Friday, 31 July 2015
Although this is labelled RECIPE No: 15, Manomosa make only six different kinds of tortilla type crispy snacks in 5 different shapes. The company is based in the North East of England. Which I would never have suspected was a hotbed of tortilla manufacturing. But it just shows you never know.
I think the strip-shape tortilla we have here is probably the most fragile of the Manomosa shapes. The packet says SHAPE: a STRIP of tortilla chip that's made for gripping and dipping but rectangular crisps seem to break very readily; although the crispy snack fairy did admit to dropping the packet. So it might be her fault.
But of course broken crisps do not affect the taste. Which is really rather tasty and went down well with the reluctant taste testers; they ate two bowlsful. TASTE: juicy green olives and sweet, mild PIMIENTO are the perfect compliment to tangy MANCHEGO CHEESE, making this an irresistible Iberian delight. Well, the taste testers were pretty impressed. Nice texture, good bite, hearty crunch as demonstrated by the Dutch taste tester (she does this so much better than I do), and lots of favour dust.
Very cheesy and a tasty, fruity, probably olive after taste. Very nice.
Manomosa suggest this would work very well as part of a TAPAS spread, perhaps to dip into a creamy sauce such as AIOLI.
I don't know. They worked pretty well for us in the kitchen at work next to the coffee machine and the toaster. And I think we'd be very pleased to try one of the other flavours/shapes Manomosa make in Gateshead.
Thursday, 30 July 2015
This was a contribution from tall elegant taste tester. As an apology for something... I'm not quite sure what.
Anyway, these shell-shaped crispy snack are made with 45% chickpea flour so I guess they have a right to describe themselves as hummus chips. Gluten free (certified by Coeliac UK), vegetarian, vegan, 48% less fat than regular potato chips. Sounds pretty good doesn't it?
But, and you just know with me that there's going to be a but, I'm not sure these hummus shells taste of very much.
I'd like to say thy had a lovely crunch (it was a bit hard in my opinion) and a nice salty taste. But to be truthful I didn't think they tasted of much. The extremely sceptical taste tester liked them; she says she likes bland tasting crispy snacks.
Most of a 45g packet (I saved a few to take home to the Chef) got eaten up quite quickly. But. But yet another crispy snack that is meant to be a healthier option, and thus better for us than your average snack, turns out to be a bit dull. I thought there was a slightly greasy after taste and the tall elegant taste tester agreed with me.
I have a feeling that with this lovely shell-shape these hummus chips would work extremely well with a nice dip. But then I daresay they would be a lot less healthy for us.
Wednesday, 29 July 2015
These kale chips are (wait for it) organic, natural, gluten free, vegan, packaged in cutting edge compostable & biodegradable eco material (can be composted at home says the packet), and produced using 100% renewable electricity.
Wow! You can't get much healthier or eco-friendly than that. Amazing!!
Here we have air-dried green kale leaves coated in a pink beetroot and zingy acerola cherry crunchy seed sauce. Inspiral uses gourmet flavours, nutritional research and respect for our planet. Our air-dried Kale Chips are a delicious alternative to the usual deep fried snacks. Combining only natural and organic ingredients they're gently dehydrated using low heat. The Beetroot variety weaves the zinginess of acerola cherry with the deep flavour of nutritional yeast. Says the packet.
I really really like the sound of this company. They have all the right ideas and I salute them for trying hard to provide a healthy snack for me and the reluctant taste testers.
But oh dear. This product is like pot pourri made with dark red roses. It really doesn't taste very good. I am sorry but I thought it tasted of bread. And not very good bread at that. It must be the yeast I suppose. I would love to say I liked it. But I didn't. We didn't. We didn't even half finish this 30g packet.
And what is it with kale chips anyway? Why can't we just eat kale in a cabbagey kind of a way? Kale chips always fall to bits and you end off with a pile of weird looking crumbs.
Tuesday, 28 July 2015
She says she went to a Japanese restaurant and was going to buy the Wasabi flavour popcorn but changed her mind and took home the Award Winning Peanut Satay flavour instead. Because it was different. And different it certainly is.
Joe & Seph's popcorn comes in a very efficient resealable 32g pouch. I was very impressed because resealable packets often don't. Don't reseal at all. The pouch is clear at the front - so you can see the popcorn - and silver at the back - I suppose so you have a proper backing to show the popcorn to its best advantage. And the label is cardboard.
I read that Joe and Seph make their popcorn in London. A team of pastry chefs make over 40 different flavours. Really? Amazing: they really do make a vast selection of flavours. Some of them even more bonkers-sounding than Thai Style Peanut Satay!
But bonkers is always fun to try, so the reluctant taste testers bravely attempted this crazy flavour, and some of them liked it rather a lot. Sadly I didn't like it much. I didn't think there was nearly enough peanut to make it properly satay, and then there was far too much coconut (which I don't like at all). But this didn't seem to bother the others, but especially the Dutch taste tester.
And noble friend said if there was a bowlful she would probably sit there happily and eat the lot.
I took a half handful home for the Chef to try and he seemed to quite like it too. But then, I know he's a fan of coconut. Enjoy the creamy nutty taste of peanuts and coconut milk, says the website, followed by a blend of oriental spices.
A very interesting introduction to a new (for us) maker of popcorn. And the promise, perhaps, of more exciting flavours to come.
Saturday, 25 July 2015
These tortilla chips are gluten free, all natural and GMO free (verified), corn free, suitable for vegans, oh, and parve. Free of the 8 most common food allergens. And they have an award winning taste says the packet.
Beanfields is a family run firm (the Glidden family) that believes beans are good for our families, good for our farmers, and good for the planet. And these chips contain black beans and navy beans. Plus long grain rice. And that's it. Apart from oil for cooking and some sea salt.
So basically Beanfields has put a lot of effort into creating what looks like a tortilla chip but contains no maize. And is probably a lot better for you than a normal tortilla chip.
And it's true that they do look super healthy. Taste pretty healthy too although I honestly can't put my finger on what they actually taste of. But they are quite nice for something so healthy. Good level of saltiness too. And although the reluctant taste testers didn't nosh these down super enthusiastically, they did eat quite a lot.
The woman in the deli told me she'd been in the food business most of her life and she was searching for products that would be healthier for her customers. I think she's found one.
Here's the Beanfields website.
Friday, 24 July 2015
Of course, this is really yet another take on the traditional cheese and onion.
Anyhow, it's another very tasty crisp from Tyrrell's. Wonderfully cheesy. I mean, a truly cheesy taste. So many allegedly cheese-flavour crisps taste of I don't know quite what - but not cheese. This cheesy taste however... well, I shouldn't run round repeating myself too much.
The chive part of the taste is interesting though. If, as legend has it, the ingredients list goes from most of this (potatoes) to the smallest pinch of that (natural colour - paprika extract), then there is more onion and garlic in the recipe than chives. But Tyrrell's have done something to make the oniony/chiviness not too strong. Maybe it is to do with the chives. Who knows.
These potatoes are called Valora and were grown in Herefordshire. And hand cooked in small batches. Delicious.
Thursday, 23 July 2015
As a non eater of seafood I bought these crisps because I felt I ought to try them. And because I could buy a small 40g bag. And I knew that some of the reluctant taste testers would be sure to eat or even like them even if I didn't.
But guess what? I liked this crisp a lot.
The initial aroma seems to be a bit seafoody, but aromas are often quite different to the taste. And the taste really has nothing to do with prawns. Possibly because these crisps are suitable for vegetarians and thus no prawns were harmed.
These crisps, some of them very large, have a beautiful rich colour and a lovely rich taste. As I say, it's not a seafood taste, more a sort of spicy tomato sauce with onions, pimento, paprika and cayenne pepper. And a big hint of citrus to make the taste brighter.
Wednesday, 22 July 2015
And what a great crisp this is.
Nice rich colour and a lovely crunch. Generally nicer taste than your average tortilla chip and a wonderfully spicy chilli flavour. Quite a lot of chilli heat but also flavoured with paprika, onion and garlic, coriander, fenugreek and (definitely a first for me on a crisp) lovage.
I was concerned these organic crisps would be dull. And I was quite wrong.
The reluctant taste testers and I really liked these a lot. And there weren't any left over for me to take home to the Chef. We might have to get another packet next time we're in Sion.
Very simple packaging. Which unfortunately doesn't look too pretty in the scan.
Tuesday, 21 July 2015
Handsome looking crisps. Nice crunch.
No salt, no sugar, no E numbers, no gluten, no preservatives, no nothing. And, from my point of view, no taste. I am really sorry but this packet of crisps doesn't taste of anything very much. And what is the point in that?
I get the idea. I really do. I just love taste. And I would rather eat less of something that tastes great than lots more of the healthier but boring option.
The senior taste tester bought these crisps. He said they were boring but OK if you're hungry. Not a tremendous accolade.
Monday, 20 July 2015
Luckily, I noticed that although I had tried this flavour in the past, I hadn't got around to writing about it. So I rushed some of the crisps into a bowl for a photo opportunity before they all got eaten up.
What a great crisp this is. Sea Salt & Black Pepper is a very strong flavour, but it's a simple flavour; not too complicated. And because it's not too complicated, it's a flavour to go back to again and again. Tyrrell's call it a time-honoured marriage: sea salt and that most cracking of spices.
And what handsome packaging. I love the black and white bag with the rich red typeface and pepper pot! It's great.
These crisps are made with the finest Herefordshire potatoes, complete with jackets, hand-cooked on the farm in small batches and spun to achieve our signature crunch says the packet. No artificial ingredients, free from gluten, suitable for vegans. And there's a great taste gold award 2014.
We have since tried it again with a guacamole dip. Very nice indeed.
And here's the previous packaging. Pre-blog we had a packet with our picnic by the glacier up past the Lac de Moiry above Grimentz. As I went to the trouble of photographing the packet it seems a shame t waste the picture.
Saturday, 18 July 2015
Fennel?? What kind of a flavour for a popcorn is that? Well, really and truly we have no idea but fennel does feature a lot on restaurant menus these days. It's the height of fashion. I wish it wasn't; I really dislike fennel. I've even learned to say I won't eat in in French - for use in continental restaurants (surprisingly useful). But noble friend and I decided that however disgusting an idea it sounded, we really had to try this flavour popcorn.
Well, an internationally renowned food writer has a certain responsibility to try crispy snacks even if the flavour doesn't sound very appealing. So naturally the reluctant taste testers and I tried this popcorn. And you know what? It wasn't anything like as nasty as I was expecting.
The Dutch taste tester said she really liked this popcorn. But she likes the aniseedy taste of fennel. And licorice. The tall taste tester also likes fennel and he rather liked it too. But those of us who don't like fennel... you've guessed... we didn't care for this flavour.
Mind you. You have to give Ten Acre points for trying. It's just a shame from my point of view that one of the main flavours is one of my least favourite. The sweet and salty lemon part of the flavouring works well though. Cousin Maisie (a fennel fan I'm sure) must be proud of it. Very pretty packaging too.
And because I never got around to posting any pictures of the main site at Avebury when we visited in June, here are some now. The weather wasn't as good as it might have been but that did mean the place wasn't completely mobbed and our photographs showed, for the most part, just the stones and the landscape not hoards of visitors.
Friday, 17 July 2015
So for our delectation and delight this morning the reluctant taste testers and I tried the amazing Lime & Sea Salt flavour from Captain Theodore. What an amazing flavour! Wow. We crunched in stunned... amazement at this limey, salty, sweet (in that order) tastiness.
And there's a pinch of parsley too. One of our five a day perhaps?
This popcorn really does have a great big flavour. Pretty much everyone really enjoyed this popcorn saving only tech taste tester, who doesn't like lime. Which is fair enough. I'm not really mad for lime myself; it tastes a bit blue for me and I don't like blue. But I do absolutely agree that the lime taste shines through in this Ten Acre popcorn.
Less than 80 calories per serving (probably a good thing but I'm never at all sure how big a serving should be), this 28g packet of popcorn is gluten free, dairy free, and MSG free. This tasty snack is HFA approved, suitable for vegetarians and vegans, and parev.
It all sounds a jolly good thing and suitable for everybody to enjoy but I do worry that this popcorn is very sweet and could contain a lot more sugar than you think. In fact, reading the back the packet tells me there are 2g of salt per 100g (reasonable considering the flavour is Lime & Sea Salt), but 27.8g of sugar. That really is sugary.
Oh, and the packaging tells me that a serving is 14g. Which is about ½ an ounce; a tiny amount. However, perhaps not a bad thing that we divided this bag between 9 taste testers.
Regular readers may remember that I've had a bit of a grump several times recently about crisps aimed solely at men. May I venture to suggest that this popcorn is aimed squarely at female shoppers?
Of course there is nothing whatever the prevent a man from rushing out and buying his favourite Lime & Sea Salt popcorn, but somehow this very pretty bright green packaging depicting a handsome "popcorn orchard" with fancy gold trim does appear to have been designed to appeal to women rather than men.
And now I know you are all asking who on earth is Captain Theodore? Well, it turns out that Ten Acre not only makes an interesting selection of popcorn, and we already know they make crisps, but they also have an online village where you can look at... drawings of houses in Ten Acre village in one of which Captain Theodore may live. Maybe. So that doesn't answer your question does it? Perhaps if I get my act together in order to follow Ten Acre on twitter I will learn more?
Incredibly tasty popcorn and really quite unusual.
Sadly I don't think the gold detailing in the packet shows up in the scan. It highlights all the popcorn and somehow creates a Japanese effect.
Thursday, 16 July 2015
This little packet of crisps from Norwegian brand Maarud was kindly donated to the taste testers and me by the Vinyl Collector (Dutch taste tester's husband). Who in a frightfully jet set fashion was playing with his band at a festival in Norway the other day. And thoughtfully visited the Rema 1000 supermarket in Ørsta to purchase some crisps. As I said, he very kindly donated this packet, but I understand that several other flavours were also obtained for home consumption.
Maarud seem to sell a selection of different crispy snacks; quite apart from anything else their flavours seem to include salt, classic salt, rock salt and retro salt! That's a very intriguing selection of salty flavours. Here's a short history of the company. And after a considerable struggle in the online research department, here's what I think is going on. Maybe.
This is a packet of potato crisps, with (by the look of things) the skin left on. Nice taste although a little bit earthy. Lovely crunch. And the advertised taste is Creamy Paprika & Onion. Which is fine.
And then the packet shown on the website (not the packet I actually have here) has a promotional strap showing the crisps with added Holiday dip. I think. And yes, the packaging text (run through the ever helpful google translate) reminds me to enjoy the crisps along with Dipmix Holiday for extra juiciness and lots of flavour. Yum!
Holiday is a spicy dip mix with a mild taste of peppers and onion that you stir into sour cream (I finally found details on a website determined to sell me Swedish food). The picture on the Dipmix Holiday packet shows green peppers and red onions. So the crisps are called Holiday but we are encouraged to add a dip called Holiday.
Reading about Holiday Dipmix reminds me we used to buy packets of mixed herbs and dried onions and garlic and stuff to stir into sour cream or plain yoghourt. Ages ago. I haven't seen this kind of dip mix in the UK for years but it was rather good. This was the olden days, you understand, when you couldn't just run out to the supermarket for a tub of dip. On the other hand... I bet it wouldn't be that hard to make your own mix.
Confusingly although I think I detect a taste of green peppers in these crisps... there isn't any green pepper on the list of ingredients. But think paprika, sour cream, onion and green peppers for the taste. It's a nice crisp and certainly I'd try other flavours if I ever happened to be in Norway.
Vårt beste potetgull noensinne says the packaging - voted the best chips in human history ever! says google translate. Who did they ask I wonder? Oh, don't misunderstand me. This is a fine crisp. But best in human history ever? Or is that just google translate going a little bit mad?
Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Salt marsh lamb is raised on land regularly covered by the sea. At least twice a year. And there are suppliers based on Morecambe Bay in Cumbria & Lancashire, on the Gower Peninsular in South Wales, and on Romney Marsh (East Sussex and Kent). And the meat is not salty as you might expect, but sweeter than ordinary lamb, and denser too (I read). Fans of salt marsh lamb claim it is far superior to the ordinary everyday grown in a field or on the hill style lamb.
I am not sure you can taste the difference here. I am not at all sure you can detect actual lamb, never mind salt marsh lamb. Although the list of ingredients tells me it really is there.
And lamb is, of course, traditionally served with mint. Many people like mint sauce. I prefer mint jelly. But either way, there's a hint of mint as you crunch through a mouthful of crisp. I also like rosemary jelly with my lamb and there's rosemary here too but I can't really detect it.
Nonetheless, this is a tasty crisp. With a great crunch and a fairly tasty flavour although perhaps a little greasy. That'll be the lamb fat I expect. Probably.
Yes, this is quite a tasty crisp. I'm just not at all sure what it tastes of. The Chef says he doesn't really know what these crisps taste of either. But he seems happy to graze on a bowlful. The reluctant taste testers had similar reservations. Not really sure about the flavour. But a bowlful was happily eaten.
Tuesday, 14 July 2015
This Sweet & Salted flavour popcorn from Benugo combines quite a lot of rather plain, slightly salted corn puffs with rather fewer very sweet sugary kernels. It's a gentle combination that sneaks up on you. And, oh dear, you end up eating a bit more than you intended.
Lucky thing there's only 26g in this packet.
Benugo has a number of shops and cafés mostly in London but also in places like Luton Airport and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. Where I bought this packet of popcorn. I had a great sausage inna bun at Luton Airport a couple of years ago. Delicious.
And they have their own brand of popcorn. Which, going around in a great big popcorn-shaped circle, we have here.
Not bad at all. Although quite a lot of the kernels are disappointingly small they still taste good.
And here are some photographs of the wonderful Tree Keep at Wysing Arts near Cambridge. It was built by the artist Ben Wilson who is now internationally known for his paintings on chewing gum. You can see other works by Ben Wilson here.
Sunday, 12 July 2015
Our Mango Chutney Poppadum Curls are a sweet & tangy lentil snack made from the finest ingredients says the packet.
Mmn, these are really tasty. And curly. And presumably lentilly too, but there's also potato starch. The flavour is made from mango powder (as advertised) but also mint, orange juice powder and lemon juice powder.
An interesting mix. And perhaps the mint and fruit are why the taste reminds me of Pimm's. We don't actually have any in the house just now (careless, I know) but it would be fun to try a bowl of these wonderfully crispy lentil curls with a great big glass of Pimm's with plenty of sliced apple, orange, lemon and cucumber. And mint. Maybe strawberries too.
I took a bottle of duty free Pimm's to the United States last time I went to stay with great friend in Buffalo. Too long ago. We struggled to find English style cucumber at the giant local supermaket but finally retired to her sofa to drink this essentially English cocktail. Actually, I'm not sure it is a cocktail but somehow all the Americans I met that visit called pretty much anything alcoholic a cocktail. Anyway, foolish me, I allowed great friend to mix the Pimm's which she made terribly terribly strong. And while we enjoyed it very much, we did suffer an awful hangover next day.
Well done Cofresh for creating this delicious crispy crunchy spicy snack. These lentil curls are wonderful. I hope that teaching taste tester has tried this snack herself. If not she better get herself down to Sainsbury in Shadwell and buy another packet. But, a note of caution; the Chef doesn't really like them much. Turns out he prefers Tyrrell's Hand Cooked Summer Butter & Mint crisps which we tried the other evening, and which I damned with very faint praise.
I've had one or two Cofresh crispy snacks before. Their Chilli & Lemon Potato Grills are great. But you don't see their products everywhere.
And I mustn't forget to tell you that these are suitable for vegans, and there are no artificial colours or preservatives. I wonder if lentil snacks are healthier for you than potato or maize based snacks? They probably are. At least until you break out the Pimm's.
Saturday, 11 July 2015
Butter & Mint flavour crisps? Sounds weird eh? Well, Tyrrell's are usually good at unusual flavours, and they also seem keen to produce limited edition seasonal crisps. There's even a button on the Tyrrell's website where you can suggest new flavours. I wonder....
Anyway, after supper we quickly opened this packet and tried it out. Legal adviser and the senior taste tester (plus dog) had come to supper too so we all (including dog) tried a crisp.
Sounds a weird crisp flavour. Tastes weird too. Definitely weird.
The crisps have a faintly citrus aroma which is not unpleasant. Mostly they're smallish with a lot of herby flavour dust and a good crunch. They look really tasty. And you can quite clearly taste the butter; it has the same kind of breathy feel on the palate as crisps flavoured with sour cream only I'm not at all sure it works as well as sour cream.
Then there's the mint. We weren't really sure about the mint at all. In fact two of us felt the taste was peas. Perhaps it's an association of flavours because after all, it's traditional to cook peas with mint.
These are Lady Valora potatoes grown in Herefordshire. There are no artificial ingredients, no gluten, and the crisps are suitable for vegetarians. Summer butter & mint says the packaging, the finest spuds, a dab of butter, a snippet of mint - summer's holy trinity.
It is quite a fresh flavour, and so suitable for a summer snack. But is is a very unusual flavour for a crisp and I think perhaps (very sorry Tyrrelll's) we found it a little too unusual.
But these are definitely worth a try if you can track down a packet because it might just be us. You might find them the best crisps ever.
Lovely packaging design though.
Friday, 10 July 2015
And she did warn that though this packet of tiny salted crackers contains letters, it is, from an English point of view, a slightly unusual selection of letters. Because Polish features masses more Ws than English. More Zs too I suppose. But I am disappointed that the packet doesn't seem to feature any Łs. Perhaps you order from a pan-European company which will supply any combination of letters but they don't do accents or that L with the line through it which is pronounced /w/. I know roughly how you pronounce Ł but how do you say /w/?
Nowość says the packet (novelty), legendarny smak (legendary taste), złota jakość wypieku (golden quality baking). I'm doing my best with google translate.
However, this crispy snack called Merry Letters (I think) seems to be made by a company also called Lajkonik which you can like on Facebook if you wish. The website doesn't have a lot of information (and of course it's all in Polish of which I sadly speak not one word) but there do seem to be quite a lot of products aimed at children. Of which this is one.
I am impressed that this packet of little crispy crackers is aimed at children but is not chock full of e numbers or sinister sounding chemicals. And they aren't covered in a luminous orange powder that stains your fingers. Plus there is a nutrition pyramid on the back of the packet showing what you should be eating like owoce (fruits) and warzywa (vegetables). Vastly superior to most British snacks aimed at children.
However, while I think the little letters are great, for me these little salted crackers aren't quite salty enough. That's because I prefer unhealthy bad-for-me saltiness. These would be a lot better for me than naughty fully salted yumminess, and the teaching taste tester knows that she eats a healthier diet than I do. Plus she runs!
The bag has a gusset where it says A B C in tiny salted cracker shapes. I tried to write my name in crackers but I could only find one G and I think all the Rs must have got eaten.