Thursday, 14 December 2017

Waitrose Snowdrop Chantenay Carrots

Waitrose Snowdrop Chantenay Carrots

Taking a break from the constant deluge of sugary treats this festive season, I've decided to review something a little more normal but still fitting for Christmas and the snowy weather - snowdrop carrots! No, these are not parsnips despite looking like them, they are actually carrots and taste like carrots. So what's the difference between these white versus orange carrots? And are they just parsnip-carrot wannabes?

Waitrose Snowdrop Chantenay Carrots

I bought these from Waitrose, reduced to 85p from £1.50. I peeled, boiled and chopped them as you would regular carrots. Taking a bite of a slice before cooking, I was subconsciously expecting the taste of a parsnip...but they tasted just like a carrot, albeit slightly sweeter and lighter. They didn't seem as "heavy" tasting as regular carrots is the best way I can describe them!

Cooked and mashed, they were also a little sweeter and lighter tasting than regular carrots, but not much different. It was nice to have something creamy looking and white to fit with the snowy weather we've been having lately, and no doubt these will make a nice variation for stews or curries depending on what colours you like. Yes, there's not really much need for them but hey, they were interesting to try!

7.5 out of 10. 

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Marks & Spencer Chocolate Marbled Mallows

Marks & Spencer Chocolate Marbled Mallows

The big day isn't far away and the festive treats are flowing...well, they are if you review snacks anyway! Marks & Spencer have been leading the pack this year in terms of interesting Christmas foods, from the likes of Milk Chocolate Cinnamon Tortillas, Prosecco Caramels and even a Christmas Pudding Smoothie. For more do check out my Instagram page (there's updates daily!).

One thing I decided to try recently were these Chocolate Marbled Mallows, purely because they were reduced to £3, come in a fancy box and contain no suspect ingredients (for someone avoiding gluten, anyway!)

Marks & Spencer Chocolate Marbled Mallows

They're described as "vanilla mallow with marbled dark chocolate" and come in a fancy wooden tube style box, which you peel open to reveal a bag of mallow chunks.

Marks & Spencer Chocolate Marbled Mallows

They certainly looked super squishy and bouncy, with a nice chocolatey swirled effect going on. Plus there was the obligatory dusting of icing sugar.

They tasted pretty good, sweet and chewy and as you would expect, although I couldn't taste the dark chocolate much. There was a hint of cocoa flavour in there but it was overpowered by the sugary sweet mallow. Still these were pretty tasty and better quality than your average cheap marshmallow.

Overall, are these a win? Not quite, they're lacking that bit of "oomph" to make them not just any marshmallow, but an M&S marshmallow...still, they're pretty tasty if quality mallows are your thing. They'd also make a lovely gift just for the tube alone.

7 out of 10.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Coffeegator Pour Over Coffee Maker & Canister Review

Coffeegator Pour Over Coffee Maker

Today's review is for something a bit different. A while back I was sent some CoffeeGator products to review, and it's taken some time to get to them but I thought they'd be perfect for the festive season. Because coffee always makes a great gift! And also because I've been busy using these products to get a feel for them, and can safely say now that I love them - they've made life as a coffee lover so much easier! (For someone who doesn't have a Nespresso machine, anyway!)

coffeegator canister

One of the products I was sent is The CoffeeGator Coffee Canister, a swish metal canister designed to keep your coffee super fresh as though the packet has just been opened. This is achieved with a special valve in the lid, which allows C02 to leave the canister but stops air and light getting in and affecting the flavour. It definitely keeps the coffee tasting fresher for longer, with no more having to clip pegs onto packets like I used to do!

coffeegator coffee canister

The canister also comes with a stainless steel measuring spoon to scoop out your coffee with.

coffeegator coffee canister

The CoffeeGator Pour Over Coffee Maker is a glass jug that looks something like an hourglass, with a metal sieve part sat above a wider jug base.

coffeegator pour over coffee maker

All you do is simply measure out a few spoonfuls of filter coffee into the filter, boil the kettle and pour hot water over it. And watch as it drips through and makes you an almost-instant cuppa! There's indentations on the jug to inform you how many cups have been filtered, which is very handy since it means you can decide just how shaky (in other words: full of adrenaline) you'd like to be!

coffeegator pour over coffee maker

I love this coffee maker, it's so handy and much easier to clean than a cafetiere. It's also faster and very satisfying to just watch the coffee dripping throughout the filter in the morning. It's almost like a meditation - never mind watching paint dry, watching coffee drip is where it's at! Once ready you just remove the filter and pour your freshly brewed coffee straight from the jug. And repeat once you've finished!

I've been using this for a while now and it's saved so much time and effort, because with a cafetiere I would spend ages just scooping out the coffee grounds and rinsing the filters afterwards to make sure they don't get mouldy. With this, all it requires is a brief rinse of the filter section and jug. Easy peasy!

Overall, in case you can't tell I love this product! For someone busy wanting good tasting fresh coffee this is the ideal solution. I now consider cafeteries a stone age contraption! Now, what I really really want this Christmas, Santa Baby, is a Nespresso machine...

9 out of 10. 

For more info on CoffeeGator their website is: https://coffeegator.com/

Monday, 11 December 2017

Tesco Finest Creamy Brie & Cranberry Crisps

Tesco Finest Creamy Brie & Cranberry Crisps

Tesco have quite a track record for unusual crisp flavours at Christmas. Last year they did the tasty Cocoa & Spiced Rum Crisps, this year the weird Candy Cane Crisps, and amongst the seasonal range I spotted this relatively more-normal-but-still-novel flavour, Creamy Brie and Cranberry. I wasn't sure about berries mixed with cheese as a crisp flavour so I went with my curiosity...

For £1 a bag these are described simply as "Brie and cranberry flavour crinkle cut potato crisps". Opening the bag they certainly had a super strong cheesy aroma.

Tesco Finest Creamy Brie & Cranberry Crisps

They tasted super cheesy indeed, as you would expect from brie flavoured crisps! It was quite overpowering - these definitely aren't for the faint of heart and are clearly only for those who truly love their cheese. The cranberry flavor adds a slight sour tartness, it's subtle but you can (just) taste it amongst all the cheese.

Overall, these are some cheesy crisps indeed, and I imagine you'll either love or hate them. They'd certainly make an interesting addition to any festive party or buffet!

7 out of 10.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons & Freddo Faces Chocolate Tubes

Cadbury dairy milk Freddo faces buttons

I do often bemoan the quality of Cadbury's chocolate, and with good reason - the taste and texture has gone way downhill in recent years. However I am still human and love most things sweet so when offered to try the Cadbury Christmas range I didn't say no. Their 2017 products include a few newbies in their stocking fillers, including Cadbury Dairy Milk Freddo Faces. I was sent those along with Cadbury Dairy Milk Buttons so thought I'd do a head to head comparison of the two!

Starting with the Freddo Faces these aren't all in one tube but rather in little packets inside the tubes, which is disappointing. It doesn't feel special but rather that they've just stuffed some regular products into a tube and given it a festive label. Still it makes them handy to give out as snacks and keeps them fresher. Well, in theory it does if you don't intend on eating them all at once!

They tasted nice, sweet and sugary, pretty much what you'd expect from Cadbury Freddo. No doubt they're perfect stocking fillers for kiddies especially with the fun Freddo shapes. Yes, the quality of the Dairy Milk isn't what it used to be, but they're still fun as far as cheap chocolates go - I can't knock that. And anything Freddo related always has a special nostalgic feel to it. 8 out of 10.

The Dairy Milk buttons are the classics we all know and love, they taste milkier and greasier than they used to but still have that comforting familiar taste underneath all the sugar. Again these come in little packets, somewhat cheapening the point of them being in a festive tube.

They tasted good, although I think giant buttons would have been better because these are a bit small and annoying to eat. But then I have a big mouth and they're not aimed at me so...yeah, I'm sure kids will love them! They're not quite as fun as the Freddo Faces, even though they are a classic. 7.5 out of 10.

Overall, what can I say but basically these are both fun and cheap chocolates that do what they say on the tin...er tube...er...packet. The Freddo Faces are a clear choice for the kiddies and the Dairy Milk Buttons would make a good stocking filler for pretty much anyone.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Christmas in Shops 2017 - Supermarket Own Brand Edition

The supermarkets have really upped their game in recent years for own-brand festive products, with some impressive and weird new treats out for the Christmas Season. Below are some I've seen whilst out and about...although there's lots more! For updates of the most recent do check out my Instagram Page. 

Tesco Chocolate Truffle Carrots: 
tesco chocolate truffle carrots

These don't actually contain carrot, do not fear! Instead they are coloured white chocolates with praline fillings.

Tesco White Chocolate Polar Bear:
tesco chocolate polar bear

Another white chocolate treat from Tesco are these cute chocolate polar bears.

Tesco Black Forest Dome Gateau:
tesco black forest dome gateau

Making a return for the festive season are these yummy Black Forest Dome Gateaus.

Tesco Christmas Tree Ice Creams:
tesco christmas tree ice creams

Also making a return are these Christmas Tree shaped ice creams.

Tesco Chocolate Orange Muffins:
tesco chocolate orange muffins

Chocolate and orange is always a welcome festive flavour and now you can get them in muffin form thanks to Tesco!

Tesco Finest Gingerbread Nuts & Raisins Limited Edition:
Tesco Finest Gingerbread Nuts & Raisins Limited Edition

A mixture of gingerbread flavour cashews, raisins and chocolate pieces, these sound delicious!

Tesco Finest White Chocolate & Strawberry Nuts:
Tesco Finest White Chocolate & Strawberry Nuts

Sounding more like a Summery nut mix, these contains white chocolate nuts with white chocolate coated strawberries.

Asda Caramelised Biscuit Gateau:
Asda Caramelised Biscuit Gateau

Asda are getting fancy this year with their Caramelised biscuit gateau. Yum! 

Asda Party Chocolate Orange Profiteroles:
Asda Party Chocolate Orange Profiteroles

An orangey variety of Profiteroles, perfect for the festive season!

Asda Christmas Tree Crumpets:
Asda Christmas Tree Crumpets

Asda did Pumpkin shaped crumpets for Halloween now they have moulded them into Christmas Tree shapes. I bet these would be gorgeous with butter and cinnamon melted on!

Asda Extra Special Free From Chocolate & Salted Caramel Naked Layered Gateau:
Asda Extra Special Free From Chocolate & Salted Caramel Naked Layered Gateau

I'm not sure what makes this gateau "naked" exactly, but it sure does sound delicious. Plus it's Gluten Free, hurrah!

Asda Extra Special Raspberry & White Chocolate Macaron Cake:
Asda Extra Special Raspberry & White Chocolate Macaron Cake:

Asda are also doing this rather unique sounding Raspberry and White Chocolate Macaron cake.

Asda Extra Special Raspberry & Prosecco Pavlova Stack:
Asda Extra Special Raspberry & Prosecco Pavlova Stack

Plus the Flavour of the month, Prosecco in pavlova form.

Asda Extra Special Golden Baked Salted Caramel Cheesecake:
Asda Extra Special Golden Baked Salted Caramel Cheesecake

And another flavour of the month...or rather last few years...salted caramel baked cheesecake!

Co Op Gingerbread Tortilla Rolls:
Co Op Gingerbread Tortilla Rolls

Suitable for vegetarians and vegans, these Co Op Tortilla Rolls sound pretty unique! If anyone has tried them do leave a comment and let me know your thoughts.

Co Op Pigs in Blankets Tortilla Rolls:
Co Op Pigs in Blankets Tortilla Rolls

Also suitable for vegans and vegetarians, I don't know how the Co Op manage to make things taste so meaty without meat! Must be that festive magic...

Co Op Irresistible Cheese Board Crisps:
Co Op Irresistible Cheese Board Crisps

Containing cheese, these are definitely bot vegan but they are gluten free, hurrah! They're flavoured with brie, wensleydale, stilton and cranberry. Yum!

Co Op Irresistible Posh Prawn Cocktail Crisps:
Co Op Irresistible Posh Prawn Cocktail Crisps

For those who like something fishy rather than cheesy, there's these Posh Prawn Cocktail Crisps, which are also gluten free. Presumably not vegan though, unless there's such a thing as vegan fish (there probably is).

The Co Op Christmas Mini Caramel & Pecan Tarts:
The Co Op Christmas Mini Caramel & Pecan Tarts

You can't beat the classic combination of caramel and pecans in tart form!

The Co Op Free From Mini Iced Fruit Cake Bites:
The Co Op Free From Mini Iced Fruit Cake Bites

The Co Op are doing a great job if catering for people with gluten allergy this Christmas, and these Mini Iced Fruit Cake bites sound perfect to nibble on!

The Co Op Irresistible Free From Yule Logs:
The Co Op Irresistible Free From Yule Logs

As do these gluten free Yule logs!

Marks & Spencer Merry Percymas!:
Marks & Spencer Merry Percymas!

M&S are pulling out all the stops with their treats this year, with even Pecy Pig getting a festive makeover!

M&S Christmas Pudding Ice Cream:
M&S Christmas Pudding Ice Cream

For when you can't decide between ice cream or pudding. Marks & Spencer's Christmas Pudding Ice Cream!

M&S Chocolate Orange Ice Cream:
M&S Chocolate Orange Ice Cream

And if you're sick of Terry's Chocolate Orange (I know I am!) you can also get your orangey chocolate fix in ice cream form. Hurrah!

M&S Turkey Feast Hand Cooked Crisps:
M&S Turkey Feast Hand Cooked Crisps

You can also have your turkey feast in crisp form thanks to M&S!

Marks & Spencer Caramelised Pecans:
Marks & Spencer Caramelised Pecans

Caramelised Pecans, coated with milk chocolate and gianduja and dusted in cocoa powder. Sounds delicious, but they're not cheap! But then, they'r not just any nuts, they're posh nuts...

Marks & Spencer Apple Cinnamon Truffles:
Marks & Spencer Apple Cinnamon Truffles

Speaking of not being cheap, these lovely sounding apple cinnamon truffles are even more expensive. £15!!! Let's hope they're not just any truffles, but the best in the world!

Marks and Spencer Cinnamon Biscuit Milk Chocolate Truffles:
Marks and Spencer Cinnamon Biscuit Milk Chocolate Truffles

These sound nice, you can't beat cinnamon and biscuit!

Marks & Spencer Mince Pie Fudge:
Marks & Spencer Mince Pie Fudge

Mince pie fudge...what better combination for Christmas?!

Marks & Spencer Orange, Pomegranate & Cranberry Sunrise:
Marks & Spencer Orange, Pomegranate & Cranberry Sunrise

As well as the Christmas Pudding Smoothie M&S have brought out this festive drink - Orange Pomegranate and Cranberry juice, supporting the charity Shelter.

Marks & Spencer Clementine Orange & Passion Fruit Juice:
Marks & Spencer Clementine Orange & Passion Fruit Juice

Plus there's a clementine, orange and passionfruit variety.

Marks & Spencer Crackling Crisps:
Marks & Spencer Crackling Crisps

And pork crackling crisps! Comes complete with apple cider and rosemary dip.

Marks & Spencer Chocolate Coated Gingerbread Latte Cookies:
Marks & Spencer Chocolate Coated Gingerbread Latte Cookies

Gingerbread latte in cookie form...yummo!

Marks & Spencer Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese & Champagne Hand Cooked Crisps:
Marks & Spencer Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese & Champagne Hand Cooked Crisps

Smoked salmon, cream cheese AND champagne in crisp form?! What kind of Frankenstein abomination is this???

Marks & Spencer Bloody Mary Hand Cooked Red Crisps:
Marks & Spencer Bloody Mary Hand Cooked Red Crisps

Vodka flavour crisps, really?!

Marks & Spencer Winter Berries & Prosecco Hand Cooked Crisps:
Marks & Spencer Winter Berries & Prosecco Hand Cooked Crisps

As much as I liked the Co Op Proscco Bubbles, I'm not sure about these...

Marks & Spencer Honey Mustard Poppy Seed Tortilla Rolls:
Marks & Spencer Honey Mustard Poppy Seed Tortilla Rolls

Now these sound a bit more promosing! Also check out my review of the M&S Milk Chocolate Cinnamon Tortilla Rolls.

Marks & Spencer Pigs in Blankets Crisps:
Marks & Spencer Pigs in Blankets Crisps

Pork and pork flavour crisps...yum!

Marks & Spencer Raspberry & White Chocolate Trees:
Marks & Spencer Raspberry & White Chocolate Trees

Now these sound nice, you can't beat the combo of white chocolate and raspberry!

Marks & Spencer Snowy Road Mini Bites:
Marks & Spencer Snowy Road Mini Bites

Paddington Bear themed Snowy Road snacks with fruit and marshmallows, yum!

Marks & Spencer Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes:
Marks & Spencer Christmas Tree Chocolate Cupcakes

You can't beat a festive cupcake!

Marks & Spencer Bacon Wrapped Mac & Cheese Stacks:
Marks & Spencer Bacon Wrapped Mac & Cheese Stacks

And what party would be complete without bacon wrapped Mac and cheese?

Iceland Caramel Ice Cream Trees:
Iceland Caramel Ice Cream Trees

Iceland are doing Christmas Tree shaped ice creams again these year, this time in caramel flavour,

Iceland Luxury Chocolate & Orange Choux Garland:
Iceland Luxury Chocolate & Orange Choux Garland

A choux pastry chocolate orange garland...yummy!

Iceland Irish Cream Profiterole Gateau:
Iceland Irish Cream Profiterole Gateau

You can't beat Irish cream at this time of year...especially in cheesecake form!

Iceland Luxury Dark Chocolate & Mint Dessert:
Iceland Luxury Dark Chocolate & Mint Dessert

Neither can you beat minty chocolate desserts...

Iceland Luxury Salted Caramel Cheesecake:
Iceland Luxury Salted Caramel Cheesecake

Or salted caramel!

Iceland Luxury Melting Chocolate Snowflake:
Iceland Luxury Melting Chocolate Snowflake

Now this looks fancy!

Iceland Raspberry Eton Mess Cheesecake:
Iceland Raspberry Eton Mess Cheesecake

More of a summer flavour, but still very yummy no doubt...

Iceland Passion Fruit Gateau:
Iceland Passion Fruit Gateau

A passion fruit gateau with Cointreau Liquer.

Iceland Luxury Raspberry Panna Cotta Desserts:
Iceland Luxury Raspberry Panna Cotta Desserts

Interesting!

Iceland Luxury Chocolate Creme Brulee Desserts:
Iceland Luxury Chocolate Creme Brulee Desserts

You can't beat creme brûlée desserts!

Iceland Fruity Eclairs:
Iceland Fruity Eclairs

In a variety of flavours such as lemon meringue and black forest, these eclairs sound perfect for the festive season!

Well, that's about it for today's post, there's lots more festive treats in shops of course, do let me know if you spot any! And keep an eye on my Instagram page for updates of any as I spot them too...Happy Christmas Snacking!