Walkers Multipack Sandwich Flavour Crisps

The idea of sandwich flavour crisps is certainly an interesting one and I was not completely sure if they would work or not. Because of being so uncertain I had no intention of buying into the hype but when my partner came back with some then it made sense for me to try them and give my thoughts on them.

Sandwich flavour crisps

Part of the thing I struggled with is that crisp sandwiches are fabulous but that does not mean having a crisp that tastes like a sandwich (essentially the reverse) would be worthwhile and having sandwich flavoured crisps in an actual sandwich seems a little too bonkers even for me.

Sausage and brown sauce

Sausage and brown sauce

These taste very much of brown sauce although I would say more of a knock off brown sauce than HP sauce. That initial kick is finished up with an after hint of fattyness that you tend to get from a cheap pork sausage. 

They are well coated in seasoning and the colour of the crisps looks quite dark to the initial eye but the crisp itself is no darker than any other. 

Strangely the first few crisps tasted to me of Walkers Worcestershire Sauce crisps though this did fade as the other intended flavours started to develop. They had the usual crunch, texture and thickness of a Walkers crisp but overall nothing special (though they are the best ones in the pack in my opinion).

Cheese, cucumber and salad cream

Cheese, cucumber and salad cream

These have to be the ones I was the most unsure about and discussion on my instagram feed suggested they very much have the love or hate quality about them.

Salad cream and cucumber are the most obvious notes and there is no hint of cheese, even something really mild in flavour, at all. 

With cucumber being a mild flavour these were fairly bland crisps, perhaps even more so than ready salted, apart from the odd hit of salad cream.

The unfortunate thing about the doses of salad cream was it tasted a little sour and like salad cream that had been left in the sunshine on a table for a bbq for an hour too long. These are not recommended at all and instead I would really just say to pop some cheese crisps in some bread with some salad cream and be done with it. Rather strange and largely pointless.

Ham and mustard

Ham and mustard

These are nice crisps and I could hanfle getting offered them but they did not really have a distinctive ham and/or mustard flavour behind them. 

Instead they were much more generally meaty, although a lot milder than most meaty crisps by Walkers, with a little bit of an added flavour but there was certainly no spicy kick or anything to follow it up with.

These would really have benefited from using a mustard that revolves around the seeds a bit more rather than a mild yellow smooth mustard to add some flavour definition to them.

Overall

Stick to putting the proper ingredients in a sandwich or getting well established crisp flavours and popping them between two slices of bread. Two of these are okay stand alone but nothing to write home about and none of them would become more balanced or enjoyable wedged between two slices of bread.

Squinzano Rocca Del Mori 2008

The last bottle of wine I shared on my blog, in an empties post, was an absolute cracker of a red wine from a friend so when they got me this for my birthday I had really high hopes it would turn out to be just as fantastic.

This time they got a bottle of wine from an Italian town called Squinzano where a lot of the wine is rich and certainly more hearty and heavy than some on the market (partly caused by the 70% Negroamaro and 30% Sangiovese grape blend being aged on French oak for 24 months). After looking at the label and doing a little research I found out this wine got a gold award at the 2013 Concours Mondial Bruxelles which lifted expectations further.

A few issues did arise on getting into the bottle though as the cork was possibly the longest I have ever seen. It went from the very top of the bottle to just where the protective plastic stops (near the gold label) and as a fairly amatuer wine drinker it is safe to say I did not have a corkscrew of that length close to hand – certainly something to consider!

Hearty and heavy it most certainly is. The aromas coming from the glass on pouring were certainly very strong and earthy and rather knocked me back a little but the taste was no stronger than the smell during the initial few sips.

The gold winning label

It is a very smooth wine and despite being 14% it does not catch on the throat or burn it lile some red wines tend to but the flavours still have the chance to whizz around your palette with each sip.
The longer you leave it in the glass the more pungent the deep fruit flavours with a hint of herbs, spices and woodiness become – though many describe it as a leather scent and taste which I could not pick up personally. 

It certainly is an aqquired taste and I could not recommend it if people like a light or more fruity wine but I could see it working well served with certain dishes that can handle a strong flavour to battle with. If offered this in a restaurant or at a friends house I would politely decline in the future but only because I struggled to enjoy a full glass of it in one sitting and instead found myself pouring small amounts to not become too overwhelmed by the aromas and flavours of this increasingly aging wine.

Yeo Valley’s Rhubarb And Custard Yoghurt

Rhubarb and custard is one of my top flavours and scents so when this found its way into the fridge I was delighted. It used to be a yoghurt flavour that was fairly easy to get hold of but has escaped my eyeline in recent years and had hopes that it would send me back to my youth.

The big pot of yoghurt

With Wilkos managing to have an unbelievable bath and shower range of rhubarb and vanilla that smells exactly like the sweets I cannot help but feel that should be achievable in yoghurt form. The taste of fresh and stewed rhubarb is also a delight to me and having grown up in the rhubarb triangle have a fair few opinions on it.

But with great hopes so often comes great disappointments. The yoghurt has flavour but if blindfolded or unaware of what it was supposed to be it could have been pretty much anything. There was no initial burst of sharp earthiness and there was no follow up of sweet vanilla custard to balance it out.

The texture of the yoghurt is not the best either as it has long and thin strands of rhubarb in that caught on my throat several times and however much the pot seemed to be mixed the slithers did not want to spread themselves out throughout the pot.

For me rhubarb and custard is a really comforting combination and this just left me feeling rather cold and disappointed. It has bags of room for improvement but at £1.25 (full price) it really should already be hitting close to top marks for rhubarb flavour with a sweetness cutting through. 

Overall I would have to say this is not worth it and you should avoid this and that a plain yoghurt with some fresh rhubarb would be much better than this rather pathetic pot.

Nestle Kit Kat Toffee Treat

There is a chance that I have lived in a bubble recently and have become so unaware of anything branded or different to the norm that I was completely unaware of the introduction to the Kit Kat Toffee Treat (I have seen the adverts plastered everywhere for the Cookie Dough one but am still holding out for the Green Tea one to make a UK shelf showing).

Available for £1.59 from Ocado we got them from a Pound shop for (unsurprisingly) £1. I suggested them for my partner to take to work with him as an emergency snack but as there are eight in a multipack I was able to try a couple of them.

Different coating for a different bar

These are two bar Kit Kat’s rather than a four bar or a chunky one but they are a little sweeter than a normal one so no more than that is really needed. Each two finger bar is just over 100 calories so there is very little difference between the original and this one which helps to relieve any guilt that the extra sweetness of this bar might provide.
The top of the bar is a lighter colour rather than the traditional milk chocolate and instead has a creamy appearance. This is clearly where the toffee flavour is stored and whilst that flavour is not how I recall toffee to traditionally be it is quite like a Muller Light toffee yoghurt.

Familiar looking paper and foil packaging

Whilst these are lovely and I would perhaps prefer one of these as a standalone snack I do not think I would enjoy it after having lunch regularly or with a hot drink whilst having a quiet moment. These are also something that having as a snack or part of the day for several days in a row could easily become very tiresome and from that I feel a traditional Kit Kat would probably be better to pop into a lunch box.
These get four out of five compared to a normal Kit Kat but come it at a three and a half out of five for overall stand alone snack and a three out of five for a snack as part of lunch. 

Could be better but could certainly be far far worse. A nice treat but not one for everyday.

Month One Update On My August 2016 Aims

The day after my 22nd birthday I decided to do a blog post on what I want to achieve in the next 12 months. It includes places I want to go, things I want to buy and general life aims and to keep myself aiming for them and rewarding myself for my hard work I decided to do monthly updates.

Getting back on track in life after crippling and deep depression for over a year that seen you kicked out of university and losing your job, with your partner on a £12k p/a, is really tough. Now we both have a job and my partner is getting paid far more so not only can we afford our incredibly ridiculous London rent and bills but we can afford to have this thing we had forgotten about called ‘life’.

We are half way through September and neither of us particularly expected financial miracles at this point but knowing we are going to be able to manage from now on is a massive relief for both of us.

So my partner returned to the school he worked in last year but with a new job title, different wage and hours and he seems to have settled in pretty well but seems desperate to increase his workload and be a little bit more busy (which is pretty unlike him).

I started work as an apprentice operations assistant a week ago and am busy getting stuck in and learning the ropes of how the company operates and what is the most efficient way for me to get certain tasks complete. Because of starting not long ago I have not gone into college yet to get the qualification under way but am a mixture of nervous and excited about adding to my education.

We have not really bought anything or done anything in the last month – but I expected this to be the case because of the way wages etc fall. The most exciting thing was getting some more deodorant and cotton rounds from Superdrug and even then that was more of a requirement than a treat or luxury in any way.

A lot of time has been spent preparing blog posts to try and keep up every other day posting whilst doing ironing, chores and cooking around the flat to try and get into a good routine and keep on top of everything. But in the last month food has been a little more interesting and we have had a bit more variety than we had for a fair while. The meals are nothing ground breaking but it is always nice to get to have something other than what feels like the same ten meals on rotation all the time.

I still need to buy that waffle maker I am after but have realised that I need a few clothing items to be a priority first; seriously where do all of my socks keep disappearing to? This month has more been about surviving and balancing the books and dealing with required expenses than thinking about immediately treating ourselves. This time next month though we should have managed to spend a day or an evening out somewhere or perhaps I will have bought something exciting.

The First Things I Intend To Buy

  1. Socks. Lots of black socks that go into my shoes comfortably and do not look silly. I used to have a lot of black socks but they have slowly disappeared or ended up in the bin after developing holes so I have had to do some seriously scrabbling for normal black socks rather than the ones that have coloured toes and heel sections.
  2. Things to store food in. I am generally much more of a water drinker than a hot drink person and therefore this water bottle with a snack section at the bottom looks extra handy. With that though I also want to drink more lemon water so might get this instead with a small tub for snacks AND that would work out cheaper too. But finally I will need something to put my lunch in and I love the look of the Polar Gear one with it containing an ice pack and a knife and fork.
  3. Stationery. With college as well as work I am going to need something to make notes in so will be getting a couple of standard A4 notepads (I already dug a slightly pretty one out from the flat to use at work to make notes on things I need to remember), plenty of black pens and perhaps a folder or two but my time in education has taught me not to bother getting anything else until I actually need it.

I also have my eye on a few clothing pieces but I want to hold off until nearer Christmas for those because I am hoping that working and being a bit more active will help me to lose a little bit of weight and maybe a dress size or too.

Stay tuned. Exciting things are very much just around the corner. Until next month I hope you all take care and are able to treat yourself to something nice too!

ASDA Baker’s Selection Crumpets

Amongst the empties from August I discussed the Warburtons giant crumpets and how they were great to have at lunch time and put them with cheese or eggs but how they seemed a little less breakfast time suitable.

Instead I discussed how it worked out a lot better value for money to just get smaller ones and do two because ultimately you can still put the same things on them it just might involve a minor balancing act to get an egg yolk over both of them (if you really do not want to do two eggs).

The packaging and details

These ASDA ones are the same price as the two giant crumpets but are clearly going to last you a lot longer. Whenever we do an ASDA order I tend to get two packs of these and pop them both into the freezer. We have a defrost setting on the toaster that helps to defrost and lightly cook the crumpet before I pop them under the grill to crisp up and go a little more golden.
Whilst I have encountered a couple of bad brands (or non-brands) of crumpets over the years with some lacking that real light, fluffy and hole nature and instead being a little heavy and just not seeming to have formed properly the majority of crumpets I have tried are fairly decent.

I always return to ASDA ones though because they are cheaper than the proper brands but pretty much live up to the same quality standards in every single way. The holes are well formed throughout the crumpet and if you put some butter on a properly warmed up one it will seep through to the bottom of the crumpet which really helps to ensure it is not dry at all. But on their own they are not at all greasy and you cannot tell that they have been cooked in butter or oil and that is always great for making you feel a little bit better about starting your day with them.

The sad day I didn’t cook them enough so the marg didn’t melt

One crumpet is just over 100kcal and with that whilst they are ‘great any time of day’ I would only recommend them to you as an evening snack if you know you are way under your intake or have burned a lot of calories off during the day (though a once in a while treat is not going to hurt anybody). but they are certainly a fabulous way to fill up and fuel up for the day ahead by having these at breakfast or topping up your energy levels at lunchtime (providing you have the time and equipment to heat them up with in your home or workplace).

Cooking A Chicken And Using Leftovers

Chicken is such a simple and easy thing to cook. You can just pop it in the oven at the recommended heat, set the timer and do nothing for a few hours. If you are doing a whole chicken you probably want to add a little margarine to the skin and perhaps a few bits of seasoning and a drop of lemon juice but that is it before you go off and leave it to cook.

But if there are only a couple of you then a whole chicken can quickly start to feel like the Christmas turkey where it just goes on and on with a lack of ideas. Getting a whole one generally works out so much better value for money though and they can be found in places like Lidl and Aldi for a little bit less as well.

Rather a beastly sized chicken

We got our most recent one from ASDA and it was technically an extra large chicken and for two people that does seem like a huge amount but remember that the bigger the chicken the bigger the bones are also going to be.

Chicken, vegetables, stuffing and gravy

I cooked it on a Tuesday and we had it with vegetables, a bit of stuffing and some gravy so it was really the main star of the show at that point and the thing of substance. That left enough for me to have some for my lunch on Wednesday and to make a curry (well it was not really a curry at all just seasoned vegetable stock) on the Wednesday evening as well as to then do a chicken pasta bake on the Thursday evening. So six portions of dinner plus a portion of lunch is not too bad at all and every meal was completely different from the last to keep it interesting.

The sort of (but not at all) curry

Doing a whole chicken and just using leftovers for the following days is good too because it means that the other meals are going to be quicker or at least less effortsome to do. The curry just involved popping some rice on, chopping some vegetables and mixing things together at suitable points in time rather than having to worry about getting something out of the over as well. And the pasta bake was one pot on the stove until it quickly got popped into the oven.
Despite what many people think cooking a chicken is really easy and it is not difficult to take the meat off the bones. It takes a little bit of patience but after the first couple of times it can be done quickly and just with a good large knife. As long as you follow the cooking time recommendations and season it with flavours you like there is no reason for it not to turn out great. Once the chicken is cooked you can either pop potatoes or something straight into the tray to cook or save it to use another day. And if you feel that a whole chicken is a waste because of the bones you can always retain those and some vegetable peelings a make a stock from them all.