The September 2017 Degustabox

Another month and another delivery from foodie subscription service Degustabox*. Unless you are brand new to my blog (in which case, Hi!) you’ll know this is a regular feature. As with last month I’ve done my absolute best to try everything in the box, but time constraints and wanting to get a post up in a fairly prompt manner means that there are a couple of things I’m yet to sample. I’ll pop up some mini reviews of these on social media when I do try them for anyone who is as curious as I currently am to know what they were like, I’m getting really quite adventurous with my food trying lately so with each month the arrival of this box brings a whole new level of excitement!
Once again kicking off with the drinks selection, this month Degustabox presented me with a bottle of San Miguel Gluten Free (£2 per bottle, or £9 for a six pack). I’m not a beer drinker so haven’t tried this, but it’s essentially a gluten free variety of the ever popular San Miguel. Available for purchase from Tesco for anyone who’s been missing out on a cheeky evening beer.
I’ve become a bit dependent on energy drinks of late, and as much as I love my Red Bull I was pleased to have a healthier variety to try out. Virtue energy water (£1.35 each) costs about the same per can as my current crutch but contains zero calories, no sweeteners and the same amount of caffeine as your average cup of coffee. Once I got over how tart these are I really enjoyed them. The berry flavour was my overall favourite, but if I saw these in my local shop I’d pick these up over a can filled with artificial everything. As an added bonus, for every can sold Virtue will donate 500l clean drinking water.
I’m a serial cereal eater so discovering anything new is always a joy. Cheerios are one of my all time favourites so I was excited by Cheerios Oat Crisp (£2.49) which has whole grain oats mixed in with my favourite loops. It was developed to help lower cholesterol as well as being high in fibre, low in saturated fat and contains beta-glucan from the oat fibre which helps to keep your heart healthy. They don’t have quite the same appeal as a massive bowl of the original, but for a healthy breakfast and for anyone looking to lower their cholesterol through diet rather than medication then I do recommend giving these a go.

I’m not a huge fan of dairy milks on my breakfast and was hugely intrigued to see Dream Ancient Grains (£1.60) included in this month’s box. Ancient grains is made with buckwheat, oat, spelt and linseed. I haven’t tried this yet but I have it ear-marked for porridge and will report back in due course.

Cooking is a re-discovered passion of mine but when pushed for time it’s great to have some short-cuts to creating a quick and easy meal. Latin America Kitchen by Santa Maria is a new line inspired by the many varied flavours of this part of the world.
I haven’t had a chance to cook with these yet but the Caribbean sticky pineapple and chilli sauce (£1.85) is earmarked for a chicken dish ASAP- of course combined with the Aroz Amarillo yellow rice- I don’t yet know what’s special about it, but it certainly sounds fancy! Rice pouches also cost £1.85.
More savoury inclusions in the box, and more that I haven’t yet had a chance to try. Knorr concentrated stock (£2.20) is gluten free and made with real beef extract. This versatile sounding pot can be used to add flavour to meaty dishes such as bolognese or to make a rich stock for soups and stews.
A random but welcome inclusion to the box was Wild Planet Albacore Wild Tuna- I love tuna and this tin contains 100% pole and line caught steaks. There’s no need to drain making it perfect for a packed lunch addition to a salad- hopefully this tastes amazing enough to justify the £3.49 price tag.
Possibly the most exciting inclusion in the box (and one I don’t have the information for) is the Ramen Noodle kit from Miso Tasty. I love noodle dishes and Bob and I are planning to create something awesome this weekend- watch this space!
Mentos are one of my favourite sweets and this mixed up bag of mints has long been devoured. A resealable pouch (£1.19) perfect for keeping on your desk at work, or for sharing (maybe!)- as the slogan says, who says no to mentos?
A more grown up sweet option next in the form of Green & Black’s velvet edition- this is 70% dark chocolate combined with sweet Madagascan Vanilla, this is rich and smooth and entirely delicious. I had intended to share but it just didn’t happen. £1.99 and entirely worth every penny!
Last but not least a blast from the past- Green’s Egg Custard mix (69p) is the perfect way to create a comfort food classic. Egg custard tarts are a secret pleasure of mine, although it’s been far too long since I last had one. I must add pastry cases to my shopping list for a quick and easy fix!
For those who don’t yet know, Degustabox* is a monthly food subscription box that gives you the chance to try new and exciting products on the market whilst providing amazing value for money.

On a month by month basis the box costs £12.99 (with a discount for longer subscriptions) but the contents are generally worth far more than this as you can see if you do the maths.
If you’re persuaded to give Degustabox a go (and really, you should) you can claim a brilliant £7.00 off of your first box (making it just £5.99!) by entering the code 6HZJ8 at the checkout. It’s been a pleasure to work with the brand regularly over the last couple of years and it’s without a doubt something that I will continue to purchase long after our partnership ends. I love the monthly surprise and excitement as well as the chance to discover products I’d otherwise pass up on the supermarket shelves.
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them.

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Degustabox August 2017

Another month and another delivery from foodie subscription service Degustabox*. Unless you are brand new to my blog (in which case, Hi!) you’ll know this is a regular feature. As with last month I’ve done my absolute best to try everything in the box, but time constraints and wanting to get a post up in a fairly prompt manner means that there are a couple of things I’m yet to sample. I’ll pop up some mini reviews of these on social media when I do try them for anyone who is as curious as I currently am.

For those who don’t yet know, Degustabox* is a monthly food subscription box that gives you the chance to try new and exciting products on the market whilst providing amazing value for money.

Kicking off with the drinks selection, this month we have some coconut water with ginger and vodka from Twisted Halo (£1.50) and limited edition summer bottles from Orangina. I haven’t tried the Vodka drink yet, although it does sound tempting even to my coconut water hating self. I kind of feel like it might be a bit of a gimmick tapping in to the coconut water craze, but the flavour combination sounds lovely and it’s chilling in my fridge just waiting for the weekend.
Orangina is of course nothing new but these summer bottles are worth checking out. It reminds me of long, hot summer days- bought bang up to date with it’s trendy nautical stripes! You can pick these up for £1.20 each.
Tapping in to the “back to school” market is JellySqueeze- jelly in a pouch that is ideal for eating on the go and suitable those who are gluten and lactose free, vegan or vegetarian. I won’t be trying this as I have a long-standing aversion to jelly but they seem like a great idea for lunch boxes and picnics (£0.69 each).
These Light Bites popped chips are a diet product that is exclusive to Superdrug and something I’d ignore on the shelf due to it’s branding. However, they are delicious, especially the pesto and sundried tomato flavour and at under 100 calories per pack are great for anyone counting calories (or to eat two bags at once if you are me- all in the name of a fair review). A bit pricey at 99p a bag, but a nice treat.
I love noodles and these packs from Maggi are great. These “fusian” noodles come infused with sauce and veggies and create a light meal or side in only four minutes- a great emergency dinner and super tasty. £1.39 per pack.
I think I’ve mentioned my love of condiments before and Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce (£1.89) is a welcome addition to my cupboard. Delivery more tang than spice I’ve been putting this on literally everything- pizza, pasta, fish, meat…you name it and I’ve tried it!
Helmans mayonnaise needs no introduction or a review but this squeezy bottle is a no fuss, no mess solution to picnics and BBQs and a handy size if you’re not a frequent consumer (£1.69).
When I was growing up Seabrook crisps were a weekend treat- my favourite back then, and still is now the salt & vinegar flavour- so packed full of taste and at £1.00 for a multipack of six (also contains sea salted and cheese & onion) they are a bit of a bargain too.
Saving the best ’til last, I always look forward to the monthly sweet treats in Degustabox! This month we had Curlywurly Squirlies (£1.99) which are bite size Curlywurly bars in a sharing (hah!) format, as well as Cadbury Dairy Milk big taste toffee whole nut (£0.65) which I passed to my Dad- we reviewed the large format of this bar a couple of months ago and it was a hit, so this single serving bar was needless to say, also a winner.

Refreshers sweets were another childhood favourite and they’ve now been reinvented in to a softies format (£1.00). All the fizz you remember but in a soft and chewy sweet instead- I’d say these aren’t quite as fizzy and I still prefer the original but at the same time I happily worked my way through this bag.

Last but not least comes the Black ‘N White PICK UP! bar from Bahlsen (£1.69) which I think I reviewed once before. A delicious bar of white chocolate sandwiched between two chocolate flavour biscuits- these are so good. Seriously. It’s just as well they are individually wrapped because otherwise I’d be tempted to see the entire pack as a serving size.

On a month by month basis the box costs £12.99 (with a discount for longer subscriptions) but the contents are generally worth far more than this as you can see if you do the maths.
If you’re persuaded to give Degustabox a go (and really, you should) you can claim a brilliant £7.00 off of your first box (making it just £5.99!) by entering the code 6HZJ8 at the checkout. It’s been a pleasure to work with the brand regularly over the last couple of years and it’s without a doubt something that I will continue to purchase long after our partnership ends. I love the monthly surprise and excitement as well as the chance to discover products I’d otherwise pass up on the supermarket shelves.

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought of them.

Food- Get Buzzing*

One of the most liberating things, for me, in recovery from an eating disorder is the new found freedom to try things that previously just wouldn’t have been “allowed”. I love food (there, I said it) and I’m a serial snacker to any excuse to try something different and broaden those horizons is welcome. Therefore, a box jam packed full of snack bars from Get Buzzing was INCREDIBLY welcome.

Get Buzzing is a company who makes 100% natural, nut free flapjacks which includes a protein range and a gluten free range. They are all about real food and real taste and with a wide range of exciting flavours available I was desperate to get stuck in despite flapjacks being one of my few remaining feared foods.

Obviously there are a lot of bars to get through here so this post is mostly brief notes on each flavour and variety…

Mint chocolate high protein bars: This was a flavour I was quite unsure about. I love mint and I love chocolate but how does it translate to flapjack? Very well as it turns out, this was a really unique snack and is both nut free and gluten free. Not my favourite of the bunch, but really rather good.

Wow butter nut free flapjacks: This claims to have the flavour of peanut butter minus the peanuts and really, it does. I really enjoyed this flapjack- I generally love anything peanut butter flavoured anyway and this really hit the spot.

Date and seed bars: This was one of my favourites despite not generally liking seeds. The dates give this a deliciously rich sweetness and the seeds add a great texture contrast.

Mixed berry flapjacks: Berry flavoured anything is never my first choice and as a rule I avoid it. Whilst not my top pick of the Get Buzzing bunch I really enjoyed these flapjacks and would definitely purchase them if I saw them in a shop.

Protein and cherry flapjack: Another protein bar and a real winner! This was hands down my favourite out of the bunch with a good, strong cherry flavour and no strange protein after taste. Each bar packs a decent 14.7g protein, perfect for anyone looking for a boost.

Banana nut free flapjack: I had expected this to be my favourite bar but it actually fell somewhere in the middle. It’s not bad, really it isn’t…but I didn’t find the banana quite to my liking and I can’t put my finger on why. I’d still buy these and will happily eat my way through my samples but I do feel like it’s missing something, somewhere.

If you’re interested in trying Get Buzzing bars for yourself then you can purchase them through their website as well as selected other stockists.

Flapjacks are never going to be the healthiest snack option in the world but with ingredients such as rolled oats and dried fruit as well as their nut free, gluten free and high protein credentials I certainly feel like you could do worse. I think it’s safe to say I’ve conquered my flapjack fear!

Which flavour takes your fancy the most? I love that you can buy a little sampling pack to help you make up your mind. Let me know if you try any and what you think.

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Products sent to me for blog consideration, I was under no obligation to post.

Spreading Summer Fun with Macabella

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of a delivery from Macabella, the makers of the most divine chocolate base spread ever. I’ve featured, and baked with the brand before as well as giving the spread itself a glowing review so I was more than excited to get the chance to work with them again.

By way of introduction for those who don’t know, Macabella spread is a heavenly fusion of chocolate and macadamia nuts which comes in two varities- velvet smooth and crunchy. It’s now available to buy from Ocado at £3 for a jar- and trust me, it’s well worth every penny.

This time the package included a curious selection of baking accessories along with the spread, including some silicone ice lolly moulds that just begged to be used. Therefore the first recipe I present to you today is for some Macabella ice lollies that use just two ingredients- so simple it can barely be called a recipe!
For these I quite simply took 1/3 cup of Macabella Crunch and 2/3 cup of milk the blended it all together until well combined. I then divided this between four ice lolly moulds- although I could have got six from it and popped in the freezer. I think probably these would have worked better with whole milk rather than semi skimmed but it’s really down to preference- they’d probably also work well with cream for a more indulgent treat! I left mine to freeze over night but did take some out after a couple of hours to pop on some decorations.
The second thing I made was these swirly muffins, inspired by my boyfriend musing about marble cake after we saw it in a coffee shop one Saturday. These turned out so well- the spread makes the cakes super moist and provides a good contrast to the sponge and they’ve already been requested again by aforementioned boyfriend. I used a recipe I found online here but obviously used Macabella (velvet this time) instead. They were really easy to do and I strongly recommend both this recipe and incorporating Macabella in to just about anything you might be planning to bake!
Let me know if you try either of these ideas out, or what else you think I should bake with the spread.

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Crazy for Ice Cream*

I’ve always said that should I ever get married then my one requirement is that I can have an ice cream van at the reception. I’m an ice cream obsessive- although it’s only recently I’ve felt able to admit this (anorexia banned me from admitting to liking any type of food for far too many years). Childhood holidays are punctuated with memories of Mr Whippy, getting covered in ice cream and red sauce and laughing at my Nan as she inevitably was the first to spill hers down herself, so when this graphic about the evolution of the ice cream van came along courtesy of Van Monster I knew I had to share. Fellow ice cream fanatics read on…
I’m a bit of a history geek so it’s great to finally know the origins of one of the greatest inventions of all time, as well as how things differ around the world. It’s definitely true that there are far less vans on the streets these days, although where I live appears to have quite a dense population of them still- there’s always one parked up near work seemingly all year round!

What was/is your favourite thing to get from the ice cream van? For me it’s a 99 flake with a good squiggle of red sauce…I do recall a place in Cornwall that had a whole rainbow of different sauces though, that really ought to be a thing nationwide!

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