Sunday, 24 February 2013

Chicken & Bacon Caesar Pasta + Feta & Butternut Squash Salad (Some Tesco lazy lunches)

The moment you step into the Tesco Express at St Margarets, you are greeted by shelves of ready-to-eat sandwiches, salads and pastas, conveniently-placed to be picked up and brought to the cashiers in three strides.

But that rarely happens because there are far too many choices.

Egg & Cress sandwich: "I'm only £1.50 yo."
Cheese, Bacon and something else sandwich: "BACON."
Caesar salad: "I'm healthy and you're not."
3-types Cheese sandwiches: "Give me a second chance! :c"
Reduced-fat Egg & Cress sandwich: "I'm still £1.50 and you know you need my low-fat-ness."
Bacon and sausage sandwich: "BACON."
Chicken and Bacon Caesar Pasta: "You know you want pasta. You know it."

After staring at the shelves for days, I finally make my choice and head apprehensively towards the counter, my thoughts still lingering curiously on that box of microwaveable hoi sin duck noodles.

Thanks to the plastic fork provided, I have one less fork to clean. In other news, the pasta is creamy, satisfying, and possesses the piquant tastes of caesar dressing and worcester sauce. It also has a generous amount of bacon and chicken which passes it as a lunch item. A filling and tasty buy at £2.

Am I the only one who can't stop looking at the second picture? Not because it's my picture, but because of the feta cheese cubes which practically wobble in your face. I bought this because I know that nothing can go terribly wrong with feta cheese and lemon dressing, and also because I've never had couscous before, and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

I later discover that the little bits are bulgar wheat and quinoa, which are soft, tiny seeds, instead of the pasta-based Moroccan couscous, and are fun to eat, as they feel very light, and do not need to be chewed much, really. The salad also includes edamame beans, cubes of roasted butternut squash, chickpeas, peppers and seeds, which are a fun motley of textures alongside the crunchy spinach leaves.

I really like this salad and recommend it to anyone who feels like they need to redeem their gluttonous selves with a salad, yet want something to delight the gustatory senses.

Friday, 22 February 2013

More Hardy's adventures

Don't buy anything made by Taste of Nature. Ever. They couldn't have picked a worse name to brand their products.

This looks like balls of paint scraped from the floors of an art class. Okay, I'm being harsh. They are colourful, but the colours serve the same purpose as those on a poisonous reptile, rather than those on birthday cakes.

Look at the colour running away from the sprinkles.

The outer cover of these things is a matte, powdery coat – some sort of soft icing or fondant. It's a rather disgusting texture to have on your tongue. There is a little crunch in the candy that you would get when biting into icing, which was nice. After that, you get a flour-y, artificial taste, which does remind you a little bit of a cupcake – made from play-dough.

I would just like to give the company a huge no-thank-you to its unique but poor products. I did express my interest in trying out some of their other products previously, but now I give up.

Next up: This 'Lucky Charms Treats' bar would cause fans of General Mills' Lucky Charms cereal to gasp – and there is good reason in doing so.

This cereal bar is absolutely yummy. Those who have had Lucky Charms' cereal will know how the crunchy charms have a hearty and sweet taste, while the marshmallows provide moments of bliss with its soft but crusty texture. These bars are just like the cereal but joined together in a bar, with a little bit of sweet white-something underneath it – I really have no idea what it is.

Although expensive everywhere in London, this bar is great to have once in a while, when you find yourself having a kid-cereal craving.

Here is another Quaranta nougat. It was my main purpose of going back into that shop, after trying the mascarpone-flavoured soft nougat.

This one is topped with chocolate and chopped hazelnuts, and is further infused with hazelnuts and chocolate. One thing that annoyed me when I opened the packet were the loose hazelnut bits on the top which rolled around everywhere instead of sticking to the chocolate layer.

Otherwise, I would describe this bar as high-quality chocolate ice cream with hazelnuts – but drier, and at room temperature.

This soft nougat is good for chocolate lovers, and although I admit guilt, I still prefer the mascarpone-flavoured soft nougat bar.

Graze #1

So I was buying some cosmetics one night at a nearby Superdrug, and I got a voucher for a "Free Graze Box". The voucher told me that all I had to do was log on to the website, and enter a code, and I'll receive a box of snacks, completely free. Thereafter, they'll send a weekly box (upon payment), unless I cancel it first.

So I got this in the mail today – the dimensions of the box is about that of an iPad, and as thick as an average book, so it fits through the letter slot.


After getting an account on the website, you can customize your preferences within over 100 choices, with the options 'love', 'like', 'try' and 'bin', the latter option ensuring that you will never be sent that item. (I 'binned' all the snacks with raisins, dates and sultanas in them because guess why.) There is an additional 'send soon' option which will put the snack's priority first, ensuring that it arrives in the next possible box.

The box has a stunning interior. Four sealed punnets of snacks smile at you with its visible treats and cute illustration and designs, while the insides are printed with nature-related photos. The booklet on the left says 'hello' (yes and so does the one on the right) and includes nutritional details for each one of the four snacks, with  notes indicating several health benefits. There are also expiry dates for each food item. (About 2-3 weeks depending on the item)

I simply love the personalization and warmth of this whole thing – each printed booklet addresses you by name! The brown booklet is a guide to the whole system of Graze, and includes tips on how to rate food items for your preferences, and what to do if you go on holiday and nobody is at home to have the box.

Look, there's even a napkin!

The packaging and service of Graze is top-class and all, but you're probably wondering – are these snacks good, though?

These three rustic honeycomb flapjack cuboids were such a delight. I love how the taste of honey really came through, instead of being simply sweet and sugary.

I forgot to rate this by accident, so it came in the box. I haven't touched it yet, but I'll probably give it to Fuyumi or disperse it into my cereal.

These nuts had a nice touch of saltiness, and were really tasty! It wasn't a stingy amount either – a great snack.

This one was impressive. Very often, I encounter bland crackers and tasteless Doritos, so I was a little bit skeptical about this combination. However, this tub was absolutely enjoyable – the crackers were light and tasty, the cashews crunchy and delicious, the corn sticks delightful and Mexican-inspired.

To be honest, the above picture makes the punnet look smaller than it really is. One punnet is slightly bigger than the width and dimensions of a deck of cards. With four in a box, it really is a good amount of snacks.

Although the fifth box is free of charge, each box costs £3.89. Considering the amount of effort put into the boxes, as well as the variety and quality of the snacks, I am contented with the price. Graze bills you before sending a box. You can request for a box to be sent everyday, fortnightly, or weekly. If you'd prefer less frequent deliveries, you can manually push back each delivery by a day, two days, or a week, depending on your initial option. I'm planning to have a box every 2-3 weeks, on Mondays, so that I can enjoy the healthy snacks throughout my school week. (I ate all three tubs today...) (But they're healthy so there.)

Did I mention that delivery is free? And accurate, too. But that sometimes depends on Royal Mail's dependency.

All in all, I would definitely recommend the Graze box to everyone. My box came with a voucher code, which I can give to friends, so that they can enjoy a free first and fifth box as well: NYY4VRGD

I'm really looking forward to my next Graze box!

(Click here for box #2)

Friday, 15 February 2013


There is no end.

I don't think anyone needs a review for McVitie's Chocolate-coated Digestives, because you can just ask anyone who's tried it, and they'll tell you to either have it, because it's so good, or to avoid, it, because it's so good.

These are currently on sale at Tesco's for £1 a packet. Everyone thought that McVitie's Digestives can't get any better, until this came along. Instead of a regular digestive biscuit coated with chocolate, the biscuit of a Double Chocolate Digestive is chocolate-flavoured, slightly thicker, and holds mini chocolate chips.

It's not actually orange, that's just the lighting in my room.

It's a great biscuit, but doesn't beat the original digestives by miles. The biscuit doesn't taste that different, but what I do love about it is the little chocolate chips! You can feel them in the biscuit when you bite into it, it's glorious. This is a good move by McVitie's.

Apparently these are on offer now – £1 for a box of 6. (Tesco) Before that, they were pretty expensive like other McVitie's products.

Apologies for the yellow lighting again

This bar probably isn't the most diet-friendly, but it sure is yummy. There are broken chunks of digestive biscuits in the bar, along with cereals, hazelnuts and a milky chocolate base – a marvelous medley indeed. What more could you ask for in a snack?

Thursday, 14 February 2013

One of the best chocolate bars ever

Is this the most gorgeous chocolate bar you've ever seen, or what?

At 84p for a bar and £1.20 for two in Tesco's, I have no hesitations in buying a million of these exquisite Lindt Nocciolatte bars.

I break a third of the bar and it looks like a polished sculpture of a hazelnut.

I don't know why my pictures are getting yellower and yellower.

 There's something about Lindt's chocolate which seems to extract a sigh from every one of its consumers. It's so creamy and delicious. In this particular bar, there's hazelnut cream inside each hazelnut shape, which suspends an actual hazelnut.

Everything about this is perfect. The taste is creamy and hazelnutty, and it's not too rich and overpowering because there's an actual nut in it. It's up there next to the Kinder Bueno, above the Ferrero Rocher, on my list of favourite chocolates. If you see this in the supermarket, you have to get it. I don't care if you're on a diet or giving up chocolate for Lent, you have to have to have a Lindt Nocciolatte bar.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Pizza, scotch eggs and apple crumble

The following is an insight on how three girls enjoy a Friday night with movie and food.

First we spend the whole week fantasizing about how we would add stuff like corn, pepperoni, mushroom, olives, ham, pineapple, minced meat etc. onto some awesome cheese-filled-crust pizza dough and put it in the oven for an epic Sunday movie-night, but then other plans arise and we are at Tesco at 6pm on a Friday night after a long day at school, lazy to knead dough and discovering that there is no pre-made pizza dough available in the gigantic Tesco in Twickenham.

We give up and scan the chilled ready-to-bake pizzas which were selling at 3 for £5 – perfect, one for each of us.

DJ P-Zah tears it up!

We threw these together in the oven while setting up a DVD of The Help. 12 mini scotch eggs went into the oven too – it was our first time trying these British appetizers, which are boiled eggs wrapped in sausage meat, coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. I wonder why the person who invented this wasn't satisfied with a boiled egg and had to coat it with all sorts of gunk.

Dissection of a scotch egg

One of my friends didn't quite like the egg, but I did. It was just a little pleasant treat with a nice crusty touch, and I'm looking forward to tasting real scotch eggs, which aren't from Tesco, someday. Those that look like this.

The pizza was really satisfying as well. They baked well in the oven, and had great tastes, and loaded with ingredients. The 'deep-dish' one just happened to have a thicker base rather than more ingredients, just a heads up.

'Meat feast'

Although we each had a pizza, it is a universal, mutual agreement that there is always room for dessert. Tesco's Bramley Apple Crumble comes in a box like this:

Months ago, we removed the paper sleeve and placed the plastic box into the oven, which warped. So this time, we scooped it out of the container, which kind of ruined it, but we didn't care because this Bramley Apple Crumble is so good, especially when topped with vanilla ice cream. (~£1 for a container the size of three-ish bricks)

Apologies for the lousy picture, I didn't want the ice cream to melt.

I haven't had much apple crumble before, because I've only just recently become a baked-apple fan, but I really do love Tesco's Bramley Apple Crumble. The crumble is sweet and crunchy, and the filling is plentiful, warm and yummy. The warm mess combined with simple vanilla ice cream is the perfect dessert, especially with all the different textures.

I felt 9 months pregnant after eating dessert, because the freezer was too small for ice cream, so we had to finish it, therefore I kept on dolloping spoonfuls of ice cream onto my crumble.

(Long, satisfied 'ahh')

Nakd bar

This post is going to be short and brief just like my encounter with the naked nakd bar was.

Before I go on, let me inform you that some of my friends do enjoy this wholefoods bar, so this is my advice – if you're a Christmas pudding, spices-and-raisins-in-goop kind of person, you may enjoy this bar too, so try not to be put off by my rant.

This looks like something put together from a puddle of sick. It has a soft texture which is easy to bite into. There's a lot of raw-ness and spice in there. I ate the whole thing, which proves that it's edible, just not so enjoyable. The banana bread flavour did come through, and I clung on to that while chewing down the strange bar. I did try the coffee flavoured one (I bought two at one go, definitely didn't go back for seconds) which was slightly better but still, the nakd bar was weird and I'm not having more of it.

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