Wednesday 30 March 2022

Zweifel Poulet au Panier

How interesting. Chicken in a basket flavour crisps. That’s a bit 1970s isn’t it? It certainly was a popular dish in swanky pubs back then, and then disappeared to be replaced by fancier, more modern, probably Asian inspired, maybe “fusion” cooking. At least in the U.K. Here’s a recent article from The Guardian. Perhaps not in Switzerland though, because here we have a new flavour from Swiss crisp giant Zweifel. 

I don’t think I ever had chicken in a basket in the 1970s. I was at school and we didn’t have much money to spare for visiting restaurants or pubs. So I looked up a recipe, and here’s one from Tom Kerridge. I really had not appreciated how heavily seasoned a chicken would have to be to qualify for the basket.

This crisp from Zweifel is small and finely cut in their usual style, and very strongly seasoned. I quite like the taste but it’s very strong. Too strong for me. And with onions, yeast extract, paprika, garlic, rosemary, thyme, pepper, sugar and salt on the list of ingredients there is plenty of taste to choose from.

The Chef liked them better than I did. To be honest I really prefer a simpler flavour.

Friday 25 March 2022

Mackie’s of Scotland Boxing Day Curry Festive Flavour

This was a Christmas present from relations who don’t have lots of money to spare, but who pay attention to my interests and have noticed that I write a blog about crisps. So, a present which has genuinely been thought about. Well done and thank you!

Lordy, I am so fed up with people who have known me my entire life and still choose to give me trout roulade for my birthday (I don’t eat fish), or tea in a fancy container (I don’t drink tea). They give me silver jewellery but I probably won’t wear it (I am allergic to silver). They give me exciting packets of pistachios bought on a mini-break in Turkey but I won’t eat them (I really really don’t like pistachios). Oh, and someone visited to a well known chocolate shop in Le Touquet-Paris-Plage and bought me a jar of apricot jam: that’s just mean. All genuine incidents.

OK, enough of presents I didn’t want, and you might not either, and back to this crisp flavour: is Boxing Day* curry a thing? I come from a very small family so we never had a turkey at Christmas because it was just too huge. So we never had masses of leftovers, and never felt the need to make a curry. But tv shows and commercials assure me that everyone else in the universe has a huge turkey and a ham at Christmas and despite cramming 16 relatives round a too small table, they still have leftovers to eat up the next day.

Hmm… perhaps a Boxing Day curry really is a thing. 

And although these tasty crisps do have a genuine taste of curry, there is also (to me anyhow) a big hit of raisins or sultanas. Which made me think of retro curries from the 1970s. This is interesting because the list of ingredients includes fenugreek, coriander seed, turmeric, cardamom, and ginger, there’s nothing that leaps out that might give a flavour of sultanas. Those food scientists eh? Obviously they know a whole lot more about flavour than I do.

*For those of you not in the know, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day in Britain. In what we call “the olden days” (when we aren’t sure exactly when we mean but it was a long time ago), employees or tradesmen who delivered milk or coal would visit their employer on the day after Christmas to collect their Christmas box. A sort of tip.

Sunday 20 March 2022

Menguy’s Cacahuètes Grillées Salées

A little 40g packet of salted peanuts came free with our hotel room near Reims in north west France last year. A very little packet. Remember that a 40g packet of crisps or crispy snacks contains a lot more than a 40g packet of much heavier peanuts.

The Chef tried this packet without sharing, and tells me these peanuts are not salty enough. And a bit hard. He wasn’t very impressed.

There are little people shapes on the packet looking energetic, so perhaps this is supposed to be a healthy option. Honestly, I think it better to eat a small quantity of something tasty and properly prepared than a tiny portion of a healthy option that doesn’t taste good. But obviously that’s up to you.

Tuesday 15 March 2022

Waitrose Sea Salt & Cracked Black Pepper

This is a very simple crisp flavour on very fabulous large and crunchy crisps. Obviously a little hotter than your basic salt flavour (sea salt, rock salt, Himalayan pink salt… you choose) but still simple and the basic grey and black Waitrose packaging echoes this. 

Good sized crisps and you can see the skin, good crunch, great taste. What’s not to like?

And it works extremely well with our favourite sour cream and chive dip. Highly recommended. And still recommended two years later.

There is nothing more to say. Look, if a crisp is that good what more do you need? Although the ingredients list weirdly includes yeast extract, rosemary and rice flour. Sometimes it helps not to read the ingredients.

Saturday 12 March 2022

Jacob’s Twiglets


I cannot believe that I haven’t written up Twiglets before. How has this happened?

Twiglets have been a family favourite for such a long time and I really love the yummy umami taste and the knobbly twiggy look of this tasty snack. In fact Twiglets have been going for as long as I can remember; before anyone in the U.K. had ever heard the word umami. And they used to be about 5”/130mm long (I think - it was a while ago) and came in a cardboard box. Now they are much shorter and come in a baggie, or at Christmas in a tub.

I think I have been snacking on Twiglets for so long I imagined I must have written something already. But apparently not.

If you like Marmite (yeast extract) you will probably enjoy Twiglets. If you don’t I suspect you may not. “A whole lot of Crunch in a wholegrain munch!” says the packet. But I’m not sure why the flavour is Original. I’m not aware of any other flavour than the original. Hmmm… cheese and onion Twiglets? I don’t think so. In fact I certainly hope not,

Twiglets: a great crispy snack. Remember the early 1960s? You will remember Twiglets. Quite a lot younger than that? Give them a try.