lasts all summer. 


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

NEW! Limited Edition Dairy Milk Tiffin (ASDA)

Chocolate. Raisins. Biscuits. All delicious in their own right, but together? Utter perfection. I've previously written about my love for tiffin  (remember the disappointing Hobnob's Tiffin Slices?) and remember -and miss- Cadbury's take on the classic combination. Mondelez announced earlier this year that they have decided to remake the bar for a limited time only, which got me rather excited! But then I realised that it probably wouldn't taste as good as I recall, particularly seeing as the new bosses of the once iconic British chocolate company seem impervious to resist meddling with Cadbury's tried and tested original recipes. That said, I still bought the 95g Tiffin bar as soon as I spotted it in ASDA at the non-offer price of £1.49 (which disgruntled me somewhat seeing as all of Cadbury's other 100g-ish size bars were discounted to £1).

"Milk chocolate with dried grapes (12%) and biscuits (8%)."

I really hoped  that this new bar would taste like the Dairy Milk of days gone by, rather than the greasy "chocolate flavoured creme" used in the newish Medley bars.]

It delivers. More or less. The Dairy Milk may not be to the original recipe, but at least the chocolate tastes like the individual bars -rather than the cheaper, waxier sort that Cadbury/Mondelez employ in their Easter Eggs. 

The dried grape (are they raisins or sultanas?) offer fruity little bursts. They're not in ample enough supply to make their way into every nibble, but crop up every now and then. The biscuit pieces are crisp, although the pieces are too small to be able to really taste. I didn't mind this so much because the chocolate should always be the star of the show, and Cadbury have rightfully made it so.

Cadbury's have released a bucketload of new products this year, but their limited edition Tiffin bar is certainly my favourite and I hope it's here to stay. It's really just a better quality (and less chunky) version of a raisin and biscuit Yorkie, so if you like them then I suggest you try Cadbury's new offering. 

Now, if only Galaxy would hear my plea for a tiffin themed Duet bar, I'd be one happy lady!


Monday, 20 June 2016

Grandma's Peanut Butter Cookies (American Fizz)

Did you know that iconic American crisp manufacturers Frito Lay also make cookies? I didn't until I ordered these Grandma's Cookies and spotted the logo on the back of the packet. The Grandma's range includes a whole host of classic flavours such as Oatmeal Raisin and Chocolate Chip, but of course I opted for my favourite: peanut butter. What else!

The suggested serving size is one cookie, but the pack contains two. Don't you hate it when they do that? As soon as I ripped the pack a potent peanut buttery aroma escaped and I realised that there was little hope of me being able to eat just one. They were smaller than your average supermarket bakery cookie, but quite a bit thicker. They were crumbly and soft, squidgy enough to bend slightly before snapping.

Wow! There was no hiding from the punchy peanut butter flavour. The Americans are so much better at utilising my favourite spread to its full potential than us Brits. The nutty, sweet cookies were slightly cakey thanks to their thickness, whilst being chewy and oh-so comforting to munch on -I savoured every last bite. How anyone could eat just one at a time I'll never know. The only way I could think of improving Grandma's peanut butter cookies would be by adding chunky nut pieces, but that's really just me being pernickety.

They tasted even better than the Lenny and Larry's complete peanut butter cookie, and at 59p per pack from American Fizz they are a damn site cheaper too. I know I'll be buying more with my next order! Pass me my debit card won't you?


*or potato chip, depending on which side of the Atlantic you're sitting!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

NEW! Hula Hoops Salt & Vinegar Golden Hoops (Tesco)

I saw that these new baked Hula Hoops were released quite a few weeks ago, but once again my stingy nature prevailed and it wasn't until they came on offer at Tesco (£1 instead of £1.70) that I bought them. Hula Hoops are a mainstay in our crisp cupboard. I like the Pufts whilst my other half prefers the standard, but there's one Hula Hoop variant that we completely agree on, and that is that they must be salt and vinegar flavoured. 

The bag contained 6 individually wrapped 25g bags. The Hoops looked a little like round pretzels once I shook them out onto a plate, and it was evident that they had been generously seasoned from the chip shop like scent that emanated from them. The Golden Hoops are baked instead of fried, so they are a little healthier than the original variety, as well as being completely free from all artificial flavours, colours and MSG. 

Texturally they were as similar to pretzels as they looked, no bad thing as I'm in a bit of a love affair with the things. The only difference was the underlying potato flavour, which was pleasant, and differentiated them completely from anything currently on the market. Be warned though, when I said that the seasoning was evident -it truly was. The Golden Hoops are super vinegary, which suited me down to the ground, but one of my readers (Hi Richard!) said that he found it too much... so try at your own risk! 

I am constantly amazed by the ingenious new additions to the already crowded savoury snack market. Well done KP snacks! 


Saturday, 18 June 2016

Snyder's of Hanover S'mores Pretzel Pieces (American Fizz)

Pretzels are totally underrated here in the U.K. Even ASDA have recently discontinued their six-pack of individual pretzel bags. What gives England? Don't you understand just how deliciously satisfying the salty crunch of a pretzel is? I'm hoping that one day we'll catch up with the Stateside fascination with them, but meanwhile I will have to get my fix through American Fizz. I haven't tasted any of Snyder's range before, but they come highly recommended by fellow blogger Nibbles 'N' Scribbles (please do check out her reviews of their salted caramel pretzels pieces and peanut butter pretzel sandwiches).

"The sweet flavors of marshmallows & chocolate sprinkled onto perfectly salty sourdough Pretzel Pieces."

I think it's the combination of salty-sweet that endeavours me to peanut butter, and probably why I love it even more combined with chocolate, banana and/or jam (seriously if you've never tried a pb & nutella or pb, jam & banana toastie, you need to get on it at your next opportunity!). It was the promise of salty-sweet that really drew me to this Snyder's flavour... well that and the inclusion of chocolate of course! 

I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the bag and poured out its contents. There was a complete assortment of different sized pretzel pieces, including some positively ginormous chunks! All of the bits were evenly coated in a sweet scented chocolate powder, which I was pleased with as it's so frustrating when you eat underseasoned snacks! 

The pretzel pieces were perfectly crispy with a decent crunch. Whilst I found this satisfying, it did start to irk my fiance who was watching a film with me at the time -Snyders are most certainly not cinema friendly snacks. 

The chocolate flavouring was pleasant enough, but it tasted just like hot chocolate powder. Obviously it wasn't the most authentic chocolatey experience, but the sweetness of the flavouring allowed for the perfect juxtaposition against the salty pretzel. I'm not sure where the marshmallow or Graham cracker elements went to, that the traditional 'S'mores' consists of, because I couldn't detect them anywhere.

Complaints aside, the Snyders S'mores Pretzel Pieces make a welcome change to what's currently available in the UK. I haven't tried anything like it before, and whilst I may not be in a mad rush to buy this flavour again, I'll certainly buy more from their range in future.


Friday, 17 June 2016

NEW! Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice Cream (Co-Op)

Now, you must have realised by now if you've ever read this blog before just how much I LOVE peanut butter and jam. I must be secretly American or something. The trouble is, bad peanut butter jelly combinations can be vile...

I'll give you one example in particular. Goober. Have you seen the attractive looking jars containing perfect stripes of peanut butter and strawberry or grape 'jelly'? Have you been tempted to part with your pennies? Well please do not buy it! Save yourself the heartache. Seriously that stuff tastes so plasticky that I woudn't even feed it to my peanut butter loving dog Monty. Yuck.

Anyway, last week Snack-finding-extraordinaire Kev (Kev's Snack Reviews) posted a photo on Instagram of some new ice creams at the Co-Op. I'd spotted the cappuccino sticks that very same day, but then remembered the overflowing state of my freezer and left them there for another time. What I hadn't spotted however was their new peanut butter & jelly ice cream tub. There's been a host of new pb ice creams this year (including Feasts, Magnums and ASDA's own) but I haven't seen a PB&J ice cream since the much missed Ben & Jerry's core tub.

Wowsers. I wanted! Nay, I needed! I would have to make room in the freezer. Back to the Co-Op. No luck. There was one thing for it, I'd have to cycle the 16km round trip to the larger branch on the other side of the city. I didn't bank on the heavens opening about a third of the way through the journey though -this ice cream better be worth it.

"Peanut Butter ice cream rippled with raspberry sauce and fudge pieces, topped with sugar coated chocolate candies."

Doesn't it look pretty? Or rather akin to something you'd find at the ice cream factory station at Pizza Hut -am I showing my age here or does that still exist?

The ice cream was reasonably easy to scoop straight from the freezer -a good job seeing as I was so eager to get stuck in. I immediately noticed the sweet peanut-y scent and admired the vivid ruby red sauce that not only adorned the ice cream, but permeated it as well.

With one lick, I entered peanut butter heaven. Thankfully I could taste the real deal instead of the artifical flavouring that infuses Peanut Butter Oreos and Peanut & Caramel Müllerlights. I realised later (when writing this post) that there was a good reason why it tasted so good: the Co-Op Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice Cream includes 9% real peanut butter. Hurrah! The ice cream is perhaps a little on the sweet side, but not so much that my teeth started to jar.  It was rich too, but admittedly not quite as luxurious as Ben & Jerry's.

The fruity sauce was tasty, offering a slight tartness that worked so well against the nut flavour. Crunch came from the sugar coated chocolate pieces -mini smarties if you will- and there was enough of them to inject tiny kicks of chocolate into every few mouthfuls.The only element which puzzled me was the fudge pieces. Yes they were sweet, squidgy, and really quite yummy, but they seemed like an odd addition to an already sweet and creamy ice cream. Perhaps little pretzel or biscuit pieces would have worked better?

I imagine this peanut butter and jelly ice cream would particularly appeal to children -if only for the colourful little smarties. I'm quite happy to act the kid however, and enjoy every last spoonful of this pretty new Co-Op ice cream. It's not as good as the Ben & Jerry's PB&J core, but it makes a good substitute!


Thursday, 16 June 2016

NEW! Eton Mess Muffins (ASDA)

A trio of new ASDA muffins: Black Forest, Toffee Fudge and Eton Mess. Oddly enough the Eton Mess was the first flavour to catch my eye back in April, and I'm not sure why I ended up trying them last. If you regularly read this blog you'll know that my experience of the new range has been completely contrasting thus far, so I really didn't want to be left feeling disappointed by ASDA's muffin-y take on the epitome of British summer desserts.

"Two clotted cream flavour muffins with a strawberry jam filling, topped with meringue pieces."

Unfortunately all of the boxes on the shelf had taken a bit of a battering, so I chose the least abused one I could find. Miniature meringue pieces flecked the top of the muffins, and the jammy centre was evident from the oozing pore at the summit of each. So far, so good.

Slicing the muffin in half revealed a generous puddle of strawberry jam. It also became clear that they were going to be moist, as they were gloriously soft and sticky to cut through.

I was sad (but unsurprised) to find that the meringue pieces offered little more than decoration to the muffin as they were completely lost against the cake. Luckily the flavour of said cake was superb. Somehow ASDA have managed to harness the flavours of afternoon tea -think fresh strawberry and cream scones- and transformed it into a muffin. I was expecting the cake to taste identical to the iconic Victoria sponge, but the flavour was far more delicate. The jammy centre was sweet and sticky, working in perfect symphony with the clotted cream flavoured cake -after all strawberries and cream are a match made in heaven.

If I was marketing these cakes for ASDA I would certainly get rid of the useless meringue and name them the Afternoon Tea Muffins. They're a delightful addition to the range, and I hope they're here to stay. The Toffee Fudge are still my favourite, but I will certainly continue to buy more of both flavours.

Who makes your favourite supermarket muffins and what's your favourite flavour? Have I tried the best Britain has to offer yet? Leave me a comment and let me know!


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Hershey's Zagnut (American Fizz)

A while ago, in my review of Nestle's Butterfinger, I mentioned a comment that I'd received on Twitter about how I couldn't be a true peanut butter addict without trying a Zagnut. The bar has been surprisingly difficult to track down, but American Fizz have recently undertaken a huge restock and so the Zagnut was available to purchase at long last. 

"When you've got a hankering for crunchy peanut butter and delicious toasted coconut, you need a ZAGNUT Bar. The satisfying crunch of peanuts, along with the sweet, toasty goodness of coconut, will bring a smile on even the most challenging of days."

Uh oh. Crunchy peanut butter. That sounds remarkably similar to the Butterfinger. Once it arrived, I manhandled the packet and realised that it felt exactly the same too. Had I made a mistake?  

The Zagnut was extremely brittle, and so it had already split in two during transit. I could smell the nuttiness as soon as it was out of it's wrapper -but my heart sunk when I saw that it was texturally indistinguishable to the Butterfinger. 

I bit into it, and tasted a powerful peanut butter flavour. There was no mistaking that Hershey's had used proper pb in the centre of the bar, packing a huge amount of flavour into every mouthful. As for the coconut? Well I couldn't taste that whatsoever. There was no hiding from the sheer amount of sugar though. I swear my teeth were screaming at me not to eat it. The sweetness combined with the crunchiness resulted in a bar that felt like I was chewing on peanut butter flavoured sugar cubes, an experience that really wasn't enjoyable. 

Half way through  I realised that it was only my reluctance to waste money that was fuelling my Zagnut endurance... With that I threw the other half away and reached for a Hershey's product that I know I love: a white chocolate Reese's heart, ahhh, much better!


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

NEW! Loaded Millionaires' Desserts (ASDA)

Last week I discovered that ASDA have just added a few new lines to their fresh dessert pot line up. The Black Forest Velvets were delicious, and I mentioned at the time that I had seen these new Loaded Millionaires pots and fancied the look of them. It's safe to assume therefore that it wasn't long before I impatiently returned to the store and picked them up!

"Toffee flavour mousse and dark chocolate ganache, with a salted caramel, chocolate flavoured biscuit crumb and white chocolate coated shortcake pieces."
 Don't they look beautiful? What's not to love about a dessert made from so many delicious sounding components....


The top layer consisted of the dark chocolate ganache which was adorned with the white chocolate coated shortcake pieces. There weren't a great deal of the shortbread balls, and to be honest they were too small to really taste. They were firm and crunched well -I just wish that there was more of them. 

I had high hopes for the ganache given how delicious the dark chocolate mousse in the Black Forest Velvets was, so I was disappointed to find that it was poor quality by comparison. The ganache lacked the powerful dark hit that I was expecting, instead it was mild in flavour. I couldn't even describe it as milk chocolate, it was just a bit nondescript. The texture of it was gorgeous however, silky smooth as I hoped it would be.

Next up was the toffee mousse, and at first I thought that it was a bit bland too. It turns out that it was just such a contrast in terms of texture and flavour to the topping that my tastebuds needed a spoonful or two to fullly appreciate the mousse. Once they had adjusted accordingly, butterscotch tones came through with a delicate flavour that was simply delicious. 

Did the salted caramel live up to my high hopes? It certainly did, in fact it surpassed my expectations! Don't get me wrong, it was no Dulce De Leche, and it was runny enough to fall off my spoon. Punchy and rich, it contained the perfect amount of salt to prevent the caramel from becoming sickly. It was absolutely divine. 

Last but not least was the chocolate biscuit base. I found it to be exactly the same stuff that sits at the bottom of the Black Forest Velvets. If you remember the last time I tasted it, I was disappointed by its blandness. This time however the lack of cocoa worked to its advantage; especially as the caramel above had oozed between the crumbs, resulting in a mouthful of flavours that reminded me of McVities caramel digestives. The perfect end to a delicious dessert.