Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Today's Review: Costa Coffee, Oats & Banana Smoothie

New year, new me. Out with the sugary drinks, in with the smoothies! Please note, this smoothie is 255 calories, with 30g of sugar. So don't go into it thinking it's a lovely healthy alternative to your regular coffee based drink. Go into it like I did, thinking it sounded pretty damn delicious. It's a smoothie with a shot of espresso in it, blended up with banana and oats, with a little bit of honey thrown in for good measure. I love coffee, and I love oats, so this sounded like a perfect combination.

Each element is very well represented here, at least the ones in the actual drink name are. The coffee is distinct, and rather than overwhelming the whole drink it provides a bold, solid base on top of which is layered a substantial oat flavour, and a fruity banana hit. The banana does come through a bit more than the others, but the oats floating around in there provide a great bit of texture and taste that makes this a well rounded drink. The honey isn't all that noticeable, I guess it's just there to bring the sweetness levels up to the right amount. I'm not too mad though, this drink promised coffee, banana and oats, and it delivers. A refreshing smoothie with a good caffeine hit.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Today's Review: Chicago Town Cheese & Tomato Pizza Toastie

We can put pizza in the oven, and the microwave, so why not the toaster? The answer to that is that, of course, putting pizza in a toaster would result in melted cheese all up in your toaster. Well, Chicago Town have apparently performed an impossible feat, and have brought out a personal pizza that's "toaster friendly". So if you want to cook pizza in your toaster, here's your chance.

It took a few tries to cook it to a hot, melty, satisfactory condition, but in the end it turned out okay. I certainly wasn't going to adjust my toaster settings too far. But, here's the finished product in all its glory. It's easy to see why this is toaster friendly, there's a whole lot of crust and a small amount of topping, so dripping cheese doesn't become an issue in the cooking time frame. The result here is a fairly thick crust, but there's a fairly sizeable divot that's filled with the tomato sauce and cheese, so the balance isn't too bad overall. The crust is crunchy, and a little stodgy, but it's not the worst dough I've come across. The cheese and tomato is good stuff, it's just a shame there's not more of it. I understand the logistics behind not having it covered in cheese, but I think I'll be sticking with more conventional pizza cooking methods. This is a neat attempt at something new, but it's not a pizza revolution.

My rating: 3/5

Monday, 16 January 2017

Today's Review: Magnum Double Raspberry

Walls brought out a fantastic selection of Double Magnums last year, my personal favourite of which was the peanut butter variety. I thought the original range was enough, but it turns out they weren't done. Now there are two more flavours available, coconut and raspberry. The former didn't appeal to me much at full price, I'll probably pick some up on offer. The raspberry however, that sounded good, and although these appear to have been around for a while in the US, it's the first I've seen of them over here. These consist of a raspberry ice cream, covered in two layers of chocolate with a raspberry sauce in between.

The pink raspberry Magnum is already one of my favourites, so I knew the raspberry ice cream was good stuff. It's smooth and creamy with a lovely fruity flavour. The double chocolate shell provides a thick, satisfying crunch, and while I don't think it's as great a pairing as the white chocolate coating on the pink raspberry, it's still a pretty good blend. The raspberry sauce adds that extra hint of fruitiness to break through the increased amount of chocolate, and while it does get a little sickly towards the end, it serves to enhance the flavour more than overwhelm. This is another good addition to the Magnum Double range, and I'm looking forward to trying out the coconut soon.

My rating: 4/5

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Today's Review: Monster Ultra Citron

With all the calorific new products I've picked up over the last week, at least one is conducive to a diet. It's a new flavour of Monster Ultra, the delicious Monster range that contains some of my favourite "diet" drinks. This looked like a low-cal version of the Monster Doctor that surfaced a couple of years ago, so I was hopeful it would be pretty great.

I know diet drinks aren't normally as good as the regular versions, and that's the case here. This stuff does taste like lemon, but it has more of a lemon sherbet edge thanks to the slight chemical tang. It's not a bad tasting drink, but the sweetener is definitely more noticeable than in the other Ultra flavours. It's still refreshing, and has a certain citrus edge, but all in all it's not particularly great. It'll do for a lemony energy hit though.

My rating: 3/5

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Today's Review: Dunkin' Donuts New York Style Raspberry Cheesecake Donut

I tried to diet this week, I counted calories in the days leading up to the weekend, but it all kind of fell off the rails when I saw the poster advertising cheesecake donuts in the Dunkin' Donuts window. Okay, it actually fell off the rails when I ordered Domino's the other night, but I don't want to talk about that. I want to talk about how amazing even the idea of a cheesecake donut sounds. There are a few varieties to choose from, but since I afforded a space in the half dozen box to each member of the family, I only took two home today. This one looked pretty great, a "New York style" raspberry cheesecake offering. Not sure what makes it specifically New York styled, but there we go.

This is your regular Dunkin' Donuts dough, nice and soft, and the glazing gives it a nice crunchy edge. Unfortunately the action is all packed into the centre, meaning the outer edge is a little bland, but once you hit the middle it gets a whole lot better. The stuff inside is a great cream cheese flavoured cream, it's sweet and flavoursome, it's just a shame there wasn't more of it spread evenly throughout the dough. The raspberry jam on top is great too, very bold and ever so slightly sharp, and couple with the filling it gives a a pretty authentic raspberry cheesecake experience, with the dough providing some nice finishing touches. This is a great attempt at a cheesecake donut, it's just a shame all the goodness is concentrated in the middle. 

My rating: 4/5

Friday, 13 January 2017

Today's Review: Hula Hoops Big Hoops Chilli

Aside from salt and vinegar, chilli has to be one of my favourite crisp flavours. I don't know how long these chilli Hula Hoops have been around, but I'm pretty sure today was the first time I laid eyes on them. Not only are these Hula Hoops, they're Big Hoops, so would they be big enough to handle the heat? Also, would they be big enough to fit on your fingers proper instead of just the tips?

Well, they didn't go past the knuckle, so that was disappointing, and unfortunately it wasn't the only disappointing thing. These are definitely Hula Hoops through and though, but the problem is there wasn't much chilli to be experienced. These are big, satisfyingly crunchy crisps, but they're just very bland. The heat did come to a head sometime after eating, but it wasn't particularly strong, and by then it was too late. I think the hoops are perhaps too big, and the taste of them pretty much envelops the small amount of flavouring placed on top. These are some nice quality hoops, but they're just not flavoursome.

My rating: 2/5

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Today's Review: Müller Light Melon And Mango

The snow is falling, but my mind was in more tropical climes earlier thanks to this melon and mango flavoured offering from Müller. They've been churning out a few limited edition flavours over the last few months, and this was an exotic attempt at a fruity one, which is great, because I'm a sucker for the tropical fruits.

This is a pretty good effort. some authentic fruity flavours with some good sized chunks thrown in for good measure. The fruits aren't quite as strong as i'd hoped, but the good quality Müller yoghurt is there as well to provide a nice creaminess. The melon and mango are quite distinguishable, and they work very well together, this is a nice, tropical tasting yoghurt that's worth picking up.

My rating: 4/5