31 May 2012

Waitrose Love Life Rooibos and Vanilla Infusion Tea

Rooibos tea is a lovely herbal tea originating from South Africa. It is sometimes called redbush tea due to it's distinctive reddish brown colour. Rooibos tea is great for people that don't like herbal teas, it is very similar to traditional black teas and can even be served with milk and sugar. I take mine without any extras. It is naturally caffeine free and has many other health benefits. If you have read the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series of books then you will know and love the main character Mma Precious Ramotswe, who is constantly drinking and enjoying this sweet tea.

I love Rooibos tea anyway but I was delighted by this Vanilla infused version from Waitrose. It is easy to brew in a few minutes and has a deep red colour. The taste is just delicious. It has a lovely fresh Rooibos taste but with added sweetness from the vanilla extract. It's a healthy alternative to tea and coffee, and because of the sweetness I don't feel the need for anything sugary (biscuits!) on the side, unlike my usual cuppa. It feels like a treat in itself rather than a healthy drink.

It is also Fairtrade certified, which is a great plus, and for only 99p for 20 bags it is an absolute bargain.

You may also be interested in: Teapigs Spiced Winter Red Tea

29 May 2012

Marks & Spencer: Colin the Caterpillar Yogurt tubes

New to the Marks and Spencer's kids food range are these Colin the Caterpillar yogurt tubes. I bought a pack of 9 yogurts with 3 x blackcurrant, 3 x apple, 3 x raspberry for £1.59. There are several varieties of similar yogurt tubes already on the market. I find them very useful for packed lunches and snacks on the go. M&S have added some interesting flavours to the mix. Apple is certainly a unique flavour for this type of product and is great for kids who are getting bored of the usual strawberry or peach flavours which are widely available.

My children really enjoyed these yogurts, they are creamy and sweet and the flavours are very fruity. They also liked the slightly goofy picture of Colin the Caterpillar eating his fruit. I noticed that there are also new Percy Pig yogurts available in multipack tubs, which I think will be very popular with kids. Let me know if you have tried these yet and what you thought of them!

Rachel's Organic Heavenly Coconut Special Edition Yogurts

I love the divine name of this yogurt, 'Heavenly Coconut', but then again I am partial to coconut. These Rachel's Organic Special Edition yogurts come in a four pack of 2 x coconut & passion fruit flavour and 2 x coconut, pineapple & banana flavour. Who needs bland strawberry yogurts when you can have such exotic flavours. I bought this variety, which is only available for a limited time, in Waitrose for £2.

Rachel's Organic is a brand which only uses pure and organic ingredients so I had high expectations for the taste of these yogurts. The passion fruit is the dominant flavour in the coconut & passion fruit variety. It is extremely fruity and quite tart while the coconut flavour adds a lovely sweetness. The actual yogurt is very creamy and is smooth apart from the pieces of dessicated coconut. In the coconut, pineapple & banana flavour, the pineapple is dominant with a great fresh flavour. The banana flavour is more subtle but adds to the creaminess of the yogurt. The combination of flavours are delicious.

All in all I think 'Heavenly' is the perfect word to describe these yogurts!

27 May 2012

Review! M&S Limited Edition Pizza: New York Pastrami

I spotted this Limited Edition M&S pizza on a recent shopping trip and was immediately intrigued by it. I'm lucky enough to have visited New York's Katz Delicatessen and tasted one of their world famous pastrami sandwiches. A delicious combination of rye bread, pastrami, guerkins and mustard which is served in an absolutely stomach bursting portion. I had high hopes for this New York Pastrami Pizza from M&S. It has all the classic ingredients of a pastrami sandcwich, plus jalapeño peppers, and comes with a serving of american mustard.

The pizza I bought had 3 large slices of guerkin, a generous helping of pastrami, a decent sprinkling of cheese and about 6 jalapeño peppers. It certainly looked impressive coming out of the oven and served 3 of us with ease. The stonebaked base was soft and doughy, the toppings were delicious especially with a drizzle of mustard over the top. I love the simple idea of using a sandwich as inspiration for a pizza and I'm certainly going to try these toppings again when making my own pizza.

The pizza cost £3.99 and there are other Limited Edition varieties available, I was also tempted by the new Spanish Spicy Chorizo pizza.

26 May 2012

M&M's Limited Edition: Red, White and Blue

At the moment it seems that every product in the supermarket has the Union Jack plastered all over it... from toilet rolls to crisps. This one really caught my eye though; M&M's in red, white and blue colours.  These M&M's look fantastic, the package is bright and has the magic words that I love; 'Limited Edition'. The Union Jack on the packet is made up of red, white and blue M&M's. I tried and failed to recreate a Union Jack with these M&M's at home, far too fiddly for me!

The actual M&M's are the same as the normal peanut variety. The blue one is very bright, not the dark blue of the Union Jack, but would still look great at any UK themed party. I'm going to be eating mine as I watch Engelbert Humperdinck perform for the UK at Eurovision!

I bought these for £1.50 at Sainsbury's. Let me know what you think of these limited edition colours.

25 May 2012

Kelloggs Rice Krispies Squares Break Size

Rice Krispies Squares have been around for a while now and are based on the home made rice krispies chocolate treats that have been around for even longer. My kids certainly love making rice krispies treats at home, it's messy but it's also fun and an easy way to get kids engaged in the kitchen. Rice Krispies and melted chocolate or marshmallows are a match made in heaven so it is no surprise that they are available in these 'Squares'. They are very appealing to kids and I'm pleased to see that they are now available in a smaller Break Size. Perfect for an afternoon or mid morning snack.

 Of course they are just as appealing to adults and I have probably eaten more of them than my kids! Even though these are 'break sized' they are more than enough to satisfy a sweet craving. The Chewy Marshmallow flavour was definitely my kids' favourite. The cereal is coated in slighty gooey marshmallow which is very tasty. The Totally Chocolatey Orange Limited Edition variety are extremely sweet with extra chocolate chunks thrown in for good measure, great for if you like chocolate orange in general. There are 85 calories in each 24g portion which is not bad for such a sweet treat.

I bought these on offer for 2 for £2 in Tesco.

24 May 2012

Ben & Jerry's Core: Karamel Sutra Ice Cream

Earlier this year Ben & Jerry's released a new range of ice creams with soft cores. Each tub has two different flavours of fair trade ice-cream with a soft core in the middle. There are three varieties available; Karamel Sutra, Berry White and Dough-ble Whammy. I decided to get the cheekily named Karamel Sutra as I loved the idea of the caramel core. 

The ice cream looks very appealing in the tub. There is a great contrast between the chocolate and caramel ice creams, and the caramel core looks lovely and gooey! I delved straight in to try the caramel core first. It tasted like dulce de leche, sweet and creamy and absolutely delicious. It doesn't have that burnt caramel taste that you sometimes get with caramel flavours. 

The chocolate ice cream is rich and full of chocolate chunks. In contrast the caramel ice cream is very subtle. I would probably say it is more of a vanilla flavour than a full caramel but the caramel core more than makes up for this. I will definitely be buying this ice cream again and can't wait to try the other flavours too.

23 May 2012

Whole Earth Lightly Whipped Hazelnut Spread

Whole Earth are expanding beyond the realm of peanut butter to bring us this lovely new chocolate spread. It has been 'lightly whipped' to give it a unique light and airy texture. The chocolate spread itself is very versatile and is not just for toast, it can also be used as a topping for cakes and muffins. I love the Whole Earth range of peanut butters because they have no added sugars or unnatural ingredients but still taste absolutely delicious. Whole Earth aim to use the most simple and natural ingredients which is certainly a plus point for most parents. The ingredients in this new chocolate spread follow this and I am glad to see that there are no hydrogenated fats or artificial flavours.

I snapped up the hazelnut variety Sainsbury's for £2.29. There is also a milk chocolate variety available. When I opened the jar I could see lots of little air bubbles in the spread which makes it look like a chocolate mousse. The consistency is very different from the usual chocolate spreads which are much denser. I decided to spread some onto a toasted bagel. It spread on very easily and because it is so airy I only needed to use a small amount.

The taste was divine. The chocolate itself is smooth and luxurious, whilst the nutty flavour from the hazelnuts adds a richness and depth. This is a delicious new product and I don't think I will be buying any other chocolate spread from now on! I can't wait to try this in my baking too. I think it will be sensational as a topping for cupcakes and, because of it's airy consistency, it should also be possible to spoon the whole lot into a piping bag for decorating. 

The only downside is that I don't think a tub of this chocolate spread is going to last very long in my house!

22 May 2012

Vanilla Stars Cereal by Tesco

Vanilla Stars, a new children's cereal by Tesco, is described as 'Star shaped wheat and maize cereal with a vanilla coating'. Most of Tesco's own brand cereals for children feature cute critters on the box and this is no different with it's cool zebra.

I am so glad that there is finally a vanilla flavoured cereal for children. My kids are not fans of chocolate cereals as they hate it when the milk goes brown! I know vanilla might seem a boring flavour to some but it is always my children's first choice when asking for ice cream or yoghurt. Most cereals aimed at children seem to be chocolate or honey flavour, neither of which appeal to my kids, so I was keen to see if they would like this one.

As soon as my kids saw the Vanilla Stars, they couldn't wait to try them. They loved the name and the shapes. The star theme is brilliantly simple, what kid doesn't love stars? The taste was a big hit too, in fact they both asked for seconds. There is quite a strong vanilla flavour to these and the milk turned vanillary too. I will definitely be buying this cereal again and it has made me keen to try the other cereals in the Tesco kids range. Vanilla Stars cost £1.68 for a 375g box and contain added vitamins and iron.

Limited Edition Yankee Candle Eat Desserts First range

I know that this is not strictly a grocery gem but I am so excited by this new range of Limited Edition Yankee Candles which are due in the UK in August this year. Eat Desserts First is a Limited Edition range themed around delicious cakes. There are three varieties; Red Velvet Cake, Chocolate Layer Cake and Banana Cream Cake. To add to the cake shop appeal the jars feature a cute scalloped lid to evoke the edge of a cake stand. I also love the name of the range, 'Eat Desserts First', which is my motto in life!

As I've mentioned before here, Red Velvet is one of my family's favourite cakes. I love the contrast between the deep red colour and the white frosting as well as the delicious rich chocolate taste. I cannot wait to smell the Red Velvet Cake candle. Yankee Candle appear to have captured my favourite cake in a jar! It looks too good to burn.

What do you think of this new range by Yankee Candle? Do you have a favourite cake that you would like to see in a candle form?

21 May 2012

Party Puffs Cereal (Limited Edition by Sugar Puffs)

There are lots of products available at the moment which are cashing in, I mean celebrating, the Queens Diamond Jubilee and Olympics. Usually this means the Union Jack and other patriotic imagery added to existing products. In other cases, some companies have gone the extra mile and created special editions of their best sellers which makes it a great time to be looking out for limited edition products.

I loved the look of these Party Puffs. It is not just a box of regular Sugar Puffs with a Union Jack flag on it, oh no, this has got added red, white and blue coloured meringue balls. The Honey Monster is also dressed up as a Queen's Guard, which is just too cute. When it comes to cereal I must admit that I love cereals that are full of colourful candy pieces, such as those US cereals like Lucky Charms. I know it's not healthy but it's just so FUN.

So far so good, but this is where this review comes to a crashing disappointing finale. I shook the box as instructed, no doubt to ensure those pesky meringue balls have not all sunk to the bottom of the bag. I poured out a serving. No colourful meringue balls, just a bowl of normal sugar puffs. I took the inner bag out. No meringue balls were visible inside the bag. I poured the bag into a bigger bowl and sifted through. Still no meringue balls! After much searching I found 9, yes a total of 9, meringue balls. In the entire bag! This is what 9 meringue balls looks like in a bowl.

It would have been better if I had not found any meringue balls in the bag, as it could be explained by a mix up at the factory, giving me a regular bag of  Sugar Puffs instead of the Party Puffs. I even checked the description on the box to see whether I had been mistaken about this cereal even containing colourful meringue pieces. Perhaps they had changed the design on the box but not the contents? But no, the front clearly says 'Sugar Puffs with balls of crunchy meringue'. The ingredients lists the meringue as 10% of the ingredients, so in a 320g box that should be at least 32g worth.

I thought I would give Sugar Puffs a call to find out if this was a one-off bad batch, but surprisingly they lack any kind of customer careline information on the packet. The only option you have is to return the product by post if you are dissatisfied and Sugar Puffs will then send you a refund. I was not prepared to package the box up and make a trip to the post office. Instead I returned the packet to Tesco, where I had bought them for £1.99. The customer services lady was excellent, very apologetic and agreed that it was terrible. I received a full refund thanks to Tesco.

I'm sure there is a gag here somewhere about the Honey Monster having no balls, but I certainly won't be buying these again to see whether the next packet is any better!

Let me know if you have had a similar experience with this or any other product.

20 May 2012

Warburtons Pitta Chips: Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar and Chilli Jack

I spotted these in a local newsagents with the magic word 'NEW' in prominent letters across the top. They looked interesting, pitta bread made into a crisps type snack by the bread makers Warburtons. A quick google tells me that these are not actually new, they've been around since spring last year. I've certainly never seen them before so I was still intrigued by them. I bought Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar and also Chilli Jack flavour.

Inside the pack are lots of triangle shaped pieces of pitta bread. The pitta chips are lovely and crunchy but not too hard. I was a bit worried that 'baked pitta' would equal 'hard as a rock pitta' but they have a great consistency, extremely moreish and munchy. They would be perfect for dipping and are a great alternative to crisps. Indeed they have one-third less fat that potato crisps but still taste delicious.

The two flavours were very different experiences. The Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar were extremely flavourful. If you like your salt and vinegar to be very vinegary then you will love these. After trying the first flavour I thought the Chilli Jack might be too much for me, as I'm not a huge fan of chilli, but these were surprisingly sweet and not too strong. The sweet chilli flavour is combined with a tasty Jack Cheese seasoning which I really enjoyed. My youngest son helped me to eat these, I didn't think he would enjoy the chilli flavour at all, but he really liked the sweetness in them and loved the novelty of these being pitta breads. I can't wait to try the other flavour Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper which sound absolutely yummy too.

Starburst Tongue Tangles

The makers of Starburst Tongue Tangles describe these sweets as 'fruit chews with an oozing sour centre'. I'm not a fan of the word 'oozing' in relation to food, it's not exactly tempting! There are three flavours is this pack; Banana & Mango, Apricot & Cherry and Blueberry & Lemon. I like the range of flavours, they are quite different from the usual starburst flavours, especially the Banana & Mango. I love the fact that there is real fruit juice in these sweets and no artificial colours or flavours.

The outer part of the sweet is very chewy and practically the same as a regular starburst. The flavours are true to their descriptions and very fruity. The inner liquid core is quite sour, but still fruity, and adds a tanginess to the whole flavour.

I don't think I would buy these again but then I'm not really a fan of sour sweets. Let me know what you think of the new Tongue Tangles.

18 May 2012

Häagen-Dazs: Mint Leaves & Chocolate Ice Cream

Häagen-Dazs have released Mint Leaves & Chocolate as a new flavour for 2012. The packaging is fairly subdued and upmarket, with a simple burgundy and gold design and a picture of the ingredients which really emphasises their quality. I usually associate mint ice cream with the brightly green coloured cheap kind so I am pleased to see a premium version of this classic flavour.  I also love the fact that this ice cream contains real mint leaves and natural mint flavour.

The first thing I notice is that the mint ice-cream is not lurid green at all but a lovely creamy colour full of chocolate fudge pieces. The initial flavour that hits you is the creamy taste of the ice cream that you would expect from  Häagen-Dazs. The mint was quite subtle and didn't pack a punch as I was expecting.  It is not overpowering at all and is perfectly balanced with the creamy ice-cream. There are also lots of small chocolate pieces throughout the ice cream. They are dark chocolate which is always a great combination with mint. Overall this Mint Leaves & Chocolate ice cream is very refreshing and perfect for hot summer days.

Have you tried this flavour, what did you think of it? I would love Häagen-Dazs to release a Banana ice-cream flavour next!

You may also be interested in:

Ben & Jerry's Karamel Sutra
Asda Loaded Peanut Butter Crunch Ice Cream

17 May 2012

iCOCO Coconut Water Cherry Vanilla drink

In the last few years there has been a growing health craze for coconut water which has been extolled for its various benefits. Coconut water has no fat or cholesterol and is said to be good for after exercise as it is very hydrating and full of electrolytes.  iCOCO coconut water is a new range of pure coconut water drinks that have been blended with fruit juices with no added sugars.The flavour combinations available sound delicious; cherry vanilla, pineapple or minted apple. I went for the cherry vanilla which is available in Waitrose for £1.39. It contains grape juice, cherry juice, flavourings, vanilla extract and vitamin C. Each pack contains as much potassium as a banana.

I had never tried coconut water before. I love the taste of coconut milk and coconut in general but I'm aware that coconut water tastes very different. Despite this knowledge, I was genuinely surprised by the flavour of this drink, it's not at all what I was expecting. The coconut water's flavour is unlike anything I have ever tasted before, more reminiscent of the coconut shell rather than the sweet coconut flesh. It's VERY earthy tasting (and by earthy I mean muddy!) and to be honest it just tastes odd. The cherry flavour adds a refreshing tartness but the vanilla extract is barely noticeable. Overall, it's not a drink I would want to try again.

16 May 2012

PG Tips Limited Edition Diamond Jubilee Tin

When I was a child my Mum had a huge collection of vintage tins lining the tops of all our kitchen cabinets. There were elaborate biscuit tins made by Cadburys to celebrate the Queen's Coronation in 1953, classic Oxo tins, and many others. My Mum has long since pared down her collection to just a few tins but I think she will be very happy to receive this one made by PG Tips for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

It is a very modern design, PG Tips are not going for a retro look with this tin. The Union Flag is in the green and red colours of the PG Tips logo and features Monkey prominently on the front enjoying a cup of tea. The tin has a very celebratory feel with lots of confetti and bunting featured in the design. I have a feeling that a lot of these tins will be appearing on eBay!

Inside the tin you get a regular box of PG Tips 160 tea bags, and obviously the tin will be good storage for your teabags. I bought the tin for £5 from Asda and it looks so cute I'm going to have to buy another one for my Mum and keep this one!

Junior's Pantry new range of children's food

With two children at primary school who have a very busy social life, I was intrigued to hear about a new range of meals aimed at children aged 4+. Junior's Pantry  is the inspiration of mum-of-two, Kate Finch, a Cordon Bleu-trained chef, who has created an interesting range of nutritious meals for primary school age children.

There are no preservatives or ‘nasties’ used in any of the dishes in this range so it is a great way to provide a wholesome meal even on busy days. The dishes are obviously targeted at busy parents, whose children lead active lifestyles with quick, nutricious ready meals which can be prepared in minutes. Junior's Pantry meals are available from Ocado .

The range includes:
·        Chicken, prawn and chorizo paella: A delicious paella with a hint of smokey paprika from the chorizo RRP £2.89
·        Chicken with pesto pasta: A light pasta dish using orzo pasta (like large rice) and a delicious pesto and green vegetable sauce RRP £2.89
·        Beef ragu: A vibrant beef ragu with lots of hidden veggies, served with wholemeal fusilli RRP £2.89

My eldest is currently obsessed with paella so I think that will be the first one I will get. What do you think of this new range, have you tried it? Let me know if your children enjoyed it!

15 May 2012

Mr Strong Strawberry Flavour Yogurt Shot (Tesco Exclusive)

The Mr. Men books are undoubtedly my favourite books for children so it is not surprising that this new Mr. Strong yogurt drink caught my eye in Tesco. The packaging is just fantastic. It has a vibrant image of Misterland with its blue sky, green grass and yellow sun. I love this new range of Mr. Men products, which is available exclusive to Tesco. I've already reviewed the Mr.Men Ice Lolly range which feature Mr. Bump, Mr. Messy and Mr. Jelly.

Here we have Mr. Strong, who gets his own strawberry flavour yogurt 'shot'. Each bottle has an image of Mr. Strong lifting dumbbell's which my boys loved. There are plenty of other yogurt drink products for kids but I think the bright Mr. Men imagery and packaging set this one apart. The drink itself is fine and similar to many other strawberry yogurt's; very sweet and with a pleasant strawberry flavour. My children certainly enjoyed the taste.

The Mr. Strong yogurt shots cost £1.25 for a pack of 6 x 100g bottles, which I think is great value. They are nice as a drink in the morning before school or for a lunchbox treat. It would be great if Tesco could add some Little Miss characters to this range too!

14 May 2012

Schwartz Chicken and Chorizo Gratin recipe mix


Schwartz have released a new range of Limited Edition recipe mixes for the summer. I don't usually buy packet mixes but I was intrigued to try the Chicken & Chorizo Gratin, as I often use these ingredients but never in an oven baked dish. The spice mix contains paprika, garlic, onion, tomato powder, salt, as well as different herbs, such as Oregano and Thyme. There are no artificial flavours or MSG. The recipe requires 450g chicken breast, 100g chorizo, 1 onion, 1 tin of tomatoes, water, tomato puree, 1 courgette, 1 pepper, 50g cheddar cheese and 100g breadcrumbs. 

The recipe was very simple to follow. I made my own breadcrumbs with wholemeal bread (which is why my picture looks darker than the packet) and also added olives into the bake. I used passata instead of the tinned tomatoes as I just prefer the flavour and consistency of passata. Once prepared the whole lot went in the oven for 20 minutes.

The finished product was absolutely delicious. I served it with a tomato and spring onion salad and home made potato wedges. The chicken was incredibly moist and tender. My kids loved the breadcrumb cheese topping and the whole thing was wolfed down in a flash. The sauce was very tasty with a sublte paprika, garlic and herb flavour.

I will definitely be making this again. Next time I would serve it with crusty bread, as there was quite a lot of lovely sauce to mop up at the end. 

I also like the look of the new Schwartz Coronation Chicken mix, with it's Jubilee inspired packaging. I usually don't buy coronation chicken because of the raisins, which my husband hates, so I can now make my own and leave the raisins out. There are four new varieties in this range in total.

NEW Starbucks Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino®

I know this isn't a 'grocery' find but I just had to share this new Starbucks Frappuccino flavour which is being launched this Friday (18th May). It's a Mocha Cookie Crumble which sounds absolutely delicious to me. I'll have mine with soya milk please!

UPDATE 07/06/2012: I can now confirm that I have tried this new flavour. It is refreshing and delicious. The cookie pieces really add to the chocolate flavour of the mocha coffee. I would definitely get this again. The only problem is that it is such a popular drink that my local Starbucks quickly runs out of the cookie ingredients and can't make it. In fact it took be 4 visits before I finally managed to get one!

What do you think of the new flavour and how do you take yours?

13 May 2012

Innocent Smoothies New Cherries and Strawberries

Innocent Smoothies are undoubtedly the best loved smoothies for kids, they have such fun packaging that they entice even the most reluctant juice drinker. I think my boys enjoyed the packaging as much as the juice itself! This brand new flavour, Cherries and Strawberries, costs £2.99 for a box of 4 cartons. I picked it up from my local Tesco.

My kids were super excited to try this new flavour. After quicky slurping it down, my eldest said it first tastes a bit like another Innocent Smoothie for kids; Apples and Blackcurrants. This is probably because this new variety also contains apples and grapes, like most of the other Innocent Smoothies for kids. After the initial apple and grape flavour, he said you get a lovely fresh cherry taste. This product definitely got the thumbs up from my children.

I was also pleased to see that my sons loved reading the facts on the back of the cartons. One carton covered the 'Solar System' and the other featured 'Amazing Body Facts' which were perfect for my kids as these topics fascinate them.

I love it when a favourite brand introduces a new flavour or variety. It's very exciting and I know I'm not the only one out there who thinks this! Let me know if you or your kids have tried this new smoothie and what you thought - I love reading your comments!

12 May 2012

Mission Breakfast Bread; Mixed Berry & Seed

I was really curious when I saw this 'Breakfast Bread' in my local Asda (on special offer for 50p a pack). These breads look just like naan bread or flatbread which is not somethine I would associate with breakfast! They come in a Mixed Berry and Seed or a Cranberry and Orange varieties. I went for the Mixed Berry and Seed as it made with blueberries which I love. They contain natural ingredients and best of all are really quick and easy to prepare. The breakfast bread just needs a couple of minutes in a toaster and they are ready to eat. I spread mine with some butter but they also recommend eating it plain or with jam so it's quite versatile.

The taste was unexpected, it really is like a sweet naan bread, it has the same doughy feel. The taste was predominantly of blueberry which I was pleased with and the pumpkin and sunflower seeds added a nice chewy texture without overpowering the rest of the flavour. I think these are great for a quick snack at any time of day not just breakfast. I'll definitely be trying the Orange and Cranberry variety.

11 May 2012

Magnum Inifinity Chocolate Ice Cream

I must be a big kid at heart because the discovery of a new ice cream always makes my day. Magnum often brings out new varieties to keep the brand fresh and interesting. I loved the Magnum Gold which was released a few years ago and the Magnum Temptation last year. This year we have the Magnum Infinity. It promises to give you an intense pleasure sensation that stays with you for longer. This is because it has 'cocoa nibs' which are made from a rare Tanzanian cocoa containing a high concentration of theobromine, a phytochemical known to have a mild, stimulating effect. They claim that Magnum Infinity helps to increase feelings of well-being and pleasure. Well, I think most ice cream has that affect on me anyway!

The taste of these is extremely intense, the dark chocolate covering is covered with 'bumps', which at first glance might look like nuts, but are in fact the raw cocoa nibs. These don't taste at all like I was expecting, they are quite bitter and could almost be mistaken for coffee beans. If you love extremely dark, strong chocolate then this will be heaven. I have quite a sweet tooth so these were a bit too intense and dark for me! The ice cream in the centre is lovely and smooth with a sweet chocolate flavour. It helps to balance the dark chocolate but is ultimately overpowered flavourwise.

These are now available in a new pack of the Mini variety, making this a less intense way to enjoy the Magnum Infinity.

Have you tried the Magnum Infinity? Let me know what you thought by leaving a comment. Thanks

10 May 2012

Thomas and Friends Snacks (£1.29 at Asda)

Just picked these up in Asda today; a multipack of 6 bags (3 x cheese and 3 x tomato) for £1.29. I know there have been Thomas branded yoghurts available for a while but I've never seen these 'snacks' before. They are made of corn, potato and rice and feature some great Thomas character shapes.

Even though my boys are probably way too old for these I couldn't resist picking up a pack. They both really enjoyed them and since I have one child that doesn't like cheese flavoured crisps it's great that there are two different flavours for Mum's sake! My kids are actually very fussy with crisps so I was pleased that they both enjoyed these. The Cheese flavour are very reminiscent of Quavers, while the Ketchup flavour is more unique and my son said it was had a nice sweet tomato taste.

There is an impressive checklist on the front extolling the products' virtues, such as; natural flavours, gluten free and no artificial preservatives. Also there are only 73 calories per bag and 0.11g of salt. It's all too easy to place an image of Thomas on an inferior product but this is definitely of a higher quality then most. It's made by The Dormen Food Company in Wiltshire.

The best part are of course the Thomas shapes, this is a very fun product in this respect and I'm sure any Thomas fan will love them. Perfect for a once a week lunchbox snack. What do your kids think of this new product, do they like the flavours? Let me know if you have tried them!

You may also be interested in:
Thomas & Friends Ice Cream Engines
Mr Men Ice Lollies

Teapigs Peppermint Leaves tea (£4.50 at Waitrose)

Teapigs are a range of premium tea which don't come in teabags, these are 'tea temples'. They are essentially silky little bags containing whole leaf only, which makes the flavour unlike any other regular tea. The 'peppermint leaves' is probably my favourite so far, as it's so refreshing.  It really packs a punch with a strong mint taste, that is fresh and light without any bitter taste. They are also branded as a 'tummy tonic', since peppermint is well known for calming and easing bloated tums, so they are benefiical for your health whilst also tasting great.

I've also tried Teapigs Chai tea and the Everyday Brew which were both lovely. The Chai tea is spiced with cinnamon and cardamon and great for recreating a quick and easy Indian Chai tea. The little bag smells absolutely gorgeous even before any hot water has been added. The spices all smell fresh and fragrant.

The Everyday Brew makes a lovely full bodied cup of tea as it's blended from three types of tea Assam, Ceylon and Rwandan. You won't need a biscuit with these as you'll want to savour all of the layered flavours. I was expecting this to make a stronger cup of tea than the cheaper brands but it is actually quite light and again very fresh tasting.

I'll definitely be back to try more of these teas, especially their 'mao feng green tea' but I'm also intrigued by the sound of the 'roiboos créme caramel' which they call a 'skinny dessert' - yum!

9 May 2012

Morrisons Red Velvet Cupcake Kit (£1.39 at Morrisons)

Red Velvet is one of our favourite types of cake, there is just something so amazing about the deep red colour and the perfectly contrasting cream cheese frosting. I'm always searching for the perfect red velvet cake recipe but they never seen to turn out red enough! In the past I have ordered red velvet cakes mixes from US suppliers here in the UK. Betty Crocker and Duncan Hines are both great brands which give excellent results.

I was very happy when I found this Red Velvet Cupcake kit in my local Morrisons supermarket. I had no idea that any UK supermarket did this and I give full credit to Morrisons for bringing out a line of such interesting cupcake kits; they also have Mint Choc Chip and White Chocolate & Strawberry in their 'Home Baking' range.

As you would expect from one of these cake mixes it was extremely easy to make, great for when you are also making a full works roast dinner! Inside the box there are three packets, one for the cake mix, one for the icing mix, and one with red sprinkles to decorate. It also comes with the cake cases required. It only needed 60ml water. 60g butter and 1 medium egg to finish the cake mix. The cupcakes looked lovely once cooked, with perfectly flat tops which are great for icing.  I thought the end result looked quite pretty and my family was certainly pleased with them. I just used a spoon to put the icing straight on, as we only like quite a thin layer, but there was enough icing to fill an icing bag and do a more professional job of it if so desired.

The colour was great too, not as red as the aforementioned US cake kits but still a lovely dark red shade.

The taste was good too, the sponge was very light and fluffy and had a nice chocolate taste, it certainly got the thumbs up from my kids and it was a great treat to end our family meal. Obviously the taste is not as good as home baked or from a designer bakery but I think it is still a good stand-by to have in the cupboard and is certainly great value for £1.39. I will certainly be trying the other cakes mixes in this range.

The Morrisons Red Velvet Cupcake mix has also been deservedly shortlisted in The Grocer's Own Label Food & Drinks Awards 2012 in the 'Bakery, Cake Mixes' category.
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