Sunday 31 May 2015

Today's Review: Brothers Coconut & Lime Cider

There are a fair few varieties of ciders gracing our shelves these days, most of the berry variety, but there are an odd few that certainly grab my attention. This coconut and lime offering is one of them. I'm not a big fan of coconut, but I was definitely intrigued as to how it tastes in cider form.

Well, it certainly tastes like coconut. A bold, undeniable flavour that is actually pretty refreshing. Sure, it does get a bit too much at times, too much coconut for me to handle, and pretty sickly. But the lime is on hand to even the flavour out a bit, a bit of tartness to take the edge off the very sweet coconut. So overall, it's pretty good. Even though I don't like coconut, I must say I enjoyed it. Sure, the coconut got a bit too much by the end of the bottle, but this is certainly an interesting cider that's worth a try.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 30 May 2015

Today's Review: Tesco Mini Chilli Burgers

In any good supermarket you'll find the regular chilled savoury snack offerings. Sausage rolls, cocktail sausages, savoury eggs. But Tesco don't seem content with a simple, bland range, they want to dream up some pretty crazy stuff that you can instantly shove in your face. Take these for example, mini chilli burgers that are ready to eat. Sounds fantastic on paper, I had to snap them up as soon as I saw them. But are they any good?

This pack contains 7 mini beef, pork and cheese parties with some chilli flavouring, all wrapped up in a pastry bun. Yeah, that's right, pastry. I was pretty disappointed to be honest. Sure, there could be some quality issues if they used bread, but Rustlers manage to pack their burgers into buns with no real problem. The pastry isn't bad I suppose, there's not so much that it becomes too stodgy, but it's still flaky and not of the best quality, not when a bun could have been so much better. The patties themselves are pretty good. Meaty, with a definite hint of cheese and spice. Not fantastically spicy, but hey, it works nicely as a package. So yeah, this is an interesting enough idea, but in execution it's pretty much okay. They're more like pasties than burgers, so I was left wondering what could have been, but these are certainly edible. They're worth a go if you fancy something a bit different.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 29 May 2015

Today's Review: Cadbury Freddo Faces Dessert

I don't normally linger in the yoghurt aisle, but perhaps I should, as today a friend presented me with this Freddo Faces dessert. I've dabbled in some other Cadbury yoghurt-type products, and have rarely found fault with them, and this one promised even more enjoyment. It's a Cadbury Dairy Milk dessert, with a side helping of Freddo Faces. What could go wrong?

The answer is, quite simply, nothing. The dessert itself is a wonderfully smooth, creamy, chocolate delight. It's not too sickly, not too milky, and has that undeniable Dairy Milk taste. The Freddo Faces are exactly like their bagged counterparts, nice thick chunks of chocolate that are quite simply perfect. You only get five in the pot, but really that's plenty, especially when enrobed in the creamy dessert stuff. This Freddo Faces pot is a tasty, filling dessert that is definitely worth picking up while it's around.

My rating: 5/5

Thursday 28 May 2015

Today's Review: Cornetto Negriton

You can't have fun in the sun without an ice cream, and I certainly expected fun when I picked up this interesting variety of Cornetto. Not only is it wrapped up in a nice chocolate shell, there are also some crunchy pieces scattered throughout. While there have been some mighty interesting Cornetto varieties cropping up over the years, this seemed like a nice little twist on the original that was worth snapping up.

The chocolate shell surrounding the ice cream on top is satisfyingly thick, and very nice indeed. The ice cream underneath is your classic creamy Cornetto offering, hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The difference comes in the crunchy bits inside. Some are chocolatey, some are caramel, and altogether they add a satisfying bit of texture and flavour, a nice sweet hint of caramel that doesn't overwhelm the other elements. Perhaps the best part of this Cornetto is that the chunk of chocolate at the bottom of the cone is absolutely massive, making a fantastic end to a tasty ice cream. Cornetto Negriton is like a regular Cornetto, but so much better. Tasty stuff.

My rating: 5/5

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Today's Review: Milka Truffle & Almonds

Here's another interesting Milka bar I picked up on my travels. I was drawn in by the promise of truffle, turned off a little by the almonds, but hey, I was sure they could make it work. Turns out it's certainly not a bad bar. The Milka chocolate on the outside is as good as ever, and the truffle inside is pretty damn tasty. It's perhaps not quite as soft as I was hoping, but it's still a nice creamy tasting filling with a good texture to it. The almonds aren't all that bad, they add a nice bit of crunch and are pretty good quality. There are a few too many scattered throughout for my liking, which makes the overall flavour quite nutty, but I guess I should have expected that from the name of the bar. Still, I would have liked a bit more prominence from the truffle, but all in all this bar is a very nice offering, and well worth picking up if you come across it.

My rating: 4/5

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Today's Review: Cream & Onion Tuc

Last year I picked up a pack of bacon Tuc on holiday, so I was pleasantly surprised to find another flavour this year. Yes, cream and onion Tuc, which I assume is actually meant to be sour cream and onion. I'm not normally a fan of onion-ified snacks, but this is Tuc, and I love Tuc, so I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Unlike the bacon Tuc, which was quite conservative with its flavouring, these ones are absolutely packed with flavour. As soon as a biscuit hit my tongue my tastebuds were flooded with a distinct sour cream and onion taste. Sure, it's not a particularly good quality flavour, but it's pretty clear that's what it's supposed to be. To be honest, I'm not a fan, but seeing as I don't really like the flavour to begin with, I must say it's not too bad if that's what you're into. The main problem is that the flavouring is so overwhelming, it detracts from the texture and flavour of the actual biscuit, opting to fill your mouth with creamy onion. I'm a man who likes a lot of flavouring, but this is too much even for me. I can't eat more than a few at a time without having to give up. If these sound up your street, by all means seek them out, but there are much better Tuc varieties out there.

My rating: 2/5

Monday 25 May 2015

Today's Review: White Choco Mentos

Here's another snack I picked up in Menorca. I do love a good tube of Mentos, mostly fruity ones, but the mint ones are a classic too. As for chocolate ones? I wasn't too sure, but they were certainly worth a try. Turns out they're not completely chocolate, the outer layer consists of toffee, making them much like eclairs. The toffee is nice enough, chewy, not particularly flavoursome though. The chocolate innards aren't all that either. There's not much of it, and while it certainly does have a nice white chocolate taste, the texture is a bit off, it's almost as chewy as the stuff on the outside, I was expecting a bit of a creamier centre. Still, they're not all bad, they taste good enough, just a little strange. I'd stick with the fruity or minty Mentos if I were you.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday 24 May 2015

Today's Review: Robinsons Lemon & Mango Squash

While I can't find fault with a good glass of lemonade, I can't say I'm all too fond of lemon squash. Sure, it's nice for a change, but it's often too bitter, and just doesn't seem to taste all that good simply mixed with water. But I was drawn to this squash from Robinsons the other day, as it also has some mango stuffed in there, and that I can get on board with.

For the most part, this works pretty well. The lemon is at the forefront, nicely tart, on its own it might have been too much for me, but it's certainly quite an authentic lemon taste. The mango is not quite as prominent, but you can certainly taste it. It provides a nice sweet, fruity base that really takes the edge off the lemon and pads out the flavour to make it quite a refreshing drink overall. Sure, there's still a bit too much lemon for my liking, but this is certainly nicer than a pure lemon squash. This is a neat little flavour that's worth a try.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 23 May 2015

Today's Review: Milka Crispy Joghurt

One thing I love about European countries is the sheer abundance of Milka chocolate. Sure, we have our Dairy Milk, and it's a classic, but sometimes it's nice to play away, and Milka is certainly a welcoming mistress. The amount of varieties surely matches those that Cadbury offer, and in many cases they just blatantly copy each other, but I did manage to find this interesting bar, promising some crispy yoghurt. Mmm, sounds delicious.

This bar has your standard Milka outer shell, which I certainly can't fault, it's smooth, creamy, delicious chocolate. The innards, I wasn't so sure about. It's a soft yoghurt filling, littered with crispy cereal pieces, bits of cornflake basically. The flakes are fairly inoffensive, they provide a nice bit of crunch, although not much flavour. As for the yoghurt? It's alright, it's certainly not what I'd choose to put in the middle of a chocolate bar. It certainly adds a different kind of creaminess, but like most yoghurt products that aren't proper refrigerated yoghurt, it just tastes a little off, like if someone took a bowl of leftover cornflakes that had been left in the kitchen all day and poured it into a chocolate mould. That's probably a little too harsh a description, it's not all that bad, but this certainly isn't a bar I'll be trying again. There are a lot better out there, and this one is just a bit iffy. If you're a yoghurt fiend, you may like it, otherwise, you may not want to take the plunge.

My rating: 2/5

Friday 22 May 2015

Today's Review: Seabrook Lattice Crisps: Sea Salt & Red Wine Vinegar

I can't say I've tried Seabrook crisps too often, but I spied this bag of chips in Tesco the other day and had to give them a go, partly because of their interesting lattice shape, and partly because of the inclusion of red wine vinegar, which seemed to be a subtle yet interesting change to the normal salt and vinegar formula. 

Most crisp companies have opted for a ridged or ruffled variety of chip, one that promises to be packed with more flavour due to contours or something, I don't know, I'm not a flavour scientist. But these chips are latticed, which means more ridges, which means even more flavour. You can't argue with the facts. Turns out it actually works out that way, these crisps sure do have a lot of flavour. It's a bold salt and vinegar taste, but with an interesting twist due to the red wine. They certainly taste fuller than your average salt and vinegar crisp, more body to the vinegar, and a little hint of fruitiness. It is, perhaps, a little too tart, eating a whole bunch of these in one sitting may result in some tongue pain, but it's certainly an enjoyable experience. The lattice structure of the crisps is quite interesting too, providing a nice texture that does help to provide more flavour. These may not be the best salt and vinegar crisps I've tasted, but they're definitely good. I'm tempted to try out some different flavours, but for now I can definitely recommend these. Just take it easy on your tongue.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 21 May 2015

Today's Review: Haribo Sandia

Here's the first of my holiday pickups, I thought I'd start with one of the various interesting Haribo varieties that filled the shelves. This bag consist entirely of watermelon sweets, they're one of my favourites to fill a Candy King cup with, so I was excited to see how Haribo would handle them.

Unfortunately, not so well. These have a distinct watermelon taste, sure, but it doesn't last all that long before it gives way to a quite bitter, not all that fruity taste. For fizzy looking sweets they're certainly not all that sour, and while I tried my best to like them, after the first couple of chews of each sweet I couldn't handle the taste. The watermelon flavour is quite nice for the very short time it lasts, but what it turns into is not nice at all. I'd give these ones a miss and go for the pick 'n' mix version if I were you.

My rating: 1/5

Wednesday 20 May 2015

Today's Review: Haribo Bear Buddies

I am back from my holidays, and as such I've wrestled control of my posting schedule away from the internet robots. I found a fair few interesting items on my sojourn to Menorca, and reviews of those shall follow, but a quick trip to Tesco for essentials earlier led me to discover this interesting bag of Haribo. Yes, Haribo counts as essentials. These are bear buddies, kind of like Gold Bears, but really not at all. These are a mixture of sour and sweet fruity flavours. I first thought you'd have to mix and match to get the recommended flavour combinations, but it turns out they're joined together hand in hand, hence the "buddies". Aww.

Look at that, so cute. So, here we have a sour orange paired with a sweet apple, a sour lemon coupled with sweet cherry, and a sour redcurrant latched onto a sweet blueberry. They all sounded pretty tasty, and in fact they all are. The sour flavours are definitely that, very tart, bold fruits that don't overwhelm the senses, but certainly gives a nice tingle that doesn't let up until a while after the sweet is gone. The sweet flavours provide a nice balance, a smooth undertone that helps to carry the sourness, so really they work together to give a very nice aftertaste. As for the individual flavours, I can't really fault them. Each part tastes like their respective fruits, even with the added sour and sweet elements, and they all work very well in tandem with each other. Even though I often prefer darker flavours, I enjoy each of these varieties equally. This is a tasty bag of Haribo with a very neat idea, and I hope they become a staple bag in the future.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 19 May 2015

Today's Review: Wonka Runts

Another Wonka product lost to the UK market due to whatever health and safety reason, Runts are sweets that I certainly remember picking up during my childhood. You may have been able to pick them up from your favourite import sweet shop, but now you can also grab a box from Poundland (sometimes)!

Look at that, they're shaped like the fruits they taste like, isn't that great? Yes, these are tiny, fruit shaped, hard candies, in a way they're kind of like a larger version of Nerds, but due to their increased size I find the insides to be quite powdery and somewhat gritty. The flavours are good, sure, the banana tastes like banana, the grape tastes like grape, the snozzberry tastes like snozzberry... Whoops, wrong Wonka. But yeah, while I can crunch down Nerds like nobody's business, I've never been a huge fan of Runts. It seems the exteriors are very hard to bite down on, and once you're in you're greeted with an overly sweet, powdery texture, and while the fruit flavours are there they're somewhat drowned out by the innards. Runts are okay, but there are certainly better Wonka products out there. If you see a box in Poundland though, by all means give them a go.

My rating: 3/5

Monday 18 May 2015

Today's Review: Pimm's Cider Cup

I picked up this bottle of Pimm's Cider a couple of weeks back, and I haven't reviewed it 'til now because I can't say it made a particularly lasting impression on me. It's a mixture of cider and Pimm's, flavoured with strawberry and cucumber. Sounds good on paper, but in reality, something just didn't click. All the elements were alright, the Pimm's is definitely a distinct flavour you can pick up, and there are some nice fruity tones throughout. The cider isn't all that great, but it works pretty well with the strawberry. I think perhaps the problem is that all the elements are working to grab your attention, and when they all come together it's just a little too busy. I'd rather have a singular fruity cider than one packed with Pimm's and cucumber. I don't know, maybe I'm just not as big a Pimm's fan as everyone else, but this drink left me a little underwhelmed. It's drinkable, sure, but it's not great.

My rating: 3/5

Sunday 17 May 2015

Today's Review: Starbucks Maple Macchiato

I'm not a regular visitor to Starbucks, but I couldn't help popping in when I saw they were offering a Maple Macchiato. It contains the good old fashioned espresso shot, topped with a healthy(?) helping of steamed milk, with an authentic maple topping. Sounds delicious, right? Right. This is a damn good drink. Creamy goodness with a nice little vanilla kick, to go on top of the kick you get with the coffee itself. The maple is the real winner here though, it lends some lovely sweet tones throughout the entire cup, and while it's not particularly strong, and by no means omnipresent, it does lend a lovely bit of flavour when you come across it. The syrup is a little subdued in the face of the vanilla and the milk, and I wouldn't say it is a better drink than those containing the regular flavoured shots, but it's definitely worth a try while it's still around. It's a good drink, and it tastes like maple, so if that's your thing, go get one.

My rating: 4/5

Saturday 16 May 2015

Today's Review: Rosemary & Olive Oil Pringles

This is an interesting Pringles tube I picked up in Home Bargains recently. A very aromatic choice in the form of rosemary and olive oil. I was a bit dubious, since it didn't contain any meat, cheese or chilli flavours, but I was willing to give them a go. Turns out they're not all that bad. I mean, they're not great, but they're certainly edible. There's a definite, flavoursome olive oil base, and while it does make the chips taste a little greasy, it's a pretty authentic flavour. The rosemary adds a nice little kick, but there's perhaps a little too much here, making them a bit more aromatic than I was hoping for. In the end though, I think it comes down to lack of substance. The flavours that are on the tube are in there, sure enough, but I'm a man who likes some spice or meatiness to his crisps, and these didn't quite cut it. They're not bad, but they are a bit bland.

My rating: 3/5

Friday 15 May 2015

Today's Review: Fruit Pastilles Berries & Cream

I do love a good Fruit Pastille, and there have certainly been some nice varieties to keep me interested in recent years. But this one in particular caught my eye, a mixture of berries and cream in the same sweet. They come in strawberry, raspberry and blackberry flavours, with half the pastille being taken up by the aforementioned creamy stuff. I must say, they're pretty nice. The fruit flavours are nice and bold, and in keeping with the classic Fruit Pastille flavours. As for the cream, it's not all bad. It's obviously not as good as the fresh stuff, but there's still quite a nice creamy flavour to these sweets, even if it means they're slightly heavier and chewier than your regular Fruit Pastille. As such, I didn't quite enjoy them as much as the classics, but this is a decent twist on the formula that's pulled off quite well. Well worth looking out for.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 14 May 2015

Today's Review: Galaxy Cookie Crumble McFlurry

I took a rare trip to McDonald's the other week, and saw that instead of the usual Cadbury offerings, they've now added some Galaxy to the McFlurry range. Apparently it's been done before, and I've probably tried them and forgotten about them, but I'm pretty sure they haven't done a Cookie Crumble flavour before, so I was all over it. This McFlurry consists of the good old vanilla ice cream, swirled with chocolate sauce and Galaxy pieces, with some crumbly cookie bits thrown in for good measure.

Well, it's good. I can't deny that. The ice cream is nice and smooth, it's very chocolatey, but not overly. There perhaps isn't quite enough cookie for my liking, there wasn't quite as much of a crunchy texture as I was expecting. But hey, it's all good, it's a chocolatey, biscuity ice cream that's well worth trying. Not that I could fully pick up the classic Galaxy flavour throughout, so I really didn't see all that much difference between this and a cheaper Cadbury based McFlurry, but that's a minor thing. This is still worth trying out, especially as it may not be around for long. So go for it, who knows, I may be completely wrong.

My rating: 4/5

Wednesday 13 May 2015

Today's Review: Bebeto Yogurt Gummies

I'm away on holiday now, so the next week's reviews will be brought to you by the magic of internet computer wizardry. As such, I'm trawling through some stuff I've tried in the last few weeks that didn't quite make the daily cut. Such as these gummy sweets, for instance. I found them in Home Bargains for a very reasonable 29p, and it didn't look like there was much that could go wrong. They're berry flavoured, with a bit of yoghurt thrown in (not that they could spell "yoghurt" right), they sounded pretty tasty to me.

Oh, how wrong I was. These sweets are not nice. There's a fruity element to them, sure, but it's pretty chalky and hard to tell which flavour is supposed to be which. They may have been okay if the fruit was all that was going on here, but the yoghurt element is just not pulled off well at all. It's a heavy, almost sour flavour, it's as if they found some yoghurt that had been left out of the fridge for a few days and decided to chuck that in there. As such, these sweets are an overly chewy, pretty sickly experience. There's a little bit of a nice fruit flavour to be had, but it's not worth the effort. I suggest staying away.

My rating: 1/5

Tuesday 12 May 2015

Today's Review: Jammie Dodgers Apricot Jammie Bakes

Everyone's trying to make their biscuits more fancy nowadays, and it appears even the classic Jammie Dodger isn't safe. Forget those iconic jammy ring biscuits, now they're going a bit more gourmet with these Jammie Bakes, soft baked biscuits with a jammy filling, available in raspberry and apricot flavours. I went with the apricot, because I was feeling a bit fancy.

I must admit, I wasn't expecting much from these after the Maryland soft baked cookies, but I was quite pleasantly surprised. These do look pretty soft baked, but the outside has quite a satisfying crunch to it, starting you off with a great texture before melting away into the jammy interior. The biscuit is quite thin in the middle, making way for a healthy helping of jam filling that is very flavoursome and sweet. It's pretty much like eating a jam tart that's been infused with a cookie, you get the best of both worlds, a crunchy, fruity experience. These biscuits are great, and I'll definitely be picking up the raspberry flavour when I next come across them.

My rating: 5/5

Monday 11 May 2015

Today's Review: Cadbury Cola Mini Rolls

I'm not too much of a cake bar person, but I can't deny a classic Mini Roll. But Cadbury are even getting fancy with those now, as evidenced by this cola flavour. There's also a banana variety out, but I figured I'd enjoy this more, even though neither sounded particularly delicious...

If you've had a Mini Roll before you'll know what to expect. Flaky Cadbury chocolate on the outside, which is nice and creamy, if a little thin. The sponge inside is as good as ever too, a nice moist chocolate that wraps around a generous creamy filling. But that's where this falls a bit short. There seems to be a lot more filling than your regular Mini Roll, and the cola flavour is somewhat sickly. It's not bad tasting, in fact it does have a nice fizz to it, it's just that there's a little too much for my liking and it tends to cancel out all the other elements. It may have been a good idea on paper, and it isn't a bad effort, but this flavour just isn't for me. Maybe I'll brave the banana next...

My rating: 3/5

Sunday 10 May 2015

Today's Review: Chilli Beef Mini Cheddars

Perusing the crisp section of one of my local newsagents earlier, my eyes settled on this interesting packet of Mini Cheddars. Apparently they've been around for a while, but this is the first time I've seen them. While I do occasionally enjoy a pack, I'm not a massive fan of Mini Cheddars, but the prospect of a chilli beef flavour was too good to resist.

I must say, I was pleasantly surprised by these. They still retain that token cheesiness, but the flavour on top is pretty authentic. The chilli is by no means particularly spicy, but it certainly has a subtle, lingering heat that blends very nicely with a pretty authentic beefy flavour. I was a bit wary about how the chilli beef would work with the cheese, but the end result tastes somewhat like a burrito. These Mini Cheddars are cheesy, meaty and have a nice little spice to them. They do exactly what they say on the packet, and I certainly enjoyed them. These are well worth tracking down.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 9 May 2015

Today's Review: Sunkist Fruit Foams

Foam sweets are a pick 'n' mix staple. But I've never been overly keen on them, I've just popped them in my cup for the sake of tradition. There are only so many bananas and shrimps a man can take before he tires. But Sunkist are looking to revolutionise the foam sweet industry, with these summer fruits and strawberry flavoured offerings.

Each sweet is in the shape of something suitably summery, like a surfboard or a camper van. They're pretty neat designs, but underneath is the sugary, slightly gritty texture that we all know and love (well, maybe not love). These sweets are slightly more chewy though, which was quite nice, but they're still pretty sickly.

As for the flavours, they're not bad. The summer fruits has hints of berries, and is quite a smooth fruity experience. The strawberry is more intense, a full on bold flavour that get a little sickly, but it's certainly better than the classic old foam banana in my opinion. These foam sweets from Sunkist may not be perfect, but they're a lovely variation on some classic sweets, and are worth a go.

My rating: 4/5

Friday 8 May 2015

Today's Review: Doritos Roulette

It used to be you'd eat Doritos while playing games with some friends. But why do that when the Doritos can be the game? Yes, this bag of chips is a game of chance, a roulette, or a Russian roulette? Well, it depends on if you like your spice or not. The majority of the bag consists of Tangy Cheese Doritos, but there are the odd chips that promise to be "ultra spicy, ones that "may bring you to tears". I decided to take those phrases with a pinch of salt, especially as the pack also states that one in every handful is spicy. Who eats Doritos by the handful? I'm a known face stuffer, but even I don't feel comfortable eating more than one chip at a time (yes, I know it's just an expression). But enough about semantics, how hot are these spicy chips?

For a few minutes I was pretty disappointed with these. Not just because the majority are Tangy Cheese, a flavour I'm really not too keen on, but because I ate a fair few without encountering spiciness of any kind. I thought I'd been had, or that my spice seeking tastebuds were proclaiming Doritos' efforts to be inferior. But then it happened. I ingested a chip that left a telltale burning on my tongue, and a pretty damn intense one at that. It's a lingering, habanero style spice that really is hotter than any other Doritos flavour, be it Chilli Heatwave or JalapeƱo Fire. After eating a couple of chips, even I had to take a little break to cool off, and I regularly inhale spicy crisps to completion. So yes, this bag would make a great little party game, the spiciness is definitely a surprising hit if you're least expecting it, a radical change from the Tangy Cheese that make up most of the bag. It's just a shame that the hot chips are few and far between, I didn't find all that many throughout, and since I'm not a fan of the cheese I can't say I fully enjoyed these.

It would be great to see an entire bag of these Hot Chilli Doritos, although I think that would cause a fair amount of pain. So their application in this Roulette bag will certainly do the trick for now. I may not be a fan of the cheese, but I know a lot of people are, and this bag is certainly a very good twist on your regular Doritos experience. So give them a go, and try not to cry.

My rating: 4/5

Thursday 7 May 2015

Today's Review: Hungry Horse's Mac 'N' Cheese Burger

Last year I reviewed Hungry Horse's Double Donut Burger, a decadent, calorific delight that was pretty damn amazing for a bunch of meat sandwiched between glazed donuts. But now the Double Donut burger is no more, the menu has had a bit of a revamp. So in place of this clearly unhealthy burger offering is... another unhealthy burger offering. This is the Mac 'N' Cheese burger, a beef patty, two bacon rashers and some salad, in between to deep fried macaroni cheese "buns". It's certainly an interesting (or disgusting) idea, and I was definitely willing to try it out after the donut burger.

The first thing I should say about this burger is that it's wholly impractical. I expect to be able to pick a burger up, that's why it's a burger. But I couldn't even lift this thing off the plate without the mac 'n' cheese falling apart. I probably should have guessed from the amount of grease pooling on the paper, but at least I managed to put it down without covering my hands and face in molten cheese. This was a knife and fork job for sure, and those words should never be uttered in the vicinity of a burger. But enough about the composition, let's talk about the taste. The macaroni cheese buns are actually pretty good, a nice crispy batter with a generous helping of chewy, cheesy goodness inside. It complements the meat pretty well too, so it's quite a tasty package. The innards do leave a lot to be desired though. The Double Donut Burger offered two beef patties, cheese, and four rashers of bacon for a tenner. This burger just has the one beef patty and two bacon rashers, along with some pretty boring salad, and the whole dish will cost you £9.50. Sure, the macaroni cheese is well done, and it's a big draw to the dish, but I couldn't help but feel underwhelmed for the price I paid. Still, I left pretty full and satisfied, deep fried cheese will do that to you I guess. This certainly isn't the best burger offering Hungry Horse has had, but it's worth a go if you fancy a healthy dose of grease.

My rating: 3/5

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Today's Review: Nando's Sweet Potato Wedges

Nando's added a few new menu items back at the end of March, and while I hadn't visited for a while before then, I've certainly gone a few times since. All the new items sound pretty good, but the one that stuck out the most for me was the sweet potato wedges. I've picked some up on three separate occasions, and this is the first time I've managed to exercise enough restraint to take a picture before devouring them, so that's probably a testament to how good they are.

Man, these things are tasty. I'm an avid fan of sweet potato, especially in fry form, and these are quite simply some massive hunks of sweet potato, skin still attached, roasted to soft perfection. The skin has a nice tough, chewy texture to it, encasing some hot, soft innards that pack a fantastically sweet flavour. To complement, there's a coriander dip, which is wonderfully creamy yet pretty light, not detracting from the potato itself, but instead adding some more flavour. You also get a little pot of seeds to dip your wedge in after you've sauced it up, and these add a nice bit of crunch to the dish, even if you have to use them quite sparingly. But however you go about eating this dish, you're sure to have a good time. These wedges are great, and are quickly becoming as much of a staple in my Nando's meal than the halloumi. Go get some.

My rating: 5/5

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Today's Review: Oddka Salty Caramel Popcorn Vodka

From the moment I saw the Oddka range I've been wanting to try them all out. I've certainly made some headway over the last month or so, trying out some fruity little numbers, and I couldn't resist picking up this popcorn variety for the weekend. 

The first thing I noticed when opening up this bad boy was the smell. It's got a great aroma, pretty much just like caramel popcorn, even down to the slightly burned smell of freshly popped kernels. The taste is pretty authentic too, a very sweet caramel flavour. It's almost a little too saccharine, but the hint of salt, the tones of popcorn, and of course the taste of the vodka itself make sure it doesn't become too sweet. When I say tones of popcorn, it's not overly apparent, there's certainly more thought put into the caramel than the popcorn, but overall it's a very nice flavour. It doesn't quite do as much to cover up the lovely throat burning taste of the vodka, at least not as well as the strawberry milkshake variety did, but I had no problem at all drinking this stuff neat. This is another fantastic flavour idea for vodka, and Oddka is definitely a range of tipples I'd highly recommend.

My rating: 4/5

Monday 4 May 2015

Today's Review: Vimto Mini Sour Pencils

Just when I think I couldn't possibly find another variety of Vimto sweets, I always seem to stumble upon one. This is a pack I found in Home Bargains, that preys upon two of my weaknesses: Vimto and pencil sweets.

Yes, these are mini, sour Vimto pencils, although only three of those words are completely accurate. They're certainly small, I wasn't quite content without eating three or four at a time. They're certainly pencils too, packing a lovely soft, smooth centre that was pretty moreish. The Vimto flavour is pretty undeniable too, a bold blackcurrant flavour that's in keeping with all other Vimto products. Unfortunately there's just a little too much of the filling going on for the flavour to stick around. As such, these sweets are quite sickly, focusing a lot on the creamy fondant in the middle. The sourness was a pretty big let down too, the most I got was a bit of a tingle on my lips, but any hint of tanginess was immediately lost while chewing.

I was pretty disappointed with these sweets. Sure, the fondant filling is nice, but the balance is all off, and where there should have been a great Vimto flavour, I was just left with some pretty below average sweets. There are better out there.

My rating: 2/5

Sunday 3 May 2015

Today's Review: Avengers: Age Of Ultron

Well folks, it's the superhero movie we've all been waiting for, at least since that last superhero movie we were all waiting for. This is the second cinematic outing for The Avengers, the culmination of phase two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I may have been a little skeptical about the onslaught of movies that have come under that umbrella, but overall I've been pretty damn impressed, and I was certainly excited for this one.

After the events of the first Avengers movie, and their own individual outings (apart from Hulk, poor guy), we find our heroes Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye teaming up again to take on a new threat. But this time it isn't alien, but an attempt by Tony Stark to create a humanity-protecting artificial intelligence named Ultron. Unfortunately, Ultron decides that the biggest threat to humanity is itself, and sets out to destroy it.

One thing I like about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that a lot of the character progression is saved for individual movies, meaning that in big team up events like this, the main focus is on the action. Sure, there's a certain amount of story progression and wavering team dynamics, but from the get go this movie packs in the fighting and explosions, setting up magnificent team shots that we had to wait over an hour for in the first Avengers movie. This movie starts with a bang, and certainly goes out with one, there's elaborate fight scene after fight scene, and they're all wonderfully put together with spectacular special effects. This is how superhero movies should be.

Supporting the action is a great cast of characters. All the favourites return and do outstanding jobs, especially Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo, and there are some surprising emotional turns from Jeremy Renner and Scarlett Johansson. James Spader really does steal the show though, portraying a relentlessly calculating and evil Ultron, giving previous villain Loki a run for his money. I really couldn't find flaws with the cast, they all work together really well, building on the rapport that's built up between them over the years. These guys really do act like quite the team.

I did find myself analysing the movie quite heavily at the start. I was focusing quite a lot on the inconsistencies between where we left the characters last and where they were now, and exploring potential plot holes as they came up. But as time went on I really couldn't have cared less about nitpicking, I was totally drawn into the action. Normally a plot hole or two would ruin the experience for me, and sure, Age Of Ultron has a couple of glaring ones, but they didn't matter in the grand scheme of things. This movie does dance on the over the top, silly side, but we're talking about several franchises that take place throughout time and space colliding and constantly expanding, a suspension of disbelief is absolutely necessary for these movies and the ones to come.

Avenger: Age Of Ultron is a great movie. It's packed full of action, great characters, and neatly pulls together the previous ten movies in the Cinematic Universe, as well as setting up for the many more to come in phase three. There are exciting things to come in the next few years, and Age Of Ultron is essential viewing if you're coming along for the ride.

My rating: 5/5

Saturday 2 May 2015

Today's Review: Dropping A Powerbrick On Your Foot

I'm glad powerbricks are a thing of the past. They're bulky, heavy and don't fit behind your cabinets. But there are still a couple hanging around my house, and the XBox 360 one is the worst. It's the biggest I've ever come across, and it's bloody heavy. So imagine my joy when it fell onto my foot earlier.

There was the regular, blinding foot pain, the kind that seems to be worse than anything else (not that I've given birth). But afterwards I was greeted by a cut across my toe, and a nice red swollen patch. Nothing broken, I'm glad to say, but it's still more than I was expecting from a power supply. I would strongly suggest not doing it.

My rating: 0/5

Friday 1 May 2015

Today's Review: Cadbury Marvellous Ice Cream - Salted Caramel & Sour Cherry

Another day, another Marvellous Ice Cream. This job sure is hard sometimes. I've reviewed a couple of flavours of this new Cadbury range in recent days, with mixed results. This one certainly sounded tasty. It's a mixture of salted caramel and chocolate flavoured ice creams, swirled up with Dairy Milk pieces, salted biscuit, sour cherries and praline almonds.

The salted and sour elements are pulled off pretty damn well. The cherries are somewhat few and far between, but when you get one it's a nice fruity burst with a great tang to it. The caramel ice cream is smooth and salty, perhaps a little sickly, but it's nicely offset by the sweet chocolate ice cream that's never far away. The biscuit pieces are also gorgeous, a very satisfying crunch that packs a great salty flavour. The only thing I didn't like was the almonds. There are just a few too many for my liking, and the nuttiness doesn't really blend in too well with the complementary flavours that already exist. It just seems like they threw them in at the last minute, and I feel this tub would be better off without them. This may not be the best flavour of Marvellous Ice Cream, but it's still a very nice one. Well worth a try.

My rating: 4/5