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

Monday, 19 October 2015

Marks & Spencer Salads, Veggie Sweets and Beautiful Nougat

NEW Barley, Orzo Pasta, Cranberry and Almond Salad

A delicious and light, new seasonal salad.  Lovely texture to it, plenty of veg, fruit, nuts and herbs so it was packed with flavour.  Orzo pasta is tiny, rice like but softer.  This coupled well with the firmer barley.  Plump raisins and cranberries added sweetness, the latter tartness.  Enjoyed very much the accompanying dressing.  Not too oily, the dressing has a distinctive honey flavour, lemony and has a warmth due to the cinnamon and allspice added.  As ever with their salads, very well balanced.

NEW Black Barley, Roast Carrot, Raisin and Walnut Salad

 Another appearance for barley, this time black which I had not heard of before.  Looked very good and tasted so too, say that it had a nuttier flavour than standard barley.  This salad was jam packed, it had so much to it.  Much more filling than the above, certainly think the whole walnuts added to that.  Such varied textures, as well as the nuts, fruit and barley it contains wheat-berries.  The accompanying dressing was packed with flavour, zesty orange and hazelnut- tangy with vinegar and with an edge of spice including smoked paprika and cumin.

2x Salads for lunch with chilli sauce, dressing, peppers, iceberg and spirallized cucumber

Marks and Spencers Deli, La Petit Due

It was the beautiful tin that attracted my sister (pictured) to this product.  Inside are individually wrapped almond and honey nougatine bites.  They contain candied fruit, namely citrus fruits and melon as is the norm for nougat.  Mum is a big almond fan and she found them to be delicious, very almondy and surprisingly not too sweet.

 Colin the Caterpillar Birthday Balloons

As it is the anniversary year of the introduction of Colin the Caterpillar; Marks and Spencer have introduced a new sweet in his honour.  These vegetarian jellies are very fruity, they have a pleasant texture not too soft or hard.  Closest thing that my siblings and I likened them to was a chew bar but they are not at all sticky.  There are green and yellow, as well as pink and yellow caterpillars these have jellied balloons on them.  The balloons embossed with 25.  Found these very tasty and unique looking.

Colin the Caterpillar Fizzy Rainbows

Such fun to eat, these large caterpillar shaped sweets.  The flavours are apple and lemon the green, the pink are raspberry and lemon.  Pretty sour, these have a lovely firm yet soft texture.  They are the most delicious veggie sweets I have ever tried.  They have nothing of that peculiar wax-like texture that so many veggie sweets tend to.  A regular mix and match promotion runs whereby you can purchase two bags for £2.50.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Spice Mixes and Fancy Salt

Santa Maria Season All (Home Bargains)

A spice mix that can be used for an array of cuisines including Mexican, Indian, Spanish and Moroccan.  It is a good blend, the predominant flavour is that of paprika.  Also included is black pepper, celery seed, onion, garlic, coriander, ginger, cumin and cayenne.  It is not too hot, well balanced and full of flavour.

Santa Maria Rock and Sea Salt

I do not eat very much salt in my diet but it is very important for bringing out flavour in food.  This blend of two salts,was attractive as there was a mix in the size of flakes.  The addition of sea salt meant that it was a more intense salty flavour, therefore less was needed it and it is lasting well.

Pink Himalayan Salt (Aldi)

Seek out and like natural products.  This is attractive to look at and a very interesting product.  It has a mill on the top too which makes it great to have on the table for guests to use.   Vaguely aware of the benefits,. that it is packed full of minerals and elements.  That can only be a good thing.  It is certainly the aesthetics, origin and story behind it which encouraged the purchase.


Santa Maria Teriyaki (Home Bargains)

This Japanese inspired spice blend contains a hint soy.  It contains roasted black and ordinary sesame seeds and it looks very good.  Have used it in stir fry's for the most part but also as a coating for chicken when cooking for family.  There is a pleasant warmth from ginger and the blend is quite aromatic.

Sunday, 4 October 2015

New Interesting Product Finds


It has been, quite a lengthy absence from blogging.  Indeed this blog has had many guises and much varied content from football to books to films.  It was rather mixed up, much like myself.  I had always wanted to have an exclusively food blog but really enjoyed writing about other things, namely books.

Now that I have acquired a camera, I will be able to use this as a place to share food product reviews.  I am a vegetarian, though may have non-veggie products featuring now and again that look interesting (will mention gelatine etc if it appears).  Brother is really into new products and has a real sweet tooth, often seek out things for him.  I am pretty healthy but like treats now and again.  Really attracted to the unusual, lovely packaging and seasonal specials.  I love food from all over the world and very much enjoy baking and cooking.  Have an unhealthy love for condiments:- sauces, dressings and chutneys of any kind.  So there'll probably be a fair few of those posted!

Lidl Sriracha Sauce Sauce

A new and interesting find.  Siracha Sauce seemed to be all the rage for a-while.  As ever and as an avid condiment fan, I certainly sought it out.  I had so far only tried an unknown brand bought in a Chinese supermarket.  However, I was delighted to find this sauce in my local Lidl store.  Possibly a remnant from a recent Asian week special.  I am uncertain whether thus will be a regular product.  So much from Lidl can appear just once due to a particular promotion, often never to be seen again.

I was pleasantly surprised due to just how flavoursome the sauce is.  It is not too overpowering in the heat stakes.  It has quite a rich tomatey flavour and is rather salty too which I enjoyed.  It is excellent as a dipping sauce and makes a delicious dressing too (with lemon zest and five spice).  The only fault I'd really pick is that there wasn't much of a twang from vinegar.  I associate that with being a  fairly important aspect of Sriracha.  However that is very mild criticism indeed and it really is quite a delicious product.

Lidl, Scandinavian Week- Almond and Chocolate Pastries (biscuits)

Another special promotion product this time from Scandinavian week.  Bought these lovely looking biscuits at the start of the promotion week three weeks ago.  My local store seemed to have rakes ordered in. Thought they looked so very tempting.  I bought these for my Mum to take home to her when visiting.  They went down well with a cup of tea.  She said that they were fresh tasting, quite homemade like and had a  strong, natural almond flavour.  I will have to take her word as I am not a fan of that flavour, they did look good though.  Crescent shaped, topped with toasted almonds and the ends were dipped in dark chocolate.

Lidl, Scandinavian Week- Hazelnut and Chocolate Pastries (biscuits)

These hazelnut biscuits look rather like compacted flapjacks.  Thought they were also pretty unique, had never come across anything like them before.  It is a winning combination, hazelnut and chocolate.  A light, soft baked biscuit style treat.  Found these to be very moreish and full of flavour.  They have a homemade look about them, they are an unusual  oblong type shape and their base is dipped in dark chocolate.  Though not a coffee drinker myself, could really see that pairing working.

Blue Dragon Massaman Curry Paste (Tesco)

A curry lover, I'm always on the lookout for the new and interesting.  I do enjoy making curries from scratch; but cooking for one- sometimes convenience is the only order, especially when you are feeling tired.   This paste looked really attractive, it was the packaging that initially drew my eye. It is a regular meal choice, therefore I am always seeking out new sauces to try.  Have heard of but never tried- Massaman curry.  It is a richly spiced sauce of Malay origin and is most commonly served containing beef, potatoes and peanuts.

Very simple to use, all you need to do is  to heat and add in vegetables, meat or fish of your choice.  Follow that with coconut milk.  Though not what instructed, I added in tomato sauce from a jar as I prefer tomato based curries.  I don't like creamy things.  It was very tasty and flavoursome.  Liked that it was not oily or greasy, find sometimes these paste sort of things are.  Has an array of flavours including lemongrass, kaffir lime and galangal.  Veggie and vegan friendly, no shellfish used. 

Blue Dragon Cantonese Style Stir Fry Sauce (Tesco)

The go to and fails safe meal.  It is a twice (at least!) weekly thing to have stir fry, so quick and easy.  Cheap too.  Really enjoy that as a meal as there is so much that you can do with it.    As it is such a regular choice, find that it is important to keep seeking out new flavours and brands of sauce.  As with the curry paste it was the packaging which drew me in.    A beautiful blue colour, the package design is highly detailed and artistic. The product itself, I enjoyed just last night.  Had it with buckwheat noodles, broccoli, peppers, sugar-snap peas, spring onion and carrot.  The Sauce was full of flavour, slightly spicy and also aromatic due to the addition of Chinese five spice.  It was enjoyable as it was, was not necessary to add any extra flavour which can frequently be the case.