Food and drink review blog with an ethnic twist. Focus on new, unusual and seasonal products
bought in the UK.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Mixed Christmas Food Spots

Snackers Tubs
These generously sized tubs come in three varieties: hula hoops (salted), discos (salt and vinegar), nik naks (spicy) or wheat crunchies (cheesy).  They contain individualised selections of crisps and are made by the company that makes.  Ideal for a savoury snack over the festive period, including parties.  It is a nice idea to include a selection of snacks in one and does remind me of a favourite crisp product sold in Marks and Spencer in bags. They are generous 250g tubs and available in all of the major supermarkets.

Aldi Christmas Chutney
Aldi's Christmas food selection is especially good this year. Much more in the way of sweet gifts and biscuits, some new antipasti and savoury offerings.  Amongst the festive fayre, is this this delicious chutney.  It has all of the warming flavours of Christmas in a jar and is very fruity.  The combination of plum and orange works really well.  The orange is subtle.  The chutney would be fantastic with crackers and cheese, bread sticks, cheese straws and other such nibbles.  Not to forget a turkey sandwich!  I really love chutneys and sauces and this one from Aldi offers a perfect balance of sweetness and tangy sourness- full of flavour and just lovely.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Marks & Spencers Haul, Fruit and Treats Review

My lovely Mum handed me in a delicious selection of messages from Marks and Spencers.  The local M&S, has recently started selling more exotic fruits.  It is great to be able to sample such unusual items and was delighted to see kumquats and star fruit (which I've not seen sold in stores for a-few years).  A childish delight befell my sister and I as we dug into a fruit platter, trying out a fruit new to us in mangosteen.  It is a fantastic ending to a meal and also way to encourage children's curiousity trying out these unusual fruits. Morrisons supermarket is also very good for their exotic fruit options and that extends to veg too.

Lemon, Black Lentil and Quinoa Pecan Salad With Allspice Dressing 

Loved this salad, it is full of lots of little bits, herbs, nuts and is so full of flavour. Within the salad there are wheat berries, quinoa, black lentils, pecans and other grains.  It is ready dressed with a lemon and allspice dressing.  This has a citrus zing, freshness and an aromatic peppery flavour from the spicing. The combination of ingredients makes this salad so palate tingingly delicious!

Friday, 20 September 2013

Currying The Flavour- Sauce Reviews

I do love a good curry.  You can get a bit overwhelmed going into the supermarket and being met with such a wide variety of choices.  Be these brands or varieties, you can go Indian, Chinese, Thai or Caribbean the shelves stock them all!  My own tastes, when it comes to curry are that I like them quite spicy but not taste bud numbingly so.  Much prefer tomato based curries, lighter type sauces and those with a-lot of onion and aromats.  Find that I often need to add extra spices to curries as they can be a little bland from the jar.  In this post I'll share some of my favourites.  Only issue with supermarket available sauces is how oily they can be.

Loyd Grossman Dopiaza Curry Sauce
His brand, that has his name as its seal of approval.  Lloyd Grossman has a range of Italian, Indian and Thai sauces available and sold in most supermarkets.  His Dopiaza curry sauce is probably my favourite.  It is a delicious, light sauce that is full of flavour.  It is quite subtle, meaning that  you can appreciate individual spices and flavours.  It is not terribly thick and it is especially delicious for being so abundant in onion, these also give it a nice texture. 

Saturday, 14 September 2013

New & Interesting Supermarket Finds

There have been a number of products that have caught my eye in recent weeks.  Especially since the stores have already been rearranged and festive goodies have started to appear.  It is early and not even thinking about Christmas yet, but it is nice to have a-few more choices!  The slight chill in the air and the darkness at 8pm signifies the changing of the seasons.  It is sad to say goodbye to summer, especially one so glorious.  However, autumn has its own benefits.  Food certainly comes into that in a big way.  More home baking, encouraged by The Great British Bake Off.  More soups, root veg and filling, warming foods- yum!

Despite my dad working as a craft brewer, I am not a big beer fan.  Fruit beers are a definite exception though.  The above is made by a brewery in Alloa, Scotland and it is made from the unique Tayberry.  A Tayberry is named after romanticised silvery river.  It is a cross between a raspberry and blackberry, they are a long purpley sweet berry that is packed full of flavour.  I bought a couple of these for dad, as he is always keen to try new and different beers and ciders.  Purchased from Aldi supermarket, I am unsure whether they will be sold in Aldi stores outside of Scotland.  Like the rural specialities that have become more and more available in the store.  It is great to see, particularly that some of the fruit and veg are local too.  These Scottish specialities show that the store supports local growers and meat producers and has certainly encouraged my shopping there.  One of the most interesting additions has been a Scottish influenced, Tablet flavoured ice cream (certainly one for the sweet toothed I'd imagine!). 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Marks & Spencers Delicious Salads

Marks & Sparks must be the prepared salad kings of the British high street/supermarkets.  Such a range of foods they have on offer for lunchtime and very tempting meal deals.  Their prepared salads are always so fresh and full of flavour.  They sell boxed tubs of salads, many of which are on a 2 for £3 mix and match deal.  These come ready dressed or with an accompanying  pot of dressing.  In this post I will share some of my favourites in their range.  They add new ones all the time too, so am always on the look out for them!  They had a nice one called a shaker salad but haven't seen it for a while.

A light salad, especially considering it is a pasta one.  Orzo is more like a grain than pasta and is very nice.  The salad itself contains juicy sundried tomatoes and a basil dressing.  It is a bright and colourful salad, the yellow Orzo stained with turmeric has a lovely contrast with the bright red tomatoes.  It was a little oily for me but still very enjoyable and packed full of flavour.  Really must look out for Orzo would be great to have for a change and like the idea of it in a herby minestrone soup. 

Monday, 17 June 2013

Berrylicious Summer Puds To Look Out For and Fruity Sorbets

Being honest I am not really a pudding person, do love to make them though!  Family are big sweets fans and growing up tea wasn't tea unless there was a pudding.  Nod to Dad there and his traditional upbringing!  Have found my families favourite puds during the summer are those containing beautiful British berries and naturally laden with lashings of cream!  Whether they be berry tarts, mousses, fools, sponges or simple strawberries and cream.  This post is to share some of the berry puds that have caught my eye around the supermarkets.  In the garden, my Dad has always grown his own berries. Memories from childhood, of time spent picking bowl fulls of berries or sneaking under the strawberry net for te plump juicy berries.  Berries he grew, included raspberries, red currants, blackberries, blackcurrants and gooseberries.  Would totally lose track of time when out picking the fruit and would then, sit cross legged on the grass with my sister topping and tailing or sorting berries in some other way.  Favourites were the red currants, stunningly beautiful to look at like red jewels on a string.  Gorgeous the way they hung from the bushes and caught the light. 

Monday, 10 June 2013

Recipe: Crushed Cannellini Bean and Garlic Soup

I really love soup, so much!  Make a pot once per week.  Enjoy it as a meal but also as a snack, it really appeals to my savoury tastes.  Quite often have a mug as a late night snack before bed.  So comforting the warmth and savoury saltiness of it.  Was known to drink veg stock cubes when I was younnger!
  This soup below is one I make quite often.  A big fan of beans in all of their forms, tinned beans are a cupboard staple and there is so much that can be done with them.  The canellini beans add a bit of creaminess to the soup and make it pretty filling.  The flavours make for a nice combination and it is a very fresh soup.  It is so quick to put together, no soaking or long boiling here!  In total takes just shy of 1/2 an hour to make.  Due to the brief cooking all of the flavours come out.  If possible it is best to use fresh herbs, the herbs in the soup are what makes it really.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Feeling Saucy- Stir Fry Sauce Reviews

A fail safe and a regular meal, fast, simple, easy and tasty.  Probably eat this at least 3 times per week therefore it is important to vary it with different veg and sauces!  I often have a simple stir fry just with soy, fresh ginger, chilli and garlic.  Also make a peanut satay sort of sauce with peanut butter and if I am really lazy just add lashings of sweet chilli sauce.  In this post will share some of my favourite sauces on the shelves of the trusty old supermarkets.

Blue Dragon Spicy Szechuan Tomato

A delicious and tangy sauce.  I never before associated tomatoes with Asian food.  Was quite sceptical when trying it for the first time.  The sauce is lovely.  It is spicy and has a sweet peppery flavour, the tomato comes through too.  The sauce is slightly sweet but well balanced out with the addition of rice vinegar.  Ginger and garlic also come through fairly strongly.  The sauce is full of flavour and my absolute favourite stir fry sauce.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Summer Eating- Making More of Fruit & Ideas

One of the things I love most about summer is the food.  A bountiful supply of fresh fruit and veg are so tempting, al fresco dining and homegrown (by Dad) produce are just some of the highlights. July has been positively scorching and it is the best summer we've had in this country for years and years.  With the warm weather, it brings a more continental type appetite, I find.  Personally much more in the mood for light meals, salads and there is a definite increase in the consumption of a variety of fresh fruit.

-Make Fruit The Star: Some Random Ideas-

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Fabulous Fresh Soups

In supermarket chillers are an array of fresh soups flavours, brands and varieties to chose from.  Soup is one of my very favourite things and would rather have a mug of it than a chocolate bar as a snack more often than not!  Do make homemade soups often but store bought soups are so handy.  Thought I'd do a post to share some of my favourites.

Marks and Spencer Spicy Lentil Soup

A lovely thick soup, packed full of flavour, chunky veg and of course lentils.  Pleasantly spiced, it is very warming with a nice tomatoey base.  It is a very thick soup and found it needed to be watered down just a little.  It is spicy without being hot, the spices used are warming ones such as cumin and they come through well.  You always know that you will get quality from M&S and this certainly did not disappoint.

Monday, 27 May 2013

National Vegetarian Week and 2 Seasonal Tea Recipes

Spring Onion, Watercress, Radish, Samphire, Asparagus, Chicory, Jersey Royal Potatoes,  Broccoli and Apricots.  Those are just a small selection of the fruit and veg in season.  There is a plentiful supply of delicious, fresh ingredients in shops to cook with and also inspire.  Being in season means that you get produce at its very best and it tends to be kinder on the pocket.  Many of the supermarkets, as it is National Vegetarian Week are doing special offers on veg friendly food- brands such as Linda McCartney, Innocent and Qurorn.  These are well worth looking out for.


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Food Memories and Recent Finds

Have not done a general food review post for a little while.   The ones written recently, have all had a seasonal theme to them.  This post is largely inspired due spotting drink Um Bongo in my local Tesco.  This juice drink was a real favourite of mine when I was growing up.  Similarly, last week I found a packet of crisps which I also remember fondly from my childhood.  Didn't think they were made anymore and they were quite as yummy as I remembered them to be!  Have been in a real savoury mood recently and this post certainly reflects this.  With the arrival of the warmer weather (at long last!), have found that I have been eating a-lot more fresh fruit, salad and cold meals in the evening.  One of my favourite things at the moment is baked sweet potatoes in their skin, nicer, healthier and more flavoursome than your standard baked pot!  As they were on last weeks super six, I had a generous bag full of the things for a fantastic 69p.  So versatile, they are excellent in a veggie curry and yummy in a soup- particularly combined with roast parsnips.   


Not a new drink but one that I haven't seen or drank for many years.  It is also the first time that I have seen it come in a large carton (1 litre) as opposed to a single serve one.  On the shelf alongside, there was a new type which is orange in flavour and aptly called- Orang-Utan.  This keeps up the jungle feel of course!  As a child the bright and colourful packaging appealed and I seem to remember it having a very cool advert and catchy theme tune.  The flavour of the standard version and one I bought is tropical.  It blends nine different fruits to give it, its unique taste.  It is a lovely light and refreshing drink.  Especially nice chilled with ice.  It isn't like other tropical juice drinks, which oddly perhaps sometimes have a tomatoey flavour to them (to me).  I thought that it may be too sweet as the food and drinks often are that we enjoyed as children.  However, this wasn't the case at all.  A refreshing drink and real blast from the past!

Friday, 29 March 2013

Product Review- Easter Themed

Easter Treats

The shops have outdone themselves, there is such a beautiful array and selection of food, craft and floral/plant items to celebrate Easter.  I have succeeded in managing to visit each of the major supermarkets available in my area over the past month (Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Aldi and Morrison's- phew!).  Not purposefully, a couple of the times were on request of certain items by others.  I was disappointed and rather surprised to hear that M&S are not running a dine in roast.  Treated Mum to their deal for Mothers Day.  Family enjoyed it and as Dad is cooking, he was hoping to take advantage.  From what I have seen there are a number of offers running over the weekend on meat roasting joints.  It is very much the sweet tastes that arethe main focus at Easter time in terms of products available.  I have not seen but heard about a Hot Cross Bun flavoured beer being available, don't like the sound of that!

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Treats That Rocked Your Ten Year Old World

* Fizzy jerks from the vending machine at the swimming pool

* Astros being the coolest of sweets

* Cool Polo varieties- Citrus Sharp, Gummy, Spearmint, Fruit and Polo O's spring to mind

* 10p crisps in all of their maizy goodness

* The joy of getting a toy/token or something in your cereal or crisps. Is my imagination getting the better of me or were Disco crisps that you kiss really a thing?  Tongue dying crisps were

* Crisp sandwiches for lunch

* When you found a chewy Malteser in your pack

* Fruity ice lollies- Fruit Pastille, Calippo, Zooms, Twisters and those Frozen Alphabet Letters

* Harry Potter themed sweets

* Woolworths pick 'n' mix

* Opal fruits being so much better than Starburst, lemon and lime were separate for a start

* Impressing friends with an old school version of the cinnamon challenge involving how many Atomic Fireballs you could keep in your mouth at once

* Smartie Cookies coming onto the scene

* Eating chew bars (Irn-Bru, Wham, Lanky Larry's and Blue Rave) in secret as your Mum hated you eating them. On a similar note, the equally discouraged bags of Swizzels Mix

* The incredible Caterpillar Cake

* Mum always buying too many treats for the guisers at Halloween- yey!

I hope that I have succeeded in stirring some memories. What were your favourite treats growing up?

Monday, 25 March 2013

Chocolate Mini Egg Review

There is quite a range of mini eggs available and sold in the UK's shops.  They are a real favourite of mine.  The type of eggs I will be reviewing in this blog are chocolate ones in a crisp sugar shell.  I thought that I would share my thoughts on the eggs that I've tried over the years.  All of these are widely available.
  I would be interested to hear from anyone regarding their own favourites, special Easter plans or any varieties local to you or that you may have come across.  Happy Easter in advance and may it be sweet!

Cadbury Mini Eggs

The classic mini egg.  The Cadbury version are the original and for many the best.  I must admit that I am very partial.  These eggs are the perfect size with a perfect coating, not too thick or thin.  The interior is Cadbury chocolate and for some reason to me it is the taste of easter (that type of choc).  Perhaps it is due to it being the commonmost Easter egg choc.  The yellow eggs have a slightly different taste to the others, which is very nice.  You can buy them in a single serve packet in the form of a small cardboard box, the size pictured-100g in size and are available in a larger 360g pack.  I also remember them being sold in tubes but haven't seen any this year.  They are often on offer at £1 for a 100g bag which is very good, Morrisons have an offer of 2 for £2 at the moment.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Veggie Fruity Sweet Review

Have not posted for a little while.  I am in the process of making some changes to this blog and adding a new one.  Decided to create a blog dedicated entirely to the football side of things, whilst on this keeping with the themes of reviews, books, films, food and that sort of thing.  The process is a bit of a pain in the arse, how I wish that the posts could be moved individually via the dashboard as I have so many drafts.  Alas!  Been seeking out some new sweeties recently and thought that I would share my thoughts.

Veggie Friendly Jelly Sweet Reviews

I am more of a chocolate person but an occasional fruity sweet is always good.  It isn't  easy to find veggie friendly options due to the addition of gelatine.  Always on the lookout for new and exciting looking products.

M&S Veggie Percy Pigs

How often had I heard how wonderful Percy Pigs were?!  Family and friends would harp on about them and admit how tasty and addictive these were.  Last year (or perhaps a bit longer ago), I was delighted to see that M&S launched Percy Pigs that were gelatine free.  At last  I was able to see what all the fuss was about, or should I say taste!  My sister also tried them and said that they were a bit harder than the standard ones and that actually made them nicer.  Really like the grape, cherry and raspberry flavour of the sweets, it is quite a unique taste- good though!  They are softish gums, refreshing with a fairly light texture.  The pack size is very generous.  They are priced at £1.89 per bag and are often on at 2 packs for £2.50 (mix and match).  As well as the Percy Pigs a sweet called Colin Caterpillars also come in veggie versions.

Rowntrees Jelly Tots

These were always a childhood favourite and this love has followed into my adult life.  Very surprising that they are indeed veggie.  The tiny little drops are sugar coated and oh so fruity.  Lovely flavour, the citrus ones- lemon, lime and orange are particularly mouth-watering and tangy.  Other flavours include strawberry and blackcurrant.  These are very refreshing and quite addictive.  They also make a nice decoration for a plain iced sponge or fairy cakes.  Found that the sharing bags vary in price from shop to shop, when I bought them they were on special offer at £1 in Morrisons.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Homemade Pitta Bread and Cauli Falafel

A Little Bit Busy In The Kitchen....

Was delighted to get the afternoon off work.  Decided that I'd take advantage of the time and get down to some cooking and baking (of the bread variety).  Pitta breads have always been a staple on my shopping list, handy for a quick lunch and my favourite thing to dip into a mug of soup.  How hard could they be to make?  Along with having a go at ptita's, I also made a variety of different salads- a cous-cous with roasted pepper, a raw cauliflower, lemon and dill as well as a grated carrot and lime salad (Summer Salad Recipes).  Made fairly decent sized batches of each to have alongside leaves, pita/baked tatty for easy meals over the next few days.  As there was a bit of a Middle Eastern theme developing,g also made a small batch of mini cauliflower and pink peppercorn falafels.  With cauliflower on offer at Lidl it is a veg I really enjoy but rarely buy.  Most often have it in a curry or raw but it is about time I thought outside of the box!  As well as the recipes today; Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has a recipe for a cauliflower snack that I suppose eats as a kind of crisp- intrigued to try those out (Hugh's Cauliflower Recipe Ideas)
As there was a 100g bar of white chocolate in the back of the cupboard, leftover from the chocolate barks I made at Christmas.  With this I had a go at  making some white chocolate peanut butter cups.  Melting the choc, mixed up the peanut butter with some vanilla in separate bowl and used paper cake cases.  Encased the whipped peanut butter in chocolate by spooning the choc into the cups distributing thinly and added a spoon of peanut butter then sealed with more choc.  Allowed these to set in fridge.  Provided pictures but are poor quality as they were taken via laptops webcam.