Friday 26 December 2014

Brown Bag Crisps Lightly Salted

I've not seen these crisps from Brown Bag Crisps in Surrey for sale anywhere. I'm sure I'd have noticed the lovely plain packaging. Anyway, they came in a John Lewis Christmas hamper and I won them in the work raffle. Yes, really. I didn't have to go swapsies with anyone.

So. Natural & Delicious says the packaging. And indeed the ingredients are potatoes, sunflower oil and salt. Only. Suitable for vegetarians, gluten free and lactose free. About as natural as you can get on the crisp front. Which after all isn't very natural; there are no pans of boiling hot oil in nature even for cooking crisps in small batches.

But delicious? These are lovely crisps (shown here in my new Emma Bridgewater bowl); fine cut with a great crunch and beautifully cooked. But not enough salt for me. Yes, I know the flavour is Lightly Salted but this healthy option isn't quite tasty enough for me. You all know I love my salt.

So I tried them with my favourite sour cream and chive dip (only allowed on high days and holidays because it is so incredibly moreish) and they work brilliantly. Very very good indeed.

Other flavours (that I haven't seen) include Oak Smoked Chilli, Smoked Bacon and West Country Farmhouse Cheddar & Onion. I bet they're good.

Well done Phil & Viv from Brown Bag Crisps.

And because it's Christmas here's a photo of my lovely new earrings; the greeny brown cut stone baubles. Also dangling from the little fence on my bathroom shelf: amethyst and peridot drops from Australia, Redwood leaves and cones by Michael Michaud and a swirly Murano glass drop from Venice. If anyone ever asked what my style signifier is I should probably have to say dangly earrings.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Kettle Chips Sea Salt with a Hint of Rosemary

There are only four ingredients in these crisps. Which makes a change in these days of ultra complicated flavours. Potatoes, sunflower oil, sea salt and rosemary extract. And that's it. Suitable for vegetarians and vegans (again!).

 These are pale golden crisps. I'd say they look as though they are cooked in small batches (as it says on the packet) in really hot oil. And so you get a lot of wonderful bubbles in the crisp.

And they seem rather old fashioned. The crisps feel quite oily when you pull them out of the bag (just like crisps when I was young) and there isn't a vast amount of flavour dust. Which is great.

I think I have said quite often that although I'm happy to try interesting new flavours of crisp - and indeed, I frequently do -  in the end I often (not always) prefer a simple flavour. And this is a very simple flavour. It's a lovely gentle salted crisp with (as advertised) a hint of rosemary.

The Chef and I liked them a lot.

The packaging is nice and simple too.

Saturday 13 December 2014

KP Cheese & Tomato Christmas Crackers

An assortment of festive shaped crackers it says on the tub. Perfect for Sharing!

Mmn.... what you get in this tub of Christmas crackers is a selection of little biscuits; star-, Christmas tree-, and (presumably Christmas) bell-shaped biscuits - with a sort of cheese and tomato streusel topping.

I had hoped for great things from this new product. Because cheese footballs, which I love, come in tubs as do the terrific cheeselets (this year of course they are treeslets) and of course twiglets. All great tasty snacks.

Unfortunately although the cheese and tomato topping tastes quite cheese and tomatoey, and herby too, the biscuits themselves are characterless and dry. Which is a real shame.

So we were't that impressed. And neither were the reluctant taste testers.

I'm afraid these get a "could do better" rating. Suitable for vegetarians though.

Friday 12 December 2014

Kettle Chips Lime & Black Pepper

This seasonal flavour was presumably released in summer 2014 but I never saw them until November. It's strange that I never seem to discover the summer flavours until the end of the year. Christmas flavours, on the other hand, don't seem to hang around for so long.

I have tried a number of citrus flavoured crisps so I thought these might be rather good. But I'm not sure.

The crisps themselves have a hearty crunch and lots of really good black pepper taste. But the lime? I'm not so sure about the lime.

To me it tastes blue. I have slight synesthesia and some tastes like bitter lemon and these crisps are definitely blue. And I'm not mad on blue tasting anything.

When I was a child I used to describe pain by colour too. I had a particular orange pain which bothered me a lot. It bothered my doctor too. He was an old fashioned doctor who sat behind a great big desk with his back to a conservatory housing a handsome grape vine. He preferred pain to be sharp or stabbing or.... well, he didn't care for orange pains and did his best to stamp out such descriptions. I never got a proper diagnosis. He didn't like me much; I suffered from too many mystery ailments. And when I got chicken pox for the second time he was really cross.

Anyway, these crisps taste blue to me. The lime seems to be not a real lime but more of a lime flavour. Such as you might find in a boiled sweet or jelly. One of the reluctant taste testers thought of washing up liquid.

So, these crisps are OK but could do better. Not nasty or anything - no, no. But could do better. The bright green packaging is exciting though.

I have a friend who has much more interesting synesthesia than me. She sees each number in a different colour. Now that sounds a lot more fun than orange pains and blue tastes. I think I'd like that.

Thursday 11 December 2014

Burton's Daily Fish'n'Chips Salt & Vinegar

You know what? As a non fish eater I was very nearly put off buying these little fish- and chip-shaped biscuits because they are so carefully branded to look like fish and chips. When I tell people I don't eat fish they weirdly all suppose I must be vegetarian. But no.  I just don't like the taste. So I'm not attracted to fish style products.

However, I thought I'd be brave and try these little baked biscuits. And what a good thing because I think they are terrific. Absolutely delicious.

What you get is a bag full of little fish-shaped biscuits (with a little smiling face) and little chip-shaped biscuits (albeit a bit curved which is perhaps unusual in the average chip). And an amazing gentle but very yummy salt & vinegar flavour.

We all know that salt & vinegar can be very harsh but not in this case. I was really impressed. The Chef isn't a mad keen fan of salt & vinegar but he still thinks the biscuit part of these is very good indeed. The reluctant taste testers at work were very happy to eat quite a lot of these: one of them enthusiastically announced he would be searching for them to eat in the privacy of his own home.

And you get quite a lot in a bag because each biscuit it so small. So you end up eating more than you thought. Of course. Of course because each biscuit is so small, but more importantly of course because the biscuits are so good. Really, quite remarkably good biscuits with a lovely light crunch and not at all dry.

I think it's a 10/10.

The bag features a number of quite terrible puns and dreadful jokes. Somebody at Burton's Biscuits has put quite a lot of work into it. The brand was apparently well-known in the 1980s but cancelled in the early 90s. Here they are back again and what a good thing that is.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Jackpots Mature English Cheddar and Spring Onion

I've not tried Jackpots crisps before and I'm really rather impressed.

I picked them up at Tesco when I went to look for Christmas specials. And because the clever Mr Tesco had hidden his Christmas crisps in the Christmas aisle next to the chocolate reindeer etc, I paid extra attention to the usual crisp aisle. And found these.

And very good they are.

Initial aroma of crisp. Funny how so many potato crisps just smell of crisp even when the taste is really fancy. And I did wonder if I'd made the right choice with the mature English cheddar flavour. Spring onion can be quite harsh. But no. It's a lovely gentle taste. Cheesy and oniony but not too strong. Very nice. A little bit of onion after-taste but that's what you expect from a real spring onion after all.

Pretty crisps too; the skin has been left on. In some crisps this can look clunky or even grubby but it works well here. A variable crunch. Sometimes quite hard, sometimes not so much. But generally a rather good crisp.

The reluctant taste testers at work liked them too.

Jackpots crisps advertise themselves as a truly British company based in East Anglia. Apparently the family has three generations of experience when it comes to growing potatoes. But I suspect the potato venture is quite recent as they only have 5 flavours on offer. Suitable for vegetarians and gluten free.