29 Nov 2014

Review: Collective Dairy Xmas Pud Gourmet Yogurt

When I joined Instagram in November last year, the first photo I uploaded was one of the new Collective Dairy Xmas Pud yogurt. I didn't actually get to try it last year so I'm pleased to see it returning as a limited edition for Christmas 2014. 

The Collective Dairy Xmas Pud yogurt is quite pricey at £2.40p for a 500g tub, but I appreciate the festive design of the packaging the quality of the ingredients. Each British made Xmas Pud live yogurt is gluten free, suitable for vegetarians and free from any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

The thick and creamy yogurt has a generous double serving of Christmas pudding inspired layers, one on top of the yogurt and one layer on the bottom. The yogurt itself is extremely delicious with a luxuriously thick texture and fresh, tangy flavour. The Christmas pudding layers are super sweet and filled with mixed candied peel and plump raisins. Even though I mostly enjoyed this yogurt, I'm not a big fan of candied peel and, for me, there were too many bits of lemon peel and orange peel within the layers. I'm sure most fans of Christmas pudding would be delighted so that's purely an issue of personal taste. It certainly doesn't detract from the overall quality of the yogurt itself.

Grocery Gems Verdict: Collective Dairy Xmas Pud Yogurt

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: I wish I had tried the Pumpkin Spice one!
Nutrition: 132 calories per 100g.
Purchased: Co-Op.
Price: £2.40p.

28 Nov 2014

Competition! Win £50 to spend at Shop From A Pound


Shop From A Pound is a great value online store which features Big Brand bargains and daily deals for less. They offer fantastic value with delivery direct to your door. Delivery is free on all orders over £25: www.shopfromapound.co.uk 

I'm delighted that Shop From A Pound have offered my readers the chance to WIN £50 to spend at their online shop!


  • Simply fill in the Rafflecopter entry form below to verify your entries (refresh page if not showing)
  • Entries will be via Twitter or Facebook
  • Competition open to UK residents only
  • Closing date 18 December 2014
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a Rafflecopter giveaway

27 Nov 2014

Butterkist Salted Caramel Popcorn Limited Edition

Butterkist have released quite a few interesting limited editions in the past year, such as the summer Strawberries & Cream variety and even a Sea Salt & Balsamic Vinegar earlier in the year. Even though I enjoy flavoured popcorn, I haven't really been tempted into any of these limited edition flavours from Butterkist until I saw this Salted Caramel pack - this one was a MUST try! 

The popcorn has the familiar Butterkist appearance, with a thick layer of caramel on many of the pieces. The caramel flavour is quite similar to their regular toffee variety but with a smoother and more buttery edge to it. The addition of the salt results in a lovely sweet and salty balance in the caramel that is extremely tasty. It's a bit like the Butterkist Sweet & Salty popcorn but with added caramel - so much sweeter but even more enjoyable!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Butterkist Salted Caramel

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Nutrition: 104 calories per 25g serving.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £1.49p.

26 Nov 2014

Degustabox November: Surprise Foodie Box & Discount Code!

The latest Degustabox arrived yesterday and this month's box is a real foodies treat - featuring plenty of new products and brands. Degustabox is a monthly foodie subscription that is celebrating it's first anniversary this month. Since it's launch last year it's been delivering monthly parcels filled with a surprise selection of products from new and established brands. Opening up the Degustabox each month is always an exciting event and even though we never know what's inside, it's always a great mix of useful groceries and new goodies. It's a great Christmas gift idea for the foodie in your life!

Discount CodeIW74E

Each Degustabox cost £12.99 a month, which includes delivery, with no fixed contract involved. Degustabox have kindly provided my readers with the following Discount Code for £3.00 off your next Degustabox, bringing the cost to £9.99 delivered. Enter the code - IW74E

Here's a quick round up of all the products inside the November Degustabox:

Kettle Chips Limited Edition Salsa & Mesquite: Back by popular demand, Kettle Chips have reintroduced two of it's most loved classic flavours as limited editions for Christmas. Salsa & Mesquite was one of the original seasonings when the brand first launched in 1988 and combined tomatoes chillies, peppers with a distinctive barbeque aroma. The other limited edition is Stilton & Port which was the first ever seasonal edition from Kettle Chips back in 1998! I'm glad that my Degustabox had the Salsa & Mesquite Kettle Chips as it's a flavour I've never tried before. Full review coming soon!

Montano Italian Cider: A large 660ml bottle of premium Italian cider. Montano is an elegantly crafted Italian cider made only from apples grown in the foothills of the Trentino region of Northern Italy. Nestling in the foothills of the Dolomites, these orchards are the highest in Europe, resulting in a golden, fruit driven, medium-dry cider with a refreshing, crisp finish. It's described as being a perfect accompaniment to Italian cuisine.

PIP Organic: Two bottles of PIP Organic Cloudy Apple Fruit Juice are included in the Degustabox. PIP Organic is a family run, London based business that produces an award winning range of pure organic juices and smoothies. All their drinks are made from 100% organic fruit, never from concentrate and contain NO added sugars, water, preservatives or additives. I love cloudy apple juice and these cute little bottles look great for taking in a packed lunch.

Cool Dawn Recovery Drinks: This is a herbal detox drink that claims to help prevent and cure hangovers. It's a non carbonated drink and is described as having a complex combination of citrus and liquorice flavours. They recommend one can towards the end of the night and another one in the morning if needed. This is not really a product for me but I'm sure I'll be able to find a willing volunteer to try them out!

Branston Chutney: I'm already a fan of Branston Pickle, it just takes any cheese sandwich to a whole new level of tastiness, so I was excited to hear about the new range of Branston Chutneys. There are two varieties available; Mediterranean Tomato Chutney and Caramelised Onion Chutney. They both sound delicious to me! The Caramelised Onion works perfectly with any after dinner cheese and bread whilst the distinctive taste of Mediterranean Tomato goes well with smokey meats, cheddar and biscuits. I have somewhat optimistically put away this jar into my "Christmas cupboard" but I doubt it's going to make it that far! 

Holy Cow Curry Sauce: Degustabox has provided me with lots of recipe mixes and sauces over the past few months, but these look especially good. The ingredients are all fantastic with all natural ingredients, no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. These authentic Indian curry sauces are also gluten free and suitable for vegetarians and coeliacs. I received two flavours; Madras Chettinad, a delicious coconut based curry sauce, and Mughlai Korma, a rich and creamy sauce. I can't wait to give these a try.

Kent's Kitchen Flavour Shots: In last month's Degustabox I received a Kent's Kitchen Meal Kit. The flavour shots are a quicker way to add flavour to diced meat or prawns. There are four gel shots per pack which can be added to coat meat whilst cooking and add delicious flavour. I like the idea of this Fajita concentrated seasoning to make quick chiken fajita wraps. There are other flavours avialable; Hot & Spicy, Thai Green, Garlic & Coriander, and BBQ.

Lindt Lindor My Melting Moment: There were five Lindt Lindor My Melting Moments included in the Degustabox. These small chocolate treats would make great Christmas stocking fillers. Unfortunately mine barely lasted the opening of the box, let along saving them for Christmas! I'd never actually tried one of these chocolate before and they are blissfully good - so smooth and creamy.

Drink Me Chai - Spiced Chai Latte: A little extra sample in this months' Degustabox is this sachet of instant spiced sweet tea. It's a blend of spices, milk and sweetened tea and can be made with water or milk.

Barú Chocolate Marshmallows: I mentioned at the beginning of this post that it's Degustabox's first birthday this month. To celebrate they included a little extra gift for all their most loyal subscribers, those that have been there since the beginning. They also included a few to selected bloggers , so thank you to Degustabox for this extra treat. These Barú marshmallows look gorgeous! They're honey and vanilla bean marshmallows covered in dark chocolate with a sea salted caramel topping. 

Once again, I am thoroughly delighted with all the items in this month's Degustabox. It has an interesting selection of both popular brands, and harder to find products, which all look appealing. I was especially pleased with the Holy Cow sauces, Branston Chutney and Kettle Chips! If you're new to Degustabox, or a subscriber, then I'd love to hear your thoughts on this months Degustabox in the comments below.

For more details:
Degustabox website: www.degustabox.com

I received a Degustabox in order to provide an honest review.

25 Nov 2014

Tesco Mince Pie Cookies

There have been plenty of bakery inspired mashups in recent years - from Cronuts (croissants and doughnuts) to Duffins (doughnuts and muffins). Following the trend is this cross between a cookie and a mince pie: the... Mince Pie Cookies. Can anyone think of a decent combination of those words? Minkies? Cookinces? It's impossible!

The Tesco Mince Pie Cookies can be found in the fresh bakery section. Each pack contains five cookies. 

The mince pie filling is all contained within the centre of each cookie, giving them a domed appearance. The cookie itself is very similar in flavour to the other Tesco bakery cookies (like the white chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate) with a sweet, golden flavour and soft, chewy texture. The mince pie filling is quite generous, with plenty of juicy raisins within each cookie, and a lightly spiced flavour. The combination is surprisingly delicious and very moreish. Because they have a lot less mincemeat filling than a real mince pie, I found them easier to enjoy and bit lighter in flavours. I had been hesitant to buy these Mince Pie Cookies, just because half my family refuses to eat anything with raisins - but let's just say that between the rest of us there definitely won't be a problem with finishing the whole pack!

Grocery Gems Verdict: Mince Pie Cookies

RATING: 9 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
Purchased: Tesco.
Price: £1.00p.

Celebrate Christmas with Bowmore, Islay's First Whisky

I was sent a lovely Christmas Mailer from premium whisky distillery Morrison Bowmore. It's all in aid of celebrating the creation of two unique serving suggestions. Bowmore's Salted Caramel Crust was developed by Michelin starred chef Mark Sargeant and can easily be recreated at home. For a real winter warmer there is also the Bowmore's Darkest Hot Chocolate which was created exclusively for Bowmore's by Galvin At Windows.

Bowmore Single Malt Scotch Whisky is produced in the Bowmore distillery in Islay, the first recorded distillery on the island and one of the oldest in Scotland. The Bowmore distillery still uses traditional 200 year old methods, such as smoking the malt in a peat-fired kiln, to create that distinctive peaty smokiness of the Islay malts.

The Bowmore's Salted Caramel Crust is a simple yet stunning way to serve their latest Single Malt, Small Batch, and although I haven't had a chance to make it myself, here's the recipe if you fancy giving it a go:

Bowmore Salted Caramel Crust
75g unsalted butter     
50g soft light brown sugar     
50g caster sugar     
50g golden syrup     
125ml double cream     
1tsp sea salt
1 tbsp Bowmore Small Batch   

Melt the butter, sugars and syrup in a small heavy based pan and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the cream, whisky and sea salt then simmer for another minute or 2 until it thickens. Cool the caramel then dip the chosen glass rim into it and then into some fine caster sugar. Spoon a small amount of sauce into the bottom of the glass and then chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Pour Bowmore Small Batch into the glass and enjoy.

The Bowmore's Darkest Hot Chocolate is the perfect winter warmer and will be hosted on the menu at Galvin At Windows throughout Christmas. It can also be chilled and made into an iced version!

Bowmore Darkest Hot Chocolate
    50ml Bowmore 15yo Darkest
      15ml Ratafia Cherry liqueur
         10ml Cinnamon syrup
         250ml Whole milk
         1 bag (11 grams) Fair Trade Cadbury hot chocolate

Warm up milk and mix with hot chocolate straight in teapot. Add rest of ingredients and stir them together. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and serve.

To make the iced version of this Bowmore Chocolate, simply follow the instructions above and chill for 1-2 hours. Pour into a chilled glass and serve over ice with cinnamon sticks and cocoa powder to finish.

Bowmore’s latest Single Malt, Small Batch is available nationwide in Morrison’s, Tesco and Sainsbury’s with an RRP of £32.99. (currently on special offer in Tesco for £25.00).

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