29 Jul 2015

Review: Chocolate Mega M&M's - Limited Edition

We don't really see the release of many new M&M's products in the UK, and usually the difference is simply to do with the colours involved (like the recent M&M's Red, White & Blue limited edition), so I was pleased to find these limited edition Mega M&M's instore at Asda. Unsurprisingly these are just bigger versions of regular M&M's - three times bigger by weight in fact.

The Mega M&M's colour mix is exactly the same as standard Chocolate M&M's - yellow, blue, green, red, orange and brown. The larger size of these Mega M&M's are very similar to Galaxy Minstrels (which are also made by Mars), but the flavour of the inner chocolate is considerably different. Whereas Galaxy Minstrels has a very caramel-leaning, creamy flavoured chocolate, the Mega M&M's feature the familiar extra sweet, and less smooth M&M's chocolate, that is nonetheless still very tasty. Personally I prefer the sweeter Mega M&M's flavour to Minstrels, but then I'm not a huge fan of Galaxy chocolate.

For comparison, above are the exact same number (and colour) of Mega M&Ms and standard chocolate M&M's side by side to show the size difference. I think the Mega M&M's would make great fairy cake or cupcake decorations - just one chocolate on top of the icing of each cake would be really cute. 

Have you tried the new Mega M&M's? Let me know what you thought in the comments below. 

Grocery Gems Review: Mega M&M's Limited Edition (UK)

RATING: 8 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
208 calories (per 43.6g portion - 1/3 of the bag).
Purchased: Asda.
Price: £1.00p (128g bag).

27 Jul 2015

Review: Cornetto Caramel - Limited Edition Retro Pack

In the summer months I usually keep a box or two of Cornetto ice creams (or the supermarket own brand equivalents) in my freezer and I always look out for any new flavours. The Cornetto Caramel Limited Edition Retro Pack caught my eye on a recent trip to Asda. From the "retro" inspired packaging I assume it's not a new variety but it's still not one that I've tried before. I know there is a Cornetto Enigma Caramel and also a Caramel flavour in the Mini Cornetto packs, but they are both quite different to this one. 

The Cornetto Caramel is a combination of vanilla and caramel ice creams, with a caramel core centre, topped with a chocolate coating and decorated with caramel flavour white chocolate curls. The flavours are all fairly simple but I immediately liked the caramel curls on top alongside the vanilla ice cream and solid chocolate coating.

However, it was only when the inner caramel core and caramel ice cream were revealed that the Cornetto Caramel became more interesting. I really enjoyed the thick and gooey caramel centre with it's sweet and buttery flavour. It doesn't run all the way through but there's enough of the caramel sauce to make an impact. When it comes to the ice cream, I was pleased to find that the caramel ice cream actually has a distinctive caramel flavour that contrasts nicely with the vanilla ice cream. Overall, it's still a simple flavour combination but one that provides a satisfying caramel hit. 

Grocery Gems Review: Cornetto Caramel

RATING: 7 out of 10.
Buy them again?: Yes.
215 calories.
Purchased: Asda.
Price: £1.89p (box of 6).

23 Jul 2015

Review: Steve's Leaves - Persian Cress & Herby Baby Leaves

I was recently sent a few packs of Steve's Leaves - Persian Cress & Herby Baby Leaves salad mix to review. I hadn't heard of Persian Cress before but apparently it's being hailed as 'the new salad rocket' thanks to it's distinctive sweet and mild peppery flavour. It's a distant cousin of watercress and has been popular in Persian cuisine for centuries. 

The new salad mix is the creation of Dr Steve Rothwell, the man behind Steve's Leaves, who just so happens to be the first person in the UK to have a PhD in watercress!

The Persian Cress & Herby Baby Leaves salad has a lovely fresh appearance, with the small, delicate, frilly leaves of the Persian Cress making an appealing addition. The Herby Baby Leaves are a combination of Baby Green Batavia, Baby Red Cos and Wild Rocket. 

I enjoyed mine with simply with cous-cous and added baby plum tomatoes, cucumber curls and yellow peppers. The combination of the peppery Persian Cress and the sweeter baby leaves is really tasty and moreish. Apparently these leaves also make a great partner for spicy foods - I'll have to try that next time! There is lots of recipe inspiration on the Steve's Leaves website too: www.stevesleaves.co.uk/recipes.

Steve's Leaves are available at Waitrose, online at Ocado and other foodie retailers.

17 Jul 2015

New Instore: Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations Rocky Mallow Road

The latest addition to the Cadbury Dairy Milk Marvellous Creations range is the fun sounding Rocky Mallow Road. It's a combination of pink marshmallows, strawberry jellies and shortcake biscuit pieces. This new variety was announced in July but I haven't been able to track it down in stores yet. However,  Richard W. managed to find the new bars today in the Co-Op and sent me the fab photo above via Twitter.

I had no joy in my local Co-Op but do let me know in the comments below if you've spotted the new Cadbury Rocky Mallow Road instore anywhere. I'll have a review as soon as I find it! 

Many thanks to Richard W. For the great find!

15 Jul 2015

Review: McVitie's Breakfast Oaty Breaks

A quick review for the new breakfast biscuits from McVitie's - Breakfast Oaty Breaks. They're available in Porridge Oats & Golden Syrup or Porridge Oats, Raisin and Cinnamon flavours. 

Each box has six individually sealed packs with two attached biscuits. The biscuits are made with oats and golden syrup with added vitamins and iron.

They have quite a knobbly, oaty appearance that is not too dissimilar to Hobnob biscuits, but just in a rectangular shape. The flavour is very similar too, and they also reminded me of plain flapjacks with their simple oats and golden syrup combination. The texture however is nicely crunchy and holds it's shape without being too crumbly. They're basically a crunchy version of an oat flapjack!

Grocery Gems Review: McVitie's Breakfast Oaty Breaks

Buy them again?: I'd try the other flavour.
Nutrition: 190 calories per pack.
Purchased: Sainsbury's.
Price: £1.50p (medium size).

11 Jul 2015

Review: Starbucks Caramel Coffee Jelly Frappuccino

Starbucks has introduced two new Frappuccinos for summer; the intriguing Caramel Coffee Jelly Frappuccino and the lemon meringue pie inspired Lemon Vanilla Frappuccino. As a fan of bubble teas I  was most curious to try the Caramel Coffee Jelly Frappuccino. 

It's a combination of three layers - new coffee jelly, creamy caramel Frappuccino and a topping of whipped cream and caramel drizzle. I asked for mine without the cream as I really don't like the stuff. The coffee jelly is made from brewed Starbucks Premium roast coffee and adds a unique texture to the drink.

I really loved everything about the flavour and texture of the Caramel Coffee Frappuccino. The base of the drink is the creamy and sweet caramel Frappuccino which just so happens to be my favourite Frappuccino anyway. The jelly pieces are quite soft and are easily sucked up through the straw, providing a burst of mild coffee flavour alongside it's jelly consistency. This isn't really one for anyone who is texture-phobic and who doesn't like the thought of lumps in their drinks! The additional jelly means the drink is not quite as heavy as a regular Frappuccino but I found it much more refreshing as a result. It won't appeal to everyone but it's certainly one that I'll be buying again this summer.

If you've tried the Starbucks Caramel Coffee Jelly Frappuccino or the new Lemon Vanilla Frappuccino then I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Grocery Gems Review: Starbucks Caramel Coffee Jelly Frappuccino

Buy them again?: Yes.
Price: £3.75p (medium size).

10 Jul 2015

Review: New Kellogg's Special K Range - Protein Crunch, Granola, Tess Daly Recipe & More!

Kellogg's Special K have launched a range of cereals and cereal bars for the summer that includes a new Special K recipe from Tess Daly, new Super Porridge, Protein Cereal and Granola. The new porridge, cereals and snack bars are being launched this July as part of Special K's 'Live In Colour' campaign - encouraging women to live a life full of variety choice and fun.

I've been trying out the new Special K range for the past week so here's a closer look at each of the new cereals.

Special K Granola: Kellogg's Special K Granola is available in three varieties: Chocolate & Hazelnut, Raisin and Red Apple or Cranberry and Almond. I received the Special K Granola Chocolate and Hazelnut variety which is such a classic flavour combination and one of my favourites.

The granola itself has a great texture, with larger clusters within the lighter individual pieces (I really don't like granola that is too hard or in solid lumps). I usually find that granolas are quite heavy to eat on their own so I served it as a small portion with Skyr yogurt and frozen blueberries and strawberries.

I was pleased to find that the hazelnut flavour is lovely and strong. There are plenty of hazelnut pieces which add a crunchy texture and delicious nutty flavour. The dark chocolate curls are packed full of flavour too - they're richly chocolaty with a very dark yet sweet taste. The whole thing tastes quite rich and is definitely one for fans of dark chocolate.

Nutrition (per 45g serving): 180 calories, 4.1g fat, 7.7g sugars. 
Grocery Gems Rating; 8 out of 10.

Special K Tess Daly's Recipe - Red Apple, Almond & Vanilla Flavour: This rather gorgeous looking metallic red topped box features a new Special K flavour created by Strictly presenter Tess Daly. It's a delicious combination of new Nutri K flakes (which are now packed with 9 essential vitamins and minerals plus wholegrain and fibre) with Red Apple, Almond & Vanilla Flavour. 

I love the look of this one, the cereal flakes are joined by vanilla flavoured cereal clusters, almond pieces, alongside flakes of dried red apple. There isn't a huge amount of the additional ingredients but it's still enough to liven up the bowl of Special K. The whole thing has a lovely vanilla flavour (just opening the box you can smell the vanilla straight away) with extra sweetness from the red apple pieces. There wasn't much almond flavour or many almond pieces, but I still really enjoyed the overall flavour here.

Nutrition (per 30g serving): 116 calories, fat 1.1g, sugars 5.7g.
Grocery Gems Rating: 8 out of 10.

Special K Protein Crunch: Protein cereals are a popular growing trend in the world of cereals and I was excited to try this Special K version. It's described on the back as being 'a combination of 6 wholegrains to provide a nutritious cereal that is high in fibre'. Each bowl of Special K Protein Crunch provides 7g protein, 6g fibre and 10g wholegrain.

The Protein Crunch is made up of large clusters which have a surprisingly light, yet crunchy, texture. The flavour is mainly of a sweet puffed wheat and honey with a subtle background hint of cinnamon. It's a simple combination but it works really well and everyone in my household enjoyed this one - even the kids (probably not surprising given the sugar content!).

Nutrition (per 45g serving): 173 calories, 2.9g fat, 12g sugars.
Grocery Gems Rating: 7 out of 10.

Kellogg's Special K Super Porridge: The new Special K Super Porridge range is available in three 5 Grains flavours; Apricot, Linseed and Pumpkin Seed, and also Raspberry, Pomegranate and Pumpkin Seed, or Almond, Pecan, and Sunflower Seed. 

I received the Special K Super Porridge 5 Grains with Almond, Pecan and Sunflower Seeds. This is a combination of 5 wholesome grains (whole oats, barley, whole rye, wholewheat, and whole spelt) with 5% nuts (almonds and pecans) and 2.5% sunflower seeds. The porridge is easy to make and takes just 2 minutes in the microwave. It has a thick consistency with an additional crunch from the seeds and nuts. The flavour is lovely and creamy with a deliciously nutty flavour. It's no doubt much healthier to make this type of porridge from scratch but these Special K sachets are certainly very convenient.

Nutrition (per 30g serving): 123 calories, 2.9g fat, 3.9g sugars.
Grocery Gems Rating: 8 out of 10.

Also available (and pictured above) are the new Special K Cereal Bars Milk Chocolate which are now made with wholegrains and Belgian chocolate chunks, and a larger pack size for Special K Cereal with Milk Chocolate which is also now made with the more nutritious Nutri K flakes.

The range is available in all major supermarkets. If you spot any of these products instore then let us know where know in the comments below!

PR Samples.

Note: Nutritional information above does not include milk.

9 Jul 2015

Review: Candy German Subscription Box

Last year I reviewed a subscription box from newcomers Candy German, which as you might guess from their name, sends out a parcel of German goodies each month direct to your door. The lovely people at Candy German recently sent me their latest box (the June box) which was filled with a selection of summer friendly products (no melty chocolate!).

Candy German promise to send out boxes filled with up to 1kg of surprise treats, including chocolates, cookies and sweets. All the products are taste tested by the founders of Candy German, Mark and Natascha, to ensure they are high quality and always made in Germany.  Subscribers can join for 1 month, 6 months or 12 months, and prices start at €24.00 (around £19.00).

Here's a look at what all the gorgeous products I received in the Candy German Box:

Cola-Lemon Flavour Lollies: Coke and lemon is a classic combination and certainly a fitting one for summer. There are 14 lollipops in this large pack which are all caffeine free.

I'm not usually the biggest fans of lollipops but I really did enjoy the sweet cola flavour here. The lollies have a gorgeous glossy appearance and silky texture too which makes them even more delicious.

Katjes Tappsy: I've featured a few Katjes reviews on my blog in the past. They're a popular German candy brand that is well known for it's vegetarian sweets. The Katjes Tappsy is described as mixed fruit gummy and licorice flavoured panda bears.

Is it just me or do these panda bears have a strange expression on their faces? They look worried. Anyway, the bag is an interesting mix of fruit gum faces with licorice ears or licorice faces with fruit gum ears. I especially liked the former as the fruity gum sweets helps to tone down the licorice flavour and creates a very tasty sweet. 

Ahoj-Bonbons: The Ahoj brand is celebrating it's 90th anniversary this year which must surely make it a classic candy. Ahoj Bonbons are sherbet filled hard candy drops with a sweet and sour flavour. This is a large 180g bag with lots of individually wrapped sweets.

There are four flavours in this pack; Raspberry, Orange, Lemon and Sweet Woodruff. I have to admit that I had never heard of "Waldmeister" or sweet woodruff as a candy flavour, but it's apparently quite popular in Germany (this blog post has more details). The sweet woodruff flavoured Ahoj-Bonbons (the green ones) have a sweet flavour that is not really herby or flowery at all. It's slightly citrusy and really does make a great candy flavour. The rest of the flavours are all sweet and fruity but with a nicely sour sherbet centre. 

Mr. Tom Peanuts & Leibniz Pick Up Black n White: Mr. Tom Peanuts is a classic and simple combination of peanuts and caramel that is very tasty and crunchy. The Liebniz Pick Up Black 'n' White is a delicious dark coloured biscuit (think Oreo) with a thick layer of white chocolate within. I believe these are already available in the UK, although this is the first time I've tried them.

Schoko Waffelröllchen: These are rolled wafer biscuits that are half-covered in dark chocolate (some Candy German subscribers received a milk chocolate variety instead).

The rolled wafers are absolutely delicious with a subtle hint of cinnamon flavour in the wafer. The dark chocolate adds a lovely extra sweetness and chocolate hit. Overall, they're fairly simple biscuits but still very tasty. 

Fritt Schoko Toffee. I've reviewed Fritt candy strips previously and really enjoyed their soft and chewy texture. I thought they were only available in fruity flavours so it was delighted to see this chocolate and toffee version in the Candy German box.

These are so good! The chocolate and toffee flavour reminds me of a Cadbury Toffee Eclair sweet but without the horrible jaw-aching texture that those have. The Fritt Schoko Toffee has an easy chewy texture that reveals a deliciously chocolaty flavour.

Overall I really enjoyed the selection in the Candy German box. It's understandable that there are no chocolate bars in this hotter month but they still managed to put together a fun selection of German goodies. 

Take a look at the Candy German website for more details about their subscription options.

Review: Uncle Ben's Rice & Grains

Uncle Ben's have launched a range of easy to prepare Rice & Grains mixes. There are five varieties in the range: Wholegrain & Quinoa, Wholegrain & Quinoa Tomato & Basil, 5 Wholegrains, Rice Medley, and Pearl Wheat, Quinoa & Wholegrain. Each pack is microwaveable in 2 minutes and contains no artificial flavours, preservatives or colours. 

5 Whole Grains: Even though I usually make rice myself, I do like keeping a few of these ready-made pouches for quick and healthy midweek meals. The addition of quinoa and wholegrains makes the whole range even more appealing and I was keen to try the Uncle Ben's Rice & Grains 5 Whole Grains, which is a combination of Wholegrain Rice, Wild Rice, Barley, Millet and Red Quinoa. 

I was sent several different recipes for using the Uncle Beans Rice & Grains, and this Mixed Bean and 5 Wholegrain salad looked especially appealing. It's a super easy and delicious recipe which creates a lovely summery meal. The different grains give the rice a gorgeous flavour whilst still keeping a light and fluffy texture.

Mixed Bean and 5 Wholegrain Salad

1 pouch 5 Wholegrains
200g mixed beans
1 small red onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
100g French Beans

  • Bring a pot of water to the boil and plunge the French beans in the boiling water for 1 minute before cooling under a running cold tap.
  • Microwave  5 Wholegrains pouch according to instructions.
  • Bring 5 Wholegrains together with the cooled French beans, mixed beans, red onion and red pepper. Spoon onto plate to serve.

Rice Medley: The Wholegrain Rice Medley is a mix of steamed wholegrain rice, steamed red rice and steamed wild rice. It's lightly flavoured with black pepper and bouillon.

Stir-fried Chicken, Red Pepper, Onion and Wholegrain Rice Medley

1 pouch Wholegrain Rice Medley
300g Chicken
1 Red Pepper
1 onion
Broccoli Florets (2 x handful)
Some olive oil
Some Lemon Juice, Ginger and Honey to season

  • Cut the chicken, pepper, and onion into thin strips. Stir fry in a little olive oil until the chicken strips are brown and the pepper and onion softer.
  • Add the rice, stir through for 2 minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice, ginger and honey at the end to garnish.
  • Gently steam the broccoli florets. Add to the plate together with the stir fried rice, chicken and vegetables.

Wholegrain & Quinoa: This is a combination of gently steamed wholegrain rice (85%) and red quinoa (12%) with a hint of garlic. I really enjoyed all the Uncle Ben's Rice & Quinoa combinations - the texture is so light and fluffy and I love the flavour of the wholegrain rice.

Grilled Chicken with vegetables, Wholegrain & Quinoa

1 pouch Wholegrain & Quinoa
2 Chicken Breasts
1 Courgette sliced
100g mange tout
1 small red chilli, finely sliced
  • Brush the chicken with olive oil and grill for 20 minutes, turning halfway. (Ensure chicken is thoroughly cooked.
  • Meanwhile steam the courgette sliced and the mangetout lightly.
  • Microwave the Wholegrain & Quinoa pouch according to instructions on pack.
  • Arrange rice on plate, place grilled chicken on top and courgette and mange tout on the side. Garnish with red chilli slices.

Wholegrain & Quinoa Tomato & Basil: This was my favourite of all the five varieties - I'm a big fan of tomato rice and the flavours of tomato, basil and garlic work together really well here. 

Pan-fried salmon with tomato, pak choi and Wholegrain & Quinoa Tomato & Basil.

1 pouch Wholegrain & Quinoa Tomato & Basil
2 Salmon darnes
25g butter & 15g for pak choi
100g cherry tomatoes
1 pak choi
1 red onion, sliced
1 lemon sliced for juice/garnish
Salt and pepper to taste.
  • Melt butter in frying pan. Season the salmon with freshly ground salt and pepper then add to hot pan and squeeze a little lemon on top. Fry the salmon for 2-3 minutes on one side, then 1-2 minutes on the other.
  • Meanwhile, blanch the pak choi in salted water for 2-3 minutes before sauteing it in butter for 3 minutes.
  • Microwave Wholegrain & Quinoa Tomato & Basil pouch according to pack instructions.
  • Arrange rice, pak choi, cherry tomatoes and onion on plate and place salmon to top. Garnish with lemon slices.

Pearl Wheat Quinoa & Wholegrain: This is a tasty combination of steamed wholegrain rice (73%), steamed pearl wheat (12%) and steamed red quinoa (11%). 

Grilled Halloumi, Red Pepper and Rocket with Wholegrain, Pearl Wheat & Quinoa

1 pouch Wholegrain, Pearl Wheat & Quinoa
A bag of rocket salad.
Half a pack of Halloumi Cheese
1 Red Pepper
Some Olive Oil
Some Pine Nuts
  • Heat a non-stick frying pan or griddle pan. Cut halloumi into 6-8 slices and cook quickly on each side for 2 mins until lightly browned.
  • Microwave Wholegrain, Pearl What & Quinoa pouch according to pack instructions.
  • Arrange rice, halloumi and salad on plate. Garnish with slices of red pepper and a few pine nuts.

Overall, I would highly recommend the Uncle Ben's Rice & Grains range. They were all very tasty and are a useful store cupboard ingredient for creating quick and healthy meals.

I enjoyed all the varieties but my favourite was the Wholegrain & Quinoa Tomato & Basil. Above is my super quick dinner with half a pack of the tomato flavoured rice, with two veggie sausages and a simple salad. Delicious!

PR Samples.

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